east anglia

The Catholic Diocese of East Anglia

11/06/2013 11:00 am

Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Norwich, East Anglia © Alex Ramsey

The Diocese of East Anglia was created by Pope Paul VI in the decree Quod Ecumenicum on 13 March 1976. It comprises the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and the Unitary Authority of Peterborough.

The Diocese has 50 parishes, with additional Mass centres, and 31 Catholic schools that serve almost 100,000 Catholics.

Over recent years despite a decline in the number of priests in active ministry, Mass attendance in the Diocese has slowly but surely grown, enriched by new members both from within the United Kingdom and outside. This growing diocese, with an abundance of young families and increasing vocations, is served by 82 Diocesan Priests, 30 priests of religious orders, 36 deacons and over 100 religious sisters, nuns and brothers. In recent years four young men have been ordained priest, one more is due to be ordained on 6 July and two students will begin their training in September.

The ministry of the previous bishop, Rt Rev Michael Evans, built upon the ministry of his predecessors, Bishop Alan Clark and Bishop Peter Smith (now Archbishop of Southwark).

Despite suffering from cancer through most of his time in office, Bishop Michael built upon the foundations of ministry to young people, and left a legacy of a thriving Youth Council and Youth Service.


The Mother Church of the Diocese is the magnificent neo-Gothic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Norwich which was built by the 15th Duke of Norfolk, Henry Fitzalan-Howard.

Originally built as a parish church, it laid claim to being the largest parish church in England until it was raised to cathedral status in 1976 at the formation of the Diocese. It remains the second-largest Catholic Church in England after Westminster Cathedral and in recent years has benefited from a new award-winning Narthex which has enabled its ministry of hospitality to grow and for it to take its place amongst the other historic buildings of Norwich.

It will be the venue for the new Bishop’s Installation on 16 July 2013 with more than 2,000 people expected to attend.

National Shrine

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham also lies within the Diocese and falls under the jurisdiction of the Bishop. It draws an ever-growing number of pilgrims from all around the United Kingdom and beyond.


Our Lady of Walsingham is the principal patron of the Diocese along with the secondary patrons, St. Felix (the first Bishop of the East Angles), St Edmund (the martyred King of East Anglia) and St. Etheldreda (the founding Abbess of what has become Ely Cathedral).

The Diocese is also home to a thriving number of universities including the historic Cambridge University, the University of East Anglia, Anglia Ruskin University and University College, Suffolk and others. Ministry to the Catholic communities in these institutions is a key priority.


The Diocese is also linked with the dioceses of Battambang in Cambodia and the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

The Diocese has always had strong links with the other churches and Christian communities in East Anglia and good relationships have been fostered with other faith communities and with those of no faith.



News release from East Anglia announcing the appointment

A short biography of Bishop Alan Hopes

A brief overview of the Diocese of East Anglia

A gallery of images of Bishop Alan Hopes