Waterloo boy returns to SE1 as Dean of St George's Cathedral

Fr Michael Branch has been inducted as the new Dean of Southwark's Roman Catholic Cathedral, marking a return to SE1 for a priest who can trace several generations of his family history in Waterloo.

Waterloo boy returns to SE1 as Dean of St George's Cathedral

St George's Cathedral was without a dean for nearly a year after the death of Canon Richard Hearn.

In April this year the Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Revd John Wilson, named the parish priest of Woolwich, Fr Michael Branch, as the next Cathedral Dean.

Fr Branch took up his new role on 1 September and on Tuesday this week was formally inducted at a Solemn Mass in the cathedral.

He told the congregation that he felt a sense of homecoming in his appointment to the cathedral parish: "Generations of my family have lived around the corner from St George's in Pearman Street, Morley Street and even in Barbell Street which is now our cathedral car park."

Fr Branch was born at the General Lying-in Hospital in York Road and lived in Croydon House off Cornwall Road, attending St Patrick's School until his family left Waterloo for Welling in Kent.

The new Dean said he wanted St George's Cathedral to be "a place of welcome, a place of refuge, a place of security".

He said: "This time last year I could never have imagined myself as Dean of your cathedral. But then we never know what the Lord – or His Grace the Archbishop – has in store for us!"

Civic guests at the induction Mass included the Mayor of Lambeth Cllr Pauline George and Sir Simon Hughes, chancellor of London South Bank University and former Bermondsey & Old Southwark MP.

The Anglican Southwark Cathedral was represented by its Sub-Dean Canon Michael Rawson. Revd Steve Chalke of Oasis Church Waterloo was also present.

Tags: Churches, Southwark

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