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Celebrating "Midnight" Mass

January 12, 2018

Bishop John Geddes (1735-99) built the house at Scalan which we can visit today. He lived in turbulent times. Here are his memories of how Mass was celebrated during the difficult days following the failure of Bonnie Prince Charlie's 1745 Jacobite Uprising which brought great retribution to the Highlands in general and Catholics in particular. It was presumed that if you were a Catholic, you were also a Jacobite. John Geddes was a boy of ten at the time of the Battle of Culloden:

 

The priest "said Mass in various places, commonly in barns, and always in the night-time. Towards the end of the week, he bespoke some barn that happened to be empty, in a place proper for the meeting of the people in the night, between the approaching Saturday and Sunday; and some trusty persons were sent to acquaint the heads of the Catholic families of this determination. On Saturday, when it was late at night, the Catholics convened at the appointed place; after midnight a sermon was made, Mass was said, and all endeavoured to get home before daybreak. These meetings were often inconvenient, from the badness of the weather and of the roads, and from the people being crowded together without seats; but all was borne with great alacrity and cheerfulness. They seemed to be glad to have something to suffer for their God and for the profession of His holy religion."

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