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Mass of our Celtic Roots

January finished with the Annual Mass of our Celtic Roots in St. Aloysius Garnethill. This service which takes place during the Celtic Connections Festival, has now become part of the “fringe” events and attracted a capacity congregation. The musical support came from a great mix of instrumentalists, including Claire O’Neill of Aisling Gheal (violin), some of the Southside Fiddlers (violin, cello and accordion), Scott Glasgow (pipes), Carissa Bovill (violin and clarsach), Theresa Irving (clarsach) Eddie Foley (violin), Anne Marie Berrie (guitar), who blended together to produce a warm and enthusing atmosphere which encouraged all present to sing. The vocal support came from the St. Mungo Singers and the choir of St. Mungo’s, Alloa. The music of the Mass reflects the Celtic theme. In addition to more familiar pieces, such as Ps. 62 to the tune “Iona” and “We cannot tell” to the Londonderry Air, Chilcott’s setting of “Be Thou My vision” was sung by the St. Mungo Singers and “Bhan-Rhighinn Nan Eilean” by Sineag MacIntyre from South Uist, a 4th Year student at the RSAMD. The readings, as in previous years, were in English, Irish Gaelic and Scots Gaelic, and a welcome to the service in all three languages was also given, courtesy of Fr. Noel Colford (who presided), Fr. Noel Barry, and Fr. Angus MacDonald. Fr. MacDonald, in his homily linked up the threads of music, Education Sunday...

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Vita Kentigerni or the Life of St Mungo

In the 12th century Bishop Jocelyn of Glasgow invited Jocelyn, a monk of Furness in northern England, to write a proper life of St Mungo, or Kentigern, since the sources for a life of the saint were in some disarray! In 2008 the City of Glasgow was able to present a facsimile copy of this Vita Kentigerni (courtesy of the City of Dublin) to the Mitchell Library, the University of Glasgow, the Archdiocese of Glasgow and Glasgow Cathedral. The book was available to the public in the Mitchell Library on the Saturday nearest the traditional feast day of St Mungo, 13th January. As well as excerpts from the Life (read in the original Latin by Archbishop Conti and in the new English translation by Dr. Laurence Whitley, the Minister of Glasgow Cathedral), there was appropriate music in the form of the plainchant versicle and doxology from the Office of St. Kentigern and the Glasgow anthem Let Glasgow Flourish, sung by a group of the St. Mungo Singers. This may have a very unusual style of presentation for the Mitchell and its users but they took part with enthusiasm and the City are to be congratulated on a well-organised and enjoyable event. Copies of the Life have also been given to Glasgow Cathedral and the Archdiocese. During the ceremony in the Mitchell the hope was expressed that that this would...

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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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