BY Ian Dunn | August 7 2015 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


St John Paul II relic coming to Scotland

A relic of St John Paul II is coming to Scotland this October for the first time.

The Polish priest who has arranged the visit told the SCO he believes that it will help bring together Polish immigrants and native Scots.

Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell will install the relic at St Patrick’s parish in Sheildmuir during Mass on Sunday, October 18, and there will be a special concert in the church with tenor Martin Aelred to mark the occasion the Friday before the Mass.

Fr Krzysztof Garwolinski, the parish priest of St Patrick’s, which serves the Polish community in Lanarkshire, said he was determined to bring a relic of the great saint to Scotland.

“I wrote to Cardinal Dziwisz of Krakow many months ago,” the priest told the SCO. “St John Paul II is a kind of icon for Poles, a father figure for everyone and I think bringing the relic will inspire religious devotion here.”

Fr Garwolinski added that he was aware that St John Paul II, as the first Pope to visit Scotland, is also specially revered by many Scots.

“I hope many Scots come and see the relic as well,” he said. “Obviously we have Scots here as well as Poles and they are very well integrated but I hope the relic being here will bring them closer together.

“As well as Bishop Toal celebrating Mass on the 18, we will also have events through September including Holy Hours to prepare people and Martin Aelred’s welcoming concert as well.”

Mr Aelred, famed for his talent and his charitable concerts at cathedrals and parishes in Scotland, said it was ‘very exciting’ to be involved with this concert.

“It’s going to be a free concert, with an optional donation to the charity Let the Children Live, which helps street children in Colombia,” he said.

The concert itself will be a musical journey around the globe with pieces from all over the world that St John Paul II visited while Pope. The singer also said he was pleased to be involved because of St John Paul’s own devotion to music.

During St John Paul II’s life, four vials of blood were drawn, in case they were ever needed for transfusion, but never used. After his death in 2005, two of the vials were held in a transfusion centre, and the other two were given to Pope John Paul II’s personal secretary, then Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz. It is one of the latter that will visit Scotland this autumn.

—For full concert details and  information about Martin Aelred’s new album visit


—This story ran in full in the August 7 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.

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