St Conval’s Parish History
St Conval's as a parish was born in 1949, the first Mass being celebrated on 30th July. In its infancy the big problem was accommodating the numbers attending Mass, by 1952 the five Sunday Masses had become seven for Fr Conway and the "new" Fr Louis Knight.
Records show that eyes were focussing on the need for a permanent and bigger building than the £10,000 wooden structure, and active social life revenue supplemented the new building fund.
Fr Bobby O’Kane replaced a sick Fr Louis Knight in April 1951, and Fr Pat Henry came in August. Fr Conway was succeeded by Fr Ned Molumby in October 1952 and Fr Bill McDonald replaced Fr O'Kane.
Five years & six priests after its birth, April 1954 saw the site blessed & the first sod turned, the foundation stone was laid 29th September & the presbytery occupied 30th November 1954.
The new St Conval’s church was solemnly opened by Archbishop Donald Campbell on the 11th March 1956.
And so here we are, almost 55 years later, enjoying the fruits of the labour of those pioneers. Through their sweat, anxiety, enthusiasm and faith we reap the benefits in this year of 2011.
Let the memory of these priests & parishioners never be forgotten within our beautiful church.
St Conval seems to have done so much work and so rapidly that no one could keep up with him, far less put pen to paper regarding his life or mission. So the following is hardly "Facebook". He had social position, his Irish father ruling a kingdom. Conval left this heritage behind and came to Scotland as a missionary, "up the watter", landing around Inchinnan. In the tribal Bishoprics of the time Conval's leadership was in the area south of the River Clyde. tribal rivalries had undone some of Ninian's earlier great work. So Conval became a man with a mission. he became a priest and eventually an Archdeacon (Dean/Canon) under his mentor Kentigern.
St Kentigern's tactic was to use Glasgow as his HQ and spread the gospel to the neighbouring regions. Conval had firstly to negotiate with local tribal chiefs and face fierce opposition from the druids. The reward of his heroic zeal was the building of a church on the druid mound at Rutherglen.
His missionary itinerary took him along the south of the Clyde to Pollokshaws and Eastwood, where there is still a Catholic burial ground, although all trace of the original church has disappeared.
Conval befriended and enlisted support for his mission from fellow Irishman King Aidan of Dalriada. He founded a monastery in Inchinnan near his landing rock where he was buried Circa 600 AD. A place of pre-reformation pilgrimage, it's here that many miracles are attributed to St Conval.
Sadly the destruction that accompanied the reformation means records of St Conval no longer exist. Archaeology rather than script is, therefore, our only hope of data retrieval on such a great saint.
But memory housed in tradition cannot be erased as easily as paper files or even solid buildings. Conval's journey from the Shaws to Renfrew and Inchinnan must have been by way of Pollok. So it's not too fanciful to picture him traversing the very hill on which his named church is built. Will this help us in prayer to identify with a real person, a real saint?
Yes, we belang tae Conval.