Home  About  History  Newsletters  Privacy Policy  Safeguarding  Links  Contact 

The History of St Mary Magdalenes


In the space of a very short time ( three weeks, in fact) and after some hard work on Father Glancey´s part the following letter was sent to every catholic family in the new parish.

The Parish Letter

My dear People,
Our Archbishop has established the Bingham-Jewel, Magdalene area as a new Mission and has appointed me as your first priest in charge. We are all missionaries in this great new venture and its success depends on all of us - priest and people alike.

We have no church, no presbytery - nothing. Many of us have loyalties to other parishes - to St. John's, the parent parish, to St. Terea's, through the tunnel, to Musselburgh, to St. Ninian's and to the Cathedral - all on the bus route.

To succeed, we must sacrifice these old loyalties in order that this new mission may one day become a parish, ie a community of Christians united in loving God and their neighbour.

  St Mary Magdalenes

Our Territory is one mile long - from end to end, Niddrie Road is the natural centre - within half a mile of everyone in the district ie - 10 minutes walk at most, and so it is with great joy that I report that we have secured the use of the Jewel Miners' Welfare Hall, Niddrie Road, for two Masses each Sunday - 9 and 11.30a.m. - (this should suit everyone with the exception of some shift workers).

In addition - thanks to Mr and Mrs Joseph Rowell - a room in their home at 40 Niddrie Road has been put at my disposal where you can come and see me any day between 10 and 11a.m. and 4 and 5p.m. Messages can be left there in the letter box, if, for any reason, I am unable to attend.

Until we can acquire a house in the district - big enough for the establishment of a chapel for daily Mass, Benediction etc. I shall be resident in St' John's, 40 Brighton Place, Portobello - Tel POR 5447.

We shall continue to use St. John's Church for Baptisms, Marriages and Funerals until we have premises of our own. Sunday Mass at 9am and 11.30am, begins on the 15th October ie next Sunday. Confessions will be heard for half an hour before Mass. Looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday, and to visiting you in your homes in the next few weeks. Pray for the success of our Mission,
God bless you,

Lawernce A. Glancey
Priest in charge.
If you know of any catholic who has not received this letter, please tell them about it. L.A.G.


Early Days

The first Mass was the start of the new parish and from there,still without a house or a church, a community began to form. Soon Father Glancey was a familiar and popular figure as, in duffel coat and beret, he cycled round the district, speaking to everyone and making many friends. Father Glancey visited all his parishioners and quickly identified the various skills and talents which could be harnessed in the development of the parish.

His enthusiasm was infectious and a willing band of helpers came forward. It was not until the summer of 1962 that a house was purchased in Milton Crescent. This was a tremendous asset. The garage became the parish hall and a room in the house became an oratory. Morning Masses were offered there and services,where the congregation was not large,were held there. The Sunday services, however, still took place in the Miners´ Institute.

Father Lawrence Glancey

Church Meetings

The following notice of meetings shows just how far the parish had come in less than one year and also just how integrated St Mary Magdalene´s Parish had become in the local community. (Yes, the parish had a name. Since part of the parish was sited on the area where the Magdalen Chapel had stood and through which the Magdalen burn flowed, St Mary Magdalene was the obvious choice.)

St Mary Magdalenes

Church Information

Monday - 7.30p.m. - Women´s Guild - St. Christopher´s School
Monday - 7.30p.m. - Scouts - Lismore School
Wednesday - 5.00p.m. - Junior Girls´ Club - St. Christopher´s School
Wednesday - 7.00p.m. - Men´s Club - Jewel Institute
Wednesday - 8.00p.m. - Legion of Mary (senior) - Garage
Friday - 6.15p.m. - Cubs - St. Christopher´s School
Friday - 8.00p.m. - Legion of Mary (junior) - Garage

The parish now had a house and this gave a sense of progress. At last there was a heart to the parish. A site for the church was approved and plans were prepared. The site was at the corner of Mountcastle Drive South and Bingham Drive, in the centre of the parish and only two minutes walk from the presbytery. Building work started in 1965 and was scheduled for completion in June 1966.However all did not go well. Just before the church was to be opened a snag developed.

Water was found getting into a heating duct and a lengthy delay followed. Sunday services had to continue in the Miners� Institute. A diocesan official said. "There was a difficulty with water but no flooding. The area has a very high �water table� and the church has heavy foundations. There was trouble with damp getting into a heating duct. The delay has been an exhaustive testing of sealing. We want to be certain things are right". However, all was not bad news.

Picture (An early Mass in the Jewel Miners Institute)

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

While waiting for the completion of the church preparations were under way for the furbishings and a great deal of thought and hard work went into this task. This is evident even today when one enters the church. The list of contents makes interesting reading. After a delay of about 18 months the new Roman Catholic Church of St Mary Magdalene, in Mountcastle Drive South, Edinburgh, was used for the first time.

(Picture Plans Showing the New Church)

The building, which includes a small hall, was due to be completed in May 1966, but the parish priest, the Rev Lawrence Glancey said, yesterday, that waterlogging of the site had caused a delay of the opening. For the past six years parishioners from the Bingham and Magdalene area have worshipped in the Jewel miners' welfare institute. Other activities have been held in school halls.

Father Glancey said his parishioners had already paid off about one fifth of the £46000 cost of the project. The building will be formally opened by the Most Rev Gordon Gray, R.C. Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

(Picture Further Drawings of the new Church)

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

The Architects Model

The Architects Model

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

The New Mosaic Planned for the Church

11th April 1968

Building the new Church

April to May 1966

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

Building the new Church

April to May 1966

The Congregation in the new Church

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

The Congregation in the New Church

The Congregation in the New Church

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

The Catholic Observer

Signs of renewal and change in the Church at Parish Level are discussed in "In Reform" BBC 1, (Scotland) on Sunday. John Cameron speaks to Father Lawrence. A. Glancey of St Mary Magdalene Roman Catholic Church Portobello and some members of his Parich Council pictured here. Cameron will be asking such questions as "How do you view the sharing of the Priesthood and pastoral work"

The congregation in the New Church

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

The Blessing of the New Church

Blessing the New Church

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

Blessing the New Church

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.

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of our Parish

It was in 1961 that the announcement was made that a new parish was being created in the Magdalene/Bingham areas. This was greeted with delight and much enthusiasm. The energy and vision of the priest, Father Lawrence Glancey, together with the co=operatiion and effort of his parishioners resulted in forming a welcoming and spiritual community. Obviously there followed years of hard work with some disappointments and frustration. This was especially felt when the opening of the church itself was delayed for almost two years because of building problems. Just as it wa sthought to be ready foer occupnacy water was discovered under the church and athe delay followed. However, now, in 1886 all of that is behind us and we are free to celebrate 25 years of happy parish life.

The occasion was marked with a lovely concelebrated Mass followed in true St. Mary Magdalene tradition with refreshments in the parish hall and porch.. It was decided tio commission the creation of a stained glass window between the main chapel and the day chapel. AS with all the furnishings of the church much thought and care went into this window and the result is splendid.. It will be a constant reminder to parishioners in the futuer of the love and dedication of the parishioners in 1986. We hoope the traditions of our parish will contine over the years. Ufortuenately the picture below does not do justice to the beauty of the window qwith its vibrant colours

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes


Once agais the parishioners decided to celebrate the anniversary of the parish rather than the anniversary of the opening of the present church. The Parish of St. Mary Magdalene had existed since 1961 but without the benefit of a church building. The absence of such a basic requirement did not hinder the formation of one of the happiest and friendliest parishes in the diocese. The parishioners had to improvise and co-operate not only with each other but with their neighbours and friends in the area. The Miners' Institute Hall became their venue for Sunday Masses as well as Holy Day Masses. The largest room in the Parish House was the oratory where weekday masses were offered. The Parish Houes garage was the committee room and the venue for the meeting place of various organisations. Rooms in some parishioners houses were also made available for parish use. The building delays , though frustrating did not affect the parish too much though the eventual availablilitty of the church was avery welcome asset. As with the celebrations for the 25th Anniversary the paris celebrated with a beautiful concelebrated Mass followed by refreshments in the porch and hall. We were happy to mark another landmark in the journry of the Parish.

Golden Jubilee

Father Hennessy´s Golden Jubilee

On Friday 8th May 2009 Father Hennessy celebrated his Golden Jubilee with members of his family, his fellow priests, his friends and his parishioners. As Father Hennessy does not enjoy being in the limelight and wanted a simple celebration we respected his wishes. Neverthelesss the evening although simple was a happy one. 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

  St Mary Magdalenes
Father Tom Hennessy

Father Hennessy Retires

Father Hennessy, after 21 years as Parish Priest of St. Mary Magdalene´s, will retire officially on Wednesday the 31st of this month. However it will not be complete retirement as, on the 1st of September, he will become the resident Chaplain for St. Joseph´s Home run by the Little Sister of the Poor in Gilmore Place, Edinburgh. While we are very sorry to see him go we are also aware that, for him, this is in his best interests.

He will be released from the responsibilities of running a parish yet will still have an important Ministry. Also since he has had some health problems lately, in St. Joseph's, he will have people to look after him. We wish him well. Today Sunday 28th August was therefore the last Sunday that Father Hennesy would celebrate Mass as our Parish Priest. Father Hennessy does not like a fuss and does not enjoy the limelight so it took some gentle persuasion on the part of the Parish Council to get him to agree to a very low-key send -off in the Hall after Mass.

Father Tabone arrives in our Parish

We were delighted to welcome our New Parish Priest Father Loretto Tabone, who arrived on September 2nd 2011. Father Tabone took up residence in the Parish House and offered Sunday Mass for the first time as our new Parish Priest on Sunday 4th September so we were never without a priest.

As a Parish we have been truly blessed and now look forward to working under the guidance of Father Tabone. We can scarcely believe our good fortune and we hope that Father Tabone will be happy here with us.

That year, in October, was also the fiftieth anniversary of St. Mary Magdalene´s Parish and we plan to celebrate in November of this year. 2011 will be, indeed, a memorable one for us. More details later

  St Mary Magdalenes

The Golden Jubilee

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 were indeed very blessed to have had Father Tabone as our Parish Priest. We prayed that St Mary Magdalene´s Parish may continued to flourish and it still does.

Father Tabone retires in November 2013 and returns to his native Malta

On Sunday 24th November2013, Father Tabone´s last Sunday in Scotland, a farewell Mass of Thanksgiving, was offered in St. Mary Magdalene´s Parish. Father Tabone concelebrated Mass with our new Archbishop Leo Cushley and his fellow priests in the diocese. Former parishioners from his other charges flocked to take part with special buses bringing well-wishers from Stirling and Broxburn. Visitors came from the surrounding parishes. It goes without saying that his present parishioners turned out en masse and the church struggled to accommodate us all. Everyone was sorry that Father Tabone is going but happy, for him, that he is going home and will have a more leisurely life there, he certainly did not get much leisure time in Scotland.

After a beautiful and cheerful Mass tribute was paid to Father Tabone by Mrs Una Gallacher, Chair of our Parish Pastoral Council. Her speech is below.
" Your Grace, Reverend Fathers, Ladies and Gentlemen. For those of you who don"t know me, my name is Una Gallagher, and I am the chair of St Mary Magdalene"s Parish Pastoral Council."

" I´ve been asked to say a few words. I think what I have to say could be condensed into 2 words. Some of you may think those words should be "Don"t go" but they are in fact "Thank you". We have called this a Mass of Thanksgiving, not because we were thankful you are going, Father Tabone, but because we wanted to say thank you, to you and to God, for all you"ve done in your Ministry in Scotland these last 37 years."

You began your priestly ministry as a missionary in Africa then came, some might say as a missionary, to Scotland. We are very grateful that you did so. Africa"s loss has been Scotland"s gain I think it"s a testament to your many gifts, in particular to your ability to reach out to people and to engender and inspire loyalty and love, that today we welcome so many from all your former parishes: from St Columba"s in Edinburgh, from St John Cantius, Broxburn, from Sacred Heart, Cowie, St Mary"s Stirling, and St David"s, Dalkeith. We also welcome people from our local churches and schools, from St John"s, where you are currently the administrator, and from our other sister parishes.

As well as your parish work, you have worked as a hospital and university chaplain and chaplain to HCPT. You have even spent time in prison in Scotland. I have to emphasise that this was as chaplain - to Cornton Vale Women"s Prison- not as an inmate! In all of these places you have made a lasting impact on the lives of the people you met.

One of the things which struck me when you came here, Father Tabone, was the number of people from your previous parishes who came here to visit you,and who still come. I"m willing to bet that that will continue when you return to Gozo. I am quite sure air traffic to Malta will be on the increase, so I was thinking this might be a good time for us all to take shares in Ryanair.

Here in St Mary Magdalene"s I think it is no exaggeration to say that you have given new life to this parish. You have regenerated the parish in the two years that you have been here. You have brought in more people, in particular families with children; we now have many more children for our children"s liturgy, and more people involved in the Parish Council, and in other activities in the parish.

We have also had the great pleasure of your sermons to the children at our children"s masses. You have a wonderful ability to engage with the children; you are very inventive in the use of props, (I think of the bicycle wheel which we found behind the altar the other day), and you are never fazed by the children"s answers to your questions, no matter how off the wall they are! You have changed the atmosphere here in St Mary Magdalene"s; people now say " there is a buzz about the place" and a renewed sense of purpose.

When I was preparing this talk I took note of some of the things people have said about you, Father Tabone :
You are "the best thing since sliced bread" (I think that came from Broxburn!) But on a serious note, people have said
you are "such a good man"; you are "such a good priest"; you "live very simply"; you "practice what you preach" you "lead by example". And most importantly "you reach out to people, especially the poor and the sick." And of course everyone I spoke to mentioned your sense of humour, (which has been evident today), and which is a gift that fosters a real sense of community. People always leave this church, and I"m sure all your previous churches, with a smile on their faces I think there will be fewer smiles today.

We are very sad to lose you, but we are very pleased for you. We are pleased that you are now going home to your own family,and to your own people. Father Tabone, we have loved having you here. We thank you for your faith and for the love you have shown us. We thank you for all that you have done as a priest here in Scotland. We wish you well and we hope you will come back to see us.

I will end as I started, with those two words. Father Tabone, Thank you. As a mark of our appreciation we have a few gifts, which some of our children will now bring up."

Something of Interest From Malta

Tiny Church of St. Mary Magdalen in Malta

This tiny church is built on the highest point of the DINGLI CLIFFS which, in turn, are the highest point on Malta. The church is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen. Should Father Tabone ever forget about Scotland and us (though we are unlikely to allow that to happen) that little chapel on his homeland, will surely remind him. Please take time to read the history of that chapel on the notice below.

  Church in Malta
History of this Chapel

Dingli is a small village at the extreme end of Malta, quite remote from the centre. The distance was felt even more up to ten or twenty years ago when public transport could only reach up to Rabat. To arrive at Dingli one had to make the journey either on foot or by means of a rough ride on a farmer´s cart. Up to sixty years ago there was no telephone service for the private family. Nowadays it is considered essential for every household to have the facility of this service. It was then considered difficult to travel to other localities of Malta. Even nowadays almost everyone feels the need of his private means of transport.

If we glance far away through the ages, and precisely towards the beginning of civilization in Malta, we can notice, that notwithstanding the extreme poverty which depressed the whole of Malta, Dingli had the benefit of being situated near Rabat. In fact, from olden times up to the middle ages, the centre of Malta was not Valletta but first Rabat and then Mdina. The present capital city was built from scratch only during the second half of the sixteenth century.

The Popular Council which governed the Island had its headquarters in Rabat. Dingli for many centuries was part and parcel of the civil administration of both Rabat and Mdina. Dingli had the same representatives, the same mayor and the same doctor. Only with great difficulty, could one find a priest who was willing to accept to live at Dingli or at Hal Tartarni a place which historical sources have always confirmed the intimate connection with Dingli.

But, when the Maltese Church initiated the process of dividing the Island into parishes, not only in the cities but also in the rural zones, the small locality of Hal Tartarni could not be overlooked and someone had to be found to shoulder the responsibility of the spiritual aspect of the people, thus making this small village one of the first parishes ever in Malta. Hal Tartarni, which was the only inhabited area, was in the vicinity of the small forest created by Grand Master Verdala towards the end of the fifteenth century. There was a very small church dedicated to Saint Domenica, which today does not exist any longer. Just before the year 1436, this church was elevated to the dignity of a parish.

And then, after various ups and downs, which from a historical point of view cannot be clearly verified, all the population moved towards that zone called Dingli. This can be assumed to have resulted from the fact that the noble family Inguanez possessed vast territories of land in that zone. The farmers employed to work the fields of the Inguanez family found it convenient to go to Dingli, thus abandoning completely Tartarni. This period can be said to represent the origin of this delicious village, noted for its pure and uncontaminated air.

But if we look further back, we note that this village existed and was populated way back to remote times. We can reach as far back as prehistoric times, and after much hesitation and reflection, today the archaeologists lead us to conclude that quite probably there were certain quarries from where stone could be hewn to construct rural abodes in various parts of the Island.

Suffice it to say that archaeology leads us as far back to the times of the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians. Graves dug out of the rocks were found and it can be assumed that cremation of corpses was already in existence. According to the custom of those times, before burial, wicks and various articles of earthenware and ornamental goods were placed inside the grave. From what was found, the objects certainly go back to the Carthaginian period. These can be said to go back to almost 2800 years ago.

The Phoenician and Carthaginian tombs were also used by the Romans, who occupied our islands way back to 218 before Christ. At Dingli there is no clear distinction between one period and another. At Ghajn Handful, baths, swimming pools and some instruments of the Roman period were discovered. Even at the locality known as Ta´ Baldu, an area lying not far away from Triq Misrah Suffara, is rightly known for its Roman baths hewn inside caves. hewn inside caves.

The scarce historical information available about Hal Tartarni gives some ray of light on the periods when we were under the Norman, Byzantine, Angevine and Aragonese rule. In those times, the Popular Council, with its offices at Rabat, had the full authority to govern over both Dingli and Hal Tartarni. Justice was meted out by Capitano della Verga. At the beginning of the reign of the Knights of St John, the population of these villages did not exceed three hundred inhabitants. The name of ´Dingli´ was probably derived from the surname of some Maltese families who owned the land in this area.

Dingli is a locality near the sea and is full of cultivated fields, but at the same time stands imposingly very high above the sea. The cliffs reach a height of around 300 metres the highest place in Malta. Thus the inhabitants do not earn their living by going fishing, but by assiduously tilling their fields. Even if they never became very rich, at least they could earn their living by means of husbandry and also from the produce of the fields.

The Dingli Cliffs, in harder times than at present, were also sometimes beneficial. Century´s age, Malta was frequently devastated by sea pirates who wreaked havoc everywhere. Many people were robbed, carried away as slaves, or killed straight away. For several centuries life it was no longer possible to live in the Island.

Then, in the year 1530, Emperor Charles V bestowed Malta to the Knights of St John as a feud. The pirates besieged and took over Gozo in 1551, but were not content with their victory and so directed their attention towards Malta. Espionage existed even at that time. Just before launching a great siege on the island of Malta, the Turks sent to Malta in great secrecy a spy by the name of Piri Reis in order to explore well our Island. Without being noticed by anyone, he went as far as Dingli to see if the Turks could land in this area. When Piri Reis observed the Dingli Cliffs, he quickly concluded that landing in this area is to be absolutely avoided. As a matter of fact, in the great siege of 1565, landing was affected at Marsamxett.

This was only just a glance at Dingli of the past centuries. The inhabitants at that time struggled to survive in a very difficult environment. The sole pride that distinguished the inhabitants of Dingli was their devotion to the parish church dedicated to the Assumption of the Holy Virgin. But the dignity of the recognition of the Parish was suppressed several times. Afterwards, in 1678, the village had the satisfaction of having an established Parish Church with its own Parish Priest, and from then better times were in the offing.

Dingli is now a picturesque village looking towards the future with confidence. There is now a sense of well-being, which could not be envisaged in the not too-distant past. The population has increased in number fifteen-fold since centuries ago. Statistics reveal that a century ago, it was difficult to send children to school. The boys used to work in the fields. The girls, from a tender age, helped in the domestic work. On the contrary, nowadays, everyone goes to school, not only to the primary but also to the secondary schools. There are also others who continue their studies at the Malta University from where the best even attain a doctorate in their field of study.

Dingli is the birthplace of many eminent personalities who have honoured not only the village but also the entire Maltese Islands. In the literary field, one can mention renowned authors like folklore pioneer Dun Xand Cortis and playwright Francis Ebejer. The Catholic Church was blessed with the Dominican friar Walter Ebejer, who was ordained Bishop of a diocese in Brazil. In the political field, Notary Guze´ Abela was an outstanding minister of finance, who was widely respected for his sound judgment and above all for his integrity.

Info from https://dingli.gov.mt/

Pat and Mary Celebrate 50 Years of Marriage

On Sunday 6th July 2003 Pat McInally was presented with with the Archdiocesan Medal and Scroll in recognition of his long and faithful service to St. Mary Magdalenes Parish . This was a partcularly special week-end for the McInally family as Pat and his wife Mary celebratted their Golden Wedding Anniversary on Friday 4th July.

In introducing the presentation ceremony at the end of Mass Father Tom Hennessey, our Parish Priest, made the following address:- On 4th July 1953 Pat and Mary were married in Our Lady and St. Mary's Church, Bathgate. A young Fr. Tom Hanlon, Mary's cousin, officiated at their nuptial Mass, and he was there last Friday to celebrate Mass with Pat and Mary on their 50th. Wedding Anniversary. It is a marriage truly blessed with four sons and four daughhter, and I think Pat has lost count of the number of grandchildren.

Pat and Mary arrived in Bingham in 1965 just when the building of the church had begun. From that time on Pat was a "living stone" of God´s House actively involved in Parish Council, working closely with the late Canon Lawrence Glancey and the late Tom Urquhart, attending numerous meetings, offering support to the priests, in addition to caring for his growing family. He was eventually commissioned as a Minister of Eucharist, bringing Holy Communion to the sick and the housebound as well as giving the sacrament at Mass He has served Sunday and weekday Masses for many years and instructed boys and girls in serving on the Altar.

Mary and his family are Pat's pride and joy and they are proud of him as is his parish community. Of this church he has been a faithful servant for almost 40 years. His witness to Christ and this community of Faith has been strong and unwavering, in living out the Sacrament of Confirmation to the full. He has been an exemplary Catholic layman - genuinely devout and conscientious in fulfilling duties which have been the product of an ardent faith. The seed sown on good ground has indeed yielded the fruits.

Pat, we the thank you for all your services. We are very pleased that you are to receive this medal from the Archbishop, it is so well deserved

The picture appeared on Pat's Memorial Card for his Requiem Mass in March 2009. Some of Pat's favourite hymns.

Sung at his Mass

"I the Lord of Sea and Sky
O Lord my God
Our God Reigns
I watch the sunrise
Bind us together"

Father Jock Dalrymple
When it was annnnounced that Monsignor Rae, from St John the Evangelist Parish in Portobello, was to retire this year the future of St. Mary Magdalene´s seemed uncertain again. With the retiral of the priests from two parishes situated only 1.5 mile apart and with a shortage of priests we were afraid. that as the smaller of the two parishes we may not be viable. It was with relief that we were informed that one priest would serve both parishes.

St Mary Magdalene´s would still remain a parish. Obviously with one priest looking after two parishes there would be changes. We could not expect daily mass for one thing and of course there would be other cahnges too. This we willingly accepted and looked forward to the arrival of Father Jock Dalrymple as our new Parish Priest.

Monsignor Rae was to retire in September and Father Tabone expected to leave for Malta then too. However, for personal reasons, Farther Jock Dalrymple was not available until December and Fr Tabone kindly agreed to look after both parishes for a few months. Witth these arrangements Catholic life in Portbello and Bingham was comfortably covered until the end of the year. We, in St Mary Magdalene´s, then looked forward to welcoming and supporting Father Dalrymple.

  St Mary Magdalenes
Father Hennessy

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.

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.

First Holy Communion 2005

Our three communicants after Mass.
Left to right Alesandra, Calum and Rachel

  St Mary Magdalenes

First Holy Communion 2007
Gemma with Anna and Father Hennessy cutting the cake

First Holy Communion Groups 2016 and 2017

These days were very special in our parish. Eleven children - ten girls and one boy made their First Holy Communion. Their smiles say it all! After Mass we had a celebration in the hall not only for the children but for the parish too.
We are delighted that we have so many children and that we now have several altar servers every Sunday.

  St Mary Magdalenes
Monsignor James T. Rae

Father James Rae

In 2013. Monsignor Rae, Parish Priest of, St John the Evangelist in Portobello was ready to retire because of ill-heath and no other priest was available. Like Father Hennessy, Monsignor Rae had served for many years in the diocese and since 1983 had been Parish Priest of St John the Evangelist in Portobello. The solution was for St Mary Magdalene´s and St John´s to share a priest. This new priest was Father Jock Dalrymple.

It was decided, at diocesan level, that our parish house, in Milton Crescent should be sold to the Diocese, renovated,and become Monsignor Rae´s home when he left St John´s parish house in Sandford Gardens. The new parish priest for the two parishes would then live in Sandford Gardens. This made sense as St John´s is the larger parish and so it would be better for the priest to live there At this time,too, Father Tabone decided that the time had come for him to retire and return to his native Malta and his family. This was the right decision for him but a sad one for Edinburgh.

It was in 1966 that the parish celebrated the ordination of one of its parishioners. Tom Connelly, son of Mr and Mrs Bernard Connelly of Northfield was ordained to the priesthood. St Mary Magdalene´s parish had its first priest. Father Connelly served as priest and parish priest in the Motherwell diocese. For several years, prior to his death in September 2000 he was the Press Officer and spokesperson for the Catholic Church in Scotland.

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
St Mary Magdalenes

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.

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.

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes  

St Mary Magdalene´s Parish - 1961 until 2011

In 2011 when Fr Hennessy retired on health grounds Father Tabone became Parish Priest. In 2013 when Monsignor Rae, Parish Priest of nearby St John the Evangelist Parish in Portobello, retired, also on health grounds, and Father Tabone retired and rerturned to his native Malta the two parishes came together to share a priest. Father Jock Dalrymple became the Parish Priest for this area.

St Mary Magdalene´s and St John´s became sister patishes Now with Father Jock as the only priest for the two parishes times of Masses have had to change. It was also not possible to have daily Mass in either church. In St Mary Magdalene's now there are only two weekdays Masses and these change from week to week. Easter and Christmas Services are also shared between the two but both parishes retain their individual identity while sharing and co-operating in many ways.

Mass times are shown on the home page

The blessing of the new community Defibrillator

Sited on the outside wall of St.Mary Magdalene"s Church is a new Defibrillator for both our parish and the Bingham Community A Defibrillator is an appliance which passes an elecrtric current through a heart in order to restore normal contractions to that heart after a heart attack. The cost of this was shared with our church, the Bingham people and St. John(Ambulance)Scotland and The Honesty Book.

Jennifer Morris, our Pastoral Assistant, reported in our newletter that, on Sunday Father Jock would bless our defibrillator and training sessions would follow. St John´s (Ambulance) Scotland were able to demonstrate how to use it. Light refreshments were provided. Many thanks to all those who contributed to the purchase of the defibrillator. More training sessions were planned and it was hoped that many more people would come forward to take part.

It was lovely that we all, parishioers and members of the Bingham Community learned how to use this appliance. St John´s Church Portobello (our sister parish) also had a new defibrillator too and this was installed in October.

St Mary Magdalenes

There is a Bereavement Team for both parishes which consists of a group of parishioners who work quietly in the background providing bereavement care and assistance wherever the need arises.

One of these services is the 3-monthly Bereavement Mass celebrated in one of our churches.The most recent of these Massess was held in St. Mary Magdalene's church on Saturday 24th August 2019. It was a lovely, quiet, prayerful servive and followed the normal format of these masses.

Everyone was, of course , welcome and the names of the dedceased were read out during the service. While thes manes were read the congregation could go, one by one, to the front at the alttar and light a candle. There was no limit to the number of candles per person so candles could be lit for several members of the same family. Meantime hymns and music were played by the music group.

The mass was well attended and later, several people commented to me that it was the first Bereavemnt Mass they had attended and had found it very consoling and would certainly come in future. So our thanks to the Bereavement Team for your hard work. Your efforts are appreciated.

Appeal from Portobello- for a Parish in Malawi (one of the top 10 poorest countries).In summer 2018 fund raising began and by December 2018 our two parishes have raised money to help to provide a Skills Centre for the orphanage STEKA in Malawi. A cheque for the sum of £5500 was presented to this cause. This represents about one half of the cost of creating one Skill Centre. Most of this money (£3,800) came from the joint fare. held in the summer. Fr. Jock has received the following "thank you" e-mail which he has asked me to share on the parish website. E-mail: Thank you from Malawi, https://vimeo.com/304327954

Interim Report. This last year June 2018 to June 2019 has been a year when we concentrated on fund raising for the Steka project. We were told that the cost of setting up a Skills Centre was £11,000 and that our target for the joint parishes, was to raise enough to supply 2 Centres - an ambitious project whick involved a geat deal of effort. Besides the proceeds from the Fare (see above)other events such as Quiz nights, Race ninghts, sponsored walks, sponsored diets and many many more such as little fund raising events such as coffee mornings brought in considerable funds and so the money accumulated. It was finally decided, in February 2019, that each parish was to donate 30% of its surplus funds at the end of the financilal year in April and that organised events were to continue until June 2019. In April (the end of the financial year) we donated £2730 as our share as agreed.

The exact final sum raised has not yet been announced but the latest figure in June was around £23,000. That was above the target and was a magnificent achievement The pleasure however was reduced when we were told that the cost of setting up a centre had risen by £2,000 per centre. That was a somewhat deflating piece of information. However fund raising had to stop as our other very worthy charities needed our suppport The final sum is expected to be over £23,000 so we must console ourselved with the knowledge that we did our best. We pray for the success of the Skills Centres and for the people of Malawi.

  St Mary Magdalenes

Update, Now that the period of agreement for supporting Steka has ended St Mary Magdalene´s can now announce that the total sum collected from the two parishes amonnts to £25700. This is truly a magnficent amount and covers the cost (even the unexpected increase of £2000 per skill). As always we wish Steka the very best of luck and of course, they will always be in our prayers

St Mary Magdalenes

Sad News

We announce the death of one of our oldest parishioners, Pat Marin a founder member of St. Mary Magdalene´s Parish died peacefully in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on December 30th 2018 and was buried in Mount Vernon Cemetery on January 17th 2019.

From the very start of the new parish, in 1961, Pat and her late husband, Jim, contributed much to the development of this parish. Over the past couple of years Pat has been less active but continued to work quietly in many ways . Right up until Christmas, on a weekly basis, she still laundered the small altar clothes for the church services. Her efforts over the past 57 years have helped to make our parish what it is today. She will be missed.

Her daughter Jane, also a parishiioner here, follows in the tradition of her parents and is actively involved in parish life. We offer Jane our prayers and condolences. Let us pray for Pat
Eternal rest give unto Pat, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace. AMEN

Michael Camirelli's Graduation Ceremony On Thursday 29th November 2018

One of our young parishioners has graduated. Michael, who is from Gozo has been studying at Edinburgh University for the past few years and we are delighted to congratulate him on his successes over the years.

He has now graduated with his Masters degree in Data Science. We are pleased too, that he will not leave St. Mary Magdalene´s yet as he will continue to study for his PhD. Michael, as well as being a good student, is also an active and valued member of our parish.
Well Done Michael

fnd raising

In the year 2017 Our children raise money for Mary´s Meals

In response to an appeal on behalf of Mary´s Meals our altar servers and some of the older children in our children´s liturgy group decided to fund raise for this cause. They decided to hold a Bake Sale after mass. After a lot of hard work they raised an amazing amount of money £240.

A representative of Mary´s Meals visited our primary school, St John´s,to be presented with the cheque. Well done, Children!


As an organisation working in some of the world´s poorest communities, we´re committed to keeping our running costs low to maximise the good we can do with the donations entrusted to us.

This is only possible because most of our work is done by an army of volunteers in our fundraising countries and in the communities where we work, who carry out lots of little acts of love on our behalf.

  the cheque
Robert and Madge

And earlier news, another happy occasion for St. Mary Magdalene´s

Inscription reads: Congratulations, Madge and Robert on your Ruby Wedding. On 4th February 2017 two of our long-standing parishioners, Madge and Robert Moyes celebrated 40 years of marriage and on Sunday 5th February at Sunday Mass they renewed their wedding vows. Robert, as well as his other parish duies, is the key holder for the church and passkeeper at mass while Madge runs the 200 Club and looks after the book/card stall each week. Madge looked lovely as she stood beside smart, smiling Robert.

Since our current Parish Priest, Father Jock Dalrymple, is at present on a very short sabbatical our much loved former parish priest, Father Tabone, has travelled from retirement in Malta to look after both parishes in Father Jock´s absence. However Father Jock kindly returned to the Parish, briefly, to assist Father Tabone on the happy day so Robert and Madge had the joy of having the blessing of two priests.

Father Tabone and Fr Jock concelebrated Mass and Father Jock officiated when Robert and Madge renewed their marriage vows. After mass everyone was invited to the hall for refreshments. Most parishioners and the many visitors accepted that invitation. There was further cause for celebration on the morning of Tuesday 7th February when Robert and Madge rejoiced in the birth of their latest grandaughter Martha Emily - a daughter for Paul and Carly and a lttle sister for Cody. That, for Robert and Madge, was the perfect end to a perfect week-end. We wish them all the best

Archbishop Leo Cushley presents Bernard Ayers with the Diocesan Medal at Mass on March 6th 2016

We are delighted that Bernard Ayers, who is one of one most respected, loved and valued parishioners received the Diocesan Medal for his unselfish contribution to St Mary Magdalene's over a period of many years.He worked for both the spiritual and material welfare of the church. Today, although no longer fit for the heavy physical work, he still quietly continues to offer practical advice and to take communion to the housebound. Much of his work was carried out behind the scenes.

It was essential work without which the fabric of our church would not be in its current good condition. Bernard is an unassumoing person who has never sought the limelight nor recognition for his efforts. We are grateful for his work and we thank God for Bernard.


We sadly announce that Bernard has died

Sadly on Sunday 9th April 2017 Bernard passed away peacefully in the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh. His Requiem Mass was held, obviiously, in St Mary Magdaalene's Church at 12.45pm on Thursday 20th April 2017. His wife, Ella, who has also been ill, in hospital, was brought to the church for the Mass. We pray for Ella and for all Bernard's famiy. Our parish and Bernard's many friends will miss him very much.

Eternal rest grant unto Bernard, O Lord
And let perpetual rest shine on him
May he rest in peace. Amen

First Holy Communion Day in St. Mary Magdalene´s 2016 and 2017

Special days in our Parish. Eleven children - ten girls and one boy - made their First Holy Communion. Their smiles say it all! After Mass we had a celebration in the hall not only for the children but for the parish too.

We were delighted that we have so many children and that we now have several altar servers every Sunday. On June 4th 2017, 10 children made their First Holy Communion - two girls and eight boys. After Mass we had a celebration in the hall not only for the children but for the parish too.


  St Mary Magdalenes
Group from Gozo

All Together

On 10th September 2017 Father Tabone, with about 30 members (of mixed ages) of his parish in Gozo, together with their parish priest, Father Jimmy, visited Edinburgh for a week. St Mary Magdalene´s parishioners invited them to come to Portobello on Saturday morning of 16th September. It was to be their final day in Edinburgh before catching a very early flight back to Malta on Sunday 17th September. Father Tabone agreed to celebrate Mass for us and then there would be refreshments to follow in our parish hall with a chance for our two groups to meet and become acquainted. Parishioners from St John's were, of course, invited too.

We arranged for a coach to collect our visitors from their hotel, Corstorphine Lodge Hotel,to bring them to our church. Mass was scheduled for approx 9.45am and along with Father Tabone was concelebrated with Father Jimmy and Father Jock. We felt really privileged to have three priests celebrating mass with us. As was to be expected the mass was attended by a large number of our parishioners.

Our Celebration Cake

After mass the celebration in our hall was a happy one . Michael, a young man from Gozo, who had spent a couple of years with us while studying at university when Father Tabone was our Parish Priest came with the group on this trip. He has been offered a place at university to study for his PhD so, for the next four years, we will have him with us. We are delighted to welcome him back and he is with us now. Around noon the Gozo group left on the N0 4 bus heading for the city centre where they planned a last minute shopping trip before heading back to their hotel.

On Sunday morning someone tracked their flight and discovered it had made an unscheduled diversion to land in Milan. That, of course, caused some concern but we learned that a passenger (not a member of the Gozo group) had taken ill and had to be taken to hospital in Milan. Their flight from Milan was then delayed for a few hours. However, though tired and late, they arrived home safely. We hope that sometime in the future, God willing, they will visit Scotland again. The parish has since received a lovely card form our visitors. Thank you, friends

Saint Mary Magdalene

A life size statue of St Mary Magdalene is the latest addition to our other church icons. It is a gift from St Mary´s Cathedal and is appreciated by our parish. Currently it is now situated in a prominent position in the entrance porch. Please take time to admire it as you enter the church.

We are delighted to learn that Pope Francis has raised the memorial of St Mary Magdalene to a feast. Pope Francis sees her as an early Apostle.


Maria and Basil Juska together again



St Mary Magdalenes
Sacred Heart of Jesus

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

This statue was given to the parish by the family of deceased parishoiners, Basil and Maria Juska. Sadly Basil and Maria died in December 2015, just two weeks apart. The statue stood in their home for many years and was treasured by them.. Because of this and because St Mary Magdalene's Parish meant so much to Basil and Maria their son and his family offered it to our parish. We are now proud to have it positioned in the church near the main altar .Our thanks to the Juska family for this generous gift. They are remembered in our parish prayers. Please visit the statue next time you are in the church.

The statue was donated to the Church by Maria and Basil Juska


Parish priests 1961 to Present Day

Parish Priests smmchurch 1961 to present day
1961 Very Rev Lawrence Canon Glancey PhL; M.A. 1970 - died 2002
1970 Rt. Rev John Tweedie 1973
1973 Reverend David Brown 1976
1976 Revenend Brian Byrne 1979
1979 Reverend Joseph McMahon 1984 died 2015
1984 Rt. Rev Mgr A.L. Duffy 1989
1989 Reverend Patrick Harrity W.F. (Interim) 1990
1990 Reverend Thomas Hennessy 2011 - died 2015
2011 Reverend Loreto Tabone Dec 2013 - retired to Malta
2013 Reverend Jock Dalrymple present
Home  About  History  Newsletters  Privacy Policy  Safeguarding  Links  Contact 
Design by Jean Douglas ©