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— New religious education syllabus is given a joyful welcome by St Andrews and Edinburgh
Leaders from the education and civic sectors joined Cardinal Keith O’Brien and clergy from St Andrews and Edinburgh at the Gillis Chapel last Wednesday for the archdiocesan launch of This is our Faith, the new religious education document.
The new teaching document, which was officially launched nationally last November, provides the new religious education syllabus from primary one through to S3 and it received official recognition from the Vatican last year.
Cardinal O’Brien welcomed all those gathered at Edinburgh’s packed Gillis Chapel last Wednesday and ensured those present of his personal support for the new document and the work of religious educators in the archdiocese.
Brid O’Brien, director of St Andrews and Edinburgh Archdiocesan RE office, Michael McGrath, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service and Fr Stephen Reilly, RE adviser from Motherwell Diocese, where This is our Faith was launched before Christmas, gave further addresses.
Mr McGrath, who was present at the Dunkeld Diocesan event the previous day, commented that all diocesan launches of the new RE syllabus have been ‘heartwarming and joyful’ celebrations.
“I have been most impressed with the representation of schools, parents and parishes at all the events, showing how they recognise the significance of this development as each bishop has taken local ownership of this national initiative and, in turn, invited teachers, parents and clergy to embrace it,” Mr McGrath said. “In particular, it has been most satisfying to see young people participating in a variety of ways—through prayer, music and procession, illustrating very effectively the expressive power of our Faith tradition. I thank God for all this effort, which bears great promise for the religious education and formation of our young people.”
The St Andrew and Edinburgh launch also provided the chance for the archdiocese to showcase some of the tremendous musical talent possessed by pupils from local schools.
A welcome on the bagpipes was played by Liam Mulheron, a pupil of St Columba’s High School, Dunfermline. Corinne MacPhee, a pupil of St Margaret’s Academy, Livingston, sang in Gaelic and music was also provided by pupils from St Thomas of Aquin’s High School, Edinburgh.
Playing a pivotal role throughout proceedings were pupils from Livingston’s St Ninian’s Primary School choir. Isabel McKendrick, the pupils’ headteacher, said it had been a ‘memorable’ experience for the children.
“The children were delighted to be involved,” Ms McKendrick said. “They love to sing and do so at many school events, so to be asked to perform at such a lovely and important celebration was great for them. Meeting Cardinal O’Brien was the icing on the cake for the children. It was a memorable day for them and I’m sure they will look back on it fondly.”
Ms O’Brien added that the day was rounded off with the presentation of copies of This is our Faith to the six deans of the St Andrews and Edinburgh Archdiocesan deaneries and she said that the archdiocese is looking forward to using the teaching syllabus ‘in schools, homes and parishes across St Andrews and Edinburgh.’
“There was a great air of celebration and occasion throughout the day,” she said.
Diocese celebrates the launch of This is our Faith in Dunkeld
This is our Faith, the new teaching document for religious education in Scotland, was launched in Dunkeld Diocese last Tuesday with a special celebration at St Paul’s Academy, Dundee.
Almost 200 people were present at the launch, as representatives from the local authorities, education conveners, diocesan school pupils, teachers and parents joined Dunkeld clergy, including Mgr Ken McCaffrey, vice president of the Catholic Education Commission (CEC), who was representing Bishop Vincent Logan.
Pupils from St Paul’s led a prayerful reflection, assisted by children from St Pius and St Clement’s Primary Schools, while keynote addresses were given by Michael McGrath, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES) and Patricia Wilson, HMIe national specialist for religious and moral education, who emphasised the link between the Catholic Education Commission and the government’s education bodies.
Ms Wilson stressed that the government is ‘pleased to work in partnership with the CEC and SCES’ and hopes that This is our Faith, the new education syllabus, which will be used by pupils from P3-S3, ‘will strengthen the partnership.