The Parish of St Patrick's had chosen the feast
of their patron saint, 17th March 2015 to mark the 150th Anniversary
of the re founding of a Catholic parish in Kilsyth after the
protestant reformation of 1565. The parish had been a mission
station of St Machan's Lennoxtown for 20 years previously, but
on the 5th January 1865, Fr
John Galvin was sent to Kilsyth by Bishop James Gillis to
re-found a Catholic parish here.
Unfortunately our current prelate, Archbishop Leo Cushley was
unable to attend this celebration as planned as he had been
called to Rome to attend the Holy Father, so the Vicar general
of the Archdiocese, Monsignor Patrick Burke became the principle
concelebrant of the Mass.
Before Mass began a magnificent Icon
of St Patrick which had been gifted to the Parish by Head
Teacher of St Maurice’s High, Mrs Patricia Alexander to
mark the occasion of the 150th anniversary, was blessed by Monsignor
Burke in the presence of the students responsible for making
the icon. Some of the students and their principal of Art, Mr
Bobby Donnelly who had been the primary influence behind the
project, recieved specially commissioned commemorative gold
medals in a presentation case to acknowledge the grateful thanks
of the parish.
There were 17 priests in total from across the Archdioceses
of Edinburgh and Glasgow. The current parish priest Fr
Daniel P Doherty was joined by former Parish Priests Fr
James G Tracey and Monsignor
Gerard R.Canon Hand and a number of former assistant priests
who had previously served in Kilsyth. Notably Fr
Andrew Garden who left Kilsyth only last September 2014
for Falkirk read from Luke’s Gospel and Fr
Scott Deeley who is now Chancellor of the Archdiocese was
able to assist with distribution of Holy Communion.
In his sermon Monsignor Burke recounted that there is historical
evidence that there was a pre reformation Catholic Church in
Kilsyth as early as the year 1217 and probably for some years
before this. Kilsyth has therefor had a permanent place of Christian
Worship for almost 800 years! He went on to discuss the beauty
of the passage from Luke’s Gospel (Luke 10:1-2 & 17-20)
when Peter recognises Jesus as ‘Lord’ for
the first time after the miracle of the nets and fishes. Before
the miracle Peter recognises Jesus as ‘Rabbi’
– Master and after the miracle he recognises Jesus as
‘Kyrie’ – Lord.
The service was attended by many guests from the other Christian
denominations of Kilsyth, civic life was represented by Councillors
and local officials from a variety of organisations and invited
guests from across all walks of life in Kilsyth who had a connection
with St Patrick’s or the community of Kilsyth. All of
the guests were presented with a souvenir book and a medal to
mark the occasion.
There were three choirs in attendance and the Parish Choir,
which was augmented by Columban
Singers and the school choir of St Patrick’s School.
The school choir consisting of children of various age groups
beautifully sung Panis Angelicus as the reflection
hymn after communion. This was followed by the Columban
Singers who sung Shubert's version of Ave Maria.
Among the guests were Dani and Ruth Metzstien the widow and
daughter of the late Isi Metzstien who was the principal designer
of St Patrick’s Church which as a grade-A listed building
and is now recognised as part of Scotland’s architectural
heritage having been designed by the Gillespie Kidd and Coia
partnership. They also designed many other local buildings in
the district including Our Lady’s High School, The Sacred
Heart RC Church in Kildrum and Cumbernauld College.
Another guest was the great nephew of St Patrick’s longest
service Parish Priest Monsignor
Patrick Macnanara who served in St Patrick’s from
1903 – 1938. Paraic Macnamara and his wife Mary flew in
from Limerick on St Patrick’s Day leaving home at 7am,
hired a car and drove to Kilsyth for the Service. They then
attended the reception at St Patrick’s school before spending
the night in Kilsyth and returning to Ireland the following
day - a heroic effort. Fittingly the chalice used for the 150th
anniversary Mass in St Patrick’s was the chalice which
was gifted to the people of St Patrick’s by the Macnamara
family when Monsignor
Patrick Macnamara died in 1938.
After Mass a reception was hosted in St Patrick’s School
Kris Thomas, the acting head teacher, where the excellent
catering was provided by Mr Alec Graham.
Deputy Provost Jean Jones presented a Crystal dish to St Patrick’s
with congratulations from all at North Lanarkshire Council with
best wishes for the 150th Anniversary.
Mr Gerry Daily lead the formal part of the evening in the school
when the Parish of St Machan’s in Lennoxtown was gifted
with a replica of an antique book stand which was used for over
100 years in the old St Patrick’s Church. Several replica
book stands had been made for the occasion as gifts by Mr Tom
Wiseman from the Technical Department at St Maurices High School.
St Machan’s Lennoxtown had been the Mother Church of St
Patrick’s Kilsyth in 1865 and had serviced the Catholics
of Kilsyth for 20 years before a post-reformation Catholic church
was re-established in Kilsyth.
Other copies of the books stands were gifted to Holy Cross
Parish Croy, St Lukes Banknock and St John of the Cross Twechar
as daughter parishes of St Patrick’s Kilsyth and St Patrick’s
Primary and St Maurice’s High as the local Catholic schools.
The Davie Smith
School of Irish Dancing provided a magnificent display of
Irish dancing and the Columban
Singers were in fine voice and provided the entertainment
for the evening.
Later in the week the St
Roch’s Ceilidh Band hosted a magnificent Irish Ceilidh
Dance in the parish hall to round of a week of rejoicing and
A souvenir book has been produced to mark the occasion of the
150th Anniversary recounting much of the Catholic history of
the area and is available from Cants in Kilsyth Main Street
or from St Patrick’s Church.