After a two-month break the log returns this week. In many ways it has been a difficult couple of months as my younger brother has spent most of it in hospital, either in the QEUH or in Gartnavel, where he continues to be at this time. As his primary carer I have been trying to balance my life and ministry here in St. Mungo’s with my daily visits, sometimes twice a day, to see him and sit with him. I commend him to your prayers.
For much of that time Father Gareth was still in Wales, looking after his mam. My last log but one described our delight when Father Gareth came back to St. Mungo’s to be present at Brother Antony Connelly’s Final Profession as a Passionist, shortly after which he was ordained a transitional deacon in Belfast, a role he has been exercising very effectively here in St. Mungo’s ever since, as he journeys towards priestly ordination in December. Our delight was increased when, in early August, Father Gareth returned to St. Mungo’s fully, and from day one it was like he had never been away, plunging himself into ministry in his own inimitable style and being readily available and willing for whatever is required of him. His larger than life presence and good humour has brightened up our lives both here at the church and at our Passionist community house in Bishopbriggs. It’s so good to have him back, even if his jokes have got worse, and we continue to keep his mam in our prayers too.
Back in December, 2018, I went to Dublin for meetings. Shortly after my return I realised I had misplaced my diary, a very fine moleskin product, a gift from my niece, in which, as well as my appointments, I had lots of notes written on the blank, right hand pages, the date page for each week being on the left, and important bits of paper tucked into little pockets that the diary contained. I turned my office upside down at least six times and I had people in Dublin searching anywhere that I might have been in the monastery to see if I had left it there when I was over for the meetings, but all to no avail. Even St. Antony was flummoxed, as was St. Charles of Mount Argus. Eventually, I gave up, and somehow managed to compensate for the missing notes and vital bits of paper, and in time I stopped thinking about it. Then, after a fitful night’s sleep last Monday, I awoke on Tuesday morning and couldn’t find my rosary, which I always keep under my pillow. When I returned from our parish pastoral council meeting on Tuesday night, I pulled my very heavy bed out from the wall, presuming my rosary had somehow fallen down the back. I got a peek of it but had to get a long shoe horn to pull it to a position where I could retrieve it. Surprisingly, the shoe horn hooked on to something else and, together with my rosary, my missing diary also appeared. How it had got there I have no memory of whatsoever, but I was delighted to have the mystery solved.
This weekend we begin our annual Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows, during which, on Thursday 12th September, we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the church. We have three great preachers in Fr Aidan Troy CP; Fr Paul Francis Spencer CP, and Fr James Sweeney CP. Archbishop Philip Tartaglia will celebrate our closing Mass at 7pm on Sunday 15th September. I am taking the return of the missing diary while retrieving my rosary as a sign that Our Lady’s prayers are already being effective, and I am sure that our novena will be a very special time of graces and blessings for all who take part. I will be offering my own novena for my brother and for all whom I know, in my family, in the parish, and in the Passionists, who are sick, and for all who have confided in me and asked me to pray for some special intention. May all our prayers be answered. It would be great if you were able to join us for some or all of the novena, and you can find all the details elsewhere in the newsletter.
Mother of Sorrows; Woman of Compassion; may we draw inspiration from your journey of faith, and your unwavering trust throughout your sorrows. We too can move through the pain of our present situations. Your faith and your courage inspire us, and strengthen us. Amen.