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7-HOLY-FAMILY-KENYA

New bishop for Argyll and the Isles

Pope Francis has today appointed Mgr Brian McGee as the new bishop Argyll and the Isles Diocese

The bishop-elect concelebrated the 10am Mass at St Columba’s Cathedral in Oban with Mgr James MacNeil, administrator of Argyll and the Isles Diocese, before the announcement.

“It was very humbling, and indeed frightening, to be informed by the Papal Nuncio that Pope Francis had nominated me to be the new bishop of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles,” Mgr McGee, the vicar general of Paisley Diocese and parish priest of Holy Family Parish, Port Glasgow, said. “However, after reflection and prayer I now face this mission with quiet but definite confidence. Yes, I remain aware of my limitations but I am even more aware of the power of God’s grace which, with our co-operation, overcomes our shortcomings. Experience has taught me that positively answering God’s invitations is always to our own advantage.”

The diocese has been vacant since April 2014 when Bishop Joseph Toal became the Bishop of Motherwell. Bishop-Elect McGee will be ordained at St Columba’s Cathedral at a date to be confirmed.

Bishop-Elect McGee added: “I am excited about coming to the diocese of Argyll and the Isles. It has an ancient and proud heritage whose roots stretch back almost one and a half thousand years preceding even its spiritual father, Saint Columba. Since then, the consistent witness to Christ and the contribution to the National and Universal Church have been immense and I pray that it will continue to be so. I am also mindful of the diocese’s rich Gaelic character and I, although not yet a Gaelic speaker, will endeavour to promote its rightful use in the worship of God.

“We have entered into the Year of Mercy. I am inspired by this Jubilee’s ethos and I hope to be a bishop that has an unshakable trust in God’s mercy, unafraid to acknowledge my own need of God’s mercy and one who shows mercy to all, especially those who are most in need. Pope Francis wrote of our Faith Communities being oases of mercy. Please God, as individuals, as parishes and the diocese as a body will be a constant oasis of mercy to all.”

He is sorry to be leaving Paisley Diocese, however.

“I cannot deny that it is a wrench for me to leave the Diocese of Paisley,” he said. “This was where I wanted to minister from my youth and I have always been very happy there. I would like to thank Bishop John Keenan, and his predecessors, as well as the clergy, religious and lay faithful of Paisley Diocese for their encouragement over many years. I recognise that I have much to learn about the diocese of Argyll and the Isles and I hope to be a good listener. It is an area I already love. I grew up in Greenock daily enjoying beautiful views of the Cowal Peninsula, Bute and Arran and I still savour them from my parish in Port Glasgow today. I have holidayed and trekked throughout the diocesan boundaries from my earliest childhood to the present day. I have made several pilgrimages to Iona. I already look forward to living within what will be my new diocese and I sure that I will naturally come to love its people.”

Bishop John Keenan of Paisley was among the first to congratulate the bishop-elect.

“Many congratulations to Bishop-Elect Brian on his appointment by Pope Francis to the See of Argyll and the Isles,” Bishop Keenan said. “I am not at all surprised that he has been chosen for this important office.  Since appointing him as my vicar general and getting to know and see him at work I have been highly impressed by his wisdom about the ways of the Church, his personal commitment to living the Gospel and his sense of service to the clergy and people of the diocese.  He is loved and respected dearly by his own parishioners in Holy Family, Port Glasgow, who will miss him, and his elevation leaves big shoes to fill in the diocese of Paisley.

“I can assure the clergy and people of Argyll and the Isles that they are getting a Pastor who will give his all to serving them with justice and who will lead them with energy and vision.  He will be a valued member of the Bishop’s Conference which will benefit from his fresh perspective and thoughtful discernment.”

Mgr James MacNeil added: “It is with gratitude that we the clergy and faithful of the diocese of Argyll and the Isles welcome the news that Pope Francis has appointed Mgr Brian McGee as the new bishop of our diocese.  We welcome him with joy and he can be sure of the support, cooperation, affection and prayers of the community of the diocese as he begins his ministry of leadership and service.

“We pray that under his fatherly guidance we will grow in faith and unity so that we may become a community that effectively witnesses to the presence of the Risen Lord among us. Welcome, Bishop-elect Brian; may you have many years of happy and fruitful ministry as Bishop of Argyll and the Isles.”

Pic: The bishop-elect is seen above with young people from Holy Family parish whom  he led on a trip to spend a month helping at an AIDS clinic in Kenya

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