St Aloysius' night opening of reflection

Today is the feast of Saint Aloysius, a Jesuit young saint who embodied selfless love and complete dedication to the service of poor.

St Aloysius’s Jesuit Church in the centre of Glasgow serves the city, the West of Scotland and beyond. The local community is always the main focus of the parish, which seeks to deepen the spiritual life of those who are part of it or come for a visit: the doors are always open and the church offers a peaceful refuge and solace for everyone.

A week on from the devastating fire at the Glasgow School of Art, Parish Priest Fr Dermot Preston SJ, has decided to open the Church for an hour of quiet reflection this Friday, from 11pm to midnight. The event has been organized to mark exactly one week since the first flames were spotted in the Art Building, on the night of the 15th June.

“We are hoping that students, parishioners, citizens of Garnethill will be join us for some simple prayer time” says Fr Dermot, “it will be good to offer the possibility to come together, to feel close to our neighbours so we can reflect on what we have lost.”

On the feast day of the Church patron saint, the announcement comes as a heartening invitation and example of the care for souls set by St Aloysius.

The fire was the second damaging incident for the Glasgow School of Art, the only public art school offering university level programmes in the Scottish region. The Mackintosh Building, one of the city’s landmarks, was already undergoing renovation works following the 2014 fire.

The School is just across the road from St Aloysius College and the Jesuit community. Fr Dermot remembers: “Out on the roads, the Fire Brigade preferred the sweet water piped into 70 Hill Street to the murky liquid being transported up from the River Clyde, so John McCabe gamely filled water canisters from the hot taps allowing drinking water to be available to the community in the morning. Like Mr Hodges from Dad's Army, I was on fire-watch for an hour on the third floor, dousing (with a broom and a rejected bottle of flat Tesco sparkling water) some of the thousands of fiery embers thrown into the sky which floated down onto our wooden patio.”

Thankfully no-one was injured. So far, council officials have said the school will be saved from demolition, but damage assessment is still ongoing.