St Mary's and St Paul's, Hamilton
Newsletter Pentecost Sunday
May 31st 2020
My dear parishioners at St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s,
Today the church’s sacred liturgy brings us to the great Solemnity of Pentecost. It should have been a very busy and joyful weekend in the parish with the celebration of Confirmation at St. Mary’s on Saturday and at St. Paul’s on Sunday. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit comes to all the young people who were to be confirmed and give them the gifts they need at this stage of their journey. Let’s remember also Bishop Toal who was looking forward to spending the weekend with us.
The Solemnity of Pentecost is the celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit. I offer these words from Pope Benedict for your reflection:
“The Holy Spirit is first and foremost a Creator Spirit,hence Pentecost is also a feast of creation. For us Christians, the world is the fruit of an act of love by God who has made all things and in which he rejoices because it is ‘good’, it is ‘very good’, as the creation narrative tells us (Genesis 1:1-31. Consequently God is not totally Other, unnameable and obscure.
God reveals himself,he has a face. God is reason, God is will, God is love, God is beauty. Faith in the Creator Spirit and faith in the Spirit whom the risen Christ gave to the apostles and gives to each one of us are therefore inseparably united. The gospel passage offers us a marvellous image to clarify the connection between, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father; the Holy Spirit is portrayed as the breath of the Risen Jesus Christ. Here the Evangelist John takes up an image of the creation narrative, where it says that God breathed into the nostrils of man the breath of life (Genesis 2:7).
The breath of God is life.Now the Lord breathes into our soul the new breath of life, the Holy Spirit, his most intimate essence, and in this way welcomes us into God’s family. With Baptism and Confirmation this gift was given to us specifically, and with the sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance it is continually repeated: the Lord breathes a breath of life into our soul.”
Pope Benedict XVI
I hope you find these words from Pope Benedict helpful. In every situation, even very difficult ones, the Holy Spirit breathes life into us and invites us to choose life. The Holy Spirit creates the bond of love between Jesus and the believer and so invites us to follow Jesus in all the circumstances we will face on our journey through life. To say we are living in unusual times and circumstances is to state the obvious; the Coronavirus has led us into unchartered territory and we are trying tentatively to find our way forward into a new type of life. We will need courage to be creative in our response and so we very much need the help of the Creator Spirit. May the Holy Spirit guide each one of us to go on choosing life and help us in a creative response to the challenges we are facing together.
Let me share with you the names of those who have died during these weeks when we have been unable to gather for Mass:
Mary Teresa Lees,
Silvio (Steve) Ferri,
Julia (Sheila) O’Neill
I know you will remember these men and women in your prayers and also their families, who said farewell to a loved one in the most difficult of circumstances. It is painful not to have the beauty of the Requiem Mass in the church and the comfort and strength that comes from the good presence of family and friends and neighbours.
A Greeting to the Communities at St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s Primary Schools
My dear friends at St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s Primary Schools,
You are often in my thoughts and prayers, especially when I celebrate Holy Mass each morning in St. Mary’s Church or St. Paul’s Church. I can tell you that Cadzow Street and Backmuir Road have become very quiet without you coming and going from school. I miss your joyful presence very much.
I have always looked forward to those special days when you walked from school to church so that we could celebrate Mass together. The parishioners and I looked forward to seeing you, from Primary 1 to Primary 7, accompanied by your teachers and the support staff. I cannot tell you how special it is for me as your parish priest to look out at you from the altar and to see the whole community gathered for Mass. It is a wonderful sight!
We are always at our very best when we gather together around the altar with Jesus, who loves each one of us very much. I miss hearing your voices reading the Holy Scriptures and saying your prayers and I miss very much listening to your wonderful singing. A day without music is like a day without sunshine!
The lovely month of May, dedicated to Our Lady would have been a very busy month for us with the celebration of First Holy Communion and Confirmation. We were all looking forward to these special moments together. Please tell your parents that I am thinking about them also and I look forward to celebrating these sacraments with you when it is safe to do so.
I would like to say a special word to the pupils of Primary 7. I cannot tell you how sorry I am that you are missing the final months of your time with us at St. Mary’s Primary and at St. Paul’s Primary. Normally all sorts of lovely events would be enjoyed together as a way of saying thanks for your years together at St. Mary’s or at St. Paul’s.
How you have grown and in so many ways! I hope you might get the chance to look at a photo of yourself in Primary 1 and then to look at yourself in the mirror. I think you will see just how much you have grown and changed since your Mum and Dad brought you into the Primary 1 classroom. I think you will agree there is so much to say ‘thank you’ for.
Of course you will be looking forward to beginning a new stage of your life at High School. I pray that the Holy Spirit will give each one of you the graces you need for the years ahead. May you be happy and safe at High School.
Finally, I look forward to the joyful day when we can all meet again at St. Mary’s or at St. Paul’s to celebrate the eucharist together. In the meantime look after each other with kindness and care, Yours sincerely,
A Word about Finances at St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s
I mentioned in last week’s newsletter that I had sent off our donation of £2,500 to SCIAF and during the week the parish received a letter of thanks and also confirmation that the UK Government would double this to £5,000, so thank you for all of that. Many of you had expressed concern that some of the poorest people in our world would loose out yet again because of the current situation. I am sure that many other parishes in Scotland have responded in a similar way to us.
I also mentioned in last week’s newsletter that some parishioners have been asking how they might make their usual donations, which will support the upkeep of our parish during these unusual times. I will give this information at the bottom of the page, but before doing so I want very much to say something about the finances at St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s.
As you know the Catholic Church is a registered charity. It is good to remember this at times. The church is not a business. In other words, it lives from your charitable donations. So the first word needs to be one of sincere thanks for your care and support of St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s through the years. As your parish priest I am grateful for that and do not take it for granted.
When I first came to St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s I was surprised that there were two collections at the liturgy, the offertory collection at the usual time and then a second collection before leaving. I had never been in a parish where this was the custom and so I spoke with those who helped with the parish finances at the time and suggested that we stop the second collection. They advised me quite forcefully not to do that, saying the parish would need those donations for ongoing maintenance, for restoration work and for unexpected repairs. They reminded me that St. Mary’s was a listed building and that repairs were frequent and often costly. In their own way they were telling me that I had a lot to learn! All of this has proved to be true, especially the latter!
Over the years your generosity has enabled us to complete a major renovation of the church hall and meeting room, to restore the beautiful Stations of the Cross and other art work at St. Mary’s, and to have the church painted and decorated. Likewise the generosity at St. Paul’s has enabled us to carry out quite a major renovation of the sanctuary with a new altar and baptismal font, sanctuary lamp and carpet and have the church decorated. Of course the motivation for all of this is to make our buildings welcoming and cared for places, sacred spaces where the church can carry out its pastoral care of people, sharing the Word of God and celebrating the sacraments, and indeed life itself.
The advice given to me by those involved in parish finances at that time sounded a note of caution and encouraged prudence regarding parish finances in terms of planning for ongoing maintenance and repairs. It is your continued generosity that has enabled this. In fact, our next intended project was to be the replacement of the seating on the lower floor at St. Mary’s, with fewer benches to enable wider spacing between the pews. This is something that the parishioners at St. Mary’s have wanted for quite a number of years and the Parish Pastoral Council were very supportive of this project. However, in light of the effects of the Coronavirus on public gatherings, it seems wise to put this project on hold and to wait until the way ahead for the church is more certain.
I am sure by this stage you are wondering why I am sharing all this information with you now. It is because, while touched by your concern about the parish at this time, I don’t want you to be worrying about St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s. We have funds that will help us through this period. I also share this with you because of my own worries about you, the faithful parishioners of St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s, especially those who may lose their employment or their business and others who may struggle to keep things going for their family. I am aware of the many demands on you, especially those with children and as your parish priest this concerns me a great deal. In other words, I hope you will feel free to look after your own family at this time and to be careful and prudent with your own funds, for the virus leaves us with considerable uncertainty regarding the months ahead. Please know that you are very much in my thoughts and prayers.
Now, having shared my concerns with you about making donations at this challenging time, I will share with you the requested information:
Quite a number of parishioners make their donation to the parish through Standing Order at their bank. The donation is transferred from their account to the parish Clydesdale Bank Account and the details of this account are given below.
Some parishioners have put their donation envelopes in the little post-box at the front door of St. Mary’s Church House or through the letter box at St. Paul’s; others have said they will keep their envelopes at home and bring them when it is possible to come back to church.
Some parishioners have sent a cheque in the post. If you choose to do this, the cheque must be made out in the following way or it cannot be presented to the bank:
For donations to St. Mary’s
Cheque made payable to: St. Mary’s RC Church, Hamilton
or donations through the bank:
Bank of Scotland,
Sort Code 80-08-25
Account Number 00744576
Weekly Covenant / Gift Aid
If you are in GiftAid scheme please use the Clydesdale Bank Account
St Mary’s RC Church
Account Number 60406207
Sort Code 82-70-03
Please include your name and GiftAid number (number at the top of your Weekly covenant envelope)
For donations to St. Paul’s
Cheque made payable to: St. Paul’s RC Church, Hamilton
or, donations through the bank:
Bank of Scotland,
Sort Code 80-08-25
Account Number 00744648
Please do not make out cheques to St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s,
as we keep the accounts separate for administration purposes.
St Mary's Mass Times
St. Mary’s and St Paul’s Parish Hamilton – Church Groups and Contacts
Pastoral Parish Committee
Credo faith-sharing group
01698 423552 (Church house)
Justice and Peace
St. Mary’s Friends of South Africa Monsignor Devanny Memorial Trust
01698 423552 (Church House)
Contact St Mary's and St Paul's, Hamilton
120 Cadzow St, Hamilton ML3 6HP, UK