BY Ryan McDougall | January 11 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Deacon Aitken appointed new Motherwell Diocese chancellor

Deacon Jim Aitken has been appointed the new chancellor of Motherwell Diocese.

Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell announced the appointment in clergy changes issued this week.

Deacon Aitken (above) is the current vice chancellor in the diocese, and will take over from Fr James Grant, who is to become the general secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.

Deacon Aitken said he is ‘happy to step up’ to his new role, which he will officially take on later this month.

“I was very pleased to be asked, and I’m happy to be spending my time doing what I can to help out those who work in the diocese,” he said

“I feel quite privileged and very humbled at having been asked to do this, and hope I can bring any skills I have to the post in order to help the bishop in running the diocese in whatever way possible.”


Transferrable skills

Before becoming a permanent deacon, Deacon Aitken had been a housing manager, and believes what he learned in his old job will aid him in his new position as chancellor.

He said: “There are a lot of transferrable skills in what I did, and that’s the thing about working in the Church—you all tend to chip in with the skillsets you have.”

Deacon Aitken said he is excited about his new role, adding that ‘Fr Grant was really great to work alongside,’ and that he believes he will do well in his new post at the Bishops’ Conference.

In other appointments announced this week, Fr Michael Brown is to take over from Fr Grant as parish priest of Holy Family, Mossend, from February 1, Fr Owen Ness will become administrator of St Brendan’s, Motherwell, from February 1 and Fr Gerard Bogan is appointed Dean of the Motherwell and Central Deanery.

Fr Kevin McGoldrick is appointed vice dean of the Motherwell and Central Deanery, and Fr Thomas Magill is reappointed chairman of the Council of Priests.


A varied vocation

Fr Brown has been parish priest of St Brendan’s Church in Motherwell since 2013, and has spent much of his life in Motherwell Diocese, having attended St Ambrose’s High School in Coatbridge.

After working for a time he studied for the priesthood at Chesters and Scotus Colleges in Bearsden.

He was later ordained by Bishop Emeritus Joseph Devine of Motherwell on June 24 1998 and, in his first years, was an assistant priest at St Bride’s Church in East Kilbride and chaplain for St Bride’s High School.

After spending four years at the school he volunteered to serve as an army chaplain between 2002-2005.

He later became an assistant priest at Sacred Heart Church in Bellshill and chaplain for Cardinal Newman High, before becoming the parish priest at St Gerard’s Church in Bellshill.

In 2013, he took on his current role at St Brendan’s and became chaplain to Wishaw General Hospital, a post from which he has now stepped down.



On his new role, Fr Brown said: “I’m really looking forward to the new challenge, it will be good to move on to another place to carry out my priestly duties.”

Bidding farewell to St Brendan’s, he admitted he will miss many of the people he has met there over the years.

“You always miss the people you leave behind but you know it’s a part of the priesthood,” he said.

“Moving about—it’s inevitable that you’re going to be shifted at some point and it can be hard when you’ve built up friendships with many of the people you’ve met.”

Fr Brown said his new appointment didn’t come as too much of a shock.

“I was expecting a move at some point,” he said. “I didn’t expect it to be at the Holy Family Church as I’d been out in that area previously.

“But because of that I know quite a few friendly faces there, and the people I know will no-doubt help ease me in.

“Because I was a chaplain at Cardinal Newman High I know some of the former pupils, too, and know the guys that do Sancta Familia Media who are based at Holy Family. Fr Grant’s leaving a good team of people in place which will be a big help for me.”

Upon discovering that he would become their new priest, Holy Family Church released a statement online, saying: “We take this opportunity to offer Fr Brown the first of many warm welcomes to Holy Family Parish and we pray that his ministry in Mossend may be both happy and fruitful.”

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