Church celebrates its first mass in 16 months
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