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The Joy of Caritas

Joy, hope and Faith as the 2017 CARITAS AWARDS honour 1,000 pupils - By Amanda Connelly

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow paid tribute to the ‘living legacy’ of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Scotland as he honoured the Faith commitment of more than 1,000 young people at this year’s Caritas Award ceremony.

Now in its sixth year, pupils from across the country gathered at the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow for the prestigious annual event, hosted by the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.

Many of you will know that the Caritas Award was established after the visit of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, to Scotland in the year 2010,” the archbishop said. “From the moment that he arrived in Edinburgh it was apparent that his visit was to have a profound impact on the Catholic community here in Scotland.”

“It’s not an understatement to say that no one could’ve imagined the impact that the children and young people of our schools would play in setting the scene for that historic day.”

St Margarets, Airdrie

St Margarets, Airdrie

The archbishop recalled the images on Edinburgh’s Princes Street of ­smiling children waiting to greet the Pope, citing these scenes as changing the media coverage to one that was wholly positive for the visit.

“I mention this today because many of the young people here this afternoon receiving the Caritas Award would have been in those crowds on Princes Street seven years ago,” he said. “The 1,000 young people here today, and the 5,000 plus who have received this award in the past five years, are a living legacy of the Holy Father’s visit.

“For those present today, you remind us in a special way of the sense of joy, hope and Faith that we all had for the future of the Church in ­Scotland on September 16, 2010.”

David and Maura Currie presented the ceremony, at which Scotland’s young Catholics received their Caritas Award, the culmination of 40 hours of voluntary service to their school, parishes and local communities.

The young people were called onto the stage individually, parading banners bearing their school name alongside their respective diocesan bishop, where they received the Caritas medal.

An array of Church officials and invited guests took part in the ­ceremony, including Barbara Coupar, director of the Scottish Catholic ­Education Service (SCES) that ­organises the awards. She was joined by former Moderator of the Church of Scotland Very Rev Dr Russell Barr; Catholic Parliamentary Office director Anthony Horan, Lorraine McMahon from Aid to the Church in Need; Fr John Morrison from Priests for ­Scotland; Rosin Coll from the ­University of Glasgow; Lord William Haughey; and presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament Ken Macintosh.




St Pauls R.C.

There was also entertaining musical performances from Rachel Miller

of St Columba’s High School,

Dunfermline—who performed Adele’s cover of Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love—and Emma ­Deegan of Notre Dame High School in Greenock, who sang Think of Me from Phantom of the Opera.

Scottish Parliament presiding officer Ken Macintosh spoke to the Caritas Award recipients, ­citing the recent general election and the need for service to one’s community.

“The world today is full of people urging you to build walls when you should be breaking them down, telling you to shut the door to others when you should be welcoming them in, and asking you to define yourself by your differences rather than that which we have in common,” he said. “The murderous attacks of the last few weeks and months have been shocking and emotionally draining, but let me say that the response of your generation in particular has been uplifting and inspiring.

“Generosity and kindness and gentleness are the qualities we recognise and admire in you today and they are the foundation stones for a life of real accomplishment—whether in the spheres of education, ­medicine, science and, dare I even say it, in parliament.

“It is too easy to be seduced by lazy cynicism, to dismiss the world of politics as all about bickering and egos. My ­experience as presiding officer suggests that those who shout the loudest are often seen as blowhards, whereas persuasion is more often affected through courtesy and tolerance.

“Yes be passionate, but be compassionate too, so please hold on to the integrity you have been already displaying, and continue to be the people we already know you to be.”

Turnbull High School, East Dumbartonshire

Turnbull High School, East Dumbartonshire

The ceremony was also a celebration of Catholic school success, as the 1918 Education Act approaches its 100th anniversary.

“As we prepare to mark a significant landmark for Catholic education, the centenary of the 1918 Education Act, we know all too well that the development of Catholic schools has had many difficulties along the way,” Archbishop Tartaglia said.

“However, 100 years on, since the historical partnership between Church and government, our Catholic schools are thriving and proving time and again that Catholic schools are not just good for Catholics; they are good for Scotland.”

His thoughts were echoed by SCES director Barbara Coupar, who delivered the vote of thanks at the end of the ceremony.

“At a time when there are more people googling how to convert to PDF than convert to religion, there’s a need to ­publicly witness to the fact that Faith is alive and well in making a positive impact and difference in our world,” Mrs Coupar said.

“Since the Caritas Awards started, 6,500 young people have received the award—that’s the equivalent to 260,000 hours of Faith witness, 10,833 days, 30 years of loving service.

“In a week where we have seen what evil and hatred can do in a matter of minutes, it’s even more important that we do not remain silent about what Faith and love can achieve.

“Next year we celebrate 100 years of the partnership between Church and government and Catholics schools, so let’s make 2018 a Caritas year to remember. All of those young people who received their award today, I want you to redouble your effort. Go back to your schools, and I want you to get two fifth year pupils to do the award next year, to carry on that legacy.”

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