Genesis to Jesus course, January 2024
St Ninian's Isle Treasure to return to Shetland?
A petition has been launched for the return to Shetland of the early Christian silverwork found during archaeological excavation on St Ninian's Isle about 65 years ago. The collection is currently in the national collection in Edinburgh but the hope is that it could become the centre-piece of the Shetland Museum in Lerwick.
The treasure is thought to have been hidden from the Vikings in the early ninth century and is an important part of our Shetland Catholic heritage. You can sign the petition here:
Ian (John) McGrath died peacefully at home in Mossbank on 14th August 2023. He was 87. May he rest in peace!
Summer Pilgrimage to Aith, 18th August 2023.
This year the annual pilgrimage was to Aith on the west side of Shetland. We had Mass in the old cemetery near Michael's Wood where a Catholic chapel had stood in the middle ages. Mary Nicolson was buried here in December 1860 (see blog).
In the afternoon we walked up Aith Voe to Queensetter and Millburn to find the ruined crofts where Mary Nicolson had lived. The heather is now in full bloom.
Our goal was to find the house where Fr Bernard Bernard had sought out Mary Nicolson on a wild autumn day in October 1860.
It was pretty windy even in August so we transferred our picnic lunch to a convivial indoor setting.
August 2023, World Youth Day, Lisbon
Sarah, one of our parish catechists, has joined the WYD gathering at Lisbon. She is pictured here with Bishop Hugh and the group from Aberdeen Diocese.
26th - 29th July 2023, Tall Ships Race.
Lerwick was host to more than 30 sailing ships for four days in July as part of an international race from the Netherlands to Norway. Parishioners were involved in many capacities!
There was also a separate programme for the North Isles, where several of the boats put in during the "cruise in company" stage of the race. Events focused on Cullivoe, Yell, which is one of our regular Mass centres.
Via di San Francesco, 22nd September - 4th October 2022
A group from the parish walked from the sanctuary of La Verna, where St Francis received the stigmata, to Assisi on the northern half of the "Way of St Francis".
We arrived in Assisi on the eve of the Feast of St Francis and joined Masses in the basilica and with the Poor Clares at Santa Chiara.
One of the surprises of the journey was finding the tomb of the wolf of Gubbio, tamed by St Francis.
Easter Picnic, 11th April 2023
Well protected against the elements! Our Easter picnic on Sumburgh Head was preceded by a site tour of Old Scatness, an Iron age village which was in the news that morning as part of Britain's application of UNESCO World Heritage status for the exceptional group of archaeological sites at Jarlshof, Scatness and Mousa Broch. It was an appropriate choice for Easter since this village was occupied at the time Christ rose from the dead.
Prayer Vigil for the People of Ukraine, Friday 24th February 2023, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The Shetland Churches came together on the first Friday of Lent to mark the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Our service took the form of a silent silent vigil punctuated with the 15 psalms used by the Orthodox in their Friday evening vespers. Readers came from the Catholic, Church of Scotland, Episcopal Church of Scotland and Methodist congregations.
Pilgrimage to Eshaness, 13th August 2021
A votive Mass of the Holy Cross was said in the ruins of the medieval Cross Kirk at Eshaness as a summer pilgrimage. This chapel remained a place of Catholic devotion long after the Reformation.
Wedding of Emma Hopper and Brendan To at Blairs Chapel, 9th July 2021
Emma, a parishioner from Ollaberry, married Brendan from Inverness at a wedding ceremony just outside Aberdeen in July. They have now settled in Shetland. Photo by Dani Rose Photography.
Walking the length of Mainland Shetland, June 2021.
Fr Ambrose, Marsali and Pete took part in the Friends of the Holy Land 'Pentecost Challenge' as a fund-raiser for the education of Christian children in the Holy Land.
It began as a 'virtual pilgrimage' from Bethlehem to Nazareth by walking the equivalent distance (84 miles) along the length of the main island of Shetland from Sumburgh Head in the south to North Roe in the north. In the end it was 131 miles since there had been extensive detours to avoid traffic and to take in as many sites as possible associated with the early Christian history of Shetland. This year we are commemorating the 1,500th anniversary of the birth of St Columba of Iona, and it was Celtic monks who were probably the first evangelists of Shetland.
Midnight Mass at St Margaret's, 25th December 2020
The Church before people started to arrive. The red glow comes from the Quartz heaters. In place of sung carols this year we had musical versions played by the music group on organ, guitar and Shetland fiddle.
Our crib set has been a part of the parish Christmas celebrations since the Jesuits took over the parish in 1954.