Flourish, the monthly newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow

From the November 2018 edition…

Dear young people…

In an extraordinary open letter, composed to mark the end of the Vatican Synod on young people, the Pope and Bishops are reaching out to the youth of the world. Flourish carries the short, powerful letter in full, with a special request… Place this text in the hands of a young person after you have read it

We address you, young people of the world, with a word of hope, trust and consolation.

In these days, we have gathered together to hear the voice of Jesus, “the eternally young Christ”, and to recognise in Him your many voices, your shouts of exultation, your cries, and your moments of silence.

We are familiar with your inner searching, the joys and hopes, the pain and anguish that make up your longings.

Now we want you to hear a word from us: we wish to be sharers in your joy, so that your expectations may come to life.

We are certain that with your enthusiasm for life, you will be ready to get involved so that your dreams may be realised and take shape in your history.

Our weaknesses should not deter you; our frailties and sins must not be an obstacle for your trust.

The Church is your mother; she does not abandon you; she is ready to accompany you on new roads, on higher paths where the winds of the Spirit blow stronger – sweeping away the mists of indifference, superficiality and discouragement.

When the world that God so loved, that he gave us his only Son, Jesus, is focused on material things, on short-term successes, on pleasures, and when that world crushes the weakest, you must help it to rise up again and to turn its gaze towards love, beauty, truth and justice once more.

For a month, we have walked together with some of you and with many others who have been united to us through prayer and affection. We wish to continue the journey now in every part of the earth where the Lord Jesus sends us as missionary disciples.

The Church and the world urgently need your enthusiasm. Be sure to make the most fragile people, the poor and those wounded by life, your traveling companions.

You are the present; be a brighter future.

See page 1…

Tragedy remembered with Mass

A tragedy which shocked Glasgow half a century ago is to be remembered at a special Mass in the Cathedral, 50 years to the day since it happened.

The James Watt Street fire took place on the morning of Monday, 18 November 1968, and was a fatal factory blaze just along from Central Station in a street which was then full of warehouses.

It was notable for the huge loss of life, with 23 employees killed, trapped in a building behind barred windows, a hangover from its previous use as a whisky bond.

Around 100 firemen from Glasgow Fire Service attended the incident, which reinforced the city’s reputation for tragic fires in the 30 years after the Second World War.

To mark the anniversary the Lord Provost and senior members of the Fire Service will join the families of some of the victims at the 12 noon Mass in St Andrew’s Cathe­dral on the anniversary day.

One of those present will be Joyce Davies, whose father died that morning, and who will travel from Orkney to be present.

She said: “In 1968 on the 18th November as an eight year old wee girl in Glasgow my dad kissed me and went off to work as an upholsterer in the city. He never returned. And that day with the enormous loss I felt, has shaped my life every day since.

“I think of him every single day. I was one of four children and my mum struggled during the 1960s to care for us as a young widow. Her personal devastation sadly meant my dad was never mentioned again. It was like he never existed at all. Grief is a horrendously painful and frightening process.

“I have tried to find out as much as I can over the years. Sat in the Mitchell Library trawling through old newspapers but I really know little. It’s so distressing to look and find out little. I still miss my dad. I have three daughters and being a parent is everything to me.

“On 18th November this year I want to come to go to James Watt St and pay my respects to my dad. I would love others who remember the fire, lost their parents or grandparents to be there too. I struggled, as the city has never really remembered the James Watt St fire or recognised the decades of grief it meant for twenty-three families, so the news that the Archbishop would offer Mass in the Cathedral and that the Lord Provost would offer her support has been wonderful.”

Archbishop Tartaglia said: “I will be glad to offer the 12 noon Mass for all who were affected by the tragedy. Anniversaries like this are so important to those who suffered and it’s good that we gather together in times like this to remember, to pray and to grieve.”

See page 3…