St Mary's and St Paul's, Hamilton
My dear parishioners at St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s,
This weekend the Church celebrates the beautiful liturgy of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles.
St. Peter (+c.64) was the brother of Andrew and a Galilean fisherman. He was called by the Lord and, despite his obvious human frailties, eventually chosen as leader of the Twelve, the ‘rock’ on which Jesus would build his Church. After Pentecost, he became particularly associated with Antioch and then Rome. He was crucified under Nero and buried at the Vatican.
St. Paul (+c.64/67) was a tent-maker from Tarsus (then capital of the Roman province of Cilicia, now in Turkey), a Pharisee and a Roman citizen. He was initially a persecutor of Christians but was converted by the Lord on his way to Damascus. He became the Apostle to the Gentiles, preaching the Gospel to the uncircumcised, reaching Greece, Italy, Malta and possibly even Spain. He was beheaded along the Via Ostiennse and buried nearby, on the site where the basilica bearing his name now stands.
It is a real joyto let you know that St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s will open our doors in welcome to you on the great Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul. As Scotland emerges carefully from Lockdown, the churches will open in this phase only for personal prayer. The celebration of the Liturgy together will come later in the summer.
The guidelines from the Government advise that on entering the building you will be asked to wear a face-covering and use the sanitising gel for your hands. You will then be shown to a seat for your period of prayer. As you leave the building you will be asked to use the gel once more. I am sure that we will very quickly adjust to this ‘new normal’ for the moment.
Due to the social distancing requirement of 2 metres seating is very limited:St. Mary’s has 36 spaces and St. Paul’s has 30 spaces. Please think about choosing St. Paul’s for your visit as it may well be quieter there.
For many years now as a parish priest I have treasured the moment when I go through to the church to open the doors each day in welcome to whoever wants to enter our buildings. It is a real privilege. As I open the doors I find myself praying quietly for all who will enter, that each one will find the grace needed for life at this moment. St. John Paul II has said that the heart of Jesus is a pledge of hope for every man and woman and child. What wonderful news! No one is excluded!
St. Mary’s will open this Sunday and next Sunday with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament between 10am and 1pm; the church will also open on Wednesday between 11am and 1pm.
St. Paul’s will open this Sunday and next Sunday with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament between 10.30am and 12 noon.
The Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul feels like a very appropriate day to welcome you back and I look forward very much to seeing you.
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.
Special Remembrance:Martha McCluskie, Christopher Neville, Jan Pelosi, John McGuire, Georgia Dickson, Elizabeth Canning, Christopher Clancy, Brian Pearson, Mark Hughes, John Kane, Elizabeth and Edward Owens, Michael Owens, John Allen, Jim and Mary Neary, Hugh Connor, Joseph O’Neill, John and Mary McCaig, Anna McAdam, May Kinnie, Minnie and Edward Morgan, Ellen and Willie Miller, Betty Brookes, James McCann and our own deceased relatives and friends and all the benefactors of St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s through the years, reqiescant in pace.
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