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5- Caritas

Scotland’s Caritas pupils bring hope to society, Pope says

More than 1100 senior school students received the Caritas Award at a ceremony in the Clyde Auditorium last night and were given a special blessing from Pope Francis

Pope Francis told more than 1100 Scottish school pupils that they have brought hope to society as they gathered in Glasgow’s Clyde Auditorium for the annual Caritas Award ceremony which rewarded their year of serving the Church, their schools and parishes and the community.

The message was read out to the faithful teenagers and an audience of guests—including the bishops of Scotland and Scottish Government representative Alasdair Allan MSP—by Archbishop Antonio Mennini, Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain.

In total 1150 pupils of different faiths achieved the Caritas Award this year, helping out in their parishes and communities, assisting foodbanks, care homes, hospitals and homelessness projects.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, said that the Caritas winners are the message—the good news of young people—inspired by the Holy Spirit to go out and share and spread Caritas—God’s Love—in their communities, living out their faith in a practical way.

Stressing the importance of the pupils remaining connected to their faith as they leave school, the Archbishop of Glasgow said that there’s nothing better for a parish than having young adults visible at Mass and in the life of the parish, adding ‘there really isn’t anything better; it gladdens the heart of the community.’

The Caritas Awards were established in 2011 and were named in honour of Pope Benedict XVI, whose 2005 encyclical described Caritas as ‘the love which God lavishes upon us and which we in turn must share with others.’ 450 people picked up the award in its first year, 900 people in 2013, and more than 1200 last year.

Representing Pope Francis, Archbishop Mennini said it gave him great joy to be at the ceremony on behalf of the Holy Father. “How marvellous if difficult at some times your task is,” he said. “The Lord is asking you to become his hands, his instruments to spread to… the society the moral values of the Gospel.”

Reading a message from the Pope, the archbishop sent his greetings to ‘those young persons who have been honoured assuring them of his prayers,’ saying they had ‘made significant contribution to the lives of the Church while bringing hope to society in general.’

Michael McGrath, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, concluded the ceremony, which included entertainment by and for the students, thanking all those who gave their time to the Caritas celebration, and sharing the good news that more than 900 primary pupils have enrolled in the Pope Francis Faith Award, taking a further step on their journey of faith which will hopefully one day see them picking up a Caritas Award of their own.

—Read the full report of the Caritas Award Ceremony, with photographs, in the June 12 edition of the Scottish Catholic Observer.

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