Fr Mike writes: Forming a Partnership with an African Parish

The day I was leaving for Africa I spoke at Mass about the likelihood that when I was in Tanzania I would be asked to consider forming a formal link between a Parish Community there and St Catherine's. I asked that you give this some thought and suggested that reflections might be given to members of the Parish Council who could consider it at their next meeting. The feedback I received from the parish Council was that people would like to know more about what such a link would mean and what would be involved in the commitment.

At the present time there are 36 school communities in both countries who are formally linked and six parishes. St John Vianney's, St Peter's, St Mary's Leith , St Cuthbert's, St Mary's London Street and Towerbank Primary Schools; and Holy Rood and St Augustine's High schools are among those who have a partnership with Tanzanian schools. And the parishes of St Ninian's, the Cathedral and St John's Portobello are linked with communities in Tanzania. When I was in Tanzania I met with the Bishop and he was clearly delighted that there are such vibrant links between parish and school communities in our countries.

Towards the end of my stay I was approached by Father Peter and the Chairman of his parish Council. They asked me if St Catherine's would consider the possibility of forming a connection with them. We each agreed that we would put the matter forward for discussion in the Parish there and here between now and Pentecost and come to a decision. Interestingly the parish concerned is Mweka which is in a cluster of three parishes with Otaruni and Kibosho. Perhaps that is pure coincidence……….another cluster.

There will be a handout next Sunday which will give a rationale of the whole concept of linking with parishes in other parts of the world. It will be clear from this that such a partnership is not about financial commitment but rather about sharing cultures and life experience.

In May and June a group of young Africans, with whom I worked, will be visiting Edinburgh to work alongside some of our own young people. I very much look forward to introducing them to you when they are here. They are a very talented and committed group of young people - a great credit to their families, schools, parishes and country.

© St Catherine’s, St John Vianney’s and St Gregory’s are parishes of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, charity registered in Scotland - SC008540