The Pope has promoted a former Anglican bishop to the rank of Monsignor less than a year after he was ordained a Catholic priest.
Mgr John Goddard, the former Bishop of Burnley, has also been made a “chaplain to His Holiness” within six months of his ordination as a priest for the Archdiocese of Liverpool.
The father-of-two was received into the Catholic faith in May 2021 by Auxiliary Bishop Tom Williams of Liverpool and ordained a priest in the Lutyens Chapel of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool, on April 2 last year.
Following a petition from Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool, Pope Francis agreed in November to honour Mgr Goddard in recognition of his previous 50 years of “priestly and episcopal service in the Church of England”.
The elevation of Mgr Goddard will be celebrated publicly by Archbishop McMahon when he visits St Oswald’s Church in Longton, Lancashire, on April 29 and the decree from the Pope will be read in the presence of the faithful.
Mgr Goddard, 75, serves as assistant priest at St Oswald’s and also celebrates Mass at the Church of St Mary Magdalen and the Church of St Teresa, both in Penwortham, near Preston, Lancashire.
He said: “Because I was a Catholic for a short time and a Catholic priest for a shorter time, I think it is unusual.
“I made a decision carefully and thoughtfully to not join the Ordinariate (of Our Lady of Walsingham). It wasn’t for me. I needed to be incorporated with the diocese and the normality of the Catholic Church. I think that was my vocation.”
He said: “I think the Pope recognising 50 years of priestly and episcopal service encourages me to see this as part of a steady path toward completion and fulfilment within the Catholic Church.
“I hope it would encourage others to ask if God is not calling them the same way.”
He added that the faithful of the three parishes in which he serves were “overjoyed” by his elevation.
Mgr Goddard was one of five former Anglican bishops who have chosen to become Catholics in the last four years.
Jonathan Goodall, the former Bishop of Ebbsfleet, has since been ordained a priest in Westminster Cathedral, and former Anglican Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali has become a priest of the Ordinariate.
Mgr Nazir-Ali was the first former diocesan – as opposed to suffragan, area or “flying – Anglican bishop to be received into the Catholic Church since Bishop Graham Leonard of London and Bishop Richard Rutt of Leicester in 1994.
He was created a prelate of honour by Pope Francis in April last year, and was also given the rank of monsignor.
The retired Bishop of Chester, Peter Forster, was received into the Catholic faith in autumn 2021, while Catholic Herald associate editor Dr Gavin Ashenden, a former chaplain to the Queen and a traditionalist Anglican bishop, became a Catholic in Shrewsbury Cathedral at Christmas 2019.