It was a weekend of contrasts for the Archdiocese of Glasgow and the St. Mungo Singers, beginning with the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of one priest and ending with the funeral liturgy of another.
1. Celebration: Golden Jubilee of Fr. David Trainer
Fr. David Trainer’s connection with the St. Mungo Singers goes back to their beginnings. He was one of the founders of the choir in 1971. It was with great pleasure, therefore, that they joined in the celebration of his Golden Jubilee Mass in St. Columba’s church, the church of which he had been parish priest before his retirement, and one which also held fond memories for the choir.
Unlike on the choir’s previous visit this year, which had been accompanied by thunder and lightning, the weather was beautifully sunny and warm. The church was full for the celebration and Fr. Trainer was joined for the Mass by the Spiritan Fathers who minister to the parish (Frs. Ambrose and Dominic) and the newest priest in the Diocese, Fr. Vincent Toal.
Fr. David has always loved music and the Mass reflected this, being filled with music ranging from plainchant to modern Scottish liturgical music. There was also the pleasure of harp music from Dr. Noel Donnelly.
In his homily Fr. David reflected briefly on the Gospel reading (Mark 6:1-6) and its lesson for us today, that familiarity can be an obstacle to faith. We need to be aware that God calls us through the ordinary to the extraordinary. He went on to thank Frs. Ambrose and Dominic for giving him the opportunity to have his Jubilee Mass in St Columba’s, and Mgr Gerry and the St. Mungo Singers for joining him for the service.
He reflected rather ruefully that time must indeed be passing. The previous week he had been in a monastery in France. The church had been very busy and someone had got up and offered him a seat – clearly he had reached that age! However to quote a Dean Martin song, he said, he couldn’t beat the memories that St. Columba’s had given him such as the painting of the mural in the church for the 14th centenary of St. Columba’s death; the banners made by a parishioner for it; climbing Munros with parishioners who had never climbed before; a boat ride round Iona; the warm welcome given by parishioners to a young person with a virus; the winning of a Community Initiative Scheme prize. As the Celtic idea expressed it, memories are the jewels in our treasure chest.
After the Mass, there was a wonderful buffet in the gardens of the church house and the parishioners had not stinted on the provisions. With the added joy of a lovely sunny day, there was every incentive to sit and chat about past times.