A Second Catholic Church for Banbridge
By the mid-1970s it was clear that a growing Catholic population in Banbridge needed the facility of a second church building in the town, and work on the proposed new church began in April 1977. Dedicated to St Thérèse, the church was a “surround” design and St Teresa’s as it was known, boasted a seating capacity of 700. It was solemnly dedicated and opened by Bishop Brooks on Sunday 14 May 1978.
Unfortunately this Church did not stand the test of time and was razed to the ground in March 2006. On Sunday 1 October 2006 Bishop John McAreavey blessed the foundation stone of the new Church of Saint Thérèse.
Architecturally, the building is circular in shape with five annexes housing the imposing main entrance, a side-chapel, the Sanctuary and two side entrances. A paved walkway leads to the large oak doors with their polished Armagh Stone surround. Entry is gained into the rotunda or principal porch with its high, vaulting ceiling. The sheer scale and massing of the entrance porch sets a hallowed tone for the Church into which it directly leads.
A cloistered walkway to left and right facilitates access for the congregation and the centre aisle leads directly to the Sanctuary. The Altar and all its furnishings are crafted from Portuguese marble and the central focus of the whole building – The Tabernacle – is framed with radiant, jewelled stained glass.
Curved seats are fashioned in American white oak and radiate out from the Sanctuary all the way back to the main entrance. Around the walls there are beautiful stained glass windows which depict the seven Sacraments and an eighth one which was specially commissioned to reflect special features of the town of Banbridge: these include graphic pictorial references to Saint Patrick’s Church in Dromore Street, “The Cut” under Jingler’s Bridge, the River Bann and, finally, a sheaf of flax to reflect the industrial heritage of the town.
The Stations of the Cross around the walls of the cloister are those which hung in the old Church and which were beautifully restored to pristine condition by the Architect, Brendan Laverty.
The Parish Priest, Canon Liam Stevenson, spoke of the pride and joy felt by everyone for their beautiful new Church “As we gather together as a community to solemnly dedicate the Church as a House of God and fitting place of worship for many, many generations of families in the town and surrounding district.”
St Teresa's is a beautiful building, dedicated to the service of God, and the adjoining Parish Centre plays an important role in the community life of Banbridge.
Mass is celebrated – Monday – Friday : 10:00am, Vigil Mass Saturdays: 6:00pm & Sundays 8:30am & 12:00 noon.
(Source: Parish of St Patrick)
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Professional family and children's portrait photography in Northern Ireland. Drew is a qualified Associate member of both the 'Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers' and the 'National Photographic Society'. He is qualified to Licentiate level with the 'Professional Photographers Association of Northern Ireland' and is a Master Photographer of the 'National Photographic Society'.