Fr. Hugh Gilbert, former Abbot of Pluscarden will be ordained Bishop ofAberdeen at St Mary’s Cathedral, Aberdeen on Monday 15th August.
From the Episcopal Ordination Bishop Hugh Gilbert will become the leaderof the geographically largest diocese within the UK. He spent 37years as a contemplative monk, and was Abbot of the PluscardenAbbey, near Elgin.
Speaking before the ceremony, Bishop-Elect Hugh said:"It is a privilege and a joy to be asked to serve the Church, and thewider community, in the beautiful diocese of Aberdeen, where I havealready lived as a monk for 37 years. I am grateful for the warm welcomegiven me, and, trusting in the grace of the Holy Spirit, look forward toworking with others for the building-up of the Body of Christ."
The retiring Bishop of Aberdeen, Bishop Peter Moran, said:“I am very pleased to welcome Bishop Hugh Gilbert as my successor. Hisrich spiritual experience will guide the people of the diocese in thatsearch for personal holiness on which Pope Benedict has laid such stress.After nineteen years as abbot, his fatherly leadership skills will supportand empower the clergy of the diocese in their often isolated pastoralappointments. I am confident that I am passing our diocese to an excellent successor and I wish Bishop Hugh every blessing.”
Bishop Moran added:“neither Pluscarden Abbey nor its Abbot are remote from the pressures andconcerns of the contemporary world, which so much needs God, and needs toknow god’s love. Hugh Gilbert’s wide-ranging friendships and contacts willensure that the Diocese of Aberdeen remains very much in touch with ‘thejoys and hopes, the griefs and the anxieties’ of the Church and the worldof today.”
The President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Cardinal KeithO’Brien, said:“The Bishop is aware more than most Bishops of the need of the Diocese ofAberdeen having been a monk in this Diocese for so long. He himself as awilling servant of this Diocese already has been willing to travel onsupply to various parishes in the Diocese and his Monastery has presented an opendoor to priests, religious and people of the Diocese of Aberdeen andindeed people who come seeking advice and help from all over our countryand throughout the world."
Cardinal O'Brien continued: "Through his very beautiful writings, manybased on the addresses to his community at Pluscarden, he has had amaginificent outreach in helping to build up the spiritual lives ofothers. And because of the outreach from his own monastery to othermonasteries throughout the world he realizes the needs of those incountries which are less prosperous than our own."
The Cardinal concluded: "One might say that a new Bishop for Abrdeen could not have had a betterpreparation than to have been the Abbot of Pluscarden Abbey within thisDiocese, for such a period of time, before his call by Pope Benedict XVIto be the Bishop.”
Congratulations also came from the former Bishop of Aberdeen,Archbishop Mario Conti, who said:“I am delighted that Abbot Hugh has been chosen to be my second successoras Bishop of Aberdeen. He is a wise and holy man who knows the diocesewell and who is much respected by the people and the priests.”
Archbishop Conti concluded: “I had the joy of ordaining him priest and soit will be a special pleasure to be there when he is ordained a bishop.”