Eileen Rees shares her experiences of a very special day as Monsignor Patrick Joseph McKinney is ordained as our next bishop:
“I was honoured to be asked to attend the ordination of our new Bishop Patrick at the cathedral on Friday 3rd July. There is no such thing as a free lunch or ordination so I was asked to write a report of the day for our website.
I did ask Fr Paul if I needed to wear a hat ( joke). I didn’t but there were one or two in the congregation, not counting the bishops, so I didn’t feel under-dressed!
I arrived at about 10.30am to find the Cathedral already nearly full. The ordination was not due to start until 11.30 but people were keen to get a good seat.
The cathedral looked lovely bedecked with flowers, the candles on the altar were gleaming. The cathedral team had obviously been very busy preparing for the ordination of our new bishop.
The pews in the middle had been set aside for the family of Bishop Patrick and his parishioners. We had been allocated seats at the side, we had a great view of the proceedings as there were two large screens for us to watch what was going on.
I then sat enjoying all the preparations. The choir had just finished practising and the organist began playing. There was a very excited buzz going on but as time passed the congregation gradually became still as we waited in anticipation for the celebration of Mass to begin.
Priests then entered church, lots from Birmingham diocese and many from our own, the local dignitaries came next, then the Bishops of England and Wales and finally the Archbishops and Cardinals and of course our own, soon to be ordained Bishop, Patrick. It was also good to see Archbishop McMahon.
I had never seen a cardinal in the flesh before so was especially pleased to see Cardinal Nichols and also Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor. They all looked resplendent in their mitres and brightly coloured vestments.
The Mass then began, lead by Cardinal Nichols. The music was uplifting, we sang the Gloria, the readings were chosen by Bishop Patrick.
We then began the Ordination rite which was lead by Cardinal Nichols. Mgr McKinney, for of course he was not then a bishop, was asked many questions which he responded to each in the affirmative. He was given his ring and crosier. He looked very nervous in this part, I thought, but as each Bishop came and laid hands on his head he grew in confidence until finally as he was sitting on his throne he had visibly relaxed. The new Bishop was then lead around the cathedral by Archbishop McMahon he blessed us all as he went, his first blessing as a Bishop.
Bishop Patrick then lead the Mass as the celebrant and we continued with wonderful music and singing.
At the end of Mass all the dignitaries, priests, Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals processed out of the cathedral and around to the Albert hall for a well deserved cup of tea.
Bishop Patrick then spent his time meeting his new flock and having his photograph taken. His parishioners love him and have many good things to say about his ministry among them. I feel sure he will bring many blessings to our Diocese.”