ARCHBISHOP Philip Tartaglia (above) showed he was up for the cup recently as he lent his backing to a brand new Missio Scotland initiative launched in partnership with the Glasgow Catholic Schools Football Association.
Primary schools from across the archdiocese began competing for the Pope’s Charity Cup at the start of September and the semi-final stage of the football competition, with St Anne’s Primary School in Dennistoun and St Mirin’s Primary School in Kings Park already having booked their places.
The genesis of the idea from the tournament came from within the Missio Scotland office itself. The aim was to allow children throughout the archdiocese to compete in a sporting competition, while at the same time placing a spotlight on the work of Missio Scotland, the Scottish arm of the Pope’s official charity for overseas mission and the designated charity for Scotland’s Catholic primary schools.
After securing the cooperation of the Glasgow Catholic Schools FA—who have been fantastic in agreeing to look after the organisation of the tournament—it was decided that given that October 2019 is the Extraordinary Mission Month, this would be the opportune time to launch the annual competition. The final will take place during mission month each year, with the climax of this year’s tournament taking place on Saturday October 26—venue and time to be confirmed—and Archbishop Tartaglia presenting the cup and medals on the day.
For his part, Archbishop Tartaglia—himself a big football fan—expressed his delight at the new tournament in a meeting with members of the Missio Scotland team late last week.
“It’s a really wonderful idea and will certainly focus attention on Missio Scotland,” Archbishop Tartaglia said. “Credit must go to them and the Glasgow Catholic Schools FA for establishing the tournament. I can’t wait for the final and to present the cup to the first winners!”
Missio Scotland’s National Director, Fr Vincent Lockhart, thanked the archbishop for his support and spoke about the Holy Father’s own love of the beautiful game.
“Missio Scotland is delighted to host the Pope’s Charity Cup,” Fr Lockhart said. “Pope Francis is a big fan of football. I’m sure he would be really happy with this competition and that being part of the Church also involves fun.
“We would like to thank Archbishop Tartaglia for his support in agreeing to come to the final and to present the cup.
“We wish all the teams taking part the best of luck and we will send a report with photos to the Holy Father!”
Missio Scotland’s Diocesan Director for the Archdiocese of Glasgow, Fr Liam McMahon of St Michael’s Church in Parkhead—who is also the uncle of former Celtic and Hibernian star Dylan McGeouch—was also fulsome in his praise of the new tournament.
“It is a great opportunity for children to showcase their talent and also open the door to them becoming ambassadors for not only the sport, but also Missio Scotland outreach within their own schools and the wider community,” Fr McMahon said. “I see it as a hugely positive initiative.”
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