The Bishop of Leeds

As we prepared to welcome Bishop Marcus Stock to St. Mary’s on Tuesday 30 June 2015 to concelebrate our 50th Anniversary Mass, our school looked at the role of a Bishop.


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

Photo: Bishop Marcus meets students from St. Mary’s Menston (Mary Monaghan, Joseph Griffin And Alex Cybaniak) in St Anne’s Cathedral, 14 November 2014 and is presented with a Welcome Card which explains how we see Christ at the heart of our school.

Photo: The Good Shepherd Service, 19 May 2017. St. Mary's pupils  Bethan O’Keeffe and Oliver Brayshaw (Year 7) speak with Bishop Marcus.

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. 

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.

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.

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.