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Warm welcome prepared for late recruit to the priesthood

—Catholics in Motherwell Diocese were getting ready this week to welcome their newest priest – a late recruit to the priesthood who hopes his journey could help inspire other men of all ages. —BY AMANDA CONNELLY

Deacon Bruce McPhail was due to be ordained to the priesthood on August 24, after the SCO went to press, in St Margaret’s Church, Airdrie, where all in the parish community were looking forward to seeing one of their own make the momentous step in his Faith journey.

At 50 years old this year, Deacon McPhail (right) worked as a carer, in teaching and as an accountant before starting seminary. It is this wide experience that he hopes will help him to understand and assist others in different situations upon his ordination.

“I’m very excited about the whole thing,” Deacon McPhail said ahead of his ordination. “I think it’s what I’m called to do. It’s a blessing at this time in my life. I’ve seen a wee bit of life, and so I can relate to people’s experiences,” he said of the different career paths he has followed over the years.

“Also, not everyone is ready at a young age, so I’d say for me it was necessary to be out and having those experiences.”

Deacon McPhail spent a year and a half at St John’s Seminary in Wonersh, Surrey, before beginning his second year of priestly formation at St Mary’s College in Birmingham. He said there was a ‘sizeable Scottish contingent’ at the college, particularly from his own Motherwell Diocese.

He noted that it was good to be around some of the younger seminarians at Oscott as it gave him a ‘different perspective on life,’ and he thoroughly enjoyed his time there.

He also spoke of how ‘lucky’ he was and the ‘privilege’ he was given of having the opportunity and time to study the things he learned at Oscott, which he didn’t have the chance to do in the world of work.

“It was a great experience,” he said, praising the ‘pastorally oriented’ atmosphere at Oscott.

Deacon McPhail, as a later entry to the priesthood, hopes that he can be an example to other men—‘it might be one person out there’—that may be considering the priesthood but who feel it is too late.

“Go and find out,” he encouraged them. “Because you may well be surprised. The need is there.”

Deacon McPhail planned to celebrate his Thanksgiving Mass the day after his ordination on Friday, August 25, at 7pm, in St Margaret’s Church, Airdrie.


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