A new Bishop has been appointed for Argyll and the Isles after the post was left vacant for over 18 months.
Monsignor Brian McGee was announced as the new Bishop yesterday morning in Oban Cathedral – and admitted he initially found the prospect of his appointment by the Pope “frightening”.
Monsignor McGee is the current vicar general of the diocese of Paisley and priest of Holy Family Parish in Port Glasgow.
The post has been vacant since April 2014 when Joseph Toal became the Bishop of Motherwell.
The new Bishop’s appointment is part of a ‘new wave’ of clerics filling vacancies left by retirements, illness, relocations and – in the case of Cardinal Keith O’Brien who resigned after being accused of inappropriate behaviour – some scandal.
Yesterday, Bishop-Elect McGee said: “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.
“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 Greenock-born Bishop-Elect admitted it would be a wrench for him to leave Paisley, but spoke of his excitement to be heading to Argyll and the Isles.
He said that, although he is not yet a Gaelic speaker, he hoped to promote its use in worship.
“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,” he added.
“I already look forward to living within what will be my new diocese and I am sure that I will naturally come to love its people.”
Bishop-Elect McGee will be ordained at a later date at St Columba’s Cathedral in Oban.
Bishop John Keenan of Paisley congratulated his colleague on the appointment.
He said: “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.”
Monsignor James MacNeil, administrator of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles, said: “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.”