Oban launch for Catholic Education Week
By Amanda Connelly
Catholic Education Week 2017 has been launched in St Columba’s Primary School in Oban—beginning one of the year’s most important calendar events for Catholic schools and the Church in Scotland.
St Columba’s was invited to hold the launch by the Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES), marking the first time that Catholic Education Week has been launched in Argyll and the Isles Diocese.
The event location was chosen by SCES to highlight its outreach to areas where the opportunity for children to attend Catholic schools is more limited, and to allow it to mark Bishop Brian McGee’s first Catholic Education Week, which will run from February 12-18.
Pupils and staff at St Columba’s Primary prepared for the launch in the week leading up to the event, both working and learning about the theme for this year of ‘developing our school as a community of faith and learning.’
Pupils in Primary 7 had made six videos based on Pope Francis’ new beatitudes, where they discussed what each of the beatitudes meant to them and how they could put them in to practice. Primaries 1-7 also created a beautiful wall display charting their journey of becoming a school community of Faith and learning.
Attending the launch alongside pupils and staff were members of the Church and local communities, including Bishop Brian McGee of Argyll and the Isles, parish priest Fr James MacNeil, parish representatives, parent representatives, acting head of service for education Anne Paterson, local councillor Kieran Green, and both Barbara Coupar and Ellen McBride from SCES. The invited guests joined together for a special lunch along with some of the senior pupils from St Columba’s Primary.
“It was absolutely fantastic,” Barbara Coupar, director of SCES, said. “It was a real reflection of the fact that Catholic education serves the whole community and they were able to showcase all the work they do.”
Headteacher of St Columba’s Michaelina MacLellan spoke of the school’s gratitude towards all those who supported them and who attended, and noted that the pupils were ‘an absolute credit’ to their school.
“We felt it was an absolute honour to have been asked to hold the launch in St Columba’s,” Ms MacLellan said. “It went really well; it was a great success.
“The launch for Catholic Education Week was a huge success for our school and we have been overwhelmed by the letters, emails and kind words that we have received from the visitors who attended, complementing our school’s ethos and praising our children and staff.
“We are very fortunate to have such a supportive community and we are truly grateful to everyone who helped us to prepare for this very special occasion.”
Other dioceses across Scotland have also been marking Catholic Education Week, with various cluster Masses and local events. Members of communities have been invited to local schools to see the work of Catholic schools and their partnerships with charities, while SCES have produced new resources that compliment the theme of this year.
“It is an opportunity for us to mark how good Catholic schools are for Scotland and everything they offer to pupils, parents and local communities,” Mrs Coupar said.