Welcome to the first Log of 2021, after a two-week break for a Covid Christmas and New Year. I hope that, despite restrictions and limitations, it was a blessed time for all of you. For the first time in living memory, I didn’t stay up for the bells. Normally, on Hogmanay
evening, I would have collected my younger brother, and we would have made our way to the home of one of our nieces. There, we would have enjoyed a late-night steak pie dinner with all the Keevins clan, and toasted each other at the bells, along with Jackie Bird on BBC
Scotland. I would then have brought my brother home and bedded down on his couch, before rising early to come into the church for the first Mass of a new year. Sadly, because of Covid, there was no gathering of the clan. I had an early evening dinner with my younger brother, came back home to Bishopbriggs, watched the last ever Only an Excuse with Father Antony, then went to bed. Father Gareth and Father Justinian were already in bed. While I missed
seeing in the year with the family, I have to confess that I slept better and felt more refreshed when celebrating on Ne’erday morning. I first-footed my brother on New Year’s Day, but my two nieces were going to appear later with his dinner. By that stage I had made it back home to Bishopbriggs where the community sat down to, yes, a steak pie dinner, the steak pies (two of them) having been donated by one of our volunteers who promised that they would be the best steak pies we ever tasted. I have to confess they were really lovely, although they did
initiate a debate on whether or not a steak pie should include sausages, which these one’s did.
Here in Scotland, we were straight into the celebration of the Epiphany with the Vigil Mass the following evening, as we are one of a few countries who have moved this great Solemnity to the nearest Sunday. It doesn’t seem right not to celebrate on the 6th and then take down the decorations on 12th night. It was also confusing for those people who join us for the streamed Masses from Ireland, north and south, who still hold the Epiphany on the proper day. On Monday the 4th, it was confirmed by the First Minister that we were going into a tier 4 enhanced lockdown, and that public worship would be suspended from Friday the 8th of January. We made plans on that basis, but then, on the following night, the Archdiocese advised that the Government had come back to them and said there was no exemption for any form of public worship, from the regulation not to leave home except for essential purposes. It was a bit confusing and contradictory, but it meant that the last Mass before lockdown was the Mass for the Feast of Saint Charles of Mount Argus. So, for the time being, we are back to streamed Masses from Monday to Saturday at 12.15pm, and on Sunday at 7pm. You are also invited to Lectio Divina with the Passionist Young Team on Wednesday evenings at 7pm.
On Wednesday morning I made my way into the church to put up notices at the gates. I did a bit of office work, then returned to Bishopbriggs for Mass. On the way I had to go to the post office to send an A4 envelope containing some documents to our Provincial Office in Dublin and, for the first time since Brexit, I had to fill in a customs declaration form. Afterwards, I did a bit of shopping and went out to Drumchapel again to make a sibling meal. As I drove the back roads home to Bishopbriggs, with their peaks and troughs and beautiful views of the Campsies, there was the most amazing sunset. The setting sun was a huge orange ball with streaks of pink and orange penetrating the clouds. But there was also a thick fog rolling in that gave the sky a rather eerie effect. On my car radio at present, I only seem to be able to get Absolute Rock or BBC Gael, so I was tuned to BBC Gael, even though I don’t have a word of Gaelic. I did however recognise the name of Philip Stopford, an Anglican composer of Sacred Music. After listening to a stunning choral piece, Ave Maris Stella, they played an even more stunning choral piece, Do Not Be Afraid, based on 4 verses from Isaiah 43. The combination of the beautiful sky and the stunning music made me feel, for the first time that day, and for the first time this new year, that there is no need to be afraid, all will be well.
As ever, protect yourselves, your loved ones, and others, and protect Christ in your lives.