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Archbishop invites Pope Francis to Glasgow to remember Jesuit martyr

By on Friday, 6 June 2014

Archbishop Tartaglia (Photo: PA). Below, a portrait of St John Ogilvie by Peter Howson which hangs in St Andrew's Cathedral in Glasgow

Archbishop Tartaglia (Photo: PA). Below, a portrait of St John Ogilvie by Peter Howson which hangs in St Andrew's Cathedral in Glasgow

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow has written to Pope Francis asking him to consider visiting the Scottish city next year to mark the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie.

Archbishop Tartaglia suggested the Pope could visit Glasgow on March 10, the saint’s feast day and the date of his execution in 1615.

In his letter the archbishop said: “I know that this is short notice for the visit of a Pope … I present this request to you without any expectations or sense of entitlement. I do not even know if it is practical! However a visit would be such a grace.”

He said such a visit would be “wonderful” and of a “purely religious-pastoral nature”.

The archbishop’s letter was quoted in this month’s edition of Flourish, the archdiocesan newspaper.

St John Ogilvie, a convert to Catholicism from Banffshire who became a Jesuit priest, was hanged in Glasgow at the age of only 36. His last words were apparently: “If there be here any hidden Catholics, let them pray for me but the prayers of heretics I will not have.”

St John was canonised in 1976 and is Scotland’s only post-Reformation saint.

If it were to go ahead, a visit by the Pope would be the third papal visit to Glasgow, after the Masses of St John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI at Bellahouston Park in 1982 and 2010.

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