Kevin Dunn was ordained Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle yesterday. In a packed St Mary's Cathedral in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Bishop Dunn said: "What of the future? Don't panic! The future is in the hands of God, and we are people of hope. The future is certain." He paid tribute to his family - particularly his late father. "I want to thank my family for coming here in such numbers, for their support over the years, and for keeping my feet on the ground," said Bishop Dunn. "I want to thank my dad whose birthday it is today. He is with God and would have had great delight in meeting so many different people, clergy and bishops. I am sure there is a smile on his face." Bishop Dunn, who was a priest of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, thanked Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham and his predecessor Archbishop Maurice Couve de Murville for their advice and support. He said that as Bishop-elect he had recently gone on pilgrimage in his new diocese with Bishop Griffiths, praying in a storm on Holy Island (Lindisfarne), Northumberland. Bishop Dunn said: "His enthusiasm for all that happens in the diocese is tremendous. If you spend a day with him, you will soon discover the best diocese in the country." And referring to 75-year-old Bishop Griffiths' decision to continue his ministry in a parish, he said: "I know I speak on behalf of all in wishing him a very long and happy retirement as he moves into the 'nirvana' of being an assistant priest." Bishop Ambrose Griffiths, the retiring Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, gave the homily, advising Bishop Dunn: "Never fear to proclaim the Gospel in its entirety, nor to correct errors, but always do so with compassion." Bishop Griffiths said that he knew his successor would enjoy working with his priests and "love and serve rather than dominate them". "I have always found that if encourage people, wonderful things happen that you could not have done yourself." He added: "Remember you can always rely on the friendship and support of your fellow bishops, but above all on the Holy Spirit." The two-hour ordination was marked by a strong ecumenical content, with greeting addresses and prayers from the Anglican Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Rev Martin Wharton, and other Church of England, Methodist, United Reformed, Quaker (Society of Friends) and Free Church representatives. Pope John Paul was represented by Mgr Marek Zakewski, standing in for the Papal Nuncio to Great Britain, His Excellency Archbishop Pablo Puente. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England & Wales, was represented by Bishop Alan Hopes, who is an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Westminster and also the Titular Bishop of the ancient See of Chester-le-Street, Co Durham, in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien, President of the Scottish Bishops' Conference and Archbishop of the neighbouring diocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, concelebrated with bishops from England & Wales. The principal consecrator was Bishop Ambrose Griffiths, assisted by the regional metropolitan Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool and Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham. Other concelebrating bishops included retired Archbishop Maurice Couve de Murville, Bishop Hugh Lindsay, another retired bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, Bishop Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth, Bishop Tom Burns, Bishop of the Forces, Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton, Bishop Mark Jabale of Menevia, Bishop John Jukes, retired auxiliary in Southwark Archdiocese, Bishop Malcolm McMahon of Nottingham, Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue of Lancaster, Bishop Edwin Regan of Wrexham, Bishop Terry Brain of Salford, and Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds among others.
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