Our Lady & St Joseph's Church, Glenboig

Souvenir Brochure celebrating 
St Joseph's Golden Jubilee 1908-1958, Sunday 7th September 1958
Pontifical High Mass was given by Right Rev. James Donald Scanlan, D.C.L., B.L., Bishop of Motherwell.
The preacher was Very Rev. John Canon Rooney, P.P.
 Solemn Benediction was given by
Celebrant: Rev. John Bredin, P.P.
Preacher: Rev. William M. Mallon, D.D., P.P.
 
 

Bishop James Donald Scanlan

 
 
The Golden Jubilee of the Church of Our Lady and Saint Joseph, Glenboig, provides us with the opportunity of commending this inspiring account of a notable parish.
 
We congratulate Father John Bredin whose priestly enthusiasm has been so well known to us almost from the very day of his ordination, his assistant, Father Michael Corry, and the parishioners on this auspicious anniversary, and pray that the story of the next fifty years may contain even greater achievments in the glorious service of Almighty God.
 
 
 
James Donald Scanlan
Bishop
Feast of St. Pius X, 1958
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A Short History of Our Lady and St. Joseph's, Glenboig
 
The thought that it is now fifty years since our beloved church was opened recalls memories of the priests who ministered to us, of the teachers who grounded us in the Faith, of parents and grandparents and old parishioners who gave us such wonderful example.
 
The story of the past is a glorious one.  In the year 1560 Catholic worship and the profession of the Catholic faith were made illegal by the Scots Parliament.  Those who adhered to the religion of the Saints, who planted Christianity in Scotland, were offered the cruel choice of apostasy or imprisonment, confiscation of goods and death.  For more than two hundred years was the Catholic Church proscribed under these terrible penalties.  Thus in the course of a few generations those who professed the old faith were but a remnant scattered in the remote parts of the Highlands and Islands or seeking to escape the eye of the persecutor in the obscurity of the larger towns.  Bishops and priests were removed by death or banishment and in consequence the Church was reduced to a state of hopeless desolation.   The cathedrals, churches, religious houses, all the monuments on the face of the land that could bring back to the people memories of their fathers' faith were burnt or overthrown.
 
Persecution, however, does not destroy the Faith.  God at length visited His people and brought them better times that they might build up again His temples and restore the fallen altars.  In the work of restoration, help came from the willing hands of Irishmen who came to Scotland, poor, certainly in this world, but rich in faith.  What marvellous work has been done by their devotion!  Churches and schools have been multiplied over the land, and we claim with pride that the parish of Our Lady and St Joseph, Glenboig, is by no means the least.
 
Clay mines and coal mines attracted workers to Glenboig and Annathill in the mid-nineteenth century, and the Catholics among them became members of the parish of St Patrick, Coatbridge, which had been founded in 1848.  The people of Glenboig and district must have walked to Mass in Coatbridge for many years.  On Sunday 7th November 1880, Glenboig saw the opening of its first church.  In the Spring of 1881 a school house was erected.  The parish priest of St Patrick's at that time was the Very Reverend Michael Canon O'Keefe, who defrayed the cost of school and church.  The latter was in memory of his brother the Reverend Daniel O'Keefe.  During the next twenty years, Glenboig was served by the priests from Coatbridge, and many stories are told of the hardships of these days.  The priests and people, however, were united in the great purpose of the glory of God and the salvation of souls, and no sacrifice seemed too great.
 
All Saints' Day 1902 is a day to be remembered in the history of Glenboig, for on that day the Reverend Charles Haeger arrived as the first Pastor of Our Lady and St. Joseph's parish.  The years of waiting were over, and the good people had a priest of their own.  Father Haeger's first home was in the sacristy of the church, close to the Master who would guide his steps through the years.  There was no thought of personal comfort.  Later, he resided in the village, and set himself the task of building a presbytery.  Today it is the home of the priests, and is surely a credit to the builder.
 
The congregation was increasing, and during ten years it had almost doubled.  In consequence, there was need for more accommodation in church and school, and Father Haeger determined to solve the problem.  He would build a new church and use the existing one for school purposes.  Thus in the year 1908, Mr. Burke, a well-known Glasgow architect, was called upon to design the church we know and love so well.  Dean Muller, who as parish priest of St. Augustine's Langloan, came to bless the ground and lay the foundation stone on the Feast of St. Joseph, 19th March 1908.  As can be imagined, there was great enthusiasm on this occasion, and the children's voices could be heard at a great distance singing the grand old hymns.  Dean Muller spoke of the house of God which was to be erected, and exhorted the people to make it their home also.  There is a memorial tablet in the sacristy to mark that great day.
 
Day by day the work on the new church went on, and at last the opening day arrived.  On Sunday, 6th September 1908 this beautiful new church was opened for public worship.  Priests and people flocked from far and near to rejoice with the parishioners of Glenboig in their hour of triumph.  The Glasgow Observer of 29th August 1908 carries this notice:  "Visitors from Glasgow reaching Baillieston car terminus before 10.45 will be conveyed to Glenboig by brake."
 
The church was crowded to capacity, and those who could not gain admission remained in the grounds to take part in the ceremonies.  The Reverend Father Van Stiphout of Airdrie was the celebrant of the Mass, and the Most Reverend John Aloyisius Maguire, Archbishop of Glasgow, presided and imparted the Papal Blessing.  He preached on the Gospel of the day, which was the story of the ten lepers, and exhorted the people of the parish to imitate the one who had returned to give thanks in public.  They were to glorify God by their lives and thus to lead others to the feet of Christ.
 
The Choir sang the Mass under the leadership of Mr. Peter Mullen, and Dean Muller presided at the organ.  In the evening the church was again filled to capacity, and the Reverend Dr. Mullin of St. Patrick's, Glasgow, was the special preacher.
 
Fifty years have passed since that great day.  The church has become part of Glenboig, and is still adequate for the needs of the Catholic population.  The parishioners of today must strive to be worthy children of those who had the spirit of sacrifice to leave them such a heritage.
 
 
 
 
 
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