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The Open Council can reveal that Canon Seamus Cunningham has been ordained as the new Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle.

He was ordained bishop and installed in St Mary’s Cathedral Church, Newcastle on Friday, March 20, which was St Cuthbert's Day, the patron saint of the Diocese.

Canon Cunningham, 66, becomes the 13th Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, taking over the position from Kevin Dunn who died last March and is now in heaven.

Canon Cunningham said, "Although I was surprised to be asked to undertake this task, I am glad that the Diocese will not have to face another change of style within very few years. I hope to start by continuing Bishop Kevin’s initiatives before seeking anew what will be best at this time to meet the many challenges in spreading the Gospel today and working with other church bodies and the civil authorities"

The Open Council contacted staff the Aruna Ratanagiri Buddhist Monastery in Belsay to get a Buddhist reaction regarding Seamus Cunningham's ordination but they declined to comment.

To see a video of the bishop being ordained click here.