Bishop's Letter 28 July 2011

                                                                                                                                                                                                       28th July 2011.
Ad Clerum 06/2011.

 Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I write a few words to keep you informed of what is happening in the Diocese.

Recent Celebrations:

We had a lovely celebration on Friday 22nd July, the Feast of St Mary Magdalene, of the 60th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood of Canon Angus John MacQueen, parish priest of Northbay, Barra. The Mass was concelebrated at the Lourdes Grotto next to St. Barr’s Church at Northbay by Canon Angus, ten priests and myself, assisted by Deacon Martin Matheson. The local people were joined by family and friends from Uist and the mainland, most notably Canon Angus’ elderly sister-in-law, Nan MacQueen, from Quidenham, East Anglia. I attach my homily as a token of what was said and as an appreciation for Canon Angus’ long ministry in the Diocese.

Earlier in the month the people of Vatersay had celebrated the Golden Jubilee of Fr. Peter Granger- Banyard S.J. Fr. Peter has been coming to Vatersay for 40 years, and we gratefully remember his ministry there to the local people. Fr. Paul Hackett was ordained priest the same day as Fr. Peter, and I will be joining him on Sunday for his Mass of Thanksgiving in Kingussie on his anniversary, 31st July, the Feast of St Ignatius of Loyola.

I extend again our prayers and good wishes to the Jubilarians.

From Barra I crossed to South Uist and joined in “Geirinis an Oir”, the celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the township of West Gerinish. I joined Fr. Michael MacDonald and the local clergy in celebrating an Outdoor Mass on Sunday afternoon close to the ruins of the 18th century chapel at Gearraidhfluich. Again we were blessed with nice weather and a joyful celebration of the Eucharist, honouring the past and affirming our Catholic faith today.

 Clergy Moves:

The most recent appointments will take place this during this coming week – Mgr James MacNeil will arrive in Oban, with Fr William MacLean moving to Skye. Fr David Connor will be in Lochgilphead this weekend to begin his priestly ministry there. We wish them all every blessing in their new parishes.

Rev Stanislaw Pamula has been in Oban through July, along with Fr Biju Thomas, and will now move to Fort William for a month. Stanislaw’s ministry as a deacon here has been much appreciated, especially the contact he has made with his fellow Poles in the area.

We will be joined in Oban now by our other seminarian, Tony Wood, as we welcome him back to the Diocese for his summer pastoral placement.

Permanent Diaconate:

Our students for the permanent diaconate, Simon Westlake and Tom Wynne, will be attending the Deacon’s Residential Summer Course through the coming week at Kinnoull. We wish them well in their exams, and pray for them in their journey towards the diaconate. I will be joining them for Mass at Kinnoull on Friday.

I draw your attention also to the Pastoral Letter from Bishop Logan on the 25th Anniversary of the restoration of the Permanent Diaconate in Scotland. The anniversary will be marked at the Annual National Pilgrimage at Carfin on Sunday 4th September, and it would be good for the Diocese to be represented at this Mass. Bishop Logan also commended that we continue to seek and pray for  vocations to the Permanent Diaconate.

 Feast of St Mary MacKillop of the Cross/Diocesan Vocations Mass:

As advertised before, the Mass will be in St. Mary’s, Fort William, on Monday 8th August, at 7pm. The MacKillop family produced priestly and religious vocations for the growing Church in Australia, so it seems a very fitting day to call the local people from across the deanery, and beyond, to pray for this intention on her first feast-day since her canonisation. Please advertise the Mass well in the parishes this weekend so that people know it is on and are encouraged to attend. Bishop Logan’s words in his pastoral letter illustrate the variety of vocations we should pray for.

World Youth Day – Madrid, 16 – 21 August:

There is a group from the Diocese of 12 people going to World Youth Day, led by Frs John Paul MacKinnon and Andrew Barrett and Denise Roberts, our Diocesan Youth Worker. They are leaving on Saturday August 13th and will stay in the vicinity of Madrid throughout their stay. They will return home on Monday 22nd August. We wish them well and pray that the experience of WYD may truly build up their faith in Jesus Christ, and bring back encouragement for others. I will travel to WYD on Tuesday 16th and hopefully will mange to meet up with the Argyll Group once there. After WYD I will spend a few days in the College in Salamanca with those doing the propaedeutic period before starting their seminary course in September.

Diocesan Clergy Assembly – Tuesday August 30th – Thursday September 1st:

I remind the clergy, priests and deacons, of the Annual Clergy Assembly, starting at 4pm on Tuesday August 30th and running until lunch-time on Thursday September 1st. I hope you will all make every effort to be present. I got a copy of last year’s minutes from Fr John Paul MacKinnon, which I have attached. I will make up the agenda for this year’s meeting next week and send out the accompanying papers. If anyone wishes to include anything on the agenda please let me know.

Special Collection for Retired Priests:

I remind parish priests that the special collection in August is for the Retired Priests of the Diocese. This is another collection for which we need to encourage generous contributions on behalf of the faithful. Once again please make sure it is well advertised and its purpose properly explained, i.e, to provide for the seven retired priests of the Diocese.  

I thank those who made a special effort in promoting the July Collection for the Bishop.      

With my prayers and best wishes,
Yours in the Lord,
+ Joseph.

Rt Rev Joseph Toal
Bishop of Argyll and the Isles






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