BY ED WEST
THE NEW Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle was installed last Friday at a ceremony at St Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Canon Seamus Cunningham, bishop-designate and present administrator of the diocese, was ordained at a two-hour ceremony in front of hundreds of people at the cathedral, including regional and civic guests, 200 priests and over 100 of his family and friends from Ireland. The congregation applauded as Canon Cunningham was ordained, and again as Anglican Bishop Tom Wright of Durham welcomed him on behalf of other religious leaders in the north east. Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, the Apostolic Nuncio, and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, were also warmly applauded when they welcomed him as bishop.
Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool gave the homily and performed the formal rite of ordination, and told Bishop Cunningham: “I offer you today the last words spoken to me by the late, great Frank Thomas, Bishop of Northampton, one of those who formed Bishop Kevin Dunn in his student days.
“Please welcome them: it is possible to live them in the power of the spirit. Tens of thousands yearn for us to live and proclaim them. They are simply, demandingly this: Seamus, ‘be joyful’.” At the end of Mass Bishop Cunningham thanked everyone present.
He said: “I’ve a simple message to offer all the people of the north-east: it is the hope that our worldfamous sense of community and sharing, warmth and understanding, of working for the common good, will, with God’s help, sustain us through difficult economic times and the earnest search for jobs. I hope it will be the paramount force to encourage working together to find some of the answers.”