IT WAS a great honour and privilege to be invited to take up the position as first patron of Missio Scotland. As Missio is the Pope’s official charity for overseas missions, I wanted to be sure that I could carry out the functions required before accepting such an important position. Following an initial discussion with Martin Mann—Missio Scotland’s Education and Fundraising Officer—I accepted the role and then had a helpful and informative meeting with National Director, Fr Vincent Lockhart and the team at their premises in Coatbridge. I am now keen to start work promoting Missio Scotland, raising the profile amongst parliamentarians and supporting the charity wherever I can.
I first became aware of Missio Scotland when I was a pupil at St Patrick’s Primary School in Coatbridge in the 1960s and 70s. As children, we connected with other children in the developing world by giving a small donation and in return getting information on a child who would benefit from our fundraising efforts. This helped raise awareness of poverty abroad and also the role of the church in supporting people in need around the world. In that regard, Pope Francis’ words are apposite that: “Charity is at the heart of the Church, it is the reason for its action, the soul of its mission.”
It’s heartening to know that today’s Catholic school pupils are also aware of the work of Missio Scotland and involved in supporting the charity. My niece Kassi, a P5 pupil at St Johns Primary School in Ayr, recently took part in a sponsored walk around the school for Missio Scotland. She was also given leaflets and a bracelet to promote Missio Scotland’s work and said that she was ‘happy to be helping the Pope’s charity because it helps people in countries poorer than ours.'
As part of my role as patron, I intend to arrange a visit to the Scottish Parliament for school pupils involved in Missio Scotland’s Get Involved Globally programme, I have already submitted Fr Lockhart’s application to contribute to ‘Time for Reflection’ and I will apply to sponsor an information stall in the Holyrood building. This will help raise awareness and, in particular, provide information on Missio Scotland’s global programmes to provide food, educate children, train teachers and build schools, health facilities and seminaries.
The charity’s information tells us that Missio Scotland brings the hope of the Gospel where there is turmoil, poverty and uncertainty in the world, and where the Church is new, young or poor. Grassroots needs are identified by local Catholics, to give people the opportunity for a full, enriched life—physically and spiritually—regardless of race, stigma, religion or gender.
This is a charity that I am pleased to be publicly associated with and I'm looking forward to spreading the word about the good work Missio Scotland does which will also help raise the profile of the charity amongst parliamentarians.
If you would like to donate to Missio Scotland visit: http://www.missioscotland.com/donate
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