Just a few weeks after my walk down to the cathedral for Archbishop Tartaglia’s Anniversary Mass, it was very encouraging to be walking down, and gathering with fellow priests once again, in order to welcome our Archbishop-elect, Bishop William Nolan, to the diocese. The announcement came somewhat out of the blue at mid-day last Friday. Here in St. Mungo’s, we are claiming special insight from the Holy Spirit as, by divine providence (I don’t believe in coincidence), we have Bishop Nolan on the front of our parish calendar for 2022. It goes back to last November when some of our Passionist Young Team, along with Father Antony, went to participate in the Cop26 march from Kelvingrove Park to Glasgow Green, gathering under our new parish banner. Before the walk began, Bishop Nolan noticed the banner and came over to talk to the group. A photograph was taken while he was in conversation with Deacon Joe. Without even realizing it was Bishop Nolan, I included the photo as one of two images for our calendar. It was only after the announcement came that Father Antony told me who it was. It was Father Antony, also, who had a previous encounter with Bishop Nolan, when he brought the late Father Lawrence with him to a Justice & Peace meeting in Carfin a couple of years back. Father Lawrence was very unwell at that time, but was keen to go, and Father Antony remembers well the time that Bishop Nolan took to sit and talk with Father Lawrence, and was impressed by his kindness. Apart from that, I have encountered Bishop Nolan only on Zoom meetings, and have always found him personable and prayerful.
As we arrived at the cathedral, Bishop Nolan was waiting to greet us individually in the porch. After the Mid-day Prayer of the Church, Monsignor Bradley, who has carried the diocese well this past year, spoke a few words of welcome. Then, after Exposition and Benediction, the Archbishop-elect spoke briefly as well. The main thrust of his message, using the image of a boat, was that bishop and priests need to work together and that, to accomplish anything, and get anywhere, we all need to be steering in the same direction. Amen to that! Afterwards, we gathered in Eyre Hall for tea, sausage rolls, sandwiches and cakes, during which Bishop Nolan made his way around and chatted to the various small groupings of his new band of priests. It was very friendly and informal, and good to be there.
Just before I arrived at the cathedral, I had a chance meeting with one of the administrative staff for the archdiocese, someone who had been incredibly helpful and supportive when we were doing the refurbishment work a couple of years ago. It was a long time since we had met, and he was telling me he was soon to go into hospital for a hip replacement, after a long time on the waiting list. He is one of a few people I know who have been waiting a long time for such operations. I also know someone, however, who had a fall two Saturdays ago, had a new hip by the following Tuesday, and was home two days later, on the Thursday, and is now happily co-operating with the physiotherapists to get walking again. Be assured, however, that I am not advocating a fall in order to speed anyone’s way through the waiting list.
Back at Bishopbriggs, we are all well. Father Justinian enjoyed a few days away at the house of his brother and sister-in-law on the west coast. Unfortunately, it coincided with some of the recent stormy days which meant that intended jaunts along the sea front, pushed in his wheel chair by one of his nieces, had to be forfeited. We think we are getting much nearer to welcoming Father John Varghese to St. Mungo’s, and we are looking forward to that. Father Antony is soon to begin, officially, his part-time ministry with Stella Maris, while I plod on.
As ever, protect yourselves, your loved ones and others, and protect Christ in your lives.