Hundreds welcomed Bishop Stephen Wright back to the Archdiocese today, Friday 17 November, for a Mass of Thanksgiving at St Chad’s Cathedral.
Bishop Stephen, a former Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese, was installed as the Fifteenth Bishop of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle in July.
The Mass of Thanksgiving was attended by Bishop Stephen’s fellow clergy, family, friends and former parishioners from parishes he served in Stechford, Banbury and Burton upon Trent, along with a group from his home parish of St Austin’s, Stafford.
School children from St Modwen’s Catholic Primary School, Burton; St Chad’s Catholic Primary School, Birmingham; Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School, Stechford; St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School, Stechford; St Austin’s Catholic Primary School, Stafford; Blessed Mother Teresa’s Catholic Primary School, Stafford; Blessed William Howard Catholic School, Stafford and Blessed George Napier School, Banbury were also in attendance.
Archbishop Bernard Longley warmly welcomed Bishop Stephen back to the Archdiocese and gave an introduction to the congregation.
Today felt extra special as people were able to gather and celebrate in person with Bishop Stephen. He was ordained Bishop at St Chad’s Cathedral in October 2020 with a limited congregation because of Covid restrictions, and not many people were able to travel to his installation in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
During his Homily Bishop Stephen talked about his new home in the North and how he was settling in, including regular walks and bird watching in Northumberland and discovering places of pilgrimage.
He also shared his thoughts on the Northern Saints, and how they were a continual inspiration – especially St Cuthbert, who is widely revered today.
Bishop Stephen said he was very privileged to wear the cross of St Cuthbert and be the Bishop of his homeland.
He said there was much to learn from his style of ministry – that being 7th century synodality.
He concluded his Homily with: “Respond with generosity to the Lord’s call to serve His people”.
A Prayer for Bishop Stephen Wright:
Lord, rock of our hearts,
from a sea swept island
you sent Aidan and Cuthbert
to sow your Word fruitfully
throughout our Northern Land and
you inspired Bede to understand and speak your truth
reflected in our lives and in our history.
Grant your servant, Stephen,
whom you have called to follow them,
a rich share in this heritage –
to speak your Word courageously
to teach wisely
and to lead with love.
Monsignor Kevin Nichols 1929-2006