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Tributes pour in for Fr Martin Chambers who died weeks before Bishop ordination

FATHER MARTIN CHAMBERS, who was recently chosen by Pope Francis to become a Bishop, has passed away unexpectedly just weeks before his scheduled ordination in Dundee.

Fr Martin – a priest from the Diocese of Galloway – died in his sleep last Tuesday. He was 59-years-old and was to celebrate his 60th birthday in June.

His ordination was set for April 27, at St Andrew’s Cathedral – in the City of Discovery – where his role would have been official as the Bishop of Dunkeld. A position which has been vacant since Bishop Stephen Robson’s retirement in 2022.

His death was announced by Diocesan Administrator for Dunkeld Canon Kevin Golden, on Wednesday, April 10.

He said: “It is with deep regret and sorrow that I have to inform you that our Bishop Elect, Martin Chambers, died in his sleep last evening.

“May he rest in peace and may his family and loved ones find consolation in the Risen Lord and the love of family and friends.”

The Glasgow-born priest’s career included significant international work as he served in Guayaquil in Ecuador, from 2004 to 2009. During his time there, he established the Martin Chambers Ecuador Trust in 2006, aimed at supporting the poorest areas in the country. When he returned to Scotland in 2009, he served in various congregations across Ayrshire and later took on taking on diocesan responsibilities in Galloway.

The news of his passing has led to an outpouring of tributes from the Catholic community and beyond.

Dundee MSP Michael Marra expressed his condolences on X (formerly known as Twitter): “Such dreadful news. May he rest in peace. Our local Catholic community were awaiting Fr Martin’s arrival with joyful anticipation. His loss is heart-breaking.”

Monica Lennon, MSP for the Motherwell area where Father Martin had also served, shared her grief: “Sad and upsetting news. May Fr Martin rest in peace.”

Bishop Frank Dougan, Bishop of Fr Martin’s home Diocese of Galloway, added “It was with a heavy heart and the deepest sadness that I learned today of the death of Fr Martin Chambers, a priest of the Diocese of Galloway and the Bishop-Elect of the Diocese of Dunkeld.

“I know his family and the people of Galloway diocese who knew him and loved him will be deeply shocked and dismayed at his untimely death.

“Together we give thanks for the selfless service he gave to our diocese; we recognise the enormous contribution he made to support some of the poorest communities in Ecuador and we pray for the repose of his soul.

“To know Martin was to know a man of love, enthusiasm, humour and a deep faith which enlivened all that he did.”

Bishop Dougan continued: “On behalf of the Diocese of Galloway I offer our deepest condolences and the promise of our prayers to Martin’s family as they come to terms with his loss, our prayers too are with the people of the Diocese of Dunkeld, who were preparing to welcome him as their bishop in two weeks’ time on 27 April.

“We give thanks to God for the great service of a selfless priest and pray for his eternal rest.”

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