St John Ogilvie's
A Roman Catholic Parish in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh

Welcome to St John Ogilvie's.
This Sunday, 29th November, we celebrate
the First Week of Advent

Mass is celebrated at St John Ogilvie's each weekend at 6.30pm on Saturday (Vigil Mass) and 10.00 am on Sunday. However, the need for social distancing means that only a limited number of "places" is available, and these have to be booked in advance.

To book a place for next weekend, 5th and 6th December, please contact Father Tony by phone or email by Wednesday 2nd December (Phone:0131 453 5035, Email: ).

Maureen McMahon

It is with a great sense of loss that we announce the death of a beloved parishioner, Maureen McMahon. All her teaching years were fully and generously devoted to the children of St John Ogilvie's and St Joseph’s parishes. Maureen’s activities over the past three years were restricted due to illness but she kept up a care for and personal interest in the wellbeing of St John Ogilvie’s parishioners and her past pupils.

We offer our sincere sympathy to her Sister Patsy, a religious sister of the Society Sacred Heart, also to her nieces Pauline and Trish and nephew Kevin.

Requiem at St. John Ogilvie’s on Wednesday the 9th of December followed by burial in Mount Vernon.

May she Rest in Peace.

Attendance at her Requiem will comply with government regulations. We will advise if there are places available in church for mourners other than family.

Mass Readings for the First Week of Advent
(29th November 2020)

1st Reading

Isaiah 63:16-17,64:1,3-8 - O that you would tear the heavens open and come down.

2nd Reading

1 Corinthians 1:3-9 - We are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.


Mark 13:33-37 - If he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep.

We cannot publish the readings here for copyright reasons but they can be found in full on Universalis.
Click button to go to Universalis.

A Homily from Fr Tony

The First Sunday of Advent

Waiting for the Redeemer

Do you ever watch people at airports, waiting for loved ones to arrive from a flight? They often seem excited, eager for the first appearance of the familiar face, ready with the broad smile of greeting to embrace the returning traveller.

In the 1950s I worked in Liverpool. Many of the parishioners were seafarers or dockers. In those days, men could be at sea for 3 to 6 months. Many wives and children would take a bus to the Pierhead waiting to see a husbands’ or fathers’ ship steaming up the Mersey.

The media this week has devoted many columns to “Home for Christmas”.  During Advent we too wait for the Lord’s coming with eagerness, as we look forward to Christmas. The waiting is important because, during our life’s pilgrimage, we have a sense of being incomplete. As expressed by St. Augustine who prayed, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” At some deep level of our personhood we are in need, a need that only God can fill. For “No man is an Island.”

From our earliest days, waiting has been part of or experience. Waiting for birth, adulthood, parenthood, etc.
The Gospel story of the prodigal is still the experience of many parents. The old man who sits in the nursing home, waiting for the day when his family will visit him. During lockdown, waiting of family members, waiting for visits to care homes, and to hospitals. The experience of waiting is being keenly felt by many families and they keep hoping that Christmas will afford them some opportunity to have time with parents, grandparents and siblings.

The word advent stems from a Latin word that means “coming” or “arrival”. We are now in Advent Mode.

We don’t pretend that the Nativity has not already happened, so that we can celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas with fresh innocence. NO.  Make-believe has no place in our religion. It can be a form of escapism – a false religion. Authentic Christian faith is never an escape from life.

The seasons of the liturgical year are not times for pretending but are exercises in remembrance that focus on different events in salvation history.  All of these remembrances are inspired by the belief that God continues to act in our world according to patterns revealed in bible stories. God’s word was not only spoken in the past but continues to be spoken today.

When the expected Messiah did arrive 2,000 years ago, some who were waiting sang “Glory to God …..”  because they were waiting, they had walked in pilgrimage through the desert to the Promised Land. Others failed to recognise him. Each of us has to make that pilgrimage for ourselves. Like the Jews of old it can take us a long time to recognise the Messiah.  Our prayer after the Our Father at Mass is “as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.”  While Christmas Lights, Carols and Candles invite us to “stay awake”, we fail to recognise “Emmanuel”, God is with us.

They discovered a deep reverence for each other; they learned that the offended person should not wait for the one who caused the hurt, to extend the hand of friendship. If you come to the Altar and remember that your brother has anything against you, go and be reconciled with your brother then come and offer your gift. Once you encounter God, you will no longer be the same person as you were before.

Today we light the first candle on our Advent wreath, that candle is a visual aid to help us out of darkness into the light.

Advent invites reassessment of where our ways are leading us. Daylight is short and darkness seems to be winning over the light. But the positive side of this is that a new Spring day is dawning over the horizon, when Christ will come again into our lives with power to save us.

This is a time to open our hearts and invite the Lord to bring us to completion. We begin Advent, yearning for his coming. Today’s first reading puts this yearning into an image, that “We have all withered like leaves… blown by the wind.” The whirling, withered leaves of autumn are a familiar scene these past few weeks. Isaiah proposes the dead leaves as symbols of all that is dried up and withered in our lives. But he also calls us to look for a better day. God is still in charge of creation, and our personal lives are under his loving care. We pray this Advent, “Come, Lord Jesus,” and make our own the words of the psalm, “Visit this vine and protect it, the vine your right hand has chosen.” It is a central plank of our faith that the Lord never abandons His people.

Back to the people at airports waiting for loved ones to arrive. It is an alert, active waiting – keeping an eye on the time. In today’s gospel Jesus says, “Be on your guard, stay awake.” He wants us to focus on our task here and now. We are to grow more mature in our relationship with others and with him, paying attention to prayer, and live with his message in our hearts. And while we wait, we can enjoy his gifts, as promised: “You will not be without any of the gifts of the Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Abbot and the Rabbi
An Abbot in a monastery experienced depression and negativity among the monks in the monastery. He led the monks in reflection on their rules, introduced reflection on passages from the Gospel, he changed posts of responsibility among the community but without any improvement in the lives of the monks. Finally, he prayed for guidance and direction. The answer to his prayer was to visit a Rabbi who lived as a hermit hut 3 miles from the monastery.

After a searching dialogue, the Rabbi said to the Abbot, “Your brothers are serving God with heavy hearts. Tell your brothers that the Messiah lives among them.  But also tell them not to waste their time in detective investigation trying to discover which of them is the Messiah - is it Br James, Br John, Br Peter. Ask them to recognise the presence of the Messiah in each and every one of them.” Of what use is it to search for God in holy places if you have lost him in your heart.  That brought New Life to each member of the Community.

In the 12th Century, St. Francis of Assisi was the first come up the idea of a Crib in the church at Christmas time. He had the gift of knowing how to make simple the truth of Christian belief and living for the people of God.

One day, Francis asked one of his brothers to come with him the next day to the town of Assisi to preach the Gospel. The Brother was very happy and prepared for the mission. They set off from their Monastery and walked Assisi. There Francis walked through all the streets of the town, talking friendly with them, cheering the sad people, vising the sick, playing with the children, visiting the jail and giving words of encouragement to everyone.

When evening came, the Brother started wondering when they would start preaching the Gospel to the people. At sunset, Francis told the Brother, “Now Brother, let us go home and thank God for the day and the good he allowed us to do with the people.”  However, the disappointed Brother asked “When shall we begin preaching?” “We haven’t started yet!” Francis replied, “Dear Brother, if what we did today was not preaching the Gospel, tell me what it was? Example, brother, example is what we have to give to the people, not just plain, beautiful words!

Living by example is the best preaching. Our Gospel calls for the best preaching till our time is done. Francis used to tell his monks - “There is no point in walking to preach the Gospel unless we preach as we walk.” And on another occasion, he told the brothers “Preach the Gospel at all times and, if necessary, use words.

These are just a few thoughts as we enter into Advent 2020.


We pray for all those in our country and throughout the world suffering from the Coronavirus. May its victims and their families be strengthened by the support of our community of faith and restored soon to full health. We also pray for our leaders and medical personnel who deal with the virus. May we keep calm and may we join together in solidarity with care and compassion to tackle this scare. This we ask in confidence though Christ our Lord.

And we are asked to pray The Memorare

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known
that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help,
or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother;
to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

Reflections on the Gospel According to Mark
An On-line Project lead by Father Tony

In 2021 we follow the Gospel according to Mark. This is the shortest of the four Gospels. If you are searching for something to do during Lockdown, this could be an opportunity to become more familiar with the New Testament. Each week on the Parish website we will carry an item on each of the headings listed below. You don’t have to register to take part. After we have received our vaccines, if there is sufficient interest I will provide opportunity for group reflection.

Gospel According to Mark.

Gospel Beginnings

  1. Formation of the Gospels
  2. Year B and the Gospel of St Mark
  3. St Mark the Pastor
  4. Introduction to the Gospels
  5. Introduction to Mark’s gospel

Mark’s Gospel

  1. Mark 1:1-13 Prologue
  2. Mark 1:14-3:6 Start of Galilean Ministry
  3. Mark 3:6 -6a Jesus and his new family
  4. Mark 6:6b-8.30 Jesus and his disciples
  5. Mark 8:31-10:32 What kind of Messiah?
  6. Mark 11:1-12:44 The Messiah in Jerusalem
  7. Mark 13: 1-37 End of Jerusalem…End of the world as we know it
  8. Mark 14:1-15:47 The Passion of Jesus part 1
  9. Mark 14:1-15:47 The Passion of Jesus part 2 – finishing this at present
  10. Mark 16:1-8 The epilogue

We will be using the NRSVCE (New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition)
The full text of the Mark’s Gospel from the NRSVCE version will be available or you can use your own copy of Mark (the translation may be different).
There will also be a separate copy of the NRSVCE of Mark for the commentary. Commentary will come under the section of the text.
In addition to the text commentary, you will also receive a few extra comments, for example on the family of Jesus (Mark 3:22) which can cause problems of understanding. This will be a few pages.
Separate and for Lent (Ash Wednesday 17th February 2020 to Easter Sunday April 4 2020) you will receive a comparison between the two passion stories that we hear(Mark, Palm Sunday and John, Good Friday).

Watch this space to find out how you can take part.

Offertory Collection

The Offertory collection last weekend (21/22 November) came to £344.23. Normally at this time of year Father Paschal Dillon, OMI would make the annual appeal on behalf of the Oblate Missions. As you might expect, this will not be possible this year on account of the Covid restrictions. If, however, you wish, and are able, to donate to the Missions this year, you can make a donation via bank transfer (bank details below) or you can put your donation in an envelope marked "MAMI" and place it in the collection basket after Mass. Thank you for all your generous support during these Pandemic Days, much appreciated and will ensure we will be still here when we exit Lockdown. (Tony Quinlan)

A number of parishioners who are not yet ready to join in gatherings of large numbers, have asked how they could support the parish coffers at this time. Bank transfer is a simple and safe way if you wish to avail of it.

Bank details are:
Sort code: 80:02:27
Account: 00126337
Name: St John Ogilvie’s Church
Bank: Bank of Scotland, Corstorphine.

Parishioners can set up details themselves whether it’s a one-off payment or a monthly standing order. The standing Order can be cancelled at any time.

A Cooker is not just for Christmas

Fresh Start Have Just Launched their "Cookers for Christmas" Appeal

"This year has been particularly difficult for everyone and many people will be dreading Christmas approaching with many facing new financial challenges that they will never have experienced before. A cooker to make Christmas dinner with may now be a luxury that some people are unable to afford in the current climate. Our Cookers for Christmas campaign aims to help those who are struggling, by providing them with a cooker and other essential household white goods.

All donations help us to provide these essential items at such what should be a joyous time and we really appreciate your support. Any remaining funds from the campaign will be used to fund our essential starter packs to help those who have experienced poverty and homelessness across Edinburgh.

You can help to change not only a family's Christmas, but their lives.

See below to learn about how you can help.

"In God's Image"

The Bishops in Scotland want to hear from you if you wish to propose any changes to "In God’s Image", the safeguarding policy manual for the Catholic Church in Scotland. They say: “We want to hear from lay people, as well as from clergy and religious. Above all, we are keen to hear from survivors or victims of abuse so that the church can plan to ensure sensitive responses to all allegations and concerns. For more information, please visit the Archdiocesan website by clicking here.The closing date for submissions is 30 November 2020.

Bonus Ball

St John Ogilvie's Bonus Ball has been suspended since 29th March 2020. Given the continuing uncetainty about the future of the Bonus Ball, anyone who had paid in advance will be getting the credit balance refunded. Distribution of the refunds is underway.

Catholic Education Week 2020

Catholic Education Week takes place each year from the Feast of St Margaret of Scotland (16th November) until the Feast of St Andrew (30th November). Schools and parishes are asked to consider which week within this fortnight best suits their local community for marking this important aspect of the school year. For St John Ogilvie's, Catholic Education Week starts this coming week and runs through to the end of November.

The purpose of Catholic Education Week is to highlight the significance of education, not only for young people but for society as a whole. Students, parents, teachers and others are asked to reflect on their own roles in the education process – at home, in school, in the local parish and in other educational settings.

Read the Charter by clicking here.

We have 3 catholic schools in the area - St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, St Cuthbert's Catholic Primary School and St Augustine's Roman Catholic High School. During Catholic Education Week each of these schools will address the theme: "Jesus Christ - The Way, The Truth and The Life".

What makes the Catholic school distinctive is its attempt to generate a community climate that is permeated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and love. In previous years we have had the opportunity of hearing from some of our young people about what their school is doing to cultivate this community climate. This year, because of the Covid restrictions, that will not be possible. However, "virtual hand-outs" have been prepared for each of our three local catholic schools so that you can learn more about what they do. You can view these by clicking the icons below. And you can also download a PDF version of each.

St Joseph's

St Cuthbert's

St Augustine's

Catholic Education Week Prayer

Jesus our Teacher,
in your love for us,
help us to develop our own talents
so that we may become like you
and lead lives of goodness.

Bless all learners and all teachers.
May our Catholic schools continue to serve
our families, our communities and our country.
Help us, through our learning, to believe in you
and to celebrate the life of your Church.

Help us to grow in holiness
as we grow in friendship with you
and try to become saints.
We make this prayer
in the name of Jesus, our Lord. Amen

Advent Evening Retreats

You are invited to join the retreat evenings each Thursday and Friday during Advent.

These retreat evenings are offered courtesy of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate to accompany each of us on our pilgrim way. Advent is a beautiful season that begins by firstly calling us gently to an awareness that God-with-us, and then gradually increases its intensity as we meet significant biblical characters that lead us to the Prince of Peace.

We will be accompanied each evening by some of the important biblical characters that build the Advent Season. Another feature of each evening will be touching on Pope Francis’ recent Encyclical on fraternity and social friendship and how it can truly resonate for us in these times.

Please click here for the programme and list of speakers.

The retreat will be presented through the Zoom platform. To register Please click here.

SCIAF Real Gifts

What are Real Gifts?

Real Gifts are a brilliant way to give an ethical gift that makes a difference in the world.

When you buy a Real Gift for a loved one, you’re providing something vital to our sisters and brothers in Africa, Asia and Latin America and also giving a thoughtful gift to someone in your life.

Choose your gifts from SCIAF's online store.

Water Filter

Create clean, safe drinking water for families in Ethiopia.

Shelter for a family

Help a family in an emergency to have shelter from the elements.


Gives a family a nutritious supply of eggs and extra income.

See many more Real Gifts at the online store.

Fresh Start's "Cookers for Christmas" Appeal

In our News Items section we reported on the launch of Fresh Start's "Cookers for Christmas". Here now is some further information from Fresh Start.


A new tenancy is a first step, an opportunity, but it is only a beginning. By supporting our work, you can help someone who has been homeless change their life.

Even a small donation will make a big difference - £5 will buy pots and pans to cook a hot meal; £12 enables us to offer a cooking class for 4 people giving them the skills and confidence to cook healthy meals; and £20 buys electrical Packs with toasters, lamps and kettles that give warmth, light and comfort - the list goes on.

You can make a one-off donation (through Just Giving) by clicking the button below, or you can contact our office 0131 476 7741 or email: Please also think about Regular Giving, this can be every month, or once a quarter or once a year, but knowing we have this regular income is a huge help to us. If you would like to know more, please give us a phone or an e-mail.

Thank you!


Sir Tom Divine
"The Emancipation of Scottish Catholics since 1945

Monday 30th November at 7.30pm on Zoom

Building on the success of the Lauriston Jesuit Centre, we are delighted to announce that the Edinburgh Jesuit Centre will launch on the 30th November (the Feast of St Andrew) at 7.30pm. We are honoured to welcome the acclaimed Scottish historian, Sir Tom Divine, to give our inaurgural talk.

Join us on the 30th November (the Feast of St Andrew) at 7.30pm on Zoom as we launch the Edinburgh Jesuit Centre with Professor Sir Tom Devine.

Zoom Meeting ID: 236 509 2814.

For more information, including a message from Jesuits in Britain Provincial, Damian Howard, please click here.

Some Good News from Fair Trade

Fair Trade Shop, Portobello - Yes, it's open again!: Some very good news from the people at Fair Trade - the Fair Trade shop at 52-54 Portobello High Street, Portobello, Edinburgh EH15 1DA is now open again. Opening hours are Monday - Friday between 10.00am and 12 noon and 2.00pm and 4.00pm. We are unable to have the Fair Trade stall at the church because of the Covid-19 restrictions but if you are in Portobello, why not vist the Fair Trade shop. When we choose to purchase Fair Trade products it means that the farmers who grow or produce the product benefit from the safety of the Fair Trade Minimum Price. By working together in co-operatives, small-scale farmers can help each other and grow better quality products. This in turn allows the farmers to provide better care and education for their families. You can make it happen - choose Fair Trade!

Some Good News from Fresh Start
Resuming accepting donations from members of the public

Fresh Start is now accepting donations again from members of the public. However, because of the continuing restrictions, donations of non-food items (see list below) are only accepted on a ‘ring before you bring’ basis - ring 0131 476 7741.

Food items (see list below) for the Fresh Start Pantry can, however, be collected by prior arrangement with Fair Trade. For this service, please phone Abigail on 07763543817.

And from Monday 2 November you can volunteer to help Fresh Start with the preparation and distribution of Starter Packs (0131 476 7741).

You can donate any of the following items for the Fresh Start Starter Packs and for the Fresh Start Pantry in Ferry Road:

  • Crockery – dinner plates, side plates, bowls
  • Cutlery
  • Tumblers
  • Mugs
  • Bed Linens – flat & fitted sheets, duvet covers, pillowcases (single and double)
  • Towels
  • Curtains
  • Toiletries – deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shower gel, shampoo
  • Cleaning products – anti bacterial spray, bleach, cloths, bin bags, sponges
  • Small electrical items such as lamps, toasters, irons, hand blenders, alarm clocks, hair dryers, sandwich makers

NO - Duvets, pillows or cushions (sorry!).

Food donations for Starter Packs and Fresh Start Pantry

  • Cereals such as Rice Krispies, Cheerios, Weetabix, Variety packs (children and families like these)
  • Children-friendly cereals such as Coco Pops, honey loops, etc
  • Cuppa soups
  • Pot noodles and cup noodles and super noodles
  • Cook in sauces such as bolognaise, pasta sauces, curry sauces
  • Cartons of fruit juices such as apple, orange
  • Diluting juices such as blackcurrant, orange, lemon, Vimto
  • Tins of puddings such as rice pudding and custard
  • Tins of meats such as hot dogs, spam, corned beef

  • Fray Bentos pies
  • Tins of fruit such as peaches, grapefruit, apricots
  • Tins of vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, green beans or mixed vegetables
  • Tins of fish such as Tuna, sardines, mackerel
  • Ketchup
  • Brown sauce
  • Cooking oil
  • Gravy granules
  • Dehydrated pasta packets such as ‘Kraft macaroni cheese’
  • Biscuits such as hob nobs, chocolate digestives
  • Tea
  • Instant coffee

NO – Tins of soup, tins of beans, tins of tomato, rice or pasta.

Please note that donations of approriate goods should NOT be brought to St John Ogilvie's. For non-food items, please ring Fresh Start first on 0131 476 7741 then following any advice from Fresh Start, the goods should be taken to the Fresh Start warehouse at 22-24 Ferry Road Drive, Edinburgh EH4 4BR. Tell them you are from St John Ogilvie's If you wish to donate appropriate food items and you want them collected please get in touch with Abigail on 07763543817

Special Prayers to use
when you cannot attend a funeral

These Special Prayers can dowloaded as a PDF document by - clicking here.

Please also visit the Archdiocesan website for up-to-date information from the Archbishop.

We support these organisations. You can help too.
Click the buttons to learn more.

Fairtrade Oblate Missions SCIAF Fresh Start