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Fr. William Maclean

St.Margaret’s was Fr William Maclean’s first parish and he was immediately thrown in at the deep end with the arrival of the Mthunzi Culture Group, an exchange visit organised by the Mthunzi and Lilanda Initiative (M.A.L.I.).

However, he not only opened his heart to the young Zambians - he opened his home, too, and hosted the group’s leaders and continued to be supportive of the Mid Argyll charity throughout his stay in the parish.

Fr William also supported the work of Jumbulance, MOMA and SCIAF.

During his time in Lochgilphead, he taught Spanish at Argyll College, trained as a CAB counsellor, and was part of the chaplaincy at Lochgilphead joint campus.

He lent a helping hand at coffee mornings, the sale of work and the summer fayre, where he was even willing to take his turn in the stocks in the name of fund raising.

Fr William encouraged and supported parents and children’s liturgy leaders, and developed a great rapport with St Margaret’s little ones. Understanding shyness, he patiently helped new altar servers learn their role.

The re-decoration of the church took place during Fr William’s tenure, and he oversaw the renovation of the sacristy.

The Catholic community in Inveraray was very important to Fr William. We do not have our own building in Inveraray and when the Episcopal Church that is our home there fell into disrepair, he was happy to accept the kind offer of the Church of Scotland minister to share the historic parish church in the centre of the town, forging a strong ecumenical friendship that will not be forgotten even though we are now back in the Episcopal Church and Fr William has moved on.

A keen cyclist, enthusiastic footballer and cat lover, Fr William and his Norwegian Forest cat Freya became well known in the wider community.

Fr William’s moved to Skye in 2011 and Fr David Connor, who was ordained in June 2011, was welcomed to St Margaret’s.

The rest, as they say, is history: a much kinder history than that of the 16th and 17th centuries and even than that of the early 20th century when Catholics still felt the after shock of oppression.

It has happily become normal to worship freely, proud of the physical presence of our attractive church building and proud of the integral role which Catholics play in today's Mid-Argyll.

Article written by Marian Pallister

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