Church of St Colm, Kilmacolm

Renfrewshire, Scotland

  The name of the village, Kilmacolm, means "the Church of beloved Columcille, or Columba" from the fact that a church was established there around the sixth century by one of St Columba's monks from the island of Iona. Christianity took root in the area and there are traces of several of the celtic saints who lived or preached in the country around, the most notable of these being St Fillan, after whom the neighboring district of Kilellan is named. After the arrival of the Cluniac monks to found the great monastery of Paisley in the twelfth century the church of Kilmacolm, as it had become known, passed into the care of the Abbey and was served by the monks through chaplains until the Protestant Reformation, in the sixteenth century, displaced the monks and proscribed the old religion. In the nineteenth century Catholicism slowly returned to Renfrewshire as Scots from the highlands and islands and Irish immigrants arrived looking for work in the prosperous lowlands of Scotland and they were served by priests based in Paisley, Greenock and, closest to,our village, by the new church of St Fillan in nearby Houston. In 1945 a small, run-down bothy near the centre of the village was purchased and, with the help of volunteers from the neighboring town of Port Glasgow, it was transformed into a building for the use of the growing Catholic population. The ground floor became a small hall for social purposes and on 9th June of that year, the Feast Day of St Columba, the upper floor was dedicated as a church under his patronage and in his local name of St Colm. This "Upper Room", as it came to be known, served the people well, but as the population increased it became to small, and so plans were laid for a new building on the same site. The new church of St Colm was formally opened and dedicated by Bishop John Mone of Paisley on 22nd November 1992, and is a building of which the congregation is justly proud. But the Church cannot stand still! Kilmacolm had been part of a joint parish with the village of Bishopton since 1946, but, like all youngsters, the time had now come to leave the nest! The congregation had petitioned the diocese long and weary for their autonomy and at last their wish was granted. On Christmas Day 1995 the quasi-Parish of St Colm, Kilmacolm, was created within the Diocese of paisley and the Rev. Willie McDade was appointed the first parish priest. God has brought us this far.Only he knows what the future hold for us!