In attendance were Cardinal Arthur Roche, prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster. They were joined by Bishop Marcus Stock of Leeds, where Bishop Moger was first ordained in 1982, and many Bishops from England and Wales alongside Priests, Deacons and Religious of the Archdiocese of Southwark.
Also present were a number of ecumenical guests including the former Suffragan Bishop of Whitby, the Rt Rev Bishop Ladds, as well as Rev Kevin Smith, Administrator of the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, and representatives from Southwark Anglican Diocese and Cathedral. The Mayors of Kingston-Upon-Thames and Lambeth were also present, and were among a number of representatives who extended warm greetings to Bishop Moger.
Giving an address at the end of his Episcopal Ordination, Bishop Moger explained his surprise at the new appointment of Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark: “The Archbishop spoke of the mystery of God’s providence and it was certainly a revelation to me when I got a phone call in Rome in November.
“It was a great privilege in Walsingham to enter into the drama of our lady’s ‘Yes’, to God’s incredible invitation, and with others in some small way, to draw pilgrims into that mystery, into that drama and into a deeper understanding of their own vocation. And if that is your constant theme as the rector of the shrine to pilgrims, trying to get them to imitate Our Lady’s ‘yes’ to God, how can you refuse when it comes to you? ….Me?
“And now the God of Surprises has been active again… I was scarcely able to believe my ears when I received the news of my appointment here, and when I travelled down for the announcement to be made in Archbishop’s House in November, the loving welcome I was given was warm and generous.”
Archbishop Wilson pointed out that on his Feast Day, St Peter Damian offered wise counsel at this time: “Your episcopal ordination is a consecration in, and to, the love of Christ. Through it your earthenware heart is remoulded. St Peter Damian comments that ‘the potter’s furnace puts vessels to the test.’ The test for us as bishops is how extensively and faithfully we show the love of Christ. Significantly, a distinctive quality of earthen vessels is that, even after being fired in the kiln, they remain porous. Our episcopal ministry is never perfect. But porously open to Christ we seek to let his love flow out from us.”
Also remarking on Our Blessed Mother’s ‘fiat’ or ‘yes’, Archbishop Wilson offered his thanks to the new Auxiliary Bishop with these words in his homily: “Thank you for your ‘yes’ to a future unknown to you, but known fully to God. Your time in Walsingham has obviously not been wasted. Having taken to heart Our Lady’s own fiat you can now echo her faithfulness in accepting God’s choice according to God’s will.”
Bishop Moger’s final thoughts on his appointment referred back to the gift of Ordination and to St Peter Damian: “I begin my ministry as a bishop in this great diocese with joy and faith above all, in the one who said, you have not chosen me, I have chosen you. And he is the one who knows what an earthen vessel he is placing his treasure in.”
Pictured above is Auxiliary Bishop Philip Moger holding aloft the Papal Bull which proclaims his appointment. Picture by Marcin Mazur.