Many congratulations to Fr. Gilmour McDermott who celebrated his 50th anniversary of ordination as a priest on Friday 14th July 2023. Members of the Catholic community in southeast Cornwall celebrated a weekend of festivities.
Fr. Gilmour was ordained at St John’s Wonersh in Surrey on the 14th of July 1973 by Bishop Michael Bowen. His first parish was St Edmunds Godalming from 1973 – 1978. From 1978 – 1983 found Fr. Gilmour at Our Lady & St Philip Howard, Arundel Cathedral - just recently Fr. Gilmour returned to Arundel Cathedral to attend the 150 anniversary Mass.
Between 1983 – 1987 he was at St Joseph’s Redhill, where he was Chaplain at St Bede’s School; Catholic Chaplain to Surrey scouts; and made his first pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He moved to St Mary Preston Park Brighton where he remained until 1992.
While at St Thomas of Canterbury, St Leonard’s on Sea between 1992-1996, Fr. Gilmour became Prison Chaplain at HMP Northeye. From 1996-1997 he took a sabbatical in the USA at Washington Theological Union and visited Missions in Thailand and East Africa. On his return he was put on loan to the Plymouth Diocese and has remained there ever since.
From 1998 Fr Gilmour was parish priest at St Joseph and moved to St Edward, King & Martyr, Shaftesbury in 1999 and became Prison Chaplain at HMP Guys Marsh. Leaving Devon, he moved to Cornwall to the parish of The Sacred Heart & St Ia, St Ives & Hayle from 1999-2003. From there he moved to Our Lady of the Portal & St Piran, Truro, from 2003-2015, where he was Chaplain to Truro British Legion and Chaplain to Treliske Hospital.
Fr. Gilmour arrived at Liskeard, Our Lady & St Neot in 2015. Since arriving at Liskeard, he has put in hand many improvements to the church and built a loving and welcoming community, which is open and supportive to all. This was reflected in the speech given by Cllr Simon Cassidy, Mayor of Liskeard, who presented Fr. Gilmour with a scroll at Fr. Gilmour’s party at Liskeard Public Hall on 14th July.
Fr. Gilmour also inherited responsibility for services at Sclerder Abbey, near Looe and, a few years ago, the parish was extended to include responsibility for the Catholic churches in Saltash and Torpoint, where he has also seen improvements to the buildings.
Fr. Gilmour has frequently led pilgrimages to the Holy Land – with another planned between 8th-15th December this year. In recognition of his concern for the Christian communities in the Holy Land, he was appointed as a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre. Since coming to Liskeard, he has sought to provide material support to the Christian families and groups who live in the complex and difficult context of the Middle East today.
Fr. Gilmour’s weekly schedule is hectic with Holy Mass to be celebrated at Sclerder Abbey and in Liskeard each Sunday, with services at Saltash and Torpoint fitted in on Saturday evenings.
Fr. Gilmour’s timeline of ministry is reflected in the gorgeous floral display in front of the altar beginning with St John’s Seminary Wonersh and ending with the parish of Our Lady of the Angels, Liskeard, Saltash, Sclerder Abbey, and Torpoint.
Parish celebrations began on Friday July 14th with Fr. Gilmour leading a Concelebrated Mass at Our Lady & St Neot, Liskeard at 18:30 assisted by eleven priests from all over Cornwall. Attended by the Mayor and Deputy Mayoress of Liskeard, Fr. Gilmour’s brother and his wife, and parishioners from all four churches, and invited guests. This was followed by a parish party at Liskeard Public Hall, where the mayor gave a presentation to Fr. Gilmour.
Saturday 15th July saw the church of Our Lady & St Neot open for all to come and view the decorations, find out about the history of the church, and a selection of Fr. Gilmour’s Mass Vestments – many of which were from the Holy Land. Also on display was Fr. Gilmour’s various stoles from all over the world, along with Flags from the World, the Polish Flag and of course the Cornish Flag – bringing together the diversity of the parish of Liskeard - followed by refreshments. This was well attended from all four churches and the community of Liskeard and its’ various churches.
On Sunday 16th July at Sclerder Abbey Fr. Gilmour celebrated an Open-Air Mass in the Abbey gardens at 15:00 followed by an afternoon cream tea which was attended by all four parishes.