Parish

Parish

The Roman Catholic Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Banff, part of the Diocese of Aberdeen, takes its name from the Carmelite Monastery founded in the town by King Robert in 1321 and which was destroyed by arson in 1555.  From the Reformation until the 19th Century priests celebrated the Mass and Sacraments throughout Banffshire by arrangement with the local Catholic noble families who harboured priests in Castles and safe houses in the region.

The church in Sandyhill Road was built in 1870 and comfortably seats 120 persons.  It cost £1300 to build and the money was raised mainly by public subscription, and was opened on 6th December 1870 by Bishop MacDonald.  In addition to the main seating and sanctuary areas, there is a choir loft which is now used for storage; there is also a small chapel which is used for private prayer, meditation and small group meetings.  The sacristy links the church with the attached parish house that was built concurrently, and  the ground floor accommodation of the house provides a comfortable parlour (with kitchen) for meetings and activities, and a  study for parish administration and the reception of visitors.

The parish geographical area extends from Troup Head in the east, to Cullen Bay in the west, and Birkenhills in the South; it is surrounded by 6 other parishes within the Diocese of Aberdeen, the nearest being 18 miles distant.  Currently around 160 Catholic households have been identified mainly in the towns of Banff, Macduff, Turriff and Portsoy plus many hundred Polish migrant workers (who are nominally Catholic) mainly resident in Banff and Turriff.  There also Portuguese working in the local agricultural industry and Philippinos crewing fishing boats out of Macduff.