Pope Francis on May 20 appointed Bishop Ralph Heskett of Gibraltar to become the next Bishop of Hallam in England’s South Yorkshire county. Hallam’s retiring bishop John Anthony Rawsthorne commended him to the prayers of the faithful in a May 20 message posted to his diocese’s website. “I have no doubt at all that you will welcome him with great warmth and will rejoice with me at his appointment,” said Bishop Rawsthorne. Bishop Heskett was born in March 1953 in the northeast English city of Sunderland. He was ordained a priest in July 1976. He is a member of the Redemptorist religious congregation, which he has served as a local superior. In addition to serving as a parish priest in Liverpool’s Parish of Our Lady of the Annunciation-Bishop Eton and in the South London parish St. Mary’s Clapham, he supervised the formation of Redemptorist postulants, preached parish missions and gave parish retreats. He was ordained a bishop on July 10, 2010 for the Diocese of Gibraltar, the overseas U.K. territory at the western entrance to the Mediterranean. The predominantly Catholic island has a territory of less than three square miles. The Diocese of Hallam has more than 60,000 Catholics out of a population of over 1.5 million people. The diocese has 61 priests, 14 permanent deacons and 56 vowed religious. Bishop Rawsthorne, who is now 77, submitted his resignation upon reaching the age limit of 75 set by canon law. He had headed the Diocese of Hallam since 1997.
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