St Margarets Church and later Cathedral has changed considerably over its almost 200 years.
During the 1960/70’s the Church was remodelled as a result of Vatican II. These changes significantly altered the layout of the Sanctuary and were carried out to enable the congregation to have a more active role in Mass, with the Priest celebrating mass facing the congregation rather than towards the High Altar.
In the mid-90’s it became apparent that the Church required substantial capital worksto be undertaken. There were issues with water ingress, dampness, corrosion of windows, problems with electricity and general wear and tear.
Father Martin McCluskey began to discuss with the Parish the need for a major renovation program to begin. Unfortunately, his untimely death in 1996 resulted in him being unable to undertake or commission any of the works to take place.
When Father Patrick Keegans arrived at the Parish in 1997 he agreed that works were required and were required sooner rather than later and initiated the process of preparing for major renovations.
The Church underwent a very thorough makeover and rededication in the late 1990s and early years of this century, with a completely renovated sanctuary and new furnishings, a central aisle, stained glass windows, new organ, new large sacristy and many other improvements, including a brighter colour scheme for the ceiling and walls, new lighting and new central heating. All the improvements were costly, but substantial grants from Heritage Scotland and the National Lottery plus some very successful and imaginative fundraising saw the bills paid off in a remarkably short time.
During these renovations the Parish Community signed two books; a Book of Dedication and a Book of Remembrance. All parishioners were invited to sign the book of dedication and remember those family members and friends who had sadly passed away. Both these books are placed directly under the High Altar in the Cathedral as a lasting legacy to parishioners past, present and future.
The fully renovated Church officially re- opened on 31st March 2000 in a ceremony attended by many people from both civic and religious life, as well as parishioners from Saint Margarets and across the diocese. This official opening and re-dedication was presided over by Bishop Maurice Taylor and the Homilist was Canon Matthew McManus who served in Saint Margarets as Assistant Priest from 1965 – 1976.
On 14th September 2007, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, Bishop Cunningham along with Priests & Bishops from across Scotland dedicated Saint Margarets Church as Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Galloway following the closure of The Good Shepherd Cathedral in Ayr.