The community joined with people around the world in a celebration of Scotland’s patron. Saint Peter’s brother is also the College patron, and every year this special date in the diary is marked with a packed feast day, which includes Mass, a festal lunch and an informal social evening which features a quiz.
St. Andrew’s Day is always a busy feast day for the College. After Lauds the community busily prepared the College and it is a rush against the clock before the first guests arrive for Mass at 11.30. Staff from other colleges in Rome (such as the English and Beda Colleges), representatives of other faith groups, Scottish residents in Rome and Ambassadors, such as His Excellency, Nigel Baker, the Ambassador to the Holy See from the United Kingdom, who is pictured along with Monsignor Charles Burns and the Rector, Fr. Dan Fitzpatrick.
Fr. Dan presided at the Mass of St. Andrew and was joined by the other members of staff in the College and guests, including some of the many priests from Scotland who have celebrated special jubilees this year (serving for as many as 415 years collectively. During the Mass, the congregation heard in the sermon from Canon George Bradburn, who is celebrating 50 years of priesthood, about his memories as a former Spiritual Director at the College. He spoke of many visits to the Vatican, Roman Scottish Country dancing and a Proclaimers gig. He also spoke of the importance of fraternity in the College, basing his reflection on the brotherly bond between Andrew and Peter. Canon Bradburn also discussed the special love that Jesus has for those who have been called to discern their vocation in the priesthood.
Following Mass, the guests were welcomed by staff and students over a brief reception before all congregated in the refectory where, under the gaze of a painting depicting the crucifixion of St. Andrew, everyone enjoyed a meal prepared by the College cook, Arsenio, and Sisters Stella Maris and Stella. Sister Stella Maris is also the College baker and has been working hard over the past few days to prepare a show-stopping cake. She is pictured with her creation before it was cut by the Rector and enjoyed by everyone.
The celebrations proceeded with a chance to finish conversations started during the meal with a coffee or traditional Italian digestivi.
In previous years the days celebrations came to a close with an informal quiz night for students, staff and jubilarians. Whilst the quiz took place as normal, the community had a special opportunity before it to pray together in front of a relic of St. Andrew. Before the apostle who brought his brother to Jesus the students for priesthood gathered and prayed Solemn Vespers to round off a memorable day celebrating the life of St. Andrew.
To all those who joined the community today, ‘Buona Festa’, to those who couldn’t and those at home in Scotland, you were remembered in our prayers. A special mention must go to the jubilarians who made the journey to Rome to join in our celebrations, as well as those who could not make it. Thank you for your effort to make the journey and for your witness over the past years and indeed in the years to come.