Pope’s message of hope

Return to Mass

‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’…

On the morning of Friday March 26, the beginning of Holy Week and with absolutely no fanfare whatsoever, our churches were freed from the darkness of lockdown into the light of God’s Word with the eagerly awaited resumption of public worship.
Read more…


Make the X count

Make the cross count … that’s the appeal of Scotland’s bishops ahead of the elections taking place on May 6.
Read more…


Archbishop Mario’s prayer for a successor

Archbishop Conti found himself once more offering the Mass of Chrism this year following the death of Archbishop Tartaglia.
Read more…

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The current emergency means our churches have had to close, but costs remain and some parishes are in a difficult situation. If your own circumstances allow it, please consider helping us by donating £5 during this worrying time. The Archdiocese has set up a system whereby you can simply text RCARCHGLA to 70085 to donate £5. Please share this emergency donation option with others, especially those who may be anxious because they normally contribute to their parish through collection envelopes. Those who use collection envelopes are asked to continue to place donations in these and deliver them to the local parish after the emergency has passed.

We rejoiced when we heard them say ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’…


On the morning of Friday March 26, the beginning of Holy Week and with absolutely no fanfare whatsoever, our churches were freed from the darkness of lockdown into the light of God’s Word with the eagerly awaited resumption of public worship.

The home team at St Catherine’s

There may have been no fuss yet it was noticeable that the masks the faithful wore could not disguise their joy as once again priests and people met as a community of faith, and, at last, were able to celebrate the Eucharist together.


The long-established lockdown rules still applied with hand sanitising now as familiar as genuflecting.

Although for now one-way systems, pre-booking and numbers capped at 50 remain in place, anecdotal evidence suggests that nearly every church in the archdiocese could have posted a ‘house full’ outside on ‘opening day’.

And if the joy that the faithful felt in our diocese was mirrored across the land as Mass resumed from Wick to Wigtown after a three month lockdown, then on this one single day in March, Scotland must have been a very happy place indeed to be Catholic.

As in many parts of the Archdiocese parishioners from St Catherine Labouré, Balornock, arrived early for the 9:30 Mass to be greeted warmly, if in a socially distanced manner, by Parish Priest Canon Anthony Gallagher.

And behind the banter about lack of haircuts and mock surprise at seeing each other after so long it was clear that here was a community delighted to be able to participate once again in the celebration of Mass.

As Canon Gallagher said during his homily: “We can listen to the word of God over a transmission of Mass but nothing can touch us the way God touches us today here in our church.”

He continued: “The most important thing about reopening is that people can receive Communion – that above all is what people have missed.

“We have a great community here and they all look out for each other but as a priest you worry about people when you don’t see them so it’s good to have so many familiar faces here today”.

Some of those familiar faces were happy to welcome this stranger with the notebook asking frankly very obvious questions about being back at Mass.

Colin Gillespie didn’t hesitate with his answer: “I believe in God, this is God’s house and that is where we belong.

The retired welder added: “I couldn’t wait to get to Mass – it was just brilliant to be back receiving Communion again.”

Former local government official 84-year old Dan Rogan, who has worshipped at St Catherine’s since it was built just over 70 years ago said: “It was wonderful today, just wonderful. Don’t get me wrong it’s been good watching Mass from home but you can’t fully participate and that’s what we have all missed but now we can and let’s hope there will be no going back to more lockdowns.”

The setting might have been different but the emotions were the same as parishioners filed in to St Andrew’s Cathedral for the lunch time Mass celebrated by Canon Gerald Sharkey.

“I am not an emotional person,” he told them “but when lockdown was first announced I had tears in my eyes but there is a different kind of emotion today because it is wonderful to welcome you all back ...”

The entire congregation, you felt, was silently applauding in agreement.

Outside in the Italian Garden after Mass old friends greeted each other and the body language said it all. The heartfelt phrase “Thank God” was the answer most gave on being asked how they felt to be back at Mass.

When Sister Roseann Reddy, of the Sisters of the Gospel of Life was asked what being able to return to Mass meant to her, the reply was unequivocal. “Everything.” she said, adding,”there has been a lot said and written recently about Mass being a human right and that’s true but we must never forget that is also a human need.”

Across the river at St Robert Bellarmine parish, in Househillwood, the Palm Sunday Vigil Mass was different this year with the traditional procession on hold and palm branches sterilised before being handed out but the Mass was celebrated with no less joy by priest and parishioners.

Father Jim Dean set the tone at once. Flinging open his arms, he said:”I’ve missed every single one of you.”

He joked: “I’ve been streaming Masses from the oratory during lockdown and the only face I see in the monitor is my own so to see so many people in front of me .. I’m actually a bit nervous standing here!”

More seriously he added: “We come together as a community but we are not as we were before lockdown. We are a fractured community, a broken community, a hurt community…

“And the community is less than it was – I have conducted a hundred funerals over the past year which is maybe double that of ‘normal’ times.

“And yet we are a strong community, who check up on each other, who have shown great kindness to me and a community which comes together in the love of Christ. Let us never forget that.”

Parishioner Geraldine MacDonald said: “Getting the churches open for Mass again has been the answer to my prayers – literally. I’ve been praying for this moment, I’m sure we all have, and it’s just so wonderful to be back and to receive communion again.”


Make the X count


Make the cross count … that’s the appeal of Scotland’s bishops ahead of the elections taking place on May 6.

In a letter to Scotland’s Catholic community, the Bishops highlight key issues which should inform the choice of voters, including the looming threat of euthanasia, the need for a serious response to climate change and the importance of Catholic schools.

They also appeal to politicians and supporters of parties to ensure the campaign is respectful and courteous.

The Bishops urge people to consider the candidate rather than just the party when it comes to voting: “Some of the most important issues, including abortion and assisted suicide, are commonly decided by a conscience, or free, vote. Therefore, it is critical to ascertain candidates’ personal values and opinions and not concentrate solely on party policies.”

On euthanasia the bishops warn that a further attempt to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland is likely to happen in the new parliament. “Legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia suggests that some lives are not worth living, contrary to the Christian belief that every life has equal dignity and value. It is incumbent upon our parliamentarians to show compassion for the sick and dying. This is not achieved by assisted suicide or euthanasia but by ensuring support is provided through caring and attentive politics, including investment in palliative care”.

The Bishops call for a preferential option for the poor in social policy: “Poverty remains a scourge for too many people. The marginalised, the homeless, and the lonely and isolated have been cast further adrift because of the pandemic. And poverty now affects 24% of children in Scotland. We need elected representatives who respect a preferential option for the poor, who are willing to prioritise their need and respect their human dignity”.

And on the environment the Bishops write: “The next group of MSPs will be tasked with protecting our neighbours at home and abroad from the poverty and climate crises which continue to rage on. In November Glasgow will play host to the COP26 international climate change summit. We should listen to Pope Francis’ call to ‘hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’ by lifting up the voices of the global south and coming together to rebuild our Common Home in a way that leaves no-one behind. Scotland can also demonstrate global leadership by strengthening its commitment to becoming a carbon neutral country.”

They continue with a plea for freedom of speech and religion … “If Scotland is to be a tolerant, open, diverse country then we must be free to discuss and debate ideas, even those which are deemed by some to be controversial. Whilst being mindful of the need to protect citizens from hate, government must not overstep into the realm of unjust restrictions on free speech, free expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion...”

Finally the Bishops call for guarantees on Catholic schools calling on candidates to “support an open and diverse state education system which includes Catholic schools.”

The full text of the Bishops’ election letter can be found here: www.bcos.org.uk


Archbishop Mario’s prayer for a successor

Archbishop Conti found himself once more offering the Mass of Chrism this year following the death of Archbishop Tartaglia.

Archbishop Conti at the Chrism Mass

The Mass was reduced in scale, with only the Deans of each Deanery and two lay representatives present in the Cathedral in conformity with Covid rules.

Despite the empty pews Archbishop Conti spoke of the “purity and dignity” of the Mass with its complex liturgy of blessing the oils which will be used in parishes over the coming year and renewing of priestly promises by the clergy.


The Archbishop spoke for many in expressing the wish that the oils blessed this Easter will soon be used to anoint his successor’s successor as the new Archbishop of Glasgow.

He said: “It is surely a joy for all of us to be able to return to the Cathedral of the Diocese, and particularly for this Mass, which touches the very heart of the Church’s liturgy, the Worship of God... Its foundation are the sacraments, instituted we affirm by Christ himself, and administered by the Catholic priesthood which is a sharing in the Priesthood of Christ.”


Reflecting on the readings for the Mass of Chrism the Archbishop recalled the words of Pope St Leo the Great in the 5th century in a homily he gave on the anniversary of his election as Pope in 440 ad.

“You might have expected him to focus on his priestly or pontifical service. In a sense he did, but as the starting point of a broader consideration of priesthood, since he recognised in the anointing of the faithful in the sacraments their own sharing in the priesthood of Christ, and in his Kingship.

“Think of it, the same chrism which anoints the hands of the priest, and the head of the bishop, anoints the head of the adult and the baby at baptism, and of the maturing Christian at Confirmation, while the other oils blessed alongside the Chrism are used even more generously: the oil of the sick in strengthening the sick person whenever there is need, and the oil of catechumens in their approach to baptism…

“Chrism is also used in the consecration of churches and sacred vessels, and most extravagantly in the blessing of altars, as I well remember when I had the privilege of consecrating this altar at St Andrew’s Cathedral.

“Such thoughts do not in any way diminish the dignity of the ministerial priesthood. What they do is underline the dignity of every baptised Christian. They reveal the sacramental infra-structure of the Church’s liturgy by which every Christian is inserted into and grows in Christ. They describe the Church itself.

“Priests and people, we receive through the sacraments what we need for our state of life, from a generous Lord who has called (us) out of darkness into his wonderful light.”


Pope’s message of hope

“Faith is not an album of past memories; Jesus is not outdated. He is alive here and now. He walks beside you each day, in every situation you are experiencing, in every trial you have to endure, in your deepest hopes and dreams.

He opens new doors when you least expect it, he urges you not to indulge in nostalgia for the past or cynicism about the present. Even if you feel that all is lost, let yourself be open to amazement at the newness Jesus brings...”

Pope Francis, Easter 2021