BY Peter Diamond | November 9 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Successful school prayer breakfast leads the way for others to follow

St Margaret Mary’s Secondary in Glasgow fed 110 people last Friday, November 2 with Archbishop Philip Tartaglia leading prayers followed by guest speaker Anthony Gielty.

A secondary school in ­Glasgow has become the first to host a community prayer breakfast—and there is hope it may lead to an annual event to be held across all Catholic schools in Scotland.

St Margaret Mary’s Secondary School in Glasgow’s Castlemilk area held the event last Friday, November 2 with Archbishop Philip Tartaglia leading the morning prayers followed by a full Scottish breakfast and guest speaker Anthony Gielty.

Clergy, parents, pupils, local businesses and other schools including feeder primaries were also in attendance for what was a first in Scotland—and is set to be an event that may not be a one off.

Pupils and staff were at St Margaret Mary’s school at 6am for the event starting at 7am, preparing the ‘fry up’ and setting up the oratory and hall.

Elaine Seery, headteacher of St Margaret Mary’s, said: “The idea of our prayer breakfast was created and developed by our Caritas coordinator and teacher, Angela Deighan, who very ably organised the whole event.

“It started out on a much smaller scale with only about numbers of 30 people in mind but there were actually 110 people there on Friday.

“The idea came from the National Prayer Breakfast, which Angela’s husband attended in his role with SPUC [Society for the Protection of Unborn Children].

“She thought it could be done in our school and transferred into a whole school activity with local community groups, businesses and from there it really grew into something that has really put our Faith into action.

“There were people attending of Faith, other Christian denominations and of no Faith at all, so it was very ecumenical and a successful show of our school community’s life and Catholic ethos.

“There was a tremendous buzz around the hall all morning and we thank Archbishop Tartaglia and Fr Paddy Duffy for leading and closing with prayerful moments.

“Angela Deighan had also asked Anthony Gielty, a reformed prisoner, to attend the prayer breakfast and he shared his spine-tingling story with everyone, leaving a profound impact on our senior pupils.

“I’m extremely proud of those pupils who participated in the event and the staff who supported them, they put our Catholic Faith into action and walked the walk. Castlemilk is an area, which suffers from multiple deprivation, and for us to be able to host an event like this, of this scale was just fantastic for our whole school community.

“A special thanks must go towards our local business and parish priest who helped sponsor the event with donations, especially Jerry Martin, our local butcher who was very generous.”

The event is poised to be repeated in the future in St Margaret Mary’s with Barbara Coupar, the director of the Scottish Catholic Education Services (SCES), encouraging other schools to take up the challenge.

“The prayer breakfast was a fantastic initiative, organised by Angela Deighan and her Caritas group,” she said. “She had included members of the local Churches, neighbouring primary and secondary schools and various Church charities.

“This is definitely the first Prayer Breakfast of this size organised within a school, but I hope that it won’t be the last.”

Mrs Coupar now hopes that other schools will hold prayer breakfasts for November’s Catholic Education Week.

“In our Autumn newsletter, we have used the Prayer Breakfast as an idea for schools, parishes and cluster to organise, suggesting that it would be fantastic if as many schools as possible did something on November 21, the day that the 1918 Act—that we have been marking all year—came into law,” she said.

“However, Angela was ahead of us all and had organised a really profound programme. Seeing so many pupils, staff and volunteers in the school on Friday was remarkable.

The theme of the two-hour event was ‘transformation’ which was aided by Anthony Gielty’s personal account of when ‘God shone in my darkest day and changed my life.’

Mrs Coupar said that prayer breakfasts were held spontaneously after the cancellation of the planned national Mass earlier this year due to extreme weather, and she revealed her hopes that the breakfast may become a regular event.

“I hope that we can build on Angela’s excellent initiative, and the ‘home made’ breakfasts that we saw in June and establish an annual prayer breakfast within our Catholic schools,” she said.


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