The future Bishop of Portsmouth says he “looks forward with joy” to working with the priests and people of his diocese for a new evangelization of England.
“It is with trepidation and yet with profound trust in the loving mercy of the Sacred Heart of Christ, that I accept the Holy Father’s appointment,” said Monsignor Philip Egan July 11.
“May we all together be in the closest communion of heart and mind with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, and faithful to his call to New Evangelization,” he said.
Bishop-designate Egan, 56, is currently the Vicar-General of the Diocese of Shrewsbury. In his present post he has already gained a reputation for orthodoxy, dynamism and innovation in re-presenting Christianity to contemporary society.
A philosopher and a theologian, he has just completed a new program for teaching the four parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church during Pope Benedict’s Year of Faith, which begins this October.
He also oversaw the re-launch of the diocesan newspaper as a glossy quarterly magazine and the redesign of the diocesan website with the aim of using new media to more effectively teach the faith.
“In Monsignor Egan the Portsmouth Diocese will find a great teacher of the faith and a bishop deeply committed to the New Evangelization,” said Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury.
During his 27 years of priesthood, Bishop-designate Egan has spent three years as an assistant chaplain at Cambridge University and 12 years on the formation staff at St. Mary’s College in Oscott, the major seminary of the Archdiocese of Birmingham.
A popular contributor to public debate, his writings include works on the thought of the 19th-century English convert Blessed John Henry Newman and the 20th-century Canadian Jesuit Father Bernard Lonergan.
Bishop-designate Egan will now succeed Bishop Crispian Hollis who is stepping down after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75. Bishop Hollis “warmly welcomed” the appointment of his successor July 11 and said that “the clergy and people of the diocese and everyone is looking forward to working with him in the proclaiming and living of the Gospel.”
Bishop-designate Egan will be the eighth Bishop of Portsmouth since the creation of the diocese in 1882. His ordination ceremony will take place in the Cathedral Church of St. John the Evangelist in Portsmouth on Sept. 24.
He inherits a diocese situated on England’s south coast that has 192,000 Catholics out of a population of 2.5 million people.