Going Softly Forward

Going Softly Forward: After his 17 year ministry, Fr McEwan went to Rothesay, leaving behind a garden which he and Peter Ciarella had fertilised, mowed and deadheaded within an inch of its life. Fr John McCormack (no - not the Irish tenor. We were not twice blessed with such talent!) who took his place didn't have the gardening bug and according to Peter the garden has never seen the same glory days again.

The front porch was built onto the front of the church in December 1987.

Parish priests have included the very different personalities of Fathers McIntyre, McShane, Kennedy, Murphy, Fraser and Campbell, and in 2003 came Fr Michael Hutson.

When Father Hutson arrived in Lochgilphead he was an unknown quantity. His first act was to tell parishioners swarming through the parish house after  his first Sunday Mass that this would be the last time we would have coffee there. It sounded unsociable- yet Fr Michael turned out to be the most gregarious of parish priests.


He transformed the parish house into a home and turned St Margaret's parish into a hive of activity. Justice and peace,SCIAF, Fair Trade and the Zambia projects all flourished with his encouragement and imaginative input. His musical talent gave congregations confidence to sing out. He galvanised the parish to come together through social activities and his outspoken policy of social inclusion drew the marginalised to share in ceilidhs and lunches, pilgrimages and musical retreats. Using music as a lingua franca, he reinforced ecumenical progress in Mid Argyll.

His role in education in the diocese meant he was frequently on the move but the blue tooth earpiece sticking out from under the baseball cap meant he was rarely out of touch with the parish.
                                              
When the word came suddenly in the first minutes of 2006 that he was to leave St Margaret's for the Star of the Sea in Barra, the sense of loss wasn't felt only by the parish but by the wider community; quiet kindnesses: enthusiastic involvement and serious- minded commitment in many spheres had made him a much loved figure in the two years he was with us.

We should not have feared: Fr Paul Hackett S J has come to us with a different collection of enthusiasms and inspired us to work together to present a vibrant parish to Fr William Maclean this summer.