June- July 2018

Dear Friends,

I am writing this pastoral epistle to you just before I set out on the St Andrews to Iona Pilgrimage with the intention of raising charitable monies for UCAN. I must say that I am looking forward to what I think will be an adventure but also I hope will be a deeply religious experience walking from one ancient centre of Scottish Christianity to another. There is nothing like ‘time-out’ on Pilgrimage to sort yourself out. The walking itself is a cathartic experience and you are given opportunity to reflect on where one is at in life. That aside Steven and I will be traversing some of the most rugged wilderness in Scotland and I must confess that I am looking forward to that. There are still vast tracts of pristine wilderness in Scotland and for the opportunity of engaging with that particular paradise I rejoice. In saying that I am reminded of Fr Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem Inversnaid…

“What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.”

So here goes and I hope that the weather is kind and that the whole venture is successful!

It was good to have been with the Canon John Cuthbert and the folks at St Michael and All Angels Inverness on the 28th April last for their Founder’s Day commemorations. At that Mass I suggested that we return the compliment and I invited them to join with us in celebrating our Founder’s Day at the end of July. So we will remember Fr John Comper on Saturday 28th of July at 12.00 noon. It will be a Sung Mass followed by a lunch. As I said in a recent sermon there are very strong historical links between here and St Michael’s Inverness. Fr John Comper, Sir Ninian Comper and Canon William Lachlan Mackintosh, the founder of St Michaels, were close friends and there was a lot comings and goings between the two congregations. These men had shared theological, liturgical, architectural and musical interests (Gregorian Chant being one!) and implicitly believed in the Catholic Faith as delivered by the Saints. It is good to remember our founding fathers and to imbibe of their pioneering spirit. If you intend coming to the Mass please enter your name on the sheet provided to assist with catering purposes.

The Gallowgate Festival will soon be upon us. This will be the 25th Festival so it is a bit of a milestone! Please support this event and encourage others to come along. We will need help to make sure that things go smoothly. There is a job for everyone. It is very much part of life in this place and it does bring in many visitors and necessary capital too. As with last year a varied programme has been arranged for the week-long Gala ending with a Ceilidh on the Friday evening.

I thought that the Spring flowering bulbs looked great this year and my especial thanks to Andy for all his hard work in planting them out in pots. We will of course be having another go at the Garden Competition. That first prize hopefully will not continue to be elusive.

Here’s to a good summer. We await in anticipation!

All good wishes,

As Aye,

Fr. Emsley