Pope Francis has today appointed Monsignor Brian McGee as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles. The diocese has been vacant since April 2014 when Bishop Joseph Toal became the Bishop of Motherwell. Mgr. McGee is currently Vicar General of the Diocese of Paisley and Parish Priest of Holy Family Parish, Port Glasgow.
Reacting to his appointment, 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.”
Bishop-Elect McGee added:
“I am excited about coming to the diocese of Argyll and the Isles. It has an ancient and proud heritage whose roots stretch back almost one and a half thousand years preceding even its spiritual father, Saint Columba. Since then, the consistent witness to Christ and the contribution to the National and Universal Church have been immense and I pray that it will continue to be so. I am also mindful of the diocese’s rich Gaelic character and I, although not yet a Gaelic speaker, will endeavour to promote its rightful use in the worship of God.
We have entered into the Year of Mercy. I am inspired by this Jubilee’s ethos and I hope to be a bishop that has an unshakable trust in God’s mercy, unafraid to acknowledge my own need of God’s mercy and one who shows mercy to all, especially those who are most in need. Pope Francis wrote of our Faith Communities being oases of mercy. Please God, as individuals, as parishes and the diocese as a body will be a constant oasis of mercy to all.”
“I cannot deny that it is a wrench for me to leave the Diocese of Paisley. This was where I wanted to minister from my youth and I have always been very happy there. I would like to thank Bishop John Keenan, and his predecessors, as well as the clergy, religious and lay faithful of Paisley Diocese for their encouragement over many years. 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. I grew up in Greenock daily enjoying beautiful views of the Cowal Peninsula, Bute and Arran and I still savour them from my parish in Port Glasgow today. I have holidayed and trekked throughout the diocesan boundaries from my earliest childhood to the present day. I have made several pilgrimages to Iona. I already look forward to living within what will be my new diocese and I sure that I will naturally come to love its people.”
Bishop John Keenan of Paisley said:
“Many congratulations to Bishop Elect Brian on his appointment by Pope Francis to the See of Argyll and the Isles. I am not at all surprised that he has been chosen for this important office. Since appointing him as my Vicar General and getting to know and see him at work I have been highly impressed by his wisdom about the ways of the Church, his personal commitment to living the Gospel and his sense of service to the clergy and people of the diocese. 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.
“I can assure the clergy and people of Argyll and the Isles that they are getting a Pastor who will give his all to serving them with justice and who will lead them with energy and vision. He will be a valued member of the Bishop’s Conference which will benefit from his fresh perspective and thoughtful discernment.”
Commenting on the appointment the Administrator of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles, Monsignor James MacNeil 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.
Mgr. MacNeil added: “We pray that under his fatherly guidance we will grow in faith and unity so that we may become a community that effectively witnesses to the presence of the Risen Lord among us. Welcome, Bishop-elect Brian; may you have many years of happy and fruitful ministry as Bishop of Argyll and the Isles.”
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Notes to Editors:
1.Bishop-Elect McGee will be ordained at St. Columba’s Cathedral in Oban at a date to be advised.
2. Photographs of Bishop-Elect McGee are available from: Anthony MacMillan 01397 702557 or firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Bishop-Elect Brian McGee’s Biography
Brian Thomas McGee
Born Greenock 8th October 1965.
Baptised, St Laurence’s, Greenock.
Parents: Seamus and Brighid McGee. Father born in Moville, Ireland moved to Greenock aged five. Mother born Belfast, Ireland moved to Greenock after marriage, 1964. Father engineer fitter, died 1981. Mother Primary teacher.
Siblings: Brona, Ciaran and Kevin. Both brothers died as infants. Brona is a nurse and currently is Director of Care at St Vincent’s Hospice, Howwood.
St Joseph’s Primary School , Greenock 1970-1973
Holy Cross Primary School, Greenock 1973-1977
St Vincent’s College, Langbank 1977-1978
St Mary’s College, Blairs 1978-1983
St Patrick’s College, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, Ireland 1983-1989
Ordained priest for the Diocese of Paisley 29th June 1989 in St Mary’s, Greenock by Bishop John Mone
Certificate in Philosophy (Distinction) 1984 St Patrick’s College, Thurles,
Diploma in Theology (Distinction) 1988 St Patrick’s College, Thurles,
MA Christian Spirituality (Distinction) 2011 Sarum College, Salisbury,
St Charles, Paisley 1989-1995 (Assistant Priest)
Holy Family, Port Glasgow 1995-1997 (Assistant Priest)
St Joseph’s, Clarkson 1997-2007 (Parish Priest)
Spiritual Director, Scotus College, National Seminary 2007-2009
Holy Family, Port Glasgow 2009- (Parish Priest)
Director of RCIA c1993-2003
Vicar Episcopal for Marriage and Family Life 2006-2014
Vicar General of Diocese of Paisley 2014-