Some music for Mass on 16th September – St Ninian









Ninian is first mentioned by  the Venerable Bede, in his  Ecclesiastical History of the English People.  Another source from the eighth century is “The Miracles of Bishop Nynia”.

According to tradition he was born in Cumbria but travelled to Rome as a young man. There he studied was made a bishop and sent home to evangelise the Picts by Pope Siricius.  On his journey home tradition has it that  he visited St Martin of Tours and was much influenced by him. 

Around 397 AD he set up his base at  Whithorn, ideally placed in south-west Scotland for being in touch not just with the mainland of Scotland  but with Ireland, northern England, the Isle of Man and beyond that  the Continent.  He built a stone church there, known as Candida Casa which means the White House. This was his base from which he sought to influence the people of the area now known as Galloway.   . Later on he travelled  north along the east coast in order to spread the Good News among the Picts, possibly around the River Forth but perhaps much further north as well – even as far as the Shetlands.

The archaeological evidence to date does not contradict this version of Ninian’s life. Remains of an old Christian cemetery have been found at Whithorn, underneath the medieval church, and the area nearby is rich in early Christian crosses and other indications of an early Christian settlement.   Every year there is a considerable pilgrimage to Ninian’s cave led by the Bishop of Galloway, and in 1997 Glasgow Churches Together made an ecumenical visit there and established a substantial cairn as a symbol of the growth in Christian unity.

In 2001,  the Celtic scholar, Thomas Clancy, suggested that St. Ninian was in fact the same man known in Old Irish as St Finnian and in Brittonic as *Uinniau, likewise a mentor of St. Columba, and that the form ‘Ninian’ is due to a later 8th century scribe copying his name wrongly.  Some scholars seem to be accepting that this could have been the case.


As we honour the earliest known Scottish saint we ask the Lord that the faith he taught, by word and example,  may grow always stronger in the hearts of the Scottish people.
Lord, hear us

We pray that the churches in our country may learn to work together and to pray together, so that the charity of Christ may be seen in how we behave.   Lord, hear us

We pray for the leaders of our country, for the Parliament and the local councils, for all who hold public office, that they may guide the country in the building up a society to which everyone can feel glad to belong.   Lord, hear us

We pray for all the needs of our communities, particularly for those most in need:
we remember the sick, those affected by anxiety,
and those fearful of the future in this time of pandemic. Lord, hear us

We remember our dead and those who mourn.                Lord, hear us


Entry: Such are the ones who seek your face


Psalm 88:  will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

Sanctus: Jubilee Mass


Communion:  You must love the Lord your God

postlude: Organ – Domenico Zipoli


Acknowledgements:  Such are the ones: words from Ps 23 (c) The Grail, England; music of response Gerry Fitzpatrick; (c) Kevin Mayhew.  Psalm 88: words and music (c) Noel Donnelly.   Sanctus: Jubilee Mass.  You must love: words (c) Stephen Eric Smyth’ music (c) Gerry Fitzpatrick.  Graphic (c) Netta Ewing.