Normally at this time of year we are in the throes of preparing for our Annual Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows. Last year was a very special Novena as it was taking place in the 150th anniversary year of St. Mungo’s Church. We invited as preachers Fr Aidan Troy CP, rector and parish priest of our Passionist Church of St. Joseph’s in Paris; Fr Paul Francis Spencer CP, parish priest of our Passionist Church of Mount Argus in Dublin, and former rector and parish priest of St. Mungo’s, and Fr James Sweeney CP; Provincial of the Passionists in Scotland, Ireland, and indeed Paris. The closing Mass of the Novena was celebrated by Archbishop Tartaglia on 15th September 2019, after which the church was closed and the refurbishment of the church began, in particular the laying of the new floor. The work was finished, to great satisfaction, just in time for the ordination of Fr Antony Connelly CP, which took place on Saturday 21st December, with his first Mass being celebrated the following day. Then came Christmas, after which we breathed a sigh of relief, and thought that was it, into the New Year everything would be back to normal – little did we know a pandemic was on the way.
So, with the period of the Novena fast approaching (it takes place from 7th – 15th September), we haven’t booked any preachers; we haven’t printed any posters; and we are still severely restricted by all the protocols demanded of churches when opening for public worship of any kind. So, what are we to do? The sensible thing would be to cancel the Novena for this year. That’s what many other churches have done in similar circumstances, but we didn’t really want to do that. When Father Gareth returned from Wales a few days ago, he, myself and Father Antony sat down and devised a modest programme that would allow an event to take place each day, both in the Church, and from the Oratory in Bishopbriggs, from where it would be streamed. Details of this are in the Newsletter on our Parish Website, but I’m going to repeat them here as not everyone may read the Newsletter.
There will be a Novena Mass in the Church on Tuesday 8th; Thursday 10th; and Tuesday 15th
September @ 10am - booking as usual. There will be an additional Mass on Friday 11th September at 1.00 p.m. which will be first come; first served – 50 people limit. On Monday 7th; Wednesday 9t; and Monday 14th September, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, there will be a Holy Hour from 3-4 p.m. The 6 p.m. Vigil on Saturday 12th September, and the
10 a.m. and 12 Noon Masses on Sunday 13th September will all be Novena Masses. Novena Masses will be streamed from the Oratory on all the usual days and times – Monday7th, Wednesday 9th, Friday 11th, Saturday 12th and Monday 14th at 12.15 p.m. and Sunday 13th at 7.00 p.m. On the two days there is no streamed Mass from the Oratory, Tuesday 8th & Thursday 10th September, there will be a Reflection with Novena Prayers at 7.00 p.m. There will be a closing streamed Mass on Tuesday 15th September, Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, at 7.00 p.m. Have you got all that? We think that this is the best we can do as things are.
All of this is totally dependent on the work of our faithful band of volunteers who, since the churches first opened again for public worship, have been absolutely wonderful. and we have planned the Church Masses and Services for the Novena around the times on which they are available, so as not to place an additional burden upon them, and I want to take the opportunity here in Father Frank’s Log to say a huge word of gratitude to them. We simply could not be doing without them. Those who wish to place petitions to be prayed for during the Novena, and to make a donation if you wish, can do so online, or else take petition leaflets from the back of the church, fill them in, place them in the envelope provided, and put them in the safe collection box – they will be easily distinguishable from other contributions. We will pray for these petitions at every Novena Mass and Service, whether in the Church or in the Oratory, throughout the Novena. May there be blessings for everyone.
So, as always, protect yourselves and your loved ones, and protect Christ in your lives.