Pope John Paul II has appointed Canon Thomas Williams to be an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Liverpool and Titular Bishop of Mayo. The announcement was made at 11.00 am this morning, 15 April, simultaneously in Rome and Liverpool. Bishop-designate Williams was born in Liverpool and at present serves as Parish Priest of St Anthony's Church, Scotland Road, and Our Lady Immaculate Church, St Domingo Road, Liverpool. An Assistant or Auxiliary Bishop supports and helps the Archbishop in the running of the Archdiocese. He is given by Rome the title of a diocese that formerly existed in fact but which now exists in name only. At present the Archdiocese of Liverpool has one Auxiliary Bishop, Vincent Malone. Bishop-designate Williams will work alongside Archbishop Patrick Kelly and Bishop Malone. Archbishop Patrick Kelly welcomed the appointment saying: "I have already written to the Holy Father to thank him for appointing Tom Williams to be assistant Bishop in our Archdiocese. I know I at least speak for Bishop Malone as well as myself saying: I am delighted; I am no less certain that once this becomes public today that joy will be widely shared. It is good indeed that we will be blest by someone who brings a great knowledge and appreciation of the history of the Archdiocese, but also long service, not least to the sick and frail. It is very right that a parish priest of Saint Anthony's and Our Lady Immaculate should be ordained Bishop. Tom's life as a priest, unlike my own and that of most Bishops, has just been, and that is a totally inadequate description, in a parish or hospital setting. It is in that spirit that we will rejoice to celebrate his ordination as a Bishop on the Feast of Saint Augustine of Canterbury which will be the 31st anniversary of his ordination as a priest. Tom, thank you for being willing to be ordained for service as a Bishop; our joyful prayers are with you.' Bishop-designate Williams said: "I am completely and totally over-awed at the news. I have never hoped nor aspired to be a Bishop. I have always and ever only wanted to be a good priest. All I can say about the future is that it will be a great honour and privilege to be part of Archbishop Patrick's team, with Bishop Vincent, and a great learning experience. "I have served in the centre of Liverpool for the past thirty years, and Liverpool, particularly the North End, has always been where my home and my heart is. I hope that I will still live in the City Centre, preferably at St Anthony's. I will have to get to know the rest of the Archdiocese, because, at the moment, my knowledge is only cursory, but I promise to do my best. "I enjoy being busy, and to my fellow priests and people of the Archdiocese, all I can say is that I will give my heart and soul to support you and be with you, and I pray that you will remember me in your prayers, I'll certainly need them." Bishop Vincent Malone said: "I am delighted at the prospect of having a new colleague in the role of co-worker with Archbishop Kelly in episcopal ministry, and doubly delighted that it should be Canon Tom Williams. Tom has won the respect of the clergy of the Archdiocese in more than thirty years of priestly ministry, in parishes, in hospital ministry and in service to his fellow priests. His new, wider, responsibilities will endear him to parishioners throughout the Archdiocese who, with the clergy and religious will, I am sure, support him with their prayers." Canon Thomas Williams will be ordained Bishop by Archbishop Patrick Kelly in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool on Tuesday 27 May 2003 at 12.00 noon. Further details of the Mass will be released at a later date.
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