Tributes paid to Catholic Bishop of East Anglia, Bishop Michael Evans

Tributes were paid to the Catholic Bishop of East Anglia, Bishop Michael Evans, today after he died following a long battle with cancer.

The 59-year-old passed away peacefully at 7.10pm yesterday (Monday) at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, following a six year fight against prostate cancer.

Today, the Bishop's private secretary Father Mark Hackeson said that he had dealt with his problems 'compassionately, methodically, pastorally and justly'.

He said: 'A diagnosis of 'advanced and aggressive' prostate cancer early in his time in East Anglia could have brought about a lessening of energy in another person, but right from the beginning, whilst accepting that he was dying, Bishop Michael was determined to carry on living and working.'

Christians from across the region also united today to pay tribute to a 'dear friend and brother in Christ'.


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The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James said he would miss him enormously.

He said: 'Michael Evans was God's gift to Catholics in East Anglia, to all Christians and those of little or no faith as well. The manner of his dying was the measure of the man - faithful to God and his people, and with an infectious joy about him which pain and suffering could not extinguish.'

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The Bishop of Ely, Stephen Conway paid tribute to the way he had lived with his illness like Pope John Paul II.

He said: 'He will be remembered in our prayers across the Diocese. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.'

The Rt Rev Nigel Stock, Bishop of the Church of England St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese, described him as an inspirational church leader who showed great courage and faith.

He said: 'Bishop Michael faced a long and hard illness with immense courage and faith. All the Church of England Bishops in the eastern region valued hugely Bishop Michael's companionship and willingness to walk with us in our Christian pilgrimage.'

Rev Simon Wilson, county ecumenical officer at Churches Together in Norfolk and Waveney, said: 'Bishop Michael Evans will be remembered across all denominations and faith communities for his devotion to the churches and people of East Anglia and striving for the common good.

'It was an immense privilege to work with him and see at first hand how he put his faith into action, especially as he journeyed through illness with such bravery and dignity.'

Graham Thompson, chair of the East Anglia district of the Methodist Church, said he was honoured to work together with him.

He said: 'It was with huge sadness that I heard of the death of my friend and colleague Bishop Michael Evans. Michael was a great friend of Methodism and a great friend of mine.'

Bishop Michael had been diagnosed with advanced and aggressive prostate cancer six years ago but at the beginning of the year wrote a letter to his congregation revealing his fears that he only had weeks to live.

The leader of 26,000 practising Catholics in the region continued his ministry throughout the treatment and, although his engagements were limited, was working up until his admission to hospital on Thursday.

In a statement, the Diocese of East Anglia, which covers Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk and Suffolk, paid tribute to the care the Bishop received from the local surgery and the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital.

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