BY Daniel Harkins | March 14 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Schools rally for education week; new award

Schools across the country united in celebration of Catholic Education Week. The annual event emphasises the unique and important role of Catholic schools in Scotland, and this year took the theme of Shining the Light of Faith, inspired by Pope Francis’ Lumen Fidei encyclical.

To mark the beginning of the important week of faith, St Francis of Assisi Primary, Glasgow, held an assembly to discuss how each pupil could use the talents given to them by God to make the world a better place. During the assembly—which was presented by P5 pupils, who led the school in prayer and read scripture—children from each class were asked to light candles as a symbol of how their ‘light can shine for others to see,’ and the event ended with a look at Pope Francis and how his actions are an example for schoolchildren to aspire to.

Isobel Padden, headteacher of St Francis of Assisi’s, said the children kept their candles after the Mass and put them in their classrooms where they will stay for the rest of the year.

“The children really enjoyed it because the candles were a really tangible sign of something important that they could take back to their classes,” Mrs Padden said.

At St Aidan’s High, Wishaw, sixth year pupils spent two weekends visiting the school’s associated parishes and talking to parishioners about how they are enhancing their faith experience. Members of the school’s Caritas Group volunteered to address the Parish community, talking about their role in actively living out their faith, and St Aidan’s pupils throughout the week joined together to pray during class times and at year group assemblies on the theme of Catholic schools.

St Laurence’s Church in Greenock joined in the Catholic Education Week celebrations, welcoming Notre Dame High School pupils and children from its associated primary school’s: All Saints, St Patrick’s and St Mary’s. Fr Gerry McNellis and Mgr Denis Canon Carlin concelebrated Mass, with assistance from Deacon Don Keane. Pupils from the schools were actively involved in the Mass and all concerned felt that it was a ‘wonderful opportunity to come together as a community of faith.’

Also in Greenock, St Andrew’s Church hosted a community Mass for pupils, parents and staff of St Columba’s High School and St Andrew’s, St Joseph’s and St Ninian’s primaries, with more than 400 people in attendance, while pupil’s from the town’s St Mary’s Primary were formally enrolled in the Pope Francis Faith Award. Three representatives from P6 addressed Bishop John Cunningham, parishioners, parents and pupils to explain about the award and how it would help them to prepare for receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation next year. Bishop Cunningham celebrated the Mass and congratulated the children on their commitment to their faith.

In Glasgow, staff and children of St Francis’ Primary joined Fr Eddie Highton at Blessed John Duns Scotus parish in the Gorbals area of the city to mark the start of Catholic Education Week. The pupils created an exhibit about their daily faith actions and this was displayed at the entrance of the church for all to see.

Other Masses were held by schools all over the country, including a service by Fr Stephen Baillie and Fr Frank Hannigan at St Charles’ in Paisley (above), were schools from the Motherwell Diocese took part in the special celebrations.

This year’s Catholic Education Week is inspired by Pope Francis’ first encyclical, delivered on June 29, 2013, which called for the world to celebrate faith as something that is ‘capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence.’







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