Rt Rev. Hugh Gilbert OSB


Bishop Hugh Gilbert is the 11th Bishop of Aberdeen since the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy in 1878. Born in Emsworth, Hampshire in 1952, educated at St. Paul’s School, London, and King’s College, University of London (where he gained an Honours degree in History), he was received into the Catholic Church in 1970. In 1974 he came north to enter the Benedictine monastery of Pluscarden Abbey, Elgin, Moray. He has been a monk of Pluscarden Abbey – ‘the spiritual heart of the diocese’ – for 37 years, and Abbot for 19. He was nominated to the See of Aberdeen by Pope Benedict XVI on 4 June 2011.

He is not the first Superior of Pluscarden to be moved from the monastery to the episcopate. On 20 May 1529, Pope Clement VII appointed the Prior of Pluscarden, George Learmond, co-adjutor Bishop of Aberdeen, with right of succession.

Bishop Hugh has chosen as his episcopal motto a phrase from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians: chapter 1, verse 17: Omnia in Ipso constant [All things hold together in Him (Christ)]. These words occur within a Hymn to Christ, which celebrates his role as First-born and Head of creation, and then as First-born from the dead and Head of the Church (Colossians 1:15-20). St. Paul presents Christ as the one in whom everything finds its coherence, the one who sustains and unifies all that is, ‘in heaven and on earth’. Aside from Christ, everything disintegrates and falls apart. In Christ, everything finds its true place and stature, everything ‘holds together’. In Christ, everything ‘stands’ as he, the Risen One, ‘stands’. As believers in Christ, we ‘stand with him’ and ‘stand together’ in the unity of the Church: not just for ourselves, but praying and working in the grace of the Holy Spirit that everything in God’s creation may be brought together in and under Christ. These words thus underline the diocesan motto, chosen by Bishop Mario Conti, Together in Christ.


  • Wednesday 13 November, 18:00 – Knights of St. Columba  (100th Ann.) Mass & reception at St. Mary’s Cathedral
  • Friday 15 November, 19:00 – Knights of St Columba Centennial Dinner at Palm Court
  • Saturday 16 November –  Pluscarden
  • Sunday 17 November, 10:30 – Confirmations, Nairn
  • Tuesday 19 November – Council of Priests, Elgin 
  • Wednesday 20 November – Pluscarden
  • Thursday 21 November – Pluscarden
  • Friday 22 November – Peterhead Prison

Homilies and Letters:

22nd October 2019
On this day in 1976, in St Peter’s, Rome, John Ogilvie was canonized. There’s a full account in the Scottish Catholic Directory of 1978, pp. 432-437. Andrew Mann read the 1st reading and Colin Stewart, here tonight as Dean, was there too, a new student in the Scots College. Last Sunday, 13 October 2019, in…
7th October 2019
Today we keep the anniversary of the dedication of this Cathedral. It’s great to have Sunday for this. In the Gospel, Jesus clears the temple. He’s asked for a sign. He replies: ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will rebuild it.’ He was speaking, says St John, of the temple of his body.…
15th September 2019
Today, as usual, there are three readings. Today’s from Exodus, 1st Timothy, Luke; Moses, Paul, our Lord. Three powerful readings. With one binding theme: the mercy of God. In the Gospel, three parables: a shepherd, a woman and a father, a lost sheep, a lost coin, a lost son. The last parable with three main…

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When he was Abbot of Pluscarden Abbey, our Bishop Hugh Gilbert published two books based on the conferences he had delivered over the years to his monastic community, along with a few homilies. The first book, Unfolding the Mystery, covers the main seasons and solemnities of the liturgical year; the second, Living the Mystery, deals with the Christian life and how to live it more authentically.

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