About Fr Michael
Fr Michael’s artistic talents first came to light when he worked for Redemptorist Publications and began to draw cartoons. His most ambitious project was drawing the cartoons for the popular book on Catholic belief entitled How to survive being married to a Catholic. He also produced several cartoon books such as Saints Are and Sage. In 1995 he began to take his art more seriously and turned to drawing and painting. Since then he has worked in pastels, oil and acrylic. He now works mostly in acrylic.
Fr Michael says: ‘Fitting in time to paint while working as a parish priest is not always easy. To some extent that shortage of time determines the subject matter for my paintings. Most of my paintings are still life. That’s partly because I enjoy painting still life but also because it’s fairly easy to set up and to come back to.
I have also painted a number of portraits—including a portrait of Cardinal O’Brien which was presented to him by St Patrick’s parish to mark his Silver Jubilee as a bishop.
When I’m on holiday I like to have a go at landscapes.’
About St Patrick’s
St Patrick’s has a long and intriguing history. Built originally for the Scottish Episcopal Church in 1776, it then became a United Presbyterian Congregation before becoming a Catholic Church in 1856. It is a highly significant building, both architecturally and socially. Its tower and spire are a notable part of the skyline of the Old Town.
St Patrick’s can boast a number of important connections:
Hibernian Football Club – St Patrick’s is the true ‘home of the Hibs’, having originally been founded in 1875 by Canon Edward Hannan, curate at St Patrick’s, as a point of focus and support for young Irish immigrants.
Alexander Runciman – murals by celebrated Edinburgh artist Alexander Runciman (1736-1785) give St Patrick’s a particular artistic significance. The murals are of outstanding national importance for their rarity and completeness.
The Venerable Margaret Sinclair – a former parishioner whose holiness was reflected through her ordinary life at work and amidst the poverty of the Cowgate in the early 1900s. St Patrick’s is her final resting place and has become a centre for prayer and devotion. The cause for her canonisation is under way.
Beyond its historical significance, St Pat’s as it is affectionately known, is a vibrant place of worship, known for its openness, inclusiveness and outreach.
St Patrick’s Restoration
The passing of time has taken its toll on the fabric of the church. Urgent repairs to the roof and masonry were completed in 2008 as were repairs to the heating system, including a new boiler. But much still remains to be done.
The tower, which is such a prominent landmark in the Old Town, is in need of repair at an estimated cost of £210,000. Work needed on the front extension is estimated at £110,000. Subsidence beneath the Margaret Sinclair museum means that underpinning is needed at an estimated cost of £75,000.
Other necessary works include:
- Up-grading of the electrical system
- Insulation in the roof space
- Improvements to the lighting in the church
- Restoration of the Runciman murals
- Redecoration of the church
- Restoration of the pipe organ
St Patrick’s has made an immense contribution to the life of the City of Edinburgh over the years. It is not an ecclesiastical museum but a living church, where tens upon tens of thousands of people worship each year. If its future is to be secured the work to the fabric of the church outlined above is absolutely necessary.
You can contribute to the restoration fund, and receive one of Fr Michael’s paintings, by clicking the appropriate ‘Donate’ button on the home page.