More and more, I feel as if Glasgow is a building site at the moment. My daily travels usually take me from Bishopbriggs to St. Mungo’s, my place of ministry; then from St. Mungo’s to Drumchapel, to do my daily caring duties for my brother, and then from Drumchapel back to Bishopbriggs, the home of my Passionist Community. Until recently, going home from Drumchapel to Bishopbriggs, I would head to Bearsden and take the Roman Road, then on to Balmore Road. I could do the journey home in about 20 minutes. Four weeks ago, the Roman Road was closed for works, not for the first time, and so I had to take the diversion, which was significantly longer, both in time and distance. Unfortunately, the diversion was through Milngavie, and as you will know, there was a major water-mains burst in Milngavie which, according to the photos, looks more like an earthquake, and so that route is going to be closed for some time. For a couple of days after the Milngavie closure, I was heading back into St. Mungo’s, and out again to Bishopbriggs, in peak time traffic. It was a nightmare. Since then, receiving good advice from one of our parish council members, I have been taking a new, even if somewhat circuitous route through Summerston. At least I am getting to know bits of my own city that I never knew before.
But the story doesn’t end there. A couple of Saturdays ago I arrived into the church to discover that, without any warning, Parson Street, where St. Mungo’s is located, was closed to traffic, and remained so for the next few days, Then, last Friday, it suddenly transpired that all the main roads leading to St. Mungo’s were going to close for re-surfacing. Now, this is necessary work, and I look forward to it being completed. It will make a difference. However, I only received a letter the day before, and when I came into the church on the Saturday morning, I found St. Mungo Avenue closed in both directions, with no access to the church. After a discussion with one of the workmen, I drove through the Road Closed signs and found my way in to open the church. Some people coming to Mass were able to do the same, but I later discovered that others had turned back. I phoned the council and requested that at least Local Access signs should be put up so that people knew they could get to church, as is their right. It hasn’t been quite so bad since, but it’s still very confusing, and we don’t know from day to day how we will get in. However, the work is supposed to be completed by this weekend, and I do look forward to a major, much needed improvement, in the road surfaces. Of course, out in Bishopbriggs, the Kirkintilloch Road seems to close a section every other week for road works, and has done for the past couple of years. There are other roads as well I regularly use that are closed; the High Street to get to the Cathedral, and the Kingston Bridge to get to the Clydeside Expressway, are but two, but all will be well!
The sad, but not unexpected news received this week, is that St. Simon’s in Partick has ceased to be and is now merged into St. Peter’s. From the time of the arson attack it has never looked likely that it would re-open, despite the many ribbons that were hung from the railings outside saying Save Our Church and Rise from the Ashes. Both churches have a special place in my memory, and it’s a very logical merger. St. Peter’s was the church we were always brought to from St. Peter’s Primary School which I attended from 1956-1961. However, St. Simon’s was the church I grew up with, being baptized there, making my 1st Confession; 1st Holy Communion and Confirmation; and serving on the altar. My father’s funeral was also from there in April, 1960, as well as other family funerals. I gave a mission there shortly after ordination. I married one of my nieces there, and baptized one of my grand-nieces. So many memories; and so sad to see it go because of a totally mindless act. Gone, but not forgotten.
As ever, protect yourself, your loved ones and others, and protect Christ in your lives.