Pope Francis appoints new Bishop of Galloway

Bishop-elect William Nolan
Bishop-elect William Nolan

Pope Francis has appointed Fr William Nolan, as Bishop of Galloway.

Fr Nolan is currently parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes, East Kilbride and Vicar General of the Diocese of Motherwell.

Reacting to the announcement, Bishop-Elect Nolan said, “I am overawed to be appointed by Pope Francis as Bishop of Galloway. I already know some of the clergy and I look forward to working with them and with the the people of the Diocese to help the faith flourish in the land where Ninian planted the seeds of faith so long ago. I wish to serve the Diocese as best I can, but knowing I am hindered by my failings and weaknesses, I ask everyone to pray for me.” Bishop-Elect Nolan said: “The last 20 years of my life have been spent in Our Lady of Lourdes parish East Kilbride. I wish to pay tribute to the people of the parish for their kindness and support to me over the years. My move to Galloway is tinged with sadness at leaving Our Lady of Lourdes behind.”

Welcoming the appointment of his successor, Bishop John Cunningham said, “I am delighted with the appointment of Fr Nolan, and I look forward to working with him in the period of transition. I know that he brings with him experience in many pastoral situations, and that this will serve him well as he leads the Diocese of Galloway. Galloway is a diocese consisting of parishes which are both rural and in large towns, and so Fr Nolan’s wide expertise in dealing with people in his parish ministry, and in being able to adapt to different situations, will serve him well.”

Bishop Cunningham said: “I leave my role as Bishop of Galloway confident in my successor, and can assure him that the people and the priests of Galloway Diocese will offer him every support.”

Commenting on the appointment, Fr William McFadden, Vicar General of the diocese, said: “On behalf of the priests of the diocese I welcome the appointment of Fr Nolan, and can assure him that the clergy of Galloway will support him in every way. We are aware of the demands that await him, particularly in the process of Embracing Change, but he can be sure that there is enormous goodwill and a real commitment to collaborative ministry awaiting him. I would also like to take the opportunity to express the gratitude of the priests of the diocese to Bishop Cunningham for his ministry as bishop, and to wish him well in his retirement.”

Mgr Maurice Taylor, emeritus Bishop of Galloway was Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes East Kilbride when he was appointed Bishop of Galloway in 1981. When first ordained Fr Nolan was sent as a curate to Our Lady of Lourdes and served under Mgr Taylor. Fr Nolan is now the second Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes to become Bishop of Galloway.

Bishop John Cunningham has been the Bishop of Galloway since May 2004.

The date of the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop-Elect Nolan will be announced in due course.

1. Biography – Bishop-Elect William Nolan: DOB: 26th January 1954,

Baptised: St Patrick’s Craigneuk

Schools: Cathedral Primary, Motherwell, St Patrick’s Primary, Craigneuk St Vincent’s College, Langbank, 1965 - 1967 St Mary’s College, Blairs, 1967 - 1971

Senior Seminary: Scots College, Rome, 1971 - 1978

Ordained Priest for Diocese of Motherwell, 30th June 1977, St Bernadette’s Motherwell S.T.L. (Licence in Sacred Theology): Gregorian University, Rome, June 1978

Priestly Ministry:

Assistant Priest, Our Lady of Lourdes, East Kilbride, 1978 – 1980 Assistant Priest, St. David’s, Plains, 1980 – 1983 Vice-Rector, Scots College, Rome, 1983 – 1990 Assistant Priest, St Bridget’s, Baillieston, 1990 - 1994 Parish Priest, Our Lady of Lourdes, East Kilbride, 1994 to present Chairman Council of Priests, 1992 - 1998 Chairman Committee for Ongoing Formation of Priests, 1993-2004 Administrator, St John Ogilvie, Blantyre, November 2013 to present Vicar General, Motherwell Diocese, June 2014 to present

Baptised in same church as Cardinal Winning - St Patrick’s, Craigneuk, Wishaw.Taught at Primary School by Cardinal Winning’s sister, Mrs Margaret Canning (now deceased)

Form Master at Blairs College was Fr Peter Moran who is now Emeritus Bishop of Aberdeen.