Christmas

 A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE  from St. Matthew’s Parish

Christmas starts on 24 December with the Christmas Vigil Mass – and not a minute before! It’s difficult to remember this when shops have been ‘doing’ Christmas since the summer, it seems! It’s a pity when Christmas celebrations begin too soon and we lose the significance of the very rich season which continues for just over two weeks after Christmas Day.

Christmas, like Easter, is such major occasion that it has an Octave – an entire week – which is effectively Christmas each day. At the end of the Octave, New Year’s Day, we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, which reminds us that Jesus, totally human and totally God, was born into a human family and brought up in the Jewish Tradition of his parents. The Feast reminds us that Mary, witnessing the extraordinary events following her baby’s birth, treasured all these things and pondered them.

Normally the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s Day is the Feast of the Holy Family. This year Christmas falls on Monday, and so on the Sunday following, 31 December, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. This is no sentimental feast: the Gospel for the Holy Family is the story of Jesus’ life in danger from King Herod. He and his family have to flee to Egypt until after Herod’s death.

In today’s terminology, Jesus is an at-risk child and his family are displaced persons living in a foreign land as refugees. The Feast of the Epiphany tells of visitors from the East who followed a star, and come with lavish gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. It falls on Sunday 7 January this year.

Christmas is still not over. The final event is not about the infant Jesus: it’s about the adult Jesus at the start of his ministry. At baptism, Jesus immersed himself in water (baptism literally means immersion) as a sign of his commitment to, and immersion in God’s will. This is the perfect note on which to conclude Christmas: the Son of God who came as a human child grows up, and is on the threshold of proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven in word and action, and establishing it through his Death and Resurrection. The Baptism of the Lord this year is on Monday 8 January.

Have a Happy and Holy Christmas, and may you be fully drawn into the fullness of the Joy of this immensely rich season,

Fr. Robert J. Hill,

Parish Priest, St. Matthew’s

December 2017/January 2018

Low Moss Stations – update

The ‘Low Moss Stations’ Continued!

Tuesday 21 November 2017 – a memorable day for St. Matthew’s Parish when along with members of local churches, some parishioners went to HMP Low Moss for a very moving service of dedication of the Stations of the Cross as depicted by inmates past and present. The Stations had been crafted in Mosaic form during St. Matthew’s 70th anniversary year, and had been in place in the church for some time. Now they are relocated in a prominent and public part of the prison chaplains Revv. Martin Forrest, Deacon Kenny McGeachie, and John Gannon and  worked on the format of the stations,. Inmates, some of whom had worked on the Stations, led a very moving service of dedication which was introduced by Canon Robert Hill of St. Matthew’s, and opened and closed with prayer and blessing by Archbishop Mario Conti, former Archbishop of Glasgow. The occasion was a wonderful and memorable coming together of church and prison communities.

Also on the agenda on that day were the unveiling of the altar and chair, made by Low Moss inmates under the supervision of Officer Vincent Stewart and his colleagues. The altar will be used when we move into the church during the renovation work which will take place in St. Matthew’s, and the church next year. The chair is already in use.

St. Matthew’s Parish Community would like to acknowledge our sincere and deepest gratitude to all at Low Moss for their reaching out to our parish, and to pledge our prayers and good wishes for all at Low Moss.

 

Photo record of the memorable day below, as well as a picture of the Low Moss Chair in form of a Celtic Cross, drawing on the St. Matthew Cross on Iona, outside the Abbey Building.

The Stations on display, and the guys who led the service

 

Hard at work on the altar and the chair

 

The chair in place in St. Matthew’s Church

St. Matthew’s – the Next 70 Years; Fundraising Campaign

Our campaign to raise funds for the re-building of the church is now up and running. We are inviting people – parishioners, past parishioners, friends of St. Matthew’s Parish to make a contribution to this work.

This week, campaign materials are being delivered to every household in the parish. These give details of the  money we need to raise. We have already collected £900,000 over many years from the generosity of the parish community: we now need to raise another £500,000 to complete it. This will require the taking out of a loan, and we therefore need to demonstrate our ability to make the repayments.

To do so, we are embarking on a programme of ‘planned giving’, that is in inviting members of the parish community, former parishioners, friends of St. Matthew’s from all over to consider taking out a pledge, preferably on the basis of a Standing Order over a period of time, and if at all possible, augmented by GIFT AID. 

For those who do not have materials delivered, or who live outwith the parish, the campaign materials can be collected from and returned to the church on any day of the week, preferably after one of the Masses.

In 1946, the Catholic Community in Bishopbriggs made the extraordinary commitment to creating a new parish and building a new church, opened in 1950. Think of their heroism in doing this just after the end of the Second World War! Their foresight, their courage, their determination and in those days their sacrifices gave us a church which for almost 70 years has served the parish – at baptisms, first communions, Christmas and Easter celebrations, Confirmations, weddings and of course sadly, but all too importantly, funerals. We now have the chance to do our own bit in ensuring this church, with the fabric enhanced, facilities improved, accessibility increased, will continue to serve parishioners and their families for many more years to come!

With grateful thanks in anticipation of your positive response,

Canon Robert Hill,

Parish Priest, St. Matthew’s.