Family day out to celebrate 400th anniversary of Keith Saint

St John Ogilive was born in Keith.
St John Ogilive was born in Keith.

PEOPLE FROM THROUGHOUT Scotland are heading in the direction of Keith when an important local historic figure is commemorated.

Coach parties from as far afield as Motherwell and Paisley have already booked their places at a gathering organised to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie of Keith.

John Ogilvie has a privileged place in the history of Keith and the Catholic Church, his life was short – and yet his tale of bravery, courage, selflessness and devotion to his faith has lasted long after his death almost 400 years ago.

A Jesuit priest, he was martyred in Glasgow for refusing to denounce Catholicism and accepting that the King (James VI of Scotland and I of England) had supreme authority in all matters spiritual as well as civil.

Ogilvie was no traitor to his nation however, he declared his loyalty to his King on countless occasions – but made clear he was dying “for religion alone”, adding: “For that I am prepared to give even a hundred lives.”

John Ogilvie was not born a Catholic – he wasn’t admitted to the faith until he was 17 years of age. He was a priest for only five years and he was dead by the age of 36.

His trial, following unspeakable torture, beatings, starvation and sleep deprivation, and his subsequent execution, became a cause celebre throughout Europe and he was revered by his Jesuit order and throughout the Church.

It was not until 1929, however, that he was beatified (made Blessed) and 1976 that he was canonised as Scotland’s first Saint in more than 700 years.

To mark the anniversary the football ground in Keith will be open from 12noon onwards on Saturday, July 4 for a family day out. All weather will be catered for – it could have the making of a picnic and great family day out, come rain or shine. Over 30 stalls have already been booked providing food and shelter, plus singing from the Diocesan choir.

Children will be able to participate in a bouncy castle and fun events organised by the Dominican Sisters from Elgin while Mass will take place at 3pm.

Further information about St John Ogilvie can be found online.