Details of new Bishop of East Anglia ordination

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Details of new Bishop of East Anglia ordination

The ordination of Canon Peter Collins as the Fifth Bishop of East Anglia will take place at St John’s Cathedral in Norwich on Wednesday December 14, before a congregation of up to 1,500 people and on live-stream, with some tickets still available.

The Episcopal Ordination, on the Feast of St John of the Cross, will begin with processions from 11am and start at 11.30am.

Livestream of Mass

The Mass will be live-streamed using the cathedral’s in-house cameras and cameramen from Audio Electronic Design to provide comprehensive coverage on the diocesan YouTube channel:

Who will be present

As a sign of the Universal Church, 30 bishops from England and Wales, including Cardinal Vincent Nichols, will be taking part.

As the appointment of a new bishop is always at the gift of the Pope, who is the successor to St Peter, the Vatican’s Apostolic Nuncio (Ambassador) to Great Britain will be represented by Mgr Ervin Lengyel, First Counsellor of the Apostolic Nuncio of Great Britain. 

Also present at the Mass will be ecumenical guests including the Rt Rev Graham Usher Bishop of Norwich and the Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, as well as ecumenical representatives of other non-Catholic faiths within the Diocese. 

Civic guests include His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, The Lady Dannatt and General The Lord Richard Dannatt, His Honour John Devaux, representing the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk. Also present will be the mayors of Norwich and Peterborough and the High Sheriff of Norfolk.

The Family of Bishop-Elect Peter and members of his former parish of St Mary of the Angels, Canton and Holy Family, Fairwater in Cardiff will also be at the ordination.

What will happen during the ordination

The statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Walsingham will be brought into the Cathedral from the Slipper Chapel by the Rector of the Shrine, Mgr Philip Moger and Rev Kevin Smith, Administrator of the Anglican Shrine, the Papal Knights followed by members of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Dames of Saint Gregory and the Knights and Dames of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

As Bishop-Elect Peter Collins is not already a bishop he will be ordained, or set apart, for the ministry he is about to undertake.

There will be three bishops as consecrators at the episcopal ordination.  Bishop Alan Hopes – the current Bishop of East Anglia – will be the principal consecrator.  Alongside him will be Archbishop Mark O’Toole – current Bishop of Menevia and Archbishop of Cardiff, the diocese from which the new bishop comes – and Archbishop George Stack, Archbishop Emeritus of Cardiff.

The Scripture readings will be by: Ufuoma Ehwerhemuepha, a student from St John Fisher High School, Peterborough, chosen to represent the Catholic schools of the Diocese; and Diocesan Trustee Moira Goldstaub from Stowmarket. The Gospel will be proclaimed by Deacon James Hurst from Newmarket.

After the Gospel reading, the Rite of Ordination begins.

Provost-Emeritus Canon David Paul presents Bishop-Elect Peter to Bishop Alan for ordination.

Bishop Alan asks if there is a mandate from the Holy See and Pope Francis.  The mandate, or Papal Bull, is then read first in Latin by Mgr Ervin Lengyel, First Counsellor of the Apostolic Nuncio of Great Britain, who first shows it to the Cathedral Chapter of Canons and to the four corners of the cathedral.  Then the Chancellor of East Anglia, Canon Eugene Harkness, reads the Bull in English and it is accepted by all present.

The homily will be preached by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster and leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

The examination of the candidate for ordination is then conducted by Bishop Alan.

Bishop-Elect Peter is first asked questions by Bishop Alan about his fidelity to proclaiming the gospel, teaching the Catholic faith, building up the life of the Church in the Diocese of East Anglia, his obedience to the Pope, and his care for the priests, deacons, religious and people of the diocese.

Bishop Alan then invites all to pray for the Bishop Elect who lies prostrate on the floor.  The prayers of the saints are then invoked in a sung litany.

When the Litany is finished, Bishop Alan and all the other bishops present lay their hands, in silence, on the head of Bishop-Elect Peter.  This silent gesture indicates the invocation of the Holy Spirit to come down on the Bishop-Elect.

Bishop Alan places the open Book of the Gospels upon the head of the Bishop-Elect, whose ministry is subject to God’s Word.  Two deacons hold the book over his head until the Prayer of Consecration is completed.

When the prayer has finished, Bishop Peter’s head is anointed with the Oil of Chrism, symbolic of his sharing in the priestly, prophetic and kingly role of Christ.  This oil is used also in Baptism and Confirmation.

He is then presented with the Book of the Gospels – symbolising his proclamation of God’s Word and his sound teaching.

Symbols of office

Bishop Peter is then given the three symbols of his office as bishop.

  • The ring – symbolising his fidelity to Christ and his Church
  • The mitre – a pointed hat symbolising his authority, and worn whenever he presides at a liturgy
  • The crozier or pastoral staff – a symbol of his role as shepherd to the people of his diocese.

Bishop Alan then leads Bishop Peter to his special chair – known as the Cathedra.  From the moment Bishop Peter sits on the chair, Bishop Alan ceases to be Bishop of East Anglia and Bishop Peter is acclaimed as the fifth Bishop of East Anglia.

Bishop Peter is then greeted by all the bishops present with the Kiss of Peace.  Bishop Peter will then greet representatives from the Diocese of East Anglia from his Cathedra and then other dignitaries in the nave.

Bishop Peter will then preside for the remainder of the Mass as the principal celebrant.

At the end of the Mass, during the singing of the Te Deum, Bishop Peter will walk around his cathedral, blessing all present.  He will then address the congregation, after the Apostolic Nuncio’s representative, before the various processions leave the cathedral.

Refreshments will then be served in the cathedral garden and the Narthex hall.

Click here to download the official Order of Service

If you do not have a ticket for the ordination and would like to attend, please contact: Laura Hastings on 01508 492202 or 01508 493956 or by email on  

You can watch the ordination live from 11am on the Diocese YouTube channel, or watch the recording later at:

Pictured above are Bishop Alan Hopes and Bishop-Elect Peter Collins at St John’s Cathedral after the announcement of the new bishop.