Saturday, July 25

1949: Bishop Thomas Bernard Pearson

It's sixty years to the day since the consecration of Bishop Thomas Bernard Pearson, to date the only auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Lancaster. Born in Preston in January 1907, he was educated at Upholland and then at the Venerable English College in Rome. He was ordained as a priest of the Lancaster Diocese in 1933; he then worked at St Cuthbert's Blackpool before being raised to the episcopate. He was consecrated by Archbishop William Godfrey, who at that stage was working in the nunciature in Poland (later he went on to be Archbishop of Liverpool, then Westminster; he was made a cardinal in 1958). The co-consecrators were Lancaster's own Bishop Flynn and Bishop Joseph Halsall, an auxiliary bishop of Liverpool. As each bishop must be bishop of somewhere, auxiliary bishops are always given a Titular See (usually a defunct diocese), and Bishop Pearson was made Bishop of Sinda. Among the Bishop's many engagements and duties over the years, one in particular had an unexpected legacy: on 16th September 1971 he ordained a young Augustinian to the priesthood. Thirty-seven years later this man, Fr Michael Campbell, was ordained to the episcopate and in 2009 went on to become the sixth Bishop of Lancaster.