The bishop who led a huge crowd in praying for peace in George Square on Friday night has said it was a demonstration of the ‘deep faith that still resides in Scotland’.
Bishop John Keenan said that those who had come to pray ‘to Our Blessed Mother for peace in Ukraine’ had shown ‘typical solidarity to those most in need’.
Bishop Keenan stepped in to lead the prayers at the last minute after Archbishop William Nolan of Glasgow contracted Covid. Earlier that day Catholics all over the world had joined with Pope Francis in praying to consecrate humanity, Russia, and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
John Deighan, CEO of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, who helped organise the event, said the turnout in Glasgow showed that though ‘our world can feel like it has forgotten God behind that appearance people are often very spiritual’.
“When troubles arise they know instinctively that they should turn to God,” he said.” Turning to God builds unity and it builds peace. The sense of peace at George Square with thousands of people was palpable. It deeply affected many people.”
Mr Deighan said that afterward a ‘man approached me to ask how he could become a Catholic’.
“People were attracted to the crowd and the peace and unity it offered,” he reflected. “It is time for people of faith to have more confidence that we have something the world wants and needs.”
The Knight of St Columba stewarded the event and estimated a turn of over 2000 based on the number of leaflets they’d given out.
Jeannette Findlay, Chair of the campaign group Call it Out, said it had been ‘beautiful’.
“Just stood with hundreds of Catholics in George Square praying the Rosary for peace in Ukraine and for the Russian and Ukrainian people,” she tweeted. “It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever participated in. God bless those who organised it, the priests, deacons, and Bishop Keenan.”
Another organiser, John Patrick Mallon, said that at a time of increasing division in the Church it had been a moment of ‘great unity’.
“The numbers for a Friday night, the diversity of the crowd, passerby joining in others looking on interested,” he said. “The calm in the square despite it being the city centre. Our Lady was felt there for sure.”
Picture by Paul McSherry.