Mid-week Reflection

25th November 2020

This week we celebrate the feast of Saint Andrew Dũng-Lạc a Vietnamese priest who was born almost at the end of the 18th century.  Andrew, of course, was his baptismal name and he took on the name Lac which apparently initially helped him during the persecution.  But at the age of 44 he was executed by beheading in the reign of Minh Mạng as were some of his companions.  Over 261 years 130,000 Christians suffered martyrdom and Pope Leo XIII, Pope Saint Pius X and Pope Pius XII recognised this when they beatified them in different groups between 1900 and 1951 and and they were canonised all together by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1988.  11 of the martyrs were Spanish Dominicans and 10 were French missionaries. All the rest, 37 priests and 59 lay people, were  from Vietnam but collectively they are known as the Martyrs of the Church of Vietnam.  Here’s a little sad note.  At the canonisation in Rome there was no delegation from the communist regime in Vietnam. But 8000 Vietnamese in exile participated as representatives for their catholic countrymen in Vietnam, who not were allowed to leave the country. You might not know this but Bishop McGill, the second Bishop of Paisley, at the time of his ordination as a Sulpician Priest, had volunteered to go to Hanoi in the northern region of Vietnam,.  But the Lord, it seems, had other things in mind for him.  The plan God has for us might surprise us but in embracing what God wants for us into effect,  He offers us everlasting life.

Let us Pray:

Almighty God, you you kept the blessed martyrs Andrew and his companions faithful to the cross of your Son even to the shedding of their blood.  Through their intercession enable us to spread your love that we may be truly be called your sons and daughters. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.


Monsignor Monaghan


Catholic Education 2020

Today, we celebrate Catholic Education Sunday.  During this week we:

celebrate the God-given talents and achievements of our young people;

  • acknowledge the hard work and faith witness of the staff in our schools;
  • mark the unique contribution that Catholic Education makes to our families, our parishes and to wider Scottish society; and reflect on the mission of the Catholic school for the future.

This year, the theme of Catholic Education Week is Jesus Christ: the Way, the Truth and the Life. This theme reflects the vision and aim of Catholic education that Catholic schools, centred on the person of Jesus Christ, help and accompany young people to discover, and to follow the Christian vocation to live responsibly with and for others in accordance with the message of Christ and so to build up and transform society for the better.

This is a message to which our young people readily respond, as can be seen by the high levels of participation in the Pope Francis Faith award and the Caritas programme.

This has been a strange year for our schools, with a period so characterised by uncertainty, disruption and even fear. Our young people were separated from their friends and teachers, and their learning and exams were interrupted. It is precisely in times such as these that we search for direction and certainty, and the theme of this year’s Catholic Education Week reminds us where it can be found.  In recognising Jesus as the Way, we need no longer worry about which direction we take, and where that will lead; in following Jesus’ teaching and example, we will inevitably come to the Father. At a time where it can be difficult to discern what is genuine, we find in Jesus a Truth to which we can hold firm. It is in living in relationship with God that we find the fullness of life for which God created us. Through the love and service to others we find in the life of Jesus, and reminds our pupils and teachers that they are a part of the Church in action.

I encourage you then to give thanks for Catholic Education and to pray for its ongoing success. I ask you to support the work of the Scottish Catholic Education Service and all that it does on behalf of our Church, our young people and our families to promote the positive contribution of Catholic schools in Scotland. I encourage you all to speak out positively on behalf Catholic Education, sharing the good news that Catholic schools remain good for Scotland.


33rd Sunday of A20

A difficult sort of King

Today’s Gospel leaves us in no doubt as to what Jesus expects of his followers. It is a Gospel of contrasts. It begins with a scene of judgement, with Jesus in the role as king, sitting on the throne of glory. It would have been a familiar image to the people of the time, who were expecting a great Messianic King. In the time of Jesus, kings were powerful rulers, and some were tyrants. We know from earlier in Matthew’s Gospel that kings like Herord were capable of brutal acts. It is an image that remains familiar to us today, thanks to popular fairytales, movies and TV programmes – the all–powerful ruler sitting on their throne, passing judgement on their subjects.

But the King that Jesus talks about here turns these images upside down. He is not focused on riches or power, or inciting terror or fear. Instead, he is a fair judge, a shepherd who knows his flock.

He invites all those who have acted with justice and generosity to take their place in his kingdom. He is in solidarity with the ‘least’ of his people – a king whose main concern is those who are hungry, displaced, sick or imprisoned. He refers to them as ‘brothers’.

Jesus’ Kingdom is centred around charity, compassion and forgiveness. He expects us to treat everyone we encounter with welcome. There are simple acts of kindness we can carry out each day. Such love for others is love for God: ‘In so far as you did this to the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.’

“In the evening of life, we shall be judged on love.”

St John of the Cross

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