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General announcements

Last updated:  24 March 2020

Update from Fr Mark

Dear all,

We have received notification from the Bishops' Conference of Scotland that all churches will have to be closed for the period of the current lockdown.  This is a very sad outcome but obviously a necessary one.

Please note therefore that you will no longer be able to visit the church for prayer, and that Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will not take place.

Please keep in touch via email or telephone and if you have any need at all please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes and God bless,

Fr. Mark

Letter from Fr Mark - Covid-19 suspension of Mass at Blairs

Dear all,

Just to let you know that the Bishop's Conference of Scotland have suspended the celebration of all public liturgy until further notice. Funerals, weddings and baptisms will only be celebrated with immediate family members present.

The last public celebration of Mass will be tomorrow, 19th March, The Feast of St. Joseph, after which I will be celebrating Mass in private.

What this means for Sunday and the coming weeks is that you are under no obligation to attend Mass on Sunday but please remember: the Lord has commanded us to keep the Sabbath holy therefore it is possible for everyone to do something extra on a Sunday - such as spending more time in family prayer, reading the readings of the day together etc.

This weekend I will be at every Mass centre at the usual Mass times to let those who are not linked by email know about the changed circumstances. I will be celebrating a 'private Mass' in each of the locations and those who do turn up are welcome to remain for that celebration.

Subsequent Sunday Masses I will celebrate 'privately' in the church in Stonehaven at 6.30pm (Vigil Mass), and Sunday at 11.30am.  The church doors will be unlocked.

Then after, I will be celebrating the week day Masses 'privately' in the church and at the usual time.  The doors will be unlocked.

It is also my intention to have the church open during the week for individuals to come in to pray privately.  I will inform you of the times via the newsletter which will be published at the end of the week.

Please let me know if you have any concerns or questions.

With all best wishes and God bless,

Fr. Mark

[18 March 2020]

Benemerenti medal award

Pope Francis this year awarded the Benemerenti medal for long and exceptional service to the Church to Pat Pritchard. Fr Mark presented the medal to Pat at the end of Mass on the 10th of February, catching her completely unprepared.


[16 June 2019]

Diocesan Messages

Last updated: 18 March 2020

Bishops Conference letter on Covid-19 measures

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

In this time of trial we, the Bishops of Scotland, wish to send you a word of reassurance and encouragement. We are all facing much uncertainty, anxiety and an unpredictable future. This situation touches on every aspect of our lives, individually and collectively.

Sacred Scripture calls us repeatedly not to fear and to look to the help that comes to us from above.

We are called to support one another in every way we can, especially those who are most vulnerable, through age or underlying conditions. Even in the midst of any necessary “distancing” we must stand by each other.

We ask you to pray for the sick, those caring for them, for those in positions of responsibility with difficult decisions to make, indeed for our whole country and the entire human family.

Most of all, we are being asked to put our trust in the living God who has created everything to be and to flourish and whose providence guides the course of world events. We put our trust in our Lord Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, and the true physician of our souls and bodies.

During this Lent, especially, let us all take the opportunity to deepen our relationship with God. As your bishops and with our priests and deacons, we assure you of our continuing commitment to your spiritual, pastoral and sacramental needs.

We want to maintain and foster the life of faith in every way we can, while also being informed by the advice and guidance of Government and health professionals. Over the centuries the Church has often been a source of comfort in times of trial and transformed sadness and fear into confidence and peace. We want the same to happen now.

Given the latest official advice to reduce the spread of Covid-19, we have taken the difficult decision, respecting the prudential judgement of each bishop, to suspend Holy Mass in public for the time being from Thursday 19th March, the feast of St Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, after all Masses. As pastors of the flocks entrusted to us, we are responding to an unprecedented crisis in modern times and assure all those whom we lead that this decision has not been taken without much prayer and discernment.

Priests will continue to celebrate Holy Mass in private with the particular intention of praying for those suffering from Covid-19 and for those who care for them.

However, our Churches will remain open for personal prayer and we would encourage parish priests to welcome individuals who seek consolation and encouragement from the Lord. We also ask our priests to be available for the reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion as and when they are needed, especially for the sick and housebound.

For the celebration of baptisms, funeral Masses and weddings we would ask that only close family are invited.

We wish to remain close to and with our priests who are on the front line of pastoral care, as we remain close to the Lord, sure of that victory of Christ we celebrate at Easter.
We encourage you where possible to access the live streaming of Holy Mass from the parishes in our country which have that facility.

Our celebration of Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum may indeed be curtailed by this government advice and we will seek means of celebrating those most important three days of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil online so that they may be accessible in your own home. We will have the opportunity to be with one another in spirit and in prayer. Moreover, the Holy Father, Pope Francis will be celebrating the Sacred Triduum online from St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and that celebration will unite us in prayer with all Catholics throughout the world.

We ask you to join with all the Churches in a National Day of Prayer this Sunday 22nd March, Mothering Sunday. It seems appropriate that as Catholics we pray together the Rosary, the prayer of our Blessed Mother Mary, at 12 noon, asking Her intercession for our country and our world in this time of need.

On this coming Sunday also we were due to have our collection for the SCIAF Lenten Appeal, and it would be good if we could still show our concern for the poorest in the world, even in our own time of need, by sending our donations to SCIAF or making them on-line to the SCIAF Wee Box Appeal at www.sciaf.org.uk.

As Government advice changes, we will update our guidance accordingly in the hope of restoring the public celebration of Mass. In the meantime, please ensure that no one feels abandoned in our communities and do what you can in practical terms to help those who are alone.

We entrust all of you, especially those already afflicted by the virus and all health care professionals, to the care of Our Lady of Lourdes, Health of the Sick.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

+ Hugh Gilbert
Bishop of Aberdeen, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland

+ Leo Cushley
Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh

+ Philip Tartaglia
Archbishop of Glasgow

+ Joseph Toal
Bishop of Motherwell

+ Stephen Robson
Bishop of Dunkeld

+ John Keenan
Bishop of Paisley

+ William Nolan
Bishop of Galloway

+ Brian McGee
Bishop of Argyll and the Isles

Pastoral letter ahead of general election

General Election 2019

A letter from the Catholic Bishops of Scotland

This General Election presents us with an opportunity to elect an individual representative who reflects as closely as possible our beliefs. It allows us to revisit Catholic Social Teaching and to connect our voting to our Catholic faith. It can be a chance to proclaim the inherent dignity and value of every human being, made in the image and likeness of God, and to promote the common good.

In recent times, politics has become divisive, principally, though not exclusively, as a result of the EU referendum. Vigorous debate has sometimes spilled over into personal attacks and even acts of violence which are never acceptable.

Uncertain times ought to make us stop and reflect on the One who is Truth Himself. Turning to God in these difficult times is our only hope for true peace. During elections, a range of issues compete for our attention; we highlight some of them here so that we may reflect on them and raise them with parliamentary candidates.

Human Life

It is the duty of all of us to uphold the most basic and fundamental human right - the right to life. We should urge candidates to recognise human life from the moment of conception until natural death and to legislate for its protection at every stage, including protecting the unborn child, ensuring that both mother and child are accepted and loved.

We should remind our politicians that abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia are, as the Church has consistently taught, always morally unacceptable. Decriminalisation of abortion unhappily paves the way towards a legal basis for abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth and politicians should be urged to resist it.

Our Governments should also promote a culture of life overseas, reversing the current practice of the UK Government to support anti-life initiatives, which might be described as ideological colonisation.

Marriage and the Family

Society relies on the building block of the family to exist. The love of man and woman in marriage and their openness to new life is the basic, fundamental cell upon which society is built. The wellbeing of society depends on the flourishing and health of family life and MPs and other legislators should respond to this with policies that create economic and fiscal support for married couples and families with children.

Poverty

Sadly, poverty continues to be a scourge for many at home and abroad. Too many people still struggle to make ends meet, homelessness is on the rise, and the two-child limit on tax credits is disproportionately affecting families of faith. This reality cannot and should not endure in our country in the twenty-first century. Reliance on food banks, particularly for families, is a telling criticism of a society that has forgotten its poor people in its midst.

Our concerns should also extend to maintaining and improving the UK's commitment to international development, which helps some of the poorest people in the world. Aid should not be used to support immoral practices such as those which compromise the basic right to life. Legislation in our country should also welcome refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, remove the inhumane policy of indefinite immigration detention, and provide for those people living in and around conflict zones while committing to working towards the peaceful resolution of conflict.

MPs should also commit the nation to responsible stewardship of the earth and all of its resources, and act on Pope Francis' call to be 'protectors of creation, protectors of God's plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.'

Freedom of Religion and Conscience

We believe that a creeping intolerance towards religious belief, including but not confined to Christianity, has become part of life in modern Britain. Certain politicians and citizens are finding it increasingly difficult to be true to their faith in an environment that tries to restrict religion to the private sphere. Our MPs should be urged to legislate for a liberal and tolerant society that is truly welcoming to all faiths and none.

Millions of people worldwide are persecuted for their beliefs. People of faith, including Christians, should be able to practise their faith freely and to bear witness to it in their lives without fear of prejudice, intolerance, abuse or violence. Candidates for Parliament should be committed to the right of people not to be forced to act against their conscience, and the next UK Government should campaign against religious persecution and intolerance around the world.

Nuclear Weapons and the Arms Trade

The use of any weapon that causes more than individual and proportionate harm to civilians is immoral and is rejected by the Church. The use of weapons of mass destruction is a serious offence against God and against humanity. While states are entitled to possess the means required for legitimate defence, this must not become an excuse for an excessive accumulation of weaponry which becomes a considerable threat to stability and freedom as well as a misuse of public funds that could serve to address the needs of the disadvantaged. The next UK Government ought to work actively and seriously towards elimination of the UK's nuclear arsenal, and the promotion of a more peace-oriented manufacturing industry, one that doesn't manufacture arms which fuel wars and instability across the world.

Finally, as we engage in this General Election, please pray for those who will be charged with representing the nation's interests in Parliament. May they be guided towards what is good and true; to the One who can bring true peace and freedom for all.

Yours devotedly in Christ,

+ Hugh Gilbert, President, Bishop of Aberdeen

+ John Keenan, Vice President, Bishop of Paisley

+ Brian McGee, Episcopal Secretary, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles

+ Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of Glasgow

+ Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh

+ Joseph Toal, Bishop of Motherwell

+ Stephen Robson, Bishop of Dunkeld

+ William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway

[23 November 2019]

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]