The news has broken that Archbishop Peter Smith is to be translated to the See of Southwark (his home diocese). I think I speak for most in the diocese when I saw he will be sorely missed. Over the last 8 and a half years he has been a good pastor to the Church in this diocese;
The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has appointed the Most Reverend Peter Smith, until now Archbishop of Cardiff, as the new Archbishop of SouthwarkCommenting on his appointment the Archbishop said;
Archbishop Smith was named the tenth Archbishop of Southwark on 30 April 2010. He succeeds the Most Reverend Kevin McDonald (2003-2009).
Archbishop Smith was born on 21 October 1943, ordained priest on 15 July 1972, ordained Bishop of East Anglia on 27 May 1995, transferred to Cardiff on 26 October 2001.
“After eight very happy years in the Archdiocese of Cardiff, I am very sad to be leaving Wales.He has been good to me over the years; answering the plethora of letters I have sent him and I will never forget the meeting I had with him around this time five years ago to talk about the priesthood and how I felt a personal calling to serve the Lord. He understood where I was coming from and listened.
“Over these years I have enjoyed working with the priests, deacons, religious and laity of the Archdiocese in Wales and Herefordshire and thank them for their help and co-operation in so many areas of Diocesan life and work. I am especially grateful for their support in bringing about the re-organisation of pastoral provision for the Catholic community, and fostering the mission of the Church in so many ways. My experience of the Archdiocese is that the spirit of St. David is still very much alive and summed up in his dying words: 'Be joyful; keep the faith.'
“I should also like to thank the leaders of the other Christian Churches communities, and the leaders of other faiths in Wales. We have enjoyed a fruitful dialogue and relationship to the benefit of our particular communities and wider society. I have found the civic authorities, in particular the Welsh Assembly Government and Local Authorities, have been unfailingly courteous and helpful, as has the local media. I am deeply grateful for that too.
“I shall never forget the warmth and generosity of the people of Wales, not only the Catholic community but so many others, and their great sense of humour and cheerfulness.
“However, my sadness at leaving is tempered by the prospect of returning to my roots in South London and going home to the Archdiocese in which I was born and for which I was ordained a priest in 1972. I am very much looking forward to that and to serving the people, religious, deacons and priests of the Archdiocese of Southwark as their Bishop. It is good to be returning home, although I feel there is part of me which will always have a 'second home' in Wales.”
I pray that the Lord will guide him in his new ministry as Archbishop of Southwark.