The Parish of St Andrew’s Rothesay celebrated its 150th year on 30th November 2016. Catholics had existed on Bute long before that, of course, and place names on the island testify to the activity of Celtic Christians at St Blane’s, Kilchattan Bay, Columshill, Kilbride, and Kilmichael. Those born and brought up on Bute pride themselves as being true Brandanes, after St Brendan the Navigator, one of the Celtic Saints who followed in St Columba’s footsteps, bringing Christianty from Ireland to the West of Scotland.
The arrival of Irish immigrants 150 years ago marked a new Post-Reformation chapter in the history of the parish. Fr Andrew Black was able to build the church whose dedication marked the foundation of the present parish in 1866. Fr Black died of typhoid contracted in the exercise of his ministry and is buried beneath the present (1925) church.
Letters of congratulation to the parish have been received from the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace, who used to have the Retirement Home, Mt Carmel, on Bute, from the Sacred Heart Sisters who had the orphanage and from MSP Mike Russell. A number of local businesses and organisations sent greetings and part-funded our Sesquicentennial Booklet. Brendan O’Hara MP also sent greetings and raised a Motion in the House of Commons congratulating the parish. A copy of this can be viewed at www.facebook.com/rothesaycatholic
On Sunday 27th November, a group of parishioners made a poignant visit to the old cemetery on the island and said prayers at the graves of the priests buried there and for Fr Black at the Lady Altar in church. They also prayed for the priests we need for the future.
On Tuesday, Bishop McGee began his pastoral visit to St Andrew’s Rothesay, where he made a special visit to St Andrew’s School and celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation.
The church was packed on Wednesday night for a Sesquicentennial Mass on the Solemnity of St Andrew. Taking part were two bishops, a dozen priests, all the parish Altar Servers, Island Voices Choir, Ministers and representatives from the other churches who were presented with St Andrew Candles to mark the occasion. Among the guests were the Provost of Argyll & Bute and three local councillors, the Queen’s Deputy Lord Lieutenant and the Chief Executive of Argyll & Bute Council. A retiring collection after the service raised £625 for the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund’s Emergency Appeal for people in Syria. The Mass was followed by a Reception at St Andrew’s Hall.
A Slideshow Lecture given by Mr John MacCallum was
thoroughly enjoyed by parishioners and friends.
The Parish Sesquicentennial Booklet produced for the occasion contains articles, special greetings, photos and memories is now available to buy (£6) from the church, at St Andrew’s Hall, or at Ettrick Bay Tearoom. It can also be ordered by post: send a cheque for £7 made payable to “RCD Rothesay Mission” to Ruth Sweeney, Dervaig, Westfield Grove, Rothesay, PA20 9EY, firstname.lastname@example.org