Wednesday, 20 July 2016
My sister Quinta came to Scotland for a short visit, and we spent an afternoon in Glasgow. After a visit to Hampden Park--she is a keen international football enthusiast--we went to the Catholic cathedral in Parkhead.
It was really amazing. Huge and white, picked out with green, it could seat tens of thousands of people. It had big bronze statues of holy figures out front and high-colour posters of giant icons of Glasgow saints hanging from the outer walls. On one wall was an enormous frieze of eleven good disciples under the banner headline "PARADISE." There was a big religious articles shop in its very own building, but sadly we were too late to buy anything and were told to come back "tomorrow."
This amazing sacred structure and its enormous car park was smack in the middle of a battered neighbourhood baking in the unaccustomed sun. On the way there, we passed children playing on the blistering pavement, and one of them had no shoes on. A few yards away a woman without shoes got into her car with a bag of take-away. The contrast between the cathedral and the dwellings of its people was stark. The cathedral glowed with money, whereas Parkhead seemed to belong to a different, poorer decade.
There were only a few pilgrims standing around looking at the statues and the placards cast in bronze on their plinths. Celtic wasn't playing, after all.