Letter from Bishop John changes in appointments and responsibilities

Tuesday 22nd October 2019

This week Bishop John wrote to all the clergy of the diocese detailing some new clergy appointments and governance arrangements. A copy of the letter is below.

Dear Fathers,

I have thought it best to write to you about a number of changes in appointments and responsibilities that I am introducing at this time.

Care for the Clergy. Within our diocesan structures we have the role of an Episcopal Vicar for Clergy who has had the responsibility for organising on-going formation, talks and retreats for the clergy and collaborated with the work of the Clergy Welfare Committee. The role has also implied a pastoral care for the clergy. Given the number of appointments, parish amalgamations and retirements in the last three years, much of the arrangements concerning the immediate needs and care for the clergy has fallen to a Vicar General. In order to confirm the importance of the care for the clergy, I propose to nominate Fr Peter Hopkinson as Vicar General for the Clergy. Fr Peter will oversee the needs of clergy when moving or retiring and making sure that there is appropriate provision for those who are ill. Canon Tadhg Mullins will continue in his role as Chair of the Clergy Welfare Committee. The small group concerned with planning the on-going formation will continue under the chairmanship of Fr Peter Hopkinson. My grateful thanks to Canon Steven Parkinson for his fulfillment of the role of Episcopal Vicar for Clergy and to Provost Paul Brindle for the many years he had that same role. I hope that, by naming a Vicar General in this role, the priority of care for the clergy will be confirmed.

The Sacrament of Confirmation. The change in the age of Confirmation has meant very complex planning and the need for providing materials and resources for a very different age group. With our first Confirmations taking place in 2021, it is now important that we build on that with clear planning and information about how this new practice can be properly introduced. Fr Chris Gorton has already been involved in much of the review and has accepted the role of coordinating all the planning and providing all the necessary information to deaneries, parishes and priests. Consequently, he will stand down from his oversight of Hope in the Future and Youth Ministry.

Hope in the Future. This pastoral project is developing well, with most parishes using and adapting the resources of the first three stages for their own particular context. John Griffin will continue to coordinate the provision of events, meetings and resources, under the direction of Fr Paul Daly, Episcopal Vicar for Formation.

Department for Education. Subsequent to Canon Anthony McBride standing down as Episcopal Vicar for Education, Simon Smith has agreed to be the Episcopal Delegate for Education and Fr Kevin Murphy is the Chaplain to the Education Department.

Pastoral Care of Young People. Young people must be a priority in all our planning. Lorraine Leonard is the Diocesan Coordinator for Youth Ministry. A small group of clergy and laity have been working on resources and plans for promoting and nurturing the faith of our young people. This group will continue with Lorraine, and with Fr Mark Paver as its priest convener.

Vicars for Religious. The history of the Diocese of Salford would attest to the very considerable contributions made by the men and women in religious congregations. The Diocese has seen major institutions established, particularly in education and in nursing care, and benefitted from the presence of numerous priests in both diocesan parishes and parishes administered by religious congregations. In recent years, numbers have declined but we still have many religious in the Diocese and it seems right to me that the Vicars for Religious should themselves be members of religious congregations. Fr Michael Winstanley has recently asked to step down and I am very grateful for all he has done over the last five years with the assistance of Sister Joan O’Gorman and Fr Eamonn Mulcahy. Fr Rob Morland SMA has accepted my invitation to join the team.

The Chief Operating Officer. Pauline Morgan has now been in place for five months and has already made a number of important decisions. It is important that we understand her role. As a Diocese, our prime concern and focus is to build up missionary parishes and to promote Gospel values, not only within our parish and school communities but also in the wider community of the geographical area of the Diocese. To fulfil our evangelical aim, we have several projects and organisations (most of which come under the umbrella of Caritas Diocese of Salford) which have social outreach. To achieve all this, and to be compliant with the ever-growing demands of U.K. law and statutory regulations, we must have a “business” structure which ensures that we operate in a transparent and accountable way. Pauline Morgan oversees all aspects of compliance in employment, while promoting the financial well-being of all that we are trying to achieve in our mission. She is responsible for the “business and operating structure” of the Diocese.

My sincere thanks to all those who so generously take on additional responsibilities in the Diocese. I do believe that much valuable work is being done and there is good purpose and planning in all that we are trying to achieve. 

“Stay with us, Lord, on our Journey”


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