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Priest from Liverpool to become next vicar general of the Army

 A priest from the Archdiocese of Liverpool is to be the next principal Roman Catholic chaplain and vicar general for the British Army. Father Stephen Alker, 52, succeeds Monsignor Phelim Rowland, who is returning to the Archdiocese of Westminster. Fr Stephen currently serves with Headquarters 1 Armoured Division, based at Herford in North West Germany. He has just returned from working in Iraq over the Christmas period. He will take up his new position in March. Fr Stephen, who was awarded an MBE in 1997, has served in Cyprus, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Australia as well as the UK. After his ordination at St Jude's in Wigan in 1978 he worked in parishes in Greater Manchester and Merseyside. In May he will be appointed Assistant Chaplain General to HQ Land Command at Wilton near Salisbury. "My duties will include ecclesiastical oversight for 28 Catholic chaplains under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of the Forces," said Fr Stephen.