John Ogilvie High School in Hamilton recently enrolled some “senior” students in the shape of five young men who are studying for the Priesthood at Oscott College in Birmingham. As part of their study programme the seminarians were experiencing life in a parish situation for the month of January and involving themselves in different aspects of parish life and Ministry.
(Left to right in back row) John Paul McShane, Kieran Hamilton, James Travers, Sean Whylie and Bruce McPhail (Also, with some pupils, are Fr Brian Lamb Parish Priest of St Joseph’s, Blantyre and Head Teacher Mr Eddie Morrison).
Parish Priest Fr Brian Lamb was delighted that the school was able to accommodate the students for the week; “Their week spent in John Ogilvie High School has been an invaluable part of their parish experience since working with schools and young people is central to the ministry of any diocesan priest.”
An important part of the week involved discussions with groups of school students many of whom were very interested and impressed by the conversations they had. John O’Donnell from S3 commented, “I was surprised by the descriptions of how ‘normal’ their lives are. They appear to be still part of normal society with interests and hobbies which anyone might have. I suppose I always thought that the priesthood meant the end to a ‘normal’ life but it’s not like that. They commit themselves to God but they still have a life. They had normal dreams and ambitions like everyone else before they received the call from God and decided that this was what they were meant to do.”
Connor Rankin from S4 was interested in the discussions of difficult issues like death and relationship with God and of the differences between Catholicism and other religions, “ I liked the fact that they didn’t stress that ‘we are right and other religions are wrong’ but rather that it is what is in a person’s heart which matters- love of God is what matters, first and foremost. I liked that.”
Mr Morrison, Head Teacher commented, “It was a privilege to have the 5 seminarians here in the school this week. I think the fact that they were 5 quite different personalities and at different stages in their vocation also helped the pupils to see different aspects of the journey to priesthood. James is in his fourth year while Kieran has really only begun. The discussions were lively and varied and I know from speaking to the pupils that they found it a very valuable experience. Hopefully the seminarians benefitted from the experience too. They certainly seemed to do so”