From Bishop Joseph's letter to the clergy October 2011

Ad Clerum 07/2011

 Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Thank you all very much for your prayers and good wishes in recent times. My eye feels much better now, and hopefully my sight will continue to improve. There are plenty of things now for me to catch up with and I will try to include some of them in this letter.


Recent Deaths:

As you know Canon Joseph Terry, retired priest of the Diocese, died on Wednesday September 28th in the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley. His funeral took place in Rothesay on Friday 30th September and he was buried in the grave of Mgr John MacQueen, for many years Parish Priests of Rothesay, and with whom Canon Terry served his first ten years of priesthood. We pray for his eternal rest. I thank Fr Michael Hutson and the Paisley priests who attended Canon Joe during his final illness, and also pay tribute to the family of Sylvia McGrale, especially Michael and Sylvia, for their friendship for him and their presence with him in his dying days.


Those involved in the filming of Island Parish were saddened to hear of the death of Nigel Farrell, the producer of the film and also the commentator. He enjoyed making the programme, especially getting to know the priests and people of Barra and South Uist, and will be fondly remembered.


New Appointments:

Violet Smith, head-teacher of Lochyside R.C. School, is the Diocesan Representative on the Catholic Education Commission.

Marion Pallister, of St. Margaret’s, Lochgilphead, is the Diocesan representative on the Justice and Peace Commission.

We thank both ladies for taking on these important responsibilities


Introduction of New Missal Texts:

My impression after a month of the new texts is that the people are picking up the responses quite well. Some of the prayers though are a struggle for the celebrants and will continue to be difficult. Some people have written to me about the translation and the postures and from their comments I think good explanation and catechesis on the General Instruction on the Roman Missal would be helpful. Those who have used the DVD Become One Body One Spirit in Christ have found their parishioners have enjoyed it and have appreciated the breadth of teaching offered. If anyone would like me to come to speak about the Missal to parish groups, and to answer their questions, I will be very willing to do so – it is the Bishop’s duty to encourage and promote full and active participation in the Sacred Liturgy.


Day of Reflection on Our Baptismal Vocation:

I thank Srs Audrey and Therese for preparing and leading the Day of Reflection on our shared Baptismal Vocation in Lochyside School last Saturday, also thanks to all you came and especially those who shared their reflection on their “vocation”. It was very good to hear different people speak and to sense how we all have our vocation in the Body of Christ and how precious that is to so many people, and to the Church and community. Of course, it was remarked also that we should have a lot more sharing together and adult reflection on our faith – we can and need to do this. The Sisters will be happy to repeat this particular reflection in other places.

Same Sex Marriage Consultation:

As you know the Scottish Government has initiated a period of consultation, until 9th December, on the possibility of introducing legislation in Scotland which would allow people of the same sex to marry. The Catholic Church across the world vigorously opposes such a proposition and the Scottish Bishops have made their view clearly known  - our statement of 7th September said:


“The Catholic Church will study the consultation document in detail and respond to it. The view of the Church is however clear – no government can rewrite human nature. The family and marriage existed before the State and are built on the union between a man and a woman. Any attempt to redefine marriage is a direct attack on a foundational building block of society and will be strenuously opposed.”


Please invite your parishioners, and others, to participate in the consultation by accessing the on-line response form on same sex marriage at the Scottish Government website:


Completed responses can be emailed to  or it can be printed off and sent by post to Sandra Jack, Scottish Government, St. Andrew’s House, Regent Road, Edinburgh EH1 3DG.


Post cards will also be sent soon to each parish from the Catholic Parliamentary Office, and they should be distributed so that as many people as possible from our communities can make their views known to the Scottish Government.


International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin next June:

I would like us to have a Diocesan Pilgrimage to take part in the Congress, with the possibility also of a Youth Pilgrimage. While we look for people to take part in the Pilgrimage to Dublin, I would ask you not to start offering pilgrimages to other places – we need to try and keep a strong Diocesan focus across our parishes, and at times resist the desire to do our own thing. If you did not get the information about the Eucharistic Congress, or have not yet advertised it, please ask Fr Roddy Johnston’s assistance.


Special Collections in October and November:

The October Special Collection is on Mission Sunday for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. Traditionally we support this collection very well and I am sure that will continue to be the case. The November Collection is for the Diocesan Pastoral Fund. As I pointed out at the Clergy Assembly this fund is used to support a variety of pastoral initiatives in the Diocese – attendance at courses for the on-going formation of priests, the formation of deacons, provision for Religious Sisters, the Pastoral Music Weekends, the Diocesan Youth Ministry, The Safeguarding Training. It is important therefore to encourage a generous response because we need to care for all who minister in our Diocese and for those who use their skills to train and encourage others.


Bishop’s Diary for October/November:


Sunday October 9th: Bishop Cunningham’s Golden Jubilee of Priesthood in Ayr.

Saturday October 15th: Family Wedding in St. Mary’s, Beauly.

Tuesday October 18th: Ambrosian Society Meeting, St. Mary’s, Whifflet.

Friday November 4th:Trustees and Finance Board Meetings, Oban

Monday 7th – Wednesday 9th: Bishops’ Conference Meeting, Gillis Centre, Edinburgh

Monday 21st November: Start of Confirmations in St. Andrew’s Deanery

Monday 28th: Start of Confirmations in St. Margaret’s Deanery

Tuesday 29th: Meeting of the Council of Priests, Fort William, 2pm; Meeting of Consultors, 4pm

Wednesday 30th: Silver Jubilee Mass of Fr Sandy Culley, St. Mun’s, Dunoon. 


With my prayers and best wishes,


Yours in the Lord,


+ Joseph

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