Date set for installation of new Archbishop
The new Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Rev Peter Smith, is to be installed at St George’s Cathedral on 10 June.
Archbishop Smith succeeds the Archbishop Emeritus of Southwark, the Most Rev Kevin McDonald, who resigned from the post in 2009 for health reasons.
The 66-year-old was named the 10th Archbishop of Southwark by Pope Benedict on Friday.
Reacting to the announcement, Archbishop Smith said, “After eight very happy years in the Archdiocese of Cardiff, I am very sad to be leaving Wales.”
“I shall never forget the warmth and generosity of the people of Wales, not only the Catholic community but so many others, and their great sense of humour and cheerfulness.”
Born in Battersea, south London, he was ordained priest in the archdiocese in 1972. He became Bishop of East Anglia in 1995 and transferred to Cardiff in 2001.
Speaking of his time in Cardiff, Archbishop Smith said, “My experience of the Archdiocese is that the spirit of St David is still very much alive and summed up in his dying words: ‘Be joyful, keep the faith’.”
“However, my sadness at leaving is tempered by the prospect of returning to my roots in south London and going home to the Archdiocese in which I was born and for which I was ordained a priest in 1972”, he said.
“I am very much looking forward to that and to serving the people, religious, deacons and priests of the Archdiocese of Southwark as their Bishop. It is good to be returning home, although I feel there is part of me which will always have a second home in Wales.”
The current diocesan administrator in Southwark, Bishop John Hine, said the people of the Archdiocese were “delighted” Archbishop Smith was returning.
He added, “He is, of course, well known to so many of us and we can hardly believe our good fortune that he will back here leading us at this very significant phase of our diocesan story.”