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Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Bishop Alan Clark dies
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¬†Bishop Alan Clark died yesterday, after a distinguished life which included serving 18 years as the first bishop of the new diocese of East Anglia. During his long career, Bishop Clark was Chairman of the Department for Mission and Unity of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales among several other roles. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, said: "Bishop Alan Clark was a fine pastoral bishop, much loved by priests and people of the Diocese of East Anglia. He will be remembered for many things but especially his robust and faithful advocacy of the ecumenical endeavour. "Bishop Clark exercised his theological and pastoral gifting in many ways both to his own diocese, to the Catholic Bishops∑ Conference and to the wider Christian family both nationally and internationally. Truly, he can be termed a good shepherd. May he rest in peace." Obituary from Catholic Communication Service Alan Charles Clark was born on 9 August 1919 in Bickley, Kent, of Anglican parents who became Catholics two years later. A brother also became a priest. His primary education was at Holy Trinity convent in Bromley, but in 1928 he joined the Westminster Cathedral Choir School, where he was a chorister. He began his studies for the priesthood in 1935 at Mark Cross, the junior seminary for Southwark Diocese, and in 1938 went to the English College, Rome, to complete his higher studies. In 1940 the English College was evacuated to St. Mary's College, Stoneyhurst, Lancashire, where he completed his studies. He was ordained priest on 11 February 1945 in his home parish at Bromley. After completing his Licentiate of Theology at Heythrop, he was appointed curate to St. Philip's, Arundel, in July 1945. He returned to Rome in October 1946 to study theology at the Gregorian University, attaining his doctorate in Theology, 'summa cum laude', in June 1948. He then became Tutor In Philosophy to the English College, and eventually became Its Vice-Rector in 1954. This position he held for the next ten years. During the years of the Second Vatican Council, 1962-1965, he was one of the experts advising the English Bishops. In January 1965, he returned to England, and became parish priest of St Mary's Blackheath, and four years later he was appointed as Auxiliary Bishop of Northampton. Almost immediately he was appointed by the Holy See as the co-chairman of ARCIC (Anglican/Roman Catholic International Commission) which was then being formed. Bishop Clark played an important part in drawing up the Agreed Statement on the Eucharist (Windsor 1971) and the Agreed Statement on Ministry and Ordination (Canterbury 1973), and later the Agreed Statement on Authority - all of which have become landmarks in relations between the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches. In 1974, he was invited to address the General Synod of the Church of England, being the first Catholic Bishop to do so. On 2 June 1976 he was appointed Bishop of the new diocese of East Anglia. He has held a number of national posts, serving as President of the Episcopal Commission for Ecumenism and Episcopal member of the Theology Commission. He was Chairman of the Department for Mission and Unity for the Bishops'Conference of England and Wales. And he also served as Co-Moderator of the Joint Working Group between the Vatican and World Council of Churches. Being the first bishop of the new diocese, Bishop Clark had to set up all the necessary instruments and commissions for the diocese to operate successfully. The establishment of the Diocesan Pastoral Council in 1987 strengthened these. The diocese continued to grow with the development of the Diocesan offices and Diocesan Tribunal attached to Bishop's House in Poringland near Norwich. Bishop Clark also responded to the need for priests to go and work in South America. Priests from the diocese served, and continue to serve the missionary society of St James in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. Bishop Clark made, on a number of occasions, visitations to these missions. Continuing his enjoyment for travel, Bishop Clark led a number of pilgrimages, both diocesan and ecumenical. Following his 75th birthday in August 1994, Bishop Clark retired as Bishop of East Anglia. He remained resident at Bishop's House until May 1995 when his successor, Bishop Peter Smith was ordained. Bishop Clark retired to a bungalow within the grounds of Bishop's house. In March 1999, he underwent surgery and suffered a stroke. In August 1999 Bishop Clark moved to a Sue Ryder Home at Walsingham. During the Jubilee Year of 2000 Bishop Clark moved to Oakwood House nursing home, Norwich, where he died last night. source: CCS
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