CATHOLIC HERALD REPORTERS POPE JOHN this week appointed new bishops for the Shrewsbury and Lancaster dioceses.
Mgr. William Grasar, Vicar General of the Nottingham Diocese goes to Shrewsbury in succession to Mgr. Murphy, now Archbishop of Cardiff.
Canon Brian Foley, parish priest of Holy Cross, Harlow, Essex, goes to Lancaster in succession to the late Bishop Flynn.
WARTIME Vice-Rector of the Venerable English College, a Canon Lawyer, and a priest with wide experience of government, Mgr. Canon William Eric Grasar, D.C.L., S.T.L., Vicar General of the Nottingham Diocese, has been named Bishop of Shrewsbury in succession to Mgr. John Murphy,
now Archbishop of Cardiff.
Mgr, Grasar is 49. He was born in Scunthorpe, educated at the Brigg Grammar School and Penton College, and later at the Venerable English College. Rome. Ordained in the Lateran Basilica for the Nottingham Diocese in 1937, he served as a curate at the Nottingham Cathedral of St. Barnabus from 1940-42.
He then became Vice-Rector of the Venerabile while it was temporarily housed at St. Mary's, Stonyhurst, during the war, and in 1946 he returned to Rome for special studies. Two years later he became Chancellor of the Nutting
Picture by permission of the "Post and Nottinghamshire Guardian"
ham Diocese, and in 1952 went to Nottingham's junior seminary, St. Hugh's College, Tollerton Hall, as Rector.
Four years later Mgr. Grasar was named Vicar General of the diocese and Parish Priest of St. Paul's, Nottingham, and he became a Canon of the Diocesan Chapter. He was raised to the status of a Domestic Prelate in 1956.
Former fellow students and priests who have served under him speak of his great unselfishness and sense of mortification, his devotion to duty and insistence on the primacy of spirituality, his gentleness in dealing with others while always exacting of himself.
ABED in a bookcase and an old bicycle are the symbols marking the Bishop-elect of Lancaster as an intensely pastoralminded priest with a total disregard for material possessions.
He is 51-year-old Canon Brian Foley, parish priest of Holy Cross Parish, Harlow, in Essex, whose pastoral life has seemed to centre on operational headquarters located in council houses.
Born in 1910 at Ilford, opposite the home of Archbishop Heenan's family, he was educated at Ushaw, and later at the English College, Rome, when Cardinal Godfrey was Rector there. Ordained in 1937, he served for 11 years as curate at Shoeburyness.
It was in 1949 that Bishop Beck, then Bishop of Brentwood, called on Fr. Foley to establish a new parish for the housing estate at Harold Hill, near Romford. There was neither church, nor presbytery, nor hall, and the new pastor set up shop in a council house. He built a parish hall and priest's house, and the new church is now being built there. Fr. Foley also started a daughter parish from this centre.
Eight years later he was asked by Bishop Wall to start all over again at Harlow, and to establish the parish of Holy Cross—the third in the area. So Fr. Foley found himself in a council house again, and there it was, in cramped quarters, that he had to sleep on a bed that pulled out of the lower half of his bookcase.
Once again he built a hall, and then a primary school.
With what might almost be called a gluttony for punishment, Canon Foley—who had been raised to the Brentwood Chapter in 1959 — volunteered shortly before last Christmas to start yet another parish in another part of Harlow.
Canon Foley is known to everyone as priest of exceptional pastoral enthusiasm. He has long enjoyed a reputation for visiting every house in his area within a week of the arrival of a new family. He leaves behind him a name for outstanding holiness of life and a complete contempt for personal possessions. "All he seems to have," says one of his friends, "is his old bike".
The Bishop-elect is a scholarly man with special interest in postReformation Catholic history. He is the author of the pamphlet on the life of Blessed John Paine.