Charity registration No. SC002876  
Sunday May 26th. 2013
Letter from the Bishop Joseph Year of Faith - Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Our Lord - Sunday 2nd June    Marking the Year of Faith, Pope Francis will preside at an hour of Eucharistic Adoration in St Peter's Basilica at 5pm (4pm British time) on the Feast of Corpus Christi, 2nd June. The Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation invites us to join with the Holy Father in a synchronised period of Eucharistic Adoration in our parishes whose aim is to "intensify the celebration of our faith in the liturgy" ( Pope Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei, 9). So I let you know therefore of this invitation and, if it is possible, I encourage you to have the Holy Hour at 4pm in this gesture of universal spiritual sharing uniting our prayers with people across the world, in communion with the Holy Father, for the Church, particularly here in Scotland. In accordance with the Bishop’s wishes, there will be a Holy Hour on Sunday, June 2nd from 4-5 p.m. as we unite ourselves in the Eucharist with our Holy Father, Pope Francis and thousands of parishes throughout the world.
A special service was held in Iona Abbey on Pentecost Sunday, May  19th, to commemorate the arrival of St Columba and his twelve monk  companions on Iona at Pentecost 563, 1450 years ago. This ecumenical  service was organised by the local people through the Iona Community  Council, Iona Parish Church, the Catholic House of Prayer, and  Bishops’ House, with the support of the Iona Community, Historic  Scotland and Argyll & Bute District Council. Members of the Christian  communities on Iona led the prayers and readings, and the children of  Iona Primary School and the Mull Gaelic Choir sang in Gaelic. A  stimulating address on the significance of St Columba and the island on  which he established his monastery, for Scotland and the wider world,  both in his own day and in the centuries since, was given by Rt Hon  Michael Russell MSP and Minister for Education and Life-long  Learning in the Scottish Government. Very Rev Dr Finlay A J  MacDonald, Chairman of the Iona Cathedral Trustees, was the  preacher, and spoke on the Scriptures read at the service – Psalm 34,  which Columba was copying on the day of his death on 9th June 597,  and Acts 2:43-47, which described the community of the believers after  the coming of the Holy Spirit and their baptism in the name Our Lord  Jesus Christ. In highlighting the values of the early Christians and their  sharing in community, Dr MacDonald asked all Christian communities  in Scotland to be especially attentive today of the needs of the poor and  the stranger. He also spoke of the legacy of St Columba being shared  across the Christian denominations, and remarked on the shared  
worship and witness of Catholics and Protestants in particular on this  special day on Iona and on other such occasions in Scotland, leaving  behind past enmities and seeking to understand better our common faith  and heritage.  Bishop Joseph Toal represented the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland as  well as his own Diocese of Argyll and the Isles at the service, and he is  also now one of the trustees of the Iona Cathedral Trust. Bishop Toal  celebrated the Mass of Pentecost Sunday earlier in the day at St Michael’s  Chapel in the Abbey complex and reflected on the attractiveness of a holy  place like Iona for many pilgrims of today as of the past. At Mass the  Easter Gospel of the Risen Lord greeting the disciples with the words  “Peace be with you” was read. In it St John records that Jesus then  breathed the Holy Spirit upon them instructing them to go forth in his  name with the power to forgive or retain sins. In all conflictive situations  true peace can only be restored and enjoyed once forgiveness has been  offered, but that forgiveness has its foundation in repentance and true  sorrow for sins committed and damage caused. Our present difficulties in  our Church in Scotland require all three – repentance, forgiveness, and  peace. Iona is a good place to reflect on this and to pray for these fruits of  the Holy Spirit for ourselves and others, remembering that part of the  tradition is that Columba left his native land and came to Iona as a  repentant sinner.  + Bishop Joseph
Andrei Rublev’s Icon of the Blessed Trinit — front page Many scholars consider this 14th century icon of the  Trinity by Rublev on the front page of this week's Bulletin, as the most perfect of all Russian icons and perhaps the most perfect of all the icons ever painted. The icon defines the very essence of Trinity in the form of three angels. The prototype for this icon was the mysterious appearance of the Holy Trinity in the form of three travellers to Abraham and Sarah under the oak of Mamre in the Old Testament. The Church specifically chose this particular icon because it most fully expresses the dogma of the Holy Trinity: the three angels are depicted in equal dignity, symbolizing the Trinity and equality of all three Persons In Andrei Rublev's icon the persons of the Holy Trinity are shown in the order in which they are confessed in the Credo. The first angel is the first person of the Trinity, God the Father; the second middle angel is God the Son;  the third angel is God the Holy Spirit. All three angels are blessing the chalice in which lies a sacrificed lamb prepared for eating. The sacrifice of the lamb signifies the Saviour's death on the cross, truly the Lamb of God, while its preparation as food symbolizes the sacrament of the Eucharist. All three angels have staffs in their hand as a symbol of their divine power.
Bishop Joseph's report on the Ecumenical Service held on Iona on Pentecost Sunday