BY Peter Diamond | September 6 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

Carfin National 006 (1)

Little Flower can make our homes ‘holy places filled with love’

Bishop Toal addressed thousands of people who attended Carfin Grotto to celebrate the National Pilgrimage Mass.

Through St Thérèse our homes can be ‘holy places’ filled with love, the Bishop of Motherwell said as the Little Flower’s relics travel across Scotland on a mission to ‘shower blessings on those on Earth from Heaven.’

On Sunday September 1 at the national shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell Diocese addressed thousands of people who attended Carfin Grotto to celebrate the National Pilgrimage Mass.

The Mass also signified the end of Motherwell Diocese’s time with the relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux as they made their way south to Galloway Diocese.

In his opening remarks, Bishop Toal thanked people for coming and for celebrating the arrival of a ‘saint who many people feel very close to.’


St Thérèse, the bishop said, was not just here on a pilgrimage tour but ‘is alive amongst us’ and is ‘embarked on a mission to evangelise us and to make sure we always turn our gaze towards Christ.’

The Little Flower’s ‘childlike’ nature is ‘very important for us in the Church today,’ the bishop added.

“Thérèse had an extraordinary sense of the importance of her childhood and the importance of what she experienced in her childhood both the love of her family, and the love of God and the love of the Church and the experience of Faith in her childhood,” he said.

“I think that’s a very precious testimony and it directs us as the Church to be very attentive to the needs of children and of children’s Faith, children’s spirituality, children’s membership of the Church and children’s participation in the life of the Church.”

Family life

Bishop Toal went on to encourage Catholic families in Scotland to have ‘that same vision Thérèse had to be ‘childlike’ and to allow the ‘Faith to flourish in the home’ citing that St Thérèse’s parents, who are now saints were ‘exemplary.’

Families, he said, should encourage young people in their Catholic Faith, and speak it as ‘fruitfully as possible.’

Bishop Toal added that St Thérèse is ‘a great example of the Lord’s instruction to us to be humble servants of His, giving everything we can for His glory and honour.’

Reflecting on his own ministry, he said that St Thérèse provides him with inspiration as he carries the burden of being a bishop.


“I’ve been much busier now than I was in my earlier days of ministry and for me that is sometimes burdensome because when you’re not getting any younger you feel the strain of things heavier upon you.

“St Thérèse was a great inspiration for us in the sense that it didn’t actually matter the amount of things you had to do but it was the spirit you did them in and that you gave of yourself as fully as you could to the particular thing you were doing at that time,” he said.

“That is not exclusive to my ministry—it is something for us all—but it is very important in our priestly ministry in that it’s the totality of service that you are giving and that you are being able to follow St Thérèse’s Little Way of doing everything in an exemplary way.”

Bishop Toal cited the Religious as a great example of this, thanking them for their contribution to the Church in Scotland.

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