Catholic Pic April 2024

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FREE Issue 236 April 2024 INSIDE THIS MONTH Remembering Canon Vincent Burrows Peace Mass for the Holy Land Anniversary event highlights Liverpool’s Ukraine commitment

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From the Archbishop’s Desk

My recent visit to the Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation’s Synagogue in Princes Road for the annual civic service reminded me of the deep involvement the Jewish people have in civic and community life. They continue to make a massive contribution to the city of Liverpool. As a Catholic Christian, I feel particularly close to them because of our common roots. This was driven home as we sang psalms and heard the scriptures which were so familiar to me.

often pause in front of the wonderful sculpture ‘Abraham our Father in Faith’ in the Metropolitan Cathedral and offer a prayer for greater understanding between religions. This work of art is by the late Sean Rice, a renowned Liverpool sculptor, and shows Abraham and the ram which he sacrificed instead of his son Isaac.

As you read this, our Muslim sisters and brothers will be completing the month of Ramadan, a time of fasting, prayer and almsgiving, and we will have finished Lent with its similar practices and enjoying the light of Easter. For the record, the first mosque in England was established in Liverpool. The relationships between fellow Christians and people of other faiths have often been stormy, especially here in Liverpool, but in recent decades there has been a wonderful spirit of cooperation and fraternity. We should not let pressures outside our city and region disturb this achievement, and remind ourselves that Abraham, the father in faith of Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, had a future because he followed God’s command even though he did not know what the future held for him. A visit to Sean Rice’s statue is long overdue for us all.

Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP Archbishop of Liverpool


4 Main Feature Anniversary event highlights Liverpool’s Ukraine commitment

7 Sunday Reflections

8 From the Archives The Mod Father Part 2

9 News

14 Pastoral Ponderings

15 What’s

16 Profile

17 Cathedral Record

27 Animate Youth Ministry

28 Pic

29 Nugent

30 Ramadan Message for our Muslim Brothers and Sisters

Partner Training
Liverpool Bootle Runcorn Wigan St Helens
News from around the archdiocese
On What’s happening in the archdiocese
Monsignor Peter Fleetwood
Extras Mums the word News from the KSC
News Supporting Our Future Now
The Holy Father’s prayer intentions entrusted to his worldwide prayer network for the year 2024: April For the Role of Women Let us pray that the dignity and worth of women be recognized in every culture, and for an end to the discrimination they face in various parts of the world. Editor Harriet Anwyl Editorial Catholic Pictorial Magazine, St Margaret Clitherow Centre, Liverpool Archdiocesan Office, Croxteth Drive, Liverpool L17 1AA Tel: 0151 522 1007 Email: Advertising Sales team 0151 709 7567 Pictures Nick Fairhurst Website: Twitter @PicCatholic Youtube CPMM Media Copy deadline May 2024 - Monday 15 April 2024 Subscriptions To take out a subscription please email Kim O’Brien at or call 0151 709 7567 or contact Barbara on 07714 814 662 Publisher CPMM Ltd Suite 4 Pacific Chambers, 11-13 Victoria Street, Liverpool L2 5QQ CPMM Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced copied or transmitted in any form or by any means or stored in any information storage or retrieval system without the publishers written permission. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published, Catholic Pictorial Ltd. can accept no responsibility for the veracity of the claims made by advertisers. 3 Catholic Pictorial Monthly prayer intentions
“As we mark this second unfortunate anniversary of warfare and violence in Ukraine, we pray for peace with justice to be restored in that land.”

Anniversary event highlights Liverpool’s Ukraine commitment

A Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral on 24 February was the latest marker in Liverpool’s ongoing support for the people of Ukraine, two years on from Russia’s invasion.

More than two years have now passed since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and that sorrow-filled second anniversary was marked by a special vigil and rally followed by a Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral.

The ‘Stand with Ukraine’ event took place on Saturday 24 February and was organised by the Liverpool branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB) and the UkrainianCatholic parish in Liverpool in cooperation with Liverpool Parish Church and the Archdiocese of Liverpool.

The vigil began at 1pm that lunchtime in the gardens of Liverpool Parish Church, where those gathered heard prayers and readings by speakers of various Christian denominations and faith traditions.

An hour later, a rally began at the Sugar House steps at Liverpool One, with marchers proceeding into the city centre, parading a 24-metre Ukrainian flag along a route that concluded at St

Reverend Dr Taras Khomych, a Ukrainian Catholic priest and chair of the AUGB Liverpool branch, reflected that as well as the second anniversary of Russia’s all-out assault on Ukraine, this was also “the tenth anniversary of the hybrid war” against his country.

Luke’s Bombed Out Church.

From 5pm, the Metropolitan Cathedral was then the setting for a sung Mass held for a ‘just peace’ in Ukraine and around the world. It was a Mass led by Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald and concelebrated by Canon Tony O’Brien, dean of the cathedral, and Father Sean Riley.

Following the Mass, there was the opportunity for the lighting of candles and a period of prayer and reflection.

In a message ahead of the event, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon said:

“As we mark this second unfortunate anniversary of warfare and violence in Ukraine, we pray for peace with justice to be restored in that land. The people of Ukraine, both at home and as refugees across the globe, know of the goodwill and support of so many – and today’s vigil and Mass for Ukraine are clear signs of the people of Liverpool and their assurance of their compassion and companionship in the suffering.”

He continued: “These events express our solidarity with the Ukrainian people, who are defending not only their own homeland but also other European countries against the attacks of this ruthless authoritarian regime. We will pray for all those who have offered their lives in a struggle against this vicious aggression, for the most innocent and vulnerable victims, especially countless Ukrainian children who have experienced the worst excess of violence, as well as for the rule of justice and lasting peace in Ukraine and around the world.”

Together with his son Nikodem, a bass choral student with the Metropolitan Cathedral choir, Fr Taras sang the spiritual anthem of Ukraine, ‘Bozhe Velykyj, Jdynyj’, which translates as ‘The only great God’, both at the vigil and later in the cathedral after Mass.

There were also words from the Anglican rector of Liverpool, Canon Crispin Pailing, who said: ‘The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 had an incredible impact on global politics, but on the ground, the people most affected are the people of Ukraine. This vigil is for them as we commemorate the second anniversary

of the invasion: we pray for all those affected by the ongoing conflict, those who have lost family members, and all who live under repression.’

This year’s events were similar to those arranged for the first anniversary, which comprised a vigil outside the Metropolitan Cathedral followed by readings, prayers and evensong at Liverpool Cathedral.

Ever since Russia’s 2022 invasion, the archdiocese has been consistent in its support for the people of Ukraine. The #Liverpool4Ukraine fund-raising appeal has generated over £166,000 to date, and volunteers from the archdiocese have made six separate journeys to the Polish border with Ukraine to deliver aid for distribution in the Lviv region in the west of the country.

For the most recent journey, undertaken in late October last year, a 12-tonne vehicle was loaded with medical supplies, toiletries, crutches, Zimmer frames, blankets, and inflatable mattresses.

Each of the six convoys, driven by volunteer drivers including staff from the archdiocesan offices, have been met by priests and students from the Holy Spirit Seminary from the Ukrainian diocese (or eparchy) of Sambir-Drohobych – a collection and distribution process coordinated by Bishop Hryhoriy Komar, the auxiliary bishop of the diocese.

Last September, Bishop Hryhoriy made a pastoral visit to Liverpool to express his gratitude for this ongoing support. The occasion was marked by a short liturgy led by Canon Aidan Prescott, Vicar General, where prayers were offered for peace in Ukraine.

“I came here to thank the people of Liverpool who have helped so much,” said the bishop, who has a close association with the diocese through his longstanding friendship with Fr Francis Marsden, parish priest at St Mary’s, Chorley, whom he met while studying for the priesthood.

He added: “Life in Ukraine has changed –many people have lost relatives, lost jobs, lost homes, and many have had to leave Ukraine. If we didn’t get the help we’ve received we don’t know where we’d be – it would certainly be much worse.”

“The Church has always been important in Ukrainian society, but her role has now increased, as people are now coming to the Church not only for spiritual help but also material help.”

Aid sent from the archdiocese now amounts to more than 1,000 boxes. Along with medical items, the packages sent have included thermal clothing for the harsh winter months, sleeping bags, and building materials.

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From a logistical perspective, the diocese has received vital cooperation from Greenmount Projects in Wigan and the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust which have provided building tools and medical aid respectively.

Another milestone from the past two years was the city’s hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest on 13 May –an honour granted to Liverpool owing to the fact Ukraine, victorious in the 2022 contest, had been unable to stage the event because of the war. In the lead-up to the contest, the Metropolitan Cathedral hosted a sculpture by Ukrainian artist Dmyto Iv, titled ‘The Need for Freedom’, which showed a chained but rising woman.

Overall, Liverpool has welcomed an estimated 1,000 refugees from Ukraine according to Fr Taras, who has seen small communities form in the city centre and Crosby and also on the Wirral. He says a weekly UkrainianCatholic Mass at St Sebastian’s, Fairfield and is grateful for support from the Big Help Project, a Kensington-based charity which has made its premises available for weekly meetings of Ukrainian refugees.

Offering one final reflection on the past two years, Fr Taras says: “I think the support was and still is very strong for Ukraine in general and for Ukrainians as individuals. It is amazing to witness this support and we are very grateful for this and we hope it will continue.

“We organised different events after we marked the second anniversary, and city representatives and other guests were present, so it shows that people are still thinking about Ukraine and support our cause. This is very inspiring for us and comforting as well.”

Donations to the archdiocese’s Ukrainian appeal are still welcome, and details on how to contribute can be found here: https://archdioceseofliverpool. ly8hvxhp

On a liturgical note

‘Truth on my tongue, His way to guide my walking and I shall live, not I but Christ in me.’

Those of us of a certain age may recognise these words as being part of the hymn specially composed for the National Pastoral Congress that was hosted by the Archdiocese of Liverpool in 1980, and they sum up well the attitude of an Easter People whose song today, and in this great 50-day season of Eastertide, is ‘Alleluia’.

The reason the Church’s liturgy ‘fasts’ from the use of this familiar word during the Lenten days is precisely so that, when it does make its return at the proclamation of the Resurrection in the great Vigil and First Mass of Easter Day, it has all the more impact.

The singing of the great triple Alleluia of Easter Day allows the church to burst into song almost as Christ bursts into the upper room with the words ‘Peace be with you’. The Alleluia (the ‘praise God’) on Easter Day is as if we

Sunday thoughts

Am I Islamophobic or anti-Semitic? can be accused of being one or the other when I speak about the situation in the Holy Land.

This year, as the carnage in Gaza fills our TV screens, the name Israel jumps out like a red flag in the readings at Mass. How do our pleas in the bidding prayers for those broken by the brutality of war sit with the story of God’s people in the Hebrew Bible, a heritage we share and celebrate?

In 1968 the Second Vatican Council declaration Nostra Aetate condemned antisemitism. Far from blaming the Jewish people for the death of Jesus, it celebrates Christianity’s Jewish roots: ‘In company with the Prophets… the Church awaits that day, known to God alone, on which all peoples will address the Lord in a single voice and “serve him shoulder to shoulder”. Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is thus so great, this sacred synod wants to foster and recommend this mutual understanding and respect, which is the fruit, above all, of biblical and theological studies, as well as of fraternal dialogues.

‘Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by

are saying to the world you can be assured, be at peace, be confident that even that which is most feared, that which is most perturbing, that which is seemingly the final end to all your hopes and expectations, is itself conquered by the One who has died and is now Risen – Jesus.

The Paschal Candle that now stands in your church next to the Lectern, the place of the Proclamation of the Word of God in the Liturgy, enlightens not only our hearing and understanding of the Scriptures but also the reality of our own stories, our own everyday experiences and lives. It is literally ‘in the light of Christ’ that we are brought to understand and appreciate the working of God’s Holy Spirit in our world, in our parish, and in our family and community.

May the Light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds

Trust, surrender, receive, believe

The film ‘Good Will Hunting’ is a wonderful story which tells of a young man who is a mathematical genius. He is also one of the most dysfunctional people you could meet. He finds himself in trouble and is placed in the care of a psychotherapist who challenges him to go deep within himself and to face his brokenness and his pain.

There is a wonderful scene in which the psychotherapist finally breaks through and he holds Will who cries away the hurt and pain that had been locked inside for years. The psychotherapist repeats over and over again the words ‘It’s not your fault’. It is a moment of transformation.

remember thinking to myself, ‘That’s what God’s like for us if we allow God to be’. However, it seems to me that too often we are like those first disciples, locked in rooms full of fear and anxiety.

God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures…. The Church… decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.’

The document goes on to describe the people of Israel as an olive tree, onto which the Gentiles (the Church) have been grafted.

In his historic visit to the Great Synagogue in Rome in April 1986, Pope Saint John Paul II declared: ‘The Jewish religion is not “extrinsic” to us, but in a certain way is “intrinsic” to our own religion. With Judaism therefore, we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers and, in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers.’

I have visited Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Dachau. Each time it felt like a pilgrimage. Am able to condemn the horrendous scale of Israel’s assault on Gaza and advocate a two-state solution without turning a blind eye to the atrocities of 7 October? May assert Israel’s right to exist without being accused of Islamophobia?

With our wounds and brokenness, we do not trust that God will hold us with compassion and love. The risen Jesus came among those first disciples into their locked room. do not know what rooms you keep tightly locked, but the risen Jesus is already there, waiting for you to recognise Him. There is no pain, no brokenness that God does not know and cannot handle.

The Gospel accounts of the Resurrection show us a new kind of presence that can come through closed doors, even the doors of our hearts. Most of us, locked in our rooms of insecurity and fear, try to keep God away. We wear our masks and play our religious games. We fill ourselves with Scripture and Dogma, trying to appear to have it all together. Anything rather than face our pain and allow the Lord to open the locked rooms within us – and yet our brokenness and pain can be for us what it was for Jesus, the source of life. Do not be afraid of it or hide from it. You cannot experience Easter Day without Good Friday.

The invitation we are given is to come before God, trusting God with our weakness, brokenness, and vulnerability, and to expect that the Father’s gaze of love will touch us.

That is when we will finally understand that we do not have to have it all together to be loved. We simply have to trust and believe in the power of love, the same love that raised Jesus from the dead and into which we are absorbed with our wounds and brokenness. The love which transforms us deep within.

And we are witnesses to all of it. The truth that makes sense of all that goes on in our lives, the meaning of the pain that we all experience. Do not keep the secret to yourself, but go and tell the world to trust in the God who wants to hold us and love us into wholeness.

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Sunday reflections

The Mod Father, part 2

The scooter is a symbol of the 1960s. Not necessarily a positive image, as it’s often associated with summer Bank Holiday ructions between rival tribes.

Mods adored the Vespas and Piaggios for their Italian style, and donning their parkas, they headed down the A-roads in their thousands to attend rallies in seaside towns from Southend to Blackpool. There they were confronted by Rockers, motorbikeriding leather-jacketed long-hairs out for a fight with the art school set. John Lennon was famously asked at a press conference whether the Beatles were Mods or Rockers. “We’re mockers”, he said, dryly.

So it’s a little surprising when looking through back issues of the Catholic Pic to find how often scooters, or mopeds, feature as the preferred mode of transport for many of our priests. Presumably they were a practical solution for parish visiting and attending meetings, a step up from a bike and not as expensive as a car. We’ve featured Father Kevin Mason from Warrington in a previous issue (July 2022). Here we have Father Vince de Bono, pictured on his moped in November 1969. He was a member of the community of the Salesians of Don Bosco, who ran and staffed the Salesian College in Bootle, which had been opened in 1964 and moved into newly-built classrooms on Netherton Way a couple of years later. It’s now the Salesian Academy of St John Bosco. Father de Bono came from Malta, and joined the community of around 15 or 16 Salesian priests as a Youth Leader. He took charge of what the Pic described as “one of the best-known Youth Clubs in the diocese, Bootle’s Don Bosco”. The club already offered a nightly schedule of activities, including evenings devoted to badminton, hobbies and football coaching. They’d even recently launched a girls’ football team. “When you are working with young people who are happy you feel young and happy yourself”, said 45-year-old Father de Bono. Perhaps he was unaware of the tribal rivalries symbolised by ownership of two-wheeled transport. “I noticed that a lot of members were turning up at the Centre each night on scooters and motorbikes, so asked if they had thought of starting a scooter club. They were over-joyed at the idea and got together to form one.” Its 15 members must have been going on outings as well as comparing badges and Small Faces records. “They have to go a little slower

for me”, said Father de Bono, “because my 40cc moped is not in the same class as their machines.”

The scooter club was acknowledged as a minority interest at the Don Bosco Youth Club, which had 250 members. It got its biggest crowd for the Friday night disco.

“It’s the pop music that pulls them in”, said Father de Bono. As usual at these events, it looks like the girls took the lead.

Father de Bono only stayed in Bootle for a year or two after the original Pic feature, and he subsequently served with the Salesians in southern Africa. He returned to Malta and died there in 2002. It isn’t known what happened to the scooter club he’d founded.

News diary

If you’ve got any news from your parish that you’d like featured e-mail us with the details at:

Obituary of Vincent Richard Burrowes

Vincent Richard Burrowes, the son of James and Hannah Burrowes, was born in Liverpool on 3 December 1926. He received his early education at various schools in Liverpoolthe Notre Dame Demonstration School, St Matthew’s School, and St Edward’s College - before entering St Joseph’s College, Upholland, to begin his seminary formation. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Joseph Halsall in the college chapel at Upholland on 30 May 1953.

Following ordination, he served as assistant priest in several parishes across the archdiocese: St Marie, Standish (August 1953); Holy Cross, St Helens (January 1960); St Margaret Mary, Liverpool (April 1962), and St Anne, Liverpool (October 1964). In June 1967, he moved to the newly opened Metropolitan Cathedral as Bursar, and the following year he was appointed by Archbishop Beck as Administrator of the Building Fund.

Archbishop Derek Worlock introduced the office of episcopal vicar to the archdiocesan structure within a year of his appointment. Thus, Fr Burrowes was appointed as Episcopal Vicar for Finance and Development in February 1977. At the same time, he left the cathedral and took up residence at Our Lady of Good Help, Wavertree. In May 1977, he was appointed as an honorary canon, and was promoted to the Metropolitan Cathedral Chapter in March 1980.

In the summer of 1980, he took up his first appointment as parish priest, moving to St Paul, West Derby. Though he now had parochial responsibilities, he continued in office as episcopal vicar until the appointment of Fr Michael McKenna in 1983. He remained at St Paul’s for a further nine years, enjoying a fruitful and happy ministry in this busy parish. In September 1992 he moved out of Liverpool for the first

time in more than 30 years, as he took up appointment as parish priest at St Lewis, Croft. There he remained until his retirement in 2005. In retirement, he lived in Southport until the final year of his life, when his increased frailty necessitated a move to a nursing home in St Helens. He died on Wednesday 28 February 2024. He was 97 years old and in the 71st year of the priesthood. May he rest in peace.

Cathedral hosts Mass for Peace

Peace in the Holy Land was the focus of prayers and reflection at a special Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral on Friday 8 March.

The Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, was organised in response to Cardinal Vincent Nichols’ call for a day of prayer for peace and his accompanying appeal for a ceasefire amid Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza.

The Mass, which started at 5pm in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, was preceded by silent adoration from 3pm. During the Mass, Archbishop Malcolm spoke of the connections between the Abrahamic faiths and referred to the significance of the presence in the cathedral of the sculpture ‘Abraham our Father in Faith’ by the late Sean Rice. He also cited the Jewish and Muslim traditions in the city and the important contribution that both of those faith communities have made to Liverpool life.

Bishop Tom Neylon and several priests and deacons from the archdiocese concelebrated the Mass whose congregation included a contingent of Knights and Dames of the Holy Sepulchre. Archbishop Malcolm, a member of that order, thanked them for their work with the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and offered good wishes to Michael Byrne, the lieutenant of the order who was present, regarding a forthcoming visit to Holy Land alongside Canon Mark Madden.

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“The scooter gang” at Don Bosco Youth Centre Friday night discothèque
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Father Vince de Bono on his scooter

Pondering and Praying Vatican II with Archbishop of Southwark John Wilson

The Archbishop of Southwark John Wilson recently visited Liverpool to launch and promote his book “Pondering and Praying Vatican II”, published by Pauline Books and Media.

The Second Vatican Council, a pivotal moment in Catholic history, has left an indelible mark on the Church’s relationship with the modern world. Yet, despite its significance, many Catholics remain unfamiliar with its profound implications. Recognising this gap, Archbishop John embarked on a mission together with Pauline Books and Media to illuminate the council’s key themes in an accessible and engaging manner.

At the heart of Archbishop John’s book are the four seminal constitutions of Vatican II: Sacrosanctum Concilium, Lumen Gentium, Dei Verbum, and Gaudium et Spes. Archbishop John summarises these documents in an easy-to-read format, condensing them down to easily digestible “amuse-bouches” which, he says, “gives you an introduction and maybe acts as a springboard into a deeper look at Vatican II”. During the recent book launch event in

Pauline Books and Media, Archbishop John shared his journey in writing the book, highlighting Vatican II’s enduring significance, before hosting a book-signing.

Sister Elaine commented at the book launch “Its easy accessibility and attractive illustrations make it perfect for those who want to understand more about the crucial moment in the Catholic Church’s history but are unsure just where to start. It has been written to help people engage with the legacy of Vatican II, and what it means for Catholic life and faith, as well as the church’s relationship with the wider world.”

LOUDfence: Catholic and Anglican Churches stand together against abuse

The Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool and the Anglican Diocese of Liverpool joined forces for the inaugural Ecumenical LOUDfence Event on Saturday 9 March. This groundbreaking initiative aimed to provide a platform for all those affected by abuse, offering healing and support through a visible demonstration of solidarity.

The event began with a ribbon-tying ceremony outside the Anglican Cathedral at 12:30pm, followed by a NonDenominational Blessing from Dean of the Anglican Cathedral Rev Susan Jones. Participants then embarked on a Walk of Hope along Hope Street, culminating at the Metropolitan Cathedral Plaza. Upon arrival, a Prayer Service held by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon and a ribbon-tying ceremony allowed attendees to express solidarity with victims and survivors of abuse. Those who wished to were encouraged to read the LOUDfence prayer together. Attendees came from around the archdiocese and beyond, with some travelling from West Yorkshire.

LOUDfence, a survivor-led initiative, empowers individuals to share their stories and seek support. Originating in Australia in 2015, it has evolved into a movement promoting healing and reconciliation, led by Antonia Sobocki in Cumbria since 2020. This ecumenical event welcomed individuals from diverse backgrounds, inviting survivors, supporters, and community members to stand together against abuse. Attendees were encouraged to tie ribbons and leave messages of support as a visible symbol of support, fostering a network of compassion and understanding.

The subsequent days saw both cathedrals engage in prayer and reflection, offering resources and support for victims and

survivors of abuse. LOUDfence reaffirms the commitment of faith communities and wider society to address and prevent harm, echoing Pope Francis’ call for compassion and care.

By participating in LOUDfence, individuals contributed to a collective effort to raise awareness, break stigma, and create a supportive environment for those affected by abuse. Through acts of solidarity and compassion, the event emphasized the importance of community support in the journey towards healing and reconciliation.

A collection of photos of the messages of support left on the LOUDfence is available to see on the Archdiocese of Liverpool’s Flickr page.

Jottings of a Lourdes Pilgrim

We spend our lives looking at things, but I wonder how much we actually see? In the former St Thomas of Canterbury church Waterloo (now an oratory, and the wonderful Irenaeus centre) where the original baptistery was, the is a large stained-glass window with Our Lady of Lourdes in the centre and St Peter and St Joseph on either side of her.

For over 110 years, many babies, thousands probably, including myself, my mother and many members of my extended family were baptised with Our Lady watching over them from the moment they became part of the family of God. It is only in the last few years that realise that St Peter is placed on Our Lady’s right. I was born on the feast of this great saint, so think they have both been instrumental in my life inviting me many times to Lourdes and the seat of Christianity - Rome. feel so blessed.

My mother always told me that Our Lady invites you to Lourdes, and thinking back she was very right. There were many times would have liked to have visited but could just not get there. Apart from “the Covid years,” Our Lady has invited me a good few times in recent years.

Listen to your inner voice - is she inviting you this year? If you can, do join the Liverpool Pilgrimage this July. Booking is now open.

The little village in the French Pyrenees is a wonderful place of prayer, friendship, spirituality, calmness, and anything else you wish it to be. It’s the place that Our Blessed Lady chose to appear to St Bernadette, not just once but 18 times. She has made it special for the millions of pilgrims who have visited over the years, and keeps it special for those she is yet to invite.

For further details of this year’s pilgrimage, visit


Sunday 7th April 2024

Our Lord asked Saint Faustina to promote the Devotion to His mercy- saying

“The soul that will go to Confession (within the octave of the feast) and receive Holy Communion on the Feast day, shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment”

St Faustina confirms Our Lord’s command to her ‘If I cannot show mercy, by deeds or words, I can always do so, by prayer. My prayer reaches out even there, where I cannot reach out physically.’

Archdiocese venues celebrating the Feast of Divine Mercy - start time

For people using sat-navs the postcode relates to the priest’s house

Holy Family Cronton WA8 5DP 1.30pm Exposition, Rosary, Confession, Devotions, Mass 4 pm

(Peter who previously ran the Divine Mercy shop in London Rd)

St John’s Fountains Rd, Kirkdale Liverpool L4 1QL 2.30pm Rosary Confession Exposition Devotions Benediction 4pm Mass

St Clares, Arundel Avenue, Liverpool L17 2AU 3.00pm Devotions, Exposition, Confessions

St Francis of Assisi Earp St Garston Liverpool L19 1RT 4.00pm Holy Hour and Divine Mercy Devotions

Sacred Heart Brooks St Chorley PR6 0NG 3.00pm Chaplet, Talk, Confessions followed by Mass

Our Lady Star of the Sea, Ramsey, Isle of Man 1M8 1BH

2.00pm Confessions, Devotions

For people who e ther cannot go to a Divine Mercy serv ce or wou d ike to know more about the devot on, watch the American EWTN Catholic TV Channel programs on D v ne Mercy Sunday

On computer

For program l sting www ewtn com/ tv/ schedu e/ europe

For L ve streaming www ewtn com/ tv/ extra-watchive/ europe

For TV watching Sky TV ( subscription) and Sky Freesat ( non-subscr pt on)

W th an Amazon F re TV device With a RoKu dev ce Google

Chromecast or App e TV device

FO get-ewtn

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Discounted and dignified shopping – how SVP Chorley saved 50 tonnes of food from landfill and helps feed over 1,000 people a week

North West-based poverty charity, SVP Chorley Buddies, saved more than 50 tonnes of food which would have otherwise gone to waste in 2023.

Run by Centre Manager Hannah Sherlock, the befriending community group operates a heavily discounted and dignified shopping experience for those struggling to buy everyday essentials without having to turn to a food bank.

Taking place every weekday in a different location across Chorley town, seeking to make it accessible for all, members pay an initial £10 joining fee and then £5 per shop, where customers will fill their bags with everyday essentials like food, toiletries and pet supplies.

More than 1,000 individuals are now supported every week by this initiative and demand is only increasing according to Hannah. She says:

“The demand for our service is increasing with more local people using this service now more

than ever. We work with FareShare to collect and distribute surplus food to our members, as well as collecting surplus food from local supermarkets and businesses to save them from going to landfill.

“Last year, thanks to the shoppers who came to us, we managed to save more than 50 tonnes of food, 780kg of pet food, and 380kg of toiletries from going to landfill.”

Following the announcement of The Coronation Food Project by King Charles III Charitable Fund last November, the team at SVP Chorley Buddies have since applied for £30,000 in funding to help continue to run the service that helps so many in the archdiocese and beyond.

The Project was launched in a new bid to tackle food insecurity across the UK by working with food-industry charities by supporting their efforts to reduce waste and feed families.

Sheelah Browne’s 100th Birthday Celebrations at St Agnes and St Aiden Church, Huyton

Celebrating a century of life is a remarkable milestone, and the Parish of St. Agnes and St. Aidan’s in Huyton pulled out all the stops to honour long-time parishioner Sheelah Browne on her 100th birthday.

Born in Northern Ireland in 1924, the doctor returned the following morning with her death certificate, certain she wouldn’t have made it through the night – but Sheelah is made of strong stuff!

After the passing of two of her siblings, Joan and William, Sheelah and her sister Mabel moved into the parish of St Agnes in Huyton, and she fondly remembers the original parish church. Sheelah’s rich life included working in the Women’s Royal Naval Service

during WWII, and working as a doctor’s scribe in Canada, before returning home in 1960 to care for her sister and work at the education offices (her last working job was as a Secretary at St Augustine’s school, Huyton).

Sheelah returned to Canada in 1994 to celebrate her 70th Birthday, taking a train journey through the Rocky Mountains, bringing back very fond memories for her. 30 years on, she celebrates her 100th birthday surrounded by friends from the parish after a Mass dedicated to her. The tea and coffee morning was dedicated to her too, with balloons and birthday cake for everyone. From everyone at St Agnes and St Aidan parish –Happy birthday Sheelah!

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Pastoral ponderings

Easter is a wonderful time for us to once more marvel at the Resurrection of the Lord and, after the solemn weeks of Lent, celebrate the Good News of the risen Christ. For me personally, Easter also has a significant meaning with regard to my vocation journey and how I came to admit a call to discernment.

When was five years old my family began attending the Metropolitan Cathedral regularly for Mass as my brother had joined the choir, although my family had previously been involved in the life of the Cathedral many years before. Five years later, I was able to join the altar serving team and I have been incredibly privileged to have served at the Cathedral ever since. In my time as an altar server, I have grown in a deeper appreciation of the Mass, and also the various everyday services that are available throughout the year. However, it was during the celebration of Holy Week in the Cathedral that began to seriously address the call to discerning a vocation to the priesthood.

People have often asked what the specific moment was when I knew was being called to discern. have not experienced a specific road to Damascus moment but rather have always felt a gradual, innate, and gentle calling to discernment. I have come to this realisation at times in my life, especially in moments of silence and prayer, yet the first time was while serving during Holy Week at the Cathedral. It was on Maundy Thursday that became aware of a very real, powerful and yet indescribable sense of clarity and peace in my heart. At the time was studying at university and was unsure about the direction I wanted to take in life. It was in this uncertainty that the Lord came to me and gave me the courage to eventually admit that I was being called to discern.

am incredibly pleased to be back in the Cathedral this year once more serving during Holy Week on placement. However, am equally excited for future placements throughout the archdiocese in the years to come. Hopefully, will be able to spend two extended periods in a specific parish at Easter and in summer, which will allow me to meet and interact with many people of the archdiocese and experience the joy and excitement of pastoral ministry.

Living Catholic Social JusticeTeaching, and Peace

what’s on April

Monday 1 April

Surrounded by a room full of people all energetically engaged in conversation, Jennie Rowlands is very pleased. “It’s really exciting to see the Justice and Peace Commission find new and innovative ways of working”. Alongside co-chair Justine Silcock, Jennie has been supporting members in the Liverpool Archdiocese to make their message more relevant for the world today.

The new-look Commission is the beginning of a new chapter of social justice for the archdiocese.

The Liverpool Justice and Peace Commission draws on a strong heritage, stretching back to 1967 when Pope Paul VI established the Pontifical Commission “Justitia et Pax”. After various diocesan initiatives across England, a national network was set up in 1978, with Liverpool subsequently establishing its own Commission and parish groups. The purpose of the Commission is to promote understanding, awareness, and action on issues of social justice. They coordinate the annual Romero Mass and write publications such as a guide for refugees and asylum seekers who want to learn English. They also support the many hard-working parish groups who deliver action on the ground, whether that’s letter writing to the Holy Land or awareness raising.

Back in the Commission meeting, Jennie is putting her experience as Head of RE (Bellerive FCJ) to good

use, helping people to navigate the complex issues surrounding the housing crisis, human rights, or poverty in our communities. However, it is the Catholic see, judge, act model that she finds most helpful. As Jennie says, this allows people to “discern where Christ is calling us to act in our archdiocese and around the world.”

This process of observation, discernment, and action is a clear message in the Bible – rooted in the Old Testament and relived in the New (Lk. 4:18-21). It is also rooted in the teaching of the Church. It was Pope John XXIII who in 1961 wrote “Mater et Magistra” (Christianity and Social Progress), outlining what has later become known as the Pastoral Cycleor see, judge, act.

Over the next few months, the Commission will be using the Pastoral Cycle to review the housing and homelessness situation in the archdiocese. This new way of working will result in a paper to be made available at the end of the year.

As Jennie packs up after another successful meeting she says, “If we could get more parishes involved, then that would be the next best thing. People in the parishes are the real heroes in this story.” If you would like to set up a group or find out more about the work of the Commission, please contact Pablo (Archdiocesan Catholic Social Action Coordinator) 0151 522 1042 or

Thursday 11, 18, 25 April

“Learn to see yourself as God sees you”

- this is the teaching of St Eugene de Mazenod, the founder of the Oblates.

7pm at St Teresa’s, Norris Green, L11 3BW Hugh Stradling will guide us with the Enneagram: a spiritual awareness to discover more about our personal psychology, conscious and unconscious.

“Why do do that?” “Why can’t I stop this?” “What’s he like?”!

We will then share ways of overcoming weakness to allow God’s gifts within us to flourish.

No charge, but donations are welcome. Please sign up now by emailing with your email or phone number.

Sunday 14 April

Johann Sebastian Bach: Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ - Evening Prayer and Cantata with the Liverpool Bach Collective

Easter Bunny walk to raise money for the Liverpool Lourdes Pilgrimage

11am at St Gregory the Great, Liverpool Road, Lydiate, L31 2NA

Starting and finishing at St Gregory’s Church Lydiate, this is a 5km walk through the lovely country lanes of Lydiate to the neighbouring church of Our Lady’s and returning. It costs just £8 to register, or £20 for a family of four, and you will get your own set of bunny ears to wear, and an Easter chocolate treat at the end of the walk. It was great fun last year, and the walk with be led by the two giant bunnies. To register, email

Tuesday 9 April

Time Out on Tuesdays

Sisters of Our Lady of the Cenacle, Liverpool

10:30AM - 4PM at Sisters of Our Lady of the Cenacle, Liverpool Tithebarn Grove, Lance Lane, Wavertree, L15 6TW

Wanting time for yourself? Time to stop and reflect? Time to step aside for a while from the daily round of life? Then why not join The Sisters of Our Lady and the Cenacle on a Tuesday to get away for a few hours to stop and ponder the important things of life? No need to book, just come along and maybe bring a friend. Suggested offering for the day is £10, bring your own lunch, tea/coffee provided. For further information contact Sr Winnie 0151 722 2271.

6:30pm at St Francis Xavier’s Church, Salisbury Street, L3 8DR

An account of the risen Christ’s appearance to His disciples; three times the bass soloist sings Christ’s greeting “Peace be with you” and the chorus responds. The chorus, three soloists, and the usual string ensemble are joined by trumpet, flue, and oboes d’amore.

Monday 15 April

Knitted Bible Exhibition

10:00AM - 4:00PM at The Irenaeus Project, Liverpool, 32 Great Georges Road, Waterloo, L22 1RD

Following their last Hand-Crafted Bible Exhibition in October, The Irenaeus Project will be hosting another exhibition with knitted Bibles. The exhibition is on for 4 days, from 15-18 April, and refreshments will be served throughout the day. All are welcome. For more information, contact jenny@irenaeus., or phone 0151 949 1199

Thursday 18 April

Newman Association Talk: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Despair on the Cross?

7:30pm at St Helen’s Parish Centre, Alexandra Road, Crosby, L23 7TQ

Speaker: Mr. John Potts. Doors will be open from 7.00 pm and the talk will begin at 7.30 pm. Talks usually last 45 minutes leaving time for questions and discussion. There is no charge, but donations are welcome.

Saturday 20 April

St Patrick’s Spring Concert

4:30PM at St Patrick, Park Place, Toxteth, L8 5RA

In association with the University of Liverpool, St Patrick’s will be hosting the second of two concerts with students from the University of Liverpool singing. All are welcome.

Sunday 21 April 2024

Civic Mass

11.00am at the Metropolitan Cathedral

Our annual Civic Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP. Light refreshments will be served in the Gibberd Room after Mass.

If you are able to attend please RSVP to

The cathedral will welcome civic dignitaries together with representatives from the judiciary, the armed forces, ecumenical guests, Catholic associations and Catholic schools.

Saturday 27 April

An Introduction to Vatican II

10am - 3pm at the Gibberd Room, Metropolitan Cathedral Light of Truth, in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Liverpool, will be hosting a study day introducing the basics of Vatican II. This is the perfect opportunity to learn the basic concepts covered in Vatican II for anyone new to the document. To sign up for this free event, visit this page: https:// events/jaujdgxs

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Website at pastoral

Msgr Peter Fleetwood

A Roman Return By Simon

There was something fitting about Monsignor Peter Fleetwood’s whereabouts on the day he turned 70 in December.

On an assignment as a cruise-ship chaplain, he was at sea somewhere, he explains, “between Tahiti and the Cook Islands”.

It feels fitting for the fact that his life as a priest has featured postings far and wide. Consider that prior to his return to Rome last October, to teach Philosophy at the Beda College, he had been living at the other end of Europe in the Faroe Islands. “It is a massive contrast with the last three years where was the only priest in the country,” he reflects.

The Faroes has a single church in Torshavn, the capital, and a congregation of just under 100 people. “The most positive aspect was the place, stunningly beautiful but rugged – 18 bits of granite sticking out of the Atlantic,” he says, and he was struck there by the still-visible traces of a pagan tradition. “I remember listening to a mother calling her child, thinking he was called Owen – as in the Welsh or Irish name – but it was actually what we call Odin. They name their children after the Norse gods or the weather or characters from folklore.”

There is rather less of that in Rome, where this Liverpool-born priest has returned after a 20-year absence. Reflecting on changes evident since he last worked there, on the Pontifical Council for Culture, he cites a different atmosphere in the Curia –the Vatican’s equivalent of Whitehall.

“Previously it has been like mandarins in towers. Now Pope Francis wants it to be more open to interacting – first, with Bishops’ Conferences but beyond that, with ordinary people in ordinary places. So the tone of voice with which the Curia addresses the world has changed. Previously, it was more distant; now it is more pastoral. Bishops tell me they feel a lot more listened to.”

There have been calls to translate documents and even to speak on Vatican Radio as he reconnects with contacts from his years on the Pontifical Council for Culture. “What I learned there above all else was the need to work for unity in the Church at all costs. There are so many differences around the world.”

From there, he went to St Gallen in Switzerland as deputy general secretary of the Council for European Bishops’ Conferences – an experience that served him well when, in 2007, he returned to his home diocese and “focused on the Church’s contribution to Liverpool’s year as the European Capital of Culture.”

It has been a long road travelled by a man brought up in Kirkdale, in St John’s parish. “I went from there to St Francis Xavier’s College in Woolton, and that was as big a culture shock as leaving England and coming to Rome. It meant going from a parish school in a working-class area to a school with very academic expectations and an outlook on the world and history that was very different from what I had at home. really appreciated the Jesuit priests. wondered why such highly qualified men were dedicating their lives to the likes of me.”

When he travelled from Gatwick to Rome in 1971 to start his seminary education, he flew with a fellow SFX boy, Paul Gallagher, now an archbishop and the Pope’s Secretary for Relations with States and International Organisations. Together they were ordained by Archbishop Derek Worlock at the Metropolitan Cathedral in 1977, on the feast of St Ignatius Loyola.

He spent his first years after ordination as assistant priest at St Cuthbert’s, Pemberton, while in the early 90s, he was parish priest at St Raphael’s, Widnes. A more recent Liverpool placing was as an Aintree Hospital chaplain from 2016-20. “Working on the chaplaincy team there was the most priestly job I’ve done,” he reflects, “particularly during the first wave of Covid.”

Yet now he is in Rome once more, and teaching again for the first time since a period in the 2010s at St Mary’s College, Oscott. “I’m meeting people from all around the world and that was always one of the great things about working and studying here. The worldwide character of the Church hits you in the face really.

“It’s been a great privilege to work in five seminaries over the years and help people to form their ideas about the world and the Church. But then feel very privileged to have done so many things.”

Rededication of Cathedral Organ

Music has played a vital role in the life of the Metropolitan Cathedral since its consecration in 1967, when an enviable musical tradition was set in place by Philip and Terence Duffy, respectively the first Master of Music and Organist. Central to music-making in the cathedral is the grand organ, built by the English organ builders J W Walker & Sons and whose distinctive façade was designed by the cathedral architect, Sir Frederick Gibberd.

At precisely the time the organ was being built in our cathedral, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council (in the liturgical constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium) re-affirmed the importance of pipe organs, stating that ‘in the Latin Church, the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things.’

Our cathedral organ has served the cathedral community very well since the late 1960s. In 2021, work began on a once-in-a-generation refurbishment, carried out by Harrison & Harrison, organ builders based in Durham.

The organ restoration project involved the removal, cleaning, and restoration of each of its 4,565 pipes, as well as modifying the location of parts of the organ. The failing winding system was upgraded, and new digital electronic technology was installed, unlocking hidden potential previously unafforded to the Walkers because of the restrictions of the original layout.

Cathedral Record

Since the end of October, the initial work to strip out the Piazza Visitor Centre and check the extent of the damage to the building has been on hold.

During the Summer/ Autumn of 2024, we are delighted to be celebrating the return of our restored grand organ with a series of concerts and events which will demonstrate the versatility of the instrument.

On Sunday 12 May (the eve of the 57th anniversary of the dedication of the cathedral) the Archbishop of Liverpool, the Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP, will rededicate the organ during the office of Choral Evening Prayer at 15.00, which will be followed by the opening recital, played by the internationally renowned organist Martin Baker. There will also be an opportunity to hear those involved in the restoration of the organ talk about the challenges and successes of the work over the last few years.

Throughout this inaugural season, the organ can be heard in a variety of contexts. Recitals by Katherine DienesWilliams (Organist of the Metropolitan Cathedral 1994-1997) and internet sensation Matthew Walters, sit alongside a concert given by Liverpool’s two cathedral choirs with Professor Ian Tracey (Organist of Liverpool Cathedral). The instrument will also feature in SaintSaëns’ Organ Symphony, played by our own cathedral organist Richard Lea.

Full details of all of these events will be published at Easter and sent to all parishes in the archdiocese. We would be delighted to see you on Sunday 12 May at 15.00 as we officially rededicate the grand organ of our Metropolitan Cathedral.

For the last few months, the boarded-up site has been left open to the weather with nothing happening. Every day people are asking what is going to happen to the site, and up until now, I haven’t been able to give anyone a definitive answer as to whether the building would be repaired and returned to how it was, or whether a bigger scheme was to take place to provide more facilities from the street level leading up to the cathedral.

The Diocesan Trustees have now approved a concept scheme for a larger Welcome Centre, which takes the visitor to the cathedral from the street level at the corner of Mount Pleasant up to the lower foyer in the cathedral.

Within this larger centre, we would be able to provide a more straightforward accessible route from the street level to the cathedral, a more coordinated welcome to visitors, a café with a garden outlook, and a larger gift shop, as well as other facilities. This will be a much more exciting project than the replacement/ repair of the existing visitor centre.

The downsides are that it will cost considerably more, with the cathedral being desperately short of funds, and it will take longer to complete. However, the end result will be a much-improved set of facilities that will be worthy of our unique and much-visited cathedral and provide suitable facilities that will last long into the future. Some initial works will start to take place on-site soon in preparation for the full planning application later in the year.

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Care for Creation

Plastic: friend or foe?

If we look around our homes, it will take only seconds to identify items which either include or are made of plastic.

It’s an extremely useful, highly versatile material and is found everywhere. First developed in the 1920s and 30s, largescale plastic production dates from the 1950s. Scientists estimate that 8.3 billion tons of plastic were produced between 1950 and 2015 - some have suggested that the 20th and 21st centuries should be called the ‘Plastic Age’ - but as we know, this miracle substance has become a disastrous material.

Plastic is a component in many goods including packaging, containers, building and construction products, fishing gear, and personal care products (toothpaste, shampoo, make-up), to name but a few. It is long-lasting - and therein lies the problem: it can take hundreds to thousands of years to decompose. Consequently, it accumulates in the environment with potential harm to plants, animals, and possibly even human life (although, to date, evidence for the latter is limited).

Walk along any stretch of the River Mersey after a high tide and it will soon become apparent just how much plastic waste has made its way to the river. From there, it will be delivered to the oceans. It is estimated that 80% of plastic in oceans comes from land-based sources.

In 1997 Charles Moore, a racing boat captain, was sailing from Hawaii to California. He began to notice that the sea resembled a cloudy soup containing a lot of plastic. He had encountered what became known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Atlantic. This vast ocean area, three times the size of France, contains different types and sizes of plastic. However, 94% of the waste is what are known as microplastics, tiny plastic pieces with a diameter less than 5 mm: that’s smaller than your little fingernail. These microplastics are formed by the breakdown of larger pieces. They are of much concern as they are ingested by sea creatures and can become part of the human food chain. Media regularly present images of birds and whales that have died due to plastic accumulation in their guts. In 2022, scientists estimated that a blue whale, the largest creature on

earth, could ingest 10 million microplastic pieces, amounting to 95 pounds of plastic waste.

We, rightly, have concerns for Planet Ocean, but recently microplastics have also been found in soils. These are less well-known because, of course, they are not as visible as those in the sea. Sources of these include agricultural films, sewage sludge applied to land, coatings on fertilisers, plastic grass, and windblown or fly-tipped materials. So far, the impact of these soil microplastics is not as well understood. We do not even know how long they take to break down in soil. Over the last decade, research has suggested their presence in the soil might affect the germination of crop plants, may be toxic to soil microorganisms and animals, or could influence the water-holding ability of soils. There remains much to be discovered.

Evidence of oceans and soils polluted with plastic, and the time taken for them to decompose, could induce a sense of depression and impotence. Can really influence what is out there? But there is good news. At the Fifth United Nations Environment Assembly in 2022, 193 UN Member States agreed on an aim to end plastic pollution. In May last year, the United Nations Environment Programme published a report entitled ‘Turning off the Tap’. This report offers hope for reducing plastic use and waste by 2040. To reduce our own impact, we can start by checking where plastic is in our lives.

Jaguar TCS Racing drivers inspire Liverpool students

Jaguar TCS Racing drivers Mitch Evans and Nick Cassidy recently visited The Academy of St Nicholas in Liverpool, whic is part of the JLR Schools Partnership Programme, in close proximity to JLR’s manufacturing site in Halewood.

The JLR Schools Partnership programme, which launched in October last year, is focused on improving opportunities for groups underrepresented in the industry including young females, pupils from challenging socio-economic backgrounds and those with English as a second language, creating a pipeline of talent to build JLR’s next generation of modern luxury vehicles.

Jaguar TCS Racing are actively supporting the JLR Schools Partnership programme with term-time seminars and assemblies. In addition to an exclusive Q&A with the racing drivers, students were introduced to Formula E to the students, and received an insight into the varied roles available within motorsport and JLR.

As part of Jaguar TCS Racing’s mission, ‘Race to Inspire’, the team is committed to inspiring the future generation by creating meaningful impact in communities both across the UK and in the cities in which they race.

Mitch Evans, Jaguar TCS Racing Driver #9, said: “The students asked some great questions, so I hope we have left them

feeling inspired and motivated to explore a potential career in motorsport or JLR.”

Mr Gary Lloyd, headteacher of The Academy of St Nicholas, said: “Our students, and students from our partner school, The Academy of St Francis of Assisi, enjoyed having the opportunity to speak with racing driver, Nick Cassidy, whilst learning more about the team and the exciting careers within the company and the sport.

“Our young people are feeling inspired and informed by the JLR Schools Partnership programme and we look forward to a long lasting partnership with the team.”

Plastic bags, bottle caps, drink bottles, Styrofoam single-use cups, and plastic packaging all seem to be part of life today, but we can try going plastic-free.

CAFOD suggest trying to be plasticfree for a week, a month or even longer. Supermarkets now charge for plastic bags, which encourages the practice of reusing existing plastic bags, or taking non-plastic bags when we shop. We can check food packaging and avoid anything wrapped in single-use plastic. Perhaps there are refill opportunities near where you live. We can check if our local authority recycles plastic. Increasingly, main supermarkets are collecting clean ‘soft’ plastic, and some recycling centres will collect ‘hard’ plastic. If drinking on the go is your thing, change to travel mugs or similar. It will not be possible to make our lives entirely plastic-free, but just becoming more aware will help to minimise the negative impacts of this material on the natural and human world.

In 2018, in a letter to business leaders on the 4th World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Pope Francis urged, “We cannot allow our seas and oceans to be littered by endless fields of floating plastic.”

We can pray part of the prayer in Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’: God, bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.

All Saints Multi Academy Trust welcome two new schools

All Saints Multi Academy Trust (ASMAT) has announced that The Federation of St Mary’s Catholic Schools has joined its growing family of schools.

Located in Newton-le-Willows, The Federation of St Mary’s Catholic Schools is made up of a two-form entry infant school and a junior school. The schools will be known as St Mary’s Catholic Infant Academy and St Mary’s Catholic Junior Academy. The infant school, situated on Barn Way, caters for children aged 3-7 across the nursery provision and reception, Year 1 and Year 2 classes. The junior school, located on Victoria Road, caters for children aged 7-11, with two classes for Years 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Joining ASMAT will offer the infant and junior schools access to valuable resources, expertise, and endless collaborative opportunities that will contribute to the schools’ growth and success.

The trust is proudly sponsored by both the Diocese and Archdiocese of Liverpool and is inspired by the ecumenical vision of Bishop David Sheppard and Archbishop Derek Worlock of how communities are ‘stronger and better together’. Mrs Samantha Birchall, executive headteacher of St Mary’s Catholic Infant Academy and St Marys’ Catholic Junior Academy, commented: “We are committed to building great opportunities for our children, families, and our community, and together with All Saints Multi Academy Trust, we are looking forward to a bright and promising future.”

Mrs Heather Duggan, CEO of ASMAT, said: “We look forward to working together to support the schools’ ambition of creating a learning community that enables every child to fulfil their potential.”

The Academy of St Francis of Assisi, The Academy of St Nicholas, All Saints Sixth Form College, St Margaret’s Church of England Academy, Hope Academy and Faith Primary Academy in Liverpool, also form part of ASMAT.

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Holy Family Catholic Multi Academy Trust appoints director of people and HR

Wirral-based multi academy trust, Holy Family Catholic Multi Academy Trust (HFCMAT), has announced Laura Morton will be joining the trust as the new director of people and human resources (HR).

Laura, who has worked in HR for over 20 years, joins the trust from a global organisation that provided legal, medical and technology services where she acted as head of HR for nine years.

Laura’s career began when she started providing admin support to HR teams.

After discovering a real interest and passion for HR, Laura took on additional opportunities to advance her knowledge which culminated in her securing her post-graduate and master’s degree in HR.

During her time as a HR business partner, Laura worked with 47 schools across Wirral, Liverpool, Manchester and Kirklees, and she quickly discovered a real interest in the education sector.

The director of people and HR role will see Laura spearhead recruitment, training and development opportunities, company culture, employee relations and talent acquisition across the trust.

Laura will also be responsible for maintaining a positive working culture that promotes productivity, creativity, innovation, and growth.

When asked what attracted her to the trust, Laura said: “After nine years in my previous role, I was really keen to take on a new challenge when saw the job vacancy for HFCMAT.

“I truly felt that the trust’s values aligned with my own, something that was really important to me.”

Six schools are part of the HFCMAT, including St John Plessington Catholic College in Bebington, St Mary’s Catholic College in Wallasey, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Oxton, St Bernard’s Catholic Primary School in Ellesmere

Port, St Augustine’s Primary School in Runcorn, and Our Lady of Pity Catholic Primary School in Greasby.

Maricourt takes on the Big Apple

Students and staff at Maricourt Catholic High School in Maghull had a brilliant time after their jam-packed visit to New York in the USA.

With all the hustle and bustle of the busy location, staff said one of the most memorable things of the whole trip was seeing students’ friendships grow.

A variety of famous New York landmarks were covered on the trip, including Grand Central Station the Statue of Liberty; the Immigration Museum; the 9/11 Memorial Museum; Brooklyn Bridge; the Empire State Building; the Rockerfeller Centre; Times Square; The Edge, and Ellen’s Stardust Diner - to name a few!

Many students used their free time to take selfies with the iconic landmarks, while others enjoyed the glorious view of the Manhattan skyline.

On the evening of the first day, staff and students enjoyed a meal at the Hard Rock Cafe. Getting to the cafe was a journey in itself for the cohort, who had to dodge the X-men and minions in Times Square who were trying to pose for photos.

The second evening, everyone enjoyed a Broadway performance of Harry Potter. Students had mixed reviews, largely depending on the level of Harry Potter fandom.

On the final day, the group visited St Patrick’s Cathedral in time to observe the Sunday Mass for a while. They then continued their walk along 5th Avenue to Central Park. There was plenty of free time to wander round the park, visit the hotel from Home Alone, and browse the shops (Tiffanys & Co and Lego seemed to be popular choices).

The trip back was less chatter and a lot more sleeping. Staff said they learnt a lot about their students as fantastic young people – as ‘sometimes teaching and learning does not take place in a classroom in a lesson’.

Innovative Chapel building unveiled at Hope Primary School

Hope Primary School in Huyton, Liverpool, and Baltic Bespoke, a leading name in innovative outbuilding solutions, have proudly announced the completion of a bespoke chapel for the school. This building was constructed on an unused balcony at the school, providing a dedicated space for Religious Education (RE) and a versatile environment for collective worship, fostering a comfortable and quiet space for children to connect with their faith through activities such as music, conversation, and prayer.

Headteacher of Hope Primary School, John Casson’s, visionary approach focused on maximising the available area and asking the pivotal question, ‘What is possible?’. The result is a timber frame building that sets a precedent for future innovative educational spaces.

John Casson said: “At Hope Primary, we are a proud faith school, and everything we do is underpinned by our approach to learning and worship. This new chapel provides us with a modern, warm and welcoming space at the heart of the school, dedicated to expressing and exploring our faith.

“The timber frame construction offers a cost-effective, adaptable, and sustainable solution, addressing the budgetary constraints faced by many schools. Additionally, the quick nature of the build minimises disruption to school life.”

Upon seeing the finished space, the school’s chaplain, Rebecca Richardson was moved to tears, emphasising the emotional impact and significance of the new chapel for the children and the community.

Francis Eades, managing director at Baltic Bespoke, expressed his excitement about the project and the possibilities it opens up for future endeavors. “We are thrilled to have been a part of this transformative project at Hope Primary School. It pushes the boundaries of conventional design and construction, showcasing what is possible when we step out of our comfort zone and test our expertise.”

Our Lady Star of the Sea community go from couch to 5k

Parents, carers, staff and older children at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School in Seaforth commenced a 10-week programme called ‘Couch to 5k’ in January 2024.

The sessions are held after school and are well attended. Running is an excellent way to keep physically and mentally fit, and the programme helps to build stamina over time, whether somebody is a complete beginner or looking to start again after a break.

Year 5 teacher, Mrs Edey, and Year 6 teacher, Mr Wilson Maher, have been leading the sessions.

Turn out has been fantastic, despite the cold January evenings at the beginning.

The first session was held 23 January, and notwithstanding the cold, dark and strong winds, the participants persevered and returned the following week, when the rain did not deter them. Each week the group has continued to attend, increasing their fitness levels. At the beginning of March the daylight hours extended and the group progressed to Rimrose Valley, where they were finally running non-stop for 20 minutes.

The school is very proud of the achievement and is looking forward to cheering the group on to complete the 5k goal.

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Faith Primary Academy pupils complete 6-week fire rescue course

Year 5 and 6 pupils from Faith Primary Academy have recently completed The Beacon Project programme, in association with Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service.

The unique programme, designed for children who will soon transition to secondary school, is a great way to learn practical skills such as hose drills, using breathing apparatus, hydrant skills, search and rescue techniques, as well as other community safety awareness skills.

The course encourages team building amongst the children and includes energiser and communication tasks.

During the programme, pupils had the opportunity to meet and work alongside firefighters at numerous fire service locations, including Kirkdale Community Fire Station, the Training and Development Academy and the Marine Rescue Unit.

As well as practical activities and problem-solving games, pupils took part in interactive sessions around safety, including home fire safety, road safety and first aid awareness.

In the final week, children participated in a simulated house fire drill, where they each had their own specific roles for the drill. They were able to put to use all the invaluable training and new skills they had learnt.

The culmination of the course featured a pass-out parade which was attended by parents, carers, and fire service personnel. Each pupil was presented with a framed completion certificate, along with a first aid certificate to recognise their newfound skills and knowledge.

Deputy headteacher of Faith Primary Academy, Miss Danielle Fox, said: “A huge thank you to Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service for delivering such a fantastic learning experience. This initiative not only equips our children with vital knowledge and practical skills that could potentially be life-saving, but also fosters teamwork and the development of essential communication skills.”

Charlie Hughes, from Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, commented: “We are extremely proud of the pupils from Faith Primary Academy. They have worked hard in each session and picked up new skills quickly. We hope they can continue to use their new skills and experiences as they progress through life.”

St Cuthbert’s students ‘build bridges’ on residential retreat

67 Year 8 students from St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School had a fabulous time at a residential visit to Savio house in January. The theme of the retreat was ‘building bridges.’

The young people were challenged to go out of their comfort zone by participating in a number of different large group and small group activities. Some of the activities they took part in included drama, games, competitions, music workshops, making their own haka (a variety of Māori ceremonial dance), a hike to sightsee White Nancy in Bollington, and a disco.

The programme was carefully designed to help students build bridges as a group and to consider how they can build bridges within their families, in school and in the wider world.

The Year 8s were encouraged to think about how they can repair and build a bridge between others, themselves and God through experiencing the Sacrament of Reconciliation through prayer and meditation and by planning and preparing a very special group Mass that everyone contributed to.

The St Cuthbert’s students were able to ‘live life in all its fullness’ whilst on the retreat. Staff hope that the students’ experiences will stay with them and help them to grow and build bridges now and in the future.

One student said: “I had a brilliant time at Savio House. really enjoyed getting to know other people and taking part in many fun

activities. I felt like I could really be me myself at Savio because it gave me the confidence to share my talents and gifts.

“I especially loved taking part in the drama at Mass and going in the games room to socialise with my friends. The disco was also good fun.’

St Francis Xavier’s Catholic Academy joins SJCMAT

The historical and prestigious St Francis Xavier’s Catholic Academy has become the latest academy to join St Joseph Catholic Multi Academy Trust.

Situated in Woolton, Liverpool, SFX holds the distinction of being the oldest Catholic day school in England, established in 1842. Maintaining its significance within the local community, the academy upholds the mission and charism of its founder, Jean Marie de la Mennais, which is ‘to make Jesus better known and loved.’

When asked about his thoughts of this new partnership, Mr David Hayes, the headteacher of St. Francis Xavier’s, said: “Moving from a standalone academy to being part of a Trust will bring greater resources and access to wider development and collaboration. This will allow our leaders and governors to focus on the main responsibility of ensuring a world-class Catholic education for our students.”

Regarding the knowledge and expertise that SFX will contribute to SJCMAT, David said:

“SFX is a large school with many experienced staff, so we look forward to sharing our capacity and resources for the greater good of the Trust family. As the first Liverpool-based secondary

school, we hope to share our knowledge of the local landscape and student body.”

In terms of changes for students and families upon SFX joining SJCMAT, David added:

“Our name will change slightly, as will our website, but we will remain SFX with our distinct culture and ethos. For students and families, they will know that beyond the care and ambition that we already hold for them, they will also be part of a wider family with the same absolute focus.”

Commenting on the addition of the new academy, SJCMAT’s Director of School Improvement, Michael Gun-Why, said:

“SFX is a prestigious school with a long and venerable history. We are excited to welcome it into our Trust, alongside Notre Dame Catholic College, as our first Liverpool-based secondary schools and first sixth forms. We look forward to the large staff and pupil body joining SJCMAT and know that they will bring expertise to our Trust in many areas; this will increase our capacity as a trust to work collaboratively in our secondary phase. We know SFX will make a huge contribution to our Trust over the coming weeks, months, and years.”

St John Bosco Arts College students secure an impressive second place at prestigious STEM Challenge

Teigan and Maisie, students from St John Bosco Arts College in Croxteth, recently secured an impressive second place in the prestigious Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Northwest Challenge.

The STEM Northwest Challenge, hosted at the University of Manchester, provides a platform for students across the Northwest to explore STEM topics and develop essential and transferrable skills such as teamwork and problem-solving.

The event, which aims to showcase the importance of STEM-based subjects and how these can help shape the future workforce, welcomed eight teams of students from schools across the Northwest.

The tough competition saw the two Bosco students join forces with students from Calday Grange Grammar School to represent Merseyside. The team were tasked with programming a robot to work out its way around a maze. The maze, which got progressively more challenging as the robot faced new obstacles, presented an opportunity for the students to think reactively and work together to solve problems.

Colour and sound sensors were used to help navigate the maze and its many obstacles. Teigan and Maisie completed a series of tests to assess why something failed and developed solutions to resolve the issues.

Once the testing phase was completed, Teigan and Maisie’s robot had to race against the opposing team’s robots to claim the winning spot. After narrowly missing out on first place, both students were commended by the event organisers for demonstrating excellent teamwork.

Teigan said: “The whole experience was great, but it was challenging from the start. It was exciting when we overcame each challenge and obstacle; it was like lots of mini-wins!”

After being awarded second place, both students shared how proud they were of the achievement. Maisie said: “We were awarded our certificate by the head of computer science at the University of Manchester, who shook our hand and congratulated us; it was an incredible experience. We were so happy.”

The students explained how their science teacher, Mr Kirk, was the driving force behind them entering the esteemed competition. Teigan said: “Mr Kirk, our science teacher, encouraged us to get involved. The prospect of competing among the top schools in the region sounded really exciting.”

Mr Edwards, the science technician at St John Bosco Arts College, attended the event with Teigan and Maisie, he said: “Teigan and Maisie represented the school incredibly. They demonstrated impressive skills and impeccable manners; they should be very proud.

“They worked collectively as a team, and with their knowledge of computer science and the rapid advancements of AI, we know that the future is in safe hands with such clever minds.”

Both students shared how the experience helped boost their confidence and that they would encourage other students to take part in similar competitions.

Speaking on the achievement, headteacher at St John Bosco Arts College, Mr Darren Gidman, said: “We are committed to supporting each of our students to access new opportunities that challenge them to go outside their comfort zone and learn new skills.

“A massive congratulations to Teigan and Maisie for this incredible achievement.”

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St Aloysius students inspired during National Careers Week

To celebrate National Careers Week, St Aloysius Catholic Primary School wanted to develop the children’s knowledge of a range of careers that they could pursue in the future.

Throughout the week, the school welcomed over 35 visitors from a wide range of professions, including hairdressers, electricians, football players and coaches, skin care professionals, property directors and even an MP.

The children were able to ask questions about their careers, find out what their jobs entail and how they got to where they are now. The sessions were interactive with the children engaging in a wide range of activities.

The feedback was very positive. Following a visit from a probation officer, one child said: “It was a career I’ve never heard of before, but I felt really inspired and think could do that job when I’m older.”

PSHE lead of St Aloysius, Miss Colfar, said: “I’m so proud of how our children have embraced the week and represented our school. They are all eager to find out more about new career paths and know that the knowledge and skills they are learning now, will help them to achieve their dream career.

“We hope to build on this each year, introducing even more careers that they haven’t considered before.”

Headteacher of the school, Miss Wrigley, said:, “The impact for our children has been phenomenal and they know that we

all have different talents and qualities and there are a range of opportunities and paths to achieve their career goals when they are older.

“Our visitors have commented on how knowledgeable our children now are, the thoughtful questions they asked, and how eager and engaged they were during every session. We are so proud of our children and how amazingly they represent St Aloysius!”

Fundraising for CAFOD with St Bernadette’s Lenten Markets

Throughout Lent, the community of St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School in Shevington have been coming together to take part in the annual school tradition of the ‘St Bernadette’s Lenten Markets’.

With support and commitment from parents and staff, the children have been designing and running stalls with homemade crafts, delectable treats and activities for everyone to take part in.

This year has seen the best ideas yet – from nail painting, beat the goalie, milkshake-making to a ‘Guess the Name of the Teddy’ competition. The Lenten Markets provide an opportunity for children from nursery upwards to embrace the true essence of Lent by supporting those in need, locally and globally.

The funds raised during the markets support CAFOD’s mission of alleviating poverty, promoting sustainable development, and providing humanitarian aid to communities worldwide.

Helen Crowder, headteacher of the school, said: “Each year, we see a growing number of children with the confidence to come forward with their own fundraising ideas. Seeing these ideas through to fruition involves determination, planning and hard work.”

One Year 6 pupil, Izzy, said the markets were important as they ‘help raise money for charity’.

The children also host a talent show during Lent, which provides a platform for them to showcase their diverse talents.

In addition to the successful fundraising efforts, St Bernadette’s is pleased to announce the school received the highest accolade of ‘Outstanding’ in its recent Catholic Schools Inspection, following a thorough evaluation of the school ethos. This achievement is a testament to the dedication of the school’s staff; the resilience of its children and the support from parents and governors.

The report states: ‘The community is well known by staff due to a dedication, commitment and sense of pride in putting the pupils and their families first. This frequently involves many selfless acts from the staff.’ we are privileged to be able to work with such remarkable young people”.

St Mary’s College Preparatory School rated ‘outstanding’ by Archdiocese

Christian Education Department inspectors from the Archdiocese of Liverpool visited St Mary’s College Preparatory School last year and gave it an ‘outstanding’ grading for the Catholic education it provides.

According to their report, the outstanding features include staff who offer ‘a culture of welcome to all’ and provide ‘a loving, caring environment where every pupil has the chance to thrive and develop their own unique talents’.

The inspectors also say that ‘the behaviour of pupils is outstanding - they are articulate, religiously literate and supportive of each other’.

This is reinforced by the fact that ‘all stakeholders speak highly of the family atmosphere that exists within the school’.

Other factors singled out for praise include leadership at the school, with the headmaster, Jonathan Webster, and subject leader for religious education, Paula Walton, described as ‘aspirational in their vision’.

The inspectors were also impressed with pupils’ links with charities and the local community, and the fact that parents

‘are overwhelmingly positive in their comments about the ethos of the school’.

Elsewhere they say that the overall quality of teaching, learning and assessment is ‘outstanding’ while in lessons ‘pupils are highly engaged, reflective and speak with confidence about their under-standing’.

Commenting on the findings St Mary’s Prep headmaster, Jonathan Webster, said: “Developing the moral and spiritual life of pupils is a fundamental element in this approach and we are very pleased

that the inspectors recognised that this is at the heart of everything we do as a school.”

Mr Webster added that while most pupils at St Mary’s Preparatory School are Catholics, the school also welcomes children of other faiths or none, and their contribution to the school’s spiritual and moral life is equally valued.

St. Mary’s College Preparatory School is holding an Open Morning on Wednesday 24th April, 9am - 12pm.

St Matthew’s ignites passion of reading with brand new school library

St Matthew’s Catholic Primary School held the grand opening of its brand-new school library on 8 March.

The ceremony was graced by a special blessing from Reverend Deacon R Burke, the school’s chair of governors. The momentous occasion was attended by families, governors, and the school council, marking a significant milestone in the school’s commitment to fostering a love for learning.

The library, a vibrant hub of knowledge and imagination, has been meticulously designed to provide a welcoming and inspiring space for students to explore the world of literature. With an extensive collection of books spanning various genres and subjects, the library aims to ignite a passion for reading and support the academic growth of St Matthew’s students.

Mrs Sime, headteacher of St Matthew’s Catholic Primary School, said: “We are thrilled to celebrate the grand opening of our new school library, a space that will undoubtedly become the heart of learning for our students.

“This achievement is a testament to the dedication of our school community, and we were honoured to have Reverend Deacon Ronnie join us to bless this space. We believe that the library

will not only enhance academic achievements but also foster a lifelong love for reading and learning.”

A special cake was baked in honour by the school’s very own Mrs Clarke, and families were invited after school for visits.

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St Mary’s Catholic College celebrate National Careers Week

St Mary’s Catholic College in Wallasey participated in National Careers Week, which saw it arrange a wealth of careers-focused activities and challenges for students.

As part of a major careers-related learning initiative, St Mary’s combined National Careers Week with Enterprise Week.

All students were able to engage in ‘inspire time’, where they worked on their career passports to self-assess their current skills and identify their strengths.

Teachers at St Mary’s used timetabled lessons to showcase the curriculum to careers link, highlighting the relevancy of each subject to the world of work.

Enterprise Week involved year groups that were taken off timetabled lessons for a whole day each to participate in The National Career Challenge, hosted each day by four facilitators from The International Learning Group, based in the Midlands.

Each year group worked studiously in small teams before presenting their ideas to a judging panel similar to the hit TV show Dragon’s Den. The judges then selected the winning team based on the ideas they had presented.

Each team was offered the opportunity to compete in the National Careers Challenge finals at Doncaster Racecourse later this year.

Just last year, a team of Year 8 students from St Mary’s were victorious and crowned the National Careers Challenges winners at the event in the final in Birmingham.

Headteacher at St Mary’s Catholic College, Mr Kevin Maddocks, said: “Careers education forms an integral part of our curriculum, and ensuring our students understand what pathways are available to them and how they can use their skills in the workplace is vital.

“We are extremely proud of the students who participated in the National Careers Challenge. They each represented the school incredibly well, with some fantastic ideas presented to the judging panel.”

St John Rigby College is judged ‘outstanding’ again by Ofsted

St John Rigby College in Wigan proudly retained its ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating, which was first achieved in 2017.

Highlights from the report include recognition of the highly motivated students at St John Rigby College, an unwavering commitment to provide high quality education, and a culture built on kindness, mutual respect, and high expectations.

The section of the report entitled ‘What does the provider do well and what does it need to do better?’, does not state any areas where the college should improve. This reinforces the sentiment from staff, students, and inspectors that St John Rigby College is most definitely an ‘Outstanding College’.

Some comments in the report included how students at the school do exeptionally well and that students with ‘high needs’ feel staff help them to become the best version of themselves.

Principal of St John Rigby, Peter McGhee CBE, commented:

“I am delighted for our staff, students, and the communities that we serve, that St John Rigby College has once again been judged to be outstanding by Ofsted, just as it was in 2017.

“The same judgement was reached in November 2023 by the Catholic Inspectorate, who were also extremely impressed by the culture of respect and the high standards of teaching that are part of the daily life at our college.

“The high ambitions which we have for our students were recognised across all areas of the Ofsted report, including the quality of education, students’ personal development, and their exemplary behaviour and attitudes to learning.

The outcome of this inspection is testament to the relentless hard work and dedication of our exceptional staff and students. We have now been recognised as a beacon of educational excellence in this region over an extended period of time.. .”

A season of renewal

It is good for us that this time of year is traditionally the time when we have the fewest mission and retreat bookings. It allows us to plan for some of the bigger events we know will be coming in the summer term: Lourdes, the Faith in Action awards, Confirmation preparation, and the usual summer-term retreats and missions. But, just as importantly as allowing time for that planning, it also allows us to remember why we do this work in the first place.

Lent gives us some valuable space to spend in the chapel in the house, to pray together more, to spend time together, and to just take a step back and remember the purpose of being a community and working with young people across the archdiocese.

It is always one of the quirks of writing this monthly article that you are writing at a different time, and often season, than when the article will be read. And never is this more evident than when writing this in the midst of a dark and fairly cold Lent when you know people will be reading it with Easter close.

You will either have managed to get through Lent with your fasting intact, or you may have succumbed to the odd chocolate bar or glass of wine. But the end is in sight – or may well even have come and gone.

I think we all know that Lent is about more than just getting through it all, though. That would make Lent the equivalent of a diet plan or a season of self-help: you do it to get through it. But Lent has to be more than that. It is, of course, a chance to renew both our relationship with God and with each other. And suppose there must be as many ways of doing that as there are individuals.

One thing about living in a community here at Animate is that, in the house, we can all have our own individual ways of living Lent. But we also try to come together as a community to reflect on the season and how we can best turn our eyes back to the Lord.

We still have a few more weeks of Lent left as write this, but I hope we have been spending our time in this great season wisely. Life, and our journey of faith, are always going to be a pilgrimage, with the destination only being reached when we come face to face with the Lord. So it is difficult to say if our Lent here has been successful – in the way you can define a diet or a self-help plan as a success.

But I would like to think it has, at the very least, moved us forward on that pilgrimage. And I suppose that is at the heart of this season and why it will always be different to something that we simply endure and get through as painlessly as possible.

As dark and as grim as the days outside the house might have been in these last weeks of February – and so the first few weeks of Lent – there has always been the promise of light and hope in the future. There is the literal light of the summer months, but for us, there is always the light of the Risen Christ to look forward to. And if we have managed to do Lent as well as we can then that promise will mean more when the day of Easter comes around.

I hope and pray that your Lent has been what you needed it to be. And that it has allowed you to take that step forward on your own pilgrimage. And, if that is the case, I also hope that you enjoy the fruits of the season with a truly celebratory Easter time.

In short, it has been amazing working with so many different young people so far in 2023/24 and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store for us at Animate.

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Mums the Word

I hope you have had a lovely and Blessed Easter. The days are now getting longer and brighter and we hope summer will soon be on the way.

We have come to the end of our Lenten journey and celebrated Christ’s Resurrection. We also welcomed new adults into our faith, when they received the Sacrament of Baptism at the Easter Vigil Mass. Their next Sacrament will be Holy Communion, followed by Confirmation.

Our next celebration in the Church’s calendar is Pentecost, which is the final day of the Easter season when the Holy Spirit came down on the Apostles gathered around the table. Priests wear red vestments, which symbolise the tongues of fire that descended on the disciples from the Holy Spirit. It is also a time for us to renew our faith and rejoice.

Our next bi-monthly Mass will be held at Saint Joseph’s, Penketh, on Tuesday 28 May. Prior to that, our AGM this year will be held at St George’s parish, Maghull, on Saturday 20 April, commencing with lunch at 12pm followed by the meeting at 1pm. That will be followed by Mass in the parish church at 3pm. I hope to see as many of you there as possible.

A century of service News from the Liverpool Province of the Knights of St Columba

National Action Project 2022 - 2024

In October 2022, the Knights of Saint Columba embarked on a twoyear project to support the Colombia-based charity ‘Let the Children Live!’. We are now in the final year of the project and wish to again draw attention to this worthy project.

The work supported by ‘Let the Children Live!’ in the city of Medellin is based at Casa Walsingham, a day centre for boys and girls at high social risk. A dedicated team of teachers, psychologists and social workers operate with the children, who are divided into groups according to their particular needs.

Many of the children are undernourished and rely on the meals provided at the centre. Some have special educational needs and are in danger of dropping out of school, so they are given the extra support needed to prevent this.

Others have health problems and are helped to obtain treatment. The Catholic children are prepared for their Baptism or First Communion.

A GoFundMe has been set up to support our appeal, with various fundraising events arranged to reach our target of £20,000. If you would like to sponsor a child for any of the amounts below, just go to the GoFundMe page to donate:

• £50 would provide daily lunch and a healthy snack for one child at Casa Walsingham for one month.

• £25 would pay for one child’s bus fares to and from Casa Walsingham for one month.

• £10 would buy a school pack for one child of primary age.

Spiritual Bouquet 2024

As previously reported, the KSC have organised a Spiritual Bouquet for 2024 and upcoming dates of note are:

• 20 May – National pilgrimage to Walsingham

• 24 June – 40 hours’ Adoration

• 15 July – Glastonbury pilgrimage

• 10 September – Carfin pilgrimage

News from the councils

• Council 146, Southport – recent fund-raising activities include a family quiz and a hot-pot supper. A day’s retreat is planned for June to visit the Monastery of Our Lady of Hyning near Carnforth.

• Council 584, Liverpool – A day’s retreat is planned for August, with places available.

• Council 9, Liverpool – conducted a pulpit appeal in February for new members at the Nigerian Mass at St Clare’s. This was well received with a return visit planned for the near future.

If you would like further information on any of the above, please contact me at the following email:

Phil Woods, Provincial Publicity Officer



Supporting Our Future Now

Our new and exciting initiativeOur Future Now - aims to create opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, including employment and skill development, memorable experiences, providing accommodation to individuals like care leavers or those who may be survivors of domestic abuse, and addressing all types of poverty across Merseyside.

We fundraise throughout the year to support the work done by Nugent. By participating in the Arctic Challenge adventure, you are not only challenging yourself but also making a positive impact in our communities as all funds raised will contribute to Nugent’s Our Future Now project.St Basil’s Catholic Primary School for welcoming us!”

Nugent Arctic Challenge

Embark on an extraordinary adventure with the Nugent Arctic Challenge, a captivating expedition set against the breathtaking backdrop of Sweden’s wilderness from the 2nd to the 9th of March 2025. Join us for a week-long exploration and survival challenge that promises not only an adrenalinepumping experience but also a chance to help those in need across Merseyside.

A Glimpse into the Arctic Adventure

This unique challenge presents a range of thrilling activities that will immerse participants in the natural wonders of the Arctic.

Husky Sledding: Take the reins and guide your team of huskies through the pristine snow-covered landscapes.

Ice Fishing: Discover the art of ice fishing as you try your hand at catching fish beneath the frozen surface.

Shelter and Snow Hole Building: Learn essential survival skills by constructing your shelters and snow holes in the challenging Arctic environment.

Two-Day Survival Phase: Cap off your adventure with a challenging two-night survival experience, testing your resilience in the Arctic wilderness.

In the wake of the Easter season, we reflect with gratitude and pride on the special moments shared with friends, family, and loved ones, and the memories we have made.

Costs and Funding Options

The Nugent Arctic Challenge offers two distinct options, ensuring flexibility for participants:

Self-Funded Option:

Contribute £1995 and raise a minimum of £1000 to cover your costs. Secure your spot with a registration fee of £100. This option provides a sense of independence, allowing participants to fund their journey through personal contributions and fundraising efforts.

Sponsorship Option:

Raise £3000, covering the entire trip cost and meeting the minimum fundraising target. Secure your place with a registration fee of £100. This option invites participants to seek support from sponsors, spreading awareness and garnering financial assistance for a meaningful cause.

Fitness and Preparation

The Arctic Challenge is open to participants of all backgrounds and fitness levels, with activities lasting 5-7 hours per day. To make the most of this adventure, consider engaging in a comprehensive training program. Activities such as walking, crosstraining, and building upper body strength are recommended. Upon registration, participants will receive tailored training programs to ensure they are well-prepared for the challenges ahead.

Join the Arctic Adventure

Embrace the call of the Arctic and be part of an adventure that transcends personal limits while supporting a meaningful cause. Sign up for the Nugent Arctic Challenge at and embark on a journey that promises excitement, self-discovery, and a lasting impact on the lives of others.

At Nugent, we recently gathered to celebrate our annual iACCORD colleague awards, a momentous occasion dedicated to honouring the remarkable individuals who embody our core values of integrity, ambition, courage, compassion, optimism, respect, and dignity. These Nugent Heroes, working tirelessly across our homes, communities, education, and family services, deserve our applause and recognition for going above and beyond for the people we support and care for.

This Easter, let us extend our appreciation to those who have supported our cause. We’ve been heartened by the generosity and enthusiasm of primary and secondary schools across the Archdiocese of Liverpool participating in the Good Shepherd Appeal. Their creative and exciting fundraising endeavours have not only been delightful to see but also instrumental in making a real difference. To all the schools who dedicated their time and contributed to this year’s appeal, we express our heartfelt thanks.

As we welcome the longer and brighter days of spring, our focus remains on continuing the vital work for those who are vulnerable and at risk within our communities. The Easter season has inspired us to carry forward the spirit of love, compassion, and service throughout the year.

Thank you for being part of our journey and for making a positive impact on the lives of those in need.

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A message to Muslims for Ramadan

Dear Muslim Sisters and Brothers,

On behalf of the Roman Catholics in Liverpool and the surrounding district I send you greetings for the month of Ramadan. This holy period of the year is about to begin. It is marked by fasting, almsgiving and special prayers. We Catholics are in the middle of Lent, a special time of preparation for the Feast of Easter. Lent is for us also a time of fasting, prayer and almsgiving. This occurrence together of Lent and Ramadan will help us to accompany you during this special time of the year, and we promise to do so. We pray that the Almighty and Merciful God may bless you all.

We pray in particular that God, among whose Most Beautiful Names is that of Peace, may comfort those who are suffering because of

the loss of dear ones or of their homes and livelihoods, and may strengthen the resolve of those who are trying to bring about peace wherever there is conflict.

And we pray that God in his mercy may increase in us a spirit of mutual understanding and collaboration to ensure justice for all throughout the nation and respect for Creation.

Message for the month of Ramadan and ‘Id al-Fitr Vatican City Extinguish the Fire of War and Light the Candle of Peace

Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters,

Once again we greet you on the occasion of the month of Ramadan with a message of closeness and friendship, aware of the importance of this month for your spiritual journey and for your family and social life, which also embraces your Christian friends and neighbours.

We are pleased to know that our yearly Message to you for Ramadan is an important means of strengthening and building good relations between Christians and Muslims, thanks to its diffusion through traditional and modern media, particularly social media. For this reason, it would be beneficial to make this Message better known among both communities.

We would have liked to share with you some considerations on a different theme from the one we have chosen to address. Yet the growing number of conflicts in these days, ranging from military combat to armed clashes of varying intensity involving states, criminal organizations, armed gangs and civilians, has become truly alarming. Pope Francis recently observed that this increase in hostilities is in fact transforming “a third world war fought piecemeal” into “a genuine global conflict”.

The causes of these conflicts are many, some long-standing, others more recent. Together with the perennial human desire for domination, geo-political ambitions and economic interests, a major cause is surely the continuing production and commerce in arms. Even as part of our human family suffers grievously from the devastating effects of the use of these arms in warfare, others cynically rejoice in the great economic profit deriving from this immoral commerce. Pope Francis has described this as dipping a morsel of bread in the blood of our brother.

At the same time, we can be thankful that we also possess immense human and religious resources for advancing peace. The desire for peace and security is profoundly rooted in the soul of every person of good will, since no one can fail to see the tragic effects of war in the loss of human lives, the toll of serious injury and the throngs of orphans and widows. The destruction of infrastructure and property makes life hopelessly difficult, if not impossible. Sometimes hundreds of thousands of people are displaced in their own country or forced to flee to other countries as refugees. Consequently, the condemnation and rejection of war should be unambiguous: every war is fratricide, useless, senseless, and dark. In war, everyone loses. Once again, in the words of Pope Francis: “No war is holy, only peace is holy”.

All religions, each in their own way, consider human life sacred and thus worthy of respect and protection. The states that permit and practise capital punishment are, fortunately, becoming fewer each year. A reawakened sense of the respect for this fundamental dignity of the gift of life will contribute to the conviction that war must be rejected and peace cherished.

Albeit with their differences, religions acknowledge the existence and the important role of conscience. Forming consciences to respect the absolute value of the life of each person and his or her right to physical integrity, security and a dignified life will likewise contribute to the condemnation and rejection of war, any war and all wars.

We look to the Almighty as God of peace, the source of peace, who in a special way loves all those who devote their lives to the service of peace. Like so many things, peace is a divine gift but at the same time the fruit of human efforts, especially in preparing the conditions necessary for its establishment and preservation.

As believers, we are also witnesses to hope, as we recalled in our 2021 Message for Ramadan: “Christians and Muslims: Witnesses of Hope”. Hope can be symbolized by a candle, whose light radiates security and joy, whereas fire, uncontrolled, can lead to the destruction of fauna and flora, infrastructure and the loss of human lives.

Dear Muslim brothers and sisters, let us join in extinguishing the fires of hatred, violence and war, and instead light the gentle candle of peace, drawing upon resources for peace that are present in our rich human and religious traditions.

May your fasting and other pious practices during Ramadan and the celebration of ‘Id al-Fitr that concludes it, bring you abundant fruits of peace, hope and joy.

From the Vatican, 11 March 2024

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Ángel Cardinal Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ Prefect Msgr. Indunil Kodithuwakku Janakaratne Kankanamalage Secretary Join us for our Open Morning: Wednesday 24th April, 9am - 12pm Visit us and discover why St. Mary’s Prep is rated ‘Excellent’ in all areas by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) 0151 924 6302 The independent Catholic school for boys and girls of all faiths aged 0–18

God of such unwavering love, how do I celebrate the passion and death of Jesus?

I often want to look the other way and not watch, not stay with Jesus in his suffering.

Give me the strength to see his love with honesty and compassion and to feel deeply your own forgiveness and mercy for me.

Help me to understand how to celebrate this week.

I want be able to bring my weaknesses and imperfections with me as I journey with Jesus during this holy week, so aware of his love.

From St John Bosco Arts College, may we wish you an Easter filled with Faith, Hope and Love.

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