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Feast of St John Ogilvie SJ Celebrated at Heythrop

On 10 March Bishop Nicholas celebrated Mass at Heythrop College for the feast of St John Ogilvie SJ. Ogilvie was a Reformation martyr who travelled to Scotland to bring people back to the faith. He was betrayed and arrested by someone who posed as a Catholic. During his arrest he was tortured in an effort to extract the names of other Catholics from him. Ogilvie was convicted of high treason for converting Protestants to the Catholic faith and was hanged in Glasgow in 1615.

In his homily, Bishop Nicholas reflected on the contribution of the Reformation martyrs to the Catholic community in Britain: ‘they embraced the call to make the supreme sacrifice of their lives’. The reading for the day, from St Paul’s Letter to the Romans, stated that: ‘It is by faith we are judged’. Reflecting on this Bishop Nicholas said: ‘Browne [a friend of Ogilvie] testified that even on the scaffold Ogilvie was offered his freedom and a fat living if he would only deny the Catholic faith. He and Campion died in order that the Catholic faith should not die out in these islands. It would surely give them great joy to see us celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass here in this place 401 years after Ogilvie made the supreme sacrifice.’

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