Archbishop Leo Cushley paid tribute to the role of the Augustinian community at the Annual Day for Religious in Edinburgh today.

They religious order recently announced it is to leave St Joseph's in Broomhouse, Edinburgh, which it has served since 1995.

Brothers and sisters gathered at St Margaret's Chapel at the Gillis Centre for Holy Mass in which Archbishop Cushley was the principal celebrant.

In the homily (see bottom) he said: "Not so long ago, a small community of Augustinians joined the diocese in a pastoral capacity and went to work in Sighthill.

"It was a wonderful community that they nourished by the preaching of the Gospel there for this last generation. They also worked in Heriot-Watt University as chaplains, and I saw for myself the exceptional work done there, on the subject on faith and science.

"Now however, due to their own internal circumstances, the Augustinians told me recently of their decision to withdraw from the diocese, and we will be the poorer for their absence, both as a body of men and as individuals, I know how much they have been appreciated and I can sense already that they will be missed."

The day featured Sister Mirjam Hugens, the Archdiocesan Director for Religious Vocations, discussing the various initiatives she has carried out to encourage more vocations to the religious life.

This has included collaborating with Father Andrew Garden, Vocations Director, to start a monthly Mass for Vocations and encouraging the laity to pray for more young people to answer the call of God to serve him in the priesthood and religious life.

Father Jamie Boyle, Vicar Episcopal for Clergy & Religious, said: "This annual event is a great way to bring together all our religious brothers and sisters to pray and enjoy a special day."

(All images, Stephen Dolan)