Flourish, the monthly newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow

From the April 2018 edition…

Happy Easter!

Archbishop’s Easter message

There is something very pleasurable about hearing the first Alleluia of Easter sung after the long cold days of Lent. Even when you don’t have the best musical ear it’s a very special moment!

This year the days of Lent seemed longer and colder than usual, with enough snow and ice to last a decade, and so it is perhaps even more special to be able to mark the joy and indeed the glory of this great feast of Resurrection.

At Easter the Church announces with great joy that Christ is truly risen. And that changes everything. Christ’s resurrection and new life means that we can live a new life, a new life of faith, hope and love. Faith, hope and especially love are life-changing and world-changing virtues. Jesus wants his followers to change the world, not by force or by conquest or by trickery, but by faith, hope and love, by living the life of the resurrection.

Resurrexit, sicut dixit … Thus we sing in the lovely Easter hymn to Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, Regina Coeli – He has risen as He said He would. And the wonder of this glorious mystery is that the resurrection of Jesus is the pledge of eternal life for those who believe in him: eternal life for us and for our beloved relatives and friends, who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith. Yes, the resurrection of Jesus is not just life-changing but death-destroying. This is a message we have always known in faith. But how radical it is! How unique it is! It is in truth the Good News, and it changes everything.

In the coming days and weeks, the liturgy will guide us through the mystery of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I especially love the story of the risen Jesus resolving the uncertainties of Thomas the Apostle by asking him to touch the wounds on his body made by the nails and the spear at the Crucifixion. Thomas can only respond in grateful wonder with his sublime profession of faith: My Lord and my God, words I whisper to Jesus at the consecration of the Mass. We are called to trust ourselves to the risen Lord who will resolve our uncertainties too. This is how the resurrection of Jesus can change our lives and our world for the better.

And don’t we all thrill to the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus who met the risen Jesus and who eventually recognised him? Whenever we go to Mass, we have the opportunity to recognise Jesus at the breaking of the bread in the Holy Eucharist. During the Easter Season, many young Catholics will make their First Holy Communion. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, they will recognise the risen Jesus when the bread of the Eucharist becomes the Body of Christ. And their lives can change for ever.

So the Easter story – the mystery of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – is also the story of our journey of faith: from darkness into light; from doubt to truth; from sin to grace; from despair to joy; from death to eternal life. So let us with thankful hearts never tire of singing that Easter Alleluia!

Christ is truly risen, Alleluia.

A happy and blessed Easter to everyone!

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Supporters aim high to finally honour St John Ogilvie

Plans to erect a statue to St John Ogilvie, Scotland’s only post-reformation martyr, are now up in the air … literally.

Campaigners have come up with the ingenious idea of placing a statue in an existing empty niche of the Tontine building, a former bank, directly above the site at the Tolbooth where the saint was hanged in 1615.

By placing the memorial at a height – 60ft above street level – supporters believe it will not only serve as a unique reminder of the saint’s place in Scottish history but in practical terms prevent vandalism.

Organisers have now stepped up their online fund raising campaign as well as placing information leaflets in churches throughout the Arch­diocese of Glasgow in a determined effort to finally publicly honour the Jesuit priest who became one of Scotland’s key religious figures.

The final design of the memorial will be decided after an open competition in which artists will be invited to submit proposals for a statue and once the design has been finalised a planning application will be submitted to Glasgow City Council.

Permission for such a memorial to be installed can be a lengthy process – it took two years of planning and fund raising before councillors agreed to allow the Homeless Jesus to be placed in its present city centre location behind St George’s Tron Church in Nelson Mandela Place.

Tony McCartney, a member of the Knights of St Columba, and chairman of the of the St John Ogilvie Campaign Committee, said: “It’s taken some time to get to this stage and we are realistic enough to know that it is, as they say, a marathon not a sprint.

“But all the different groups involved feel very positive that we are on the right road.

“The reality is that we need funds and that is why we continue to ask for help so that St John Ogilvie can finally have a memorial in the city where he was martyred in 1615.”

The John Ogilvie Cam­paign, which currently has more than 2000 ‘likes’ on its Facebook page, is made up of a number of different groups including St Aloysius Church, Garnethill, which houses the saint’s shrine, St Jude’s and St John Ogilvie Church in Barlanark, the Knights of St Columba and various other lay organisations.

John Ogilvie was hanged at Glasgow Cross on March 10, 1615 at the age of 36 after being tried for treason and tortured, unsuccessfully, to reveal the names of other Catholics during a period in history when the religion was outlawed.

In 1967 Glasgow dockworker John Fagin, a parishioner of Blessed John Ogilvie in Easterhouse, went into a coma after developing a large stomach tumour and the entire congregation prayed to the Blessed John Ogilvie for a miracle.

Doctors told his family to expect the worst but he recovered and after years of investigation by the Vatican the miracle was declared and John Ogilvie was canonised on 17 October 1976 by Pope Paul VI.

In his homily on March 10 last year, the Saint’s feast day, Archbishop Tartaglia said: “John Ogilvie was a Scot from Banffshire but he died here in our city. He belongs to Glas­gow and his blood was shed for Christ here in Glasgow.

“We know he was executed at Glasgow Cross. We have the national shrine at St Aloysius, we have the re­nowned painting of our martyr in our Cathedral.

“These tangible things help us to claim St John Ogilvie as our saint, to love him and to keep his memory alive.”

• A bank account has been set up for donations. The account is called The Friends of St John Ogilvie Committee; the account number is 15036665 with a sort code of 09-01-29. Further information can be found on the John Ogilvie Campaign Facebook page.

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