BY Amanda Connelly | August 10 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Mass on the Mercy Bus to celebrate a successful week

Catholics in Paisley flooded onboard the Mercy Bus on Saturday, as they gathered together for the celebration of Mass at the conclusion of the bus’ 2018 tour.

Fr Stephen Baillie, parish priest of St Joseph’s Church in Clarkston, celebrated the Mass on the bus along with Canon Sean Cunney, as the faithful were seated up and downstairs on the double-decker, while others stood outside the bus.

It marked the final day of what has been a highly successful second year for the Mercy Bus, an initiative run by the Friends of Divine Mercy Scotland (FDMS) which sees the team travel across Scotland’s central belt in order to take the Church out to meet the people.

It stopped this year in Johnstone, Coatbridge, Cumbernauld, Greenock, Glasgow and Paisley, using a coach which had been generously loaned to the initiative by Stagecoach.

“It was a tremendous success,” Fr Baillie said of the week’s tour. “People were coming in and out of the bus and were coming to Confession.

“I think the good thing, as well, was that even those that didn’t go to Confession came in for a chat or a wee cup of tea. There was a great sense of welcome there.”

Fr Baillie also noted that seeing the bus and the signs all around it ‘made people stop, made people look, made people reflect.’

“I think one of the big things was about the simplicity of the message about compassion and mercy,” he said. “It’s just offering people the mercy of God and the love of God in a different form, hopefully in a kind, caring and compassionate way.”

Fr Baillie also praised Paisley as ‘exceptionally respectful,’ making sure there was no disturbance as they celebrated Mass.

He said the FDMS team were ‘exceptionally good’ and ‘very brave’ with their evangelisation, walking and talking to people and reaching out to others.

Despite obstructions to traffic due to events in Glasgow and an awkwardly placed flowerpot, the bus made it to Buchanan Street in the centre of the city on Friday, Helen Border from FDMS told the SCO.

Speaking from the bus on Friday, she said: “We’ve had six priests working this morning speaking to people. There are four priests on the bus at the moment. It’s busy, there are people of no faith, some faith, and some practising Catholics.”

She noted that, in Johnstone on the first day of the Mercy Bus’ journey, by the afternoon there were six priests on the bus and people came ‘who were very lonely, people that were on the periphery, people that had nobody.’

Tuesday in Coatbridge was also a busy day, where the Mercy Bus team were grateful to the Knights of St Columba who provided them with lunch so that they could stop for a break.

Among those that came forward during the week were a group of 10 young men who had recently come out of jail, and young people from a high school who spoke with Fr Baillie to find out more.

In Greenock, the deputy director of the council came to speak with the team, while in Cumbernauld they were ‘busy right up to the end.’

“We’ve been asked to speak at Cumbernauld College, Coatbridge College, and Motherwell College,” Ms Border said. “They asked if would we go in and talk about the Faith, so that was a very productive day.”

Meanwhile in Glasgow, the penultimate day of the Mercy Bus’ 2018 tour, it remained ‘steadily busy’ with one of the priests having to go for more Divine Mercy Chaplets as they had run out.

“We had over a thousand to start with, so that was great,” Ms Border added.



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