BY No Author | February 26 2016 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Gaelic roots of bishop bind him to diocese

Bishop Brian McGee of Argyll and the Isles says he is ‘still amazed at God’s plan’ at Episcopal ordination

The strong bonds between Argyll and the Isles and the Scottish Church’s origin, between Scotland and Ireland, were celebrated at the Episcopal ordination of the newest bishop in Scotland.

St Columba’s Cathedral in Oban was filled to capacity on the evening of February 18 for the consecration of Bishop Brian McGee by Archbishop Leo Cushley, Bishop Joseph Toal and Bishop John Keenan.

“Fr Brian is being sent you, my dear brothers and sisters, precisely to preach the Good News to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken, anointed as he will shortly be, by the Gift of the Spirit and commissioned by God’s Church to serve you,” Archbishop Cushley said in the presence of Bishop Toal, whom Bishop McGee follows as diocesan bishop, and Bishop Keenan, ‘up until now my boss,’ according to the new bishop who was vicar general in Paisley.

The Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh and the bishops of Motherwell and Paisley were joined at the celebration by the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Antonio Mennini; Cardinal Sean Brady of Ireland; their brother bishops in Scotland, including Bishops’ Conference President Archbishop Philip Tartaglia. Cardinal Brady’s presence honoured Bishop McGee’s family’s roots in the north of Ireland.

The ties between the Scottish and Irish Gaelic communities were referred to by both Archbishop Cushley and newly ordained Bishop McGee when they addressed the congregation.

“Christ has chosen you and placed you here to be a spiritual father and guide to the people of this diocese. And he has commissioned to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last,”  Archbishop Cushley said to Bishop McGee. “In a small way, you even imitate St Columba himself… Your mum [Brighid ] and many of your own people are from the north of Ireland, just like St Columba and, although you come here via Paisley, in a way you are following the trajectory of Columba.”

After Bishop McGee consecrated his first Eucharist as a bishop, he spoke to the congregation at length, confidently but with humility, addressing them in Irish Gaelic and vowing to learn Scottish Gaelic.

“I am still amazed at God’s plan, [that] he called to me to be a successor of the Apostles, but I no longer ask why,” he said.

“Despite natural apprehension, I have no doubt God will give me every [support] for my ministry. Like yourselves, however, I too am weak so please pray for me… I am most happy to be your new bishop.”

The prayer card for the new bishop, distributed to the congregation as they left the cathedral, had a Celtic design of an old Christian symbol from the Book of Kells on the front.

Archbishop Mennini expressed both the Holy Father’s and his own congratulations and support for the newly ordained bishop at the end of the Mass.

The installation of Bishop McGee restores the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland to full strength, with a bishop or archbishop now in each diocese.



—Pics: Paul McSherry, more in this week’s print edition

—This story ran in full in the February 26 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.


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