Ogilvie celebrations continue

The celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie SJ began on Saturday evening (7 March) with Solemn Vespers at St Aloysius Church in Glasgow (pictured below). 82 students from the five Jesuit senior schools performed Mozart's Vesperae solennes de Dominica (K321), accompanied by a professional orchestra and conducted by Keith Roberts, the Head of Choral Music at St Aloysius College, Glasgow. The homily was preached by Fr James Crampsey SJ.Combined choirs at St Aloysius Church, Glasgow, March 2015

The following day, the British Jesuit Provincial, Fr Dermot Preston SJ, preached at the parish Mass in Glasgow. In his homily, he urged his listeners not to 'sleepwalk' through their lives, but rather to be inspired by the sacrifices of people like Saint John Ogilvie SJ. When the Scot was hanged at Glasgow Cross on 10 March 1615, the rosary he had been holding struck a Hungarian merchant, John Eckersdoff, a Calvinist, who was visiting the city. The experience led to his conversion and, in his homily, Fr Preston said that we need to be open to similar experiences.

In addition to the Mass setting dedicated to St Aloysius Gonzaga SJ, the music at the parish Mass included a newly commissioned piece Ave Verum by the renowned Scottish composer, James MacMillan CBE, who spoke afterwards about the need for good quality music in Catholic liturgy.

Liturgy for the Feast of St John Ogilvie SJ, Glasgow, March 2015

At ecumenical Vespers at St Aloysius Church in Glasgow on Monday, 9 March, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor represented Pope Francis. The liturgy was also attended by the son and grandson of John Fagan, the Glasgow docker whose cancer was miraculously cured after his parish in Easterhouse interceded to the Jesuit martyr. Fagan’s recovery contributed significantly to St John Ogilvie’s canonisation in 1976.


This week also saw  the release of an animated film about the life of St John Ogilvie SJ. A group from St Aloysius parish commissioned the eight-minute film from animator Austin Temby and soundscape artist R J M McConnell. It is based on a text by Janis McKie and is narrated by her husband, Kenny McKie. Mr McKee is a teacher at St Oswald’s school for children with additional support needs and some of its pupils – along with students of St Aloysius College in Glasgow – were consulted as ideas for the animation were formulated.

“John Ogilvie has a lot to teach us,” says Kenny McKie. “Different generations will engage with the story in different formats and people use the internet for information, research and to find out what others are interested in; so this is a good way to help people explore their own and other people’s faiths.”

Main photo: A shot from the short animated film about St John Ogilvie SJ. Right: Combined choirs from senior schools perform Mozart. Left: The capacity congregation attend Solemn Vespers at St Aloysius Church in Glasgow. Credit (liturgy photos): Alex Robertson