New bishop for Northampton

 Pope John Paul II has appointed Mgr Kevin McDonald as new Bishop of Northampton, the Catholic Media Office announced this morning. The official CMO statement follows: Mgr McDonald has been Rector of the Catholic seminary at Oscott since 1998. At the same time, the Pope has accepted the resignation of Bishop Leo McCartie, who has been Bishop of Northampton since 1990 and who reached the retirement age of 75 in September last year. Bishop McCartie said: "I welcome most warmly Mgr Kevin McDonald as my successor. I have known the Bishop-Elect for many years; indeed, we worked together when I was in the Archdiocese of Birmingham. He will bring many gifts to his new role, and his wide experience of the Church will be invaluable. His time at Oscott will mean that he is already well known to many priests in the diocese. I think he is an excellent choice and I pray that he will be greatly blessed in his work for the Church in Northampton." Mgr McDonald said: "I greatly look forward to the opportunity of leading the Diocese of Northampton following the retirement of Bishop McCartie. It is good to follow someone whose goodness and humanity have been a blessing to so many. I have great hope for the future and look forward to working closely with the priests, deacons, religious and all the people of the diocese, confident in what the Lord will do for us." Kevin John Patrick McDonald was born in Stoke on Trent on 18 August 1947. He attended St Gregory's Primary School and St Joseph's College in Stoke, and was then at Birmingham University from 1965 where he read Latin. In 1968 he went to the Venerable English College in Rome to study for the priesthood. He gained his licence in moral theology from the Gregorian University. On 20 July 1974, Fr McDonald was ordained priest at St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham by Archbishop George Patrick Dwyer. He was assistant priest at All Saints, Stourbridge, and then a lecturer in moral theology at St Mary's College, Oscott, the diocesan seminary, from 1976 to 1985. From 1980 to 1985, he was also chairman of the diocesan ecumenical commission. From 1985, Fr McDonald worked in Rome at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, with a particular responsibility for Anglican and Methodist relations. He was appointed a chaplain of honour with the title of Monsignor in 1988. Upon his return to England in 1993, he became parish priest of English Martyrs, Sparkhill, Birmingham. In 1998, Mgr McDonald was appointed Rector of Oscott College. He was also appointed a canon of the Chapter of St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham, and became chairman of the diocesan commission for inter-religious dialogue. Mgr McDonald's episcopal ordination will take place at the Cathedral of Our Lady and St Thomas, Northampton, on 2 May 2001, at 12.00noon. Northampton Diocese covers Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, and Berkshire up to the Thames. It has 75 parishes, 58 schools, 99 diocesan and 26 religious priests, and 25 permanent deacons.

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