Archbishop Longley surprised Canon Patrick Browne with the announcement during a farewell Mass

Archbishop Bernard Longley surprised Canon Patrick Browne, former administrator of St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham, by announcing that Pope Benedict XVI had made him a monsignor, writes Peter Jennings.

For once the popular Irish priest was speechless as members of the Archbishop’s Council, of which Mgr Browne served as a member, as well as concelebrants, altar servers and friends greeted the news with warm and heartfelt applause. Bishop David McGough, auxiliary in Birmingham and provost of the metropolitan cathedral chapter, presided at the evening Mass of farewell for Mgr Patrick Browne at St Chad’s Cathedral on January 21 .  

The Archbishop of Birmingham was in choir together with Bishop William Kenney, CP, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, and Mgr John Moran, the Vicar General.

 Mgr Browne, who served as administrator of St Chad’s for three years from 2007 until October 2010 when he took up his appointment as priest of St Anne’s Alcester Street, situated near the Irish Centre in Birmingham, gave the homily. 

Blessed John Henry Newman set up the English Oratory of St Philip Neri in a disused gin factory in Alcester Street during February 1849 and from there he ministered to the poor. Mgr Patrick Browne was appointed by Archbishop Longley last June as local co-ordinator for the papal visit to the Archdiocese of Birmingham and the beatification of John Henry Newman by Pope Benedict XVI at Cofton Park, Birmingham, in September.  He fulfilled this challenging and complex task with great skill, diplomacy and good humour. 

Mgr Browne followed in a distinguished line of cathedral administrators including Bishop Leo McCartie, Bishop Philip Pargeter and Bishop Kieran Conry.