The annual Mass for the deceased clergy of the Archdiocese was held on 14th November in the Cathedral. Archbishop Tartaglia was joined by Archbishop Emeritus Conti, priests and laity of the Archdiocese, and musical support was provided by members of the St. Mungo Singers. A prayerful atmosphere for the Mass was set by the singing of Noel Donnelly’s gentle setting of the scriptural text “How blest are those who have died in the Lord”, and the plainsong “Requiem Aeternam”.
The Mass itself began with congregation and choir joining in singing “Lord, you have come to the seashore”, a hymn often used at ordinations, as the clergy processed to the sanctuary. The theme of remembering was reflected throughout the Mass in words and music. The readings were 2 Maccabees 12:43-45, Psalm 129 (sung by cantor Dorothy Gunnee), 1 John 3:1-2, and John 6:51-58. After the Intercessions, the choir led the singing of “May the Souls of the Faithful Departed”. During the Preparation of the Gifts, the beautiful “Be Still my Soul” to the music of Sibelius gave us the affirmation that “the hour is hastening on when we shall be for ever with the Lord”, and the Recessional hymn was the joyful “Thine be the Glory” with its reminders of the resurrection.
In his homily, Archbishop Tartaglia reflected that he had been very moved by the psalm which he had heard at many funerals and had always found very affecting. The Bible, he reminded the congregation, contains many statements of belief in the immortality of the soul. The consoling first reading illustrated the belief that sacrifice made intercession for the deceased, and in our day we too follow this tradition by asking for a Mass to be said for someone who has died, and by making our own personal sacrifice through the offering given for this purpose.
Archbishop Tartaglia then read out the names of the priests of the Archdiocese who had died since he had become Archbishop of Glasgow. (He had himself gone down to the Crypt of the Cathedral before Mass to pray for his predecessors as Archbishop who are buried there, most of whom he had known personally.) He invited the congregation to recognise that the best thing they can do for their deceased priests is to have the sacrifice of the Mass offered for them.