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Issue 207 December 2021
Catholic schools celebrate at this year’s Educate Awards
Pastoral Plan launched
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Issue 207 December 2021
Last Sunday, the First Sunday of Advent, Archbishop Malcolm launched the Pastoral Plan for the Archdiocese. It is the first fruits of Synod 2020 and will guide our work and ministry in the years to come. The plan itself is too long to reproduce in the ‘Catholic Pic’ so we offer the Archbishop’s Pastoral Letter, read at all Masses last Sunday, and an overview of the plan, together with a list of the new Deaneries of the Archdiocese. The full Pastoral Plan can be read online at www.liverpoolpastoralplan.org.uk or copies are available from Pauline Books and Media in Church Street, Liverpool, priced £2.
The Gospel which is read on the morning of Christmas Eve is the Benedictus, the prayer of Zechariah, father of John the Baptist. It tells of the work of our redemption beginning with the lines ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, he has visited his people and redeemed them’ and going on to speak of ‘the loving kindness of the heart of our God, who visits us like the dawn from on high’. In these words, we find the true meaning of our Christmas celebration.
May we all have a blessed Christmas.
From the Archbishop’s Desk On my desk there is a new addition alongside my computer and statue of St Joseph, and it is the Pastoral Plan for the Archdiocese of Liverpool. The Plan will never be far from my gaze or my mind in the years ahead. One of the most important aspects of planning is to be open to the unexpected. You will notice that the archdiocesan pastoral plan is a plan that lays foundations as well as giving signposts for the future development of the diocese. It is a very rich document which will inspire the work of the archdiocese for many years to come. Although there are aims and targets it is essentially not a ‘to do list’. It is more like a ‘how to do list’. Embedding synodality in our ways of working throughout the archdiocese is the challenge presented by the plan. To echo Pope Francis, synodality is the way God is calling us to be Church in the third millennium. Christ is at the centre of our planning, but as followers of Christ we are also aware that we don’t make our own future. The season of Advent reminds us that Christ’s coming into the world did not happen in the way many hoped for or predicted. Nevertheless, we are assured that in him God is with us, and that means that we are not alone as we begin to walk the way of synodality during this Advent season. Even though the future is in one sense a closed book, the Pastoral Plan lying open on my desk reminds me Christ will walk with us every step of our journey, guiding us with his Spirit.
Main Feature The first fruits of the Synod Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan launched
News From around the Archdiocese
14 Animate Youth Ministry Christ lights the way 15 Nugent Light up a Life 16 What’s On Advent and Christmas at the Metropolitan Cathedral 18 Profile Phil McNulty From De La Salle to the BBC 19 Cathedral Record A time of opportunity 26 Pic Extras Mums the Word News from the KSC
Most Rev Malcolm McMahon OP Archbishop of Liverpool
28 Pic Life Walking with a guardian angel Editor Peter Heneghan
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The First Fruits of the Synod – Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan launched The Archdiocese of Liverpool launched its Pastoral Plan for the coming years on the First Sunday of Advent, 28 November 2021. The plan is the first fruits of the prayer, listening, discerning and planning by people from throughout the archdiocese that formed the Synod which was held in June 2021. The four years of the Synod took place with the theme ‘Together on the Journey’ as parishioners asked, ‘what kind of Church is God calling us to be’. As a result, the Synod meeting in June 2021 considered nineteen recommendations which were endorsed by the people of the archdiocese. The full Pastoral Plan is available to read at www.liverpoolpastoralplan.org.uk and copies are also available from Pauline Books and Media, Church Street, Liverpool, priced £2. Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP launched the plan with the following Pastoral Letter which was read at all Masses on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 November 2021. Dear Friends, The opening prayer of Mass today, the first Sunday of Advent, invites us to ‘run forth to meet Christ’. It is with this spirit of hope and joy that today I present to you the Pastoral Plan for the archdiocese. This is the first of the fruits of Synod 2020; of your prayer, listening, discerning and planning. The Synod journey gave us an experience of being what Pope Francis calls 'the Synodal Church' – a Church that listens carefully to how the Holy Spirit speaks through the lives, wisdom and concerns of all its members. The four years of the Synod invited us all to ask ourselves: what kind of Church is God calling us to become here in the archdiocese? What is the Holy Spirit saying to us at this critical point in history? 4
I put before you today a vision for the future of the Church in this archdiocese which has arisen from the way the Synod members voted in June 2021. The Synod considered nineteen recommendations. The three that received the most votes were concerning evangelisation, lay ministry and young people. You will see how the Pastoral Plan tries to respond to these. But all nineteen were clearly endorsed by the people of the archdiocese. If we are to truly embrace these and all that we have learned from our journey over these years, then Christ must be our starting point. The first Sunday of Advent is the right time for us to reflect on this as we once again prepare ourselves to welcome Christ. In the writing of the Pastoral Plan, guided by the Synod, four issues have been
highlighted that will underpin every part of our planning and thinking for the years ahead. We must be immersed in the joys and hopes, griefs and anxieties of humanity today. We need to be brave and creative in renewing local structures. We will develop leadership to attend to changing needs. And finally we must make sure that synodality is embedded in every aspect of archdiocesan life. Thinking carefully about these issues, alongside all that the Synod has given us, has led me to place before you six action areas that will be our focus in the years to come.
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feature 1. Becoming a Church that accompanies people through life. 2. Becoming a Church that honours the vocation of all the baptised.
Overview of the Pastoral Plan
3. Becoming a Church where synodality is embedded. 4. Becoming a Church that renews its organisational structures and administers its property to serve its mission. 5. Becoming a Church where young people and young adults flourish. 6. Becoming a Church that cares for its priests. I have used the word ‘becoming’ not because we haven’t already been doing many of these things and often doing them very well, but because we are going to develop and strengthen our Catholic life, decision making and action in these areas. The call of Pope Francis, and of popes and ecumenical councils before him, to be a Church which accompanies people, walks with people, is the key change in attitude and approach that I want to place before you. Walking with others, accompanying others, will influence the way we live and work as Catholic Christians in the archdiocese. It will help us re-think our approach to Catholic life. Being together on the road has led us to this plan. It will serve as the way forward for us in the archdiocese in the years to come. I commend it to your prayers and your action. I wish you and your families a blessed season of Advent as we, together, become more and more the Church that God is calling us to be. May God bless you, Most Rev Malcolm McMahon OP Archbishop of Liverpool
‘It is a very rich document which will inspire the work of the archdiocese for many years to come’
Introducing a synod for young people in 2018, Pope Francis said, ‘let us spend some time with the future’. Preparing ourselves to imagine and plan a future for our own archdiocese, we spent four years in prayer, listening and discerning. But nothing could have prepared us for the circumstances in which our Diocesan Synod 2020 finally took place. Thanks to the pandemic, an assembly whose traditions stretched back to the first century in the end relied on technologies and restrictions that were new to most of us but with which we were all rapidly becoming familiar. The future does not wait for us to prepare. A crisis can be a revelation, shining unavoidable light on our strengths and weakness. We can take heart from the way we rose to the challenges of the pandemic embracing technology, accepting restrictions, finding new ways to connect with and care for each other. We must now take that courage, creativity and assurance of grace and use them to turn the prophetic moment of the Synod into a truly prophetic outward-looking Church. Christ is the centre and heart of our Pastoral Plan. The months of isolation and distancing have surely renewed our sense of the strength and grace we gain from Christ and each other. Christ is there in our midst always. This has led us to the Pastoral Plan’s two great themes -
Accompaniment and Synodality. God meets us where we are. Accompaniment calls us to walk with each other into the fullness of life offered by Christ. Not tickets to the match but a place on the team. Synodality is the expectation that everyone will be heard, that the Spirit speaks to us through all parts of the Church’s body - the laity, and the clergy, the lost, the seeking and the found. A listening heart will strengthen the bonds that bind us together and to Christ. The task before us is to build those ideals into the nitty gritty of daily life. For instance, to help us become a Church that accompanies people we will have to initiate everyone – priests, religious and laity – into this ‘art of accompaniment’ which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other. The pace of this accompaniment must be steady and reassuring, reflecting our closeness and our compassionate gaze which also heals, liberates and encourages growth in the Christian life. To help us become a truly synodal Church we will create a synodal council that will continue the work of the Synod and monitor the implementation of the Pastoral Plan. To hear the lay voice, especially the voice of women at the heart of decision making in the Archdiocese, is a key commitment. There
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will be a new advisory body for the Archbishop that will include lay women and men as well as the clergy. In the spirit of synodality we resolve to grow in understanding that all the baptised share in the one priesthood of Christ. This invites us to support the fact that most people live out their vocation in their family and working life. We will also try to find new ways in which priests, deacons and lay people can be formed for ministry together. It is beyond question that we need to renew our structures and find ways to use our properties more effectively without losing sight of what is good and precious. The parish has turned out to be a resilient structure in time of crisis. Its very familiarity is its spiritual strength. We cannot promise people that if they knock the door will be opened, if they don’t know where the door is! However synodality gives us the opportunity to reimagine what a parish could be. Families of parishes could share resources - while being led in bold and courageous new ways. And so strengthen the bonds of the extended family of the Archdiocese.
‘Walking with others, accompanying others, will influence the way we live and work as Catholic Christians in the archdiocese’ 6
This in turn will give us the opportunity to find new ways to support our priests and create a space for them to grow and flourish. Caring for our priests is not only important in the short term but is in the long term surely essential in encouraging vocations. From the beginning of his ministry Pope Francis has called for an ‘ecological conversion’. If we are to be a truly
prophetic Church we must confront our own contribution to global warming and climate justice. We must learn to live more simply. When the Holy Father asked us to ‘spend time with the future’, the future he was referring to was our young people. The work of rebuilding and renewing will be meaningless if we do not pass it on. During the pandemic in an inversion of the natural order young people were asked to sacrifice their freedom and even their education in order to protect the elderly and sick. To ensure that the voices of young people and young adults are heard we will develop - under the guidance of a full-time youth advisor - a model of accompaniment that reaches out to them - through chaplaincies and renewed support for teachers and governors. We will reinvigorate the link between Church and school to evangelise our young people. At the Vatican Synod in 2018 Pope Francis went on to say that it is ‘through the holiness of our young people that the Church will renew the ardour and vigour of our faith.’ Faith is a journey. It does not stand still. It will either grow greater or grow less. We must ensure that the faith of our fathers becomes the faith of our children. The challenge is enormous but we know that while a cold wind puts out a small fire, it only fans the flames of a great one, making it into a blazing beacon.
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Deaneries The Pastoral Plan made provision for the following new Deaneries in the Archdiocese. Liverpool Central: Father Richard Ebo Metropolitan Cathedral All Saints [Blessed Sacrament Shrine] Our Lady of Mount Carmel & St Patrick St Anne & St Bernard St Francis Xavier St John the Evangelist St Michael & Sacred Heart St Sylvester St Vincent de Paul Liverpool North: Father John Southworth Blessed Sacrament Holy Name Our Lady & St Philomena Our Lady Queen of Martyrs & St Swithin St Cecilia St Margaret Mary St Matthew St Oswald St Paul St Sebastian St Teresa St Timothy Liverpool South: Father Joe Kendall Christ the King & Our Lady Our Lady of the Annunciation, Bishop Eton Our Lady of the Assumption St Ambrose St Anthony of Padua St Charles & St Thomas More St Christopher St Clare & St Hugh St John Vianney St Mary St Wilfrid Isle of Man: Monsignor John Devine Our Lady Star of the Sea & St Maughold St Anthony of Padua St Mary & St Columba St Mary of the Isle & St Joseph St Patrick Knowsley: Father Andrew Rowlands Our Lady Help of Christians Our Lady Immaculate & St Joseph St Agnes & St Aidan St Albert the Great St Aloysius St Columba & St John Fisher St Dominic St Joseph & St Laurence St Leo St Luke St Mary Mother of God St Michael & All Angels St Peter & St Paul Lancashire: Father Graeme Dunne Our Lady Help of Christians, Tarleton Sacred Heart, Chorley St Agnes, Eccleston St Bede, Clayton Green St Catherine Labouré, Farington St Chad, Chorley
St Gregory, Chorley St Joseph, Anderton St Joseph, Brindle St Joseph, Chorley St Joseph, Withnell St Mary, Chorley St Mary, Euxton St Mary, Leyland St Mary Magdalen & St Teresa, Penwortham St Oswald, Coppull St Oswald, Longton St Peter & St Paul, Mawdesley St Helens: Father Martin Kershaw Blessed English Martyrs, Haydock Corpus Christi, Rainford Holy Cross & St Helen, St Helens St Anne & Bl Dominic, Sutton & Parr St Austin, Thatto Heath St Bartholomew, Rainhill St Julie, Eccleston St Mary, Birchley St Mary, Lowe House St Mary & St John, Newton-le-Willows St Mary Immaculate, Blackbrook St Teresa of Avila, Devon Street St Theresa of the Child Jesus, Sutton Manor St Thomas of Canterbury, Windleshaw Sefton Coast North: Monsignor John Walsh Holy Family, Ince Blundell Holy Family, Southport Our Lady of Compassion, Formby Our Lady of Lourdes & St Joseph, Birkdale Our Lady of Victories, Hightown Sacred Heart & St John Stone, Ainsdale St Marie on the Sands, Southport St Patrick, Marshside St Teresa of Avila, Birkdale Sefton Coast South: Father Ged Callacher St Francis de Sales, Walton St Helen, Crosby St James, Bootle St Joseph, Blundellsands St Mary, Little Crosby St Monica & St Richard, Bootle St Oscar Romero, Seaforth & Waterloo St Peter & St Paul, Crosby St William of York, Thornton
Sefton Inland: Father Grant Maddock Holy Rosary Our Lady & the English Martyrs, Litherland Our Lady of Walsingham, Netherton St Benet, Netherton St Catherine of Alexandria, Lydiate St Elizabeth of Hungary, Litherland St George, Maghull St Mary & St Kentigern, Aughton & Melling St Robert Bellarmine, Bootle Warrington + Widnes: Father Dave Heywood Blessed James Bell, Warrington Holy Family, Cronton Sacred Heart & St Alban, Warrington St Joseph, Penketh [St Mary’s Shrine] St Paul of the Cross, Burtonwood St Peter & St Michael, Woolston St Stephen, Orford St Wilfrid, Widnes West Lancs: Father Leo Daley Our Lady & All Saints, Parbold OLA & St Bernadette, Standish & Shevington St Anne, Ormskirk St Elizabeth, Scarisbrick St James, Orrell St John the Evangelist, Burscough St Joseph, Wrightington St Richard, Skelmersdale St Teresa, Upholland Wigan + Leigh: Father Gordon Abbs Holy Family, Platt Bridge Our Lady Immaculate, Bryn St Aidan, Winstanley St Benedict, Hindley St Catherine of Siena & All Saints, Golborne St Edmund Arrowsmith, Leigh St Edward the Confessor, Wigan St John Rigby, Atherton & Hindsford St Jude, Worsley Mesnes St Lewis, Croft St Margaret Clitherow, Boothstown & Leigh St Mary, Standishgate St Oswald & St Edmund Arrowsmith, Ashton St Wilfrid, Ashton-in-Makerfield St William, Wigan
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News diary If you’ve got any news from your parish that you’d like featured e-mail us with the details at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cafod Fun Run is back After being forced to take this muchloved annual family run online last year due to the pandemic, the Cafod Fun Run is back for the 38th time and at the usual venue of The Mystery, Wavertree Athletics Centre, on Bank
Help arrives in Gaza As Christmas approaches and thoughts turn to the Holy Land the final total of £2,900 raised for the Gaza appeal in the June edition of the ‘Catholic Pic’ has arrived at the Rosary Sisters School in Gaza. The donations were sent to the Friends of the Holy Land and then on to the Latin Patriarchate. Sami El-Yousefi, CEO of the Patriarchate, took them directly to the Sisters last month. A tremendous amount of money which will make a huge difference. Thank you for your generosity.
Holiday Monday 27 December. Local writer and Cafod supporter, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, is a regular at the family fun run and is keen to get his running shoes back on with his family. He said: ‘the Cafod Fun Run is a great cause but
it’s also a great day. Every year I bump into someone (sometimes literally) that I haven’t seen for ages. That’s fun every year but this year in particular - after nearly eighteen months of only seeing people by arrangement - I think it’ll be something really, really special’. Cafod representative, Colette Byrne, said, ‘We are delighted to return to the Athletics Centre for the event. After missing out on coming together last year, people are really excited to get back to normal this year. ‘We will have social distancing measures in place and will be doing our best to keep everyone safe. We really want this to be a fun event for all of the family to enjoy. Please join us at this year’s event on Monday 27 December, all are welcome.’ Registration takes place at 10.00 am for an 11.00 am run. £5 child, £10 adult, £20 family. Contactless devices will be trialled, but maybe bring some back up cash just in case. There is a 3k and a 5k route which is pram friendly and dogs on leads are welcome. Gathering sponsorship from family and friends is strongly encouraged via www.justgiving.com/campaign/cafodchris tmasfunrun and general donations can also be made on this page. The Cafod Fun Run raises vital funds to help Cafod’s work with communities across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East to fight poverty and injustice. They are also used to support local experts who provide practical help in times of crisis and emergency, including helping people to rebuild their lives after natural disasters and the Coronavirus pandemic, and tackling issues associated with the climate crisis. For further information visit the Cafod Fun Run JustGiving page.
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news diary LGBTQ+ Catholics Liverpool Archdiocese Prayer and Support Group by Canon Steve Maloney Inclusivity and diversity at many levels have been very prominent in the discussions and proposals in our Synod journey. In April 2021 Archbishop Malcolm shared with us in the Ad Clerum and then to our parishes the following words in response to the Dubium from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the blessing of same-sex unions: ‘It is important that we reach out to all our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters to show them that they have a place in the heart of our Church and the Archdiocese’. He went on to say, ‘we are a stronger and more powerful witness to Christ because of the presence of our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters and far from denying their experience and the reality of their lives we should learn from them and hear
God speaking through that reality’. It is his hope, he says, that we may find new ways of expressing inclusivity to witness to the fundamental Gospel teaching that God’s love has no limits. Over several months I have had the privilege and blessing to have met with many LGBTQ+ Catholics and their families and their friends. Listening to their stories and their commitment to the Church has been very powerful. Sadly, so has their experience of rejection and hurt caused by the pronouncements the Church has made about them and how they identify and by homophobic attitudes within some parts of the Church community. During our conversations it was apparent to me that our LGBTQ+ Catholics do have a place in our Church and we are all the better for their presence and active involvement in our parishes. It also became evident that
This Cross was made by a friend of mine, Philip Patterson. The piece contains over 500 units of hand crafted wooden blocks, with the difference in shapes, sizes and colour to represent the diversity of Gods people. The middle section of the cross is a representation of the Progress Pride flag that brings the six coloured Rainbow flag which is recognised as the symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBTQ+) community. The piece includes black and brown chevrons to represent marginalised LGBTQ+ communities of colour along with the pink, light blue and white chevrons which are used on the Transgender Pride flag. The central piece of the cross which supports the flag is made of the same wooden block in bands of the liturgical colours of the Church. It is a very stunning piece of work.
they would welcome opportunities to meet together in prayer and in social gatherings to support each other and share their experiences as members of the Catholic faith communities in which they live and worship. On Sunday 26 September in our parish of All Saints, we had Mass followed by a social gathering with Archbishop Malcolm and with those LGBTQ+ Catholics and families and friends with whom I had been meeting. It was a joyous occasion. Following further conversations, we are now looking to have regular gatherings for Mass, prayer and support of each other. This is not intended to be and indeed will not be a kind of an alternative Church. There are many different types of groups within our diocese who meet and find support for each and who focus on particular needs, as such, this group would be no different. Whilst the normal place of belonging is in the parish, a support group responds to a specific need. In time, as the group develops, we would hope to have days of reflection and spiritual and pastoral support, especially for those who feel unwelcome in the Church due to being LGBTQ+. The next Mass will be at All Saints, Anfield on Sunday 5 December at 12.30 pm followed by a social gathering. This is an open invitation to our LGBTQ+ Catholics, their families and friends but also to anyone who would like to come along. It would be helpful to know who might attend for catering purposes. If you are intending to come along you are very welcome but please do let us know Tel: 0151 287 8787 or email email@example.com
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news diary Archbishop and Bishop pledge support for Liverpool’s Good Food Plan as Cathedral hosts launch event Archbishop Malcolm McMahon and his Anglican counterpart, Bishop Paul Bayes, joined forces last month to become the first city leaders to issue public pledges in support of a radical new strategy to tackle the ‘burning injustice’ of food poverty and create ‘a city where everyone can eat good food’. The Archbishop and Bishop of Liverpool each released a video pledge outlining how they would support the city’s Good Food Plan, ahead of a pledge evening at the Metropolitan Cathedral on 10 November. The hope was that they would inspire others to make their own pledges – be it as individuals, workplaces, communities or organisations. In his recorded message, Archbishop Malcolm described it as a ‘tragedy’ that such an initiative was needed, and announced a £5,000 donation from the Archdiocese’s charitable funds to support the work of Feeding Liverpool and the Good Food Plan. The Archdiocese underlined its commitment by hosting the pledge event at the Cathedral and providing temporary office accommodation for the Feeding Liverpool team. Feeding Liverpool is a charitable body set up by Churches Together in the Merseyside Region which today forms part of the city’s Food Insecurity taskforce. It co-hosted the event, which was presented by BBC Radio Merseyside’s Paul Beesley and supported by Liverpool Cathedral and the social justice charity Together Liverpool. Archbishop Malcolm said: ‘I am delighted that our Metropolitan Cathedral is hosting this pledge event for the Good Food Plan for our city as part of our commitment to supporting this important initiative, and that the Archdiocese is also providing temporary office accommodation for the staff of Feeding Liverpool as they work to support this new food alliance. ‘Many of our Catholic parishes and agencies already support food banks, food pantries and other local actions to relieve and prevent food insecurity and many of our Catholic schools regularly provide good food to children who would otherwise be hungry and ensure that all our children learn how to grow and cook healthy food. ‘Through our recent Synod process we have listened carefully to the joys and hopes, griefs and anguishes of the people of our area, and we are more determined than ever to reach out to those on the 10
margins of our society. The Pastoral Plan will set out concrete actions that will change our ways of working to help us understand better the needs of those who go hungry and experience other forms of exclusion and to accompany them on their path to a better life. ‘We are already committed to ensuring all those we employ receive the real living wage and are able to work real living hours. Some of our church properties are already used to support initiatives which benefit the poorest in our communities and we are embarking on a review of all our buildings and land to ensure we are making the best use of them to serve our mission and enable creative partnerships with agencies which share our values. “The Archdiocese, along with our ecumenical partners, has supported Feeding Liverpool since 2014, at its inception, and as a further sign of our commitment, we will contribute an additional sum of £5,000 from our charitable funds to enable Feeding Liverpool’s work of co-ordinating the Good Food Plan. “It is a tragedy that such an initiative is needed in a wealthy country like ours, but as long as our sisters and brothers struggle under the burden of food insecurity and other forms of poverty, we will work with all people of good will to enable them to live with the dignity that is the right of every human being.’ The Good Food Plan is co-ordinated by the food alliance Feeding Liverpool and
has backing from Liverpool City Council and a dozen other partners in the city’s Food Insecurity Task Force including the University of Liverpool, Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services (LCVS), St Andrew’s Community Network, Torus Housing and FareShare. Its initial focus is on tackling the immediate problems of acute hunger and the food insecurity which campaigners estimate affects over 30% of adults in the city. In his video Bishop Paul said: ‘As Christians, we believe food is a gift given from God to all human beings, not just to some. That one in every three adults in Liverpool are food-insecure – worrying about where they will get enough food to feed their families, skipping meals and at times going hungry – is a burning injustice. We cannot stand by and let this happen.’ Urging people to join the #goodfoodliverpool movement, he added: ‘Friends, when we stand alone this task of tackling injustice may seem too large, but each of us have gifts and talents to bring; when we work together we can bring about real change.’ Speakers at the Cathedral included Ian Byrne, MP for West Derby and a founder of the Fans Supporting Foodbanks’ Right to Food Campaign. He said: ‘Liverpool’s Good Food Plan is an important step in the right direction towards making this true for our city, but we need everyone in our community to come together in collective solidarity to make this possible.’
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A Kiss under the Mistletoe by Neil Sayer Archdiocesan Archivist Cards, crackers, decorated trees – the Victorians invented (or at least popularised) many of the Christmas traditions that we now take for granted. Though kissing under the mistletoe is a pagan tradition of much older date, this image seems to suggest the Victorians even invented the school Christmas disco. Well before social media, the 19th century was an age of mass communication. The first Christmas card was sent in the 1840s, and improvements in printing technology and cheap postage courtesy of the Royal Mail meant that millions of cards were sent offering festive greetings to friends near and far by the end of the 19th century. The e-card is, in the minds of many people, a poor substitute today. Bringing a fir tree indoors and decorating it with ornaments and candles was a German tradition imported by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband. When the royal family’s Christmas was pictured in the new illustrated magazines of the time, the idea of a decorated tree really caught on. Many families will now have a favourite artificial tree brought down from the loft every year, but those baubles and fairy lights are in a long tradition. And it’s the family aspect of Christmas that really appealed to the Victorians. Long-established as a public holiday, Christmas Day allowed families to be together. The Dickensian presentation of Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family in A Christmas Carol shows the sentimental side to Victorian notions of Christmas. Twee representations of children are certainly evident in this picture, dating from about 1880, which appears in a scrapbook, held in the Archdiocesan Archives, created by one of our Victorian priests. Father Patrick Murphy was born in Wexford in 1845. He came to Liverpool following ordination and served as an assistant priest at St Alban’s before being appointed Rector of St Anthony’s on Scotland Road, where many of his congregation were themselves emigrants from the Emerald Isle. It seems to have been during his time at St Anthony’s that he indulged in another Victorian tradition, that of scrapbooking. Essentially this provided a filing system for mementos and magazine cuttings, and you could share it with friends or review it in moments of solitary reflection. Pasting onto cheap paper things that took your fancy may have offered a means of ordering your life. Father Murphy collected cards, humorous anecdotes and illustrations relating to Irish country life, took an interest in newspaper accounts and engravings of the Paris Commune, and ensured the survival of some rare photographs of churches and priests of the Liverpool Diocese.
He was also fortunate in being able to travel quite widely. He visited Germany for the Passion Play at Oberammergau, and he went to north America twice, the first time in 1879 in the company of Father Nugent, later well-known for his efforts at child protection in Liverpool; they spent Christmas Day at sea on the return journey. Photographs and souvenirs of these trips may be found in Father Murphy’s scrapbooks. He was very fond of poetry, especially of sentimental or political verse relating to Ireland. Not averse to a bit of rhyming himself, he published ‘Christmas Memories’ in 1870, including the lines: ‘This blessed, happy, Christmas night, My young heart homeward veers. For, circled round our Irish hearth, Are friends of boyhood’s years!’ Still relatively young, he returned to his mother’s house in Wexford after some years of illness and died there in April 1892.
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news diary Quarant’ore at St Patrick’s, Wigan St Patrick’s Church, Wigan, held a successful Quarant’ore to celebrate the Feast of Christ the King last month. It was the first time since 2016 that the devotion had taken place at St Patrick’s and the first occasion in decades where the hours of Eucharistic Adoration were unbroken and completed in full. The Forty Hours began at 6.00 am on Saturday Morning and continued until 10.00 pm on Sunday. Mass was offered on both days for deceased loved ones and there were opportunities for parishioners and visitors to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The full programme of events also included a Guided Holy Hour, led by Parish Priest, Father Ian O’Shea, on the Saturday evening. Additionally, a large number gathered to pray the Rosary together and the celebrations concluded with Night Prayer and Benediction. A steady stream of people visited the church over the weekend, including many young families. Those who spent the whole night and into the morning watching commented on the great blessings they felt they had received guarding Our Lord in church. Sadly, a number of parishioners who would have liked to have been there had to isolate due to the ongoing pandemic. To enable them to share the experience, all the main events were streamed over the Zoom platform and regular updates were shared to the church’s social media account. At the end of the
celebrations, Father O’Shea thanked the army of volunteers who helped to clean, prepare and decorate the church and all those who came to worship in watching, private prayer and silent adoration. Pictures can be seen at the church’s Facebook page - search: ‘St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Wigan’.
Obituary of Canon Michael O’Connor Cannon Michael O’Connor, former Administrator of the Metropolitan Cathedral and Parish Priest of St Monica’s, Bootle for 22 years died on Saturday 30 October aged 95 and in the 71st year of his priesthood. Michael O’Connor was born on 2 September 1926 at Rathmore, Co Kerry, the son of Thomas and Nora O’Connor. He attended the National School in Shrone, then with the Christian Brothers at Tralee and began his studies for the priesthood at St Brendan’s Junior Seminary, Killarney. From Killarney he moved to Dublin to complete his major seminary formation at All Hallows’ College, where he was ordained priest on 17 June 1951. Following ordination, he was appointed as assistant priest at St Christopher’s, Speke, where he was to remain for nearly eight years. He then served for more than seven years at Christ the King, Liverpool. In November 1966 he transferred to the Isle of Man and spent a further seven years in the parish of St Mary of the Isle in Douglas. Whilst there he was heavily involved in the pastoral initiative ‘Call to the North’ and in youth work. From February 1973 he was also given pastoral responsibility for St Mary’s, Castletown. He gained the respect not only of his parishioners, but also of the clergy of other
Christian denominations with whom he worked on Call to the North. Many on the island were moved to write to Archbishop Beck regretting Father O’Connor’s transfer to Kirkby in January 1974. He was appointed to English Martyrs in Kirkby, but his main responsibility was to oversee the foundation of a new parish, St Paul’s. He set about his task with great zeal, overseeing the construction of a new primary school, a 100-seat prefab church building and a presbytery. His tenure in Kirkby was all too brief. Taken aside by Bishop Harris after a service at the Cathedral in June 1975, he was informed that he was to succeed Monsignor Thomas McKenna as Administrator of the Cathedral. His parishioners at St Paul’s were dismayed at the news, writing to Archbishop Beck that ‘He is particularly gifted as a Pastor…He has endeared himself to us by his own friendly attitude and willingness to share in our life.’ Speaking to the Catholic Pictorial, Father O’Connor expressed mixed feelings about his new appointment. ‘I’m sorry to be leaving Kirkby and the new friends I have made. The place grows on you, like the warm-hearted people who live out here…they’re a great bunch. But I am looking forward to my new territory.’ In July 1975 he took up his appointment as Cathedral Administrator and the following
April he was appointed as a Canon of the Metropolitan Cathedral Chapter. Among the major events that he had to oversee during his relatively brief administration were the visit of Her Majesty the Queen, during the Silver Jubilee year of 1977, and the funeral of Archbishop Beck in 1978. Following the latter, Archbishop Worlock was moved to write to him, ‘What was achieved was worthy of a great man and will have given new heart to many others.’ He took up his final appointment in September 1979, when he left the Cathedral for the parish of St Monica in Bootle. During his 22 years as parish priest, his longest appointment in the archdiocese, he was engaged in what he loved best, attending to the pastoral needs of his parishioners. In September 2001 he retired to his native Rathmore, where he lived for the remainder of his life. In June this year he reached a significant landmark in his priestly life, as he celebrated the Platinum Jubilee of his ordination. He died peacefully on Saturday 30 October 2021. His Funeral Mass was celebrated on Friday 5 November at the church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Shrone, Rathmore, Co. Kerry, followed by burial in the churchyard. Canon Steve Maloney, Episcopal Vicar for sick and retired clergy, represented the archdiocese at the Mass.
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Christ lights the way By Father Simon Gore I am sitting in my office writing this at 4.30pm and the darkness has already enveloped Lowe House. The lights are on, and I am tempted to put on my halogen heater too. (The Jesuits must have been tougher than me – my rooms have no central heating so I have random assorted heaters that I move around with me.) It does not seem that long ago that the sun used to come through my bedroom window at 5am and not go down until 10pm. I remember sitting outside a pub one evening not so long ago with just a jumper on. I know the clocks have gone back but it seems that winter is truly upon us now. To paraphrase the Starks, ‘Winter has come’. Now, you might think from all of this
that I am the type of person that dislikes the shorter nights or colder weather that winter brings, but I actually enjoy this season. I enjoy getting my winter parka out and pulling on my woolly hat to go out. I even quite enjoy blowing the dust off my winter-weather running gear. But, I suppose, the problem lies in being aware that the weather might not be good enough for what you are planning. Or having to plan your day around there being no light after 4pm. We can no longer expect that the weather will be fine enough for youngsters to get outside in their lunchtime and so require a plan B in case they are stuck inside.
Personally, I do not fancy running round the country roads around here in the pitch black. All of this reminds me of the importance that light plays in my life, and in our wider society. For all that I might enjoy nights in around my fire (or halogen heater), there is something about making use of the daytime light as well. As we are preparing for Christmas, we are often reminded of Christ being the Light of the World. We hear this so often that it can sound fairly glib when we do say it and perhaps lose track of what it is we are actually saying. Yet as the night gets deeper with every word I type and the need for illumination in my room increases, the nature of Christ as the Light of the World takes on more meaning to me. Without my office lights, I really would be stuck now, typing in the darkness with only the dim light of a screen to help me keep going and not make as many mistakes as I might. It does not take a genius, then, to realise how Christ as the Light of the World can have an effect on us and what that title really means. There are often times when we can feel as though darkness is close, when we wonder where the light that had been there so clearly has gone. It might seem only yesterday that all was fine and well and now we are, metaphorically speaking, huddling inside. Yet if we do ever feel that way, we are assured – as this season in the Church’s year reminds us – that Christ is always there to help us in the darkness. He can help illuminate our way just as surely as my office light illuminates my screen. Just as that light helps me complete the task in front of me, so Christ offers us help and guidance. As with all lights, however, the illumination comes only if we make the effort to stand up and flick the switch. If not, we are doomed to sit in the darkness, cursing the fact we are unable to do what we would like. Perhaps I will turn on my halogen heater then and, as I do so, remind myself that Christ offers me a much more vibrant light this Christmas. And when you turn on your lights at home – fairy lights, office lights or bedtime reading – maybe just take a moment to thank God for being there to illuminate you. God bless this Christmas season!
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Light Up a Life Normandie Wragg Chief Executive Nugent
Reflecting on a courageous year this Christmas
Dedicate a light on our tree as a gift for someone who may be away from home this Christmas, or in memory of a loved one.
services consist of readings, prayers, reflections and music and are supported by a number of schools and parish groups across the Archdiocese of Liverpool.
Christmas is a frantic time for most of us – between shopping, planning, cooking and visiting loved ones. There is often no time to pause and reflect. The loss of a loved one is a time of tremendous grief as well as a time of intense hope. While our loved ones will no longer walk this earth with us, as a people of faith we seek the day when we will walk with them in the joy of God’s kingdom.
Wednesday 8 December, 12.30 pm Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool Led by Bishop Tom Williams, followed by refreshments.
“Those whom we love and lose are no longer where they were before. They are now wherever we are.” - St John Chrysostom Light up a Life is a time for families, friends and colleagues to come together to celebrate and remember someone special to them. Each year, hundreds of people dedicate a light on our Trees of Light, which stands in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King Liverpool, and at St Teresa’s Church in Up Holland, in memory of a loved one. This initiative supports the work of Nugent and the services we provide. Without this support, we would not be able to continue to provide the essential work across the Archdiocese of Liverpool. Light up a Life Services 2021 A warm welcome awaits you at our special Light up a Life services taking place across the Archdiocese during December. Join us to pay tribute to those who hold a special place in our hearts, to remember how they lit up our lives and to give thanks for the memories we carry with us. Our
Sunday 12 December, 3.00 pm St Teresa’s Church, Upholland Led by Father Philip Kehoe FDP, followed by refreshments in the Parish Centre. You can remember a loved one in our Light up a Life Appeal for a suggested donation of £5.00 per dedication and we will: • enter the name(s) provided into our Book of Remembrance • add a light to Nugent’s Tree of Light in memory of a loved one. • send a Christmas card to you or to a chosen family member or friend, confirming that a light on the tree has been dedicated to their loved one, whose name will also appear on the card. • everyone who dedicates a light will receive a star at the service to write a personal message. The lights on the trees will remain lit continuously throughout the Festive season until Monday, 6 January 2022. For more information please contact Fran D’Arcy at Nugent Tel: 0151 261 2023 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The coronavirus pandemic has tested Nugent like no other crisis before it. As an organisation, we have had to make challenging decisions and many changes to the way we work. It has not been easy. However, it is encouraging to observe a renewed level of public recognition, appreciation and respect for social care professionals alongside their NHS counterparts. At Nugent, we love our beneficiaries fiercely and we remain united by a common culture of integrity, ambition, courage, compassion, optimism, respect and dignity. It is these values in combination with our dedication to the children, young people, adults and families we serve that holds us together in the face of adversity. At a time of much uncertainty, unease and upset, our staff and volunteers have kept our doors open and continued to deliver essential services to those most in need of our support. It will not have escaped you that we are fast approaching Christmas and the joy and celebration that brings. However, as we all know too well, Christmas can be a challenging time for many. Our Fundraising, Marketing and Communications team, as well as our Caritas team, have a number of events aimed at supporting the most vulnerable in our communities and I encourage readers to share and support these events where possible. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the readers of the ‘Catholic Pictorial’, along with all Nugent’s beneficiaries, volunteers and colleagues, a most wonderful and holy Christmas and a prosperous New Year; 2022 will see Nugent continue to care, educate, protect and inspire those in need as we have done for the previous 140 years.
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what’s on Wednesday 1 December Mass for the Annual Novena in honour of the Immaculate Conception offered for peace in the world 7.00 pm at St John the Evangelist, Fountains Road, Kirkdale, Liverpool L4 1QL. Celebrant: Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP Thursday 2 December Newman Association Talk: ‘Becoming Synodal: Implementing the Pastoral Plan.’ Speaker: Helen Jones, Pastoral Development Adviser, Liverpool Archdiocese. 7.30 pm at St Helen's Parish Centre, Alexandra Road, Crosby, L23 7TQ. Details: John Potts Tel: 07889 841096 Friday 3 December Friday lunchtime Mass 1.05 pm at Liverpool Parish Church of Our Lady and St Nicholas, Old Churchyard, Chapel Street, L2 8TZ. Saturday 4 December Open meeting for anyone wishing to learn more about the Pastoral Plan 11.00 am to 12.30 pm at St Mary’s Church, Broadfield Drive, Leyland PR25 1PD Sunday 5 December LGBTQ+ Mass 12.30 pm at All Saints, Oakfield, Anfield, Liverpool L4 2QG. All LGBTQ+ Catholics, their family and friends as well as all parishioners across the archdiocese are invited to the Mass which will be followed by a social gathering. Those wishing to
attend should contact Canon Stephen Maloney (for catering purposes) Tel: 0151 287 8787 Email email@example.com
Th’ Town Lane, Ince Blundell L38 1JJ. Singers and Players directed by Philip Duffy. www.liverpoolbach.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 7 December Open meeting for anyone wishing to learn more about the Pastoral Plan 7.00 pm to 8.30 pm at Holy Rosary Church, Aintree, Liverpool L10 2LG
Monday 13 December Meet our Church leaders - young people’s meeting with regional Church leaders 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm in the Liverpool ONE Quaker Meeting House, 22 School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BT. Conversation, friendship and refreshments for young people between 18 and 35 with Merseyside’s Church leaders and other young Christians. Details: Elisabeth at the CTMR office Tel: 07394 075951 (WhatsApp is fine) Email: email@example.com Voice message Tel: 0151 709 0125.
Thursday 9 December Open meeting for anyone wishing to learn more about the Pastoral Plan 7.00 pm to 8.30 pm on Zoom. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the link. Friday 10 December Friday lunchtime Mass 1.05 pm at Liverpool Parish Church of Our Lady and St Nicholas, Old Churchyard, Chapel Street, L2 8TZ. Saturday 11 December Prepare a way for the Lord A day of prayer for Advent led by Sr Moira Meeghan. 10.00 am to 4.00 pm at Irenaeus Centre, 32 Great Georges Road, Waterloo, Liverpool L22 1RD. Bookings: email email@example.com Sunday 12 December Liverpool Bach Collective Johann Sebastian Bach Cantata 626: ‘Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland.’ (‘Come now, O Saviour of the Gentiles, Child of the Virgin.’) 6.30 pm at Holy Family Church, Back O’
Tuesday 14 December Time Out on Tuesdays 10.00 am to 4.00 pm at the Cenacle, Tithebarn Grove, Lance Lane, Liverpool L15 6TW. An opportunity for quiet time, away from the daily rush of life. Please wear a face covering indoors. Offering £10 per person (bring your own lunch). For further details contact: Sister Winifred. Tel: 0151 722 2271, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Wednesday 16 December Irenaeus Christmas Carol Service 7.00 pm to 8.30 pm online. For a link email email@example.com Friday 17 December Friday lunchtime Mass 1.05 pm at Liverpool Parish Church of Our Lady and St Nicholas, Old Churchyard, Chapel Street, L2 8TZ. Monday 20 December Cursillo Christmas Ultreya 2.00 pm at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. Carols and Mass celebrated by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP, followed by a social in the Gibberd Room. All welcome. For details visit: www.liverpool-cursillo.co.uk Tel: 07947 271037.
Website at www.liverpoolcatholic.org.uk 16
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december Advent and Christmas at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King: Wednesday 1 December 7.00 pm Luke, an Advent Gospel - a series of talks ‘Luke, a Gospel of Inclusion’ with Sr Bridget Folkard SSMN Admission free. Sunday 5 December 3.00 pm Evening Prayer with J S Bach’s cantata ‘Wachet auf’ (‘Sleepers Wake’) Tuesday 7 December 7.00 pm Carols by Candlelight A festive concert of carols and choir performances in aid of the NSPCC. Tickets £9. Children under 16 free when accompanied by an adult. Available at www.bit.ly/CarolsByCandlelight71221 Wednesday 8 December 12.30 pm ‘Light up a Life’ Service led by Bishop Tom Williams Dedicate a light and receive a star at the service to write a personal message. The star will be placed on the tree in memory of your loved one and their name will be entered in a Book of Remembrance. Details Tel: 0151 261 2023. 7.00 pm Luke, an Advent Gospel - a series of talks. ‘Luke, a Gospel of Prayer’ with Canon Anthony O’Brien Admission free. Sunday 12 December 3.00 pm Evening Prayer with Britten’s ‘Ceremony of Carols’ Wednesday 15 December 7.00 pm Luke, an Advent Gospel - a series of talks. ‘Luke, a Christmas Gospel’ with Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP Admission free. Sunday 19 December 5.00 pm Festival Carol Service A mix of seasonal music and readings and congregational carols. Christmas Eve: Friday 24 December 3.00 pm First Vespers of Christmas and Blessing of the Crib 12.00 am Midnight Mass of Christmas Celebrant: Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP Please be seated by 11.45 pm. Mass will begin at midnight. Christmas Day: Saturday 25 December 9.00 am Mass (Cathedral) 10.00 am Family Mass (Crypt) 11.00 am Solemn Mass (Cathedral) Feast of the Holy Family: Sunday 26 December 9.00 am Mass (Cathedral) 10.00 am Family Mass (Crypt) 11.00 am Solemn Mass (Cathedral) 7.00 pm Mass (Crypt)
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Phil McNulty From De La Salle to the BBC - by Simon Hart ‘Wayne Rooney, Paul Jewell, Steve Smith the long jumper, Franny Jeffers.’ Phil McNulty, the BBC’s long-serving chief football writer, is listing some of the alumni of his old secondary school, the De La Salle Academy in Croxteth. ‘When I went there the pupil who’d gone on to great things was Mike Lyons, who was captain of Everton. My dad used to say, “Mike went to that school”.’ The reason for this reminiscing is the question mark currently hovering over De La Salle after the Regional Schools Commissioner and the Department for Education called for its closure – a proposal robustly opposed by the academy. ‘When I heard there was this possibility of closure, I was very sad,’ adds Phil, now based in Oxford. ‘I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen. When I started there, it was one of the big Catholic schools in Liverpool. For me, it’ll always be a very important part of the community.’ It was in 1971 that Phil, brought up in Toxteth in St Malachy’s parish, started at De La Salle. ‘The teachers were strict but it was a very friendly atmosphere conducive to learning,’ he recounts. ‘They loved their football and their cricket. It had its own swimming pool, which was
quite unusual at the time, and these huge playing fields. The main pitch was called the “Match of The Day” pitch.’ A BBC man would naturally recall that last detail yet there is much else in the McNulty memory bank – starting with his teachers. He remembers Brother Vincent ‘who used to fancy himself as an offspinner’ and the Everton-supporting English teacher Mr Torpey and their ‘impassioned discussion’ about defender Ken McNaught. ‘I remember thinking we should really be talking about English literature here but he was more interested in Everton selling McNaught to Aston Villa!’ Other names fondly recalled are Mr Phillips and Mr Parr, whom he encountered in Sixth Form. ‘Ronnie Parr had this big moustache and he shaved it off one day and just walked in and said, “Okay get it over with!” and everyone had a laugh.’ It was at De La Salle that the future journalist made an early newspaper appearance after a school trip to Spain with a group whose behaviour so impressed a Spanish hotelier that he ‘wrote a letter to the “Liverpool Echo” saying how well-behaved we all were’. More pertinently, he remains grateful to Mr Hayes, his Careers teacher, for listening to his journalistic ambitions. ‘I
wanted to go straight into journalism but pretty much everybody said, “You won’t get into that”. He went out of his way to help me find the pre-entry journalism courses you needed to qualify. Instead of saying “Forget that”, he devoted a fair bit of time and I always remember that.’ Cue a year at Preston Polytechnic before Phil began a career which has taken in the ‘St Helens Reporter’, ‘Liverpool Echo’ and ‘Daily Post’– over two separate spells which sandwiched a stint on the Today newspaper – and, since 2000, the BBC Sport website. ‘Then it was a newspaper on the internet. Now you have to do radio and television and various social media. ‘The bottom line is you’re being paid money to watch football and travel the world,’ he adds and an especially noteworthy destination was Belo Horizonte in Brazil where he saw his most memorable match: the 2014 World Cup hosts’ 7-1 semi-final loss to Germany. ‘There were literally grown people crying in the stadium,’ Phil recounts before this mention of Brazil stirs one last De La Salle memory, about a certain Brother Gilbert. ‘His nickname was Gerson because he looked exactly like a guy who played for Brazil in 1970!’
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cathedral by Dr Christopher McElroy Director of Music, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
Cathedral Record Canon Anthony O’Brien – Cathedral Dean By the time you are reading this month’s publication Advent will be well underway with the mixture of Christmas anticipatory events happening in the Cathedral alongside our own Advent events to focus on the season as a time of waiting and prayerful reflection. Image: Sue Mannings
A time of opportunity I attended a meeting of Cathedral Directors of Music in Guilford last week, the first time the group has met in person since before Covid. It was good to catch up with colleagues and to share experiences. It became clear that every Cathedral Choir has struggled during this time, particularly in terms of boy choristers, for whom regular singing is important to keep their voices in full working order as they approach puberty. As I am a glass half-full rather than halfempty sort of person, I try and see this period of rebuilding as a time of opportunity. Opportunities for new children to have the privilege of making music in our Cathedral and leading our congregations in praise of God. Opportunities for younger children to have experiences of leading others and singing solos that they might not have had the opportunity to try until they were older in past times. Opportunities to learn new music, as so much has been forgotten during the lockdowns of the past two years. I am delighted that our choristers are working really hard this term, dealing with some unfamiliar procedures as we return to as close to a normal Cathedral Choir routine as possible. We are the only Roman Catholic Cathedral in the UK that offers both girls and boys the full chorister opportunity, whereby they are educated together at our choir schools (Runnymede St Edward’s Catholic Primary School and St
Edward’s College.) The boy choristers began life singing in the crypt in 1960, seven years before the Cathedral ‘upstairs’ opened, and our girl choristers first sang in 2008. Emerging from the pandemic, we have now moved to a pattern whereby both boy and girl choristers will share the workload of singing at choral services at the Cathedral on an equal basis, year round, providing equality of opportunity to all our choristers. Without doubt the Advent/ Christmas period is the favourite time of year for our choristers. Having missed out largely on Advent last year, and having sung only a few services at Christmas, they are very excited to begin rehearsing seasonal music this year. Particular highlights of the season are: Sunday 5 December (3.00 pm) - Girl Choristers and Lay Clerks perform J S Bach’s cantata ‘Wachet auf’ Sunday 12 December (3.00 pm) - Boy Choristers perform Benjamin Britten’s ‘A Ceremony of Carols’ Sunday 19 December (5.00 pm) - All the cathedral choirs lead the music at the Festival Carol Service, which includes all of the traditional congregational carols with choral descants! All of these services take place in the Cathedral and are free to attend and no tickets are required. You would be most welcome to attend. See the Cathedral website for details of all Christmas liturgies and events: https://www.liverpoolmetrocathedral.org.uk/
We are having a series of Advent talks on the Gospel of St Luke this year as this is the Gospel that we will be following throughout this year’s cycle of readings in ordinary time. The second talk on 1 December is entitled ‘Luke a Gospel of Inclusion’ given by Sister Bridget Folkard SSMN, the following Wednesday on the theme ‘Luke a gospel of Prayer’ by myself and the final Wednesday 15 December Archbishop Malcolm will be talking on ‘Luke a Christmas Gospel’ these will all begin at 7.00 pm. There are two special Advent musical events the first being a Bach Advent Cantata on the Second Sunday at 3.00 pm and after a short evening prayer at 3.00 pm on the Third Sunday of Advent the boys’ choir will perform Britten’s Ceremony of Carols. On the final Sunday of Advent, 19 December, at 5.00 pm we will have our Annual Festival Carol Service involving all the Cathedral Choirs. Our Christmas celebrations begin with First Vespers of Christmas and Blessing of the Crib at 3.00 pm on Christmas Eve which combines the formal singing of the psalms with an informal family gathering around the Crib. Archbishop Malcolm will preside at Midnight Mass which will begin at midnight. Christmas Day Masses follow at 9.00 am and 11.00 am in the Cathedral and 10.00 am in the Crypt Chapel. On behalf of all at the Cathedral I wish you all a Joyful and Blessed Christmas.
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Catholic schools celebrate at this year's Educate Awards
The Academy of St Francis of Assisi won the WOW Recognition Award
A number of Catholic schools and colleges throughout the Liverpool Archdiocese and neighbouring dioceses were celebrating after being recognised at the Educate Awards 2021, in partnership with Copyrite Systems and Ricoh, which took place at the Liverpool Cathedral. This year was particularly special as the event celebrated its 10 year anniversary and over 600 guests brought glitz and glamour to proceedings as they donned tuxedos and glamorous dresses. The night included live entertainment, a sumptuous three course dinner and the awards ceremony itself. Broadcaster Simon ‘Rossie’ Ross hosted the evening and even made one lucky guest’s night after they won a pair of diamond earrings in a prize draw. The Educate Awards has 21 categories which focus on different aspects of school life, including careers and enterprise, STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, SEND (special educational needs and disabilities), as well as sport, the arts and mental health and wellbeing. Amongst the schools and colleges celebrating winning awards was Maricourt Catholic High School which won The Communication Award, sponsored by CPMM Media Group. Headteacher Mr Mangan, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to win this award. It’s a really prestigious award and it’s just great recognition for all the hard work the staff have put in over a particularly difficult period, so we’re absolutely thrilled.” Winner of the Outstanding Commitment to the Environment category, was St Vincent’s School, headteacher Mr Patterson said: “It’s fantastic for all the children at St Vincent’s who are visually impaired, what they are doing is leading the way in climate action and biodiversity. “We have just come back from COP26 so it is a really, really significant uplift for all the strengths of the children and also the staff who are involved in going zero, especially as we are working with ‘Let’s Go Zero’. What’s significant is it is visually impaired children that are leading the way. That innovation makes us so happy. They might not be able to see, but they certainly have vision, so that is really encouraging for all of us involved.” 20
The Academy of St Francis of Assisi which won WOW Recognition Award for its Refugee Week celebration that takes place annualy in school. Students from around the world shared amazing stories of their journeys to Liverpool and how they were welcomed to a safe and welcoming environment. A member of staff commented: “It is really lovely to have won. We were just saying before we were announced as winners, that it is really about the kids and those who are refugees. It is all about them and we are delighted that they have been recognised.” Also celebrating was St Bede’s Catholic High School, the winners of the Mental Health & Wellbeing Award. Headteacher Phil Denton, said: “This is fantastic. We introduced an innovative percussion therapy to support children with anxieties, mental health worries or trauma induced conditions. It’s been a big project that has taken about 18 months now, but we really enjoyed doing it. We’ve managed to hopefully improve the mental health of the children in school, which is the main thing. It’s been great. It’s been a lovely night and a fantastic event, and the award is something we’re very, very proud of.” Jacinta Brown, school chaplain at St Bede’s added: “The sole purpose is raising awareness of boys and their mental health and their ability to talk freely. That’s all we wanted from the initiative for our school.” Winner of the Outstanding Commitment to Sport & Physical Activity in Secondary School was Hope Academy in Newton-leWillows. Steve Robinson, head of PE, said: “It’s brilliant. It’s a long time coming. We have been nominated for a couple of years now. We have been nominated third place, second place and to win it…for me, it’s a testament to the hard work of the staff. “We’ve got a really big team at Hope and we’re really, really happy to have been nominated. From the younger staff to the older staff, we are really, really proud. Winners of the Leadership Team of the Year category was St James’ Catholic High School from the Diocese of Shrewsbury, with one teacher remarking: “It feels fantastic. We’ve worked so hard as a team and just to get this recognition is just unbelievable.”
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education news Runners up for the Outstanding Commitment to Sport & Physical Activity in Primary School was St Elizabeth’s Catholic Primary School, Litherland. Runner up for the Teacher of the Year award was Jen Longson from St Bede’s Catholic High School, Jen is described as everything a teacher should be, who embodies St Bede’s Catholic High School’s values of love, faith and hope. Christ the King Catholic Primary School in Liverpool was named runner up in the Most Inspirational Primary School category. Runner up for the School Governor of the Year was Cathy Redford from The Barlow RC High School in the Diocese of Salford. Cathy was recognised for spearheading the school’s ethos of ‘if you believe, you can achieve’. As well as being governor, she is chair of the Pastoral, Welfare and Ethos Committee. Amongst the well-deserved runners up in the SEND Provision Award was Cardinal Langley RC High School from the Salford Diocese. Kim O’Brien, founder of the Educate Awards, said: “Congratulations to all the winning schools and colleges, you should be very proud of what you have achieved. “A huge well done to the runners-up, those who were shortlisted and everyone who took the time to enter this year. The past two years have not been easy and your efforts have not gone unnoticed. Kim added: “Over the past 10 years, the Educate Awards has proudly shone a spotlight on the individuals and teams who have gone above and beyond. Senior leadership teams, teachers and staff have really gone the extra mile for their pupils, colleagues and wider community, and we can’t thank you enough for all the
Maricourt Catholic High School who won The Communication Award sponsored by CPMM Media Group
hard work and dedication.” Associate sponsors of the Educate Awards 2021 include: All About STEM, Angel Solutions, CER, CPMM Media Group, Hidden Strength, LCR Careers Hub, Liverpool John Moores University, LSSP, Progress Careers, SupplyWell and Winstanley College.
St Bede’s Catholic High School won the Mental Health & Wellbeing award
Hope Academy won the Outstanding Commitment to Sport & Physical Activity in Secondary School award
St James’ Catholic High School won the Leadership Team of the Year award,
St Vincent’s School won the Outstanding Commitment to the Environment award,
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education news Maricourt’s Advent Prayer Space The chapel in Maricourt Catholic High School looks a little different these days! The Advent Prayer Space was created by chaplain Mr McCabe, with help from Liverpool Youth for Christ, to enable students to enter into the events of Christmas in a unique way. The space hosts a number of prayer stations that feature figures from the traditional crib, inviting students to engage with that figure’s story and to see how the events of Christmas can also relate to their lives. One station features the baby Jesus covered in tinsel, twinkling lights and advertisements for Sky Sports and iPhones. Here, students get to think about how they can forget the real meaning of Christmas and it invites them to reflect upon how they can change their focus at Christmas. Another station features a sand pit with the figures of the wise men; students are asked to think about the difficulties they have encountered in their own life journeys but also to recall the people and events that have been gifts to them. And since all the crib figures are being used in the prayer stations, the crib has been left empty, allowing students to reflect on how our world would be different if there had been no first Christmas. Other stations include a prayer tent providing students with the opportunity to spend time alone in prayer, a Christmas tree of gratitude on which students write three things for which they are grateful and hang it upon the tree and a table covered in
pictures of injustice from around the world for which students pray by lighting a candle beside them. And all of this is accompanied by the gentle sound of Christmas carols playing in the background. A Year 7 student commented “It made the Christmas story real for me and the stations got me thinking about my own life and how I sometimes forget about the real meaning of Christmas.”
The St Helens School trying to tackle tooth decay By Katie Parry A primary school in St Helens has been raising awareness about tooth decay during Mouth Cancer Awareness Month. Holy Cross Catholic Primary School has been taking part in a range of activities, which aim to teach children how to look after their oral health and how to avoid tooth decay. Miss Davies, pastoral manager at Holy Cross, said she started noticing a trend where a lot of students were missing school because of dental problems. She said: “A lot of parents have been coming to me, saying their children have got abscesses, broken teeth, but they can’t get an appointment with dentists. “Some pupils haven’t been registered with dentists before, and they’re finding it difficult now because of COVID.” The coronavirus pandemic saw dentist offices across the country only remain open for urgent care. Miss Davies said she noticed there also seems to be a generational fear of the dentist, passed down from parents to their children. “A lot of pupils haven’t been to the dentist before. So we’re working with the oral health team to get rid of that fear.” St Helens Wellbeing Oral Health service offer a range of services, from providing toothbrush and fluoride packs to primary children in St Helens, to giving supervised toothbrushing sessions to students in nursery settings and special education schools. At first, the service was just going to give the toothbrushes and toothpaste packs to the Key Stage One learners, however, Miss Davies specifically asked for every student at Holy Cross to have one, so she felt confident that every student had a toothbrush. She recently took part in oral health training with St Helens Wellbeing, in hopes of teaching children how to look after their oral health. And it is not just tooth decay Holy Cross is aiming to tackle. It is also working towards making the school completely smoke-free. People who smoke are twice as likely to develop tooth decay
compared to non-smokers. Smoking is also a leading cause of oral cancer in the UK. Miss Davies said: “When we got involved with the health and wellbeing team, we went through smoke-free school training. We can’t get parents to quit smoking, but we can encourage them not to smoke around the children. “Our school council created a powerpoint that they delivered to the whole school, which would make children go on to tell family and friends why smoking is bad for health.” Holy Cross has promoted the message well and have been awarded a certificate for its effort. A competition was also arranged during October half term, where pupils created an anti-smoking poster. The winner, a pupil named Ajesh, will have his poster created into a banner. The banner will go across Holy Cross’ school gates. His poster was a picture of the school, along with the words ’School gates: Smoke Free’ and ‘Thanks for Helping. The aim is to make people who smoke realise they should not be smoking there. Miss Davies said it is fun competitions and activities like these that motivate children to get involved. She said: “The biggest message is for the parents. It’s down to them, so we’re spreading the message through the children. “Children have no control over what goes into their lunch boxes. They have no control over going the dentist. So we’ve started taking pictures for Twitter, like giving good examples for healthy lunch boxes.” Eating sugary, unhealthy snacks and not cleaning teeth properly are the main factors in tooth decay among children. If parents in the school are struggling to register their child with a dentist, Miss Davies urges them to contact Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, so she can help them. Even after Mouth Cancer Awareness Month, Holy Cross will continue to spread the importance of good oral hygiene throughout the year.
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LJMU call on the knowledge and experiences of ASFA students Students from The Academy of St Francis of Assisi (ASFA), whose first language isn’t English, have helped student teachers from Liverpool John Moores University with their teacher training in how to support other EAL (English as an additional language) pupils. Sue Walker, who is a senior lecturer on the PGCE course at the university, first contacted the academy three years ago to see if they would be interested in speaking with trainee teachers at LJMU’s annual EAL Day. Since then, language acquisition co-ordinator at The Academy of St Francis of Assisi, Amanda Gamble, has brought a different group of EAL students to help the university each year. The Kensington school has a large number of EAL students. Many have never had a formal education before, some arrive not being able to speak to English and others are learning English as a third, and even fourth, language. The eager group took part in a carousel activity with over 25 LJMU students and talked about their experiences when they first came here, how they coped, how they were supported in the classroom and what they personally feel works best. Amanda said: “Our partnership with LJMU is mutually beneficial in so many ways. Our students can draw upon their own personal experiences and help the trainee teachers learn more about EAL pupils in schools. The day also allows our group to build their confidence when speaking to new people and, hopefully, they feel proud to be shaping the future of teaching. “As you can imagine, it might seem daunting to be put in the spotlight and to talk to a large group of adults at once, but our students are amazing and speak so eloquently about their
experiences in education, here and in their home countries.” The Academy of St Francis of Assisi is extremely proud of its vibrant community and over 40 languages are spoken in the school. In 2019, students from different year groups were selected to become Language Ambassadors in order to support fellow EAL students with reading, writing and speaking English. Amanda added: “Some of the students who attended on Monday have been made Language Ambassadors now they are in Year 11, but all are an absolute credit to our school. I am extremely proud of them and grateful for their time. Last year, because of lockdown, we had to do the sessions virtually and they came in twice to support this. This year they forewent an extra lie-in because it was an INSET Day!”
St Cuthbert’s celebrate in style St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School in St Helens, Merseyside, has finally been able to celebrate with students for their achievements for 2020-21, in person, for the first time in two years. For the 2021 Awards, St Cuthbert’s celebrated slightly differently to usual. Staff split it across two days and celebrated year groups individually. The Year 11 Leavers of 2021, as well as their proud parents, had their own special and intimate evening in the school’s brand new dining room, with speeches from a range of staff.
Daniel Macdonald, headboy for 2020-21, said: “It was so lovely to be back at the place where I made the most happy and memorable memories, not only with my friends but with the amazing staff of St Cuthbert’s. “I’ll never forget my time there and all that they have done for me.” The awards has 21 categories which focus on different areas of school life, across the curriculum. From the core subjects of English, maths, science and RE, to the foundation subjects such as PE and Spanish, which allow students to show off real talents and their love of subjects. Inspiring individuals are also recognised through the Headteacher Award, Student of the Year (for each year group), Ambassador of the Year (for each year group) and The Spirit of St Cuthbert’s Award. This year the Spirit of St Cuthbert’s Award recognised the Senior Team for 2020-21. Catherine Twist, headteacher at St Cuthbert’s, said: “Congratulations to all our winners, they should all be very proud of what they have achieved. “The past two years have been challenging and your efforts have not gone unnoticed. Catherine added: “These awards proudly shine a spotlight on the individuals who have gone above and beyond for themselves, their school or year group and wider community, and we can’t thank you enough for all your hard work and dedication.”
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education news School to celebrate Queen’s Platinum Jubilee The children and staff of Saint Nicholas’ Catholic Primary School in Liverpool recently enjoyed a very special assembly led by Colonel Charles Hillock, one of the deputy lieutenants of Merseyside. At the assembly the children learnt all about the Queen’s forthcoming Platinum Jubilee, which takes place on Thursday 2 to Sunday 5 June 2022. The Colonel also spoke to the children about the life and the work of Her Majesty’s 70 years of service to the nation.
One pupil from the school said after the assembly: “I didn’t know that Queen Elizabeth II was from such a big family who look after her as she is getting old”. After the assembly, and as one of the schools taking part in the Queen’s Green Canopy Project, a special tree planting ceremony took part in the school grounds. This is one of fifteen trees that will be planted at the school. The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022,
which invites people from across the United Kingdom to ‘Plant a Tree for the Jubilee’. Everyone from individuals to scout and girlguiding groups, villages, cities, counties, schools and corporates will be encouraged to play their part to enhance our environment by planting trees during the official planting season between October to March. Tree planting will commence again in October 2022, through to the end of the Jubilee year. With a focus on planting sustainably, the QGC will encourage planting of trees to create a legacy in honour of the Queen’s leadership of the nation, which will benefit future generations. As well as inviting the planting of new trees, The Queen’s Green Canopy will dedicate a network of 70 ancient woodlands across the United Kingdom and identify 70 ancient trees to celebrate Her Majesty’s 70 years of service. The event linked nicely to the school’s history and geography curricula and emphasises the importance of addressing climate change and global warming which has been so prevalent in the news recently, especially whilst COP26 was taking place in November. Headteacher, Mr Martin Davies said: “This was a fabulous assembly full of information about our monarchy, its values and what it stands for. Then being able to play our part in developing the Queens Green Canopy Project straight afterwards alongside our pupil council and vice chair of governors, Mr Justin Chiong, was another fantastic learning opportunity the children thoroughly enjoyed. “We are proud to be one of the schools taking part in the Queens Green Canopy Project. This is a massive national effort for everyone to plant more individual trees and to expand our woodlands.”
Inspiring a future generation of engineers The Academy of St Nicholas, Garston, recently partnered with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in a bid to encourage students to explore the different careers paths in engineering. The Faraday Challenge, set by the IET, is an annual competition of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activity days for Year 8 students and sets them real-world challenges. Students were given a challenge to support a world-class scientific, technology development and manufacturing scale-up capability for batteries in the UK. The challenge was focused on developing cost-effective, high-performance, durable, safe and recyclable batteries to capture a growing market. It gave students the opportunity to research, design and make prototype solutions to tough engineering problems, giving students the opportunity to experience working as an engineer for a day. One student said: "I really enjoyed the experience and how we got to mix with people we might not always work with. It also depended on us sharing opinions and ideas as a group and working as one. I liked how they made it interesting and for a good cause. It also taught us how to work with money and budgets, overall, it was so fun, and I would love to do it again!!" Every single participant completed the day and received an IET certificate, with one team winning £60 and a challenge day trophy which is now displayed in the academy's trophy cabinet. Miss Bell, head of design and technology at The Academy of St Nicholas, is keen for students to pursue careers in engineering. Miss Bell recruited 18 girls and 18 boys from the Year 8 cohort to take part. She said: “The IET offers students the chance to explore careers in 24
engineering in a fun and engaging way. The challenges so far have been well received and they are looking forward to the next ones. “As an academy, it is important that we encourage more girls into STEM and the Faraday Challenges are a great of doing this as students are encouraged to use their existing knowledge of electrical circuits and forces, develop their design and construction skills and integrate their learning in science, technology and maths.” Headteacher, Mrs Sing, added: “We are one of few schools in Merseyside to be taking part in the Faraday Challenges this year and I have every faith that we will go very far in the competition and put The Academy of St Nicholas on the map!” The top teams from across the UK get an all-expenses paid trip to the national final to compete for a cash prize of up to £1,000 for their school.
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education news St Mary’s College receives double seal of approval St Mary’s College in Crosby has received a double seal of approval from inspectors from the UK’s national independent schools watchdog. Following a recent three-day visit assessors from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) say that St Mary’s as a whole meets all the standards they have set, and that the service provided by its Bright Sparks & Early Years Department is ‘outstanding’. The verdict on the whole school follows a compliance-only inspection covering key areas such as the quality of education, the moral and social development of pupils, premises and accommodation, health and safety, leadership and the suitability of staff. St Mary’s principal, Mike Kennedy, said: “We’re very pleased with the assessment we have received for the school as a whole. “The inspectors were impressed with everything they saw and all the students that they met. They clearly recognised the many strengths of the school which is very encouraging.” Meanwhile, the ISI assessment of the Early Years Department follows a full educational quality inspection which reports on subjects in much greater depth. St Mary’s Bright Sparks & Early Years Department was judged to be ‘outstanding’ in terms of its overall effectiveness, the quality of education, the behaviour and attitudes of children, the personal development of the children and the department’s leadership and management. Amongst many complimentary remarks inspectors say that Bright Sparks staff are ‘highly effective in their planning and designing of the curriculum which meets the unique needs and interests of each child’.
In addition, ‘practitioners forge excellent relationships with all children. They interact enthusiastically with them, enabling them to learn and develop extremely well’. Overall the ISI inspectors say that ‘all children make excellent progress in their learning and development relative to their starting points’. As a result ‘they are extremely well prepared for the next stage of their education, moving to the next class with great excitement’. St Mary’s head of early years, Alice Haigh, said: “We’re obviously delighted with this ‘outstanding’ assessment which is a tribute to the hard work and commitment of the early years staff team. “Bright Sparks has received consistently high praise from ISI and Ofsted inspectors over the years, and this is yet another feather in our cap.”
We are delighted to bring you a superb selection of Christmas cards, offering something for everyone! All proceeds from the sales of our Christmas cards go directly towards supporting our work caring for, educating, protecting and inspiring children, young people, families and adults who are vulnerable and at risk in your community.
For more information about our Christmas cards and how to purchase, please scan the QR code or visit wearenugent.org/fundraising/2021-christmas-cards N126. Corporate Trustee: Nugent Care 2019 Ltd (Company No: 12227571), Registered Charity 1187072. Nugent Care Registered Charity: 1187072-1.
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Mums the Word ‘The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few.’ This is the first line of our prayer for vocations and it came to mind during my recent visit to Rome where I visited my grandson James at the Venerable English College.
A century of service News from the Liverpool Province of the Knights of St Columba
Walkers raise almost £4,000 for South Liverpool churches
As vocations to the priesthood are a huge part of our aims and objectives, I wanted to know more about seminarians and the college and so James arranged for me to meet Maurice Whitehead, a historian who is the English College’s archivist. I was allowed into the special room where all the artefacts are stored and catalogued. The archives go back to the 1300s and are in the process of being catalogued for future generations of students. By preserving them, they can serve as a living testament to the faith of priests of the past for those following in their footsteps in the present. Yet all the cataloguing costs time and money, and the college relies on benefactors to provide finance. Every seminarian who enters the college has his name entered in a ledger. I learned about those seminarians who, during the Reformation, had to use a false name to protect themselves from being executed for their faith. Just one detail from the college’s fascinating history. In 1579, newly established and located in the building of the English Hospice, it was granted a charter by Pope Gregory XIII as a full pontifical university with the power to create a faculty of Philosophy and a faculty of Theology and to award degrees. For historical reasons, these powers have never been exercised. From 1818 until this day, it has had English and Welsh secular clergy as administrators, and English and Welsh seminarians – joined latterly by Scandinavian, Canadian and Irish students too. I ask you to pray for a flourishing of seminary life and all seminarians and for those in the process of discernment, and I wish you and your families a happy and holy Christmas and every blessing in 2022. Maureen Finnegan Archdiocesan president
The spotlight has shone this autumn on the KSC’s hosting of the Supreme Annual Conference in Liverpool but this does not mean members of the Order have not been busy with other activities. Prominent on the agenda for Council 9 members in September was the Steve Dooley and Pat McGann Annual Sponsored Memorial Walk, which took place from the Albert Dock to Liverpool Cricket Club in Aigburth. This popular event, cancelled last year due to Covid-19, has raised thousands of pounds for good causes down the years and the 2021 walk proved no exception. This year, organisers decided to raise funds for the churches in the Council 9 area of South Liverpool which have lost income because of the pandemic. The amount raised was £3,900 and we take this opportunity to thank all those who contributed so generously as well as the parish priests who gave us permission to distribute sponsorship envelopes in their churches. Our photo shows a group of walkers at the gates of the Albert Dock prior to setting off on the route
along the Mersey to Liverpool Cricket Club. • The Annual Memorial Mass for deceased members from Liverpool province was held at the Metropolitan Cathedral on Sunday 7 November. Archbishop Malcolm McMahon was the chief celebrant of the Mass, which was attended by the loved ones of members we have lost, together with current members and their families. We thank the Cathedral administration team for allowing us to participate as a group in a reserved area at the usual Sunday Mass and for letting us take part in the spiritual readings and the Offertory procession. • KSC members nationwide came together over Zoom for a recitation of the Rosary each Monday night in October. We have since begun a weekly dedication of the Order to St Joseph each Wednesday, again via Zoom, running from 20 October to 8 December. Websites: www.ksc.org.uk www.kscprov02.weebly.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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PIC Life Walking with a guardian angel By Moira Billinge Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. I listened to this poem on the radio; I had come across it on many previous occasions, but this time, for some unknown reason, the words refused to leave my brain and kept repeating themselves, over and over throughout the course of the day. Eventually they became, not the edifying advice intended by their author – thought to be the French philosopher and journalist Albert Camus – but more of an irritation. That night after Mass in a neighbouring parish, as I headed back towards the church car park, my thoughts were obviously hovering somewhere in the heavens rather than on the ground
ahead of my feet. It was entirely my own fault; I wasn’t concentrating and didn’t see the step and so landed face first across the concrete. Two guardian angels in the form of a lady and a gentleman emerged from the darkness, coming to rescue me from my spread-eagled and momentarily stunned indignity. Gently and with patient kindness, they helped me to stand, linked my arms, took me to my car and very kindly offered to wait until I felt well enough to drive. Who said that lightning never strikes twice? Two nights later, still nursing my injured pride and battered face, I attended a second evening Mass in the same neighbouring parish. Again it was dark but on this occasion, it was also raining. As I approached the car park I saw, in the distance, the lovely couple who had helped me when I fell two days earlier. At the time I had been too shaken to thank them properly, so I now
hurried towards them, carefully avoiding the step which had so wilfully brought me to my knees. There is a saying, though, that ‘man proposes but God disposes’ and I could not have foreseen a wicked conspiracy between that same step and the blindingly bright headlights of a nearby vehicle. For the second time in 48 hours, at the crucial moment, I missed the step and fell once more in exactly the same place, practically at the feet of this poor, very startled couple. On this occasion, I was not the only victim. The various Catholic newspapers which I had been carefully shielding from the rain flew into the air and landed in the puddles all around me. Amazed that one obviously accident-prone woman could contrive to trip on the same car park step twice, to land in the same spot and require rescue for the second time, my guardian angel shuddered with horror as I attempted to retrieve the newspapers from their various pools of water. ‘No, don’t! Leave them. I’ll pick them up for you.’ Once again, they helped me to my feet – and, luckily, on this occasion, the pavement had missed my face. Again they linked my arms and insisted on walking with me to my car. The woman introduced herself and her 92 year-old father, and added in jest: ‘We are your guardian angels.’ Now, when I think of that poem, I think of that kind, special couple and I hear very different words. ‘Please, walk behind me, and walk in front of me and walk beside me. That’s being a friend.’ Or, perhaps, it is being a guardian angel.
Worth a visit - Pendle Hill Pendle Hill in east Lancashire is the perfect place for a good walk on a crisp winter’s day, writes Lucy Oliver. Its picturesque landscape invites keen walkers to explore the area and make the ascent to the spot where George Fox, son of a Leicestershire weaver, was said to drawn inspiration for founding the Quakers, the Religious Society of Friends, in 1652. For all its outstanding natural beauty, Pendle Hill is perhaps still best known for the notorious witch trials which took place there in 1612. The Lancashire Witch Trials saw 12 accused for the murders of 10 people by the use of witchcraft. Of the 11 who made it to trial (nine women and two men) 10 were found guilty and executed by hanging. With the Law at the time focused on seeking out anyone not attending Church of England services, this raised suspicions about any nonconformist though other notable ingredients in the case were an ongoing quarrel between two local families and the desire for revenge. Dare to follow the Pendle Witches' Walking Trail, starting at the Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford near
Nelson where a museum, café and shop welcome visitors from midday until 4pm.
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sunday reflections On a liturgical note
Canon Philip Gillespie
‘And Christmas comes once more...’ Well, not quite yet as we still have the four weeks of Advent to help set the scene, but if you were to live your life purely according to the shops and the adverts, the preparation for Christmas 2021 began many months ago. There is a sense in which we cannot blame the shops and the retailers, who have had such strange months that anything which can make us part with our pennies is fair game for them. All the more reason, therefore, that we should hold fast to the message of the Christian tradition that you can’t just hurry past Advent, nor can you present Christmas as a one-day wonder when all we need to have total happiness is X, Y or Z (and these can all be bought on special offer as well!). These past years have taught us many things and hopefully one thing we have learned – and have not soon forgotten – is that life can be a fragile and fleeting thing, and that true happiness is not given to us by the quantity of things we have around us but by the quality of our relationships and friendships. All of which takes time. ‘It was at the appropriate time that God sent his Son, Jesus, born of Mary’ (Galatians 4:4). The angels sang of the ‘today’ of the birth of
the Lord (Luke 2:11). And, of course, there is that soothing yet challenging passage from 2 Corinthians: ‘Now is the favourable time, this is the day of salvation’ (Chapter 6, verse 2) . This places the action of God in sending Jesus to us as saviour and messenger of his Good News right at the heart of the unfolding of the times of the world – and indeed at the heart of the events and challenges and joys and sorrows of my world and your world today. It is very much a message of today, not a mere retelling of a ‘Once upon a time’ story but the reality of Jesus wishing to be born in the hearts and through the lives of each and every one of us who carries the name Christian. The difference which we would make in our world today would indeed be the finest Christmas gift we can offer to others at this time. ‘O holy Child of Bethlehem Descend to us, we pray Cast out our sin and enter in Be born in us today We hear the Christmas angels The great glad tidings tell Oh, come to us, abide with us Our Lord Emmanuel!’
Mgr John Devine OBE
A high-profile couple with royal connections were recently described as having ‘messy and complicated’ lives. The same words could be used to describe the lives of most of us. And they accurately described the lives of those who flocked to hear Jesus in the Gospels. The Scribes and Pharisees resented his popularity and accused him of playing to the crowd. They attempted to discredit Jesus because of the company he kept. Their lives were ordered and respectable. Selfappointed moral zealots, they exposed the shortcomings of others. And they assumed they were doing God’s work. The Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus preached excluded no-one – except those who judged others. Saint Paul was a Pharisee and a selfconfessed vigilante. He rooted out any slackness in the observance of Mosaic Law. It was on such a mission to Damascus that he was struck down. Paul never met Jesus. But as one of the lynch mob that had stoned Stephen, he would have been equally at home in the crowd calling for Christ’s crucifixion.
The account of his conversion has Jesus saying these words: ‘Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ The more I read the Gospels, the more I realise the shocking nature of the Good News that Jesus preached. Rather than being rewarded, the staunchest adherents to organised religion would find themselves at the back of the queue while the feckless and the failures, the tax collectors and prostitutes, took precedence. It’s a lesson that I struggle to learn. Jesus has a soft spot for the people we exclude. The body language of the Catholic Church sometimes gives the message: ‘Don’t come as you are. Mend your ways before you can be admitted.’ There’s no room for those with messy and complicated lives. Jesus took a different approach. He welcomed sinners and ate with them, an invitation he renews every time we go to Mass.
Weekly Reflections are on the Archdiocesan website at www.liverpoolcatholicresources.com
The height and the depth of love Many years ago, I met a woman who has since become a life-long friend. Her early life was quite difficult. She and her sister were packed off to live with her aunt and uncle and then her grandparents. She was difficult to handle and eventually sent to boarding school. When she was 15 and on the verge of being expelled, she found herself in the head teacher’s office. For the first time in her life he asked what was wrong. Louise said that it was like a dam bursting as all her pain, her rejection, her insecurity and her fear came flooding out. The head teacher prayed with her and she recognised within herself a new peace. She says now that she knew for the first time that Jesus was real. That led her into a deep appreciation of her humanity and the gift of life. Most of us will have had experiences that have changed our perception and enabled us to move on to a new stage in life. The Gospel is essentially about a relationship with love that changes us and begins the process of transformation within us. I have long been aware, as people have shared their stories with me, that whenever there is a real meeting with Jesus, metanoia, deep foundational change, takes place. There is new awareness, new awakening, new sight. The call of the Gospel is to be open to the gift of meeting the Lord so that we grow strong in our innermost selves, as it says in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, and know the depth of God’s love within us. Advent is a time when we can be open to the grace of this moment, the moment of meeting the Lord, and really know the height and the depth of His love for us. It is a time of grace-filled healing as we let go of that which stops us knowing the power of love as a reality here and now. It is a call to live in the present moment and meet the forever coming God. Practically it is about taking a time of silence for God to work within us. It is also about living every moment to the full and letting the values of the Kingdom – compassion, mercy, love and forgiveness – grow within you. This moment is all we are given and it is too precious to waste on bitterness and anger and injustice. Grab life and live the values that make it real and vibrant. Advent is the time of waiting that the Church invites us into and you cannot really wait in the past or the future; you can only wait in the here and now and if we wait with joyful hope in this moment then the Lord most surely will come. Father Chris Thomas
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Dialogue and Unity Nadine Daniel BEM A real Scouser hailing from Norris Green, Nadine Daniel is one of the most enthusiastic and committed ecumenists on Merseyside typifying the slogan ‘Better Together’. She has the unique honour of being the only Christian of another denomination on our Justice and Peace Commission, where she has served since 2015. She has been passionate about promoting ecumenism from an early age when Norris Green was an area where there were still hostilities between Catholic and Protestant. Nadine thought this was wrong from an early age. Even as a child, she was not backward in telling people it was wrong. When she moved as a teenager to worship at the Cathedral, partially because of her great love and skills in music, she was bowled over by the vibrant links between the two Cathedrals that were beginning to be established. She was actively involved in the Papal Visit during her gap year, working as office assistant to Dean Patey, acting as a go between, trapsing up and down between the two Cathedrals, taking messages between Dean and Dean. This gave her great love and experience of working with Roman Catholics which has stayed with her. After a successful career as a barrister, she sought a change in direction and came to work for what would become HOPE+, the foodbank started by the two Cathedrals, which soon had thousands of supporters. As it’s project coordinator she forged strong links with Catholic schools, religious orders, and parishes and was greatly supported in this role by Provost Tony O’Brien and Claire Hanlon at the Metropolitan Cathedral and the muchloved Bishop Vin Malone, who encouraged parishes to support the initiative. That was not all: she worked to encourage other denominations and faiths to provide their support to Hope+. After five years at HOPE+ (subsequently expanded and widened as Micah Liverpool) she moved to be the National Refugee Officer of the Church of England, where she travelled up and down the country building relationships and trying to persuade the Home Office that the hostile environment towards asylum seekers and refugees was counterproductive. Working in tandem with Sean Ryan of CSAN (the National Catholic Social Action Network),
she sought to build Community partnerships wanting to engage with the Home Office’s Community Sponsorship Programme for Syrian Refugee Families. By then she was a seasoned member of the Justice and Peace Commission, bringing her skills not only regarding refugees and asylum seekers, but also enthusiasm and IT knowledge. Nadine greatly assisted in the successful and effective range of events that the Commission organised notably their annual assemblies. In 2018 Nadine was awarded the British Empire Medal for ‘Services to ecumenical and interfaith relations’. Nadine now works for UK Welcomes Refugees. An organisation where her skills are used to the full and she is working on a range of complex issues including the current Afghan tragedy, and the arrival of many thousands fleeing from Hong Kong following the recent aggressive behaviour by the Chinese Government. Nadine has been elected to the General Synod of the Church of England this year which will enable her to contribute to her Church at a national level. She is a great believer in dialogue and listening to those with whom you disagree and is particularly pleased that Pope Francis is encouraging new ways of working via synodality, as well as looking at divorce, same sex relationships and women’s ministry in new
and creative ways, and we are so grateful for her contribution here. She will be delighted at Archbishop Malcolm’s emphasis on care for the planet as central to our vocation plus his engagement with Bishop Paul Bayes on tackling food poverty. Nadine’s commitment to reconciliation and interchurch relations is further demonstrated in her active engagement in the Köln Link of Churches Together in the Merseyside Region. She has made many trips to the archdiocese and contributed to the links between our two Cathedrals and the Cathedral (Dom) in Köln over many years. This is one of many shared activities like music and worshipping at St Margaret of Antioch in Toxteth and the Cathedral, that she shares with her husband of 28 years Philip, who works at the Cathedral and is also the Honorary French Consul. Nadine said, ‘I was more than a bit shocked to read this very generous hagiography. I feel very much indebted to the archdiocese and especially my fellow J&P Commissioners, for all that I have learnt and been able to use in both my work and faith life. Although I knew about Catholic Social Teaching, I was grateful for the learning I took from seeing CST applied to real social justice issues. To be present at the reception of the Relic of St Oscar Romero last month was a special honour that I shall carry with me always.’
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