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Bishop recovering from cancer marks 75th birthday

Bishop Crispian Hollis has celebrated Mass for his 75th birthday in thanksgiving of his 22 years as Portsmouth Bishop.

Bishop Crispian Hollis has celebrated Mass for his 75th birthday in thanksgiving of his 22 years as Portsmouth Bishop.

Representatives of every parish in the diocese were present last Saturday, in a packed St John’s Cathedral, as well and members of the diocesan curia and organisations in the diocese.

Speaking after the Mass, Bishop Hollis said that his years in Portsmouth had been the happiest years of his life. He thanked everyone for their part played in the life of the diocese, and also thanks them for their prayers, best wishes and support during his recent treatment for cancer.

Mgr Nicholas France, dean in Jersey, gave the homily at the thanksgiving Mass.

“In many ways we are here, not to say ‘thank you’ to Bishop Crispian, but to thank God for the long life of our bishop, especially for the years during which he has led us in the steps of the Good Shepherd,” Mgr France said. “And with this prayer of thanksgiving we should include the clergy and people, living and dead, who during this time have united themselves under the leadership of their bishop in building up the kingdom of God in our diocesan Church of Portsmouth.

“We also give thanks for the bishop’s recovery from his recent operation and that he is well enough to lead our liturgy today. We pray that the healing process in him will continue.”

Mgr France added that while Portsmouth Diocese’s new chief pastor takes possession of Bishop’s house, Bishop Crispian ‘will humbly get into his car and drive away by himself to his retirement cottage in that Somerset village, which was once his childhood home.’

“Although he says he is looking forward to that day, I am sure there will inevitably be for him, and for ourselves, some real sense of bereavement,” he added.

As part of the offertory procession (above) at the Mass, symbol of the archbishop’s ministry and life in the diocese were brought forward. They included symbol of the diocese restructuring, the successful Living your Faith campaign which raised over £13 million to secure the future finances of the diocese, a gift from the twin diocese of Bamenda in Cameroun, and a Portsmouth football shirt as a sign of his involvement in the life of the city as well as his loyalty to the local team.

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