The new leader of the Roman Catholic church in Scotland will be formally installed in Glasgow today. The Most Rev Mario Conti, succeeds Cardinal Thomas Winning, who died in June 2001. The first part of the ceremony took place last night at Evening Prayers in St Andrew's Cathedral. During the service, the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Pablo Puente, was due to read an official letter of appointment from the Pope. Among those expected was the First Minister, Jack McConnell and Scottish Secretary Helen Liddell. The Rt Rev John Miller, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, was also due to attend with representatives of other Christian churches, and the Jewish and Islamic faiths. Today, the new archbishop will enter the cathedral behind a procession of 200 cardinals, archbishops, bishops and priests, to celebrate Mass. Biography Mario Joseph Conti, 67, was born in Elgin, Moray and educated at the town's St Marie's Convent and Springfield School. He entered the Minor Seminary of St Mary's College, Blairs, and in 1952 was sent to the Scots College in Rome to study for the priesthood for the Diocese of Aberdeen. The Archbishop, who has one sister, Stella Minihan, who lives in England, gained a licence in philosophy in 1955 and also in theology in 1959 from the Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained priest on 26 October 1958, by Archbishop Luigi Traglia. After completing his studies the following year, he was appointed assistant priest at St Mary's Cathedral in Aberdeen, where he remained until he was appointed parish priest of St Joachim's in Wick, and St Anne's in Thurso, in 1962. Bishop Conti was nominated Bishop of Aberdeen on 28 February 1977, and was ordained by His Eminence Gordon Cardinal Gray, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, at Aberdeen on 3 May 1977. At the time of his nomination he was a member of both the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and the Pontifical Council for the Cultural Heritage of the Church. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, president of the Commission for Christian Doctrine and Unity of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland and president of its Heritage Commission. He was also a member of the Catholic Bishops' Joint Committee for bio-ethics and the central council of Action of Churches Together in Scotland, as well as president of the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. Speaking after his appointment Bishop Conti said: "It is a great honour to be nominated Archbishop of Glasgow. "I accept the challenge confident of the support of the clergy and the welcome of the faithful of the archdiocese. "Together we will strive to make the Kingdom of God an ever greater reality." Bishop Conti said that the apparent "crisis of faith" in Scotland was similar to that found elsewhere in Western society. "If one addresses the matters which are common to everyone, one hopefully overcomes some of the difficulties which may arise if you start addressing them at a particular level," he said.
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