On the Feast of the Chair of St Peter (22nd February) the Parish of St Margaret of Scotland in Johnstone celebrated with a sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form. At the invitation of Parish Priest Fr Paul Brady, and with encouragement from Bishop Keenan, Una Voce Scotland (UVS) provided this Mass in the ancient form of the Roman Rite. UVS is a Scottish charity that promotes the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass and Gregorian Chant.
Around 170 of the faithful from around the Diocese of Paisley (with a few supporters from Glasgow) took shelter from the hail and sleet in this hidden gem of a church. Firstly, the Holy Rosary, led by UVS chairman Fraser Pearce, was offered for the current incumbent of the Chair of St Peter and for Holy Mother Church.
The congregation of parishioners – young and old – prayed in silence before Mass began with a flourish from the organ. The procession of servers and nine priests approached the altar of God, the last of whom was the celebrant of the Mass, Fr Gerard Byrne of St Brigid’s Toryglen.
This Sung Traditional Latin Mass was the first to be offered in St Margaret’s in 50 years. For some, it brought back memories of a Low Mass offered there a few years back for the golden wedding anniversary of a parishioner couple. For others, it was a reminder of Mass before the liturgical changes of the late 1960s. For most however, it was much more than a memory. In line with the global trend, the majority of attendees were those who are too young to remember, and who want the traditional Mass not out of nostalgia, but out of a love for the richness of the prayers, the depth of the silence, the transcendence of the Gregorian Chant and the beauty of the ceremonies.
The music was provided by UVS’ own Schola (choir). In addition to the chant of the Mass, they sang polyphonic pieces by preeminent Catholic composers such as Thomas Luis de Victoria, Hans Leo Hassler and Antonio Lotti with organ music by Buxtehude.
Thanks to the warm hospitality of the parishioners, Mass was followed by refreshments and a time to share in conversation. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with many asking for the Traditional Latin Mass to be offered regularly in the area.
Una Voce Scotland works to improve access to the TLM around Scotland. If you would like to see more events like this, pray for us and support our work. If you don’t have a TLM near you, but would like one, let us know!