January finished with the Annual Mass of our Celtic Roots in St. Aloysius Garnethill. This service which takes place during the Celtic Connections Festival, has now become part of the “fringe” events and attracted a capacity congregation.

The musical support came from a great mix of instrumentalists, including Claire O’Neill of Aisling Gheal (violin), some of the Southside Fiddlers (violin, cello and accordion), Scott Glasgow (pipes), Carissa Bovill (violin and clarsach), Theresa Irving (clarsach) Eddie Foley (violin), Anne Marie Berrie (guitar), who blended together to produce a warm and enthusing atmosphere which encouraged all present to sing. The vocal support came from the St. Mungo Singers and the choir of St. Mungo’s, Alloa. The music of the Mass reflects the Celtic theme. In addition to more familiar pieces, such as Ps. 62 to the tune “Iona” and “We cannot tell” to the Londonderry Air, Chilcott’s setting of “Be Thou My vision” was sung by the St. Mungo Singers and “Bhan-Rhighinn Nan Eilean” by Sineag MacIntyre from South Uist, a 4th Year student at the RSAMD.

The readings, as in previous years, were in English, Irish Gaelic and Scots Gaelic, and a welcome to the service in all three languages was also given, courtesy of Fr. Noel Colford (who presided), Fr. Noel Barry, and Fr. Angus MacDonald. Fr. MacDonald, in his homily linked up the threads of music, Education Sunday and the Gospel (the call of the first apostles). With modern technology, we can have so much music at our fingertips and it sounds almost live. It lights up our life, brings us joy and lightens the load. God has written his music in our hearts and the challenge to us, as to the apostles, is to respond to his music when he calls, and “play the music live”. We need to make the music of God become a habit of our heart, affecting how we live.

Bailie Catherine McMaster represented the Lord Provost at the service and at the end, expressed her pleasure at being invited to attend a service which celebrated the roots of our county and city, noting that the 1192 charter of the city called her the “Mother of many nations” a title which holds true still today.