Pope Francis has been asked to consider day visit to Glasgow

An invitation has been sent to Pope Francis for him to consider a day visit to Glasgow.

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Glasgow's Archbishop, Philip Tartaglia has written to Pope Francis asking him to visit the city to mark the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie, who was executed at Glasgow Cross on March 10, 1615.

In his letter to Pope Francis asking him to visit the city on the saint's anniversary and feast day, the Archbishop said: "It would be wonderful if you could come to Glasgow for a day for this unique event. I would envisage your visit as being of a purely religious-pastoral nature. I know that this is short notice for the visit of a Pope … I present this request to you without any expectations or sense of entitlement. I do not even know if it is practical. However a visit would be such a grace."

If it were to go ahead, a visit by the Pope would be the third papal visit to Glasgow, after the masses of St John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI at Bellahouston Park in 1982 and 2010.

The most recent mass in September 2010 was attended by 70,000 and guests included First Minister Alex Salmond as well as performances from Michelle McManus and Susan Boyle.

The visit this time however would be in honour of John Ogilvie, who was a convert to Catholicism who came from Banffshire.

He was a Jesuit priest martyred for his faith. He was hanged in Glasgow on March 10, 1615. He was canonised in Rome by Pope Paul VI on October 16, 1976.

Archbishop Tartaglia was present at the ceremony as a young priest. Many Scottish pilgrims travelled to Rome for the canonisation.

Easterhouse man John Fagan's miraculous cure from cancer provided the miracle needed to proceed to the canonization.

St John Ogilvie is Scotland's only post-reformation canonised saint and was recently painted by celebrated Scots artist Peter Howson - the painting now being on display in St Andrew's Cathedral, just a few hundred yards from the saint's execution site.

Although Papal visits are usually planned with several years of anticipation, Pope Francis has surprised many by choosing to make short day visits within Italy to places of special significance, most notably last year when he went for the day to the island of Lampedusa which is the arrival point for many immigrants from Africa. Two further day visits within Italy are due this summer.

Archbishop Tartaglia said: "Whether the Pope is able to come or not, I would hope that the anniversary will be a celebration and renewal of faith for the Catholic community, for other Christians, and for all people of faith. And I would hope that it could be a moment of reflection on the deeper realities of human existence for all people of good will.

"Our celebrations would be clearly marked too by an appreciation of how ecumenism has changed the relationship between Christians over the last four centuries and focus on how Christians and other people of faith can make common cause for the core issue for which St John Ogilvie died, namely religious freedom.

"My thought is to provide a new focus on the figure of St John Ogilvie: his identity as a Scot, his faith journey, his vocation, his priestly ministry, his capture and death, his sainthood and canonisation."

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