The newly ordained Bishop of Wrexham is the Rt Rev Monsignor Peter Brignall
On 27th June 2012, Monsignor Peter Brignall was announced as the Bishop Elect for the Diocese of Wrexham. He was Vicar General of the Diocese, and Cathedral Dean
Mgr Brignall succeeds Bishop Edwin Regan on his retirement after 18 years as diocesan Bishop.
The Episcopal Ordination of Bishop-elect Monsignor Brignall took place on Wednesday, 12 September at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Wrexham.
Mgr Brignall, 58, was ordained priest for the Diocese of Menevia by Bishop Langton Fox in 1978, and was Cathedral Dean of St. Mary’s, Wrexham from 1999 and Vicar General of the Diocese since 2003.
He was a Trustee of the Diocese and chaired the Board of Diocesan Trustees. He also chaired the Diocesan Liturgical Commission and was the Bishop’s Advisor on Health Care Chaplaincy.
At the time of the announcement from the Holy See, Mgr Brignall said:
"I am delighted for Bishop Edwin that he is now able to take his well-deserved retirement and after having overcome the initial astonishment of the Holy Father’s expression of confidence in me, am humbled and honoured to accept this appointment and to be able again to commit my life to the service of the Catholic Church in North Wales, a Church that now 35 years ago I chose and offered to work in and for on leaving London.
"Earlier this year we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Diocese of Wrexham and we are still very young in the 3rd millennium, so any plans I might have for the future are first and foremost to build on the foundations laid by the first two Bishops of Wrexham, Bishop James Hannigan and Bishop Edwin Regan. Just a month after my ordination as bishop the Church begins the ‘Year of Faith’, a year in which Pope Benedict XVI invites Catholics to rediscover the gift of faith and so seek new ways of proclaiming it. I could do no better than taking that as the starting point of my ministry, indeed as the whole purpose of my ministry in Wales for years to come".
Speaking in June after the announcement, Bishop Regan said that he welcomed the appointment of Bishop-Elect Brignall with great joy:
"He has dedicated his life as a priest to the service of the Gospel in Wales. He has been a loyal and wise colleague as Vicar General, with a deep love for the People of the Diocese and his fellow clergy. Through his long experience of pastoral work in Wales, Bishop-elect Brignall understands the importance of the Welsh language and culture in modern Wales. He will continue to lead the Diocese in the spirit of the 2nd Vatican Council, especially with the advent of the Year of Faith."
Homily preached by the Archbishop of Cardiff George Stack at the Ordination of Bishop Peter
In his homily, the Archbishop of Cardiff, Archbishop George Stack spoke of Bishop Brignall’s distinguished ministry as a "parish priest, hospital chaplain, chaplain to the deaf, university chaplain, Dean of the Cathedral and Vicar General".
He noted that they were "just some examples of his willingness and capacity to be of service wherever he is needed."
During the retreat which precedes Episcopal ordination, the candidate becomes painfully aware of his unworthiness for the office to which he is called. He reads the scriptures, reflects on the teaching of the Church, and embraces the tradition. He realises that humanly speaking, this ministry does cannot depend on his gifts alone, but on the power and the grace of the Holy Spirit which breathes through the Body of Christ which is the Church.
During his retreat, Bishop-elect Peter may even have found himself in agreement with the words of Blessed Humbert of Roman (circa 1190-1277). Humbert was the 5th Master of the Dominican order elected in 1254. He remonstrated with his teacher St. Albert the Great who had been appointed a Bishop:
“I would rather you were dead than a Bishop…..Why ruin your reputation and that of the Order by letting yourself be taken away from poverty and preaching? However troublesome you find the brethren, do not imagine that things will be better when you have the clergy and the secular powers to deal with…Better to lie in a coffin that sit in a Bishop’s chair!”
Peter’s missionary spirit took him away, not from the Dominicans but from the Diocese of Westminster to Wrexham in 1977. Cardinal Hume allowed him to leave on condition “that he didn’t take anyone else with him”. He didn’t take me with him from Westminster at that time, but thirty five years later I too followed the call of St. David, and am now privileged with him and Bishop Tom Burns to serve God’s people here in Wales. Peter’s distinguished ministry as a parish priest, hospital chaplain, chaplain to the deaf, university chaplain, Dean of the Cathedral and Vicar General are just some examples of his willingness and capacity to be of service wherever he is needed. “Watch over the flock God has entrusted to you, not simply as a duty but gladly,…because you are eager to do it”. (1 Peter 5:2)
Before his ordination, the new Bishop is asked publicly and personally if he is willing to undertake this service for the glory of God and the salvation of God’s people. ”Are you resolved to maintain the deposit of faith? Are you resolved to build up the Church? Are you resolved to be unite to the successor of Peter? To be compassionate? To be a good shepherd and above all to pray with and for the People of God? He accepts the mandate given to every bishop to sanctify, to teach and to govern when he answers: “I am with the help of God”.
The Sacrament of Orders is conferred through the laying on of hands and prayer. The imposition of hands by all the bishops happens in silence. The human word is inarticulate. The soul opens in silence to God whose hand stretches from eternity into the world of time and embraces this man, directs and orders him for service of the whole Body which is the Church. And then the prayer of consecration. Pope Benedict reminds us “No man can make another man a priest or a bishop. It is the Lord himself who, through these sacramental signs and prayer, draws a man into His own priesthood”. Through his ministry as Bishop, Peter will make the priesthood of Christ visible in this place, at this time and for these people in the changing circumstances of the world in which we live.
The symbols of Episcopal office speak in a silent language of the presence of Christ in his Church particularly when it is gathered around the Bishop in worship. The anointing of his head with the Oil of Chrism, sealing the bond between Christ and his new apostle. “The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for the Lord has anointed me” said the prophet Isaiah (61:1) The mitre represents a crown of holiness in life and in ministry. It is also a reminder that holiness cannot by-pass the crown of thorns, the crown of suffering in each person’s life. And the Bishops staff – a sign of direction and hope. Reaching out to those in any need whatsoever and a reminder that he himself has to be supported and upheld by the Prayer of the Church.
The Cathedra gives its name to this Cathedral. It is not just any old chair. It is the seat of teaching, listening and learning. In his role as teacher the Bishop is called to speak God’s word. The Word is not his own. No matter what their background, outlook, point of view, people are gathered around their Bishop in unity, identity and communion with God and with each other. The Cathedra is a holy place.
Bearing all that in mind, Bishop Peter’s Retreat may well have led him to reflect on the words of the 5th century Bishop, St. Augustine of Hippo. On the anniversary of his ordination Augustine preached:
When I am fearful of what I am for you
I draw strength from what I am with you.
For you, I am a Bishop.
With you, I am a Christian.
The former is an office received.
The latter is the foundation of salvation.
Help me by your prayers and obedience
To carry out these serious and varied duties.
Then I shall have the joy
Not so much of ruling you
As of being useful to your salvation.
The Bishop Emeritus of Wrexham is the Rt Rev Edwin Regan
Talks & Presentations
Born in Port Talbot in South Wales, he was ordained priest in July 1959 and served in parishes across the Archdiocese of Cardiff.
He was consecrated Bishop of Wrexham on 13th December 1994 by the then Archbishop of Cardiff, the Most Rev John Aloysius Ward OFM Cap.
Bishop Regan held a number of national appointments from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. He was Chair of the Schools’ Committee in the Department of Christian Education and Formation; and Chair of the Steering Committee for the National Project for Religious Education and Catechesis. He was also the link Bishop with the Catholic Association of Teachers, Schools and Colleges, the National Board of Inspectors and Advisers; and the National Catholic Scout Fellowship.
In Wales, he is a member of the Council of Cytun – Churches Together in Wales and an active supporter of the Cylch Catholig.
Bishop Regan celebrated the 50th Anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on 5th July 2009 at a Mass held in Glyndwr University, Wrexham. Nearly 900 people from all parishes in the Diocese, and members of the Bishop's own family were present at this joyful occasion, as were clergy from across the Diocese and Archbishops and Bishops from England and Wales.
A special message from His Holiness Pope Benedict was read out and the Papal Nuncio paid a personal tribute..
At the end of the Mass, Bishop Regan was installed as Fellow of the University to mark the contribution he has made locally and nationally to education and to the community of Wrexham.
Bishop Edwin is succeeded on 12th September 2012 by the Rt Rev Monsignor Peter Brignall whose episcopal ordination took place on that date.
Offeren o ddiolch a derbyniad dathlu ymddeioliad Y Gwir Barchedig Esgob Edwin
Regan yn Eglwys Gatholig Dolgellau a wedyn yn Rhiwgoch, Trawsfynydd - 24 Medi
Thanksgiving mass and reception to celebrate the retirement of The
Right Reverend Bishop Edwin Regan at Dolgellau Catholic Church and then at
Rhiwgoch, Trawsfynydd - 24 September 2011
To view pictures of the event please click here and select images individually
Scouting bishop’s farewell Mass
After seven years as the link bishop for the National Catholic Scout Fellowship, the Bishop of Wrexham, Edwin Regan, handed over his scouting responsibilities to the Bishop of the Forces, Richard Moth at a farewell Mass celebrated at Southwark Cathedral on Sunday.
In his final homily, Bishop Regan reminded the packed scouting congregation that by keeping the Scout Promise and Law, they follow a path of holiness: “if we keep the Scout Promise and Law, we are well on the way to becoming saints!” “You have all made a promise – ‘On my honour, I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to God and to the Queen, to help other people, and to keep the Scout Law.’ And the Scout Law? A scout is to be trusted, and loyal, and friendly and considerate. A scout belongs to the world-wide family of Scouts. A scout has courage in all difficulties; a scout makes good use of time, and is careful of possessions and property; and finally, a scout has self respect and respect for others.’ That’s fantastic law – good enough even for a bishop! And it’s marvellous when you choose to keep it.”
He expressed his gratitude to all involved and assured the scouting movement of his continued prayers: “I am so grateful to your scouters and leaders who give you the fun of scouting. I thank Bishop Richard Moth for agreeing to be your special bishop. I appreciate the work of Fr. Seddon, your national chaplain, and all those in the Catholic Scout Fellowship. And Archbishop Peter for allowing us to come to his Cathedral, and celebrating Mass with us.”