Father Malcolm McMahon OP
Engineer and Bishop of Nottingham, UK
Born London 14 June 1949
Saint Dominic’s Primary School, London NW5; St Aloysius College, Highgate.
University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. Graduated in Mechanical Engineering. President of Students Union at UMIST 1970/71.
Graduate Training for membership of Institution of Mechanical Engineers with Daimler Motor Company in Coventry and London Transport.
Contracts Engineer with London Transport (responsible for the purchase of new vehicles).
1976 Joined the Dominican Order,
Noviciate and Philosophy at Blackfriars, Oxford.
1977 Profession, 16 December.
1979 Theology at Heythrop College, London.
Further studies at Blackfriars and Heythrop.
1984-85 Chaplain to Students at Leicester Polytechnic.
1985-89 Curate in London.
1989 Parish Priest at Saint Dominic’s, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
1989-92 Prior and Parish Priest at Saint Dominic’s, Haverstock Hill, London.
1992-2000 Prior Provincial of the English Province of Dominicans.
Governor of Maria Fidelis Convent School, Somers Town, London since 1989 and Chair of Governors since 1992.
1992-93 National Chaplain to Catholic Marriage Advisory Council (Marriage Care)
1993-99 Member of National Executive of Marriage Care.
The Diocese of Nottingham was created on the 29 September 1850 by Pope Pius IX. The Diocese currently incorporates the counties of Nottinghamshire [except Bassetlaw], Leicestershire, Rutland, Derbyshire [except Chesterfield and parts of High Peak] and Lincolnshire [including the areas covered by the unitary authorities of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire] .
The Diocese is situated in the central part of England, known as the East Midlands, and is bounded on the eastern side by the North Sea. In Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire, there are several industrial areas. The former major industry of coal-mining is now very much in decline, but aerospace, engineering, textiles and printing are still employing large numbers of people. Several services industries have recently into the Nottingham area, resiting themselves from London and the Home Counties. Tourism too is drawing large numbers of people to the area thus creating both employment and revenue. Farming, however remains perhaps the largest industry, with large areas of Lincolnshire, and Leicestershire given over to production of vegetables, fruit and dairy products.
The Diocese also contains within its boundaries several state run places of tertiary education which now include seven Universities. Three of the Universities, those of Nottingham, Leicester, and Loughborough are well established over many years. Nottingham Trent University and DeMontfort University in Leicester, are former Polytechnics, recently upgraded to University status. Derby and Lincoln Universities have been formed in part by an amalgamation of existing Colleges of Higher Education within those cities. There are also several Training and Technical Colleges within the Diocese.
English is the language of the people, although the Diocese [particularly Leicester] contains one of the largest Asian communities in England. The Diocese is in the Province of Westminster, with Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O’Connor being the Metropolitan.
The total population of the Diocese is 3.56 million people, of these some 140,000 are Catholics (less than 4%), and the weekly Mass attendance is approximately 40,000. There are 110 parishes, and 38 other centres where Mass is celebrated regularly. There are currently 143 priests of the Nottingham Diocese, of whom 25 are retired from active ministry, and also 13 permanent deacons. There are 50 priests living in the diocese who belong to religious congregations, as well as 14 brothers, and over 200 women religious who are involved in a variety of apostolates. The Diocese has 69 primary schools and 17 secondary schools.
Bishops in the Catholic Church
In the Catholic Church bishops are the successors of the Apostles as shepherds of the flock entrusted to their care. They are to be teachers of doctrine, ministers of worship, and holders of office in government. A diocesan bishop (e.g. the Bishop of Nottingham) is entrusted with the care of the Catholic faithful within the boundaries of that diocese. He is also to foster good relations with other Christians, people of other faiths, civic authorities, and indeed all people of goodwill.
Through his bond of communion with the Bishop of Rome, a bishop shares with his fellow bishops in a care for the whole universal church. A bishop also becomes a member of an Episcopal Conference (i.e. England and Wales) and thus plays a part in the development of Catholic life in his region or country.
Through the sacrament of Holy Orders the bishop has a special bond with his clergy (priests and deacons). They are to be his co-workers in the service of the People of God. The bishop is also assisted in the government of the diocese by the diocesan curia, which consists not only of clergy, but also religious and laity with special skills and competence in various areas of the life of the Church.
To be appointed a bishop a man must be outstanding in ‘strong faith, good morals, piety, zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence, and other human virtues’. He must be at least 35 years old and have been a priest for at least five years. For England and Wales bishops are appointed by the Pope on the basis of a ‘terna’ (shortlist of three) drawn up by the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain. In drawing up the terna the Nuncio consults widely amongst other bishops, and also clergy, religious, and laity from within the diocese.
After an appointment is announced the chosen man must prepare himself for episcopal ordination which will happen within three months of his appointment being confirmed. For a diocesan bishop this will more than likely take place in his cathedral church. It is through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in episcopal ordination that one becomes a bishop, and it is only after his ordination that the new bishop begins his duties.