When our Ordinariate group was formed and we were received into the Catholic Church, one of us took Ninian as his Confirmation Name.
September 16th is the Feast of St Ninian, the "Apostle to the Southern Picts", and the first Bishop known to have ministered in Scotland. St Ninian is believed to have been responsible for the construction in 397AD of the first known Church building in Scotland, the Candida Casa (the White House), a white-washed stone building from which the town of Whithorn in Galloway takes its name.
Although the evangelisation of Scotland is more often associated with St Columba, in fact St Ninian lived well over a century before St Columba, and worked in different regions of Scotland.
September 16th also marks the first anniversary of the great day last year when the Holy Father arrived in Scotland at the start of his visit to the United Kingdom. That visit was a definite turning point for many who have come into the Ordinariate and into the wider Catholic Church in this country in the past year. One of the things that Pope Benedict did exactly one year ago was to celebrate an open-air Mass in Bellahouston Park in Glasgow in front of around 65,000 people. That Mass was of course of St Ninian of Galloway.
The Collect at the Mass said by the Holy Father was as follows :
Lord our God, you brought the Picts and Britons to a knowledge of the Faith through the teaching of Saint Ninian, the Bishop: in your goodness, listen to our prayers: grant that we who have received from him the light of your truth may remain strong in faith and active in works of charity. We ask this through Our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
In the video below, there is some footage of the Mass celebrated that momentous day. Underneath that video is a link to a hymn, Ninian of Galloway, which was sung just before the start of the Papal Mass in Glasgow, and to a prayer for the Feast of St Ninian.
As we now give thanks to Almighty God for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom last year, we ask for His continued blessing on these islands. May Our Lady, St Ninian and all the Saints of this land pray for us.