A FORMER Ayrshire priest has been appointed to a high-ranking position within the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland.

Troon parish priest Father Martin Chambers has been chosen by Pope Francis as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Dunkeld.

The role will see Fr Martin become the ecclesiastical head of the diocese, which covers the council areas of the city of Dundee, most of the council areas of Angus and Perth and Kinross, as well as parts of Stirling and Fife.

He will succeed Bishop Stephen Robson, who was Bishop of Dunkeld from 2013 to 2022, when he retired on health grounds.

Fr Martin will be a familiar face to many across Ayrshire, having previously held positions at St John's Church in Stevenston, St Thomas the Apostle in Muirkirk, St Bride's in West Kilbride and St Matthew's and Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Kilmarnock.

Reacting to his appointment, the Bishop-elect has vowed to continue to build the Diocese of Dunkeld.

Fr Martin commented: “One of the catchphrases of Pope Francis is that, as Christians, we are called to be ‘Missionary Disciples’.

"The Pope reminds us that, yes, we are all called to take our part in the mission of spreading the good news in our families and within our local community.

"However, the Pope reminds us that, first of all, we must sit as disciples at the feet of Jesus, listening to him and letting Him guide our steps.”

“As I set out on this new mission as Bishop of Dunkeld, I pledge to sit in prayer as a disciple at the feet of Jesus, listening to his voice calling me forward in faith.

"Together, with Christ’s strength and inspiration, we will all be able to continue to build the kingdom in the Diocese of Dunkeld.”

He added: “I am also conscious that many years ago, I was accepted into seminary by Bishop Joseph McGee. He was the Bishop of Galloway who had started off as a priest of Dunkeld Diocese.

"In a strange way, I am returning a compliment in faith for, having started as a priest of Galloway, I am now becoming Bishop of Dunkeld.”