Archbishop Leo Cushley was joined by St Margaret of Scotland (1070–1093) to unveil the poster being sent to every Catholic parish in the country to advertise this year’s St Margaret’s Summer Pilgrimage in Dunfermline on Sunday 12 June.
“The summer pilgrimage in honour of St Margaret should be a fantastic family day – that’s why we want to extend the invitation to take part as far and wide as possible,” said Archbishop Cushley, 10 May at St Margaret’s Chapel in Edinburgh.
Joining the Archbishop to launch the event was 30-year-old Fife actress Katie Milne dressed as St Margaret.
“St Margaret is such a remarkable historical figure in Scotland’s story as well as a fabulous role model for young Scots today – especially young women – it’s an honour to represent her here today.”
The roots of the summer pilgrimage dates back to June 1250 when the relics of Saint Margaret were translated to a new shrine in Dunfermline Abbey following her canonisation that year by Pope Innocent IV. An annual summer pilgrimage to Dunfermline soon emerged becoming a celebrated fixture within Scottish national life until the late 16th century. It was then re-established in 1899 and continued again until 1974. Last year saw the pilgrimage revived after an absence 41 years.
“Last year’s event was a tremendous success with numbers attending far in excess to expectations and everybody having an enormously enjoyable day – this year should prove to be even better,” added the Archbishop.
The revived summer pilgrimage is the initiative of the local Catholic parish in Dunfermline, St Margaret’s Memorial Church. In 2015, they invited parishes within the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh to attend. Following the success of last year’s event, this year they are extending the invitation to all the Catholic parishes in Scotland – 452 parishes in total – in co-operation with the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.
“This will be a real family event to which everybody in Scotland – not just Catholics – are invited given that St Margaret is an inspirational figure for all Scots as well as a heavenly protectress of the people of our land,” said Fr Chris Heenan, Parish Priest of St Margaret’s Memorial Church.
St Margaret became Queen of Scots in 1070. She was renowned for her good influence on her husband, King Malcolm III, but also for her devout Christian piety, her charitable works towards the sick and poor while raising eight children of her own. She is credited with encouraging the observance of Sunday as a day of rest. Saint Margaret was declared Patroness of Scotland in 1673.