Flourish, the monthly newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow

From the February 2017 edition…

‘No medical explanation’ for Mgr Smith’s recovery

GLASGOW priest Mgr Peter Smith is gradually getting back to work in St Paul’s parish, Whiteinch, two months after doctors suspected he could not survive a critical health scare.

And he is convinced his dramatic turnaround is a “miracle” which he attributes to prayer through the intercession of Venerable Margaret Sinclair.

His surgeon has assured him that there is “no medical explanation” for his recovery.

Already receiving treatment for aggressive, advanced cancer, the 58 year-old priest was discovered to have a blood clot on his lung and a deadly infection attacking body tissue from his hips to shoulders.

Doctors decided not to operate as it would kill him. They suspected he wouldn’t survive 48 hours.

Despite the dire prognosis, he pulled through and in thanksgiving he wants others to know of his good fortune.

“When you ask someone for a favour and they grant it, it is only right to say thank you,” he told Flourish, just after he had celebrated Mass on the feast of the Conversion of St Paul (25 January).

Since the diagnosis of his cancer last May, the former chancellor of the Archdiocese of Glasgow has asked people to pray through the intercession of Margaret Sinclair whose cause for sainthood has been pursued since shortly after her death in 1925.

“Margaret Sinclair is a wonderful example of an ordinary Scottish woman, close to our time, who lived the Gospel in the everyday, in a poor family home in Edinburgh, at school, in St Patrick’s parish, the word of industry and into the convent.”

Trying to figure out why he might be the beneficiary of a miracle, he explained: “A miracle is a gift from God, a sign of his goodness, so that others might believe.

“For 32 years of priesthood, I’ve been preaching the resurrection of Christ and this is a sign for me that I am doing something which is true and not wasted.

“We don’t expect miracles – and I’m not sure I expected one either – after all, my cancer hasn’t gone away – but I’ve been around long enough in ministry not to be surprised. I’ve seen it happen.

“In a sense, you see miracles every day, but the idea that this might help someone to be recognised by the Church as a saint is overwhelming.

“I don’t want to be the centre of attention, but if I’ve been granted this favour then I have to let it be known and allow the Church to judge it.

“If this helps people, in the light of faith, grow closer to the Gospel, then I am doing my job. In illness I am able to live my priesthood and help other people.”

See page 1…

Worldview of education rooted in faith

Archbishop Tartaglia’s message for Catholic Education Week

Each year, around this time, we celebrate Catholic Education Week.

During this week we:

  • celebrate the God-given talents and achievements of our young people
  • acknowledge the hard work and faith witness of the staff in our schools
  • mark the unique contribution that Catholic Education makes to our families, our parishes and to wider Scottish society.

This year the theme, Developing as a community of faith and learning, reflects that Catholic schools do not act in isolation but work in partnership as they carry out their task of educating and completing the whole person.

When we acknowledge that Catholic Education has at its heart completing the whole person, we affirm that the children in our care are more than the sum of their intellectual abilities or human endeavour.

For each child is an emotional, physical, social and spiritual being invited to respond to a relationship with God.

Our Catholic schools foster an environment where our children and young people learn that the mission, to serve all men, has its origin in the figure of Christ.

Through their culture, traditions and faith practices, we can justly make the argument that the Catholic school is a champion within Scottish society for equality, inclusion, diversity and respect.

Our vision for education transcends an individualistic and secular understanding and offers a world view where the responsibility to serve the common good is rooted in faith and motivated by a response to a loving God.

At a time where leadership and change within education is being shaped for the next generation, and when ‘shared values’ are proposed as the starting point for learning, we are mindful that the Truth does not change because the Truth that we profess is Jesus Christ.

Indeed, the distinctive identity and purpose of the Catholic school is, in fact, Christ the Perfect Man, where all human values find their fulfilment and unity .

I therefore encourage schools to keep sight of Him, when forming their vision, aims and values.

I urge parishioners and former pupils of Catholic schools to speak out positively on behalf Catholic Education to those who would seek to diminish our role or remove the positive contribution that Catholic schools make to our Scottish society.

I invite you all to play an active role in your local Catholic schools as dynamic members of a community of faith and learning.

See page 6…