Last Friday we welcomed back Father Tomy, an Indian Passionist, who had stayed with us a few weeks ago, taking driving lessons, as he had arranged to do his UK driving test here in Glasgow, because of a huge backlog in London, where he works at St Joseph’s Passionist Church in Highgate. His driving test is at the end of this week, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, so he is having a few more intensive days of practice before the day itself. When Father Tomy arrived last Friday evening, having taken the train from London to Edinburgh, and then the bus to Glasgow, he advised us that it had been snowing all the way coming up the East Coast on the train. At that point there had been no sign, nor forecast, of snow here in the west. Then, on Saturday morning, we awoke to find our little housing estate in Bishopbriggs to be deep in snow. I was on the early Mass, and so I had to get the snow shovel out to clear a path for the car, and then carefully negotiate the winding turns in the estate to get to the Kirkintilloch Road, surely the most dug-up road in the country, which was thankfully well gritted. At such times, my mind goes back to the snows of a few years ago when I had to spend some nights sleeping on the office floor in St Mungo’s as I couldn’t get home to Bishopbriggs. Thankfully, that didn’t happen this time. That evening, I was celebrating the Vigil Mass of the 1st Sunday of Advent in St Roch’s. I was gratified to see one of the volunteers out putting salt on the paths and steps to the church. Over the next few days there were minor inconveniences caused by the snow, but now, apart from the bitter cold, all is well again. Hopefully that’s the worst of it, but who can predict the weather these days?
This weekend St Mungo’s is hosting the Blessed Carlo Acutis Eucharistic Miracles Exhibition. Carlo Acutis was an English-born, Italian Catholic youth, and a website designer, best known for documenting Eucharistic miracles, and the approved Marian apparitions around the world, then cataloguing them onto a website which he created before his death from leukaemia on October 12th 2006. He was noted for his cheerfulness, his computer skills, and his deep devotion to the Eucharist, which became a core theme of his life. He was beatified by the Church on October 10th 2020. He came from a wealthy Italian family and, apparently, his first nanny was a Scottish lady. You will find a rather impressive shrine installed in his honour at Carfin Grotto. We have fairly regular adoration of the Eucharist in St Mungo’s. I was approached by one of our regular adorers to ask if we would be interested in hosting this exhibition. After some inquiries, during which I only heard good things about it, I brought it to the parish council, many of whom obviously knew a lot more about Carlo Acutis than I did, and so we agreed to take this on. Hopefully many people will visit and find it helpful and interesting and, as he is very much a modern-day saint, and a model and example for youth, hopefully many young people will visit the exhibition and be inspired.
I am thinking of changing the status of our community house in Bishopbriggs to a Passionist Ashram. After Father Tomy passes (hopefully) his driving test and returns to London, we will then have a visit from the Provincial of the Passionists in India, Father Paul, who will be accompanied by another Indian Passionist priest, Father Jenish. Father Paul is visiting those Indian Passionists who are on loan to our Province in Ireland, England and Scotland. I have advised that we only have one spare room in a rather small house, but Father Jenish, it seems, will be quite comfortable sleeping on the floor of the sitting room. At least it’s only for one night. A few years ago, we had a surprise visit from an Australian Passionist whom I had studied with in Rome. As there were five of us in the community at the time, before Father Laurence died, he ended up spending over a week on the sitting room floor, which I think he rather enjoyed. In fact, I think he would have been quite agreeable if we had said he needed to sleep out in the garden, as he seemed to have come equipped for any possibility.
As ever, protect yourself, your loved ones and others, and protect Christ in your lives.