The Annual Mass took place at St. Agnes on 4 November for all who are buried in the cemeteries within the Parish or whose final committal took place at the Maryhill Crematorium. Fr. Noel Barry welcomed everyone to the celebration of remembrance of their loved ones.

As they gathered for the Mass, the St.Mungo Singers and Carissa Bovill on harp provided quietly reflective music, including the The Great Commandment, linking with the Gospel of the day, and “How Blest are Those who have died in the Lord”.

The Mass itself began with the singing of the Pauline greeting “Grace to you and Peace” and the plainsong introit “Requiem Aeternam”. The parish cantor, Carissa Bovill sang the Responsorial Psalm (setting by Noel Donnelly), and the Intercessions were introduced by the singing of Catherine Walker’s “Lord of Life” and concluded with “May the Souls of the Faithful”.

Fr. Barry’s homily for the Mass began with a reflection on the Gospel. The scribes did not get a good press in Matthew’s gospel, and the first question which occurs on the reading of the passage is the character of the questioner – was he trying to be smart or was he a serious seeker after truth? Jesus’ response was also intriguing – was it encouraging or damning with faint praise! However the point remains that words however wise need to be translated into action. Love must come from the heart but also involve the mind. We need to make the effort every day of our journey to the Kingdom. It demands commitment.

Fr. Barry at the Annual All Souls Mass

He noted the mention of “all your soul” – a reminder that our faith goes beyond sentiment and what is only rational. And so we pray for the dead, and we believe this helps our deceased family and friends. Our prayer comes from loving with our soul, and we do it because it transforms us. It helps and consoles us and enables us to focus on God’s love for us all. We are able to thank God for their lives and what they meant to us. Our prayer deepens and expands our love.

At the end of the service, Fr. Barry continued his tradition of inviting those present to assist St. Margaret’s Hospice both financially and with their prayers. Edward McGuigan, the Hospice Vice-Chair, spoke of the work of the Hospice and its approach which reflects the unconditional love of God for each unique person.

The Mass finished with the singing of “Thine be the Glory” to Handel’s wonderfully positive music, followed up by equally positive hospitality in St.Agnes’ hall.