It is announced today, Tuesday 6 July 2021, in Rome and in Liverpool, that His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Canon Thomas Neylon of the Archdiocese of Liverpool to be Bishop of Plestia and Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool.
The Archbishop of Liverpool, the Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP, says of the appointment:
“I am grateful to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, for his generosity to me and the people of our archdiocese in the appointment of Canon Thomas Neylon as Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool.
“I am delighted to welcome Canon Tom Neylon as an Auxiliary Bishop. When I came to the archdiocese in 2014 Canon Tom was already a Vicar General and trustee of the archdiocese and his excellent pastoral and administrative skills have been invaluable to me in my ministry as Archbishop. He will now be able to use those God-given talents at a higher level in assisting me in taking the Church forward in the coming years.
“Bishop-elect Tom was born in Warrington and grew up in the town. Ordained by Pope St John Paul II in 1982 he has served in pastoral ministry in Wigan, Skelmersdale, and then for 24 years in St Helens before moving to Widnes last year, so it is true to say that he knows our archdiocese and our people well. He has always offered excellent pastoral care and been alongside his parishioners in times of need and times of joy – qualities which will serve him and the whole archdiocese well in the coming years.
“Our Synod met two weeks ago and this month we will meet to determine a pastoral plan for the coming years. Bishop-elect Tom will fulfil a vital role in implementing our plan so that we can better serve the people of our archdiocese. It is a challenging time but one which offers a bright future for Catholics in this part of north-west England as we continue to be ‘together on the road’. Bishop-elect Tom will, I know, be always walking alongside our people on that journey.”
“It is with great joy that I will ordain him Bishop on Friday, 3 September in our Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. On that day the Church celebrates the Feast of Pope St Gregory the Great, a man who reorganised Church life and administration and sent Augustine and his monks to evangelise the English. It is a fitting day to ordain a Bishop who will be charged with the tasks of administration and evangelisation in this part of England. I know that Bishop-elect Tom will accept these tasks graciously and fulfil them with diligence and care for others.
“Welcome Bishop-elect Tom Neylon – I look forward to your ministry as Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool. May God bless you and all the people of our great archdiocese.”
Bishop-elect Thomas Neylon on his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool:
“I am honoured to be asked by Pope Francis and I am delighted to accept the appointment to be an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Liverpool.
“I have been asked: How did you feel when you were asked to accept the appointment? I was greatly surprised when I received a phone call inviting me to the Nunciature in London. I was welcomed very warmly by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti. I was even more surprised when he revealed the purpose of his invitation.
“I have been encouraged by the responses of those who were informed of the appointment before this formal announcement today. For now, I find peace in accepting the appointment from a trust that the Lord has placed in me. I have to deepen my relationship with Christ, the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for his sheep.
“I was born into a Catholic family in Warrington. Our home, the parish I grew up in, St Oswald’s Primary School, Padgate and English Martyrs High School in Orford, have been a powerful influence of the importance of faith in my life. It was Father Bill Cook, a curate in the parish, who asked me this question: ‘Have you ever thought about becoming a priest?’ That set me on a pathway of exploration which brought me to the Junior Seminary at St Joseph’s, Upholland and to St Cuthbert’s Senior Seminary, Durham.
“After my ordination in 1982, I spent four years as an assistant priest at St Cuthbert’s, Wigan. This was followed by 9 years in Skelmersdale as part of the Team Ministry. In 1996 I was appointed parish priest at St Julie’s, St Helens. Over the next 24 years I also had responsibility for St Teresa’s, Devon Street and English Martyrs, Haydock. Last September I joined the Clergy Team in St Wilfrid’s, Widnes.
“There is a very strong Catholic presence in this part of England. Throughout my life I have been privileged to witness testimony to the Catholic faith in families, in parishes and in schools. Last month we had our Archdiocesan Synod. The 19 recommendations that were presented to the Synod Members to vote on are evidence of the desire to continue to witness to the faith in the time in which we live.
“One of the strong themes underpinning the recommendations is that of service. It is in this spirit that I hope to live my life as an auxiliary bishop.”