The final church celebration of the St. Mungo Festival 2015 was the St. Mungo Mass, held in St. Mungo’s, Townhead. It was a warm and fitting conclusion to the Festival.
There was a great turnout for the Mass, with parishioners coming from across the city to join the Passionist community and the St. Mungo parish community. Among the congregation were members of the Knights of St. Columba (including Supreme Knight Charlie McLuskey) and children from St. Mungo’s Primary School and St. Mungo’s Academy. The Leader of Glasgow City Council Cllr. Matheson, came straight from a meeting to be at the celebration.
Principal concelebrant Archbishop Emeritus Conti – Archbishop Tartaglia was at a meeting in Budapest – was joined by members of the Chapter of Canons of the Cathedral and members of the Passionist Community. The music of the Mass was led by the St. Mungo Singers.
Before the Mass began, there was a special guest – St. Mungo himself in the shape of young Szymon from St. Monica’s Primary who declaimed with verve a poem telling the life of St. Mungo – a great reminder of why we were there.
During the Mass, Archbishop Conti drew attention to the readings – Isaiah 52:7-10; 2Timothy 4:1-5; and Luke 5: 1-11. They summed up, he said, the message in the liturgy of the Feast we were celebrating. We were all “Mungo’s Bairns” and he had brought the message of Christ to our city. This had been repeated from generation to generation and had resulted in the building up of the Church in Glasgow.
Each generation needs evangelising anew. Archbishop Conti pondered the disunity of the Church which had resulted at the Reformation – had this been due solely to the acts of the Reformers or was it also due to the state of the Catholic Church at the time and its failure to refute error?
This was not meant to be a history lesson for the congregation, he said, but a lesson from history for us. The challenge of recent Popes has been for us to launch a new evangelisation for the large numbers of people now who have no knowledge of the Gospel.
Recent sad events in Glasgow have shown that the generosity and compassion of its people – a legacy of its Christian spirit. However in recent days we have seen both good and evil, as in the events in Paris, and people are confused about what to do now. The presence of 1.5m people on the streets of Paris has made a statement but, he asked, can this convert people to change their ways? Returning to the Gospel reading, he reminded the congregation of the final words “they left everything and followed Him”. This is the task for all of us.
It was fitting, after these words, for the Creed to be sung, in the dialogue Easter setting. It was beautifully proclaimed by Fr. David Wallace. Then the students from St. Mungo’s Academy led the Intercessions. After Communion, it was the turn of St. Mungo’s Primary, and the children sang and mimed for the Thanksgiving “Here I am to worship”, accompanied by two of their teachers on guitar and violin.
At the end of the celebration of the Liturgy, Fr. John Craven, the Parish Priest of St. Mungo’s, thanked everyone for coming out to join the community for the Feast and invited them into the parish hall for refreshments and nibbles. The Mass itself finished with the singing of the Glasgow Anthem “Let Glasgow Flourish” and then the congregation enjoyed the generous hospitality provided.