Msgr. Marcus Stock, who was appointed Monday as Bishop of Leeds, England, has said in a message to his new flock that his motto as a bishop will be taken from Christ's words at the Last Supper, “I have longed and longed to be with you.” “When I was informed of my appointment, I was given a list of tasks that require fairly quick decisions from me. Among these, was the need to choose a motto for my life as a bishop. However, I needed no time to ponder on this,” Msgr. Stock said Sept. 15. “Many years ago in Rome, on the day of my ordination as a deacon, and just before I made my solemn ordination promises, the late Cardinal Basil Hume said to me, 'Let the words of Our Lord ring in your ears, “I have longed and longed to be with you.” Carry these words not only throughout your diaconate but into your priesthood; then, you will discover that peace, that joy, in the service of the servants of the Lord.'” “Since then, those words have been imprinted deep upon my heart. Desiderio desideravi … Cardinal Hume had used those words to express the great desire and intimacy with which Our Lord wishes to share His divine life and love with each one of us.” Msgr. Stock continued, saying, “if in faith we accept that life and love, we have no need to be afraid, we can bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things. It is that message which I have tried to make central to my ministry as a priest and which I hope and pray will continue to be at the centre of my new ministry as a bishop. So, Desiderio desideravi will be my motto.” Msgr. Stock was born in 1961 in London. He studied theology at Oxford, and dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. In 1988 he was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Birmingham. Since 2009 he has been secretary general of the English and Welsh bishops' conference and director of Heythrop College's theology department. Previously, he had served as a parish priest and as the archdiocesan director of Catholic schools; he was named a monsignor in 2011. He began his statement noting his gratitude for the trust placed in him by the Holy Father. “I am only too conscious of my weaknesses and sinfulness. It is therefore with humility and the desire to obey the call to serve, in whatever way the Church asks of me, that I have accepted this appointment. Before all else therefore, I ask for your prayers for me.” Msgr. Stock added to his new flock that “throughout my ministry as a priest, I have been sustained in grace by the prayers of the parishioners and religious that I have been privileged to serve and by the prayers of my brother clergy … this is the first thing for which I hope; to be assured of your prayers. And from now on, I assure you, for my part you will be in the first thoughts of my prayers each day.” He also expressed his gratitude to the former Bishops of Leeds, and to Msgr. John Wilson, who was administrator of the diocese during its vacancy. “I know that I will need to listen carefully to their wise counsel and advice both before and after my ordination as bishop,” Msgr. Stock said. “The third thing for which I hope is for your patience and support. I am sure that my name will be quite unknown to the vast majority of the clergy, religious and lay people of the diocese. Consequently, I hope that you will be patient with me as I get to know the clergy, religious, parishes, schools and the whole area of the Diocese of Leeds. I pray too, that you will support me not only by your prayers but also by your collaboration in the important work of evangelisation … and, in making known to all those people who touch our lives, the infinite mercy of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham commented that Msgr. Stock's appointment “will be a wonderful blessing to the Diocese of Leeds and to the Church in England and Wales and I am grateful that Msgr. Marcus takes with him his experience as a priest of our own archdiocese for twenty-six years.” The date of Msgr. Stock's episcopal consecration has yet to be announced. The Diocese of Leeds serves nearly 158,000 Catholics, who are some eight percent of the local population. As bishop, Msgr. Stock will be assisted by 182 priests, 24 deacons, and 149 religious. The diocese had been vacant since June 2012, when Bishop Arthur Roche was transferred to Rome as secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship.
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