Falkirk’s senior priest on the move

Mgr. Philip Kerr
Mgr. Philip Kerr

Falkirk’s senior Roman Catholic priest is preparing to give his final sermon in the town before moving to Edinburgh.

The Right Reverend Monsignor Philip Kerr, parish priest at Falkirk’s St Francis Xavier’s RC Church, St Anthony’s in Rumford and St Mary of the Angels in Camelon, is leaving after 15 years to become parish priest of St Patrick’s in the city’s Cowgate.

He said: “It’s time to move on.

“I have been here for over a decade and I don’t think any priest should stay too long.

“I certainly don’t think I should stay for another 15 years. It’s a new challenge and I am looking forward to it.

He added: “It certainly is a challenge moving to city centre ministry, but I am going forward with hope and with faith.”

Born and raised in Edinburgh, Mgr Kerr trained at the Scots College in Rome between 1973 and 1980.

He joined St Francis in Falkirk for two years as an assistant before leaving to teach theology at the Archdiocesan Seminary in Edinburgh until 1993.

He then became the parish priest at Cowie from 1993 and Bannockburn in 1996, leaving both churches in 1999 to come back to Falkirk’s St Francis as parish priest.

He said: “I have very much enjoyed being here, and I’ve been trying to bring the church community together and raise an awareness of God.”

Mgr Kerr became Vicar General of the Archdiocese in 2000, a position which he will retain.

Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh Leo Cushley said: “Monsignor Kerr is one of the most gifted and important clergymen of the Archdiocese and that is why he has been a Vicar General for many years.

“He has done wonderful work in Falkirk over the past 15 years within a busy and important parish that is at the heart of the Archdiocese.

“It’s now time for him to return to his native city of Edinburgh and to St Patrick’s Church, which is one of the oldest and most loved parishes in the Archdiocese.”

Mgr Kerr’s move is also reminiscent of another priest in 1912 when St Francis Xavier’s canon Patrick Morris left his role in the Hope Street church to go to Edinburgh’s St Patrick’s.

Mgr Kerr, who is due to leave the town for his new position early next week, will be replaced by Fr Jamie Boyle who will become parish priest of the three churches.