6 April: St Berthamus, bishop of Kirkwall. “He was filled with a heavenly sweetness.” He died in 839.
9 April: St Dotto, abbot. Said to have died in Orkney.
15 April: St Mundus, abbot. He is said to have died in Orkney, renowned for sanctity, in 962.
16 April: St Magnus, Earl and Martyr. From a life of vice, he was converted to a life of virtue. He was slain on Egilsay on this day in 1104, and the cathedral of Kirkwall is dedicated to the great and holy patrons of all Orcadians. There is also a church dedicated to St Magnus in London, near Tower Bridge. Although the present church was designed by Christopher Wren, there had been a Catholic church on the site since the early Middle Ages.
The following is a beautiful Hebridean hymn to St Magnus:
O Magnus of my love,
Thou it is who would guide us,
Thou fragrant body of grace,
Remember us, thou saint of power,
Who encompassed and protected the people;
Succour us in our distress,
Not forsake us!
Oration from the Mass of St Magnus
Sancti Magni Martyris tui, Domine, merita pretiosa nos tueantur, in quibus Majestatis tuae opera praedicantes, ut praesens capiamus adjutorium pariter et futurum.
May the precious merits of the martyr St Magnus protect us, O Lord, by which, preaching the works of Thy Majesty, may we receive Thine aid both now and forever.
Ever since the canonisation of St Magnus in the twelfth century, this prayer was traditionally used in Catholic Masses offered in the Cathedral of St Magnus, as well as in each church throughout the Orkney Islands, and indeed throughout the Aberdeen diocese. We continue to use this same prayer in honour of St Magnus on Golgotha Monastery Island – thus assuring the continuity of the Catholic history of Orkney as manifested through devotion to this great saint of God.