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Feast of Saints Peter and Paul : 28th June 2020.

In these days where there is little to report about in terms of live sport here in Scotland, the sports programme “pundits”, especially on the radio, resort to some standard “time filling” tactics. They can while away an hour or two simply by putting together a team of the best players over a long period of time. Then they justify their choice, player by player, throughout the team – in terms of what they would consider to be the best Scotland team ever or the best World 11 or the best to don the green and white or blue and white.

There’s only so much that I can take of this before it becomes a bit on the boring side and my interest wanes. Anyway, needs must. I don’t envy the task of those who put together the sports programmes in time of pandemic.

It occurred to me today that this is not something that we would ever attempt to do in relation to the Church and to compiling, in  spiritual fantasy fashion, the best college of apostles ever, taking into account all the saints down through the ages. Imagine Augustine and Thomas Aquinas teaming up, or Catherine of Siena and Francis working together, or Patrick and Anthony of Padua alongside one another?

We don’t do this in the case of the apostles since the Church has always had a great reverence and respect for these founding fathers in the Body of Christ.

That is, of course, in spite of the fact that the list of the apostles brings us to a collection of individuals who, for the most part, we really know nothing about. Bartholomew, James the less, Thaddeus and company are not the best known in terms of the details of their lives and works.  Ironically, the ones we do know better are notable in terms of their weakness and human frailty, in the case of Peter – or in terms of suspicion at their background and past history, in the case of Paul.

At the heart of who they are, we do not so much uncover personal and individual greatness. What we see is the guiding power of the Lord given to those first apostles and continuing as Paul sets out on his mission.

The choice of the apostles, the preeminent position of Peter and the appointment of the great apostle Paul to the gentiles are surely witness to the power of God’s grace. That grace is seen from the very outset of Peter’s vocation when Jesus says to the fisherman in his boat – Do not be afraid, from now on it is men you will catch That grace is reinforced on those many occasions when Peter gets it wrong, when he falls and falls again, when Peter denies his Lord. God’s grace in Christ Jesus is more than enough.

That grace is seen when Saul becomes Paul, when he falls from his horse to the ground on the road to Damascus. God’s grace brings Paul to walk in a new light and to give thanks continually for the grace of God at work in him. To journey to the different Churches and to write to them, inspired again in his writing by the grace of God.

There is something essential, however, about the way in which this grace is conferred. The infant Church must have know Peter well and known about his impetuosity and his frequent lapses. They knew of it but it doesn’t seem to have been a barrier to the trust which they place in this first shepherd. Surely that is a sign of the presence of God’s grace living in that early Church and reflecting the grace of God in the pattern of its life and relationships.

Again, surely that grace is seen in the openness of the early church to accepting Paul in spite of who he was and what he had done. Would it not have been easier to maintain suspicion about this converted Pharisee and reject him from having any role in the sharing of the gospel. Sorry, Saul, but we can’t take the risk! Again, cynicism and suspicion is         overcome by acceptance and ultimately welcome. God’s grace triumphs again in the life of the community.

As we honour these two great apostolic figures, Peter and Paul, let us be aware that the continuing presence of the grace of God, channelled and lived by the community of faith today is no less vital that it was in the day of the apostles. We must try to be a people free from cynicism and judgement, open to continually seeing God at work before us. It’s a great encouragement for us then to imitate them in accepting in our lives the transforming grace of God, in seeing this as one of the truest hallmarks of the Church and of continually be able to rejoice at seeing God’s grace and goodness at work in each other – and even, truly and humbly, in ourselves.

Father Peter
Feast of Saint Peter and Paul
28th June 2020.


 When can we go to Mass?You must book Mass through the Mass Booking System; if you have not booked you will not be allowed in the church.
SafetyWill the church be clean?There is a cleaning regime in place.
 Will I have to wear a mask?Yes – everyone over the age of 5 years is required to wear a face covering in the Church.
 How will social distancing be achieved?The church will be marked out so that seating will be at 2 meters.
 Will there be hand sanitisation available?There will be hand sanitisation at exits and entrances and you will be expected to use that on arrival and departure.
 Do we enter by any door?No, – for private prayer entry will be by the side door at the front, car park side and exit will be by the side door front, church hall side.
SeatingCan I sit anywhere in the Church?No. The stewards will show you to an allocated seat to ensure social distancing
 We are a family of 4 – can we sit together?Yes – the stewards will ensure you sit together and that anyone not in your household will be seated 2 meters away
FuneralsMy neighbour has passed away – can I attend the funeral?Scottish Government Regulations (2020) state that only 20 mourners can attend. The mourners should include the deceased’s family and close relatives. If there are no family or relatives then close friends can attend. The Undertaker will provide a list of names and only these people will be admitted.
 Will there be music and singing?There can be music and a cantor but there will be no communal singing.
 Will there be hymn books?No, all hymn books have been removed.
 Can I light a candle?No candles have been removed.

Prayer Intentions: 12th Sunday A

Let us pray for the holy people of God:- That the Church may be open at all times to the transforming light of the Christ’s gospel.

For world leaders :- That they may care for their people in these days with true wisdom and integrity.

For all who are sick, especially those suffering from Covid 19.

For all those who care for the sick at home and in hospital.

For all fathers and those who have shown us a father’s love:- That God will grant them good health, guide them in being good examples, and help them to be a source of encouragements to their children.

For scientists and researchers:- That their work may bear fruit and bring true healing remedies to people throughout the world.

For those who have been injured by gossip:- that their reputations may be restored and their spirits healed.

For all who have died, especially David Coles and Bill Hannah, for the month’s mind of Mark Dolan and for the anniversary of Damian Jacko:- That they may all come to the fullness of life and joy in the kingdom of God.

12th Sunday Year A: 21st June 2020.

“Every hair on your head has been counted”. But, I wonder, do you know what the overall number might be? In terms of providing fairly close to useless information, the average number of hairs on the average human head is evidently about 100,000. Some of us, it is fair to say, have a fair bit less than the 100,000. However, you can always console yourself if you recognise that the rest of the human body has around 4.9 million hairs, so it is not all about your head!

In these days of closed hairdressers and barbers, the worry is maybe not so much what number of hairs we have on our head, but what length our hair is or what colour is it showing.

Anyway, Jesus uses this image of the hairs on our head being counted in order to deliver a vitally important and profound truth. He uses this image to describe the infinite love of God for each one of us. 

Sometimes we can carry the image of a God who is of such greatness and power that he only really concerns himself with the big picture, with the global situation. A God who therefore cannot really spend time considering countless,  inconsequential individuals such as myself.  Jesus words give the lie to this way of thinking. Once you begin to consider what it really means for God to be infinite, it tells of a God who, precisely through his infinite nature is able to care for, love and guide everyone, individually and without exception. God’s greatness and God’s care of each of us go together in perfect and total harmony. God is infinite and therefore has an infinite level of time and space for each person on this earth.

God is so great that He scoops the oceans in the palm of His hand, and yet He is so close to us that He can number each hair on our head. Even the falling of a little sparrow will never escape His attention. Jesus encourages us that if our Father is intimately involved in the falling of one sparrow, how much more is He involved in our everyday lives!

So we are invited to be able to recognise more deeply the God who constantly wants to come into our lives.

Could this be something that we can reflect upon in these days?  How often recently have we heard that people are discovering more and more what is truly important, what really matters, what truly gives us life?

People are finding that their inner selves are being  revealed in ways that are not always forthcoming. They are finding themselves being able to decipher the truly important from the unimportant, being able to distinguish the things that matter from those that are ultimately irrelevant. Often that is taking us into the realm of relationships and to the preciousness of family life.

Look again at today’s gospel. It contains a mantra like phrase that repeats itself not only here but in so many instances throughout the gospel “Do Not Be Afraid.  Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; do not be afraid because you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows –

In front of this truth of the care and love of God for each individual, we surely must reflect on the way in which we position ourselves to be able to receive the love of God.  Do we believe that we are created to be a dwelling place for God and his love? Do we welcome then the daily invitation to allow the way of God to overtake me and to bring us more and more to life in him?

 Hopefully we do and that we recognise in faith that there must be the constant activity of preparing in my life the way of God.  If that is so, it flows from that truth that the greatest value in our lives is simply to continually receive the love of God, To believe that God in His infinite care for us asks us to open our lives to his grace and his gifts. Alongside this channel of receiving, there must also be the possibility of our giving – of giving what we have received, of channelling to others what is given freely to us.  This process must be constant, fundamental to who we are and vital in relation to who we are to become.

Father Peter
Twelfth Sunday A
20th June 2020.

Information For New ‘Welcome Ministry Volunteers’

Everyone about to start this role should view the online safeguarding training session which will be provided on the Scottish Catholic Safeguarding Service website. Those who cannot access the training should email SCSS to request a paper copy. 
For further information on Safeguarding please visit Safeguarding  section of our parish website . 

Prayer Intentions : Corpus Christi

For deeper communion with Christ: that, as we long to  receive the Body and Blood of Christ, we may take on the mind and heart of Christ and continue the mission of Jesus

For Christian unity: that Christ’s Body and Blood given for us may heal all the divisions within the Christian community and bind us together into one body in love and service

For all who hunger spiritually: that through the manna of God’s Word, they may be nourished and find the way to live in peace and wholeness of life

For all who have experienced violence: that God will protect them from further harm, right the injustices that have occurred, and give them hope

For all who have experienced violence: that God will protect them from further harm, right the injustices that have occurred, and give them hope

For all who are ill and those care for them, especially Bridget Sharkey: that God will send healing to the sick, strength and wisdom to those who care for them and inspiration to those researching treatments and vaccines

For all who have died, praying especially for  William Hannah, Archie McGregor, Helen Orr and Neil Grant for the months mind of Michael McCreadie and for the anniversaries of Helen Kelly and Joe Kearney:-  That they may come to share in the joy of the heavenly banquet.

Reflection; Feast of the Body and Blood of the Lord

In the course of Jesus’ preaching and in his teaching, there are so many aspects of living and loving and forgiving and praying that he brings before his followers. If you want to be my disciple, then these must be among the hallmarks of your life

You must by people of love and mercy; you must understand what forgiveness means for you; you must do all you can to try to ensure that your life is free of prejudice and intolerance and bigotry. You must be generous to those who need your help; you must have a special consideration for the poor.

We could very easily continue this list of prescriptions, these demands of Christian living.

          The global response of Christians in relation to these commands, down through the years and the centuries, has all too often been lacking. Sometimes this is displayed in a way of life that so easily exempts itself from really trying, or worse still, by placing a false façade on an inner life that ends up avoiding the challenge and call of the gospel in a serious way.

          It is surely good, then, in spite of individual and communitarian weaknesses, to at least be able to recognise that the Church has remained faithful continually to the Lord’s invitation and command:- Do this in memory of me.

          We have a constant pattern of two thousand of the coming together of the Body of Christ to celebrate the Sunday Eucharist. That pattern of life and worship is deserving of our reflection and our thanksgiving. We don’t do it perfectly and never will; the weakness and sinfulness of the human aspect of the Body of Christ still clings to us even in offering this most Holy mystery. However, it is still one of the most precious achievements of the life of the Church to continually celebrate Eucharist and to receive this vital nourishment for the Body of Christ every time we do so.

          The truth of the above we can readily and happily acknowledge. However, since this is so, it surely means that our present inability to gather physically together over these last thirteen weeks affects us so deeply. The Sunday assembly is something which is so deeply embedded in the spiritual psyche of the Body of Christ; something vital to the very existence of the Church.

 Therefore it means that we can come to a greater and deeper appreciation of the Eucharist even as we miss it and are unable to give our “Amen”  to the body and blood of Christ.

          It would seem that we may be coming close  to the reopening of our Churches and eventually to the possibility of celebrating Sunday Mass together. However, in the immediate time ahead, this experience we know will be very different. The limit of our gathering will mean that every Mass will, of necessity, have a lot less people present. The liturgy itself will be reduced both in terms of prayer and scripture. Even our singing will disappear, albeit temporarily. Ironically, at the same time, of course, we will require an active involvement and support by many volunteers so that we can safely begin to gather together for the Eucharist The longing that things could be as they were before has begun to give way to yet another of our current expressions “the new normal”. We may not actually care for the concrete specific differences which will make for this new normal, but they will give us hope that we can continue to move to the ritual pattern of worship which was ours immediately prior to this time of emergency and pandemic.

          “Do this in memory of me”. The Church has responded to those words in all times and situations. They have been heard by a Church in time of persecution; they have been fulfilled by the Church in situations of war and conflict. They are being heard today in the Church in another crisis time and they will be lived by the Body of Christ, nourished by and faithful to Her Lord until the end of time. 

Father Peter
Corpus Christi
14th June 2020.

Trinity Sunday, Prayer Intentions

For the Church: that the unconditional love of the Trinity may strengthen and inspire each of us, deepen our love for one another, and help us to witness God’s love and mercy to others

For our parish communities: that the life-giving love of the Trinity may flow through us so that we may be untiring in supporting the lonely, consoling the grieving, encouraging the struggling, and forgiving those who have injured us

For the grace of discernment: that we may recognize more clearly our true goals in life and follow Jesus on the path to everlasting life

For all who have experienced violence: that God will heal their suffering, ease the pain of their memories, and give eternal peace those who have died

For all who are ill, particularly those with Covid-19: that God will free the world from the virus, heal those who are afflicted, and protect others from the disease.

For a new experience of grace and mercy in our lives: that God’s love will free us from our past failures, give us courage to make amends, and help us renew and rebuild our significant relationships

For all who have died: – we remember especially Kathleen Ring and all our loved one:- That they may come to share in the eternal glory of heaven.