Belfast -born Mgr Tom Burns has been appointed the new Catholic Bishop of the Forces for the UK by Pope John Paul II. He will take over from Bishop Francis Walmsley - the Catholic Bishop of the Forces since 1979 who tendered his resignation because he will be 75 this year. Mgr Burns will be consecrated Bishop by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor on 18 June at St Michael & St George Cathedral, Aldershot. He is currently Principal Roman Catholic Chaplain and Vicar General for the Royal Navy - a role he has held since May 1998. Mgr Burns, 57, said: "It is a great honour to be asked by the Pope to become the sixth Bishop of the Forces. "In the context of a fast-changing society and the rapidly-changing world of the Armed Forces, the task ahead will be a very challenging one. . . Serving personnel, including Chaplains, are subject to much turmoil and churn, arising out of Service commitments. Their families and dependents feel severely the knock-on effects and anxieties of increasing demands made upon them in their daily lives." He added: "The Service Church is a microcosm of the Universal Church and so it will be one of my major objectives to ensure that we all act in solidarity to meet issues and crises together as they occur - and at the same time develop in harmony the Kingdom of God in our midst as best we can."
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