Today, Friday 3 September 2021, The Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool, ordained Canon Thomas Neylon as Bishop of Plestia and Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool at 12.00 noon in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool.
This was the first major service to be celebrated in the Metropolitan Cathedral since the beginning of the pandemic and the first Episcopal Ordination in the Cathedral since that of Bishop Tom Williams in 2003.
Warrington born Canon Neylon will be the ninth Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool appointed in the history of the archdiocese and will assist Archbishop Malcolm McMahon alongside Bishop Tom Williams.
Among those taking part in the Mass were the Apostolic Nuncio, the Vatican’s representative in Great Britain, His Excellency Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, together with Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Bishops from England and Wales. Priests and parishioners from throughout the archdiocese will also attend with groups coming from Widnes where the Bishop-elect has served most recently and from St Helens where he served for 24 years. The first reading of the Mass from the second letter of St Paul to the Corinthians (4:1-2,5-7) was read by Barbara Norris from St Wilfrid’s parish in Widnes.
The music of the Mass was led by the Choir of the Metropolitan Cathedral under their Director, Dr Christopher McElroy. It included ‘Praise to the holiest’ by St John Henry Newman; the medieval ‘Laudes Regiae’, with its Latin refrain ‘Christus vincit’ which was chanted at the consecration of the Cathedral in 1967, and at many special celebrations since and ‘Hail Redeemer, King Divine’ will be the recessional hymn which is cherished by the Cathedral as its very own. Prior to the consecration of the present Cathedral, the ceremonial laying of the foundation stone for Lutyens’s great cathedral took place in 1933, and for that occasion this new hymn to Christ the King was composed to be sung by the massed crowds.
The homily was preached by the Right Reverend Paul Swarbrick, Bishop of Lancaster, who studied for the priesthood alongside Bishop-elect Neylon.
The Rite of Ordination will include the solemn reading of the mandate from Pope Francis, appointing Canon Thomas Neylon as Bishop of Plestia and Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool. This was followed by the singing of the Litany of Saints and the Prayer of Consecration and anointing by Archbishop McMahon.
Members of the new Bishop’s family will bring forward the gifts at the offertory of the Mass – his nephews, Joe and Peter Neylon; his brother Joseph Neylon and his sister, Mary Annels – while the choir sings ‘Jubilate Deo’ by Benjamin Britten.
At the conclusion of the Mass the new Bishop blessed the congregation as he was led through the Cathedral by the two co-consecrating Bishops – Bishop Thomas Williams, Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool and Bishop Terence Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough – following which the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti and the newly ordained Bishop Thomas Neylon will speak.
Friday 3 September is the Feast of Pope St Gregory the Great, a man who reorganised Church life and administration and sent Augustine and his monks to evangelise the English.
Source: Liverpool Diocese