Pope’s call for new way of living

Pope Francis travelled to Assisi in recent days, to the tomb of the saint whose name he bears, to sign his new encyclical letter to the world, Fratelli Tutti.

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Glasgow saint graces cityscape

St Mungo’s mum depicted in new mural
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Bishops’ plea: keep our churches open

Letter to parishes
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Reaching out online helps us serve poor

Engagement with Season of Creation
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Urgent appeal

The current emergency means our churches have had to close, but costs remain and some parishes are in a difficult situation. If your own circumstances allow it, please consider helping us by donating £5 during this worrying time. The Archdiocese has set up a system whereby you can simply text RCARCHGLA to 70085 to donate £5. Please share this emergency donation option with others, especially those who may be anxious because they normally contribute to their parish through collection envelopes. Those who use collection envelopes are asked to continue to place donations in these and deliver them to the local parish after the emergency has passed.

Pope’s call for new way of living

Pope Francis travelled to Assisi in recent days, to the tomb of the saint whose name he bears, to sign his new encyclical letter to the world, Fratelli Tutti.

The document – the highest form of Papal letter – is a blueprint for a better world post-COVID and contains something for everyone, inside and outside the Church.

It offers practical tips on lifestyle changes and good habits we can each develop to improve the quality of life of our communities – learn to say please and thank you! And it offers a critical assessment of the grave issues facing society – a warning against populist politics and fake news.

It contains advice – avoid digital culture wars. And it asks profound questions –who do we identify with in the parable of the Good Samaritan?

It is written in a readable style to make it accessible to all. It poses awkward questions and makes points designed to shake us out of our apathy … “Let us admit that ... we are still illiterate when it comes to caring for and supporting the most frail and vulnerable members of our developed societies. Those who claim to be unbelievers can sometimes put God’s will into practice better than believers.”

Inside this special edition of Flourish you can find extracts, links and analysis of this important moment in the life of the Church.


Glasgow saint graces cityscape


The mural by Mark Worst depicts St Enoch

This remarkable modern day depiction of St Enoch, mother of Glasgow’s patron St Mungo, has been created during lockdown to honour the city’s two major saints.

Artist Mark Worst spent weeks transforming a blank wall in Abercromby Street, in the East End, into a giant-sized portrait of the saint’s mother … surrounded by fish.

This is a reference to the legend which tells how she was saved from drowning by shoals of fish after her father ordered her death when she became pregnant.

The gable end mural was commissioned by the Thenue Housing Association, whose headquarters are in London Road, to mark its 40th anniversary. St Enoch is also known as St Thenew or St Thenue and the association was named after her.

The mural also commemorates a tragic event in the history of the city by portraying the saint with a shawl featuring 29 motifs in honour of the 29 young women who were buried under rubble when a wall of the Templeton’s carpet factory collapsed in high winds in November 1889.

Mark, from Paisley said: “Much is known about her son St Mungo given his role as Glasgow’s patron saint, but Glaswegians know less about this mother whose story focuses on overcoming adversity and finding a new beginning which ultimately led to the founding of a great city like Glasgow.”

Charles Turner, Thenue Housing’s chief executive said: “This is an important artwork which has transformed a gable wall end wall into a new east end landmark which we are sure will be admired for years to come.”

The Abercromby Street art work is the latest in a series of public art tributes to St Enoch and St Mungo.

Two years ago an image of St Enoch, with a robin perched on her wrist and hugging her fair haired son appeared on a gable end in the High Street. Known as Mother Glasgow it is the work of Glasgow based Australian-born street artist Sam Bates who spent weeks using only spray cans to transform a bleak gable end at the junction of George Street and the High Street into an astonishingly realistic work of art.

It is a companion piece to his depiction of St Mungo as an old man feeding a robin, painted two years ago on a similar gable end further along the High Street.

Saint Mungo is also commemorated by a three-metre tall limestone statue which dominates the landscaped park at the City of Glasgow College’s City campus, near Glasgow Cathedral, the saint’s final resting place. Created by former stonemasonry student, Roddy McDowall, the St Mungo statue, which shows the saint in the robes of a medieval bishop, started out as a seven tonne block of Portland stone and took Roddy, who graduated from the college in 2005, six months to complete.


Bishops’ plea: keep our churches open

In a letter sent to Scotland’s 500 Catholic parishes, the nation’s Bishops are urging the Catholic community to maintain their “meticulous” infection control and safety measures.

The letter points out that the rate of Covid-19 infections is on the rise across Scotland and public anxiety is increasing, and asks priests and parishioners, to “persevere in our efforts to reduce the risk of transmission and to ensure that our parishes and communities adhere to all infection control measures that have been put in place.”

The full text of the Bishops’ letter follows:

The Covid-19 Pandemic has presented the Church with unprecedented challenges. It has brought about the temporary closure of Churches and, following the resumption of public worship, the introduction of rigorous health and safety measures to prevent transmission of the virus.

Since the resumption of public worship our parishes have been meticulous in controlling infection and ensuring the safety of all those who cross the threshold of a Catholic church. The Bishops wish to commend the work and cooperation of priests, parishioners and volunteers whose extraordinary efforts have ensured that Catholic churches are among the safest places for people to attend in the midst of this pandemic.

However, we are now at a fragile point. The rate of Covid-19 infections is on the rise across Scotland and public anxiety is increasing. At this critical moment, we ask that we all persevere in our efforts to reduce the risk of transmission and to ensure that our parishes and communities adhere to all infection control measures that have been put in place.

Our discussions with the Scottish Government assure us that Government is aware of our extremely careful protocols and trusts us to see to our public worship and parish life with the discretion of responsible citizens. We, for our part, assure Government that we are employing this discretion for the good of public health in accordance with the law.

On that basis, we have every confidence that, if parishes continue these high standards, public worship and parish life can carry on and we will continue to attend to the spiritual welfare of the nation.

From long experience of plagues and disasters, the Church knows how the want of prayer and faith can do great harm to the spiritual wellbeing of nations, and how our public worship – owed to God – can bring His special divine assistance in times of national trouble.

Now, more than ever, our church doors need to be open, and consolidating our hard work to date will ensure this blessing for ourselves and for our country.


Reaching out online helps us serve poor

By Director of SCIAF

As the number of Coronavirus cases rises again, the chance of us being able to meet in our Churches as we once did looks sadly remote.

That some of us have been able to go to Mass recently has been a great joy and boost to our morale but it cannot obscure how hard these months have been, or how deep and lasting the effects will be.

Yet the strength and ingenuity I have seen from so many in our Church, here and abroad, are a cause for hope, even as we face a long winter together.

I have heard from many priests that the number of people who attended and continue to attend online masses has stunned them, and show the spiritual hunger that so many feel. We’ve been working with many priests and parishes through this period and it’s not just Masses that are drawing people in.

Another example has been people’s engagement with the Season of Creation, during which we explored how we can all bring the lessons of Laudato Si into our lives.

Our Development Education team, working with the Scottish Catholic Education Service and Justice and Peace Scotland, created a series of Continuing Professional Development Modules for teachers focused on integrating Laudato Si into their lessons. These sessions have taken place at the end of the school day, scores of teachers have attended and watched recordings and the feedback has been fantastic.

In the past month, we’ve also run practical workshops and spiritual reflections on Laudato Si with hundreds of people who registered. We started the Season with a reflection by Fr Jim Lawlor, from Immaculate Conception Maryhill, who showed that gave us a wonderful reflection that underlined how care for the environment isn’t a new thing for the Church, but a fundamental part of our faith.

We’ve refreshed “Caring for our Common Home”, which is our practical guidance for people who want to play their part in reducing their environmental footprint and worked with Eco-congregations Scotland to provide accessible guidance about how to make your parish an eco-parish.

Finally, we were very lucky to be joined by Sr Marcella from Caritas Kabwe in Zambia, talking about the effect of climate change on society there.

The reason we in SCIAF care so much about climate change is because our partners in Zambia and elsewhere frequently tell us how much more hostile and unpredictable their climates are becoming, and what a devastating impact it is having on the world’s poorest people. Hearing Sr Marcella was a powerful reminder of that reality.

Many of these events are still available on SCIAF’s YouTube channel if you want to watch them. They’re well worth it.

Despite the huge challenges we have all faced this year, being able to gather like this has been a powerful reminder of our connections with each other, and how those connections unite us as one human family.

As we learn to adjust to life with this virus these connections will sustain us.