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


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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March 2017

Milestone on poverty-hit streets

THE courage and visionary thinking behind The Space – reaching out to some of Glasgow’s most marginalized people – has been commended by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia.

As he blessed the project’s premises on Belleisle St in Govanhill, the Archbishop praised the commitment and drive shown by the Daughters of Charity who pioneered the outreach work among the area’s poor and the staff who are taking their vision forward.

“The Space is a place of hope,” he said. “It has opened its doors in welcome to all, especially those who endure the hardships of this time.”

Answering the challenge

FOR most people living in wealthy countries such as Scotland, it can be hard to fully realise what it means to not have enough to eat or to feel hunger regularly.

It is only when we unpack the shocking statistics relating to hunger that we begin to appreciate what it really means and the parallel worlds in which we live.

A staggering one in nine people worldwide do not have enough food to eat.

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February 2017

‘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.

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:

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.

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December 2016

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.

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.

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November 2016

Great awakening needed to confront power elites

AT a Mass marking the 49th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia called for a “peaceful revolution” to heal society’s throwaway culture and treasure the gift of human life.

“I would like to take this opportunity to call on those who have legislative power in our country to repeal the law which allows abortion,” he said. “But I am nearly certain that our parliamentarians and lawmakers are beyond recall on this matter.

“I think it would take a great awakening of some kind before the 1967 Abortion Act would be revisited with a view to its repeal or significant diminishing.”

Bishops rally in Monaco to defend Christian witness

EUROPE’S bishops have decried growing anti-Christian discrimination on the continent and the outright persecution of Christians in other parts of the world.

Meeting in Monaco, last month, the Council of European Episcopal Conferences highlighted the “tragic urgency of the growing acts of persecution” which affect human rights and religious freedom.

“These are manifestations of an irrational violence which is fuelled, too often, by a call to religious motivations that are an abuse and an insult to the very name of God,” the bishops stated.

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October 2016

Financial justice has become moral imperative, says Archbishop

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia has castigated politicians for moving the economic goalposts, with benefits’ reforms which place heavier financial burdens on those already struggling.

And he expressed dismay that, in a country of plenty, more and more people are relying on handouts from foodbanks to survive.

His pointed remarks came at a Mass marking the 60th anniversary of the opening of St Maria Goretti’s church in Cranhill, where some of the community are directly impacted by financial hardship.

Passionate peace plea at Assisi day of prayer

HUMANITY should feel ashamed it can wage war, kill the innocent, bomb cities and prevent food and medicine from reaching survivors, Pope Francis stated at an interfaith prayer meeting in Assisi.

Violence and division are the work of the devil who “wants to kill everyone,” and that is why people need to come together and pray for peace, united in the conviction that “God is a God of peace,” he said on the special day of prayer for peace, 20 September.

“If we today shut our ear to the cry of these people who suffer being bombed, who suffer exploitation by arms traffickers, it could be that when it's our turn no one will respond to us,” he added.

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