1933 3 May Born at Baillieston, Glasgow
St Bridget’s Primary Baillieston
St Ambrose High School Coatbridge
19994 November ordained to the Permanent Diaconate:
Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral
1999 – 2002 Deacon at St Augustine’s Coatbridge
2002 16 August 2002 died in Coatbridge
Rev. Deacon Francis Scally
CD 2003 p 502
Francis Scally, Deacon in St. Augustine’s Parish, Langloan, Coatbridge, died on Friday, 16th August, 2002, in the 69th year of his age and the third of his diaconate. In the absence of the Bishop, the principal concelebrant at the Funeral Mass in St. Augustine’s Church on 21st August following, was Mgr: John J. Burns, Vicar General of the Diocese. The following homily was delivered by Canon James Foley, parish Priest of St. Augustine’s.
To the best of my knowledge there are four deacons in the church’s calendar of saints. Three of them martyrs. Stephen had the distinction of being, not only the first deacon, but the first martyr. He was stoned to death. Then there was Lawrence. He was roasted alive. Vincent was privileged to stand in for the bishop of the diocese at all public fictions, including the bishop’s martyrdom! The fourth was Saint Ephrem who was a poet and scholar and evidently was lucky enough to die in his own bed. It’s not so surprising, therefore, that the diaconate lost much of its appeal early on in the history of Christianity and gave way to the less challenging way of life led by bishops and priests. Notwithstanding, Frank Scally included the diaconate among the great loves in his life.
The other great loves were, of course, for his wife Susan and their four children, then athletics, and the Knights of St. Columba. All of this within the setting of his great love for the Catholic church.
Even as a boy he was the embodiment of a great Christian principle: Mens sana in corpore sano. A healthy mind in a healthy body. His introduction to the sporting life began in that great athletic and academic centre, St. Bridget’s Bailliestion Boy’s Guild, under the tutelage of Father John Moss, a scene that could produce men of such contrasting calibre as the boxer Jake Kilrane and the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Sir Patrick Dolan. Resources for athletics were rather limited in the primary school. There was a horse, or rather more of a pit-pony than a horse that you straddled at your own risk. From infancy it was obvious that Frank could run like a hare. But then in the Baillieston of those days we all knew how to get off our mark in a hurry. His father was clearly the inspiration behind his continued success as a harrier and the Shettleston Harriers are still there as a memorial to men like Frank and as a rebuke to others like myself.
Frank’s wife Susan and their children and grandchildren were of course his most treasured gift in life. All his skills and many talents were channelled into caring for their well-being and prosperity. He set up his own upholstery business and quickly won the confidence of his clients with his total honesty and meticulous attention to detail. Music played a big part in his home life and he was no mean exponent of the guitar and could hold his own in the whole repertoire from country and western to Faith of our Fathers. There can be few families that could claim to while away the time singing the Salve Regina while driving home from holiday.
The attendance of so many Knights of St. Columba is witness enough to the place this distinguished body of men held in his life. He quickly rose through the ranks to hold the most prestigious and responsible posts, at first at local level and latterly at national level. It was probably here that his profound charity and organising skills found their finest expression. He is well remembered for his planning of ecumenical Palm Sunday walks which attracted the, attention, if not the participation, of Pastor Glass. There were family days at his beloved Buchlyvie, pilgrimages to Iona, fund-raising events and even a caravan from Scotland to Italy to help the victims of an earthquake. I am sure I express the sentiments of Frank’s wife and family when I put on record their gratitude to you for your presence here in such large numbers and for your support and sympathy over recent years.
Frank was not a young man when he went back to school with a view to taking the Higher R.E. exam. That, and the period of study and preparation for the diaconate, proved to be one of the most fulfilling periods in his life. He threw himself into the study with zeal and enthusiasm. His essays and sermons became more and more monumental and at times it took two canons and a school chaplain to hold him down while delivering them. His instinctive respect for other faiths sometimes took a surprising turn.
Like the time he had to prepare a paper on Martin Luther and the reformation. He took such a shine to Martin Luther and his doctrine of justification by faith that we thought we would have to send for the Rev. Jim Grier and the entire Kirk session at Middle Church to talk him out of it. When the two churches evangelised the local community Frank was in his element. He produced the maps the postal codes, the rosters and an enthusiasm for the spread of the Gospel that galvanised us all.
The final and possibly greatest witness to his deep faith was surely his total resignation to the will of God with the onset of illness. We listened in the Liturgy of the Word to the account of the Transfiguration and with good reason. There are really two transfigurations in Jesus’ life, one on the mountain, the other in Gethsemane. The first proclaims the glory of the eternal Son of God and carries an invitation to listen to Him as Frank certainly did. The other proclaims the redemptive suffering of Jesus and invites the same three disciples to share in that too. On Tabor they were enthralled when they looked at him in glory. More was asked of them in Gethsemane. Not “look at me”, but “watch with me”. Therein lies the secret of Frank’s spiritual life. He had learned through suffering to have the same mind and heart as Jesus, a mind and heart open to the will of his Father, even in the face of suffering and death. Frank knew well the meaning of this privilege to bring to fulfilment the sufferings of Christ in his body the church.
May he rest in peace.