Church Life,  Mother of God

Parish Grotto Consecration

In Scotland, the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven was anticipated and celebrated yesterday, Sunday 14th August. For the parish of Saint Ambrose in Baillieston, it was a very special day because of the feast and also because it was the day the new parish Grotto was finally blessed.

The idea for the Grotto was conceived a few years ago by parish priest Fr Tom Devlin, who took inspiration from a grotto in the hills above La Chappelle Neauve in Brittany, France, where he was present for the celebration of Mass for the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Bringing the idea home to the parish, he had suggested that we might be able to build a Grotto at the rear of Saint Bridget’s Church if we were able to raise the necessary funds. The generosity of the people came to the fore and the idea began to take shape. As with so many other things, the pandemic stopped the progression of the plans; it was a long two years before further work on the construction of the Grotto could recommence. Earlier this year, that work was finally completed and plans were drawn up for the creation of a memorial plaque, listing the contributors and detailing the solemn blessing of the Grotto. The date was arranged for Bishop Toal to visit the parish.

The day began with a very beautiful celebration of Mass in St Bridget’s Church, with Bishop Toal as presider and with Fr Devlin concelebrating, assisted by Deacon Michael Meechan. Deacon Michael had also done a great deal of work behind the scenes to ensure that everything ran very smoothly, which it did.

In his homily, Bishop Toal spoke about the real meaning of this feast of Our Blessed Lady – as well as the seal of approval given Her by God in the assumption of Her body and soul into Heaven, it is a reminder of the hope we all have that one day we, too, will share in the infinite joy of Heaven. Her approved appearances upon the earth since then are a motherly reminder of this hope.

After Mass, there was a solemn procession to the grounds at the rear of the Church, where the new Grotto had been prepared and adorned with flowers in Our Lady’s colours of blue and white. The Grotto was incensed and sprinkled with holy water and the Bishop voiced his hope that the Grotto would become a little place of respite and of holiness for all who draw near to the Mother of God in this little place dedicated to Her honour.

The celebrations ended with an exceptional buffet, prepared by a number of the parishioners – many of whom took time to go and look at the plaque to the left of the Grotto, which outlines the story of it’s creation and lists those whose kind donations made it possible.

Thanks to Bishop Toal from all in Saint Ambrose parish for celebrating the feast day, for blessing the Grotto and for sharing the experience with us.

All images are © Gavin Ross Photography

Catholic | Retired Nurse | UK

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