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Edinburgh’s newest vicar episcopal for education relishes new role

St Andrews & Edinburgh Archdiocese has appointed a new Vicar Episcopal for Catholic Education.

Fr Nick Welsh has left his post as head of schools and has formally taken on his new role, in which he will continue to work closely with Eileen Rafferty, the religious education advisor to primary schools within the archdiocese.

The two are joined by Margaret Barton, who has taken on the part-time post of religious education advisor to high schools.

She started her new role on Monday January 13 at the Gillis Centre, Edinburgh, after serving as principal teacher of RE at St Aidan’s High School in Wishaw for 20 years.


Archbishop’s vision

On his new role, Fr Welsh said: “Schools are a big part of what we’re doing in the archdiocese, so it makes sense to have a vicar episcopal for education to be part of discussions on the Archbishop’s Council.

“That means I’ll get a good idea of what’s going on across the archdiocese, along with the other VEs [vicars episcopal], and the vision Archbishop Cushley has for our schools.”

The trio of education experts are currently creating new sacramental material for primary school teachers in St Andrews & Edinburgh.



Fr Welsh said: “One of the unique parts of a Catholic school is that we prepare our kids for the reception of the Sacraments.

“But a Catholic school is much more than that; the encounter with Jesus Christ and the mission to educate our children according to beliefs, values and Faith is the most important thing. One of the challenges is making that clearly known to local authorities.”

Fr Welsh is also parish priest of Our Lady and St Andrew and St Cuthbert’s, Galashiels, Our Lady and St Joseph’s in Selkirk and St Cuthbert’s Church in Melrose.



He has two primary schools in his parish: St Joseph’s in Selkirk and St Margaret’s in Galashiels.

Fr Welsh said: “I genuinely love going into the schools.

“There’s a great energy that comes from being around kids who, because of the environment we create in our schools, are confident and feel safe. That makes them open to the message of the Gospel.”

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