“For you, Michael, this journey has been rich indeed, in its geography, in your journey of learning, of prayer, of public ministry, and of decision,” Nichols said.

“We welcome you most warmly on this day, especially into the very unique company of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.”

Nazir-Ali was born in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1949, and attended Catholic schools. He has both a Christian and a Muslim family background and holds British and Pakistani citizenship.

He was ordained as an Anglican clergyman in 1976, working in Karachi and Lahore. He became provost of Lahore Cathedral and was consecrated the first bishop of Raiwind in West Punjab.

Nazir-Ali was appointed bishop of Rochester, southeast England, in 1994.

Married with two children, he served as a member of the House of Lords, Britain’s upper house of Parliament, from 1999.

He took part in the second phase of the Anglican and Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC-II) and was a member of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission (IARCCUM).

In 2002, the UK media identified him as one of the favorites to succeed the retiring Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey. He was quoted at the time as saying that he was the target of a racist smear campaign and he remained as bishop of Rochester until 2009.

He has served as president of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy, and Dialogue (OXTRAD) since stepping down as bishop of Rochester.

In his homily, Nichols reflected on “two key characteristics of the Church: its cohesion and its mission.” He said that neither quality was “easy to put into practice and sustain.”

“Indeed, we read in the Acts of the Apostles, the first practical problems emerge immediately for the infant Church. The first: how to replace Judas, whose heart had been totally corrupted by greed?” the 75-year-old cardinal said.



“It is not without consequence that the first words spoken on this matter were the words of Peter, leading decisively to the course to be taken. The Petrine ministry is part of the gift given to the Church to sustain its cohesion of life and action.”

He went on: “So too in its mission. We read in the Acts of the Apostles that after the great event of Pentecost, as the mission of the Church explodes into life, it is Peter who ‘stood up with the Eleven and addressed them (the crowd) in a loud voice’ (Acts 2:14). Already the challenge of the mission of the Church is clear, for that crowd consisted of people ‘from every nation under heaven.’”

“Our mission is always shaped, then, by the interface between the joy of the Gospel truth and the history and cultures of those to whom it is being addressed. And that dynamic, too, comes under the guidance of the Successor of Peter and those around him, and one with him, in the ministry of oversight.”

Looking toward Nazir-Ali, he said: “Michael, you have so much experience in this interface and I am confident that your insight and learning will enrich this mission, from within the visible unity of the Catholic Church.”



The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory, Warwick Street, is the central church of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.