While the history of our town is an ancient one, that of our parish of St. Quivox is relatively new. The lands of Prestwick and Monkton are rich in association with the monks of Lindisfarne and Paisley Abbey, and until the Reformation, the church flourished in Kyle and Strathclyde. But here, as elsewhere, the political changes brought with them drastic religious changes. It is recorded that Mass was not said again in Prestwick until the year 1917, when a Mass was celebrated at 'Mosside', a private home in Midton Road. The occasion for this event is not known, but it seems to mark the resurgence of Catholicism in Prestwick.
It does indeed coincide with the completion in 1917 of Glenburn village, a mining village within the community of Prestwick. This colliery began production in 1912 and marked the arrival in the town of many Catholic families. The 'rows' in Glenburn were home to these mining families who swelled the number of Catholic families in Prestwick. Their contribution to the establishment and growth of St. Quivox as a vibrant parish community, is marked by the Calvary Shrine within the Church, but more significantly, by their descendants who continue to play an active role in the life of the parish today. The colliery closed in 1966 and the Glenburn 'rows' disappeared to be replaced by modern housing.
Between 1917 and 1933, Catholics in Prestwick had no fixed abode for worship. Mass was celebrated at various venues, notably the now Community Centre in Caerlaverock Road, and in the old Town Hall at the Cross. Then in 1933 the old part of the present church building was opened as a new hall, which also served as the permanent Sunday Mass centre. Five years later, in 1938, the Parish of St. Quivox was established with the appointment of a resident priest, Fr. Laurence Breen, thus relieving the priests of St. Margaret's, Ayr of their responsibility for Prestwick.
Pocket History of Events and Dates
1917 - First public Mass celebrated in Prestwick.
1933 - New Hall opened on present church site to serve as a hall and church.
1938 - The Parish was established with a congregation of 700
1947 - Hall became established as the Church when a new 'hut' was built as a social centre.
1951 - Congregation of 720 adults and 280 children
1969 - New Church extension opened and old Church re-dedicated by Bishop McGee.
1984 - New Stations of the Cross installed - gifted by an American donor.
1998 - New Hall and revamped Church entrance opened by Bishop Taylor
1999 - 2003 Church undergone restoration to mark the Great Jubilee 2000: Jubilee window; new Altar and Ambo; Tabernacle Screens etc.
The parishioners now total 1200.
Who was St. Quivox ?
Formerly this saint (also known as Kevoca and Mochaemhog) was taken to be a woman and commemorated under the name of St. Kevoca the virgin. The scholars Colgan and Lanigan treated 'him' as feminine and a fictitious biographer was ascribed to 'him'. Reeves and Forbes finally showed the name to be simply Caemhog, prefixed by the honorific 'Mo'.
Of this seventh - century Connaught Christian almost nothing is known, except that his father, Beoanus was famed for craftsmanship and assisted St. Ita in the building of her monastery. His mediaeval 'vita' is no more than a collection of pointless miracles. There is a tradition that Quivox worked in South West Scotland, especially around Ayr, where he is remembered in the parish of St. Quivox. At Eaglesham there is a Kevoch burn. Trained under St. Ita and then at Bangor under Comgall, he is credited with founding the monastery of Laithmor, and is said to have died in 669.
His festival is 24th February.
(A.P. Forbes, Kelendars of Scottish Saints , 1872)