The Bishop of Leeds

Last updated: 25/06/2019

Bishop Marcus Stock was on born on 27 August 1961. He is a graduate of the University of Oxford where he studied theology at Keble College. 

He subsequently trained for the priesthood at the Venerable English College in Rome, whilst in Rome he was ordained a Deacon by the late Cardinal Basil Hume OSB. Bishop Marcus was ordained to the priesthood on 13 August 1988.  

From 1988 until 2009 he served in a number of parishes within the Birmingham Archdiocese. From 1988 to 1994 Bishop Marcus was Tutor in Theology for the Archdiocese of Birmingham’s Permanent Diaconate Formation Programme and he was also a teacher of Religious Education at the European School at Culham, near Abingdon in Oxfordshire, from 1991 to 1994.

From 1995 to 1999, he was Assistant Director of Schools for the Archdiocese of Birmingham, becoming Director of Schools from 1999 to 2009.  In 2009, he moved to London when he became the General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, a post he held at the time of his appointment to the Diocese of Leeds.  From late 2011, until the Spring of 2013, he was also the Acting Director of the Catholic Education Service.  He was appointed a Prelate of Honour by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.

Bishop Marcus’ appointment to the See of Leeds by Pope Francis was announced by the Vatican on Monday, 15 September 2014 and he was ordained Bishop and installed as the tenth Bishop of Leeds on Thursday, 13 November 2014. His episcopal motto is Desiderio, desideravi (Luke 22:15) which translates as ‘I have desired with desire to be with you’. 

As of May 2019, following elections held at the Spring Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Bishop Marcus was elected Chair of the Department of Education and Formation and as Chair of the Catholic Education Service.


Bishop Marcus Stock is the tenth Bishop of Leeds

Bishops of Leeds Timeline (1878–)

1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 Cornthwaite Gordon Cowgill Poskitt Heenan Dwyer Wheeler Konstant Roche Stock 25thAnniversaryMass 50thAnniversaryMass ourschoolopens

Photo: Bishop Marcus with Pope Francis

“May the gifts of the Holy Spirit also sustain and give joy to both you and the most dear ecclesial community of Leeds.”
— Pope Francis, Apostolic Letter to Bishop Marcus, November 2014

The schools in The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust fundraised for and participated in the Bishop’s annual Good Shepherd Celebration at St. Anne’s Cathedral on Friday 24 May 2019.

The presentation of cheques to the Bishop for Catholic Care is known as the Good Shepherd Celebration. This Leeds Diocesan charity supports and cares for some of the most vulnerable, disadvantaged marginalised people living in our Diocese.

The Role of a Bishop

Diocesan bishops are assigned to govern local regions within the Catholic Church known as dioceses eg The Diocese of Leeds.
Catholics trace the origins of the office of bishop to the apostles, who were endowed with a special charism by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This special charism has been transmitted through an unbroken succession of bishops by the laying on of hands in the sacrament of Holy Orders.
Bishops are collectively known as the College of Bishops and can hold such additional titles as archbishop, cardinal, patriarch, or pope. 

Photo: The Ordination and installation of Mgr Marcus Stock as the tenth Bishop of Leeds on Thursday 13 November, 2014. All present gave expression to their joy at the occasion with long and loud applause when Bishop Marcus was led to the Cathedra, the bishop’s throne.

Catholic Bishops are always men and should be:

  • outstanding in solid faith, good morals, piety, zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence, and human virtues, and endowed with other qualities which make them suitable to fulfill the office in question;

  • of good reputation;

  • at least thirty-five years old;

  • ordained to the presbyterate for at least five years;

  • in possession of a doctorate or at least a licentiate in sacred scripture, theology, or canon law from an institute of higher studies approved by the Apostolic See, or at least truly expert in the same disciplines.

Symbols of a Bishop

During his ordination, Bishop Marcus was presented with three symbols:

  • The Bishop’s Crozier

  • The Bishop’s Mitre

  • The Bishop’s Ring

The Bishop's Crozier

The Bishop’s Crozier symbolises that Bishop Marcus is the spiritual shepherd of the people of the Diocese of Leeds.

The Bishop’s Mitre

The Bishop’s Mitre is worn by Bishop Marcus when he leads celebrations of the Church’s liturgy. The Mitre is a symbol of Bishop Marcus’ authority as the head of the Church in the Diocese of Leeds.

The Bishop's Ring

The Bishop’s Ring is a sign of his faithfulness to the Church. It is also a sign that Bishop Marcus is a successor to the Apostles of Jesus.

The story behind Bishop Marcus’ motto 

“Desiderio desideravi”

“When I was informed of my appointment, I was given a list of tasks that require fairly quick decisions from me. Among these, was the need to choose a motto for my life as a bishop. However, I needed no time to ponder on this. Many years ago in Rome, on the day of my ordination as a deacon, and just before I made my solemn ordination promises, the late Cardinal Basil Hume said to me, ‘Let the words of Our Lord ring in your ears, ‘I have longed and longed to be with you’. Carry these words not only throughout your diaconate but into your priesthood; then, you will discover that peace, that joy, in the service of the servants of the Lord.’ Since then, those words have been imprinted deep upon my heart. Desiderio desideravi, ‘I have longed and longed to be with you’, or ‘I have desired with desire to be with you’, the words as written in St Luke’s Gospel (22:15) which Our Lord spoke to his apostles as he sat down with them at the Last Supper.
— Bishop Marcus

PAINTING: The first Eucharist, by Juan de Juanes

The symbology of Bishop Marcus’ Coat of Arms

Processional Cross 

An unadorned Latin cross, displayed behind the shield


Green with 12 tassels for a diocesan bishop.

Winged Lion

The symbol of St Mark (Latin: Marcus, Evangelist and Martyr) the Patron Saint of Bishop Marcus.

The pages of the Gospel Book held by the lion reads: “Pax tibi Marce, evangelista mea”,
(“Peace to you Marcus my evangelist”) 


The colour of the blood which Christ sacrificed on the Cross and the colour of martyrdom. It reminds us that as baptised Christians we are called to witness to Christ and are ready to sacrifice our lives for Christ.


The colour for Christ and the eternal uncreated light of God.

Cross of St Chad

This is a reference to Bishop Marcus’ ministry as a deacon and priest of the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

The cross is the dominant symbol on the shield to remind us that Christ must be at the centre of our lives. The cross is blue, the colour for God’s eternal kingdom.

Scallop shell

The symbol of the pilgrim. Bishop Marcus trained for the priesthood at the Venerable English College in Rome, which was founded as a hospice for pilgrims.


The fleurs-de-lis on either side of the lion symbolise the two arms of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as Our Lady of Unfailing Help (under whose patronage, together with St Wilfrid, the Diocese of Leeds is placed), spreading her cloak around those who seek to follow Christ. They are white to symbolise purity, holiness and simplicity.