The Prefect for the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, has appointed Fr Hugh Allan OPraem, Prior of Norbertine Community of St Philip's Priory, Chelmsford, as the new Apostolic Administrator of the Prefecture of the Falkland Islands and Ecclesiastical Superior of the Missions sui iuris of the islands of Ascension, St Helena and Tristan da Cunha ad quinquennium (for a period of five years).
Fr Allan succeeds Monsignor Michael McPartland SMA who has been incumbent of this post since August 2002. Monsignor McPartland, having reached the canonical age of retirement, submitted his resignation so that a successor could be appointed.
Fr Allan now has canonical responsibility of the community on the Falkland Islands and the other territories and will continue to support Fr John Wisdom OPraem who lives on the Falkland Islands. Fr John has been in Stanley since August 2015 and has built good relations with the Islanders and with the military community at RAF Mount Pleasant on East Falkland.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols welcomed the appointment of Fr Allan as Apostolic Administrator: We are grateful for the generosity of the Norbertine Community in Chelmsford, and especially Fr Allan who will be supporting Fr Wisdom on the Islands and the other missions in the South Atlantic. We are also indebted to the work that Monsignor McPartland has done over the past 14 years. Mgr McPartland has been in poor health for the past few months and we wish him well as the responsibility of the South Atlantic passes over to the Norbertines.
Fr Allan said, upon hearing of his appointment: I am delighted to receive my appointment as Apostolic Administrator. The day after I received the letter from the Nuncio I visited Monsignor McPartland and received his blessing to begin this new mission for the people of the South Atlantic. I hope and pray that we will be able to build on the excellent gift of service he has given so generously to the Church. My thanks as well to Cardinal Nichols and the Bishops' Conference for their kindness and support. Pope Francis has asked us to take mercy to the ends of the earth. I hope and pray that the gift of mercy will be at the heart of this new moment in the life of the family of God in the South Atlantic.
In recognition of his appointment as Apostolic Administrator, the Abbot General of the Norbertine Order has elevated Fr Allan to the title of Titular Abbot of Beeleigh. Beeleigh Abbey near Maldon in Essex, was a monastery constructed in 1180 for the Norbertines (or Premonstratensians) and is of historic significance for the Norbertine Order in this country.