Welcome to the Website of St Michael's Roman Catholic Church, Linlithgow, Scotland. Canon Paul and the parishioners warmly welcome new parishioners and visitors to our church. In this Web Site you will find details of our services and information related to the Parish.
Very Rev Canon Paul Kelly M.A., D.Phil, Our Parish Priest
Important update in response to the COVID-19 outbreak:
Bookings are now available for Mass and the church is now open for public worship
To join visit the link or scan the QR code below nearer the the time
West Lothian Food Network has been developed by West Lothian Council and is led by West Lothian Foodbank SCIO. West Lothian Food Network is more than meals, we aim to connect people and communities, reduce hunger and isolation and alleviate poverty. Click here to learn more...
St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church is situated in the historic and picturesque town of Linlithgow. The present church is situated at the East end of the town near the Low Port (entrance to the town). It is located beside the banks of Linlithgow loch and close to the old palace where Mary Queen of Scots was born. Next to the palace is the Parish Church of St Michael's the original seat of the Catholic Church prior to the reformation. This brief history chronicles the Catholic Church in Linlithgow from inception to the present day. The historic town of Linlithgow has a long association with Catholicism in Scotland. Although the present church has been in its current position by the side of Linlithgow Loch for a few years more than a century, St Michael has been associated with Linlithgow since the 13th century. St Michael's Parish church, in the centre of the town next to the remains of Linlithgow Palace, had a long association with the Stuart Kings and Scotland's most famous Queen; Mary Queen of Scots. Mary Queen of Scot's was born in Linlithgow Palace towards the end of 1542 and was baptised in St Michael's Church.
Records of the charter of David 1, in which he gifted not only the church but also "its chapels and lands, and all other rights belonging thereto", indicate that even in 1138 St. Michael's Church of Linlithgow was of considerable size and influence. Indeed, long before 1242 when David de Bernham, Bishop of St. Andrews, officially dedicated this beautiful medieval church it was known as a mother church. Located atop the mound and beside Linlithgow Palace the building stands testimony to the power and influence of pre-Reformation Roman Catholicism. The hierarchy of the Church of St. Michael's Linlithgow did without doubt exert great influence on the daily lives of the population of Scotland although much of this influence was secularised through its links with the Establishment.
However, it must not be forgotten that the church was built by local people as a permanent dedication to the greater glory of God. By the 16th century the Church was beset on all sides with calls for reform of various degrees of severity. Moderates, justifiably, wanted internal reform to rid the Church of much that was corrupt. One such was Linlithgow priest Ninian Winzet, who courageously stood up to more militant reformers who wished to see an end to Roman influence. Others were much more militant, for example, John Knox "whose "rascally multitude" desecrated the church of St. Michael's Linlithgow, among others" . To put it mildly feelings were running high and the outcome was the radical reformation of worship throughout the land
Roman Catholic worship at St. Michael's ended in 1561 when Patrick Frenche, who had been instated in 1559, was replaced by the Protestant minister Patrick Kinloquhy. It is thought that Patrick Frenche fled the country along with his fellow believer Ninian Winzet who was "...expelled, banished, and shut out of my kindly toun of Linlithgow and my tender friends..." . The post-Reformation era saw Roman Catholicism in disarray and the 1567 Act of Parliament criminalising the saying or hearing of Mass means that there is little record of how the faithful met for worship. It is known that there were travelling priests who must have visited the town but little is recorded until much later when the arrival of large numbers of Irish families highlighted the dearth of religious care in Linlithgow.
Details of Catholicism in the area remain scarce until around the middle of the 19th Century when, as a consequence of the famine in Ireland, there was a large influx of Irish Catholics to Scotland. Many worked in the farms in and around the Royal Burgh during the spring and summer months. However the development of the Shale Oil industry in West Lothian heralded the development of a permanent Catholic population in the town. Click here to continue reading...
SAFEGUARDING IN OUR CHURCH
It is the responsibility of all of us, clergy or lay to ensure that our church is a safe and welcoming place for everyone and to ensure that children and vulnerable adults are protected.
The parish Safeguarding Coordinators are Morag O'Dwyer (email@example.com) and John McCormack (firstname.lastname@example.org). Morag and John work alongside Canon Paul Kelly to ensure the safe recruitment of volunteers working with children and vulnerable adults in the parish. We also do an annual safeguarding audit to assess the safeguarding work being done in the parish, to identify any weaknesses and opportunities for improvements.
Safeguarding advice and materials are available on the Diocesan website https://archedinburgh.org/administration/#safeguarding and Scottish Catholic Safeguarding service https://www.scsafeguarding.org.uk/
Please contact Morag or John if you have any concerns about a safeguarding matter.
The photographs show the brand new Child and Family support centre in Istrashavan, Tajikistan. It was recently opened by the President and represents a major, governmental progression from the previous, baby home approach.
Parishioners are directly connected to this success since their charitable donations at Fish Teas and through the Saint Vincent de Paul Society were used to help furnish the initial trial and made this a success .
It has worked!
Through the efforts of many, it has been adopted as government policy in Tajikistan
Thank you to one and all who contributed!!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This election presents us with an opportunity to play our part in putting human life and the inviolable dignity of the human person at the centre of Scotland's political discourse. As Catholics we have a duty: to share the Gospel and to help form the public conscience on key moral issues. It is a duty of both faith and citizenship. This election is an opportunity to be the effective witness our Baptism calls us to be.
The new parliament and government will be tasked with leading the recovery from the damage wrought by the current health crisis and to tackle the significant impact it has had on many aspects of life including health care, mental health and wellbeing, religious freedom, and care for the poor. It must also build on the positives arising from the Pandemic, including caring for the most vulnerable, and a renewed sense of respect for human life, human dignity, and the value of community.
These are some of the issues you may want to consider in the forthcoming election:
Beginning and end of life
It is the duty of parliamentarians to uphold the most basic and fundamental human right to life. Elected representatives ought to recognise the existence of human life from the moment of conception and be committed to the protection of human life at every stage. Caring for the unborn and their mothers is a fundamental measure of a caring and compassionate society; a society which puts human dignity at the centre.
We ought to be mindful of a further attempt to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland, likely to happen in this parliament. Legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia suggests that some lives are not worth living, contrary to the Christian belief that every life has equal dignity and value. It is incumbent upon our parliamentarians to show compassion for the sick and dying. This is not achieved by assisted suicide or euthanasia but by ensuring support is provided through caring and attentive politics, including investment in palliative care.
Family and Work
Society relies on the building block of the family to exist and flourish. The love of man and woman in marriage and openness to new life is the basic, fundamental cell upon which every society is built. The wellbeing of Scotland and its future depends on the flourishing of family life and government should respond to this reality with policies creating economic and fiscal advantages for families with children.
The pandemic has placed immeasurable pressure on businesses and many people have lost their livelihood. The state has a duty to sustain business activities by creating conditions which will ensure job opportunities, especially in times of crisis. This must be accompanied by a just wage to provide a dignified livelihood for the worker and their family.
Poverty, Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery
Sadly, poverty remains a scourge for too many people. The marginalised, the homeless, and the lonely and isolated have been cast further adrift because of the pandemic. And poverty now affects 24% of children in Scotland. We need elected representatives who respect a preferential option for the poor, who are willing to prioritise their need and respect their human dignity.
Our government must also work with the international community to adopt an even more effective strategy against human trafficking and modern slavery, so that in every part of the world, men and women may no longer be used as a means to an end, and that their inviolable dignity will always be respected.
The next group of MSPs will be tasked with protecting our neighbours at home and abroad from the poverty and climate crises which continue to rage on. In November Glasgow will play host to the COP26 international climate change summit. We should listen to Pope Francis' call to 'hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor by lifting up the voices of the global south and coming together to rebuild our Common Home in a way that leaves no-one behind. Scotland can also demonstrate global leadership by strengthening its commitment to becoming a carbon neutral country.
Free speech, free expression, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion
If Scotland is to be a tolerant, open, diverse country then we must be free to discuss and debate ideas, even those which are deemed by some to be controversial. Whilst being mindful of the need to protect citizens from hate, government must not overstep into the realm of unjust restrictions on free speech, free expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This must include, among others, the freedom to express belief in the biological reality of sex and gender.
The right of parents to choose a school for their children which corresponds to their own convictions is fundamental. Public authorities have a duty to guarantee this parental right and to ensure the concrete conditions for its exercise. Thus, parliamentarians ought to continue to support an open and diverse state education system which includes Catholic schools.
We pray that this election will put human life and the dignity of the human person at the centre, and that candidates will ensure debate is respectful and courteous.
We urge you to visit the website rcpolitics.org and to use the resources there to help you in your consideration of election issues and to use the tools available to question candidates.
Our annual newsletter comes after a year that has challenged everyone in society as we have learned to cope with the global pandemic the impact of which no one could have predicted. We hope and pray that the worst of this is now behind us and that we can start to slowly return to normality during 2021.
The newsletter coincides with the financial year end reporting for all 300 SSVP conferences in Scotland. This provides the opportunity to share with the parish our activities this year, our finances and to feature our work with the West Lothian Foodbank.
Click the link below to access the full Newsletter (PDF)
Scottish Laity Network: Lenten Journey 2021
Whilst the attention of the world is focussed on the COVID-19 pandemic we must not lose sight of the urgency required in addressing the global Climate Emergency. Responding to both Pope Francis invites us to imagine new ways of living together on this planet, ways that are in harmony with creation and ways that address the growing division between rich and poor, nationally and internationally. To contribute to not only imaging these new ways but making them a reality Pope Francis created the COVID-19 Commission and he summed up its aim in just three words 'Prepare the Future'. This is radically different from prepare for the future; which implies our future is already set and all we can do is react to it. Prepare the Future focusses on our ability to become, as Paul VI invited us to be, 'artisans of our own destiny'.
To help us prepare the future we warmly invite you to join us on Lenten Journey:
Discipleship for Artisans of our own Destiny ~ Preparing the Future
Each week we will have a presentation by one of our companions who will address a particular area within the context of Hope. We begin of Thursday 18th February with Jim Skea - Co-chair of Working Group III of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - sharing his thoughts on What is the Hope of COP 26?
For further information please contact email@example.com
Income and Expenditure 2020 (pdf link)
This weekend, the First Sunday of Advent coincides with the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People. Palestinian Christian leaders are asking the worldwide community to remember Palestine in our prayers on that day.
Suggested posts for your website or social media, homily notes, a bidding prayer for Mass this Sunday, and text for your parish bulletin which may also be used online are included on the pages which follow.
Benefits and Support Services
Members of the Commission and its working groups have compiled a list of benefits and support services which may be of assistance when seeking to provide practical help and advice to parishioners.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As Christmas approaches, we, the Bishops of Scotland, wish to share with you some reflections on our present situation and offer reasons for hope, as we live through these difficult times. Firstly, we affirm the centrality of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father who became incarnate of the Holy Spirit and was born of the Virgin Mary. He is our Hope. He is our Salvation. He is our Guide. We echo the words of St Paul "neither death nor life…nor anything else in all creation, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord". It is only through the eyes of this "great hope" that we can look at ourselves and our world and not despair. He passed through death to the glory of the Resurrection. He is our inspiration in this life and our hope of fulfilment in eternity.
The ecclesiological reflection of the Second Vatican Council, together with the considerable social and cultural changes of recent decades, has resulted in various Particular Churches having to reorganise the manner in which the pastoral care of Parish communities are assigned. This has made it possible to initiate new experiences, enhancing the dimension of communion and implementing, under the guidance of pastors, a harmonious synthesis of charisms and vocations at the service of the proclamation of the Gospel, which better corresponds to the demands of evangelisation today.
Founded in Paris in 1833 by Blessed Fredrick Ozanam and his companions, the society is an international, Christian, voluntary organisation dedicated to tackling poverty (both material and spiritual) and disadvantage by providing practical assistance to those in need - irrespective of ideology, faith, ethnicity, age or gender. Placed under the Patronage of St Vincent de Paul, it is inspired by his charism and works and seeks, in the spirit of justice and charity, to help people who are disadvantaged or in need of support
In Hong Kong, Chile, Haiti, Catalunya, London, and Lebanon people are on the streets. Each place, and each protest is calling for different things, but they all are demanding that governments listen to what people are asking for. At the start of 2019 in his letter for Justice and Peace Sunday Bishop Nolan wrote about the importance of engaging with our political process. With Brexit dominating the headlines this can feel like more like a penance than an opportunity, but what we have seen through the Extinction Rebellion and Climate Strike events over the last year is that it isn't impossible to bring other important issues back into focus.
The Archbishop and Metropolitan of St Andrews & Edinburgh, The Most Reverend Leo William Cushley, came to the parish on Sunday 6 May 2018 to help celebrate the 125th anniversary of the building of St Michael's Roman Catholic Church, Linlithgow. Sharing some pictures taken during the spiritual occasion.
Through your incredible generosity, you have enabled many children living in one of the world's most impoverished countries to come school, receive a nutritious daily meal and gain an all nutritious daily meal and gain an all nutritious education.
In a letter which will be read in all of Scotland's 500 Catholic parishes this weekend (9/10 April 16) Scotland's eight Catholic Bishops will urge parishioners to "be active participants in shaping a better society" not simply "passive spectators" they will also encourage greater participation in the political process, suggesting; "you might well consider it worthwhile to join a political party" while reminding Catholic voters that "Only if you use your vote can you make a difference and influence our political leaders".
St Michael's held an organ afternoon for beginners, and those helping them, on Saturday, 28 May, led by parish organist Dr Evelyn Stell. There were fourteen participants altogether, representing six different parishes in our archdiocese, which was quite a lot for this sort of event. Two of them were even playing three-manual instruments on Sundays. Five of our own beginners were there, and everyone seemed very enthusiastic and keen.
Father Paul started the session off with a prayer. We then looked at the nature of the organ itself, touched on the things to remember when leading the people, and, I regret to say, spent some time on an item called 'shortcuts and surgery', which told people how to cheat their way through a difficult or inadequate hymn setting; perfection is not the name of the game here. Working with chords was also a theme, with the emphasis on being simple and smooth. You can't strum the organ.
The scandals involving abuse in the Catholic Church are only too well known. As a result, rigorous safeguarding procedures have to be in place in every parish. There are staff working at this at the diocesan level, at the national level of the Church in Scotland, as well as at parish level. Volunteers working with children and vulnerable adults have to be cleared through the PVG scheme. This is indeed a legal requirement with which the Church must comply.
The most authoritative account of the history of the parish is William Hendrie's St Michael's Catholic Church, Linlithgow, 1893-1993, published on the centenary of the building of the church. The mission (as it was before it became a parish) was first dedicated to St Joseph. It was changed to St Michael in 1887, though the school, built just before the church, was dedicated to St Joseph. These notes are derived from diocesan archives at present deposited in the Scottish Catholic Archives, Columba House, in Edinburgh, and from the valuation rolls in Linlithgow Public Library. Click the link below to continue reading...
The early Christians would have gathered in the morning and evening for prayer and praise and recited psalms and scripture in a recurring cycle. By tradition the Book of Psalms is considered an essential ingredient of the Liturgy of the Hours as psalms had an honoured place in Jewish piety. Click the link below to continue reading...
This means that we have undertaken to use Fairtrade tea and coffee after services and in all meetings for which we have responsibility, move forward on using other Fairtrade products such as sugar, biscuits and fruit and Promote Fairtrade during Fairtrade Fortnight and during the year through events, worship and other activities whenever possible.
Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives. Fairtrade ensures farmers and workers receive an additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in developing their communities.
The FAIRTRADE Mark is an independent consumer label which appears on UK products as a guarantee that they have been certified against internationally agreed Fairtrade standards. It shares internationally recognized Fairtrade standards with initiatives in 20 other countries, working together globally with producer networks as Fairtrade Labeling Organisations International (FLO). The Mark indicates that the product has been certified to give a better deal to the producers involved - it does not act as an endorsement of an entire company’s business practices.
The FAIRTRADE Mark gives a guarantee to consumers that the farmers and workers have been paid a fair and stable price which covers the cost of sustainable production.
www.fairtrade.org.uk/ for more information