Fr William's Page


As Parish Priest of the parishes of St Andrew's and St Cuthbert's, Kirkcudbright, St Peter's, Dalbeattie, Our lady and St Ninian's, Newton Stewart, The Sacred Heart, Wigtown, and St Martin and St Ninian's, Whithorn, with pastoral resonsibility for Gatehouse of Fleet and Castle Douglas, I am delighted to welcome you to the website of the Catholic community in this part of South West Scotland.

It was in October 2009 that I took up pastoral responsibility for Kirkcudbright, Castle Douglas and Gatehouse of Fleet. Then in September 2012, I was also appointed as Parish Priest of St Peter's, Dalbeattie. In June 2105 my pastoral responsibilities were extended to include the parishes in Whithorn, Wigtown and Newton Stewart. It is a sign of the current situation regarding clergy in the diocese that whereas a number of years ago there would have been five or six priests covering the Stewartry and the Machars, now I am the only one.

However, these circumstances have ensured that the different communities are now working very closely together, and not only do they all share a priest, but they also share much more. In this task of bringing the different communites together to work as one Catholic community covering various parish boundaries, I am fully supported by the Parish Pastoral Councils and by the Parish Finance Committees in the different parishes.

One of the great strengths of the Catholic community here is the commitment to ecumenical initiatives, and I am delighted that ecumenism plays such a large part in our pastoral activities. It is a particular source of encouragement to me that Canon David Bayne and the congregation of St Ninian's, Scottish Episcopal Church, in Castle Douglas, allow us the use of their church building each week for the celebration of Mass, and for any funerals or weddings of those in the Castle Douglas area. On behalf of the Catholic community I express our deep gratitude to them. The commitment to ecumenical activities, and the fostering of an ecumenical mindset, is integral to being a Christian today, and it is an obvious sign of the Spirit working actively among us that ecuminical activity is being warmly embraced .

As the Catholic community in the Stewartry and the Machars, it is good that we are aware of our connection to the Diocese of Galloway, and of our link with the neighbouring parishes in our deanery of St Andrew's. Kirkcudbright is a central venue for the deanery, and is the ideal locus for the regular meetings of the priests in the deanery, as well as for any meetings bringing together the laity from the other parishes in the deanery, namely those in Annan, Lockerbie, Moffat, Dumfries and Stranraer.

I hope that you find our website both informative and interesting, and that it brings out the fact that we are a vibrant and active community. It is indeed a privilege for me to be the Parish Priest in this area, and I am very grateful for this opportunity which has been given to me.

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Tongland Abbey Ecumenical Service - 9th September 2018

With my Castle Douglas clergy colleagues at the Carol Service in the Castle Douglas Market on the Sunday before Christmas 2018.

Tongland Abbey Service 2
CD Xmas Carol Concert

Wedding Photos of my niece Emily and her husband Tom's wedding on 29th December 2017 in St John of Beverley, Beverley.

Tongland Abbey Service 3

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2017 in St Ninian's, Castle Douglas, with colleagues from the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Wedding photo
wedding photo 2
WPCU 2017 photo

Canon Patrick McGovern RIP

My uncle Canon Patrick McGovern died on 17th January 2017. His Requiem Mass was celebrated in St Columbkille's, Rutherglen, on 23rd January. It was a wonderful celebration for a man who had been ordained for 69 years.

With bishop at holy door
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With Bishop Nolan outside the Holy Door for the Year of Mercy in Whithorn.



As a Roman Catholic member of the Joint Commission, I was delighted to be involved in this Conference which was organised by the Joint Commission on Doctrine of the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church. It commemorated the two great anniversaries of 50 years since the the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and thirty years since the publication of the World Council of Churches document on Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry. Speakers included Anthony Towey from St Mary's University College, London; David Fergusson from the University of Edinburgh; Martin Davie, from the Council of Christian Unity of the Church of England, and Peter McEnhill from Kilmacolm Old Kirk.

Remembrance Sunday

The ceremony at Gatehouse War Memorial with Revs Denis Samways, Malcolm MacPherson, Roger Cutler and Val Ott.

My ecumenical colleagues in Kirkcudbright: Rev. Douglas Irving, of the Church of Scotland, and Rev. Roger Cutler, of Greyfriars, the Scottish Episcopal Church.

The representatives of the 4 Gatehouse churches wh

The annual Parish BBQ in the grounds of the parish house, and fortunately, the weather held out for us.

Rev Roger Coulter, Rev Val Ott, Father William McF
BBQ (6)
Adult Formation Day 18062011 009
Gala Songs of Praise (4)

Gatehouse Gala Week Songs of Praise

The four representatives of the Gatehouse Churches together for an ecumenical Songs of Praise during Gatehouse Gala Week.


Over the summer months, many of the visitors to the parish comment on the lovely gardens, both in the front and at the back of the parish house. I would like to publicly offer a sincere thank you to Mr John Cowan for the tremendous work he has done in making the place look so well. The variety of flowers and the brightness of the colour make the whole area so attractive, and so on behalf of the parish, our thanks to John.

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Visiting Rome for St Andrew's Day in the Scots College to meet up with my class mates to celebrate the fact that we had all reached our 25th anniversary of priesthood during 2010. From left to right, Michael McMahon, Gerard Tartaglia, Leo Cushley, and with Paul Morton on my left. The picture below shows me on the balcony overlooking St Peter's, with the Sistine Chapel in the background.

WMcF St Peter's

First Anniversary Mass for Canon John Walls in St Teresa's, Dumfries.

The picture shows the Provost of Dumfries, Mr Jack Groom, offering a few words, together with Father Jim Hayes, Parish priest of St Teresa's, Dumfries, and myself. Fr Jim kindly invited me to dedicate the new marble Lecturn which was put in in memory of Canon John Walls, who died last year, and to preach at the anniversary Mass.