DIARY: Archbishop's Schedule

Here's Archbishop Leo Cushley's schedule up until 18 January.

15 Sunday - 10:15am Mass, St Anne’s Care Home, Musselburgh;  5:00pm Advent Talk for Young Adults, Gillis Centre, Edinburgh.
17 Tuesday - Clergy Visits.
18 Wednesday - 1:00pm Visit, Nazareth Care Home, Bonnyrigg.
19 Thursday  - 12noon Mass for Curia Staff, St Bennet’s, Edinburgh.
24 Tuesday - 12Midnight Midnight Mass, St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh.
25 Wednesday - 10:30am Christmas Day Mass, St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh.
28 Saturday - 12Noon Pro-Life Mass, St Margaret’s Chapel, Edinburgh.
31 Monday - 3:30pm Mass, Missionaries of Charity, Edinburgh.

January 2020
07 Tuesday - 11:00am Fife Deanery Meeting, Kirkcaldy; 2.00pm Clergy Visits.
09 Thursday - 1:30pm Archbishop’s Council, Archdiocesan Offices, Edinburgh.
10 Friday - 11:30am Mass, St Kentigern High School, Blackburn.
11 Saturday to Saturday 18 - ICEL, Washington, DC, USA.

Papal award for dedicated parishioner Margaret

An Edinburgh parishioner has been recognised with a special papal award for dedication to her parish.

Margaret Creamer received the benemerenti medal from Archbishop Leo Cushley at Ss Ninian and Triduana Church recently. Her husband John received the award in 2006.

Speaking to the Scottish Catholic Observer, Des Brogan, a parish council member, said: "Margaret and her husband John have been great supporters of the parish for over 50 years now. Margaret was the real power behind the throne. She was involved in every guild and working behind every social we had in the parish and played a big part in the running of the church for many, many years.

"We thought this would be a good time to say thank-you for all the hard work she has done. We got in touch with the Archbishop and he was happy to raise this with Rome. It coincided with her birthday so all her family were here and she thought that's why they were with her at Mass.

"The real reason was that the Archbishop was here to present her medal. "

Prayer and pizza for young adults during Advent in Edinburgh

Young adults in Edinburgh are being encouraged to get together this weekend for prayer…and pizza.

Archbishop Leo Cushley hosts the second of his Advent talks on the theme ‘The Real Jesus’.

On Sunday, those aged between 16-30 gathered at the Gillis Centre to hear the first of his talks, before Eucharistic Adoration and a chance for confession in the adjoining St Margaret’s Chapel, followed by pizza and refreshments.

Archbishop Cushley said: “It was a pleasure to see both new and familiar faces at the event.

“While the content of the talks is useful it’s just as important to be with each other and make friends, because encouraging each other in the faith is a positive and uplifting experience.

“Come along over the next two Sundays to learn more about your Catholic Faith and to prepare to mark the birth of our saviour, Jesus Christ.”

This weekend’s talk is at 5pm at the Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road. The event is free and no booking is required.

Main image: Benedicta Yi Xin Lin

Archbishop calls on government to act as prison population soars

The Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh has called on politicians to tackle Scotland’s growing prisoner population problem after it was revealed last week that prisoner numbers are at a near record high

Archbishop Leo Cushley made the plea to ‘ensure fair and humane treatment of prisoners’ after a report from Holyrood’s Justice Committee to the Scottish Government said the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) is under substantial pressure which is not sustainable.

Archbishop Cushley said: “Our prisons, and the way we treat our prisoners, tell us a lot about the social mores of our society.

“There has recently been a dramatic increase in the amount of time people spend in jail. The numbers of prisoners released on Home Detention Curfews (HDC) has also declined dramatically, meaning a further increase in the prison population.

“The length of time that we are putting people in prison for in Scotland seems, therefore, to be a measure of a distorted politics or at the very least an aversion to risk.

“As well as the effect it has on prisoners themselves, this has in turn led to huge pressure on Scottish Prison Service (SPS) staff and our prison system.”


A Scottish Government review was carried out following the murder of a man by a prisoner on HDC. It means many HDC applications are now rejected.

Colin McConnell, the chief executive of the SPS, recently told MSPs on Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee about ‘serious day-to-day operational pressures’ on the prison service.

A 2018/19 Audit Scotland report found prisons to be operating well over capacity, posing a threat to safety and sustainability.

It stated that prisoner numbers increased by nearly nine per cent in one year to 8,212, and are set to rise further.

It also described ‘profound challenges’ including significant increases in assaults by prisoners on staff and other prisoners. Additionally, stress-related sickness among staff rose by nearly one third in 2018/19.

Mr McConnell told MSPs that the only way to accommodate a rise in prisoners was by ‘doubling-up’—putting two prisoners in every cell.

Minimum space

However, in the report to the Scottish Government last week, it was revealed that 90 per cent of prisoners in Barlinnie are doubling up in cells designed for one person, breaching the minimum space standard of 4 square metres per prisoner.

Archbishop Cushley’s comments come following Prisoners Week, in which he encouraged more Catholics to take part in a prison visiting project at HMP Edinburgh.

He said: “Scotland has one of the highest imprisonment rates in Europe, and yet I’m fairly confident that most of us in Scotland aspire to live in a fair, liberal, decent and enlightened country.

“It is undeniable that there are many people who have suffered as victims of crime and they deserve justice.

“But we ought to balance that by believing that people can be helped to change, to be rehabilitated and safely returned to society. That also means that we ought not to turn our prisons into a kind of revenge by leaving people in prison interminably.

“Imaginative new ways are being tried in different countries not too far from here that could help us think of more humane and effective means to deal with prisoners while helping those who serve in our prisons.”

This article first appeared in the Scottish Catholic Observer, Friday 6th December. By Colette Cooper.

DIARY: Archbishop's schedule

Here's Archbishop Leo Cushley's schedule up until 13 December.



Supporting Pope Francis' call to prayer this Mission Sunday

Catholics across the Archdiocese are being asked to respond to Pope Francis' call to prayer for Mission Sunday this weekend.

Archbishop Leo Cushley will be the principal celebrant at the inaugural National Mass at Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral in Motherwell on Sunday at 3pm.

He is Missio Scotland President and recently took part in a promotional campaign.

He said: "My mission is to preach the Good News in season and out of season, along with all the other bishops, priests and deacons and every man woman and child who has been baptised.

"We all have that mission to reach out to our brothers and sisters in joy."

Masses across the Archdiocese will have a second collection for the work Missio Scotland which supports missionaries across the world.

There are also missionaries closer to home. Father Francis Ututo is a member of the Sons of Mary, Mother of Mercy congregation (SMMM) in Nigeria and is based at Sacred Heart Parish in Grangemouth,

Speaking to the Scottish Catholic Observer, he praised the work of Scottish Catholic missionaries in boosting vocations in Nigeria

He said: "Between the 1960s and 1970s many priests, particularly from this Archdiocese, came to Nigeria to sow the seeds of Faith.

“Then after some 20-30 years, that seed has brought about missionaries who are happy to come back and say thank you and minister to the Church here in Scotland. That’s a great privilege for us.

“For us, Jesus gives the mandate: go throughout the whole world, proclaim the Good News. As missionaries we are happy to go to the ends of the earth, which includes here in Scotland!"

A spokesman for Missio Scotland said: "All are welcome. Please come along and celebrate our missionaries and the work of Missio Scotland."

National Mass to celebrate Extraordinary Mission Month, Sunday 20th October, 3pm, Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral, Motherwell.