James Abbott from the Bishops” Conference has been lucky enough to be able to record a video with Bishop Declan Lang.

It was the evening before his successor’s episcopal ordination, and we were fortunate to side-step all the intense planning and preparation for the day to come, in order to sit down in the garden of the retiring Bishop of Clifton as the Spring sun gave out its last.

Metaphorically, the sun was setting too on Bishop Declan’s years of ministry as the ninth Bishop of Clifton – it was just a matter of hours before his handover to the incoming Bishop Bosco MacDonald. So, for this video, it seemed apposite to take a stroll with Bishop Declan to look back over almost a quarter of a century shepherding the diocese.

In this honest conversation, they discuss:

His upbringing on the Isle of Wight
The call to the priesthood
Being both a seminarian and a university student
A meeting with the Apostolic Nuncio – Pope John Paul II’s representative in the UK
A pastoral plan from bottom to top for Clifton
What it’s like being a bishop
How the episcopal ministry comes full circle
Young people – the Church for today and tomorrow
National and international work
The challenge of living with Parkinson’s

Poignantly, when discussing his health challenges, he says:

“It has strengthened my trust in God – that God knows what He’s doing. I’m not saying that God sent me Parkinson’s, but I am saying that you can live through Parkinson’s.

“The Christian message is about life. It’s about death, but it’s about life coming from death. We are people of hope, and we can find God. We might think Parkinson’s is totally destroying lives, but actually God can be found in illness, sickness and vulnerability, and it has made me more vulnerable in some ways.”

Full transcript of conversation