10 April 2024, The Tablet

Shock at sudden death of priest days before ordination as bishop

The cause of Fr Martin chambers’ death was not announced but he was believed to be in good health.

Shock at sudden death of priest days before ordination as bishop

Fr Martin Chambers, Bishop-designate of Dunkeld, has died suddenly.
Archdiocese of Glasgow on Twitter

There was profound shock throughout the Catholic Church in Scotland at the news that the new Bishop-designate of Dunkeld, Fr Martin Chambers, has died suddenly, just days before his ordination service.

The news was announced by Bishop of Galloway, Bishop Frank Dougan, himself recently ordained.

In an announcement, Bishop Dougan paid tribute to Fr Chambers’ work with the Missionary Society of St James in Ecuador, where he served from 2004 to 2009, to his work at a number of parishes in the Galloway diocese and to his personal qualities of “love, enthusiasm, humour and a deep faith which enlivened all that he did”.

The cause of Fr Chambers’ death was not known at time of going to press but he was believed to be in good health and his passing is a further blow to both his home diocese and to the parishes of Dunkeld, who lost Bishop Stephen Robson to ill-health and early retirement in late December 2022.

The Diocesan Administrator of Dunkeld Canon Kevin Golden said that Fr Chambers had died in his sleep during the night of Tuesday 9  and Wednesday 10  April. In advance of any funeral arrangements, he called on the faithful of Dunkeld to join a Mass for Fr Chambers on Friday, 12 April 12 at 1pm. 

Glasgow-born Fr Chambers had been parish priest at Our Lady of the Assumption and St Meddan’s in Troon. On his appointment as Bishop, Fr Chambers pledged himself as a “missionary disciple” and said that would “sit in prayer as a Disciple at the feet of Jesus, listening to his voice calling me forward in faith”.

He noted a curious symmetry in having been accepted into seminary by Bishop Joseph McGee of Galloway who had formerly served as a priest in Dunkeld diocese. “In a strange way,” he said on accepting Pope Francis’s nomination, I am returning a compliment in faith, for having started as a priest of Galloway, I am now becoming Bishop of Dunkeld.”

Further announcements will be made about funeral arrangements for Fr Chambers. Fellow-clergy and parishioners have been united in expressing their shock, and have extended condolences to the family.

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