The first-ever ordination of a married Catholic priest in Scotland is due to take place in the Diocese of Aberdeen this evening at 6.30pm in St. Mary's Church in Inverness. The Reverend James Bell, a former priest of the Scottish Episcopal Church, will be ordained by Bishop Peter A Moran, Bishop of Aberdeen. Former Anglican priests, including married priests, have already been ordained as Catholic priests in England, and some have been given posts in Scotland, but this will be the first such ordination ceremony to take place North of the Border. James Bell, who is in his sixties, has extensive pastoral experience within the Anglican Communion in London and in Peterborough, and in Scottish Episcopal Church charges in Easter Ross and in Sutherland. Commenting ahead of his ordination, Deacon James Bell said: "I approach ordination to the Catholic priesthood with a profound sense of thanksgiving for the privilege, granted by the Holy See, of being able to serve the church here in the Highlands. It is the fulfilment of a long standing desire within my Christian pilgrimage, yet in a sense it is a wonderful new beginning." He added: "May God give me grace and strength to join Bishop Peter and my brother priests in bringing the knowledge of Christ to people. I have been encouraged by the warmth of the reception given to me and my wife, Lesley, by the clergy and the congregations within the Diocese of Aberdeen. We are delighted that so many of our friends are joining us for my ordination." Bishop Moran commented: "It is always a great joy for a bishop to ordain a priest for his diocese. I am grateful to the Roman authorities for the exceptional permission which allows me to ordain James Bell. He brings long pastoral experience, deep religious commitment, and a warm and friendly ersonality. He is a welcome recruit to our diocesan clergy team." Source: Scottish Catholic Media Office
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