The Scots College celebrated the birthday of Scotland’s national bard in style at its recent Burns Supper
It is a happy coincidence that the life and works of Robert Burns are celebrated around the world in January every year – just as the first semester of the Pontifical Universities and Institutes of Rome comes to an end. The Scots College hosts its own take on a Burns Supper, on the final Friday of classes and friends of the seminarians and college make the trip to the Via Cassia for a celebration of Scotland. The evening has also become a tradition for first-year seminarians to lead the celebrations.
The main event started after a drinks reception in the student common room with everybody gathering in the Refectory, which on the night was full with over 80 people. Bernard Mournian, the MC for the evening welcomed everyone and gave a little bit of background to the evening before asking the Rector, Fr. Dan Fitzpatrick to say grace, which he did using the words attributed to Burns, from the Selkirk Grace.
A special thank you must go to the community of Franciscan Sisters who normally feed the 20 or so seminarians and staff during the week. For the Burns Supper, they turned their hand to the evenings meal with ease and produced a great spread including Potato & Leek Soup, the traditional Haggis as well as a tasty dessert, and homemade tablet.
The Haggis was danced in by David Topping before being superbly toasted by Iain MacGillivray, who was a special guest at the supper. Iain flew out on Friday morning to be able to pipe in and toast the Haggis at the college supper and it was a great honour to have the Commander of the Clan MacGillivray at the college to be part of our celebration.
To Toast the Lassies David returned and led the men in saluting the ladies who were part of the gathering. The Reply for the Lassies came thanks to ex-pat Scot, Virna Tomaselli, who gently put the men back in their place with good humour.
Before the evening concluded, Malcolm Hutchison gave the Immortal Memory, recognising the many similarities between the time of Burns, in the 18th Century, and today. The night ended with a chance to taste more of Scotland before the guests headed home – ready for the next year!