The Bishop of Clifton, the Rt Rev Declan Lang, paid this tribute to his predecessor Bishop Mervyn Alexander who died on Saturday 14 August at St Angela’s Home in Clifton, Bristol:
“I would like to pay tribute to a good and holy man who welcomed me with friendship when I was appointed as his successor. At the heart of Bishop Mervyn’s ministry was the model of the Good Shepherd who both knew and lay down his life for those he was called to serve.
“In his years as Bishop of Clifton, Bishop Mervyn guided the diocese through many changes and developments which originated from the Second Vatican Council. There were joys and tensions but in all of this Bishop Mervyn remained a loving pastor who had a deep love for God and people. He was intellectually gifted but was very unassuming about this. He also had a great sense of humour which helped everyone put things into perspective. That humour was appreciated by his fellow bishops who regarded him with great respect and affection.
“In the Bishops’ Conference Bishop Mervyn worked generously particularly in the area of dialogue with other faiths and people of no belief. He was also an active member of the Liturgy Commission having a keen interest in liturgical art and architecture. He was seen as someone with wise and considered judgment.
“When he retired as bishop of the diocese, Bishop Mervyn asked to take care of St Joseph’s, Weston-super-Mare. He was able to be what he had always wanted to be – a parish priest who was a good pastor. Our diocese owes Bishop Mervyn a depth of gratitude for his time as bishop. May he come to his fullness of life in God.”
Bishop Declan Lang
Bishop of Clifton
President of the Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Nichols’ tribute