Priests with a total of almost 800 years’ service to the Archdiocese of Glasgow gathered with Archbishop Tartaglia at St. Andrew’s Cathedral on 22 September to celebrate significant Jubilees. They were:-
Father Gus Hurley, Mgr Des Maguire, Father Noel Murray, Father Joe Murphy and Father Chris Gilfedder
Mgr Gerry Fitzpatrick, Father Willie Slaven and Father Noel Colford
Father Michael Conroy, Father Michael Woodford, Father Anthony Sweeney, Father Dermot Healey and Father Willie Monaghan
Father John Gannon, Father Joe Mackle, Father John Carroll, Father Neil McGarrity and Mgr Hugh Bradley.
The St. Mungo Singers, with directors Dr. Noel Donnelly & Mgr. Fitzpatrick and organist Jane McKenna, supported the music of the celebration.
The service was a joyful celebration, filled with music, as would be expected with one of the Jubilarians being Mgr. Gerry, the Director of Music for the Archdiocese. Before the service began, Dr. Donnelly played several harp pieces and the choir sang a selection of motets ranging from David Harris’s setting of the St. Patrick’s Breastplate, through the Taizé “There is One Lord”, to Handel’s “Lord, I Trust Thee”. The Mass itself began with the singing of “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name” as the celebrants processed through the Cathedral to the sanctuary. It was great to hear priests and people joining together in singing the music of the liturgy.
Archbishop Tartaglia, in his homily, made it clear that this was meant to be a Mass of Thanksgiving, saying he did not need to give a homily as it was written in the vocations, service and lives of the Jubilarians themselves – their faith, perseverance, joys and struggles. There was thanksgiving also for the abundant grace of God seen in them.
The Archbishop introduced each one by name and led the congregation in applauding them. Then he asked that people pray for them and for their fellow-priests who had already died, and finally for vocations for the future which were greatly needed.
Towards the end of the Mass, the choir sang for the Jubilarians Dr. Donnelly’s setting of Blessed John Newman lovely prayer “May the Lord Protect Us” which concludes with the request that “in His goodness may God give us safe lodging and a holy rest, and peace at the last”.
As the celebrants took their places for a group photograph after Mass, before going for a celebratory lunch, the St. Mungo Singers sang Chilcott’s Irish Blessing – a fitting end to a lovely service.