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Our Priests

Canon Denis Keane

1965 - 1974

Rev. Denis Keane was born in Baunbee, County Cork and ordained on the 5th June 1949 had previously served in St. Charles', Newton, St. Patrick's, Shotts, All Saints', Coat bridge, and St. Patrick's, Coatbridge before he was given the colossal task of establishing a 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. 

In I965 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, (no stilettos! remember?) and this practice was continued until the formal opening of St. Brendan's Church. 
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 items of religious intfnt. 
After doing such heroic work the founder parish priest was transferred to St. Columba's, Viewpark in June 1973, shortly before his own Silver Jubilee. His grateful parishioners, however, were delighted to welcome him back to join with them in this celebration and to thank him for his great service to St. Brendan's parish. With his direction and co-operation, fund­raising groups acted (and with no second collection) Father Keane must be a founder parish priest with the unique distinction of leaving his new parish, after eight years of devoted service, "free from debt", excluding only a very minor sum. 

Canon Noel Carey

1974 - 1980

Canon Noel Carey was born at Maclone, County Offaly and was ordained 7th June 1953. Before taking up his position as parish priest of St. Brendan's, he had served in St. Mary's, Coatbridge, St. Francis Xavier's, Carfin, St. Barbara's, Muirhead, St. John Bosco, New Stevenston, again at St. Francis Xavier's, Carfin. From 1973, Father Carey took stock of what had been done in the parish of St. Brendan's and considered what further action could be taken to add to the existing amenities. 

He was quick to note that the parish community was without a proper meeting place. He arranged meetings to discuss this subject and agreement was reached to go forward with the planning of a church hall. This church hall has proved a valuable asset to church community life. 
Church refurbishments were carried out in the never-ending task of caring for the maintenance of the building. In the interior new carpets were installed and a new lectern was erected on the main altar to enhance appearance and create comfort. 
Father Carey served his parishioners in a concerned and dutiful way, visiting the sick and disabled. He gave his own particular attention to the service of Quariant Ore (Forty Hours). He left St. Brendan's parish in June 1981 for the Cathedral parish in Motherwell, where he was to be later elevated to the distinction of Canon of the diocese. 

Canon James Ashe

1980 - 1990

Father James Ashe was born at Dingle, County Kerry and ordained in 1953. When he arrived at St. Brendan's in 1981, he found a well-established parish. A parish becoming accustomed to the great changes from Vatican II. 
Vigil Masses were introduced throughout the diocese leaving the parish priest with the onerous duty of trying to keep his parish community together. His spiritual direction was an asset. Father Ashe helped his parishioners to embrace the "Renew" movement within the church, now in its fourth session and continues to encourage their involvement at all levels from core groups to small groups and throughout the whole spectrum, assisting their devotion to God through prayer and commitment. The Tuesday evening devotion to Our Lady of The Miraculous Medal has been continued with great religious zeal and has seen an increase in devotees and attendances at this service under Father Ashe's spiritual guidance. He carries out his pastoral duties in a quiet and attentive manner visiting the sick and housebound. 
He has been quick to encourage parishioners with a zeal to help in the social life of the parish. The church hall was opened to parishioners for coffee/tea on Sundays after morning Masses, where the parish community can get together over a warm refreshment and a bite to eat. 
The Silver Jubilee Year of St. Brendan's became incumbent on his direction. He asked for parish participation and a committee was formed to help make funds and to regulate events. Refurbishment works are being implemented throughout the church and chapel house, church hall and grounds. The church committee room is being completely refurbished to include a coffee/tea bar and a more comfortable area for holding meetings. Various events held to commemorate this special year of celebration will end in May, this year, 1990. 

Canon George Boyd

1990 - 2008

Canon George Boyd was born on 3rd July 1924. Originally from Mossend, he was educated in Holy Family Primary School & then at Our Lady's High School, Motherwell.  He was the first Priest to be ordained in the Diocese of Motherwell on May 24, 1948, along with his brother Patrick, who became a White Missionary Father in Africa.

Canon Boyd served in St Patrick’s, Wishaw, from 1948-54, before moving on to St Mary’s, Coatbridge, from 1954-62 and then became the youngest parish priest ever appointed at that time when he joined St Aloysius, Chapelhall, in 1962.

He was transferred to St Thomas’s in Wishaw in 1969 and in 1978 moved to St Bernadette’s in Motherwell.

His final appointment was to our parish here in St Brendan’s in Motherwell in 1990 where he served until his retirement in 2009.

During his time at St Brendan’s, in 1992, he was installed as a Canon of the Cathedral Chapter.


Bishop of Motherwell Joseph Devine said: “Canon Boyd was first and foremost a family man which may seem a strange description for a priest, but the Canon’s life was devoted to the families of the parishes in which he served.

“To so many families he was a member of the family - a father, grandfather and yes, a great-grandfather - and loved to tell children about their grandparents and other relations no longer with us, whom many of the children had never known.

“The priesthood can be a lonely place, but not for priests like Canon Boyd. He enjoyed the love and devotion of so many families and all will be grieving for him as they have lost a very special and favourite member of their family.”

Canon Boyd’s funeral took place in our parish of St Brendan’s.

Parish Administrators

2008 - 2013

Fr Stephen Miller

F Kevin McGoldrick

Fr Dominic Quinn

Fr Alexander Stewart

Fr Frank King

Rev. Fr Michael Brown

Parish Priest  2013 - 2019

Fr. Brown was born in Chryston on 9th January 1964. He attended St Ambrose’s High School, Coatbridge and later studied for the priesthood at Chesters and Scotus Colleges, Bearsden.

On the 24th June 1998 he was ordained to the Priesthood by Bishop Joseph Devine, Bishop of Motherwell, in his home Parish of St Barbara’s, Muirhead.

Father Brown’s first appointment was as Assistant Priest of St Bride’s, East Kilbride from 1998 to 2002. He then served as an Army Chaplain (reserve) before returning to the Motherwell Diocese in 2005 and taking up an appointment as Assistant Priest of Sacred Heart, Bellshill. At this time Father Brown also served as Chaplain to Cardinal Newman High School. In March 2011 he was then appointed Parish Priest of St Gerard’s Bellshill where he remained for the next 2 and a half years.

In September 2013 he was appointed Parish Priest of St Brendan’s, Motherwell, and Chaplain to Wishaw General Hospital.Father Brown left our parish in February 2019, when he took charge of Holy Family, Mossend replacing Father James Grant.

Rev. Fr Owen J. Ness

Parish Administrator  2019 - Present

Rev Owen James Ness, LLB BD, was born in Wishaw on 1 August, 1950 and had his secondary education at St Francis Xavier Junior Seminary, Coatbridge, transferring to St Francis Xavier Senior Seminary, Cardross, until 1968, when he entered the University of Glasgow, where he took the degree of LLB.


After graduation, he practised law until 2000 when, following his wife's death and his children now being grown up, he offered himself for the priesthood, for which he prepared at the National Seminary of Scotus College, Bearsden, taking the degree of BD from the Pontifical University of Maynooth.

He was ordained priest by the Right Reverend Joseph Devine, Bishop of Motherwell, in St Ignatius' Church, Wishaw on 22 June, 2005. Father Ness was appointed to St Margaret's, Airdrie and chaplain at Monklands Hospital.


On 27 November 2010, Father Ness was appointed to St Bride's, East Kilbride.

He became the Parish Administrator on 25 January 2011 upon the retirement of Canon Ryan. The next year, on 15 August 2012, he then became Parish Priest.

Fr Ness then Served the Parish of St John Bosco, Easterhouse, comprising of St Clare's and St Benedicts.

In 2019, following the departure of Rev. Fr Michael Brown, he was appointed administrator of our parish of St Brendans.

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