The Diocesan Mass in honour of its Patron saint was celebrated at St. Mungo’s, Townhead, on his feastday, 13th January. Priests from across the Diocese joined principal celebrant, Archbishop Conti, the Passionist community at St. Mungo’s, the St. Mungo Singers, instrumentalists and a large congregation for the celebration.
Before the Mass, the instrumentalists played quietly, setting a prayerful ambience, the choir sang the Chilcott Irish Blessing and a great group of children from St. Mungo’s Primary sang the St. Mungo Rhyme (with actions for the tree, fish etc.!). The opening procession then took place as everyone joined in singing “Be Thou my Vision”.
After a word of welcome to all present from Archbishop Conti, the Penitential Rite began, concluding with the plainsong Kyrie Eleison. Reflecting the special celebratory nature of this Mass, the Gloria was then sung (in the new St.Andrew setting), followed by the readings and sung Psalm and Gospel Acclamation.
In his homily, Archbishop Conti spoke of the particular significance of this year’s celebration, the 1400th anniversary of St. Mungo’s death – although, as he joking recalled, when he came to Glasgow as Archbishop ten years ago, we were about to celebrate the 1400th anniversary then. When thinking of what piece of music summed up for him St. Mungo, he had to choose the “Glasgow Anthem” by Mgr. Gerry Fitzpatrick, which incorporates the City Motto: “Let Glasgow Flourish” in its fuller text. That motto should be repeated in our daily lives. Our actions should preach God’s word and praise His name – in other words, evangelisation.
That is a word, the Archbishop said, that we will be hearing more of in the next few years. Pope Benedict has declared a Year of Faith, to begin in October 2012 – faith as an encounter with a person, Jesus Christ, and the year as one to rediscover our own personal and communal faith, to rediscover the beauty and joy of being Christian. In Glasgow, many of the projects and achievements of the past year have prepared the Archdiocese well to act in the Year of Faith. We have much to be grateful for and proud of. The challenge is to remember the roots of our faith and the rock on which it is built, to listen to Christ, and in so doing we, Church and City, will flourish.
The Mass continued with a feeling of joy and celebration, supported by the singing of the Liturgy and the musical reflections of the instrumentalists. It finished, appropriately, with the Glasgow Anthem and a hymn “Give thanks to God for St. Mungo’s life and work” which had be written as part of the St. Mungo Cantata for Glasgow’s year as the City of Culture in 1990. Afterwards there was an opportunity to take up the invitation extended by Fr. James, Parish Priest of St. Mungo’s, to enjoy the generous hospitality of the parish in the church hall – and to get a bit of the St. Mungo cake.