SENIOR Catholics have welcomed the ordination of Scotland’s newest bishop.
The Right Reverend Brian McGee was consecrated as Bishop of Argyll and the Isles by Archbishop Leo Cushley at St Columba’s Cathedral in Oban on Thursday evening.
He is the 11th Bishop of Argyll and the Isles and succeeds Joseph Toal who held the appointment until 2014 before being installed as Bishop of Motherwell.
The Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Antonia Mennini, attended the ordination, representing Pope Francis.
President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, said: “I congratulate Monsignor Brian McGee on his nomination and consecration as Bishop of Argyll and 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.”
Brian McGee, 50, grew up in Greenock, Inverclyde, and studied at St Patrick’s College in Thurles, County Tipperary and Sarum College in Salisbury.
He latterly served as a parish priest at the Holy Family church in Port Glasgow.
Speaking ahead of the ordination, Archbishop Cushley said: “Bishop-elect McGee is a good man, a fine priest and a seasoned pastor who brings many years of experience to bear in his new role as Bishop of Argyll and the Isles.”
In his homily, the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh praised the “long and distinguished history of the Church of Christ in Argyll and the Isles” and spoke of the journey of St Columba to Iona 1,400 years ago.
He told those gathered in Oban: “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.”
Speaking ahead of his ordination, the new bishop said: “Although it is a challenging vocation God’s grace and the kindness of so many people has greatly encouraged me.”
The Diocese of Argyll and the Isles was established in 1878 and has a Catholic population of around 10,546 (14.1%), according to the Scottish Catholic Media Office.
Monsignor James MacNeil has acted as administrator since the departure of Bishop Joseph Toal.
On February 5 clergy gathered for the funeral of Bishop Emeritus Ian Murray, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles from 1999 to 2008.