November 28, 2022

Archbishop Mario Conti, Archbishop Emeritus of Glasgow, has died aged 88 following a short illness.

The Archdiocese of Glasgow said he died peacefully on Tuesday evening at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

He was a priest for 64 years and a bishop for 45 years.

He trained at St Mary’s College, Blairs, Aberdeenshire, before studying at Scots College and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he obtained degrees in philosophy and theology and was ordained a priest in Rome on 26 October 1958.

Reverend Mario Joseph Conti
The Right Reverend Mario Joseph Conti (centre) at the service to mark his installation as Archbishop of Glasgow (Roger Donovan/PA)

After a series of roles, including his sole parish priest at Wick and Thurso – Scotland’s most northerly Catholic parishes – he was appointed Bishop of Aberdeen in February 1977.

He was one of the last surviving bishops in the world who were appointed by Pope (now Saint) Paul VI.

After 25 years in Aberdeen as bishop, he was appointed to succeed Cardinal Tom Winning as Archbishop of Glasgow in 2002 and served in that role for 10 years.

Archbishop William Nolan, the current Archbishop of Glasgow, said: “The death of Archbishop Mario will be felt not only in the Archdiocese of Glasgow but throughout Scotland and beyond. He was a much-loved figure, a man of great energy and pastoral zeal, who loved the Church and loved the people in his care.

“When I was appointed Archbishop earlier this year, I found him so kind, welcoming and full of ideas and suggestions for the future.”

During his time as Archbishop of Glasgow, Archbishop Mario Conti oversaw the renovation of St Andrew’s Cathedral and the construction of the adjacent Italianate monastery garden to commemorate the victims of the wartime Arandora Star tragedy.

One of his proudest moments came when he welcomed Pope Benedict XVI to Britain at the first public mass of the German pope’s state visit in 2010 at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow.

He held honorary doctorates from the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonian.

He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a former Grand Chaplain of the Knights of Malta and the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

The President of the Scottish Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, Bishop of Aberdeen said on Thursday evening: “It is with great sadness that we learned today (8 November 2022) of the death of Archbishop Emeritus Mario Conti.

“His presence as bishop has been a constant for so long that it is hard to remember a time when he was not an active or retired member of the Scottish Bishops’ Conference.

“As the current Bishop of Aberdeen, I have many fond memories of him during his 25 years as Bishop of Aberdeen. Although he became Archbishop of Glasgow in 2002, his links with north-east Scotland remained strong.

“His interest and knowledge of Scotland’s Catholic history was well known and his commitment to preserving the church’s cultural heritage was unwavering.

“In retirement he was a source of great wisdom and pastoral support to his successors in both Glasgow and Aberdeen.

“His activity in ecumenism and interfaith matters, as well as his affection for the Italian community in Scotland, were among his defining characteristics.

“On behalf of the Bishops of Scotland, we commend his soul into the hands of God and pray that he may enjoy eternal rest.”

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