The Scottish Church has seen a surge in ordinations, with 12 priests ordained this year, the largest number in two decades.

Bishop John Keenan of Paisley, president of Priests for Scotland, said his office had also noticed a rise in enquiries and interest in vocations.

“It is great news to see the biggest number of ordinations to the priesthood for over two decades,” he said.

Since 1997 there has been an average of five ordinations a year, and in 2008 there were none. Last autumn there were 30 students in seminaries.

“On top of that there seems to be a general rise in the number of men approaching our vocations directors to apply for seminary,” he said.

In addition the Church is hearing from “growing numbers of women with new interest in the religious life to provide for the many needs of the marginalised or excluded in our society”.

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