ST Mary’s Church plays a pivotal role in the history of Celtic Football Club because it was in the church hall that the meeting was held to form the club back in 1887.
So it was fitting that, 128 years to the day of that historic meeting, on November 6, 2015, a special Mass was celebrated in the church, situated in the Calton district of Glasgow, to mark this anniversary.
Organised by the club, the Celtic Graves Society and Celtic FC Foundation, it took supporters back to the roots of Celtic, and served as a reminder that charity was and remains central to the ethos of Celtic Football Club.
Fr Tom White, parish priest of St Mary’s, celebrated the Mass, and explained that this will be an annual event. His theme was ‘It’s good to be here’, a reference to the club, its supports and the Church all being together, and he spoke about Brother Walfrid’s charitable work in the East End of Glasgow and how that continues to this day with Celtic FC Foundation.
A number of current Marist Brothers, the same order as Brother Walfrid, were in attendance at the Mass, which was very well-attended by supporters.
The club was represented by Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell, directors, ambassadors and club staff. And Celtic FC Foundation ambassador, Jay Beatty, came over from Ireland for the Mass with his dad, Martin.
Tony Hamilton, CEO of Celtic FC Foundation, spoke about the Foundation’s Christmas Appeal, which will help some of those who need it most at this time of year.
He said: “We are a broad church. However, the one thing that unites us beyond the obvious love for this football club, is the desire and determination to help others in our communities where we can.
“The club have invested significantly in our charitable arm, Celtic FC Foundation, with the aim of getting back to our roots – roots formed in this very parish – and helping others, regardless of who they are, what they believe in, or even which football club they support.”
Dr Joe Bradley spoke about the origins of the Club, the important role Brother Walfrid plays and how Celtic has always been a club open to all and is an institution which welcomes anyone who wants to be Celtic-minded.
And he also spoke about a Celtic legend and Calton Bhoy, Tommy Burns and his faith.
Celtic Graves Society and Celtic FC Foundation staff played a key role in organising the event, and after Mass many people returned to Celtic Park for food in the Jock Stein Lounge and made donations to our Christmas Appeal.
Photograph above courtesy of Gerard Gough