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Getting Started

 

In the space of a very short time ( three weeks, in fact) and after some hard work on Father Glancey´s part the following letter was sent to every catholic family in the new parish.

The Parish Letter

My dear People,
Our Archbishop has established the Bingham-Jewel, Magdalene area as a new Mission and has appointed me as your first priest in charge. We are all missionaries in this great new venture and its success depends on all of us - priest and people alike.

We have no church, no presbytery - nothing. Many of us have loyalties to other parishes - to St. John's, the parent parish, to St. Terea's, through the tunnel, to Musselburgh, to St. Ninian's and to the Cathedral - all on the bus route.

To succeed, we must sacrifice these old loyalties in order that this new mission may one day become a parish, ie a community of Christians united in loving God and their neighbour.

  St Mary Magdalenes

Our Territory is one mile long - from end to end, Niddrie Road is the natural centre - within half a mile of everyone in the district ie - 10 minutes walk at most, and so it is with great joy that I report that we have secured the use of the Jewel Miners' Welfare Hall, Niddrie Road, for two Masses each Sunday - 9 and 11.30a.m. - (this should suit everyone with the exception of some shift workers).

In addition - thanks to Mr and Mrs Joseph Rowell - a room in their home at 40 Niddrie Road has been put at my disposal where you can come and see me any day between 10 and 11a.m. and 4 and 5p.m. Messages can be left there in the letter box, if, for any reason, I am unable to attend.

Until we can acquire a house in the district - big enough for the establishment of a chapel for daily Mass, Benediction etc. I shall be resident in St' John's, 40 Brighton Place, Portobello - Tel POR 5447.

We shall continue to use St. John's Church for Baptisms, Marriages and Funerals until we have premises of our own. Sunday Mass at 9am and 11.30am, begins on the 15th October ie next Sunday. Confessions will be heard for half an hour before Mass. Looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday, and to visiting you in your homes in the next few weeks. Pray for the success of our Mission,
God bless you,

Lawernce A. Glancey
Priest in charge.
If you know of any catholic who has not received this letter, please tell them about it. L.A.G.

glancey2

Early Days

The first Mass was the start of the new parish and from there,still without a house or a church, a community began to form. Soon Father Glancey was a familiar and popular figure as, in duffel coat and beret, he cycled round the district, speaking to everyone and making many friends. Father Glancey visited all his parishioners and quickly identified the various skills and talents which could be harnessed in the development of the parish.

His enthusiasm was infectious and a willing band of helpers came forward. It was not until the summer of 1962 that a house was purchased in Milton Crescent. This was a tremendous asset. The garage became the parish hall and a room in the house became an oratory. Morning Masses were offered there and services,where the congregation was not large,were held there. The Sunday services, however, still took place in the Miners´ Institute.

Father Lawrence Glancey

Church Meetings

The following notice of meetings shows just how far the parish had come in less than one year and also just how integrated St Mary Magdalene´s Parish had become in the local community. (Yes, the parish had a name. Since part of the parish was sited on the area where the Magdalen Chapel had stood and through which the Magdalen burn flowed, St Mary Magdalene was the obvious choice.)

glancey2
St Mary Magdalenes

Church Information

Monday - 7.30p.m. - Women´s Guild - St. Christopher´s School
Monday - 7.30p.m. - Scouts - Lismore School
Wednesday - 5.00p.m. - Junior Girls´ Club - St. Christopher´s School
Wednesday - 7.00p.m. - Men´s Club - Jewel Institute
Wednesday - 8.00p.m. - Legion of Mary (senior) - Garage
Friday - 6.15p.m. - Cubs - St. Christopher´s School
Friday - 8.00p.m. - Legion of Mary (junior) - Garage

The parish now had a house and this gave a sense of progress. At last there was a heart to the parish. A site for the church was approved and plans were prepared. The site was at the corner of Mountcastle Drive South and Bingham Drive, in the centre of the parish and only two minutes walk from the presbytery. Building work started in 1965 and was scheduled for completion in June 1966.However all did not go well. Just before the church was to be opened a snag developed.

Water was found getting into a heating duct and a lengthy delay followed. Sunday services had to continue in the Miners� Institute. A diocesan official said. "There was a difficulty with water but no flooding. The area has a very high �water table� and the church has heavy foundations. There was trouble with damp getting into a heating duct. The delay has been an exhaustive testing of sealing. We want to be certain things are right". However, all was not bad news.

Picture (An early Mass in the Jewel Miners Institute)

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

While waiting for the completion of the church preparations were under way for the furbishings and a great deal of thought and hard work went into this task. This is evident even today when one enters the church. The list of contents makes interesting reading. After a delay of about 18 months the new Roman Catholic Church of St Mary Magdalene, in Mountcastle Drive South, Edinburgh, was used for the first time.

(Picture Plans Showing the New Church)

The building, which includes a small hall, was due to be completed in May 1966, but the parish priest, the Rev Lawrence Glancey said, yesterday, that waterlogging of the site had caused a delay of the opening. For the past six years parishioners from the Bingham and Magdalene area have worshipped in the Jewel miners' welfare institute. Other activities have been held in school halls.

Father Glancey said his parishioners had already paid off about one fifth of the �46000 cost of the project. The building will be formally opened by the Most Rev Gordon Gray, R.C. Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

(Picture Further Drawings of the new Church)

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

The Architects Model

The Architects Model

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

The New Mosaic Planned for the Church

11th April 1968

Building the new Church

April to May 1966

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

Building the new Church

April to May 1966

The Congregation in the new Church

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

The Congregation in the New Church

The Congregation in the New Church

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

The Catholic Observer

Signs of renewal and change in the Church at Parish Level are discussed in "In Reform" BBC 1, (Scotland) on Sunday. John Cameron speaks to Father Lawrence. A. Glancey of St Mary Magdalene Roman Catholic Church Portobello and some members of his Parich Council pictured here. Cameron will be asking such questions as "How do you view the sharing of the Priesthood and pastoral work"

The congregation in the New Church

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

The Blessing of the New Church

Blessing the New Church

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

Blessing the New Church

It was in 1966 that the parish celebrated the ordination of one of its parishioners. Tom Connelly, son of Mr and Mrs Bernard Connelly of Northfield was ordained to the priesthood. St Mary Magdalene´s parish had its first priest. Father Connelly served as priest and parish priest in the Motherwell diocese. For several years, prior to his death in September 2000 he was the Press Officer and spokesperson for the Catholic Church in Scotland.

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