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


July 2019

‘There is no such thing as an ordinary Catholic life, because Catholic life fully lived is extraordinary…’

Archbishop’s words of welcome to new parishioners

Catholic life fully lived is extraordinary … that’s the powerful message of hope that Archbishop Tartaglia has delivered to the Archdiocese’s “new Catholics”.

Speaking to adults baptised or received into the Church at Easter, the Archbishop outlined a plan of life which will resonate well beyond the target audience to which it was addressed, encouraging “cradle Catholics” too to live their faith better.

The Archbishop said: “There is no such thing as an ordinary Catholic life, because Catholic life fully lived is extraordinary. It is extraordinary because at the centre of it there is a unique and amazing person. He is Jesus who gives us access to the mystery of God…

Enoch feast

The gable-end image of St Enoch, which drew so much praise when it was unveiled last year will be the focus of attention once more this month as July 18 is traditionally marked as her feast day.

On the day the women of Glasgow are invited to come and lay a flower or a bunch of flowers at the tomb of St Mungo in Glasgow Cathedral to celebrate the courage of his mother and remember Glasgow’s other patron.

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June 2019

Time to end the #aggro

Archbishop joins Pope in call for new effort at civil dialogue on social media

Archbishop Tartaglia has joined Pope Francis in calling for a toning down of the online aggro which is disfiguring social media and wider society.

In messages to mark World Communications Day, both the Holy Father and the Archbishop highlight the worrying phenomenon of social media being used to foment hatred and division.

In his message Pope Francis says: “In the social web identity is too often based on opposition to the other, the person outside the group: we define ourselves starting with what divides us rather than with what unites us, giving rise to suspicion and to the venting of every kind of prejudice (ethnic, sexual, religious and other).

The Little Flower to visit prison

Prisoners in Barlinnie, Scotland’s biggest jail will be the first to have the opportunity to see and venerate the relics of St Thèrèse of Lisieux during their visit to the Archdiocese this autumn.

The dramatic choice of programme is something of a tradition for pilgrimages involving the relics and at the same time a strong echo of Pope Francis’s call for the Church to “go to the peripheries” in outreach to the men and women of the 21st century.

The relics of the Little Flower will come to Glasgow on Monday September 16, when it is planned that Archbishop Tartaglia will receive them at the prison before an evening transfer to the church which bears the name of the saint of Lisieux, St Teresa’s, Possilpark.

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May 2019

UK Government travel ban hits visiting priests

Parishes across the Archdiocese face a scaled-down timetable of Masses over the summer after the UK Government blocked the visits of priests from Africa and Asia who traditionally supply in Scottish parishes.

The shock move means dozens of clergy who had planned to serve in parishes across Glasgow and the surrounding area have had their travel plans thwarted, while local priests face difficult decisions as they try to provide at least a skeleton cover of Masses over the holiday period.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese said: “The UK Immigration Minister, Caroline Noakes, announced a change in the law which explicitly prevents ‘Ministers of Religion’ from entering the country using a Tier 5 visa. We were not advised of this by the UK Border Agency despite the fact that they send frequent updates to us as a sponsoring body about much less drastic changes. It only came to light, buried on page 135 of a lengthy document, when processes began to invite clergy for the summer months.”

‘You cannot do such terrible things in God’s name. Enough. Stop!’

Archbishop’s plea after Sri Lanka massacre

The growing surge of persecution of Catholics and Christians in general has been highlighted by Archbishop Tartaglia in an emotional Mass in St Andrew’s Cathedral.

The Mass for victims of the Sri Lanka bombing outrage – an attack which saw more than 250 people killed - was attended by a multinational congregation, all keen to express their sorrow and support for the victims and the Sri Lankan community.

Archbishop Tartaglia said: “We offer our most prayerful condolences to those who have been bereaved: we have seen their agony and unquenchable sorrow. We stand in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka and with everyone in the world who has had enough of terrorism, and we say, in God’s name, enough! We say to the men and women of violence, you cannot do such heinous and cruel things in God’s name. You cannot do such terrible things in God’s name or in anyone’s name. Enough. Stop.

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April 2019

Lent matters

Lent and Passiontide come to their climax in coming days.

The human and divine drama of the crucifixion and resur­rection of Jesus is the focus of our attention.

How to respond?

‘The important thing is not so much that you observe your penance obsessively… but that you grow closer to God’

Archbishop Tartaglia’s Lenten reflection

In the pressure of real life, family life, school life, personal life, our soul and spirit can be forgotten, which means that we do not or cannot respond to God as well as we would like and as well as we should.

So time for prayer and reflection is a moment for the spirit, and it is essential for the soul – a moment of encounter between each one of us and Jesus Christ.

This is the season of Lent. The liturgy uses quite dramatic imagery and phrases from Scripture to describe this season. Lent is the penitential season when we are urged by God to come back to him with all our hearts, fasting, weeping and mourning. Lent is the favourable time, the day of salvation. Lent is the moment of spiritual warfare. On the first day of Lent, we apply black ash to our forehead to mark the singularity and penitential seriousness of this season. We are invited to engage in the traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

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March 2019

Priest tells politicians: Let’s listen to each other

Politicians and members of religious communities in Scotland need to rediscover the gift of listening …that was the powerful message from Father Liam McMahon, parish priest of St Michael’s, Parkhead, when he gave a recent Time for Reflection address to the Scottish Parliament.

Fr Liam used his spot to make an impassioned plea for greater civility in public discourse.

He told MSPs: “In recent times both in these islands and further afield the political sphere has become more like a boxing ring rather than a place of constructive discussion, on those occasions all the power of possibility with which we are gifted becomes lost in useless frustrations, and tribal tub-thumping.

Trials of living in a masterpiece

Reflections on life inside St Peter’s College, Cardross

It was early summer of May 1978 that I drove along the driveway of Kilmahew House, Cardross, across the old bridge and then a sharp left turn bringing me out of the trees and into an open space occupied by a startling and amazing building glowing in the warm evening sun.

I had my first sight of St Peter’s College. I was visiting for the three day long assessment process that would decide whether or not I would be accepted as a seminary student for the Archdiocese of Glasgow. Later that summer, this building would become my home. As I drove down to the interview weekend, I hadn’t known what to expect out in the country there, but I most certainly didn’t expect what I saw: here in front of me was an upside down copy of my high school.

More dramatic, for sure, with what I saw as additions to the school I knew, but a place I was instantly familiar with and which felt comfortable in my mind. Even as a teenager, I could instantly see that this was built by the same people who built Our Lady’s High School, Cumbernauld, where I had spent six happy years. I can’t say I saw an architectural masterpiece, I just saw school and felt comfort. Little did I know how much my first impressions would change.

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February 2019

Pope Francis challenges us to remember Mother Teresa

Let Mother Teresa be your inspiration … that’s the invitation this month from Pope Francis as the Church prepares to celebrate the World Day of the Sick.

The Holy Father has chosen the diminutive saint of Calcutta as a model for all Christians in today’s world who must deal more and more with illness, infirmity, poverty and people who are outcast from society.

Special ceremonies will be held in parishes across Glasgow on the day while the main international ceremonies will take place on India on February 11 (the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes).

Archbishop: Give clearer witness to Christian marriage

Be faithful to the truth about marriage, but offer compassion and love to those who cannot – or will not – see its inherent value and beauty… that was the powerful plea from Archbishop Philip Tartaglia in a sermon delivered in the Cathedral last month.

The Archbishop spoke of the changes in modern society which have led to the confusion over marriage, calling on Catholics not to give up their convictions even when they are seen as counter-cultural.

He defined marriage between a man and a woman as “faithful and fruitful, enduring and loving – the sign, symbol and sacrament of the love of Jesus Christ for his Church.”

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January 2019

Boost for saint’s day celebrations

Glasgow is set to mark its saint’s day with a bigger and more ambitious programme of events than ever.

The traditional Feast day of St Mungo (or Kentigern) will be supported by 10 days of activities and celebrations which will recall the city’s saintly founder and its Christian origins.

The Mungo Festival kicks off on Wednesday 9th January at the St Mungo Museum with a reception with wine and mince pies, as Professor Stephen Driscoll describes an archaeological exploration of Kentigern’s origins from his birthplace to the Clyde.

Let us all pray as one for worldwide justice and unity

Catholics across the archdiocese are being urged to take seriously the work for Christian unity this month.

The annual Octave for Christian Unity takes place from January 18/25 culminating in the feast of the Conversion of St Paul.

Canon David Wallace, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes in Cardonald and Chair of Glasgow Churches Together, said: “Many good things happen around the week of prayer for Christian Unity and it would be good to share in some of these events. The organisation Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) has produced very useable resources for the week which have been distributed in every parish. The materials can also be accessed online.

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December 2018

Archbishop: Time to tell the real story of Christmas

Archbishop Tartaglia has called on Catholics to use the hype and anticipated celebration of Christmas as a way of helping people understand the real reason for the seasons of Advent and Christmas.

In his annual festive message, Archbishop Tartaglia points out that society’s impatience to start Christmas celebrations earlier and earlier each year is a sign of a deep spiritual thirst, to which Catholics should try to respond.

The Archbishop’s message is reproduced in full below:

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November 2018

Dear young people…

In an extraordinary open letter, composed to mark the end of the Vatican Synod on young people, the Pope and Bishops are reaching out to the youth of the world. Flourish carries the short, powerful letter in full, with a special request… Place this text in the hands of a young person after you have read it

We address you, young people of the world, with a word of hope, trust and consolation.

In these days, we have gathered together to hear the voice of Jesus, “the eternally young Christ”, and to recognise in Him your many voices, your shouts of exultation, your cries, and your moments of silence.

We are familiar with your inner searching, the joys and hopes, the pain and anguish that make up your longings.

Tragedy remembered with Mass

A tragedy which shocked Glasgow half a century ago is to be remembered at a special Mass in the Cathedral, 50 years to the day since it happened.

The James Watt Street fire took place on the morning of Monday, 18 November 1968, and was a fatal factory blaze just along from Central Station in a street which was then full of warehouses.

It was notable for the huge loss of life, with 23 employees killed, trapped in a building behind barred windows, a hangover from its previous use as a whisky bond.

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October 2018

Pope’s plea: Pray Rosary to overcome devil’s attacks

Pontiff’s dramatic plea to world’s Catholics

In a dramatic plea, the Holy Father Francis has urged Catholics all over the world to pray the Rosary every day during October to save the Church from the devil.

It is an initiative that signals how worried Pope Francis is about the scandals of clerical abuse, open division among bishops and cardinals, and challenges to the Pope’s authority and person. The Holy Father asks all Catholics to pray the Holy Rosary every day, during the entire month of October, “asking the Holy Mother of God and Saint Michael the Archangel to protect the Church from the devil, who always seeks to separate us from God and from each other.”

Pope Francis asks that Catholic conclude the recitation of the Rosary with the ancient invocation “Sub Tuum Praesidium”, and with the prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel for protection in the struggle against evil.

Honoured at last

Glasgow memorial for St John Ogilvie

St John Ogilvie, Scotland’s only post-Reformation saint, is finally to be given a public memorial more than 400 years after he was hanged at Glasgow Cross.

A plaque telling his story will be unveiled on the martyred saint’s feast day of March 10th and will be the first in a series forming a new Glasgow City Council City Heritage Trail.

As campaigners warmly welcomed the move, Flourish can reveal that an anonymous benefactor is ready to make a very substantial donation to help pay for a statue of the saint to be placed nearby.

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September 2018

Pope Francis in Ireland

Pope Francis asked the people of Ireland to stay true to their traditions of prayer and family life in a landmark visit last week.

The Holy Father visited Dublin and Knock during the World Meeting of Families and took the opportunity to offer a heartfelt apology for the scandal of abuse which has besmirched the Irish Church in recent years, offering words of sorrow too for the women forced to work in Magdalen laundries.

In a series of addresses, the Pope also spoke to married couples, bishops and those who care for the poor, urging them to bring the Gospel to 21st century Ireland.

St Andrew’s Cathedral hosts education icon to mark Catholic schools centenary

St Andrew’s Cathedral will this month host the stunning icon written to mark the spiritual, educational and social significance of the centenary of the 1918 Education (Scotland) Act which brought Catholic schools into the local authority system.

During the course of the year the icon of Jesus Our Teacher, a focus for prayer, meditation and reflection has been on a pilgrimage to dioceses throughout Scotland and has already been in Aberdeen, Argyll and the Isles, Dunkeld and Galloway.

Arrangements are being put together for it to be hosted in Motherwell and finally St Andrews and Edinburgh.

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August 2018

Céad míle fáilte!

Glasgow’s Irish eyes are smiling as Pope Francis visits the Emerald Isle

Céad míle fáilte! A hundred thousand welcomes to Pope Francis whose visit to Ireland later this month has been warmly welcomed by Glasgow’s huge Irish population.

The Holy Father will visit Dublin and Knock to mark World Day of Families. All 500,000 tickets have been booked out for the Papal Mass in Phoenix Park Dublin on Sunday 26 August. Demand was such that 400,000 were snapped up in the first 48 hours.

The theme of the event is “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”. Held every three years, this major international event brings together families from across the world to celebrate, pray and reflect upon the central importance of the family in society and in the Church.

Archdiocese welcomes Scottish Government’s commitment to tackle anti-Catholic hate crimes

The Archdiocese has welcomed commitments made by the City Council, Police Scotland and the Scottish Government to show zero tolerance for anti-Catholic bigotry and violence in Scottish life.

Following on the widely publicised incident involving Canon Tom White and his parishioners of St Alphonsus in the east end of Glasgow, the Scottish Government’s new Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “This anti-Catholicism on the streets of Glasgow is no different from Islamophobia or anti-semitism. If it had been an imam or rabbi that had been abused in the way Canon Thomas White was allegedly abused, there would have been universal condemnation of it.”

The Minister has spoken to Glasgow City Council about the possibility of re-routing other Orange parades, so they avoid Catholic churches, especially at Mass times.

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