Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor is the Pope’s representative at ceremonies to mark the 400th anniversary of the execution of the saint who is Scotland’s only post-Reformation Catholic martyr – St John Ogilvie.
The celebrations formally began with vespers on 9 March at St Aloysius Church, Glasgow, and a Mass the following day in St Andrew’s Cathedral, Glasgow.
10 March is the saint’s feast day.
During vespers, the Cardinal delivered the following Papal Message to the people of Scotland:
The faithful who live in Scotland are solemnly celebrating the fourth centenary of the martyrdom of St John Ogilvy, SJ.
This distinguished man born into a Calvinist family, converted to the Catholic faith in his youth.
Later, he entered the Society of Jesus and having been ordained priest, zealously exercised the pastoral care of souls, first in Austria and in France, then returning to his homeland where he had care of the spiritual journey of his fellow countrymen; until under King James VI, he was imprisoned and sentenced to death.
He won the glorious palm of martyrdom at the scaffold on 10th March 1615 in Glasgow. Our blessed predecessor Paul VI canonised him on 17 October 1976 and confirmed the importance of his witness as an imitator of Christ for the faithful of our age.
On the occasion of this anniversary, especially important in Scotland, and above all the Archdiocese of Glasgow, pastoral initiatives are being taken so that everyone – mindful of the example of this martyr – should be prompted to a renewed faith, hope and charity, and to zealous discipleship in the life of Christ.
Wherefore our Venerable Brother Philip Tartaglia, Metropolitan Archbishop of Glasgow and President of the Episcopal Conference of Scotland has most courteously asked that we should send an eminent Representative as our Delegate in Glasgow and to show our love for Christ’s faithful in Scotland.
And we so turn to you Venerable Brother who so prudently administered the Metropolitan Church of Westminster and nominate you by this document our Special Envoy for the planned solemn festivities in the city of Glasgow on 9 and 10 March.
You will preside at the Eucharist and will greet in our name the Archbishop and other holy prelates, priests, religious, public authorities and all the faithful. By your words, you will invite all present to the fervent imitation of the life of Christ and the daily observance and divine commands by a specially devoted way of life in every way.
Lastly we pray that everyone mindful of the witness of St. John Ogilvie and so many Christians should show fresh strength and zeal in wholehearted love for the Church of Christ and the Gospel and outstanding devotion of faith in today’s world.
We will be with you in prayer Venerable Brother as you fulfil your mission. Finally we are pleased to grant the Apostolic Blessing as a sign of our good will towards you and a pledge of heavenly gifts. Please convey these to all those who participate in the celebration.
Given in Vatican City 15 Feb 2015, Second of our pontificate
The Cardinal concluded by speaking of how he believed that Pope Francis would have liked to have attended the celebrations in Scotland in person.