St Andrew’s Feast Day is a big deal here at the Scots College. We take a look at how the apostle’s sacrifice continues to inspire seminarians and how we still live ‘in a time of martydom’.
IT’S a picture that’s horrific, yet inspiring; the apostle Andrew embracing his cross, surrounded by tormentors (below right).
He gazes up towards the heavenly hosts, exclaiming: “Oh, precious cross, for a long time have I desired thee!”
This image hangs in the Scots College refectory and is over six feet tall.
You can’t miss it; this big reminder to seminarians that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.
And martydom is not consigned to the past. This era is believed to be the most violent for Christians.
Pope Francis has spoken of “barbaric acts” against Christians across the world, saying “they are…sold as slaves, killed, beheaded, crucified or burned alive, under the shameful and complicit silence of many.”
“They are…sold as slaves, killed, beheaded, crucified or burned alive, under the shameful and complicit silence of many.”
One such modern martyr is Ragheed Ganni, a priest shot dead (along with three deacons) in Iraq in 2007.
Last week our seminarians took part in a football tournament named in his memory. Fr Tom Norris, from the Pontifical Irish College in Rome, told us about his memories of the Late Fr Ragheed (below, and more here).
Martydom is central to the Scots College. St John Ogilvie’s hanging at Glasgow Cross in 1615 was meant to be a chilling warning for Catholic priests.
Instead it inspired 16 men training for the priesthood here in Rome to sign the Mission Oath – a pledge that they would return to Scotland to preach the gospel, despite the danger.
Only two years ago Pope Francis addressed our Scottish seminarians, telling them they were still “Living in a time of martydom.”
He added: “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.”
St Andrew took three days to die on the cross, but continued to preach the gospel. May his attitude and example inspire us to joyfully love and serve Christ.
Have a happy and holy St Andrew’s Day.