The funeral of Mgr. James McShane, who died on 21 December at the age of 88, took place on 29 December in St. Margaret’s,Clydebank, the parish of which he had been Parish Priest for 27 years until his retirement. The packed congregation spoke clearly of the love and esteem in which he was held.
Archbishop Tartaglia was principal concelebrant, with Archbishop Emeritus Mario Conti also present, and a large number of Mgr. McShane’s fellow priests. Among the congregation were many staff members from St. Margaret’s Hospice (where Mgr. McShane had lived until his death) led by Sr. Rita the Chief Executive and Prof. Leo Martin the Chairman, Knights and Dames of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre (Mgr. McShane had been a Knight Commander of the Order), and local policitians.
The music of the Liturgy was led by the St. Mungo Singers, and before the Mass began, they sang “How Blest are Those Who have died in the Lord” and the Introit for All Souls, and Dr. Noel Donnelly played quiet music on the clarsach.
In his homily, Archbishop Tartaglia expressed the hope that the fullness of the congregation would provide some consolation to Mgr. McShane’s family and friends: it was an indication of the fact that he had touched the lives of so many.
Mgr. McShane was born in Barrhead in 1924 and was ordained in St.Aloysius, Garnethill in 1947. After further studies inRome, he had served in several parishes before being appointed as Professor of Sacred Scripture and Biblical Studies in St. Peter’s, Cardross. His abiding passion had been the Sacred Scriptures and so the Gospel reading of his funeral Mass – the road to Emmaus – was so appropriate. It was a passage which sets the pattern for Mass – word and sacrament, the source of hope.
Education in general had been his second passion and he had been an extra-mural lecturer at Jordanhill College and subsequently at Notre Dame College where he had also qualified and registered as a teacher.
Archbishop Tartaglia recalled that he got to know Mgr. McShane well when he himself had been Parish Priest of St. Mary’s, Duntocher, and Mgr. McShane had been Parish Priest of St. Margaret’s. He had learned first hand of his awesome reputation in the area and his engagements on behalf of the community with Government, shipbuilders and local politicians – a comment which caused laughter in the congregation as they too remembered.
Mgr. McShane had also been involved in Justice & Peace, ecumenism and liturgy. He would be remembered, said the Archbishop, as an able, distinguished and influential man, and as a faithful and devoted priest. Archbishop Tartaglia had received a Christmas card from him just before Christmas in which he had said he was looking forward to seeing him at St. Margaret’s Hospice on Christmas Day. Sadly that was not to happen.
At the end of the Mass, parishioners lined up outside to bid an emotional farewell to Mgr. McShane before inviting everyone present to enjoy hospitality in their parish hall in his memory.