13 June 2023
From September 2023 students from the eight Catholic dioceses of Scotland will join others from across England and Wales studying for the permanent diaconate at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London.
Since 2008 St Mary’s has been linked to a number of Catholic dioceses in southern England and Wales in their formation programme for the permanent diaconate (Arundel and Brighton, Brentwood, Cardiff, East Anglia, Southwark, Westminster and the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham) who study the Foundation Degree in Pastoral Ministry and the MA degree in Catholic Social Teaching.
From September this will be expanded to include students from the eight Catholic dioceses of Scotland, and four students will be joining from the dioceses of Dunkeld, Galloway, Motherwell and Paisley.

The Bishop of Paisley, the Right t Rev John Keenan, pictured right, who is the bishop responsible for the formation of deacons in Scotland, commented:  “Scotland has benefited from the ministry of permanent deacons in parishes across the country for the past generation.

“We now welcome this next step in the formation of deacons for the years ahead through partnership with Saint Mary’s and are looking forward to building closer relationships with the Church in England and Wales in the building up of our ministries and dioceses.”
The Vice Chancellor of St Mary’s, Anthony McClaran, added: “For their first two years of formation students complete our Foundation degree in Pastoral Ministry, which gives a thorough grounding in the study of theology and the practice of pastoral ministry.
“After this they study at least part of the unique Master’s programme in Catholic Social Teaching, as deacons in the Catholic Church are expected to have a specialist knowledge of this branch of moral theology.”
Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, the Rev Dr Gerard H. Maguiness, has advised all parishes in Scotland, that they should return “to pre-pandemic pastoral and liturgical practices” and remove any remaining Covid restrictions.
Speaking after the Bishops’ Conference June meeting, Fr. Maguiness said:  “Reflecting on the recovery of parishes since the pandemic at their June meeting the Bishops of Scotland sincerely thanks clergy and parishes for their efforts to cope with the Covid pandemic.
“Now, since our country has returned to normal, and restrictions have been lifted, all parishes should have returned to pre-pandemic pastoral and liturgical practices.
“Clergy and parishes still maintaining restrictions should no longer do so. Parishioners who choose to follow restrictive measures should be treated with pastoral sensitivity.”

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