New bishop for Lancaster - Episcopal ordination


Press Release from the Diocese of Lancaster

Episcopal ordination of Fr Michael Campbell OSA
Monday 31st March 2008

The Catholic Community in the Diocese of Lancaster is filled with anticipation and excitement in perpetration for the episcopal ordination of Fr Michael Campbell OSA on Monday 31st March 2008 at St Peter’s Cathedral Lancaster. This is a very significant historical event: it is 46 years since a bishop was ordained in St Peter’s Cathedral, and Fr Campbell is the first Augustinian Friar to be ordained in England since the reformation of the 16th century.

The significance of this event is also marked by the presence of two cardinals: Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor (Westminster) and Cardinal Keith O’Brien (Edinburgh). Also present will be Archbishop Faustino Sainz Munoz, the Papal Ambassador to the Court of St James. There will be some 32 bishops from England, Wales and Ireland, and around 200 priests and deacons. The Cathedral will be filled to capacity with representatives of every parish throughout the Diocese, and with some family and friends of Fr Campbell. There will also be civic and ecumenical representatives at the Ordination Mass.

Fr Campbell will be ordained Bishop by Bishop O’Donoghue, who will be assisted by Archbishop Patrick Kelly (Archbishop of Liverpool) and Bishop Brian Noble (Bishop of Shrewsbury). Both these Bishops hail from the Lancaster/Morecambe area, and began their priestly lives in the Lancaster Diocese. Admission to the Ordination is by ticket only. In the evening Bishop Campbell will preside at Solemn Vespers in St Peter’s Cathedral at 6:00pm (tickets not necessary for admission) during which he will offer his first homily as a bishop.

Bishop Campbell begins his ministry as coadjutor Bishop of the Lancaster of Diocese. He will live at St Mary’s Barrow, and remain there until the retirement of Bishop O’Donoghue in the summer of 2009, when he will move to Lancaster as the Sixth Bishop of the Diocese. Until then he will work with Bishop O’Donoghue while exercising his ministry throughout the Diocese.



Due to limited space and a great deal of interest, we regret that we are unable to admit journalists/photographers to the ordination.
Photographs will be made available to the press soon after the event. If you have any special requirements, please contact us (details below).

Information about the Rite of Ordination

The ordination takes place during Mass. After the Gospel Fr Campbell’s letter of appointment as Bishop from Pope Benedict XVI will be read, followed by the Homily which will be preached by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor. Then the Rite of Ordination begins. After various prayers have been said and the Litany of the Saints sung, each of the bishops in turn will lay their hands on Fr Campbell’s head – this is a sign of the passing on of the authority they share as Bishops of the Church. Next the Book of the Gospels is held over the Bishop – a symbol of the inspiration the words of the Gospel continue to offer to the Church as a rule of faith and life. The Gospel is the tool which helps the Bishop in teaching and passing on the faith to the faithful in his charge. Next the prayer of consecration is prayed by the three consecrating bishops. The new bishop is anointed on his head with the Oil of Chrism – a symbol of being set aside for the specific duties of his office, he is then given the Book of the Gospels and told to “receive the Gospel and preach the Word of God with unfailing patience and sound teaching.” Finally he is presented with the symbols we associate with the bishop, symbols reflecting his authority: the ring, the mitre and the crosier. From this moment on Bishop Campbell now begins his new ministry.

The Order of St Augustine - a (very) brief history

The Order of Augustinian Friars was formally established by the Papal See in two stages, in 1244 and 1256. Since the late twelfth century several groups of ascetics had been following the Rule of St Augustine in central and northern Italy, and the ‘Great Union’ simply brought these together in a single organization. Although they retained the memory of their original identity in their name ‘Order of Hermit Friars of St Augustine’, after 1256 they became mendicants, following a similar profession to that of the Franciscans, Dominicans and Carmelites. The Order was strongest in Italy, its place of origin, but it spread throughout Christendom and by 1300 had established provinces in Germany, France, Spain, England and Hungary. The thirteenth century saw the blossoming of the mendicant orders, and although the Augustinian friars were never as powerful in England as the Franciscans and Dominicans, by ca. 1350 they had founded over twenty friaries here. As befitted their eremitical origins, at first these were in rural areas (the first being Clare Priory in Suffolk in 1248), but, with the patronage of the crown and the nobility, they also settled in London, Oxford, Lincoln, Norwich, York and most of the larger towns, and in the 1280s they spread to Ireland.

The Augustinians developed a strong theological tradition and became particularly influential in the universities. The Augustinian Giles of Rome, a student of Thomas Aquinas, was the most prestigious theologian at Paris in the late thirteenth century. Two fourteenth-century German Augustinians, Henry of Friemar and Jordan of Quedlinburg, were instrumental in developing the Order’s historical traditions and defining its role within the Church. Nicolo da Tolentino (d.1305), who was widely venerated for his spirituality, became the first Augustinian hermit to be canonised (1446, feast day 10th Sept). In the early sixteenth century the humanist scholar Giles of Viterbo led an observant reform in the Order. At the heart of the Augustinian ministry lay observance of the Rule of St Augustine, the spiritual guide of the Order. The Rule, codified in ca.1100 but based on pastoral writings of St Augustine of Hippo (354-430), was designed for religious to live an enclosed monastic life while at the same time serving the lay community through parochial ministries. It is based on the idea that true service can best be achieved through the mutual support offered by a religious community.

Prof. Andrew Jotischky
Lancaster University

For more on the history of the Augustinians, contact Prof Jotischky at

For more on the ordination itself, contact Canon Shield at the Cathedral:

01524 384820 or