Closer to God: an experience in prayer.

Revd. Richard King, a retired Anglican priest now living in Shetland, will give a series of talks this autumn at the Islesburgh Centre, Lerwick. Details are given in the pdf flyer below. A "taster session" will be held on Saturday 17th August from 11-12.15.


2022 Scottish Census statistics for Orkney and Shetland: Religion

On 21st May 2024 further information was published from the 2022 Scottish Census. This section reports on religion and ethnicity.

Our Catholic population has grown slightly, relative to the 2001 census, in both Orkney and Shetland. The totals we have now are 650 for Shetland and 586 for Orkney. As a percentage of the population of Shetland (2.83% in Shetland and 2.67% in Orkney) we are much more sparcely represented than on the mainland (13.3% Catholics in Scotland as a whole).

There are few adherents of non-Christian religions in Shetland (1.53%): 87 Buddhists; 8 Hindus; 4 Jews; 42 Muslims; 137 pagans and 73 from other religions. These figures pale into insignificance in comparison with the 62.75% (14,424 people out of the total Shetland population of 22,986) who declared themselves to have "No Religion". This is much higher than the Scottish national figure of 51.1% (37.2% in England and Wales).

A summary of the figures will be found in the PDF below:


Link to official Scottish Census website.

Launch of Windows Fund, Pentecost Sunday, 19 May 2024

Most of the stained glass windows in our church are over 100 years old and in urgent need of repair since the lead has become brittle and the supporting iron work is corroding. A recent meeting of the parish Finance Committee decided to replace the eight nave widows with new leaded glass at a cost of about £20,000 per window. The work will probably take three years to complete.

Work has already begun on releading the small windows in the porch, sacristy and apse.

We are today launching a Windows Fund to cover the costs of this project. As with the Monument Fund last year, the main collection point will be the candle stand by Our Lady’s statue. Work has already begun on the conservation of the smallest windows and we are seeking diocesan approval to make plans for the second phase, which is the replacement of the eight large windows in the body of the nave. In all, we are looking at costs of about £200,000.

We welcome enquiries from individuals or groups who would like to sponsor an entire window as a memorial to loved ones. A guide price for a personalised window is £30,000.

Northern Pilgrims' Way, Caithness

A new pilgrim route has been established between Tain in the Scottish Highlands and St Magnus' Cathedral in Orkney. The organisers are inviting those interested to take part in a short online survey. The Shetland churches have also been discussing a pilgrim way in Shetland which would link up with the St Magnus Way in Orkney.

Link to Northern Pilgrims' Way website.

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:

Link to petition.

Ian McGrath,R.I.P.

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.

Welcome to

St Margaret and the Sacred Heart Church, Lerwick

Roman Catholic Diocese of Aberdeen

Parish Newsletter

The weekly Sunday bulletin, with details of weekday Masses and events, can be downloaded from the "Bulletin" page of this site.