Installation of Archbishop Vincent Nichols

The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols was installed as the Eleventh Archbishop of Westminster during an exhuberant Mass of Installation at Westminster Cathedral today. More than 2,200 invited guests attended the service.

Amongst those present were: Lord Guthrie, representing HRH Prince Charles; Rt Hon Paul Murphy representing the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP; The Duke of Norfolk; Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor; Cardinal Sean Brady; Cardinal Roger Mahoney; Cardinal Keith O’Brien; Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury; Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York; The Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councilor Duncan Sandys; Francis Campbell, the British Ambassador to the Holy See; Sir Gus O' Donnell, Head of the Cabinet Office; 50 Catholic Bishops; over 500 priests from the Archdiocese of Birmingham and the Diocese of Westminster together with MPs, Peers, Ambassadors and representatives of parishes, schools and Catholic societies and organisations.

The service began with a specially composed trumpet fanfare, as Archbishop Nichols entered Westminster Cathedral by the main West Door, and was greeted by the Cathedral Provost, Canon Michael Brockie. He then processed to the High Altar where he joined over 150 Clergy in the Cathedral’s Sanctuary, including Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, 50 Catholic Bishops and ecumenical guests including Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Most Reverend Vincent Gerard Nichols officially become the 11th Archbishop of Westminster after the reading of Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter of Authority, or Papal Mandate, by Bishop John Arnold, Chancellor of the Diocese of Westminster, and the formula of Installation by the Provost.

During the ceremony Archbishop-Emeritus, His Eminence Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor then presented the new Archbishop with the Crozier, the bishop’s staff, symbolic of his office as bishop.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, greeted Archbishop Nichols on behalf of the co-presidents of Churches Together in England, saying:

“In recent years, the relations between the churches in this country have become closer and warmer than perhaps ever before. The fact that the Anglican and Roman Catholic Bishops in England have been able to meet more than once for prayer and reflection, as well as for discussion of the challenges we share in witnessing to the Christian faith in our nation, is a welcome development, and a sign that we all recognise common challenges and a need to pray and act together.

“The Roman Catholic and Anglican communities in England and Wales have the God-given task, along with all our other brothers and sisters in the faith, of making the Good News of Jesus compelling and attractive to a generation deeply in need of hope and meaning, in need of something they can trust with all their hearts.

“Dear Vincent, I hope that as you join us as a co-president of the Churches Together in England we may work together at this task: as I had the privilege and delight of working with your predecessor, who was and is such a friend and example to us all.

“May God give you the strength, the vision and the wisdom you need for the great responsibility he has laid upon you. Be sure of the love and prayers of all your colleagues in the churches of England and Wales as you take up the yoke of Christ in this fresh ministry. We give God thanks for you, and hope for many years of fruitful and exciting work together for Our Lord, in the service of his Kingdom and his justice. “

The first reading was given by Mrs. Chris Nichols, sister in Law of the Archbishop. The second reading was given by Mrs. Jennifer Davies, Secretary to the Archbishop of Birmingham and who worked with Archbishop Nichols for a number of years.

The offertory of gifts of bread and wine was presented to Archbishop Nichols by members of the Archbishop's family including his brother, John Nichols.

Two antiphon texts traditionally sung at the Installation of Archbishops were composed for the occasion by James MacMillan. Two brass fanfares were composed by Colin Mawby, former Master of Music of Westminster Cathedral.

The Mass was sung by 19 Choristers and 10 Lay Clerks of Westminster Cathedral Choir and the organ played by Matthew Martin and Charles Cole under the direction of Martin Baker, Master of Music.

Archbishop Vincent was greeted with loud applause as he processed out of the Cathedral and greeted hundreds of wellwishers in the Piazza.

The Mass was also broadcast live in the UK on BBC- 2 and around the world by EWTN, the Catholic Satellite Television Channel.

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