Roman Catholic Diocese of Motherwell

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Diocese of Motherwell
Dioecesis Matrisfontis
Motherwell Diocesan Coat of Arms.gif
Diocese of Motherwell Coat of Arms
Country Scotland
Territory Most of the council areas of North and South Lanarkshire and part of Glasgow.
Ecclesiastical province Ecclesiastical Province of Glasgow
Metropolitan Glasgow
Area 1,178 km2 (455 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2013)
164,586 (23.4%)
Parishes 75
Churches 74
Schools 12 High Schools
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Latin Rite
Established 25 May 1947
Cathedral Cathedral Church of Our Lady of Good Aid, Motherwell
Secular priests 113, including retired priests and those working with the Diocese.
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Joseph Toal
Metropolitan Archbishop Philip Tartaglia
Vicar General William Nolan
Emeritus Bishops Joseph Devine

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Motherwell (Latin: Dioecesis Matrisfontis) is an ecclesiastical diocese of the Catholic Church in Scotland.[1]

The diocese, which was erected on 25 May 1947 from the Archdiocese of Glasgow, along with the Diocese of Paisley which was erected on the same day, it remains one of two suffragan sees, under the Archdiocese.[1] On Tuesday 29 April 2014 - the Feast of St Catherine of Siena - Pope Francis appointed Joseph Toal as fifth Bishop of Motherwell.

In 2004, the Catholic population, proportionately the largest in Scotland and second largest in Great Britain, was 165,100 from a total population of 633,000 (26.1%). In 2012 the diocese was served by 65 parish priests, 7 assistant priests and 13 deacons in across its 74 parishes. There are currently 35 retired priests from the diocese and 4 who reside in parishes in the diocese. The area of the diocese is 1,178 square kilometres (455 sq mi).[1]

Past and present ordinaries[edit]

Main article: Bishop of Motherwell

The following is a list of the Bishops of Motherwell:[1]

  • Edward Douglas (appointed 7 February 1948 – resigned 9 February 1954)
  • James Scanlan (appointed 23 May 1955 – translated to the Archdiocese of Glasgow 29 January 1964)
  • Francis Thomson (appointed 8 December 1964 – resigned 14 December 1982)
  • Joseph Devine (appointed 13 May 1983 - resigned Thursday 30 May 2013)
  • Joseph Toal (appointed 29 April 2014 – present; previously Bishop of Argyll & the Isles Diocese from October 2008 - April 2014 and Apostolic Administrator of Motherwell from 30 May 2013 - 29 April 2014)

Diocesan Clergy[edit]

There are currently 75 parishes and 74 churches in the Diocese which are served by 72 priests and 13 deacons.

Krysztof Garwolinski, administrator of St Patrick's, Wishaw is chaplain to the Polish community. Joseph Vembadamthara is chaplain to the Syro Malabar Community and is an assistant priest at St Cuthbert's, Hamilton.

In 2011 many priests retired, meaning big changes in the diocese. The most notable retirement was of Noel Provost Carey who had served as parish priest of the cathedral for 30 years and as provost of the diocese for many of them, with Thomas Millar (made Canon in December 2011) taking over charge of the cathedral in June 2011. Francis McGachey replaced Millar as parish priest of St Francis Carfin and Carfin Grotto.
Other retirements included: William O'Sullivan (St Barbara's Muirhead), Brian Logue (St Kevin's Bargeddie), Leo Muldoon (St Peter's Hamilton), James O'Hara (St Mark's Rutherglen), Timothy Brosnan (St Gerard's Bellshill), Andrew Reen (Sacred Heart, Bellshill) and Michael Ryan (St Bride's East Kilbride).

Niall Hayes (St John Bosco's New Stevenston), Michael Conway (St Ignatius' Wishaw), John Farrell (St Patrick's Strathaven), Damian Murphy (St Paul's Hamilton), John Healy (St Serf's Airdrie), Michael Walsh (St Aloysius' Chapelhall) and Vivian Hayes (St Francis of Assisi Baillieston) all retired in 2012. Henry Allison was also due to retire as parish priest of St Anthony's Rutherglen but died on 3 January.

Humphrey O'Mahony (Corpus Christi Calderbank & Sacred Heart Salsburgh) retired in October 2013.

There were two ordinations to the priesthood in the Diocese in 2011, the first ordinations in the diocese since 2005. Michael Kane was ordained in St John's Uddingston and Liam O'Connor in St Barbara's Muirhead. There were also two men ordained to the Permanent Deaconate in 2011. John McGarry who was ordained in St Bride's East Kilbride and now serves there and Mario Vannini who was ordained in Our Lady and Saint Anne's Hamilton and now serves in both St Ninian's and St Cuthbert's Hamilton. Richard Haggarty was ordained for the diocese in early 2012 and serves in St John the Baptist Uddingston. In September 2012 another two men were ordained deacons, both Henry McKenna at St Patrick's Shotts and William McMillan in St Benedict's Easterhouse who will serve St Columbkille's Rutherglen.

Brian Lamb is the Vocations Director (Priests) & James Grant is Vocations Director (Deacons).

On Wednesday 24 July 2013, Leo Cushley, a priest of the diocese of Motherwell was appointed the Archbishop of St Andrew's & Edinburgh. Cushley was ordained in 1985 by Devine in St John the Baptist Church, Uddingston before serving in the Cathedral, St Serf's, Airdrie & St Aidan's, Wishaw. Since 1992 he has been a diplomat for the Vatican and held the post as head of the English-language section of the Vatican's Secretariat of State.

Maurice Taylor, a priest of the Diocese is the Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Galloway and served as Scotland's representative on the Board of International Commission on English in the Liturgy and was its Chairman from 1997 until 2002.

Cardinal Thomas Winning, a priest of the Diocese born in Wishaw was Archbishop of Glasgow from 1974 until his death in 2001.

Parishes and deaneries[edit]

The 75 Parishes in the Diocese are spilt in 9 deaneries.

  1. Airdrie Deanery - :dean, T Trench
  2. Central Deanery - :dean, J Morris
  3. Coatbridge Deanery - :dean, W Dunnachie
  4. East Kilbride Deanery - :dean, W Nolan (Interim)
  5. Hamilton Deanery - :dean, H O'Brien (Interim)
  6. Motherwell Deanery - :dean, T Millar
  7. Northern Deanery - :dean, J McIntyre
  8. Rutherglen Deanery - :dean, P Hennessy
  9. Wishaw Deanery - :dean, H Kelly

Due to a shortage in priests, a number of parishes have begun to share parish priests including, Larkhall (St Mary's), Blackwood (St John's), Hamilton (St Ninian's, St Cuthbert's, St Mary's and St Paul's), Motherwell (Cathedral & St Luke's), Coatbridge (St Stephen's and St Bernard's), Holytown (Christ the King), New Stevenston (St John Bosco's), Airdrie (St Margaret's and St Serf's), Baillieston (St Bridget's and St Francis of Assisi'), Bellshill (Sacred Heart & St Gerard's), Cambuslang (St Bride's & St Cadoc's Halfway).

There are 11 priests and 1 deacon who serve as school chaplains to the high schools in the diocese.
There is also a chaplain to the main hospitals in the diocese, Monklands (Colin Hughes), Wishaw (Michael Brown) and Hairmyres (Liam O'Connor).


Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral was first built in 1900 and became the cathedral of the new diocese of Motherwell in 1948. The current Cathedral Administrator is Thomas Millar. The parish of the cathedral was linked with the parish of St Luke's Motherwell in 2011.

Cathedral Chapter[edit]


Thomas O'Hare
Thomas Millar
James Foley
Edward Glackin
Joseph Clements
Cornelius O'Leary
John McIntyre
William Dunnachie

Canons Emeritus

Denis Keane
Patrick McGovern
Herbert Flack
Patrick O'Hare
Patrick O'Sullivan
Thomas Gibbons
Timothy Brosnan
Michael Ryan
Noel Carey
Andrew Reen
William O'Sullivan
Niall Hayes
John B Healy
Michael Walsh
Humphrey O'Mahony


  1. ^ a b c d "Diocese of Motherwell". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 


Western Catholic Calendar

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°47′29″N 3°59′13″W / 55.79128°N 3.98704°W / 55.79128; -3.98704