Football benefactor brings Glasgow virgin into play

By staff writers
24 Feb 2008

The managing director of one of the world's most illustrious football clubs, Barcelona FC, has joined other Spanish philanthropists in donating a statue of the Black Madonna to St Aloysius' Roman Catholic Church in Glasgow.

The statue concerned is a copy of the original one in Montserrat, and has been blessed and placed on the Lady Altar of the church, reports Independent Catholic News (http://www.indcatholicnews.com/).

The Black Madonna, or "the Virgin of Montserrat", is a statue of Mary the Mother of Jesus and the Infant Christ at the Monastery of Santa María de Montserrat in the Montserrat Mountains in Catalonia.

It is a Romanesque sculpture in wood from the late 12th century. In March 1522, Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Jesuit order after leaving behind his military career, visited the Benedictine monastery and prayed there.

St Aloysius Church in Glasgow is preparing a special liturgy for the Feast of St John Ogilvie on 10 March 2008, Scotland's only only post-reformation saint. At the 12.30 pm Mass, the Chancellor or a delegate of the Catholic Archdiocese will bless a plaque to Ogilvie.

Ogilvie's story is of a Jesuit hanged because he defied the suppression of Catholics in Scotland, as part of the series of terrible acts of violence committed by Christians against one another and those of other communities.

Sectarianism is still identified as problem in Scotland, and the footballing rivalry between the 'old firm', Celtic and Rangers, has frequently been a focus for this. But active Christians of all traditions are now seeking to heal the wounds.

The gift from Spain to Glasgow will be seen by many as a symbol of reconciliation and peace - even though Barcelona beat Celtic 3-2 at Parkhead in the first leg of a European Champions League encounter a few days ago.

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