(Vatican Radio) Catholics in Scotland are gathering to pray for the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Manchester.
Bishops from Scotland are inviting their flocks to gather for Masses to pray for those who were killed and those who have been affected by the recent “massacre” in Manchester, when a suicide bomber killed 22 innocent people after a concert.
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia is inviting people in and around the Archdiocese of Glasgow to attend a special Mass on Thursday 25th May, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, in St Andrew’s Cathedral. In his homily, released ahead of the Mass, Archbishop Tartaglia says, “We pray for those who have lost their lives. We pray for those who have been so horribly injured. We offer our deepest sympathies to the bereaved mothers, fathers, children, families and friends.”
In an emotional look back on the events of 22nd May, His Grace explains that he wishes he “could turn the clock back, freeze time and stop the massacre, bring back to life those who have died, restore those who have been injured,” adding, “I can’t do that and it breaks my heart to see such suffering.”
Reflecting on the Ascension of Jesus into heaven, the archbishop insisted that “Jesus has not gone from us but remains with us to comfort us, to strengthen us and to assure us of eternal life.” He added, “We can be sure that Jesus is with us and suffers with those who suffer… Today’s feast reinforces our hope that the Manchester Arena bereaved, so sorely bereaved, so deeply suffering, will see their loved ones again.”
Elsewhere, Bishop John Keenan from the Diocese of Paisley is inviting people to a Mass on Friday 26th May for those affected by the attack. In a post on the diocesan website, people are told that they can support the people in Manchester in several ways: “There will be a book of condolences and the opportunity to make a donation supporting the victims’ families. Both will stay in [St Mirin's] Cathedral for a few days to give people the opportunity to come in and sign the book. It will then be sent to the Lord Mayor’s office in Greater Manchester.”
Earlier in the week, Archbishop Tartaglia condemned the bombing, responsibility for which has been claimed by the militant group known as the Islamic State.
“What makes it even more chilling is that there may be some twisted religious motive behind it; some totally erroneous and madcap idea that somehow God’s purpose is served by this kind of senseless atrocity; some crazy notion that God will reward in the afterlife the cowardly suicide of a demented individual who believes it is his sacred duty to murder other human beings; some diabolical madness that makes it virtuous to murder random human beings, carefree young people, and innocent children.”
He insisted that people must remember that to take the lives of human beings “in this cruel and vicious way” is “totally abhorrent to God and to man.”