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LEICESTER, United Kingdom – A former Anglican bishop has been ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

Michael Nazir-Ali served as the Bishop of Rochester in the Church of England from 1994 to 2009, and is currently the director of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue.

The Pakistan-born prelate was received into the Catholic Church on Sept. 29 by Msgr. Keith Newton, head of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, which was established in 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI for former members of the Anglican communion. Nazir-Ali was ordained deacon by Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham on Oct. 28 before being ordained a priest on Oct. 30 in the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory in central London.

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In his homily, Nichols said the pilgrim journey of Nazir-Ali “has been rich indeed, in its geography, in your journey of learning, of prayer, of public ministry and of decision.”

“Michael, you have so much experience … and I am confident that your insight and learning will enrich this mission, from within the visible unity of the Catholic Church. In both the work of sustaining unity, and in our mission, the continuation of the priesthood of Christ in the ordained ministry is of such importance,” the cardinal said.

Nazir-Ali has been married since 1972 and has two adult sons. He will serve in the personal ordinariate.

He is the third bishop from the Church of England to join the Catholic Church this year. In May, Bishop John Goddard, the former bishop of Burnley, became Catholic; in September, Bishop Jonathan Goodall, the former “flying” bishop of Ebbsfleet, also joined the Church.

In December of 2019, former Church of England priest Gavin Ashenden was also received into the Catholic Church. Ashenden had been ordained a bishop in the Christian Episcopal Church, a breakaway Anglican denomination, in 2017.

Follow Charles Collins on Twitter: @CharlesinRome