WATCH: Lent reflection from Canon Hugh White

Here is this week's Lent reflection from Canon Hugh White, who discusses the forthcoming Sunday Gospel.

Questions for reflection: 1 . How do you typically feel when someone points out one of your faults? How do you react? 2. What has been a ‘ mountaintop’ experience for you? How did you encounter God in that experience? 3. What helps you to go deeper into yourself and appreciate the ‘Godness' that is there?
Canon Hugh's reflections are uploaded each Monday in Lent on our YouTube channel.
Canon Hugh White is a retired priest of the Archdiocese based in Bathgate.

MONDAY: Join our online Stations of the Cross

Join people from across the Archdiocese to pray the Stations of the Cross each Monday in Lent.

The first one is tonight (Monday 19 February) at 7:45pm and concludes with a reflection from our guest Fr Francis Ututo SMMM, preiest at St Cuthbert's & Our Lady's in Edinburgh. Click here to register.

We will be praying for the unborn, their mothers and all pro-life intentions.

This online event lasts around 30 minutes and concludes with a brief reflection Includes brief reflection from a member of the clergy each week.

Next week we welcome Sr Roseann Reddy from the Sisters of the Gospel of Life (Glasgow).

Contributors for the remaining weeks are Fr Jonathan Whitworth, of St Thomas the Apostle Parish, Neilston (Paisley Diocese), Fr James Cadman (St Mary & St David, Hawick) Fr Michael Carrie, St Mungo's, Alloa, and St Serf's Valleyfield (Dunkeld Diocese) and Archbishop Leo Cushley.

Moira McCrae awarded Archdiocesan Medal

Congratulations to Moira McCrae who received the Archdiocesan Medal from Archbishop Cushley yesterday (Tuesday 13 February).

She was presented with the award for her outstanding service to the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) and its Fife Furniture Project.

Archbishop Cushley visited Dunfermline and was joined by Fr Syriac Palakudiyil of St Margaret's Parish and Haydn Carr, Archdiocesan President of the SSVP, along with husband Ian, family and friends to celebrate!

Moira, of Kingseat, leads the Fife Furniture Project with David Hunter, who also received the Archdiocesan Medal recently. She said she was "surprised and delighted" to receive recognition.
Left, Moira and fellow medal recipient David Hunter get ready to cut the cake and, right, holding her certificate with Archbishop Cushley.

Archbishop Cushley said: "So many of us in the Archdiocese are aware of the work of Moira and David in leading the brilliant work of the SSVP's Fife Furniture Project.

"They have helped a staggering number of people in need over the years, providing furniture and white goods, items which for years she crammed into her garage in Kingseat ahead of distribution by David and fellow volunteers. Contgratulations to them both."

There's a great cameraderie in working together to help others...it can really move mountains.

Canon Brian Gowans, who nominated them, said: "David and Moira have helped so many families and I have called upon them often to help families in need.

"I nominated them in my capacity as Archdiocesan Vicar Episcopal for Caritas, Justice and Peace but also in my role as the Archdiocesan Spiritual Director for the SSVP. I know how humbled they are in receiving this award and I'm delighted that my nominations were accepted as they both richly deserve the Archdiocesan Medal."

"Moira added: "We need more young people to rally and come forward to help with the Fife Furniture Project. There's a great cameraderie in working together to help others...it can really move mountains."

The Fife Furniture Project supports people who have been homeless or are in need. Volunteers collect and deliver furniture and white goods to homes across Fife at no cost.

The Archdiocesan Medal for Outstanding Service to the Church was established in 1975 by Cardinal Gordon Joseph Gray, Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh. Only 100 or so medals have been awarded for “outstanding voluntary service” to the Church at a local level.

VACANCY: Estates Surveyor

The Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh is seeking to appoint an Estates Surveyor to support the Director of Property in all aspects of property management, development, letting, acquisitions, and sales of property.

The role holder should have significant property related experience and ideally be RICS qualified.  The role is varied and requires strong organisational skills to deliver the different aspects of the role in a timely and proficient manner.

To apply, please send your CV and a cover letter detailing how your skills and experience make you suitable for this role to recruitment@staned.org.uk by Friday 1 March 2024.

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Job Title: Estates Surveyor (readvertised)

Location: The Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Rd, Edinburgh, EH9 1BB.

Hours: 35 hours a week (Mon- Fri).

Salary: £31.5-35K dependent on qualifications/experience.

Department: Property.

Purpose and scope

The Property function at the Archdiocese is based in Edinburgh and is responsible for all real estate activities of the Archdiocese including all Churches, residential, halls and other commercial premises. The estates surveyor will be assisting and reporting to the Director of Property in all aspects of property management, development, letting, acquisitions, and sales of church property.

Key responsibilities

Key skills/knowledge

Line management responsibilities: None.

Reports to: Director of Property.

 

Day of Prayer for victims of abuse

The Day of Prayer for those who have suffered abuse is marked each year on the Friday following Ash Wednesday (this year 16 February).

Material for parishes has been prepared with the generous support of some survivors of abuse, along the Scottish National Liturgical Commission and the Scottish Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency.

Archbishop Cushley has sent the material to parishes for use that day and has encouraged clergy to recite the Prayer for Survivors with parishioners at Mass.

Heal their wounds, their strength renew: A Prayer for Survivors

Bestow healing, Lord God,
upon your beloved children,
wounded by the pain and fear
inflicted on them by others.
Cast light on the darkness of their hearts
and draw near to them
to restore what is lost.
Shelter them safely in your love
and make them confident in the knowledge
that they have been powerfully redeemed.
Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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Grief to Grace Retreat

Grief to Grace is hosting a Scottish Retreat at St Mary's Monastery & Retreat Centre in Kinnoull, Perthshire, on Monday 15 - Saturday 20 April, 2024.

It is a five-day programme of spiritual and psychological healing for anyone who has suffered any form of abuse, including clerical and religious abuse.

It takes place in a safe, protected environment and the process is grounded in the Scriptures, the Sacraments and prayer, enabling you to open your deepest wounds to the  healing power of Christ the Divine Physician.

However, this retreat programme has also been expertly and lovingly designed to make a path for that healing using therapeutic tools from the most up-to-date psychology and treatment of trauma.

The human science of psychology is integrated into a Christian view of the person whose meaning and dignity is deeper than the psyche. Body, mind and spirit are all engaged and cared for.

Find out more about Grief to Grace retreats at https://www.grieftograceuk.org/about

Forthcoming events

Here's a round-up of forthcoming events in the Archdiocese and beyond. Full listings of all our events can be found on our news-events page.

Sat 24 Feb: ARISE
The ARISE retreat on  is for 16-35 year olds across Scotland to gather for a day of faith, fun and friendship at St Albert’s Chaplaincy, George Square, Edinburgh. The day includes Mass, Adoration, talks, small group discussion, opportunities for Confession and much more. Tickets are £15 which includes lunch & dinner, along with the whole day’s programme. Register at https://www.youth2000.org/events/Edinburgh

25 Feb: EXPLORE
Join other young Catholic women to chat and explore God's will in monthly get-togethers in Edinburgh. To register email religiousvocations@staned.org.uk

 

Throughout Lent: The Challenge of the Gospels
Spend time with Canon Hugh White in Lent as he reflects on the coming Sunday Gospel. The Challenge of the Gospel videos will be posted on our YouTube channel each Monday morning in Lent, beginning on 12 February.

Monday 19 February (and throughout Lent): Stations of the Cross
Pray the Stations of the Cross each Monday in Lent at 7:45pm. The first takes place on Monday 19 February. Praying for the unborn, their mothers and all pro-life intentions. Register at bit.ly/lentstations

Friday 23 Feb: Interreligious Dialogue Event
The Bishops' Conference of Scotland Committee for Interreligious Dialogue hosts its annual colloquium at the Conforti Centre in Coatbridge. Register by emailing joseph.sikora@bcos.org.uk

Friday 23 Feb: SPUC Youth Conference
The Conference runs 23-25 February at Yarnfield Park Training Centre in Stone, Staffordshire. Contact the Pro-Life Office fr more info: prolife@staned.org.uk

Sun 3 March: Remembering Service
A service for those who have suffered the loss of a child, from the beginning of pregnancy onwards, together with those who wish to come in love and support, to have time in quiet surroundings to fully recognise their loss and help with healing. It takes place on Sunday 3 March 2024 at 5.00pm in St John the Baptist RC Church, Corstorphine, 37, St Ninian’s Road, Edinburgh, EH12 8AL. This service may be helpful to anyone who feels that they have not had the opportunity to acknowledge and grieve for their loss.

Sat 3 March: Day for Catechists
In this Year of Prayer, we invite parish catechists to join us for a day of workshops, witness and inspiration. Register here (registration closes Thursday 7 March at 2:00pm).

Sat 16 March: Pathways of Hope
Join us at The Gillis Centre in Edinburgh for Pathways of Hope: Catholic Social Teaching and Poverty. Register at bit.ly/pathwaysofhopeevent

Sat 23 March - Called to be Saints
A day of inspiration, friendship and prayer for S1-S4 pupils that asks the question 'what does it to be a saint in the modern world?' Includes talks from TV presenter Judith Ralston and Sr Catherine Farrelly, from the Sisters of the Gospel of Life. Called to be Saints takes place on Saturday 23 of March from 12noon, finishing by 4:00pm at The Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh, EH9 1BB. Free parking onsite. Register your child for this FREE event here.

Buffer Zone Bill will take ‘sledgehammer to civil liberties’

Earlier this week the Daily Record covered the debate set to take place among MSPs on whether to have 'Buffer Zones' around abortion clinics, writes Peter Kearney, of the Scottish Catholic Media Office.

A Bill proposed by Green MSP Gillian MacKay would criminalise any action aimed at persuading someone not to access abortion or to consider an alternative, within 200 metres of premises carrying out abortions.

It would become illegal, to:

The Bill takes a sledgehammer to free speech and demolishes many other civil liberties, including freedom of expression, assembly, thought, conscience and religion.

It could create for the first time in Scottish legal history, a thought crime. You would just need to think negatively about the actions of others to fall foul of the law.

With so much at stake, it’s probably worth asking: what exactly is the problem this terrible Bill is trying to solve?

Well, you might be surprised to learn that no one has ever been arrested outside an abortion facility in Scotland, for breach of the peace, harassment or intimidation.

Police Scotland have stated explicitly that “existing powers and offences are sufficient to address any unlawful behaviour which may arise in the vicinity of a health care premises as a result of such protest.”

They add: “Our engagement with participants...has not resulted in any criminality being identified.”

As the Record’s powerful pictures showed this week, a group of pensioners saying prayers on the pavement isn’t exactly threatening.

Sledgehammer

Since the cops are clear; no crimes are being committed and no new laws are needed, the Bill looks a lot like a sledgehammer being wielded against an invisible nut.

Peaceful protest used to be a cornerstone of our democracy.

Silent vigils have always been seen as harmless and unthreatening.

If we crush that concept now, where will it end?

Silent Peace vigils outside the Trident nuclear base at Faslane have been a fixture for decades, they explicitly attempt to influence those who witness them, but no Scots politician has ever said we should ban them.

That’s because for generations we’ve respected freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of thought conscience and religion as the hard-won human rights they are and wouldn’t dream of erasing them.

Threat to freedoms

The proposed “Buffer Zone” law would at a stroke undo almost a century of settled international human rights law, leaving our courts to determine whether an individual’s thoughts were permissible or not.

Such a threat to universal and fundamental rights is genuinely frightening.

A growing number of people in Scotland are waking up to this real threat to our freedoms and are calling on the Scottish Government to disassociate itself from this damaging and unnecessary proposal.

Our MSPs should steer well clear of unravelling our Human Rights by allowing the Police to protect the peace, the prayerful to pray and the concept of freedom of expression to survive.

Peter Kearney is Director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office. The Daily Record, having commissioned the above article, refused to publish it.

Parishes invited to screen Against the Tide

Parishes are being offered the chance to screen an award-winning documentary that challenges contemporary atheism.

Against the Tide is a travelogue, a science documentary, an excursion into history, an autobiography and more.

But at heart, it is the story of one man’s daring stand against the tide of contemporary atheism and its drive to add belief in God to society’s catalogue of dead ideas. Watch the trailer below or on the official website.

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Against the Tide features actor Kevin Sorbo and Professor John Lennox as they explore the case for Christianity against an atheistic worldview while examining the evidence for Jesus raised from the dead.

John Lennox is Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University and an internationally renowned speaker and author of several books on the interface of science, philosophy and religion.

He says: "I have taken a stand against atheism because I am convinced that it is perilously built on false premises and misinterpretations of evidence.

"Some of it is from science and some of it is from history. Properly understood, the evidence inexorably points to the existence of a creator God.”

Archbishop Cushley said: "It is an inspiring watch that challenges head-on the prevailing secular narrative about our existence and the origins of the universe. All Christians should see this film. Sceptics and those seeking the Truth should see it more so.”

Against the Tide can be screened via DVD, Blu-Ray or webstream in church halls at a low cost and Kharis Productions in Hamilton will help ensure it runs smoothly. To find out more contact info@kharisproductions.com.

David Hunter awarded Archdiocesan medal

Congratulations to David Hunter who received a special honour at Ss John & Columba in Rosyth at the weekend.

He was presented with the Archdiocesan Medal (St Andrews & Edinburgh) from Archbishop Cushley on Saturday morning for his outstanding service to the Society of St Vincent de Paul's Fife Furniture Project.

Archbishop Cushley presents the Archdiocesan Medal to David Hunter during Mass at Ss John & Columba in Rosyth.

Archbishop Cushley said: "Congratulations to David. We thank him and all who volunteer for the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) and charities in the Archdiocese who help the those in need."

David leads the Fife Furniture Project with Moira McCrae, who will receive the Archdiocesan Medal shortly.

They were both nominated for the award by Canon Brian Gowans, the Vicar Episcopal for Caritas, Justice & Peace, and Archdiocesan Spiritual Director for the SSVP.

He said: "David and Moira have helped so many families and I have called upon them to help families in need pver the years.

"David genuinely loves his work and seeing how people can move on with their lives after receiving furniture or white goods.

"I am delighted that my nominations were accepted as David and Moira richly deserved the Archdiocesan Medal."

Fr Andrew Kingham, parish priest, said: "David is a humble and modest man who devotes so much of his time to the Church. Today we recognise his work for the SSVP of which he has been a stalwart for so many years.

Haydn Carr, President of the SSVP for the Archdiocese, said: "This is a richly deserved award for such a humble and hard-working man. David epitomises everything that is good about the SSVP."

The Fife Furniture Project supports people who have been homeless or are in need. Volunteers collect and deliver furniture and white goods to those in need across Fife at no cost.

The Archdiocesan Medal for Outstanding Service to the Church was established in 1975 by Cardinal Gordon Joseph Gray, Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh. Only 100 or so medals have been awarded for “outstanding voluntary service” to the Church at a local level.

Celebrating World Day for Consecrated Life

Religious brothers and sisters from across the Archdiocese joined together with Archbishop Cushley in Edinburgh today to mark World Day for Consecrated Life.

The Day was a chance for religious in our Archdiocese to attend Mass, enjoy lunch and listen to a reflection from Fr Adrian Porter SJ, below, on Pope Francis seen through the eyes of St Ignatius.

Pope St John Paul II instituted the day in 1997 on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

Each year the Church has thanked God for the gift of the different forms of consecrated life and pray that our Church will continue to be enriched by the life and witness of consecrated men and women.

If you are interested in exploring the Religious Life contact our Director of Religious Vocations Sr Mirjam Hugens FSO at religiousvocations@staned.org.uk