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Friday, October 28, 2016
A life of co-operation and service
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 The Right Reverend John Brewer STL, JCL, PHL, Bishop of Lancaster John Brewer was born on 24 November 1929 at Burnage, Manchester, the only son of Eric and Laura Brewer. His father was a market trader. He was educated at St Mary's, Levenshulme, Manchester; Our Lady and the Apostles, Stockport; and a Church of England school in Derbyshire. He studied for the priesthood at Ushaw College, Durham, and the Venerable English College, Rome. In Rome, he attended the Pontifical Gregorian University and gained a licence in Philosophy. He was ordained on 8 July 1956 at the Church of the Twelve Apostles, Rome, and spent a further three years in Rome completing studies for a licence in theology, and a licence in Canon Law. On his return to England he was appointed assistant priest at Sacred Heart Church, Moreton, Merseyside, where he worked for five years. In 1964 he was appointed as Vice-Rector of the Venerable English College, Rome, before being named Auxiliary Bishop of Shrewsbury diocese in 1971. He became Co-adjutor Bishop of Lancaster on 15 November 1983 and was installed as Fourth Bishop of Lancaster on 22 May 1985. During his years in Rome he was Agent of the Bishops of England and Wales in the Roman Curia. For five years he was an episcopal member of the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education (1972 to 1977). Bishop Brewer was involved in a number of national bodies. He served as Vice-President of the Social Welfare Commission (1972 to 1981), Vice-President and President of the Priestly Formation Commission (1972 to 1983), Ecclesiastical Assistant to the Catholic Teachers' Federation (1972 to 1979) and Chairman of the Committee for Ministerial Formation (1984 to 1988). He was also a member of the Committee for Ministerial Formation for the British Council of Churches. He had been Chairman of the Theology Committee of the Bishops' Conference since 1988. In 1999 he became Chairman of the Department of Christian Life and Worship. During his time as Bishop of Lancaster, Bishop Brewer established a Catholic Library in Preston and also undertook a major re-ordering of the Cathedral of St Peter in Lancaster, restoring many of its original features. He also commissioned a series of major reviews of diocesan pastoral life, education and building usage to help in the formulation of a strategic plan for the future development of the diocese. Bishop Brewer worked very hard to establish good working relationships with the leaders of other Christian communities in the area. Bishop Brewer was also keen to encourage lay people to take an active part in the life of his diocese. He utilised the professional skills and expertise of the laity, especially in the fields of education, finance and property management, through the establishment of diocesan offices and committees to deal with these areas. See also Bishop Brewer dies.
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