The Jesuit community in Glasgow gathered on Wednesday 10th March in St. Aloysius to mark the feast of St. John Ogilvie with a sung Vespers, with Archbishop Conti presiding and musical support from the St. Mungo Singers.

Before the service started, the St. Mungo Singers sang the Schubert setting of the Salve Regina. Then, as the Archbishop and celebrants processed to the shrine of St. John Ogilivie, the choir led the congregation in singing the Shaw motet for Vespers, “Hail, Gladdening Light”. Archbishop Conti then continued to the sanctuary, to the singing of the well-known Ogilvie hymn “On the Battlefields of Scotland”.

The Psalms for the Vespers were Psalms 114 and 115, both very appropriate for the feast of a martyr. These were followed by the Canticle from the Apocalypse “Worthy art Thou”.

Archbishop Conti, in his reflection, referred to the Mass celebrated earlier in the day at St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral by the Canons. During that service, the story was recounted that when the news of Ogilvie’s death reached Rome in 1616, the seminarians at the Scots College, who were asked in those days to take an oath that they would return to Scotland after ordination, did so on this occasion without exception. Pope Benedict XVI, in his recent meeting with the Scottish bishops, noted the fortunate coincidence of the celebration of the Year of the Priest with the 400th anniversary of Ogilvie’s ordination, and Archbishop held up St. John as an example to all and asked that we pray for an increase in vocations.

Archbishop Conti at the Ogilvie Vespers

As the congregation reflected on Archbishop Conti’s words, Noel Donnelly played a gentle air on the harp, before the service continued with the Responsory “Guard us, Lord, as the apple of your eye, followed by Mary Dickie’s beautiful setting of the Magnificat. The Intercessions were preceded by Casciolini’s “Istorum est enim”, again a very appropriate motet for a martyr’s feast, sung by the St. Mungo Singers.

The service ended with a sung blessing and Noel Donnelly’s hymn to St. John Ogilvie. As the congregation left to enjoy the hospitality of the Jesuit community, the St. Mungo Singers sang the joyful motet, “Resonet in Laudibus”, a fitting end to a feastday.