Church leaders welcome new Archbishop of Westminster

 Since the news of the appointment of Archbishop Vincent Nichols as Archbishop of Westminster was announced on Friday, there have been many messages of goodwill from Church leaders.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said: "I am delighted to welcome the news of Archbishop Vincent Nichols' appointment to succeed His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor as Archbishop of Westminster. He is a thoroughly experienced pastor, already well-known and much appreciated in the archdiocese, with a proven commitment to Christian education, ecumenical co-operation and shared Christian witness to our society.
"I look forward greatly to working more closely with someone who is already a valued friend and colleague. I am confident that we shall be able to continue the warm and close relations between our churches that have developed over recent years, and I wish him every blessing and success in this new ministry."

Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, said: "I wish to offer my prayerful support, on my own behalf and on behalf of the Irish Bishops' Conference, to Archbishop Nichols on the news of his appointment by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, as the next Archbishop of Westminster in succession to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. 
"I have known Archbishop Vincent for many years.  He has visited Ireland frequently and has contributed significantly to issues of importance to the Church, especially in the area of education.   His new appointment as pastoral leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales will no doubt be challenging but will also bring to him and the people of God many blessings. 
"On this happy occasion I extend our support, and that of the prayers of the faithful in Ireland, to Archbishop Nichols as he takes up his new appointment."

Cardinal Keith O'Brien said: "On behalf of the Bishops of Scotland, I offer my sincere congratulations to Archbishop Vincent Nichols on his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI as the next Archbishop of Westminster, in succession to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.

In various ways many of us have got to know Archbishop Vincent over the years. I fondly look back to my early years as Archbishop as a member of the Bishops' Liaison Committee, linking closely the Bishops' Conferences of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland - when Monsignor Vincent was then General Secretary of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

Obviously, now I look forward to ever increasing collaboration with him and promise him my help and support in every way possible together with the assurance of my prayers."

Archbishop Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool, said: 'I know that there are very many people in Liverpool who will rejoice at the appointment of Archbishop Vincent Nichols as Archbishop of Westminster. Some will remember him from his very early days in Crosby, others as a priest serving in the Archdiocese and others still in his work at the Upholland Northern Institute. It was in those days that I first knew him and above all began to be very grateful for his many gifts. During my own ministry as a Bishop he was one of those who served us all as the General Secretary of the Bishops' Conference. As many of you know I spent 18 years in Birmingham and it was a joy for me when he was appointed to that Archdiocese which for so long was my home.

'I know that I can assure him of your prayers and I will also make a point very early and as soon as practically possible of inviting him back to his home Archdiocese so that we can fittingly welcome him, pray for him and rejoice with him.'

Bishop Crispian Hollis, Bishop of Portsmouth, said: "It is good that the waiting for the appointment of the new Archbishop of Westminster is over and I am very pleased to be able to express my delight at the appointment of Archbishop Vincent Nichols to this post.

He is admirably suited to the work and knows the diocese well from the time that he spent there as an Auxiliary Bishop. He has always played a significant part on the work of the Bishops, Conference and I look forward to continuing to work with him in that setting.

Whilst welcoming the appointment of Archbishop Vincent, I would like to pay tribute to Cardinal Cormac, who, as a former priest of this diocese, has a special place in our affections. His time in Westminster has not been without its difficulties but his time as Archbishop and Cardinal has been significant and important for us all and we are grateful to him for all he has done and for the leadership that he has shown.

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