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Pope Francis has appointed a university chaplain and vocations director as the new Bishop of Paisley.
Fr John Keenan succeeds the Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, who led the Diocese of Paisley until September 2012.
Keenan’s appointment leaves just two Scottish dioceses in need of new bishops – Galloway and Motherwell. Fr Keenan, 49, will become the youngest bishop in Scotland when he is ordained on 19 March 2014.
Until now he has been a parish priest, vocations director of the Archdiocese of Glasgow and chaplain to the city’s university.
Speaking about his appointment Bishop-elect Keenan said: “This is an exciting time in the Church under Pope Francis' lively leadership and I hope to put as much of his vision into my own personal life and ministry as I can.” He added: “I hope just to settle in and listen a lot.”
Archbishop Tartaglia praised Bishop-elect Keenan as a much-loved priest, adding: “His appointment gives me a huge headache in trying to replace him.”
The Diocese of Paisley, situated to the west of Glasgow, was established in 1947. It is one of the smallest in geographical terms but serves an eighth of Scotland’s Catholic population. Bishop-elect Keenan’s appointment is the third by Pope Francis to one of Scotland's eight dioceses.
South of the border, five out of the 22 dioceses in England and Wales are in need of new bishops. So far Pope Francis has made two episcopal appointments: East Anglia and Plymouth.