On the Saturday there were two pilgrimages for pilgrims to choose from: Birsay or Egilsay. Those who went on the Birsay Pilgrimage took time to walk part of the way St Magnus’ body was taken to its first resting place. Here, at St Magnus Kirk they celebrated with a short ecumenical service.
Sabrina Maguire reflects:
The Birsay Pilgrimage is very special to me, as I had the honour of leading the walkers. The chosen route followed part of the journey St Magnus’ body followed after his death in 1115. We departed the bus and gathered as I gave a brief introduction and my usual safety announcement. Following this, Archbishop Leo Cushley said a prayer to ask for God’s Blessing on our pilgrimage and we began our journey. As conversation flowed we followed the coastline leading through a kissing gate, along a field of sheep (they didn’t seem very interested in us!) and over a stile before carefully following the cliff top – we even saw some puffins! Feeling the atmosphere, alongside the beautiful Orkney coastline made it so special and uplifting, as I personally reflected on St Magnus life, particularly when we arrived at the Brough of Birsay were St Magnus was educated. We stopped at the Brough for a short break and a group photo. Before continuing the final 0.5 miles to St Magnus Kirk, Archbishop Leo Cushley said a prayer for God’s guidance on the next part of our walk. At St Magnus Kirk, we were greeted with a lovely floral display by the local community.
Archbishop Leo Cushley led a short ecumenical service with help from Archbishop Mario Conti and the Diocesan Choir. We heard an abstract from “St Magnus Saga” tell us about his Burial, Canonisation and the transfer of his Remains. Following this, Archbishop Leo Cushley gave a short reflection and the Diocesan Choir led us in the singing of the psalms.
The pilgrims gathered together outside the Kirk, as we started the final mile of our journey to Birsay Community Centre. After a short walk between two fields and along a quiet road we reached our destination and our efforts were rewarded with soup and sandwiches.