Bishop Brian’s Message on Good Shepherd Sunday
DIOCESE OF ARGYLL AND THE ISLES
BISHOP BRIAN’S MESSAGE ON GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY 7TH/8TH MAY 2022
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
On Good Shepherd Sunday I greet each one of you, who are God’s faithful followers.
Today, along with Archbishop Nolan, I am in Rome making a visitation of our Scottish seminary where we will listen to, encourage and challenge our next generation of shepherds. Please support them by your prayers. I have also met with Deacon Philip Bua who will be ordained to the priesthood in St Columba’s Cathedral on the 21st of June. Philip has dedicated his life to God and Argyll and the Isles. Please pray for him that he will be a shepherd after the Lord’s heart. If you can manage, and especially if you have never been to an ordination, I encourage you to join us.
Today I also thank our priests for their service to you, especially during these difficult times for everyone. I am very grateful for their fidelity to God and their witness points us towards the Father. I also think of our retired clergy who, each in their own way, still lead people to God.
I also delight in your support of our priests and deacons which has been particularly thoughtful and uplifting during the pandemic.
In today’s Gospel Jesus reminds us that we are to listen to his voice and follow him. The more our priests listen to Our Lord in their hearts the better they will lead you to him. Therefore, it is crucial for priests to dedicate regular time to prayer and also participate in Retreats and Spiritual Direction. In a rural diocese like ours, these last two activities will normally involve travelling which will take them away from their parishes. Sometimes priests feel uncomfortable about this and may worry what people will think. However, the Church considers these activities to be essential. Likewise, I also consider it important that priests spend time together and I encourage them to make the time to do this.
We all can have a positive influence on each other’s vocation. Earlier this year I attended the funeral of Fr Benny O’Keeffe in my home town of Greenock. He was a true shepherd who was greatly and widely loved. He was my curate as a child, my Spiritual Director in Seminary and my Parish Priest after Ordination but, most importantly, he was the first person to ever ask me if I would consider becoming a priest. At the time I declined the offer(!) but I have no doubt that a seed had been planted. I now ask our younger men – is the Lord calling you to be a priest? If you think that he may be, do not be afraid! I have no doubt that God is still inviting, and I encourage our clergy, families and parishes to help by developing a strong culture of vocation throughout our diocese
May the Good Shepherd abundantly bestow his blessings upon you,
Right Reverend Brian McGee
Bishop of Argyll and the Isles
Charity Registration No.SC002876