Glasgow & West Scotland

Pope Francis asked to consider one-day visit to Glasgow

Pope Francis Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Pope Francis has made special day visits within Italy and it is hoped he may choose to visit Glasgow

Pope Francis has been asked to consider a one-day visit to Glasgow next year to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of St John Ogilvie.

Glasgow's Archbishop, Philip Tartaglia, has asked him to make a pastoral visit for the saint's feast day on 10 March.

The city has previously hosted papal visits by John Paul II in 1982 and Benedict XVI in 2010.

Jesuit priest John Ogilvie was hanged at Glasgow Cross for high treason for converting Protestants to Catholicism.

In a letter to Pope Francis, Archbishop Tartaglia writes that it would be "wonderful" if the pontiff could make a "purely religious-pastoral" visit Glasgow to mark the 400th anniversary of St John Ogilvie's death.

'Short notice'

"I know that this is short notice for the visit of a Pope," he writes,

"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."

The Archbishop's letter has been published in the latest edition of Flourish, the Archdiocese of Glasgow's official newspaper.

Image copyright Scottish Catholic Church
Image caption Archbishop Philip Tartaglia has written to Pope Francis inviting him to visit Glasgow

Although Papal visits are usually planned several years in advance, Pope Francis made other short day visits within Italy to places of special significance. Two further day visits within Italy are due this summer.

Speaking about the planned celebrations next year, Archbishop Tartaglia said: "Whether the Pope is able to come or not, I would hope that the anniversary will be a celebration and renewal of faith for the Catholic community, for other Christians, and for all people of faith.

"And I would hope that it could be a moment of reflection on the deeper realities of human existence for all people of good will.

"Our celebrations would be clearly marked too by an appreciation of how ecumenism has changed the relationship between Christians over the last four centuries and focus on how Christians and other people of faith can make common cause for the core issue for which St John Ogilvie died, namely religious freedom."

The Archbishop added: "My thought is to provide a new focus on the figure of St John Ogilvie: his identity as a Scot, his faith journey, his vocation, his priestly ministry, his capture and death, his sainthood and canonisation."

Born in 1579, John Ogilvie was raised as a Calvinist and was received into the Catholic faith aged 17 in 1596.

He was ordained a Jesuit priest in Paris in 1610 and returned to Scotland, which was largely Protestant following the Reformation and break with the Papacy in 1560.

While in Scotland, Ogilvie was arrested and following torture and trial, convicted of high treason.

He had been denying the king's spiritual jurisdiction by upholding the Pope's spiritual primacy as well as conducting Mass in secret.

He was hanged at Glasgow Cross on 10 March 1615, aged 36.

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