BY ED WEST
BISHOP Crispian Hollis has said that his years as Bishop of Portsmouth have been the happiest of his life at a Mass to celebrate his 75th birthday.
At a packed St John’s Cathedral last Saturday representatives of every parish and organisation in the diocese were present to give thanks for his 22 years as bishop.
After the Mass Bishop Hollis, who has was diagnosed with bowel cancer in June, thanked everyone for their prayers and support during his recent treatment.
Mgr Nicholas France, dean in Jersey, gave the homily, and gave thanks for the bishop’s positive response to treatment and offered prayers for his healing.
Mgr France added that when Portsmouth diocese’s new chief pastor takes possession of Bishop’s House, Bishop Hollis “will humbly get into his car and drive away by himself to his retirement cottage in that Somerset village, which was once his childhood home”.
“Although he says he is looking forward to that day, I am sure there will inevitably be for him, and for ourselves, some real sense of bereavement,” he added.
As part of the Offertory procession at the Mass symbols of the bishop’s ministry and life in the diocese were brought forward. They included a Portsmouth football shirt.