‘It’s time to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit’

It’s time to listen, to pray, and to be brave in opening ourselves to the will of God…

Read more…


Sacred Heart marks 150 years of faith in action

For the Catholic descendants of both Gaelic speaking Highlanders and Irish families who were victims of the Great Hunger who fled their homes in search of a better life the Parish of Sacred Heart in Bridgeton became home.
Read more…

Pope calls for prayer

Jean swaps Glasgow for Middle East peace mission

A Glasgow parishioner has spoken of her horror as violence erupted while she was volunteering as human rights monitor in the West Bank.
Read more…


175 years of ‘looking the poor in the eye’

From their very beginning 175 years ago in Glasgow the members of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul have, in the words of Pope Francis, looked the poor in the eye.
Read more…

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Sacred Heart marks 150 years of faith in action


For the Catholic descendants of both Gaelic speaking Highlanders and Irish families who were victims of the Great Hunger who fled their homes in search of a better life the Parish of Sacred Heart in Bridgeton became home.

Sanctuary of Sacred Heart
Sacred Heart was founded 150 years ago
Picture by Paul McSherry

To the new families who now live in the rapidly expanding area, Sacred Heart Parish, which this year celebrates its 150th anniversary remains a cornerstone of the community it so faithfully serves.

As a well-produced booklet compiled to mark the event notes: “Over the years, the parish has undergone many changes, but it has always remained a symbol of faith and hope and love for the people of Bridgeton beyond.

“It has survived wars, economic downturns and social upheavals, but it has always remained a place of peace and sanctuary.”

And for the worldwide family of Celtic supporters it will be forever remembered as the place where the roots of their club were first planted.

While it is a matter of record that the club was formally founded at a meeting in St Mary’s Calton, Church Hall on November 6th, 1887 even today parishioners of Sacred Heart are quick to point out that two years earlier Brother Walfrid tried out some of the ideas that would eventually lead to the beginnings of Celtic at Sacred Heart.

The first Mass in the parish took place in an original wooden structure and was celebrated in 1873 by the first parish priest Father Edward Noonan. A year later Sacred Heart School was opened next to the church with Andrew Kerins as its first headmaster – better known today as Brother Walfrid, the Marist brother whose faith, drive and determination led to the foundation of the football club whose stadium lies just minutes away.

When the school opened there were only 300 children who attended regularly even though Sacred Heart had 2,000 parishioners and while the number of Catholics continued to increase, this did not lead to a corresponding rise in the school roll.

Brother Walfrid and Father Noonan realised that most Catholic families in the area were sending their children not to school, but to work, to supplement the family income. But the two men, who became close friends, came up with a solution.

Working alongside the St Vincent de Paul Conference from Sacred Heart parish they set up what became known as ‘penny dinners’ in a hall in nearby Savoy Street which provided children with a daily hot meal for a penny.

If parents could not afford to pay for the meals they were provided free. The theory was that children would be more likely to be sent to school if there were meals waiting for them – and it worked.

However, the scheme soon however became a victim of its own success.

In its first year the SVdP Conference in Bridgeton provided over 48,500 dinners and 1,150 breakfasts. By 1886 the school roll at Sacred Heart had quadrupled from its foundation 12 years earlier to over 1,200 pupils.

Clearly a new form of funding had to be found and in a stroke of genius Brother Walfrid began organising football matches using admission money to finance the penny dinners scheme.

It was to become the template which would eventually lead to the founding of Celtic.

The original Sacred Heart School building is long gone although Sacred Heart Primary is still next to today’s magnificent church with its stunning Italianate marble interior which replaced the original building in 1910.

In the years before and after the Second World War, Sacred Heart Parish was at its zenith with a huge Catholic population and vibrant social life.

After the heydays of the 1950s, however, Bridgeton underwent significant changes in its housing landscape. The area saw the demolition of many tenement blocks and the construction of high-rise flats (many of which have also been demolished) to accommodate the growing population. There are stories of hundreds of families leaving the parish to go to their new modern homes in the housing schemes or new towns every week which must have been hard for the clergy of the day.

Over a few years the parish went from thousands at Mass on a Sunday to a hundred or so.


Today, the area has undergone significant redevelopment, with a mix of social and private housing, community facilities, and green spaces. The focus is on creating more sustainable, modern and integrated housing solutions that meet the needs of a diverse population with recently many new housing developments bringing new families to the area.

Following the decline in population in recent years, the church has faced challenges due to declining attendance and financial constraints. However, the community remains committed to preserving the church’s legacy and continuing its mission of serving the spiritual needs of the local Catholic community.

And while today’s parishioners celebrate the past they also look to the future as summed up in the commemorative booklet: “We look to the future with hope and faith, knowing that the Sacred Heart here in this beautiful sanctuary will continue to bless us and be a source of countless graces and a secure refuge amid the storms and trials of life.”


‘It’s time to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit’

It’s time to listen, to pray, and to be brave in opening ourselves to the will of God…

Graphic of people walking together
The Synod will provide a platform for dialogue

Two years ago Pope Francis invited the world’s 1.37 billion Catholics to take part in a Synod on the themes ‘communion, participation and mission’.

After consulting with clergy, religious, lay people and all who felt moved to contribute, the Synod meets in Rome this month to LISTEN to the Holy Spirit, to find new and better ways of being present to humanity today and to discern how to bring God’s presence to today’s world.

This Synod will tackle some of the most controversial issues facing our Church today. Topics such as the role of women in the Church, how to care for the environment, and discussions on human sexuality will be at the forefront. These issues have sparked passionate debates among Catholics worldwide.

The Synod will provide a platform for respectful dialogue, even when opinions differ and serve as a testament to our commitment to unity, dialogue, and inclusivity, even when the topics are tough.

The synod now underway has been described as the most important moment in the life of the Catholic Church this century. It isn’t just for a few, it’s for us all: lay, religious, young, old, daily Mass attenders, disenchanted lapsed Catholics, people from other faith traditions and of no belief. We’re all invited to get involved.

The Bishops of Scotland ask all Catholics in Scotland, to pray for the Synod especially during the month of October.

All are asked to pray, every day of the Synod, the following prayer which has been invoked at Church Councils over the centuries:

Adsumus Sancte Spiritus

We stand before You, Holy Spirit,

as we gather together in Your name.

With You alone to guide us,

make Yourself at home in our hearts;

Teach us the way we must go

and how we are to pursue it.

We are weak and sinful;

do not let us promote disorder.

Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path

nor partiality influence our actions.

Let us find in You our unity

so that we may journey together to eternal life

and not stray from the way of truth and what is right.

All this we ask of You,

who are at work in every place and time,

in the communion of the Father and the Son,

forever and ever.



Jean swaps Glasgow for Middle East peace mission


A Glasgow parishioner has spoken of her horror as violence erupted while she was volunteering as human rights monitor in the West Bank.

A woman seen from the back, looking over a landscape
Jean surveys the Holy Land

Jean (Flourish has chosen not to use her surname for her own safety), from Holy Name Parish, is a volunteer with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine (EAPPI).

Jean said: “I was with some Palestinian shepherds out in the fields when we heard the first rockets come in. We had to hurry back with the shepherds and their flocks… All Ecumenical Accompaniers have now been moved to relative safety.

“I am now very fearful about what might happen. I can only condemn the awful cruelty and barbarity of the attacks on young people at a music festival and the kidnapping of civilians.”

“On the other hand, I am very worried about what might happen to Palestinians. The living conditions for Palestinians are so bad that it is like a boiling cauldron of tension.

“People in Gaza are already experiencing electricity and water shortages. One contact in a Gaza hospital has described how they are having to rely on solar power, generators and petroleum to look after their patients. In the West Bank, villages are cut off with cement blocks, earth mounds and iron gates.”

Jean has long experience of the tensions in the Middle East. As an Ecumenical Accompanier she works alongside both Israeli and Palestinian nonviolent peacemakers. With her fellow volunteers they provide a protective presence for Palestinians against military and settler violence – they accompany farmers trying to access their land, children going to school or workers passing through checkpoints and report on infringements of international law.

She said: “Since working on a kibbutz and then teaching in a West Bank university in the ‘80s, I became aware of how social conditions continue to deteriorate for Palestinians.

“I believe that every child has a right to go to school without fear, that families should be able to make a living off their land without harassment, that everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. From a humanitarian and human rights perspective, I feel I need to uphold these basic principles.”

EAPPI is an international programme, set up in 2002 in response to a request from church leaders in Jerusalem for a nonviolent international presence.

International teams are sent to various locations in the West Bank and East Jerusalem each year to engage with local Palestinians and Israelis in working for a peaceful way forward, in accordance with international law, and to bring their stories to international attention.

Jean will hold a number of talks on her return. If you are interested in having her host a talk, please email stmaryimmaculate@rcag.org.uk Further information available at www.eyewitnessblogs.com

Pope Francis has pleaded for a halt to further violence in Gaza and Israel.

“Please stop the attacks and the weapons,” Pope Francis pleaded, “and understand that terrorism and war do not lead to any solution, but only to the death and suffering of so many innocent people.”

“War is always a defeat! Every war is a defeat!” he insisted.

Speaking after the Angelus prayer on Sunday, the Holy Father said he is following “with apprehension and sorrow,” the latest news from Israel, “where violence has erupted even more ferociously, causing hundreds of deaths and injuries.”

He expressed his sympathy to the families of victims, and said he is praying for them and for “all those who are experiencing hours of terror and anguish.”

The Pope invited everyone to pray for peace in Israel and Palestine.


175 years of ‘looking the poor in the eye’


From their very beginning 175 years ago in Glasgow the members of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul have, in the words of Pope Francis, looked the poor in the eye.

A group of SSVP members with Archbishop Nolan in the centre
Archbishop with SSVP members after Mass
Picture by Paul McSherry

And the Holy Father’s famous phrase was echoed by Archbishop Nolan during his homily at a Thanksgiving Mass in St Andrew’s Cathedral to celebrate the anniversary of an organisation which has always put the needs of others at the forefront of every good deed its members do.

It was founded in Paris in 1833 and 15 years later the Glasgow conference was formed, making it one of the oldest outside France.

Archbishop Nolan said: “When Blessed Frederic Ozanam and his friends founded the society they did so because they were appalled by the poverty on the streets of Paris.

“They wanted to show God’s love and compassion by reaching out to the poor and what they did became a great inspiration to others as their ideas soon caught on.

“It is to the great credit to those who founded the first conference in Glasgow that they did so just 15 years after it was founded in France.

“And of course it was not founded by archbishops, bishops or priests but by lay folk inspired by their faith who, like the founders in France, wanted to show God’s love to the poor.

“Pope Francis tell us to look the poor in the eye, to see the whole person, and to recognise that person is made in the image of God.”