Faith Matters

Illuminating story of landmark church's history published

A feature of the distinctive architecture of St Bernadette's Church, which was the work of Brian Gregory, is the manner in which the building is situated so its striking stained glass windows illuminated by the sun at 3pm, the time of day traditionally associated with the Crucifixion. This photograph, taken in October at the Mass to mark the Golden Jubilee, captures this 'Newgrange effect'. Picture by Ann McManus

A detailed Guide and History has been produced to help tell the story of one of Ireland's most distinctive churches.

The landmark St Bernadette's Church at Rosetta Road on Belfast's ring road is a listed building and celebrated its golden jubilee last year.

The church's design was heavily influenced by mid-20th century developments in ecclesiastical architecture.

The exterior is an example of the architectural style known as Brutalism and its fan-shaped structure can accommodate around 1,000 people, all of whom are within 60ft of the altar and have a clear view of it, in keeping with the thinking that had emerged from the Second Vatican Council.

St Bernadette's is the largest parish church in the Down and Connor.

Originally part of the Holy Rosary parish, St Bernadette's became a parish in its own right in 1988.

  • The booklet will be launched at Mass in the church at 7.30pm on Tuesday June 12. The chief celebrant will be Fr Thomas McGlynn, who is Down and Connor diocesan archivist and a native of St Bernadette's.
  • Copies of the booklet are also available by sending a C5 16x23cm self-addressed envelope with a standard 2nd class stamp to St Bernadette's Parish, c/o 33 Knockbreda Park, Belfast BT6 0HB.

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