In the first gathering of both college communities since 2001, the Venerable English College hosted the Scots College for Mass and lunch on the 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time.
The English speaking seminaries of Rome have always worked closely together, and the bond between the English and Scots College is one of the strongest. However, in recent years, the chance for both communities to come together in full have been more limited through various commitments. The invitation extended from the Venerable English College to the community of the Scots on Sunday 6th November brought both seminary communities together for the celebration of Mass, followed by lunch.
In his official welcome before lunch, Monsignor Philip Whitmore, Rector the English College, highlighted the particular example of Blessed George Douglas, a Scottish born martyr of the English Reformation. Monsignor Whitmore encouraged all students to pray to Blessed George during their time in Rome.
Exact details of the upbringing and early days of Blessed George Douglas are unknown, however, various sources confirm he was a school master in Rutland before journeying to Paris where he studied for the Priesthood. After some 10 years it is thought he returned to England to serve the Catholics suffering under the persecution of Elizabeth I, he was duly arrested but later freed.
Eventually though he was arrested in Ripon, in present day North Yorkshire. Tried and found guilty of “persuading to popery” or converting people to Catholicism. Sentenced to death, he was hung, drawn and quartered in York on the 9th September 1587. During his execution, witnesses reported that he “demonstrated great fortitude.”
Pope St. John Paul II beatified Blessed George on the 22nd November 1987.
The gathering was a happy occasion and a chance to reaffirm the bonds of fraternity that have existed between both communities, throughout their long history.
All pictures are courtesy of the Venerable English College.