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Friday, February 24, 2017
Liverpool Cathedral to celebrate 40th anniversary of founding Bishop
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┬áThe Bishop who consecrated Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King is to return there this Thursday, 22 June, for a Mass of Thanksgiving at 6pm to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of his ordination as Bishop. Former Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool and Bishop Emeritus of Middlesbrough, Liverpool born Bishop Augustine Harris will be joined by His Excellency Archbishop Faustino Sainz Mu˝oz, the Apostolic Nuncio and the Holy See's Ambassador to the Court of St James and by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. Archbishop Patrick Kelly will be present, as will Bishops from throughout England and Wales. It was in 1967 that Bishop Harris consecrated the Cathedral when Archbishop George Andrew Beck was unable to do so through illness. Born in St Cecilia's Parish, Tuebrook in 1917, Augustine Harris attended St Francis Xavier College and St Joseph's College, Upholland before his ordination to the priesthood on 30 May 1942. He served as Assistant Priest at St Oswald's, Old Swan and St Elizabeth's, Litherland before being appointed as Chaplain to Walton Prison in 1952. In 1958 while still at Walton he became Senior Catholic Chaplain to the Prison Service later moving to serve at Wormwood Scrubs and at the Home Office in London. He returned to Liverpool to be ordained as Auxiliary Bishop by Archbishop Beck on 11 February 1966 and it was in the following year he found himself consecrating the Cathedral and joking: "It was a bit of a shock, to say the least. What did I know about opening Cathedrals? I didn't know anyone who had opened a Cathedral before so I couldn't ask them!" In 1978 he was appointed as Bishop of Middlesbrough, the first Diocesan Bishop to be appointed by Pope John Paul II in England and Wales. His first task in his new Diocese was to build and, for a second time consecrate, a new Cathedral, on this occasion the Cathedral Church of St Mary. He retired in November 1992 returning to live in Formby and latterly at Ince Blundell Hall. Keeping active in retirement he is a frequent visitor to parishes for Confirmation Masses including one at St Cecilia's, which took place 80 years to the day since his own Confirmation in the parish. He says: "I never look at retiring as stopping work. You never stop being active if you don't have to be.'" Everyone is welcome to attend tomorrow's celebration Mass.
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