Archbishop Bernard Longley surprised Canon Patrick Browne, former Administrator of the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of St Chad, Birmingham, when he announced that Pope Benedict XVI had made him a Monsignor.
For once the popular Irish priest was almost speechless as members of the Archbishop’s Council – Mgr Browne served as a member – concelebrants, altar servers and friends greeted the news with warm and heartfelt applause.
Bishop David McGough, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham and Provost of the Metropolitan Cathedral Chapter, presided at the special evening Mass of Farewell to Mgr Patrick Browne at St Chad’s Cathedral on Friday 21 January.
The Archbishop of Birmingham was in choir together with Bishop William Kenney, CP, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, and Mgr John Moran, the Vicar General.
Mgr Browne, who served as Administrator of St Chad’s for three years from 2007 until October 2010 when he took up his appointment as Parish Priest of St Anne’s Alcester Street, situated near the Irish Centre Birmingham, gave the homily.
Blessed John Henry Newman set up the English Oratory of St Philip Neri in a disused gin factory in Alcester Street during February 1849 and began his mission to the poor people of inner city Birmingham.
Mgr Patrick Browne was appointed by Archbishop Longley last June as Local Co-ordinator for the Papal Visit to the Archdiocese of Birmingham and the Papal Mass and Beatification of Blessed John Henry Newman by Pope Benedict XVI at Cofton Park, Birmingham, on Sunday 19 September 2010. He fulfilled this challenging and complex task with great skill, diplomacy and good humour.
Mgr Browne followed in a distinguished line of Cathedral Administrators that included Bishop Leo McCartie, Bishop Emeritus of Northampton, Bishop Philip Pargeter, retired Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, and Bishop Kieran Conroy, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton.
Mgr Patrick Browne, who was born in Ireland, was ordained during June 1974. He has served in a number of parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Birmingham: Stechford, Birmingham, 1974-78; St Thomas More, Coventry, 1978-82, Sparkhill, Birmingham, 1982-86, Burton-on-Trent, 1986-97; Acocks Green, Birmingham, 1997-2001; West Heath, Birmingham, 2006-2007. He served as Episcopal Vicar for Birmingham & Solihull, 2001-2006.
Mgr Browne was appointed a Canon of the Metropolitan Cathedral Chapter in 2001 by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, 2000-2009.
Mgr Browne’s successor, Canon Gerry Breen, Cathedral Dean, and Fr Dominic Cosslett, the Archbishop’s new Secretary, were among the concelebrants at the Mass on this joyful and a memorable occasion that concluded with a buffet reception in the Grimshaw Room at Cathedral House.
Pictures and article by Peter Jennings.