MONSIGNOR James McMahon died at St Margaret's Hospice, Clydebank, on September 14. The 76-year-old priest had given

more than 50 years of service to the Glasgow Archdiocese in a remarkable way.

He began his studies for the priesthood in Rome, but came back to Britain before the full force of the Second World War fell on Italy. After completion of his studies in philos-ophy at Blairs in Aberdeen, he was sent to St Peter's College in Bearsden to pursue his theological education, but after the college was destroyed by fire he was sent to Mill Hill in London to complete his studies.

Father McMahon was ordained priest on June 29, 1946, by Archbishop Donald Campbell in St Andrew's Cathedral, Glasgow. From 1946-57 he was assistant priest at St Saviour's parish in Govan. His parish priest, William Hart, later became the Bishop of Dunkeld.

In 1957, he was appointed Spiritual Director of St Peter's College, Cardross, where he remained until 1970 when he became assistant priest at the Cathedral, before becoming parish priest of St John of the Cross, Twechar. However, he returned to St Peter's College in 1972, have been appointed rector.

As rector of the college he helped in the re-organisation of the timetable to give students a fair balance of work and pastoral duties as well as free time, and along with such experts as the scripture scholar Father John Fitzsimmons and the erudite Scottish historian John Durkan, created an ecclesiastical education which was second to none.

He was a fair man and called a spade a spade. He was fiercely loyal to St Peter's College and when the lack of numbers necessitated a move to a smaller site in the city, he applied himself with boundless energy in the administration of the relocation from Cardross to Newlands.

In 1980, he was honoured by the Pope with the title of Monsignor. Such was his generosity that he invited the whole student body, staff, and relatives to a meal to celebrate. He was a humble man and took this elevation in rank as an honour not for himself but for the college and its role in the service of the Church.

After nine years as rector, in January 1981, he left the college to become a parish priest of St Paul's, Whiteinch, where he remained for six years. In 1987, he was posted to the huge Southside parish of Christ the King, King's Park, where he remained until his retiral. He remained true to his motto in life, ''Bloom wherever you are planted'', and gave of his time unstintingly to the parishioners in his care.

He became a Chaplain to the Serra Club in Glasgow, an organisation of men and women who foster the cause of vocations to the priesthood and the religious life, and travelled with them on conferences near and far. He maintained a keen interest in the Church liturgy and taught classes at Cardross.

Almost half his priestly life was spent in the preparation of men for the priesthood and Catholics in the West of Scotland owe a tremendous debt to him for the provision of priests over the past 40 years.