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"By means of the internet, the Christian message can reach 'to the ends of the earth'" (Acts 1:8) Pope Francis, Message for World Communications Day, 2014

Pope Francis appoints next Bishop of Lancaster

Pope Francis has appointed Fr Paul Swarbrick, a priest of the Diocese of Lancaster and former missionary in Zambia for 15 years, as the next Bishop of Lancaster.

Bishop Michael Campbell, who has served as the Bishop of Lancaster since 2008, thanked the Holy Father and said he was “delighted” at the news.

“The news of Canon Swarbrick’s appointment will give much pleasure to many, both within and beyond the diocese,” he said. “A native son of the Diocese of Lancaster, Bishop-Elect Swarbrick comes to the office of bishop with considerable pastoral experience, having served since his ordination in a number of parishes here in the diocese as well as a long period as a fidei donum priest in the Diocese of Monze, Zambia.

“I know he will use these gifts to the great advantage of the priests and people of Lancaster, who will be well-served by their new bishop.”

Bishop-Elect Swarbrick, 59, from Garstang, Lancashire, has been a priest of the diocese for over 35 years. He trained for the priesthood at Ushaw College, Co Durham, and was ordained on 10th July 1982 at Ss Mary & Michael’s Church, Garstang. He served as assistant priest at a number of parishes before volunteering to serve on the missions in Monze Diocese, Zambia from 1990 to 2005.

Upon hearing of his appointment Bishop-Elect Swarbrick acknowledged the example set by Bishop Campbell.

“He has been a faithful and generous Shepherd of the Lord’s flock,” he said.

“I must confess to being in a state of surprise and shock at my appointment, and to a feeling of great inadequacy when faced with what lies ahead,” Bishop-Elect Swarbrick continued.

“Since my ordination to the priesthood at Garstang in July 1982 this was never something I expected or feel prepared for. I have given my acceptance in a spirit of profound humility, deeply conscious of my unworthiness and sinfulness. It is a call to follow Jesus with greater trust and more generous love, ever mindful of what He has done for me and, ultimately, the fullness of Life He calls me to share.”

Bishop-Elect Swarbrick was appointed parish priest of Our Lady & St Michael, Workington – now the enlarged parish of Christ the Good Shepherd, Workington-Harrington, where he currently serves – in 2010.

He is also the local Dean (Vicar Forane) for West Cumbria and in 2015 he was made a Canon of Lancaster Cathedral Chapter.

Although Bishop Campbell’s resignation has been accepted, until Bishop-Elect Swarbrick’s Ordination, Bishop Campbell has been appointed by Pope Francis as Apostolic Administrator of the diocese.

Picture: Bishop-Elect Paul Swarbrick. (The Bishop’s Office, Lancaster).