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Issue 213 June 2022
Praying for peace in Ukraine
INSIDE THIS MONTH
Praying for peace at St Basil’s, Widnes
Celebrations at St Mary’s, Billinge
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Issue 213 June 2022
This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, this year the 40th anniversary of the visit of Pope St John Paul II to this country. After arriving at Speke airport, the Holy Father travelled to Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral and then to our Metropolitan Cathedral, a journey which since that time has been remembered with a ‘Two Cathedrals’ service on the Feast of Pentecost. Details for this year on our What’s On page.
Celebrations for the Platinum Jubilee have been taking place over four days to celebrate the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and to give joyful thanks for her 70 years of loyal service to our country and its people. We pray for Elizabeth, our Queen, may she continue to know the steadfast love of God and serve her people faithfully. Our congratulations and prayers also go to our priests who are celebrating anniversaries and to our Bishops – Archbishop Malcolm celebrates 40 years of priesthood on Sunday 26 June, as did Bishop Tom Neylon on Tuesday 31 May. Bishop Tom Williams celebrated 50 years on Friday 27 May. Archbishop Emeritus Patrick Kelly 60 years on Friday 18 February and Bishop John Rawsthorne 60 years on Thursday 16 June. Ad multos annos.
From the Archbishop’s Desk My recent trip to Cardiff for a meeting of the Bishops of England and Wales made me reflect on what nationality means. Many things in Cardiff are not particularly Welsh, for example all the shops we find in English shopping centres are there and the people of Cardiff speak English with only a very faint Welsh accent. On the other hand, there is a sense of unity amongst the people which is hard to define. Some of it must come from the way in which the Welsh people found a new unity in their in their response to the pandemic under their first Minister, Mark Drakeford, or it could be that having their own parliament, which we visited, gives a local focus to their political life. But it was only when we visited Cardiff Castle and prayed in the cell where St Philip Evans and St John Llyod were held before their execution that I understood national identity is as much about the past as it is about the present. These two great saints who resisted the reformation gave their lives for the truth, and that is what matters in the long run. Wales has many ancient saints some of whom were martyrs. When Bishop Mark O’Toole is installed as Archbishop of Cardiff on 20th June it will be on the feast of St Julius and St Aaron, who were martyred during the Roman period at Carleon. To these we can add St David, his mother St Non, and many other men and women who have witnessed to the truth by living as followers of Christ. As we pray for Archbishop Mark, let us also pray that Wales will continue to celebrate its national identity based on unity and truth.
‘Day of Prayer for peace’ at St Basil’s Catholic Primary School, Widnes
Main Feature Support for Ukraine goes on
News From around the Archdiocese
13 Profile Father Tim Buckley CSsR A May to remember 16 What’s On Whats happening in the Archdiocese 21 Animate Youth Ministry Looking forward to Lourdes 25 Cathedral Record Jubilee month at the Cathedral 26 Pic Extras Mums the Word News from the KSC 28 Sunday Reflections Liturgy and Life
Most Rev Malcolm McMahon OP Archbishop of Liverpool Editor Peter Heneghan
Copy deadline July 2022 Tuesday 7 Jine 2022
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29 Pic Life God and the restless soul 30 Dialogue and Unity Neil Cunningham Support for Asylum Seekers
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Support for Ukraine goes on Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Liverpool priest and Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, visited Ukraine in May and urged people to continue their aid efforts for the country’s beleaguered people. By Simon Hart ‘Seeing the war from television is one thing, touching this reality is another.’ These were the heartfelt words of the Liverpool-born Archbishop Paul Gallagher during his visit to Ukraine to express his solidarity on behalf of Pope Francis. Archbishop Gallagher, a Liverpool priest and the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, undertook a three-day visit between 18-20 May in which he underlined the Vatican’s commitment to Ukraine’s territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression and urged Catholics to carry on providing aid and raising awareness about the plight of the Ukrainian people. As Catholics in the Archdiocese of Liverpool continue their own generous acts of support – of which more below – the message from the Pope, relayed by Archbishop Gallagher, was that it would be wrong to allow ‘fatigue’ to set in among the international community over the war in Ukraine. He reaffirmed the Holy See’s desire to help bring peace while respecting the ‘sovereign right of the Ukrainian people and its leaders’ in deciding which negotiations or actions were required to bring an end to the conflict. 4
The Archbishop added: ‘The Holy See and the Holy Father himself are willing to do everything possible. The Holy See continues its diplomatic activity among the Ukrainian authorities. And through the Embassy of Russia to the Holy See we have some contact with Moscow. ‘The Holy See would like to continue to encourage people to send humanitarian aid, and at the same time raise awareness in the international community, which is always necessary. ‘Fatigue also comes when you don't find a solution, or if things go on for a long time. So, what we try to do—what the Pope has done—is to initiate many dialogues, moments of prayer, and appeals for the end of the war in Ukraine. And we will continue in this direction.’ ‘This martyred land’ Archbishop Gallagher’s visit took place to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Ukraine and it began in the western city of Lviv. He was welcomed at the Polish border crossing at Korczowa-Krakovets by the Latin-rite Metropolitan Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki of Lviv, and the Ukrainian Ambassador to the Holy See, Andriy Yurash.
"The Ukrainian people are truly a wounded people and at the same time very courageous, very determined: we cannot overlook the great suffering of this great people... We must renew our commitment to resolve the conflict through diplomatic and political dialogue." – Archbishop Paul Gallagher In a welcome address, Archbishop Mokrzycki told him: ‘We are very happy that you have come here to be with us and touch this martyred land, this land which greatly suffers during this war. We are grateful to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, who sent you here as his representative and we ask you for your prayer and blessing for Ukraine and our beautiful city of Lviv.’ In Lviv, the Secretary for Relations with States visited the Greek-Catholic Archbishop Igor Vozniak. The purpose of discussions with the leadership of the city's Greek Catholic Church was to reiterate the importance of ecumenical dialogue in the difficult process of reconstruction that will follow for Ukraine. The prelate also visited two centres for displaced persons before ending his stay by giving a blessing from the terrace of the Archbishop's Residence. He reflected that he had now personally witnessed the ‘suffering written on people’s faces’, as well as their fear and insecurity about the future. ‘When you touch these wounds with your hands in one sense then you understand really the degree of suffering of your people and how that deserves every support and solidarity on our part,’ he said. The following day, 19 May, Archbishop Gallagher met the mayor of Lviv, Andriy Sadovyi, and Maksym Kozytsk, the governor of Lviv’s regional state administration, in the Curia of Lviv Archdiocese. He was joined by Archbishop Mokrzycki and Auxiliary Bishop Eduard Kava. The visit concluded on 20 May with a meeting and press conference with
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Archbishop Paul Gallagher (third from left) met with Archbishop Ihor Voznyak of the Archeparchy of Lviv and Auxiliary Bishop Volodymyr Hrutsa together with Bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic Church
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kukeba at which Archbishop Gallagher reaffirmed the Vatican’s ‘willingness to aid a genuine negotiating process, seeing it as the just route to a fair and permanent resolution’. The Archbishop also noted the exchange of letters and phone calls between Pope Francis and the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, adding: ‘I assure you that both the Holy Father and his closest collaborators, including myself, suffer greatly from the many deaths, violence of all sorts, the devastation of cities and infrastructures, the separation of so many families, and the millions of displaced people and refugees.’
Big Help Project Easter Mass for Ukraine
‘We feel we are not alone’ Here in Liverpool, efforts to provide support for the people of Ukraine carry on. The second convoy of aid from the diocese was successfully delivered to the Polish border with Ukraine on 26 and 27 April, earning a message of thanks from Bishop Hryhoriy (Gregory) Komar, the auxiliary bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy (diocese) of Sambir-Drohobych in the Lviv region. Bishop Gregory said: ‘We thank you for your closeness, your understanding. We’re very grateful to you that you are with us at this difficult time. We are not alone. We really need your help and please pray for us and for Ukraine.’
Two of the four trucks carrying aid were driven by staff from the Archdiocesan offices. Jill Boggan, director of finance, and Nicky Hegarty, executive assistant to the chief operating officer, drove one of the vehicles; John McMahon, senior accountant and Aaron Kiely, chancery administrator and governance officer, drove another. Aaron said: ‘After working for so many years in the “back office” of the Church, it’s great to be of practical use in the “deliveries department”!’ Two other drivers, Mike Starkey and Chris Joynt from Wigan, were making the 2,800mile round journey for the second time and as with the first trip, the trucks were met by students from the Holy Spirit Seminary in the Ukrainian diocese of Sambir-Drohobych, who unloaded the vehicles and ferried the contents across the border. Thanks to the ‘#liverpool4ukraine’ appeal, more than 1,000 boxes of aid have now been delivered across two separate trips from the diocese. As Bishop Gregory explained, medical supplies sent from Liverpool have been transported on to Dnipro in the east of Ukraine and to a hospital near Odessa. In both cases hospitals treating soldiers have been the beneficiaries. Financial donations, meanwhile, have helped to pay for petrol and transport expenses, among other costs.
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Donations from the archdiocese arrive in Ukraine
Another source of support for Ukraine here in Liverpool is the Big Help Project. Working with the Steve Morgan Foundation, the Liverpool-based charity has sought to provide aid for those who need safe passage to the United Kingdom and has pledged to house up to 1,000 Ukrainians displaced by the war through Big Help Homes, providing access to the resources and services required to help them become more settled in Liverpool. In an expression of gratitude for this support, Father Taras Khomych, the priest for Liverpool's Ukrainian Catholic community, based at St Sebastian's, Fairfield, celebrated a Mass at Hope House, the home of the Big Help Project, on 21 April. It was an opportunity to offer support to the people of Ukraine, with the congregation writing messages for the Ukrainian community during Mass, which were presented to Father Taras. Peter Mitchell, CEO of the Big Help Project, said: ‘It is with heavy hearts that we hear the news from Ukraine, we
‘We see you, we are here, and we will do everything we can to support you’ 6
wait for the news that people displaced can be free from the atrocities of the war, and that peace be brought to every individual affected by the crisis. We pray for civilians being evacuated because their homes, schools, workplaces are being attacked by missiles. We pray for soldiers defending their families, country, and their freedom. We pray for those seeking refuge in countries they are unfamiliar with, that they experience safe passage. We come together at this time to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, helping people in crisis is the core of what we do. We are committed to giving people the opportunity to thrive in the face of adversity. ‘For anybody affected by the atrocities brought upon Ukraine, we have this message: “We see you, we are here, and we will do everything we can to support you.”’ • For more information about the Big Help Project, visit www.bighelpproject.com.
Professor Andrew Quinlan, Bishop Gregory and driver, Aaron Kiely
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feature St Basil’s children pray for peace Staff and pupils at St Basil's Catholic Primary school in Widnes have held a 'Day of Prayer for Peace' as a response to the conflict in Ukraine. The day’s activity was focused on five prayer stations, each linked to the theme of peace, hope or unity. In small groups, the pupils rotated between the stations and were encouraged, in a sensitive way, to reflect on the current situation in Ukraine. The children were also invited to dress in yellow and blue clothing – the colours of the Ukrainian flag – and to make a donation towards the relief effort. The stations were as follows: • ‘Love thy neighbour’ – the children had the chance to sit inside a tent and look, think and talk about a rucksack containing potential items a child refugee may have. Templates for prayers or writing messages were available. • ‘A seed of hope’ – this involved planting sunflower seeds to take home and nurture while thinking of, and praying for, the people of Ukraine. • ‘Peace Doves’ – pupils decorated a peace dove with the colours of the Ukraine or wrote a simple prayer for peace. • ‘Peace is precious. Be still’ – at this station the children sat on beanbags as they thought about the peace they are lucky enough to have. They were encouraged to experience God's presence and His words through scripture: ‘Be still and know I am with you.’ • ‘United with Ukraine’ – the children chose a simple craft activity involving sunflowers, the national symbol of
Ukraine, as an act of unity. As the children moved between stations they took a small paper bag with them and collected items to take away, which included their plant pot, dove, scripture quote cards and their craft task. These items offered a talking point to share with families about what the children had experienced during the day. The pupils responded positively – even the youngest children from Reception class. One of them, Ava, said: ‘We planted sunflowers –Ukraine’s flowers. My sunflower is in my bedroom on my window.’
Above and left: Pupils at St Basil’s Catholic Primary School, Widnes
‘Pupils decorated a peace dove with the colours of Ukraine’ Catholic Pictorial
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News diary If you’ve got any news from your parish that you’d like featured e-mail us with the details at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations Archbishop Malcolm
Congratulations to Archbishop Malcolm who on Sunday 26 May will celebrate the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Archbishop Malcolm was born and brought up in London. When he left school, he studied mechanical engineering at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. He then worked in the transport industry before joining the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) in 1976. He made his religious profession in 1977, and studied philosophy at Blackfriars, Oxford and theology at Heythrop College, London. He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Basil Hume at St Dominic’s Priory, Haverstock Hill, London on 26 June 1982. In 1992, he was elected Prior Provincial of the English Province of the Order of Preachers; having served for two terms as Prior Provincial, in 2000 he was elected Prior of Blackfriars, Oxford. On 7 November 2000, Pope John Paul II appointed him ninth Bishop of Nottingham, and he was ordained Bishop in St Barnabas’ Cathedral, Nottingham by Bishop James McGuinness on 8 December 2000. It was announced on Friday 21 March 2014 that Archbishop Malcolm had been appointed ninth Archbishop of Liverpool and he was installed as our Archbishop on Thursday 1 May 2014, the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. Archbishop Malcolm will celebrate the 11.00 am Mass in the Metropolitan Cathedral on Sunday 26 June in celebration of his jubilee. All are welcome.
SONG - A new community choir for Norris Green SONG - Singers of Norris Green - a new community choir set up by Father Carl Mugan and musical director Catherine Harrison at St Teresa’s in Norris Green, performed their first music during the Easter Vigil at St Teresa’s. The group have been rehearsing for the past few weeks and comprise of parishioners and non-parishioners, from a diverse range of the local community, who have come together to enjoy making music, praising God and enjoying each other’s company. Father Carl said ‘We are delighted here at St Teresa’s to welcome some new music and a vibrant celebration of the liturgy…’ Catherine and Father Carl have been planning a musical charity evening on Saturday 28 May at 7.00 pm in the church in aid of the crisis developing in the Ukraine. An evening of contemporary and religious and a good mix of great music. The group are open to new members and anyone interested in joining is very welcome to contact Father Carl (email@example.com) who will pass their details to Catherine. 8
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news diary Obituary of Rev Victor Bridges Father Victor Bridges who served as parish priest of Holy Angels, Kirkby for 23 years died on Wednesday 25 April aged 91 and in the 59th year of his priesthood. Victor Bernard Bridges, the son of Joseph and Mary Bridges, was born on 16 February 1931 in Wexford. He was educated firstly by the Christian Brothers and then at St Peter’s College, Wexford. After leaving school he worked briefly at a draper’s shop in Wexford before applying to be accepted as a student for the priesthood. He was sent firstly to St Mary’s College, Aberystwyth, then run by the Carmelite Fathers to provide some formation for late vocations. He then studied at the English College, Lisbon, where he was ordained in the college chapel on 8 June 1963. Following ordination, he served in three parishes as assistant priest: St John, Wigan from 1963; Our Lady of Good Help, Wavertree from August 1967 and St Thomas of Canterbury, Windleshaw, St Helens from October 1973. Serving as an assistant priest in that era often meant serving with at least two other
priests in a parish, though as he discovered there could be challenges. Writing to Archbishop Beck in June 1971 he observed that, ‘The Cenacle Convent is a haven of blessing…in view of the conditions here – no housekeeper or helper and the house permeated with a pungent odour, which could only be considered an “odour of sanctity” when they canonise cats.’ In January 1982, he took up his first and only appointment as parish priest, when
he was assigned to Holy Angels, Kirkby. For 23 years he ministered faithfully to the community in the Westvale area of the town. He was known to enjoy travelling and on one occasion, whilst on a pilgrimage with other priests to the Holy Land, he encountered a group of ladies from his parish. A wag amongst the priests commented, ‘It comes to something when parishioners have to travel to the Holy Land to see their parish priest.’ Father Victor suffered a few periods of ill health during his ministry, and he retired from active ministry a few months before his 75th birthday in May 2005. Father Victor enjoyed playing golf with some of the other priests of the archdiocese. He was known as a canny player who, though never improving his technique greatly, managed to make very good use of the handicap system. Father Victor’s Funeral Mass was celebrated at St Michael and All Angels’ Church, Kirkby by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon on Friday 13 May followed by burial at Allerton Cemetery.
Journey into Prayer Prayer forms part of our lives as Christians, but sometimes we struggle with dryness, boredom or a lack of enthusiasm. We need a booster, some ideas to encourage and support us but often we draw blanks as we try to find how to make prayer meaningful in our daily lives. As a way of responding to many calls for help the Sisters of Our Lady of the Cenacle in Wavertree are planning to run a course exploring the many rich methods of prayer in our Christian Tradition. The course will comprise of 12 fortnightly, sessions, beginning in September 2022 and ending after Easter 2023. They will be on Tuesdays from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm and each day will be planned to include some teaching on the various traditions, time to explore the method and some sharing on how it was for each one. Prayer is about our relationship with the God who loves us unconditionally. It’s not about ‘getting it right’, being perfect at it, spending hours at it. It is about finding what helps me, now, how to
deepen the relationship that I already have and maybe help others too. We are all on the journey of deepening our relationship with the God of Love, and from time to time we all need a helping hand to guide us on the way. The course will be held at the Cenacle Convent, Tithebarn Grove, Lance Lane, L15 6TW. The leaders will be Sr Winnie
Morley, Rev David Frudd and Rev Karen Beck - all Ignatian trained, spiritual directors and experienced in running courses. For more information or to apply to join the course please contact Sr Winnie on 0151 722 2271 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The closing date for applications is Monday 1 August 2022.
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Good Shepherd Appeal 2022 This year’s Good Shepherd Appeal has been inspiring school students across the region to help raise funds for Nugent under the theme ‘Love one another as I have loved you,’ (John 13:34). At Nugent, we all strive to love one another as God has taught us to and show care and compassion for others through acts of kindness. The Good Shepherd Appeal is one of our oldest appeals and it enables schools and parishes to work alongside us and actively engage young people to help us continue the essential work started in our Archdiocese by Father Nugent. The Good Shepherd Appeal was an initiative of Bishop Thomas Whiteside, the first Archbishop of Liverpool, which began in 1902. This year celebrates 120 years since the start of the appeal, and across the last 10 years alone, the appeal has raised over £500,000 to support Nugent’s work. To celebrate and thank all of the students for all their hard work in raising donations, we will be holding two Masses this month. The first will be celebrated at the
Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, and the second will be celebrated towards the end of the month at St Mary’s Church in Leyland, by Bishop Tom Williams. Thank you to everyone who took part in our 2022 Good Shepherd Appeal. We
would not be able to continue to support the children, young people and adults in our local services and communities without the generosity of our schools. To find out more about Nugent’s Good Shepherd Appeal visit our website at wearenugent.org
Cafod’s new campaign – Fix the Food System Cafod is launching a new campaign called Fix the Food System. It’s about the way the world produces food and how powerful companies (‘agribusiness’) affect small-scale farmers who try to make a living from what they can grow. The way we grow and distribute food is broken. People go hungry while the planet suffers, and the climate crisis makes the situation even worse. Massive use of pesticides and fertilisers damages the soil, water and biodiversity. Forests and rainforests are cut down or burned to make huge areas available for rearing cattle for meat and dairy or to grow soya to feed the animals that we want to eat. There is a lot of wastage, and huge areas of land are used in the production of crops for profit, often for export to rich nations. The food and agriculture sector is responsible for one third of harmful greenhouse gas emissions - big changes need to be made to the global food system. In Bangladesh, farmer Alpona Mondal knows how organic farming has changed her life: ‘We had not realised just how big a mistake we had made by moving away 10
from the traditional ways of farming of our forefathers. We had become disconnected from nature, but now we are going back to it again. Our village has become a lot greener and healthier after so many of us shifted to organic farming, and the soil has greatly improved. This has had a big impact on the nutrition and health of the families living in this village’. Cafod’s Fix the Food System campaign is calling on the UK government to support these alternative food systems, rather than continuing to mainly support agribusiness. Parishes and schools can take part in the campaign with activities designed to delve into these issues. In parishes, people can join a 7-station journey by joining the campaign at www.cafod.org.uk/food We are asking schools to tell the government to step up to the plate and fix
the food system. Explore the Cafod resources, watch the animation and join the campaign at www.cafod.org.uk/schools For more information, contact email@example.com or tel 07779 804241 for Ged or 07779 804242 to speak to Colette.
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Woodstock in Wigan by Neil Sayer Archdiocesan Archivist Fifty years ago last month a small mining village outside Wigan provided the venue for the north west’s first pop festival to take place over several days. The archdiocese, perhaps strangely, saw this as a valuable opportunity to promote a Christian message to the festival-goers. The Bickershaw Festival took place from 57 May 1972. The village seems to have been chosen largely because of its transport links, close to the M6, M62 and East Lancashire Road. Its location was otherwise unfortunate, a damp valley prone to flooding in the wettest region of England. The festival organiser, Jeremy Beadle (yes, him), claimed that, ‘We have chosen the driest time of year for the area, according to Meteorological Office records. All the stages are covered so that the acts can still go on.’ It rained throughout the festival, but the music is still remembered as a fantastic experience. The Kinks may have given a fairly ramshackle offering, but Donovan provided a run through his greatest hits, and early incarnations of Wishbone Ash and Hawkwind (with their naked female dancer) were memorable. Captain Beefheart came on at 4 in the morning, and the highlight of the final Sunday was a four-hour set by their fellow American band The Grateful Dead. Some 60,000 music fans attended the festival, despite the unsuitable site and the vile weather. This puts the one-off Lancashire festival in a great tradition of often muddy musical marvels, from the Isle of Wight in 1968 through America’s Woodstock in 1970 and including many recent Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading experiences. One story that doesn’t seem to have been told is of the Catholic Church’s participation at such events. It was our own Archbishop Derek Worlock who first saw their potential, when he was Bishop of Portsmouth and observed the large number of young people in unconventional ‘hippy’ dress’ making their way to the Isle of Wight Festival in 1969. It seemed to him that ‘the young persons present included a high proportion of students and young professional boys and girls who put on this extravagant garb for the occasion but normally wore more conventional clothes and lived more conventional lives.’ Music was not the only thing that brought them together: ‘Many used the occasion as a
Fr Thomas Heavey, assistant priest and youth chaplain at St Joseph’s, Leigh, gives the ‘peace sign’ to the group of hippies
“protest” gathering, so that their generation might express its solidarity and its rejection of conventional living and social authority.’ Given this assessment, it seems odd that Bishop Worlock identified the following year’s Isle of Wight Festival as being a suitable occasion to provide a Christian presence. But that’s exactly what happened: following discussion with the festival’s organisers, a team of 15 priests – secular and religious – worked in the campsite providing counselling for the young people and celebrating a Sunday Mass at which ‘nearly a thousand rather sleepy Catholics were present’, and offering a soup kitchen as the revellers’ provisions ran out on the final day. Bishop Worlock himself toured the site and confirmed the priests’ reports that they received no hostility, only general conviviality (one priest was offered a toot) and amiable questioning ‘about religion and ultimately about personal moral problems.’ Guidance was offered to those who expressed an interest ‘in the teaching of the church – usually on the attitudes to sin, suffering, sex, etc.’ Nevertheless, it wasn’t viewed as an evangelising event, more as a ‘Christian witness by presence.’ Although it was deemed successful, it isn’t clear that it had
a direct impact on the Archdiocese of Liverpool’s attendance at Bickershaw two years later. We don’t have a detailed report on Bickershaw similar to Bishop Worlock’s report on the Isle of Wight Festival quoted above, but a brief article in the Catholic Pictorial certainly indicates similarities. Sixteen priests were among a group of 34 people led by Father Pat Harnett, then Archdiocesan Youth Director, who lived at a school near the site for the three days of the festival. A Sunday Mass was celebrated in the main tent and guidance was offered to young people in need, but mostly the team provided ‘a visible Christian witness’. According to Father Harnett, their mission was well worthwhile: ‘We found there was a definite interest and need for Christianity in many of the people’, he said. Who fancies Glasto later this month?
‘Some 60,000 music fans attended the festival, despite the unsuitable site and the vile weather’ Catholic Pictorial
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Celebrations in Billinge Parishioners at St Mary’s, Billinge have had cause for celebration recently. Archbishop Malcolm celebrated Mass and invested parishioner Christine McDonnell with a welldeserved Benemerenti award for long-standing, faithful service to the life of the parish. Whilst Christine goes about her duties in a most unassuming way, her award comes as a result of three particular areas of parish life: her care and assistance of previous parish priests, and the present parish priest, Father Paul Harris, her long-standing service as a foundation governor of the parish primary school, and for her service behind the scenes in and around the parish community, including care shown to the housebound and those living alone. Christine was joined by her proud family and parishioners for the Mass and was deeply humbled to be honoured in such a way, most especially by the presence of the Archbishop himself. After Mass in the parish centre the next celebration took place. The retirement of devoted and much-loved club steward, Tommy Ollerton was marked by the parish and his family. Both Tom and his wife, Anne had given over 40 years of service. As a gesture of thanks Archbishop Malcolm presented Tom and Anne with a certificate of life membership of St Mary’s Parish Centre on behalf of Father Paul and the committee, along with other gifts of appreciation. Chairman, Wayne Leatherbarrow echoed Father Paul’s words of thanks, adding how unlikely it was that the legacy of both Tom and Anne would ever be matched. The next cause for celebration came about because of a shared effort by a group of community-minded gents in the parish known as the ‘BOFFO’ boys – Billinge Old Fellows Football Organisation. Their love of the game brought the group into existence back in 1993, which has football, friendship, and charity at its core. Some 16 years ago, Tommy Ollerton together with a few other club members began to host events to raise much needed funds for the local Willowbrook Hospice, and other deserving causes. With age creeping upon them, the boys – together with their wives - took over the running of such events from 2017. Between Tom’s original group and the BOFFO boys, they have raised over £57,000 for Willowbrook Hospice, with more events scheduled for the future. Father Paul said: ‘with the darkness of Covid overshadowing our communities, it’s been wonderful to be able to celebrate for a change. Like all parishes, we are blessed with loving and
Tommy Ollerton with his life membership of St Mary’s Parish Centre
generous souls who do things not for recognition, but out of the goodness of their hearts. One thing which was clear when both Christine and Tom took centre stage was their humility and even a level of discomfort at being in the limelight. The same can be said for the BOFFO boys and their wives. All three celebrations share one common thread: the desire to do what is right and good by God and neighbour. May God continue to bless our parishes with such people’.
Christine McDonnell with her Benemerenti medal
The BOFFO boys present their latest cheque
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Returning to Mass at Pentecost
The Bishops of England and Wales outside Senedd Cymru – the Welsh Parliament
The Bishops Conference of England and Wales met in Cardiff at the beginning of May for their annual Spring meeting at which they approved the following resolution on the fulfilment of the Sunday obligation. Spring Plenary 2022 Resolution An invitation from the Bishops of England and Wales This is the bread come down from heaven (John 6:58) A beautiful hallmark of the Catholic faith is the profound desire to participate in the Holy Mass and share in the Eucharist. We do so with deep gratitude and joy. The Eucharist gives the Church her identity – ‘The Eucharist makes the Church, and the Church makes the Eucharist.’ It enables us to worship Almighty God, to support each other on our journey of faith, and to be a visible sign of faith in the world. This hallmark is supported and strengthened by the precept that our fundamental Christian duty is to worship God by participating in the celebration of Mass. Attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is the greatest of all privileges, sometimes referred to as ‘the Sunday Obligation.’ Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, until the present time, we have shared with you our judgment that the situation of the last two years has meant that the Sunday Obligation has been impeded and has needed to be fulfilled in other ways. We thank God that this situation has now changed. The pressing challenges of the pandemic have lessened significantly. Most people have resumed the wide range of normal activities, no longer restricted by the previous Covid measures. We therefore believe that the reasons which have prevented Catholics from attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation no longer apply. We understand there will still be some members of our congregations who, for reasons of health, do not feel safe enough to return to Mass. It has always been the understanding of the Church that when the freedom of any Catholic to attend Mass in person is impeded for a serious reason, because of situations such as ill health, care for the sick or legitimate fear, this is not a breach of the Sunday Obligation. Our Catholic people and parishes have benefitted during these difficult times from the online streaming of Mass and other services. ‘Virtual viewing’ of Mass online does not fulfil the
Sunday Obligation. It may, however, be a source of continual spiritual comfort to those who cannot attend Mass in person, for example those who are elderly and sick, for whom the obligation does not apply. In this context, we recognise gratefully the ministry of those who administer Holy Communion to the elderly, sick and housebound. We are grateful to our clergy, religious and lay faithful who have served our parishes, schools and communities with dedication and distinction throughout this pandemic. Now we look forward with renewed faith and confidence. In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Lord’s Supper, the Lord Jesus entrusted to us the precious gift of Himself. With humility, we glory in being a Eucharistic people for whom attendance at Mass is essential. Looking forward to the forthcoming feast of Pentecost, we now invite all Catholics who have not yet done so to return to attending Mass in person. As the Church needs the witness of the presence of each person, so too each believer needs to journey in faith and worship with their fellow disciples. Nourished by our encounter with the Risen Lord Jesus, fed with His Word and His Body and Blood in Holy Communion, and supported by the presence of each other, we receive strength week by week, to serve the Lord and glorify Him with our lives. Approved by the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference - Friday 6 May 2022
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profile ‘I do appreciate people’s appreciation though it is quite embarrassing. The provincial said to me the following morning: “It was a bit like being at your funeral except you were there!”.’ Father Tim Buckley chuckles as he reflects on events of Friday 13 May at Our Lady of the Annunciation, Bishop Eton – and an evening to remember. At a special Mass of Investiture, the 75year-old Redemptorist parish priest received the ‘Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice’ Papal award. His efforts as parish priest at Bishop Eton and St Mary’s, Woolton, were prominent in the citation read out during the Mass and Fr Tim wishes to underline his gratitude: ‘All I can say again is an immense thank you to those who wanted to show their appreciation to me personally and to our community. I return the thanks to them because it’s been an absolute privilege and joy to be here in Liverpool these last 11 years as parish priest. I was 64 rising 65 when I was asked to take over the two parishes. It has been the most rewarding, wonderful, experience and opportunity. ‘I have tried to be inclusive,’ he adds. ‘I do see Pope Francis as a wonderful model of somebody who’s reaching out to people of other faiths and Christian traditions and no faith at all. I try to do that and that was expressed in the citation.’ The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Tom Neylon, the Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool, and Bishop Ralph Heskett – Bishop of Hallam and his old Redemptorist confrere – and followed by a gathering at Bishop Eton school hall. ‘The fact a quartet from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra was there, including the leader of the orchestra, made me feel very privileged indeed,’ he adds. ‘I hope we can make this as a springboard to continue to try ensuring our two parishes reflect the wonder and joy of being Jesus’s friends and followers.’ Ordained in July 1970, Fr Tim can point to a connection with the Redemptorists stretching back to the wedding at St Mary’s, Clapham, of his parents Joe and Joan. His life as a priest has involved spells working on vocations and missions – based in Sunderland in the 1970s, for instance, he had ‘a wonderful time driving up and down the country’ – and six memorable years as rector and parish priest at Erdington 14
Father Tim Buckley CSsR A May to remember - by Simon Hart Abbey in Birmingham from 1981-87. As the 80s turned into the 90s, Fr Tim gained an MA in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University, Omaha, USA, and then a doctorate from Heythrop College, London University. His thesis on the pastoral care of Catholics who experience marital breakdown was published in 1997 under the title ‘What Binds Marriage? – Roman Catholic Theology in Practice’. ‘I was asked to consider taking on a job for the Bishops’ Conference investigating the breakdown of marriage in the Catholic Church in England and Wales,’ he explains of a project that involved more than 1,000 interviews. He later spent six years as publishing director of Redemptorist Publications from 2001 and has since branched out into children’s books with a series based on a cartoon character called
Freddie Freckles – the third of which has just been published. ‘It is called “Freddie Freckles and his Altar-Serving Adventure” and it was literally out in the last couple of weeks,’ says Fr Tim and just to complete a memorable May, his beloved Sunderland then went and won promotion back to the Championship. Cue one final reflection. ‘I was at Wembley in 1973 when they won the Cup so I’ve always said that I’ve been to heaven and back!’
‘I return the thanks to them because it’s been an absolute privilege and joy to be here in Liverpool’
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Looking forward to Lourdes It has been an exciting few weeks here at Lowe House as we make our final preparations for the pilgrimage to Lourdes. As you know, we have been unable to go to Lourdes for the last two years so to be able to prepare for a real pilgrimage this year is exciting for us as a team and also for all those young people who are able to travel to France. The good news, in addition to simply being able to travel to Lourdes, is that there will be plenty of work for us to do! We will be taking assisted pilgrims that our young people will be able to spend time with. And even though the number of young people is smaller than before, there will still be well over 250 taking part in our youth pilgrimage.
We have been planning lots of different activities, liturgies and social time for our youth pilgrims. I thought you might be interested in hearing how we are going to structure our week in Lourdes around different Masses and services. We are going to gather together for the first time as a youth pilgrimage in early July here at Lowe House for our departure Mass. This will set the scene for what the pilgrimage will be. As the theme of Lourdes this year is ‘Go and tell the priests’ we wanted to think about what we should be telling
others. We wanted to have this week as a celebration of our faith. We wanted to think about how, after two years away from Lourdes, we will be full of joy as we return to the shrine. And we wanted this sense of joy to be transmitted to others. That is what we wanted to tell. Fortunately the gospel reading for our departure Mass really highlights this idea of going to tell others. That day’s reading is the Sending Out Of The 72. It reminds us all that Jesus calls us to take His good news to all of creation. We are also fortunate that our opening Mass in Lourdes falls on the feast of Mary Magdalen. As you may know, the gospel reading is John’s gospel and is familiar to us from Easter. It is the gospel in which Mary fails to recognise Jesus and thinks He is the gardener. But then when Jesus calls her by name she recognises Him and is then told to ‘go and tell the brothers’. We are lucky then that our readings that start the week are both based around going to tell others. Our wish is then to have things going on in the week that will encourage us to seek Jesus in unusual places. And then we wanted to take the sense of joy at finding the risen Lord into our interactions with others. So we have created different challenges for our young people. They will be asked to find different ‘hidden Jesuses’ that members of the coaches will have with them during the week. These will be pictures of Jesus that are a little bit disguised. Just as Mary Magdalen thought Jesus was the gardener, we are going to ask our young people to seek the hidden Jesus among the pilgrims of Lourdes. And we will then ask our pilgrims to take part in multiple daily mini-challenges that will encourage them to either talk to other members of the pilgrimage and share their stories and joys at being in Lourdes, or will ask them to share their faith and joy at being on pilgrimage. This will be through stickers they will wear with their own challenge that they will be doing at that time. And we will see which coach can get the most challenges done through the week. Friendly competition is always good fun! I hope you will keep the Lourdes youth pilgrimage in your prayers as we take these final steps of preparation. There have been challenges to get this far but, working together with many other people both on the youth pilgrimage and across the wider diocese, we are as confident as possible that we will be able to have a safe and enjoyable pilgrimage. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
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what’s on Sunday 5 June Pentecost Sunday Thursday 9 June Mass of Thanksgiving 7.00 pm at Our Lady’s, Lydiate, L31 4HH followed by a light buffet. RSVP to email@example.com if you or your RCIA group wish to attend. Friday 10 June to Sunday 12 June ‘Praying with Wisdom Literature’ Retreat led by Karen Eliasen at Loreto Spirituality Centre, Abbey Road, Llandudno, Conwy, LL30 2EL. Wisdom literature asks plenty of questions both big and small about God and people, ranging from the deeply existential to the practical how-tos of living well. During the weekend we will look at, pray with, and converse about a selection of texts - both existential and practical - from the 5 Wisdom books of the Hebrew Bible: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. Suggested Donation £156 for the whole weekend. Details and bookings: Tel: 01492 878031 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.loretocentre.org.uk Saturday 11 June UCM Annual Mass 2.00 pm in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. Tuesday 14 June Time out on Tuesday –enjoy some personal quiet time to deepen your relationship with God 10.00 am at The Cenacle, Tithebarn Grove, Lance Lane; Liverpool, L15 6TW. Please bring your own lunch, tea/coffee are provided. Suggested offering for the day is £10.00. No booking required. For more information contact Sr Winnie Tel: 0151 722 2271 email: email@example.com
Wednesday 15 June Annual Good Shepherd Mass 1.00 pm in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. Friday 17 June Liverpool Voice Choir, and soloists, present a concert of choral classics 7.30 pm at St Peter and St Paul Church, Crosby. The programme will feature Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’ with works by Bruckner, Fauré, Karl Jenkins, Morten Lauridsen and Mozart. Details: Fran D’Arcy at Big Help Project Tel: 07897 191040 Email: Francesca.Darcy@bighelpproject.com
6.30 pm St Mary’s Church (Prescot Parish Church), Church Street, Prescot L34 3LA. Singers and Players directed by Philip Duffy. The performance forms part of the Prescot Festival. www.liverpoolbach.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday 23 June ‘An evening with Rauni Higson’ hosted by the Cathedral Friends begins with 5.00 pm Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King Rauni Higson is a leading British silversmith renowned for her distinctive
Sunday 19 June Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ Day for Life Liverpool Bach Collective. Johann Sebastian Bach Cantata 30 ‘Freue dich, erlöste Schar.’ (‘Be joyful, O ransomed flock.’)
Website at www.liverpoolcatholic.org.uk 16
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june sculptural tableware inspired by the rugged landscape of her home in Snowdonia. In 2019 she was commissioned by the Cathedral Friends to design a new processional cross and two acolytes for the Metropolitan Cathedral. The items were completed during Lockdown and Rauni will talk about her work and her inspiration for the new liturgical items. The evening will begin with Mass at 5.00 pm, when the new collection will be blessed. Guests will also have exclusive access to the Lutyens Crypt for a private viewing of the permanent exhibition. There is no charge to attend but spaces will be limited. Please register for your ticket by emailing email@example.com
Pentecost Two Cathedrals Service The Pentecost Two Cathedrals Service will take place on Sunday 5 June from 3.00 pm The traditional service returns to Liverpool 40 years after Pope John Paull II made his historic visit to both cathedrals in 1982. The ecumenical Pentecost celebrations also form part of the celebrations for the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen. The celebrations start with an act of worship on the steps of the Metropolitan Cathedral at 3.00 pm. Worship will continue with an all age family service at Liverpool Cathedral starting at 3:45 pm. Following this there will be the Big Picnic for the Platinum Jubilee with big games and fun activities provided by ‘In Another Place’. People are invited to bring a picnic and join in the fun. There will be food and refreshments available from the Welsford Bistro at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral. Order of the day 3.00 pm Act of worship on the steps of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King 3:45 pm All age worship at Liverpool Cathedral 4.00 pm Big Picnic starts inside Liverpool Cathedral
Friday 24 June Feast of the Sacred Heart Saturday 25 June ‘Come apart and rest awhile’ Quiet Day. 10.00 am at The Cenacle, Tithebarn Grove, Lance Lane; Liverpool, L15 6TW. Please bring your own lunch, tea/coffee are provided. Suggested offering for the day is £10.00. No booking required. For more information contact Sr Winnie Tel: 0151 722 2271 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday 25 June School of Charisms – Exploring the Charisms of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:411) for Mission and Evangelisation 10.00 am to 4.00 pm (optional Mass at 9.30 am) at Holy Family church and Parish Hall, Hall Lane, Widnes, WA8 5DP. Speakers – all experienced national/international speakers including: Gary Stephens, Derek Williams and Daniella Stephens. Music will be provided by the Prince of Peace Music Ministry. Please bring your own lunch (refreshments will be provided), we ask for a donation to cover costs. Sunday 26 June 40th Anniversary of the Ordination to the Priesthood of Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP. 11.00 am Solemn Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. Celebrant: Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP. Wednesday 29 June Solemnity of St Peter and St Paul
Looking ahead: Sunday 3 July LGBTQ+ Catholics - Mass and social gathering 2.00 pm at All Saints Church, Anfield, Liverpool L4 2QG. The LGBTQ+ Catholics Liverpool Archdiocese Prayer and Support Group regularly meets to celebrate Mass and to offer support to each other. For further information Tel: 0151 287 8787 or email email@example.com Friday 8 July to Sunday 10 July Living Theology 2022 Summer School at Loreto Spirituality Centre, Abbey Road, Llandudno, Conwy, LL30 2EL An opportunity to deepen our knowledge of the Christian faith, learn new and helpful ways of looking at the Christian tradition, and develop a personal reflection on Christian living and belief. Key note speaker: Nicholas King SJ. Suggested Donation £170 including course fee. Details and bookings: Tel: 01492 878031 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.loretocentre.org.uk Sunday 10 July Sea Sunday Tuesday 12 July Time out on Tuesday –enjoy some personal quiet time to deepen your relationship with God 10.00 am at The Cenacle, Tithebarn Grove, Lance Lane; Liverpool, L15 6TW. Please bring your own lunch, tea/coffee are provided. Suggested offering for the day is £10.00. No booking required. For more information contact Sr Winnie Tel: 0151 722 2271 email: email@example.com Friday 22 July to Sunday 24 July 44th Annual Justice and Peace Conference at the Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire Details and bookings: www.justice-and-peace.org.uk/conference/ Friday 22 July to Friday 29 July Liverpool Archdiocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes.
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education news St Joseph’s choir shine at the Secret Gardens 35 pupils from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Birkenhead were recently invited to sing at the Secret Gardens of Oxton. The choir, which is made up of children from Years 4 to 6, impressed attendees and sang a range of songs including ‘Mamma Mia’ by ABBA, ‘A Thousand Years’ by Christina Perri, ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ by Keane and ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ from Disney’s film, Encanto. The school’s talented choir regularly support fundraising events in the local community and in the past have been invited to sing at the switch on of the Oxton Christmas lights, Arrowe Park Hospital and the Floral Pavilion. Speaking about the choir, Dolly in Year 4 said: “Singing with the choir makes me feel happy and I can be myself.” Music is an important part of school life at St Joseph’s and pupils are encouraged to follow their passion, whether that is playing an instrument or singing. The school corridors are filled
with the sounds of classical music and each month a different composer is played. Many pupils can expertly identify the different composers. James in Year 5 said: “The music in the corridors makes me feel joyful.” Mrs Claire Lester, EYFS and key stage lead at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, said: “We are so proud of our pupils for taking centre stage at the Secret Gardens of Oxton. Everyone stopped to listen which filled our choir with confidence and they really put their hearts into the performance.” Headteacher, Mr Alex Turner added: “A huge well done to our wonderful school choir. They sang beautifully in what was an incredible outdoor setting. “We feel so privileged to be invited to events like this in the local community and the experience the children gain from it is priceless. We look forward to our next performance.”
St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Birkenhead
Cadet of the Year St John Bosco Arts College student, Annmaria has been awarded the North Regional Cadet of the Year for St John Ambulance at a competition held in Nottingham. Annmaria will be working with young people within the organisation to better their experience and improve communication, to ensure that all cadets receive the same opportunities as others no matter where they are. Annmaria has spoken to the CEO of St John Ambulance during the competition to do an
environmental project which can been initiated now including working with cadets and the whole organisation to litter pick, plant trees and hopefully partner with companies such as the Woodland Trust to see how we can improve the environment. As winner of the Regional Cadet of the Year, Annmaria was invited to Windsor Castle for a fundraising dinner and met The Princess Royal, The Duke of Gloucester and The Countess of Wessex. She was joined by other St John Ambulance award winning cadets.
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Students look into the future of glass St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School, St Helens, recently welcomed Glass Futures to work with their Year 9 students in an engaging session with virtual reality technology. As part of an on-going project, working with high schools from across St Helens, Glass Futures also discussed a variety of topics with the group, including engineering career pathways, skills that are needed and the wide-range of opportunities out there. The latest session showed this through the use of fun VR headsets, showing the production processes that go into making glass bottles. Glass Futures is a not-for-profit membership R&D and training organisation and their mission is to enable a collaborative approach to innovation in the global glass sector. With its community, and the young people of St Helens, Glass Futures is also allowing students to get involved with other hands on projects that look at the extended value chain and identify the best ways to benefit its members, the environment and wider community. Mr Holland, assistant headteacher for academic and personal development at St Cuthbert’s, said: “This is what it’s all about giving our young people and future generations the kind of opportunities we haven’t had in our borough for far too long. “Glass Futures and the many more companies just like them are really opening doors to new careers as well as ambitions and it is great to see!” Grace Babalola, a process engineer for Glass Futures, said: “These projects are all about students learning new things and
being comfortable with being uncomfortable. “It’s shown as they are put into real-life scenarios, shown new areas of work, they never knew existed, and meet new people.” In their next meeting, St Cuthbert’s students will attend The World of Glass to see how glass is made.
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Transformative academy trust sets up pupils for bright futures thanks to ambitious partnerships A new academy trust set up to drive improvement in schools in Liverpool City Region has forged a number of exciting partnerships with leading education providers to accelerate progress. These include with one of the country’s topperforming academy trusts, Ark, on curriculum design and with Read Write Inc, a leading phonics and reading programme with a proven track record of success. St Joseph Catholic Multi Academy Trust was set up by the Department for Education to improve the life chances of young people in the area. It has been designed to take on new schools faster than traditional academy trusts and is already made up of six schools: St Chad’s Catholic and Church of England Academy in Halton; Holy Spirit Catholic Primary Academy in Sefton; St Augustine of Canterbury Catholic Academy in St Helens; and St Ambrose Primary Academy, St Nicholas’s Catholic Primary Academy and The Trinity Catholic Primary Academy, all in Liverpool. St Joseph is run in partnership with the Archdiocese of Liverpool, the Diocese of Shrewsbury and the Diocese of Chester. All the schools benefit from being part of both an academy trust and the wider Diocesan education family, which together will bring opportunities for staff to share, learn from and introduce best practice, as well as access continuing professional development from external providers. The model means students in the schools receive great teaching and learning, helping ensure high standards in all areas of school life. It is expected the schools which join St Joseph will leave the trust in two or three years to join other Catholic academy trusts as their permanent home. St Joseph has announced the following partnerships to deliver on its mission of school improvement: • Ark Curriculum+, part of Ark Schools, one of the country’s top-performing academy trusts, on curriculum design. Ark educates more than twice the national average of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and supports them to achieve half a grade more per subject at GCSE than their peers across the country. The partnership will reduce teacher workload by giving teachers access to a fully resourced curriculum at the same time as improving the quality of 20
classroom practice through transformative continuing professional development. • Read Write Inc and Ruth Miskin Training to ensure pupils have the very best teaching in phonics and reading. Ruth Miskin CBE, a leading authority on teaching reading, developed Read Write Inc directly out of her own teaching experience. It is deeply rooted in the best classroom practice of what actually works for every child. • Ambition Institute, to provide development programmes and national qualifications for teachers at different stages of their careers, while every teacher in the Trust will benefit from our preferred CPD approach for regular instructional coaching, which has a better evidence base than any other form of professional development. • 2Simple, which created Purple Mash to support teachers to deliver an excellent computing curriculum, and will offer St Joseph schools both training and a fully resourced curriculum to enable all teachers to be confident and successful in teaching computing. • Three-Saints Trust: early years leaders at St Joseph will work with experts from Three-Saints Trust to develop an early years curriculum model in line with the Trust curriculum and lead an early years network across the schools. • NW3 Maths Hubs: all of the St Joseph academies are working with the NW3 Maths Hubs on Teaching for Mastery Programmes, in both primary and secondary, aligning perfectly with the Ark Mathematics Mastery programme. The partnership will develop high-quality professional development and leadership across the curriculum by ensuring research and culture for learning is at the heart of everything. • Childer Thornton English Hub: St Joseph’s academies are working with the English Hub on a reading for pleasure programme, aligned to the Trust’s reading guarantee. Ann Connor OBE, Chair of Trustees at St Joseph Catholic Multi Academy Trust, said: “St Joseph Catholic Multi Academy Trust has responsibility to ensure that the quality of education it provides is outstanding for all of the children in its care. The Trust Board looked nationally, not only for high quality curriculum design, materials and
The Trinity Catholic Primary Academy, Liverpool
training strategies, but also for providers with proven track records in delivering successful outcomes for pupils of all ages. We want every child in our care to enjoy learning and to reach their full potential.” Andrew Truby, the Chief Executive Officer of St Joseph Catholic Multi Academy Trust, said: “These are incredibly exciting partnerships and will be of huge benefit to pupils in our schools and I am delighted that we have secured them. Across key areas, we have teamed up with some of the country’s leading providers, all of whom have strong evidence of transforming young lives. “Learning to read and then going on to become a frequent reader are at the core of the Trust’s improvement strategy. When children are strong readers, they can then open up the whole of the curriculum, across all subjects. The evidence is clear that, regardless of background, children who read frequently are more likely to be successful at school and beyond. All children within the Trust at primary and secondary will learn to read through systematic synthetic phonics through the Read Write Inc programme, which has an excellent track record, particularly for schools in disadvantaged areas.” Ruth Miskin CBE said: “We are delighted to be working with the schools of St Joseph Catholic Multi Academy Trust. We will work with the trust and school leaders to put the teaching of reading at the heart of their schools and ensure teachers have the knowledge and determination to teach every child, regardless of age, background or need. “We have worked with the CEO to create the best possible conditions so that every child will be successful at reading, which is at the heart of the Trust’s improvement strategy.”
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education news Debate Mate success for ASFA students Students from The Academy of St Francis of Assisi (ASFA) were victorious at the Liverpool secondary Debate Mate cup recently. The Kensington-based academy, which is part of All Saints Multi Academy Trust, has been successfully taking part in Debate Mate for many years. The purpose of the programme is to use debating to deliver key skills to young people in schools. Focusing on developing communication, interpersonal and higher-order thinking skills, and building confidence and selfesteem. In April, students from Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 took part in the Liverpool heats alongside other secondary schools from the city. The academy is now ranked second in the Liverpool Debate Mate Cup and is eighth overall in the national Secondary Urban Debate League and has now made it into the Urban Debate League Finals in June. One of the motions the teams needed to debate was ‘This house would allow artificial intelligence to make political decisions’ – incredibly, the academy won every debate with this motion. One student from the team said: “I have been part of Debate Mate for a few years, and I love having the opportunity to debate topics from different perspectives.
I’m really happy to have made it to the final with my team.” Miss Hannah Eley-Baylon, teacher of science at the academy, has been instrumental in helping students be part of the Debate Mate initiative and holds a weekly club so that they can learn and practice debating.
She said: “ASFA has been really successful in Debate Mate over the years and I’m so proud of our students for taking part and making it into the final. “To see them grow in confidence and articulately put forward arguments is so impressive. Well done to our Debate Mate teams, you are a credit to the academy!”
Maricourt appoint new school chaplain Maricourt Catholic High School has appointed Julia Ashes as its new school chaplain. Julia said: “Since joining Maricourt as Chaplain a few weeks ago I have been welcomed into a warm, vibrant community that has at its heart the vision of Sister Catherine Macauley who said that ‘We should be shining lamps, giving light to all around’. “This is a community in which I feel privileged to serve both pupils and staff. I have been involved in one to one support of pupils, small group work with the Everton in the Community Initiative, We Are With You service and I have led Year 11 and Year 13 leavers’ services. “Having worked in education, both formal and informal as a teacher and youth worker for the Church for over twenty years now I remain passionate about identifying opportunities in which young people can discern their place in the world. I am excited about working with the RE Department in supporting their curriculum and I’m excited about the possibility of establishing a pilgrimage to Rome in the future. “Supporting staff alongside pupils is a key aspect of my role. Having taught RE for eighteen years in a large comprehensive school I am aware of the rewards and challenges of teaching and being available for staff is an essential part of my day. I am currently researching a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela for staff as I feel this would be a wonderful way to make memories and grow in faith. “For me Chaplaincy is about living out the words of Mother Teresa: ‘Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: Kindness in your face, Kindness in your eyes, Kindness in your smile’.” Julia Ashes
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Faith in the community Faith Primary School in Everton have been living out their school motto ‘Loving and learning in the light of Lord’ in the last month by raising awareness and Information exploring universal human values, developing mutual respect, understanding and compassion. Together with the LFC Foundation at Anfield Year 5 pupils shared a day on the theme of ‘Refugees: our shared future’. The session provided by the Red Cross gave time for discussion and shared stories, which challenged language and the reasons of those seeking asylum and safety. The children offered their own desire to be people of welcome, hospitality and generosity and all received a fantastic welcome from the LFC Foundation including a pitch side visit, which even delighted the Evertonians in the group. Later in the month the Diocese of Liverpool with the Josephine Butler Trust awarded Faith Primary School a £5,000 cash prize in recognition of their ecumenical links and inter-faith relations across the whole community. Headteacher, Sarah Williams was delighted and dedicated the award to all those involved with the school, especially the churches of St Peter’s C of E and St Francis Xavier RC. Josephine Butler was born in 1828 moving to Liverpool in 1864 and was a social reformer and champion of women’s rights. The Awards Ceremony was held at Liverpool Cathedral on 18 May, gathering for Eucharist in the Lady Chapel where the beautiful stained glass window of Josephine Butler is displayed. The day concluded with a delicious lunch and all recipients of the different awards were congratulated. St Francis Xavier’s Church dedicated the month of May to praying for Mary’s Meals, which is a Global Charity that serves lifechanging meals to some of the world’s poorest children. Faith Primary School Friendship Group came to Mass during the month and had a community lunch sharing information and understanding with Anna Dunne, Support Engagement Officer for Mary’s Meals UK. £200 was raised during the month of May.
Mary’s Meals with Parish Priest Father Denis Blackledge SJ
Sarah Williams receives the Josephine Butler Trust Award
Faith at the LFC Foundation
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education news Ofsted recognises improvement at The Academy of St Nicholas The Academy of St Nicholas in Garston has been praised by Ofsted as it continues its journey of improvement. In March, Ofsted visited the academy as part of a monitoring inspection and has now published its findings which recognises the hard work of the senior leadership team, teaching staff and support staff. Her Majesty’s Inspector, Mr Ahmed Marikar, spoke highly about headteacher, Mrs Jeniffer Sing, who joined The Academy of St Nicholas as the pandemic hit in 2020. Mr Marikar said: “Since your arrival as headteacher, you have worked with leaders and staff to improve many aspects of the school. You have redesigned the leadership structure so that all leaders have clear lines of responsibility. The school development plan identifies the correct improvement priorities. This plan is frequently reviewed by you and other senior leaders to check that actions to improve the school are bearing fruit. “As a result, the school is moving in a positive direction.” The inspector also added: “You have raised expectations of what all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), can achieve. “You have redesigned the curriculum structure so that it is more ambitious than it
was previously (…) and there is a more appropriate balance of academic and vocational options for pupils to study.” Ofsted recognised that the academy has prioritised reading and how pupils speak positively about the opportunities they have to read for pleasure. Mrs Sing said: “We are absolutely delighted with Ofsted’s feedback following the monitoring inspection. We are pleased that they have recognised so many of the areas where we have spent time improving. “I am very proud of the team we have here, and I can’t thank everyone enough for their hard work and dedication. We are moving in the right direction and fulfilling our
Bellerive expand leisure area for pupils Bellerive FCJ Catholic College is a popular and oversubscribed Catholic school for girls in Liverpool. They are looking forward to welcoming 180 girls into Year 7 in September 2022. The school have recently expanded the Year 7 playground to provide more space for playing, enjoying lunch with friends and relaxing. The girls now have access to large artificial grassed areas and shady seating areas under the trees. Bellerive was inspected by Ofsted in October 2021 and confirmed to be ‘Good’ in all areas. Pupils join from over 40 primary schools throughout the City and beyond. They are an inclusive and diverse school, and their Bellerive family includes pupils from a wide range of different cultural and religious backgrounds. The school are excited to welcome parents and carers to their Open Evening on Monday 4 July. In addition, girls in Year 4 and 5 are invited to attend a Taster Day at the school on Wednesday 6 July. Further details can be found on their website at: www.bellerivefcj.org
mission to ensure students flourish and thrive throughout and beyond school life.” Ofsted also reported that student attendance has improved and stated how children, who have recently arrived from other countries, have been welcomed and supported. The Academy of St Nicholas is proud to be part of All Saints Multi Academy Trust. Ofsted acknowledged how “the school derives considerable benefit from its partnership with the trust. This includes improved support for pupils with SEND and stronger systems to improve attendance. Expertise within the trust is used well to help subject leaders to develop their knowledge and skills.”
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cathedral 40 years ago Cathedral Record Canon Anthony O’Brien – Cathedral Dean
Forty years ago last month saw the visit of Pope St John Paul II to this country and on Pentecost Sunday, 30 May 1982, to Liverpool and our two cathedrals. More than 150,000 greeted Pope John Paul at Liverpool Airport. The crowd sang and attended an open-air Mass with Archbishop Derek Worlock before the first sight of the Papal helicopter and they roared with approval when the Holy Father appeared at the top of the helicopter steps. Before the Pope’s arrival, Archbishop Worlock had given one of the most moving sermons in his then five years in Liverpool, when at the Mass at the airport he urged the 150,000 strong congregation to ‘show your love and deep faith’ to the Holy Father. ‘You will show him we stand firm for our faith’ he said. In his greeting on his arrival at Speke, the Holy Father said, ‘your greatest heritage is found in all those who have struggled here to overcome the ills of society and to build up a common brotherhood. In this regard I am told that you have your own pioneer of charity, Father Nugent. It is only fitting that I should take this occasion to acknowledge the generosity for which Britain has long been known’. Hundreds of thousands poured from their homes to wait patiently for a glimpse of the Holy Father when at last he joined Archbishop Worlock and Cardinal Hume for the motorcade ride from the airport, many of them ran alongside his Popemobile on the pavements,
triumphantly greeting him. On arrival at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, smiling and waving as he went, Pope John Paul II was met by Bishop David Sheppard and other Church leaders. He was greeted by an enthusiastic and emotional crowd of around 3,500 who had waited for him. Bishop Sheppard said in welcome, ‘Your Holiness, we welcome you in the name of the Lord to this Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool. We are pleased that you have come among us, and we who represent so many of the churches on Merseyside, give you our Christian greeting.’ The Pope replied: ‘Christ is our peace. He has reconciled us to God in one body by the cross. We meet in his name and share his peace. The peace of the Lord be with you.’ He celebrated Mass for the Feast of Pentecost in the Metropolitan Cathedral beginning his homily with the words. ‘As Pentecost Sunday draws to its close, we have come to this Church, the Cathedral Church of Christ the King, here in Liverpool, to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of Christian life and the Sacrament of unity and love.’ After the Mass he greeted thousands of cheering young people on the piazza outside the Cathedral referring to them as ‘a living Cathedral’. He then went to Archbishop’s House before leaving for Mass at Heaton Park, Manchester the following day where he was to ordain Thomas Neylon, now Bishop Tom Neylon, to the priesthood.
June this year is a Jubilee month and this doesn’t just apply to Her Majesty the Queen but also to a number of our diocesan priests and this year also Archbishop McMahon and our two Bishops Tom. Bishop William’s and Neylon’s Jubilee anniversaries of priesthood fall at the end of May and then we begin the month of June with Bank Holidays and the celebrations for the Queen’s Jubilee. At our morning Masses on the Feast of Pentecost we will give thanks for the 70 years of service and dedication that Queen Elizabeth II has given both nationally and internationally. In the afternoon we are looking forward to reinstating the Joint Cathedrals Ecumenical Service. This will begin at 3.00 pm on the steps of our Cathedral and will continue with a family service at Liverpool Cathedral starting at 3:45pm. We will finish with a Jubilee Party within the Anglican Cathedral with lots of activities for families and young people. Please come along and join the church leaders in celebrating the Feast of Pentecost in prayer and celebration with fellow Christians. The following week begins with the launch of the Liverpool Architectural festival on 6 June, followed by exams and voice trials and other activities that week and is rounded off with the Annual UCM Mass at 2.00 pm on Saturday 11 June. The Schools Good Shepherd Mass in support of the work of Nugent is at 1.00 pm on Wednesday 15 June. The Solemnity of Corpus Christi is celebrated on the following weekend. On Friday 24 June there is an evening Mass of Thanksgiving on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart with all those priests celebrating Jubilees of ordination this year. Following this on Sunday 26th Archbishop Malcolm will preside at Mass at 11.00 am in celebration of his 40th Anniversary of Ordination to the priesthood. ‘Ad Multos Annos’ to all.
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Mums the Word Royal Jubilees are an occasion to celebrate the life and reign of a monarch and are significant events which are celebrated around the world.
A century of service News from the Liverpool Province of the Knights of St Columba
New Liverpool provincial council installed
Though the concept of the jubilee began in biblical times, today the term is most closely associated – in this country – with the Royal Family, and the ceremony and spectacle which the term symbolises. In the New Testament, Jesus presents himself as the One who brings the old Jubilee to completion, because he has come to ‘preach the year of the Lord's favour’ (Isaiah 61: 1-2). In the Roman Catholic Church, jubilees began to be celebrated formally in 1,300 AD and are years of forgiveness of sins and reconciliation. They are celebrated every 25 years. The most recent year of jubilee was 2000. Royal Jubilees celebrate significant periods in monarchs' reigns and the national life. Few British monarchs have achieved reigns of 50 years and Golden Jubilees are very rare. There are few records of how, if at all, Henry III, Edward III and James VI and I celebrated their 50-year milestones. The first British monarch to mark 50 years on the throne in a significant way was George III, followed by Queen Victoria. The Queen has had significant jubilee celebrations in 1977 (for her Silver Jubilee), 2002 (for her Golden Jubilee) and 2012 (for her Diamond Jubilee). Now for her Platinum Jubilee after 70 years of service. Here at the UCM we are all looking forward to celebrating alongside the Queen. I look forward to receiving your photos and stories. Maria Pimblett, media officer
As briefly reported in the April edition, a new provincial council has been elected to serve the order in Liverpool over the next three years and its members were installed into their new positions during Mass at St Mary’s, Little Crosby, on Sunday 24 April. Our group photo taken at the Mass includes members of the new council alongside Father Dunstan Harrington, parish priest and our provincial chaplain, who arranged and said the Mass and for which we thank him. • Since the KSC’s foundation, every month of May we have dedicated the work of the order to the Immaculate Heart of Our Blessed Lady and a special prayer is said at the May meeting of each council. With the availability of new means of communication, this practice has been extended and, consequently, the dedication prayer was said during the recitation of the Rosary each
Monday evening in May on Zoom and Facebook. • Members of the order in Liverpool have been playing their part, along with many others, in assisting the diocesan Ukraine project at Saint Paschal Baylon, helping to sort, load and dispatch much-needed donations to the unfortunate people of Ukraine who have suffered so much in recent months. • Finally, we take this opportunity to congratulate Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, our former ecclesiastical advisor, on the 40th anniversary of his priesthood which will be celebrated at the 11am Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral on Sunday 26 June. We also congratulate our new Ecclesiastical Advisor Bishop Thomas Neylon on the 40th Anniversary of his Priesthood which occurred on 31st May 2022. Websites: www.ksc.org.uk www.kscprov02.weebly.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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sunday reflections On a liturgical note Pentecost, Holy Trinity, Corpus Christi, the Birthday of Saint John the Baptist, the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul ... the calendar for the month of June is well filled with significant holy days and feasts, so much so that we may hardly notice that in the middle of the month we return to the green of Ordinary Time. Of course, ‘ordinary’ does not mean bland or dull or insignificant – far from it. They are the times of the year when – symbolised by the green of hope and of growth – the liturgy invites us to reflect upon and make our own the messages of Lent and Eastertide and Advent and Christmastide. Back on the feast of the Epiphany, the Church made an announcement of all the major feasts of the liturgical calendar and summed up that ‘through the rhythms of times and seasons’ we celebrate the mysteries of our salvation in Christ. ‘Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the Passover of Christ in the feasts of the Holy Mother of God, in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of
Sunday thoughts When I was a child, I prayed to the Holy Spirit before exams. The Holy Spirit was on a par with St Anthony to whom I prayed when I lost something. At Confirmation I was told I would receive the Holy Spirit. He didn’t seem to make much difference. In the junior seminary in the sixties, we prayed to the Holy Spirit each day for the success of the Second Vatican Council. He seemed to do a good job. And then came my Ordination. I was very conscious of the role of the Holy Spirit as I lay on the floor of the cathedral. Little did I know where the Holy Spirit would lead me as a priest. Here are some of the things I have learned about the Holy Spirit in the years since: • He may be a she. There is something about the Holy Spirit that is comforting, rather than a robust,
Canon Philip Gillespie
the faithful departed. To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever. Amen.’ Tucked away in the midst of the month is the memorial of an English saint, Richard of Chichester. Richard was Bishop of Chichester in the years 1245-53 and was renowned in his lifetime as not only a learned and wise leader but also a generous benefactor and giver to the poor. He is perhaps best remembered for a version of the prayer attributed to him: ‘Thanks be to You, my Lord Jesus Christ For all the benefits you have given me, For all the pains and insults you have borne for me. O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother, May I know you more clearly, Love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly (day by day. Amen)’
Mgr John Devine OBE
masculine and demanding presence. • The Holy Spirit has a sense of humour. He/she enjoys knocking me off my high horse – ever so gently. • The Holy Spirit functions best when I am not aware of it. If I try to intervene, I get in the way. • The Holy Spirit is at his or her best when I make a mess of things. The Spirit not only rescues me from my mistakes but actually converts then into advantages. • I always found prayer difficult until I stopped trying and handed over to the Holy Spirit. Now he/she does the praying for me.
Weekly Reflections are on the Archdiocesan website at www.liverpoolcatholicresources.com 28
Why I wish to be child-like again My great aunt was a sister of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. She was responsible for those women who had been put in the convent when they were children for the sisters to look after, and who for a whole variety of reasons had never left. They all had learning and physical difficulties. When I was a child I would be taken to visit and some of the women would frighten me. There was one whom I never felt threatened by. She would take me into the backyard and produce a ball from her pocket and we would play for many hours. Bessie was a charming person not able to speak properly and yet she radiated love and was always full of laughter. I was about 18 when she died and was surprised to realise she was in her nineties. I went to her funeral to find the church full of people whom Bessie had touched by her simple, trusting nature. The Kingdom of God is essentially experienced within relationship. Relationship with God and with other people. The Second Vatican Council was very clear that the Church was not the kingdom; the kingdom is much bigger than the Church. To live in and experience the kingdom is not about going to church or knowing all the right answers or doing the right things. It is about the simple process of relationships that are open, loving and trusting, and not damaged by the pain and the hurt that we all experience. Sadly, many of us spend so much time not trusting and not loving, defending our corner and acting out of hurt and pain that we never experience the kingdom. We do not trust because of what happened to us as children. We are not able to be open because we have been hurt by other people and so have put the shutters up. We are not aware of our need for others because we have had to be independent. Many people are badly hurt particularly because of the breakdown of relationships. The Church must be that place where people who are hurt and who find it very difficult to trust and to love like a little child should be able to come and not find judgement or condemnation but healing and peace in the compassion and mercy of others. If you have been badly hurt for whatever reason then bring that hurt to God and the community and allow the healing power of His spirit to flow through you, so that you will find the strength to become like little children once again and experience deep within yourself and among your brothers and sisters the Kingdom of God. Father Chris Thomas
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PIC Life God and the restless soul By Moira Billinge It was our first time away from home and my sister and our two friends felt very grown up as we trekked through the long, winding lanes of the Lake District looking for our youth hostel. The route took us past a lovely country pub and, testing our new ‘grown-up’ status to the full, we decided to send in my sister – the only member of our group legally entitled to do so – to buy some drinks. None of us had ever tasted alcohol and we did not know what to ask for, but we settled on cider as it sounded innocuous – it was made from apples, after all! As we sat out of the baking hot sun in the shade of nearby trees, we watched my sister make her maiden voyage through the doors of the pub, only to see her emerge within seconds, redfaced and empty-handed. The barman
did not believe that she was 18 and had sent her packing. The youngest of our group, Kathleen, aged 15, was also the tallest so we sent her in instead and she emerged, triumphant, with the tray of drinks. Expecting that the cider would be a lovely apple-flavoured fizzy drink, we were sorely disappointed because it was the complete opposite. In the end a tree in Windermere was the sole beneficiary of our unsuccessful adventure into adulthood! As we approached the grounds of the youth hostel, a young man with a beard, long hair and wearing a cowboy hat, was quietly singing along to his guitar and he seemed oblivious to our presence as we passed slowly by. We were so excited; this was a time preinternet and wall-to-wall television and it was the nearest we had ever been to anyone even closely resembling our
ideas of what a pop star would look like in real life. Next morning, our collective joy knew no bounds when he, together with his hat and guitar, came over to our breakfast table and sat down. It was the only vacant seat in the dining room, so to be in his company was more a lucky accident than design. He had a very captive audience and we asked him to play a song for us. As the rest of the room fell into silence he performed to perfection ‘Here Comes The Sun’. Over breakfast he told us of his plans to walk for a few more weeks around the Lakes, and then complete his university studies in America. I asked him if he ever felt lonely being on his own so much and to our star-struck group he replied: ‘I am on my own, and that’s my choice, but you can be in a crowded room and still feel lonely.’ My sister – now a nun and always the evangelist – piped up: ‘You are never on your own because God’s always with you.’ ‘There isn’t a God,’ he drawled, and he left the table, looking singularly unimpressed and our paths didn’t cross again. Loneliness is a poor companion yet God IS always with us, whether we believe it or not and, while trying to fill the void in our hearts, we can make the wrong choices as we attempt to assuage our emptiness. Saint Augustine really knew what he was talking about when he wrote: ‘You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.’ I often wonder if our young guitarist’s heart has managed to find that rest. I really hope that it has.
Worth a visit - The isle of Anglesey The isle of Anglesey beckons visitors in the summer months when the historic town of Beaumaris is a particularly popular destination with its quaint streets, independent shops and golden sands, writes Lucy Oliver. Nature and wildlife cruises are scheduled from Beaumaris daily, with Puffin Island cruises lasting approximately 80 minutes. The route along the Menai Strait usually passes the Trwyn Du Lighthouse at Penmon Point and offers passengers the chance to see the local seal colony along with abundant bird life. While there are now only eight breeding pairs of puffins remaining on the island, its special protection area is home to great cormorants, guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes to name just a few species. Tickets are available to book in advance at seacoastsafaris.co.uk. Back in Beaumaris, the pier, recently reopened after a fire, is an agreeable spot for a stroll, with its view of the attractive pastel buildings back on the coastline. For some history, visit the well-preserved Beaumaris Gaol to learn more about crime and punishment in times past. Built in
1829, this Victorian goal houses a much-dreaded treadwheel, the only original one still in situ in Britain. Don’t leave Beaumaris without an ice cream from the Red Boat Ice Cream Parlour.
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Dialogue and Unity Neil Cunningham Support for Asylum Seekers (SAS) Neil Cunningham had retired as an Accountant. Full of energy to be fulfilled in his retirement he had three items on a bucket list: to volunteer at a charity; to teach mathematics; and to coach football at grass roots level. With the support of his wife Kath and family including four children and nine grandchildren he managed to achieve all three goals. A fantastic bucket list totally comprised of volunteering to serve others. The Chair of Asylum Link Merseyside was a good friend of Neil, and he asked him initially to provide ‘short term’ financial support and advice to ALM. That was ten years ago. As time moved on Neil became the key volunteer, preparing final accounts for audit, making annual Gift Aid Claims, teaching mathematics to people seeking asylum, helping with fund raising activities such as ALM concerts at St Anne’s Centre, and also becoming a trustee and Honorary Treasurer. But more was yet to come … In 2013 he became Co-ordinator of Churches Together in the Merseyside Region (CTMR) Destitution Project SAS (Support for Asylum Seekers). Churches Together in the Merseyside Region and its predecessor body identified the situation of refugees and asylum seekers as a major challenge to the Churches. An active Quaker and former Company Director Chas Raws persuaded the trustees of CTMR’s predecessor body to establish a fund to support refugees and asylum seekers called SAS -Support for Asylum Seekers. Chas Raws was a major player in the network of agencies involved in offering support to refugees and asylum seekers from 1996 to 2013. It was a labour of love and commitment but with the emphasis on labour like those of the legendary Hercules or St Paul. So Neil took over what was supposed to be short term cover until a replacement could be found. He is still there and is also an active trustee of CTMR. His key role is to raise funds for the SAS project and distribute these to our local partner agencies including Asylum Link (based in St Anne’s Presbytery and so actively and 30
Neil Cunningham creatively supported by Father Peter Morgan), Refugee Women Connect, Faiths 4 Change (the interfaith environmental action project which was the brainchild of Bishop James Jones owing much to its development from the support of Monsignor John Devine), Merseyside Refugee Support Network, and Action Asylum. These agencies deliver the humanitarian support and wellbeing activities for people seeking asylum and refuge. SAS supports the most vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees who have been refused leave to stay and are destitute. The complexity and inhumanity of the system that rejects asylum claims has been an issue on which the Christian Churches and other faith communities continue to lobby central government with energy but frustratingly little success. Since its creation in 1996 SAS has distributed over £600,000 and one significant corporate supporter has been the archdiocese (as the Lenten Alms
parish collections were pledged by Archbishop Patrick Kelly from 2005 onwards), the Passionist Order and the John Moores Foundation. Small grants are given to individuals as well as funds to partners to support projects. Neil oversees this with dedication and energy. He is an FA football coach at grassroots and involved in helping with the financial accounts and audit of several other charities including Merseyside Tram Preservation Society and Merseyside Cricket Society. Neil thoroughly enjoys contact with so many varied local charities and inspiring colleagues. Neil attends Christ the King and Our Lady Church, Childwall. He is stepping down from his role in July after eight years and will be a hard act to follow. Further information on SAS can be found on the CTMR website at www.ctmr.org.uk/Groups/341984/ Support_for_Asylum.aspx
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