Golden celebration for Carluke’s Father Naughton

Celebrating...Father Naughton with Mary Maguire and the whole school. (Pic Sarah Peters)
Celebrating...Father Naughton with Mary Maguire and the whole school. (Pic Sarah Peters)

TRADITIONAL song Paddy McGinty’s Goat went down an absolute storm when performed by St Athanasius Primary pupils in a Golden Jubilee concert at the school for long serving priest Father James Naughton.

Fr Naughton particularly enjoyed this song as he had just received a goat as a present from a family within his parish marking his 50 years as a priest.

St Athanasius parish administrator Mary Maguire said: “It was an amazing coincidence that the children sung about a goat just after Father Naughton received this present, the first animal he’d ever owned!

“The goat is based in Malawi and helping out a poor family over there, so Fr Naughton has never been in its company.

“He was thrilled with this present and extra touched because it was not a normal gift.”

Fr Naughton, who has been at the Carluke church since September 2000, relished last month’s 90-minute concert, organised by head teacher Francis Farrell and featuring all the St Athanasius pupils.

Other songs sung included My Lovely Rose of Clare, Good Athanasius, with traditional tunes from New Zealand and Africa also being performed.

“It was a terrific concert,” Mary said.

“The kids really put a lot of effort into it and Father Naughton really enjoyed himself. He comes from County Clare in Ireland, so he loved hearing Irish and Scottish songs and seeing Irish and Scottish dancing.

“The pupils performed very well individually and collectively, with one child even reciting poetry.

“It was a very nice concert and Father Naughton was very moved.”

The St Athanasius kids also gave Father Naughton the special gift of a scrap book with photos of all the classes, including pupils’ signatures and best wishes.

Father Naughton’s 50 years as a priest were also marked at a separate celebration in St Athanasius Church, which was attended by over 400 people, including 40 fellow priests and Bishop Joseph Todd and Bishop William Nolan from Galloway Diocese.

A papal blessing was bestowed on Father Naughton.