Page last updated at 13:49 GMT, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

New archbishop welcomed with Mass

The Mass
The Mass took place at St Chad's Cathedral

The new Roman Catholic archbishop of Birmingham has been officially welcomed to the city in a special Mass.

In October the Vatican announced Bishop Bernard Longley, 54, would succeed Archbishop Vincent Nichols, who is now archbishop of Westminster.

The archbishop of Birmingham is one of the most senior appointments in the Roman Catholic Church in the UK.

The official Mass of Installation took place at the city's St Chad's Cathedral.

Archbishop Longley used his sermon to praise Birmingham City Council for an exhibition on the Christmas story.

The Nativity Trail, which is on at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, shows a series of paintings telling the story of Christmas.

The archbishop said: "I felt so encouraged to see this prominent institution, with the support of the city council, enabling the story at the heart of Christian faith to be experienced and appreciated through the beauty and the message of great works of art in public ownership."

Pope visit

More than 600 people attended the Mass, while a further 300 watched it on screens in the nearby Salvation Army citadel.

The mass was attended by more than 325 priests from the archdiocese of Birmingham, Westminster and Suffolk, along with other senior figures from the church in England and Wales.

They included the former Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, and Archbishop Nichols.

One of the new archbishop's first tasks may be to welcome Pope Benedict XVI to Birmingham next year for the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.

Cardinal Newman, who died in 1890, is predicted to become the first English-born saint, who was not a martyr, since the Reformation.

Archbishop Longley was previously an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Westminster.

His new archdiocese covers areas including Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford, Wolverhampton, Coventry, Birmingham, Worcester and Oxford.


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Times Online The installation of the new Archbishop of Birmingham - 47 mins ago
Birmingham Evening Mail A day to rejoice in our faith - 1 hr ago
Carrick Gazette New Archbishop praises art gallery's Nativity Trail - 13 hrs ago
Independent Catholic News Installation of Archbishop Bernard Longley - 15 hrs ago
Birmingham Post New Archbishop of Birmingham praises art gallery's Nativity Trail - 20 hrs ago

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