The Bishop of Burnley, The Right Reverend Philip North, has been elected as the new Master of the Guardians of the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.
He succeeds the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, who has completed his three terms as Master.
Bishop North is no stranger to Walsingham. From 2002 to 2008 he was Priest Administrator at the Shrine and from 2004 to 2007 he was also Priest-in-Charge of Hempton and Pudding Norton in the diocese of Norwich.
His appointment as Master comes just a few weeks before Father Kevin Smith takes over as Priest Administrator from Father Philip Barnes who has been interim Administrator during 2016.
He said today: “It is an immense honour to become Master of the Guardians and to be able to offer service once again to a place which has brought conversion, healing and refreshment to so many pilgrims over the years.
He added: “This is an exciting time for the Shrine with a new Priest Administrator about to start and some really good plans for the new season. I look forward to doing all I can to support Fr Kevin and the College of Guardians in their work in ensuring that England’s Nazareth continues to be a place where all can meet Mary’s child, the source of life and salvation.”
After studying at York University, Bishop North trained for the priesthood at Saint Stephen’s House, Oxford.
He served his curacy at Saint Mary and Saint Peter, Sunderland in the Diocese of Durham from 1992 to 1996. Since 1997 he has been involved with the Company of Mission Priests.
From 1996 to 2002 he was Vicar of Holy Trinity, Hartlepool in Durham Diocese and from 2000 to 2002 he was Area Dean of Hartlepool.
In 2008 Bishop North became Team Rector of the Parish of Old Saint Pancras in the Diocese of London and was appointed as Bishop of Burnley, in the Diocese of Blackburn, in 2014.
His interests include cycling and walking.