The Catholic parish of St Lucy's, Cumbernauld shone brightly on Friday night as it celebrated its 40th anniversary.
Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Glasgow, was the principal celebrant of the Mass. He was joined by parish priest Father Joseph McAuley, former parish priests, and other dignatories and religious including local MSP Jamie Hepburn, local Councillor Elizabeth Irvine and Reverand David Nicholson of Kildrum Parish Church.
The congregation enjoyed every moment of the occasion, as they sang as one in joyous song, giving praise to God and showing gratitude for the 40 years of parish life that had gone before.
Speaking during the Mass, Archbishop Tartaglia used the example of St Lucy, commenting on how young she was when she was martyred. He held up her love and devotion to Jesus as being an inspiration to all people, especially children.
The Archbishop also took some time to remember the many priests and parishioners who had "built up" St Lucy's over the years, including the first parish priest, Father Anthony McHugo.
The Mass ended with a beautiful candlelit procession, led by a number of young children of the parish, including some of the those who had recently received the Sacrament of Confirmation. They walked around the Church, showing a deep reverence and respect that defied their tender years. As they walked the congregation belted out Santa Lucia in honour of their patron; their singing ably assisted by beautiful music from the parish's own choir and music group.
The congregation, priests and dignatories then gathered in the hall for some tea, coffee and no small amount of tasty treats in order to continue the festivities! A big screen TV entertained those gathered with photographs depicting every generation of parish life, with images of many people, young and old, enjoying the life of the Church as the centre of community life.
The importance of events like this for both the local and wider Church simply cannot be overstressed. Our parishes must be beacons of light, shining through the community, leading people firstly to God, and secondly, being a source of light and hope for the whole community, particularly the poor and vulnerable.
Through the photographs shown to us it was evident St Lucy's has achieved this and more throughout the last 40 years. The hope must be that this will continue and that fresh energy can be found to take the parish on for another 40 years. The number of young people in attendance, both from St Lucy's Primary School and Our Lady's High School, is a source of great hope for all.