Explore Catholic Social Teaching

Join us at The Gillis Centre in Edinburgh as we explore Catholic Social Teaching and issues of poverty and injustice.

Pathways of Hope takes place on Saturday 16 March and the aim of the day is to help participants develop:

  • A greater awareness of Catholic Social Teaching
  • A deeper understanding of poverty: its causes, structures and effects
  • A plan to take action on poverty and injustice

Register for this FREE event here. Pathways for Hope is organised by the Archdiocesan Commission for Caritas, Justice & Peace. We look forward to welcoming you!

GALLERY: Charity's benefit from Order of Malta's fundraising ball

People came together for a fundraising ball in Edinburgh on Saturday to help charitable causes in Scotland and Ukraine.

The events was hosted by the Order of Malta at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Edinburgh and was attended by over 230 guests.

The money raised from the event will:

Archbishop Leo Cushley attended the event, along with the Chancellor of the Order of Malta, the Delegate and prior delegate of the Order in Scotland and several clergy.

It is the 20th occasion that the Order of Malta has hosted an annual charity fundraising ball in Edinburgh, which raises funds for its charitable projects in Scotland and overseas.

The Sovereign Order of Malta is the world's oldest Christian charity. Founded in the eleventh century in Jerusalem, today it numbers 150,000 medical and paramedical personnel and volunteers operating in over 120 countries.

It has diplomatic relations with over 100 states and the European Union, and permanent observer status at the United Nations. It is neutral, impartial and apolitical.


Supporting those in need worldwide

Archbishop Leo Cushley has called on people across the Archdiocese to support charities this weekend.

He has asked all parishes to share a letter from Bishop Brian McGee (below) and support the special collection this weekend for papal and episcopal charities, including SCIAF.

He said: "The money you donate is used to support much needed projects for people in need across the world.

"We pray for all those involved in charities of the Church, which help those in need across the world. Thank you for your generosity in almsgiving during Lent.”

To donate online to SCIAF, please visit the SCIAF website. Find out more about its work here.


My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

I write on this the fourth Sunday of Lent on behalf of the Bishops of Scotland to give thanks for your generosity and prayerful support of SCIAF – the official relief and development agency of the Catholic Church in Scotland – at what is an uncertain and difficult time for many of us.

Despite this, you continue to show compassion for those in need, particularly our sisters and brothers affected by the recent Earthquake in Syria- Türkiye, and those who are suffering because of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Furthermore, during my recent visit to Ethiopia, I saw first-hand how countless lives have been transformed through your generosity.

With your loving support, SCIAF – the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund – continues to work in parts of the world where people are so dreadfully in need, to support people to build brighter futures.

In the Gospels, we hear of many occasions when Jesus heals the sick, reaching out with love and mercy to the most marginalised and the poorest people, both in action and in spirit. As Catholics we are called to follow his example to recognise that we are our sisters or brother’s keeper. To reach out to the poorest people with love.

SCIAF is the embodiment of the love of our Church in Scotland, reaching out to our most vulnerable sisters and brothers around the world. It is why, during Lent, we ask you to give generously to SCIAF’s WEE BOX appeal to support the vital work SCIAF does on our behalf.

Around the world, 811 million people are facing hunger – and 60% of those living with chronic hunger are women and children. Every day, families wake up hungry, not knowing what they will be forced to do to survive, or how long their children will live.

This year's appeal

This year’s Lenten appeal focusses on the lives of Ruth (see above video), Juliet, Catherine, Savita and their families in Zambia.

We hear of how they are living and farming in the harshest of conditions; of the hardships they face when crops fail, and they are left without food.

Ruth was so hungry that she was too tired to work in the fields. Her crops failed and there was no food for her family.

She could not afford to send her children to school; they cried for food that she did not have. She feared that the children would become scavengers or turn to prostitution.

Juliet, Ruth’s 17-year-old daughter, dreams of being a nurse. Unable to concentrate at school because of hunger, she worried that she would have to leave school, like so many of her friends, and marry as a teenager to ensure her survival.

Hunger forced Catherine to search for mushrooms to feed her grandchildren. She mistakenly poisoned herself and her four grandchildren.
Savita boils roots and weeds to feed her young grandson – it is his only meal of the day.

The failed harvests have left nothing for Savita to sell at market, and she cannot afford a school uniform or to send her grandson to school.

However, while hunger is the start of these stories, it does not have to be their end. Together, we can reach out in love and act against hunger.

Your donations make a real difference for so many of the people served by SCIAF and, so, for Ruth, Juliet and Catherine there is now hope.

With the love and compassion of Catholic people across Scotland, we have witnessed change for these women and their families that will last a lifetime.

Yet for Savita, and many others, the future is uncertain. I ask you to give generously to support projects like this one in Zambia so that there can be hope, and an end to hunger and poverty.

Your donations

Your donations will give families the ability to grow their own food by providing the training and tools they need. By ensuring they have the business skills they need to earn an income.

And by providing access to women’s groups and literacy classes so they can work themselves out of poverty.

When we act together – by giving to today’s special Lenten collection and filling up our WEE BOXES – we can reach out in love and act against hunger, supporting women like Savita and their families.

As Lent continues and we look forward to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, I ask you to remember SCIAF and everyone they work with in your prayers.

We thank you for the continued generosity of your donations; know that it goes towards good work and that a just and green world is possible.

May God bless you and your families during the Holy season of Lent and throughout the year,

Bishop Brian McGee
Diocese of Argyll & the Isles
Bishop President of SCIAF
On behalf of the Bishop’s Conference of Scotland

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."

SSVP: daily support for those in need

The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) works  all year around to support those in need in communities across Scotland.

Around 2000 SSVP volunteer members provide this assistance on a daily basis. Working in 300 groups, they assist people in need in the best way

SSVP member Richard Steinbach said: "It is important that our outreach and support for those in need is always available.

"With some shops and foodanks closed on Monday (19 Sep), if you're struggling to get by, or have a family to feed, please don't hesitate to get in touch with your local SSVP conference."

Alternatively, contact Richard on 07719 898 502 for assistance. To become a member of the SSVP contact your local parish. More at ssvpscotland.com

Janice making 1000 soap bars for Mary's Meals

Janice Evans has broken through the halfway point of her challenge for Mary’s Meals, which supports millions of youngsters in deprived nations around the world every school day, writes Jonathon Reilly.

She is even being helped along the way by her children, Mairianne and Michael, who cut her antimicrobial soap loaves and tidy the bars.

Janice’s soap bars will be distributed as part of the Mary’s Meals Backpack Project which gathers and donates bags filled with pencils, notepads, clothing and other hygiene essentials.

Janice, 45, has so far made 540 soap bars for a charity which has been woven into her life and hopes to hit her four-figure target within the next few months.

She said: “I’d realised Mary’s Meals has been in the background of my life in different points, even from being a little girl.

“I’d met the parents of the founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, when I was primary school age. My parents were friendly with a chap called Father Lynch and it was through him they met them and I was also there.

Janice Evans who's making 1000 soap bars for Mary's Meals.

"It's been nice having my children's help and involving them in the charitable work. I've been to Craig Lodge as a a teenager on a retreat and our kids do the backpack at school every year for Mary's Meals.

“It’s one of few charities that keep running costs down to a minimum. A very high percentage goes right to the charity. The rest is basically just living expenses for the people who have to feed families while doing the job.

“I also love the idea of a bar of soap going in a child’s bag and helping a whole family, as we all know how important hand-washing is just now.”

Janice started out in aromatherapy massage in 2008 and specialised in reflexology and Indian head massages.

She moved into soap-making last year and attributes her new-found passion to her early aromatherapy days.

Janice said: “I made soap last year when the virus hit.

“I wanted to do something for the community when the shelves were going bare. All soaps are full of palm oil which is a bit of a crime to me, as it harms the rain forests and doesn’t need to be used.

“Making soap grew out of the aromatherapy because I make loads of nice blends. It’s been quite a learning curve but I really enjoy it.

“I started the challenge on February 19. All going well, I have about 14 weeks left. I’ve also had a trapped nerve in my neck but I’ve managed to keep going!

“I’d really like to thank all the people who have donated.”

Gillian McMahon, director of supporter engagement and income at Mary's Meals, said: “We are so thankful to Janice for her amazing efforts.

“A bag filled with school essentials is a wonderful gift because it ensures these children can get the most out of their education, giving them a ladder out of poverty and the chance of a better future.”

This article first appeared in the Falkirk Herald.

Generous parishioners pack hall with presents!

A Great Toy Giveaway will take place this weekend at St Francis Xavier's Parish in Falkirk thanks to the generosity of parishioners and the local community.

A parish appeal for toys, books and various gifts led to a church hall packed with presents, meaning struggling parents can give children a Christmas to remember.

Parish priest, Fr Jamie Boyle, said: "What an amazing response to our Toy Exchange. This will lighten the burden for so many families this Christmas and it’s good for the planet too!"

A parishioner posted a video on the Parish Facebook page and said: "When Fr Jamie came in and looked at the hall and saw everything, he filled up, because I don't quite think he could believe the generosity."

They added: "Thanks to the generosity of our parishioners we have loads of great toys, games, books, bikes, prams, dolls...all free to take away and hopefully fill a child with joy on Christmas morning."

The Great Toy Giveaway will take place in St Francis Xavier’s Hall, next to the library on Hope Street, 10:00am till 4:00pm.

Practical charity

Archbishop Cushley is encouraging parishes across the Archdiocese to do what they can to support struggling families this Christmas.

He shared a message from the diocesan Caritas, Justice & Peace Commission on practical steps to help those who need support, particularly at Christmas.

Fr Basil Clark, who leads the commission, wrote to clergy following the recent World Day of Prayer for the Poor: "We decided that this was not the year for yet another special collection, drawing resources from the parishes. We want to encourage Catholics to act by getting involved in practical acts of charity, locally, particularly as we approach Christmas, which can be a difficult and stressful time for parents in need."

Fr Basil has highlighted the following to parishes:

The Society of St Vincent de Paul The SSVP do a power of work for the poor in the Archdiocese. Many of our parishes have an SSVP conference in which members quietly work to give support to the poor and work with other organisations in bringing relief to those in need. In our Archdiocese, the SSVP runs a Caravan Project, giving holidays and respite breaks to families. It's furniture project makes hundreds of deliveries of free furniture to those who need it each year. To find out more about the work of the SSVP in Scotland visit its website.

Foodbanks Many supermarkets have donation trollies available. Please consider adding a children's toy to your shopping list to make a Christmas donation.

Schools Local schools often have a keen awareness of poverty in the local area. Look out for appeals from your local school to discover the range of  charity initiatives they may be running that you can donate to.


On a national and global level, it is easy to set up a standing order of even a very small amount to ensure you make a regular donation to charity. Some charities endorsed by the Church and which often run Christmas appeals include Missio, Mary's Meals, Aid to the Church in Need and SCIAF.

Prayer for the 2020 World Day of the Poor (Sunday 15 Nov)

Following World Day of the Poor, we encourage parishioners to pray for the poor in their community and across the world

Almighty, ever-living God, your beloved Son came to us in poverty
to win for us the riches of eternal life.
During His time on earth He taught us by word and deed.
From His death we learned of the immensity of His love;
from His resurrection we learned how to believe and to trust
that our lives have purpose from beginning to end.
Help us never to forget that every person has value and is loved by You.

Remind us that, as Your people grow older,
they do not cease to be people worthy of respect, understanding and appreciation.
Though the eyes of the elderly may grow dim,
we pray that their vision of everlasting life with You may grow ever stronger;
though their bodies may become frail,
we pray that their faith may empower them; though their minds may falter,
we pray that their memories may bring them comfort and peace.

Lord God, may we never forget your Golden Rule
to treat others as we would wish to be treated
and remember to apply that Rule most especially during the golden years of age.
Save us from falling into the trap of seeing the elderly as a burden.

We ask you, Lord God, to help us set aside material wealth
so as to recognise the spiritual riches of patience, compassion and love for all your people.
As we journey through this life side by side,
may we learn to support one another with the combined wealth of youth,
strength, wisdom and experience until we are called to the place you have prepared
for all those who are poor in spirit and rich in love.

We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son,
who lives with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.



Society of St Vincent de Paul prepares for landmark year

The coming year will be a big one for the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) in Scotland - and is of special significance to our Archdiocese.

The foundation of the charity's first conference was at St Patrick’s in Edinburgh, way back on 25th May, 1845.

National President Danny Collins said: "As the time draws close to the end of 2019, we can reflect on the personal spiritual blessings that we received during this year and humbly recall the many acts of charity delivered to those in need that we gladly serve. The New Year is of particular significance in the historical journey of the SSVP as we celebrate our 175th anniversary.

"The coming year also marks the 50th anniversary of the National Council of Scotland, instituted in 1970."

The aim of the Society is to provide a means for members to practice Christianity by showing God’s love to their neighbours who are in need. Its work in our Archdiocese includes prison visits, providing caravan holidays  and helping people in financial difficulties on a person to person basis.

This Christmas, many SSVP conferences are providing food hampers and toys to individuals and families who are in need of a helping hand.

They include the Most Holy Trinity Parish, based at St John & St Columba's Church in Rosyth. Margaret Wilson (above) and fellow members have been busy collecting Christmas hampers, following kind donations from parishioners and the West Fife community.

In the far west of the Archdiocese, SSVP conferences will help distribute nearly 100 parcels collected at St Maurice's High School.

Writing in the latest edition of the Ozanam News, the society's magazine, Mr Collins added: "I wish to express my appreciation to all those involved with the SSVP in Scotland and hope that everyone has a Holy Joyful Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year 2020."

Nationally, next year will see events across the country to help celebrate the 175-years milestone, including:

Mon 25th May 2020: 175th Anniversary event St Patrick’s, Edinburgh.

Sat 13th June 2020: Annual Mass St Andrew’s Cathedral, Glasgow.

Sat. 29th August 2020: Annual Meeting Corn Exchange, Edinburgh.

To read the latest edition of the Ozanam News click here.

Parishioners thanked on feast day of St Vincent de Paul

Parishioners across the Archdiocese have been thanked for supporting the work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP).

SSVP President for St Andrews & Edinburgh, Richard Steinbach, said: "On this Feast Day of St Vincent de Paul, it's a great opportunity to say how grateful we are for parishioners' continued support. The money you put into the SSVP box after Mass makes a huge difference.

"It means we can provide food for those who need a helping hand feeding their family and give funds to local people suffering financial crisis.

"It also supports our popular furniture project as well as our caravan project which gives a holiday to those who might not get one.

Richard, who is also the Society's national vice-president, added: "Please keep the work of the Society in your prayers as we continue to do our best to follow the Christ-like example of St Vincent de Paul, and our founder Blessed Frederic Ozanam."

Visit ssvpscotland.com for more information on its work.