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11-OGILVIE-BY-HOWSON

Lenten penance, saints’ feast days and martyrdom

This week’s editorial leader

Passing the midpoint of Lent is a bittersweet moment, a time to realise how far we have come, yes, however it also presents the opportunity to redouble our efforts from now on, regardless of how successful we have been so far. There is a great deal of debate as to exemptions from Lenten penance, including high days and Holy days (St Patrick’s Day, Mothering Sunday, St Joseph’s Day and in fact all Sundays to name but a few). Then there is the uplifting Bishops’ Lenten Catechesis series in Paisley, which once again turned Lenten penance into a moment of hope when Bishop Hugh Gilbert gave the Catholic Christian perspective on sin.

This week, however, our thoughts turn to another feast day entirely—that of St John Ogilvie. The feast day of Scotland’s Jesuit Martyr on Tuesday marked the 400th anniversary of his death. And while some Scottish Catholics struggle to reconcile what happened at the Reformation with the solid ecumenical relations we have today, it was appropriate and poignant that parishes in Glasgow and beyond marked the anniversary with reverence.

Pope Francis asked Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the former Archbishop of Westminster, to be his special envoy at the anniversary celebrations in Glasgow this week, which included Solemn Vespers at St Aloysius Church on Monday night and Mass in St Andrew’s Cathedral, Glasgow, with Archbishop Philip Tartaglia on Tuesday evening. No doubt many of those who turned out were there to support Archbishop Tartaglia’s return to health as well as mark St John Ogilvie’s anniversary.

That said, the Vatican did degree that anyone who attended a Liturgy in honour of St John Ogilvie in St Andrew’s Cathedral, Glasgow, St Aloysius’ Garnethill, or St Jude and St John Ogilvie’s, Barlanark (the parish in which the miracle took place which led to the Canonisation) may obtain a Plenary Indulgence for themselves or for the dead. Do not worry if you missed the chance for the same Plenary Indulgence is available for anyone who privately prays (saying the Our Father, Hail Mary, Apostles’ Creed, and a prayer in honour of the saint) in one of these churches at the shrines in honour of St John Ogilvie.

And speaking of Holy men, the annual Romero lecture about to come to Edinburgh and Glasgow is particularly topical with this week’s announcement that the martyr will be Beatified on May 23. Pope Francis declared Archbishop Romero a martyr after years of theological questioning over whether he died for his religion or for political reasons, as well as opposition among some in the Church.

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