It was with great sadness that the Archdiocese of Glasgow said farewell to Mgr. Woods who died 8th December and whose funeral took place at St. Joseph’s Tollcross (his last parish) on 19th and 20th December. The church was full for the funeral services, reflecting the esteem in which he was held and the range of his interests and influence.
At the Vigil service, Fr. John Carroll recalled Mgr. Noel as a faithful minister of the word and sacraments, and a person of great compassion, and said we return him to the Lord with great confidence as well as sadness.
At the funeral Mass, Archbishop Tartaglia was joined by Archbishop Emeritus Conti and many of Mgr. Noel’s priest colleagues. The parish choir led the music, and some of the St. Mungo Singers were present who had known and worked with Mgr Noel for many years, particularly in ecumenical work and services which he had done so much to support and develop.
In his homily, Archbishop Tartaglia noted that Mgr Noel would have been 85 on Christmas Day. Everyone knew him as “Big Noel”; he was looked up to as much for his goodness as for his height. For him death had been a release because of the very poor health he had experienced since suffering a stroke, and he believed in the resurrection.
Mgr. Noel had been ordained by Archbishop Campbell in 1958 and his first parish had been St John’s in the Gorbals. He served for many years in St Andrew’s Cathedral and had been MC for Archbishop Winning and involved in the Papal visit in 1982. He had also been a chaplain to Strathclyde Police, a very suitable appointment as with his height and appearance he could have been mistaken for one of the “polis” himself, said the Archbishop. His final parish had been St. Joseph’s.
As the Gospel reading (Luke 1:26-38) reminds us, these last days of Advent are a time of hopefulness and joyful expectation, and an invitation to each of us to accept God’s plan for us, as Mgr. Noel did.
The funeral Mass continued with this positive message and as Mgr. Noel’s coffin was carried from the church, the congregation sang O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.
The ladies of the parish provided a wonderful purvey – to use the old Glasgow term – afterwards in the parish hall as a tribute to Mgr. Noel. May he rest in peace.