Celebrating 150th anniversary of St Andrew’s Church

Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell Diocese, former Bishop of Argyll and the Isles and former Deacon at Rothesay,and local clergy joined present Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, Rt Rev Brian McGee and Rothesay Parish Priest Father Michael Hutson for the 150th Anniversary of St Andrews Roman Catholic Parish, Rothesay on St Andrews Day.

Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell Diocese, former Bishop of Argyll and the Isles and former Deacon at Rothesay,and local clergy joined present Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, Rt Rev Brian McGee and Rothesay Parish Priest Father Michael Hutson for the 150th Anniversary of St Andrews Roman Catholic Parish, Rothesay on St Andrews Day.

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The parish of St Andrew’s marked a very special occasion in the church’s long history on Bute last week - its 150th anniversary.

The Sesquicentennial - as it’s properly known - was celebrated with a number of events on Bute including a lecture by John MacCallum on the dates and milestones of St Andrew’s Parish, a visit to the graves of priests buried on the island, and a Sesquicentennial Concelebrated Mass.

Bishop McGee and clergy from around the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles and further afield led the Mass on Wednesday evening which was attended by the Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute Council Cleland Sneddon, the Provost of Argyll and Bute Len Scoullar, Bute councillors Isobel Strong and Robert Macintyre, the Deputy Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute Stewart Shaw, and representatives from the island’s other churches and faith groups, as well as friends and well-wishers of the parish.

Cllr Sneddon said: “It was a real pleasure to go Rothesay and help St Andrew’s Church celebrate its 150 year anniversary. It was a special occasion honouring those who have taken part in the church’s life throughout this period.”

Provost Scoullar commented: “It was a real joy and privilege to be able to join with the congregation of St Andrew’s Church and to share their celebrations of the church’s 150th anniversary. This really was a wonderful day and the community spirit for which Bute is well-known was very much in evidence.

“Seeing the children receive particular attention during the lovely Mass service was also very special, and will no doubt inspire them to ensure that St Andrew’s Church continues to thrive for many more years to come.

“The church holds a very special place in the hearts of local people and this was very evident in the warm welcome and friendship amongst everyone present.

“This special sesquicentennial occasion also offered me a chance to meet for the first time with Monsignor Brian McGee, Bishop of the Argyll and the Isles diocese, and on the day following the anniversary celebrations we had a further opportunity for discussion of the various issues which Argyll and Bute faces. “My wife Beverley and I are very grateful to have received such a warm welcome from Father Michael Hutson and his parishioners to join in their special day, and thank you to everyone who made this a truly special community celebration.”

The children of St Andrew’s Primary School performed a superb narrated mime of the life of Saint Andrew, and the Island Voices choir, under the direction of Tony Spencer, also provided musical support with beautiful performances of works including ‘God Be in my Head’ by Carter, Chilcott’s Irish blessing ‘May the Road Rise to Meet You’, and JS Bach’s ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’.

At the conclusion of Mass members of the island’s churches and faith groups, and visiting clergy, were presented with commemorative candles.

The retiral collection was uplifted in support of the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund’s Emergency Syrian Refugee Crisis Appeal.

If you’d like to find out more about the Sesquicentennial and the history of St Andrew’s Church why not buy a copy of the Parish Sesquicentennial Booklet? Priced at £6 the booklet is available at the church, St Andrew’s Hall, and Ettrick Bay Tearoom. You can also send a cheque for £7 made payable to ‘RCD Rothesay Mission’ to Ruth Sweeney, Dervaig, Westfield Grove, Rothesay, PA20 9EY (email: ruth.sweeney@icloud.com).

The booklet includes contributions from Rev Owain Jones, Fr Andrew Barrett, Bishop Joseph Toal, Bishop Brian McGee, Mr Harry Thomson, Mrs Ellen Canning, and photos by Martin Dougan.

Many congratulations to the parish of St Andrew’s on reaching this milestone!