Pope invited to Glasgow to mark the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie



Glasgow’s Archbishop, Philip Tartaglia has written to Pope Francis
asking him to consider a day visit to the city to mark the 400th
anniversary of the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie, who was executed at
Glasgow Cross on 10 March 1615.

In his letter to Pope Francis asking him to visit the city on the
saint’s anniversary and feast day, the Archbishop said: “It would be
wonderful if you could come to Glasgow for a day for this unique event.
I would envisage your visit as being of a purely religious-pastoral
nature,  …

“I know that this is short notice for the visit of a Pope … I present
this request to you without any expectations or sense of entitlement. I
do not even know if it is practical! However a visit would be such a
grace."

The news is carried in this month’s edition of Flourish, the
Archdiocese of Glasgow’s official newspaper, out today [Thursday June
5].

John Ogilvie, a convert to Catholicism who came from Banffshire, was a
Jesuit priest martyred for his faith. He was hanged in Glasgow on 10th
March 1615. He was canonised in Rome by Pope Paul VI on 16th October
1976. Archbishop Tartaglia was present at the ceremony as a young
priest. Many Scottish pilgrims travelled to Rome for the canonisation.
Easterhouse man John Fagan’s miraculous cure from cancer  provided the
miracle needed to proceed to the canonization.

St John Ogilvie is Scotland’s only post-reformation canonised saint
and was recently painted by celebrated Scots artist Peter Howson - the
painting now being on display in St Andrew’s Cathedral, just a few
hundred yards from the saint’s execution site.

Although Papal visits are usually planned with several years of
anticipation, Pope Francis has surprised many by choosing to make short
day visits within Italy to places of special significance, most notably
last year when he went for the day to the island of Lampedusa which is
the arrival point for many immigrants from Africa. Two further day
visits within Italy are due this summer.

Archbishop Tartaglia said: "Whether the Pope is able to come or not, I
would hope that the anniversary will be a celebration and renewal of
faith for the Catholic community, for other Christians, and for all
people of faith. And I would hope that it could be a moment of
reflection on the deeper realities of human existence for all people of
good will.

"Our celebrations would be clearly marked too by an appreciation of how
ecumenism has changed the relationship between Christians over the last
four centuries and focus on how Christians and other people of faith can
make common cause for the core issue for which St John Ogilvie died,
namely religious freedom.

“My thought is to provide a new focus on the figure of St John
Ogilvie: his identity as a Scot, his faith journey, his vocation, his
priestly ministry, his capture and death, his sainthood and
canonisation.
If it were to go ahead, a visit by the Pope would be the third papal
visit to Glasgow, after the Masses of St John Paul II and Pope Benedict
XVI at Bellahouston Park in 1982 and 2010.

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