August 7 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

11-MARTIN-AELRED

Joyful news on relic, worrying news on school transport

This week’s editorial leader

News that a Polish priest in Motherwell has secured a visit to Scotland of a relic of St John Paul II is exciting and likely to exceed even Fr Krzysztof Garwolinski’s expectations. The priest in Motherwell Diocese has been honoured by Cardinal Dziwisz (Archbishop of Krakow) who is allowing a first class relic of St John Paul II (a drop of blood) be installed by Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell in St Patrick’s Shieldmuir on October 18.

The Scottish Church is busy planning just how to make the occasion as joyful and reverential as possible, and the thought of Martin Aelred, talented tenor who has supported Lentfest in Glasgow and performed in parishes and cathedrals for charity, to perform in concert to mark the occasion bodes well.

The occasion is set to be a highlight for Polish Catholics in Scotland and the wider community of the Faithful. Polish Pope John Paul II visited Scotland in 1982 and secured a special place in the hearts of the Catholic community here. This year also marks the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Scotland and the arrival of the relic honours both.

It seems strange that Catholic education has barely been out of the headlines this summer in spite of our schools being on holiday. Just as time and tide wait for no man, however, it seems that ‘progress’ and problems for Catholic education don’t take a holiday.

Setting aside the ongoing debacle facing the parents of St Joseph’s Primary, Milngavie, for now, it has come to light that a more widespread and potentially devastating issue is threatening access to Catholic education, albeit no doubt unintentionally.

In the current financial climate it is not surprising that local authorities have to find savings. Councils increasing the distance required to qualify for free transport to school however, is disproportionately impacting access to Catholic education in Glasgow and South Lanarkshire, hitting the budget of struggling families. In South Lanarkshire, for example, parents of Trinity High School pupils are concerned that the proposed increase to more than 3 miles for free transport is unfair on Catholic pupils in particular as in the local area there are two non-denominational secondary schools—Cathkin and Stonelaw, and only one Catholic secondary, Trinity. This increases the likelihood that children need to travel further to get to the Catholic secondary school. Some parents are now faced with having to remove their children from the local Catholic school.

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