A new chapter after 140 years of worship

St Matthew's Church
St Matthew's Church

A congregation celebrated their church’s 70th birthday recently while looking forward to an exciting new future.

St Matthew’s Church, in Bishopbriggs, reached the grand old age earlier this year having begun its life in the immediate aftermath of World War 2.

It was one of five new parishes created in 1946 by Archbishop Donald Campbell and the first priest at St Matthew’s, Father Thomas J O’Kane, loved to tell the story that his clerical colleagues told him they thought he was mad to build a new church in a place like Bishopbriggs - as he would never be able fill it.

Since opening with around 100 parishioners, St Matthew’s has been joined by St Dominic’s and together the two Catholic parishes of Bishopbriggs serve over 7,000 people.

The anniversary mass was celebrated by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of Glasgow, with parish clergy, former priests and neighbours attending.

And there was some exciting news about the church’s future.

A church spokesperson said: “In his homily, Archbishop Tartaglia broke the news that after many years of searching for a solution over what to do with our church building which is almost as old as the parish itself, but in need of serious attention, we have new proposals to carry out a thorough overhaul of the building and restore it to something which will pave the way for us as we begin the nest 70 years of our parish existence.

“The Archdiocese has commissioned exciting proposals from Architects Page and Park, who produced display material and booklets which people were invited to look at in the parish hall, where we gathered informally after Mass.

“The proposals would retain the recognisable features of St Matthew’s such as its Benno Schotz frieze artwork and internal fittings.

“The big step forward however would be in the creation of two new aisles, which would allow easier passage for people during church services, enhanced facilities – better seating, versatility in the use of space though a number of non-fixed seats, better natural lighting, heating and windows.

All in all, the proposals would greatly improve the appearance of the church building, and we think be a real asset to the town centre itself.

“They’re a powerful sign that we have every intention of being around is some shape or form for a long, long time to come.”