Saturday, the actual feast day of St. Mungo, saw a celebration of the life of St.Mungo in the Mitchell Library. It may seem a strange place for this celebration which is now an annual event in the Festival but it is an innovative and different way of bringing a religious celebration into the “market place”, as well as drawing attention to Glasgow’s early religious history.
The St. Mungo Festival 2018 – Mungo at the Mitchell
The celebration began with a welcoming musical reflection played on the harp by Carissa Swan, and an excerpt from the Latin Vespers for St. Mungo, sung by Dr. Noel Donnelly, members of the St. Mungo Singers and Archbishop Emeritus Mario Conti.
Mrs Cathy McMaster, the Chair of the Mediaeval Glasgow Trust, in her introduction, wished everyone good morning to what she described as perhaps a wake-up call with music with their coffee! She invited them to celebrate the birthday of the city and to join in wishing Glasgow a happy birthday.The celebration, she said, is really thanks to a mediaeval Bishop of Glasgow, Bishop Jocelyn, who came up with the idea of the Vita Kentigerni (The Life of St. Mungo), pulling together the legends and stories of St. Mungo to help make Glasgow a place of pilgrimage. Something similar is in a sense happening now with the attempts of Glasgow Life to build up Glasgow again.
Before a selection from the Vita Kentigerni was read, “St. Mungo” himself in the guise of Liam Kearney , a student of St. Aloysius College, recited Liz Bovill’s poem Mungo the Pilgrim. Then Archbishop Tartaglia and Rev. Ian Galloway read from the Vita in Latin and English respectively the final section covering the death of St. Mungo. The short celebration ended with the singing of the Glasgow Anthem Let Glasgow Flourish.
It was an unusual location perhaps but a good number of people stopped to watch and listen, and hopefully took something away from the event.