BY Amanda Connelly | November 24 2017 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Challenge those who attack Catholic schools, Archbishop says

Archbishop Tartaglia said celebrations of the centenary of Catholic education in Scotland should include a robust defence of Catholic schools

The Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia is encouraging Catholics to get involved in upcoming celebrations to mark 100 years of state Catholic education in Scotland—and to challenge those who attack Catholic schools.

In a letter to headteachers and members of clergy from across Scotland, the archbishop described the centenary as an ‘opportunity to rejoice’ over the successes of Scotland’s Catholic schools and education.

“2018 serves as an ­opportunity to rejoice in the academic, cultural, civic and social achievements of pupils who have attended Catholic schools in the last 100 years,” he said. “It is a chance to mark publicly the ways in which Catholic schools are not just good for Catholics, but good for Scotland.”


Negative voices

He spoke of the ‘positive contribution of Catholic schools’ to society in Scotland, which he described as being ‘well documented.’

“The continuing support of the Scottish Government and all of the main political parties is encouraging for the future of denominational schools,” he said. “However, while this is a time to reflect and thank God for 100 years of serving our local communities, we cannot be complacent that there is universal support for Catholic schools.

“We need to ensure that we continue to challenge the negative voices which exert pressure in the media and in the political arena, suggesting that there is no place for Faith schools in the public provision of education in a modern Scotland.

“What better way to do this than by marking this centenary as a celebration of the distinctive nature of our schools and by telling the story of the people and communities who have benefited from Catholic education in Scotland.”

Archbishop Tartaglia invited parishes, families, schools and communities across the country to ‘consider the ways that they can add to this story,’ as he revealed that a planning group has been set up to look at ­possible activities and coordinate events for the anniversary celebrations.

The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland has authorised the Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES) to ‘propose plans’ to be used in the centenary year that mark the education partnership between Church and state.



In his letter, the Archbishop asked that headteachers and priests let parish councils, parent and pupil councils, pastoral planning teams and associated schools’ groups know about the SCES planning group.

“I encourage you to begin a discussion of how your local parish community can support and contribute to the events of this year,” he said, adding that SCES is welcoming submissions of archive material of local school history, stories and photographs of parishioners.

SCES have revealed a number of national events will take place across all of Scotland’s eight dioceses in 2018, while other celebrations will be organised at a diocesan and local level.

The launch of the centenary celebrations will take place in February next year, when a specially commissioned icon of ‘Jesus Our Teacher,’ created to mark the 100th anniversary, will begin its tour across the country, starting in Galloway Diocese.

Glasgow Archdiocese will mark Catholic Education Week, which runs from January 28 to February 2, with a high schools’ Mass in St Andrew’s Cathedral, while a Catholic Education Week dinner will take place at the city’s Central Hotel on February 2.

On March 3 a Catholic education open forum will take place in Argyll and the Isles Diocese and in April a ‘Leadership of Catholic Schools Conference’ will take place in Salamanca.

The Caritas Award ceremony will be on June 7 next year in Glasgow, a highlight in the year for Catholic schools, and a school pilgrimage along the St Andrew’s Way will take place from June 14-15.

Parents will have the opportunity to come together in August for the National Parent Gathering in Paisley and a planned pilgrimage to Rome led by Archbishop Tartaglia is on the cards for October 15-19. Open to all associated with Catholic Education in Scotland, prices cost £850 per person.

Also in October, the European Catholic Committee (CEEC) will visit Scotland and the Scottish Parliament will also mark the centenary.

For the first time, a second Catholic Education Week will be held in November, including a National Teachers’ Mass in Glasgow and a spiritual retreat for teachers.

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