Sunday, July 24, 2011

Belated tribute to Bishop Michael Evans RIP

Bishop Evans died on July 11th and his funeral Mass was celebrated last Wednesday 20th. (I have received criticism for not referring to this before now.)

As I mention in my reply to that criticism, I have taken a break from blogging and simply felt that the news would have been already widely known by any readers of mine who would have been interested.

Bishop Evans was a good bishop, a faithful servant of the Lord, a witness for the truth (e.g. his stance on Amnesty International when the latter adopted the position that access to abortion was a right every woman should have) and of courageous acceptance of suffering. He was also one of those who interviewed me on my selection conference at Wonersh and I remember the kind and thoughtful manner of his conversation. In his time as parish priest at Tunbridge Wells he was also well known for his commitment to the youth.

It was while he was already sick that I met him accompanying his diocesan group at World Youth Day in Cologne.

Archbishop Peter Smith of my home diocese of Southwark made the following statement:

Bishop Michael will be very much missed by so many people in the Archdiocese of Southwark and the Diocese of East Anglia - family, friends, laity, religious and clergy. As a priest of the Archdiocese, Michael was totally committed to his priestly ministry both as a pastoral priest and Professor of Theology for many years at St. John’s Seminary.

Having known him as a fellow student, a friend and brother priest involved in the formation of future priests, I was delighted when he was appointed as the third Bishop of East Anglia. There Bishop Michael continued that dedication, emphasising the Bishop’s role as a teacher of the faith and spending himself in building up the Diocesan family of East Anglia. He was unstinting in using his time and great talents in the service of the clergy, religious and people of the Diocese.

Even during his long period of ill health, although increasingly restricted in what he was able to do he refused to give up. I have no doubt that he will be greeted by the Lord he served so faithfully, with the words: “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the Kingdom prepared for you.”

Archbishop of Southwark
12th July 2011

An obituary may be read at the East Anglia diocesan website.

I have offered Mass for the eternal repose of his soul. Requiescat in pace.

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