A History of the Parish

In 1974 the parish of Saint Mary’s in West Road, Irvine, numbered more than three thousand Catholics. On January 1, 1976 the parish of Saint Margaret’s in Castlepark came into being, and in March 1976 the parish priest of Saint Mary’s began to say a Sunday Mass in Dreghorn.  Around this time negotiations were opened with the Irvine Development Corporation about the purchase of land in Bourtreehill for a permanent church. Serious thought was given to the possibility of sharing both site and building with the Church of Scotland in the hope that this would be an important ecumenical step as well as a financial saving.  Finally, however, it was decided to have separate buildings but to share the site with the Church of Scotland.  Bishop Joseph McGee paid for the land for the new church in Bourtreehill and entrusted the parish to the care of the Sacred Heart Fathers.  On September 13, 1976 Fr. James Feeney of the Sacred Heart Fathers arrived in Irvine to become Parish Priest of this new area and the first Mass was said in his temporary residence in a house in Bourtreehill – the front room of which was designated an oratory.

On October 22, 1977 Bishop McGee laid the foundation stone of the new church, dedicating it to St. John Ogilvie, martyred at Glasgow Cross on March 10, 1615, and canonised by Pope Paul VI on October 17, 1977.  Construction work on the church proceeded and the solemn opening took place on Wednesday September 5, 1979.  Present at the Mass was Bishop McGee of the Diocese of Galloway, and His Eminence Cardinal Gordon Gray, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh.

The current parish priest is Fr. Willie Boyd.