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1-CONSECRATION

World watches on as Scotland is consecrated with MSPs’ support

Audience of 100,000 saw the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary —By AMANDA CONNELLY

More than 100,000 people from across the world watched online as Scotland was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in front of a 5,000-strong crowd of pilgrims, in a historic day that was recognised by the Scottish Parliament.

The faithful flocked from across the country and braved downpours to gather at Carfin Lourdes Grotto on Sunday September 3 for the annual national pilgrimage day, where a full afternoon of events took place to mark the consecration, which falls in the centenary year of the Fatima apparitions.

The consecration was broadcast live on the Facebook page of Catholic ­network EWTN, attracting well-wishers from as far as the Philippines who joined in praying for Scotland.

There was an air of community and celebration, as many of those who had travelled from all over the country socialised together before Mass, ­gathering in the Xavier Centre for refreshments and enjoying the ­beautiful grounds of the Grotto.

 

Scotland’s bishops heard confessions prior to the afternoon Mass, before around 80 members of clergy processed down to the outdoor altar, where the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima was placed on a plinth, adorned with brightly coloured, white and gold roses.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow praised the turnout of ­pilgrims, saying they had ‘responded magnificently’ to the call to gather for the consecration.

 

God’s call

It was this response to God’s call that Bishop Brian McGee of Argyll and the Isles preached about in his homily. He asked Scotland to say yes to God’s call just as Mary did.

“At the Annunciation, Mary said yes to God: ‘Let it be done to me according to your will,’” he said.

“From that day forward, the Gospels relate that Mary constantly pondered the activities of God in her heart. She contemplated and then she acted. She continued each day to say yes to God in every situation, no matter how challenging.

“If we want to be devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, then I must embrace her attitude and make it my own. My entire life must become one continuous yes to God.

“Today we consecrate Scotland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We express together sorrow for our personal and communal sinfulness, and we implore Mary’s guidance and strength that we live as a Christian nation should.”

Bishop McGee spoke of the hopeful vision that those gathered would be an ‘inspiration’ to others as they strove to submit to God’s will.

“Would it not be lovely that as we consecrate our country, that every one of us says: ‘I am to be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart as well,’” he said. “With God’s grace, I want to, every single day, in every situation, to say yes to God.

“Imagine that—thousands of people all over our country, in all the various communities, in our families, our cities, our towns, our villages and even on our islands; imagine everywhere, thousands of people every day, in every circumstance, striving to say yes to God. What a force for good that would be within Scotland, giving a great example, an inspiration, to everyone as we pray on our nation’s behalf.

“Our Heavenly Mother loves us and only wants what is best for us. 100 years ago in Fatima, Our Lady insisted to us, her children, that her Immaculate Heart will triumph.

“Our Lady reminded us that sin, most certainly yes, has a grip in the world, but the person who relies on God’s grace, determines in his or her heart to reject sin, and embrace the ways of God, that person too will triumph.”

 

Political backing

The consecration was also welcomed by the Scottish Parliament, who included itself in the events with a motion of recognition.

The parliament’s move attracted strong praise from Bishop John Keenan of Paisley, who noted its major significance.

“I think [it is] exceptionally significant that the Scottish Parliament has chosen to involve itself in the consecration of Scotland to Our Lady with a formal motion of recognition,” he wrote on Facebook. “I feel this is enormously significant and ­providential.”

The motion was lodged by MSP Elaine Smith, and has received backing from MSPs Alex Rowley, Richard Lyle, Stewart Stevenson and Clare Adamson—some of whom are not Catholic.

The motion recognised that the consecration would ‘pray for all parliamentarians and government, so that they will play their part in building a true civilisation of love and strive to create a place where all people are valued, a place where poor, lonely and marginalised people are not forgotten, and a place where people are free to practise their Faith.’

Despite the adverse weather, many of those who had travelled for the consecration stayed to take part in a Rosary procession, with the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima leading the way and people young and old following behind i

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