FATHER FRANK’S LOG: 9th – 16th JANUARY
As I was trying to sum up the energy to resume the log, I received, from an anonymous reader, a very nice comment of appreciation, and that was the only encouragement I needed. It’s amazing how just a small, affirming word can go a long way. In this log I will just try and fill you in on events that have been happening since you last heard from me, before Christmas.
Thankful that we were not burdened by any further Covid/Omicron restrictions on public worship, we were able to celebrate in St. Mungo’s the four Masses of Christmas: The Vigil; the Midnight Mass of the Nativity; the Dawn and the Day Masses. As well as each Christmas Mass having its own prayers and readings, each also has its own atmosphere, and they were all very special. I confess, however, that while we were able to celebrate the Midnight Mass at midnight; we did not celebrate the Dawn Mass at dawn, and instead celebrated it at 10 a.m. - a couple of hours after dawn. With Christmas Day being a Saturday, Christmas Eve very quickly transitioned into Christmas day and then into Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Family. There was no time to catch breath, which myself and Father Antony could have done with as we had been very busy with Confessions on the lead up to Christmas. After the four Masses of Christmas, Father Antony had a further Mass in the afternoon, along with Deacon Joe, on board a cruise ship, while I went home to exchange gifts with my younger brother, before he had his Christmas dinner delivered by my older brother and his clan. It was night time, then, before we settled down in Bishopbriggs to our Christmas dinner which we all thoroughly enjoyed. In the morning time Father Justinian had been visited by a few of his family members and had celebrated Christmas Mass with them in the house. He was supposed to go with family the following week, to see in the New Year at the house of his brother and sister-in-law in Troon. Unfortunately, Covid put a stop to that. It also put a stop to the traditional Keevins’ family gathering at the home of one of my nieces to see in the New Year. As it turned out, all three of us in Bishopbriggs were in bed before midnight with, as at Christmas, Hogmanay transitioning into Ne’erday and then into Epiphany Sunday – it was all very exhausting! On New Year’s night we had our traditional steak pie dinner – but with no sausages in it this time, after the controversy that the sausages had stirred up last year.
We had a little bit of drama early in the year when, as Father Antony was celebrating the 12.15 p.m. Mass, an intruder brazenly made his way into the church and sacristy and robbed some money from one of the SVDP boxes which was waiting to be counted after the weekend. Poor Father Antony watched helplessly as the intruder emerged, genuflected and blessed himself at the back of the church, and made his way out again. I don’t think he signed in! With both of us having been to Les Miserable just before Christmas, I said to Father Antony that, if the police caught him and brought him back, we would need to give him the candlesticks as well. (If that is lost on you, one of the key scenes in Les Mis is when the bishop does something very similar to the main character, and it is this act of mercy and compassion that changes his life). We were not the only church that this intruder robbed during those days, but we are grateful to a prominent Celtic supporters’ group for giving a donation to the SVDP to compensate. The policeman who came to check our CCTV, having thought he was being called to the cathedral, was very taken by the beauty of St. Mungo’s.
A further bit of drama was last Friday when the snow came. Father Antony left the house at 8.15 a.m. but, due to crazy traffic, didn’t get in to start the 10 a.m. Mass until 10.15 a.m. I, myself, left the house at 8.30 a.m. and at 10 a.m. I was still in Bishopbriggs, so I just turned back and left Fr. Antony to say the 12.15 p.m. Mass as well. Thankfully, the snow didn’t last, and things were back to normal on the following day. Since then, we have had the 40 Hours, which was very beautiful and prayerful, and today, as I write, we are celebrating the Feast of St. Mungo. The children from St. Mungo’s primary have joined us for the 10 a.m. Mass. Later, when I go up to see my younger brother for whom I am carer, I will bring him a gift as today is his birthday. Today is also the 1st Anniversary of the sad and untimely death of Archbishop Tartaglia, and I will be concelebrating a Mass for him in the cathedral later on, as we were unable to do that for his Requiem Mass last year due to Covid. May his good soul rest in peace. I am still waiting to catch my breath – hopefully next week.
Meantime, protect yourselves, protect your loved ones and others, and protect Christ in your lives.