St. Agnes, Lambhill, holds two remembrance Masses each year for those buried in the nearby cemetery and those whose final committal has taken place in the Lambhill Crematorium. This year, the June service was very special as it marked the centenary of the Cadder Pit disaster in which 22 miners had died, 11 of whom had been parishioners of St. Agnes. A poignant reminder of the centenary was the miner’s lamp which was brought to the altar during the Mass.
The quietly reflective mood for the service was set by Carissa Bovill playing several pieces on clarsach and concluding with the singing of “Pie Jesu”. The Mass itself began with the processional “Grace to You and Peace” and, as parish priest Fr. Noel Barry incensed the altar, the St. Mungo Singers led the singing of “And in My Flesh I shall See God”. The Psalm for the day was the very appropriate Psalm 15 with its response “You Show your Friends the Path of Life”.
In his homily Fr. Barry recalled Sir Christopher Wren’s epitaph in St. Paul’s Cathedral which directs the reader to the great church which he designed and in which he lies. He invited those present to recognise themselves and their presence there as the epitaph for their deceased loved ones. He described St. Agnes’ church itself as an epitaph for those who had died in the pit disaster. They were among those who had paid for the building of the church, and in the sacristy, there is a photograph of the 11 coffins lying before the altar for their funeral. The then parish priest had risked his own safety to enter the pit to administer the Last Rites to them.
Fr. Barry went on to suggest three main reasons for this remembrance Mass – an affirmation by the Church of our ongoing solidarity with those who have gone before; an expression, in our worship, of our faith that in death life is changed not ended; through this trust, a looking forward to our own destiny.
He ended his reflection by pointing to the message of the Gospel reading, that there is nothing more important in life than the proclamation of the Good News, and we need to look long and hard at what is involved in following Jesus. Ours is not a religion of convenience and it requires perseverance. It was fitting that this reflection was followed by the singing by cantor and congregation of the Baptismal Creed, with its response “Credo, I Believe”
As the Mass drew to a close, the choir led the congregation in singing “Receive their Souls” in remembrance of all those who died. The service ended with a hymn whose words are an affirmation of our faith in salvation,“Through the Love of God our Saviour, all will be well”. St. Agnes’ community then provided their usual warm hospitality in the church hall for all who had attended the service.