THE youngest parish priest in Scotland is following in his uncle's footsteps to serve at a Inverclyde parish.

Father Matthew Carlin, 31, is the new priest at St Francis' Church in Port Glasgow.

His uncle Monsignor Denis Carlin had latterly been a popular figure at St Mary's Church in Greenock for many years.

Matthew made the headlines at his ordination in 2016, being the first priest in the Paisley Diocese to be ordained in 12 years.

He said: "I'm delighted to be here in Port Glasgow.

"I only found out about the appointment two weeks before I came here but I have been told what a nice place Port Glasgow is and how friendly the people are.

"Everything people said is exactly how I've found it to be."

He replaces Father Eoin Patten, who served in the parish for five years and previous to Father Carlin had been the last priest to be ordained in the diocese.

Matthew says his outgoing uncle, his father Gerard's brother, has been an influence in his calling to the priesthood but he came from a devout, church-going family and had been involved in his own church since he was young.

He says his family - Gerard, mum Maria and siblings Daniel, Tony and Patsy - have been very supportive.

He added that his uncle has spoken fondly of his time in Inverclyde, first when he served as a parish priest at St Andrew's in Larkfield and then at St Mary's.

Father Carlin said: "He loved being at St Andrew's and spoke of how friendly everyone was, and at St Mary's too."

Fr Carlin read law and Italian at Glasgow University before studying for the priesthood in Rome for a further eight years.

Following his ordination, he was appointed as assistant priest at St Mirin's Cathedral but is welcoming the new challenge of running a parish.

He said: "I am looking forward to getting to know parishioners and doing my best to serve them. It is a busy parish and I want to build on the good work that has already been done."

Monsignor Denis Carlin, who is now serving at Christ the King in Howwood, said: "I’m obviously very proud of Matthew and wish him the same happiness that I experienced in my two stints in Inverclyde.

"I’m sure Matthew will find the same welcome and support as I did.

"His appointment as parish priest means that the Carlin family is supplying the oldest and youngest parish priest in the Paisley Diocese!"