The History of Holy Name Parish
The title for our parish Holy Name, was suggested by the first Parish Priest, Fr Seamus O'Reilly; he noticed the name of one neighbouring parish, St Mary's, and that of another dedicated to St Gabriel, who told Mary to name the child 'Jesus', and so suggested the name given Mary's child, the Holy Name. "You are to conceive and bear a son and you must name him Jesus" (Luke 1/31). Fifteen verses later Mary is meeting her cousin Elizabeth and sings; "holy is his name". The name Jesus means; "Yahweh (God) saves". Sometimes the name is symbolised by the letters IHS, as above, being the first three letters of Jesus when written in Greek.
Devotion to the Holy Name comes largely from the Franciscan preacher, St Bernardine of Siena of the early 15th century. He preached alongside the IHS monogram, and played a significant part in getting the name Jesus inserted into the Hail Mary. At the end of his century Masses in honour of the Holy Name became popular in Europe, including Scotland. The feast was made universal in 1721 by Pope Innocent XIII at the request of the Holy Roman Emperor. It was suppressed in 1969, but revived in 2002 with the rank of memorial for the 3rd of January; in churches with the title Holy Name, like ours, it is the highest rank of all, a solemnity.
The title Holy Name may also refer to the unspeakable name of Himself that God gave to Moses at the event of the Burning Bush. (Exodus 3/13. 14.) This incident is the first time that God, out of compassion for the Israelites in their slavery, called them 'my people'. In English the name is 'Yahweh', and in Hebrew it is written יהוה. Out of deference it is not pronounced by Jews. When the name is being written a new nib is used, and broken afterwards. And so of all the names of God in the Old Testament only this was given by God Himself. The IHS symbol and the Hebrew Yahweh can be seen on the Mass vessels, the chalice and ciborium respectively, made for us by the Carmelite sisters, then of Langside.
Our parish is the newest in the Archdiocese of Glasgow, and was formed in 1975 from its neighbours on either side, St Mary's, Pollokshaws and St Vincent's, Thornliebank. It fell to Fr Pat Kelly, successor of the founder, Fr O'Reilly (who died in January 2009), to be in charge of the parish for nearly 23 years, and to have the pleasure of the Official Opening and Consecration of the new church on 21 Oct 1984 by Archbishop Thomas Winning, assisted by his auxiliaries, Bishop Charles Renfrew and Bishop John Mone. A time capsule was inserted into one of the altar legs; and the relics of martyrs Sts Januarius and Virginia were placed into the Altar table.
Fixed on the entrance wall inside the church is a plaque blessed by Pope John Paul for the parish on his visit to Scotland two years earlier. The supports of the altar are those of the altar in Bellahouston Park at which Pope John Paul celebrated his only Mass on Scottish soil. Even the deacon assisting on that day, Rev Len Purcell, was later ordained priest by Pope John Paul II.
Ours must be the only Church in Scotland with an altar used by a Pope, and blessed by a Cardinal and two Bishops!
The highly appraised style of the Church is called Post Modern Classic; that is, the classic form expressed in contemporary style; the architect was Tom Elder of architects Elder & Cannon. In 1984 it was chosen to represent that year by the Royal Institute of British Architects for its 150th anniversary celebrations; and it also featured in a London exhibition of the work of six outstanding young architectural practices. At present the interior of our cosy church has the colours of magnolia and lavender.
"God gave him the name which is above all other names." Phil 2/9
BLESSED BE HIS HOLY NAME.