BY SCO Admin | July 20 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


An Island Parish Eriskay priest Fr Maclellan buried on the island

— Bishop Joseph Toal pays tribute to 86-year-old former parish priest of St Michael’s

Fr Calum MacLellan, the former parish priest of St Michael’s, Eriskay, who became known to television viewers through the BBC TV programme An Island Parish, has passed away at the age of 86.

Leading tributes to the late priest, Bishop Joseph Toal of Argyll and the Isles said that the much loved Fr Calum died in the early hours of Saturday July 14, at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.

“We thank God for his life, his priesthood, and all that he did in service of the community” Bishop Toal said.  “We extend our sympathy to his brother Donald and his family, his sisters Morag and Margaret, his other close relatives, his fellow priests, the people of Eriskay, and all his many friends who mourn his passing.”


Though Fr Calum retired in 2001, at the age of 71, Bishop Toal said he remained a key part of the diocese.

“Through these last 11 years he offered great support to his fellow priests by the many supplies he did both in the island and mainland parishes,” he said. “His spiritual and human contribution was much loved by the people for whom he celebrated Mass and the sacraments through these later years.”

The bishop said Fr MacLellan’s sense of humour made him especially well loved among the islanders.

“He was never adverse to talking about his own experiences, particularly his achievements, but always with a touch of humour and humility,” he said.  “He had indeed gained a lot of knowledge and wisdom through his priestly life, and this shone through in the interviews he gave last year for the television series, An Island Parish, his contribution to which many may remember.

“We trust Fr Calum is at peace with the Lord—hopefully there is still a room for smokers in heaven!”


Though Fr MacLellan was born in Glasgow June 6, 1926, he was the child of islanders and he grew up on Eriskay.

He went to St Mary’s College, Blair, before being called up for national service in 1945. He spent three years in the Army during which time he was posted to places such as North Africa and Greece.

After the war, he was readmitted to seminary and spent the next six years in the Pontifical Scots College in Rome, studying philosophy and theology at the Gregorian University. He was ordained a priest in Rome on July 5, 1953 and returned to Scotland to minister in Argyll and the Isles Diocese, where he spent the rest of his life as a parish priest.

Active in both pastoral and public life, he was very honoured to be made a Freeman of the Western Isles in 2004 in recognition of his contribution to Comhairle nan Eilean and other public bodies.


Fr MacLellan’s body was brought to St Columba’s Cathedral in Oban on Thursday before returning to Eriskay for the Funeral Mass and burial. Following the Requiem Mass in the cathedral, his coffin was brought down to the pier to the afternoon ferry for Lochboisdale. The Funeral Mass and burial was due to take place in Eriskay at 11am this morning.


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