16 March 2022 Its been a while since I last posted on the website - i dodnt realise quite how long until I saw the date below. sorry! It's not as though these's been nothing to write about! First, congratulations to Archbishop Nolan, now installed as our new archbishop. We wish him well and assure him of our prayers. A couple of weeks into post, I am sure he is now beiginning to realise the enormity of the task he has ben called to. I commend his generosity in responding to the commission given to him by Pope Francis. I was heartened to hear his first words to the people and priests of the archdiocese: "The Church exists for one purpose only, to preach the good news of Jesus Christ and so build up the Kingdom of God." Archbishop Nolan recognised that we have in many ways lost our enthusiasm for this Good News and I pray that he can inspire us to rediscover the joy that comes with faith in Jesus Christ and help us to be courageous in living that joy and sharing it with others. Perhaps talk of joy is a bit unseasonable at the moment as we are now in Lent, a time for penance and conversion. But these only make sense when we live them as part of the road to Easter. Our Lenten practices are rooted in the joy of the Resurrection. Yes, the Passion must be lived first, but it does not have the last word: joy does! New life! Perhaps the buds of the daffodils that are beginning to appear are a good metaphor here: they remind us that spring is upon us even if the rain continues to make its presence felt. This weekend (18-20 March) we are celebrating the annual 40 Hours in the parish. This is a time of great grace for us as a community and as disciples of the Lord. Please come and join us for the communal acts of worship and make good use of the times of personal prayer and adoration. The Solemnity of St Joseph falls during 40 Hours so we will him the focus of our reflections at the Holy Hour (Fri, 7pm) and Holy Mass (Sat 12 noon).
The schedule for the Easter Triduum will be published in due time. There will be opportunities for Confession (here and in the surrounding parishes) before Easter - please make this a central part of your preparations.
God bless Fr Joe
28 November 2021 This weekend we begin a new Liturgical Year with the season of Advent. I was in town on Thursday and there's no doubt that Christmas is on people's mind. Maybe it was just the chance for a Black Friday bargain, but it's the busiest I've seen the town centre since the pandemic began. It did look like people are more confident to go out and about, to mix with others, and live as normal a life as possible. Perhaps it is this that has given the Scottish Bishops the confidence to reinstate the Sunday Obligation to attend Holy Mass. As of 2nd January 2022, it is expected that those who are able to do so participate in Holy Mass in person. Obviously the obligation does not apply to those whose physical or mental health precludes this. The Bishops' letter can be read here. The work in the church continues and while good progress is being made it will probably be ongoing for another 2-3 weeks. Apologies for any inconvenience. Thank you for your generous donations to defray the costs of the work. I hope to restore the St Peregrine Novena next year. The Novena takes place on the 3rd Saturday of the Month after Holy Mass at 10am. Tea/coffee and refreshments will be offered in the hall afterwards. This is a wonderful spiritual work of mercy that our parish offers and brings comfort to people suffering from cancer and their loved ones. Any parishioner who would be willing to help us on the day should make themselves known to Deacon Tommy or myself. With the time lapse since the last time we prayed the Novena, it will be necessary to creat a new list of people to be prayed for; please email me any names you wish to be included on the prayer list.
God bless Fr Joe
22 October 2021 In so many ways life appears to be returning to normal but the use of facemasks and Track and Trace remind us that the pandemic is stil very much part of everyday life. While there is still a need to be vigilant, I would encourage parishioners who have not returned to Holy Mass yet to consider doing so now. We continue to follow Scottish Government guidelines to ensure as safe a possible an environment for us to gather. The Suday evening Mass is quieter than the other Masses and so may be a good starting point if you are concerned about being in a busy place. If you have not been in the church for a while you may notice that it is a bit brighter than you remember. It's not your imagination: we have renewed the lights with more eco-friendly LED lights, which offer a better quality of lighting and are less draining on the finances. Speaking of which, anyone who wishes to make a donation towards the cost of the lights can do so in the parish or by bank transfer. Details of the Bank account are below. Please inform me of your donation by email so that I can recognise it on the bank statement and acknowledge your generosity. There is more still to be done in the church as we deal with the result of the electrical inspection and plan for the necessary rewiring of the church. Due to the need to deal with asbestos, it will be necessary to close the church while the rewiring is taking place, therefore there will be no weekday Mass from Monday 8 - Friday 12th November.
I hope that this holy Month of October, devoted to our Blessed Mother, is a time of grace for you. The Holy Rosary is such a wonderfully flexible prayer that can be said on the go as we travel to work or in the contemplative envirnment of our personal prayer. It is also a good prayer to say with others, especially with our family. Our Lady always guides us to her Son and so the Rosary can bring us closer to her and Him as we contemplate the mysteries of His life. Our prayer in November is usually dedicated to the Holy Souls. November lists are available in the church. I will offer Holy Mass for our loved ones each day throughout the month. The annual Mass for parishioners whose funaral took place in the parish in the past year will be on Sunday 21st November.
God bless Fr Joe
Bank details: Clydesdale Bank Account: Our Lady of Good Counsel Church Account number: 90065988 Sort Code: 82-6404
14 August 2021 #Timetocomeback Teachers have returned to school for their preparation days before the students return on Monday. It feels almost normal! We know it isn't, and that some restrictions remain in place. Some people still remain concerned about the spread of the Corona Virus but many people are now experiencing a degree of normality that we worried would never return. Meeting friends for a coffee, a meal with family, a couple of drinks with friends, are now being enjoyed by most of us.
The confidence to go about our daily business should also include coming back to the Church. The obligation to attend Holy Mass remains suspended but if we have the confidence to engage in communal social activities we should also have the confidence to engage in spiritual activities. It is now time to seriously reconsider coming back to Holy Mass in the parish. Obviously, anyone who is medically compromised should give due consideration to their physical health, but for everyone else we should be giving serious consideration to our spiritual health.
In the parish, we continue to follow government and church guidelines to ensure we minimise any risk of infection: face masks, hand sanitising and cleaning the church after every Mass remain the norm. Track & Trace is still obligatory but there is no need to book a place in advance, just turn up and sign in with a pass keeper.
To all the staff and students beginning the new term, we wish you an enjoyable and fruitful year ahead.
I look forward to seeing you all again soon. Fr Joe
10 April 2021 The Lord is risen, alleluia! Reflecting on the celebration of the Sacred Triduum, it struck me that despite - because of? - the lack of cantors, readers, servers, etc, the Sacred Liturgy still shone through so beautifully. Perhaps it was because I was not preoccupied with ensuring that altar serviers were where they were meant to be with what they were meant to have, and that the readers knew what page to turn to, and that I hadn't forgotten anything ... that the texts of the prayers and the readings seemed to strike home more. Stripped back, the profoundity and the power of the Church's prayer were allowed to stand out. Maybe there's a lesson for us as we go forward: the Sacred Liturgy is not so much what we do as what Christ does; the Church gives us a beautiful treasury of prayer and worship so there's no need for us to tinker with it; to enter more deeply into our liturgical tradition is more spiritually beneficial than being creative for the sake of keeping 'fresh' and 'interesting'.
We are all excited by the prospect of society opening up as the lockdown restrictions ease. Hair now under control, we look forward to more contact with friends and family as hospitality venues prepare to open again. We remember, however, that many people still feel vulnerable and will be anxious about going out and should continue to be considerate of them. If you are confident to be out and about, then Holy Mass should be one of your priorities. The churches are diligent in following guidelines on social distancing and disinfecting; they are certainly as safe as any cafe, pub or other gathering place. Booking in advance is inconvenient but should not be a barrier to our attendance. The Sunday obligation remains suspended, but personal attendance at Holy Mass where possible, should be important to us and among the activities that we first seek to engage in. I certainly look forward to seeing many of you at Holy Mass again in the weeks ahead.
You remain in my prayers Fr Joe
9 March 2020 First Minister Nicola Strugeon has today announced that places of worship will be permitted to open from 26 March. In effect, this means that we will be able to celebrate Holy Week, the Sacred Triduum and Easter together, with a maximun attendance of 50 people. Apart from the government mandated restrictions, there will be some minor changes to the liturgical celebration of this most Holy of Weeks to ensure that any risk of infection is minimised. I will await instructions from the archdiocesan Curial Offices before making arrangements for attendance at the various liturgies.
I hope you are all well and look forward to seeing you again soon. Fr Joe
13 February 2021 Shortly after writing this post I will be joining the live stream of the offering of Holy Mass to mark the Month Mind of the death of Archbishop Tartaglia. It still seems so strange to be talking about the death of the Archbishop such was the sudden nature of it. My own connection with the Archbishop goes back to the day of his ordination in 1975 as my uncle, Fr Joseph Davie SDB, was ordained alongside him. Little did the 7 year old me know that more than 25 years later he would be working alongside Fr Philip in St Mary's, Duntocher, as his curate and later serving under him when he was appointed the Archbishop of Glasgow. Both as priest-colleague and Archbishop he was good to me, guiding the initial days of my ministry, and later entrusting me with his beloved home parish. I am sure that many of you have memories of the Tartaglia family from their days in Denniestoun and in Our Lady of Good Counsel, and of Philip growing from the boy playing football in the park to the seminarian to the priest to the Archbishop. Hopefully when the days of the pandemic are over we will be able to come together and share them. In the meantime, we renew our condolences to his family, remembering especially Anna who still lives in the parish, and pray for the happy repose of his soul. May he rest in peace.
Our thoughts are also with the families of parishioners who have died this month: Veronica Murphy, Peggy Curry and Filomena Cafolla. I am sure that you will keep them and their families in your prayers.
Lent is just around the corner and even though it may feel that the past year has been one big long Lent, we are called to renew our commitment to conforming our lives ever more to the Lord and turning away from the sin that keeps us far from Him. Perhaps we could offer our Lenten sacrifices this year for an end to the pandemic and the grace to celebrate the Sacred Triduum together in the parish church. I continue to remember you all at Holy Mass each day and look forward to the day when I can celebrate it with you present. I have attached a copy of a prayer service for use at home on Ash Wednesday should you wish to use it.
I am grateful to parishioners who have reached out to check that I am ok and offer any help. Those of you I have spoken to seem to be coping impressively well with the lockdown but if you are aware of anyone who is in need please let me know.
WIth prayers and best wishes Fr Joe
5 January 2020 Happy New Year! Sadly 2021 starts with the sorry situation in which we can no longer celebrate Holy Mass with a congregation. This is a sore blow for us, especially since there is no evidence of transmission of the Corona Virus in a church setting. Our volunteers have been doing a marvelous job of minimising risk, and parishioners have cooperated well with the procedures in place to ensure everyone's wellbeing. I am grateful to you all. God willing, this will be a short break and we will be back together soon.
We are in the last days of the Christmas season. Trees and other decorations may be put away for another year, but we continue liturgically to reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God in these days between the Solemnity of the Epiphany and the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord. The child in the crib is not simply adored as a new life, rather as new Life, new life for us all as he restores us to the grace of God in our Baptism.
As ever, you remain in my prayers and close to me in the Lord, if not in body then certainly in the Spirit. Fr Joe
12 December 2020 I was delighted to hear that Pope Francis has announced a 'Holy Year of St Joseph' which will run until 8 December 2021. I pray that this year will bring us to a deeper love for St Joseph and a greater devotion to him. "In Joseph, Jesus saw the tender love of God", the Holy Father tells us. St Joseph's heart beat in harmony with the heart of the Father. The Eternal Son saw in St Joseph, spouse of Mary, an echo of God the Father. Sadly, the world today views masculinity as 'toxic' and the role of a father is undervalued. St Joseph can help us to rediscover the truth and beauty of what it means to be a man, to be a husband, to be a father. St Joseph offers us an example of manhood that men can aspire to and which inspires women to trust in. The Holy Father's letter Patris Corde is available online for your personal reading and reflection. I recommend it. I would also like to suggest reading, indeed completing, Fr Donald J Calloway's Consecration to St Joseph. This wonderful book is full of prayers and meditations on the life and mission of St Joseph. Fr Calloway brings St Joseph to life in an engaging and prayerful way, and encourages us to consecrate our lives to St Joseph's paternal care. Guaranteed to help you grow in your spiritual life.
17 November 2020 My heart and my mood sank this afternoon when the Scottish Government announced that Glasgow will be moved to Level 4 restrictions. I hope you have not found this news to be too uspetting. We really are needing to dig deep with our Faith and entrust ourselves ever more to the Lord. Pray for the strength to persevere; pray for an end to this pandemic; pray for all who are suffering.
Level 4 restrictions allow for communal worship but Holy Mass can only be celebrated with a congregation of 20 people. Of course, this will impact on the parish. At Holy Mass last weekend I mentioned this may happen and sought the views of those present about how to manage this. To date, we have had extra spaces at most Masses and it is mainly the same people attending each week. The general feeling was that people would be willing to attend Holy Mass on a fortnighly basis. I am grateful to parishioners for your ongoing patience and cooperation with the current procedures for attending Holy Mass. Your support throught this time is much appreciated. If you wish to attend Holy Mass in the parish please book in the usual manner. Please do not turn up without prior booking - due to such limited numbers it is unlikely that there will be a space available.
With my prayers and best wishes Fr Joe
2 October 2020 I am sure that you, like me, are disappointed by the continuing situation regarding Covid. My hope had been that we would be seeing things improving and restrictions easing by now but in reality we see the Covid figures going up and the limitations on our communal life extending further and further into the future. This calls on us to dig deep and continue to trust in the Lord and not to give in to fear and worry. If the ongoing situation is impacting you please remember that the parish is a point of contact and support; be your need practical, emotional or spiritual, please feel free to call the parish.
On a more positive note, 3 young parishioners will receive their First Holy Communion tomorrow morning. Please keep them in your prayers. They have graciously accepted the limitations on the celebration, ackowledging that the most important thing is encountering our loving Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
Ciarān, our parish seminarian, has now returned to Rome and resumed his formation in the Pontifical Scots College. The year always begins with a silent retreat and Ciarān texted me this morning to say that he found it uplifting and spiritually beneficial. He remembered us in his prayers during the retreat and sends you all his best wishes. I would like thank Ciarān for his company and support during the lockdown and his help organising the re-opening of the church. Please keep him in your prayers.
Thank you again for your cooperation with the procedures for booking and attending Holy Mass in the parish. It truly is good to celebrate Holy Mass with parishioners in attendance (I never imagined that I would have reason to say something like that!). To those of you who do not feel ready to return to the church, please remember that we have not forgotten you and look forward to you joining us when the time is right.
With my prayers and best wishes Fr Joe
21 August 2020 It has now been a month since the lifting of some restrictions on the celebration of Holy Mass. Of course, things have not yet returned to normal and I would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have cooperated so graciously with the new booking system and with the procedures for entering and leaving the church and for participating in Holy Mass. I, for one, am praying for a swift end to this!
That said, I have found the celebration of Holy Mass with the community to be very uplifting. There is a stillness and calm in the church that I am finding conducive to praying the Mass. Yes, I miss the singing, but I don't miss the distruptions due to people arriving late and leaving early. It seems like the enforced distancing is giving us all room 'to breath' and the smaller congregation is encouraging those present to participate more actively and consciously (just as the Church envisaged it in the Second Vatican Council). Perhaps, there's just a renewed enthusiasm after a long period in which we were deprived of Holy Mass. I hope that those attending Holy Mass are able to experience something similar and are not finding the whole set up too strange and off-putting.
I appreciate that we are all still concerned about the spread of Covid-19 and wish to do our part in helping others and ourselves stay safe and well. I would, however, encourage those of you have not returned to the regular celebration of Holy Mass to consider doing so. Of course, you must take account of your own situation and health status, but I can assure you that we are following the government and archdiocesan guidelines for social distancing, hand sanitising and face-coverings. On top of rigorous cleaning of the church, I have purchased a machine that allows us to disinfect and effectively sanitise the church after each use.
Finally, I would like to thank the parishioners who have volunteered their services to allow the church to open and Holy Mass to be celebrated. Literally without their help we could not open the doors. THANK YOU!