A profile of the Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth, the Right Reverend Philip Egan.
Bishop Crispan Way
Bishop Philip Egan VG BA, STL, PhD was born at Altrincham, Cheshire. Educated at St. Vincent’s Primary School and St. Ambrose College, and a graduate of University of London (King’s College), he undertook his formation for the priesthood at Allen Hall, London and the Venerable English College, Rome, and was awarded his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) from the Pontifical Gregorian University. Subsequently, he gained a doctorate in theology (PhD) from the University of Birmingham.
He was ordained to the sacred priesthood in August 1984 and served as an Assistant Priest at St. Anthony’s, Woodhouse Park (1985-8), before becoming assistant chaplain at Fisher House to the University of Cambridge (1988-91).
He was appointed Chaplain to Arrowe Park Hospital, Wirral (1991-4) before doing further studies at Boston College, Ma. For twelve years, he was on the formation staff of St. Mary’s College, Oscott, the major seminary in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, where he was the College’s Dean of Studies and Professor of Fundamental Theology. He returned to Boston College as a post-doctoral research fellow of the Lonergan Institute in 2007, before being appointed Parish Priest of Our Lady and St. Christopher’s, Romiley, near Stockport in 2008.
In 2010 he was appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of Shrewsbury and in 2011 a Prelate of Honour to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and in 2012 a Canon of Shrewsbury Cathedral.
Bishop Philip is frequently asked to speak at theological symposia and at catechetical gatherings and he has regularly contributed to religious journals and magazines. He has written about the thought of Newman and Lonergan and recently published Philosophy and Catholic Theology: A Primer (Collegeville, 2009).
Bishop Egan is a member of the Bishops’ Conference Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis.
MOTTO – In Corde Iesu (In the heart of Jesus)
“I chose this motto because Jesus of Nazareth is the centre of our Christian faith and his Sacred Heart, pierced for our salvation is the chief symbol of his love (Catechism 478). Jesus is the Son of God. He is also the perfect human being and thus for us the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). He knows and loves everyone of us without exception and on the Cross of Calvary he laid down his life for us. He desires through the Gospel to make us his disciples and to incorporate us into the life of His Body, the Church. Filled with love, His Heart inspires all of us to reach out in love to our neighbour, especially to the poor and the needy, so that everyone may come to happiness and salvation.
Green with twelve tassels for a diocesan Bishop.
Displayed behind the shield, in simple form, an unadorned Latin crucifix.
This plays on a pun from the motto (‘Heart and Hart’). As Jesus hung on the Cross, a soldier pierced His Heart from which flowed blood and water (John 19:34), the fountain of the Church’s sacramental life (Roman Missal). The shield shows a hart drinking from the Waters of Life, the Holy Spirit flowing from the Sacred Heart (John 7:38). The white hart is an ancient symbol of Christ, the New Adam, whose mouth, yearning for the Water of Life, drinks from the edge of the stream, recalling Psalm 41: “Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.” The pose of the hart alludes to the naval and seafaring character of the Diocese of Portsmouth. In a playful reversal of heraldic convention, the open mouth of the hart points to the left, which in nautical terms is the port side, thus creating Ports-mouth. In the sky is a star, like that followed by the Magi who, led by the light of faith, journeyed far to find the infant Jesus. However, the star primarily represents Mary, conceived without original sin, the principle Patron of the Diocese. This Star of the Sea and Star of the New Evangelisation has seven points representing Mary’s seven sorrows and seven joys.”