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Appointment of new Bishop of Northampton is welcomed

The appointment of Canon David Oakley as the thirteenth Bishop of Northampton by Pope Francis has been welcomed by Bishop Alan Hopes.

Bishop-elect Oakley has served as Rector of St Mary’s College Oscott, a seminary in Birmingham for training priests for ministry in England and Wales, since February 2013.

He succeeds the Rt Rev Peter Doyle whom he described as “a wonderful spiritual father and great pastor in Northampton”.

Bishop Doyle has worked closely with Bishop-elect Oakley during his seven years as rector of the seminary at Oscott, and knows him to be a man of faith and prayer, and a pastoral priest and wise teacher.

Bishop Peter ‘rejoiced’ in the news and joined the priests and deacons, and the religious and people of the Diocese of Northampton in giving thanks to God and welcoming Bishop-elect Oakley and praying for him as he prepares for his ordination as Bishop.

Speaking at a welcome ceremony in Northampton Cathedral on January 8, Bishop-elect Oakley said: “I’m asking Our Lady and St Joseph to give me the courage and inspiration I need as a new bishop. I look forward to working closely with the priests of the diocese – some of whom were my school friends!

“On this particular day lots of names and faces come to mind – my family, friends, parishioners and bishops. They have given me courage… It’s not easy to be a person of faith today but we need to concentrate on God’s grace and I’m going to rely on this now.”

Speaking on behalf of the Diocese of East Anglia, Bishop Alan said: “We welcome the appointment of Canon David Oakley as the new Bishop of Northampton, our neighbouring Diocese.

“The Bishop-elect brings many gifts to his new apostolate, especially a deep faith and spirituality and the experience of a pastoral ministry, together with that of the formation of men for the priesthood in his position as the Rector of St Mary’s Oscott seminary in Birmingham.  We keep him in our prayers as he prepares for his Episcopal ordination.                                                                    

“We also wish Bishop Peter Doyle – a good friend to our Diocese – a long and fulfilling retirement.”

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, who will celebrate the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop-elect Oakley in Northampton Cathedral, said: “I assure Bishop-elect David Oakley of my most sincere prayers and total support as he prepares to take up his appointment as Bishop of Northampton, in succession to Bishop Peter Doyle.

“Bishop Peter will be much missed; Bishop David will be warmly welcomed.”

The Cardinal will celebrate the Episcopal Ordination in Northampton Cathedral at 11am on the Solemnity of St Joseph, March 19.

Pictured above is Bishop-elect of Northampton, Canon David Oakley.