Flourish, the monthly newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow

From the August 2018 edition…

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.

A National Opening of World Meeting of Families will take place simultaneously in the twenty-six dioceses on the island of Ireland on Tuesday 21 August. A Festival of Families will be held on Saturday 25 August 2018 in Croke Park, Dublin. This will involve a cultural concert within a prayerful and joyful atmosphere, during which personal stories of faith will be shared by families, each representing the five continents. Pope Francis will be present for this event befiore the finale at Phoenix Park.

Archbishop Tartaglia told Flourish that the visit could be an important moment of rebirth for the Church in Ireland and the Irish diaspora in Glasgow and beyond.

He said: “Every papal visit brings a sense of excitement and anticipation. People feel a bond to the faith which they may have neglected, and the arrival of the Holy Father and his message of hope can often re-ignite the flame of faith that had flickered out.

“The Pope’s presence at this moment in Irish history is very significant. The Church there has been badly affected by scandal and loss of trust and the recent abortion referendum showed that the culture of the country has changed in a decidedly secular direction.

“I am hopeful that the Holy Father will reach out to those who may have been disaffected and offer words of hope to all Irish Catholics which will allow them to reconnect with their spiritual roots. That would be good news for Ireland and also for Glasgow with its big Irish diaspora.”

Mary McGinty, Publisher of the Irish Voice, based in Glasgow said: “We only have to look at the annual St Patrick’s Day Mass in St Andrew’s Cathedral to see the place the Faith occupies for the Irish community here.

“The social issues in Ireland are very important to the Irish people here. The recent abortion referendum changing the constitution of Ireland, the debate and fall-out have been closely followed by the Irish community in Scotland. Pope Francis has always spoken strongly and clearly on Pro-Life issues, and Irish Catholics in Glasgow are keenly awaiting his input into an issue which has split Irish society like no other in recent years.

“The media would have us believe the Church in Ireland is dying. There is a decline but those who visit regularly know that churches in Ireland are still very busy. Sunday Masses with standing room only are not unusual.”

Brenda Drumm, the official spokesperson for the event told Flourish: “The World Meeting of Families is looking forward to welcoming pilgrims and families from Scotland to our celebration of family in Dublin later this month.

“We can assure them that there will be a very warm Irish welcome awaiting them and their pilgrim groups as we extend a hundred thousand welcomes—a céad míle fáilte—to all those coming to be with us.

“Pope Francis will deliver an address to the families and will hear five family testimonies shared by families from Ireland, Canada, India, Iraq and Africa. The themes of the family testimonies will focus on: forgiveness in family; strength in family; hope in family life; the intergenerational nature of families today and the impact of technology on family life. Pope Francis will meet each of these families and hear their stories.”

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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.

The leader of the city council, Councillor Susan Aitken, said they would “insist” future marches be re-routed if organizers refuse, saying if the Orange Order associations “had any self-awareness” they would do what was necessary to “avoid local potential flashpoint.”

“Modern Scotland prides itself on tolerance. What we cannot tolerate is hate crime, sectarian, racist or otherwise,” Aitken wrote in The Herald.

She added: “The Orange Order, its individual districts and lodges, and other Loyal Orders may want to ask themselves what message the attitudes of those aligning themselves with their events send out about Scotland, about Glasgow and indeed about themselves and their proclaimed values.”

“Official participants may not be involved in sectarian and anti-social incidents around parades but it’s simply not enough to absolve themselves by pointing to hangers-on. They need to step up and take wider responsibility for those they attract and refer to as their wider support and networks when it suits.”

Commenting on the incident involving Canon White, Superintendent John McBride of Police Scotland said: “This was a despicable and shocking incident and I would like to take this opportunity to thank members of the public for their support during our investigation.

“Police Scotland takes any form of hate crime extremely seriously and I hope this sends a clear message that this type of deplorable behaviour will not be tolerated.”

A spokesman for the Archdiocese welcomed the interventions of police, council and government. Director of Communications, Ronnie Convery said: “We are glad that the issue of anti-Catholic hate crime is now being taken seriously by the authorities. We have been heartened by our engagements with the Minister and the police and we sense they ‘get’ the issue in possibly a new way. The Catholic people of this city – and indeed the wider public – cannot be subjected to intimidation and menace as they go about their lawful business. The Church will work with the authorities to explore suitable ways forward.”

As Flourish was going to press police confirmed an arrest had been made in relation to the incident involving Canon White and his parishioners. A police spokesperson said: “Police Scotland can confirm that a 24 year-old man has been arrested and charged in connection with the assault of a 43 year-old priest outside St Alphonsus’ Church in Glasgow around 5.15 pm on Saturday 7 July 2018. A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”

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