Birmingham: changes to organisation of archdiocese

  Archbishop Vincent Nichols has announced important changes to the pastoral oversight of the Archdiocese of Birmingham that will take effect from 10 January 2006. This follows the Episcopal Ordination of Canon David McGough, as the new Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, at St Chad's Cathedral, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December. Archbishop Nichols, after consultation with his Archbishop's Council, and building on the experience of the past five years, has cut the number of Pastoral Areas from four to three. The new Pastoral Areas will be as follows: One: the deaneries of Birmingham Cathedral, Birmingham North, South and East, Worcester and Kidderminster. Two: North Staffordshire, Stafford, Lichfield, Wolverhampton, Walsall and Dudley. Three: Oxford North and South, Coventry, Rugby, Warwick and Banbury. The first of these Pastoral Areas will be in the immediate care of Bishop Philip Pargeter. The second will be in the care of Bishop David McGough. Canon David Evans, a former Vice-Rector of St Mary's College, Oscott, the diocesan seminary, has been appointed an Episcopal Vicar for the third Pastoral Area. At present he is parish priest of St Austin in Stafford. Archbishop Vincent Nichols said: "The Episcopal Ordination of Canon David McGough, is a moment of importance for the entire Diocese. With it comes the need to look again at the pattern of Episcopal oversight, which is exercised in the Diocese. "These are large areas, especially the first two. The role of oversight of an area has developed over the last five years and much experience and local knowledge has been gained. I wish to build on this." Archbishop Nichols added: "I thank all those involved in these moves and especially Canon David Evans for being willing to take on this new responsibility." Bishop Pargeter will be assisted by former Episcopal Vicar, Canon Patrick Browne, who is also taking over responsibility for St John Fisher Parish, West Heath, in Birmingham. Bishop McGough will be assisted by former Episcopal Vicar, Mgr Patrick McKinney, who has been appointed parish priest of Our Lady and All Saints, Stourbridge, in the West Midlands. Bishop McGough was parish priest of Stourbridge from 1990 until he was appointed an auxiliary bishop. Canon Evans will be assisted by former Episcopal Vicar Canon Tom Farrell, who has been appointed parish priest of Christ the King and Our Lady of Lourdes in Coventry. Archbishop Nichols has also announced that Confirmations will be celebrated by Bishop Pargeter, Bishop McGough, Canon Evans, Mgr John Moran, the Vicar General and himself.

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