Holy Family Church

This parish was opened in 1946. As the population of Port Glasgow moved to the new homes in Kelburn and Woodhall new and much-needed residential area to the east of the town centre .Its first parish priest was Joseph Sweeney.
Initially Father Sweeney, along with assistant priests, Fathers Patrick Rice, John O’Dwyer and Patrick Burke lived in what had been known in wartime as HMS Monk, a series of huts which Father Sweeney converted into a church, a hall and a residence for the priests of the parish.

For thirteen years, Mass and worship was offered in this temporary accommodation and the business of the parish was conducted from there. These years would be foundational for building a sense of community and common purpose as a growing Catholic population prepared for the building of their own Church.

The Church was designed by the celebrated church architects Gillespie, Kidd and Coia, and was opened on 20th December 1959, by Bishop James Black, the first bishop of the Diocese of Paisley. The Church of the Holy Family is recognised as a particularly successful example of a “Coia” church building, using brickwork to excellent effect in order to produce a pleasingly traditional neo-romanesque church with an elegant functionality.

After Father Joseph Sweeney, the Parish Priests of the Holy Family Church were Fr. Patrick Rice, Fr Edward Costello, Fr. Joseph Quinn, Mgr Gerard Gallagher, Fr. Douglas MacMillan and Fr Brian McGee, the current Parish Priest.

The images show the interior of the old Holy Family Church on the grounds of HMS Monk and the priests standing outside the old building are Fr Sweeney and Fr Rice. The Holy Family school was built close to the church and opened at the same time. The church has listed building status at category "A" since 1994 but sadly the school was removed and the site cleared the children being moved to close by St Michael's.
Photographs of the old school can be seen here.

They first said Mass in a hut on the site of a disused naval accommodation facility, HMS Monk, at Carnegie.  At the same time, Holy Family Primary School was opened and the children were taught in about a dozen Nissan huts. By the mid-1950’s, the Catholic population of the parish had grown further, by now approaching 5,000, and it was clear that a proper Church and parish house complex was required.

The images below show the interior of the church building - click to see a larger copy

This page last modified on Saturday, March 19, 2011

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