ARCHBISHOP MICHAEL GEORGE BOWEN (R.I.P.)
Emeritus Archbishop of Southwark
The Most Reverend Michael G. Bowen, S.T.L., Ph.L., former Archbishop of Southwark died in the early hours of Thursday 17 October 2019. He was 89 years-old.
Archbishop Bowen was born in Gibraltar, where his maternal grandparents lived, on 23 April 1930 – the feast day of St George, patron saint of England.
His home until 1959 was in Wimbledon, London. He was the son of Major John Bowen (Irish Guards, killed in action in World War II, Norway 1940) and Mary, née Pedley, who married Sir Paul Makins, Bt, in 1945.
Archbishop Bowen was educated at Downside School before gaining a place at Trinity College, Cambridge.
He was a wine merchant, working for Saccone and Speed Ltd, before entering into formation for the Catholic priesthood at the Venerable English College, Rome, in 1952. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Southwark on 6 July 1958.
Twelve years later, he was Ordained the second Bishop of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton on 14 March 1971.
That same year, he was elected with Cardinal Heenan to represent the Bishops of England and Wales at the Rome Synod on “The Priesthood” and on “Justice and Peace in the World”.
In March 1977, he succeeded Cyril Conrad Cowderoy as the eighth Archbishop of Southwark. Archbishop Bowen welcomed then-Pope John Paul II to St George’s Cathedral in 1982.
He was well known to Gibraltar. He co-consecrated Bishop Edward Rapallo in 1973 and presided at his funeral in Gibraltar in 1984.
He installed Bishop Bernard Devlin, who had been consecrated in Rome by Pope St. John Paul II in 1985, as Bishop of Gibraltar.
He co-consecrated Bishop Caruana in 1998.
Finally, he returned to the Rock in 2010 to consecrate Bishop Ralph Heskett C.Ss.R.
Archbishop Bowen was a member of the Standing Committee of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and Chairman of it from 1999 to 2001. He also served the Bishops’ Conference as Chair of the Department of Christian Life and Worship (1983-99) and Chair of the Committee for Marriage and Family Life (1983-86).