Pilgrims get chance to celebrate saint online this Sunday
St Margaret's Pilgrimage may have been cancelled, but churches in Dunfermline have got together to celebrate the saint online this Sunday.
A special ecumenical service will be available on Facebook and YouTube at 3pm, recorded at the Abbey Church in the historic West Fife town.
Fr Chris Heenan of St Margaret's Memorial Church, who leads the organisation of the annual pilgrimage, said: "I hope this will be a consolation for all the pilgrims who would have visited our town to mark the life of this extraordinary Saint.
"It's a lovely service, with good music, and it was great to collaborate with others to make it happen."
Rev MaryAnn Rennie, Minister at the Abbey Church of Dunfermline, said: “Our congregations have formed new bonds through this annual celebration of the life of St Margaret and we felt it would be good to bring people together again online, even if we cannot be physically present together.
“A special pre-recorded service, including contributions from St Margaret’s RC Memorial Church, Holy Trinity Church and the Abbey Church of Dunfermline, will be broadcast online on YouTube and Facebook Live at 3pm on Sunday afternoon (07 June ) – which coincides with when the pilgrims would have entered St Margaret’s RC Memorial Church."
"The service includes prayers and readings read by members of all three congregations and a song about Margaret written by Wayne Pearce, minister of Edzell Lethnot Glenesk linked with Fern Careston Menmuir, and will bring all people together with an interest in the life of this saint, whose life and faith was firmly rooted in Dunfermline.”
Every June hundreds of people flock to Dunfermline to take part in the pilgrimage honouring the life of St Margaret, who lived in the Fife town throughout her reign in the 11th century and who was known for her piety and charity. A procession taks place through the town centre with a relic of the saint (main picture).
Last year a special ecumenical service opened the day at Dunfermline Abbey, the home of an outdoor shrine to St Margaret, who lived on the site.
The service will be broadcast at 3pm on Sunday 07 June on the Facebook page of St Margaret's Memorial Church and on Dunfermline Abbey's YouTube channel.
Pilgrims celebrate St Margaret in Dunfermline
Hundreds of pilgrims gathered in Dunfermline in Fife for the annual St Margaret's Pilgrimage on Sunday, 2 June.
Jean MacDonald, a parishioner at St Patrick's Church in Kilsyth, said: "Our parish priest, Father Daniel Doherty, drove the minibus to bring us up here today. It's nice to see all the school children here as well - they are the future of the Church."
Her friend Patricia Campbell, who was attending the pilgrimage for the fourth time, added: "I came to enjoy the atmosphere. We've already visited St Margaret's Cave, it's very emotional."
Sam Begbie, from St Margaret's Church in Clydebank, said: "We're taking part in this procession to represent our parish. It's nice for the younger ones to see this kind of activity within the faith."
Cathie Keating, of Holy Cross Church in Croy, said: "I wanted to be part of the pilgrimage. I'm very proud to be Scottish and I wouldn't wanted to have missed it. It's my first time, and my oldest daughter's Confirmation name is Margaret of Scotland."
During the day pilgrims explored the numerous historic sites across the Fife town that are associated with St Margaret, Queen of Scots (1045-93).
Archbishop Leo Cushley led the procession through the town centre, carrying the holy relics of the saint, before pilgrims gathered for Holy Mass at St Margaret's RC Memorial Church.
In his homily, Archbishop Cushley praised the example of St Margaret's Christian action.
"She had the fire of someone newly converted to the faith and she put that faith into practice," he said, "In a time rougher than ours she achieved her goals with skill, energy and determination.
"But she did so, always informed by a strong faith in Christ and his power to save her, her family, and her adopted nation."
Following Holy Mass, many pilgrims had the opportunity to receive a blessing with the relic of St Margaret. To read the Archbishop's homily in full click here.
Celebrity support for St Margaret’s Pilgrimage 2019
Popular singer-songwriter Barbara Dickson has thrown her support behind the St Margaret’s Pilgrimage 2019 which will take place in her home town of Dunfermline, Fife, this Sunday, 2 June.
“I feel the event is of such importance to Dunfermline and Scotland, both spiritually and culturally," said Barbara, 30 May.
“I’m a native of the town and I’ve wanted to go for a long time...St Margaret is one of the most important women in Scottish history and her influence is still felt.”
The St Margaret's Pilgrimage 2019 promises to be a great day out for the family with the highlight of the event being the procession of the holy relic of St Margaret (1045-93) starting from the Louise Carnegie Gates at Pittencrieff Park at 2:15pm and making its way towards St Margaret’s Church for Holy Mass at 3pm. Pilgrims will be led through the streets by Lochgelly Brass Band and local pipers. The principle celebrant at Holy Mass will be Archbishop Leo Cushley. Meanwhile, Barbara Dickson will read a passage from Sacred Scripture. Following Mass, pilgrims are invited to receive the blessing of the relic.
“It will be an opportunity for us all to pray together, to pray for our country, our families and friends and to pray for the peace and prosperity of our land,” said Archbishop Cushley.
Notably, this year's pilgrimage will begin with a ecumenical service at Dunfermline Abbey which will be led by Archbishop Cushley along with the Reverend MaryAnn Rennie, Church of Scotland Minister of Dunfermline Abbey, and Father Christopher Heenan, parish priest at St Margaret’s Church.
“I’m delighted that St Margaret’s Pilgrimage will begin with a joint service in the Abbey," said Father Heenan, "Margaret is an exceptionally important figure to Dunfermline as well as the whole of Scotland so it is fitting that a celebration of her life is as inclusive as possible.”
Throughout the day, guides from Discover Dunfermline Tours will also be on hand to take people to visit local sites associated with St Margaret. Suitable for families and children, the tour will last around an hour and will include a visit to St Margaret’s shrine at the east end of Dunfermline Abbey, the base of Malcolm’s Tower, where Margaret and the royal household lived, and St Margaret’s Cave, which was her private place for prayer. For more information go to, https://stmargaretsdunfermline.co.uk/