New Bishop is appointed for the Diocese of East Anglia

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New Bishop is appointed for the Diocese of East Anglia

The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has appointed Rev Canon Peter Collins, a priest of the Archdiocese of Cardiff, as the fifth Bishop of East Anglia, with an announcement made today in both Rome and Norwich.

Having accepted the resignation of Bishop Alan Hopes as the fourth Bishop of East Anglia, in accordance with Canon 401§1, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has appointed Rev Canon Peter Collins, a priest of the Archdiocese of Cardiff, as the fifth Bishop of East Anglia. 

The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Alan Hopes as the Apostolic Administrator until the Ordination and Installation of Bishop-elect Peter Collins takes place.

On hearing of his appointment, Bishop-Elect Peter Collins said: “As I emerge from the shock of hearing that the Holy Father has appointed me as a bishop, it is with sincere humility, deep trust and great hope that I look to the future.  As I prepare to leave the Archdiocese of Cardiff, I give thanks to Almighty God for all I have received from the community of faith that has nurtured me throughout my life.  I wish to thank Archbishop Mark and Archbishop George for their consistent and enduring support. 

“To God’s Holy People in my new diocese – clergy, religious and laity – I offer the assurance of my prayers and ask for their prayerful support over the coming weeks as I prepare for my ordination and episcopal ministry. I am so grateful to Bishop Alan for the warmth of his welcome and in communion with the whole diocese I thank him for the generosity of his apostolic service over the past nine years. I will undoubtedly be drawing upon the wealth of his wisdom and experience in the days ahead. 

“As I leave the mountains and valleys of the West for the expansive plains of the East, I realise that my horizons will change and that I have much to learn.  Trusting in God’s grace and mercy and obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, let us discern together the pathway that awaits us and recognise that the Gospel is forever new and that the Church remains forever young.”

Commenting on the appointment, Bishop Alan Hopes said: “It is a great joy for me and the Diocese that the Holy Father has appointed Bishop-elect Peter Collins as the fifth Bishop of East Anglia.  As the new bishop prepares to come and serve God’s people in this diocese, he comes with great personal, pastoral and theological gifts, and with many years of dedicated service to the Church in the Archdiocese of Cardiff. 

“Leaving his present roots in Wales, Bishop-elect Peter comes to this equally ancient part of the Church here in East Anglia, in which I have been privileged to serve as bishop for the last nine years. I pray that the Lord will strengthen and support him for his new mission.  May Our Lady of Walsingham, St Felix, St Etheldreda, St Edmund and all the saints and martyrs of East Anglia pray for him.”

Archbishop Mark O’Toole, Archbishop of Cardiff – Bishop of Menevia, said: “In Bishop-elect Peter, the Diocese of East Anglia receives a good and holy pastor.  We are sorry to see him leave Cardiff, but he goes with our prayers, love and support.  I am sure that he will be warmly welcomed; all will quickly take him to their hearts, as they come to appreciate his many generous qualities and gifts.  May the Lord richly bless him, and through him, all in the Diocese, in this his new mission.”

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops’ Conference, said: “I welcome warmly the appointment of Bishop-elect Peter Collins. The new bishop brings with him a wealth of experience both in Cardiff and in Valladolid. I am sure he will be warmly welcomed not only in his new diocese, but also in the Province of Westminster and in our Bishops’ Conference. I look forward to working with him. 

“At this same point, I wish to thank Bishop Alan Hopes for his tireless and dedicated leadership of his diocese – especially during these last years. He will hand over his crozier to his successor with both confidence and relief! May God bless our new Bishop Peter Collins and Bishop Alan Hopes in the years ahead.”

The Episcopal Ordination of Bishop-Elect Peter Collins will take place at the Cathedral Church of St John the Baptist, Norwich, on December 14, 2022 at 11.30am.


Background of Bishop-Elect Peter Collins

Peter Gwilym Collins was born on May 13, 1958, in the town of Tredegar, South Wales, and then nurtured with his three older sisters in the nearby village of Rhymney.  He attended local Catholic primary and secondary schools and then briefly explored a pathway into teaching before being accepted for seminary formation in 1978.  Following six years at the Royal English College, Valladolid, Spain, he was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Cardiff on July 14, 1984.  His philosophical and theological studies were undertaken at the Augustinian Faculty in Valladolid, at the Pontifical University of Comillas in Madrid and at the Pontifical University of Salamanca.

He served as an Assistant Priest in the Metropolitan Cathedral of St David, Cardiff, from 1984-86 and in Bridgend from 1986-88.  He returned to Spain for post-graduate study before taking up his appointment as Vice Rector at the Royal English College, serving there from 1989-94.

Upon his return to the Archdiocese, he was appointed as Parish Priest of Chepstow and Caldicot.  In 2001 he became Dean of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Cardiff, serving there for the next 18 years.  In 2006, he was appointed as a member of the Metropolitan Chapter of Canons.  In 2019, he moved to the next-door parishes of St Mary of the Angels, Canton and Holy Family, Fairwater. 

Alongside his parish responsibilities, Bishop-Elect Peter Collins has served in a multiplicity of diocesan roles: 12 years as Chair of the Education Commission; ten years as Director of the Diaconate; 28 years in various safeguarding roles, being designated as Archbishop’s Delegate to the first national meeting on safeguarding in 1995 and later serving as Coordinator and Clergy Advisor. He has also served as an area Dean, a member of the College of Consultors, a member of the Archbishop’s Council and as a Trustee. He was appointed to the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in 2004.

Pictured above are Bishop Alan Hopes, left, and Bishop-elect Peter Collins in the garden of the Bishop’s White House residence near Norwich.

Click here to see a full picture gallery from the announcement at St John’s Cathedral by CBCEW photographer Marcin Mazur.