The Bishops of Scotland have appointed a Mossend priest as the new General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference.
Father James Grant, who is currently parish priest of Holy Family Church will succeed Mgr Hugh Bradley on January 31.
Bishop of Motherwell Joseph Toal said: “I am happy that Father Grant has accepted the Bishops’ request to succeed Mgr Hugh Bradley as General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.
“I am sure he will carry out his duties as General Secretary very well and will bring his long experience as a parish priest to assist wisely the Bishops and all who work for the conference in the time ahead.
“Of course, we will miss his ministry in Motherwell Diocese but we are happy to contribute generously to the National Church in allowing Father Grant to serve as General Secretary.
“He will still be resident in the Diocese and will continue to have an active role where possible. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide him as he accepts this new challenge.”
Father Grant admitted he was “shocked”.
Father Grant has been at Holy Family for 23 years and admitted it will be a wrench to leave.
He said: “It came as quite a shock to me to be asked to undertake this role. I never sought nor expected to be anything but a parish priest.
“I will find it hard to leave the wonderful parish community of Holy Family where I have spent over 23 years as parish priest.
“I shall treasure my years there and as I move on to new pastures, I would hope to use the pastoral experience gained over the last 35 years in parish life in my new role.
“It is the everyday pastoral work in a parish setting which energises me and where I have found great fulfilment and it is with a very heavy heart that I will leave parish ministry albeit for even a short time.
“I shall miss enormously being part of a parish community.
“This new role will be something completely different, however, I do see a pastoral element in the role of General Secretary to the Bishops’ Conference which is to support, encourage and affirm all the different agencies and individuals who do such great work for the Bishops’ Conference and indeed for Catholic Church in Scotland.
“In a sense, these people will become my new ‘parishioners’.”