Earlier today, Mgr. Mark O’Toole, former rector of Allen Hall Seminary in London, was ordained the Ninth Bishop of Plymouth at Plymouth Cathedral. Bishop Mark is originally a priest of the Archdiocese of Westminster and has previously served as private secretary to His Emminence Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, as well as both Dean of Studies and Rector at Allen Hall Seminary where this diocese currently has three men in formation of the priesthood.
Bishop Mark was ordained by Bishop Christopher Budd whom he succeeds as Bishop of Plymouth in front of a full congregation made up of ecumenical and civic dignitaries, members of the faithful and religious of both the Archdiocese of Westminster and the Diocese of Plymouth itself. Also present were the community of Allen Hall Seminary, the deacons, priests and seminarians of the Diocese of Plymouth, the Apostolic Nuncio, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, and the various Bishops of England and Wales.
During the Mass Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor delivered a very personal and moving homily. Assuring the people of Plymouth that their new Bishop fulfills the qualities of a Bishop as called for by Pope Francis. Bishop Mark has a generous and pastoral heart that he carries in his new ministry. The full text of the Cardinal’s homily may be found below.
In a very moving moment of the ceremony, the newly ordained Bishop Mark exchanged the Kiss of Peace with his brother Bishops. For those who watched the ordination on the Diocese of Plymouth website, they will have clearly heard the exchanges between the newly ordained Bishop and his brothers. Bishop Mark’s deep humility shone through as he beseeched each if his brother Bishops to “pray for me”.
At the end of the Mass, following a brief address by Archbishop Menini, the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Bishop Mark addressed those assembled. During the address he made a heartfelt plea to the people to whom he is now shepherd. He told them that he does not know what to do. This is new. He does not know the way, least of all the roads to Poole or Penzance, but that together they are to journey. He said that he does not know everything, but he does know one thing for sure, that from all eternity Almighty God destined Mark O’Toole to be the Ninth Bishop of Plymouth and has made him ready for Plymouth, and he has made Plymouth ready for Mark O’Toole.
Ad multos Annos Bishop Mark. The clergy and people of the Archdiocese of Cardiff thank you for the work you have done with our students for the priesthood, and we hold you in prayer for this next stage in your journey of ministry with The Lord.