After years of planning and fundraising, the
parishioners of St Patrick’s, Kilsyth, have a new Parish
Hall, which was formally opened and blessed by His
Grace Archbishop Leo Cushley on Wednesday 6th November
2013. This was the Archbishop’s first visit to Kilsyth
and he said he was “happy to be home”.
St Patrick’s is the only parish in the Archdiocese of
St Andrews and Edinburgh which lies geographically within
North Lanarkshire, the Archbishops home county.
At Mass in the Church prior to the celebrations
in the hall, the Archbishop was introduced to the congregation
by Fr James Tracey,
Parish Priest. and he received a rousing welcome. Also concelebrating
Mass were Fr Andrew
Garden, recently appointed assistant priest in Kilsyth,
and a son of the parish, Fr
Alan Meechan, a Divine Word Missionary, home on holiday
from his missionary work in the Philippines.
The history of the site upon which the new Parish Hall was
built is an interesting one. It stands in a field which, prior
to 1767, was known locally as the 'Kiln Yard' and
was purchased by the Presbyterian congregation of the Kilsyth
Relief Church, who erected a Church on the site that year.
According to 'A History of Kilsyth - A Tale of Two Lives'
by the Rev Robert Anderson published in 1901, a Presbyterian
church stood on the site for 125 years and 'God was worshipped
and the Gospel was preached.'
In 1893 the Presbyterian congregation built what is now the
Anderson Church of Scotland and moved out of the building.
For nearly 40 years the old church building was used as a
Music Hall and Cinema until it was purchased by Monsignor
Patrick Macnamara and used as a parish hall for the Catholic
congregation of St Patrick's Kilsyth. A suite of halls was
progressively developed over time and remained in use until
2006. During the demolition of the old hall in 2012 the bricked
up windows of the old 1767 church became visible, as did the
original blonde sandstone which had been lost underneath roughcast
for several generations.
The new Church Hall, which boasts the latest IT and eco friendly
heating system, was designed and built by Fleming Buildings
Limited of Lenzie and the IT suppliers were Global Integrated
Solutions of Bellshill. Paul Randall, Fabric Officer of the
Archdiocese, helped the Fabric Committee of St Patrick's plan
and execute every aspect of the build.
After Mass, Archbishop
Cushley blessed the hall and the people who will use this
wonderful new facility. He then declared the hall formally
open by unveiling a commemorative
plaque in the vestibule which celebrates this history
of the site. Commenting upon this joyful event for the Parish,
he revealed that this occasion was a milestone for him too,
as it was the first commemorative plaque he has been asked
to unveil as Archbishop!