St Joseph's Parish was not always intended to be sited in Broomhouse Place North. Here, we take a quick look at some of the factors leading to the construction of the church.
Before 1945, during the war, Hugh McCann recalled that the Men's Committee (SVdP) of St Cuthbert's had been informed that for only £10 deposit, the site of what is now the Silver Wing at Parkhead could be secured for the proposed new Church. However, Archbishop McDonald said no...
Fr Maccabe wanted to build it on the site where the Fairbrae Housing scheme now lies (at the junction of Calder Road and Saughton Road, next to St Joseph's School), and the Police were interested in setting up shop at our current site (which had already been rejected by the Church of Scotland) as a police station (if only......) The council would not agree for "traffic control" reasons.
The present site had already been selected and construction started when parishioners became aware of it. As relayed in the main text, they were horrified because it wasn't central, as had been planned.
There are no documents in the Diocesan Archives relating to the selection of the present site.
From 1950 to 1970, St Joseph's served Broomhouse, Saughton Mains, Stenhouse, Sighthill and Parkhead. Attendance at Sunday masses was at times in excess of 500 people (those were the days!)With so much building going on in the areas of Wester Hailes, Baberton and the Calders, and with the consequent boom in population, Archbishop Gray planned a new church to cater for these areas.
The foundation stone of St John Ogilvie's Parish was laid in the summer of 1977, and the church was solemnly opened by now Cardinal Gray in 1978. On the Sunday prior to opening, it was estimated that some 500 parishioners attended the three Sunday masses at St Joseph's. On the following Sunday, just over 250 people attended the same 3 masses - with the other 250 becoming parishioners of St John Ogilvie's.
Rather than look back and wonder whether one more centralised church, as was the intention, would not have better served all the people of these new communities, perhaps it is better to remember that we are called to become "fishers of men". Both parishes are still teeming with fish.