Church cel­e­brates its first mass in 16 months

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Edel Ke­nealy

Fri­day marked an his­toric day for St Colum­bkille’s Church as it re­opened its doors to par­ish­ioners after a 16-month re­fur­bish­ment.

The mass marked the end of sev­eral years of fundrais­ing and re­pairs at the Grade One listed build­ing.

Fa­ther Pat Hen­nessy said he was de­lighted to be re­turn­ing to his spir­i­tual home.

He said: “The build­ing has al­ways been beau­ti­ful. I came here when I was 24 in 1969 and it was beau­ti­ful in that time as well. We have just been able to highlight it more. It is much brighter and the fea­tures which may have gone un­no­ticed be­fore stand out with the good light­ing and dec­o­ra­tion.

“We are de­lighted to be mov­ing back in.”

The past 16 months has seen a se­ries of im­prove­ments made in­clud­ing un­der­floor heat­ing, a new lime­stone floor in the nave, dis­abled toi­lets, ren­o­vated church benches and a new align­ment of the mar­ble sanctuary steps.

The ini­tia­tive has gone some way to mak­ing the church more ac­ces­si­ble to peo­ple with mo­bil­ity prob­lems, with a new en­trance porch and ac­cess ramps im­prov­ing health and safety.

It fol­lows a larger project to make the build­ing wind and wa­ter­tight, which saw re­pairs to the slate roof and lead gut­ter­ing.

The first ser­vice in the re­fur­bished church was held on Fri­day and was fol­lowed by a cel­e­bra­tion with tea and cake in the church hall.

Fr Hen­nessy added: “It has been a long time and peo­ple have missed hav­ing mass in their lovely church and they have been very pa­tient.

“We have been helped by a num­ber of char­i­ties and the peo­ple have been ex­traor­di­nar­ily gen­er­ous. We have had a tremen­dous re­sponse, without which we just couldn’t to the work, it has been a big task.”

St Colum­bkille’s is an A-listed build­ing dat­ing to 1940, hav­ing re­placed the orig­i­nal which was founded in 1851.

A mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Ital­ian Ro­manesque ar­chi­tec­ture, the church is one of the few church build­ings com­pleted fol­low­ing the on­set of the Sec­ond World War and was de­signed by the ar­chi­tects Gille­spie, Kidd & Coia.

Wel­come Fa­ther Pat Hen­nessy is de­lighted the church has re­opened to par­ish­ioners

Restora­tion The beau­ti­fully re­fur­bished St Colum­bkille’s Church

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