It’s time for Father Frank’s Log to return after a short summer break. I had a new experience during the month of July when I was asked to officiate at a wedding in the Glasgow University Memorial Chapel. The couple were both Catholics but, even though the University Chapel is non-denominational, it is permitted for Catholic weddings to take place there and, as the bride is a graduate of the university, that was a good enough reason to agree. As it turned out, during that time, much of the West End of Glasgow was closed off due to road works, and also in preparation for the UCI World Cycling Championships, which are still taking place as I write this log. For that reason, I intended to travel by public transport, as I had done for the rehearsal a few days before. However, as I had to bring with me absolutely everything that would be required for the wedding: altar linen, liturgical books, sacred vessels, bread and wine, real-ink pen for the civil documents, and vestments, I thought I’d best bring the car. I had been advised that the university would be open for parking on a Saturday, but I decided to get there early, just in case, knowing that I could easily pass the time wandering around the West End, which of course is where I was born and grew up. For whatever reason, when I arrived at the university, the barrier was down and there was no one around to open it. After frustratingly driving around in circles, confronting one road closure after another, I ended up driving to Drumchapel, leaving the car outside of my brother’s house, where I was intending to go to after the wedding anyway, and getting the bus back into Partick, carrying all my wedding stuff, and then getting the bus back out to Drumchapel after the wedding, still bearing the load. Talk about the best laid plans going astray! As I began to prepare for the wedding, I was well warned to mind the many steps, at different levels, leading to and from the altar area, which had no clearly defined separation. Even so, I managed to fall up one of the steps, having previously almost fallen down the same step. Thankfully, no damage was done, except to my dignity, and to the nerves of the few people who witnessed it. Eventually, everything was ready, and the wedding began, and, I have to say, everything went beautifully. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and so, it seemed, did everyone else. The groom’s family had come over from Ireland and fully appreciated the beautiful surroundings of the Kelvingrove Park which, as a Partick boy at heart, filled me with pride.
During the first week of August, I took a break from St. Mungo’s. It was a staycation in Bishopbriggs. Each day I would try and do something different. I had long walks along the Forth and Clyde Canal, and in the Campsies. I went to see the film Oppenheimer, which was a 3-hour marathon, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I took a train from Bishopbriggs to Stirling, a city I like very much, especially the Church of the Holy Rude next to the castle, a truly beautiful church that I think is particularly sensitive, and does justice, to its Catholic roots. In the middle of the week, I met up with some old friends whom I have known since the late 1960’s and early 1970’ s, when we all attended retreats at the Passionist Retreat House at Coodham in Ayrshire, now sadly closed. The five stalwarts whom I met up with all met their good lady wives at Coodham as well, while I entered the Passionists. I don’t meet up with them as often as I’d like but, as I keep telling them, they are all old retired men now, while I am still a full-time working man. We had a great catch-up and I resolved to make more of an effort to meet with them more often. As my time drew to a close, I took in the first match of the new football season, which had a happy ending. I also did a lot of enjoyable reading during that time, but then, in the blink of an eye, the week was over, and I was back at the church. All the brethren in Bishopbriggs are well. This weekend Father Gareth will travel to Ireland for the 1st Profession of Cian Hennessy, a young man from Cork, who has recently completed his Passionist Novitiate. We pray for him, and we welcome him into the family.
As ever, protect yourself, your loved ones and others, and protect Christ in your lives.