POPE FRANCIS has appointed Bishop Mark O’Toole as Archbishop-elect of Cardiff and Bishop-elect of Menevia. 

Bishop O’Toole, 58, has served as Bishop of the Diocese of Plymouth since 2013, ministering throughout the counties of Cornwall, Devon, and Dorset. 

Bishop O’Toole will lead the Catholic community in two Welsh dioceses which combined incorporate much of South and Mid Wales, alongside Herefordshire.

He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Westminster in 1990 and worked as a private secretary to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor from 2002 to 2008.

Following Archbishop George Stack, who has served as Archbishop of Cardiff since 2011, Archbishop-elect O’Toole will become the eighth archbishop of Cardiff.

When Archbishop-elect O’Toole learned of his appointment, he said:“I am grateful and humbled by the trust that the Holy Father has placed in me. I face the task ahead both with excitement and a certain trepidation, conscious of my own weaknesses. Throughout my life I have learnt to trust the Lord’s will more deeply, and in these days of Eastertide especially, I have taken much comfort from Jesus’ words to His first Apostles, “Do not be afraid. I go before you…” It is with this deep sense that the Lord goes before all of us in this new mission, that I fully embrace this new calling in my life.

“I express my heartfelt gratitude to all in the Diocese of Plymouth. You have taught me what it is to be a bishop. I will leave with many happy memories, and with sadness, too, in saying farewell to good friends. Thank you for the love you have shown me these past eight years. It strengthens me as I face this new opportunity, and I am sure you will be praying for me.

“I know, too, that I can count on the cooperation and prayer of the Priests, Deacons, Religious, and Lay Faithful of the Archdiocese of Cardiff and the Diocese of Menevia. I look forward to meeting you all and, in time, to us getting to know one another. I am delighted that Archbishop George will be staying in the area, and I know I can count on his support and wise advice. I look forward to working with fellow Christians, with people of other faiths, and with all people of goodwill, for the good of all in our local communities.

“Wales and Herefordshire are new territory for me, having only visited for holidays and retreats. I am struck by the rich history and dramatic geography of the two dioceses, with their vibrant multicultural cities, rural valleys, and beautiful coastlines, their agrarian and modern technological innovation and diversity. I am grateful for the roots we share in our rich Celtic culture. I hope it gives us a certain fellow-feeling for one another. I know what it means to be uprooted, to make a home in a new and different land, and it will be good to get to know our migrant brothers and sisters. I look forward, too, to steeping myself in the historical reality and diverse experience of the two Dioceses, as we work more closely together. I recognise that this will take time. As one of our Welsh sayings puts it, “Rhaid cropian cyn cerdded (You must crawl before walking).”

“I have much to learn and I know I can count on your patience and understanding. I ask especially for your prayers. When I first became bishop, I chose the motto, ‘Into your hands, Lord’. It is a prayer I have had cause to make many times in recent days. It is a prayer that I ask us all in Cardiff and Menevia, to make together today, and in the weeks and months ahead. For it is in the Lord, as His missionary disciples, that we find our deepest identity. It is for Him that we set out afresh, to deepen our love of Him, and to bring others to Him. I commend myself, and all of us, to Mary, Immaculately Conceived, that she light the way for us to Her Son; we seek also, the intercession of St Joseph, St David, and all our local patron Saints, in making this new pilgrimage together.”

The Mass of Installation for the Most Reverend Mark O’Toole as the Bishop of Menevia will be celebrated at 11:30am on Thursday, June 23 at the Cathedral Church of St Joseph, Swansea.

This will follow the Mass of Installation for the Most Reverend Mark O’Toole as the Archbishop of Cardiff, which will have been celebrated on Monday, June 20 at St David’s Cathedral, Cardiff.