Flourish, the monthly newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow

Recent issues

Missed an issue? Catch up here on the last year of Flourish news, views and features


March 2018

Come home this Lent

Archbishop joins Pope Francis in urging Catholics to return to the confessional

Come home to the open arms of God’s mercy… that’s the powerful message this Lent from Archbishop Tartaglia as he urges a rediscovery of the sacrament of reconciliation.

The Archbishop has written to every parish in the Arch­diocese, urging priests to make themselves available with extra generosity for confessions in the weeks leading up to Easter, echoing the Pope’s call in his Lenten message.

St Andrew’s Cathedral will be turned into a sanctuary of mercy on March 22, with confessions being heard from dawn until dusk, with the Archbishop taking his own slot in the rota for hearing confessions.

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February 2018

Our schools are good for Scotland

Catholic schools are being urged to mark the anniversary year of the 1918 Education Act by putting into action the Church’s “best kept secret” – Catholic social teaching.

The call came from Archbishop Tartaglia in a letter to every parish in Scotland for Education Week.

And in a historic move which underlines the theme of schools as centres of social outreach, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, will give the landmark Cardinal Winning lecture next month which will focus on the beneficial impact of state-funded Catholic schools on Scottish national life.

Lentfest 2018: the best, biggest and brightest yet

This Valentine’s Day, Catholic couples could find themselves sharing a romantic fish supper as Ash Wednesday falls on 14th February, announcing the beginning of Lent.

However, the season also heralds a new Lentfest programme organised by AGAP, inviting us to celebrate our faith and share it through the creative and performing arts.

Perhaps the most anticipated Lentfest ingredients are the annual play by AGAP Theatre and the Art Exhibition. Over the years, these two staple features of the festival have been a means of catechesis, allowing artists, performers and audiences to enter into the mysteries of the Catholic Faith or explore the lives of the Saints. This year, the theme takes us closer to home, taking inspiration from the life of Glasgow’s patron saint, Mungo.

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January 2018

Catholic education 1918–2018: Let’s celebrate our past and look to the future

Catholic schools are good for Scotland… that’s the clear message of the year of celebration which kicks off this month to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Education (Scotland) Act which brought Catholic schools into the local authority system.

Scotland’s bishops have set aside this year to mark the milestone and focus on the academic, civic, cultural and spiritual success story that is Catholic schooling in Scotland.

A planning group of the Catholic Education Commission will draw up a programme of events round the country and all parishes and schools are being invited to take part.

Restore St Mungo devotion, says Archbishop

Archbishop Tartaglia has called for a renewed devotion to St Mungo as Glasgow Archdiocese gears up to celebrate its patronal feast day this month.

And in an unusual move, the Archbishop has transferred the saint’s feast day to the nearest Sunday so as to increase the prominence of the celebration.

The Archbishop said: “In 2018 Saint Kentigern’s Day will fall on a Saturday. Since quite a few parishes do not have Saturday morning Masses, and since numbers at morning Mass may be less on a Saturday, and since the Vigil Mass impedes any evening celebrations of our patron saint, I was concerned that few people would actually celebrate the Founder of our City and Archdiocese this year.

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December 2017

Let the poor be our priority

Time to react to ‘scandal of poverty’

Don’t forget the poor ... that’s the heartfelt plea from Archbishop Philip Tartaglia this Advent as Scotland gears up for a consumer jamboree of Christmas spending.

In an Advent message carried in full in this month’s Flourish, the Archbishop reminds Catholics of their duty to help the poor.

The Archbishop’s letter takes its title from the whispered words of advice to the newly-elected Pope Francis. A cardinal close to him is said to have urged him “Don’t forget the poor,” even before he made his first appearance on the balcony of St Peter’s to greet the crowds.

Proceeds of SCIAF’s first ever gala dinner will help the world’s poorest

SCIAF’s first ever Gala Dinner has raised thousands to help some of the world’s poorest people to get the help they need to work their way out of poverty.

The charity’s inaugural event was held on Saturday 4th November at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Glasgow.

A charity auction featuring a rare Celtic Opus, and signed limited edition prints by renowned Scottish painter John Bellany and Lanark author and artist Alasdair Gray, along with proceeds from a raffle, raised an impressive £5,900 on the night,

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November 2017

“Let us love not with words but with deeds”

Papal letter for World Day of the Poor

“Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18). These words of the Apostle John voice an imperative that no Christian may disregard.

The seriousness with which the “beloved disciple” hands down Jesus’ command to our own day is made even clearer by the contrast between the empty words so frequently on our lips and the concrete deeds against which we are called to measure ourselves. Love has no alibi. Whenever we set out to love as Jesus loved, we have to take the Lord as our example; especially when it comes to loving the poor.

“This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him” (Ps 34:6). The Church has always understood the importance of this cry. We possess an outstanding testimony to this in the very first pages of the Acts of the Apostles, where Peter asks that seven men, “full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (6:3), be chosen for the ministry of caring for the poor. This is certainly one of the first signs of the entrance of the Christian community upon the world’s stage: the service of the poor…

Cash boost for Glasgow’s much-loved Mungo charity

One of Scotland’s first day care centres for the elderly, founded by the Passionists at St Mungo’s, Townhead, more than 50 years ago, has had a massive boost from one of its long term supporters.

The St Mungo’s Centre, whose first unofficial headquarters was a café in Castle Street, Townhead owned by Archbishop Tartaglia’s grandfather Filippo, has received £20,000 from the Glasgow based charity, the Robertson Trust.

According to the centre’s secretary Gerry Healy, a retired primary head teacher, who has been a volunteer with the organisation for almost all of its existence, inspiration to help older people combat deprivation and loneliness, came from a member of the Passionists who was a regular at Tartaglia’s café just round the corner from St Mungo’s.

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October 2017

Shining a light on the life of Brother Walfrid

The life of Brother Walfrid, man of God, Marist Religious, champion of the poor and globally revered as the founder of Celtic, is to be the subject of an in-depth four-year study, it can now be exclusively revealed by Flourish.

Two years in the planning and with a budget of £25,000 it will take the form of a PhD by lifelong Celtic fan and Glasgow University post graduate student Michael Connolly under the supervision of Dr Joe Bradley, a highly respected academic at Stirling University.

The PhD’s working title is Faith, Community & Football: Searching for Brother Walfrid.

Archbishop to teachers: Be true to the faith

Catholic schools are shaping up to mark a milestone anniversary with the clear message that they are good for Scotland ... that was also the message of Archbishop Tartaglia as he celebrated a special Mass for teachers and school staff in St Andrew’s Cathedral.

Recalling the upcoming centenary of the 1918 Education Act which stabilised the position of Catholic schools in Scotland, the Archbishop said: "Our strapline for this commemorative year is ‘Catholic Schools, good for Scotland’. We are good for Scotland if Jesus Christ is at the centre of our school communities. And Jesus will be at the centre of our school communities if he is at the centre of our teachers’ lives. I am convinced that you can make the difference. So I offer you this advice:

“Be conscious of your vocation, of your calling as a Catholic teacher and as a teacher/staff member in a Catholic school. Rejoice in that calling, for it is a sacred and important calling.

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September 2017

History in the making as Scotland prepares to take Our Lady to its heart

Carfin is the venue for ‘an act of prayerful trust’

In a historic first, Arch­bishop Tartaglia joined by the country’s bishops, will consecrate Scotland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The consecration at the Marian shrine of Carfin, is the first such event to take place on Scottish soil, and comes just a month before Pope Francis carries out a consecration of the world to Our Lady to mark the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions.

Speaking ahead of the solemn act of entrustment of Scotland, Archbishop Tartaglia said: “Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is an act of prayerful trust in the maternal inter­cession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Because we are marking the Centenary of the Fatima Apparitions, the bishops thought it was appropriate to enact this consecration, for which lay groups have regularly petitioned.

Oscar Romero: our shining example and constant inspiration

The Director of SCIAF reflects on the amazing life of Blessed Oscar Romero which has inspired much of the charity’s international aid work

Blessed Oscar Romero walked closely with the poor, he was a beacon of truth and justice in the face of brutality.

The Salvadoran Archbishop is a shining example of someone driven by prayer and deep contemplation of the suffering of his people to fight poverty and injustice in this world, to the point that he was murdered by agents of the State of El Salvador. Declaring him a martyr, Pope Francis said Archbishop Oscar Romero “constructed peace with the force of love.”

Monseñor Romero has been a huge inspiration for our work at SCIAF and for the global Caritas family for many years. He is part of our history and motivates us to continue to walk with, hear, and care for the poor, and fight for justice.

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August 2017

Grandparents: The Church needs your faith

A rallying cry to grandparents to pass on the faith to the next generation has been made by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia.

Speaking in advance of this month’s pilgrimage to Carfin organised by the Catholic Grandparents Association, the Archbishop said: “For many modern families, where both Mum and Dad are in full time employment, or where there is only one parent, grandparents are more than ever important for the care of their grandchildren, for the support of Mum and Dad and for helping to provide a stable and balanced family life.

“They are very often an important influence in the spiritual formation of children, for introducing their grandchildren to Jesus and Mary, for teaching their grandchildren to pray, in taking them to Mass and in giving them an example of Catholic life.

Cathedral welcome for Papal Nuncio

Just weeks after being appointed as the Pope’s Ambassador to the Court of St James’s, the new Apostolic Nuncio has visited Glasgow.

Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, originally from Philadelphia, came to the city for an informal visit on Thursday 29th June 2017, the Feast of St Peter and St Paul to meet Archbishop Tartaglia at St Andrew’s Cathedral. It was his first visit to Scotland.

Archbishop Tartaglia said: “I was delighted to welcome the Nuncio and spend a few hours in his company. While he was here, we visited our own St Andrew's Cathedral, then Glasgow Cathedral where we prayed at the tomb of St Mungo, and the University of Glasgow. I look forward to welcoming the Nuncio to a future plenary session of the Bishops' Conference.”

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July 2017

Reboot the faith

One of the world’s top Catholic speakers is coming to Glasgow – with a mission to reboot the Catholic faith of the Archdiocese.

Chris Stefanick is currently selling out events across America in his ministry which presents the Catholic faith in all its beauty, power and truth in an engaging and uplifting way.

He has worked for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in the areas of marriage and family life, laity, and youth. This month he brings Reboot Live to Glasgow.

Pastoral Council helps prepare parishes for a future of changes

Lay people from across the Archdiocese met last month to offer their insights and advice to the Archbishop on how to structure parish provision in the future.

Representatives from 17 of the 22 parish clusters set up several years ago were present at the Eyre Hall gathering of the Diocesan Pastoral Council. The Archbishop presided and the Vicar General, Monsignor Paul Conroy, and the Chancellor, Monsignor Paul Murray, were in attendance.

The event allowed a frank and honest exchange of views on the current state of parish life and the need for restructuring over the next decade.

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June 2017

Make the X count

Bishops urge voters to remember the vulnerable

Make the Cross count by caring for the poorest and most vulnerable … That’s the eve-of-poll plea by Scotland’s Bishops.

The Bishops published their traditional guidance for voters last month, asking Catholics to reflect on the issues highlighted. As voting day approaches, the Bishops have repeated their message.

The document repeats previous calls for respect for life – describing it as “fundamental to the Catholic faith” and support for families, but makes a special plea this year for EU nationals caught up in the uncertainties of Brexit to be granted security.

Communications at the heart of the Church’s life

Archbishop’s letter for World Communications Day

My dear brothers and sisters,

Communication is at the heart of all that we do. We share information, emotion, ideas and experiences every day.

Our faith is based on the communication of God’s message to humanity, namely that God is love. It is not a coincidence that St John refers to Jesus as the “Word” made flesh. (John 1:14).

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May 2017

Pray! Pray! Pray!

Archbishop’s plea to parishioners to support priestly vocations

Pray. Pray. Pray … that’s the plea this month from Archbishop Tartaglia in a heartfelt letter to parishioners on Vocations Sunday.

Next month sees the ordination to the priesthood of Deacon Jim Dean. And at the start of the next academic term in autumn, there will be five Glasgow students in seminary with two more taking part in the applicants’ year.

These are the highest numbers for some time, but the Archbishop is convinced that more prayer is needed to encourage and sustain more vocations.

Our Lady’s message of penance, peace and pilgrimage

Two of the visionaries of Fatima – young shepherds Jacinta and Francisco Marto – will be canonised by Pope Francis when he visits the Portuguese shrine next week.

His Holiness will canonize them at the Mass already scheduled for May 13, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima and the 100th anniversary of the date when the two children - along with their cousin Lúcia Santos - said the Virgin Mary first appeared to them.

Francis will be the fourth pope to visit the shrine, following Blessed Paul VI, Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Archbishop Conti 40th anniversary

Four-page special

Fellow bishops have paid warm tributes to Archbishop Mario Conti to mark his outstanding contribution to the life of the Church on the 40th anniversary of his ordination as a bishop.

In a series of reflections, Scotland’s Catholic hierarchy offer their own words of congratulation to the boy from Elgin who became the successor of St Mungo.

And in an exclusive interview, Archbishop Conti also tells the story of his unanticipated nomination.

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April 2017

Homeless death on our city centre streets… Who cares?

THE tragic death of a young homeless man, sleeping rough in Glasgow city centre, must galvanise all with a concern for society’s most vulnerable to work harder to alleviate suffering and isolation.

That is the determined view of Archbishop Philip Tartaglia in the wake of the death of Matthew Bloomer. His body was found in a shop doorway at the Trongate on Argyle Street on the morning of 21 March, as people made their way to work.

Archbishop Tartaglia said: “It was distressing to hear about the death of this young man on the streets of central Glasgow.

Now you’re talking!

Hundreds of refugees have learned English in a ground breaking church led project, but in this first anniversary report BRIAN SWANSON hears an appeal for more parish groups to play their part while ALAN MacDERMID gives his personal view as a classroom volunteer

A Glasgow parish priest is urging fellow clergymen to provide English classes for refugees following a hugely successful initiative at his own church.

Father Tim Curtis, of St Aloysius, Garnethill, was speaking on the first anniversary of the project which has seen scores of refugees learn English with the help of a group of dedicated teachers and other volunteers.

The popularity of the classes, which will continue for the foreseeable future, means that there is no spare capacity at the St John Ogilvie Centre prompting Fr Curtis to issue his appeal to other churches to consider similar schemes.

Take my word for it … teaching is fun

AFTER a lifetime as a newspaper reporter, I like to think I have a reasonable grasp of English. I had a good grounding in reading – the Beano and the Dandy – and progressed from there. The question is – can I pass on this facility?

Shouldn’t be all that difficult, I think – after all, I’ve helped to raise two children and they are perfectly literate.

But these are men and women with pressing needs – finding work, filling in forms, dealing with bureaucrats, communicating with neighbours and shopkeepers. They don’t have time for bedtime stories or comics.

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