AN IMPORTANT JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM:  a retrospective account:

At this time of year the liturgy is given over largely to the so-called infancy narratives – those texts from the gospels, mostly from Luke’s account of the story. Strictly speaking, these are not Christmas stories: they are stories about Mary and Joseph, both subject to something they never dreamt that would be part of – messages which are recorded mostly in the gospel of Luke, but with input from the gospel of Matthew. It’s a story from around 2,000 years ago – a story known throughout the world and in circulation right up to the present day. It is, of course the story of Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem, a journey that could not be put off, because none other than the Roman Emperor Augustus demanded that a census of all people in the Roman Empire be taken. For this to happen, each male born in the Roman Empire had to make the journey to his place of birth. Notice there is no mention of women taking part in any census!

What we can conclude is that  a very long journey lay ahead for both Mary and Joseph. Luke’s Gospel is the only biblical source of information about their journey. Even so, we’re not really given  great deal of information; but Luke’s gospel makes clear that this was a journey Mary and Joseph did NOT make together. According to Luke’s gospel, and as we’ve already mentioned, around the time of Jesus’ birth Mary was able to travel started from Nazareth. Nazareth seems to have been the main route for travel from north to south – specifically from Nazareth to Bethlehem – or at least to Jerusalem, which was very near Bethlehem.

We have to ask the question, why was there so much travel between Nazareth and Jerusalem or Bethlehem at that time. As usual, there is a very practical answer to that question. The short answer is probably that the Herods generated a whole lot of travelling between Bethlehem and Nazareth, or to put it more simply: the Herods, and perhaps the seriously megalomaniac who was Herod the Great. He and his successors were paranoid about people trying to kill them. Around the city of Jerusalem and the town of Bethlehem, Herod the great had built castles, fortresses, walls, indeed any system which could keep the Herods and their followers safe. The Herods were paranoid and constantly moved from fortress to fortress. The Herods and their entourages constantly moved around to avoid assassination! Good roads were needed when escape was desirable!


Jesus now comes to be known as Jesus of Nazareth rather than Jesus of Bethlehem, though that was where he was born. Now, Joseph was from a family with its roots in Bethlehem. That, as we have seen, is why Joseph and Mary both had to travel for the census. It seems that there was plenty of travel between Bethlehem and Nazareth – enough to ensure there was a reasonably regular possibility for people to travel together, on camel, donkeys or even on foot. There must have been a lot of travel  between Judah and Galilee, travel on donkeys and camels. According to ancient sources, as well as the completion of the building programmes of Herod the Great and his successors.

Why would Jesus want to begin and extend his ministry so far north? Well, he did live in and around Nazareth for much of his like. Presumably after Jesus’ foster father Joseph found work in Nazareth where the great building programme. Workers in wood and stone were in great demand – Joseph probably travelled to Nazareth when word first began to circulate that tradesmen were in demand for the building programme instigated by the Herods.

Of course, we might just remember that near Nazareth, there was a thriving fishing community, which of course turned out to be the focal point for much of Jesus’ teaching. This gives the great basis for Jesus’ Galilean ministry, or at least part of it. We could say that the Sea of Galilee provides just about all the props and images that the gospel rests on. That however is a story for another day!

Neither Mary’s nor Joseph’s parents are mentioned in this part of the infancy narrative. There’s often something poignant in the way Luke writes, and this story is no exception. There is a symmetry now in the characters four characters we’ve met so far. Luke seems to love order in his writing, and he takes the story so far and writes a lovely balanced and almost poetic account of the people who are present at or near the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth. Although he doesn’t exactly say so, Two women and two men; two couples betrothed to each other. None of this four should be expected to solve the problems they’ve encountered.

The men are not able to provide a child, let alone a male child. Elizabeth is too old to give birth to a baby; Mary on the other hand is too young and not yet settled in married life.

The men are no help either. Zechariah, like his wife, is too old; Joseph has just caught up with Mary and they have into yet had time for the betrothal to take place. Both women have already conceived. Again however, we are made aware of the vulnerability of the four humans (and one on the way) in this story. Elizabeth knows she’s had her prayers answered, so does Mary, who breaks into the famous song known to us which begins, “My soul rejoices in the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour”.

It is remarkable that God has planned for the Son of God to dwell among humans. It is even more remarkable that God is prepared to place His entire plan in the hands of humans. This sounds more hopeful – for a short moment, but very quickly we find more problems, still to do with finding accommodation! Even if this could have solved the problem, the family would still have no proper place to stay. We are soon made awareof the consequences of this. They cannot even find accommodation in the places that merchants and others used as a place for the night. These places were known as caravanserie, notorious for rough men and their animals to be sold. Imagine the noise and smell of rough and unkempt men and their animals! The place must have been stinking to high heaven! Mary and Joseph might have been lucky not to have found a place in one of these establishments.

This is of course not the end of the story. First, there is the consideration of finding a place to spend the night, during which the baby who will be called Jesus. There is no shelter. The feeding troughs are all there is at hand to serve as a bed for the baby.

In the birth of Jesus, the Word of God does become flesh as the words of the prayer we call the Angelus makes clear, and humans are also messengers – in this instance the shepherds. It is perhaps worth remembering that humans are now ther most powerful communicators of the Words of God. This will not be overtaken until the adult Jesus, the world made flesh!

And then, there is how Luke rounds up the rest of the narrative. The Prince of the Universe has no place to lie during his first night on earth. JEsus and the adults are not alone for long. The shepherds get to work. It seems that the shape of the field believed to be the sheperds’ field had wonderful acoustics, ansd would have made verbal communication very effective. This would be useful for the angels who haven’t been part of the narrative yet. Angel is NOT a word which describe a type of being: angel is the FUNCTION exercised by those who are messengers from heaven. Because of their heavenly credentials, they carry more weight than anyone else (Jesus at this point is divine, but their ministry is to proclaim the message of God).

St. Matthew’s Parish and the Synod of the Catholic Church

As you may have heard, a Synod is taking place in the Catholic Church . The climax will be when the Synod meets in Rome in 2023.

Pope Francis is insistent that every single Catholic has the right to be part of this Synod (not that we can all go to Rome of course!), but the Pope and his advisors have set in motion a mechanism whereby every single person can express a view.

The very word Synod has to do with everyone having this freedom. As many of you will know already, the parish is beginning preparations for this process. It will work like this. Every person and every group in each parish will be encouraged to answer a list of questions. The respondents to the questionnaire will remain anonymous, although when parish groups submit their responses, the group will be identified. e.g. Legion of Mary, SVDP, Mary’s Meals etc.

So how do we take part? Well, the parish part is open to every member of this parish. As individuals, or as group members, we are asked to complete a questionnaire which has been circulated world wide.

The completed questionnaires will be sent to the local dean, who will collate the findings and pass them on to the Archdiocesan officials.


Please keep an eye on tis webpage. In the coming days you will be able to collect a form yo fill in. It has been estimated that this will take about 15 minutes, and of course you can put it down and return to it if you want more time to think

AGAIN, it is essential that no individual’s name appears on any form. If names appear on forms, the forms will be rejected.

There will also be an on-line questionnaire on SURVEY MONKEY. We are trying to get that set up now.

If our Synod is going to be a success, we will need lots of volunteers to help with the admin. We will need parishioners to help process the data from the questionnaires.

Preparing in St. Matthew’s for the Roman Synod 2023

This Synod will be like no other in Catholic Church history.

For the first time (these synods have met every 2-3 years since just after the 2nd Vatican Council.

Delegates were sent to these sessions, who were expected to report back on what was discussed.

Now, thanks to the imaginative thinking of Pope Francis, and the development of of media capabilities, we can all be part of this Synod.

So, how are we supposed to be part of this Synod? Will this just be tokenism?

Certainly not!

People in parishes, the gathering of the local church, will be able to begin discussions.

We will be able to meet to discuss the materials which will have been circulated, and we will be able to pass our findings to the Archdiocese of Glasgow which will produce a single report of the discussions which have been taking place. These will then be sent on their way to Rome.

So where does St. Matthew’s fit in?

We had our first meeting 7.00 pm on Thursday 10 February. We may want another meeting , or we may feel happy with the discussions.

The consensus was that , since the preparation for the Synod was world wide, we should meet in our own synod of St. Matthew’s on the Thursdays of Lent

Please think about joining in this. This is a great chance to make our views heard.

2022 – a New Year and New Hopes!

Let’s make them happen!

THURSDAY 13 JANUARY – Feast of St. Mungo, patron saint of the Archdiocese and of course of the City of Glasgow


We are familiar with the words Synod and Synodal, but possibly we don’t stop to think what these expressions mean. That could all change very soon!

Synods tend to be groups of clerics – often the most senior ones – who gather somewhere (often in Rome) to debate major issues concerning the Church today.

Sadly, most of us don’t manage to get a flavour of what any given synod is about, what debates have taken place, and how the synod is supposed to form our understanding of the Church. Sadly, the useful life of many synods turns out to be rather short, or at least, short lived for our parishes.


Not surprisingly, Pope Francis has his own ideas about what Synods should do for the life of the Church, and equally unsurprisingly, he is not really interested in synods as an end in themselves. What is important for the Holy Father is that there is a mechanism within the Church whereby the voices and ideas and hopes of all the Church’s members can be heard…and listened to.

Now, obviously this cannot happen at a gatherings of all believers throughout the world, but it can happen if there a re mechanisms for people everywhere to share their faith and their understanding of it with all their brothers and sisters. This is Pope Francis’ understanding of a SYNODAL CHURCH.

This is not a new idea there have been synods in whole countries; there have been synods in groups of parishes and so on. In recent years, SYNODALITY has tended to be seen as the gathering of reports of what is happening in Dioceses. Pope Francis seems to see it more in the living expressions of local communities/parishes/dioceses being shared. To sum it up, SYNODALITY occurs when people live, work, act with each other for the building of the kingdom of God. A Synodal Parish, for example, is a parish where people as individuals or as groups work for the good of the parish. Each group’s contribution builds the parish – sometimes it may be individual people rather than groups. This makes sense. St. Paul famously wrote in his 1st Letter to the Corinthians that each person has gifts given by the Holy Spirit, and the Church, the Body of Christ functions when all parts of the body function for the good of the body. Paul points out how ludicrous it would be if every part of the human body had to function like a leg, or a hand! All parts have their proper function.

Likewise with a SYNODAL PARISH. We don’t all do the same thing; we don’t consider some contribution to the parish to be more important than the other. We all contribute to the good of the Church by doing what we do for the parish as best we can.

There’s a lot more to say about SYNOD and synodality. I think it is a great way to develop parish life, and since we are slowly coming out of lockdown, it is a good opportunity to explore how SYNODALITY can be developed in our parish .

Have a think about this and let me know your thoughts

Canon Robert J. Hill

Parish Priest,

St. Matthew’s, Bishopbriggs

Archdiocese of Glasgow – Catholic Education

The Archdiocesan Administrator, Very Rev. Hugh Bradley has sent the following letter to all parishes, asking that it be circulated, and particularly to Catholic Teachers in the Parish. Here’s his message

I have been asked to send the attached document to all parishes, with the message below:

Dear Father,

The Archdiocese has supported Glasgow City Council’s efforts to staff Catholic schools with approved staff. As you will know, there are issues in filling all post in schools with approved teachers.

One way of recruiting and staffing our schools is to encourage teachers, currently in the non-denominational sector, to return or enter the denominational sector. There are many reasons why some teachers are in this position, I’m sure you are aware of this situation in your parishes and schools.

The attached document is being shared with staff across Glasgow City Council. It is good that you have sight of it before they do as our response to those who come to us will be important. If it is at all possible, we should seek to encourage Catholics to return to Catholic schools. If this means that we explain the Approval system to them and allow them the opportunity to see their place in the life of the Church, this is a positive step.

Thank you for your continued support.

Very Rev Hugh Canon Bradley
Diocesan Administrator


Thankfully we are now returning to something which more closely resembles normality! Thanks to our stewards, almost al of whom have been present at every Mass, our parishioners have kept safe and well. We cannot thank these volunteers enough – two Sunday Masses each week, and 10.00 am Mass each weekday have been stewarded and the church sanitised after each Mass and this has meant that to date we have had no indication of anyone having contracted Covid, or have brought Covid into the church. This is an amazing feat, but not one that should make us complacent. There is still a long way to go, and we still need to follow the regulations faithfully and thoroughly. To do this effectively, we need more stewards. The equation is simple – sufficient stewards mean we can have Mass in a safe environment. No stewards mean no Mass – it’s as simple as that

Some people have been asking when we will have more Masses. The answer is simple – when we can identify enough people who will act as stewards. I would be very happy to reinstate the Saturday evening Vigil Mass, BUT NOT UNTIL WE CAN BE SURE THAT WE CAN RELY ON SUFFICIENT NUMBERS OF STEWARDS!

This factor has consequences for Christmas and other occasions. For example, we will not have Midnight Mass if insufficient stewards are available.

Please do not wait to be asked. If you think you can help, ask one of the stewards, and we can arrange quick safeguarding clearance and a quick training session.


Latest updates on use of churches and other public buildings, effective  from Monday 9 August.In a letter sent by email to all parishes by the Vice-Chancellor of the Archdiocese, Canon Paul Gargaro states:

“As you will have seen, the First Minister announced today that social distancing indoors will end from Monday 9th August. This means that after this date there will be no obligation to keep 1m distance between household groups and so churches and halls can return to their normal capacity. I’m sure we will all be glad to get back to the normal use of our churches.

This will have huge and positive impact for us in St. Matthew’s, meaning that from the first time since the church re-opened after extensive rebuilding, we an use it to its full potential.

So, from Monday there will be no social distancing required in the church, although masks will still need to be worn while in the church building.

In practice this will also mean that there will be less need to book a place in church HOWEVER trace and track regulations still pertain, so you will be asked to leave your name and contact phone number for purposes of TRACE AND TRACK





When the ‘new-look’ church opened, we found its layout perfect for helping us keep the sacramental and devotional life of the church  intact, within, of course, restrictions imposed, but we have celebrated everything in the Church’s year:-

1st Communion and Confirmation with our young people,

Weddings are now being scheduled for St. Matthew’s in its new splendour, and from the 18 April of this year, we have had baptisms on every Sunday!

Sadly, funerals have figured on the list of our liturgical events.

None of the above celebrations and other events could have taken place without a highly dedicated team of stewards who initially booked in people wanting to attend Mass – remember Eventbrite! and its joys?– Without these stewards, we would have had to cancel celebrations including Mass. Thanks to our stewards, this had not happened. Stewarding is essential, and we constantly need a supply of people to volunteer to be stewards After safeguarding checks and some basic training, stewards will be able to add to the pool of volunteers. REMEMBER – NO STEWARDS, NO MASS! Please think hard about volunteering for this. Your commitment will be most welcome no matter how limited your availability. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE ASK ONE OF THE STEWARDS ON DUTY

Thank you

Canon Robert J. Hill, Parish Priest

Great News for the Parish and for our Architects who worked on refurbishing the Church – St. Matthew’s has been awarded a Commendation by the panel at Scottish Design Awards for 2021. A great accolade, a wonderful recognition of the talents of Architects, Designers, Contractors, all members of the work force and of course the parish community!

From John Brown, architect who worked on our refurbishment:

Hot off the presses!

That’s a great achievement for the parish and a wonderful endorsement of the skills of the Architects from Page & Park

To reach the finals is amazing, and it reinforces what we already know – our church has gone through a remarkable recreation at the hands of all those who worked on it!

The final stage of the awards will be online this year,

more details can be found via this link –

John writes: “The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony which will run as a virtual event on 15th July at 7pm. 
The virtual event means that everyone is welcome to watch so please share the link with whoever you think is relevant.
Congratulations once again and I wish you the best of luck when the results are announced”

Here’s one of the official photos taken after the completion of the work


over the past two Saturdays we’ve had the joy of welcoming our young parishioners to receive Holy communion for the very first time. As always the young people have been wonderful as they showed how seriously they were taking their First Communion. Congratulations to the 1st Communicants and to their families, and a huge thanks to the staff of St. Matthew’s Primary school for preparing the children for their 1st Communion.

First Communions are always a highlight of the Parish Year, and it has been sad that for the second year running that COVID has meant that numbers attending each First Communion Mass have had to be limited to seven children and a few family members. however, many people have commented on how focussed and devout the children were as they received Holy Communion for the 1st time. Perhaps smaller groups and smaller numbers of Communicants at a time is something we should consider for future celebrations of the sacrament.

Many thanks go to the staff – teaching and non-teaching – of St. Matthew’s Primary school for preparing the children so well, and for those who provided music.

Many thanks also go to those who prepared the church for the sacrament, stewards who ensured all necessary checks and records of attendance were carried out as required by the Scottish government, to ensure the safety of all, and ordered proceedings.

Above all, a huge thank you to the young people and their families for allowing us to be part of your special day – for us all that was a great privilege!

A few weeks after First Communion we will celebrate Confirmation with the p 7 young people. This will be one of the final activities they will take part in as pupils of St. Matthew’s Primary School. What a wonderful way to end their Primary School Careers, by receiving the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit at the very end of their time in St. Matthew’s. Please remember these young people in your prayers too. Again, numbers are strictly limited to immediate family as outlined by the school.

MASS IN ST MATTHEW’S – UPDATES on times when Mass is live-streamed

Weekday Masses Monday – Saturday: Mass will be at 10.00 am with live streaming

Sunday Masses 5.30 pm (Vigil Mass on previous evening), 9.30 am, 11.00 am PLEASE NOTE THAT THE 12.15 Mass is discontinued. Before lockdown, typically considerably less than 100 people were attending this Mass, and given that this amount can easily be catered for across the 3 Sunday Masses (including the 5.30 pm Vigil Mass), St. Matthew’s is effectively a one priest parish as far as provision of Masses is concerned.

Holyday of Obligation Mass times: Vigil Mass (previous evening) 7.30 pm; on the Feast itself , Mass times are 7.30 am, 10.00 am. In addition Masses will be celebrated in the two Catholic Schools in the Parish

Baptisms can be celebrated almost every Sunday (with the except those during Lent) after the 11.00 am, by arrangement

The reason for these changes is that Fr Hill is required to celebrate Masses for the two schools in the parish.

St Matthew’s Parish e-bulletin

With lockdown going on for some time, perhaps it’s a good time to introduce an ELECTRONIC BULLETIN or e-bulletin if you prefer!

Sunday 28 June 2020 – Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul

This important and very ancient Solemnity of the Catholic Church is normally celebrated on 29 June, but when this date falls on a Saturday or Monday, the Feast is celebrated on the Sunday. This is to avoid confusion as to whether Vigil or Evening Masses for the Feast belong to the Sunday or the Feast Day.

These two great apostolic figures were martyred – Peter, some time between 64-68 AD, by crucifixion upside down , according to a tradition cited by St Jerome because he said that he was unworthy to share the same kind of death as his Saviour and Lord. Paul was martyred by being beheaded, possibly between 62 and 64 AD. This was a privilege he could receive as a Roman Citizen.


St. MATTHEW’S Church (well…the temporary church in the Hall!) is open for private prayer

☐ Our church/hall will now be open for periods of private prayer.

On Mondays. Wednesday and Fridays, between 11 am and 12 noon there will be the opportunity for private prayer in the temporary church with prayer slots of 20 minutes maximum, i.e. at 11.00; 11.20 and 11.40 am

☐ We have in place social distancing measures (2 metres, in case you’ve forgotten), and clearly marked areas for people to sit or kneel .

We are most grateful to those who have volunteered to be stewards (­at least 16 years old) to direct people to their seats, and direct them on how to leave the building. Can you offer some time for this too? Please let us know as soon as possible.


These are the basic requirements. Could you help with any of this?An hour per week on a day that suits you would be a great help! Please let Fr Hill know as soon as possible, or just ask for more information. If you personally can’t help with this, but can think of someone who might, contact Fr. Hill who will contact them. Don’t worry; I won’t tell them who gave me their names!

FINALLY, we need teams of cleaners as before to clean the church once a week.

Canon Robert J. Hill, Parish Priest, St. Matthew’sTHE PROVISION OF PRIVATE PRAYER, EVEN ON A LIMITED SCALE, DEPENDS ON SUFFICIENT VOLUNTEERS. If you can help – or if you want more information – please get in touch.

If you have information you think should be shared with parishioners, then please let us know. Items for inclusion can be sent via email to:

News from the SVDP Conference – June 2020.

Our conference members, like everyone else, are beginning to emerge a little from lockdown. We have started up our meetings on a fortnightly basis using Zoom and have been keeping in touch with regular communications on WhatsApp.

First of all, we would like to thank you all for your usual wonderful response to our Lenten appeal which was cut short by lockdown. As the Ozanam Centre closed a couple of weeks before that we had to find another recipient for the toiletries. We heard that the St Augustine’s foodbank was short of these items at a time when everyone was looking for them, so managed to deliver everything over there just before lockdown started.

Some of you will know that, in February, we had been helping a young man in Bishopbriggs who had been homeless to furnish his new house and make it a home for him. We managed to get everything in place by early March, which was fortunate as he is now shielding for medical reasons and cannot go out. A number of parishioners helped out by donating items of furniture and other household goods for him. Our thanks to all of them for their kindness. I ask that we all remember him in our prayers.

A few of our members helped with the Matthew’s Messages project in the areas near their homes, as required. They had a few people coming back to them, but no one needed specific help although they were grateful for the approach. We are keeping in touch with them in case anything changes.

Please remember that we around and willing to help if we can where needed. We can’t do our normal visits, but can talk on the phone if anyone just wants to chat. We can also help with shopping, short term financial difficulties or anything else which might be causing worry at this time. We can be contacted by phone on 07519188138.

Please everyone stay safe. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can meet again in person.  

Pat McBride

RCIA … what have we been doing?

In normal circumstances the team meets with new enquirers every week. At these meetings we reflect on Scripture, Sacraments, Church teaching, Evangelising and any other areas that our enquirers wish to explore eg: Catholic devotions such as Stations of the Cross, and Rosary. We usually visit the church a couple of times and explain the various elements …. sacred vessels, linens and vestments, tabernacle, monstrance etc.

This year we have no new enquirers but the team would continue to meet once a month to deepen our own faith and spiritual life. Our recent Cathecumens and Candidates are welcome to join us at these meetings if they wish to do so
Due to Covid19 these meetings have been suspended. However, many exciting things have still been happening. 
   ** Lewis and Emma had their first baby, a girl Ayda Anne   Lewis, who is a policeman, was baptised at the Easter Vigil 2019.
    **Just prior to lockdown, Katie who was received at the same time as Lewis, also had a baby girl, a daughter for Katie and Chris and a wee sister for Sean.
When we return to normal in our “ new” church wouldn’t it be wonderful to baptise our “second generation” of little RCIA Parishioners.
  ** Then there is Susan … she was received into the Church in St. Matthew’s at the Easter Vigil 2018. What an evening that was. ! ! Susan went on holiday after  Christmas for a well earned break. While abroad she had a fall that resulted in her needing serious brain surgery. Thank God she is now back home now and recovering slowly. It was a great delight to have her with us at our last meeting.
    **Liz, who was already baptised and should have received first communion and confirmation was ill at Easter and unable to come for the Vigil. However, with the Archbishop’s permission, Fr Robert gave her the Sacraments later at a small service later with her personal friends and RCIA friends present. Liz was due to have some badly needed surgery but it was cancelled due to Covid19. She is in our daily prayers and we look forward to the time when she can join us again.
  ** Liam, who is the youngest member of the team, joined us in his last year at Turnbull High as part of his Caritas Award commitment …… and what a commitment he has made. Liam is now studying Law at Glasgow University but when he has any free time he commits so much to the Church, helping prepare for Easter, Christmas and any others of our big feasts. He was there giving 100%  when we, moved from the church in to the hall – and no doubt he will be there when we move back.
Recently Fr. Robert suggested that we, at St. Matthew’s, could maybe become involved in delivering shopping, medication etc to those who couldn’t get out. Alongside our other volunteers for this project he has developed a structure that is secure and that respects all the regulations.

We are all missing our monthly meetings but we are keeping in touch to make sure that everyone is OK. And of course Fr. Robert is still feeding our spirituality with his daily reflections on the Scripture.
Being a member of the RCIA team is a privilege and a great opportunity to benefit from the spirituality of each other.     But it is also great fun. 
When all this lockdown is over why don’t you think of becoming involved. Have a wee chat with Fr. Robert about it.
              Take care and stay safe.

email your thoughts, plans, appeals to one of the parish email addresses: or

News of the UCM.
Unfortunately, during these unprecedented times the Union of Catholic Mothers are unable to meet once or twice a month , for our meetings or social events.On a typical evening we would come together for prayer and an update  on our UCM / Church news . This would usually be followed by a talk from a guest speaker. Our next talk would have been from Fr .Antony Connolly O.P who was going to talk to us about his journey to the priesthood. . Also, we were looking forward to having Anthony Horan give a talk on his work within the Scottish Parliament where he represents the Catholic Church in Scotland and the various issues that he faces; whether its regarding Pro-life, Catholic Education or changes within the family unit- all of which  are all very close to the hearts of the UCM members.  Our AGM and closing Mass was due to take place later this month with Archbishop Tartaglia, the Branch Chaplains and all the members from across the Archdiocese .However, again we will have to wait  until such times that it is possible to do this.Nonetheless, one thing we can continue with is our daily prayers for priests and vocations which we can say anywhere.  Its during these times that our Priests and Bishops are very much in need of our prayers and support, as it’s not just the laity who are struggling with our churches being closed and no public Masses . Our Clergy are very limited as to what Pastoral care and priestly duties they can carry out which is challenging for them also.  This at a time when they know the laity need them the most but sadly their help is very much restricted. We know that they also long for the day when they can open the church doors and welcome the faithful in.One thing that is unique to the UCM   is when ever there are prayers needed within the UCM family, which has sadly been the case over the past few weeks, for various members and their families, you can  be assured that within hours Prayers, Rosaries and Masses are being offered up over the Dioceses and this brings great comfort to members. As an organisation, the friendship, support and family feeling is second to none. While the ladies here in Bishopbriggs are missing their usual routine of Mass, coffee and a chat they are keeping in touch with each other and keeping their spirits up ,with full faith that these challenging days will be put behind us. We will continue our prayers for our Parish Community also and look forward to being reunited  once again in our new Church.

Karen Smith, National President, UCM

So: who’s next to give us an update on their Parish Group’s Activities, or if nothing is happening just now becasue of COVID, what plans lie ahead when we’re back in business?

What’s happening just now in the parish?


We’ve become familiar with lock down and its effects on our churches. As yet, there is no clear indication when we will be able to resume the use of churches, but preparatory work is being carried out to see how churches can come back into use.

At best, it will be some weeks before we see plans being made to re-open churches. Social distancing means that our buildings will not be used to anything like their full capacity. With the need for 2 metres between people, this would mean that we could only use every second pew, and that it may be that each pew may only hold 2 people! So, it seems that if and when churches can re-open, it will be first for private prayer. There will also be a need to ensure social distancing is in operation everywhere in the church. This certainly means no stopping to chat on the way out!

These notes are published here simply to alert everyone to the challenges that lie ahead if we are to have the use of churches again. We must be prepared to comply with the government’s regulations at all times; otherwise we may find our churches closed again very quickly. Together, though, we can make this work! Watch this space for more details

Parish Funerals

Sadly, one of our most frequent activities has been in holding the funerals of parishioners who have died. We are not at present permitted to have funeral Masses in the church, but funerals continue. A list of all whose funerals have taken place, or will soon take place can be found by clicking HERE


It has often been said that nothing is certain, except for taxes. Church goers may feel inclined to add collections to the list!

Many of you have already made arrangements to support the parish financially during these difficult times. We are very grateful to you for doing so. We appreciate that times are very difficult indeed for everyone, but we also have to acknowledge that the parish has to meet its financial obligations as well

Many of you have already made arrangements to support the parish financially during these difficult times. We are very grateful to you for doing so. We appreciate that times are very difficult indeed for everyone, but we also have to acknowledge that the parish has to meet its financial obligations as well, and the various charities depend on collections for their survival.

Appeals and collections can still be processed. Parishioners have continued making online payments to the offertory and building fund collections. Some parishioners have continued to pay using their collection envelopes. Please contact Fr Hill by phone or by email if you wish to discuss ways of contributing.


~ During this period it is important for us to keep together in prayer, for ourselves and for:-

~ Those who have died, and their families and friends;

~ Those who are ill, and all the very many people who care for them;

~ Those who have to make decisions affecting the country – our political leaders, medics and researchers;

~ Those who are afraid and vulnerable, especially those who are cut off from others.

St. Matthew’s Funerals during Covid-19 lockdown

Our current parish policy for funerals in St, Matthew’s is that funeral Masses will be celebrated at 11.00 am. This is to ensure that we are able to provide stewards and personnel to record details of attendees at the funeral Mass. It is a requirement that the parish records names and contact phone numbers of all who attend the funeral. This is to facilitate the track and trace process in the event of the possibility of a Covid related incident in or around the church. These details will be retained for 21 days after which the records will be destroyed. Meanwhile, as a parish community we continue to pray for all who have died, and especially our own parishioners

May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.