North Berwick welcomed one of the pillars of the Catholic Church when Archbishop Leo Cushley visited the town last Tuesday.

His Grace Archbishop Cushley, of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, visited the church to administer confirmation at Our Lady, Star of the Sea.

During the service, rather than preach formally, His Grace the Archbishop, a distinguished cleric with long experience as a diplomat, used a conversational approach to speak directly to the 10 young people being confirmed.

He explained that the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit would strengthen them as they take responsibility for their faith.

Sharing personal recollections to illustrate the meaning of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, His Grace said: "When I was five years old my auntie Irene gave me a bunny egg cup, and 40 years-ago when I was ordained I was given a watch by my mother, and I still have both".

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He then asked the children: "If you go into your bedroom and look around, what is the oldest thing you can find?

"You've received many gifts; some things get lost, sometimes things break; but the gifts you will receive tonight you will never lose, and it is up to you, from tomorrow, how you use them."

Smiling at the children, the Archbishop added: "I see that you are all younger than I am, but you're not getting confirmed just because you're 11 or 12; it works the other way round – you are the right age because you are ready."

Giving advice that may have resonated with parents eager to see their children be less tied to their devices, the Archbishop urged them to "switch off all distractions and embrace quiet moments of silence".

One of the young confirmation candidates summed up his encouragement as meaning "to have a dialogue with God. To pray, and then learn how to listen for an answer".

Referring to the evening as a "spiritual earthquake" for the young people, the Archbishop then posed for group photographs, alongside the Rev Father Clement Ajongba, of  Our Lady, Star of the Sea.

Father Clement said it was "an honour" for the parish to receive a visit from the Archbishop, before adding jokingly telling the congregation that "as administrator of Our Lady Star of the Sea, I am merely a tenant; the Archbishop is the landlord, and I welcome him with open arms".

Elisa Nicolson, parishioner and parent, said: "It was a privilege for our children to be confirmed by His Grace the Archbishop, especially because some children had their First Holy Communion disrupted by Covid; pandemic restrictions meant some families were unable to celebrate together, and we couldn't mark the occasion as a community".

After the service the Archbishop joined everyone in enjoying a specially prepared selection of home baking in a friendly and joyful atmosphere created by the large group of young people and their siblings, their friends, and families.