Pope Francis has appointed Bishop John Wilson as the 11th Archbishop of Southwark.
Archbishop-elect Wilson, the Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster since 2015 and previously a priest in the Diocese of Leeds, succeeds Archbishop Peter Smith, who has been the Archbishop of Southwark since 2010.
His Episcopal Installation will be celebrated in St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, on 25th July.
Speaking of his appointment, Archbishop-elect Wilson, said: “Someone once said if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. In whatever way I might have imagined God’s plan for my life to unfold, the news of my appointment by Pope Francis as the new Archbishop of Southwark came as a complete surprise. I am grateful to His Excellency Archbishop Edward J. Adams, the Apostolic Nuncio, for his encouragement, and for reminding me of C S Lewis’ invitation to be ‘surprised by joy.’ It is the joy of the Gospel, the Good News of God’s love for the world in His Son Jesus Christ, that sustains and animates the Church’s mission in which I am to share in a new way.
“To say I am deeply humbled by my appointment, while absolutely true, hardly seems adequate,” Archbishop-elect Wilson continued. “It is an immense privilege and I will do my very best to serve joyfully after the example of the Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Aware of my unworthiness and limitations, and with more than a little trepidation, I am grateful to Pope Francis for entrusting me with this new mission in the service of the Lord and His people in the Archdiocese of Southwark. There is so much that is new to me and I know I have much to learn. I rely totally on the Holy Spirit to guide my new ministry of witnessing to the love of God for each person so that we might be evermore a Church of joyful missionary disciples, alive in Christ, our risen Saviour.”
Archbishop-elect Wilson was born in Sheffield on 4th July 1968. He studied at the University of Leeds before beginning formation for the priesthood for the Diocese of Leeds at the Venerable English College, Rome in 1989. He was ordained to the priesthood on 29th July 1995 by Bishop David Konstant. On 24th November 2015 he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster and Titular Bishop of Lindisfarne by Pope Francis.
The Archdiocese of Southwark is part of the Metropolitan Province of Southwark, which covers the South of England. The Cathedral Church is St George’s Cathedral, Southwark. The archdiocese covers the London boroughs south of the Thames, the county of Kent and the Medway Unitary Authority. Southwark was one of the dioceses established at the restoration of Catholic hierarchical structures in 1850 by Pope Pius IX.
Picture: Bishop John Wilson at his Episcopal Ordination in 2016. (Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk).