Archdiocesan Review of the Year 2020

Here's a look at just some of the news from across the Archdiocese in an eventful 2020.


-Parishioners from across the Archdiocese came together to attend the annual pro-life Mass at St Margaret’s Chapel in the Gillis Centre, followed by a chance to socialise.

-The Requiem Mass for the Very Rev James Canon Friel, who died aged 86, took place at St Mary’s Church in Haddington, with burial at St Mary’s Cemetery.

-The Very Reverend Nick Welsh, then parish priest at Our Lady & St Andrew in Galashiels, was appointed the Vicar Episcopal for Catholic Education for the Archdiocese.

-Archbishop Leo Cushley headed to Washington as part of a week-long stint at the International Commission of English in the Liturgy (ICEL).

-Professor David Jones was the keynote speaker at an Archdiocesan Bioethics Day held at the Gillis Centre, Edinburgh

-Archbishop Leo Cushley paid tribute to the role of the Augustinian community at the Annual Day for Religious in Edinburgh.


-The first 'Ask Me Anything' event was held by our vocations team and featured Sister Mary Margaret, of the Sisters of Nazareth in Bonnyrigg.

-People crammed into the Gillis Centre in Edinburgh for the Archdiocesan Day for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.

-The UK’s leading Catholic university announced it will launch postgraduate courses in Scotland for the first time. St Mary’s University, Twickenham, agreed arrangements with the Archdiocese for a range of subjects to be taught at the Gillis Centre.

-Archbishop Leo Cushley led the Ash Wednesday service at the Scottish Parliament.


-Tributes were paid to Monsignor Brian Provost Halloran who died suddenly at his home in North BerwickHe was 84.

-Dr Adrian Treloar and Sister Andrea Fraile spoke at the Archdiocesan mini-symposium on gender theory at the Gillis Centre.

-Parishioners paid tribute to the positive impact of the Augustinians as the order left St Joseph’s, Broomhouse, after 25 years.

-Archbishop Cushley released this message to parishioners following the suspension of public Mass due to the Coronavirus outbreak.


-Tributes were made to Fr Joe Miller, a priest of St Patrick's Missionary Society, who died peacefully in Strathcarron Hospice, Stirlingshire.

Archbishop Leo Cushley gave an Easter message of hope when he appeared on BBC1 Scotland's Reflections at the Quay.

-Priest School aired on the BBC Scotland channel giving viewers access to life as a seminarian at the Pontifical Scots College in Rome.

-Tributes were paid to Sister Mary Steedman RSM (Sisters of Mercy) who passed away peacefully at the Rosehill Care Home in Dalkeith. She was 86 and had cancer.


-Fr Chris Heenan of St Margaret's Church in Dunfermline became a social media hit after performing with his accordian on Facebook to lift spirits during lockdown.

-Archbishop Cushley rededicated the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima.

-Tributes were paid to a priest of our diocese who served the poor in Central America. Fr Thomas Greenan died peacefully at St Margaret’s Care Home in Edinburgh. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s and was 64 years old.

-St Joseph's in Peebles opened its doors to welcome the local Foodbank who urgently needed a new location due to spiralling demand during the Covid-19 lockdown.


-Sr Aelrid Timmins, of the Sisters of Mercy in Edinburgh, appeared on a BBC religious programme to explain the founding of the Order.

-Churches re-opened for private prayer

-Fr Nick Welsh was chosen by the Bishops' Conference of Scotland to be the new vice rector of the Pontifical Scots College in Rome.

-Archbishop Cushley appeared on BBC Radio Scotland to share his thoughts on what the gradual easing of lockdown might mean for Catholic churches in Scotland.


-A Lourdes pilgrim was delighted when her idea to request a plenary indulgence for those attending a virtual pilgrimage in the Archdiocese was granted by the Vatican.

-The Archdiocese said farewell to Fr John O’Connor OP, parish priest and superior at St Albert's Chaplaincy at the University of Edinburgh, who was appointed to a new post in Oxford.

-A Midnight Mass at St Mary's Cathedral marked the return of public worship in Edinburgh.

-Family and friends celebrated the ordination of Fr Samuel Burke OP to the Sacred Priesthood at St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh.


-The Archdiocese welcomed two new deacons at St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh - Martin Eckersley and Bobby Taylor.

-Sunday Rosary sessions helped inspire parishioners in Queensferry, Dalmeny and Kirkliston to create a cookbook. Over thirty budding chefs got creative to raise funds for St Margaret's Parish.

-Tributes were paid to Father Donald McGlynn OCSO, Abbot emeritus of Sancta Maria Abbey, Nunraw in East Lothian, who died aged 86 and who had been a member of the Cistercians for over 65 years.


-Holy Mass with Archbishop Cushley was broadcast on national TV. The Catholic Church in Scotland welcomed more religious coverage on the channel during lockdown.

-Tributes were paid to Sr Immaculata Murray RSM who died on 12 September. She was 93.

-On the tenth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic journey to the UK, Archbishop Cushley reflected on the historic visit.

-The Archdiocese welcomed three Religious Sisters of Mercy (RSM) to Edinburgh - Sr Edith Mary was appointed Clergy Welfare Co-ordinator (assisting retired clergy) Sr Anna Marie became Catechetics Advisor, while and Sr Miriam Fidelis was appointed to assist at St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh.


-Tributes were paid to Fr Hugh Purcell who died at St John Vianney’s parish house in Gilmerton, Edinburgh. He was 62 years old.

-Fr Andrew Garden hosted a Zoom event on St Mark's Gospel, to help prepare people for a new liturgical year.

-The Religious Sisters of Mercy (RSM) led the Archdiocese in prayer as part of the National Rosary Relay Rally.

-The Archdiocese announced a new Diploma in Catechetics - a year-long course to help people spread the Good News!


-Catherine Wylie, of the Catholic Grandparents Association, hosted an event for grandparents' on their mission in the Church and family.

-Four areas in the Archdiocese were moved into level four restrictions, reducing Mass attendance from 50 to 20.

-A Great Toy Giveaway appeal saw hundreds of gifts donated to St Francis Xavier's Parish in Falkirk.

-Four priests were renewed in their roles as Vicar Episcopal for the Archdiocese: Frs Basil Clark (Caritas, Justice & Peace), Daniel Doherty (Catechetics), Jeremy Milne (Marriage & Families) and Jeremy Bath (Ecumenism).

-A pro-life Advent Rosary was held over four weeks to pray for the unborn and their mothers and all pro-life intentions.


-Level 4 restrictions were lifted for several parts of the Archdiocese, meaning many parishes returned to having a maximum of 50 people at Mass.

-A national pastoral letter from Scotland's Catholic Bishops highlighted “reasons for hope, as we live through these difficult times”.

-Pope Francis proclaimed a Year of St Joseph, from 08 December 2020 to 08 December 2021.

-Archbishop Cushley shared his Christmas message with parishioners, as he reflected on a difficult year for us all.

-Schools across the Archdiocese kept Christ in Christmas to contribute pictures to our Silent Night Christmas video gallery.

For all our videos from this year, visit our YouTube channel.