Today, 30th November, would usually be full of celebrations to mark the national feast of Scotland's patron saint. The day began with first vespers (evening prayer) on Friday evening at St. Andrew's Cathedral, bringing Christians from different traditions together in prayer for those who enjoy his protection.
St. Andrew, one of the Twelve, features in the Gospels always drawing others to Christ. In fact it was St. Andrew who said to his brother Simon, "We have found the Messiah!" and invited him to follow. Simon became Peter, the first Pope. St. Andrew imitated Christ along with his brother by being crucified for the Truth.
However as morning comes we are still discovering the full extent of what happened last night as a helicopter hit a pub not far from St. Andrew's Cathedral in the city centre. It is clear that there has been a tragedy in our city and right now the emergency services are still working to reach those trapped inside.
Let's call on the prayers of our great patron and protector, St. Andrew, for Scotland and all its people. These are especially needed by all those affected by last night's crash - people trapped; people injured; friends, family, those waiting for information; members of the fire service, police, ambulance service, mountain rescue; those working in hospitals and to secure the area.
Lord, through the powerful intercession of St. Andrew, be present here and console us. St. Andrew, draw us to Christ and help us to show others the way to Life!
It was our Holy Father Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI who announced a Year of Faith
to take place from 11th October 2012 to 24th November 2013. It began on the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council and ends today on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe!
Together with the Church throughout the world we have reflected on the way we believe, celebrate, pray, and live our Faith in Jesus Christ, our King. During the Year of Faith there have been many challenges to our Faith but also lots of opportunities to learn more and strengthen it.
Highlights for the Youth Pastoral Team include two brilliant National Youth Events, World Youth Day in Rio, and Scotland's Rio in Stirling. On the feast of Corpus Christi earlier this summer, there were Eucharistic processions and Holy Hours across the Archdiocese that kept our focus firmly on the Lord.
No one expected that in March 2013 we would bid farewell to Pope Benedict and welcome Pope Francis as the 266th successor of St. Peter. We have been doubly blessed by the leadership of two inspirational, holy men throughout this year. Thank you, Holy Father Emeritus Benedict, thank you, Pope Francis!
Today as we renew our baptismal promises at Mass we give thanks for all we've shared in this Year of Faith and ask for the grace to continue to grow in the Faith we received at Baptism. This is not the end. This is just the beginning...
Almighty, ever-living God,
whose will is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the King of the Universe,
grant, we pray,
that the whole creation, set free from slavery,
may render your majesty service
and ceaselessly proclaim your praise!
"Go, make disciples of all nations!" (Mt. 28:19) - the theme of World Youth Day 2013 at Stirling and Rio will be revisited at this year's National Youth Event, organised by Catholic Youth Service Scotland.
Young people from all over the country will gather at beautiful Gartmore House, near Aberfoyle, from 1st-3rd November to remember World Youth Day, reflect on the challenge, and take our next steps as disciples making disciples.
KEEP CALM! Places are available to everyone aged 14-25, whether or not you were at Scotland's Rio or made it all the way to Brazil. The National Youth Event isn't a retreat, but there's plenty of time for prayer, discussion, talks from great speakers, and socialising together.
This year's event will be bigger than ever, and we'd love you to be a part of it - don't miss out! It starts on the Friday evening with arrivals from 6pm and dinner at 7pm. Sunday features a trip down to St. Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh, to take part in the national Mass for the close of the Year of Faith.
Forms are available from your parish and on our website (make sure you get the right one, over or under 18!) and to be returned to the Youth Pastoral Team asap. The cost is £80 per person but if that's a problem call the office (0141 433 9521) or email in confidence. See you there!
"Go, make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19) - this was the theme uniting World Youth Day
events in Rio, Stirling, and elsewhere. Not all of us could make the trip to join Pope Francis in Brazil, but we were certainly together in spirit! Hundreds of young people from across Scotland, and beyond, came together at Stirling University campus for our own national gathering organised by Catholic Youth Service Scotland.
Four days of faith, fun, good food, friendship, and a festival atmosphere made Scotland's Rio
a true World Youth Day experience.
Thank you to everyone who participated!
The challenge of the New Evangelisation takes different forms around the world. In Scotland we have a great Christian tradition to rediscover and share with others in our community, despite the difficulties we face. The first step is building up our confidence - faith - in the Risen Lord, and remaining close to Him through thick and thin. The Year of Faith
is not yet over, and full of opportunities to do this!
Now we have been sent out, not only as disciples but as missionaries to our peers. As youth ministry in the Archdiocese of Glasgow goes from strength to strength, involving more and more young people, let's keep sharing ideas and enthusiasm to build momentum ahead of the next World Youth Day - 2016 in Krakow
Young people from all over the Archdiocese are counting down to one of the biggest gatherings of Catholic youth in Scotland in many years!
As Pope Francis prepares to jet off to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day 2013, we're headed closer to home for our own celebration - Scotland's Rio - at Stirling University campus.
Are you signed up? Click the map above to find out who's going from your parish. Purple means pilgrims!
The great news is that for a limited time there are still spaces available for young people aged 14-25 to participate in Scotland's Rio, which takes place from 25th-28th July 2013.
Whether you're a WYD veteran, in need a faith top-up, or just wondering what all the fuss is about, Scotland's Rio is for you!The cost is £200 per pilgrim (+£50 from your parish) for accommodation in single room flats, with a pilgrim pack and all meals and activities included.
Download a form today and return it to us ASAP to be part of Scotland's Rio - a taste of World Youth Day without the jet lag!
There's lots coming up for young people and young adults in the Archdiocese - read on!
, and after the great success of the visit of the relics of St. John Bosco earlier in the month, a new initiative gets underway this Thursday
, 31st January - his feast day. The Don Bosco Teachers' Group
is intended as support for teachers in Catholic schools.
The first meeting takes place in the Eyre Hall of the Diocesan Offices, Clyde Street (next to St. Andrew's cathedral) at 7.30pm. All interested teachers are welcome - email firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information.
, with this Friday being 1st February (already!), XPO is on at the Youth Pastoral Centre from 7.30-9pm.Music, input, Eucharistic Adoration, a chance to meet other young Catholics... it's all good!
New and old faces always welcome. For directions see here
.We're continuing our current Year of Faith series - trying to answer the questions other people ask about Catholicism!
This month: defending belief in the existence of God
, AGAP's annual Lentfest gets underway soon (at the beginning of Lent, in fact!) and with the programme just released, now's the time to book tickets!See www.agap.org.uk for more information. This year's Lentfest promises to be as brilliant and faith-filled as ever so whether you're into music, poetry, film, visual art, or drama
, there's something for you.(At least one member of the Youth Pastoral Team is delighted that this year kicks off with a whole lorra brass
, our youth ministry colleagues south of the Border have extended an invitation to the annual CYMFed Congress
on Saturday 16th March
.Congress 2013: The Faith Story takes place at The Sage, Gateshead, which is great for us as it means no long journey down to London!This is going to be an excellent day for youth leaders, parents, catechists, teachers, priests... you? A volunteer in need of a boost, or just received the Caritas Award and taking the next step in sharing your faith:
you're welcome!Let us know ASAP if you're 16+ and would like to go. We'll book tickets and transport as a group and cost is likely to be c.£40 for a day trip, or c.£75 with an overnight stay on Friday or Saturday (optional).
, (and finally, because I'm not even sure "fifthly" is a real word!) it's now only 178 days
until World Youth Day 2013: Scotland's Rio
!The good news is that the application deadline has been extended to 28th February
. Don't twiddle your thumbs though - spaces are limited. More info on the World Youth Day tab,
forms on the Downloads tab
, event website coming soon at www.scotlandsrio.org.uk
- get organised and get your name down pronto!
We were blessed to get 2013 off to a cracking start with the visit of the relics of St. John Bosco to the Cathedral on 4th January.
Don Bosco, as he is more commonly known, is the principal patron of young people. During his lifetime he founded the Salesian order, a worldwide family of religious, priests, and lay people dedicated to the flourishing of young people.
The visit of the relics to the UK is part of a world-wide pilgrimage, building up to the 200th anniversary of Don Bosco’s birth in 2015. The Pilgrimage began on 31st January 2009 and as this event moves around the world it is raising awareness of Don Bosco’s spirituality and the importance of young people in the Church.
More than 1800 people came throughout the day to pray with Don Bosco and take part in the pilgrim experience!
Image copyright SalesianLink
From Glasgow the relics convoy moved on to Carfin grotto, then across the border to the cathedrals of Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff, Westminster, and Southwark. Don Bosco even stopped off at Feltham young offenders' institution.
Image used with permission of Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk
For the duration of the pilgrimage the Scottish Youth Cross has been at St. Andrew's Cathedral, inviting visitors and parishioners to pray for YOU, and all young people, at the beginning of the year.
Now the cross continues on its own journey around the dioceses Scotland ahead of Scotland's Rio, the next big event for young Catholics coming up in July. If you've not already sent in your application form, do it NOW! Get one from your parish priest or download it
from our website. More info on the World Youth Day tab
and in the pack
The Scottish Youth Cross, blessed by Cardinal O'Brien in 2010
St. Andrew the Apostle, who brought his brother Peter to Jesus, is Scotland's principal patron saint - and we're very proud to have him to pray for us.
What does St. Andrew mean to you? We don't hear many words from him in the Gospels. "We have found the Messiah" (John 1:41) and at the feeding of the 5,000: "Here is a boy with five small loaves of barley bread. He also has two small fish. But how far will that go in such a large crowd?" (John 6:9). What St. Andrew does do, though - like John the Baptist - is point to Jesus. Called as the first apostle, he couldn't tell his brother enough about Jesus to convince him to follow. All he could do is encourage Peter, and say: "We have found the Messiah", bringing him to Jesus and letting the Lord do the rest.
"The Risen Christ, Saint Andrew and Saint John the Baptist" (Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome) by Flickr user Seoirse
Don't be afraid to point others to Jesus, and stay close to Him yourself. You don't need a ton of wisdom or philosophy; it might bring you hardship or persecution - St. Andrew was martyred on the saltire - but it is a great task, and one that will bring us true happiness. If we can all be a bit more like St. Andrew from this day on, we'll have celebrated his feast well.
St. Andrew the Apostle, first-called and protector of Scotland, pray for us!
Pope Benedict arrives at Bellahouston Park for Mass, September 2010
Archbishop Philip is on his way home from Rome after three weeks at the Synod of Bishops, which ended yesterday with Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.
Here's more from the second week of Archbishop Philip's blog to give you a taste of life as a Synod Father:
Wednesday 17th October
This is the day the Synod changed gear. Cardinal Wuerl gave the second of his two big reports, the “Report after the Discussion”, which is the signal for the language groups to go into action. More about that tomorrow.
Just before the afternoon working session today, Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham came up to me in to the Synod Hall and said, “Philip, there’s a family from your former parish looking for you outside the entrance to the Vatican City. They said they would come back at 7pm and wait for us coming out. They would love to see you.”
At 7pm, after the session, I went to the gate and they were there right enough. It was Gerry and Marie Thomson, whom I had married when I was Parish Priest in St. Mary’s, Duntocher, and their twin daughters, whom I had baptised. It was lovely to meet them. I was in my bishop’s robes (as we all are for the formal sessions), so we greeted each other and posed together for a photograph in front of smiling Swiss guards. It was a lovely moment and brought home why nearly 300 bishops are gathered in Rome talking about a new evangelisation: so that Jesus Christ can be at the centre of our parish communities and of our families in these new and challenging times. Thursday 18th October This is the day I was dreading.
We met in language groups to begin the process of drafting propositions. But first there was a discussion on Cardinal Wuerl’s report of yesterday. It was my job to take notes of this so that I could give a report tomorrow to the plenary session. So the discussion went on during both working sessions. I had to summarise it into a 10 minute address. That would be okay, but I also needed to prepare a text and summary text in advance. I was sorry I had to decline an invitation to dinner at the Irish College that evening to get it done. I got to bed at midnight. Friday 19th October
I handed in my texts at 8am. The Pope arrived for the morning session. But he left at 10.30am. I had not yet been called. He always leaves before I get called to speak!
Eventually I was called to speak. It went well enough. First hurdle over!
I made them all laugh when I said at the start of my report: "My mother looking down from heaven will be amazed to see her son here." Lots of the bishops came up to me later and said that was nice to mention my mother, and the Synod press officer told me journalists were asking about it.
In the afternoon session, we finalised our propositions – 26 of them – and we worked until 8.15pm when I signed them off in front of a Synod Official. I was so relieved, but sadly, I had to decline another invitation to dinner!
[You can read Archbishop Philip's address on the Year of Faith website
.] Saturday 20th October
At the morning session, the first draft of the "Message of the Synod to the People of God" was read. Along with the individual voices of the bishops being heard in plenary sessions in the Synod Hall, and the language groups discussions to prepare the Propositions, the preparation of the Message is a third strand of the Synod’s work.
[You can read the final Message here
The language group secretaries had to work the graveyard shift on Saturday afternoon-evening sifting through the many propositions which had been submitted. I was joined by Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, Archbishop Edward Kurtz of Louisville (Kentucky, USA) and Bishop Kieran O’Reilly of Killaloe (Ireland), and three expert advisors from China, Africa and England, to sift through the 92 propositions which came from the 4 English language groups.
The propositions covered every aspect of the new evangelisation from a definition of new evangelisation to its implications for the liturgy, for parishes, for ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue, for justice and peace, for the stewardship of creation, for seminary formation, for new movements, for the Sacraments, for the Word of God – it was all there! Our job was to rank them, choose them, fuse them and bin them. We worked well together and had a good few laughs in the process. We managed to cut down 92 propositions to around 50. The people upstairs were pleased. We did a straight 4-hour shift and got finished at 8pm. But by then I had missed another invitation to dinner! The things I do for the Church..! Sunday 21st October You would think we would get Sunday off in the Vatican. No chance!
At least not for us language group secretaries, all part of the team headed up by Cardinal Donald Wuerl (the General Reporter) and Archbishop of Montpellier (France) Pierre-Marie Carré (the Special Secretary). It was planned that we would work all day.
This was the last part of the work to formulate propositions. This time I was grouped with Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, Italy, and with Bishop Bernardo Miguel Bastres Florence of Punta Arenas, Chile. It was a nice coincidence that the Chilean bishop knew the brothers Fr James and Neil Sharpe from the Diocese of Paisley, my former diocese, who have worked for decades in the Chilean Diocese of Arica.
This time we had to deal with propositions in all the languages which had been grouped by theme rather than by language. It helped that we all could speak or understand Italian, French and Spanish, and Archbishop Forte knew German. We again had the help of two expert advisers from Italy and England. It was our job to unify the propositions by choosing, and fusing and discarding. This time, however, we could create a new proposition out of others, if we had to. It was surprising that, while we had a computer and printer at our disposal, it was sometimes easier and quicker just to use scissors and paste!
Well, we got on so well that we finished work at 12 noon today, work that was scheduled to go on this afternoon/evening and tomorrow morning. Those propositions that we ticked with a green pen will now go off to the translators who will translate them from whatever language(s) they appear in into Latin and English, and then into the other languages. They will be presented in a full plenary session of the Synod on Tuesday 23rd October, and immediately go back to the language groups for amendments. However, that's for next week.
I now have a day and a half off. And I have at last been able to accept an invitation. This evening I attended a dinner in honour of the Synod Fathers from Great Britain hosted by the British Ambassador to the Holy See. The Synod Fathers of Great Britain are: from the Bishops Conference of England & Wales, Archbishop Bernard Longley, Bishop Kieran Conry and Bishop Michael Campbell; and from the Bishops Conference of Scotland, yours truly.
The dinner was a most enjoyable event and a very gracious gesture on the part of the Ambassador, and expressed the very good mutual relations which exist between the British Government and the Holy See, mutual relations that can only help the cause of peace and justice around the world, and of religious liberty at home. In the taxi home, I had to explain to the Roman taxi driver and to Archbishop Souraphiel of Addis Ababa why Rangers were now in the Third Division. That was a challenge… but I rose to it with some soaring Italian rhetoric!
Sunday 14th October
There was no Papal Mass for the Synod Fathers today. I came down as usual for the 7.00am concelebration in the residence. Usually a Cardinal presides, but there was no Cardinal present. As I started to vest, the Director approached me and said: "You speak Italian, don’t you." "Yes," I said, hesitantly, wondering why he was asking, since the Mass was in Latin. "Well," he said, "I asked another bishop to preside, but he was a bit 'afraid'. So will you do it?" "Okay," I said, reluctantly, thinking more of the Latin than anything. But then he said, "Since it's Sunday, just give a wee homily in Italian after the Gospel." I thought, a homily in Italian for other bishops and priests, off the cuff – a bit scary! I took a deep breath, asked for the help of the Holy Spirit, and off I went. It was a great privilege to preside at the Sunday Mass and to offer to my brother-bishops from all over the world Christ's word of love and encouragement for our task of evangelisation.
Monday 15th October
This was a regular working day with two major sessions, 9.00am-12.30pm and 4.30-7.30pm. Again, over the day we heard about 50 bishops give their views and experiences on the subject of the new evangelisation. The sense of expectation that we must address to the whole Church a new word about evangelisation was growing with every bishop’s voice.
I was out again on the town later that day. (It’s not like this every day - honest!). I had dinner in the evening with Cardinal George Pell and my friend from student days in Rome, Archbishop James Harvey, the American archbishop and Vatican diplomat who heads up the Pope’s Prefecture which deals with the huge area of private, semi-private and public audiences with the Holy Father. If you go to a Public Audience, Jim is the bishop who is always at the Pope’s right hand side. Anyway, it was good and helpful to meet Cardinal Pell since he has agreed to be our keynote speaker at the Year of Faith Conference on Saturday 1st December in the City Chambers, Glasgow.
[Since this blog post it was announced that Archbishop Harvey will be created a Cardinal next month, and start a new job at the basilica of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls – pray for him!]
Tuesday 16th October
Today was the day that we heard also from representatives of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities. It was good to hear them express their appreciation that a Synod of Bishops of the Catholic Church should be discussing the theme of evangelisation in the modern world and should have invited them to be part of it. I am sure that the Synod will affirm the importance of ecumenism for evangelisation because the unity of Christians bears upon the credibility of the message. If Christians cannot give common witness to Christ, why should others bother?
As for the football, what can I say? Poor Scotland! 0-2 to Belgium. The World Cup finals in Brazil look a distant prospect now... The hugely impressive Archbishop André Leonard of Brussels, who has a really dry Gallic sense of humour, commiserated with me.