Before the Mass began, the choirs sang a selection of sacred music including a setting of the Canticle from Philippians and the Taize chant “There is One Lord”, and ending with the Ogilvie hymn by James Quinn. The procession of concelebrants to the altar was accompanied by the entrance processional “Grace to You and Peace” leading into Christopher Idle’s translation of the Te Deum “God, we Praise You” to the glorious music of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”.
Archbishop Tartaglia began with a welcome to all those taking part: clergy, religious, representatives from all the Scottish dioceses, Knights of Malta, Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, Knights of St. Columba and young people. He especially welcomed members of the Jesuits, the Lord Provost, MSP Roseanna Cunningham, and Cardinals Brady and Murphy O’Connor. Cardinal Murphy O’Connor, as Cardinal Legate representing Pope Francis, then read out the message from the Pope to all present.
The music of the Mass was a lovely wide ranging choice, from the plainsong Kyrie, Credo 3 and Pater Noster, through Purcell’s Te Deum, Mozart’s Ave Verum and the Schubert setting of the Sanctus and Memorial Acclamation, to more modern liturgical music (Gerry Fitzpatrick’s Jubilee Gloria and Agnus Dei, Martin Morran’s setting of Psalm 76, Noel Donnelly’s Gospel Acclamation, James Quinn’s “This is my Will” and Sean Bowman’s “I am the Vine”), and it enriched what was a warm and joyful celebration.Archbishop Tartaglia in his homily, had everyone smiling with his opening comment – “It’s good to be back” – acknowledging that this was his first major diocesan service since his illness. He offered some reflections on this celebration. He had been in Rome at the time of the canonisation of John Ogilvie and he quoted from the declaration made on that day. He referred then to the letter of Pope Francis who invites us to take inspiration from St. John Ogilvie to follow Christ more faithfully and to love the Church. Our response should be one of thanksgiving and joy in this, our saint and martyr. We should love him and see in him the person of Jesus. Today, at a time of relativism and “low impact” religion, we need to grow the harvest in faith, family life, service to the poor and needy and justice.
The Archbishop’s next point was that John Ogilvie was a victim of the spiritual and political storm which purged Scotland of almost every vestige of the Pre-Reformation church. We need now to discern God’s unfolding plan and strive to imitate John Ogilvie’s faith and steadfastness in our own times. Referring to the previous evening’s service to which other churches had been invited, he expressed a sense that the commemoration of John Ogilvie’s martyrdom was in fact bringing people together. He referred again to Pope Paul VI’s homily at the canonisation, that this was a time for praise, joy and thanksgiving, not polemics.
The fragmentation of Christianity is a reality but we express our baptismal unity in our ecumenical relation, in the real effective economy of prayer, service and friendship. Quoting Pope Francis, he said that martyrs belong to all Christians and John Ogilvie is a martyr for all Scottish Christians.
John Ogilvie had made it clear in his final words that he was loyal to the King and he died for religion alone. Pope Paul VI indicated that the saint and others like him witnessed to the right to religious freedom. Today this right was in a fragile state but John Ogilvie pointed towards the right relationship between state and religion. This is a legacy all can share in. Scotland has given humanity a great hero of freedom of faith.