SMALL SCHOOL, BIG HEART: The motto of St Margaret’s Primary in South Queensferry is “Small School, Big Heart” and the teachers, pupils and parents showed just why when they warmly welcomed Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh for the blessing and opening of their new sports hall 14 September.

“I was delighted to welcome Archbishop Cushley to open and bless our new hall in the company a variety of invited guests including the City of Edinburgh’s Vice-Convenor for Education, Councillor Alison Dickie,” said St Margaret’s head teacher, Katy Westacott.

“I am very proud of the children who organised and confidently led the ceremony. They demonstrated that not only does our small school have a big heart, the children have lots of talent too!”

As well as a new sports hall, the school has also gained a new classroom, two new changing rooms and a sensory room too. In recent years the school has grown from 95 pupils to 120 pupils, meaning that they now have six classes rather than five.

The opening ceremony saw the assembled pupils, staff and parents addressed by Mrs Westacott. She explained how she hoped that the new facilities will support the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of pupils. She also expressed a desire for St Margaret’s to develop within the heart of the community through sharing their facilities with local schools, members of the local parish and the wider community.

Mrs Westacott was then followed by Archbishop Cushley who preformed the official opening ceremony and blessed the new hall assisted by local parish priest, Fr Deeley. The final speaker was Councillor Dickie on behalf of Edinburgh City Council.

The whole occasion was compered by the pupils themselves who also treated their guests to a promotional video they had created to celebrate the opening of their new facilities plus a new song written to celebrate the opening of the nearby Queensferry Crossing.

The afternoon concluded with a grand purvey consisting of tea, coffee, sandwiches and lots and lots of cakes.
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HOLY ROOD'S TEAM CARITAS: Meet just some of the 57 young men and women who are about to embark upon the Pope Benedict XVI Caritas Awards programme 2017-18 at Holy Rood High School in Edinburgh.

“The Caritas Awards have become invaluable to our school community even though we’ve only been doing them for the past five years - they really have gone from strength to strength,” said Holy Rood’s head teacher, Lorraine Legrix, 14 September.

The Pope Benedict XVI Caritas Award was introduced in 2011-12 by the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland to recognise and promote the active apostolic commitment of young people in their final year of secondary school to their parish, school or wider community.

At Holy Rood High School this sees the Caritas Award candidates get involved in helping local charities and parishes. Meanwhile, they also assist within the school with such things as organising Holy Mass upon significant feast days, including the recent Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the school’s patronal feast day, 14 September, which included a pastoral visit by Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh.

“It’s great just to have the Caritas Award pupils around the school, as additional eyes and ears, supporting the staff and helping to care for young pupils to whom they act as role models,” added Lorraine Legrix, “meanwhile they also help to raise the profile of the school out in our local community.”

For more information on the Pope Benedict XVI Caritas Awards go to sces.org.uk/caritas-award
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FATHER BASIL POSTLETHWAITE RIP: It is with sadness that the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh has learned of the death of Fr Basil Postlewhaite, a priest of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh from 1983 to 2014 and, more recently, of Clifton Diocese in England. He was 66 years old. RIP. His friend, Fr Jock Dalrymple, gives this overview of Fr Basil’s life:

"Basil Postlethwaite was born in Warrington and educated in Manchester. While a monk at the Benedictine Abbey at Ampleforth he took a degree in History and Economics at Oxford. In 1981, through the guidance of Fr Mark Butlin OSB, he became a member of the Parish Team in St Ninian’s, Edinburgh, working with Fr Jock Dalrymple Snr, Fr Henry McLaughlin and the lay pastoral assistants.

He was ordained priest in St Ninian’s on 3 December 1983 and was an assistant priest there until August 1985 when he went to St Mary’s, Stirling, serving also as chaplain to St Mungo’s High School. In 1987 he transferred to St Margaret’s, Gorebridge, and in 1989 went to El Salvador where he became parish priest at Dulce Nombre de Maria in Chalatanengo.

He returned in February 2000 and served as parish priest first at Slamannan and then at St Joseph’s, Bonnybridge, in 2004. In 2005 he moved south and became chaplain at St Mary’s, Shaftesbury, and then St Edwards School, Chichester, until 2013. His last appointment was as parish priest in English Martyrs, Chard, were he also served parishes in Crewkerne and Illminster in Somerset.

His last contact with the parishioners in St Ninian’s, Edinburgh, was when he celebrated Mass with the Parish Pilgrimage in 2015. May he rest in peace."
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A FIVE STAR SCHOOL: Congratulations to the pupils, parents and teachers of St Marie’s Primary in Kirkcaldy, Fife, after receiving a glowing report from the Scottish Government’s schools’ inspection agency, Education Scotland.

“We are delighted with this positive report, which highlights the hard work and dedication of our whole staff team, who are committed to enriching children’s learning and experiences,” said Mary Caldwell, Headteacher of St Marie’s, 20 September.

“We are proud of our close links with parents and partners, our high aspirations for all and our well behaved, caring and respectful children. The report will also help us to focus further on some areas which we are continuing to develop and build on.”

The Education Scotland inspectors found that children in St Marie’s Primary are "happy, respectful, proud of their school, and recognise the role that they have in affecting change.” Other key strengths identified included:

• The drive and ambition of the Headteacher and her depute in leading a strong, faith community, committed to learning and to partnership working;

• The dedication of all staff in striving for school improvement. They work well as a collegiate team and take on leadership roles which are enriching children’s experiences.

• An inclusive ethos characterised by mutually positive relationships with members of the school community that result in children feeling valued and well supported.

Education Scotland also note that the ethos and climate for learning at St Marie’s is highly positive and that children are well behaved, courteous and mannerly.

“I’d like to congratulate the children, staff and parents of St Marie’s PS on this very positive Education Scotland report,” said Jacqueline Price, Acting Head of Education and Children’s Services at Fife Council.

“I’m delighted that the school has received recognition and praise for their effective team work and the service they provide to their whole school community.”
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A VIP CONFIRMATION CEREMONY: 9-year-old Mateusz Stukan is a very special boy. In June, illness prevented Mateusz from making his Confirmation with his classmates from St John’s Primary in Rosyth, Fife. So, instead, Archbishop Leo Cushley invited him to the Archbishop’s residence, St Bennet's in Edinburgh, to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in a ceremony…just for Mateusz.

“I am very happy,” said Mateusz moments after being confirmed. “We are all very happy” added his mum, Marta, “this is a special moment in Mateusz’s life, to receive these gifts from God and to do it here makes us even more happy.”

Along with his mum, young Mateusz was accompanied to the Archbishop’s residence 12 September by his little brother, Boguslaw, his grandparents, Marek and Anna, and his confirmation sponsor, Slawomir Maczynski. There too was parish priest, Fr Kevin Dow, of St Peter in Chains, Inverkeithing, Fife.

“I’m happy for the family that Mateusz has been confirmed,” said Fr Dow, “he’s also recently made his First Holy Communion and has started serving on the altar. He’s a lovely lad.”

As for choice of patron saint? Mateusz opted for St Hubertus, the 8th century bishop of Liège. Why? “Because he is the patron saint of mathematics,” said Mateusz, adding “I like mathematics!”

So congratulations Mateusz! St Hubertus, pray for him!
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