Canon Thomas Neylon ordained Bishop of Plestia and Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool
Canon Thomas Neylon was ordained Bishop of Plestia and Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool by the Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool, at Solemn Mass in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King today.
The Most Reverend Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster was present together with Bishops from throughout England and Wales. The Right Reverend Paul Swarbrick, Bishop of Lancaster, who studied for the priesthood alongside Bishop Neylon preached the homily.
The Apostolic Nuncio, the Vatican’s representative in Great Britain, His Excellency Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, read the Mandate from Pope Francis formally appointing Canon Neylon with the words, ‘we name you Bishop of the Titular See of Plestia and at the same time appoint you Auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Liverpool’.
Following the reading of the Mandate the Rite of Ordination continued as Bishop Neylon lay in front of the high altar while the Litany of Saints was sung before Archbishop Malcolm led the Prayer of Consecration, anointed the head of the new Bishop with the Oil of Chrism and presented him with the Book of Gospels, Bishop’s ring, Mitre and Pastoral Staff. As the rite came to an end Bishop Neylon was greeted by the other Bishops present and invited to take first place among them.
Over 1,500 people were able to attend the Mass, the first major celebration in the Cathedral since the start of the pandemic, among them were former parishioners of Bishop Neylon from his last parish of St Wilfrid, Widnes and from St Helens where he served for 24 years. Barbara Norris from St Wilfrid’s parish in Widnes read the First Reading from the second letter of St Paul to the Corinthians (4:1-2,5-7).
The music of the Mass was be led by the Choir of the Metropolitan Cathedral under their Director, Dr Christopher McElroy. It included ‘Praise to the holiest’ by St John Henry Newman; the medieval ‘Laudes Regiae’, with its Latin refrain ‘Christus vincit’ which was chanted at the consecration of the Cathedral in 1967, and at many special celebrations since and ‘Hail Redeemer, King Divine’ was the recessional hymn which is cherished by the Cathedral as its very own. Prior to the consecration of the present Cathedral, the ceremonial laying of the foundation stone for Lutyens’s great cathedral took place in 1933, and for that occasion this new hymn to Christ the King was composed to be sung by the massed crowds.
Members of the new Bishop’s family brought forward the gifts at the offertory of the Mass – his nephews, Joe and Peter Neylon; his brother Joseph Neylon and his sister, Mary Annels – while the choir sang ‘Jubilate Deo’ by Benjamin Britten.
At the conclusion of the Mass, Bishop Neylon blessed the congregation as he was led through the Cathedral by the two co-consecrating Bishops – Bishop Thomas Williams, Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool and Bishop Terence Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough.