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St Mungo’s Day 2008

St Mungo’s feastday, 13th January, was marked by an ecumenical service in Glasgow Cathedral, involving singers, musicians, dancers and a full congregation, including representatives from local and national government as well as the various churches in Glasgow. Representing the Lord Provost, Bailie Gordon Matheson opened the proceedings with the proclamation ‘Let Glasgow flourish!’ and the gathering rose to sing Brother Stephen Smyth’s hymn set to ‘Highland Cathedral’, before the Minister, the Rev Laurence Whitley, welcomed everyone to the celebration. It was an evening devoted to acknowledging God’s grace seen in the life of the 6th-7th century figure of St Mungo, and yet while it was prayerful it was also filled with wonder and joy – seen in the mystical beauty of Psalm 62/63, the country dancing of the children from St Catherine’s Primary, the story of the Bird, the Tree, the Fish and the bell (from the city coat of arms) related by children of the High School of Glasgow, the Gospel story of the great catch of fish, the thoughtful and encouraging homily of Archbishop Conti, the delicacy of Christina Sweeney-Baird’s Harp, the breadth of intentions expressed in the intercessions, the loyalty and affection for Glasgow and its people expressed in the Glasgow Anthem ‘Let Glasgow Flourish’ led by the St Mungo Singers and warmly supported by the whole congregation. The Rutherglen Salvation Army, led by Donald Orr,...

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Carols for Peace

The final event for December was the now well-established ecumenical Carols for Peace service in the City Chambers on 16th December. This year it was a sell-out! We know this because we ran out of seats and leaflets. In addition to our regular musical support of Aisling Gheal, Carissa Bovill on clarsach, and Scott Glasgow on pipes, we were pleased to welcome a contingent of the South Side Fiddlers, and on the vocal side, as well as the St. Mungo Singers, we had members of Govan Gaelic Choir, fresh from recording a Christmas Songs of Praise from the Art Galleries. Bailie Cathy McMaster hosted the service, as representative of the Lord Provost. The service is a mix of carols, liturgical music and prayers which aims to remind those present of the real meaning of Christmas and of the ongoing need to pray and work for peace, particularly in the Holy Land. We had old favourites such as “O Little Town” and “Silent Night” and new pieces – “The Little Road to Bethlehem” sung. After a blessing by the church leaders present, we finished on a high note to the rousing singing of Adeste Fideles, which was followed by the lively playing of the South Side Fiddlers as we enjoyed the hospitality of the City...

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Duns Scotus: 7th centenary

To initiate the celebrations in Scotland, Scotus College held a service for its patron on 7th December, to which family, friends, neighbours and guests were invited. In an atmospheric setting, lit only by the light of the Advent wreath and candles held by the participants, and following gentle instrumental music provided by Carissa Bovill and Noel Donnelly (clarsach) and Clare O’Neill (violin), the service opened with the singing of Isaiah 55. Fr. Willie McFadden, the Rector, welcomed everyone to the celebration which had a Marian theme, reflecting Duns Scotus own particular devotion to Our Lady. The liturgy then continued, fittingly, with a new hymn written by Br. Stephen Smyth for the 150th Lourdes Anniversary to the familiar and well-loved tune of “Immaculate Mary” followed by Noel Donnelly’s setting of “Mary the Dawn”, Psalm 66 (a psalm often used for Marian feasts) and the sung Hail Mary. In his homily, Fr. McFadden highlighted Duns Scotus’ balanced and mature devotion to Mary, which led to God, was Christ-centred and ecumenical. He described Scotus as a philosopher and theologian who expanded the boundaries of his area of study and the understanding of Mary’s role in salvation history, and as someone who has much to teach us today as a man of vision yet Franciscan simplicity, a Scot but never insular. The service concluded with the Morar Magnificat, the Palestrina Alma Redemptoris Mater...

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Blessing of the Crib

It is good to report that the Blessing of the Crib in George Square, Glasgow continues to be part of the Civic calendar of events. It took place on 8 December and the Square was packed with parents and children, despite the heavy rain. The Lord Provost and church leaders, including Archbishop Conti and the Moderator of Glasgow Presbytery, led the service of blessing, with musical support from a Bearsden choir and some St. Mungo Singers, some members of the Children’s choir from St. Leo the Great, Dumbreck and instrumentalists from the RSAMD. There was an air of joy and participation which was in no way diminished by the miserable weather or the competing noises from the skating rink and roundabouts occupying the rest of the...

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Glasgow Archdiocesan Music Committee census 2007

Around Easter 2007, the Director of Music and the Music Committee of the Archdiocese Glasgow posted a questionnaire to all parish music contacts in order to gather evidence on the state of music in the liturgy throughout the city and feed these findings back to the Archdiocesan Office. By the end of July, 35 parishes had responded and it is these responses that inform this report. On the whole, these are encouraging, showing a healthy musical life in our parishes. That is not to say that there is not scope for further improvement, but these parish musicians are eager to ask for additional help and support in their task. The attached summary report provides details of the 35 responses in the following areas: Musicians supporting parish Masses Parish resources Details of music sung at Mass Details of other parish celebrations Workshop requests Almost all parishes in this survey have musicians available for Sunday Masses, either in the form of an organist or an instrumental ensemble, with many parishes having both. Only two parishes have no musicians to support their singing although they do have an electronic alternative in Cynthia. The majority of parishes (25 out of 35) have at least one cantor although less than half have a regular choir (15 out of 35). Yet judging from the responses on musical items regularly sung at Mass, parishes without a...

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