Mass for France
Following the terror attacks in Paris last Friday Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of Glasgow, will offer a Mass for France this evening in St Andrew’s Cathedral at 5.15pm. The theme of the Mass will be “hope and solidarity”.
The Mass will be attended by the Lord Provost of Glasgow to represent the city and the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson MSP, who will represent the Scottish Government. The Honorary Consul of France, Dr John Campbell, will do a reading in French during the Mass and will offer a vote of thanks at the end.
Archbishop Tartaglia’s homily is carried below.
Publication of this text is embargoed until 5pm.
1. The event is open to the public and a general invitation is issued to anyone who wishes to come along and remember those who have been affected by recent terror attacks in France and elsewhere.
2. For more information call Ronnie Convery, Director of Communications, Archdiocese of Glasgow on 0141 226 5898.
3. You are invited to send a reporter/photographer/camera crew.
Archbishop Tartaglia’s homily
1. We gather for this Mass at St Andrew’s Cathedral following the attacks on Paris last Friday evening. In these cowardly actions of murder and terror, 129 people so far have lost their lives, many are seriously injured, hundreds have been bereaved and saddened, France is in mourning, and, in one way or another, all people of good will throughout Europe and the world will have been affected. It has been a profoundly disturbing time for all of us, for if it happened in Paris in restaurants, at a concert venue, and at a football stadium, we realise that it could happen anywhere and it could have been any of us.
2. I welcome in a special way to our Mass this evening Cllr Sadie Docherty, the Lord Provost of Glasgow; Mr Michael Matheson MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, representing the First Minister and the Scottish Government; and Mr John Campbell, the Honorary Consul of France, representing the government and people of France. I also welcome in a very special way any French nationals who are present, whose loss is the most painful and whose grief is the most profound.
3. I have called this a Mass of solidarity and hope. We are in solidarity with the people of France who are deeply shocked and sorely grieved, and yet refuse to be bowed by terrorism. And with them we hope for the victory of humanity over inhumanity, of peaceful coexistence over civil strife, of democracy over tyranny, of civilisation over chaos, and of hope over despair.
4. Sometimes when bad things happen, we need to ask why, and sometimes we ask why in pain and anguish. Sometimes we say angrily to God, “Where were you? Why did you allow it?” But what happened in Paris was not a random tragic accident of the kind we have seen in Glasgow in the last two years, which have left us all bewildered. The difference is that we know the why of the Paris atrocity. There is no mystery about it. Men did it. They wanted it. They planned it. They carried it out. We can seek the why in that place in the darkness of men’s souls where they are deceived into believing that evil is good. And the greatest deception of all is to believe that God approves. From that dark place come murder and terror and all kind of destructive sinfulness. God does not want that for his children. And so he gave us his Son who, through his death and resurrection, offers us the grace to love one another in peace and to enjoy the fullness of life. Once again this evening Jesus invites us to come to him and to put our trust in him.
5. In this Mass, we pray for the dead, the injured, the bereaved, and for all those whose lives have been shattered by these acts of pitiless cruelty. And we pray for the citizens of Paris whose beautiful city has once again been turned into a brutal killing field. We pray that the men of violence and terror who seek to impose tyranny, to sow distrust and to engender strife will be defeated and ultimately banished by France’s love for liberty, her instinct for equality, and her passion for fraternity.
6. In proposing that we should celebrate this Mass, I just wanted to offer an opportunity for the diocesan community and for those who wished to join with us to bring our grief, our shock, our fear, our anger even, before God and to express our sense of common humanity with Paris, with France, and with all persons of goodwill throughout the world – people of every nation, race and religion. In every human heart, there dwells the desire for peace. In every human heart, there is the desire to love one’s neighbour. These terrible events have saddened us and scared us and grieved us and weighed us down. Jesus says to us: Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest. This evening we put our trust in Jesus.
7. On the morning after the terror attacks in Paris, I sent a message to the Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, expressing the sympathy of Glasgow and Scotland for all that had happened, and offering our prayers. Before very long I received a reply. It said: “Merci pour votre message et vos prières. Nous nous efforçons de vivre ces événements dans la foi”- André Vingt-Trois. “Thank you for your message and your prayers. We are trying to live these events in faith.” And I hope we can do the same.