St. Agnes Parish, Lambhill holds an annual Mass of Remembrance for all whose final committal has taken place in the cemeteries located in the parish and at Glasgow Crematorium. It is an opportunity for families to remember their deceased relatives. This year it took place on 6th November.

The St. Mungo Singers led a full congregation in the music of the Mass, celebrated by Parish Priest, Fr. Noel Barry. As Fr. Barry processed to the altar, the choir led the congregation in singing “Grace to You and Peace” with its very appropriate reminder that the Lord came to give us life and hope. As the altar was incensed, the plainsong Introit “Requiem Aeternam” was sung.

The Mass is however not a sad occasion but one of hope and the Gloria was sung to remind us of this. The readings were those of the Sunday, including Ps 62, in the setting by Mgr Fitzpatrick.

In the homily, Fr. Barry referred to the Gospel reading (the Wise and Foolish Virgins), a parable which he said could mystify and frighten us as it suggests exclusion for those whose only fault was being foolish, not wicked. Scholars interpret the parable as pointing to the need to be prepared but can we ever be prepared? Sometimes we see God like the bridegroom in the parable, taking action which we don’t understand in taking away members of our family or our friends. We ask why and sometimes are tempted to question God and existence. Some walk away from him, but God’s timetable is not ours and it involves waiting for him. The parable also highlights that there are some things we can’t borrow including a personal relationship with God. We need to take responsibility for this ourselves. But the parable also invites us to focus on the good things God gives and promises us – the wedding feast – and we should not wander off in the dark but accept the light and support each other.

Some of the choir and congregation at the end of the Mass

As ever at this Mass, a collection was taken up for St. Margaret’s Hospice in Clydebank. Edward McGuigan, the Vice-Chair of the Hospice spoke briefly to thank those attending for their support for the Hospice. He described the Hospice not as a place where people die but a place of peace, comfort and happiness, which oozes life and vitality. Time is the most precious commodity we have, and St. Margaret’s is a place which manages to stretch time. It is a place which witnesses to the love of Christ, hence its motto “Caritas Christi urget nos”.

The Mass continued with a motet, “Misericordias Domini” by Henryk Jan Botor, whose joyful sound reminded those present that this was a Mass of Remembrance in thanks for the lives of those we remembered. The Eucharistic Prayer was sung by Fr. Barry, and the congregation responded with the singing of the Sanctus and Consecration Acclamation and the Great Amen.

At Communion, the Antiphon – “Come to me …and I will give you rest, says the Lord” -reminded the congregation of the promises of the Lord. After Communion, the choir led everyone in singing the Commendation “Receive their Souls” before the Mass ended with the joyful “Thine be the Glory ” which again reminded us that “death hath lost its sting”.

The Parish community offered its usual warm hospitality to those attending the service, with tea, sausage rolls etc in the parish hall.