The final service of the weekend was the Mass of St. Mungo, celebrated by Archbishop Tartaglia and the Chapter of Canons with the community of St. Mungo’s, Townhead on the feastday of the saint. Before the service began, the St. Mungo Singers set a prayerful ambience, singing a series of choral pieces – “Love is of God”, “To Christ the Seed” and “Great God be Near Me” – interspersed with clarsach music played by Dr. Noel Donnelly.
The Archbishop and clergy processed to the sanctuary as the congregation sang the well-loved “Be Thou my Vision”. Then Archbishop Tartaglia welcomed everyone to the Mass and greeted in particular Cllr. Gordon Matheson, Leader of the City Council, a representative of the Lord Provost and members of the Knights of St. Columba for this great feast.
In his subsequent homily, the Archbishop recalled that it had been a year ago that he had welcomed Fr. Craven as the as parish priest and he remembered his own family history in the area. He had the congregation laughing as he reflected on the fact that he now, surprisingly, had a coat of arms and pondered that the saving grace of this was that it featured the fish with the ring in its mouth, which is also in the Glasgow City coat of arms, a reminder of his own Glasgow roots.
The history of Glasgow, he reminded the congregation, is deeply entwined with that of St. Mungo. He was proud of the way that Glaswegians had responded recently to the Clutha disaster. They had lived up to their reputation for neighbourliness and generosity. This deep well of humanity came from the city’s religious roots for all citizens of whatever faith.. He invoked the prayers of St. Mungo for all his children in Glasgow. St. Mungo had inflamed people with the love of Christ and a spirit of prayer. Today, he said, it is our task to continue his work. St. Mungo was a messenger and apostle, and the buzz today is all about how we can be missionaries in our turn.
Intercessory prayers followed followed for the city and its needs, the Archdiocese and church and faith communities in Glasgow, the country and its parliaments, the United Nations and other international bodies, for peace in the Holy Land and elsewhere, and for the sick and dead of the city.
The music of the Mass was wide ranging, with Celtic links, plainsong, Taizé chants, Schubert, well-known hymns (such as Soul of My Saviour) and more modern liturgical music. It finished with the Glasgow anthem “Let Glasgow Flourish”, giving a wonderful close to a great celebration in honour of our city founder.
St. Mungo’s community put on their customary great hospitality in the parish hall afterwards.