news-2

Header Image: Bishop Brian McGee

 

Archbishop Cushley praised the “long and distinguished history of the Church of Christ in Argyll and the Isles” in his homily on the occasion of the Ordination of Mgr. Brian McGee as Bishop of Argyll and the Isles.

 

The Episcopal Ordination of Monsignor Brian McGee as the new Bishop of Argyll and the Isles took place at St. Columba’s Cathedral in Oban today, Thursday 18 February at 7.00pm.The new Bishop was consecrated by Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

 

In his homily, Archbishop Cushley, spoke of the journey of St Columba to Iona 1,400 years ago, where he and his successors became “the undisputed religious and moral leaders of the people” While the monks of Iona “were known and respected throughout Europe for centuries”

 

Archbishop Cushley said: “Scotland itself owes Columba a deep debt of gratitude for the faith’s benign and gentle influence upon our society, something whose positive impact can be felt to this day.”

 

The full text of Archbishop Cushley’s Homily is shown below.

 

The President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, said:

 

"I congratulate Mgr Brian McGee on his nomination and consecration as Bishop of Argyll&the Isles and look forward to welcoming him to the Bishops' Conference. When I was Bishop of Paisley, Brian was one of my priests. He was a dedicated pastor and a thoughtful priest. I have no doubt that he  will make his own distinctive and valuable contribution to the deliberations of our Conference."

 

ENDS

 

Peter Kearney

Director

Catholic Media Office

5 St. Vincent Place

Glasgow

G1 2DH

0141 221 1168

07968 122291

mail@scmo.org

www.scmo.org

 

Images from the ordination available for download from FlickR.

 

Homily on the occasion of the Ordination of the Right Reverend Brian McGee as Bishop of Argyll and the Isles

 

Oban, 18 February 2016

 

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

 

A warm welcome to all of you to the Ordination of the Right Reverend Brian McGee as the 11th Bishop of Argyll and the Isles.

 

On this happy occasion, I am pleased to welcome in your name His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, my brother bishops, priests and deacons, and the clergy and representatives of the other churches, ecclesial communities and faiths here present today, who have graciously accepted the invitation to be with us.  I would like to offer a warm word of recognition and thanks to Monsignor James MacNeil, who has looked after the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles in recent times and until today.  And I would like to thank the civil representatives and distinguished guests who have joined us, as well as the local authorities who have kindly assisted with the arrangements made to accommodate us this evening here in Oban.

 

As you know, Argyll and the Isles is among the earliest places to hear the Word of God in our country, and it has enjoyed a very distinguished Christian history indeed.  It is a place steeped in the Celtic monastic tradition, where St Columba and his successors, although not bishops, were the undisputed religious and moral leaders of the people.  From the glimpses that we have of it, the Catholic Celtic tradition was both austere and beautiful: it was tough and soldierly, and yet it was also deeply spiritual and uplifting, suited to both the land and the people of this beautiful place.  The faith was already known here when Columba came to Dunadd over 1,400 years ago to ask King Conal for a place to build a monastery.  The island he was given, Iona, became the heart of a missionary movement that saw numbers of tough, single-minded mystics trained in its hard monastic discipline; and those monks were known and respected throughout Europe for centuries.  To this day, in a corner of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, there is a map of Scotland, painted in the 16th century.  It is no surprise to find that the island of Iona is not to scale:  it is more the size of Mull or Skye – because, well, that artist thought it ought to be, due to its fame throughout the Christian world!  Iona is said to have begun with just Columba and twelve companions, but the impact of his love of Christ, his faith and his learning, consolidated the faith here in Scotland and was a force that was felt all over Western Europe in the centuries which followed: as the renowned historian Lord Kenneth Clarke once observed, it was these Scots-Irish monks and scholars who saved us and Western Civilisation by “the skin of our teeth”.

 

And we should not forget that Scotland itself owes Columba a deep debt of gratitude for the faith’s benign and gentle influence upon our society, something whose positive impact can be felt to this day. 

 

The scriptural readings chosen by Mgr McGee for today are a lovely choice from those passages set aside for the ordination of a bishop.  The first reading from Isaiah is the very one chosen by Our Lord himself when he first preaches to his own people in his home synagogue in Nazareth: “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, he has sent me to preach the good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken”… St Luke tells us how, having read those words, Jesus adds: “The text is being fulfilled today, even as you listen”.  That is also perfectly true for us: today, here and now, this text is being fulfilled today, even as we listen, for Father 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.   


In the second reading, we hear a passage from a lovely letter of St Paul to his Greek friend and colleague Titus, just as Titus is being sent off to be bishop of a small church.  Paul says that, through the laying on hands, Titus has received a “gift of power, of love and of self control”.  Paul also tells him to fan that gift into a flame, and to rely completely on God, and not on his own limited resources.  Paul also urges Titus to remain faithful to the teaching handed on to him, and to look after it because it is something precious.

 

Perhaps most significantly, the Gospel passage we heard is from St John’s gospel, where our Lord urges the disciples to follow his commandment and example of love.  We also find embedded in the passage something at the very centre of the lives of all those in holy orders, something that they must all, sooner or later, understand, accept and take to heart.

 

It is true that we are called to keep God’s commands; we are called to love as he loved us; we are Christ’s friends if we do what he commands.  But at the very centre of this passage, our attention is drawn towards the words: “You did not choose me, no, I chose you”.

 

When we are young we think like St Peter.  We are headstrong.  We think that we can go where we like, that holy orders is something that I aspire to; that  the priesthood is mine, that it is my life, my hard work, my dedication, my strength of character, and that that will make me a good priest.  But St Peter learns gradually that in reality he didn’t choose Christ; Christ chose him.  He was instead called, he had a vocation, the call was external to him.  A belt was put on him and he was taken where he would rather not go.  Happily, he learned to entrust himself to God’s good grace, and that was how he would give glory to God and would fulfil the vocation received from Christ himself.

 

This text, then, surely tells us that none of what we see here is our doing.  No matter what we want or do, we cannot choose it on our own.  We cannot choose Christ before he chooses us.  And that is just as well.  “You did not choose me; no, I chose you”.  It’s a truth, but it’s one that we often only see in hindsight, looking back on the turns that our life takes.  Today is one of those occasions when Christ’s choice of one of us is placed in higher relief, and it is moving to see it for ourselves and to witness it for ourselves. 

 

As you are chosen and set aside today, Brian, Christ simultaneously commissions you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last.  It will seem strange, it may feel a little unlikely for some time to come, but 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.  In a small way, you even imitate St Columba himself.  Your mother and sister Brona are here, and I’m sure your dad James, gone to God a number of years ago, would have been very proud of you. Your mum 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 and many other Scoti of Dalriada from the times when the people on both sides of the water here were essentially the same folk, with the same language, customs, kings and faith.  Providence or coincidence, you are where the Lord wishes you to be, and you should never forget that you are in the place where he chooses to send you and to commission to you bear fruit, fruit that will last.

 

In all great moments, the Church prays the litany of the saints, and today is no exception.  So during the litany of saints we are about to pray, what are gifts that we ought to beg for you on this most solemn occasion?  I think we need look no further than the figure of St Columba himself. Columba was a spiritual man; Adomnàn tells us that he was “island soldier”, devoted to prayer, fasts and vigils.  He says that he was “an angel in demeanour, blameless in what he said, godly in what he did, brilliant in intellect and great in counsel”.  Quite a tall order, then...

 

A soldier dedicates himself fully and risks his life for what he loves and believes in; an island soldier, imitating Columba, will add to that a love of prayer and personal discipline.  But Adomnàn also tells us that Columba was “loving to all people, and his face showed a holy gladness because his heart was full of the joy of the Holy Spirit”.  I would wish all of Columba’s virtues for you, Brian.  But perhaps this last virtue, of being loving to all people, would be the best gift of all that we could beg for you. 

 

Finally, be assured that all of us here pray earnestly that you will be a holy, humble and obedient Pastor after the heart of Christ, and in this Year of Mercy we ask the Lord to fill your heart with his love and compassion for others.  And we pray fervently that, today and throughout your ministry, you will be loving to all people, as Columba was himself. And may the “island soldier” always accompany you with his strong yet loving spirit, as you add your own steps to the long and distinguished history of the Church of Christ in Argyll and the Isles.   Amen.

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 847 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe to free email updates ?

Subscribe to News updates

Enter your email address to be notified of new posts:

Subscribe to:

Alternatively, you can subscribe via RSS

‹ Return to News

We never share or sell your email address to anyone.

I've already subscribed / don't show me this again

Recent Posts

Independent Safeguarding Audits welcomed by Catholic Church

| 30th January 2020 | Blogging

Thursday 30th January 2020   An independent audit of safeguarding processes in the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh and the Diocese of Galloway published today (Thursday 30 January 2020) has been welcomed by both dioceses.   The audit was commissioned by the Independent Review Group (IRG) established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland in 2017. Its role is to help ensure the implementation of recommendations made in a comprehensive report into safeguarding in the Catholic Church in Scotland by the McLellan Commission in 2015. The IRG is an autonomous body that works separately from the Catholic Church and is chaired by Baroness Helen Liddell.   Two of Scotland’s eight dioceses are chosen randomly and audited each year, so that all of them are audited over a four-year period. The audits are designed to support the ongoing commitment to safeguarding improvements within the Catholic church.   Commenting on the publication, Bishop Joseph Toal, President of the Commission for Pastoral and Social Care said;   “On behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, I welcome the publication of the IRG report and thank the IRG for their work. I know the audits have been both thorough and rigorous and that they will be studied carefully by both dioceses.”   “Safeguarding is at the heart of the church’s mission and the maintenance of high standards is only possible through independent scrutiny and a commitment to implement any recommendations proposed.”   A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh said:   “We very much welcome the work of the Independent Review Group for Safeguarding and the external review that SCIE has completed for our Archdiocese. We found the process helpful and constructive.”   “We are reassured and encouraged that the safeguarding improvements we have implemented over the last six years have been recognised and validated and we look forward to developing these processes further to ensure that our churches continue to be safe and welcoming places for everyone.”   Archbishop Leo Cushley said:   “It is the responsibility of all people in our church community, clergy and laity alike, to ensure the church is a safe and welcoming place for everyone and that children and vulnerable adults are protected.”   “Each of our parishes has a safeguarding co-ordinator, working with approved volunteers, who support our priests and I extend my thanks to them for their excellent work. Safeguarding in the church is a priority and I believe that is reflected in the processes our Archdiocese has implemented and continues to develop.”   A spokesperson for the Diocese of Galloway said:   “The Diocese is pleased with the final report and believes it will be a valuable and constructive tool. The aim of the audit was to work with the Diocese to support safeguarding improvements and all those involved, believe that this has been achieved.”   “We are pleased that the report has reflected the fact that while safeguarding has always been important, it has become a higher priority strategically within the Diocese during the past three years.”   Commenting on the report Bishop Bill Nolan said;   “I am grateful to all those who work so tirelessly with Galloway Diocese to ensure our safeguarding standards are as high as possible and am particularly gratified to note that our Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser has been commended for working “well beyond what is expected in order to achieve the outcomes currently seen.”   “The Diocese is committed to supporting best practice in all its safeguarding work and shares entirely the auditors’ conclusion that “a focus is now needed on sustaining current improvements”.   ENDS   Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  Tel:    0141 221 1168 Mob:  07968 122291 ISDN: 0141 204 4956  pk@scmo.org  www.s...

PUBLICATION OF THE PROFESSIONAL AUDITS OF SAFEGUARDING IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF ST ANDREWS AND EDINBURGH AND THE DIOCESE OF GALLOWAY

| 30th January 2020 | Blogging

In January 2019, the Independent Review Group established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland to ensure the full implementation of the McLellan Commission on the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults in the Church announced that professional audits of two randomly chosen dioceses would be carried out by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and Children in Scotland (CiS). This process would be repeated each year until all 8 Dioceses had undergone rigorous investigation.  The purpose of these audits is to monitor progress on the McLellan Commission recommendations as well as seeking to ensure a robust system of safeguarding for children and vulnerable adults in the Church that can be measured against the best international standards.   No exercise such as this has been carried out by any other organisation in Scotland although 42 have been carried out in the Church of England and SCIE also audited the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham.  A proven methodology, the “Learning Together” approach, has been used in this process. The different legal, social care and safeguarding systems between Scotland and England slowed the process, but now that the methodology has been adapted, two further dioceses will be audited in 2020, these will be the Diocese of Motherwell and the Diocese of Aberdeen.   The final audit conclusions for each diocese, unamended, are attached to this release.  There is also an appendix detailing the skills and background of the members of the Independent Review Group.   Helen Liddell, Chair of the IRG said:   “It takes courage to expose yourself to the kind of rigorous audit published today, and to be the first is even more difficult, so I am grateful for the cooperation of the Dioceses and the support of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland (BCOS).   This is a learning exercise, and, although we can never take away the pain of those who have suffered abuse, hopefully survivors of abuse will be reassured by the rigorous exploration of how each diocese handles safeguarding and by the willingness to learn lessons and change procedures that have, in some cases, developed over decades.   All of us who have been involved in this have learned a lot, and there are many we have to be grateful to, none more so than those survivors who came forward with their own experiences to help guide the conclusions. The IRG will meet with each diocese within six months of this publication to review progress in considering the issues raised in the audit and action taken.   We owe a debt of gratitude also to those in the dioceses, both clergy and laity, who sometimes had to face up to examining some actions in the past that they had no part in but had to live with the consequences, sometimes with deep pain.   As this first stage concludes, the IRG acknowledges the sheer determination of all who have participated in this to make sure those who are vulnerable are as safe as possible. Never again will we assume that the vulnerable are safe. Never again will there be a hiding place for the abusers of those we love.”   Ends   CHAIR AND MEMBERSHIP OF THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW GROUP   Helen Liddell (Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke) Chair, is a former Member of Parliament and Secretary of State for Scotland. She is a member of the House of Lords.   Bartolomeo Biagini is an educational consultant. He was formerly a lead HM inspector of education with responsibility for inclusion across all sectors of education and was involved in child protection inspections. He also held senior leadership posts within education authorities in Scotland, including a depute director post as head of learning communities within South Lanarkshire Council.   Gordon Jeyes OBE was the UK's first Director of Children's Services and was the first Chief Executive of Ireland's Child and Family Agency (Tusla).  He is currently engaged in governance assurance reviews and chairs the National Children'...

Statement on the Appointment of the General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland

| 14th January 2020 | Blogging

14 JANUARY 2020   The Bishops of Scotland have appointed Fr Gerard Maguiness to be the new General Secretary of the Bishops' Conference. Fr Maguiness is currently Parish Priest of St Ignatius’, Wishaw, in the Diocese of Motherwell. He succeeds Fr Jim Grant who was appointed in 2018.   Commenting on the appointment, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said;   “I am delighted to welcome Fr Gerard to his new post and together with all the members of the conference, look forward to working with him in future. I extend our warmest thanks to Fr. Jim Grant for his service and to Bishop Toal for his willingness to support the conference and its work by lending one of his priests as General Secretary.”   Reacting to his appointment, Fr Maguiness said:   "I look forward to serving the Catholic Church in Scotland as General Secretary to the Bishops. I am grateful to Mgr Michael Conway and my parishioners from St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish, Wishaw, for their support and prayers for this new challenge."    Bishop Joe Toal, Bishop of Motherwell said:   “I am grateful to Fr Grant for the time and dedication he gave to the role of General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland. I have asked him to take up the post of Parish Priest of St Francis Xavier’s, Carfin, following the illness of Fr Francis McGachey, who stood down as Parish Priest of St Francis’ Xavier’s last year.”   Bishop Toal added;   “I am pleased that the Diocese of Motherwell can continue to contribute generously to the National Church by allowing Fr Gerard Maguiness to serve as General Secretary.  I am sure he will bring his many talents to that role and I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide him as he accepts this new challenge.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Note to Editors:    Fr Maguiness’ appointment will take effect from 7 February 2020. Fr Grant will take up his appointment in Carfin on 8 February.   Fr Gerard Maguiness – CV   Attended Our Lady of Lourdes Primary and Saint Bride's High, East Kilbride; Studies at Pontifical Scots College and Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome 1987-94; Ordained 4th July 1994 Our Lady of Lourdes, East Kilbride; Assistant Priest St. Columbkille's, Rutherglen 1994-1996; Chaplain to Fernhill School 1994-1996; Assistant Priest St. Ignatius of Loyola, Wishaw 1996-1999; Chaplain to St. Aidan's High, Wishaw 1996-1999; Doctorate in Theology, Alphonsianum, Pontifical Lateran University, Rome 1999-2002; Assistant Priest St. Monica's, Coatbridge 2002-2009; Primary Religious Education Advisor, Diocese of Motherwell 2002-2008; Vicar Episcopal for Religious Education 2008; Lecturer in Moral Theology, Scotus College, Glasgow 2003-2009; Parish Priest St Edward's, Airdrie 2009-2012; Parish Priest St Ignatius of Loyola, Wishaw 2012-2020; Chaplain to St. Aidan's High, Wishaw 2013-2018...

Christmas Messages from the Catholic Bishops of Scotland

| 17th December 2019 | Blogging

17th December 2019   Bishop Hugh Gilbert – Bishop of Aberdeen and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland   May I wish everyone a joyful Christmas and all good things for 2020! We don’t know the future, but we do know that God is with us – always, everywhere. And that changes everything.   What can we wish for others, for our family and friends, for ourselves? What about change? That might sound rude. But not if it’s meant well. Christmas – God with us – changes everything and something can shift in us through celebrating it. Something new can enter and change our standard selves.   At Christmas – at the Annunciation, to be precise – God changed. God became something he was not: a human being. He did this freely, out of love for us. He did not change who he always is, one God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He did not change his ‘character’. He didn’t stop being God. But the Second Person of the Trinity took on a human nature, ‘added’ humanity to himself. He embraced it, married it. He was born of a mother, died on a cross, rose from the dead – all as a real human being. Now, humanity is part of God - the Son of God - forever. Unbelievable! Yet this is our faith.   At Christmas, God changed. He changed so as to change us. He took on us so that we can take on him. God lived a human life so we can – unbelievably – live a divine one. What does this mean? Not throwing our weight around; God doesn’t do that. But with the help of the Holy Spirit and in the limits of our humanity, trying to reflect the goodness of God - freely, out of love. Trying to humble ourselves, like God. Trying to serve one another, as Jesus did. Trying to make a good gift of our own life, as the Father gifted his Son and his Son gifted himself. We can try to be ‘with’ one another, carrying each other’s burdens as Christ carried our cross. God could have forgotten us, as we had forgotten him. But he didn’t. In the Child Jesus, he remembers each one of us. And that changes us. Perhaps one simple life-changing gesture for Christmas is to remember – in prayer and contact - someone we might otherwise not. Couldn’t the whole world then become aflame, changed by love?   May Mary’s Son bless us all!   + Hugh Gilbert OSB Bishop of Aberdeen President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland December 2019   Bishop John Keenan – Bishop of Paisley and Vice President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland   I wonder if you, like me, enjoy the prayers in our Christmas Masses in this festive season.   After the long watching of the Advent season and, finally, all is at last made manifest, we can now enjoy the great promise in which we dared to hope.    Then, praying the prayers of the Christmas Liturgies, we find ourselves caught up in the marvel of the Bethlehem scene with Mary, Joseph and the newborn Messiah, below the choir of angels, accompanied by the shepherds and alongside the stable animals.   As we peer into its curiosity the prayers raise our minds to the astonishing truth of it all: In the wonder of the incarnation Your eternal Word has brought to the eyes of faith a new and radiant vision of Your glory.  In Him we see our God made visible, and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see.   It is so much to take in that the Liturgy allows us Twelve Days of Christmas to savour the astonishing truth of what interrupted our human history two thousand years ago in the arrival of that tiny Child.   The liturgy of the Feast of Saint Stephen, on the day after Christmas day, reflects upon how God took on human form so that we would not need to go look for Him in temples of stone but find Him very near in warm flesh and blood like our own.  The Feast of John the Evangelist contemplates the sheer wonder of the Incarnation where God comes so close to us that we can even touch Him with our hands and see Him with our eyes. The Feast of the Holy...