Banff Priest, Father Piotr Rytel, of the town’s Our Lady of Mount Carmel RC Church, delivered the sermon at the Scottish Parliament’s weekly ‘Time for Reflection’ slot on Tuesday 19 January.
Local MSP Stewart Stevenson, who nominated Father Piotr to the Presiding Officer of the Parliament, commented
Over the years, I have been pleased to nominate many local ministers, pastors, priests and others to deliver ‘Time for Reflection’ and their contributions have always been both thoughtful and thought-provoking. I was therefore delighted to have another nomination accepted from my constituency for this important part of the Parliament’s week.
Father Piotr’s sermon
Father Piotr Rytel (Parish Priest, Our Lady of Mount Carmel RC Church, Banff)
Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you for the opportunity to address you today. I thank Stewart Stevenson MSP for the nomination to speak. It is an honour to be here.
My pilgrimage in the journey of my Catholic faith in Scotland began in 2013, when the Right Rev Hugh Gilbert OSB, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Aberdeen, was searching for a suitable candidate to help the growing number of Poles in the north of Scotland who were seeking pastoral support. I was appointed as a parish assistant at St Mary’s Catholic church in Inverness. My mission then, and now as a parish priest at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic church in Banff, not only focused on Polish chaplaincy but extended to English-speaking members of the church.
As you know, with current difficulties growing from Brexit and Covid-19, we have to focus even more on the needs of every single individual living in Scotland, and to give them all the support that they need. As a priest, that involves touching on social care and welfare, as well as on individuals and their personal development.
Not every eastern European is coming to Scotland to work in food processing or to do other such work. There are many ambitious people who need support in fulfilling their dreams and aspirations in their chosen country of Scotland. They want to use their talents so that they are fulfilled, both for their own benefit and to make this country better and more prosperous. We are the new Scots, too. In Galatians chapter 3 verse 28, St Paul wrote:
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
In the light of those words, there are no natives and foreigners. Everyone who wants to live and grow in this country is equal.
We recognise the current need to develop diversity and inclusion. Incomers to this country want to fulfil their dreams, and we need to make sure that their freedom to profess their faith and to maintain their native languages and national identities is cherished and encouraged.
I ask of you, please, that the Scottish Parliament continues to do what is so very much appreciated by people of faith, wherever they are from, and that you continue to support and respect everyone who wants to call Scotland their home.