Pope Francis has today named Garstang-native Paul Swarbrick as the new Bishop of Lancaster.
Bishop-Elect Paul Swarbrick, 59, who went to Lancaster Royal Grammar School, has been a priest of the Lancaster Diocese for over 35 years.
Ordained as a priest in 1982 at Saint Mary & Michael’s Church, Garstang, Canon Swarbrick has served as Assistant Priest at St. Mary, Kells in Whitehaven, St Maria Goretti in Preston, and St Cuthbert, Blackpool, where he was also Chaplain to St Mary’s Catholic High School, Blackpool.
Bishopo-Elect Swarbrick said: "In accepting the decision of His Holiness I must, first of all, acknowledge the example Bishop Campbell has given. He has been a faithful and generous Shepherd of the Lord’s flock.
"I must confess to being in a state of surprise and shock at my appointment, and to a feeling of great inadequacy when faced with what lies ahead.
"Since my ordination to the Priesthood at Garstang in July 1982 this was never something I expected or feel prepared for.
"I have given my acceptance in a spirit of profound humility, deeply conscious of my unworthiness and sinfulness.
"It is a call to follow Jesus with greater trust and more generous love, ever mindful of what He has done for me and, ultimately, the fullness of Life He calls me to share.
"I will serve to the best of my ability."
Current Bishop Michael Campbell said: “I am delighted to welcome Canon Paul Swarbrick as my successor as Bishop of Lancaster, and I thank our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for naming Canon Paul as the seventh bishop of the Diocese.
"The news of Canon Swarbrick’s appointment will give much pleasure to many, both within and beyond the Diocese. A native son of the Diocese of Lancaster, Bishop-Elect Swarbrick comes to the office of bishop with considerable pastoral experience, having served since his ordination in a number of parishes here in the Diocese as well as a long period as a fidei donum priest in the Diocese of Monze, Zambia.
"I know he will use these gifts to the great advantage of the priests and people of Lancaster, who will be well-served by their new Bishop.
"I wish Canon Swarbrick every blessing as he assumes this new and challenging ministry as Bishop of Lancaster, and assure him of the prayers of all of us that he will prove to be a true shepherd after the heart of Christ."
No date has been confirmed for when Bishop-Elect Swabrick will be ordained Bishop and take possession of the Diocese at St Peter's Cathedral, Lancaster.