Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
I would like to thank everybody in the Diocese who participated in the Pilgrimage of the Relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux over the past weekend, from the arrival on Thursday night at St Teresa’s Newarthill until the departure yesterday afternoon from the Grotto at Carfin at the end of the National Pilgrimage Mass in honour of St Thérèse. I believe we were all uplifted by the experience and touched by the spirit of St Thérèse and the graces coming from her presence among us. I hope and pray with you that we will continue to benefit spiritually from this blessed experience.
I thank Fr James Grant for all the preparatory work done on a national level and all who have assisted him and will continue to do so over the next two weeks. Thanks to those who went with him to Lisieux to bring St Thérèse’s Relics to Scotland, and to John and Brian from Santa Familia Media for all they have done in preparation for the Pilgrimage and now on the road through the eight Scottish Dioceses.
I thank Fr Francis McGachey, Parish Priest of St Francis’ Xavier’s Carfin, and all parishioners and volunteers who helped in so many ways in preparing for the presence of the Relics in Carfin and then sustaining that effort day and night through these three days. Thank you for such generous service. I thank all the clergy who assisted, particularly Fr Mark O’Donnell and Deacon Jim Aitken and all priests who heard confessions, and the seminarians from Motherwell and elsewhere who served at the Liturgies. We were blessed to have Canon John Udris from Oscott Seminary at two of the Masses and he nourished us by his knowledge and love for St Thérèse, as did Fr McGachey and other clergy who led the devotions and preached at Mass. Thank you also to the Religious who attended, particularly the Poor Clares from Bothwell, whose own prayer and sacrifices we benefit from.
I thank the Knights of St Columba for their presence with St Thérèse’s casket throughout her time here and the other Catholic societies and orders who assisted in any way. I thank the parishes who organised buses and all who catered for the pilgrims at the Pilgrimage and Xavier Centres. A word of thanks also to Police Scotland whose presence and assistance on Sunday was much appreciated.
I thank our schools for the presence of their representatives at the Reception of the Relics and Mass on Friday morning. I am looking forward now to the Mass at St Francis Xavier’s Carfin on 1st October, the Feast of St Thérèse, when Primary 6 pupils will join with me in beginning the Extraordinary Month of the Missions called for by Pope Francis. It offers another opportunity to reflect on the beauty of the lives of our saints, who have inspired and guided the Church’s Mission while on earth and continue to do so from their place in heaven. With renewed thanks and with every blessing,
Yours in Christ, + Joseph Toal, Bishop of Motherwell
Photos by and copyright of Paul McSherry