Monday, May 30, 2011

Mgr Owen Gallagher

Of your charity please pray for the repose of the soul of the Rt Rev Mgr Owen Gallagher, parish priest of St Ninian's, Glasgow who died at the weekend.

He was always kind to me and mine, solicitous about our welfare and always had a kindly word for the boys. He was pretty much 'in harness' until a couple of months before his death. He would always refer in his sermons to the religious mood of the 16th century as "the so-called reformation".

Requiescat in pace.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pepe le Pew

I had an adventure at the weekend. Mrs P saw a skunk in the garden last week and was a bit spooked by it. Then on Monday my youngest shouted "The skunk's in the garden with something on his head!" Sure enough Pepe le Pew had his head stuck in a beer can. He was getting distressed and disoriented. I was reluctant to go and rescue him. We rang the animal rescue people and the SPCA and they basically told us to get it off him ourselves. So I changed clothes into scruffs (in case I got sprayed) and put on the marigolds and went to get it off. A neighbour held his tail down with a stick so he wouldn't spray. After a bit of twisting we got it off his head (his little claws were gripping away at it) and he ran off without creating a stink.

Eldest boy got a picture of the event.

Who says Canada is dull?


Monday, May 23, 2011

Victoria Day

I attended Low Mass (1962) at St Jude's yesterday - about which, more later. The bulletin drew my attention. Today is Victoria Day - a public holiday in Canada marking Queen Victoria's birthday (24th May - the holiday is the nearest Monday). It's the official birthday of the monarch in Canada. The following was announcing it in the parish bulletin. Not sure the same would be said in Scotland .


As a symbol of our country and as a symbol of our unity, the Crown
and the Monarchy play a unique role in Canada. We pause to ask God’s blessing and graces on this holiday for the Queen, as well as the Royal Family, the Governor General and the leaders in our country.

Special Prayer for the Queen from the Sacramentary

God our Father, all earthly powers must serve you. Help your servant, our Queen Elizabeth to fulfill her responsibilities worthily and well. By honouring and striving to please you at all times, may she secure peace and freedom for the people entrusted to her.

BTW were prayers for the King said before the Second Vatican Council after High Mass in Scotland? I would have thought there might be priests there, especially in the West, who would have to say them through gritted teeth.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

True Grit

I saw the new film of True grit on the plane over and read the book when I got here. the book is a wee gem of the genre. I liked this line in it:

"On his deathbed he asked for a priest and became a Catholic. That was his wife's religion. It was his own business and none of mine. If you had sentenced one hundred and sixty men to death and seen around eighty of them swing, then maybe at the last minute you would feel the need for some stronger medicine than the Methodists could make."

— Charles Portis (True Grit)

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I have some minor gripes with my new parish - mostly musical. The choir tends to go for the slightly showy, pitched-too-high numbers not in the spirit of plainchant. Marty Haugen 'hymns' feature. There are too many lay ministers around. (i.e. greater than or equal to 1)

That said, they've crowned Our Lady's statue for May, the catechesis seems good and they are genuinely welcoming to new parishioners and solicitous for our welfare. The sanctuary is in order and the priest seems to stick to the rubrics. They have an ambitious programme of charitable work. There is a monument outside the church on prominent display (it's on a major bus route) for the victims of abortion.

My admiration is for the unbroken Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament they have had for the past fifteen years. Over 200 volunteers from within and outwith the parish keep watch in prayer 24 hours a day before the Blessed Sacrament in the adoration chapel attached to the church.

As young people say: respect.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

On Novenas etc

My parents used to go week in, week out to church, come rain or shine on a Wednesday night to attend the Perpetual Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. You can imagine reading that as a non-Catholic. "Novena" "Perpetual" "Succour". I'm sure the whole thing looks absolutely bizarre. I have not been a great user of Novenas. I'm sure there are many Spirit-of-Vatican-2ers who thought that Novenas were a thing of the past, just like indulgences.

Having faced some adversity recently, I found myself in need of help and fell back on a Novena to St Jude. I used the Novena twice over the course of weeks when all my efforts seemed to be going nowhere and I needed help where there was no human help that seemed to be able come to my aid. It could be seen as a comfort blanket or a means to redouble my efforts to achieve certain ends. I have prayed in the past when my children have been seriously unwell that they may be saved but I have never been a great one for intercessory prayer. It almost seemed impolite to be on God's back. I suspect I had imbibed a weird version on things in which prayer was some sort of consciousness-expanding attempt to communicate with God. It ignored the traditional aspects of prayer as contrition, adoration, thanksgiving and intercession. I was deeply, fundamentally wrong and it was a form of pride that saw myself above asking God for anything.

Novenas are as explicit as they can be in asking for a specific object. I was interested to read the Catholic Encyclopaedia article about Novenas. The significance of the nine days, the types of Novenas and so on.

In fact, Novenas hit to the heart of our faith. If we really believe then surely we should be able to ask for anything temporal or spiritual that is in accord with His Holy Will, whether or not through the intercession of His saints, in manners hallowed by custom and time.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Dressing up

I quite like getting dressed up for weddings. I guess it's the only time one gets to wear a morning suit (the only time I have anyway). We (adoptive in my case) Scots get away with wearing kilts and Prince Charlie jackets for formal occasions. I go to a couple of black tie dinners a year at one or other of the Royal Colleges, and it's usually a dinner suit then (M&S). It's nice seeing colleagues in their best bib and the junior girlie doctors in posh frocks.

The Royal Wedding was covered well here. There's still a bit of residual love of the Old Country.

The choice of uniforms for the young royals was great. I was pleased by the choice of the Irish Guards. I think the Blues and Royals tunic just edged it though. I know a couple of folk in the army and it's the only time (along with investitures) that they get to wear No 1 uniform (the Brigade of Guards is slightly different because of their ceremonial duties). All very Ruritanian, but, still..

But I was a bit disappointed by Cardinals Murphy-O'Connor and O'Brien and Archbishop Nichols. Surely this was the perfect opporunity for a ferriola and violet or scarlet biretta?

[Cue torrent of tut-tutting from humourless hippies.....]