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The Right Reverend Thomas Matthew Burns was appointed as the 11th Bishop to the Diocese of Menevia on 16th October 2008, and took possession of his See on 1st December 2008.
Born in Belfast on 3 June 1944, he was educated by the Marist Fathers, first of all at St Mary’s College, Blackburn, and then for two years in the Sixth Form at Winslade School, Exeter.
From there he applied to join the Society of Mary and began his studies for the Priesthood and the religious life. Ordained in 1971, he obtained an Honours Degree in Divinity from London University and spent two years in the Marist parish at Whitechapel. He taught ‘A' Level Economics in Marist Schools at Sidcup, Kent and Blackburn, Lancashire. During this time he became a graduate of the Open University specialising in Economics and Social Studies.
The Bishop of Menevia
In 1986 Father Tom was commissioned as a full-time Chaplain in the Royal Navy where he served as a Chaplain in HMS DRAKE and Devonport Naval Base. Next, he went to sea with the ships of the First Flotilla (to the Falklands, the Gulf and the Caribbean), and then joined the Chaplaincy Team in Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth. In 1992, he took up an appointment as Bursar General at the Marist Fathers’ Headquarters in Rome.
Next, Fr Tom assumed the newly created post of Chaplain to the Ships embarking Officer Cadets for their first experience of sea-going life. In Portsmouth he headed up an ecumenical team working in HMS NELSON. Six months later, on the opening of the Tri-Service Chaplaincy Centre at Amport House, near Andover, in April 1996, he became the first Roman Catholic Chaplain to serve there, joining colleagues from the other major Churches on the Directing Staff.
In May 1998 Father Tom was promoted and appointed Monsignor and Principal Roman Catholic Chaplain (Naval), first of all as Director Naval Chaplaincy Service (Training and Programmes), and then 2 years later as Director (Manning). He was appointed Queen’s Honorary Chaplain on 29 May 1998.
Monsignor Tom became Bishop of the Forces on 18 June 2002. He was then fully engaged in official and pastoral visits to Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force units and establishments throughout the UK and overseas, including Iraq in Holy Week 2005.