By Peter Jennings
Archbishop Bernard Longley has been appointed Chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales Special Commission on Overseas Seminaries.
The Archbishop of Birmingham now heads the Commission of three bishops responsible for the Venerable English College and the Beda College in Rome. Also St Alban’s College, Valladolid in Spain.
The appointment was made by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, who held the position for nine years, when he was Archbishop of Birmingham, 2000-2009.
The other two members of the Commission are Bishop Terence Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough, and Bishop Michael Campbell OSA, Bishop of Lancaster. Archbishop Longley succeeds Archbishop Arthur Roche, former Bishop of Leeds, who was recently appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to work in the Roman Curia.
Asked about the particular work of the Commission on Overseas Seminaries, Archbishop Bernard Longley said:
“The Commission is an expression of the longstanding support of the hierarchy of England and Wales for our three Seminaries in Italy and Spain. It provides an effective way to show the bishops’ concern year by year for the Rectors, Staff and Seminarians at the Venerabile, the Beda and Valladolid.”
The Archbishop of Birmingham emphasised:
“These three Seminaries are not only historically important for the Church in England and Wales, especially through the witness of the martyrs. They have gradually developed in complementary ways so that each is able to offer a distinctive and welcome service in the work of priestly formation to dioceses at home and across the world.
“I look forward very much to my future visits to the three Seminaries and to appreciating the characteristics of each community and its mission. I am delighted to be asked to undertake this new responsibility at the outset of the Year of Faith with its focus on the New Evangelisation.”
There are now four seminarians from the Archdiocese of Birmingham studying for the priesthood overseas; three at the English College and one at the Beda.
Official website of the Venerable English College
Official website of the Pontifical Beda College
Official website of St Alban’s College, Valladolid