From the February 2018 edition…
Our schools are good for Scotland
Catholic schools are being urged to mark the anniversary year of the 1918 Education Act by putting into action the Church’s “best kept secret” – Catholic social teaching.
The call came from Archbishop Tartaglia in a letter to every parish in Scotland for Education Week.
And in a historic move which underlines the theme of schools as centres of social outreach, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, will give the landmark Cardinal Winning lecture next month which will focus on the beneficial impact of state-funded Catholic schools on Scottish national life.
In a special message released for Education week of the anniversary year Archbishop Tartaglia has spoken of the success of Catholic schools in Scotland.
He said: “Catholic schools have flourished amazingly over the last century. They have demonstrated time and again that they are much valued and very popular centres of educational excellence, with many pupils achieving academic and personal success.
“The development in the Catholic Church of an explicit body of Catholic social teaching has enriched the vision of Catholic education, emphasizing the Church’s mission to transform society through love, service and justice.
“Service of the common good is intrinsic to Catholic education and, along with liturgy, prayer and learning, is one of the defining marks of the Catholic school as an educational community of faith.
“During this historic year, I invite everyone to mark this Centenary, participate in the local and national events and celebrate one hundred years of successful partnership between the Church and the public authorities.”
Lentfest 2018: the best, biggest and brightest yet
This Valentine’s Day, Catholic couples could find themselves sharing a romantic fish supper as Ash Wednesday falls on 14th February, announcing the beginning of Lent.
However, the season also heralds a new Lentfest programme organised by AGAP, inviting us to celebrate our faith and share it through the creative and performing arts.
Perhaps the most anticipated Lentfest ingredients are the annual play by AGAP Theatre and the Art Exhibition. Over the years, these two staple features of the festival have been a means of catechesis, allowing artists, performers and audiences to enter into the mysteries of the Catholic Faith or explore the lives of the Saints. This year, the theme takes us closer to home, taking inspiration from the life of Glasgow’s patron saint, Mungo.
“It makes sense for AGAP to stage a production and an exhibition based on the life of Mungo,” said Stephen Callaghan, AGAP’s Creative Director and writer-director of the play. “He is, after all, the patron saint both of the Archdiocese and of the city, which owes its name to him.”
The play “Mungo: Legend of Glasgow’s Saint” is perhaps the most ambitious production ever staged by AGAP. You can expect the usual high quality community theatre associated with the company but this production also includes a large ensemble cast, an audio-visual element and live music performed by folk duo, Heelster Gowdie. These components blend together to recreate the legend that follows Mungo, his miracles and the people associated with him. Fans of Heelster Gowdie will recognise the show’s musical director, Vincent Mellon, whose Molendinar Suite forms the basis of the production’s musical element.
The production is set to tour seven parishes across the Archdiocese during February and March but there is one important addition to the list of venues.
Glasgow City Chambers will play host to a special performance on Tuesday, 13th March at 7.00pm. “This is an important step for the festival,” said Stephen Callaghan. “Whilst we have taken part in various ecumenical events at the City Chambers in the past, we have never had the opportunity to stage a production of our own there. We are delighted that “Mungo” will be performed in the heart of the city.”
Saint Mungo is also the subject of the art exhibition, “Mungo in our Midst”, which incorporates original artworks by around 20 artists, both local and international.
Using a variety of mediums, from acrylics to digital art, the artworks capture classic moments from the legend; the bird, the bell, the fish and the tree. Others re-imagine him in a modern context, among the homeless of the city.
The exhibition also features some work by AGAP’s Art Group which began in 2007 and continues to meet weekly. It will take place at St Mungo’s Retreat, 52 Parson Street, Townhead, where AGAP is based.
As ever, the people taking part in Lentfest come from a variety of backgrounds. Their faith perspectives, life experience and artistic experience differ. However, the festival provides an opportunity for the sharing of faith and for an ecumenical encounter.
One such opportunity is the concert by Father’s Song – a vocal band of over 30 men drawn from a number of different churches in and around Glasgow. The group first performed at Lentfest in 2008 and return to the festival 10 years later with a concert of praise and worship music at St Helen’s church hall, Langside on Saturday, 24th February at 7.30pm. They will be supported by singer-songwriter, Franklyn.
This year’s Lentfest also presents the opportunity for collaboration and discussion. With support from Alzheimer Scotland and the Glasgow Catholic Medical Association, AGAP is organising a daytime event that considers the way in which the creative arts have a positive impact on those affected by dementia. The event, which takes place at Our Lady and St George’s, Penilee on Saturday 24th March, will feature input from Dr Adrian Treloar, author of “Dementia: Hope on a Difficult Journey” and a member of the Guild of Catholic Doctors.
Commenting on the programme, Archbishop Tartaglia said: “This is a wonderful array of events and opportunities for people to deepen their faith and enrich their spirituality through the arts. I welcome the focus on our city patron, and it would be very fitting if the festival led to a renewed interest and devotion to Glasgow’s own saint.”
Finally, in keeping with the spirit of community events at the heart of the festival, there will be a special concert by singer-songwriter, Martin Jones and his band at St Peter’s, Partick, and a number of regular AGAP events will also take place during the festival: the Film & Faith Club, the Book Group, Lectio Divina Dramatica and AGAP’s latest regular offering – “Inspire”.
Stephen Callaghan explained, “Inspire is a kind of monthly hotchpotch of live music, poetry, storytelling, drama and art that brings together people to celebrate the way that God is present in and through their creativity.” The special “Inspire” event for March will feature an impressive line-up that includes singer-songwriter, Suzi McJimpsey, poet, Anne Murray and artist, Jim Callaghan.
Now a part of the fabric of the Archdiocese, Lentfest has become something of a household name, recognised as one of the many festivals that take place across Scotland and ensuring that the Church retains an obvious foothold in the cultural sphere. As we undertake our own Lenten observance, let’s rally to support this powerful tool for evangelisation.