On Tuesday of this week, as I was preparing for the 10 o’clock Mass, I heard the sound of a Welsh tenor outside the Sacristy, and there was Father Gareth, large as life, en route to Bishopbriggs with his luggage. He was accompanied by Father Frank Trias and two parishioners from Holy Cross, Ardoyne, who had kindly agreed to bring all Father Gareth’s possessions over in their mini-bus, as they had done in the other direction just 10 months ago. For some reason, best kept to themselves, they had decided to travel on the 3.30am ferry from Belfast to Cairnryan. They then made their way up to Glasgow, stopping on the way, not too far from St. Mungo’s, at one of Father Gareth’s favourite haunts for a Big Breakfast, no doubt with his usual request of “no tomatoes, extra beans”. I am wondering if he is just delighted to be returning because a Full Scottish is better than an Ulster Fry. After reviving themselves with a breakfast, they decided to attend the 10am Mass, at which they were warmly greeted by that morning’s congregation. The minibus drivers had a guided tour of St. Mungo’s church and were mightily impressed, before continuing on their way. After depositing the luggage, and having a cuppa with Father Justinian, they made a detour so that Father Frank could visit his mammy, and then headed for an evening ferry home. It was a long day for them. At the time of writing, after another couple of nights in Belfast, Father Gareth is now on his way back, bringing over his own car, and then his work can begin. It will be so good to have him back.
Last night was another of those occasions when you feel that hours of your life have been wasted, or taken from you, that you will never get back again. The night before, my computer had carried out another series of what seems like endless updates. Why can’t things ever be left the same for a while? In the process they managed to disable the integrated webcam that I use for Zoom meetings, Skype calls and the like. Apparently, this is often likely to happen when updates are carried out. I then went into the helpline, but no matter what I did the webcam still couldn’t be found. I then resorted to an online chat helpline, at the end of which I was told all was sorted, and that the webcam would return when I restarted the computer. Needless to say, it didn’t. I went back into the online chat helpline and got somebody else. They tried a different route, at the end of which they said I was well sorted now. I had such confidence in this helper that I even answered the satisfaction questions that they impose on you before I logged out. Once again, the issue is unresolved, the webcam remains hidden, and I went to bed lamenting those lost hours. I will wait till I have the energy before I try again.
Today I am heading to a Deanery meeting, the first for a while, and certainly the first since the new Archbishop was installed. I think it will be an interesting meeting as there is quite a lot going on just now throughout the Archdiocese and it will be good to sit down with fellow priests and see where we all are, and how we all are. I’ve no doubt that Archbishop Nolan will have instructed the deans as to some of the issues he would like us to discuss as we try to move forward together, especially as regards the Synodal Path, which calls priests and people to work together towards a renewed, humbler, holier, and more Christ-like church.
I spoke to Father Antony recently. He is settling in well, but is at present attending lots of meetings. He is going to Rome for a gathering of recently ordained Passionists and he was wondering if we could help him out with Masses on Sunday 9th October. We are happy to help out, when possible, and Father John will take the train down to Minsteracres and spend the weekend. Father Gareth and I will be okay here. Father Justinian continues to keep remarkably well, and is looking forward to another new chapter in the life of our community.
As always, protect yourselves, your loved ones and others, and protect Christ in your lives.