Ambrose Griffiths

Dom Ambrose Griffiths OSB KC*HS (4 December 1928 – 14 June 2011) was a Roman Catholic bishop of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and a Benedictine abbot.

Born Michael Griffiths in Twickenham, Middlesex, and educated at Ampleforth College, near York, and at Balliol College, Oxford, he entered the monastery at Ampleforth, taking the religious name of Ambrose, and was ordained to the priesthood on 21 July 1957. In 1976, following the appointment of Abbot Basil Hume as Archbishop of Westminster, Dom Ambrose was elected Abbot of Ampleforth, a post he held until 1984 when he became Parish Priest of Leyland, Preston, Lancashire (Archdiocese of Liverpool), when he received the title of Abbot of Westminster.

In 1991 Bishop Hugh Lindsay announced his intention to resign the See of Hexham and Newcastle on the grounds of ill health. His resignation was accepted by Pope John Paul II, who in turn appointed Abbot Ambrose Griffiths as eleventh Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle. He received episcopal ordination in St. Mary's Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne, on 20 March 1992, the feast of St. Cuthbert, co-patron of the diocese. The principal consecrator was Archbishop Derek Worlock of Liverpool, who was assisted by retiring Bishop Bishop Hugh Lindsay and Bishop Owen Swindlehurst, Auxiliary Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle and titular Bishop of Cuncacestre.

Auxiliary Bishop Swindlehurst died on 28 August 1995 and was not replaced, leaving Bishop Griffiths to administer the diocese without the assistance of any auxiliary. He implemented a number of changes to the structure of the diocese in order to ease transition to a new model of administration, and these measures included appointing new Vicars General to assist the Bishop. Throughout his tenure, Bishop Griffiths worked closely with young people, establishing a Youth Mission Team in the diocese and representating young members of the faithful in the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

He served as leader of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle for twelve years until he himself submitted his resignation to the Pope, having reached the age limit for bishops of 75 years, prescribed in the Code of Canon Law. His resignation was accepted and he retired on 25 May 2004. Among his final duties, he presided at the episcopal ordination of his successor as diocesan bishop, Kevin Dunn, on the same date, the feast of St. Bede the Venerable. Griffiths retired to St Mary's parish in Leyland, Preston, Lancashire and continued in his work as a member of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

He died in the afternoon of 14 June 2011, aged 82.

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