New atrium helps children grow in love of the Good Shepherd

Archbishop Cushley blessed a new atrium at St Theresa's Church in East Calder today (Thursday 6 July) where children will grow in their knowledge and love of God.

The catechesis space is where they can have a fun, hands-on experience learning about prayer and liturgy from specially trained catechists.

Archbishop Cushley gave a blessing to the new atrium and to Catechetists.

The training of the catechists has been taking place at the church all this week, run by Catechesis of the Good Shepherd UK.

Four parishioners from St Theresa's were joined by others from across the Archdiocese and beyond.

Parishioner Blanca Rangel said: “Our parish priest Kevin Douglas asked me to get involved, and it's been really engaging.

"I'm looking forward to sowing that little grain in which to help kids grow up in the Faith."

Johnny and Maria Welch (below), from London, travelled north for the training with their four-month old daughter Rosamund.

Johnny and Maria Welch travelled from London with daughter Rosamund for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd training course at St Theresa's.

Johnny said: “We came here because it was an opportunity to do the first stage of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd training in one week.

"There’s an atrium in our parish in London - Holy Trinity Parish in Brook Green - which bears beautiful fruit in the children who attend it. That's what attracted us."

Archbishop Cushley said: "It's very encouraging to see the growth of atriums in various place in the Archdiocese. The one here will be at the service of the village and the rest of the Livingston churches.

Archbishop Cushley with Catechists at St Theresa's in East Calder. Also pictured are parish priest Fr Kevin Douglas (right), Sr Anna Marie (right of Archbishop), Catechetical Advisor for the Archdiocese, and Sr Anna Christi Solis OP (left of Archbishop), the Formation Leader of the training programme.

"I hope that many young families will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to bring their children.

"The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd has simple and proven learning techniques that help children to a knowledge and a love of the Lord.

"It's a beautiful journey and I can warmly recommend it."

A mini altar and vestments in the atrium helps children understand the basics of the Church's liturgy at an early age.

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a Christian catechesis programme for children aged 3-12 years, which "enables them to experience and form an authentic relationship with God".

The Catechesis is rooted in Scripture and the Liturgy of the Church and is inspired by Maria Montessori’s principles of education.

Sr Anna Marie McGuan RSM, the Catechetical Advisor for the Archdiocese, said: "The Atrium is a dedicated catechetical space for children.

Mums and dads realise that their children are desirous of God’s love and this is a way that they can encounter it.

"Right now, it is for children aged 3 to 6, to give them a place where they can encounter the Lord.

"The environment allows themto learn to listen to the voice of God, and so open themselves to the covenant of love that God desires with each person.

"Mums and dads realise that their children are desirous of God’s love and this is a way that they can encounter it in a personal way."

Young mums are among the catechists in training.

Sr Anna Christi Solis OP, the Formation Leader of the programme, said: "We started our first formation in Scotland in 2015 then came back in 2021 in Edinburgh and also at Craig Lodge (retreat centre in Dalmally), so it’s wonderful to plant this.

"Fr Kevin Douglas had an atrium at his previous parish of St Columba’s in Edinburgh, and when he moved to East Calder he wanted to open one to support the young families in the parish."

To find out more about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd UK, click here.

POSTPONED: Children's Liturgy Information Day

This event has been postponed and will be rescheduled for Spring 2023


Training, guidance and support for those who run children's liturgy AND for those interested in getting involved in their parish.

Teaching children the faith of the Catholic Church.

It's an important job. That's why we have volunteers in parishes across the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh doing exactly that.

We want to support them. This day of training and tips will help ensure volunteers have the tools and the know-how to continue their work of sharing the faith to kids in fun and creative ways.

It's also a chance for volunteers to get together and share ideas and testimonies for the first time since the pandemic.

Anyone looking to get involved in Children's Liturgy to help support their parish is welcome - come along and find out more!

A light lunch will be provided.

Registration open at 10:15am. Event begins 10:45am. Lunch provided. Concludes with Mass at 2:15pm. Free parking onsite.

Event organised by the Catechetics Commission of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh.

This Monday on Zoom: Making Prayer Work

We all know prayer isn't easy, but we also know it's necessary.  What is a fruitful way to approach it?

Sr Anna Marie McGuan, RSM, invites you to take part in a Zoom session titled Life of Faith: Where does Prayer fit in?

The 45 minute talk will give you tips on improving your prayer life to help you draw closer to God, and will be followed by a Q&A. To make it as accessible as possible, she will host a session for parishioners in each deanery.  See below for the dates for your area.

Her podcast, Scripture and the Spiritual Life, has hundreds of followers and can be downloaded onto your smart phone, or listened to here.

Deanery | Date

She said: “I wanted to offer a session for each deanery so that as many people as possible can take part and to keep it local. The purpose of these Zoom sessions is to help people in their prayer life, to find meaning and purpose through the habit of prayer."

Sr Anna Marie, a Religious Sister of Mercy, is working in catechesis and faith formation for the Archdiocese. She grew up near Chicago and entered the religious life in 2003. She has a licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.

The event is part of the Commission for Catechetics programme for 2020/21, led by Fr Daniel Doherty, Vicar Episcopal for Catechetics. He said: "We're delighted to have Sr Anna Marie on board to offer a wide range of online talks over the coming months. I know many Catholics in our Archdiocese are keen to grow in prayer. So our commission wanted to respond by offering accessible faith formation for adults."

Sr Anna Marie will host more talks in 2021, covering baptism/confirmation, reconciliation/eucharist and Holy Mass.

To register for the first event only (Fife Deanery, Mon 26th Oct), please email, stating which session you want to take part in, 2pm or 7pm. Registration details for the other deanery events will be published in due course.

Children's Liturgy at Home - latest resources for Sunday

Here's our latest Children's Liturgy at home guides for families:


Here's some craft fun for the 4th Sunday of Easter

...and a prayer for reflection

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