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Rt Rev Ralph Heskett named new Bishop of Hallam

By on Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Pope Francis greets Bishop Heskett

Pope Francis greets Bishop Heskett

Pope Francis has appointed the current Bishop of Gibraltar, the Right Reverend Ralph Heskett CSSR, the new Bishop of Hallam.

Announcing his new appointment, Bishop Heskett spoke of his surprise and also thanked the people and priests of Gibraltar.

“My first visit to Gibraltar was in 1981. I think that it is fair to say that I immediately fell in love with Gibraltar and its people. Today, 33 years on, I am still in love with Gibraltar and its people,” he said.

“For nearly 30 years, I regarded Gibraltar as my second home and then, to my great surprise and delight, in 2010, Gibraltar became my permanent home and the people of Gibraltar, my extended family. Over the last four years, I have been very happy here and have experienced at first hand the warmth and affection of the people of Gibraltar for which I shall be eternally grateful.

“So it is with great sadness that I announce that I must take my leave. I have been asked by Pope Francis to be the next Bishop of Hallam in the UK in succession to Bishop John Rawsthorne. I was surprised to be asked to be bishop four years ago and I am even more surprised now to be asked to be the new bishop of Hallam. Over the last four years, when I have been asked, ‘How long do you expect to be in Gibraltar?’ I have always replied, ‘Until they bury me in the crypt of the cathedral!’ And I fully believed that this would be the case.

“It is sometimes difficult to see the hand of God at work in the different circumstances of life but having had the time to reflect over the last few days on recent events, I am sure that this change in all our lives is part of God’s plan for the diocese of Gibraltar, for the priests and people of the Hallam diocese and for me.

“I came to Gibraltar to be bishop in a spirit of obedience to Pope Benedict and now, I must leave in a spirit of obedience to Pope Francis to take up the new mission he has entrusted to me. To be asked to pastor and shepherd of two different diocesan families is a privilege I do not deserve and a responsibility I feel inadequate to undertake. This will be a great personal challenge for me as I leave Gibraltar and the priests and people I love. It is also an invitation to be generous in serving the diocese of Hallam.”

The Right Reverend John Rawsthorne, Bishop of Hallam, said he was delighted at the appointment, having known Bishop Heskett as a parish priest in Liverpool.

“He will fit in very well in Hallam. He has a lot of parish experience as he is a very fine pastor as well as being a good preacher. The people of this Diocese are very warm and welcoming. They will take him to their hearts in no time at all. My 17 years here have been marked by the welcome and close collaboration of all of the priests and the people of Hallam,” he said.

On learning of the appointment, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said, “I warmly welcome the news of the appointment by Pope Francis of Bishop Ralph Heskett CSSR as the new Bishop of Hallam. Over the past four years Bishop Heskett’s presence as an official observer at the Plenary Assembly meetings of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has been very much valued and appreciated. On behalf of all the bishops, I can assure him of our prayers as he prepares for his installation in St Marie’s Cathedral in Sheffield and of our support in the years ahead.”

Details of the installation of the new Bishop of Hallam will be announced at a later date.


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  • Hamish Redux

    Meanwhile, it is nearly 2 years since Leeds lost Arthur Roche. How long, O Lord, how long?

  • paulpriest

    How long shall the wicked triumph – yet

    they say the Lord shall not see?
    He that planteth the ear, shall He not hear?
    He that formed the eye; shall He not see?

  • Guest

    I should rather wait a decade for an orthodox pastor than spend an eternity with modernist, heterodoxising, progress-into-the-unknown type of pastor!

    Not much practical help, I know, but still worth considering in the agony of waiting.



  • Pingback: Yet another religious bishop | Dominus mihi adjutor

  • EdinNth

    A ‘ Sede Vacante ‘ is a good opportunity for the particular Diocese to pray ……..

  • Michael B Rooke

    An appointment of Divine Wisdom.

    Before Bishop Heskett was appointed to Gibraltar
    “Bishop Heskett has been learning Spanish for many years and is proficient in the language. He ministered to many people from hispanic countries in London. He also has a long association with Gibraltar going back some 30 years. He is known and well liked by priests and people.”
    It would seem Spanish speaking Bishop Heskett will become the Pope’s eyes and ears in England who will be able to advise on diffusing conflicts in troubled waters should they arise given his Gibraltar experience.
    Note also that Bishop Heskett is a native of Sunderland which is associated with St Bede and the personal motto “Miserando atque eligendo -With mercy and choosing ” of Pope Francis is from a quote from St Bede’s homily on Matthew 9:9-13. “Jesus looked at the publican, and because he looked with mercy and choosing, said to him, ‘Follow me’.”

  • Elizabeth

    Welcome to Hallam Father. You will find the people of South Yorkshire to be the friendliest, most welcoming people in the world. Any Yorkshire man or woman knows it to be God’s own county, and you are assured of our support and prayers. If you would like a good football team can I recommend Sheffield Wednesday, (not the other lot down the road).

  • loncath

    Let’s just hope he hadn’t already stocked up on a summery supply of episcopal shorts and flip flops. Not to mention the holy sun oil.

    There won’t be much need for any of the above where he’s going….

  • Fr Gerard

    The good bishop was my voactions director and, whilst I didn’t join the Redemptorists, I have always held the Congregation close to my heart in my time as a Diocesan priest. Well Fr Ralph, it’s funny how things turn out. God bless and keep you.

  • Fr Gerard


  • Simon_GNR

    One hopes that Bishop Heskett won’t be “diffusing” conflicts so much as defusing them.