News and events News Bishops appoint new National Ecumenical Officer News issued by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales is pleased to announce the appointment of Rev Fr Jan Nowotnik, a priest of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, as the National Ecumenical Officer and Secretary to the Department for Evangelisation and Discipleship at the Conference Secretariat in London. Fr Nowotnik is a priest of the Archdiocese of Birmingham and is currently finishing Doctoral Studies at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome in the Faculty of Theology. He studied for the priesthood at the Royal English College in Valladolid (Spain) and was ordained for the Archdiocese by Archbishop Maurice Couve de Murville in November 1998. He was an assistant priest at Holy Trinity, Newcastle-under-Lyme and St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham and parish priest at St Augustine’s in Stoke-on-Trent and St Brigid’s Northfield, Birmingham until he went to Rome to study for a Licence in Theology, specialising in Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue at the Angelicum which led to further doctoral studies in Ecclesiology focusing on Orthodox theology. Archbishop Bernard Longley, Chair of the Department for Dialogue and Unity within the Conference Secretariat, said: "I’m delighted that Fr Jan Nowotnik is to join the Bishops’ Conference as our National Ecumenical Officer, and that he will have responsibility for Evangelisation and Discipleship as well as Dialogue and Unity. Fr Jan’s considerable experience as a pastor as well as his recent doctoral studies in Rome will equip him well for his new role. "I am very grateful to Fr Jan’s predecessor, Canon John O’Toole, for the network of ecumenical friendships that he has successfully fostered and developed over the past five years, and I wish him well with his new responsibilities as Episcopal Vicar for Kent in the Archdiocese of Southwark." Bishop Mark O’Toole, Chair of the Department for Evangelisation and Discipleship, said: "I warmly welcome Fr Jan’s appointment to the Conference Secretariat and look forward to him working with the bishops in the Department for Evangelisation and Discipleship; his theological background, experience as a parish priest and his enthusiasm and energy will be of great benefit to all who work in this important area of the Church’s life." Fr Jan, who is currently in Rome and will begin his work in the Conference Secretariat in September this year, said: "I am grateful to the bishops for entrusting me with these two roles, both of which are at the heart of the Church’s mission to proclaim the love of God in today’s world. I hope to be able to play my part in helping others to be confident in proclaiming with joy and hope their faith in Christ. "I look forward to working with my ecumenical brothers and sisters and members of other faith communities and continuing to build upon the good relationships which already exist. Please pray for me as I complete my doctoral studies and prepare to begin this new phase in my priestly ministry." In addition to English, Fr Nowotnik speaks Italian, Polish and Spanish.