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Catholic House of Prayer, Iona

‘Cnoc a’ Chalmain’, the ‘Hill of the Dove’, the Roman Catholic House of Prayer on Iona, is the first permanent Catholic presence on the island for 400 years.  It was officially opened by Archbishop Keith O’Brien in the spring of 1997, the 1400th anniversary year of St Columba’s death on Iona. 

Prior to its establishment the only Catholic place of worship in Mull and Iona was Our Lady of the Sea in Tobermory, which was opened in 1973.  The priest travelled from Oban to Tobermory and Bunessan, but the Bunessan Mass was discontinued in 1986, so that Catholics from Iona and the Ross of Mull were obliged to make a round trip of over 100 miles to go to Mass.

Following the foundation of the Colmcille Trust by Mary Burn-Murdoch in 1991 and a long search for a suitable property, the Trustees purchased the house ‘Kilona’ in 1996, which had lovely views over the sound of Iona towards Mull.  They then rebuilt it from its foundations.  The House of Prayer was designed by the architect, Charles Hughes, and built by Norman MacDonald of Tobermory.

A Eucharistic service is held each Sunday at 9.30 am.  During the summer this is held in the Michael Chapel (within the Abbey precincts) and during the winter in the chapel at Cnoc a’ Chalmain.  Monday to Saturday there is a service at 5 pm.

                        Grid Reference NM 284 242