Religious Brother Who Founded Celtic FC Remembered

While most fans of Scottish Premier League club Glasgow Celtic were celebrating their dramatic 2-1 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League this week, the club and its officials also took time out to remember the club's founder who was an Irish Marist Brother.

Born Andrew Kerins in Ballymote County Sligo in 1840, he studied teaching and in 1864 joined the Marist Brothers, a teaching Order, and took the name Br Walfrid. He moved to Scotland in the 1870's and taught at St Mary's School and the Sacred Heart School where he was appointed headmaster in 1874 and later he also helped found Saint Joseph's College in Dumfries.

In a meeting at Saint Mary's Parish Hall on November 6 1887 Br Walfrid called a meeting of a local working men's society and founded Glasgow Celtic football Club as a means of raising funds for the poor and deprived in the east end of Glasgow, many of whom were Irish immigrants who had moved to Glasgow after the Famine in the mid 1840's.

Archbishop Charles Eyre of Glasgow became the club's first patron in 1888.

Br Walfrid was transferred by his Order to Benthal Green and Bow in North London in 1893 and he later helped found another charity, The Poor Children's Dinner Table.

eltic FC continued to go from strength to strength, winning the European Cup, now the Champions League, in 1967, and thus becoming the first British club to do so.

He died in 1915 and was buried in Saint Michael's Cemetery in Dumfries in Scotland. In 2005 a 3.2 metre bronze bust of Br Walfrid was erected outside Celtic's home ground at Parkhead and was blessed by the then Archbishop of Glasgow Archbishop Mario Conti.

On November 6 fans and players of Celtic Football Club along with current manager, Lurgan native Neil Lennon, gathered, at a special mass at St Mary's Church in Glasgow to remember Br Walfrid on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the foundation of the club.

Speaking at the Mass, the newly installed Archbishop of Glasgow Archbishop Philip Tartaglia (pictured) said, “The Celtic story is a hugely romantic one since been founded by an Irish Marist brother to become the premier football team in Europe less than a century later. It is good that on the anniversary date of that foundation many of those closely identified with the club gather where the whole thing started in Saint Mary's Church in Ambercromby Street.”



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