St. Mirin, the patron of this diocese. Mirin was part of the Celtic missionary movement, which included the likes of Columba, Conval, Brendan, Cuthbert and others. These 6th and 7th century missionaries were true heralds of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Mirin is strongly associated with Paisley and the surrounding area, with Paisley Abbey whose seal depicts him in the vestments of a bishop, and with our Diocese of Paisley. As we celebrate a significant anniversary of the diocese, we rejoice to recall our patron St. Mirin who, it is thought, founded the first church in Paisley and who eventually died here: Full of miracles and holiness he slept in the Lord, says the Aberdeen Breviary.
The details of Mirin’s life and work in this area are largely lost in the mists of time, but we do know for sure that he preached the Gospel of Christ. That should be all the encouragement we need to continue the work of the new evangelization both in terms of a renewal of faith among the baptized and in terms of the spread of the Gospel to those who have still to encounter Jesus Christ. This new evangelisation is the great task of the Church that has become everywhere ever more pressing and ever more necessary during the life-time of this diocese. To this task, the 60th Anniversary of the Diocese of Paisley and the feast of our Patron, St. Mirin, calls us even more urgently and we wish to respond with all our energies and commitment.
Mirin’s memory is still alive here in Paisley through the town’s coat of arms, the name of the local football team, St. Mirren, Paisley Abbey itself, and of course through St. Mirin’s Cathedral, where we are gathered this evening, and the statue of St. Mirin, erected recently just outside this Church, a venture sponsored jointly by St. Mirin’s Parish, celebrating its 200th anniversary a few years back, and by Renfrewshire Council.
All images courtesy of Ann Crawford for www.paisley.org.uk