In a moving celebration on the Solemnity of Our Lady of Walsingham, Bishop Peter led a solemn Mass to usher in a new era for the Catholic National Shrine. Concelebrating with Bishop Peter were Bishop Emeritus Alan Hopes, Bishop Emeritus Michael Campbell OSA and an assembly of 14 priests, including the newly inducted Rector. Also present was Fr Kevin Smith, the Administrator of the Anglican Shrine.
Fr Robert officially assumed his appointment as the Rector of the shrine during this special Mass, succeeding in a position that carries significant responsibilities and expectations within the Catholic community.
During the homily, Bishop Peter expressed his heartfelt sentiments and affirmed the significance of the appointment. “As bishop of the diocese and as guardian of the National Shrine, it has been my responsibility and privilege, with the approbation of the Standing Committee of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, to nominate and appoint Fr Robert Billing as our new Rector here at the National Shrine,” said Bishop Peter.
He continued: “I wish to extend my deepest gratitude to Bishop Paul Swarbrick, Bishop of Lancaster, for his generosity in releasing Fr Robert for this great service. I also thank Fr Robert for his steadfast fidelity to the fullness of faith, to the ministerial priesthood, and to the vital mission of evangelisation.”
Bishop Peter then invoked divine blessings upon Fr Robert’s new ministry. “Ever obedient to Christ and allegiant to His Church, ever devoted to the Mother of God and her powerful intercession, may Fr Robert’s service to God’s holy people prosper a rich and abundant harvest,” he concluded.
Read more about the induction and see more pictures at Walsingham.org.uk
Pictured above, Fr Robert Billing (left of centre) with Bishop Peter Collins and others at his induction as Rector at Walsingham.