Real lives: Church hands dedicated parish priest new post

Monsignor Robson is the diocese's first Auxillary Bishop since 1996
Monsignor Robson is the diocese's first Auxillary Bishop since 1996
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The Very Reverend Monsignor Stephen Robson has been ordained an Auxiliary Bishop.

The appointment of Monsignor Robson, who is parish priest of Our Lady of the Waves Church in Dunbar and Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in North Berwick, as the new Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, to assist Cardinal Keith O’Brien in the administration of the diocese, was announced by Pope Benedict XVI last month.

He was elevated on June 9 at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh.

The diocese last had an Auxiliary Bishop in 1996 and the church said the appointment reflected the cardinal’s national responsibilities and his international role as a member of a number of Pontifical Councils in Rome.

The new bishop was born in Carlisle in 1951 and brought up in the Church of England, but converted to Catholicism just before going to university in Edinburgh and once here became involved with the Jesuits at Sacred Heart Church.

It was during his time at university that he decided to study for the priesthood. He was ordained in Carlisle in 1979, then served as a curate in St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, and other parishes in the Archdiocese before being sent to use his science degree and teaching skills at Blairs College, Aberdeen. When the college closed, he returned to the Capital as curate to Bishop James Monaghan, the then auxiliary bishop, and secretary to Archbishop O’Brien, before going back to Edinburgh University to do postgraduate studies in medical ethics.

He served at Our Lady of the Waves in Dunbar from 1990 until 1993 and at St. John Vianney’s, Gilmerton, from 1993 until 1997. Then in 1998 he was appointed by the Scottish bishops as spiritual director of the Pontifical Scots College in Rome.

He completed a doctorate on medieval spiritual theology and also studied canon law and jurisprudence, all at the Roman Gregorian University.

He has been parish priest at North Berwick and Dunbar since July 2006.

As Auxiliary Bishop his responsibilities will include Catholic school visits, parish visits and confirmations.

Bishop Robson will continue to live and work in North Berwick and Dunbar. He said: “The people are used to me being away from the parish during the day hours as I am in the diocesan offices every day anyway. I can celebrate Mass and do some pastoral work in the morning and the evenings. I love East Lothian as a place to live and work.”

Cardinal O’Brien said: “I have known Stephen Robson for well over 35 years. He has been involved with me in pastoral work and school work, seminary apostolate and during his further studies, literally everything a priest should be involved in.”