Let not your hearts be troubled

By

Let not your hearts be troubled … trust in God, yes, and trust in Me. These words from St John’s Gospel are, in a way, “November words”.

Read more…

SVDP

Ozanam Centre back in action

After months of Covid-enforced closure once again providing hot meals for those who need them
Read more…

Blessed Carlo

Archbishop says blessed teenager points the way for young people

“First milennial to be declared Blessed”
Read more…

Scripture

Canon Robert hangs up his quill

Flourish scripture columnist to concentrate on parish
Read more…

Latest issue

Read now
Download the latest issue of Flourish (PDF, 6 MB)

Urgent appeal

The current emergency means our churches have had to close, but costs remain and some parishes are in a difficult situation. If your own circumstances allow it, please consider helping us by donating £5 during this worrying time. The Archdiocese has set up a system whereby you can simply text RCARCHGLA to 70085 to donate £5. Please share this emergency donation option with others, especially those who may be anxious because they normally contribute to their parish through collection envelopes. Those who use collection envelopes are asked to continue to place donations in these and deliver them to the local parish after the emergency has passed.

Ozanam Centre back in action

By

After months of Covid-enforced closure the Ozanam Centre in the Briggait has once again opened its doors to provide hot meals for those who desperately need them.

And although the St Vincent de Paul Society-run centre stays true to its ‘welcome the stranger’ philosophy, it has to be done with current restrictions in place.

The biggest change is that fewer clients can be accommodated because at the time of writing the centre is open for just a few hours on a Thursday evening.

Over the months, Our Lady of the Wayside Conference members and volunteers have made it their key mission to put the correct measures in place in order to reopen in a safe way – always considering the safety of those who come for help as well as the volunteers.

“It’s all small steps but that’s the way it has to be for now” said Carol Picken, a long serving volunteer with the society which has had a presence in the Saltmarket since the early seventies.

She added: “We provide meals for men on a Thursday where normally we would have around 30 coming through the door but now we have to strictly limit numbers to no more than ten and of course we obey all the regulations and there are pages of them!”

That means that masks are handed out at the door, clients enter one at a time, sanitise their hands and take their places on seats placed two metres apart in a circle.

Carol said: “We also wear masks, gloves and aprons while we take their orders and then bring food to them. It’s a shame they can’t socialise afterwards but that’s just the way it has to be and the guys understand that.”

While the popular Sunday lunch club remains closed it is likely that the centre will soon once again provide meals for women on a Tuesday evening.

“It will take a lot of planning – everything is softly softly at the moment,” Carol said, “but there’s no question that we will close or stop providing for those who need it – we do what we do because we love it. It’s as simple as that.”

Through liaison with neighbouring charities and support groups, the Ozanam Centre was able to make good use of the essential supplies and clothing that were already in stock before lockdown but is unable to accept donations meantime.

The Ozanam Centre began in Candleriggs in 1974 offering retreats on Friday evenings and 12 years later it moved to Parnie Street where it opened up to help men and women and serving food for 10 years. The Ozanam Centre moved to its current location in 2006.

The centre is named after Frederic Ozanam who founded the society in Paris in 1833.

To find out how to help contact the national office of the Society of St Vincent de Paul on 0141 226 8833.

Share

Archbishop says blessed teenager points the way for young people

By

During Pope Benedict XVI’s memorable visit to Scotland and England 10 years ago in 2010, it was striking that he addressed our young people in a very personal and fatherly way, inviting them to become “the saints of the 21st century.”

Well, last month, in Assisi, as if to respond to that invitation, a young Italian teenager was declared Blessed. He is Carlo Acutis, whom a prominent Catholic news agency described as “the first millennial to be declared a Blessed.”

He was born in London in 1991 to Italian parents, after which his family moved to Milan in Italy where Carlo began to grow up. Sadly, young Carlo contracted leukaemia and died at the age of 15, but not before giving a witness of holiness that could not be ignored. Carlo’s sanctity was recognised definitively by Pope Francis who authorised his beatification in Assisi. Blessed Carlo’s body will remain in Assisi, a place that he loved, for the veneration of the faithful.

I think that Blessed Carlo’s witness of holiness is important for today’s young people and for the Church in this age for a number of reasons:

Blessed Carlo shows that today’s young people can become the saints of the 21st century. As his mother freely admits, Carlo was a boy who was not brought up in an especially religious family setting. Yet God touched his heart and filled him with a desire to follow Jesus such that he evangelised his parents rather than they him, and brought them back to the practice of their baptismal faith

Blessed Carlo’s life shows that God loves us and is present to us and calls us in whatever circumstances we find ourselves to follow Jesus. I think that is an important message for today’s young people especially who live in the midst of a world that is often godless. God always calls. God always loves. God is always present.

Young Carlo was captivated by the person of Jesus. He wanted to follow Jesus and be like him, which is the key to holiness. The principal way in which Carlo encountered the person of Jesus was in the Eucharist. He went to Mass and received Holy Communion as often as he could, and he brought his Mum and Dad back to Mass. His whole spirituality was based on the foundation of the presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

He often said, “The Eucharist is my highway to heaven”, words that were re-quoted at the Mass of Beatification in Assisi. Blessed Carlo’s profound awareness of the presence of Christ in his life is a huge message for us today and for young people today. Jesus is much more than a symbol or an ideal. He is a person, real, living and true, that we encounter most wonderfully and most fully in the Eucharist. In a time like just now, when our access to Mass is limited, it is important to believe and to recognise that the Eucharist is the key to following Jesus and to Christian life.

Young Carlo’s witness to Jesus was also expressed in his love and practical concern for his neighbour. Those who tell his story say that he defended and stood up for young people who were being mistreated and bullied at school, which is a very contemporary concern. He also tried to help other young people whose families were in difficulty and whose parents were breaking up. He had a very particular concern for young people with special needs. Blessed Carlo’s life and witness reflected the great commandment to love God above all things and our neighbour as ourself.

Carlo’s entire life on this earth was as a child and as a young person, and he was rooted in his own times. Like many a young boy or girl, he loved football. But perhaps his belonging to the present time was reflected most directly in the fact that he had played computer games and developed computer skills. Remembering that he died in 2006, his favourite console for computer games was PlayStation 2, which was state of the art at the time, but has probably now been surpassed by more advanced models. Carlo said that he tried to use his computer skills to bring Jesus to as many people as he could. One of his achievements in this area was to build a website dedicated to the Holy Eucharist, which brings us back to the foundation of his spirituality.

Young Carlo sadly contracted leukaemia, and this very grave illness constituted his final witness to Jesus. He said that he offered his suffering and his death for the Church and for the Pope. Carlo is entombed in Assisi wearing the uniform of Generation Z, his tracksuit and trainers. Blessed Carlo Acutis is indeed a saint for the 21st century who will be forever young.

In the Gospel, Jesus invites us all to come to the wedding feast of eternal life. Blessed Carlo accepted that invitation wholeheartedly. He accepted and he presented himself, clothed in the garments of holiness. Remembering the words of Jesus in the gospel that many are called but few are chosen, may we too follow the way of the Lord and at the end be clothed in the garments of salvation, through the grace of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Share

Canon Robert hangs up his quill

By

In the beginning was the word… and after producing more than three quarters of a million of them for Flourish, Canon Robert Hill, is now hanging up his quill.

For the past 16 years, Canon Hill, parish priest at St Matthew’s Bishopbriggs, has faithfully, and in his unique style, interpreted the words of Scripture for our readers, offering scholarly and practical insights into the Sunday readings, but now feels the time is right, with the recent reopening of his newly refurbished church, to step down.

He said: “It’s been an immense pleasure for me to contribute to Flourish over the years and I hope that my successor enjoys it as much as I have.”

Canon Hill, a priest for more than 40 years, has always been keen to keep his Scripture reflections and parish work separate by rising early to began writing-with his devoted dog Barney acting as his alarm clock.

Canon Hill, who has also written books of Gospel reflections available on Kindle said: “Barney always makes sure I’m up around 5:30 and then after he’s been dragged round the park I start work. This is a hobby for me and one I enjoy very much.”

Archbishop Philip paid a special tribute to the Canon on behalf of all Flourish readers. He said: “I am very grateful to Canon Robert Hill for providing commentary on Scripture passages for Flourish for the last 16 years. Canon Hill is one of our distinguished specialists in Sacred Scripture. In his articles, he has brought erudition, spirituality and pastoral experience to the commentaries he has written for the pages of Flourish.

“On behalf of all Flourish readers, thank you Canon Robert.”

Share

Let not your hearts be troubled

By

Let not your hearts be troubled … trust in God, yes, and trust in Me.

These words from St John’s Gospel are, in a way, “November words”.

So often they are used in funeral liturgies and Masses for the dead. And this month too they will bring us comfort as we remember our loved ones who have gone before us to the Father’s house where there are many rooms.

But this is a November like no other.

The pandemic means that our minds are strained by uncertainty, our hearts break with sorrow and our souls are filled with anxiety. We need more than ever to hear those “November words” …

Let not your hearts be troubled … trust in God, yes, and trust in Me.

And yet amid the restrictions the Church is alive, active, creative in reaching out to the world. In this special edition of Flourish we focus on the great work being done across the Archdiocese and beyond.

New initiatives abound, new forms of outreach are taking place, love is slowly but surely conquering fear.

In the words of Archbishop Tartaglia: “Holiness in the time of a pandemic calls us to love our neighbour, comfort them, protect them and keep them safe…In this pandemic, we need to be strengthened, consoled and guided by the word of Christ.”

Let us cling to those words of Christ this month, those “November words” …

Let not your hearts be troubled … trust in God, yes, and trust in Me.

Share