Fond farewell to Sisters of Nazareth

Friends and residents of Nazareth House in Bonnyrigg said a fond farewell to three Religious sisters last night.

Sr Gabriel Joseph, Sr Teresa of Avila and Sr Margaret Mary (main pic, above) were joined by sisters from across the UK for Mass celebrated by Archbishop Cushley at the care home's chapel.

Sisters of Nazareth with Archbishop Cushley after the farewell Mass.

Sr Doreen Cunningham, Regional Superior for the UK, said: "It is now their time to move on and I'd like to thank Sisters Gabriel, Teresa and Margaret for all the work they have done in Bonnyrigg over the years and for accepting this move as God's will for them at this time."

"We thank the residents for the many blessings they have showered on this house through all their prayers over the years.

The Mass was a chance to say thanks and farewell to the Sisters of Nazareth.

"The sisters will continue to try and visit residents and staff from time to time and we will keep you very much in our prayers. Please God, one day the sisters will return to Bonnyrigg."

Spiritual care

The Sisters of Nazareth have been based in Bonnyrigg since 1931, providing spiritual and physical care for residents at Nazareth House.

Archbishop Cushley was joined at the Mass by Fr Allan Ocdenaria and Abbot Mark Caira of Nunraw Abbey in Haddington.

Archbishop Cushley said the Sisters of Nazareth had provided faithful and loving service in Bonnyrigg since 1931.

Archbishop Cushley said: "We are sad about their departure and will reflect on their love, affection, hard work, patience and dedication to others, most if it unseen by the rest of the world.

"They have provided faithful and loving service to the Lord through their work here."

Heather Fraser said: "I worked here for a few years, and every one of the sisters have been like angels.

"My father was here the year before he died and they took excellent care of him. They will be missed."

Find out more about the Sisters of Nazareth at

Watch: New bookshop opens this weekend

St Pauls Bookshop opens at St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh (beside John Lewis) this Saturday afternoon.

Fr Baji, Fr Shinto and Bookshop Manager Emma look forward to welcoming you! Watch the video below or on YouTube. Read more here.

Advent events in the Archdiocese

Advent begins on Sunday 27 November. Here are events in the Archdiocese to help us prayerfully prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ. Register now!

Enter Advent with Isaiah
Every Sunday in Advent this year, the first reading at Mass is from the Prophet Isaiah (Old Testament). We hear his name very often during the rest of the year too. But who was he? When and where did he live? What did he say about Jesus? And what does he have to say to us today? This talk will give an introduction to the Prophet Isaiah and a way to enter into the spirit of the Advent season in his company. Talk by Fr Jamie McMorrin, St Margaret's, Davidson's Mains, Edinburgh.

Monday 28 Nov | 7:30pm-8:30pm (Zoom). Register at

Let Us Pray
Rediscover prayer as we await anew the gift of life in Jesus. Sr Anna Marie McGuan leads this series of three 30 minute talks on different forms of prayers - vocal, meditative, contemplative.

Monday 5, 12, 19 Dec | 7:30pm-8:00pm (Zoom). Link to join: (no registration required).

Advent Rosary for Life

Join us to pray for unborn children, their mothers and all pro-life intentions. Includes a reflection from a priest of the Archdiocese each week. 35 minute event.Wednesday 30 Nov, 7, 14, 21 Dec | 7:45pm-8:20pm (Zoom). Register at

Light from Light - Candlelight Concert
Be uplifted with a candlelit Advent music concert from the Schola Cantorum of St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh. They will sing at the following churches: St Francis Xavier's in Falkirk on Wednesday 7 December; St Patrick's in Kilsyth on Saturday 10 December; St Margaret's in Dunfermline on Friday 16 December. All concerts 8pm. Pay at the door on the night or get your £5 ticket (family ticket £10) on Eventbrite (see below link).

Wed 7 Dec, Sat 10 Dec, Fri 16 Dec | 8:00pm (various venues). Tickets (or pay at door).

Advent reflections
Reflect on the meaning of Advent with two special online talks from Canon Hugh White of Bathgate. They are available to watch now on our YouTube channel: and (or watch below).

SSVP President joins calls for improved help for poor

The Society of St Vincent de Paul in Scotland (SSVP) has added its voice to calls for an "adequate social security system" to help combat the cost of living.

Vincentian charities across the UK issued a statement following the Autumn Budget announcement from the UK Government.

Danny Collins, National President of SSVP Scotland, said: “We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Vincentian brothers and sisters in challenging the social injustices imposed on those we serve.

"The Vincentian statement is a true reflection on how we must always challenge those responsible for implementing policies which further impoverish those most in need.”

The statement calls for:

The St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) alone has supported over 55,000 people in the past year (England and Wales), and it reports worrying trends such as people on higher income accessing our foodbanks, and a 66% increase in the number of requests for help from 2020.

Elizabeth Palmer, CEO of the SVP in England and Wales, said: “The number of people seeking our help across the country is increasing every day.

The profile of the people seeking our help is also changing and is beginning to include those who were previously managing to cope without our help.”

Mark Choonara, CEO of Daughters of Charity Services, says: “We are in a recession. As we seek to restore our economic growth, we must ensure that equality and fairness are rooted at the heart of our efforts, revitalising our society along with our economy.”

The statement, Signed by groups including Company of Mission Priests and Congregation of the Mission, adds: "Catholic social teaching upholds the right for everyone to have dignity.

"We as Vincentian charities call on the government to provide adequate social protection that takes into consideration the basic necessities of life."

VACANCY: Administrator (support team)

The Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh is seeking to appoint an Administrator.

The role involves providing support to the Property Director and general administrative support within the Archdiocesan offices in Edinburgh.

The successful candidate will have strong communication skills, good attention to detail and efficient IT skills, especially in Excel.

They will be proactive, flexible and have the ability to prioritise and organise their work, while also supporting other team members as required. Experience or a qualification in Health and Safety would be beneficial.

To apply, please send your CV and a cover letter detailing how your skills and experience make you suitable for this role to by Friday 2 December

Interviews are scheduled to take place on Monday 12 December. Previous applicants need not apply.

Job details

Administrator (Support Team).

Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh, EH9 1BB.

Full time, 35 hours a week, Mon- Fri

£21,000 FTE

Reports to                 
Office Manager with strong links to the Director of Property.

Main purpose and scope of role
To work as part of the Curia Support team with a focus on supporting the Property Director. Main areas of work are Insurance, Health and Safety and generic administrative work for the Curia.

Key relationships:

Key responsibilities 1 (Property)
Insurance claims and renewals.

Health & Safety

Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme (Topmark)
(20% grants for invoices for maintenance and repairs on listed churches.)

Gillis Building

Key Responsibilities 2 (Support Team)
Working with Office Manager and Support Team as required.


Skills & Ability

Children's Liturgy for Advent

The first Sunday of Advent is this weekend (27 November) and we have Children's Liturgies prepared for the season.

All Children's Liturgy resources are available from the 'resources' in the Catechetics section of this website. Click here.

St Margaret Declaration: We are brothers and sisters in Christ

Here is the homily of Archbishop Leo Cushley, delivered at a service in Dunfermline Abbey, to mark the official signing of the St Margaret Decalaration of Friendship between the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church in Scotland.


My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

First of all, let me thank the Reverend MaryAnn Rennie for her gracious invitation to address a few words to you on this happy occasion.

Today, we gather in the City of Dunfermline, first and foremost to remember St Margaret on her feast day.  In her, we honour a woman who is fairly well known to us thanks to her biographer, who was also her confessor.

Unlike, say Columba or Cuthbert, she doesn’t have the aura of a distant Celtic myth about her.  The picture we have of her is very real, somehow much more up to date.

We know just what she was like so, even at this distance, we can honour her goodness, her strength of character, her patience, her mercy, her determination, her sense of justice, her holiness.

And we come here today to learn from her, for our own sake, and for that of our Church and of our nation.  We hold her memory dear, and we pledge ourselves to work as she did for the peace and prosperity of our land.

Although she lived 950 years ago, Margaret’s positive and life-giving impact upon our country’s political, social and spiritual life can still be felt, to this day.

Power of goodness

This immediately teaches us several things: that the power of goodness and holiness must never be underestimated; that leadership is a call to service of others, not of self; that love and mercy really do last forever; and that one good person can make a difference.

The selfless, benign, beautiful example of St Margaret and her continuing influence upon us is a simple proof of all those things.

We continue to underestimate the power of goodness; we think it often looks weak and disarmed; but simple goodness can change people’s hearts, even if it’s something that is sometimes hidden from sight.  Goodness is its own reward, although it may not be a reward that is immediately seen or felt.

We casually lament the quality of leadership in our days. Compared to other times and places, though, there are many fine people who enter public life for the right reasons, and who genuinely succeed in serving their fellow citizens; but, too often, good ideals are made to give way to the democratic imperative to get elected first, and then compromises take the place of what is truly right and just and good.

Occasionally, however, one person makes a difference, one person in the right place and time changes the game.  Queen Margaret was such a person.

Providence sent her to Scotland and a transformation of our land started under her good and gentle guidance.  So, we honour her goodness, her strength of character, her patience, her mercy, her determination, her sense of justice, her holiness.

We honour her by imitating those virtues, and by praying the good Lord for a double share of her spirit for ourselves and for our whole land.

One of the things she and her sons set out to do was to connect, or to reconnect, old Christian Scotland with the rest of the continent, to drag it, as it were, into the 11th century. Poland had converted to Christianity in 966; Kievan Rus had done so in 988; St Stephen, the king of Hungary and St Margaret’s grandfather, had converted to Christianity in 1000 AD; and by 1070, the date we are remembering today, a great movement of social and religious reform was under way throughout Europe.

Embracing the faith

So, as Margaret grew up in the Hungarian court, she was influenced by the joy and enthusiasm of people newly embracing the faith.  But she was also an English Saxon Princess, and her father’s side came from people who had been Christian for centuries.

Most date the beginnings of Saxon Christianity to the arrival of St Augustine at Canterbury in 597.  Augustine had been sent from Italy to England by Pope Gregory the Great, and although Christianity was already thriving in Britain and Ireland, it was solidly reinforced by Augustine’s arrival.

Those of us who learn of these things will acknowledge that there is a lot more to the story than that, but that’s enough for now: I give you this simple version of the event, in order to imagine What if… What if Margaret wished to bring the monks from Canterbury here for the same reasons?

She was a Saxon, so were they; they had strong links to the continental church, so did they; like Margret, they might have felt distinctly uncomfortable at the arrival of the Normans in Kent; and there may also have been ties of kinship and affection, now lost to us, that would have made the request to them - by this Anglo-Saxon princess, now the Queen of Scots – a more attractive prospect.

In any case, they accepted the invitation, and the rest, as they say, is history. The silken threads that bind us together were bound then too, and they were quietly reinforced by blood, and friendship, and faith.

These were living links between real people, and the border between the Scots and the English was, once again, overstepped and softened by genuine ties of faith and kinship and affection.

And if we think this is all ancient history and far from us today, we need only look to the presence of Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal here with us, or to the monks of Pluscarden Abbey near Elgin, alive and well today, who trace their ancestry to the monks of this very priory.  In their different ways, they, like us, are a living link to the memory of what was founded here 950 years ago.

And as if that weren’t enough, we will shortly do something that will, I hope, help to build and consolidate those bonds I’ve just outlined.

The Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church in Scotland look to the pre-Reformation history of the Church here as a part of their shared heritage.  This is something that they, along with the Scottish Episcopal Church, have long acknowledged, but they have never done so together, or in public.

Christian heritage

The international ecumenical movement, widely acknowledged to have begun in Edinburgh in 1910, took many decades to have its impact, and it was only in the 1980s that the churches in Scotland, heirs to the Christian heritage here, started to talk to each other more seriously, to pray and to act in common.

And they started – as everyone in the ecumenical movement did – by looking at what divides these ancient institutions, and in their initial enthusiasm tried to work towards an institutional union like that seen before the 16th century.  And they found it difficult.  Very difficult.  And very tiring.

And yet, at the same time, others were starting to approach the matter from a different direction. In 2010, I sat in Westminster Abbey and listened to Pope Benedict say to the Archbishop of Canterbury, before an abbey full of Christian leaders from all over the UK, that we have more in common than that which divides us.  This bears repeating: we have more in common than that which divides us.

It was a sentiment I hoped was true, and perhaps worth exploring.  And I began to wonder, if it’s true – and it feels sort of true - what would it actually look like?  What if, instead of chasing down all the differences that have accrued over nearly five centuries, we were to write down what we have in common instead?

How would it be if we were to start from what we both hold dear, what we both treasure in our common heritage, and write that down instead?  It needn’t be an exhaustive list, it needn’t be complicated.  The only thing then to be sought would be the political will to go and look. Anyway, I returned to my work abroad, and put these thoughts to one side.

But then in 2013 I was sent back to Scotland, and to Edinburgh.  I returned as the Catholic Archbishop for this area, and I was invited to attend the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.  I’d never been before, and only knew vaguely what to expect. In terms of protocol and meetings and so on, it was fairly straightforward.

But something had changed while I had been away from Scotland (the previous twenty years), and the people attending the General Assembly let me see it.

The week before I was consecrated bishop, I was at St Andrews at a service and a minister walked up to me and said, “You’re the new archbishop, aren’t you?” She promptly gave me a big hug and then said, “I’m Lorna Hood, and I’m the Moderator of the General Assembly”.  Something had definitely changed while I was away… And at the following General Assemblies, I was made to feel ever more welcome.


So, these last forty years have been ones characterised by sincere theological dialogue, and we have arrived occasionally at agreement.  We have also learned to pray together as brothers and sisters in Christ, especially in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity every January.

And our people in their parishes now work together here and there in various charitable projects.

Above all, however, through our contacts over these last decades, something else has grown up, perhaps unnoticed: many on both sides have learned to become friends.  And that, given our shared history, isn’t nothing.

We all know the history that we share.  It contains much for us to regret, and it would be naïve to pretend it all away; but it’s a further reason to do something about it.  Given our context, then, a friendship that is the unlooked-for consequence of the last 40 years is something to be noticed, to be welcomed, and to be built upon.

As I said at this year’s General Assembly, in the presence of my friend the Moderator Dr Iain Greenshields, here with us today, the Declaration is also a consciously new approach to ecumenism, an attempt to re-imagine the path towards Christian unity.

Instead of listing our problems and points of friction or grievance, old or new, the Declaration chooses to focus on what we have in common, and to underline that we treasure together, so much that is inspiring and ancient, profound and beautiful.

It suggests that we might one day reach effective unity by means of a growing affective unity.  That’s just a clever way of saying greater unity achieved – at least in part - through greater friendship.

I would like to mention just some of the names of those involved in drawing up the Declaration, including Moderators Lord Jim Wallace and Iain Greenshields, Principal Clerks Drs George Whyte and Fiona Smith, ecumenical officer Dr Iain McPake, Convener of the Ecumenical Relations Committee Reverend Sandy Horsburgh, and several others who helped to shape the Declaration into its final form.  It was a great pleasure to work with them to achieve today’s goal.

Of course, it’s not all over just yet: we will continue to discuss and deepen our understanding of important points of division over our heritage; but, meantime, more importantly, we believe, already, here and now, that where two or three of us are gathered together in the Lord’s name, He is there in our midst.

We are brothers and sisters in Christ.  We stand shoulder to shoulder before an unbelieving world.  And we wish to respect each other, to be a support to each other, and to do all we can, with patience and humility, to achieve the unity that the Lord prayed for.

And if St Margaret and the first men who came here nearly a thousand years ago were here with us now, I would like to think that they would welcome and approve of us setting out in this way, again, in friendship, to face the next thousand years, not as enemies or rivals, but as sisters and brothers - and friends in Jesus Christ.

Archbishop Leo Cushley, 16 November 2022.

Declaration of Friendship signed at Dunfermline Abbey

An historic declaration of friendship between the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church in Scotland was signed at Dunfermline Abbey this afternoon.

The St Margaret Declaration was formally endorsed during a special service to celebrate the 950th anniversary of the building.

It was signed by Dr Iain Greenshields, Archbishop Leo Cushley and Princess Anne.

Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal, was in attendance along with around 300 invited guests from the local community, ecumenical partners, civic society and heritage organisations.

Named after the 11th century Scottish Queen who is buried in the abbey, the St Margaret Declaration is the culmination of years of ecumenical relationship building between the two Churches which recognise each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

It was signed by ArchbishopLeo Cushley, who preached during the service, Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and Princess Anne.

Stand alongside each other

Archbishop Cushley said: "The declaration is a consciously new approach to ecumenism, an attempt to re-imagine the path towards Christian unity.

"Instead of listing our problems and points of friction or grievance, old or new, the Declaration chooses to focus on what we have in common and underline that we treasure together, so much that is inspiring and ancient, profound and beautiful.

"We stand shoulder to shoulder before an unbelieving world and we wish to respect each other, to be a support to each other, and to do all we can to achieve the unity that the Lord prayed for.

"And if St Margaret and the first men who came here nearly a thousand years ago were here with us now, I would like to think that they would welcome and approve of us setting out in this way.

"In friendship, to face the next thousand years, not as enemies or rivals, but as sisters and brothers and friends in Jesus Christ."

Dr Greenshields said: "I am deeply honoured and privileged to be one of the signatories of the St Margaret's Declaration at Dunfermline Abbey in its 950th year and on St Margaret's Day.

"This new friendship agreement has been many years in the making and is aptly named after a Scottish Queen who was venerated for her missionary Christian faith and her kindness and generosity to poor people.

"The declaration reflects the steadfast desire of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Scotland and the Church of Scotland to continue to journey together and to see the healing of division within our nation.

"I would want people across Scottish society to look at this new relationship between the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church and take away a powerful message – there is more that unites us than divides us as we strive to be an ever more united Christian voice in this land.

"May the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ be in us and between us, may the living hope of the Gospel inspire us and may the deep, enduring, inspiring, renewing and eternal love of God in Jesus sustain us."

Unity and cooperation
Written by senior figures from both Churches, the declaration describes the Churches' shared beliefs, ‘rooted in the Apostles, Christ's first disciples,' and acknowledges a common heritage as Christians in Scotland.

It also recognises the divisions of the past, apologises for the hurt and harm caused and seeks to make amends, asserting ‘we repent and ask forgiveness of one other.'

It is accepted that some divisions between the Churches remain challenging and more work is needed on reconciliation and healing.

Nevertheless, both Christian denominations say that what they hold in common is far greater than what divides them, and they commit to continue working towards greater unity.

Princess Anne, who served as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly in 2017, was invited to the service as the patron of St Margaret's Chapel Guild at Edinburgh Castle.

Addressing the congregation, she said: "We have been able to celebrate St Margaret today and I think her legacy has helped to bring us this declaration and I thank you all for that.

"Once again, my congratulations on this significant anniversary for the abbey and for the city of Dunfermline but also underlining the importance of what you have signed up today."

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth visited Dunfermline Abbey in 1972 to mark its 900th anniversary and King Charles and the Queen Consort were there last month.

The St Margaret Declaration can be read here. Main picture copyright Church of Scotland.

New bookshop to open at Cathedral

Two priests will throw open the doors to a new Catholic bookshop in Edinburgh city centre this month.

Fathers Baji Joseph Puthiyaparambil and Shinto Joseph Karimattathil will launch St Pauls Bookshop at St Mary's Cathedral on Saturday 26 November.

Fr Baji (52) said: “I am really excited about this because it is something truly connected to the charism of the Society of St Paul."

Fathers Baji Joseph (left) and Shinto Joseph Karimattathil with Archbishop Leo Cushley.

The men, both members of the Society of St Paul and from Kerala, India, are based at St Joseph's Parish in Broomhouse.

Their religious order was founded in Italy in 1914 to follow in the footsteps of St Paul the Apostle in bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world.


Fr Baji, a priest for 22 years, said: “Archbishop Leo Cushley invited the Society of St Paul to Edinburgh to collaborate with the Archdiocese in its pastoral ministry.

"The first step was setting up the bookshop. We've overcome initial setbacks due to the pandemic thanks to the help and encouragement of Monsignor Patrick Burke at the Cathedral.

"The bookshop is a dream come true for the Society of St Paul and the Archdiocese. We are finally ready to open the doors and all are welcome."

Society of St Paul

The Society of St Paul has bookshops at Westminster Cathedral, St Chad's Cathedral (Birmingham) and Hinsley Hall (Leeds).

The store will stock a wide range, from self-help to world literature, biography, family, theology, philosophy, psychology and more.

Fr Baji is set to open St Pauls Bookshop later this month.

Fr Baji, an author of four books on self-help, added: "We will also stock religious items and gifts, audio-visual, books for children and catechetical books, along with liturgical books, such as missals, lectionaries and church documents."

Archbishop Cushley said: "It's a chance for Catholics and the wider public to access a range of books to inspire, edify and inform. The Cathedral is a real hub, with Coffee Saints cafe and now St Pauls Bookshop.

"We are pleased to collaborate with the Society of St Paul on this project and Frs Baji and Shinto have worked hard to make it happen."

St Pauls Bookshop at St Mary’s Cathedral, Broughton Street (next to John Lewis), open from Saturday 26 November. Opening hours: every day (except Monday) 10:00am to 5:30pm.

Tributes paid following death of Archbishop Mario Conti

Tributes have been paid to Archbishop Mario Conti, Emeritus Archbishop of Glasgow, who has died.

Bishop Hugh Gilbert, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and Bishop of Aberdeen said: “It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Archbishop Emeritus Mario Conti.

"His presence as a bishop has been a constant for so long, it is difficult to remember a time when he wasn’t an active or retired member of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.

"As the current Bishop of Aberdeen I have many fond memories of him during his 25 years as Bishop of Aberdeen.

"Although he became Archbishop of Glasgow in 2002 his ties to the North East of Scotland remained strong.

"His interest in and knowledge of Scotland’s Catholic history was well known and his commitment to preserving the cultural heritage of the church was unwavering.

"In his retirement, he was a source of great wisdom and pastoral support to his successors both in Glasgow and Aberdeen.

"His work in ecumenism and interfaith matters as well as his affection for the Italian community in Scotland were among his defining characteristics. On behalf of the Bishops of Scotland, we commend his soul into the hands of God and pray that he may enjoy eternal rest.”

Archbishop Conti died on Tuesday evening after a short illness, at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

He was 88 years old. He had been a priest for 64 years and a bishop for 45 years.

He was one of the last surviving bishops in the world to have been appointed by Pope (now saint) Paul VI.

After 25 years in Aberdeen as Bishop he was named as successor to Cardinal Tom Winning as Archbishop of Glasgow in 2002, serving for 10 years.