The Scots College has recently marked a significant anniversary in its long history. Over a week, in March, the community celebrated together and with friends, before the culmination in St. Peter’s Square.
The main celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the first Mission Oath came to an end yesterday as the Scots College community attended the General Audience with Pope Francis. Granted seats just yards away from the Holy Father the Seminarians, Sisters and Staff arrived in St. Peter’s Square with the weather typically Scottish, however by the time the Pope arrived to lead the audience, the skies had cleared and the crowds were in an expectant and joyful mood.
The trip to the weekly audience came after a festal Saturday, where Cardinal Harvey, Archpriest of St. Paul’s outside the walls presided at Mass also attended by the Archbishop of Glasgow, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia and Bishop William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway. Both visiting members of the Scottish hierarchy have served as members of staff in Rome and represented the Scottish church during the celebrations. During his sermon Cardinal Harvey drew connections between our Lenten experience of taking our cross to follow Christ and the life and martyrdom of St. John Ogilvie which inspired a former generation of students and which, he said, should still inspire seminarians today.
The Feast of St. John Ogilvie has for many years been one where the college has given thanks for the role of Professors at the Pontifical Universities and Institutes which the seminarians attend for classes, and once again this year, the community was joined by a large number of lecturers for Mass and the subsequent lunch. The occasion is always a great chance to discuss more than just what is taught in the classroom.
Celebrations for the landmark anniversary in the history of the college began with Sung Evening Prayer and Mass, celebrated by Vice Rector, Fr. Gerald Sharkey on the Feast of St. John, the 10th March. The next morning, the college Rector, Fr. Dan Fitzpatrick spoke of how the example of John Ogilvie – which motivated the students to commit to studying for the priesthood in the 17th century – was still relevant to the 21st century seminarians. The Rector said that, whilst those studying today in the Scots College are unlikely to be martyred in the way Ogilvie was, nonetheless we are expected to lay down our lives for Christ in other ways in our own time.