ADMINISTERING the sacrament of confirmation is always an important part of a bishop's role, and this week sees a great many taking place in dioceses throughout the country. Bishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor starts the week with a confirmation during a deanery visit to St Leonard's on Sunday and Monday.
The following day sees Bishop Alan Clark of East Anglia attending a confirmation at RAF Alconbury in Suffolk, before going up to King's Lynn in Norfolk for Wednesday afternoon. That evening Bishop David Konstant of Leeds will be at a rite of confirmation at St Anthony's in Beeston.
Bishop Mervyn Alexander of Clifton is also busy with confirmations at Our Lady of Lourdes church in Trowbridge on Wednesday, and St Gerard Majella in Knowle, Bristol, on Thursday. The following day, however, he exchanges mitre for scarf and toggle when he joins Avon County's scouts and guides at their jamboree in Woodhouse Park.
During a busy week, Bishop Leo McCartie of Northampton is also occupied with confirmands at St Edward's in Milton Keynes on Wednesday. Finally, Cardinal Basil Hume administers the
sacrament of confirmation at St Bernadette's in Hillingdon on Saturday.
On an ecumenical note, Bishop Vincent Nichols, auxiliary in North London, accompanies Bishop James O'Brien of Hertfordshire to the episcopal ordination of the Anglican Bishop of Willesden in St Paul's Cathedral on Friday. (And if you listen to the radio in the morning, watch out for Bishop Nichols midweek when he will be giving his "thoughts for the day" on Radio 4's Today programme.) Ecumenical matters are also on the agenda for Bishop Howard Tripp, auxiliary in Southwark, when he goes to an inter-denominational meeting of borough deans on Monday.
This is also the season of pilgrimages, with Bishop Daniel Mullins of Menevia leading a national pilgrimage to the shrine at Our Lady of the Taper in Cardigan on Sunday. Bishop Augustine Harris of Middlesborough leads his diocese's annual pilgrimage to Lourdes at the end of the week, on Friday, whilst the following day sees Bishop Crispian Hoflis of Portsmouth off to Rome at the head of the Portsmouth diocesan pilgrimage. Bishop Patrick Kelly of Salford, meanwhile, joins the national pilgrimage of deaf people to Walsingham.
Affairs in the diaconate also
claim some of the bishops' time. Bishop John Brewer of Lancaster conducts interviews for the permanent diaconate early in the week, and on Saturday Bishop Joseph Gray of Shrewsbury celebrates Mass during the diaconate training course at Maryvale House in Birmingham.
()bit ua ries
NICOLE Marguerite Hodgson, a leading Catholic educationist and campaigner for women's rights, has died at her home in Birmingham at the age of 68.
Born in Bradford, she was educated at St Joseph's College there before going up to read French at St Anne's College, Oxford. After a short time with the Admiralty, she returned to St Joseph's to teach.
In 1967 Miss Hodgson took up the post of vice-principal of the Newman College in Birmingham.
In 1977 she was elected President of the National Board of Catholic Women, and ten years later joined the board of the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisationss.
She was also a member of the Committee for European Affairs of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
As a fitting climax to her life's work, she was invited to Rome to attend the 1991 bishops' Synod on Europe.