News

General announcements

Last updated:  27 November 2016

Children's Nativity and festive forest - Sunday 18th of December

To continue the Blairs tradition, we will once again create a forest inside the church with 20 artificial 5ft trees adorned with lights and decorated by the parish. You are invited to stay after mass on Sunday the 18th of December to decorate the trees.
Once decorated, the Children’s Liturgy group will perform the Nativity. If any of the older children would like to be involved, please could they join us in children's liturgy during the next few weeks?
The nativity will be followed by a soup and sandwich lunch that we are hoping to accompany with some musical entertainment.
Trees can be sponsored (£20 each) by anyone, including groups or businesses. Please contact Rachel McDermott or Rachel Gambro.
[27 November 2016]

Charities Group Prize Draw - Sunday 4th of December

There will be a Charities Group Prize Draw in the Parish Room after Mass on Sunday 4th December.
[27 November 2016]

Confirmations

Congratulations today to our six confermandi - despite the heating being broken in the church, the entire parish and assembled congregation were captivated by Bishop Hugh's very apt sermon and thrilled to participate as our young parishioners received their gifts of the Holy Spirit.
[27 November 2016]

Celebration for the Year of Mercy

As a parish we should come together, apart from Mass, to celebrate Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy.  Sunday 18th September is the proposed date and the schedule of events would be as follows:  Mass as normal at 9.30, followed at 10.50 by a procession in the immediate chapel grounds, (weather permitting), with prayer and meditation on the Works of Mercy.  Return to the chapel for a short time of exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.  12 noon, parish barbecue.
Anyone who would like to help with the planning and organization of the barbecue please see Rachel McDermott or Amanda McCarthy.
[24 July 2016]

World Day of Prayer

The World Day of Prayer service for the Cults, Peterculter, and Milltimber area will be held at St Mary's Blairs on Friday the 4th of March 2016 at 14:00.

The World Day of Prayer (formerly known as The Women's World Day of Prayer) has been an annual feature for many years, but our parish only became involved since 2014. The organising Committee is really delighted that we have agreed to host the 2016 event as this is the first time a Catholic church has done so in this area. If you can help with baking, teas and coffees please see Anne Rae.
[29 February 2016]

Foodbank Donations

There is a Foodbank app which tells you what local foodbanks are currently in need of - urgently, low on stock and well-stocked. At present it’s just Cyrenians registered in Aberdeen and they are urgently needing: supermarket gift cards, sleeping bags, new underwear (male and female), men’s trousers (32/34" waist), tinned fruit, tinned vegetables, tinned fish, tinned meat (e.g. curry, meatballs). They are low in stock of: torches, razors, deodorant (ladies and gents), shaving foam/gel, men’s scarves, emergency blankets, survival bags and handwarmers. Rachel McDermott is happy to do trips to Cyrenians if people want to give her things at church on Sundays. [21 February 2016]

Christmas trees at Blairs 2015

Once again this Christmas we are aiming to create a forest inside the church with
20 artificial 5ft trees adorned with lights and decorated by the parish. For the
last two years we have hosted an afternoon of festivities to allow visitors to enjoy
the trees too. This year we are planning a lunchtime event, again open to all, on
Sunday 13th December when the trees can be decorated, the Children’s Liturgy
will perform the Nativity and everyone can enjoy a soup and sandwich lunch
together.
We are excited to offer everyone at Blairs the chance to sponsor a tree for £20
and decorate it in their own style. In previous years there have been some
wonderful trees created, representing various countries, hobbies, interests,
families or simply to make it look festive. It would be great if you could also
encourage any local club or society that you are involved with, to decorate one
and come along to the lunch too. We hope you have fun planning your tree.
There will be prizes to win.
Please book your tree today with Lisa Selbie, Rachel McDermott or Rachel
Gambro. [8 November 2015]

Painting of the cloister, kitchen and toilets

The walls of the cloister, kitchen, toilets and hallway to the parish room have now all been freshly repainted by local decorator Paul Stephens who has done a fantastic job, just in time for Easter. The plaster in the kitchen ceiling, previously damaged by water ingress, has also been repaired. Hopefully this will keep us going now for many years!
[4 April 2015]

Grit blasting

The Cloister has been grit blasted by Dunedin Contemporary Blasting Ltd to remove the many layers of paint so that it can be repainted with a 'breathable' paint to allow any moisture in the walls to escape. We expect this to resolve the blemishes and crumbling plaster that has peppered the walls of the cloister. Blasting uses ground glass (in the old days it was sand but this was banned years ago due to health risks) and is very dusty. Indeed, despite significant man-hours of preparation, dust has gone everywhere, including into the church, and has been cleaned up as best as possible by volunteers. The paint removal however seems to have been very successful and there are no traces of old paint left on the walls.
[8 March 2015]

Children's nativity

The younger parish children portrayed their version of the Nativity today and delivered a super performance.
Blairs children Nativity 2014
[21 December 2014]

First communion

Congratulations to Jason and Samuel on their first communion - the entire parish is proud of you! [26 May 2014]

Volunteer clean-up jobs being cleared

Over the past four Saturdays, volunteers have been undertaking a number of spring-cleaning jobs in the cloister and church. This included vacuuming and cleaning the church, pews and kneelers, polishing the brass in the church, scrubbing the marble floors at the altar, mopping and polishing the wood floors in the church and scraping cloister walls to remove flaked paint ready for a new coat of paint. More work has yet to be finished so any kind souls should volunteer to Deacon John. [11 Apr 2014]

Building works complete

We have now witnessed the removal of most of the scaffolding outside, as the new drainpipes have been fitted to the tower, the heat trace installed in the parapet (replacing the wooden snow boards), and the lowest platform in the tower now sports a weathertight covering that directs any water into a drain. Furthermore, Deacon John has also arranged for a slater to repair the pointing over the cloister where water would leak from the roof when it rained. The internal marble repairs are also now complete. [6 Apr 2014]

New building works

A new scaffolding tower has been erected up to the tower. This is because a drain pipe had become blocked following the previous works to the tower and as a consequence water was not draining properly. Replacing this drain pipe is expected to eliminate most, if not all the remaining water ingress into the tower, which itself is migrating into the church building. The same builders will also be installing gutters on the inside of the tower so that if any water does enter the tower, it will be collected and channeled out of the building rather than allowed to flow down the walls.

Other works that will be started this week include repairs to the marble inside the church, and an annual safety check of the electrics. The marble work should result in the rear pews being declared safe and reopened, but as this work will require scaffolding, may not result in visible progress until after the upcoming wedding at the end of the month. [17 Feb 2014]

French first communion mass

The French community will celebrate their first communion mass at Blairs on the 25th of May 2014 at 18:00. [19 Jan 2014]

Blairs parish confirmation

The Blairs parish confirmations will take place on the 1st of June 2014 at 09:30. [19 Jan 2014]

Cocktails in Teapots - update

The ladies of the parish are delighted by the kindness and solidarity shown by Canon Peter Barry and the parishioners at St Francis of Assisi who have very generously made a large donation in support of the Cocktails in Teapots fundraising initiative. This is an excellent start and significant help in our fundraiser in aid of the repairs needed to the chapel due to water damage. [26 May 2013]

French Mass

Thanks were received from the French community who celebrated mass at Blairs on Saturday 18th May. They have very generously donated their collection to the Blairs College Chapel Trust fund to help with the repairs to water damaged plaster that arose over the last few years. [19 May 2013]

Rosary of Fatima

Thanks were received from the Polish community who celebrated the Rosary of Fatima on Saturday 11th May. [12 May 2013]

Cocktails in Teapots

The ladies of the Parish are organising a fantastic fundraiser entitled, "Cocktails in Teapots" to be held on the 9th of June from 16:00-18:00 at the Milltimber Community Centre. As the name suggests, it will be a very sociable "afternoon tea" accompanied by cakes and other events. Tickets will shortly be available and more information can be obtained from either of the two Rachels. [28 April 2013]

French Mass

The Franco-Scottish Society of Scotland (Aberdeen Branch) has asked the Parish Council to be hosted for a French mass at St Mary's Blairs at 18:00 on Saturday the 18th of May. The Parish Council has informally confirmed its consent to our French friends and will table this for formal approval at the next Parish Council meeting. [21st April 2013]

Rosary of Fatima

The Fr Tomasz has asked the Parish Council on behalf of the Polish community for St Mary's Blairs to host them on the second Saturday of each month from May until October for a mass at 20:00 and (weather permitting) a processional rosary. The Parish Council has informally confirmed its consent to Fr Tomasz and will table this for formal approval at the next Parish Council meeting. [21st April 2013]

Parish Council Meeting

The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Wednesday the 1st of May in the Parish room at 19:00. All members of the Parish are welcome. [21st April 2013]

Polish Easter Vigil

The Polish community was very pleased to hold its Easter Vigil at St Mary's Blairs, and the Blairs Parish Council was very pleased that they chose to hold their vigil at St Mary's chapel. We are very grateful that they have made a generous donation to the Blairs College Chapel Trust. The BCCT used the donation to pay for the recent marble repairs. [21st April 2013]

Welcome to the Polish Community

Our parish today agreed to welcome the Polish Community over the Easter period and to share the church with them for a Polish language Easter Vigil mass. Details to be agreed with Fr Tomasz. [17 February 2013]

Meeting with the Bishop - Notes

A meeting was held with the Bishop and the Vicar General as planned on the 4th February. It was agreed that the parish council will establish a church fabric committee to manage the practical aspects of operating the church building. Detailed minutes are available in the Parish Area on this website. Contact the Webmaster if you are unable to access them. [9 February 2013]

Ash Wednesday Mass and Parish Council Meeting

An Ash Wednesday mass will be held at the church on Ash wednesday and then be followed by a parish council meeting. All parishioners are welcome. [3 February 2013]

Meeting with the Bishop

The Bishop and the Vicar General have requested a meeting with the Parish Council on the 4th of February at 11:00 to be held in the parish room. The purpose is to discuss the state of the works and how to address the continued water ingress. [27 January 2013]

Fantastic Parish charity concert

Parishioners and visitors were amazed today by our talented youth, twelve of whom today delivered a stunning 40-min performance that they organised entirely themselves. By selling tickets for a brunch immediately after the concert, and by asking for voluntary donations proportional to the listener's enjoyment, our inspiring youth raised an unexpected £489.51! This will be divided between the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund and the Blairs College Chapel Trust. [7 Oct 2012]

Building works update

As of today, the works are approximately 50% complete, with the pointing on the upper spire having been repaired, the louvres prepared and repainted, leadwork to the tower gutters, dressings to the east gable and feltwork to internal gutters now having been finished. Furthermore the joinery work in the front porch is now also complete. Some delays to the programme are expected as the scaffolding contractor is not yet available to redeploy the scaffolding to the lower steeple area. New estimated completion date is the 19th of October. [2 October 2012]

Parish charity concert

The parish youth are organising a fundraising concert and brunch to take place on the 7th of October after mass. Tickets for the brunch will be sold after mass in the weeks running up to the concert and will help the children plan the catering. Please therefore do buy tickets if yo plan to come. The concert will be free but the children hope the audience will make donations based on their appreciation of the concert, and hence are practicing hard in the hope they will impress! [16 September 2012] 

Registration open for Sacrament classes

Parishioners with children wishing to enroll in the relevant sacrament preparation classes that take place after mass are asked to complete a registration form. Blank forms are located on the table at the back of the church. [16 September 2012] 

Parish Council Meeting

A Parish Council Meeting was held tonight focusing on the Parish's financed and in particular matters relating to the recently restarted rennovation works. Minutes will be issued imminently by Roger. [5 September 2012]

Works restarted

The works to the building have been restarted following a successful arrangement having been reached with Historic Scotland who have agreed to increase our grant to cover the increased cost of switching to our new builder. The works are expected to take approximately 6-weeks to complete. [27 August 2012]

Dry rot incident

Unfortunately, three fungal growths were discovered on Monday in the side chapel at the back of the church following the heavy rains. Colin Berry, a local joiner that is certified to treat dry rot, removed the affected wood and stonework and with the advice of Sovereign Chemicals, treated the rot.  Loss adjusters have also visited the site as we hope to claim on the insurance on the basis that the rot may have been caused by loose hessian from the unmanaged work site blowing loose and blocking a drain. Further investigations and discussions are in progress.  [18 August 2012]

Parish Register update

The Parish Council has asked for the parish register to be updated. Details from paper records going back a few years have now been combined into a single master file. Emails are being sent to all the email addresses listed in the register to verify if they are still active. Over the next few weeks, parishioners will be asked to review and update paper records after mass. [2 June 2012]

First Communion

The parish was again delighted by the splendid achievement of its ten children who participated for the first time in communion. Not only did they look really fantastic and set an inimitable example for the rest of the children, but they too were graced by wonderful weather - an auspicious start to their weekly participation in church! [21 May 2012]

Confirmation

The parish is today very proud to welcome its fourteen young confermandi and thanks Bishop Hugh and Fr Vincent for coming to celebrate this with us, Pat for all her dedicated and loving work in preparing our new generation, and all the parishioners that worked so hard on the logistics that made the celebration so special. [13 May 2012]

First Reconciliation

Congratulations to our four young parishioners who had their first reconciliation on a sunny and warm 12th of May with Canon Bill and Fr Vincent! [12 May 2012]

Farewell to Deacon Peter

The parish is sad to say farewell to Deacon Peter after all his years of caring service, and wishes him well in his new job as appointed by the Bishop. [7 April 2012]
[Update: 20 May 2012] The parish yesterday presented Peter with a token of its appreciation for his caring and committed service and hopes that it can remind him that he is always welcome at Blairs.

Building Works

As you will have noticed, the building works are still unfinished. The original builder went out of business before the works were complete, and a new builder is in the process of being selected. Apparently not much work is left to be finished so it is hoped that this will be completed in the next few months.

Diocesan Messages

Last updated: 24 April 2017

New parish priest from Pentecost, 4th June 2017

Fr George read out this letter from Bishop Hugh at Mass on Sunday 23rd April announcing that Fr Mark Impson would be appointed as the new dedicated parish priest for Blairs with effect from the 4th of June 2017. Bishop Hugh also announced that Deacon John would be handing over his role as parish administrator to Fr Mark, and that Fr Mark would be serving as the parish priest for both the parish of the Immaculate Conception at Stonehaven as well as St Mary's Blairs. Deacon John will continue to serve in the dioscese as the Chancellor and at the Inter-diocesan Tribunal.
[24 April 2017]

A light for Aleppo - 20 November 2016

Photographs from Sunday night's "a Light for Aleppo": event at Torry Battery. It was a very moving occasion when around 30 - 35 folk from various churches gathered with Mohamed, one of the Syrian refugees who lit the Beacon. He was also accompanied by Sami and Yourseff. All three young men are citizens of Aleppo and were able to give us an indication of what life in Aleppo is like. After we prayed that the Light of Christ would shine in the darkness of the city and throughout Syria, we lit the Beacon. As it built in strength we all quietly prayed concluding with the Lord's Prayer. It was very special as we joined with many other groups across Scotland, England, through Europe, across to Canada and America, and even down to Australia in prayer.


[22 November 2016]

Pastoral Letter for 19 & 20 November 2016

A pastoral letter from Bishop Hugh.

Pastoral Letter for 2 & 3 July 2016

A pastoral letter from Bishop Hugh both in English and Polish.
[5 July 2016]

Good Shepherd Sunday

This document announces nine days of prayer for our shepherds - 
"A Novena of Readings, Prayers and Reflections in Preparation for Good Shepherd Sunday 2016".
Please note: the pdf document you will download by clicking above is 4.2MB in size.
[9 April 2016]

Paschal Triduum 2016

Easter video message from Bishop Hugh.

Paschal Triduum video for 2016

[25 March 2016]

SCIAF 50th Anniversary Pastoral Letter

This link is to the SCIAF 50th Anniversary pastoral letter distributed to all parishes on the 32nd Sunday of 2015. [8 November 2015]

Prayers for the Synod

Bishop Hugh has written the following prayers in support of the Bishop's synod on the Family that takes place this week. Click on this link to download them in pdf format. [4 Oct 2015]

Letter from Bishops Conference on the General Election

Dated 12 April 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

On the Seventh of May the people of Scotland will vote in what may be the most unpredictable General Election in generations. While each of us alone will decide whom to vote for, the teachings of the Church can offer us a guide as we attempt to reach an informed judgement that advances the common good.

Casting a vote is both a civic duty and a Christian moral obligation. The huge turnout at last year’s referendum was an exemplary exercise in peaceful and participatory democracy and showed how much the Scottish people care about the future of our country and its wellbeing. It was also a reminder of the power that every citizen has and the obligation upon us to use our vote.

For centuries Christian values underpinned our laws and customs but for Christians today the political complexion of Parliament is secondary to the values and beliefs of those who sit in it. The candidates we send to Parliament go there as our representatives. The values they hold will shape their understanding of what is good for our country.

Our Parliamentarians must discern priorities in many ethical and moral matters from Welfare to Defence, not to mention our relationship with Europe. Before casting our vote, we have a duty to inform ourselves of the moral values of our candidates. We should think and pray before we choose, considering especially the following points: 

1. Life: The dignity and value of every human being should be at the heart of politics. The sanctity of human life, protected from its beginning to its natural end, is not a single issue. It is the fundamental issue. It demands that we proclaim the Gospel of Life in all places and at all times, for if human life is not sacrosanct then no other human right makes any sense at all. Laws which permit abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide are profoundly unjust. We do not want to accept the continued existence in our society of such fundamental violations of human rights and we commit ourselves to work peacefully and tirelessly to oppose and to change them.

2. The Family: Common sense and much research tell us that children do best when they are raised by a mum and dad who are married to each other. This ideal is not always possible in reality and we applaud and support families who achieve remarkable things in the most difficult of circumstances. In recent years, both the UK and Scottish Parliaments have enacted legislation re-defining marriage. Together with others we argued that marriage is a union uniquely of a man and a woman and feared that legislation allowing for same sex marriage represented an unprecedented threat to the public understanding of marriage and the family. Once again we should encourage our politicians to defend the institution of marriage and the family as the basic unit of society on which so much depends. Pope Francis has also reminded governments not to require poor countries to introduce laws redefining marriage before they can get financial aid, because this is unjust and unfair.

3. The Economy: The first consideration for any economic policy should be the dignity of the person, not the pursuit of profit. We urge candidates to endorse the living wage campaign, giving people the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families. In these turbulent financial times Pope Francis has been a prophetic voice, warning that economies stripped of ethics trample human dignity. “Unbridled capitalism,” he says, “has given us the logic of profit at any cost, (and) of exploitation without looking at the person.” The existence of so many food banks in our country offers a depressing vindication of the Pope’s warning.

4. Human Freedom: Across the globe, the right to religious freedom and freedom of worship are under threat. In some countries, Christians are put to death simply for professing faith in Jesus Christ. In this country, an intolerant form of secularism wants to remove religion from the public square, despite recognition in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. True human dignity involves the freedom to assemble, to worship and to manifest our beliefs openly. Religious liberty must be non-negotiable in a free society and we should make sure our candidates support it.

5. Peace. Successive UK Governments have made plans to replace and upgrade our nuclear weapons capacity. This is despite the considerable costs involved and in the face of persistent moral objections, to say nothing of international agreements we have entered into which commit us to work against the proliferation of such weapons. While recognising each country’s right to defend itself, the existence of nuclear weapons, and their possible proliferation, continue to represent a grave threat to the human family. Pope Francis reminds us that peace is better fostered by greater equality - not least by fairness towards the poor, refugees and migrants - rather than by increased spending on arms.

6. Evangelisation: The Gospel compels us as a Church and as individual Catholics to engage actively in the world and convert human affairs. Voting in the election is the least a committed Christian can do. Our politicians enter public service with good hearts and give of their best to build up our lives and our country. Sadly, however, on serious issues, some politicians who profess a Catholic faith remain silent – or even surrender – in the face of grave ethical injustice. As Catholics, we can never separate how we act from what we believe without undermining what we believe and damaging who we are. The time has come for a new generation of Catholics to join political parties and to dedicate ourselves to political service in a way that remains faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, laying the foundations for a new Civilization of Love that serves the common good of all, especially the most vulnerable in our society.

Conclusion:
As we prepare to cast our votes, the Bishops invite all of us to pray for our country, our Parliamentary candidates and our fellow citizens. With our votes we help set the direction of our society for years to come and it is right that we ask for divine assistance that we may be guided in our choices and that our nation may flourish.

The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland,
The Second Sunday of Easter, 2015.

+ Philip Tartaglia, President, Archbishop of Glasgow
+ Joseph Toal, Vice-President, Bishop of Motherwell
+ Hugh Gilbert, Episcopal Secretary, Bishop of Aberdeen
+ Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St.Andrews and Edinburgh
+ Stephen Robson, Bishop of Dunkeld
+ John Keenan, Bishop of Paisley
+ William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway
V.Rev.Mgr James MacNeil, Diocesan Administrator, Argyll and the Isles

Original letter is available here.

Palm Sunday pastoral letter from Bishop Hugh

A special pastoral letter from Bishop Hugh was read out at Palm Sunday. The full text is available here. [13 Apr 2014]

Pastoral letter from Bishop Hugh relating to the Pope's resignation

This can be read at the Diocese website here: Bishop's letter [17 Feb 2013]