Father Jim McCruden served as priest of Ss Fillan & Alphonsus, Parish, Doune, for 26 years. The parish is extensive, covering
1,000 sq. miles and he celebrated Mass every Sunday, first at Doune, then St Joseph’s in Callander, and finishing up at Killin
Born in 1945 and brought up in St Andrews, he was proud to be descended, on his mother’s side, from the fishing community in the town. The middle child of three, he spent an idyllic childhood with his head always in a book and singing in the Episcopal Church choir. He was so fond of history and reading that his mother had to chase him out of the house to get some fresh air.
Young Jimmy’s love of history and old architecture was fostered by an aunt and uncle who were in service. He visited them every Saturday in his teenage years and was fascinated by the history of the family who employed them and the upstairs/down-stairs life. He had a strong sense of family and maintained close links with his brother and sister, nephews and nieces and their families.
After attending Madras College as a pupil, Jimmy (as he was known to his family) went on to read Medieval and Modern History at St Andrew’s University. After University, Jimmy trained as a teacher at Moray House in Edinburgh and returned to Madras College as a History teacher. It was there that he honed the skills of oratory and teaching which served him so well as Parish Priest.
In 1982 he decided to convert to Catholicism, two years later, answering a call to the priesthood, he went to The Beda College in Rome to study. After completing his studies he served at The Friary in Dundee and at St John’s in Perth before being given the parish of St Fillan’s.
His sermons were interesting, thought provoking and often peppered with historical references. He didn’t shy away from controversy and preached honestly, with great integrity and compassion for all. This extended to his duties as pastor in the parish, where he visited the elderly, sick and housebound, regardless of their denomination. People in need were his concern and this attitude endeared him to both his parishioners and the wider community.
Away from the rigours of parish life, Father Jim indulged his love of walking, bird-watching and medieval architecture. His favourite haunts were Montrose Basin, Glen Esk, Berwick and the Dales. His love of medieval architecture led to him choosing Careston near Brechin as his final resting place. Father Jim was a quiet and humble man with a wicked sense of humour whose guidance and care is sorely missed by all, especially his congregation.
From: Dunkeld News No. 16 June 2019, page 12