Pope Francis has appointed the rector of London’s Allen Hall seminary as the new bishop of Plymouth.
“I am deeply humbled that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has appointed me the new Bishop of Plymouth,” said Msgr. Mark O’Toole, who will receive his Episcopal ordination in January 2014.
“Recognising that I am a sinner who experiences the love and mercy of the Lord Jesus, I embrace with my whole self this deeper call to service in His Church. I know that the example and witness of Pope Francis will continue to inspire and shape my ministry as shepherd to all in the diocese, especially to serve the poor, the weak, and those who feel alienated from God, as I work alongside fellow Christians.”
After having served in the Archdiocese of Westminster, he said he looks forward to “putting down firm roots” in the Plymouth diocese, which is known for its “outstanding natural beauty.”
“I know I can count on the prayer, co-operation and support of the people, the religious and especially the priests of the diocese who are renowned for their quiet heroism, fidelity and dedication,” he said.
Bishop Christopher Budd, who has served as Bishop of Plymouth since 1986, said he was “delighted” to welcome Msgr. O’Toole as his successor.
“I am grateful to Pope Francis for sending him to us,” he said. “He is coming to a lovely community of priests, deacons and religious and people of God who make up the diocese. I know he will receive a warm and loving welcome.”
Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster said Msgr. O’Toole “is a dedicated, gifted and experienced priest who will become an excellent Bishop of Plymouth and a valued member of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.”
“We shall miss him but always hold him in our prayers especially as he prepares to take up this new mission, given by the Lord,” the archbishop said. “He will go to Plymouth fully supported by the love and esteem of everyone in this diocese.”