The news that Canon Tom Neylon (pictured) had been appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool Archdiocese brought joy to the hearts of our priests, religious and people. Bishop Tom Williams and I will now be ably supported in our episcopal ministry by another bishop.
The need for such an appointment has been all the greater since the death of Bishop Vincent Malone who, although officially retired, carried on working as hard as ever for at least a dozen years after the age of 75, until 12 months or so before his death. Bishop Vincent set a high standard of dedication and service to the Church and God's people, and he is still very much missed.
An auxiliary bishop, as the name implies, is appointed to assist the diocesan bishop with the administrative and pastoral needs of the diocese. As we await the pastoral plan flowing from Synod 2020, Bishop-elect Tom's appointment could not have come at a better time.
The comedians in the diocese have already said that with his arrival we now have 'Bishops TomTom' or 'Bishop Satnav'. It struck me that this was actually quite appropriate, given we will require direction and guidance for the Archdiocese as we hopefully emerge from the pandemic and embark on a new future together and become the Church we are called to be.
Please join me in a prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of Canon Tom as our new Auxiliary Bishop.