Fr. Calum was a much loved figure in Argyll & the Isles Diocese and beyond, and this was clearly borne out by the number of people who filled St. Columba’s Cathedral for his Requiem Mass on 19 July. Bishop Joseph Toal concelebrated with Bishop Emeritus Peter Moran and priests from across the Diocese and further afield. The atmosphere in the Cathedral was a mixture of sadness at the sudden loss of Fr. Calum and warmth as people recalled their memories of him and exchanged stories of their experiences.
Members of the Diocesan and Cathedral choirs led the music of the liturgy under the direction of Fr. Michael Hutson. There was a lovely blend of old and new, English and Gaelic:- Be Thou my Vision, Soul of My Saviour and the plainsong Salve Regina; Psalm 62 (Fitzpatrick setting) the Schutte Mass of Christ the Saviour, and the Final Commendation (Fitzpatrick); Do Lamh a Chriosda and A Mhoire Mhin-gheal – as well as lovely instrumental music from young violinist Kevin Campbell, accompanied by Fr. Michael on organ, and final pipe music from piper Gavin MacMillan.
In his homily, Bishop Toal reflected that the first reading from Isaiah was so appropriate. Fr. Calum was the man if anyone was needed to speak on any subject. Indeed, when he suffered his final illness, he had been about to leave forCanadato speak at an ecumenical meeting. He was a man who excelled in many areas but the centre in everything for him was his vocation as a priest, responding to the Gospel call to shoulder the yoke of Christ with enthusiasm. In doing so, he brought goodness and encouragement into the lives of others, campaigning and advocating for social development.
Even after he retired, he was always available to help others, whether on the islands, the mainland, or abroad (from the Costa del Sol toQuito). His life, as St. Paul in the second reading reminded us, had its impact on the lives of others and he would be sadly missed both as a priest and as a friend.
Bishop Toal ended with an appeal to young men in the Diocese to consider if they were being called by the Lord to take Fr. Calum’s place in the service of his people through the priesthood.