Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Two Shrines Pilgrimage in Scotland Announced for 2018

On Saturday, June 9, the Confraternity of St Ninian made a pilgrimage to Arbroath, Angus, Scotland, to honour St Columba of Iona, Patron of the local Diocese of Dunkeld, on his feast day, and to launch their main event of 2018, the Two Shrines Pilgrimage. (Photos from the Confraternity.)

The day began with a Holy Hour at St Thomas’ Parish Church, before pilgrims walked to the ruins of Arbroath Abbey. The abbey was founded in 1178 by King William “the Lion” of Scotland, and dedicated to the martyr St Thomas Becket, who had been slain in Canterbury Cathedral only eight years before; King William, who had met the Archbishop at the English court, was eventually buried under the high altar. The foundation, the richest in Scotland, was entrusted to Benedictine monks of the Tironensian Order, and thrived until its destruction at the hands of John Knox’s “reformers” shortly after 1560. It is most famous for the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath, in which the Scottish nobles asserted the independence of the Scottish nation in the face of English aggression; in more recent history, the town, which developed around the harbour built by the monks to allow pilgrims to visit the abbey, became an important North Sea port.

Holy Mass was celebrated outdoors at the site of the former high altar by Fr Ninian Doohan, a member of the local diocesan clergy; the liturgy, which was in the Extraordinary Form, included commemorations for the sixth anniversary of the consecration of the diocesan bishop, Stephen Robson, who is a noted friend of tradition in Scotland. After Mass, the pilgrims processed through the town singing the Rosary and hymns in honour of St Columba; this witness to the Christian faith was very well received by the people of the town. (In 2016, we posted some photos of Masses celebrated by Fr Doohan shortly after his ordination.)

At lunch following the Mass, Confraternity president Mark Hamid launched the Two Shrines Pilgrimage 2018, which is the centre of the Confraternity’s annual programme and will take place from August 4-6. Modelled on the Chartres Pilgrimage, the event will begin at the national shrine to St Andrew in St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, and conclude with Holy Mass at the former shrine to St Andrew in St Andrews Cathedral, which this year marks the 700th anniversary of its consecration in the presence of King Robert the Bruce. During the three-day walk, pilgrims will pray the Rosary and other devotions and be supported by the chaplaincy of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer from Golgotha Monastery on the island of Papa Stronsay. Mass will be celebrated each day in the Extraordinary Form and other highlights will include a Holy Hour with Pontifical Benediction in the Chapel Royal, Falkland Palace and the opportunity to enjoy Christian fellowship throughout the event. Registrations for the pilgrimage are now open with an “early bird” discount available to registrants during the month of June.

At St Andrew’s during last year’s pilgrimage
Confraternity president Mark Hamid said, “Our pilgrimage to Arbroath today has been a wonderful opportunity to honour God and to bear witness to our beautiful Catholic Faith in this ancient monastic town. Our efforts to promote the reconversion of Scotland through penance and Christian witness will continue as we undertake our third annual Two Shrines Pilgrimage in August. I warmly invite everyone to get involved and thank them for their continued spiritual and financial assistance without which we would be unable to reach St Andrews. In recognition of the Cathedral’s important anniversary this year, we have set an ambitious fundraising target of £700 and greatly appreciate all contributions to allow us to reach this goal.”

The Confraternity of St Ninian is a lay association and Scottish charity which promotes the re-conversion of Scotland to the Catholic Faith through pilgrimages incorporating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and traditional devotions. For more information on the Confraternity and the Two Shrines Pilgrimage, including how to support its efforts, please visit the website, or the Facebook page, or e-mail:

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