St Cooey’s Oratory was opened on 29th June 1968.
Prior to this date Mass was celebrated in a small Oratory in St Patrick’s Hall.
Two shops in the Square and a house in Church Street were purchased by Fr Patrick McAlea PP Portaferry to provide a site for the Oratory. The site was completed by donations of rear gardens by Jeannie Convey, Gerard Baird, Alec and Jean McCartney.
Messrs McLean and Forte were appointed architects. Their design resembled the shape of a boat, with a courtyard in front dominated by a porte-cache. The bell in the free-standing tower had once been used in St Patrick’s, Ballyphilip. Granite from Wicklow was chiselled to provide the altar, ambo, tabernacle and credence table. The altar table itself weighs one ton.
Fr Morgan chose St Cooey as the patron saint of the new Oratory and foundation stones were brought from Temple Cooey, Tara Bay , for it.
Building work on the Oratory and Curate’s residence, carried out by Joseph Dynes of Ardkeen, commenced in Christmas week 1966.
St Cooey’s Oratory was blessed by Bishop William Philbin. The celebrant was Fr David Morgan PP Portaferry, with Fr Bernard Armstrong PP Ballygalget as Deacon and Fr Michael Toner SMA Nigeria as Subdeacon.
Fr Joseph MacGurnaghan CC Portaferry was Master of Ceremonies and Fr Kerr CSSR preached the homily.