BY Amanda Connelly | November 10 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

Launch of Jesus the Teacher Icon, at the Bishops' Conference of Scotland Meeting at Schoenstatt, Monday 6th Feb 2017.
Icon Writer Bernadette Reilly with Barbara Coupar Director of SCES, The Papal Nuncio Archbishop Edward Adams and the Bishops of Scotland.
Monday 6th Nov 2017.
Photo by and copyright of Paul Mc Sherry 07770 393960

New icon marks 100 years of Catholic Education in Scotland

As the New Year moves ever closer, Catholic schools and communities across Scotland will be preparing to mark 2018 in a very special way, as they celebrate 100 years of Catholic Education in Scotland

In honour of the 1918 Education Act, which saw Catholic schools be introduced into state governance, a stunning new icon has been commissioned to mark the centenary year by the Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES).

Artist Bernadette Reilly has created the icon of ‘Jesus Our Teacher,’ a beautiful tribute as Catholics throughout the country reflect on the signing of the Act and the incredible work that Catholics schools have done in Scotland during that time. The bishops of Scotland were presented with the icon at their conference meeting this week (left).

Capturing the story of Catholic Education and the Faith in Scotland’s past, present and future, while keeping Jesus as the central focus on the icon, it is a ‘beautiful reflection of the prayerful preparations’ being done in order to mark the 100th anniversary.

It bears the image of Jesus Our Teacher in the centre, holding a book that features an inscription from St John’s Gospel in both English and Gaelic: “You call me teacher and Lord and rightly so, for that is what I am,” celebrating two of the nation’s languages.

Working clockwise behind the image of Jesus is the story of Catholic education, beginning with St Andrew’s call, which serves as reminder of our own call to discipleship.

From there it moves to the arrival of Christianity in Scotland, depicted by an image of Iona and the Celtic Cross, with a Saltire in the clouds.

Also represented is the impact of the Catholic Faith in Scotland, with images of the pre-Reformation saints, St Margaret, St Mungo and St John Ogilvie, before moving on to tell of the growth and development of the Catholic community in Scotland in the 18th and 19th century.

The immigrant communities such as the Irish, Italian, Polish and Lithuanian are represented in a reminder of the Faith they brought with them, as well as the canal diggers, miners and weavers in Scotland—those who voluntarily paid for Catholic schools, despite being some of the poorest in their communities, and the jobs they did before higher education was available to them.

A girl and boy in academic dress holding a scroll signifies the success that saw young people move from Catholic schools into higher education systems, and the children of today, depicted as difference races and from different backgrounds to illustrate the diversity within Scotland’s Catholic schools and communities of the present day, who can learn and grow in their Catholic education.

SCES have developed a number of lessons and prayer materials in order to aid schools in reflection, prayer and meditation upon Ms Reilly’s piece, which can be found on the SCES website, in order to reflect in detail on the various parts depicted in the icon.

“It was wonderful to work on it, really wonderful. It was marvellous to work on it,” artist Ms Reilly, who also created the Our Lady of Paisley icon, said.

Ms Reilly said that the icon was written ‘to show the humanity of the people that have been involved throughout the ages,’ and it was special for her to create due to her own belief is the positive benefits of Catholic schools and the Faith in Scotland.

She also hopes the icon will help young people to understand what an icon is and how it can help to tell a story.

“We hope that the icon, and all that is represents, will be a fitting legacy for the first 100 years of the partnership between Church and state in governing Catholic schools in Scotland,” SCES said on their website.

It was presented to Scotland’s bishops at Schoenstatt on Monday November 6, with Ms Reilly showcasing the icon there herself (above).

“It’s a lovely thing to know that it’s finally going out there,” she said. “I think that Scotland is a wonderful country. I think we’re very blessed here, we’re very lucky,” she said, citing the consecration to Our Lady of Fatima as a wonderful event for the country. “I think we’ve been very blessed, especially with the consecration to Our Lady.”

The Faithful around the country will have the opportunity to view the new icon for themselves in person, as it will make a pilgrimage around Scotland’s eight Catholic dioceses next year, remaining in each diocese for around a month where a number of activities are hoped to be arranged.


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