Fr Stephen says farewell

Fr Reilly (centre) with Fr Ricky Mallya (left) and Fr William Damah
Fr Reilly (centre) with Fr Ricky Mallya (left) and Fr William Damah

Parishioners at St Bernadette’s church in Motherwell have said a fond farewell to popular priest Father Stephen Reilly.

Members of the congregation gathered for a special ‘World Mass’ recently as Fr Stephen prepared to leave St Bernadette’s after serving there for more 10 years.

Fr Stephen was born in Glasgow and grew up in Muirhead.

After school he studied for seven years at the Scots College in Rome, and is still a regular visitor to the city.

Fr Stephen served as assistant priest in St Bride’s Parish, Bothwell, from 1997-2003 and was chaplain to Cardinal Newman High, Bellshill, from 1998-2003.

Highlights from the latter were the many trips and pilgrimages, including a 100-mile walk across the Camino de Santiago, Spain.

In 2003 Fr Stephen moved to St Mary’s, Hamilton. He also took up the post of chaplain at Taylor High in New Stevenston.

Fr Stephen moved to St Bernadette’s in August 2005, where he has spent the last decade helping to set up many groups in the parish.

He has also been a key figure in redeveloping the parish building.

Fr Stephen left his post as chaplain at Taylor High in 2009 and became RE Adviser for primary schools in the Diocese of Motherwell, and was part of the team which developed the new national RE syllabus for Scotland, ‘This is Our Faith’.

He is also the Director of the Diocesan pastoral centre in Newmains and chaplain to HCPT group 89 ,based in Lanarkshire.

Father Stephen is a keen hillwalker and cycler , and a lover of football. He is fluent in a number of languages and enjoys playing the guitar.

A spokesperson for the parish said: “Fr Stephen will be sorely missed by all at St Bernadette’s and we thank him for the outstanding work he has done for the parish and wish him all the best for the future.”

During a three-month period of sabbatical and preparation for the future, Fr Stephen will be resident in the Royal Scots College, Salamanca, Spain.

He will also be applying for the post of co-ordinator of Spiritual and Pastorial Formation at the School of Education at the University of Glasgow.