St Agatha’s 100 years of worship

Easter feast procession at St Agatha's Church around 1950. Picture loaned by Patrick Burns of Methil
Easter feast procession at St Agatha's Church around 1950. Picture loaned by Patrick Burns of Methil
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THE leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, His Eminence Cardinal Keith O’Brien, was among special guests who gathered in Levenmouth on Friday for a landmark celebration.

Parishioners and former priests from St Agatha’s Church joined members of the community to mark 100 years of worship at the Methil parish.

It was established in 1912, while the church was built in 1923 and dedicated to St Agatha.

A special evening mass was said at Methil Brae, featuring Cardinal O’Brien, who is also the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

Parish priest Father Joseph Portelli welcomed colleagues who had previously served at St Agatha’s, including Monsignor Brian Halloran and Father Aidan Cannon.

Pupils from St Agatha’s Primary School in Leven also played a prominent role, with a performance from the choir. The children contributed their own prayers and artwork, which decorated the church building.

Later, there was a celebratory dinner at the Caledonian Hotel in Leven.

Cardinal O’Brien told the Mail: “Having spent five very happy years in Fife at the beginning of my apostolate as a priest, I was more than happy to return to St Agatha’s.”

The Cardinal said he was especially pleased to meet up again with Monsignor Halloran – “so well known in both Methil and St Andrews, who had such a devotion to St Agatha, that he visited her shrine in Italy”.

The importance of the anniversary, reflecting the strength of faith in the community, left many feeling privileged to be part of it.

Father Portelli, the parish priest for 12 years, told the Mail: “It means a lot. It reminds us of the sacrifices people made 100 years ago to build the church and to keep the church going.

“We realise it is our responsibility to keep the parish going and that we should help as much as we can.

“Everybody should pull together and do our best for the parish – it’s special for the whole parish.”

Friday marked the main centenary celebration, added Father Portelli, although evening mission services had been held during the first week of Lent and were very well attended.

The school’s head teacher, Karen Doherty, said and pupils were delighted to be associated with the celebrations.

There was a “very strong link” between the school and the parish, and St Agatha’s worked very closely with Father Portelli to make sure the children and parishioners were contributing fully in discipleship.

The anniversary showed a “wonderful commitment to faith”, added Ms Doherty.