Cardinal Roche has paid a short visit to the Diocese during which he celebrated Mass in his home parish and at the Cathedral.
On the evening of Saturday 12 November Cardinal Roche returned to St Joseph’s Church, Batley Carr, where he was baptised and confirmed and where, in July 1975, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Gordon Wheeler.
At the end of that Mass, children from the Cardinal’s old school, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary Academy in Batley Carr, presented him with gifts including some ‘Yorkshire Tea’. Just before he gave the Blessing, he made a presentation of his own to the parish: the red cardinal’s biretta given to him by Pope Francis at the Consistory in St Peter’s, Rome on 27 August. Cardinal Roche said he was leaving the biretta in his home parish, ‘…as a token of my love and esteem – and when you see it, please say a prayer for me’.
Parish Priest, Fr Jonathan Hart, and the parishioners had come together to welcome the Cardinal back to his home parish, and after the Mass they were able to greet him in person at a reception in the parish hall.
A video recording of the Mass is available by following this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5JNMic9ibU
Two days later, on the evening of Monday 14 November, a large congregation gathered in Leeds Cathedral, headed by the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Mr Ed Anderson, and the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Leeds, Cllr Robert Gettings and Cllr Lesley Gettings. The occasion was a concelebrated Mass of Thanksgiving for the creation as Cardinal of the Ninth Bishop of Leeds and Bishop Emeritus of Leeds, HE Cardinal Arthur Roche.
The Cardinal concelebrated Mass with the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, the Bishops of England and Wales, led by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, and clergy from the Diocese of Leeds. The Bishops were in Leeds for the start of their Autumn Plenary Assembly, held at Hinsley Hall.
At the beginning of the Mass, Bishop Marcus had words of welcome for the concelebrants and the congregation, and especially for Cardinal Roche. At the same time the Bishop said how proud the people of the Diocese were that someone born, raised and ordained in the Diocese of Leeds had been honoured by Pope Francis through his appointment to the College of Cardinals.
The homily was preached by Cardinal Nichols who reflected on the role of a Cardinal as a supporter of the Pope in the exercise of his ministry as Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church. He remarked on how Pope Francis always tried to strike a geographical balance in the composition of the Sacred College, and that England now had a Cardinal from the White Rose county, as well as himself from the county of the Red Rose.
The text of Cardinal Nichols’ homily can be accessed via this link https://www.cbcew.org.uk/thanksgiving-cardinal-roche/
Before the Final Blessing, Cardinal Roche addressed the bishops, priests and congregation, looking back at his years as a priest and then Bishop of the Diocese of Leeds and expressing the gratitude he felt at the support he had been given by priests and people during those times. He also felt a deep sense of history as he is only the third Yorkshireman to be made a Cardinal of the Catholic Church – the others being St John Fisher, born at Beverley in 1469, and Arthur Hinsley, from Carlton near Selby, who became Archbishop of Westminster in the 1930s.
After Mass Cardinal Roche spent time meeting and greeting members of the congregation as they departed from the Cathedral, renewing many old acquaintances with people from across the Diocese.
A gallery of photos from the celebration at Leeds Cathedral can be viewed by following this link https://www.patricksicephotography.co.uk/blog/
- In addition, the official photographer from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference was at the Mass and his images can be viewed here https://www.flickr.com/photos/catholicism/albums/72177720303701351