Restoring The Faith – A Model Parish…

From the Parish Website, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Glasgow, Scotland…

To celebrate the Eve of All Saints’ Day, some of our young parishioners and friends of the parish dressed up for our All Saints Party. We started the evening by processing into the church and chanting the Litany of Saints in Latin. After some food, the Saints played Seven Deadly Sins bowling, slayed a pinata-dragon, completed a saints trivia quiz, played St Cecilia’s Musical Chairs, and “Simon Peter Says”.

Winner: St Bernadette - front right...

Winner: St Bernadette – front right…

 

The Saints were all brilliantly dressed, but the grown-ups decided to award St Bernadette with the “Best Costume” prize. Thank you to all the Saints for coming in your great costumes, and thank you to the parishioners who helped with food and games for the children.  Visit Parish Website for most photos here

Comment:

The Angels & Saints Party has been a fixture in the Parish of the Immaculate Heart, Balornock, Glasgow for around 11 years, I believe. I’ve not heard of this idea being implemented anywhere else in Scotland. In the USA, yes.  Not Scotland, or, indeed, anywhere else in the UK, as far as I know.

It is a simple, but effective way of doing a number of things at once: killing several birds with one stone, as the saying goes. The children are encouraged to research the saints in order to choose  a saint to represent. They are, thus, learning about the saints; at least they are learning some key facts about the saints whom they research.  That’s important in itself. Then they have the fun of using their imaginations in order to create their own costumes. AND they are mixing with other young Catholics in an atmosphere conducive to developing their Faith and hopefully making new friends or consolidating friendships with other young Catholics.  What’s not to like?

Perhaps you could suggest this idea to your Parish Priest in good time to organise an Angels & Saints party in your parish next year? OR, if he is unwilling, or if you don’t have a large enough group of children, you could put a note in your diary to support the Immaculate Heart party next year. It’s well worth supporting; the children love it and the adults seemed to have a good time, as well.

Additionally, this thread may help to spark a few fresh ideas about how to restore some aspect of the Faith in your neck of the woods, especially, perhaps, enable new approaches to developing the knowledge and understanding of the young – an (insert soundbite adjective) Catechism Class…. that sort of thing.  Over to you!

27 responses

  1. How beautiful! What a fabulous idea!

    The children look gorgeous and I’m sure the judges had a hard time picking the best costume winner, because they’re all marvellous! St Bernadette is one of my favourite saints and the young lady in that costume really looks the part, so she deserved to win.

    About other ideas. Well, I’ll have to think about that but if all parishes organised a party like that for Hallowe’en I think the kids would respond very positively and once you get them reading the lives of the saints, who knows where that would lead.

    That must be one of the best of the parish priests in Scotland – what’s the bet he says the traditional Mass? Lucky parishioners!

    • Michaela,

      Yes, it was a very beautiful event – AND a fabulous idea: you are right.

      Although I suggested that bloggers might petition their priests to provide such a party next year, I doubt very much if any priests would agree to do so. The PP of the Immaculate Heart has held his Angels & Saints party for around 11 years and I’ve not heard of any other Glasgow parish which has followed his example. Too simple, you see. Too Catholic. Not ecumenical enough. Now if it were “Christian Heroes” then that might be different, ‘cos that would allow children to dress up as John Knox, Martin Luther, or any one of the popular former gangsters who converted to Protestant sects. Catholic saints and angels could be seen as “divisive” and “bigoted”, so, while I would be delighted to be proven wrong, I think that part of my blue comment might well be filed under “wishful thinking”.

      To answer your final question – yes, the PP does offer the traditional Mass several times a week and an evening Sunday Mass, and, in fact, he offers the novus ordo ad orientem [facing the Tabernacle] – but I’m not sure if he says the NO in the vernacular or Latin. Maybe someone else can answer that. Of course, many of us would like to see the parish a NO-free zone, but I suspect there’s a way to go to re-educate the bulk of the parishioners before the dawn of that glorious day.

  2. The Saints “played Seven Deadly Sins bowling, slayed a pinata-dragon, completed a saints trivia quiz, played St Cecilia’s Musical Chairs, and “Simon Peter Says”.

    Doesn’t that sound fantastic fun for the children? I don’t have any kids that age myself, but I’ll spread the word. There isn’t any other parish that does this, to the best of MY knowledge, in the central belt, not just Glasgow! It’s a brilliant idea.

  3. I agree that this is a fantastic idea and I congratulate Fr. Morris for his priestly efforts on behalf of these young souls. It’s true Catholic education and formation made more intersting with a tasteful fun element. The youngsters who participated in the event all looked the part, it was obvious that great effort had gone into their preparation. Well done all, especially St. Bernadette!

    • It’s true Catholic education and formation made more intersting with a tasteful fun element.

      I fully agree. This is a marvellous idea. It’s a wonder more parishes don’t do this. The kids would love it.

  4. I agree, it looks excellent. I might go along next year. It is a bit of a trek for me but we will see. Well done to all, especially St George !

    • Petrus,

      It will be well worth the “trek” – believe me. I think it’s crucial that children grow up with happy memories of the Faith and this is one terrific means of contributing to that.

      One mother has suggested that the adults might dress up as well (a couple did, as you can see from the photo – St Thomas Aquinas and St Therese of Lisieux!)

      However, while she would have no problem finding a married saint, I’ve had a problem tracking down a canonised single, older lady – discounting young female saints like Maria Goretti, and the laywoman St Catherine of Siena because she dressed in the Habit (as Third Order Tertiaries are permitted to do) AND St Joan of Arc since she dressed as a boy, I’m left with a small minority of single laywomen all of whom appear to have been “women of the night”. I do have the earrings for Mary Magdalen, but… well… if anyone can unearth a sainted middle-aged unmarried, non-woman-of-the-night female saint, I’ll be eternally (!) grateful…

      It would be fun to dress up so if all else fails I plan to appear with a sign around my neck which reads “Saint of the Future – Patron Saint of Fashion”…

      Would I win, do you think?

  5. What a really great idea! The children look great in their outfits (as do the two adults dressed up, brilliant!)

    If only more parishes would do that sort of thing, the young would be very attracted to the Church!

  6. I forgot to ask about the little toddler at the front – is she dressed up as Our Lady? Looks gorgeous anyway!

  7. Laura,

    Yes, the little girl at the front is dressed as Our Lady. She is gorgeous, and at the party she was quite a character, not happy at losing out in the musical chairs so actually, at one point, pulled a chair back into the circle! Hilarious. Last year she dressed as St Therese of Lisieux and won first prize.

  8. I would like to add my voice to the praise of IHOM parish, a pearl among the dung-heap of the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

    Fr Morris is an exemplary diocesan priest, one who should be acknowledged as a role model for his peers. His parish offers traditional liturgy every day except Monday, has frequent confession times and stocks good reading material in the parish shop (TAN publications and the like).

    Father has managed to educate the lay people in his charge as to the current problem in the Church and motivates them to participate in parish initiatives. His parish also contributes much to apostolic and charitable works. It is not surprising that his parish attracts high quality converts to the faith, who are often very talented people who are generous with their time to help the parish further.

    Other diocesan priests, especially the younger ones, could certainly learn by Fr Morris’ good example. Guiding other parishes along the same direction as IHOM would certainly pay dividends.

    The children’s party for All Saints day is a great means of engaging children and presenting Christianity to them in a way which will interest and stimulate them. It just shows how traditional ways and means never lose their effectiveness and relevance. Meanwhile, modern efforts to engage with youngsters are usually rank somewhere in between the appalling and the ridiculous.

    I had hoped to take our wee girl to the party this year, but sadly it was at a time which was just slightly too late for her (she is only one year old!). However, it is most certainly an event I will be taking her to in future.

  9. I wish we had access to a parish like that! It says a lot for the Archbishop that he doesn’t try to scupper Father’s traditional practices. Does he encourage other parish priests to do likewise, does anybody know? How marvelous would it be if EVERY bishop did the same! Ach weel, dream on……

    • Crofterlady,

      The archbishop probably has written off that PP as one eccentric – that’s how the traditional priests are viewed. He probably hasn’t noticed that it’s actually the rest of the priests who are pretending everything is fine, ignoring the elephant in the room (empty churches!) who are the eccentrics, LOL!

    • Crofterlady,

      The parish priest had at times a difficult relationship with the former Archbishop, regarding his offering of the traditional mass (as did other priests, whom the Archbishop would attempt to bully if they showed any interest in it.)

      The former Archbishops response to Summorum Pontificum was so negative that it made headlines in international catholic blogs.

      My understanding is that the current Archbishop is much more tolerant, even acknowledging the right of the priest to offer the mass. It seems he is happy just as long as the novus ordo continues to be offered too (needless to say the novus ordo at IHOM is of a much higher standard than the typical parish – i.e. no disco lights etc).

      To the very best of my knowledge, the Archbishop does not encourage his other priests to learn from the example of IHOM. I think that, apart from IHOM, the only other Archdiocesan TLM provisions are a monthly first saturday mass in one parish, and a weekly sunday mass in another.

      I think the Archbishop is well meaning, but sadly mixed up with all the modern errors. He probably views the latin mass as just one stripe of the faith, along with the Chinese, Nigerian and Polish language masses regularly offered in the Archdiocese.

  10. I’ve just returned to the land of blogging after a day away and I am slightly concerned at the comments of support for Father Morris.

    I pointedly did not mention his name, in order NOT to give the impression that we are in any way “connected” with him. That would not be helpful to him at all.

    Thus, allow me to make clear that any comments about Father Morris on this thread derive from the personal knowledge of individual bloggers, not from Catholic Truth.

    Father Morris is always polite and courteous when I meet him (I sometimes attend the traditional Masses in the Immaculate Heart of Mary parish, when there is no Mass in the church I normally attend) but I would not wish to give the impression that he is a “supporter” of ours. I knew about the party because one of our readers took her children last year and again this year. I was the Chauffeur-in-Chief on both occasions, and I was impressed with the event, so thought it worth advertising. Father Morris did not ask me to do so – as you can see, I took the information in the blog article from the material already published on the parish website, so, I emphasise, I do not wish anyone to be given the impression that Fr Morris is, or has ever been, actively supportive of Catholic Truth. The last thing any priest today wishes is to be considered sympathetic to or in any way supportive of Catholic Truth.

    We appreciate what he is doing, though, so I second all the warm praise for his efforts in Balornock.

    • Sorry Editor, I was one of the guilty parties. I thought it was Ok to mention Fr as his name had come up already. Is it possible to delete those mentions, if these could prove problematic?

      • That’s OK, Gabriel Syme, but I have just realised I forgot to correct one small mistake in your comment; the Glasgow priest who incurred the wrath of Archbishop Conti when he (said Glasgow priest) was the first to attend the LMS course for priests wishing to learn the TLM after publication of Summorum Pontificum, was not Father Morris, but another Glasgow priest. Father A.N. Other ought to remain nameless, since I don’t believe he was named in the original reports which, if my memory is correct, emanated from Fr Z’s blog.

        Father Morris did not, as far as I know, attend the first course run by the LMS, but subsequently learned the traditional Mass. And, just to underline this clarification, I’ve never heard any reports, from Fr Z or anywhere else, suggesting that Fr Morris has ever incurred the wrath of any bishop – and long may that happy condition last!

  11. Editor

    In our Irish chapels an All Saints Party was always an event which took place on the sunday nearest 1st November. This year some of our adults dressed up as well. Each of the children had to give a short narration re his or her saint and Fr. had to guess who the child was dressed up as. Our age range was 11 months to 16 years (although one young man was 19; he dressed as the patron saint of bakers; i think it’s Saint Laurence; he was killed by roasting on a grid iron. “i’m done enough on this side” was one of his statements to his executioners.
    It is a very good idea to have children dress as saints; as you say it gives them an opportunity to do some research and learn about various saints.

    enough for now…

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