St Patrick’s Church in Peel is celebrating its 150th anniversary.
A mass was held to honour the Patrick Street landmark with the Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon, Archbishop of Liverpool, the guest of honour, and the church filled to capacity.
The church was designed by the famous English architect, Welby Pugin.
The land on which the church stands was purchased for £72 in 1856. The laying of the foundation stone took place on December 14, 1864 and the first mass was celebrated on June 18, 1865.
At the outset, Irish families linked to the fishing industry who came to Peel to live were prominent among the congregation.
Some of the descendants of these families still live in Peel and remain part of the parish.
Today, the parish reflects on the diverse island community and the congregation has shown steady growth in recent years.
In addition the church hall contributes much to the local community and is regularly used by local groups for meetings and various social events.
Priest at the church for 18 years has been Father Brian O Mahony Cssp, who is also the priest of Our Lady Star of the Sea and St Maughold in Ramsey.
Father O Mahony makes weekly visits to those who are housebound, detained in prison or in hospital, as well as attending numerous meetings.
At St Patrick’s there are also eight Special Ministers of the Eucharist, who fulfil a number of duties including leading communion services.
They also visit the housebound and sick at Noble’s Hospital with holy communion.
The church also has a small St Vincent’s de Paul (SVP) group who donate money to the wider community in the island for families to buy necessities such as school uniforms, and to assist the elderly and homeless.
The SVP is an international Christian voluntary organisation dedicated to tackling poverty and disadvantage by providing practical assistance to those in need – irrespective of ideology, faith, ethnicity, age or gender.
Frequent fundraising events for drug and alcohol support groups, cancer research groups, the RNLI and Children in Need are held at the hall adjoining the church for which Father O Mahony does not charge.