BY Daniel Harkins | May 29 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Maryhill Mass of many cultures unites the community

Immaculate Conception Church in Maryhill was illuminated in colour on Sunday as the Glasgow parish celebrated its annual international Mass.

Parishioners were asked to wear red clothing—the Mass coinciding with Pentecost—at the multi-cultural event, which also celebrated the donation of £8300 raised for the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) over Lent, with an additional £1800 donated to help those suffering in Nepal from the recent earthquake.

Rachel Lamb, parish officer for SCIAF, attended the Mass and praised the ‘incredible’ and ‘astonishing’ amount raised—the majority of which will be doubled by the government as part of their matched funding scheme.

Parishioners began their international celebration—now in its second year—with a traditional Scottish flavour, as youngster Calum piped in the congregation. Calum and his sister Kerry got fully involved in the occasion, dressing in kilts for the Mass, and Kerry later read a prayer in both Gaelic and English.

In total 24 nationalities were present at the Mass, which saw the church decked out in flags from across the world and some parishioners wearing their national dress.

After Mass, a buffet was held offering a taste of Africa and dishes from different countries provided by the parishioners and a catering company made up of former asylum seekers, now resident in Scotland.

Parish priest Fr Jim Lawlor said the Mass was celebrated on Pentecost as most of the prayers and scripture readings are about language, tying the parish’s international nature into the Acts of the Apostles.

“It’s exciting and energising,” Fr Lawlor said of his parish’s community. “We’ve got an immigrant history so it is really good that it is continuing. The parish has massively changed in the last five years alone.

“I Baptised a baby recently—a family from northern Nigeria. They’ve got a tradition that at Baptisms they lay the baby on the altar at the end of the Christening as a promise that this baby will one day be able to come for their Holy Communion. It’s just wee things like that.”

Fr Lawlor added that one recent Baptism was broadcast over the internet on Skype so the child’s family in Peru could watch, despite the significant time difference.

Immaculate Conception’s community sprit even extended at one point to helping a young teenage girl from the Congo receive the right to stay in the country, after parishioners wrote letters on her behalf, acted as a mentor, and travelled en masse to the court for her hearing.

Immaculate Conception, originally St Mary’s, dates back to 1851 when immigrants, mainly from Donegal, formed a sizeable part of the congregation. The proud multi-cultural tradition continues to this day.




—This story ran in full in the May 29 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.


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