St. Peter’s, Partick was filled for the funeral Mass of Br. Paul of the Marist Community. Br. Paul died on 22 October aged 96 years. He was someone who had lived life, and his faith, to the full right up to the end, and this was seen in the range of groups and ages present in the church. The music of the Liturgy was led by the St. Mungo Singers and the Charismatic Music Group from Craig Lodge, Dalmally.
Br. Colin welcomed Br. Brendan Geary, the Provincial of the Marists, a large number of priests and brothers, and friends and representatives from Craig Lodge, St. Joseph’s Dumfries and other places where Br. Paul had worked.
Br. Stephen Smyth gave the reflection. He said we had come to share stories and memories, and to be inspired again by Br. Paul. Referring to the readings for the Mass, he said that in truth Br. Paul had run the race to the finish – a marathon in his case! He asked himself which of the Beatitudes best described Br. Paul, and decided that for him it was “blessed are the poor” .
Br. Paul was born in Newcastle of English/Maltese parents. He had been a student of St. Joseph’s College, Dumfries before experiencing a sudden call to the Marists. Later he returned to St. Joseph’s as a teacher and then the Head of the College, where he shared his passion for sports and acting in addition to more academic subjects. Many teachers and students of the College were present as a mark of the affection and esteem in which he was held.
When he retired, he became Director of Hapland House where he had the opportunity to indulge his passion for gardening, and first experienced the Charismatic movement. A spell of study in the New Jerusalem Community in Cincinnati was followed by a period in Cameroon before he returned to Glasgow where he was a central part of the Marist Family Group and set up the Anawim Charismatic Prayer Group. This led to him setting up a group in Malta, which in turn led to him going to Medjugorje, and this led in turn to a contact with Dalmally and Craig Lodge. An agreement for him to spend a couple of months at Craig Lodge turned into 7 years there until he died. When his cancer was diagnosed, he telephoned to tell people what he described as the good news. That was Br. Paul! In recognition of his strong links to the Craig Lodge community, the retiring collection was given to Mary’s Meals.
The Mass itself began and ended with Charismatic hymns, led with enthusiastic joy by the young people of the Craig Lodge Group. Dr. Noel Donnelly contributed reflective music on the clarsach before and during the Mass.