To initiate the celebrations in Scotland, Scotus College held a service for its patron on 7th December, to which family, friends, neighbours and guests were invited.
In an atmospheric setting, lit only by the light of the Advent wreath and candles held by the participants, and following gentle instrumental music provided by Carissa Bovill and Noel Donnelly (clarsach) and Clare O’Neill (violin), the service opened with the singing of Isaiah 55.
Fr. Willie McFadden, the Rector, welcomed everyone to the celebration which had a Marian theme, reflecting Duns Scotus own particular devotion to Our Lady.
The liturgy then continued, fittingly, with a new hymn written by Br. Stephen Smyth for the 150th Lourdes Anniversary to the familiar and well-loved tune of “Immaculate Mary” followed by Noel Donnelly’s setting of “Mary the Dawn”, Psalm 66 (a psalm often used for Marian feasts) and the sung Hail Mary.
In his homily, Fr. McFadden highlighted Duns Scotus’ balanced and mature devotion to Mary, which led to God, was Christ-centred and ecumenical. He described Scotus as a philosopher and theologian who expanded the boundaries of his area of study and the understanding of Mary’s role in salvation history, and as someone who has much to teach us today as a man of vision yet Franciscan simplicity, a Scot but never insular.
The service concluded with the Morar Magnificat, the Palestrina Alma Redemptoris Mater and a hymn in honour of Duns Scotus, specially written for the 7th Centenary by Br. Stephen to music by Fr. Gerry Fitzpatrick. The congregation then were invited to enjoy the hospitality of the College.