The homily was preached by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster and leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, who said: “Dear Bishop-Elect Peter. In a few moments, all of us gathered here on this splendid occasion will act as witnesses as you solemnly promise to undertake the duties of a bishop until the end of your life. These promises, one by one, detail the tasks that lie ahead of you – preaching the Gospel, teaching the truth, sustaining the unity of the Church, serving others in charity and compassion, reaching out to those on the margins, and practising constant prayer. All fulfilled, as you will promise, so as to afford no grounds for reproach. Peter, this is not an easy task.
“Peter, your act of prostration is our keenest moment of prayer. We beseech for you every grace and blessing, for we know and believe that all this, all that is good, is the work of the Holy Spirit. For that gift, we pray with all our hearts.
“Now, as Peter takes up his crozier, Bishop Alan hands it over. So we take this opportunity to salute you, Bishop Alan, and to thank you most sincerely for your tireless leadership during these ten years or so at the helm of this diocese. You have fulfilled your ministry with dedication and care, never slacking in pace, even as age brought on its additional demands,” said Cardinal Vincent.
The Apostolic Nuncio’s representative, Mgr Ervin Lengyel, addressed the congregation on the Nuncio’s behalf, saying: “The duties of my new office prevent me from being physically present today, at this moment which is the most solemn in the life of the Church. The gift of a bishop to the Church is a powerful sign of the love of the bridegroom for the bride.
“My thanks to dear Bishop Alan, who served for so many years, almost to the point of thinking he had achieved immortality, with warmth, sympathy and enthusiasm. To Bishop Peter my warmest congratulations on behalf of the Holy Father. His rich personal history of uninterrupted service to the faithful under the guidance of several bishops even in tiring times and in difficult roles testifies to us that his gift to the Diocese of East Anglia is of the highest quality.”
The new Bishop Peter Collins then addressed the assembly. In his first public words as Bishop of East Anglia, he said: “To all of you – those here present in the cathedral who have contended with the obstacles of bad weather along with disruption to transportation, and those joining through the live-stream – my brothers and sisters, from near and far; those of you who have known me for many years and those who are getting over the shock of meeting me for the first time. In allegiance to Christ, I offer a loving embrace, an assurance of my prayers and a commitment to service.
“Whilst depending upon God’s grace and mercy, it was nonetheless with a little trepidation that this Celt journeyed eastward to this gloriously fertile, though flat, land of Angles and Saxons. I rejoice that our British family has always been a wonderous international mix, no more so than in this present age. I draw encouragement from the warmth of your welcome and great strength from the multitude of messages offering an assurance of prayers for my episcopal ministry in this beloved part of England.
“Our Advent journey is taking us, step by step, towards the celebration of the nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As we prepare once more to offer our adoration at the crib, may we pray for that grace which provides a courageous foundation for our fidelity; may we pray for the wisdom that feeds and fashions a creative vision; in this cathedral dedicated to St John the Baptist we joyfully proclaim – prepare the way of the Lord,” said Bishop Peter.
Pictured above is Bishop Peter Collins at the moment he first sat in his Cathedra and thence became the fifth Bishop of East Anglia.
You can watch a video recording of the ordination at: https://www.youtube.com/@rcdea