St Thomas Parish is established

On Friday 7th November 1924, the mission of St Thomas’ the Apostle opened. It covered a much greater area than it currently does and would eventually cede territory to new Parishes, but that was all in the future. On Sunday 9th November 1924, Rev McEwan called a general meeting of parishoners gathered in the grounds of the presbytery and Rev McEwan asked them to invoke Our Lady’s protection by reciting the Rosary. They knelt and prayed in the cold autumn weather for the success of the mission. Two committees were formed that day to move things forward.

The first Mass in the history of St Thomas’ parish took place on that same day Sunday 9th November 1924, in a room at the top of the house. Rev McEwan took up residence in Rosemount that day and became the first Parish Priest of St Thomas’. The following Sunday, 16th November, the crowd at the 10am mass was so great that an Altar was set on the porch of the house and the Mass was held in open air.

During the first week of his Ministry, Rev McEwan spoke to the Parishoners of his future plans for the mission and asked them to help him build a Church that they would be proud of. Committees were formed to raise funds and early records name Mr O’Callaghan and Mr McPherson as two leading lights of the drive to get St Thomas’ off the ground. The work done by the parishoners of St Thomas’ in those first six weeks was nothing short of astonishing. They raised funds for materials, worked on the building of the Church themselves and carried out much needed work on Rosemount house and grounds.

Rev McEwan found that he had many friends in those first days. His old Parish of St Mary’s sent six candlesticks to adorn his new Church. A local man, whose name is sadly lost to us, surprised Rev McEwan by giving him a beautiful Monstrance, which was used at Benediction. The original Altar and various beautiful fittings were gifted to the new Parish by the Notre Dame Convent, Dowanhill. It is barely credible to report that a mere six weeks after Rev McEwan arrived in Riddrie, he was in a position to ask His Grace, Archbishop Mackintosh to come to Riddrie and officially open the new Church.

The date of the formal opeing of the Church was set for Sunday 21st December 1924. Some work done was outstanding, but the anxious Rev McEwan need not have worried as many parishoners volunteered to work through saturday night to finish the work in time for the Archbishop’s arrival. Everything was set for the big day.