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Family’s value to Catholic schools highlighted

The importance of families to the success of Scotland’s Catholic schools was emphasised at a parents forum held in St Charles’ Church Hall, Paisley, on August 18 — By RYAN MCDOUGALL

Organised by the Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES), the forum detailed the value of Catholic schools to Scotland and the important role they play in the home of pupils.

Bishop John Keenan of ­Paisley Diocese delivered the keynote speech on the day.

His topic, titled ‘Encouraging Children in their Faith: the Positive Influence of the Family,’ saw him draw upon his own experience in schools and in his work with young people, reminding those present that young people do indeed want to learn about God and the Catholic Faith, and that schools and parents alike should apply this to many of the big questions they may have in their lives.

A presentation from Families in Faith was also given, displaying a diocesan perspective on how families can gain support from their diocese in the nurture of children in the Catholic Faith, and how they can in turn help others in similar situations.

Parents were then given the chance to work with one another on how they can deal with areas such as answering children’s questions on living as a Catholic in the modern world.

Fr Bernard Mournian, assistant priest of St Columbkille’s Church in Rutherglen, was amongst those in attendance. He said he was there as a school chaplain wanting to learn more about SCES.

“I was mainly there to find out about SCES’ parent group, the event gave everyone there present a great insight into what the group does in supporting families in the Catholic education of their children,” he said.

“As a priest, I see this as very important, a great component of what it takes for Catholic education to flourish is to recognise the importance of families—Catholic schools are good for Scotland, but families are good for Catholic schools.

“As a priest working with families, and as a chaplain, I’m in contact with families all the time, so it was good for me as a priest to see what works best for families and what’s most effective to engage them and support them on their Faith journey. There’s a great misconception today that the education of our young people takes place as a service coming exclusively from the state, when in fact we must keep in mind that the primary educators are the parents

“On the day itself there were lots of practical tips and materials shared, so it was a great forum for discussion but also for practical advice. I would recommend for any parent to visit the SCES website and utilise the resources on offer.”

The event was concluded with Mass, celebrated by Fr Vincert Byrne and Fr John Morrison, with music provided by the Paisley Youth to Lourdes Group.

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