Archbishop Bernard Longley celebrates chapter Mass

Archbishop Bernard Longley was the principal celebrant at the chapter Mass on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a patronal feast of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, in the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of St Chad, Birmingham, writes Peter Jennings.

The provost of the chapter, Bishop David McGough and Bishop William Kenney CP, auxiliary bishops, and Bishop Philip Pargeter, retired auxiliary, celebrated the Mass with the archbishop and canons of the Metropolitan Chapter on December 8.

At the start of Mass the archbishop admitted Fr Timothy Menezes, vicar general since September last year, as a canon of the metropolitan chapter, where he will share the canons’ responsibility as a member of the college of consultors. He was accompanied by his two sponsors, Mgr Patrick McKinney and Mgr Patrick Browne.

Canon Gerry Breen, secretary of the chapter and dean of St Chad’s Cathedral, read the letter of nomination. The new canon then made the promise of obedience and the profession of faith. Canon Timothy Menezes knelt before Archbishop Longley, who handed him a copy of the chapter statutes and formally admitted him and gave him the kiss of peace.

Bishop David McGough, provost of the chapter, then led Canon Menezes to his stall.

The provost gave the new canon the kiss of peace and the other members of the chapter came forward and did the same.
It was a simple but deeply moving ceremony witnessed by members of Canon Menezes’s family, including his mother and father and friends. His friends included brother priests who also concelebrated the Mass and members of St Thomas More parish, Coventry, where Canon Menezes served as parish priest from 2004 until his appointment as vicar general.

During his homily Archbishop Longley reminded the congregation that the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin was also a significant date in the recent life of the Archdiocese of Birmingham. The archbishop said: “Six years ago Bishop David McGough was ordained bishop in this cathedral.

“Five years ago Bishop William Kenney was welcomed here as an auxiliary bishop of the diocese and it is also the second anniversary of my Installation.

“I am sure that Canon Timothy Menezes, as vicar general, will remember his installation into the cathedral chapter each year as we celebrate our Lady’s Immaculate Conception.”