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LO N Issue 40, Spring 2019

Light of the North: the magazine of the Diocese of Aberdeen

Thanksgiving Mass for Jubilarians p4  Pope who gives sentence for new life p15 Easter Vigil in Ghana p22  Christ our Light p27

RC Diocese of Aberdeen Charitable Trust. A registered Scottish charity no. SC005122 Page 1

Contents DIOCESE NEWS ...........................................................................................3 OBITUARY Mgr Robert McDonald & Deacon Jacques Cooke ................14 FAITH IN ACTION The Pope who can give a sentence for new life ...........15 WITNESS The challenge of political engagement ........................16 EDUCATION AND FORMATION Fatherhood..............................................................................17 FAITH AND CULTURE Oot an Aboot in Vézelay ......................................................19 Angels Unlimited ..................................................................20 Easter Vigil in Ghana ...........................................................22 Victor Novello, church music’s unsung hero .................23 Dornie in Kintail .....................................................................24 On a Wing and a Prayer to El Salvador ............................26 Christ our Light ......................................................................27 Food and Faith from the Philippines ..............................28 Humour ....................................................................................29 Crossword ................................................................................30


his icon pictured on our front cover is to be found on the inner side of the Resurrection Gate to Red Square, Moscow. It depicts the resurrected Christ descending into Hell to free believers (in the persons of Adam and Eve) and lead them to Heaven. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the descent into Hell, or what is sometimes known as "the Harrowing of Hell", as the "last phase of Jesus' messianic mission, during which he opened Heaven's gates for the just who had gone before him." In effect, the doctrine of the descent into Hell is a consoling one. It presents us with an assurance that, no matter to what depths we may sink, we have been given an assurance that there is no darkness, no suffering, no horror, and no fear that Christ cannot touch.

up front

Managing Editor Deacon Tony Schmitz Editor Cowan Watson  07816344241 editor@lightofthenorth.org Editorial Advisor Dr Glen Reynolds

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Lion tearing away the "Non" from "Non Plus Ultra" on a monument to Columbus in Vallodolid, Spain


efore Columbus discovered the New World, the coat of arms of Spain bore the motto: "Non Plus Ultra" meaning, "There is nothing beyond." But Columbus proved that there was indeed "more beyond" so the "Non" was dropped from the motto, leaving the "Plus Ultra"—'There Is More Beyond!" Our Lord through his death and resurrection convinced his first disciples that there was indeed "Plus Ultra", that no longer was the grave the utmost limit of all human hopes and expectations. The truth of the resurrection lay in the change in the lives of the disciples. Amazingly, within weeks, they were dramatically transformed from a baffled and cowering group who abandoned Jesus at his greatest time of need to faithful followers willing to give up everything, including their own lives, to proclaim the gospel. St. John Paul II once said, quoting a saying often used by the Church Fathers, "We are a resurrection people and alleluia is our song!" This is indeed the joyful message of Easter. Celebrating the resurrection reminds us that even in the darkest times we can hope and become hope for those around us. The resurrection reveals a living Jesus who challenges us today to put our absolute trust in him. A Very Happy Easter! Cowan

The Light of the North is free of charge but a suggested donation of £1.00 will be gratefully received and will be used directly to benefit your own parish. Advertising Manager Jim Skwarek  01233 658611 j im.skwarek@geeringsprint.co.uk The Light of the North St Mary’s Cathedral 20 Huntly Street ABERDEEN AB10 1SH  www.lightofthenorth.org


A Letter from Bishop Hugh Gilbert O.S.B. Dear Friends, Like our own lives, Easter is a combination of opposites: grief and joy, death and resurrection, human sin and divine grace, weakness and strength. This is the Paschal mystery. Jesus Christ, says St Paul, "was crucified in weakness and raised in power". And he said of himself, "When I am weak, then I am strong." It is hard for us to come to terms with this, but it is the pattern of God's working - the shape of grace, as it were. There is a wisdom here worth taking to heart. Jean Vanier has written: "the human being is an immense weakness waiting for God". For all our talk of vulnerability, we all want to be - and especially to appear - strong and invulnerable, in charge. But if we insist overmuch on this, we do violence to ourselves. We lose touch with reality, and the insensitivity we are forced to cultivate comes at too high a price. We like to think of life as a series of problems requiring solutions. The deeper truth is we are in predicaments from which we need rescuing. "When I am weak, then I am strong." This holds for Christ. It holds for the Church. It is true of ourselves. Weakness has many forms: constraining circumstances, psychological limitations,

opposition and lack of understanding, moral failures, the consequences of our own errors or incompetence, illness, ageing. The list is endless. These things can engulf us or lock us in. But if we can acknowledge them honestly and, like Christ on the Cross, use them as springboards for prayer and trust, then they can open doors to a fresh sense of God's presence and of our need for others, and lead to a breakthrough to a new simplicity, even a happy self-abandonment. Every breakthrough is a breakthrough into humility. There is so much for us in Jesus' Seven Last Words on the Cross. There is nothing wrong in being an "immense weakness" when that is coupled with "waiting for God". It has been said that Jesus Christ did not come to take away suffering - though he does ultimately - but to fill it with himself. It is thanks to his Resurrection that we can carry our cross. The peaceful, gentle people are the ones who carry the world and keep it from self-destructing. Somewhere here, in the Paschal mystery, there is this beatitude waiting for us. May it somehow come our way this Easter! Devotedly in Christ, + Bishop Hugh

Pentecost Lectures: Beauty will save the world Tuesday 11 June at 15:00 – The problem of beauty in the contemporary mind Wednesday 12 June at 10:30 – Retrieving beauty Wednesday 12 June at 15:00 – The Incarnation as the revelation of Beauty Itself Thursday 13 June at 10:30 – Celebrating beauty in the life of the Church There is no charge for these lectures and all are welcome to attend. To register for the talks, make further enquiries, or book accommodation please email: Jericho Inns:Layout 1 11/11/15 08:58 Page 1 guestmaster@pluscardenabbey.org



he 2019 Pluscarden Pentecost Lectures will be held between 11 – 13 June, titled “Beauty Will Save The World” – A theological and pastoral reflection on the role of beauty in the life of the Church. The series will consist of four talks by Father Martin Boland. These lectures will contend that without beauty, the Church becomes less attractive and the good news of God’s grace is expressed with less clarity and conviction. When the beauty of the Church is celebrated, men and women will develop a deeper appreciation of the transcendence of the Triune God.

Jericho Benedictines 1/8th Page

Combine the Spiritual Life with the running of ‘Jericho Inns’ for those being passed by on the other side’ The Drug & Alcohol Addicted Victims of Domestic Violence Homeless Men & Women Holidays for those on low income Enquiries & donations gratefully received Fr. James Monastery of Jesus, Harelaw Farm KILBARCHAN Renfrewshire PA10 2PY

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Thanksgiving Mass for Jubilarians


special Mass was celebrated at noon on Monday 11th March at Saint Mary’s Cathedral to honour the anniversaries of ordination of three members of our presbyterate and one deacon: Bishop Emeritus Peter Moran – 60 years; Canon Peter Barry – 50 years; Fr. Derick McCulloch – 25 years and Deacon John Woodside – 25 years. This adds up to 160 years of service! Of this wonderful event commemorating 160 years of service Vicar General and celebrant Fr Domenico Zanre said: “Our Jubilarians’ Mass in St. Mary’s Cathedral was a marvellous occasion for the entire Roman Catholic Diocese of

Aberdeen, as well as for all our friends and colleagues outwith the Catholic community, who know and appreciate the immense work our four Jubilarians have undertaken over the years. Between them, these men have served the Church for 160 years, and we are rightly proud! This wonderful achievement is a real testimony to their own faith and devotion, and it offers us an example of what true Christian discipleship means. In an age when the values of steadfast commitment and humble, loving service are often praised but seldom practised, our Jubilarians stand out as shining beacons of joy and hope for us all. We wish them many more happy years – ad multos annos!”

Bishop Emeritus Peter Moran

“On this sixtieth anniversary I thank God for all the people I will mention. First of all Joe and Gertie my parents for their love and their splendid example. Then my brother, my three sisters, clergy colleagues – deacons, priests and of course bishops. In a special way I thank parishioners at Blairs, Inverurie and Fortrose for support, appreciation and also for criticism, hard to take at the time, but valuable. Finally, I thank God that so many years have been spent in the beautiful landscape of the Diocese of Aberdeen."

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DIOCESE Father Derick McCulloch

“After school I applied for training as a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and after completing my degree in Edinburgh University I was ordained into the Ministry of the Anglican church in 1974. I converted to the Roman Catholic Church just over 30 years ago. After seminary training I returned to work in the diocese as a deacon 26 years ago. It was all part of a pilgrimage that is not yet ended.”

Canon Peter Barry

“As I reflect on this Mass, I dream of a church in the spirit of Saint Francis: warm, welcoming, meeting joyfully in prayer. A church which lives by the Word of God, with an inspiring liturgy, relevant homily, reaching out to those who have no resources of their own except the love we offer.”

Deacon John Woodside

“Today’s celebration of the Jubilee Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral in Aberdeen with Bishop Emeritus Peter, Canon Peter and Father Derick, is a special opportunity to personally thank God for His many graces and blessings throughout my 25 years of diaconal ministry in the Diocese of Aberdeen, the wider Church throughout Scotland, and among the people of Aberdeenshire. I have learned and loved much, and to those who have accompanied me on this joyful Pilgrimage of Service, especially my wife and family, friends and colleagues, I am eternally grateful for your unconditional love and support. To the co-Jubilarians, I add my congratulations on your anniversaries of ordination, and join many others in offering best wishes and prayers for the years ahead." Photographs courtesy of Michal Wachucik of Abermedia

Presentation to Good Samaritan


embers of the Aberdeen Branch of the Samaritans hosted a Tea Party at Northcote Care Home to present Margaret Smith BEM with a framed certificate making her an Honorary Samaritan following over 40 years service as a volunteer with them. Margaret has held various positions in the group including Chairman and Training Co-ordinator. Fr Mark Impson and Joyce and Gordon Webster were invited to attend as friends of Margaret. She was delighted and quite overwhelmed at the presentation which also included a canvas compilation of photos over the years, flowers and a beautiful cake. Page 5


Papal medals for Inverness parishioners


wo Inverness parishioners have received special papal awards from Pope Francis. The Parish of St. Columba’s Church at Culloden celebrated the awarding of two Benemerenti papal awards from Pope Francis to two extremely dedicated and devoted members of the parish. Although the new church building at Tower Road, Culloden only celebrated its 10th anniversary on 1st November 2018, the growing congregation had been gathering for Sunday Mass for over 30 years prior to that in the nearby gym hall at Duncan Forbes Primary School. Parish priest, Fr. Domenico Zanrè explained that Ewen Macdonald and Helen MacGilp have been most generous of their time and abundant talents. They have helped to create, nurture and grow the church community around Culloden over many years. Instantly recognisable to visitors and parishioners alike, as they’ve both been Eucharistic Ministers, Catechists, Readers and dedicated volunteers in all church related matters, too numerous to mention. Helen is a busy young grandmother and has recently moved house from the village of Balloch, across the city, and as a result is now stepping down from her many dedicated years of volunteering and being the church Sacristan and main keyholder. She saw her role at St. Columba’s as part of her "lay vocation". Helen is intimately involved in the Secular Franciscan movement, as the local "General Minister" for Scotland. She organises and chairs monthly meetings of the Secular Franciscans in the Highland region, and attends conferences and workshops throughout the UK and Europe. In addition she volunteered with the Citizens Advice Bureau for several years. Ewen is a local solicitor and senior partner in family law firm, Anderson, Shaw & Gilbert. He has been secretary, chairman and currently treasurer to the parish, and involved in the Fabric and Finance Committee over many years. Ewen was first invited to be deanery team advisor for finance by the then Bishop of Aberdeen, Bishop Peter Moran. Ewen is a Catechist

Armistice Day ringers


n 11 November 2018, 100 years since the Armistice, bells rang out in unison from churches and cathedrals in villages, towns and cities across the country. St Mary’s Peterhead parishioners, Philippa, Ellen,Tom and Georgette joined other churches in the UK in ringing their bell at 11am.

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Fr. Domenico Zanrè with Ewen Macdonald and Helen MacGilp and has led the weekly Children’s Liturgy since 1998. Helen is the principal Catechist of the parish, and she and Ewen shared the preparation of candidates for the sacraments of First Confession, First Communion and Confirmation. During the past year, the church estate at Culloden has been developed further, with the building of a new private nursery (for Green Tree Nursery of Smithton), and the sale of two house plots in adjoining woodland. The net proceeds of these sales has helped to build the presbytery for the parish priest. Ewen has expertly guided the parish through the entire legal process and Fr. Domenico moved into the newly completed house beside the church on Hogmanay. Fr. Domenico thanked them both for their years of outstanding dedication in transmitting the Catholic faith to the next generation, and for all their many contributions to the wellbeing of the church and its growing parish community. He hoped that their examples of faith and generous volunteering, along with those of many other helpers at the parish, would inspire others to give of their talents and spare a few hours to help with the smooth running of a busy and vibrant community. The Benemerenti Medal is a honour awarded by the Pope to members of the clergy and laity for outstanding service to the Catholic Church. Duncan Macpherson


How shall I sing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Land? BY JOHN HORTON


uesday 5th September 2017 is a date that is permanently etched in my memory! This was the day that I began my journey north to begin a new life in Aberdeen. I must confess that I felt a great deal of excitement that was tinged with an element of trepidation as I ventured into the unknown – leaving my home city of Manchester to begin a new adventure here in the north-east of Scotland. Having spent a year here already, I feel that Aberdeen is home and though I travel back to Manchester regularly, I always feel joyful when I cross the border at Gretna. But why am I here? I never expected or intended to move to another country, but it has become evident to me that God has a plan for us all! His intentions for us can unfold slowly over many years or come hurtling at us like a bolt from the blue. It was certainly the latter in my personal experience – I saw the advertisement for this exciting new role – Diocesan Choral Director for Catholic Schools - in May and had moved here just three short months later. The brief I received was somewhat sparse – to develop a singing programme for delivery in the Catholic Primary Schools so as to introduce children to the rich musical heritage of the Catholic Church and ensure that our musical traditions are preserved and passed on to future generations. These elements gave me a framework to develop the role and are at the heart of all my efforts. I have been able to draw on my many years working in music education in both the primary and secondary sectors and my diverse experiences working as a church musician. The children have responded well to the challenge of singing plainsong in both Latin and English and have learned a variety of hymns and religious songs as well as singing items from the secular repertoire – a particular favourite are the songs performed by the Beatles especially Yellow Submarine and Eleanor Rigby to name two. The challenges of this role have been numerous – to develop a singing programme in seven schools across three counties, build successful choirs in the schools and translate this into the development of an auditioned choir that will contribute to the musical and spiritual life of St. Mary’s Cathedral, the city of Aberdeen and the Diocese as a whole. I spent my first two terms teaching at the three schools in Aberdeen before extending my portfolio to the schools in Keith, Buckie, Elgin and Inverness. The children have been able to demonstrate their newly-acquired skills in a variety of sacred and secular settings. Among these events, the most notable were the Diocesan Carol Service, the blessing of the crib in St. Nicholas’ Kirkyard, a performance of Cinderella Rockerfella, P7 pupils singing Candlemas antiphons at the Cathedral, a performance of Resurrection Rock, two masses to celebrate the centenary of the 1918 Education Act, the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Pluscarden Abbey and a performance of The Lion King. My second year has seen an increase of the scope of my

Diocesan Children’s Choral Director, John Horton responsibilities. A workshop was held on Saturday 13th October 2018 which was attended by 25 or so children, most from our Catholic schools in the city, and a few from other schools. Auditions were held in early November for all who were able to take advantage of this unique opportunity and the successful candidates became the founding members of the Cathedral Junior Schola. This new children’s choir sang for the first time on the First Sunday of Advent in December 2018. The children attend a rehearsal every Thursday during term time and learn how to maximise the potential of their voices as well as learning how to read music. I would like to close by thanking Mr. David Meiklejohn and Dr. Shelagh Noden for their support and friendship throughout this first year. Their input has made the momentous task of building a new career and life here much easier. There are also many people, too numerous to mention here, that have welcomed and supported me through the transition to the extent that I now feel fully equipped to sing the Lord’s song in a land that is no longer strange! Page 7


Rare vestments on display at Blairs


set of vestments belonging to Henry Benedict Stuart, the younger son of James Frances Edward Stuart and brother of Charles Edward Stuart, are to be displayed at Blairs Museum, Aberdeen, this year. The vestments are on loan from the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh and were originally the property of the order of the Ursulines of Jesus. The sisters, based at St Margaret's Convent in Edinburgh, were the founders of the first convent in Scotland after the Reformation. The vestments were then deposited in the Scottish Catholic Archives with other objects and records of the Ursulines of Jesus after the Convent closed in 2008. Blairs curator Amy Miller commented, "We are thrilled to have these vestments on loan to the Museum. They shed light on the life of an oft-overlooked member of the famous Stuart family. Henry Benedict Stuart, the Cardinal Duke of York, was one of the longest-serving Cardinals in church history." The vestments on display at Blairs Museum allude to more prosperous times in Cardinal York's life. They are made of cloth of silver, a costly material as it includes delicate threads made from pure silver woven throughout the fabric. They also show very little sign of wear, which would suggest that they were once one of many sets of vestments he had to choose from. "It's amazing that this set of vestments has aged so well over

Prince Henry Benedict Stuart (1725 – 1807), Cardinal Duke of York by unknown artist. © Scottish Catholic Heritage Collections Trust Page 8

the past 250 years," remarked Amy. "The cloth is dazzling under spotlights and one can imagine how magnificent they would have looked on Cardinal York. It would have been a spectacular sight to behold." Blairs Museum will also host the second half of the exhibition The Grand Tour: Monument and Fantasy. Continuing from last year's successful exhibition, the display will feature 30 additional prints by master engraver Giovanni Battista Piranesi, this time journeying through the monumental buildings of St Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum and the Pantheon before reaching the fantastical imperial villa at Tivoli, where Piranesi brings his sense of antiquity, architecture, engineering, theatricality and imagination to riotous frenzy. Blairs Museum is open weekends from Saturday 6 April until Sunday 29 September. Hours: Saturdays 10 am to 4.30 pm and Sundays from 12 noon to 4.30 pm. Admission charges apply: Adults £4.00, Concessions £3.00. For more details contact curator@blairsmuseum.org.uk or Tel: 01224 863 767 or follow www.facebook.com/BlairsMuseum/ Blairs Museum is located at Blairs Estate, South Deeside Road, Aberdeen. AB12 5YQ


orn in Rome, Henry spent his entire life in continental Europe. He assisted his more famous brother, Charles Edward Stuart, prepare for the illfated Jacobite uprising by travelling to France to solicit aid from King Louis XV. He was given command of 10,000 men but the troops never left Dunkirk as the defeated Charles returned from Scotland in 1746. The next year, Pope Benedict XIV created Henry as Cardinal-Deacon of Santa Maria in Campitelli in Rome. Shortly thereafter, at age 24, he was ordained a priest. Although Henry's church career was supported by his father, his brother Charles disapproved as he believed his affirmed Catholicism would further alienate the English and Scots against the Stuart family. Henry was again promoted in 1751, becoming the ArchPriest of the Vatican Basilica. In 1758 he was named Cardinal York Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals, and was further named Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati, a city located 12 miles from Rome, in 1761. Cardinal York received a sizeable income generated from ecclesiastical preferments, income from Abbeys in Spain and France, and from investments in the Spanish Americas. He lived and worked primarily in Frascati during this period. At the time of his death in 1807, Henry had lost most of his fortune. He had helped Pope Pius VI pay a sizeable ransom to avoid the sacking of Rome during the Napoleonic invasion and many of his sources of income were lost during this tumultuous period. With his property in Frascati seized by the invading French armies, he fled to Venice. There, the British Minister arranged for him to receive an annual annuity of £4,000 from King George III, which supported him during his last years.


"… on the Feast of Stephen"


ltar Server, Simon Winstanley, who currently serves at Mass every Sunday in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Aberdeen, was Instituted as an Acolyte on the 26th December last year, on the Feast of St Stephen. Simon, who originally comes from the parish of St Stephen, Skipton, North Yorkshire, was enrolled into the Guild of St. Stephen for Altar Servers in 1991, received the Guild's Silver Medal in 2006, and then the Silver Medal of Merit in 2012. In his homily, Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB spoke about the role of the Acolyte in the celebration of Mass. Then, assisted by Father Emmet O’Dowd and Deacon Tony Schmitz, he invited those present to pray for Simon. The words of institution were then proclaimed by Bishop Hugh who also presented Simon with a chalice filled with wine, to be used in the preparation of the gifts. Simon is also President of the Aberdeen Circle of the Catenians and seven Catenians were present in Church to witness the ceremony of Simon’s Institution as an Acolyte. George Brand (Cathedral and Diocesan Master of Ceremonies)

Ogilvie encourages us to grow together in the love of Christ “Together in Christ” is our diocesan motto and many events put on by the Ogilvie Centre have that very aim in view! Since November 2016, the Ogilvie Centre has been running Philip’s Course retreats at Kilcoy Castle for men and women to experience the personal love of Christ and the message of the Gospel directed specifically to each person. These retreats have drawn several people from three deaneries within the diocese of Aberdeen and have been a source of renewal for the Church in our area. Participants often desire to stay in contact and consequently, two Mothers' Prayers groups, two Women’s Bible Study groups, and two Men’s Breakfast Groups are now in full swing. Many participants have also increased their involvement in the lives of their parishes through helping with catechesis, attending pilgrimages, and giving personal witness. Stay tuned for these Philip’s Course retreats to be offered again in the autumn! Those interested in the convergence of faith and Scottish culture will not want to miss the symposium, “Faith in the North: Reviving Cultures” at Pluscarden Abbey 3-5 May 2019! Andreas Wolff, BBC Alba Correspondent and journalist for the Scottish Catholic Observer, will begin the symposium on Friday at 7:30 with a lecture on “Current Issues in the Scottish Cultural Revival”. Bishop Hugh will speak Saturday morning on the “Convergence of Faith and Culture” and Lesley Findlay will round out the morning with a talk on “Historical Figures of the Scottish Catholic Cultural Revival.” A Gaelic-language Mass will be offered at Pluscarden Abbey. Linden Bicket, lecturer at the University of Edinburgh will enlighten us

Simon Winstanley with Fr Emmet O'Dowd, Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB and Deacon Tony Schmitz

For New Evangelisation & Catechism RC Diocese of Aberdeen

on Saturday afternoon about the Catholic imagination of the Scottish literary figure George Mackay Brown. Iain MacGillivray will complete the day with traditional Scottish music and reflections of his own experience as a Catholic in the Scottish cultural revival. Sunday will be a day to reflect on the themes which emerged over the weekend. Registration is strongly encouraged by contacting ogilvie@rcda.scot. Saturday 8 June will see the return of the popular faithrally, “Power of Grace,” for all recently (and not-so-recently) confirmed youth, ages 11-18. This day features live music, talks and workshops, team-building games, Mass and Adoration and is a wonderful way for our teens to connect with their peers from across the diocese. Email ogilvie@rcda. scot for registration! The Ogilvie Centre is excited to welcome David Wells, a popular, humorous, and thought-provoking Catholic teacher, speaker, and author to the diocese this September. He has often featured in CAFÉ media resources. Mark your calendars for 20-22 September as David will come to speak in the different deaneries about “Can What Matters to Me Matter to Someone Else?” reflecting on witnessing and passing on the faith to those around us. Locations are soon to be determined, and we will advertise on the diocesan website with more details shortly. All of these wonderful events do not happen without the continued support of our parishes and without your own attendance! Thank you to all who have taken part or who will take part in the events offered through the Ogilvie Centre in 2019. May we continue to grow together in Christ! Page 9


Jubilation as Aberdeen's Syro-Malabar community acquire "Mission" status

The Syro-Malabar community with Bishop Joseph Srampickal ,Cardinal Alencherry, Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB and concelebrants


faithful were witness to this historic event. Cardinal Alencherry was given a warm welcome at Holy Family as it has been the place of worship for the Syro-Malabar community in Aberdeen in recent years. The solemn SyroMalabar Qurbana (Mass) was celebrated by Cardinal Mar George Alencherry assisted by Bishop Hugh, Bishop Mar Joseph Srampickal and clergy from the Aberdeen Deanery. It was at the beginning of the liturgy that Cardinal Mar Alencherry declared the existing Syro-Malabar community as a Mission and renamed it "St. Mary’s Syro-Malabar Mission, Aberdeen". This is an important step in the process of acquiring the status of a fully-fledged parish. Regional coordinator Fr. Joseph Vembadumthara VC read the decree regarding the establishment of the Mission. In his homily, Cardinal Alencherry implored the congregation to preserve the patrimony and heritage of the Syro-Malabar church by implementing its deep-rooted spirituality in the local community. The community's trustee, Antu Thekkekkara thanked all of those who had attended the ceremony which concluded in the church hall with an "agape" and an opportunity to enjoy some delicious Indian cuisine. Those who were present at the ceremony unanimously expressed their feelings that it was an occasion of heavenly grace and abundant spiritual blessings for the Syro-Malabar Catholics in Aberdeen. Bishop Hugh commented, "The Liturgy was as colourful, prayerful and participative as one would expect. The church of Front - Bishop Hugh Gilbert, Cardinal George Alencherry, Bishop Joseph Srampickal, Fr. Joseph Pinakkattu (Syro-Malabar chaplain) the Holy Family, Mastrick was packed for the event and the rafters rang with joyful song. The diocese Back - Deacon Tony Schmitz, Fr. Rogi Narithookkil, Fr. Joseph Vembaduthara VC, Deacon Doug Duncan, Fr. Fanswa Pathil of Aberdeen is blessed to have such a community

he 23rd November, 2018 was a day of profound joy and exuberant jubilation for the Syro-Malabar faithful in Aberdeen. In a heavenly atmosphere of praise and hymns at a special Mass at Holy Family Church, Mastrick, His Eminence Mar George Cardinal Alencherry, the head of the Syro-Malabar Church, raised St. Mary’s, Syro-Malabar to the status of "Mission". Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB, Bishop Mar Joseph Srampickal (bishop of the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Great Britain), Fr. Joseph Vembaduthara VC, Fr. Rogi Narithookkil CST, Fr. Fanswa Pathil, Fr. Joseph Pinakkattu (Syro-Malabar Chaplain), Deacons Tony Schmitz and Doug Duncan and hundreds of

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Sunday school children with Cardinal Alencherry

Fr Joseph Pinakkattu described the choir's singing as "angelic".

in its midst." The Syro-Malabar Church is an Eastern Catholic Major Archiepiscopal Church which has its headquarters in Kerala, India and is a sui iuris (a distinct community of faithful within a rite of the Church) in full communion with the Holy See in Rome and the worldwide Catholic Church. The Syro-Malabar

Eparchy of Great Britain (for the Syro-Malabar faithful in England, Scotland & Wales) was established on 28th July, 2016 by Pope Francis with its see in Preston. It is one of the 32 dioceses of the Syro-Malabar church. Fr.Joseph Pinakkattu , Syro-Malabar Chaplain

Malaviya Seven seafarers revisited


n the sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, we heard Luke’s version of the Beatitudes: “Happy are you who are poor, yours is the kingdom of God". This immediately took me back to a few days earlier when I had visited several places in Mumbai for those in need, both mentally and physically. I particularly remembered a centre where the nuns and volunteers were looking after over 150 girls from one month old to the age of 16, who had been abandoned as children on the streets of India. My visit to these parts was to include a trip to Goa in India, then on to Sri Lanka, and finally finishing off in Mumbai, back in India. It was to be a truly soul searching experience and was all due to my involvement as Apostleship of the

Malaviya Seven Second Officer Rahul Sharm, Chief officer Bamadev Swain, Deacon Doug Duncan and Captain Ashish Prabhakar in Mumbai

Sea Port Chaplain in Aberdeen with a number of Indian seafarers who also had been abandoned and required spiritual and practical care. The Malaviya Seven seafarers had been left stranded on their vessel in Aberdeen for more than a year as they fought to be paid. Now they, and another seafarer, a Sri Lankan fisherman who had lost his hand due to a bad accident on board a fishing vessel in Fraserburgh, wanted to express their thanks for all the support they had received from the Apostleship of the Sea during their ordeal. I was a little concerned about the political unrest in Sri Lanka but I put my trust in God and set off to Goa, where I was to stay with a former crew member of the Malaviya Seven, Valentine D'Souza and his family. It was a 36-hour journey from Aberdeen and I arrived tired though still eager to explore, even though the temperature was in the thirties! I was welcomed by an even more excited Valentine. During the drive to his home we recalled the time when I had taken him on the Diocesan pilgrimage to Pluscarden, and he recounted to me many of his other experiences during his exile in Aberdeen. From Goa I travelled to Sri Lanka where I was met by Dilip (24) who had lost his hand only three months after arriving in Fraserburgh on a 12-month contract. Our success in enabling him to receive full compensation from his employer has ensured that he will be able to support his family in the future. He will invest some of his compensation award in a decent fishing boat, as both he and his father had previously fished for tuna prior to Dilip's working in the Scottish fishing industry. It was then on to Mumbai via Chennai where Captain Ashish, former master from the Malaviya Seven, met a tired deacon. Mumbai is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra and the most populous city in India: the noise Page 11

DIOCESE of traffic and the honking of horns; the non-stop chatter from the multitude of taxi drivers looking for business was almost overwhelming. The journey to my Juhu Beach hotel was driven by an Indian Jackie Stewart who made full use of his horn! The places we visited not only included homes for the sick and needy but also for others in spiritual need and included churches, cathedrals and temples and even the Iskcon Hare Krishna Centre.

Although I saw little of the diaconate works taking place in Mumbai it was wonderful to be invited several times to serve and proclaim the Gospel at Mass. The whole experience has been a blessing in so many ways, not least being part of these wonderful people’s lives. Deacon Doug Duncan is Apostleship of the Sea Port Chaplain for Aberdeen and Northeast Scotland.

Tomintoul Centre impresses with a dark shade of grey


hen the "Time Out Group" of ladies from St Mary's, Stonehaven visited the St Michael's Centre, Tomintoul, last September they were amazed to find that the Chapel had been repainted in a very unusual colour......dark grey! As you can see the effect is stunning. The group always look forward to their weekend visits to the centre twice a year which are organised by parishioner Lil Wood.

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Here’s how to realise the power of gifting... A serie s looks which at som e practic al issu e and co s nc everyd erns of ay life.



he power of gifting is clear when you look closely around our city. There are flats on the Spital erected by The Aberdeen Voluntary Housing Trust whose first hundred pounds – not insignificant in 1934 – was fund-raised by The Aberdeen Mother and Child Welfare Association, parks and gardens gifted by generous philanthropists and more recently it was reported in The Press and Journal that the University of Aberdeen received over a million pounds from Sheila Ferres MBE’s Estate. In 1880 Lady Elizabeth Crombie Duthie bought the 44 acre estate of Arthurseat, following receipt of an inheritance from her brother and uncle, and gifted it to the City of Aberdeen. Lady Duthie wanted the park to be a memorial to these family members, both of whom were prominent lawyers, respectively a Writer to the Signet in Edinburgh and an Advocate in Aberdeen. It was declared that the park be “available for all classes of citizens, that it should have a broad expanse of grassy sward upon which the young might indulge in innocent frolic and play…”. On a smaller scale, Johnston Gardens were again gifted to the City. This was much later, in 1936, and they currently offer a green space contrast to the Kepplestone Apartments, which appear in the nearby skyline. The rules surrounding gifting are complicated and while you may not be able to gift another park to the City, you may be able to assist family members, friends and charities. You certainly do not need to be another Andrew Carnegie to help to exercise the power of gifting. Gifts, and indeed legacies, can be of enormous benefit to those who receive them, and in addition can have tax benefits for you and your estate as I will now outline. You have an annual gifting exemption of £3,000 as well as a small gift exemption of £250. If you have not used your


annual exemption in one year you can carry it forward to the next year – potentially giving you the option to gift £6,000 in one year. You can make gifts of £250.00 to as many people as you want. There is also the opportunity to make larger gifts when it comes to marriage and these range from £5,000 to a child, £2,500 to a grandchild and £1,000 to any person unrelated to you. For those with more disposable income than they require there are rules which allow you to gift more than the annual exemption if after your normal expenditure you have surplus income. It is best to get advice on this exemption as the rules are not particularly straightforward. You would need to show a pattern of gifting that does not impinge on your lifestyle. Any gifts in excess of these allowances are potentially liable to Inheritance Tax, but only if you pass away within seven years of making the gifts, so if you are considering making gifts, the sooner you do so the better. Making gifts, or leaving legacies in your Will, to registered charities (including your Church) are also exempt from Inheritance Tax, and so are gifts to certain political parties. It’s also worth knowing that if you leave 10% or more of your estate to charities, the rate of Inheritance Tax payable on the rest of your estate will be reduced by 10%, which will benefit your family and other beneficiaries. You could also help a grandchild with their living costs while at university – helping both the grandchild and their parents – and this would again be exempt. If you require further advice to implement your gifting wishes then I am always happy to assist. I can be contacted at: Michael.Kusznir@raeburns.co.uk or on 01224 651 428. Michael Kusznir is a solicitor at Raeburn Christie Clark & Wallace, Solicitors.

If you have access to the internet do take a look at some of the many inspiring talks and homilies given by Bishop Hugh Gilbert and other members of the clergy and which are now available on “You Tube”. These include videos of the Diocesan Faith Formation Seminars led by Bishop Hugh which cover a wide range of topics such as “Why does God allow evil?” and “The Seven Deadly Sins” . To access these videos just go to the You tube site and search for the Diocese of Aberdeen channel. Page 13



REQUIEM Mass for a much-loved parish priest took place on March 25 at Pluscarden Abbey on what would have been his 90th birthday. Monsignor Robert McDonald died peacefully in his Moray home town of Dufftown on March 14 at the age of 89. He was known for his pastoral dedication and gentle courtesy and was held in deep appreciation and affection. Mgr McDonald was born in Dufftown in March, 1929, the son of watchmaker father Charles and mother Marybel. From his family of four came another priest, the late Canon Bernard, and Mgr McDonald was a dear brother to Monica (A religious of the Society of the Sacred Heart). His twin John sadly died in infancy. After primary school he went on to Blairs College, near Aberdeen, and then the Seminary of St Sulpice, in Paris, before his ordination at St Mary’s, Dufftown. In 2012, he celebrated the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, having served in Aberdeen, Kirkwall, Dornie, Elgin and Inverness. In his homily for the Funeral Mass Bishop Hugh Gilbert observed, "It’s no small thing to have ministered as a priest to those the Holy Spirit has gathered for some 65 years. No small thing to have proclaimed the Gospel and lifted up the Body of Christ day after day through those years and all their changes, social and ecclesial. No little thing to have said to numbers past counting, ‘I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’, ‘I absolve you from your sins’. We can be grateful. It’s no waste of a life to have allowed the living Christ to live in word and sacrament in this one corner of time and place, for this small portion of humanity, over one long life-span, and to have done so simply, consistently, and


acques Cooke was the second of five children born to a British father (John) and a Belgian mother (MarieLouise nee Hollebecq). The family were living in Liege in Belgium when the Second World War broke out and they left the city by train, three hours before the first German troops arrived. They arrived in London on 24th May 1940. Jacques served with RAF Training Command during the latter stages of the Second World War and was on the verge of completing his training as a navigator, preparing to join Bomber Command when hostilities finally ended in August 1945. On demobilisation, Jacques studied Chemical Engineering at what was then Wolverhampton Technical College. In May 1947, he married Mary (‘Moira’) Patricia Corrigan, whom he had met prior to joining the Royal Air Force. Their first home together was in a small flat in Wolverhampton before moving to Whitehaven in 1950 after Jacques joined the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) to work at Windscale. In 1963, Jacques accepted a transfer to work at Dounreay, in Caithness, and the family moved to Thurso in May of that year. Jacques was an active member of St. Anne’s Catholic Church, Thurso, and for many years was a regular reader, choir member and altar server. With the support of Moira, Jacques began a course of study leading toward ordination as a deacon in the Catholic Church, the first layperson in Scotland to begin and then complete the training. Jacques took early retirement from the UKAEA in March

– generally – gracefully. Praise the Lord, as the charismatics say." Mgr McDonald was also a gifted editor and in his spare time he wrote booklets including Highland and other Recipes and Churches and Places of Catholic Interest in Moray. After retiring to Fochabers, he wrote the book Priests I Have Known and proceeds from its Monsignor Robert McDonald RIP 2014 publication went to help with the restoration of the Dufftown church in which he was ordained. As well as his work as a parish priest, Mgr McDonald held numerous responsibilities over the years, including Diocesan Treasurer, National Promoter of the Propagation of the Faith, Cathedral Canon, Dean of the Highland Deanery and Provost of the Aberdeen Chapter of Canons. Concluding his homily Bishop Hugh said, " It was good to have had him as one of the priests we have known. May angels carry him now to the heart of the Trinity. May the will of God be completed in him. May today’s Eucharist and the prayers of the Mother of God wing him to his rest. ‘God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will… And this will is for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once for all by Jesus Christ.’ Amen." After the Mass, Mgr Robert was laid to rest in Dufftown. 1986 to become a full-time deacon, initially in Caithness and then moving to Inverness to continue his ministry. Jacques and Moira celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary in May 2007. When Moira’s health began to fail in late 2009, she moved to Fairfield Care Home where Jacques visited her daily, spending many hours in her company until her death in January 2011. That same year Deacon Jacques Cooke RIP Jacques celebrated the 25th anniversary of his ordination. Jacques often said that he “could not have done it without her support”. The deaths of two of his sons, Anthony in 2013 and Christopher in 2016 were a cause of great sadness to him, In recent years he often remarked to those closest to him that he looked forward to re-joining Moira in what he firmly believed would be the life hereafter. Jacques finally passed away on March 25th whilst being read to from his breviary... Jacques is survived by his children, Pauline, Martin and Jacinta and his brother Robert Claude, six grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Jacques was a devoted son, husband, father, uncle, grandfather and great grandfather.


Dear Pope Francis, The Pope who can give a sentence for new life BY SR JANET FEARNS FMDM

“Dear Pope Francis, I don't know if you have ever been to where I live. I have grown up in a jungle of gangs and drugs and violence. I have seen people killed. I have been hurt. We have been victims of violence. It is hard to be young and surrounded by darkness. Pray for me that one day I will be free and be able to help other youth like you do.” How many Young Offenders have written from prison to ask a Pope for prayers, especially those who have life sentences which will, perhaps through their own fault, deny them the normal joys and sorrows of growing up? Yet this is exactly what a group of such youngsters in America did in 2013 on hearing that, on Maundy Thursday, instead of celebrating the Mass of the Lord’s Supper in St Peter’s, Pope Francis went to an institution like theirs, celebrated Mass with young criminals just like them, washed and kissed their feet and, in that simple gesture, showed them that a new and entirely different lifestyle could be theirs. Vatican Radio collected some of the letters: “Dear Pope Francis, I have never been to Rome. I do not know if it is near Los Angeles because all my youth I have only known my neighbourhood. I hope one day I will be given a second chance and receive a blessing from you and maybe even have my feet washed on Holy Thursday.” Dear Pope Francis, I know you have a good family. I am writing this letter to you because I know that my family is suffering because of me. I know I have done some bad things but I am not a bad kid and when last year in our big state we got a new law called SB9 this made me [and my] family happy because this is a beautiful message that we kids deserve a second chance.” We all make mistakes in growing up and inmates of Young Offenders Institutions are no different: they just ended up in court. Every Holy Thursday, Pope Francis meets people where they are rather than where he would like them to be. In 2013, knowing that some Young Offenders had no interest in religious matters, he broke with tradition and, instead of giving them a holy picture to mark his visit, gave an Easter egg. That gesture probably meant an enormous amount: the boys and girls whom he visited would have tossed a picture onto the top of a cupboard or a shelf or into a bin: they will cherish the memory of the Pope’s Easter egg, for the rest of their lives. It will always be a symbol of hope, a new life and of dreams for a future with happiness instead of sadness, frustration and despair. When he goes prison visiting, Pope Francis does not preach

a long homily packed with theology and long words. Instead he uses very simple words, useful as some of his listeners are illiterate. Actions speak louder than words. That is why, during his recent visit to Panama for World Youth Day, he went to the Las Garzas de Pacora Juvenile Detention Centre to meet with 180 youngsters who could not attend the main celebrations. He heard confessions, absolved sins and told the young people, “You are part of my family and I cannot leave you out in the cold; I cannot lose you along the way; I am here at your side.” Several years ago, when one of my Community worked as a prison chaplain, she unthinkingly rested her hand on an inmate’s shoulder as she negotiated her way through his untidy cell. To her amazement, the man burst into tears. “This is the first time that anybody has ever touched me in love”, he wept… and I think of two men who, when they were children, whenever they were naughty, their fathers raped them. Perhaps one or more of the Young Offenders was in a similar situation when the Pope not only washed and dried, but also kissed an outstretched and heavily tattooed foot? When Pope Francis distributed Easter eggs, one Catholic broadcasting network tried to explain “what Pope Francis was really saying”. Several bloggers castigated him because “the Pope did not preach Catholic doctrine”. Did he not practise the Gospel that he preaches in a language that was relevant and meaningful to those in his care – and that of the State? Amazingly, when, as Pope, Francis first visited a Young Offenders Institution on Maundy Thursday, one young priest wrote, “How can I speak about such things - the self-offering of Christ - when our Holy Father is witnessing to something different? I feel like going up to the congregation and saying, ‘I don't have any idea what the symbolism of the washing of the feet is. Why don't we just all do what we want?’” Another complained that it is sufficient that “St John Bosco was allowed to take children on a daytrip of Youth Offenders and to have them back, under lock and key by a certain time. Therefore, there was no need for Pope Francis [to visit a] prison.” I am reminded of the teenage boy Alessandro Serenelli, who murdered St Maria Goretti on 6 July 1902 and was subsequently sentenced to 30 years of hard labour. On his release, Serenelli joined a Capuchin Friary as a laybrother and spent the next 24 years working in the garden and doing penance. He was present at Maria’s canonisation. When he died, aged 80, on 6 May 1970, who is not to say that Jesus – and Maria Goretti – welcomed him with open arms? Likewise, there is every possibility that the visit of a Pope to a juvenile detention facility, for some of its inmates, changed a life sentence into a sentence for new life and hope for themselves and the rest of society.

Page 15


Facing the challenge of political engagement


his year in Scotland the Day of Prayer for Peace took place on Sunday 6th January, the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. To mark the occasion, Bishop William Nolan of Galloway, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland Justice and Peace Commission, released a short, but important letter on the theme of ‘political engagement’. This letter provides much for us to reflect on in these politically difficult times. Bishop Nolan starts his letter with a reference to Winston Churchill’s well-known quip about democracy being ‘the worst form of government’ except for all the other kinds – a serious point, humorously made. The Bishop recognises that, paradoxically, many people living in democratic countries feel alienated from governments which seem remote and out of touch. However, despite their flaws, democratic systems do provide paths for people to work together for good governance. He wisely notes that individuals, however capable or determined, are limited and are unable to solve the great issues facing us. In fact, the issues the letter highlights, ‘climate change, war and conflict, global poverty, refugees and migrants’, cannot be addressed effectively even by large and powerful nation states: they require international solidarity and cooperation. We can disagree with and oppose the policies that our

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governments implement. However, we are free to use democratic channels to persuade them to advance the common good, in accordance with the deep values of our Catholic faith, ‘to act for peace, to welcome the stranger, to care for the environment, to protect the unborn and the elderly.’ Yes, we can vote whenever there is an election, but we are also called to more active engagement. Bishop Nolan notes that political parties choose the candidates that they put before the electorate; therefore, Catholics need to be members of parties in order to influence these decisions. Catholic members of political parties, who are committed followers of Christ, are, in the words of Pope Francis, ‘courageous, because politics is a sort of daily martyrdom: to seek the common good without allowing oneself to be corrupted’. Even if joining a political party is not for us, we can still help form the public opinion that democratic governments and politicians respond to. We can let them know what we think and tell them about the issues we care about. The Bishop does not mention it in his letter, but the effort, supported by Justice and Peace Scotland and SCIAF as members of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, to have constituents contact their MSPs to encourage support for a strengthened Climate Change Bill, is an example of this. Bishop Nolan observes that citizens in democracies are obliged to participate in the political system that governs them. After invoking the powerful and prophetic figure of John the Baptist, the Bishop ends the letter with a stirring challenge: Christians are called to be a voice for the voiceless, a voice upholding the dignity of every human person, a voice proclaiming the values of Jesus Christ, a voice urging governments and politicians and those in power to act always for the common good of all humanity. We are that voice: sometimes we may shout, sometimes we may whisper, but we are a voice that should never be silent. May we all respond to this challenge as devoted followers of Christ, true missionary disciples, led by the Spirit and confident in our faith. Kenneth Sadler Coordinator, the Justice & Peace Group at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Aberdeen



‘When Israel was a child I loved him… I myself taught Ephraim (a tribe of Israel) to walk, I myself took them by the arm, but they did not know that I was the one caring for them, that I was leading them with human ties, with leading-strings of love, That, with them, I was like someone lifting an infant to his cheek, and that I bent down to feed him’ (Hosea 11:1-4).


n the Old Testament, the word ‘father’ appears almost 700 times; when it is applied to God, it is as father of the nation Israel, or to individuals such as David. In the New Testament, on Jesus’ lips, the word takes on a completely new intimacy, frequently used for God the Father who sent his Son into the world, but also for my father and your father, inviting humankind into a new relationship with God. However, in the OT the image of father is often used as a metaphor – human fatherhood should imitate God’s loving, faithful and covenantal relationship with His people. What of fatherhood in our own time? It gets a very mixed press. On the one hand, we hear of ‘the new man’, the father who takes a more active role in the life of his child, changing nappies, pushing the pram, carrying the infant close to his heart; on the other hand, we hear increasingly of children being brought up without the presence of a father in their lives, by women who choose to exclude the fathers for various reasons, whether or not it is the choice of the fathers. This can cause much heartache. Another sad truth is that many people have had poor experiences with their fathers in childhood and may have a negative view of fatherhood. This tragedy may then be transmitted from generation to generation. Yet all human fatherhood ideally should imitate divine Fatherhood. I would like here simply to present three positive images of fatherhood to be found in literature. You may well have your own. Firstly, in the novel Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, set in 1956, in the fictional town of Gilead, Ohio, an elderly man writes a lengthy letter to his little son. Having lost a wife and child in his younger days, clergyman John Ames finds joy late in life when he marries a young woman who bears a son. Ames discovers that he has a weak heart and will not live to see his son grow up. There is so much he wishes to tell the boy, about life, about God, and about his family inheritance, facts that the boy is still too young to absorb. He therefore sets out to write a letter for his son to read when he has grown; a letter filled with love and wonder at the glories of God’s Creation and setting before the boy the richness of his family background. I read this book after a fiercely atheist colleague described it as ‘the most deeply Christian book he had ever read’! “I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. You may not remember me very well at all, and it may seem to you to be no great thing to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind. If only I had the words to tell you.” “Why do I love the thought of you old? The first twinge of arthritis in your knee is a thing I imagine Page 17

EDUCATION AND FORMATION with all the tenderness I felt when you showed me your imagine. And you’ll hear me. You have to practise. Just loose tooth. Be diligent in your prayers, old man. I hope don’t give up. Okay?” My third choice is a much-loved children’s story, The you will have seen more of the world than I ever got around to seeing—only myself to blame. And God bless Railway Children. Three children have been deprived of your eyes, and your hearing also, and of course your heart. their father when he is unjustly imprisoned for a crime he I wish I could help you carry the weight of many years. But did not commit. Only the eldest, Roberta, learns the truth of his absence and fervently sets out to help. Who can the Lord will have that fatherly satisfaction.” A completely different tale is The Road by Cormac fail to be moved by the outcome when, near the end of McCarthy, set in a post-apocalyptic Another sad truth is that the story, she wanders onto the station America, totally ravaged by nuclear war. many people have had poor platform and, in a daze of wonderment, This father also knows that he is dying experiences with their fathers sees her beloved father descend from and his desperation is to protect his small in childhood and may have a the London train: son from the dangers all around them as negative view of fatherhood. “‘Oh! My Daddy, my Daddy!’ That they travel down the long burned road This tragedy may then be scream went like a knife into the heart south, towards the hope of something transmitted from generation to of everyone in the train, and people put their heads out of the windows to see a better; frequently having to hide from generation. tall pale man with lips set in a thin close other survivors turned cruel and cannibal; constantly searching for a little food to keep them from line, and a little girl clinging to him with arms and legs, starving, but resolved never to become the ‘bad guys’. while his arms went tightly round her.” My own father was not a good father who, with no They are the 'good guys’, ‘carrying the fire.’ The man tells his son: “My job is to take care of you. I was appointed warning, when I was 7 years old, vanished one day out to do that by God.” It is a bleak story, but the image of of my life. Yet, in adulthood, it was a memory of him that returned to me and provided me with a positive image fatherhood is bright. “You have my whole heart. You always did. You’re the of fatherhood as it should be. A fierce snowstorm had best guy. You always were. If I’m not here you can still talk blown up one morning and my primary school was closed at lunchtime. The snow was too deep for my little legs to to me. You can talk to me and I’ll talk to you. You’ll see.” struggle through, but my father appeared and carried me “Will I hear you?” “Yes. You will. You will have to make it like talk that you home on his shoulders. I am grateful for that memory.

Pope Francis and classroom conversations BY Dr ANTONY LUBY "We are called to promote a culture of dialogue by every possible means and thus to rebuild the fabric of society. The culture of dialogue entails a true apprenticeship and a discipline that enables us to view others as valid dialogue partners... This culture of dialogue should be an integral part of the education imparted in our schools, cutting across disciplinary lines..."


ords from Pope Francis when accepting the Charlemagne Prize in May, 2016. The challenge is great: a rebuilding of society through a “culture of dialogue” but the challenge has already been taken up! Fifteen years ago I had the pleasure of establishing Roman Catholic RE (RCRE) across ten of Aberdeen City Council’s secondary schools and, with my colleagues’ help the number of students rose to almost two hundred. However, at the heart of this success there lies a conundrum: How to teach RCRE with students attending state schools? A confessional, catechetical approach did not seem appropriate given that the students usually encountered more critical approaches to belief. Unsure as how best to proceed, I undertook an academic journey that began with an MTh in Catholic Studies at Aberdeen University and ended with a PhD in Education Studies at Glasgow University. At the heart of these studies lay Page 18

the concept of "valid dialogue partners" as indicated by Pope Francis. My research began with twenty students from Aberdeen Grammar School, ten of whom were Catholic and ten of whom were not. With a reading stimulus of two texts – one about science and the supernatural and the other about historical Dr Antony Luby evidence for the authenticity of the Gospel – they engaged in paired conversations. Partnered with a critical friend they sought not only consensus and agreement (cumulative talk) but also constructive criticism and disagreement (exploratory talk). The quality of their conversations exceeded anything I have witnessed in the classroom. Overall, the students engaged amiably and thoughtfully as they encouraged each other to deepen their learning. The next step was to test these paired conversations with sixty-five students across ten UK schools, sited mostly in the East Midlands; and the students responded in a similar manner to those in Aberdeen. Their conversations, too, were mostly thought-provoking and deep. As one of the highlights of my professional career, this research suggests that the call of Pope Francis for a “culture of dialogue” can take firm root within the classrooms of today.


Oot an Aboot with Ron Smith Ron Smith takes a trip to France to visit the Basilica Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Vézelay, the largest Romanesque church in France and said to guard the relics of St. Mary Magdalen.


ézelay is in central France, not far from Dijon. In 1979 UNESCO awarded the village the status of “World Heritage”, and it is easy to see why. Driving to it, you suddenly see a jumble of houses, in a pyramid, rising up to the sky, with the bulk and tower of a tall church on the summit. There is a convenient lay-by for you to pull in and take some photos. When you arrive, leave the car and walk. The large gateway, Porte Neuve, the remains of a once massive structure, is part of the ramparts that once protected the entire village. The gateway funnels you upwards. Immediately on your right is the old church of St. Etienne. Every house you pass has something to make you stop and look. They are all old, all adapted over the centuries to different uses. The cellars were used to provide accommodation for pilgrims, there were so many coming here! At a fork in the road there is the wonderful tourist office. They will provide maps, and audio guides, and walking tours of Vézelay, and it is well worth a visit. Continuing upwards, the roadway snakes and turns, and facing you at another fork is a welcome café called “Les Six Fesses” by the locals! Keep going upwards. On your right is

An exterior view of the Basilica Church of St Magdalene. the Restaurant SY La Terrasse – a great place for good local food and specialities, and facing it is their historic Hotel Sy Les Glycines. You are now just in front of the entrance to the huge Basilica. The Basilica sits firmly anchored on top of this natural cone of rock, and has been a place of pilgrimage and Christian worship for over 1,000 years. In the 9th century it was a simple Benedictine monastery, but when the relics of Mary Magdalene were brought here, the volume of pilgrims created a demand for accommodation and food, and the income generated helped pay for the expansion of the church buildings. Vézelay is also a stopping point on the Camino route to St. James of Compostela, which brought still more pilgrims. In 1146 St. Bernard preached the 2nd crusade from here, and in 1216 the Franciscans built a monastery. Entering the Basilica, you go into an area that is a “prechurch”. It allowed pilgrims to adjust to the light, and also served as a place for non-believers to be in the church, but not in the holy part. The walls and screens are covered with biblical scenes designed to educate the mostly illiterate people. The main aisle is enormous, 18 metres high and 120 metres long. It is made from local sandstone some of which is a warm yellow colour, some a deep red, and the two colours are interspersed to create a harmonious pattern throughout the massive building. At the summer solstice (June 21st), the rising sun shines directly through the high end windows to create nine pools of light leading to the choir. At the winter solstice (December 21st), the light shines through the side windows to light up the 99 capitals along the north wall of the nave. Each capital is different, rather like a cartoon show of biblical scenes! At the eastern end is the chevet, with a semi circle of five chapels, each one lit by two windows and dedicated to different saints. It is such an awe inspiring building. Around it are other structures, including the remains of the monks’ refectory. This is not simply a tourist attraction – it is still a living and breathing church. There are resident monks and nuns in Vézelay, and Masses are celebrated daily. The Basilica is one of those places that takes you out of yourself, away from the day to day concerns of everyday life. The monks who designed and built this edifice had an amazing vision and the end result is simply breathtaking.

The central aisle of the Basilica of St Mary Magdalene. Page 19


Angels Unlimited



n the retirement arena, I find myself hovering between two schools of endeavour: that of employment and that of simple but productive pleasure. Both satisfy, and both demand. But one is yours: your philosophy; your creation; your stamp; your kingdom proper. The meaning of life is to discover your gift. Your purpose is to give it away. Angels Unlimited was designed to create a therapeutic and thought inducing means of occupation, affording opportunity to problem solve and reflect – to use time effectively and with gentle reverence. My interaction with works which are both holy and broken, is indeed a leap of faith. Beginning in Lent 2015, I discovered a dusty and forlorn statue in the choir loft of Our Lady of Mount Carmel church in Banff. On site I examined it and decided to clean it up and make some minor cosmetic improvements to its fabric. It would then be saved from the threat of being forgotten.

The Greyfriars Guardian Angel waiting for her wings to be finished. Page 20

Tina with the restored statue of Our Lady of Lourdes in St Joachim’s Church, Wick. Unsure of what I was dealing with, I replicated the matt finish and gold edging, but resisted any temptation to restructure the broken left hand of the Infant. That needs a bit more practice. Our Lady of Mount Carmel was given a special place in a window alcove of the parish house, with a new brown scapular. She received a blessing by Canon Alistair Doyle. Here she is admired by all visitors, and has even inspired some to offer their tired and broken angels for restoration. As a result of this inaugural challenge, a visiting member of the clergy remembered an angel. "I have an angel for you", he said. A year later it had not arrived, so I arranged to collect it, with its broken wings and damp feet. The Greyfriars Guardian Angel was collected from St Sylvester’s church in Elgin after morning Mass on the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, 12 September 2018. The main body, a broken wing, and many small plaster fragments, were secured in the car and transported to my workspace in Macduff. A fragment of newspaper embedded in the base of the statue was dated 1947 and mentioned the Ransom Pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham. One wing is broken, the other unstable. The heavy gloss paint is peeling, and there is a covering of dust. The angel’s left hand is missing, but is later found in a collection of fragments resident in a box, together with the severed wing. The statue is for the most part plaster, with several globules of unidentified filler. The piece is damp, crumbling and quite elderly. Against this background I am charged with the task of

FAITH AND CULTURE renovation. The reinforced cosmetic outer coating protects a sensitive inner substance that crumbles at the slightest touch. Its fragility is almost human. I have soul-searching decisions to make as to whether to attach the heavy wing section with an impact adhesive, and risk it fall falling off, reduce the wing size by half and Fragments of the statue of Our Lady redesign the plaster of Lourdes rescued from Thurso parish shape, or gently bind house garden. on the broken part with tape. At least this would prevent the broken section from falling off. Decisions and experiments continued. Watched in wonder and amazement by my neighbours, the angel evolved, contained within a mesh and plaster net, and finished with silicon. The wings slowly take shape, and the angel returns to Elgin on October 2nd, the feast of the Guardian Angels. Less than four months later, in January 2019, I glanced out of the kitchen window of St Anne’s parish house in Thurso,

Craig Lodge Family House of Prayer

Craig Lodge 1/4 Page Retreat Yourself!

April 26-28 - Healing Weekend, Fr Fraser &  Craig Lodge Community May 24-27 - Stronghold Festival, Youth 2000

June 7-9 – Pentecost Celebration, Fr Thomas Wilberforce June 21-23 – Family Weekend July 1-5 – Family Week July 22-26 – Family Week August 5-9 – Family Week September 13-15 – Healing Weekend with Canon Fraser & Living Water September 20-22 – Healing Weekend with Fr Pat Deegan Craig Lodge Family House of Prayer Dalmally, Argyll, PA33 1AR T: 01838200 216 E: mail@craiglodge.org Full details at: www.craiglodge.org

and saw the magnificent white statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, fragmented on the ground. Purchased in Lourdes by Fr Colin Davies, parish priest of Thurso and Wick, and transported to Scotland by bus, it was installed in the garden, where it became the victim of a severe winter storm. It fell and splintered into many pieces. The face, however, had remained intact. Fragments of Our Lady of Lourdes, retrieved from the garden were wrapped unceremoniously in a blanket and Fr Colin placed the trunk and fragments in the boot of my car. My first attempt at working with resin. It was not going to be easy. Fragmented and sharp pieces of resin pierced my fingers, and resisted many attempts at sticking together. I found myself standing by with filler and adhesive, plaster, tape and string, and a puzzle with no instruction or obvious starting point. Starting with the base was critical to maintain the shape, but it was damp and resistant to any attempt at adhesion. It took two full days before it was completely dry. Pieces of the head kept falling inside, and so I made cloth and plaster strips to underpin the resin shards and provide foundation. Restoring such work is not to enhance or personalise it, but to exactly recreate its original form, if possible with the same materials. However, these statues are mass produced, and any restoration presents an element of personalisation, as the work becomes complete and enriched. It was at this point that I remembered the sculptor Eric Gill and his holy tradition of working. Angels Unlimited mends works of religious significance. Restoration is a skill. Simple, prayerful and pleasing. A holy tradition of working can rarely be achieved by mass production. With reverence the fragments of a damaged holy statue quietly remind us of our human frailty and brokenness. Focus on the thoughtful part. Not the mechanical orderliness of the production line, but the realisation that the art of restoration lies with the ability to create individuality, and to re-form small broken fragments into something of beauty. There will be scars, but this is how history is made! Pray for guidance and add holiness to the mix. Ornaments, statues and icons, however humble, illustrate what we believe, and serve to focus our prayers. The statue is returned in time for the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes on 11th February. She takes her place in St Joachim’s church, Wick, where she temporarily replaces a Madonna whose wrists are broken. Angels Unlimited will be repairing the Madonna. Business, of a manageable size, is booming! Angels Unlimited may be contacted at harrislink44@gmail.com


Deeside Parish 1/8th Page

The Parish of Upper Deeside (Aboyne, Ballater and Braemar) has two of their residential properties available for long term rent. The first is a 2-bedroom flat in Ballater (rent £400 pcm)and the second is a 3-bedroom house in Aboyne (rent £650 pcm). Both are unfurnished. For further information call Claudia Leith on 07790881427 or 013398 86153 for Aboyne and Peter Gordon on 013397 55202 or 013397 55470 for Ballater.

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n Britain, the Easter Vigil is indeed the high point of the liturgical year, but in Africa it’s a much higher peak. In Ghana, Easter falls during one of the rainy seasons, and there the rain, as we say in the northeast, “doesn’t wait to come down” and there’s plenty of it when it comes. Our Easter fire is always outdoors, and a serious affair. Not everyone goes back to the days of kindling a fire with balls of newspaper, thin kindling, carefully-placed small bits of coal, and, if you’re cheating or desperate, a wee drop of paraffin: arson and pyromania are specialised skills! The fire’s got to last, and potentially survive heavy rain, so you need some hefty bits of wood for that, but that’s no good for getting it going. Dried palm fronds, about six feet long, are ideal for that, and you can stuff them in between the bigger bits of wood, until you have a conical mass six or seven feet high. It’s not a bad idea to put a tarpaulin or other covering over it. The Vigil begins at ten p.m. If the fire is a good one, you can light it ten or fifteen minutes earlier, and it’ll be away. The crowds gather, some having walked for hours through the bush, the celebrant vests, wearing wellies (it is the wet season!) and blesses the fire. We use real lumps of charcoal, from this or an earlier fire, and our incense is locally-produced from the gums of West African trees. Just as in Scotland, if the fire is a bit unruly, it can be difficult to approach. We set off with our home-made Paschal Candle and process to the cloister; the chapel’s too small (if we can get the money, we’ll build a proper one). It’s the tropics, so it’s been dark for hours. The lights are not that good, though we have a special one for over the altar, and it takes a while to pack everyone in. The readings are in English and one of the local languages, and you have to make sure that they’re in the right order, in both languages, and that none gets left out. The choir sings responses enthusiastically, swaying rhythmically, clapping, playing local instruments and drums. After the Gospel is the homily, you say a few words, and one of the Brothers translates. KISS, or “Keep It Simple, Stupid!” is a good principle here. It’s a good idea to be interactive, asking

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questions and otherwise involving the congregation. The Easter Water is in a 200-litre tank, everyone’s going to want a bottle to take away. The “font” is a large aluminium bowl, a couple of feet in diameter, and the water is poured from a calabash or gourd. The catechist or Godparent insists on turning the candidate’s head through ninety degrees for the baptism, I could never discover why, it looked most uncomfortable. Organising baptisms makes herding cats look simple. Each catechumen has a card, on which is written their name and the sacraments they are to receive. Some will be pre-school, some over 80. They can be a bit confused: “What’s your father’s name?” - “Daddy.” When dealing Hand painted paschal candle, with larger numbers – we Kristo Buase Monastery, Ghana had 86 one year – you have to corral the candidates in groups, moving them from one group to another as they complete different parts of the process, otherwise some would be baptised several times, and others missed out. We’re well after midnight by now, and some have fallen too asleep to baptise. You have to make sure the cards are marked with the sacraments received. Once that’s all over, you have the collection, everyone sings, everyone dances, and the space round the altar is reorganised for the rest of the Mass. There’s more dancing after the Communion. Mass ends about four a.m., but then there is the process of tidying up and getting out benches for people – mainly children – to sleep on, it would be too much to ask them to walk home in the dark, and not safe, they’d be in danger of stepping on snakes and other things. So, about 5 a.m., bed – but not to sleep! The excited children are making far too much noise for that. All too soon, the bell goes for Morning Prayer at 7 a.m., and the day is under way. Later there will be the day Mass, another long and energetic affair of several hours and much singing and dancing, and baptising anyone who got left out during the night. Then lunch, for which anyone can and does turn up – not quite feeding 5,000, but… Finally, utterly wabbit, siesta… Utterly exhausting, yes, but utterly rewarding, too. Paschal Joy in capitals, never to be forgotten, always to be remembered with gratitude.


Vincent Novello, church music’s unsung hero BY DR SHELAGH NODEN


ne of the unsung heroes of Catholic church music must be the composer and publisher, Vincent Novello. Born in London in 1781 to an Italian father and English mother, he was educated abroad like many Catholic children at that time. When the outbreak of war forced his return in 1793 he served as a chorister in the chapel of the Sardinian Embassy before becoming organist at successively the Sardinian, Spanish and Portuguese Embassy chapels. These chapels, being technically foreign soil, had been the only places in London where Mass could legally be celebrated prior to the Catholic Relief Act of 1778 and they had built up a thriving tradition of Catholic church music. (Scottish Catholics had to wait until 1793 for similar legislation.) Once British Catholics gained freedom of worship, they naturally wanted to revive singing as part of the liturgy, but there was a dearth of suitable music available to them. Vincent Novello addressed this. In 1811 he published, largely at his own expense, his ‘Collection of Sacred Music’. The collection included the Christmas hymn ‘Adeste Fideles’ which, because of its use by Novello at the

Portuguese Embassy chapel was for a long time known as the Portuguese Hymn. It was in fact composed by John Francis Wade (1711-1776). One of the new features in this work was the provision of a fully written out accompaniment for the organ. Previously organists had been expected to improvise their own accompaniment from a figured bass part. Novello’s innovation was not universally popular. Sir George Grove, writing later in the nineteenth century, suggested that organists were not happy that ‘much of the difficulty and mystery of their art was smoothed away and made clear and available for the less skilful’. The success of the collection encouraged Novello to produce more of the same, and in 1815 he produced ‘A Collection of Motetts [sic] for the Offertory’ which was in twelve volumes! This was followed in 1816 by ‘Twelve Easy Masses for Small Choirs’ and in 1822 by ‘The Evening Service’, again in twelve volumes. This collection contained music for Vespers (Evening Prayer), Compline and Tenebrae, and Novello announced that it provided ‘the whole of the Gregorian hymns for every principal festival throughout the year’. In 1816 Rev. Charles Gordon, of St Peter’s in Aberdeen, despatched his organist, Alexander Downie, to London to purchase suitable music for his newly formed choir. Downie returned with ‘a deal of not too difficult excellent music by Novello’. The trouble and expense of this journey shows how important church music was seen to be at this time, and must have provided some stimulation to Rev. George Gordon at Dufftown. In 1822 George Gordon produced the first volume of his own collection which borrows heavily from Novello’s printed works, and served to provide a local source of appropriate music for Scottish choirs. . A striking feature of Novello’s publications to this date is the way in which melodies written by major composers such as Mozart, Beethoven and others are used to set sacred texts. A short motet, ‘O Dulcis Passio’ was created from a duet in Mozart’s opera ‘La Clemenza di Tito’. It is hoped that few people would have realised that the original words were ‘Ah, take a sweet embrace’. This piece The Novello Family (Vincent at the keyboard) by appears in ‘Motetts for the Offertory’ with the Edward Petre Novello, circa 1830 Page 23

FAITH AND CULTURE accompanying note: ‘Mr Novello recommends this piece. It combines beauty with facility’. As organist and director of music at the Portuguese Embassy Novello performed some of the Masses by Haydn, Mozart and others. By the end of 1825 he had produced collections of Masses by Mozart and Haydn, complete with accompaniments for organ which he produced himself from the original orchestral scores. The Mozart collection includes the famous ‘Twelfth Mass’ which, together with his Requiem Mass, achieved great popularity in Britain. Subsequent research has shown, however, that it was not by Mozart at all, but was the work of the relatively unknown Wenzel Müller. Novello also produced editions of the sacred works of Purcell, and a number of pieces of church music by Italian composers, taken from manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. He also composed many pieces of

church music himself, with a clear focus on the needs and expectations of his intended purchasers. The publishing business continued under Vincent Novello’s son Alfred, who expanded its range considerably, and provided repertoire for the Anglican church as well as editions of oratorios such as Handel’s ‘Messiah’. Later the firm published the work of major composers such as Arthur Sullivan and Sir Edward Elgar, and at one stage even employed its own orchestra to promote its publications. In 2011 the company founded by Vincent Novello celebrated its two hundredth anniversary. Far from being merely a publisher of ‘old’ music, Novello’s has recently printed works by Malcolm Arnold, John McCabe, Richard Rodney Bennett, Thea Musgrave, Judith Weir, as well as the Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen. The company continues to reflect the pioneering attitudes of its founder, Catholic composer, organist and publisher, Vincent Novello.

Dornie in Kintail In the previous issue of the ‘Light of the North’ Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB contributed an interesting article documenting the history of the cult of St Duthac of Tain, ‘The Lives of St Duthac’. Now, historian Alasdair Roberts and artist Ann Dean recount the history of Dornie in Kintail and Dornie’s St Duthac’s church, regarded by some as ‘the prettiest church in the Highlands’. BY ALASDAIR ROBERTS & ANN DEAN


aint Duthac’s church at Dornie was regarded by the much-travelled Fort Augustus monk Odo Blundell as ‘the prettiest church in the Highlands’. The side altar windows have since kept up that reputation as the work of Patrick Reyntiens, Britain’s leading stained-glass expert. The Kintail mission may be said to have started with a Jesuit, Alexander MacRae. Early in the eighteenth century he reported from upper Strathglass: ‘There are under my charge about seven hundred souls, of whom three hundred and forty have by the mercy of God been brought into the bosom of our holy Mother the Church.’ There was cattle shieling in summer: ‘I cannot track them in the mountains. The huts they live in are so low and narrow that I am often obliged to sleep in the open air.’ Westward in his native Kintail he converted two cousins, and one of them was the Episcopalian minister’s son. The Protestant chapel was destroyed during the Jacobite period and some looked elsewhere. Bishop John MacDonald confirmed these new Catholics: ‘I think they are about sixty beside children, and are an entirely new acquisition except one family.’ The MacRaes were to produce another priest, but others fell away until a recovery was achieved by visits from Knoydart. The Rev. Austin MacDonald wrote in 1778 from the south shore of Loch Duich: ‘Six miles distant is the mission of Kintail, where only twenty years ago there was but one Catholic. At present there are from 300 to 400 converts, steadfast also in the Faith, although they are as yet improperly instructed.’ Most were in Glen Elchaig, at some distance from the sea. Departures for America reduced numbers once more, as recorded by Bishop Ranald MacDonald: ‘In Kintail where

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Saint Duthac’s, Dornie, “The prettiest church in the Highlands”. we started a Mission not very long since there are at least 200 Catholics, besides those who have emigrated. They are under the charge of Mr Christopher MacRae, a native of the place, now an old man, and a former student of Valladolid.’ Not so very old at the time, this clergyman served Kintail until his death in 1842 at the age of seventy-eight. By then Highland Catholics belonged to a new Western District centred on Glasgow, with Kintail becoming the responsibility of priests from Glenmoriston and Strathglass. Colin Grant, a future short-lived bishop of Aberdeen, described the journey through Glen Affric: ‘Many a weary step is there and many a peat hole must one put his hoof in between Glassburn and Dornie.’ Glassburn is near Cannich or Marydale, Sister Petra Clare’s former Highland base for icon-writing. Grant had grown up speaking the clipped dialect of Braemar Gaelic, but his subsequent studies in the language were of no help on the coast, ‘an intelligent member of the congregation’ commenting that the new priest ‘preached very well in Latin.’ Another Braemar man, James Lamont, was there as a resident priest. He objected to the ‘legion of Free Kirk devils who incessantly perambulate these parts seeking whom they may devour.’ There were problems with the Dornie chapel: ‘If rain comes after a tract of dry weather, or with a high wind, it penetrates everywhere through the heather. The other day I counted 18 seats wet with rain.’ Five years later the ceiling gave way above the altar.

FAITH AND CULTURE Help came from the aristocracy. The Duchess of Leeds was the Catholic daughter of a Baltimore merchant. Her first husband lost an arm in Spain before being promoted colonel. As a widow she married a nobleman and politician who owned the Applecross estate in Wester Ross. Catholic estate workers were brought in from Braemar, where she had already provided for a chapel. As the chaplain of the shooting lodge reported, the duchess had plans for mass-centres at Kishorn and Lochcarron but neither materialised. St Duthac’s was opened at Dornie in 1860 with seating for 170. The architect was Joseph Hansom, who was responsible for the cab of that name and also many churches in the Pugin style including York’s Catholic cathedral. Some of the stone used for Dornie came from Bath near the Bristol Channel. The Sisters of Mercy were invited north to open a Catholic school, and one was buried at Dornie. The duchess having moved on, Fr Alexander Forbes appealed through the Scottish Catholic Directory: ‘The locality is eminently poor, and any help to enable the Religious to successfully conduct the school, or to provide for the pressing wants of the poor population which surrounds them, will be most gratefully accepted.’ St Duthac’s now shares a priest with Our Lady of the Assumption at Portree - outside the Aberdeen diocese. There has been a succession of resident clergy. Canon Alexander Bissett, there in the 1890s, no doubt spoke for many when he ‘looked back on his Dornie days as the happiest of his long priestly career.’

Ann Dean’s charming watercolour of the side altar windows

Society of the little Flower 1/2 page The mission of the Society of the Little Flower is to promote devotion to St.Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Carmelite Nun and Doctor of the Church. Through prayers and donations, friends of St.Thérèse enable Carmelites to continue her “Shower of Roses” in their ministries throughout the world and in their education of young Carmelites. The mission of the Society of the Little Flower is to promote devotion to St.Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Carmelite Nun andand Doctor of the Church. prayers and clinics, Carmelite priests, nuns, brothers sisters serve peopleThrough in parishes, medical donations, friends schools, of St.Thérèse enable Carmelites to catechetical continue hercentres, “Showerprisons, of Roses” women’s centres, retreat houses, hospitals, in their ministries throughout the world and in their education of young Carmelites. housing, job and skills development programmes and sacramental celebrations

around the world. Carmelite priests, nuns, brothers and sisters serve people in parishes, medical clinics, Society of the schools, Little Flower women’s centres, retreat houses, hospitals, catechetical centres, prisons, 0345 602 9884 (local rate) Barclays House housing, job and skills development programmes and sacramental celebrations ukweb@littleflower.org 51 Bishopric around the world. www.littleflower.eu www.littleflower.org.uk Horsham RH12 1QJ Charity No. 1123034 Society of the Little Flower 0345 602 9884 (local rate) Barclays House ukweb@littleflower.org Page 25 51 Bishopric www.littleflower.eu


On a Wing and a Prayer with Father Peter Barry I went to El Salvador last July to spend a few days watching birds. I was met, as pre-arranged, by Roberto Boaz, a fellow bird watcher, and Melvin Bonilla, a young Biologist. Roberto is married to a tiny woman, 3 ft 10 inches, with perfect Aztec features. Roberto is a Quaker, and spends an hour every Sunday, in total silence, with fellow Quakers. His group sets up scholarships for local poor children. For them, education is the escape route from poverty. One evening we stayed at a "hostal" and met some local young men. They were friendly and asked what we did for a living. We introduced ourselves in turn: Peter the Catholic Priest, Melvin the Biologist, Roberto the Founder and leader of Gringo Tours. And what do you do, I asked a young man Carlos. “ I’m travelling to Honduras, over the border, to preach the Gospel to local gang members”, he said, and explained his life’s journey. He was first imprisoned at the age of 15, then again for multiple murders at the age of 18. He was an assassin in the MS 13 Gang, and was converted in prison.

“I instructed the guard to let him sit and eat as much as he wanted. Jesus offers himself freely, as He did on the cross.” (Illustration by Jane Barry) Page 26

Fr Peter at the monument to Archbishop Oscar Romero and Fr. Rutilio Grande SJ in the town of El Paisnal, El Salvador. I had met a Saint, Mother Teresa in Calcutta, in 1978, but have little memory of our conversation. On the other hand, Carlos said a few words that went straight to my heart: "Jesus Christ is not a religion. Jesus is a relationship.” He had been given a second chance. And so had Roberto, after a failed first marriage, and so had I, when I doubted my ability to be a good Priest. We were all survivors, in Christ, and had much to share. Eventually I asked Carlos if he would pray over me. He spoke with simplicity and I gave him a blessing. We rose next morning at 4.30 am., when tropical birds become active, and set off on our journey to the mountains. Carlos had explained that he had originally given his heart to the Devil. Satan had found a vacancy in his heart, and was only too keen to take up residence in that empty space. Like a salesman selling snake-oil as a nostrum for every ailment, he brought nothing but misery. Carlos still carries a gun, but prays he need never use it. There’s a little Latin tag: “ natura abhorret vacuum”. Nature abhors a vacuum. There’s an emptiness in our hearts, a desire to be filled with love, to give and to receive it freely. Unless we fill that space with the Divine, a queue of spirits is waiting to squat uninvited. Jesus can multiply bread, but the Bread of Life is the real miracle. In Bolivia one year, sitting at a restaurant, a small man watched through the bars as each forkful of food made its way from the plate into my mouth. There was security on the door, well armed. Suddenly he shot through the door, rushed to my place and scooped a mouthful of food as quickly as he could. Security came to intervene, but I instructed the guard to let him sit and eat as much as he wanted. Jesus offers himself freely, as He did on the cross. There is no need to rush the table. There’s enough for everyone. His body is broken on the cross, to release his spirit. Think of a rose which is crushed by hand, and the scent it releases. I think often of that poor man in Bolivia, separated from food by a fat man with a gun. That’s not what Jesus wanted.


Thinking out loud



here are some people who like Winter but l am not one of them. It's not the cold or frost (although snow is a different proposition). No, I object to the short days, the lack of light. Here in the north of Scotland daylight does not begin until midmorning and by 3.30 pm it is fading fast. This dislike of winter darkness may explain in part why Christmas does nothing for me. My friends whoop with glee for Christmas but, like the garden, my soul lies quietly. Now Easter is a cause for joy and my soul praises the Lord. Botanists say that what prompts plants and bulbs to show signs of life is not the heat of the sun but the light of lengthening days. To see the snowdrops and the bulbs begin to burst through the cold soil is an Easter in miniature. As from the cold dark earth plant life begins to show, so from the dark, barren tomb Life sprang forth. In Genesis Light was the first of God's creation: "the raging ocean was engulfed in darkness and God said: Let there be Light." (Genesis 1:2) St John tells us: "God is Light and in Him is no darkness.” Commentators tell us that since Plato philosophers have used the imagery of light to describe goodness and truth. But before Plato, the Assyrians thought of darkness as the work of an evil god whose disciples did evil in the dark. The world was a place of conflict between light and darkness, symbols of good and evil. In Old Testament thought God is not only Light but His Light is a way of life, and to walk in His Light is to follow the path of holiness. Psalm 27 begins "The Lord is my light and my help, l will fear no one. The Lord protects me from all danger.” and Psalm 8:108 "Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light

“As from the cold dark earth plant life begins to show, so from the dark, barren tomb Life sprang forth.” for my path." On the other hand Psalm 88 ends: “You have made me without friends and darkness is my company.” In St. John's Prologue we read “TheWord was the source of Life and this Life brought Light to mankind. The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out.” In the discourse with Nicodemus John 3:19 "the light has come into the world but people love the darkness because their deeds are evil. Whoever does what is true comes to the light.” The Risen Christ as our Light is evident not only in the Gospels but in the liturgy. Lex orandi, lex credendi1. The whole thesis of the Easter Vigil is Chist our Light who conquers the darkness of sin. St. John Damascene (750 AD) wrote: all the winter of our sins, long and dark, is flying from his light, to whom we give laud and praise undying The symbolism of Easter as Light overcoming darkness has been captured in modern literature by authors such as Conrad The heart of Darkness and C.S. Lewis in the Narnia books The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. A modern French writer, Yolande Weibel, in her book Espérances has a poem Dawn – “The night-nurse knows well that the dawn will chase away the night. A beam of light filters beneath the door, its power chases away her doubts and loneliness. Tomorrow is here, this is a new day, a day of never ending hope." (my translation). Nor must we forget J.H.Newman: "Lead kindly Light amid the encircling gloom, Lead thou me on. The night is dark and I am far from home, Lead thou me on.” These musings can have no better ending than a Catholic Easter blessing: The Lord of the empty tomb, the conqueror of gloom, Come to you The Lord in the Upper Room, dispelling fear and doom, Come to you The Lord in the garden walking-the Lord to Mary talking, Come to you The Lord on the road to Emmaus, the Lord giving hope to Thomas, Come to you The Lord appearing on the shore giving us life for evermore, Come to you 1 Lex orandi, lex credendi is a principle in Catholic teaching. It simply means you can deduce what the Church believes from how the Church prays Page 27


Food and Faith

with Margaret Bradley

The Diocese of Aberdeen is home to Catholics from all over the world. Marissa and Joel Malonzo, parishioners at St Columba’s Church in Banchory, who come from the Philippines, share a favourite recipe from their home country, Chicken Adobo, with our resident food columnist, Margaret Bradley.


dobo is considered the unofficial national dish of the Philippines. It is a traditional stew which is served with rice and can be eaten any time throughout the day and also on special occasions. The cooking process involves marinating meat, seafood, or vegetables in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and black peppercorns, then browning these in hot oil and cooking them in the marinade. The vinegar used is usually coconut vinegar, rice vinegar, or cane vinegar although sometimes white wine or cider vinegar can also be used. The preparation of food with vinegar is believed to have originated in pre-colonial times in order to keep the food fresh longer in the tropical climate. There are many variations of the Adobo recipe both in the Philippines and in Latin American countries. Philippine Adobo has a characteristically salty, sour and sometimes sweet taste, while Spanish and Mexican varieties are spicier or flavoured with oregano. In the Philippines Adobo is eaten with white rice and local vegetables such as okra, fresh mustard (like lettuce), spinach, snake beans (a long soft tropical bean) and snow peas (mangetout). But it also goes well with other vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. As a dessert the Filipinos serve a sticky rice pudding Chicken Adobo 2lbs chicken pieces chopped 5 tblsp white vinegar 7 tblsp soy sauce 5 cloves garlic crushed 3/4 bay leaves 1 cup water 1 tsp salt 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp whole peppercorns Mix the soy sauce and crushed garlic in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces. Mix well and marinade for at least one hour (longer if possible). Remove the chicken from the marinade and fry in hot oil for a couple of minutes on each side. Add the remaining marinade and the water. Bring to the boil and add the bay leaves and peppercorns. Page 28

Quiapo street market in Manila made of coconut milk, brown sugar and glutinous rice, with a little vanilla flavouring. There may also be a fruit salad with chunks of local fruits such as coconut, water melon, pineapple, grapes mangoes and peaches. Another speciality is avocado ice cream, perhaps with a chocolate sauce poured over it. To drink there would be fresh coconut milk or fresh pineapple juice. Simmer until the chicken is tender. Add the vinegar and continue cooking for ten minutes. Add the sugar and the salt. Serve with white rice and seasonal vegetables.

Chicken Adobo served with rice and broccoli


Humour from the Vestry “There is nothing like a gleam of humour to reassure you that a fellow human being is ticking inside a strange face.” - Eva Hoffman GREAT GARDENING QUOTES “The great French Marshal Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree would not reach maturity for a hundred years. The Marshal replied, ‘In that case there is no time to lose. Plant this afternoon!’” John F Kennedy “The best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.” Gardener’s adage, author unknown “Death has come for me many times but finds me always in my lovely garden and leaves me there, I think, as an excuse to return.” American gardener Robert Brault “There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.” Horticulturalist Mirabel Osler “Gardening requires lots of water - most of it in the form of perspiration.” Lou Erickson “The best place to find God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.” George Bernard Shaw “Kiss of the sun for pardon. Song of the birds for mirth. You’re closer to God’s heart in a garden than any place else on earth.” Dorothy Frances Gurney CANNY LAWYER A man went to his lawyer and told him, "My neighbour owes me £500 and he won’t pay up. What should I do?" "Do you have any proof he owes you the money?" asked the lawyer. "No," replied the man. "OK, then write him a letter asking him for the £5,000 he owed you," said the lawyer. "But it's only £500," replied the man. "Precisely. That’s what he will reply and then you’ll have your proof!" Man lost in Edinburgh says to a policeman, “Excuse me is there a B&Q in Leith?” Policeman replies, “No sir, but there are two Ds and two Es in Dundee.”

First Day at School A little girl had just finished her first day of school. I'm just wasting my time," she said to her mother. "I can't read, I can't write and they won't let me talk!"

A Glasgow woman goes to the dentist and settles down in the chair. “Comfy?” asks the dentist. “Govan,” she replies. DOG COLLARED A priest was walking along the corridor of the parochial school near the preschool wing when a group of little ones were trotting by on the way to the cafeteria. One little lad of about three or four stopped and looked at him in his clerical clothes and asked “Why do you dress funny?” He told him he was a priest and this is the uniform priests wear. Then the boy pointed to the priest’s plastic collar tab and asked, “Did you hurt your neck?” The priest was perplexed until he realized that to him the collar looked like a band-aid. So the priest took it off and handed it to the boy to show him. On the back of the tab were raised letters giving the name of the manufacturer. The little boy felt the letters, and the priest asked, “Do you know what those words say?” “Yes I do,” said the lad who was not old enough to read. Peering intently at the letters he said, “Kills ticks and fleas up to six months!” LACE BE SERIOUS A man takes a pair of shoes back to the shop and complains that there is a lace missing. “No,” argues the assistant, “look at the label – it says Taiwan.” Purr-fect Solution Tolstoy was a great pacifist and was once lecturing on the need to be non-resistant and non-violent towards all creatures. Someone in the audience responded by asking what should be done if one was attacked in the woods by a tiger. Tolstoy responded, "Do the best you can. It doesn't happen very often." Husband: “I’m afraid the florist has made a mistake with the bouquet I ordered for our anniversary. I asked for anemones and he’s sent ferns” Wife: “Never mind, with fronds like these who needs anemones” A father was reading Bible stories to his young son. He read, “The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city, but his wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.” His son asked, “What happened to the flea?” Artificial Intelligence The Duke of Gloucester, speaking at a luncheon in London: A home accidents survey which showed that ninety percent of accidents on staircases involved either the top or the bottom step, was fed into a computer. Asked how accidents could be reduced, the computer answered: Remove the top and bottom steps. “When my wife and I argue, we’re like a band in concert: we start with some new stuff, and then we roll out our greatest hits.” Frank Skinner, at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014 Page 29


WORD No.40

This issue’s competition winner will receive a copy of “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence. This is a modern translation of the timeless spiritual classic which was written over 300 years ago. Just send your completed entry by the 1st June to: Light of the North, 20 Huntly Street, Aberdeen AB10 1SH. First correct entry drawn out of the hat is the winner.

20 The blind will (3) 21 Regrets; Serpent (anag) (7) 23 Angels by another name (6)

24 Decorates (6) 28 Say it and you will be in danger of the council (4) 29 Cleanse (4)

Answers to Crossword No. 39 Across 1 Shekel 4 Appeared 10 Ephesians 11 Cubit 12 Rare 13 Meditation 15 Raisins 16 Nathan 19 Agreed 21 Torches 23 Atonements 25 Baal 27 Glean 28 Millstone 29 Teachers 30 Rashly Down 1 Shearers 2 Exhorting 3 East 5 Passion 6 Enchanters 7 Rabbi 8 Doting 9 Bakers 14 Nineteenth 17 Ashtaroth 18 Psaltery 20 Dreamer 21 Tittle 22 Taught 24 Omega 26 Asia

Little Horror Sudoku No. 27 If you prefer sudoku to crosswords then you still have a chance to be a prize winner with our super tough sudoku puzzle.

Name ............................................................................. Address ......................................................................... .......................................................................................... Telephone ...................................................................... Across 8 Religious service (6) 9 Vessel (3) 10 Drive forcibly (4) 11 Christ does this for us (10) 12 Bethesda was the name of this (4) 13 Servant of a prophet (6) 16 One who leaves the straight and narrow path (8) 17 Check the money (7) 18 Fragrant offering; make angry (7) 22 Come out from among them (8) 25 Works with clay (6) 26 Main part of text (4) 27 Chucked it too far (10) Page 30

30 Treachery sealed with this (4) 31 Simon washed his (3) 32 Migratory grasshopper (6) Down 1 Standard for the tribe of Judah (4) 2 Brother of James; Hardy book (4) 3 Choice by vote (8) 4 Evening glow (7) 5 All sing the tune (6) 6 To reduce deficiency (10) 7 Take no notice of (6) 14 Look at (3) 15 Alternative Revelation (10) 19 Son of Jacob (8)

Name ............................................................................. Address ......................................................................... .......................................................................................... Telephone ...................................................................... Congratulations to our last competition winner, Mrs T Kinnear from Perth.

TOGETHER, WE CAN END POVERTY In Uganda a generation of young people have been left without hope, trapped in extreme poverty. You can help them to be independent so they can support themselves and their families and have real hope for the future.

Yes, I want to help families in Uganda and around the world with my gift of: £10 £25 £75 other £ . You can also donate online at www.sciaf.org.uk or call us on 0141 354 5555. Title:

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Profile for Cowan Watson

Light of the North Easter 2019  

The Light of the North is a publication of the Diocese of Aberdeen

Light of the North Easter 2019  

The Light of the North is a publication of the Diocese of Aberdeen


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