Sunday July 20th. 2014                                                                                        Charity registration No. SC 002876

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St. Margaret's,                        St. Joseph's,                        St. Finnan's

This Sunday we celebrate the anniversary of a former bishop of this diocese, and  a son of this parish, Archbishop Donald Joseph Campbell. He was consecrated bishop of Argyll and the Isles in Oban on  October 5th, 1939. and served the diocese faithfully during the difficult war years. He was transferred to Glasgow, January 6, 1945, as its archbishop, where he did spectacular work to revive the large diocese after the war. He died on  a pilgrimage to Lourdes, July 22, 1966.

We think very much today of our former Bishop Toal who was recently transferred to the diocese of Motherwell  after only six years as Bishop of Argyll and the Isles. He was greatly loved  by the priests and the people and did so much to strengthen their faith by is devoted pastoral care.  Of course, we also lost Bishop Stephen Mc Gill, who was transferred to the diocese of Paisley, July 25th, 1968, after eight years as our bishop. Argyll and the Isles seems to be a fruitful source of providing good bishops for other dioceses in Scotland!

Archbishop Campbell, bishop of our diocese,

October 5, 1939 – January 5th, 1945

One of the outstanding members of the Scottish Hierarchy in the post-war period was Archbishop Campbell from Bohuntin, Roy Bridge.  He had the vision to see that the world was changing  rapidly from its old ways, and he rose to the challenge by his leadership to ensure that the faithful of his  Archdiocese were cared for by building new Catholic schools, erecting new churches in the large satellite housing schemes which had an ever increasing Catholic population, and introducing so many other pastoral developments for  the needs of his people. Under his guidance, the vast Archdiocese, which he had looked after with such skilful and pastoral care, was  divided into three dioceses—Glasgow, Motherwell and, with two new bishops, which made one realise the incredible responsibility he had for thousands of souls. No doubt the stress and his tireless work contributed to his early death.

Previous to being appointed to Glasgow, he was elected Bishop of Argyll and the Isles in succession to Bishop Martin, and took up residence in the Bishop’s House, Oban.

During the war years, Oban was one the  busiest military areas in the country, and a most important  base for the navy and air force. convoys heading for America to bring back food and   resources, gathered in the highland lochs in Argyllshire  under the command of the headquarters in Oban, and then. accompanied by Sunderland and Catalina flying boats to  safeguard them for as long as they could from U-boats,   headed for Iceland and then dashed across the Atlantic.

The  Arch-bishop had to assure that the large number of military  

personnel deployed in the area were able to assist at mass  and receive the sacraments, for sadly many of them were to  lose their lives in action.   

The Cathedral lay unfinished because of war, like a giant in a cocoon striving to come to birth, but it the Archbishop managed to continue with the building despite the  shortage of material and man power, so that the work never really  stopped and progress was made, however slowly, and by the end  of the war, to his great credit,almost half the Cathedral had been  completed!


His death  on July 28th, 1966, was a sad blow to the people fo Scotland. His obituary, preached by Bishop James Ward, his Vicar General,  gave in detail the magnificent work that this saintly and dedicated  priest and bishop from Roy Bridge achieved for the Church in   Scotland.

When the vault in the Cathedral was ready, the  archbishop's remains were exhumed from their first burial place at the seminary of Cardross and transferred to the crypt of St. Andrew’s Cathedral where he now lies at rest.  The lid of his first coffin is now on the wall at the back of the church at Cille Choirill above the burial site of the Holy Woman of Insh with an engraved  plate. This plate reminds us of when he was a student of  his discovery in the Vatican archives of the  letter sent to Rome in 1740 by Fr. John MacDonald, the first parish priest of Roy Bridge after the Reformation, which he faithfully copied with the details of a miracle worked at the intercession of the Holy Woman of  Insch,

We also give thanks today for Bishop Toal for all he did for us, and we ask God to bless his pastoral work in his new diocese  Motherwell