Flourish, the monthly newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow

From the January 2020 edition…

St Aloysius joy as students win top education award

Ten refugees and asylum seekers who were taught English by volunteers from St Aloysius’ parish, Garnethill, have been honoured with a prestigious educational award.

The students who fled their homes in Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen and Iraq and went on to achieve important qualifications in Glasgow, were named the outstanding student group for Science for ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Glasgow in a UK-wide competition sponsored by the Workers Educational Association.

The Glasgow group were the only Scottish winners in the WEA 2019 Educational Impact Awards, which recognise learners, tutors, volunteers, partners and staff from across the nation who have “transformed their own lives and the lives of others through lifelong learning”.

Kevin Wyber, St Aloysius’ co-ordinator of the programme added: “By winning the ‘outstanding student group for Science for ESOL’ category in these awards, the students and volunteers at St Aloysius ESOL classes have written themselves another success story. Thanks go in a special way to Audrey Young, the WEA tutor and driving force behind the course.

“This will motivate the course participants to aim for a science-related subject in further or higher education course and, from there, to achieve their full potential. The award and trophy, to be housed in the Ogilvie Centre will also act as a beacon of hope and inspiration to our other students: asylum seekers and refugees – the New Glaswegians.”

The award crowns a significant year for both the language students and the parish of St Aloysius, which last month saw the completed refurbishment of the Church’s historic bell tower thanks to a £93,000 Lottery Fund grant.

The grant also enabled the ESOL students to stage a highly successful photographic exhibition, in conjunction with experts from the Glasgow School of Art, which highlighted the history of Garnethill through the camera lenses of the New Glaswegians.

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Peace must not be fear of annihilation

Pope’s warning to world

The Holy Father Francis has penned a powerful letter to the peoples of the earth to mark World Day of Peace as we begin the new year of 2020.

In it, he calls for an end to the arms race, a new concern for the planet and a daily response from individuals across the world to promote dialogue in their own lives.

Flourish has produced this 10 point guide to summarise the Pope’s letter:

  1. War often begins with the inability to accept the diversity of others, which then fosters attitudes of domination born of selfishness and pride, hatred and the desire to caricature, exclude and even destroy the other. War is fueled by a perversion of relationships … by abuses of power, by fear of others and by seeing diversity as an obstacle
  2. Our world … tries to defend and ensure stability and peace through a false sense of security sustained by a mentality of fear and mistrust, one that ends up poisoning relationships between peoples and obstructing any form of dialogue. Peace and international stability are incompatible with attempts to build upon the fear of mutual destruction or the threat of total annihilation.
  3. We cannot claim to maintain stability in the world through the fear of annihilation, in a volatile situation, suspended on the brink of a nuclear abyss and enclosed behind walls of indifference. As a result, social and economic decisions are being made that lead to tragic situations where human beings and creation itself are discarded rather than protected and preserved.
  4. We need to pursue a genuine fraternity based on our common origin from God and exercised in dialogue and mutual trust. The desire for peace lies deep within the human heart, and we should not resign ourselves to seeking anything less than this.
  5. The Hibakusha – the survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki – are among those who currently keep alive the flame of collective conscience, bearing witness to succeeding generations to the horror of what happened in August 1945 and the unspeakable sufferings that have continued to the present time. Their testimony awakens and preserves the memory of the victims, so that the conscience of humanity may rise up in the face of every desire for dominance and destruction. We cannot allow present and future generations to lose the memory of what happened here.
  6. The world does not need empty words but convinced witnesses, peacemakers who are open to a dialogue that rejects exclusion or manipulation. In fact, we cannot truly achieve peace without a convinced dialogue between men and women who seek the truth beyond ideologies and differing opinions.
  7. This journey of reconciliation also calls for listening and contemplation of the world that God has given us as a gift to make our common home. Indeed, natural resources, the many forms of life and the earth itself have been entrusted to us also for future generations, through the responsible and active participation of everyone. We need to change the way we think and see things, and to become more open to encountering others and accepting the gift of creation, which reflects the beauty and wisdom of its Creator.
  8. The ecological conversion for which we are appealing will lead us to a new way of looking at life, as we consider the generosity of the Creator who has given us the earth and called us to a share it in joy and moderation. This conversion must be understood as a transformation of how we relate to our sisters and brothers, to other living beings, to creation in all its rich variety and to the Creator who is the origin and source of all life. For Christians, it requires that “the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them”.
  9. For the followers of Christ, this journey is likewise sustained by the sacrament of Reconciliation, given by the Lord for the remission of sins of the baptised. This sacrament of the Church, which renews individuals and communities, bids us keep our gaze fixed on Jesus … It requires us to set aside every act of violence in thought, word and deed, whether against our neighbours or against God’s creation.
  10. May Mary, Mother of the Prince of Peace and Mother of all the peoples of the earth, accompany and sustain us at every step of our journey of reconciliation.

See page 5…