Principal Celebrants

Metropolitan Archbishop of Southwark

The Most Reverend John Wilson

Archbishop John is the eleventh Archbishop of Southwark, installed on 25 July 2019. Born in Sheffield in 1968, Archbishop John studied Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Leeds before beginning his formation for the priesthood for the Diocese of Leeds. He was ordained to the priesthood in July 1995, which saw him serve in a number of roles in the Diocese of Leeds, including as an assistant and Parish Priest, as well as holding chaplaincy roles at HMP Leeds, a hospital, hospice and school. 

His passion for theology was shaped further in the completion of a Baccalaureate in 

Sacred Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and a Licence in Moral Theology at the Accademia Alfonsiana. This led to John completing a PhD at Durham Theology, where he taught as a lecturer in Moral Theology at St Cuthbert’s Seminary.

20 years after being first ordained as a priest, in November 2015, he was appointed as an Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster by Pope Francis. During this time, he had pastoral care of the deaneries in the western area of the diocese and was also the Chair of the Education Commission. 

Following the retirement of Archbishop Peter Smith, he was appointed as Archbishop of Southwark by Pope Francis in June 2019 with his installation taking place in St George’s Cathedral on 25 July.

Since then, Archbishop John has sought to transform the Archdiocese into a missionary diocese with evangelisation and leading people to Christ at the core of all it does. This has included establishing initiatives such as Caritas Southwark, to support the most  marginalised to creating the first Commission for Promoting Racial and Cultural  Inclusion of any diocese in England and Wales. The Archdiocese, under Archbishop  John’s leadership, is creating an evangelising community which gets involved by word  and deed in people’s daily lives by seeing the face of Christ in each other.