Andrew's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Dumfries, built in 1815, had been the
seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Galloway since the restoration of the
hierarchy in 1878. In 1947 the Archdiocese of Glasgow was reorganised and the
suffragen Dioceses of Motherwell and Paisley were created. At the same time,
some of the more southerly parishes of the original Glasgow Archdiocese were
ceded to the Diocese of Galloway. As a result of this reorganisation the
Catholic population of Galloway greatly increased in number and the centre of
population shifted from Dumfries to Ayrshire. The Bishop of Galloway, in an
attempt to be nearer to the greatest number of his
people, moved his place of residence to Ayr in the 1950's, although he retained
his Cathedral Church in Dumfries.
in May 1961, St. Andrew's Cathedral was ravaged by fire, and shortly afterwards
the damaged building was demolished: all but the Spire and the St. Ann's Tower
were removed. The decision was made to build a new Church over the old Cathedral
crypt, but at the same time the Bishop petitioned Rome to move his Cathedral to
Ayr - a petition that was granted.
new St. Andrew's Church was built on the site of the old Cathedral and
opened in 1964, one of two Roman Catholic churches in Dumfries.
Church was built to a modern design using steel and concrete.
Externally, the use of Locharbriggs red sandstone gives the outside a pleasing
warm appearance. The gardens to the front of the Church have been created within
the walls of the Nave of the old Cathedral.
to St Andrew's will be surprised by the internal layout in this
square building. You will not find the expected traditional arrangement of
parallel pews, with the congregation facing the altar to the front. Instead the
whole plan has been laid out on the diagonal.
church was reordered in 1999. The Sanctuary was simplified and a Blessed
Sacrament chapel was installed near the entrance to the Church for private
prayer and devotion.
wrought iron of the screen and furnishings depict crosses of St Andrew
and the sweep of the hills of Galloway. The hangings behind the Altar depict
the History of Salvation. The left
panel begins at the top with the Trinity and the birth of Christ. The centre
panel depicts the crucifixion and the gift of the Eucharist. The right panel
shows resurrection, the empty tomb, the coming of the Spirit and the growth of
the early Church in the fish symbol (ichthus). Note the lines hinting at
the hills of Galloway (and Galilee); they become the thorns of the Passion and
then the new shoots of the early Church faith. Some of the symbols also remind
us of the cross of St Andrew.