Homilies and Letters

← Back to Bishop


Homily for the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Sea Sunday)

This is a timely Gospel. In it Jesus sends the Twelve out on mission – for the first time. He summons them to himself, sends them out two by two…

Homily for the Feast of our Lady of Aberdeen

“Woman, behold, your son” (Jn 19:26). On the Cross, our Lord gave to his mother the disciple he loved, the one closest to him. In doing that, he opened the…

Homily for the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time

In July 1974, I was visiting Pluscarden Abbey, and the readings were those of today. The monk who was celebrating preached on the line in the 2nd reading, 2 Corinthians…

Homily for 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time

“The love of Christ overwhelms us”, says St Paul is today’s 2nd reading. He is talking about Christ’s love for us, shown in his self-giving on the Cross. His talking…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

In a poem, John Keats imagines the first Europeans to discover the Pacific Ocean. He’s thinking of the 16th c. Spanish conquistadores, Cortez and his men. They don’t even know…

Homily for the Solemnity of Ascension

“And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven.” This is the feast of the Ascension, forty days from Easter Sunday. In a…

Homily for the 6th Sunday of Eastertide

Today’s 2nd reading, Alleluia and Gospel use the word “love” 20 times. That says something, and it raises the question, what love? Is it common or garden love or something…

Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Easter

Brothers and Sisters, today is the 3rd Sunday of Easter. It’s very encouraging that the Church doesn’t call these Sundays “Sundays after Easter” but “Sundays of Easter”. In the Church’s…

Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Easter

Today is the 2nd Sunday of Easter, also called Sunday in the Octave of Easter. This is the 8th day since Easter Sunday. And in liturgical thinking, the 8th day…

Mini-Sermon for Easter Thursday

A mini-sermon delivered by Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB at Mass in St Joseph’s Church, Aberdeen.

Homily for Easter Day

“This day was made by the Lord; we rejoice and are glad.” That’s from Ps 117 (118), and repeated over and over again in the Easter Octave and the Easter…

Homily for the Easter Vigil

Last year we had no Easter in the flesh – just an online version. This year we have a half and half Easter. Next year, the 3rd year of this…

Homily for Good Friday

“We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you / because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.” We have just heard the Passion of our Lord according…

Homily for Palm Sunday

We have just heard the Passion according to Mark. It is the bleakest of the four accounts. Jesus dies surrounded by jeering, he dies in the dark, he dies with…

Bishop Hugh’s Easter Message

Easter this year coincides with the reopening of our churches and a growing, if cautious, hope for life beyond the pandemic. This is a happy convergence.

Homily for the 5th Sunday of Lent

Today we keep the 5th Sunday of Lent, only two weeks from Easter. Today’s Gospel from John ch. 12 is set in Jerusalem in the last week of Jesus’ life.…

Homily for the Solemnity of St Joseph

Bishop Hugh Gilbert’s homily delivered at online Station Mass celebrated at St Joseph’s Church, Woodside, Aberdeen.

No 5: Part of a People

Homilies on the Kerygma, St Mary’s Cathedral, 4th Sunday of Lent, 14 March 2021. “God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even…

Homily for the feast of St John Ogilvie

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” St John…

No 4: Yes to the Gift, Faith and Conversion

Homilies on the Kerygma, St Mary’s Cathedral, 3rd Sunday of Lent, 7 March 2021. We come to the 4th of the homilies on the kerygma. God loves us (1) and…

The Good Samaritan

Catechesis on the parable of the Good Samaritan given by Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB

No 3: Jesus Christ, the Son of God

Homilies on the Kerygma, St Mary’s Cathedral, 2nd Sunday of Lent, 28 February 2021. Today the 2nd Sunday of Lent, we have a glimpse of Christ in his glory on…

Homily for Station Mass

Both today’s readings speak of fasting. In some languages, Lent is called the “great fast” or simply “fast-time” – the opposite of “breakfast”, “break-fast”. Fasting is part of the Lenten…

No 2: The Dark Side, the Power of Sin

Homilies on the Kerygma, St Mary’s Cathedral, 1st Sunday of Lent, 21 February 2021. Today, Jesus goes into the desert and meets Satan, enters into combat with Satan and defeats…

No 1: God’s Love

Homilies on the Kerygma, St Mary’s Cathedral Aberdeen, 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time, 14 February 2021. If I’m spared, I want to spend this and the four following homilies on…

Homily for 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Brothers and Sisters, here we are still with Christ in Galilee, still near the beginnings of his public ministry. These are such vivid Gospels, but not just that. They are…

Reflection for Religious: “He took him in his arms”

Reflection for Diocesan Religious on the Feast of the Presentation. Lockdown, especially for those living alone, has been a great, if demanding, teacher. It reminds us just how physical and…

Homily for 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time

“And Jesus entered the synagogue” – so today’s Gospel. It was the Sabbath, and so the thing to do, and his 4 newly- clicked and collected disciples, Peter and Andrew,…

Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

In today’s Gospel we are still at the beginnings of Jesus’ public life. Last week we heard the Gospel of John; this week we hear the Gospel of Mark who…

Homily for the Requiem of Archbishop Philip Tartaglia

“Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise him up on the last day.” There are so many settings in which to…

Homily for 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Last Sunday we heard of our Lord’s baptism as told by the Gospel of Mark. Today we hear what happened next as told by the Gospel of John. The story…

Homily for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Today we remember the Baptism of the Lord. It’s an event that moves the imagination. We can picture Jesus making the journey from Nazareth south east to the Jordan valley,…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Epiphany 2021

“The riches of the sea will flow to you, the wealth of the nations come to you.” The word “Epiphany” means manifestation. Something hitherto invisible becomes visible, something previously hidden…

Homily for the Day Mass of Christmas

“The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen his glory” – from the Gospel of John just proclaimed.

Homily for the 4th Sunday of Advent

We are all very busy preparing for Christmas: there’s an obvious statement! And those preparation are now in disarray. Life is complicated. From the 26th of this month, mainland Scotland…

Bishop Hugh: Christmas Message 2020

A message by Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB for Christmas 2020

Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Advent

“O God, who see how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity…” So begins today’s Collect. This is the 3rd Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday. “Rejoice in…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

In her Magnificat, Mary sings, “For he has done great things for me and holy is his name.” At that moment, she is thinking of the “great thing” that she,…

Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Advent

This is an Advent more full than usual of fears and hopes. The grace of Advent is that it sifts these, orders them, purifies them, teaching us to discard where…

Homily for St Andrew the Apostle

Who was he? A 1st c. Jew, a Galilean, born in Bethsaida, son of a certain John or Jonas, brother of Simon Peter. Like him he was a fisherman by…

Pastoral Letter for 1st Sunday of Advent, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Peace be with you! As Advent begins I want to greet you, to send you my blessing as we all begin a new liturgical…

Fratelli Tutti

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB reflects on Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Fratelli Tutti’   FULL TEXT Introduction Fratelli tutti. It sounds like a flavour of ice cream, but it is of course…

Homily for the Solemnity of Christ the Universal King

If I were asked to name the final chorus of Handel’s Messiah, I might answer with the Hallelujah Chorus. But no; that concludes part two of 3three. The final chorus,…

Homily for 33rd Sunday of the Year

Our liturgical year is drawing to its close. Next Sunday is the solemnity of Christ the Universal King. Then the Sunday after the cycle begins again with Advent. This steady…

Homily for 32nd Sunday of the Year

This is a thought-provoking time of the liturgical year. On the 1st November, we kept All Saints. On the 2nd All Souls. And throughout this month – today too as…

Homily for All Saints

I must confess that this is one of my favourite feasts. The Monastic Divine Office for it is one of the most beautiful, in its texts and music. At Vespers…

Catechesis on the Solemnity of All Saints

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB Catechesis on the Solemnity of All Saints

Homily for the 30th Sunday of the Year

Love. In today’s Collect, in the 1st reading, the Psalm – “I love you, Lord, my strength” – in the Gospel, in the 2nd Communion antiphon, there it is: Love.

Homily for the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

How good it is, Sunday after Sunday, to hear these Gospels from St Matthew! How good, amid the fears and obsessions wracking the kingdoms of the world, to hear Christ’s…

Homily for the 24th Sunday of the Year

Today, the Collect, the 1st reading, the Psalm and above all the Gospel bring “forgiveness” before us. St Matthew hands us the parable of the unforgiving servant and with it…

Homily for the 23rd Sunday of the Year

In St Matthew’s Gospel, our Lord both teaches and does. He is the Master of thought and life. The Gospel alternates from one to the other, in a structured way.…

Homily for 22nd Sunday of the Year

Today’s Gospel is a hard one. It must have been very hard for Peter to hear the words: “Get behind me, Satan.” It’s hard for us to hear the words…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary

Aberdeen is a rather sombre place at present: still in lockdown, football-less, and most of all mourning the sad event on the train line north of Stonehaven, and the loss…

Bishop Hugh: Train Accident at Stonehaven

My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the terrible train incident that took place outside Stonehaven yesterday. In times such as these, our hearts go out to…

Homily for the 19th Sunday of the Year

Today we meet three people, each of them deeply troubled. In the 1st reading, the prophet Elijah, in the 2nd reading St Paul, in the Gospel Peter. It’s to their…

Homily for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

God is real: “I am”, he says. God is involved. God is on our side. These are the basic propositions of our faith. Sunday after Sunday they’re brought before us.…

Homily for the Diaconal Ordination of Malachy Eze and Christopher Doig

Today’s homily is supposed to be “brief and to the point”. So, who are these like stars appearing? “Chosen men”, the Litany of the Saints will call them. Here, briefly,…

Homily for the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today’s readings are full of the “earth”. So Isaiah: “As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it…

Homily for the Solemnity of Ss. Peter and Paul

I once actually saw a fisherman by the lake of Galilee casting a net into the sea. A biblical moment. In due time, he would have drawn that net back…

Homily for 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time

One of the saints of this diocese is John Ogilvie, born in Keith in 1580 and martyred in Glasgow in 1615. He lived at a time of ferocious controversy between…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

“As I am who am sent by the living Father, myself draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will draw life from me” (John 6:57). The trouble is…

Catechesis on Corpus Christi

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB Catechesis on Corpus Christi

Catechesis on the Holy Trinity

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB Catechesis on the Holy Trinity

Homily for Pentecost

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB homily at online Mass for Pentecost:

Catechesis on the feast of Pentecost

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB Catechesis on the feast of Pentecost

Homily for the 7th Sunday of Easter

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB homily at online Mass for the 7th Sunday of Easter:

Homily for the Ascension of the Lord

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB homily at online Mass on The Ascension of the Lord:

Behold the Lamb

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB reflects on the meaning of the Messianic title of the Lamb of God.

Homily for the 6th Sunday of Easter

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB homily at online Mass on 6th Sunday of Easter:

Homily for the 5th Sunday of Easter

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB homily at online Mass on 5th Sunday of Easter:

Communing Beyond Communion

A talk by Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB

Homily for the 4th Sunday of Easter

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB homily at online Mass on 4th Sunday of Easter:

The Prayer of the Heart

Part three in the “A Timely Teaching” series by Bishop Hugh Gilbert, OSB These teachings correspond to a video series recorded by Bishop Hugh. The corresponding video is linked at…

Christ Within: Voices from Tradition

Part two in the “A Timely Teaching” series by Bishop Hugh Gilbert, OSB These teachings correspond to a video series recorded by Bishop Hugh. The corresponding video is linked at…

A Timely Teaching: The Voice of Scripture

The present requires us to think differently and to dig deeper into our faith. There may be some teachings, normally overlooked, which can come to our aid now. I would…

3rd Sunday of Easter

A sermon delivered by Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB at online Mass on 3rd Sunday of Easter

2nd Sunday of Easter

Bishop Hugh’s sermon delivered 2nd Sunday of Easter during online Mass streamed from St Joseph’s Parish House, Aberdeen.

Prayer of the Heart

The third of three talks by Bishop Hugh Gilbert, OSB – Prayer of the Heart

Christ Within: Voices from Tradition

The second of three talks by Bishop Hugh Gilbert, OSB – Christ Within: Voices from Tradition

A Timely Teaching?

The first of three talks by Bishop Hugh Gilbert, OSB – The Divine Indwelling

Homily for Easter Sunday

Bishop Hugh delivers his sermon at Easter Sunday Mass online, full text below the video:

Sermon for Holy Thursday

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB delivers his sermon at the Mass of the Last Supper celebrated online.

Triduum at Home

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB suggests how to make the Holy Triduum at home a spiritual experience:

Homily for Palm Sunday

“What do you think? Will he come to the festival or not?” (Jn 11:56). So the people wondered that April in Jerusalem almost 2000 years ago. Will he come to…

Mass in the Time of Pandemic

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB reflects on the texts of ‘Mass in the Time of Pandemic’, recently approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

Sermon for Palm Sunday

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB delivers his sermon for Palm Sunday Read the Sermon

When Mass Cannot be Celebrated Publicly

“Let my prayer come before you like incense.” In this disturbing time for the world and for the Church, we feel the need more than ever to “lift up our…

A Message from Bishop Hugh, OSB

Homily for the Solemnity of the Annunciation

Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Lent

Brothers and Sisters, our Lenten caravan is lumbering on. We are like the “mixed multitude” (Ex 12:38) that left Egypt with the Chosen People. We are on our way to…

Homily for the Solemnity of St Joseph

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife.” Isn’t it good, isn’t it poignant, that our last public Mass for whatever length of…

Sermon for 4th Sunday of Lent

Bishop Hugh Gilbert at St Joseph’s Church, Aberdeen   “If I should walk in the valley of darkness, no evil would I fear. You are there.” Familiar, famous words. “The…

Prayer to the God of Life in a Time of Illness

Almighty Father, Look upon us and all of humanity, in this time of illness, as we are affected by this new epidemic of the coronavirus. We confide to you all…

Homily for 2nd Sunday of Lent

“There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as light.” Why do we have this Gospel this Sunday? We…

Homily for the 1st Sunday of Lent

How good to begin this Sunday with the Litany of the Saints! Immediately we feel helped. Whenever the Litany of the Saints is sung, it’s because something big is going…

Homily for Ash Wednesday

Those of us familiar with the Lord of the Rings will remember a scene near the beginning. Frodo is in his hobbit hole in the Shire, that good, green, wholesome,…

Homily for the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

Brothers and Sisters, as your bishop, my great longing is that Christ be real to us. Ever more real. Real, though physically unseen. Real to the eyes of faith. Real…

Homily for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Today, as it were, we fast forward. The child in the manger is suddenly an adult by the river. Instead of the arms of his mother, there’s the voice of…

New Year Message

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, In the wake of Christmas I want to wish you all a good New Year. At the next Easter Vigil, the number 2020 will…

Homily for Christmas Day Mass

Brothers and Sisters, why has he done this? Why has God become a human being? Why has the Word become flesh and lived among us? Why has the radiant light…

Homily for Christmas Night Mass

Brothers and sisters, here we are. Here we are at Christmas, the real Christmas. Here we are, not just in Aberdeen, but somehow in Bethlehem. Here we are in the…

Homily for the 4th Sunday of Advent

Today the 4th Advent candle has been lit. The Lord is close. There’s a sense of heaven and earth, the divine and the human, coming together. Dew and rain falling…

Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Advent

The grace of Advent is hope. Advent can revive hope when it has been lost, refocus it when it has been misplaced. It puts our hopes in order, raising them…

Homily for 2nd Sunday of Advent

In the 2nd reading, St Paul says that what was written in the past in Scripture (our Old Testament) was written “that we might have hope”. The stories and the…

Homily for St Andrew’s Day

Today we’re celebrating an individual, a fisherman from Lake Galilee, a chosen disciple of Jesus, a 1st century Jew with a Greek name, Andrew (meaning “manly”). With time, he’s become…

Homily for Solemnity of Christ the Universal King

Today is the last great feast of the liturgical year. At the Annunciation, the angel tells Mary that her son will be given the throne of his father David. At…

Homily for the Solemnity of All Saints

There’s so much “seeing” in today’s readings. First of all, in the Apocalypse, John sees – “I John saw”. He sees into heaven. He sees an angel stamping a seal…

Homily for Mass in Commemoration of the Canonisation of St John Ogilvie

On this day in 1976, in St Peter’s, Rome, John Ogilvie was canonized. There’s a full account in the Scottish Catholic Directory of 1978, pp. 432-437. Andrew Mann read the…

Homily for the Anniversary of the Dedication of St Mary’s Cathedral

Today we keep the anniversary of the dedication of this Cathedral. It’s great to have Sunday for this. In the Gospel, Jesus clears the temple. He’s asked for a sign.…

Homily for the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)

Today, as usual, there are three readings. Today’s from Exodus, 1st Timothy, Luke; Moses, Paul, our Lord. Three powerful readings. With one binding theme: the mercy of God. In the…

Pastoral Letter on the Visit of the Relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, The idea of venerating someone’s bodily remains may not be appealing, even though there is good warrant for it in Scripture and Christian tradition.…

Homily for the priestly Ordination of Dominic Nwaigwe

Dear Dominic, it seems no time ago you were being ordained deacon in this church. Now, here we are again. Another page to turn. Another moment in your biography. Not…

Homily for the 20th Sunday of the Year

Today Jesus says to us: ‘I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! There is a baptism I must still receive,…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

If you’re called Mary, happy Name Day! This Cathedral is dedicated to St. Mary in her Assumption. So, let’s wish it and ourselves and our parish a happy Name Day,…

Homily for Joyce’s Retirement

Today’s readings are Joyce’s choice: Paul to the Colossians and the Gospel of John, ch. 15. The verses of the Gospel just read have been called – by Jean Vanier…

Homily for the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Pluscarden

Today we keep Ss Peter and Paul. It’s good to remember them, say thank you for them and ask their prayers. They are very much part of our Christianity. They…

Homily for the 250th Anniversary of the Episcopal Ordination of George Hay

“What do you understand by the Trinity? I understand that there is but one living and true God, and that in God there are three distinct persons, called the Father,…

Homily for the Ascension

We are keeping a beautiful feast. “As he blessed them, he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven”. So the Gospel describes what we are celebrating. “He withdrew…

Homily for Easter Sunday

When has a spring coincided so exactly with Easter? The word ‘Easter’ comes from the name of the old Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. Spring has been late this year and…

Homily for the Easter Vigil

Brothers and Sisters, this is the night when our Lord Jesus Christ passed from death to life. It’s the night he passed from the dark confinement of a tomb on…

Homily for Good Friday

Having heard what we’ve just heard, I’d like to share a prayer of a great layman, a good husband and father, an accomplished lawyer, a writer, saint and a martyr:…

Homily for Maundy Thursday

Tonight we begin the journey of the Paschal Triduum: our journey, Christ’s journey, a journey to the Cross and beyond, to the empty tomb; a journey with Christ, to Christ…

Homily for Palm Sunday

Today is too much for us really, more than we can take in. There is the entry into Jerusalem: so positive, so promising. Here’s the Messiah entering Jerusalem, hailed as…

Homily for the Chrism Mass

Should we make jokes about hell? Anyway, one is that in hell the British will be in charge of cooking, adding to the hellishness. Perhaps a prime example of our…

Pastoral Letter For the 5th Sunday of Lent

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Easter is almost here. We might picture ‘Easter’ as a person, as someone coming to visit us. She comes with her cortege of feasts:…

Homily for Funeral Mass of Mgr Robert MacDonald

In his latter years, Mgr Robert produced – with Anne Oliver’s help – a pleasing booklet, Priests I have Known. Well, he is a priest all of us here have…

Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Lent

Today Jesus meets the Samaritan woman by Jacob’s well. St Augustine captures the energy of the story. “A woman came. She is a symbol of the Church not yet justified,…

Bishop’s Hugh’s Message for Ash Wednesday

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB of the Diocese of Aberdeen invites us to consider using Psalms as a guide through the extraordinary time of Lent to reflect our relationship with God.

Homily for the Three Cathedrals Service

“Jesus went on his way …journeying to Jerusalem.” Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem is the backbone, the spinal cord of the Gospel of Luke. He turns his face towards Jerusalem. He…

Bishop Hugh on Recent Beatifications

Bishop Hugh highlights the importance of reflection on the extraordinary people that have been beatified recently in Algeria. 

Feast of the Holy Family

Today we keep the feast of the Holy Family. And today’s Gospel recounts a dramatic episode in that family’s life: the losing and finding of the 12 year old Jesus.…

Christmas Day Mass

Every Sunday Mass, every feast day, has its own set of prayers and readings. Christmas, being a great feast, the second after Easter, has four. It has a Vigil Mass,…

Christmas Night Mass

‘There is a child born for us, a son given to us.’ Brothers and Sisters, after so much anticipation, Mary is delivered, the baby is born and Christmas is here.…

Litany of St John the Baptist

This litany is privately composed and can be privately used, or even publicly within the diocese. John the Baptist seems to me to merit a Litany of his own. I…

Homily for 4th Sunday of Advent

There was once a Jewish rabbi who asked some of his colleagues, ‘Where does God dwell? Where does he live?’ They were learned men who knew their Bible, and they…

Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Advent

This is the 3rd Sunday of Advent. We feel expectancy rising, a sense of joyful anticipation. This Sunday is called ‘Gaudete’ – the Latin for ‘Rejoice’. It’s the first word…

Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Advent

Today John the Baptizer comes to us: wild hair and beard, camel-skin and voice. He’s a sign Christ is coming. He is his herald, his forerunner. He prepares the way…

Homily for the 1st Sunday of Advent

“To you, O God, I lift up my soul”. It’s today’s Entrance Antiphon and Psalm Response. It’s the leitmotif of Advent. “I” = all of us, the whole Church, all…

Homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King

When the angel visited Mary, she heard that the Lord would give her son “the throne of his father David” and that “he will reign over the house of Jacob…

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is not the virginal conception of Jesus by Mary, but the conception of Mary herself. It’s not Jesus’…

A Celebration of the Good Works of the Catholic Church in Scotland & Abroad at the Scottish Parliament

At the Scottish Parliament last night, 28th November 2018, hundreds of representatives from various Catholic Church agencies across Scotland attended an event at the Scottish Parliament. The event was organised by…

Talk to Eucharistic Ministers – “Doing God’s Work”

Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist are – forgive me! – a ‘species’ which evolved after the Second Vatican Council. The main founding document, called Immensae Caritatis, was issued by the…

Homily for 33rd Sunday of the Year

Brothers and Sisters, at this time of the year, the Church’s liturgy is giving us a course on the “last things”, as we call them, or “eschatology” if you want…

Homily for the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Sunday by Sunday, we are following Christ under the guidance of the Gospel of St Mark. Today we come to a high-point and a turning-point. The high-point is Peter’s profession…

Diaconal Ordination of Dominic Nwaigwe

Today is the feast of the Triumph or Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and, dear Dominic, your diaconal ordination. It’s a good combination. And the Gospel says: “The Son of…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Assumption

Today’s feast brings to mind an episode in the life of the Apostle Paul. It occurs during his second missionary journey, some twenty years after our Lord’s death and resurrection.…

Homily for 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B

We continue with Jesus’ Discourse on the Bread of Life from John ch. 6. Our Lord is saying amazing things.

Homily for 18th Sunday of the Year, B

‘Lord, give us this bread always’. Brothers and Sisters, for a few Sundays in this Year B, the Liturgy turns away from the Gospel of Mark and back to the…

Homily for the Requiem of Canon Charles Stanley (1933-2018)

Today we are offering Canon Stanley’s soul to the mercy of God and his body to Mother Earth. And so he makes his final journey. And we accompany him with…

Homily for the Ordination:

The Ordination of Douglas Duncan to the Diaconate and of Emmet O’Dowd and Rafał Szweda to the Priesthood Stories about a Scotsman, an Irishman and a Pole are not in fashion…

Homily for the Solemnity of Ss Peter and Paul

Today we remember two great figures of Christianity, known well beyond its borders. Two lamp stands burning before the Lord; two olive trees; two founding fathers of our faith. Two…

Homily for the Birth of St John the Baptist

Today we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist, Jesus’ forerunner. The Bible is full of birth stories. There’s birth upon birth, often with a touch of the dramatic and…

Homily for Easter Sunday

Today – Easter day – there is only one thing to say: Christ is risen! He is truly risen! I hope each and all of us can say it. Let’s…

Homily for the Easter Vigil

“Why is this night different from all other nights?” That’s the famous question that the youngest member of a Jewish family asks at the Passover meal. Four times. And the…

Homily for Good Friday

Three times in the Gospel of John, Jesus said he would be lifted up (Jn 3:14; 8:28; 12:32). He was talking of his death. And that Friday in Jerusalem 2000…

Homily for Maundy Thursday

‘This is my Body which will be given up for you.’ ‘This is the chalice of my blood, poured out for you’ Are there any words quite like these? ‘Hoc…

Homily for Palm Sunday

Today we enter on Holy Week and Christ enters Jerusalem and enters into his Passion. What is it all about?

Homily for the Chrism Mass

Oil overflows, spills, runs… This is a very sacramental time of year. Today’s liturgy is a case in point. We recall the sacrament of Orders, bless the oils of Catechumens…

Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Lent

Recently, I was in Washington and visited the Museum of the Bible. Its focus is the history, formation, copying, translating, printing, impact, influence of the Bible. It is new, close…

Homily for the 1st Sunday of Lent

Today Jesus is driven by the Holy Spirit into the desert, and there he is for forty days, tempted by Satan. It’s a mysterious episode: on the edge of human…

Homily for Station Mass

“[This] is the time in the vineyard of the Lord, when, at the planting of the new vines, the old vines are pruned, that they may bear more fruit” (from…

Homily for Ash Wednesday 2018

When I became bishop, I found in the house chapel a casket. Inside the casket were relics of several saints. Some of these were actually bones, one or two a…

Homily for the 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B)

The power of God’s word is what the today’s readings deliver. The Lord says to Moses, ‘I will raise up a prophet like yourself for them…I will put my words…

Memoria Dei

Talk to the Religious of the Diocese. I’d like to talk about the memory of God. It is a great theme. God remembers and so do we. So, memory is…

Homily for the Funeral of Canon William Anderson

That Gospel has not been read by chance. It was chosen for this occasion by the much-loved man whose life we are here to be eucharistic about: Fr. Bill Anderson,…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Epiphany

Epiphany means ‘manifestation.’ But that’s a heavy word. An ‘epiphany’ is an outburst, an explosion, of light and of a light falling on us, lighting us. This is a beautiful…

Homily for the 4th Sunday of Advent

Today is both the 4th Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve. This conflation brings certain people before us. They’re not Christ. They’re pointers to Christ. They sketch him. They draw…

Epiphany Message 2018

Message for the feast of Epiphany 2018 by Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB:  

Homily for the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God

Today’s Liturgy is full of good things. It helps us begin our New Year under the protection of God’s blessing. It helps us set our compass. Let’s look at what…

Feast of the Holy Family

The Bible is full of families. It begins with a couple, and mentions three of their children: Cain, Abel and Seth. The story of the people of Israel begins with…

Homily for Christmas Day, 2017

We’ve come to Bethlehem. We’ve heard the words of the angels: ‘Glory to God in the highest’. We’ve come down from the hills and found the cave in the rock…

Homily for Christmas Midnight Mass

How good to be in Bethlehem again! How good to be around the Crib!

Christmas Message

Christmas Message from Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB:  

Pastoral Letter for 4th Sunday of Advent

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, May I wish you all a joyful Christmas and a good New Year. May I also thank you each and all for your faith…

Homily for the Funeral of Dom Adrian Walker, OSB

In today’s Gospel (from St John), and others we have been hearing recently at weekday Mass (from St Luke), our Lord has been saying the one, same thing: ‘you are…

Homily for 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Gospel we’ve just heard is surely one of the most vivid and gripping of them all. It would make a great sequence in a film. It’s crammed with symbolism,…

Homily for the 900th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of St Magnus

‘I tell you most solemnly, unless a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich…

Homily for the Ascension

‘I came forth from the Father and came into the world. Now, I am leaving the world and going to the Father’. So Jesus said at the Last Supper, summing…

Homily for the Farwell Mass for the Religious of the Sacred Heart

Forgive me mentioning a curious detail In 1895, it was a Bishop Hugh MacDonald – a religious – who welcomed the Religious of the Sacred Heart to Aberdeen, and now,…

Homily for the Solemnity of Ss Peter and Paul,

Let’s begin from the beginning. God the Father has sent his Son into the world. And he sent him through Mary. ‘The Word (the Son) became flesh’ and received flesh,…

Homily for Diocesan Pilgrimage to Pluscarden Abbey

How can Mary help us? How can she help us in our journey through life, in our Christian life? How does she help our lives towards fulfilment, happiness, heaven? Because…

Homily for Mass of Easter Sunday

The Bible is full of grief. There is even a book of the Old Testament, often read in Holy Week, called Lamentations. The world is full of tear-stained faces and…

Homily for the Easter Vigil

Tonight’s the night. It is in a special way the night for Lauren Robertson who is to be baptised. It’s the night for Chisomje and Lyndsey being received into the…

Homily for Good Friday

Three times in the Gospel of John, Jesus speaks of being ‘lifted up’. And today this happens. Today he’s lifted up, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert.…

Homily for Maundy Thursday

Tonight we climb the stairs to a furnished Upper Room in Jerusalem. Night is falling, but there’s a full moon in the sky, perhaps the colour of blood orange. And…

Homily for the 5th Sunday of Lent

Jesus ‘cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, here! Come out.”’

Homily for Palm Sunday

‘We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you, because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.’ Today, 72 years ago, 9 April 1945, a German Lutheran Pastor,…

Homily for 8th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Lent is drawing near and today our catechumens and candidates, Colin and Lauren, Lynsey and Chisomje, have taken a decisive step towards Easter. Today, the Lord tells us in the…

Homily for the Requiem of Br Meinrad Gibson OSB (1934 – 2017)

‘It will be said on that day, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for…

Homily for the Epiphany

There’s a piece of old-fashioned, common-sense human wisdom, which says that each of us has a ‘ruling passion’. Not a passion for steam-engines or jewellery or boiled lobsters, but something…

Homily for the Priestly Ordination of Andrzej Niski

‘“Ah, Lord; look, I do not know how to speak: I am a child!”’, says Jeremiah. ‘Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth and said to…

Homily for Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

‘May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace.’

Homily for the Feast of the Holy Family

We’ve all heard of the Scottish Government’s Named Person Scheme. It has not yet passed into law, but is being piloted in various places, including here. It aims to provide…

Homily for Midnight Mass

Christmas works. Every year we have the same prayers, same readings, same rituals; we hear the same story; we see the same decorations. But it doesn’t pall. It’s always fresh.…

Homily on Feast of St Stephen

Today is the feast of St Stephen. He’s the protomartyr, the first of many to give their lives for Christ. He’s a protodeacon, one of the first seven appointed by…

Homily for Christmas Day Mass

‘No one has ever seen God; it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.’ There are so many Christmasses, aren’t there?…

Homily for Penitential Service

‘Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali! Way of the sea on the far side of Jordan, Galilee of the nations! The people that lived in darkness has seen a great…

Homily for the 4th Sunday of Advent,

‘Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son was made known by the message of an…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

One of the great Catholic “basics” is the notion of the “state of grace”. The phrase comes from St Paul’s Letter to the Romans. For him it’s the positive relationship…

Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Advent

Four weeks of Advent (one gone already), four weeks of waiting. Mary had nine months of it. But she and we are in this together, however separated by the centuries.…

Homily for the Solemnity of St Andrew

“Their sound has gone out through all the earth and their message to the ends of the earth.” That is from Psalm 18. It was quoted by St Paul in…

Pastoral Letter For the Closing of the Year of Mercy

Dear Brothers and Sisters, ‘The love of the Lord is everlasting / upon those who hold him in fear; / his justice reaches out to children’s children / when they…

Homily for the Closing of the Door of Mercy

Today, we “close” the Door of Mercy. In Rome, the Jubilee of Mercy comes to an end next Sunday, when the Holy Father closes the great central door of St…

Homily for the Solemnity of All Saints

All three readings today are from the New Testament. There is nothing from the Old. This is a sign that we are, in some way, in Eastertide. In Eastertide only…

Pastoral Letter for 14th Sunday of the Year

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, The recent Referendum has thrown us into uncertainty. Some of this, please God, will be of short duration, but other elements will be with…

Po Polsku – Pastoral Letter for 14th Sunday of the Year

Drodzy Bracia i Siostry w Chrystusie, Ostatnie referendum wyrzuciło nas w niepewność. Jeżeli Bóg da, niektóre elementy będą krótkotrwałe, ale inne pozostaną z nami na dłużej.  Nie jesteśmy do tego…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

‘Thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength”’ (Is 28:18). These…

Message for Corpus Christi 2016

Living Christ is present in the Eucharist. Watch the video prepared by the Bishop of Aberdeen Hugh Gilbert OSB for Corpus Christi

Homily for Pentecost Sunday and Confirmations

What is happening today? Breath, air, wind; fire, flame; water, spring, river; wine, oil, anointing; energy, power, grace, fullness, life, light, love, gift. These are names and symbols – just…

Message for Pentecost 2016

Message from the Bishop of Aberdeen Hugh Gilbert OSB for Pentecost 2016

Homily for Easter Sunday

Christ is risen! He is truly risen! In St Machar’s Cathedral on 19th March, the Con Anima Chamber Choir gave a performance of Brahms’ German Requiem. It was composed after…

Homily for the Easter Vigil

On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus once cried out, ‘I have a baptism to be baptised with and how constrained I am until it is complete’ (Lk 12:50).  And, further…

Message for the Pachal Triduum

Message from the Bishop of Aberdeen Hugh Gilbert OSB for the Paschal Triduum 2016

Bursary Fund Appeal for the Training of our Seminarians

At the beginning of Advent 2015 I launched an Appeal for the Bursary Fund. This covers the costs of our seminarians, who are training to be priests for our diocese.…

Palm Sunday 2016

Watch Bishop Hugh’s video on “Preparation for the Palm Sunday 2016”:

Homily for the Chrism Mass

St Mary’s Cathedral, Aberdeen, 17 March 2016. It was good on Tuesday night to admit Andrzej Niski to candidacy, and how good this evening to congratulate Canon Alistair Doyle on…

The Fifth Sunday of Lent 2016

Watch Bishop Hugh’s video on “Preparation for the 5th Sunday of Lent 2016”:

The Fourth Sunday of Lent 2016

Preparation for the 4th Sunday of Lent 2016. Watch the Fourth Sunday of Lent 2016 Video by Bishop Hugh:

The Third Sunday of Lent 2016

More effective way of converting to God is by letting others to help us, rather than trying to convert on our own. Watch the Third Sunday of Lent 2016 Video by…

Homily for 2nd Sunday of Lent

We’ve come to the 2nd Sunday of Lent. Last Sunday we heard the Gospel of the Temptation. We saw our Lord in a desert, weak with hunger, tempted by the…

The Second Sunday of Lent 2016

“Jesus was found alone” – Prayer is that we see Jesus alone in everyone and everything. Watch the Second Sunday of Lent 2016 video by Bishop Hugh:

Homily for the 1st Sunday of Lent

‘Man does not live on bread alone.’ This is how Jesus answers the devil when he tempts him to turn stones into food. It’s a famous biblical saying. It’s not…

Homily for Mass of Election

St Mary’s Cathedral, Aberdeen, Friday after Ash Wednesday 12 February 2016 When someone becomes a monk (a novice), he kneels before the Abbot and community and is asked: ‘What do…

Preparation for the First Sunday of Lent 2016

“By clinging to Christ the Victor, the One who overcomes all that threatens and oppresses us we share his victory at Easter” Watch the preparation for the First Sunday of…

Reflection at St Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral, Aberdeen – Candlemas 2016

“Light from light”. Fr Isaac, a good friend and the Provost of this Cathedral, has asked me to reflect on these words. I am grateful for this and honoured to…

Homily for the End of the Year of Consecrated Life

United with those in Rome, in Glasgow and throughout the world, here we are closing the Year of Consecrated Life. It has perhaps been overshadowed by the Synod on Marriage…

Message for Ash Wednesday

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB message for Ash Wednesday 2016

Homily for 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today’s readings tell of extraordinary things. They tell of unexpected lightning, the lightning that struck Isaiah (1st reading), struck Peter, James and John (the Gospel) and, after the Resurrection, struck…

Homily for the 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time

I’d like to approach today’s readings in a roundabout way. A family was hosting some friends to a meal. The mother asked her teenage son to go to the kitchen…

Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

‘There was a wedding in Cana in Galilee.’ And Jesus was there. This is the Gospel of John, the Gospel with depth upon depth. ‘There was a wedding…’ And Jesus…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Epiphany

We’re told every now and then that we shouldn’t be ‘starry-eyed’. Thank God, the Magi were! I hope we are too. We can’t live without stars, without some kind of…

Homily for Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

This feast really is a feast. It’s a well-laden table. First of all, it’s the Octave or 8th day of Christmas. The 8th day completes the circle and in a…

Homily for Midnight Mass

‘O Cave, prepare yourself to receive the Mother who carries Christ in her womb. O Manger, receive the Word who destroyed the sins of all. O shepherds, keep watch and…

Penitential Service

When I was a boy, my parents gave me a clock. It was a fine clock; it was blue, I remember; it had luminous hands. I put it by my…

Homily for Opening of the Door of Mercy

Today, the Holy Door has been opened. The Year of Mercy has arrived. The prophet Balaam is called a “man with far-seeing eyes”. There is something of that to Pope…

University of Aberdeen Carol Service – Meditation

An American acquaintance christened his house ‘Love-in-the-ruins’. He has never vouchsafed precisely why. Apparently, the phrase – in the form ‘love among the ruins’ – goes back to an 1855…

Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Advent

Let’s look at today’s gospel. It describes John the Baptist entering on the scene of history. It’s a God-moment, an Advent moment. One beginning of the Gospel story is the…

Letter on Jubilee Year Indulgence

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Praised be Jesus Christ, our merciful Saviour, the face of the Father’s mercy! One of the features of a Jubilee Year is the possibility…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

St Augustine has some interesting things to say about the Latin word for mercy, misericordia. It is made of two words: cor and miseria. Cor means ‘heart’, miseria ‘misery’, or…

Homily for the Solemnity of St Andrew

If there were a litany of St Andrew perhaps it would go like this: fisherman in Galilee, son of John, brother of Simon Peter, disciple of John the Baptist, called…

Pastoral Letter for the 1st Sunday of Advent

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Advent is here. It turns us to the coming of Christ, his three-fold coming:  as the child of Mary born in Bethlehem; as the…

Homily for the Reception of the Daughters of Divine Love

‘The Lord is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds’ (Ps 145:13). And sometimes this comes home to us with force. What a good providence it…

Homily for Solemnity of Christ the Universal King

This is a feast with a lot to give us. It’s like the DVD of that line in the Apostles’ Creed: he ‘is seated at the right hand of God…

Homily for the Re-dedication of Pluscarden Abbey Church

We are a people who need comforting. So it is. I think if we just pause and feel ourselves, return to our hearts, we will sense this. There’s a great…

Reflection for Scottish Parliament

Presiding Officer, Ladies and Gentlemen, Before being bishop, I am a Benedictine monk.  It was thanks to an Act of the Scottish Parliament of 1560 that the monastery I lived in…

Homily for All Saints

My mother died on this feast 9 years ago. I admire her for her timing! This is a great feast. It’s beautifully timed itself. It comes after the feasts of…

Homily for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

This is a wonderful Gospel. And like every Gospel reading it goes beyond itself; it includes us. Jesus at this point in the Gospel according to Mark, for some three…

Pastoral Letter for 23rd August 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Last Tuesday, Revd. Dr. Andrew McLellan published his Commission’s Report, a review of current Safeguarding policies, procedures and practice within the Catholic Church in…

Statement by Bishop Hugh Gilbert

Statement by the Bishop of Aberdeen, Rt Rev. Hugh Gilbert OSB, following the publication of the McLellan Report. As Bishop of Aberdeen Diocese I welcome the publication of the McLellan…

Homily for the Assumption of Our Lady

Today is a day of uplift. The Collect has the phrase ‘the things that are above.’ The baffling 1st reading talks of a child ‘taken straight up to God and…

Homily for the Re-opening of St Gregory’s, Preshome

‘She named him Moses because, she said, “I drew him out of the water”.’ Today’s first reading summarises Moses’ early life, the early life of Israel’s great prophet, liberator and…

Homily for 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time

If we think of today’s three readings as pictures to be hung on a wall, we might put the second, from St Paul, in the centre a little higher than…

Homily for the Scalan Pilgrimage

I know many of you are from the south. I hope you’ll forgive me if I first say something about the area of Scotland in which we are – more immediately…

Homily for the National Pilgrimage in Honour of St John Ogilvie

I ‘I remember the deeds of the Lord, / I remember your wonders of old, / I muse on all your works / and ponder your mighty deeds.’ Brothers and sisters,…

Homily for the 50th Anniversary of SCIAF

Is SCIAF in the Bible? The first answer is ‘Of course not.’ The second is, ‘Of course it is.’ The inspiration is. After all, we have just heard three readings. We…

Pastoral Letter for Sunday 28 June

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, This year marks the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie. It was kept in Glasgow earlier this year. Now it’s our…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart

‘They will look on the one whom they have pierced.’ This feast comes in this month when summer finally gets under way; it comes in a time of light and…

The Parable of the Vine

Faith Formation Seminar, Bishop’s House, Aberdeen, 9 May 2015 [The passage is read: John 15:1-17]. This concludes our series on the Parables of Jesus. Is it, though, a parable? Yes,…

Homily for Trinity Sunday

‘Know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’ These are the last words of Jesus in the Gospel according to Matthew. They’re the words left…

Homily for Pentecost Sunday

I’d like to touch on three things Scripture shows the Holy Spirit doing. The first is from the Gospel we’ve just heard: Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, ‘Receive…

Homily for the 7th Sunday of Easter

Sometimes, to understand the readings, it helps to think of them in their chronological order. If we do that today, the Gospel would come first. Let’s begin there, then. Where…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Ascension

  ‘Lift up your hearts.’ We hear those words at every Mass. And we reply, ‘We lift them up to the Lord.’ It is thanks to the mystery we celebrate…

Homily for 6th Sunday of Easter & Celebration of Sacrament of Confirmation

‘While Peter was still speaking the Holy Spirit came down on all the listeners’ (1st Reading). That’s from the Acts of the Apostles. That book tells the story of the…

Homily for Easter Day

‘This day was made by the Lord: we rejoice and are glad’ (Ps 117). Today must be a good day to be Pope. He goes out on to the balcony…

Homily for the Easter Vigil

‘Now the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep, and God’s spirit hovered over the water. Then God said, “Let there be light”, and there was…

Homily for Good Friday

‘Then they took charge of Jesus, and carrying his own cross he went out of the city to the place of the skull or, as it was called, Golgotha, where…

Homily for Mass of the Lord’s Supper

As the younger generation would say, this is awesome – this evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, this first moment of the Paschal Triduum. It has so much atmosphere. It’s…

Homily for Palm Sunday

‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ That is how our Mass began this morning. The first thing we do today – this extraordinary day, this…

Homily for the Mass of Chrism

It’s a happy chance that our Chrism Mass this year follows on from yesterday’s solemnity, the Annunciation.  Ideally, the Chrism Mass is kept on the morning of Maundy Thursday –…

Resignation of Cardinal O’Brien: Statement of Bishop Hugh

I welcome the clear response by Pope Francis to the allegations made against Cardinal O’Brien, and the urgency of the conclusions that have been drawn. Indeed, it was the decision…

Acknowledging Sin brings the World to New Hope

I’m most grateful to Bishop John for the opportunity to contribute to his programme of catechesis. I am here with a sense of privilege and with a full heart. My…

The dedication of a new statute to St John Ogilvie

… We’re remembering tonight St John Ogilvie, born in Drum-na-Keith in 1579, died at Glasgow Cross on 10 March, 1615, 400 years ago this year. A Jesuit, a priest and…

Pastoral Letter for 1st Sunday of Lent

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, As you know, the Scottish Parliament is considering a Bill to legalise assisted suicide in certain situations. It is our human, Christian and democratic…

Homily for the 1st Station Mass / Mass of Election

Around the year 600, a Spanish bishop, St Isidore of Seville, wrote a book about the liturgy of the Church. For historians, it’s a precious record of how things were…

Homily for Ash Wednesday

Lent is many things. It’s a spring-cleaning – of our lives, our souls. It’s a stock-taking. Or think of a shop getting rid of surplus stock by way of a…

Homily for National Day for Religious in the Year of Consecrated Life

It’s a privilege to be invited to preach on this occasion. It’s also a challenge. What to say and how? Consecrated life is such a rich, complex, sometimes heavy reality.…

Homily for the Dedication of the Icon of the Presentation of the Lord

The Lord’s Presentation in the Temple is the last of the feasts of Christmas. It’s another epiphany. It’s a further unfolding of the Incarnation.

Homily for the 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Often the 2nd reading on a Sunday is something of a Cinderella. But it’s hard not to notice today’s. It comes from ch. 7 of St Paul’s first Letter to…

Homily for Midnight Mass

We’ve made it. We’ve got here. We’ve made the journey of Advent. We’ve arrived with Mary and Joseph. Here we are at midnight in the bright stable of our church,…

Homily for the 4th Sunday of Advent

‘Christ could be born in Bethlehem a thousand times – but all in vain until he is born in me.’ So said a German mystic, Angelus Silesius. Here we are…

Homily for Penitential Service

This is the time of year we’re focussed on Christ’s coming. God has come close to us. In a quite new way, God has become God-with-us, Emmanuel. He has entered…

Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Advent

In the middle of today’s readings, there’s a two-word phrase. It passes so quickly we can miss it altogether. It came in the second reading. It’s from St Paul. It’s…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

‘O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin prepared a worthy dwelling for your Son…’ So begins today’s Opening Prayer or Collect.

Homily for the 1st Sunday of Advent

‘And what I say to you, I say to all: Stay awake!’ Today Advent begins. It begins with a shout, with a cry – with Christ crying out: ‘Stay awake!’…

Sermon for Remembrance Sunday

Today is Remembrance Sunday. It falls, as we are all vividly aware, during the centenary of the First World War,. This takes our memories in a certain direction. That war…

All Souls Day

Why has God given us faith? Certainly, we may feel it’s wobbly at times. But let’s forget that for a moment. We do have faith. And faith is a gift…

All Saints Day

Today, we celebrate all those ‘standing in front of the throne and of the Lamb’. Who are they? Surely, all those figures of the Old Testament, from Abel and Abraham…

Homily to introduce the Conventual Franciscans

Today is a memorable day. First of all, we are keeping the Nativity, the Birthday, of the Blessed Virgin. Its proper date is the 8th, tomorrow. But this church, when…

Homily for Dedication of the Altar

Today we celebrate one of the richest, almost luscious, of the Church’s liturgies, that of the dedication of an altar.

Homily for Evening Ecumenical Service

I am grateful for the opportunity to preach in this beautiful chapel this evening. Today’s is a famous, even perhaps an infamous Gospel. Certainly it’s one that has aroused much…

210th Anniversary of St Peter’s, Castlegate, Aberdeen

How many of us, I wonder, have taken part in a 210th anniversary of anything? To be honest, when I first heard of it, I thought it crazy. I still…

Homily for the 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time

‘O woman, great is your faith.’ Behind all three readings today, there’s one same thing: the great divide between the Jews and non-Jews, the latter also known as Gentiles or…

Homily for the Solemnity of the Assumption

‘Blessed is she who believed.’ How fortunate, how blessed we are to have things like this – the Assumption of Mary – to believe in and feed our souls on!…

Pastoral Letter for Sunday 10th August 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, We are all aware of the conflicts ravaging the Middle East. We feel we should be more than mere head-shaking spectators. But what can…

Homily for 18th Sunday of the Year

Tomorrow marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, or of Great Britain’s entry into it. How few people imagined what it would be like! Pope St…

Homily for 17th Sunday of the Year

This is the third consecutive Sunday we’ve heard the parables of Jesus – the seven he gives in ch. 13 of St Matthew’s Gospel. Today we hear the last three:…

Homily for the Feast of our Lady of Aberdeen

In the Lady Chapel of the church of Notre Dame du Finistère in Brussels stands a statue of our Lady holding the infant Jesus. It’s made of wood, oak, and…

Homily for New Dawn Conference

Isn’t it good to be here? Isn’t it good to have expressed our love of Mary so publicly? And how delighted I am that New Dawn Scotland should have chosen…

Homily for the Solemnity of Ss Peter and Paul

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, Ss Peter and Paul, pray for us, All holy apostles, pray for us. The Church is not unlike this monastery. Some bits…

The Baptism of Jesus

Talk to the Aberdeenshire Theological Club 20 January 2014 Introduction Thank you for the opportunity to speak to this venerable Club. It was about this time of year, last year,…

Homily for the Solemnity of St John the Baptist

Two familiar things can be said on this feast day of John the Baptist. The first is that as Jesus’ birthday falls just after the winter solstice when the days…

Homily for Corpus Christi

Today we keep Corpus Christi, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. It was in 1264 that Pope Urban IV mandated this feast for the whole Roman Rite.…

Homily for the Three Cathedrals Service

‘Is Christ divided?’(1 Cor 1:13). This was the provocative question St Paul put to that Corinthian community he so loved and suffered for. It’s the question that the World Council…

Homily for Pentecost Sunday

Come, Holy Spirit! Today, Pentecost Day, Whit Sunday, we recall that coming at Pentecost in Jerusalem around 30 AD. We give thanks for it. We believe this coming can be…

Homily for 2nd Sunday of Easter

‘This day was made by the Lord; we rejoice and are glad!’ (Ps 117:24). We heard this verse in the Responsorial Psalm. It is used every day of the Easter…

Homily for Easter Sunday

‘And is it true?… That God was man in Palestine, And lives today in bread and wine?’ So Sir John Betjeman in his poem Christmas. And is it true that…

Homily for the Easter Vigil

How many journeys are reaching their destination tonight! The journey of the two Marys to Jesus’ tomb. The journeys of Elisabet, Balazs, Paul, Alan, Philemon and Philomena to faith and…

Homily for Good Friday

We have just heard the Passion according to John. And how many ‘Passions’ there are in the world, going on in the world, how much suffering! Think of the Passion…

Homily for Maundy Thursday

‘The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it’ (Jn 1:5). Tonight we’re with the Jesus and the Twelve in ‘the large upper room, furnished and…

Pastoral Letter for Palm Sunday 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, This is a short Pastoral Letter to mark the beginning of Holy Week. ‘Together in Christ’ is the motto of this diocese, and together…

Homily for the Chrism Mass

What is a priest? That’s the first question. The second question is a terrible one. Is he a pervert? Normally not, emphatically so, thanks be to God. But there’ll be…

Homily for Penitential Service

‘I believe in the forgiveness of sins.’ We say that in the Creed. And tonight we’re proving we mean what we say. At the very beginning of Lent, I was…

Homily for 3rd Sunday of Lent

‘Jacob’s well is there and Jesus, tired by the journey, sat down by the well.’ The good news is: the well is still there. It still exists. It’s certainly very…

Homily for 2nd Sunday of Lent

We’ve just heard the Gospel of the Transfiguration. It’s not what we’d expect. Such a contrast to last Sunday! Last Sunday it was the desert, a world of heat and…

Homily for the Station Mass

When Jesus turned water into wine at Cana, the wine was the very best and there was a great deal of it, between 120 and 150 gallons – just for…

Homily for the 1st Sunday of Lent

Lent – these 40 days – Lent, Holy Week and Easter – Lent and the liturgical readings of Lent – Lent and the practices of Lent (prayer, fasting and almsgiving)…

Homily for the Mass of the Rite of Election

This is the first of our Station Masses, and a special one. Here are our 10 catechumens. Tonight they are being ‘chosen’, ‘elected’. They can now be called the ‘elect’.…

Homily for the 7th Sunday of Ordinary Time

We’re continuing to hear the Sermon on the Mount. We’ve heard it the last few Sundays and will hear it again next Sunday, the last before Lent. The Sermon on…

Envy

Faith Formation Seminar, Bishop’s House, 1 February 2014 Today we leave Evagrius’ 8 thoughts and follow instead Pope Gregory the Great (+604). It was he who first listed envy among…

Letter to the 22 MSPs

The following is a copy of the letter I sent to the 22 MSPs whose constituencies fall within the area of our diocese. 30 January 2014 Dear  MSP I write…

Homily for 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

King’s College Chapel, University of Aberdeen, 19 January 2014 Isaiah 49:3-6 – Ps 39 – 1 Corinthians 1:1-3 – John 1:29-34 Last Sunday was the feast of the Baptism of…

St Benedict of Nursia

Talk to Young Adults, Faith Formation Seminar Bishop’s House, 11 January 2014 St Benedict was declared a patron of Europe by Pope Paul VI in 1964. He has been long…

Acedia

Talk for Faith Formation Seminar for Young Adults Bishop’s House, 11 January 2014  Introduction This talk was advertised as being on sloth, one of the seven deadly sins of the…

Homily for the Baptism of the Lord

Sometimes one hears useful things in homilies. I remember one for this feast pointing out the many different forms water can take, how good it is at changing while always…

Homily for the Epiphany of the Lord

This is a beautiful feast. We don’t have to go looking for it; it’s very close to us. It’s in front of our eyes. Today is an explosion of light.…

Homily for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Many things are being celebrated today – most loudly New Year. But in this liturgy many other things as well. It’s the octave day of Christmas, the 8th day. And…

Homily for the Feast of the Holy Family

Today we remember that Jesus belonged to a family. When we say, ‘the Word became flesh and lived among us’, we’re remembering he became a human being. We do this…

Homily for Christmas Day Mass

We’ve got there. We’ve arrived. Christmas is here. ‘A child is born for us, and a son is given to us’ (Introit). The Holy Spirit works through word and sacrament,…

Homily for Midnight Mass

Isn’t this the most entrancing of all the feasts we keep? It’s as if there’s a procession to the crib already. It’s as if the carols, the announcement of the…

Homily for the 4th Sunday of Advent

Christmas is very close now. To take Isaiah’s words, ‘the maiden is with child and will soon give birth to a son’ (Is 7:14). In some liturgies, during the last…

Homily for 3rd Sunday of Advent

An old monk once told me this story. He was visiting a Catholic couple in Germany in the 1930s. They asked him if he would speak with their son. The…

Reflections on the 1st Sunday of Advent

Extracts from Homilies and Catechesis Isaiah 2:1-5 – Ps 121 – Romans 13:11-14 – Matthew 24:37-44 Beginning Advent Today we’re beginning Advent. It comes gently enough, but it’s not a…

Dedication of the church

Homily for the Dedication of the church of St Joseph, Invergordon 29 November 2013 What are we doing this evening? First of all, we’re crowning almost a century of Catholic…

Homily for 33rd Sunday of the Year

In these last weeks of the Church’s year and again, when that year begins afresh in Advent, the liturgy and the readings take us on eagle’s wings, as it were.…

Homily for 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today is Remembrance Sunday, first of all. We remember the dead of the two World and other wars.  We remember especially the dead of our own country. But not only…

Homily for Welcome of Dominican Sisters

What is happening today? I’m old enough to remember Westerns. And here we are, wagons drawn close, feeling our last days have come and our scalps about to be removed,…

Pastoral Letter for 18 August 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, ‘Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy…

The Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady

‘The Almighty has done great things for me’ (Lk 1:49).  It’s good to have this feast. It’s good that it comes as summer comes to its climax and the harvest…

19th Sunday of Ordinary time

Since I was last here, three things have happened. First, we heard that a new Archbishop of Edinburgh has been appointed. He is Mgr Leo Cushley. I met him at…

16th Sunday of Ordinary time

What good readings the Liturgy gives us today! The hospitality of Abraham, St Paul telling the Colossians how God’s secret plan has now been revealed, Jesus entering the home of…

Pastoral Letter for Corpus Christi

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Today we are keeping the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. As part of the Year of Faith, there will be worldwide exposition of…

Pentecost Sunday

‘They were all filled with the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 2:4). After Christmas and Easter comes Pentecost. ‘Today’, said St John Chrysostom, ‘we’ve reached the mountain-top of everything good; we’ve arrived…

5th Sunday of Easter

Reflecting on today’s three readings, it struck me that the first is about faith, the second about hope, and the last (the Gospel), about charity / love. As bishop, I…

Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Easter

May I begin with some liturgical catechesis. This is a Sunday of many names. It is the 2nd Sunday of Easter. Easter is a season as well as a day. It’s…

Easter Sunday homily

Recently I was shown some re-tellings of the Easter story written by children in P2. One boy’s account was particularly accurate and vivid. On Easter Sunday morning, two ladies, he…

Homily for Paschal Vigil

Peter ‘then went back home, amazed at what had happened’ (Lk 24:12) – the last phrase of the Gospel we’ve just heard. There is a lot happening here tonight, and…

Homily for Good Friday

‘See, my servant will prosper, he shall be lifted up, exalted, rise to great heights’ (Is 52:12). ‘See’ is the first word of today’s first Reading. There is something very…

Maundy Thursday

The Jewish Passover, Jesus’ Last Supper, the washing of the disciples’ feet: those are our 3 readings tonight. Tonight Jesus begins his own Passover. Tonight he sets out to bring…

Homily for Palm Sunday

Here we are beginning Holy Week. Here we are going up to Jerusalem, with the Church throughout the world, with our new Pope, with those preparing for the Sacraments of…

Homily for Chrism Mass

There is a lot happening in tonight’s liturgy. Perhaps we can follow one of the leads the Liturgy gives and fly like migrating birds, away from the cold and the…

Pastoral Letter for Sunday 17 March

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Today we will all hear the name of our new Pope in the Eucharistic Prayer. We know it already: Francis. He is the first Pope to…

4th Sunday of Lent

There is a lot going on today. The 4th Sunday of Lent is called Laetare Sunday, after the first word in Latin of the Entrance Antiphon. Laetare means ‘Rejoice’. Couldn’t we all do…

2nd Sunday of Lent

We have just heard the Gospel of the Transfiguration. It has been the Gospel for the 2nd Sunday of Lent since at least the 5th century. Last Sunday we were in the…

Pastoral Letter

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, We were all taken by surprise by last week’s news. It is many centuries since a Pope has resigned and hardly anyone foresaw that…

Homily for 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)

Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 95; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; John 2:1-11  We have been liturgically blessed this year. We were able to celebrate Epiphany on its right date, 6th January. And we…

The Baptism of the Lord

Today’s the last day and the last feast of the Christmas season – the Baptism of the Lord. At Christmas, the Son of God eternally begotten of the Father is…

The Epiphany of the Lord

‘After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, some wise men came from the east.’ So, after keeping Jesus’ birth at Christmas, we…

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

‘When the appointed time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman…’ Today, it’s this ‘born of a woman’ that shines out. Today is the octave day of Christmas,…

The Feast of St Stephen

Had any of us been asked what to celebrate the day after Christmas, it’s unlikely we’d have suggested St Stephen. Suddenly we pass from the serenity of the stable to…

Christmas

This Mass – in its timing, its prayers, its readings – has a different feel from the Midnight Mass or from the Mass early on Christmas morning, the Dawn Mass.…

Midnight Mass

What a wonderful night this is! It’s light in darkness, A virgin having a child, A baby in a manger. It’s the son of David born in Bethlehem, Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God,…

Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

‘Come, Lord Jesus! Come, and save us! Come and set us free!’ This is what we pray in Advent. We call on Christ to come and save us. Christ saves…

The Monastery and the Local Church

Talk given at the Benedictine Monastery of Kornelimuenster, Germany on 26 August 2012.  Thank you for the opportunity to address this subject, and especially on such a memorable occasion- the golden…

Homily for the Opening of the Year of Faith

St Mary’s Cathedral, 11 October 2012; St Mary’s, Inverness, 12 October 2012 (The readings for these Masses were drawn from the Mass for the Spread of the Gospel / the…

The Year of Faith

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB, Bishop of Aberdeen, Scotland, speaks to the Newman Association about the Year of Faith on Thursday 4th October 2012.

The Birthday of John the Baptist

‘His name is John’ (Lk 1:63). Today we keep the birthday of this John, John the Baptiser. After our Lord, the Church keeps the earthly birthdays only of Mary and…

Diamond Jubilee

Princess Elizabeth came of age – 21 in those days – during her 1947 tour of South Africa. In a broadcast marking the occasion, she said this: ‘I declare before…

Bishop’s Hugh Easter Vigil homily

The Liturgy is always full of signs and symbols, but especially tonight. I’d like to take three: a ring with a dragon, night, and water.

Homily for Station Mass

Since 2002, the new Missal has offered a second Opening Prayer or Collect for today – the Friday of the 5th week of Lent. It was used at the beginning…

Homily for Chrism Mass

‘The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me’ (Is 61:1; Lk 4:18).  The parish of Buckie is known for its music. And it’s…

Homily in honour of St John Ogilvie

St John Ogilvie was a son of this diocese of Aberdeen and born within the bounds of this parish of Keith, and it is always good to honour him. He…

Faith Formation

At 7 pm on first Saturday of each month there is a series of seminars to be hosted at Bishop’s House. These seminars will offer opportunities for deeper formation in…

Homily for Christmas Day

 I know an American gentleman who calls his house, ‘Love-in-the-ruins’. I’ve never asked him why. But certainly it’s not the kind of name you forget.  If you look at Renaissance…

Homily for Christmas Midnight Mass

This night is so full of light and colour and warmth, of poetry, story and song, of memories and comfort and hope. Our hearts overflow! Even if there were only…

Pastoral Letter

Dear Brothers and Sisters, We live in a noisy world. Our towns and cities are full of noise. There is noise in the skies and on the roads. There is…

Homily for the Abbatial Blessing of Dom Anselm Atkinson

‘Lord’, asks Peter, ‘do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’ And the Lord asks in return, ‘Who then is the faithful and wise steward…?’ (Lk 12:41-42). ‘Who…

Pastoral Letter

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Peace be with you. It is a great grace to have become your Bishop. Thank you for the warm welcome I have received from so many…

Ordination address

The first word can only be one of thanks. And in the first place, with Mary, to Almighty God. This is a day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice…

     

RC Diocese of Aberdeen Charitable Trust.
A registered Scottish Charity Number SC005122