Flourish, the monthly newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow

From the December 2016 edition…

Spiritual home for all our people

Archbishop Tartaglia reflects on 200th anniversary of St Andrew’s Cathedral

This day was made by the Lord; we rejoice and are glad (Ps 117: 24)

We rejoice to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of St Andrew’s Church which was to become the Cathedral Church of the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

This is undoubtedly an historic occasion. It has been said that St Andrew’s Cathedral symbolises at once the survival – after very difficult times – and the revival of the Catholic faith in Glasgow and the surrounding area.

We bless God today for these blessings and graces, and we ask him to give his Church succour, increase and growth in our times too.

St Andrew’s was always a church and a cathedral for the people.

It was built to accommodate a growing Catholic population in Glasgow and to serve the men and women and families who came south from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

It was subsequently the spiritual home for a mighty influx of immigrants to Glasgow and the West of Scotland from Ireland who had come to find work and to benefit from the opportunities of the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century.

These early generations of parishioners of St Andrew’s would be the core of the new Catholic community of Glasgow which would welcome ever more immigrant communities to its number in the subsequent decades right up to the present day.

St Andrew’s Cathedral, located very near the city centre on the north bank of the River Clyde, could hardly be better placed to serve Glasgow and, as such, still a cathedral for the people. Its parishioners may be few in the traditional sense but they are faithful and engaged in making the Cathedral a spiritual and liturgical hub.

Fittingly for a great Metropolitan Cathedral, St Andrew’s draws its congregations from Glasgow, from Scotland, and from the nations of the world, but, in a typically Glasgow way, still creates a sense of family and community at the liturgies which are celebrated here.

I love celebrating Mass in our Cathedral and am very honoured to do so as Arch­bishop, not least because of the wonderful catholicity and diversity of the people who come to worship in St Andrew’s.

By common consent, our Cathedral is beautiful, and I am grateful to my immediate predecessor, Archbishop Mario Conti, for his vision and energy in undertaking a much needed renewal and restoration of the Cathedral, enhancing its prayerfulness and sense of the sacred.

We are justifiably proud of St Andrew’s Cathedral. Restored and renewed, it is a source of pride still.

So today we thank God for St Andrew’s Cathedral and for this historic 200th anniversary. As a Cathedral, St Andrew’s has the status of being the Seat of the Archbishop of Glasgow, the principal church of the Archdiocese of Glasgow and of the Metro­politan area. But above all, it is the House of God and a Cathedral for his people.

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Open to new beginnings after closure of St Louise

ON a day of raw emotion, parishioners of St Louise’s, Darnley, did their best to remain upbeat as they joined together for Mass in the parish church for the last time.

The Feast of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the liturgical year, marked the end of a chapter in the life of the Glasgow southside community.

With the parish merging to form part of St Vincent’s, Thornliebank, the church which opened in January 1983 has been closed.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia joined the regular Massgoers and friends from other parishes for the final liturgy.

“As a pledge of our conviction of faith and religious sentiment that God has been praised and his purposes been served in the short history of St Louise’s parish, I am here on the Feast of Christ the King to offer this Mass with you as a Mass of Thanksgiving for the 43 years of this parish and the 33 years of this church,” he said.

“We remember and give thanks for the priests and people of this parish since its inception. We give thanks for the children and young people, the families and the individuals who have made up the parish community and who have received the Sacraments here.

“We give thanks for all the many and varied blessings and graces which have been bestowed on this community through this parish and through what has been celebrated in this church.”

Pointing out that the cross was at the heart of the day’s feast of Christ the King, the Archbishop encouraged parishioners to look beyond their sense of loss to the prospect of new life

“Can it not be that, while experiencing some pain and loss, the merging of this parish with St Vincent’s will be the beginning of something new and good?” he asked.

“Has this not already in some way begun in the lives of your two parishes which have been conjoined for some time in the ministry of your one parish priest, Fr Gerard Hill?”

Fr Hill, who concelebrated along with Canon Pat Kelly, pointed to his own recent experience of seeing the church in which he was ordained, St Philip’s, Ruchazie, closed and then demolished.

“Like you, I hold on to my memories, but realise the need to change and move forward with faith and hope,” he told the parishioners, some of whom had been in St Louise since the parish was founded in 1973.

Among them was Carol Picken who has played the organ, directed the choir, cleaned the church and been a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society.

Fittingly, she was chosen to receive the Diocesan Medal from Archbishop Tartaglia who said her dedication and commitment had truly enriched the parish community.

Then, holding back the tears, she led the congregation in the final hymn – Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising…

As people mingled after the Mass, Carol shared some of her treasured memories.

“I’ve been involved since the day the parish was founded, taking the children’s choir when Sunday Mass was celebrated in St Louise’s Primary,” the retired teacher said, pointing out that the crucifix which adorned the sanctuary wall was gifted by the choir when the church opened.

“We have tried our best to keep going as a parish, but the time is right to merge with St Vincent’s and to share our gifts for the building up of the community.”

That expression was echoed by the Archbishop who encouraged the young people of St Louise to use the opportunity of belonging to a larger community to grow in faith and friendship.

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