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US man creates official tartan for papal visit

Catholic World News - September 13, 2010

Cardinal Keith O’Brien presented the official papal visit tartan to the Scottish Parliament’s presiding officer on September 9.

“It’s a great honor to be able to hand over the first-ever tartan created for a papal visit as a thank you to all the Holyrood parliamentarians who have been so overwhelmingly supportive of this visit, knowing it means so much to the Catholic community and many others in this country,” said Cardinal O’Brien.

“I also intend to gift the tartan to the Holy Father only a week from today,” he added. “What could give him a greater Scottish welcome than a new tartan created in honour of this historic visit?”

Somewhat surprisingly, the tartan was not created by a Scotsman, but by an American, Matthew Newsome.

“The white line on blue field draws upon Scotland’s national colors, while the green reflects the lichens growing on the stones of Whithorn in Galloway,” explains Newsome. “It was there that Ninian first brought the gospel of Jesus Christ to Scottish shores over 1,600 years ago.”

“The white lines are also accompanied by a pair of red lines, reflecting the colors of Cardinal Newman’s crest,” he added. “And finally, the thin yellow lines in the tartan, together with the white, reflect the colors of the Vatican.”

Newsome, the director of the Scottish Tartans Museum in North Carolina, also serves as the Catholic campus minister at Western Carolina University.

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