The official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has announced Bishop Stephen Wright as its new chair.

Bishop Stephen is an Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham and has served as a member of the CAFOD board since February 2021. His tenure will begin from Easter 2023.

He has been a long supporter of CAFOD, helping to raise awareness of the charity in his diocese and just last year raised over £1,600 as part of the Walk against Hunger challenge.

Bishop Stephen will replace long-serving Chair, Bishop John Arnold, the Bishop for the diocese of Salford who is standing down after serving CAFOD as its chair for 13 years.

Commenting on the change in chair, Christine Allen, CAFOD’s director said:

“I am delighted to welcome Bishop Stephen as our new chair, he has already been an invaluable member of our board since he joined last year and I look forward to working closely with him in the coming years.

“But it is also a great sadness to say goodbye to Bishop John, who has served us tremendously well for over a decade. We feel honoured to have so many bishops who are supportive of our work and I know Bishop John will continue to be a lifelong friend of CAFOD and the people we serve.”

A celebratory mass will take place on 23 March to welcome Bishop Stephen as chair, as well as offering a chance for CAFOD’s staff and supporters an opportunity to say goodbye to Bishop John.

Bishop Stephen, spoke of his new role:

“It is a privilege to be following in the footsteps of Bishop John, who has been a tireless champion for CAFOD over the years. He has steered the organisation remarkably well, standing in solidarity with the poorest communities around the world.

“I look forward to doing the same, working alongside our talented and committed trustees, employees, partners, volunteers, and supporters.

“Pope Francis’ call to care for our common home lies at the heart of CAFOD’s work. Our Catholic Christian mission is to serve our sisters and brothers throughout the world who are in need, recognising this can only be achieved by caring for the environment too.  May the Lord continue to bless this work.”

Over the course of his tenure with CAFOD, Bishop John Arnold travelled around the world to see the work of CAFOD first-hand. As part of these trips, Bishop John shared his diaries about the visits online for CAFOD supporters, which proved very popular.

Bishop John Arnold, commenting on his tenure as chair said:

“It has been a privilege to serve CAFOD for 13 years as its chair. I will never forget the people I have met all over the world, from Niger to Cambodia, and getting to see how the extraordinary work of CAFOD and its partners is making a real difference to lives.

“It was through working with CAFOD, seeing the damage inflicted on the poorest communities by the ecological crisis, that I felt compelled to act and set my Diocese of Salford on the path to achieve net zero by 2038. I will remain a committed friend of CAFOD and I wish Bishop Stephen all the best as he takes on this rewarding and exciting role.”

Bishop Thomas Neylon, an Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool, will also be joining the CAFOD board of trustees. On joining the board, Bishop Tom said:

“I’ve long admired the work of CAFOD, not just the work overseas but also the role the it plays in inspiring Catholic communities up and down the country to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world. I look forward to working closely with Christine and all of CAFOD to continue this vital work.”

CAFOD is the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development and is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

CAFOD works in over 40 countries around the world, and its local experts help some of the hardest to reach people in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

While grounded in its faith, CAFOD helps people of all faiths and none. But its links with the global church means the organisation can reach people many others can’t.

Other changes to the board include John Darley and Dr John Guy OBE coming to the end of their tenure. Further changes to the Board will be announced in due course. 

Care for our Common Home is part of our aims as we protect our environment through the principles of Laudato Si'.

Fond out what the Archdiocese is doing and how you can find out more.

Visit the Archdiocese Environment Page