The Catholic community of Perth had been well served by St John’s Church, Melville Street which opened in 1832 and by St Mary’s Kinnoull which opened as a Redemptorist Monastery in 1869. However, after the second world war, it became apparent to Monsignor Coogan, the parish priest at St John’s at that time, that the growing number of parishioners could not all be accommodated at the Melville St Church. The building of new housing estates on the edge of the city had taken many Catholics away from the proximity of their parish church in the centre of Perth. It was decided that two new churches would be built in Perth with the Edinburgh architect Peter Whiston selected to design the new churches. Our Lady of Lourdes would become an independent parish and serve the western parts of Perth including Letham and Tulloch. St Mary Magdalene’s was built as chapel of ease serving Craigie, although it would become a parish church a few years later. Both churches were built simultaneously and were opened within a week of each other.
Our Lady of Lourdes was officially dedicated and blessed on 25th October 1958 by Bishop Hart DD. Press reports in the local newspaper stated “The dedication stone of the new Roman Catholic church and chapel house at Letham, Perth, was blessed by the Bishop of Dunkeld, Bishop W.A. Hart, D.D., at a largely attended ceremony on Saturday forenoon. The estimated cost of the church, which is to be named “Our Lady of Lourdes” – as it is being built during the Lourdes centenary year – is about £24,000. It is expected to be completed just before Christmas. At Saturday’s ceremony, the Bishop, preceded by a cross bearer and acolytes and a procession of the clergy from his diocese, walked round the outside of the building. He sprinkled the walls with holy water then entered the church to bless the dedication stone. The church which is very spacious in concept and very modern, relying on its severity of line and proportion for architectural merit. It is built on a flat steel frame which supports a copper roof and the outside walls are built of road setts. The windows, which are inset with crosses in blue glass, are concentrated in certain focal points of the church to allow for a composition of light.” The first parish priest was Canon O’Donoghue who took up residence in the parish in November 1958. The parish quickly flourished with the large number of young families who had moved to the new housing estate. Indicative of the young composition of the parish was the fact that in the first full year there were fifty-two baptisms. An important milestone in the development of the parish was reached in August 1968. The primary children, who until then had to travel to St John’s, were brought together in their own new school Our Lady’s primary which was built on a site adjacent to the church, the first Head teacher being Mr Denis Cairns who had previously been head teacher at St Dominic’s in Crieff.
Parish Priests who have served at Our Lady of Lourdes
- Canon O’Donoghue 1958- 1962
- Father Patrick Donagher 1962-1963
- Canon James McIntosh 1963- 1974
- Canon Ernest Andrew 1974-1992
- Father David Ward 1992-2005
- Father Ken McCaffrey 2005-2007
- Father Colin Golden 2007-present
Curates who have served at Our Lady of Lourdes
- Father Michael Holton 1959-61
- Father John Connelly 1961-63