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George Hay, Bishop

On 2 April 1758, George Hay was ordained a priest by Cardinal Spinelli in Rome. A year later he returned to Scotland travelling with John Geddes and William Guthrie. They travelled all the way to Paris wearing the purple soutanes worn for generations by students of the Scots College, Rome. It was only when they got to the Scots College, Paris that they put on clothes less likely to reveal that they were priests. On his return to Scotland Hay was appointed to assist Bishop Grant in the important district of the Enzie, in Banffshire. In 1766, Bishop Grant succeeded Bishop Smith as the Vicar Apostolic of the Lowland District, and soon afterwards had Hay appointed his coadjutor. He was consecrated on Trinity Sunday, 21 May 1769 to the titular see of Daulia, in secret because of the anti-Catholic Penal Laws, in the upstairs chapel at Scalan which can still be visited today. He succeeded Bishop Grant as Vicar Apostolic in 1778 and two years later secured the appointment of Rev. John Geddes as his coadjutor.

The Scalan Association AGM takes places this year on Tuesday 21 May, the actual 250th anniversary of Bishop Hay's consecration. Before the meeting, we are having Mass in the upstairs chapel to mark the actual day, at 12.30pm. Trinity Sunday is a moveable feast dependent on the date of Easter and falls this year on 16 June when we are having the annual pilgrimage Mass at 4.00pm, moved only for this year from the usual first Sunday of July, to mark this special anniversary.

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