The Scots College community visited the Vatican Apartments for an audience with Pope Francis today, as part of the ongoing celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the first Mission Oath at the college.
Pope Francis welcomed the community of the Scots College in Rome in the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican today as the community continues its celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mission Oath.
In his address to the Staff, Seminarians and Sisters of the college and Archbishop Tartaglia from Glasgow and Archbishop Cushley of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, the Holy Father described today as a time when of “martyrdom… in the midst of a culture so often hostile to the Gospel.” He encouraged the current group of young men preparing for priesthood in Scotland to share the same “selfless spirit” as those who committed themselves to the Mission Oath in 1616. He also added the need to “Love Jesus above all things!”
His Holiness encouraged the seminarians in front of him too, by calling all to continue to give a firm ‘yes’ to their formation that would enable them to return to Scotland and give their lives “completely” Adding that, to go forward with the “same passion as your brothers from four hundred years ago, that same love for the Church and Scotland, you will honour the history and sacrifices we recall today.” Such an act, the Pope said, would allow priests returning home from studies in Rome, to “become in this moment a sign to the Scottish people, especially the youth, if you encounter them in their everyday lives, if you reach out to those who are furthest from Christ.” Such acts, the Holy Father added, would allow us to demonstrate “…that God is always with us and that his mercy endures for ever.”
In his closing remarks the Pope spoke of his hope, that in the Year of Mercy, the Scots College seminarians would be strong and courageous in following the will of the Lord, dedicated, through prayer to the love of Jesus in the Eucharist and the care of Mary, our mother. Finally, the Apostolic Blessing of Pope Francis was imparted to the Scots College community and the faithful of Scotland. His Holiness also asked to be remembered in the prayers of all the Scottish Catholics.
Full Text of the Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Staff & Students of the Pontifical Scots College,
14th April 2016.
Dear Archbishop Tartaglia, Archbishop Cushley,
Dear Members of Staff and Seminarians of the Pontifical Scots College,
I am pleased to welcome you today, as together we commemorate the four hundredth anniversary of the transformation of the Pontifical Scots College into a seminary for priestly formation. This anniversary is significant not only for the many years it marks, but even more so because we recall the fidelity of the sixteen men who, on 11 March 1616, were resolute in their determination to return to Scotland as priests to preach the Gospel. That decision was born of a martyr’s blood.
The martyrdom of Saint John Ogilvie, which was meant to silence the Catholic faith, instead was an impetus for its promotion and for defending the Church’s freedom to remain in communion with the See of Peter. The “yes” proclaimed by the sixteen men four hundred years ago was eloquent not simply for their good intentions, but rather because they persevered, and prepared themselves in every way, returning to Scotland to face the hardships that awaited them, even if it meant becoming martyrs themselves. Theirs was a life which sought the joys and peace that Christ alone could offer. Looking out at you today, I can see that, through the grace of God, the martyrdom of Saint John and the courage of those sixteen men has borne fruit in your beloved homeland.
We too are living in a time of martyrdom, and in the midst of a culture so often hostile to the Gospel. I urge you to have that same selfless spirit as your predecessors did. Love Jesus above all things! Let your “yes” be marked by a firm resolve to give yourselves generously to your priestly formation, so that your years in Rome may prepare you to return to Scotland and to offer your lives completely. If you have this same passion as your brothers from four hundred years ago, that same love for the Church and Scotland, you will honour the history and sacrifices we recall today. You will also become in this moment a sign to the Scottish people, especially the youth, if you encounter them in their everyday lives, if you reach out to those who are furthest from Christ. Show them, each and every one, that God is always with us and that his mercy endures for ever.
In this Jubilee of Mercy, I pray that the Lord may grant you the courage and grace to be faithful to his will, by being dedicated to prayer, by loving Jesus, especially in the Holy Eucharist, and by entrusting yourselves to the care of Mary our Mother. Upon you and all the faithful in Scotland, I willingly impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of strength and peace in the Lord. God bless you all!