You can find plenty of blogs about the gorgeous St Magnus Cathedral if you look back through this Blog (four detailed blogs in 2017 – use the search bar to the right and look for “Kirkwall”)- and a 2017 blog about the Italian Chapel here. Last year I blogged the two together. This year here is a short note to say we had the pleasure of worshipping in them both.
On Friday 1 July we met some friends in Kirkwall. They had sent me a whatsapp message to say “hello” and a note they were in Orkney – so we had coffee. Afterwards we walked to the Cathedral and found it was very busy. Many of the visitors were members of the University of Glasgow Chapel Choir. We had just missed a Taize service, but they are singing Evensong at 1830. We went to the Cathedral centre, watched their film and had a tea, then Idid the Bishop’s Palace, we slowly ambled the main street, ambled back, had a gorgeous very late lunch at Judith Glue, then went to the wonderful Orkney Library. Not only do Orkney Islands Council have public loos to be proud of, they also have this superb library service. In England we got rid of public services like this.
When the library shut we had another amble, and then went up to the Cathedral. It was a beautiful service – Norwegian hymn arranged by Grete Pedersen “Down in the west, the sun is setting” to start with, Charterhouse responses (Jamal Sutton) I didn’t know, Brewer in E flat – not a setting I know – and the haunting “Then I saw a new heaven” by Bainton. The soul was duly lifted.
On Sunday 3 July there is a Mass at the Italian Chapel at 3 pm. I put my ecumenical hat on – we got a nice welcome. Father Colin Davis is based in Thurso, he covers Wick, north Caithness and the whole of Orkney (no resident priest on these islands). Today was the 15th anniversary of his ordination – and the 28th anniversary of mine (you know you are old when Catholic priests look young!). A pleasure to be there.
Orkney is a wonderful place.