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Monsignor Tom Connelly was born in Portobello and was a parishioner of St. Mary Magdalene parish. He attended St. John´s Primary school and then Holy Cross Academy.For almost twenty years he was Press Officer for the Catholic Church in Scotland until his death in 2000. He is the only parishioner who has become a priest and, of course, the parish is proud of him.

The following account of his life was published by the Scottish Media Office on Communication Sunday following his death.

Tribute to Monsignor Connelly
The high reputation of the Catholic Media Office with media professionals throughout Scotland is largely the work of one man. Monsignor Tom Connelly, but everyone called him "Father Tom", was Director of the Catholic Media Office from 1981 until his death in October 2000. Father Tom was born in 1933 and after several jobs in industry decided his vocation lay in the priesthood. Although from Portobello he was working, at that time,in east Kilbride within the Diocese of Motherwell. Consequently he offered himself for service in that Diocese.

Ordained in 1962, Fr Tom gave himself totally to everything he undertook and his enthusiasm rubbed off on many of those who became involved with him and his many pastoral initiatives. He came to national prominence on his appointment as Press Officer to the Bishops' Conference of Scotland in September 1981,just a few months before the announcement that Pope John Paul 11 was to visit Scotland. The Papal visit made Fr Tom a well-known and respected figure among media professionals in Scotland and beyond.

  father tom

The high international profile which the Scottish Catholic Church has in media circles, in spite of being a relatively small country, is also due to the tireless work of Fr Tom. For over twenty years he was deeply involved in UNDA, the International Association for Catholic Broadcasters. The Vatican recognised his experience by appointing him a Consultor to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Fr Tom was a big man, with a big heart, a sense of humour, a rich vision of Church and dedicated to his priestly ministry which he saw as including his work with the media. With his death many lost a good friend, the media lost a trusted voice and advocate, and the Church lost a loyal and dedicated priest.

St Mary Magdalenes

What is the work of the Scottish Media Office?

https://scmo.org - Click Here

The writer of the pamphlet in response to the theme "Preach from the Rooftops" writes

I had to smile when I read the theme picked by the Pope for this year´s Communication Sunday was "Preach from the Rooftop´. I smiled because the Media office of our Bishops´ Conference is on the top floor of a building overlooking George Square in Glasgow. Not quite a rooftop, but nearly.

Many people may wonder what happens in the Media Office, Well, most things you read about in newspapers, or hear on the radio, or see on the television about the Church have generally passed through the Media Office.

Religion is not important anymore, some people claim, yet a careful analysis of the media shows that religious and moral issues are never far from the 'news'. Sometimes it may look as though the Church is only reacting to a story or an incident but any comments from the Media Office give us the opportunity to make the Christian view more widely known and at times better explained.

But there is more to the work of the Media Office than dealing with media professionals, important though it is. It may be because this office is one of the first listings in the phone book when you look up "Catholic Church" that we also get enquiries from all sorts of people about all sorts of things. Times of Masses in the Highlands during summer, how you get married in Rome, trying to track down a parish of baptism, are just some of the many enquiries received in the Office. There are also other enquiries from people who are upset or with personal problems. A listening ear and some pastoral sensitivity is called for in these situations.

So your Catholic Media Office is an Information Service, a public relations office for the Church, the first port of call for many seeking information about the Church and all of that with a pastoral dimension too.

If you want more information about the Catholic Media Office, for example to read the Press Releases issued by the Church, then you may wish to visit our website www.scmo.org.uk or for other enquiries you can e-mail us at info@scmo.org.uk or call us on 0141 221 1168

From these busy offices, looking over the rooftops of Glasgow, the Catholic Media Office serves the Church by giving OUR news to the media.

Canon Lawrence Alexander Glancey
Born 20th August 1917
Ordained 26th July 1943
Died 4th November 2002

It was with great sadness that we had to announce the death of Canon Lawrence Glancey, the founder of our parish in 2002.

The Archbishop ,with many of the priests in the diocese, concelebrated the Funeral Mass in St. Mary Magdalene Church on Saturday 9th November 2002, The parishioners of St Mary Magdalene's were pleased to have the service here where so many of the congregation have such fond memories of Canon Glancey.Several of Canon Glancey's family travelled thousands of miles to attend his funeral and were warmly welcomed in Edinburgh.

The Archbishop paid tribute to a much loved and dedicated priest. Canon Glancey faced a great challenge when he was appointed Parish Priest to a parish with no church, no house and no name and we, who are now members of that parish, owe him a debt of gratitude for the beatiful church and the parish community which he established.


"We pray for the repose of his soul: Eternal rest grant unto him o lord and let perpetual light shine upon him and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen. God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission - I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connections between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not knowing it - if I do but keep His Commandments.

Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what he is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me - still He knows what He is about". Cardinal Newman

Funeral mass of Canon Lawrence Alexander Glancey
st Mary Magdalene´s,
Saturday 9th november 2002


It is indeed a privilege to be preaching at this Funeral Mass today - praying with you for the happy repose of the soul of Canon Lawrence Alexander Glancey. Lawrence was one of the Father figures of our Archdiocese whose life affected very many people, particularly the people of this Parish of St Mary Magdalene's which he founded, but also those of so many other parishes in which he served throughout our Archdiocese.

Studies for Priesthood:

The basic facts of the life and studies of Canon Lawrence for the Priesthood are rather more complicated than usual and seemed to present something of a "restless character". However, a variety of historical events intervened in various places of study and of the countries to which Lawrence was sent.

Born on the 20th August 1917 in Broxburn, Lawrence was brought up in Fife - at St Andrews and then in Cowdenbeath. After his initial studies at Blairs College in Aberdeen, Lawrence was sent to Coutances in France - but he had hardly arrived there when he was sent home because of an outbreak of tuberculosis. His studies continued at Ushaw College in England and then at the Scots College in Rome until 1940 when the Second World War broke out. Along with other Scottish Priests he was then sent to All Hallows College in Dublin - but there the Irish discipline did not suit either Lawrence or the other Scottish students and the late Archbishop Andrew Joseph McDonald recalled his students and then sent Lawrence to St Edmond's College, Ware. Further studies followed in the Scots College Rome and then in the University of Oxford after Ordination where he graduated with an Honors Degree in Economics. All of that: six different seminaries and the Gregorian University in Rome and the University of Oxford in England took place before one parish appointment!

Priestly Appointments:

Following on his Ordination to the Priesthood on 26th July 1943 and his further studies, Lawrence´s first appointment was to St Andrews, Ravelston, a period followed by Chaplaincy to the Good Shepherd Convent in Edinburgh. Further appointments as assistant priest followed to St Columba's, Edinburgh and then to St Peter's, Edinburgh. In 1961 Lawrence was appointed as Parish Priest of the new parish of St Mary Magdalene's, Edinburgh where he served for nine years until being appointed to St John Vianney's, Edinburgh where he served for a further period of nine years. He continued as Parish Priest in East Calder for five years, and the Immaculate Conception, Bathgate for four years before serving in Dunbar for three years until his retirement in 1991.

Again, one might say that there was further indication of that "restless character" with regard to Lawrence´s parochial appointments. However, I personally see it as Lawrence almost burning himself out in his zeal in large parishes and then requesting an appointment to a smaller parish - not for a period of rest but to recharge his batteries. After such a period of rest he would become frustrated with an apparent lack of work and seek new and greater challenges.

Three Great Challenges:

One might ask just what were the greatest challenges facing Lawrence in his priestly life. I have liaised with two of his close priest friends in considering this namely Father Tom Rhatigan and Father Michael Fallon. They have given me considerable help and advice - but I myself would list three challenges which faced the late Canon Lawrence in his priestly life and ministry.

(1) The Challenge of the Second Vatican Council:

Having been ordained priest in 1943 it was some 20 years later that the teachings of the Second Vatican Council were been promulgated and various attempts to implement them made throughout this Archdiocese as in others throughout the World.

It was almost as if this was just what Lawrence was waiting for - particularly as he had been appointed a parish priest himself here in this parish of St Mary Magdalene in September 1961. So many things were coming together for him. From his own reading he was aware of the challenges facing the Church - and now the Church seemed prepared to respond to those challenges particularly with regard to lay involvement.

He was already involved in many apostolic ways outwith his parochial work. He inspired many throughout the Diocese with the Young Christian Workers organisation; he had been a Religious Inspector of Schools throughout the Archdiocese for some 20 years; he was involved in charismatic renewal; and he pioneered parish renewal long before it was formally adopted by our Archdiocese. In addition he had been appointed Director of Ongoing Formation of the Clergy and was so enabled to hand on something of his vision to his Brother Priests while obtaining the services of other leaders to share their vision of the Second Vatican Council with them.

With regard to his own practical implementation of the Second Vatican Council working with his people was for him an essential for a priest in a parish. The establishment of a parish council was seen by him as an essential - it was part of his vision for the Post Vatican 2 Church. He wrote a CTS pamphlet on the subject and appeared on television in a programme explaining the importance of parish councils and their workings. As a priest he loved his people - he really loved them - and had a wonderful memory for names and faces. Because of his own impatience he sometimes gave the impression of perhaps not always listening because he was constantly listening on the move - even on a visit. But bringing his people together and utilising the many, many talents of the lay faithful entrusted to his care was an essential for him.

A second insight which he had from the teaching of the Second Vatican Council was his own real sense of the liturgy as the work of the people of the parish along with himself and led by himself. One can see this reflected in the building of the Magdalene Church and the creation of so many of its artifacts, fixtures and fittings by local people. He had that great ability to delegate and call forth gifts from people and in this he inspired enthusiasm and loyalty.

(2) Challenge of Magdalene Parish:

It was shortly after his appointment as Parish Priest of Magdalene Parish that Lawrence wrote to all his people in a letter dated 6th October 1961. On reading that letter, what is remarkable is the fact that Lawrence rarely used the word "I" rather he always emphasised "WE". Listen to various phrases: "we are all missionaries in this great new venture and its success depends on all of us - priests and people alike" "We have no church, no presbytery - nothing". "Our territory is one mile long"."We have secured the use of the Jewel Miner´s Welfare Hall for two Masses each Sunday".

He continued to work with and for his people establishing his parish and then ensuring that a Church was built worthy of the people whom he was serving.

I am sure that he would be incredulous to know that if you type in the name "Lawrence Glancy" on the Worldwide Web you will find a great deal about him on the Magdalene Parish Website including a photograph of him in his famous duffle coat and black beret.

As always people were most important to him and within one year of him being appointed to Magdalene a notice indicated the following weekly church meetings: a Women's Guild; Scouts; Junior Girl´s Club; Men's Club; Legion of Mary for Seniors; Legion of Mary for Juniors; and Cubs. Not bad work in building up a new parish!

Of course he was frustrated when the official opening of the church was delayed because of an influx of water - but in 1966 he was delighted to Celebrate the Ordination of one of his parishioners, the late Monsignor Tom Connelly formerly Press and Media Officer of our Church.

I commend to you to study of the Website on Magdalene Parish - which lists the outstanding artifacts which are in this church at this present time: from the altar to the altar furnishings; from the magnificent altar piece to the priest's chair; from the Stations of the Cross to the Madonna and Child; to items such as the font and the floor of the baptistery; and to the very beautiful Weekday Chapel. Everything was executed with loving care by skilled craftsmen most from the local area. Lawrence had indeed a great ability to delegate and call forth gifts from all his people as well as those not of his own particular flock.

I have mentioned in some detail Lawrence's apostolate in Magdalene Parish quite simply because it was the first parish to which he was appointed as parish priest and is a church and parish which bears the stamp of this remarkable man. Obviously Lawrence left his mark on those other parishes in which he served: St John Vianney's, St Theresa's, St Mary's and St Columba's and Our Lady of the Waves - I hope the parishioners of these parishes do excuse me from not going into detail with regard to Lawrence's apostolate in their midst but I am sure that what I have said about the Magdalene, the parish which he founded will find Ecorse in the minds of all parishioners who benefited from his apostolate throughout our Archdiocese.

(3) The Third Great Challenge - Retiral:

When Lawrence thought the time had come he tendered his resignation to me on 15th January 1991. Now he was a Canon of our Metropolitan Cathedral Chapter and had a wealth of experience. But legitimately he thought he needed some time for himself - to recharge that endless energy which he seemed to have and prepare for his final meeting with his Lord. In the early days of his retirement he was able to supply cover for priests who were sick or on holiday. He loved that because his pastoral contact was what made him tick. One can be sure that he continued his reading of John Henry Cardinal Newman of whom he was a tremendous admirer.

In his earlier years he had spent many holidays with the late Bishop Monaghan; and continued his friendship with Father Tom Rhatigan who remembers Lawrence from the very first Deanery Conference which he attended. Lawrence decided that he would help Tom settle into the Diocese through the gift of golf - and that friendship continued up to this present time.

He was indeed a man of prayer and celebrated daily Mass and attended Sunday Mass in St Andrews, Ravelston up to the time of his death. It was very humbling when celebrating Mass or other devotions in St Andrews to see Lawrence sitting very humbly at the back of the church taking his place with his fellow parishioners. And of course he was a well known figure locally on his regular local daily walks.


Having attended so may different seminaries and then served in so many varied parishes it is surely noteworthy than Canon Lawrence died on the Feast of St Charles Borromeo the founder of the modern seminary movement. His death was also on the very day that the Bishops´ of Scotland decided to retain a National Seminary within Scotland itself.

I used the words "restless character" of Lawrence. Perhaps now I could also quote those very beautiful words of St Augustine who wrote: "thou has made us for thyself, oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee".

I am sure that the restless heart of Lawrence is now at rest in the vision of God in Heaven. Having been given so many talents by the Good Lord; having shared his talents with so many others; and having called out the talents of others - Lawrence now has been called home by that same Lord.

May God indeed grant him eternal rest and comfort all who mourn. Having been inspired by something on his vision on earth may we too hand on something of that same vision to those entrusted to our care.


Sadly Father Tom Hennnessy died on Friday 24th April 2015 and was buried from St. Mary Magdalenes's Church on Friday 1st May.

Requiem Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Cushley and concelebrated by many priests from the Diocese. Father Tom Hennessy was our Parish Priest for almost 21 years before his retirement three years ago. We, the parishioners, feel honoured at being able to say good-bye to our much loved and respected Father Tom by hosting his Requiem Mass and by offering hospitality to the many mourners who came to pay their respects. We are grateful to our current Pariah Priest, Fsather Jock Dalrymple for all his work in leading us in this service and for his support.

One of the parishioners was asked to deliver the eulogy at the Requiem Mass and it now appears below Jim Gallagher said:
"I have been asked to say a few words about Fr Tom Hennessy, especially about his time as parish priest here. Fr Tom was parish priest in St Mary Magdalene´s for over 20 years, more than 2 decades. That´s a big part of the history of this little parish, and it was a big part of Fr Hennessy's priestly ministry. So it´s absolutely appropriate that he should be buried from here, as he asked to be".

"I don´t know if virtues go in and out of fashion, but we hear rather less of humility nowadays. But Tom Hennessey was a genuinely humble man, meek and humble of heart. He was the least ostentatious of men. Anything but self important. Small in size, tentative even timid in his manner, he was about as unassertive as you can get. But there was core to him. A core of determination, even stubbornness; a dogged commitment to his duties and responsibilities; and a dedication that was a particular kind of courage.

  Father Hennessy

Here was a man who shunned public attention, was happiest when quietly reading, yet who steeled himself to stand here every Sunday in front of you all to preach and to say Mass. Here was a man who was naturally shy, nervous about talking to people, but took his duties of pastoral care very seriously. Many people will tell you stories of Father Tom coming simply to be with a person who was ill, and housebound. Visiting the parishioner not seen at church for a while, the person he was worried about, or wanted to show that he cared about what was going on in their lives. example visiting the Iraqi husband of a parishioner at the time of the Iraqi war.

Above all he was a priest. We can say rather glibly that priesthood is a vocation, not a job, but for Tom Hennessy it was the bedrock of his identity, what he was through and through. When as a young man he was really rather badly injured in a motorcycle accident and I know many of you will struggle to imagine him as a leather clad motorcyclist his only real concern was whether this would affect his capacity to act as a priest. He was a bit like a stick of rock. It didn´t just say priest on the outside, but all the way through. If you had broken him in half that´s what the letters in the middle of him would have read.

Of course this in it´s turn was based on a deep personal piety, but also perhaps not known to many people, really quite a substantial degree of scholarship. He was well read and very thoughtful on matters theological. You could tell that in his sermons. Over the decades, I guess I must have heard nearly 1000 of them. They were always carefully thought through, well structured and always had some substance, sometimes maybe a wee bit over the heads of the congregation, but never superficial. Indeed, though he was a very dutiful servant of the church, he had his own quiet but firm opinions: there was a little bit of the revolutionary in him.

He was also a quietly cultured man, well read in the classics of English literature, and someone who enjoyed classical music. I rather suspect that he would have been much happier if the guitar had remained an interesting instrument they played in Spain, rather than at Mass in St Mary Magdalene´s. But he never said so.

He was probably most frugal man I ever met. He didn't spend money on clothes, cars or even food. Just as well, as he was completely hopeless with money. Tom didn´t enjoy good health. Apart from his accident, he suffered from diabetes. People were sometimes bemused to find that during a parish meeting he had nipped off for a cup of tea and a bit of toast. And latterly, he worked on when a less determined man would have retired, and in the end gave rather more than his health and strength allowed.

We´ll all have our particular memories of Father Hennessy. It might be the man who polished the chalice so long and vigorously after communion that it´s a wonder we´ve still got one. Or it might be the man who came to sit quietly with the housebound parishioner.

I´ve got a particular image of him etched in my memory. He was walking up the street, with his wee bag of messages. It´s only a short street, and not a steep hill, but he was struggling, stopping for a rest. But he went on doggedly, refusing assistance, and walked determinedly round to his home in Milton Crescent.

Well he is walking up a different hill now, to a different home. And the door will open for him there as well.

Our Golden Jubilee

On November 20th Father Tabone and the parishioners of St. Mary Magdalene's and many friends celebrated the 50th anniversary of the parish.

The celebration was a great success. Many of the priests from surrounding parishes as well as former Parish Priests of St Mary Magdalene's were present. It was abeautiful, concelebrated Mass.

Over 200 parishioners and friends attended Mass and joined in the celebratiion in the Hall and Porch later. This was a particularly happy day for us as parishioers since the future of our parish had been in doubt following the announcement that Father Hennessy was to retire in the summer. There may not have been a parish now for us to rejoice in. We are indeed very blessed to have Father Tabone as our new Parish Priest. We pray now that St Mary Magdalene´s Parish may continue to flourish for many years to come.

St Mary Magdalenes

Celebration Father Hennessy´s Golden Jubilee

On Friday 8th May Father Hennessy celebrated his Golden Jubilee with members of his family, his fellow priests, his friends and his parishioners. The evening started with Mass at which the other priests concelebrated Mass with Father Hennessy. Father Henesy, from St. Patrick´s parish gave the homily.

Laura Tweedie, on behalf of the Parish, presented Father with a cheque for the sum of £1080. Refreshments were served in the hall after Mass and the evening proved to be a most enjoyable occasion.

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