This year, the Scots College in Rome celebrates it’s 400th year as a seminary. During a recent visit to Rome, Archbishop Cushley, met with the Holy Father to invite him to join in the college celebrations.
At a private audience in the Vatican City on Monday 18th January, Archbishop Leo Cushley of St. Andrews & Edinburgh personally extended the formal invitation, made on behalf of the Bishops Conference of Scotland and the Pontifical Scots College, to Pope Francis to visit the College during 2016 as the College celebrates 400 years of priestly formation.
The Rector Fr Daniel Fitzpatrick said, “We are aware of just how busy the Holy Father is during the Jubilee of Mercy, but we hope and pray that he will be able to find some time to help us mark this important year in our history.”
The College was founded in 1600 to provide an education for young Scottish Catholic men who could not be educated at home. On March 10th 1616, the first anniversary of the martyrdom of the Jesuit St John Ogilvie in Glasgow, the sixteen young men in the College at the time took the first Mission Oath to study for the priesthood and return to Scotland.
Celebrations are planned throughout the year to mark the event. The Rector Father Daniel Fitzpatrick said, “It would be a great honour for the College and all the young men studying with us if Pope Francis is able to join us to mark 400 years of priestly formation.”
He added, “The Holy Father’s presence would be a great blessing to the College, a source of encouragement for our seminarians and an inspiration to other young men to join them here in Rome to continue the long tradition of the Pontifical Scots College.”
Archbishop Cushley, who worked under the Pope in the Secretariat of State until his ordination to the Archdiocese in September 2013, said, “The Pontifical Scots College has a truly remarkable history and, so it would be wonderful if Pope Francis could join us as we celebrate that past with pride while looking to the future with great confidence and trust in the Lord”
As the Feast of St. John Ogilvie falls on a Thursday this year, and students will be in classes, the College will mark the anniversary formally on Saturday 12th March.