Last Saturday morning I found myself, unusually, not having to come into the church. Father Gareth and Father John were looking after the Masses, and I was fairly up to date with office work, so I decided to chill out in Bishopbriggs, head out to Drumchapel in the afternoon to do my caring duties, and then make my way from there, into the church, in the evening, to celebrate the Vigil Mass. As it turned out, last Saturday was a lovely day, and I decided to set out for a long walk along the canal. It can be a pain at times to live so far from the church, but I have to admit that we are blessed with having a number of access points on to the Forth and Clyde Canal so near to us. On the way, I passed by the local fire station. I have passed by here many times before but, for the first time, it registered with me that there were big receptacles outside the fire station for donations of clothes and shoes. I filed this knowledge somewhere in the back of my mind for future use. I then continued my walk, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and the rest of the day went as planned.
Over the last few days, I thought I was picking up an unpleasant odour from the boot of my car, and so, last night, I took out everything I had in the boot to investigate. It seemed to be coming from a bag full of plastic boxes that once had food in them, but that I had never got round to washing out. They are now all washed out, you will be glad to hear. There was also a bag of clothing in the boot. It’s a bag I keep handy just in case. It contains hats for the sun, the rain, and the cold. It contains a scarf and gloves, and it contains 2 pairs of heavy socks, a pair of walking boots, and a pair of walking shoes, just in case I was ever out and took the notion to stop and have a walk somewhere. However, both the boots and shoes were lace-ups, and I’m afraid I can’t do lace-ups any more due to some back problems. I have reached that stage where I use one of those wonderful contraptions for putting on your socks without having to bend down, one of the greatest inventions ever; and I wear only slip-on shoes that I put on with a long-handled shoe horn. I even need a podiatrist to cut my toenails. The boots and shoes were in good condition, so I retrieved that file from the back of my mind, from my walk the previous Saturday, and decided to bring them down to the fire station. I then thought that there must be other stuff I could bring down. I then proceeded to do a trawl of my wardrobe and pick out the best of clothes that I have never, or hardly ever worn. These were then folded neatly into a bag and, along with the boots and shoes, deposited at the fire station.
On the day that I am writing this, I am aware that there is a big rally in George Square going on at which hundreds of Fire Brigades Union members are gathered in protest against an anticipated £36 million in cuts to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service over the next four years. I have great admiration for firefighters, for their selflessness and courage in a job that surely has a lot of emotional stress attached to it as well. So, I hope that their protests don’t fall on deaf ears. We need them so much. Thankfully, I have never had to call them out for a fire, although I have administered the Last Sacraments to people in the aftermath of fires that the fire service would have bravely attended. Also, I have never called them out because my cat was stuck up a tree. However, I have been grateful to them in the past for breaking down a door for me, to get to someone inside who had taken ill and was unable to get to the door, and, I would imagine, along with the paramedics, saving their life in the process.
At present, we are getting closer to introducing live-streaming in St. Mungo’s. We still have a couple of issues to resolve before the launch. Even so, some people have found a way to access it already, from across the world, but we have closed that off for now so as to resolve those issues, as we want the quality to be good from the outset. Keep an eye on the parish website for news of the official launch.
As ever, protect yourself, your loved ones and others, and protect Christ in your lives.