Fr William Nolan, vicar general of Motherwell, says he is 'over-awed' by appointment

Pope Francis has appointed Fr William Nolan, vicar general of Motherwell, as Bishop of Galloway.

Bishop-elect Nolan, who served in the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, East Kilbride, for 20 years, will replace Bishop John Cunningham, who is 76, one year past the retirement age for diocesan bishops.

He said he was “over-awed” by the appointment.

“I already know some of the clergy and I look forward to working with them and with the the people of the diocese to help the faith flourish in the land where Ninian planted the seeds of faith so long ago,” the bishop-elect said.

“I wish to serve the diocese as best I can, but knowing I am hindered by my failings and weaknesses, I ask everyone to pray for me.”

He added: “The last 20 years of my life have been spent in Our Lady of Lourdes parish East Kilbride. I wish to pay tribute to the people of the parish for their kindness and support to me over the years. My move to Galloway is tinged with sadness at leaving Our Lady of Lourdes behind.”

Bishop-elect Nolan, who was baptised in the same church in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, as Cardinal Winning, was ordained a priest at the age of only 23.

He served as an assistant priest at Our Lady of Lourdes in the late 1970s, returning as parish priest more than a decade later.

Bishop Cunningham, the outgoing Bishop of Galloway, said he was “delighted” with the appointment.

The bishop said: “I know that he brings with him experience in many pastoral situations, and that this will serve him well as he leads the Diocese of Galloway. Galloway is a diocese consisting of parishes which are both rural and in large towns, and so Fr Nolan’s wide expertise in dealing with people in his parish ministry, and in being able to adapt to different situations, will serve him well.

“I leave my role as Bishop of Galloway confident in my successor, and can assure him that the people and the priests of Galloway Diocese will offer him every support,” the bishop said.

Fr William McFadden, vicar general of the Galloway diocese, said: “On behalf of the priests of the diocese I welcome the appointment of Fr Nolan, and can assure him that the clergy of Galloway will support him in every way.

“We are aware of the demands that await him, particularly in the process of Embracing Change, but he can be sure that there is enormous goodwill and a real commitment to collaborative ministry awaiting him.”