BY Ryan McDougall | September 28 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


School celebrates patron saint—a Roman legion who was martyred for defying orders

ARCHBISHOP Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow told Cumbernauld pupils last week the story behind their school’s saint—a Roman Legion who chose execution over persecuting Christians.

THE archbishop of Glasgow celebrated the feast day Mass on September 20 for pupils of St Maurice’s High School, which straddles three different dioceses—Glasgow, Motherwell and Edinburgh.

Pupils from St Maurice’s, named after a Roman Legion leader from the 3rd century, were educated by the archbishop on how their saint stood up for Christians at a time when they were seen as a threat to the Roman Empire.

“Archbishop Tartaglia explained to them how St Maurice refused to persecute Christians, and was martyred as a result,” said headteacher James McParland.

St Maurice served as a high-ranking commander in the Roman Army. When ordered by Emperor Maximian to harass Christians, St Maurice and his legion refused, and were wiped out as punishment.

“Because of that, he became St Maurice,” said Mr McParland, citing the archbishop’s talk with the pupils.

“I think it was very important, especially for the young kids to learn about this,” he added.

Cumbernauld is twinned with Bron in France, which is within driving distance of Geneva, an area that is significant to St Maurice, Mr McParland said.

Archbishop Tartaglia celebrated Mass alongside Frs Michael Briody and John Mulholland.

“It was an absolutely beautiful celebration,” Mr McParland said.

“We have it every year, as I think it’s really important that all of us in the school get to go to Mass on the feast day, so obviously for us it’s one of the key highlights on our calendar, hence why we ran the Masses over two days so that the whole school could be involved.”

Laughing, he said that the archbishop ‘told them in a typical fashion that he was going to wing his sermon,’ where he talked about the Jesus the Teacher Icon, which was present at the feast day Masses.

Despite this, the archbishop delivered a great talk on the icon, Mr McParland said, adding that ‘he just talked right around it,’ and that ‘having him there on the second day made it even more special for the schoolkids.’

“I also think it adds that wee bit of an extra special feeling to these events, and because we are partnered with four different primaries in the Motherwell, Glasgow and the St Andrews & Edinburgh dioceses we have visits from various different bishops,” he said.

“Last year we had Bishop [Joseph] Toal, and this year we have Archbishop Leo Cushley coming to us in November, which will be a great way to lead us into Catholic Education Week.”


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