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6-TARTAGLIA

Archbishop: Catholic schools need to put Jesus at their centre to be good for Scotland

Catholic schools need to put Jesus Christ at their centre if they are to be good for Scotland, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow said.

The president of the Scottish Catholic Education Service was speaking to teachers at an annual Mass held in St Andrew’s Cathedral on August 31.

Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Education Act that brought Catholic schools into the state system, and the archbishop recalled that the strapline for the commemorative year is ‘Catholic schools, good for Scotland.’

“We are good for Scotland if Jesus Christ is at the centre of our school communities,” he said. “And Jesus will be at the centre of our school communities if he is at the centre of our teachers’ lives. I am convinced that you can make the difference. So I offer you this advice: be conscious of your vocation, of your calling as a Catholic teacher and as a teacher/staff member in a Catholic school. Rejoice in that calling, for it is a sacred and important calling.

“Don’t neglect to nourish your own spiritual lives with prayer, with the Word of God and with the Sacraments. For you need the Lord’s grace to sustain your vocation as a Catholic teacher.”

The Archbishop urged the teachers to be faithful to Sunday Mass, to go to confession, pray the Rosary and develop habits of prayer.

“Be aware of the presence of the Lord who calls you to follow him on the path of holiness and respond to him with Faith and with prayer,” he said. “Never doubt the importance of your witness of Faith to the children and young people in your classrooms.”

He said that ‘good lessons’ were central to a teacher’s work and that when those lessons are ‘permeated by the teacher’s obviously lived personal Faith in Jesus Christ,’ pupils sense it and   their education becomes ‘Catholic education and formation in Faith.’

“So do not be afraid but trust in the grace and help of God; seek the intercession of Our Lady and of the saints,” he concluded. “And be sure that your vocation and service as a Catholic teacher is precious and valued by the Catholic community and by me as your bishop.”

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