Our Parish History
1965 - Parish Foundation
In 1965 Rev. Denis Keane was given the colossal task of establishing a new parish in the Motherwell Diocese in the area known locally as the "Wishaw back-road", which lies in the vicinity of Knowetop, Flemington and Netherton.
He was provided with a council house in Netherwood Road (and very little else) from where he said morning Mass and tried to establish a parish community from a housing scheme of maisonettes and high flats nestling among a huge stretch of farmland, and from various other residences in the area of Knowetop and Netherton.
He was quick to act on his first priority, to find a place of worship for his community. Father Keane, after investigation and discussion, found a large empty shop on the main road at Flemington Cross (a former Co-operative premises) and with the help of a Mr. Charles Logan, convener of the Co-operative movement, he acquired the premises for parish use.
His new parishioners were quick to come to their priest's support to make the premises ready for use for divine worship. A sacristy was furnished and seating and amenities were provided for saying of Holy Mass. It was there that the first St. Vincent de Paul Society and Women's Guild were formed. Choirs were incorporated to help share in the Divine Service.
The new parish priest was quick to realise the priorities that had to be provided for the benefit of his parishioners. Towards the end of 1966 St. Brendan's School was opened and permission was granted to have Mass in a more comfortable environment, in the school hall, and this practice was continued until the formal opening of St. Brendan's Church.
During this time Father Keane's pastoral duties were always at the forefront of his mind. He was instrumental in implementing the new rites of Vatican II. He sought out and encouraged parishioners who would be responsible for the many and varied youth movements which he was instrumental in establishing in his parish. An infant group (ages 5-8 years) boys and girls numbering over 50 held their weekly meetings in the school hall. A Cub Scout pack was formed and had the distinction of winning the Lanarkshire Shield after three years of formation (the first Catholic pack to win the shield at that time). There were Brownie and Guide movements catering for the young girls of the parish successfully sharing in the various events and competitions run by the movement. A boy's club encouraged· and provided for the demands of the would-be footballers of the parish. An active Parent/Teachers Association worked to help relationships in the important task of education for the young children. A stall was set up in the vestibule of the church to sell religious items.
1969 - A new Church
The new church of St. Brendan's, Muirhouse, built to serve a parish of approximately 2,000 people, was commissioned by the Diocese of Motherwell and designed by Scott, Fraser & Browning, Architects.
The church group is ideally situated within a complex of high and low rise dwellings, at the junction of Muirhouse Road and Barons Road, and adjacent to St. Brendan's Primary R.C. School.
The group consists of the church itself, the presbytery and a car park to accommodate 60 cars. There is provision for the erection, at a later date, of a church hall.
The approach to the main entrance of the church is by a small flight of steps from Muirhouse Road and by a ramp from Barons Road to facilitate the easy access of invalid chairs and prams space has been allocated at the top of the ramp for a pram park.
The church is designed to seat 565 people, 500 in the main church and 65 in the Day Chapel. The Day Chapel has a glazed screen which gives an unobstructed view of the Sanctuary in the main church, and on holydays and Sundays. can be used by parents and their children. The Sanctuary in the main ··church has seating surrounding it on three sides and has been planned to suit the requirements of the liturgy.
The presbytery and the church are connected on the same level by means of two call rooms giving direct communication between Sacristies and the house. The accommodation in the house consists of a small suite of rooms for the Parish Priest, curate's bedroom and sitting room, guest room, dining room, and kitchen, housekeeper's bedroom and sitting room, two call rooms and a large garage.
The basic structure of the church itself is a steel frame of columns and beams to support a timber roof. The main walls are of facing brick internally, with common brick roughcasted on the outside.
The interior of the church has been planned to make full use of the daylight and, at the same time, to direct attention towards the Sanctuary, making it the focal point. To achieve this, the interior finishes have been kept simple, the walls of the church being in facing brick, which contrasts sharply with the back wall of the Sanctuary, which has a close textured white Tyrolean finish.
The Sanctuary has a clear beech strip floor. Heating is provided by overhead electric radiant heaters which can be controlled individually to give heat when and where it is required.
The seating and Sanctuary furniture are in West African mahogany, which were designed by the Architects.
At the entrance to the church a spacious narthex serves both the church, the Day Chapel and also a meeting room. This permits the main church being lockfast whilst full use can be made of the Day Chapel.
Building work started in November, 1967, and the first Mass in the church was celebrated on Christmas Eve by the Parish Priest, Rev. Denis Keane.
Associated with the Architects were Messrs. Falconer & Prentice, Chartered Quantity Surveyors.