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Parish History            

 Parish Background
About the turn of the last Century a man called George Beattie, the first known Catholic to settle in Banknock, came from the La­narkshire area to seek work in the numerous mines and brickworks in the area. He lodged in Haggs, and once settled, he began over a period to send for his family and friends. The latter consisted mainly of the McGuire family, a name still predominant in today's Parish. These families either inter-married with each other or sought partners in the neighbouring villages or simply married local people.
Thus, the fledgling Catholic Community was born and in 1905 the first Catholic Organisation was established in Banknock. The first Mass was said in a house in Banknock about this time but unfortunately neither the location nor the identity of the householders are known.
During the first four decades of the Century, life for the majority in Scotland was harsh and unremitting. Infant mortality was high, housing conditions substandard and overcrowded (there tended to be larger families then) and longevity a rare occurrence.
Despite these great deprivations, people not only survived but also continued to practise their Faith and actively support their Priests, albeit with meagre resources. They were resilient and resolute, and if alive, would be bemused to hear themselves described as such, since they accepted their harsh lot with equanimity and as normal.
In the 1926 General Strike, the living conditions deteriorated for many as with no work and insufficient income, people were literally starving. The "Parish", the fore-runner of Social Security, was not known as a particularly benign organisation and even successful applicants received only a pittance. However, Banknock people simply improvised by hi-jacking vans loaded with food and meat. For a few days people ate well, showing remarkable ingenuity in the concealment of these purloined goods from the authorities. A notice subsequently appeared in the meat markets in Glasgow advising drivers to avoid Banknock     

 The Late Fifties
In stark contrast today, we live in comparative affluence and the spectre of sectarianism has all but died. Indeed, throughout the years, many of our Protestant brethren have actively supported our Church, both financially and other­wise, and continue to do so.
Mass was said in Banknock Old Primary School (since demol­ished) and confessions were held prior to Mass and penitents had to kneel at the side of the priest without the aid of curtain or shield. For those eastwards and served by St Joseph's, Bonnybridge, Mass was heard at Longcroft Junior Secondary School. This building still stands near Haggs Kirk.  Canons Murnin, McGarvey, O'Rourke and Father Ferguson were some of the priests who faithfully served Banknock, Haggs and Longcroft throughout these years.
Towards the late fifties, people were becoming more vocif­erous about the establishment of a Church in Banknock and Fr 0' Rourke, Bonnybridge, conducted a census of the Catholic Population.
By the late fifties, a census showed that the population had risen to 600, and during the ensuing years, the momen­tum grew, culminating in 1961, in the appointment of Father William Henery as the first Parish Priest of St Luke's. Even then, he was stationed outside the Parish at the pres­bytery in St Joseph's, Bonnybridge.
In 1964, an Oratory was built and with Father Henery's utilisation of a backroom as a bedroom/office, the first Parish Priest was now living in the Parish. Baptisms, Funerals and later, First Communions and Weddings were conducted here.
With the advent of Catholic Schools, children had to travel originally by train, to Kilsyth St Patrick's for their education. Those requiring higher education had to travel to St Mungo's Academy in Glasgow. Because of the economic climate, not many could avail themselves of the services of this excellent school. However, the situation improved in 1933 with the opening of St Modan's High School in Stirlingshire.
In 1975, Denny St Patrick's School assumed responsibility for the children's education and continues to do so. Throughout, the same high stan­dards have been maintained both academically and in Reli­gious Studies. St Modan's High School and lately, St Mungo's High School Falkirk, have both served the children of St Luke's for their higher education.

Inauguration of St Luke's
On the 31st May 1974, the late Cardinal Gray concelebrated Mass with the first Parish Priest, Father William Henery and several other priests, mainly from the Diocese, to herald the official inauguration of the Parish of St Luke’s Banknock.
To a packed church of parishioners and invited guests, he congratulated the parishioners on their happy occasion and paid special tribute to Father Henery who had worked faithfully for a Catholic Church in this area.  
The Commemorative plaque at the entrance to the Church is appropriately dedicated with the initials of the Jesuit Motto (ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam-: To the greater glory of God).

The church building incorporates a General Purpose room (or GP room) and is regularly used as a crèche, meeting room, Lunch Club, Keep Fit Club and all kinds of Parish Functions.

The Silver Jubilee
The Parish celebrated it’s Silver Jubilee with a special Mass of Thanksgiving con-celebrated with Archbishop (Now Cardinal) Keith O’Brien.
After its first 25 years, St Luke's has become a healthy and vibrant Parish thanks mainly to the many lay organisations which form its backbone.  These organisations seem to attract those diligent and altruistic men and women who work away unobtrusively and without the need of recognition nor gratitude. There have also been three Missions in the Parish.  Fr Joe McInness and Father Brennan, Redemptorists from Kinnoull Perth, both made lasting impressions on the parishioners during these Missions in 1975 (Fr Joe), 1981 (Fr Brennan) and 1995 (Fr Joe).
Sadly, both these priests have passed away and ironically, Fr Joe's Mission in March 1995 was his last full Mission prior to his premature demise. Both will be missed and we commend them to your prayers.


Site Last Updated - 13/04/2012 01:50:51
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