Byline: By JOANNE BUTCHER
THE new Catholic Bishop of Newcastle will be honoured by the most senior Catholic clergy at his ordination this week.
Cardinal of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, and the Pope's personal representative will come to the North to see the Rt Rev Seamus Cunningham installed as the 13th Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle.
Cannon Cunningham succeeds Bishop Kevin Dunn, who passed away last year.
Preparations are well under way for the two-hour service at St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Newcastle, on Friday.
More than 200 priests, deacons and members of religious orders, and 19 representatives of North East Christian churches and other faiths will pack out the cathedral in the city centre.
They will be joined by people from every town in the diocese, which covers the North East from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Stockton-on-Tees, as well as 105 of Canon Cunningham's close family from Ireland.
The Bishop-elect was born in 1942 at Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland.
He took up his first post as assistant priest in Our Lady and St Joseph's parish, Brooms, North West Durham, in 1966.
His present parish is St Oswin's, Tynemouth, and St Mary's, Cullercoats.
Canon Cunningham said: "I hope to start by continuing Bishop Kevin's initiatives before seeking anew what will be best to meet the many challenges in spreading the Gospel and working with other church bodies."
The new Bishop will be ordained by Liverpool's Archbishop the Most Rev Patrick Kelly and will be supported by the Rt Rev Ambrose Griffiths - the 11th Bishop of Hexham & Newcastle until his retirement in 2004 - and Bishop Michael Campbell from Lancaster. …