Archbishop Philip RIP

The Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, has died suddenly at his home in Glasgow.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Archbishop Philip, for his family and friends and people of the Archdiocese.

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Due to the coronavirus pandemic the January edition of Flourish is not being printed and is available in digital form only. You can read selected stories online on this page or download a PDF of the whole paper.

Doors closed for now but vaccine offers hope


Pope Francis has urged Catholics to take the vaccine against COVID-19, calling it an “ethical act”.

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Bishops urge UK government to sign up to nuclear weapons ban

Scotland’s bishops have joined up with their colleagues in England and Wales to call on the UK Government to change its stance on nuclear weapons.
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Not even pandemic can stop Wayside Club outreach

The small group of volunteers begin the evening, as always, with a prayer to Our Lady of the Wayside.
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Amoris Laetitia

Pope proclaims Family Year

Pope Francis has proclaimed a special year to celebrate love and family life to begin in March.
Read more…

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Urgent appeal

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.

Doors closed for now but vaccine offers hope


Pope Francis has urged Catholics to take the vaccine against COVID-19, calling it an “ethical act”.

The Pope encouraged the faithful to be vaccinated

The Pontiff’s words will be welcomed by parishioners across Scotland as the rollout of the vaccination steps up a gear this month and will set their mind at ease after some critics had questioned the new therapy’s ethical legitimacy.

Pope Francis made his comments in a highly personal interview with Italian TV station Canale 5 in which he revealed that he has signed up to receive the vaccine himself as soon as it becomes available to residents of Vatican City.


He said: “I believe that, ethically, everyone has to get the vaccine. It is an ethical option because it concerns not only your life but also that of others.”

Recalling the introduction of the polio vaccine and other common childhood immunisations, he said, “I don’t understand why some say this could be a dangerous vaccine. If doctors present it to you as something that can be fine and has no special dangers, why not take it?”

The mass vaccination programme is seen as the only way out of the current crisis which has led to church closures across Scotland once more.

The Scottish Government’s decision to close all places of worship – except for weddings and funerals – in the context of a stay-at-home order designed to minimise interpersonal contact has drawn strong reactions.


Scotland’s bishops have asked for re-opening of churches at the next revision of lockdown measures. In a statement they said they were perplexed by the decision and noted that to many it will seem “arbitrary and unfair”.

The Bishops wrote: “We are very aware of the disappointment these closures will cause not only to our own Catholic community, but to many of our fellow-Christians and those of other faiths in Scotland. We wish to emphasise again the spiritual, social and psychological benefits provided by continuing public worship, and we ask for these to be taken into full account in future decisions…

“While we unequivocally share the common goal of protecting public health, we urge the Scottish Government, when the present measures are reviewed later in January, to reconsider these restrictions in the light of the above concerns.”

Catholics have been split over the new wave of church closures. Some have taken to social media to demand the immediate reopening of places of worship, while others have urged caution.


An online poll run by the St Andrew’s Foundation for Catholic Teacher Education showed a two to one majority in support of the temporary restriction.

Archbishop Tartaglia urged families to remain faithful to their best traditions despite the imposed hardships caused by the pandemic.

He said: “I encourage you, nonetheless, and indeed even more earnestly at this time, to build your family life upon your faith in God. Pass on your faith to your children. Teach them to pray. When you can do so again safely, bring them to Mass and to the Sacraments.

“Show them the meaning of marriage by your own loving union with your spouse. Teach them the meaning of family life by the way you live the life of the family. May Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Holy Family of Nazareth, inspire and intercede for all our families and for the family of the Church.”


Bishops urge UK government to sign up to nuclear weapons ban

Scotland’s bishops have joined up with their colleagues in England and Wales to call on the UK Government to change its stance on nuclear weapons.

International treaty takes effect

The bishops made their appeal to mark the coming into force of a new international agreement which, the UK Government has refused to sign.

The Bishops wrote: “On Friday 22 January 2021 the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons comes into force. This is a historic milestone on the path to nuclear disarmament and an opportunity to refocus on genuine peacebuilding rooted in dialogue, justice, respect for human dignity, and care for our planet.


“In setting out the ‘moral and humanitarian imperative’ for complete elimination of nuclear weapons, Pope Francis reminded us that ‘international peace and stability cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual destruction or total annihilation.’

“We urge support for the Treaty and repeat our call for the UK to forsake its nuclear arsenal. The resources spent on manufacturing, maintaining and upgrading these weapons of mass destruction, should be reinvested to alleviate the suffering of the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society, for the Common Good of all peoples.

“At the same time, we implore the government to strengthen its arms control regulations, tackling the manufacture and sale of other weaponry, which continues to destroy so many lives throughout the world.

“Above all we pray: ‘Lord, Father of our human family, you created all human beings equal in dignity; pour forth into our hearts a fraternal spirit. Move us to create healthier societies and a more dignified world, a world without hunger, poverty, violence and war.’”

The letter was signed for Scotland’s bishops by Bishop William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway.

The UK Government’s position is diametrically opposed to the treaty. In a statement issued at the conclusion of the UN negotiations, the Westminster administration stated: “The UK has not taken part in the negotiation of this treaty, and does not intend to sign, ratify or become party to it. The treaty will therefore not be binding on the UK. Furthermore, the UK would not accept any argument that this treaty can constitute a development of customary international law binding on the UK or on other non-parties.”


Not even pandemic can stop Wayside Club outreach


The small group of volunteers begin the evening, as always, with a prayer to Our Lady of the Wayside.

Legion of Mary volunteers continue to help where they are needed

Outside their city centre base in Midland Street, on a dreich Glasgow night, another group waits patiently knowing that soon their prayers too will be answered.

This is not a fanciful notion. The Legion of Mary has never failed, literally, to deliver.

For almost 90 years generations of its volunteers in Glasgow have faithfully provided food and friendship to the marginalised, the lost, the lonely, the displaced …

They do this every single night of the year as well as every Saturday afternoon. It is an astonishing commitment.

In the days before Covid – remember them? – meals, showers, social activities, and the celebration of Mass took place for those who wished to attend, took place every night inside the three-storey former warehouse which the organisation bought for £17,500 in 1979 and now serves as its permanent home.

Covid, you may be sure, was not going to bring that mission to an end.

“We were ahead of the curve,” said Legionary Lawrence McGarry, a parishioner of St Ninian’s and Holy Family, Kirkintilloch, who has been involved with the charity for 30 years, “because even before the lockdown was announced back in March we took the decision to close and provide a takeaway service instead.

“Given the older type of building we have and the profile of our patrons, it was the right thing to do.”

“Numbers didn’t fall away – quite the opposite in fact - because other places that offer a similar service closed, so initially we were overwhelmed by the demand.

“And because some of our volunteers were shielding we went from 18 active members to six, but we still managed to cover eight shifts a week.”

As he spoke, volunteers Marion, Liz and Tommy, with strict adherence to the all too familiar Covid restrictions, finish preparing soup and sandwiches to add to food donated by, among others, the local Sikh community and St Andrew’s Parish in Bearsden.

As the numbers in the lane outside grow – mostly men but a few women as well – the team begin filling carrier bags with food and lining them up on a table immediately behind the locked side door. Goody bags containing basic donated clothing – hats, gloves, underwear – and toiletries are available for those who need them.

There’s the inevitable banter as the door opens but there’s a dignity here – no one barges to the front of the queue, no one steps out of line.

‘Salt of the earth’

Lawrence hands the bags over one at a time in an operation that is slick and well-rehearsed but by no means lacking in warmth.

It’s something that Sid, an 81-year-old ex-rigger, a teetotal non-smoker who ran marathons for fun back in the day, appreciates.

He lives in Cowcaddens and drives to Midland Street most nights in his converted van which in summer gives him the freedom to travel. Sid, you will have gathered, is hardly the stereotype of a down-and-out.

He comes for the food, he says, because he doesn’t cook, and hasn’t done so for years but he soon admits it’s also the companionship that keeps bringing him back for the past 15 years.

He said: “I’d be lost without this place – there’s the truth. Its great work these people are doing, no danger…”

I meet George, ‘just George mate ok?’ who says: “I’ve got somewhere to stay but I depend on places like this – what else can I do? See these people mate? Salt of the earth they are ... As long as they’re here I’ll never go hungry that’s for sure…”

It’s worth noting that while very few of those who benefit from the work of the Legion of Mary are, strictly speaking, homeless, it does not diminish their needs.

Lawrence said: “Many of our service users have their own tenancy while others are staying in temporary accommodation, sofa surfing at friends’ houses, being accommodated at this time in hotels within the city and a few chose to sleep rough.

“We are seeing a growing number of migrants and as with all our patrons you get to hear some of their stories – others clam up but that’s ok because we are here to provide a service not to judge anyone.

“As long as people come to our door we’ll be here for them.”


Pope proclaims Family Year

Pope Francis has proclaimed a special year to celebrate love and family life to begin in March.

The special year to put into practice the teachings of the Holy Father’s landmark document on love – Amoris Laetitia – will see the Vatican offer spiritual, pastoral and cultural initiatives to accompany families in the face of contemporary challenges.

On 19 March 2021, the fifth anniversary of the Pope’s letter on the joy and beauty of familial love, the Holy Father will inaugurate the Year of Amoris Laetitia which will conclude on 26 June 2022 on the occasion of the World Meeting of Families in Rome. The Holy Father will be present for the concluding Meeting.

A spokesman for the Vatican said: “The pandemic experience has highlighted the central role of the family as the domestic Church, and has shown the importance of community ties between families.

“Through the spiritual, pastoral, and cultural initiatives planned in the Year ‘Amoris Laetitia Family,’ Pope Francis intends to address all ecclesial communities throughout the world, exhorting each person to be a witness of family love.”

The Holy See will share resources on “family spirituality, formation and pastoral activity for marriage preparation, affective education for young people, and on the holiness of married couples and families who live out the grace of the sacrament in their daily life.”

In addition, international events will be organised, “to examine in-depth the contents and implications of the Apostolic Exhortation in relation to highly topical issues that affect families around the world.”

Ahead of the formal opening of the Year in March, the Vatican has prepared an informational brochure explaining the objectives and initiatives of the Year “Amoris Laetitia Family,” and offering concrete suggestions for dioceses and parishes.

The first is to share the content of the Pope’s document more widely, in order to help people “experience the Gospel of the family as a joy that fills hearts and lives.”

A second objective is to announce the precious value of the sacrament of marriage, which has “in itself a transforming power of human love.”

Further objectives include enabling “families to become active agents of the family apostolate,” and making “young people aware of the importance of formation in the truth of love and in the gift of self.”

Lastly, there is an invitation to broaden the vision and action of pastoral care for the family during the special year of celebration ear, so that it can include all family members including the elderly, and those in difficult family situations.

The Holy See also offers concrete suggestions for initiatives that can be implemented in dioceses and parishes throughout the year, including strengthening marriage preparation programmes and accompanying newlyweds in their first years of marriages, and organising meetings for parents on how to raise their children.

The elderly, too, should be the object of pastoral attention, which “seeks to overcome the ‘throw-away culture’ and societal indifference”. The brochure also recommends special attention to young children during the Year.

A particular aspect that emerges in the context of the Year “Amoris Laetitia Family” is the desire for greater involvement of married couples in diocesan and parish structures to set up family pastoral care and a deepening of the formation of pastoral workers, seminarians and priests so that, working with families, they are up to the challenges of today’s world.

A further suggestion is to “promote a missionary vocation in families by creating times for formation in evangelisation and missionary initiatives (e.g., on the occasion of children’s reception of the sacraments, during marriage preparation, anniversaries or important liturgical moments).”