The recording made at the Cantata will be broadcast on the Internet HGUH on Sunday 23rd December at 8 pm.

The St. Mungo Cantata

More than 20 years after the St. Mungo Cantata was written by David Morris and Fr. Gerry Fitzpatrick and first performed in St.Mungo’s Cathedral, Glasgow, it seemed the perfect choice to mark the 1400th anniversary of St.Mungo and the foundation of the City ofGlasgow. So the Cantata was performed again in the Cathedral, this time under the sponsorship of Glasgow Churches Together, with the support of Dr. Laurence Whitley and the congregation of the Cathedral.

After many weeks of work by the Teachers’ Committee, the schools (teachers and children), musicians and volunteers, everyone came together in the Cathedral on 13 November for a truly brilliant ecumenical event. A total of 21 schools* (both Catholic and non-denominational), with over 600 children, took part, supported by musicians from the University of Glasgow(B.Ed. Music Yr.2), the Glasgow Gaelic School and elsewhere#.

Guests included Archbishop Tartaglia, the Moderator of Glasgow Presbytery (Rev. Howard Hudson), Rev. Alan Anderson of the Methodist Church, Lord Provost Sadie Docherty, Jim Wilson of the Education Department, and Mrs. Catherine McMaster, former Bailie of the City Council.

The Cathedral was full to capacity, with the children seated in the nave on seating provided by the Lands & Environmental Services Department of the Council, supplemented by chairs provided by the Cathedral. Some parents managed to find seats around the walls or stand at the back. They were joined by a handful of tourists who had strayed in bemused, but stayed to enjoy the music, singing and dancing.

Lord Provost Sadie Docherty with some of the Characters from the Cantata, and Dr. Whitley

The event began with the laying of a wreath by the Lord Provost on the grave of St. Mungo. She was accompanied by Dr. Whitley and children from St. Monica’s costumed as St. Mungo,St.Asaph, St. Enoch and monks, and a Narrator (from St. Andrew’s Secondary) resplendent in a red cassock. A piper played while the wreath was laid, while upstairs in the nave, two of the University students, Sophia Stoddart and Ruth Mackay, sang a beautiful Gaelic hymn to the accompaniment of the clarsach.

The service then began with the return of the Lord Provost, Dr. Whitley and the children to the nave as all the children sang “God our Creator” to the stirring and much loved tune of “Highland Cathedral”. One of the children carried a copy of the Bible to the lectern and led those present in the beautiful opening prayer:-

Father, here in this book are the hopes and dreams of God’s people’
Here in this book are the hopes and dreams of our people of Scotland.
Keep us true to your word, joyful in the praise of your name and ready to serve you in our neighbour”.

After a welcome in English by a pupil of St. Bartholomew’s and in Gaelic by a pupil from Golfhill Primary, there was a reading fromSt. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and the singing of Psalm 18, led by St. Timothy’s. Then the Cantata itself began. Each section or song was led by a different school, and linked by the Narrator, as they traced the story of St. Mungo:-

“This is the story of Kentigern or Mungo, city founder, friend of kings.
Worker of miracles, bishop of a city, now Glasgow’s patron saint.”

The music was lively and the children were clearly enjoying themselves as they sang the different pieces. At the end, a group of dancers from St. Ninian’s rounded it off with a display of Scottish country dancing which had everyone’s toes tapping.

Our Scottish country dancers

Before the final part of the celebration, Lord Provost Docherty thanked everyone who had taken part for such a wonderful experience which had clearly taken lots of practice and come together so well. TheGlasgowanthem “Let Glasgow Flourish” followed. Then Dr. Whitley invited the children to join in praying for the city and its people, in the spirit of St. Mungo who was a witness to God’s love:-

1 We pray for the people of Glasgow and for our political and civic leaders, the Lord Provost, Councillor Sadie Docherty, the leader of the Council, Councillor Gordon Mathieson, and for all who work for the good of our city.

2 Our city of Glasgow has welcomed many peoples throughout our history. Today we pray for the new Glaswegians from Europe and across the world: may they find in our city a home in which everyone belongs and everyone has an honoured place.

3 We pray for all the churches of Glasgow, for Glasgow Churches Together, for the people of our other faiths, and for all who seek a better understanding of the dignity and goodness of being human.

4 We pray for the most needy in our city and in our country, and for those who serve them in health, housing, education and social care.

5 We pray that the name of St Mungo may continue to be revered, and that Glasgow may flourish praising the name of God.

A storm of flags!

The intercessions were concluded with the singing of the Lord’s Prayer. Then Mrs Catherine McMaster told the children about the St. Mungo trail and how it linked up various places which were part of the story of St. Mungo, and invited them to visit the Trail and to get their parents involved. The children responded by enthusiastically waving their St.Andrew flags (provided by the Scottish Executive) and for a few moments, it sounded like a storm of hailstones! Children from St.Monica’s, accompanied by Carissa Bovill on harp, then sang the Pilgrim Song written by Mrs Liz Bovill to promote the St. Mungo Trail.

A bouquet was presented to the Lord Provost on behalf of the schools and a collection was taken up for the St. Mungo Day Centre in Townhead and accepted on their behalf by Dr. Whitley who thanked everyone and said that this would be a great reminder of the event for the grannies and granddads who enjoyed the services of the Day Centre.

The children and their teachers were congratulated by Mr.Wilson for their fantastic celebration which had now become part of the 800 years of worship in the Cathedral, by the Moderator who acclaimed them as stars and told them it was great to do things together, and by the Archbishop who expressed his own pride in coming from Glasgow and reminded them that they were all St. Mungo’s children and helped to make Glasgow a welcoming city.

The blessing by the church leaders

The celebration ended with a blessing by the church leaders present, followed by a final thank-you expressed by representatives of the children themselves:-

We thank everyone who has come here today
to honour St Mungo with us who are Mungo’s Bairns.
We thank the community here at the Cathedral,
all our civic and church leaders, our teachers and friends and families
for helping us to enjoy being citizens of Glasgow.

Then, to the accompaniment of the waving St. Andrew’s flags, the children sang the Glasgow Song which had been written for and bySt. Paul’s Whiteinch, as the guests left the Cathedral. There was a real buzz in the air as the children themselves left to return to their schools, after one final look around the Cathedral and a few photos for the school albums.

*The schools involved were:-

Blessed John Paul Primary, Broomhill Primary, Golfhill Primary, Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral Primary, Our Lady of Peace Primary, Our Lady of the Missions Primary, Our Lady of the Rosary Primary, St. Bartholomew’s Primary, St. Clare’s Primary, St. Conval’s Primary, St. Martha’s Primary, St. Mary’s Primary Maryhill, St.Monica’s Primary, St. Mungo’s Primary , St.Ninian’s Primary, St. Paul’s Primary Whiteinch, St. Philomena’s Primary, St. Roch’s Primary, St.Saviour’s Primary, St. Stephen’s Primary, St. Timothy’s Primary.

#The musicians included:-

Kathryn Alexander, Michael Allan, Ronan Boyle, Louise Brown, Billy Dewar-Riccick, Anna Fraser, Amanda Gemmell, Michael Gibson, Matthew Harvey, Emma Irving, Jennifer Lindsay, Kirsty MacDonald, Ruth Mackay, Greg McGonigal, Maree Murdoch, Alyson Nelson, Ellen Smith, Sophia Stoddart, Anthony Sutherland, Jennifer Valance. Alan Fraser, Moira Summers, Tom Murphy, Paul Malcolm, Michael Smith, James Swan, Pauline McNichol, Monica Dyer, Annettte McKirdie, Carissa Bovill, Anne Marie Berry, Frank Stewart and Jane McKenna

Some of the instrumentalists