Sunday 30th June saw the Diocese of Aberdeen gather at Pluscarden Abbey for its annual Pilgrimage, celebrated this year on the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. The day was blessed with fine weather, Pluscarden having escaped the hail, heavy rain and thunder and lightning which affected much of the rest of the country.
The emphasis of this year’s pilgrimage was placed on the diocese’s catechists, of whom there are well over one hundred, with work for many more, as Bishop Hugh pointed out in his homily, issuing an invitation to others to join their ranks and assist in the work of evangelisation, in line with Pope Francis’s emphasis on the Church’s missionary dimension. He thanked the Dominican Sisters, based in Elgin, for their sterling work in training the catechists and coordinating their work.
Father Giles Conacher OSB of Pluscarden stated:
“As always, music played a prominent part in the celebration, with the Aberdeen diocesan choir, under Elizabeth Meiklejohn, doing a marvellous job of synchronising with the children’s choir in another part of the church. Composed of primary school children, they sing with a confidence and skill beyond their years, with the promise of adult choristers in years to come. The brightly-dressed Nigerian Choir were their with their drums and traditional instruments, lending a lively rhythm to affairs. The Abbey’s monks led the Gregorian chant and after all was over, Duncan MacGillivray cheered everyone with a masterly selection on the pipes. Although the Abbey’s layout can make it difficult to see what is going on,. Extensive use of large video screens meant that no-one was left out. Much hard work had prepared for the event, with the erection of marquees, preparation of food and teas for the pilgrims and stewarding for the large numbers of pilgrims’ vehicles.”
Bishop Hugh was assisted by a number of concelebrating priests, as well as diocesan deacons and a competent crew of servers from the Cathedral, under the experienced direction of the diocesan M.C., Mr. George Brand, KCSG. The Knights of Columba, who were, as Bishop Hugh noted, celebrating their centenary year, took charge of banners and the Cathedral’s statue of Our Lady of Aberdeen.
After the Mass, there was a procession in honour of Our Lady, during which the Litany of Loretto was sung, after which Abbot Anselm Atkinson led the pilgrims in a decade of the rosary.
Bishop Hugh thanked all responsible, and remarked on the gratifying numbers who had taken part.