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7-ARGYLL-EDUCATION

Mass celebration in Argyll and the Isles as hundreds gather to mark centenary

Catholic schools benefit society because they ‘bring God’s love into the world,’ the bishop of Argyll and the Isles said last week. — By AMANDA CONNELLY and RYAN MCDOUGALL

Bishop Brian McGee was speaking as pupils, staff, parents and local councillors joined in thanksgiving to celebrate 100 years of Catholic state schools in Scotland.

The schools and local communities gathered at a packed St Columba’s Cathedral in Oban on March 26 for the Mass of thanksgiving for the centenary of the 1918 Education Act (Scotland).

Pupils attended from St Columba’s Primary School in Oban, St Mun’s Primary School in Dunoon, St Andrew’s Primary School in Rothesay and St Columba’s Primary School in Caol. They were joined by friends of the schools, parishioners and representatives from the Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES) for the occasion.

Bishop McGee spoke to the children about the importance of Holy Week, and how Jesus taught us all that His love was perfect.

The bishop also encouraged those present to look at the icon for the centenary year commissioned by the SCES in the cathedral, suggesting that Catholic schools not only tell us information about Jesus, but introduce us to Him and form a relationship with Him, so we can be taught by Jesus that God always loves us and to become like Christ.

He added that Catholic schools help pupils academically, as well as helping them to bring God’s love into the world, which is why they benefit us all, and that the icon illustrates that all of Scotland has gained something from the deepness of the Faith nurtured in Argyll and the Isles Diocese.

St Columba’s Primary headteacher, Michaelina MacLellan, said there were roughly 200 pupils in attendance, adding: “It was a really good opportunity for all four of the schools to come together due to the remoteness of Argyll and the Isles.”

Barbara Coupar, the director of SCES was also in attendance. “Bishop Brian spoke positively about the importance of marking this historic collaboration between Church and civil authorities as he thanked local elected members for being there,” she said.

The diocese will continue to celebrate the centenary throughout 2018, in order to mark the important milestone for Faith education.

 

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