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 - 150th Anniversary -

 - St. Patrick's, Kilsyth, 17th March 2015 - 

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.

St. Patrick's Church Kilsyth

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.

Before Mass the following address was given by John Trower

"Good evening ladies and gentlemen – I’d just like to say a few words of welcome before Mass begins this evening.
It was just over 150 years ago on the 5th January 1865 that Fr John Galvin came to Kilsyth for the first time to establish the Parish of St Patrick’s Kilsyth.
It was exactly 50 years ago tonight that this magnificent building designed by Isi Metzstien and Andy MacMillan was declared open by his Eminence Cardinal Gordon Joseph Gray on the 17th March 1965.  …and so it is that we gather here tonight in both remembrance and thanks – for those who have gone before us and for all those who have made this Parish possible over the years.  Unfortunately His Grace the Archbishop cannot be with us this evening – he has been asked to attend The Holy Father at the Vatican in Rome and had to fly out yesterday.  So Instead, on behalf of the Parish I would like to formally welcome Monsignor Patrick Burke – who is the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh - he will be our principal concelebrant tonight and I’d also like to welcome the many priests from The Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh and also The Archdiocese of Glasgow who will help us to celebrate this occasion.
I would also like to welcome all of our invited guests this evening - most especially the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, who had a convent in this parish for 35 of the past 50 years.<applause from the congregation>

It is also so nice this evening to see our local Catholic Schools St Patrick’s and St Maurice’s, both staff and pupils represented here this evening. St Patrick’s School Choir are going to sing for us this evening and I had the privilege of hearing them practice for this evening at Mass in the school this morning – you will not be disappointed by these talented youngsters.
A very warm welcome also to the Reverend Ministers and Church representatives of the other Christian denominations in Kilsyth – it is lovely to have you with us here this evening. <applause from the congregation>

Also to our elected representatives and civic dignitaries, to the members of the Metzstien and MacMillan families and to the many other friends of this Parish from across the United Kingdom and Ireland too numerous to mention who have travelled - in some cases very long distances - to be here with us this evening.

John Trower

Monsignor Patrick Burke VG gives the homily at the 150th Anniversary Mass on 17th March 2015

The mosaic icon of St Patrick donated to the Parish by St Maurice's High School to mark the 150th anniversary.

Welcome to you all! In terms of administration you may already be aware that after Mass today the reception will now take place in the larger venue of St Patrick’s School Hall. Directions to the school, which is less than a mile away, are on the sheets of paper which have been placed in the seats reserved for our visitors this evening and will also be available at the back of the church after Mass.To our guests - please come and join us in the school hall after this service! There is a small gift for each of guests waiting for you at the school.Everyone here tonight is welcome to come to the school after Mass to enjoy some entertainment, some catering and some good company.Finally for those of you who are not Catholic or for those of you who are unable to receive Holy Communion, there will be the opportunity to receive a blessing during Mass at communion time. We would encourage you regardless of your faith background to come forward for a blessing.If you feel you would like to receive a blessing please come forward with the rest of the congregation during communion and place your arm across to your shoulder - like this – to indicate to the priest that you would like to receive a blessing rather than Holy Communion.Thank You!"


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.

 - Mass Reception (2015) - 

After Mass a reception was hosted in St Patrick’s School by
Mr 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.

St. Patrick's Church Kilsyth

Mr Kris Thomas Head Teacher at that time of St Patrick's is presented with a book stand for use in the school by Mr George Daily on behalf of the Parish.  Pat Docherty on the right holds another book stand to be given to St Maurice's High School.

 - Thanks - 

Mass to Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of St Patrick's Kilsyth.

All photographs are reproduced here by kind permission of
Bob Dougal Photography

The photographs of Mass in St Patrick's Kilsyth on Tuesday the 17th March 2015.

Contact Bob Dougal for all your contemporary photography needs on and 01236 825410

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 - Entertainment (2015)- 

The David 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 celebration.  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.

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St. Patrick's Church Kilsyth

Ladies of the David Smith School of Irish Dancing game a magnificent display of Irish dancing.

 - St. Patrick's, Kilsyth, 17th March 2016 - 

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