Last Wednesday I was all set to have my molar removed. I left the church in the early afternoon and drove home. I deposited the car at the house and walked to the dentist in the village, wet and cold as it was, just in case I couldn’t drive after. I wasn’t looking forward to the extraction, but I was all geared up for it, and looking forward to it all being over. I even had some nice soup on standby as I imagined I wouldn’t be eating solids for a while. I arrived at the dentist and took my solitary seat in the waiting area. While I was waiting someone appeared at the door with a delivery. It may have been a delivery of false teeth from what I gathered of the conversation, but thankfully they weren’t for me. I couldn’t help but listen to more of the conversation between the courier and the dental receptionist, about how the practice would be affected by level 4 lockdown. The dental practice, I gathered, was still waiting for clarification from the British Dental Association, but was expecting to remain open for essential services, but not for non-essential services, which I took to be the more cosmetic side of things. I always have trouble explaining to our auditors that when Facial Beauty, or some such term, comes up on my credit card statement, that it was only a dental check-up, or a filling, and that it would take more than a dentist to make this face beautiful.
Eventually, I was summoned to the treatment room, and settled myself in the chair. The dentist poked around for a while and then asked had I seen my scans from the previous visit, which I hadn’t, so she asked me to come and have a look. To cut a long story short, she was a bit anxious about carrying out the procedure, as she was the only dentist there on that particular day. Her expectation was that this would be a tricky extraction as there was more filling than tooth. The likelihood was that the molar would crumble when extraction began and, in such circumstances, she preferred that the lead dentist be also there to assist if the need arose. Having had a previous bad experience, as described in an earlier log, I was willing to agree to a postponement, just to be on the safe side, after being assured that this would be considered essential surgery, and not fall victim to lockdown. So, now I have another appointment for two weeks hence. I’m sure the soup will last, and I had a combination of pizza and haggis pakora instead, followed by a big bar of Whole Nut.
Of course, in Saint Mungo’s, we had to make plans for level 4 lockdown as well. With only 20 people allowed in the church for Mass, or for any other form of prayer or worship, at any one time. It will be difficult to manage. Many of our regulars, as well as many of our volunteers, come from other local authorities and they are not supposed to travel into Glasgow, so we will have to see how that works out. Even myself, Father Gareth and Father Antony, have to travel from another local authority, but we are permitted to do so. In the event, we have put on some extra Masses, and we will just do our best to have a fair process to help as many people as possible to attend Mass, who wish to, at least once in the week.
On this Sunday, 22nd November, we Passionists begin our Solemn Jubilee Year to commemorate and celebrate the 300th anniversary of our Congregation. On imparting his Apostolic Blessing upon the entire Passionist Family, Pope Francis has entrusted us to Mary, the Mother of the Crucified One, a figure of the Church, a Virgin who listens, prays, offers, and generates life; and who is the permanent memory of Jesus, especially of his Passion. He also invoked the intercession of St. Paul of the Cross, our founder, and of all our Passionist Saints and Blesseds, and included in his Apostolic Blessing, all who will participate in our various celebrations throughout the Jubilee. We are very conscious of all who are involved with us, in so many ways, as being part of our Passionist Family, and so grateful for the encouragement and support you give us. We will keep you informed as to how you can celebrate with us throughout the year. Meantime, as we enter into a new phase of lockdown, protect yourselves, protect your loved ones and others, and protect Christ in your lives.