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Issue 205 October 2021

Congratulations Bishop Tom INSIDE THIS ISSUE

The Lutyens Crypt reawakens

Thank you from Gaza

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Liverpool Archdiocesan Ordo 2022


The Ordo provides the annual cycle of seasons and days observed in the Christian churches in commemoration of the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and of his virtues as exhibited in the lives of the saints. Handy A5 size A must for daily/weekly mass goers

You can now order a copy of the Liverpool Archdiocesan Ordo 2022 edition Price: £5.00 To place an order please email:

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contents Welcome Congratulations to Bishop Tom Williams who has been conferred with the Honorary Freedom of the City of Liverpool. It is a richly deserved reward for someone born and bred in the city who has dedicated his life to the service of its people in so many ways – parish ministry, hospital chaplaincy, Lourdes pilgrimages, Catholic education, pastoral care; not least offered to the Hillsborough families, and regeneration through Project Jennifer -to name but a few. As his ministry is recognised by the civic authorities we give thanks for his work among us. It was with great sadness that I heard of the death of Dr Meg Whittle, who served as Archdiocesan Archivist until her retirement in 2017 at the age of 77! She was always assiduous in her attention to detail when answering any request and I had many wonderful conversations with her when researching features for the ‘Catholic Pic’. May she rest in peace. There was great sadness too at the sudden death of Father Brendan Rice, a faithful servant in the Lord’s vineyard and a friend to so many - shown by the tributes offered from our archdiocesan family and beyond. At the time of going to press a full obituary is not available but we will pay tribute to him in November. May the Lord who he served so well grant him rich reward for his labours.


From the Archbishop’s Desk By the time you read this the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation will be well under way throughout the archdiocese. This is the first wave of teenagers receiving the sacrament for many years. As you know when I arrived in Liverpool the Sacrament of Confirmation was being given to children in their First Holy Communion Mass when they were 8 years old. It has taken several years marking time until our unconfirmed youngsters reached their teens and then we were delayed by the pandemic. Please pray for these young people who are making a conscious choice to receive the Holy Spirit to confirm them in their faith. Building on the gift of the Holy Spirit in Baptism my hope is that the newly confirmed will develop a greater love for the Eucharist and take their place more fully in the life of the parish. This special gift of God’s life will help them to grow into responsible citizens who are not focused only on themselves but have a spirit of care and concern for others. Young people are leading the way on very important issues facing the care of the environment, our response to migrants and those less fortunate than ourselves. I am always inspired by the openness and vitality of young people, and I know that the other bishops who will be celebrating the sacrament in your pastoral areas share this view. Join me in my prayer which will be that this gift of the Holy Spirit to the young people of our archdiocese will renew the face of the earth! Most Rev Malcolm McMahon OP Archbishop of Liverpool

Copy deadline November 2021 Monday 11 October 2021

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Main Feature Bishop Tom receives Liverpool’s highest honour


News From around the Archdiocese

14 Sunday Reflections Liturgy and Life 15 Nugent Awards across the board for Nugent 16 What’s On The Lutyens Crypt reawakens 19 Profile Bertie Grogan A Knight’s tale 21 Animate Youth Ministry Back to School 25 Cathedral Record Dr Meg Whittle remembered 26 Pic Extras Mums the Word News from the KSC

Editor Peter Heneghan

Pictures Cover and Main Feature: Robin Clewley


28 Pic Life Gratitude and our evolving relationship with food 30 Dialogue and Unity FAITHS4CHANGE (F4C)

CPMM Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced copied or transmitted in any form or by any means or stored in any information storage or retrieval system without the publishers written permission. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published, Catholic Pictorial Ltd. can accept no responsibility for the veracity of the claims made by advertisers.

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Bishop Tom receives Liverpool’s highest honour Bishop Tom Williams was granted the freedom of the city for his ‘phenomenal contribution’ across five decades in a ceremony at the Liverpool Town Hall on 30 September. By Simon Hart There was a wry reflection from Bishop Tom Williams, speaking on BBC Radio Merseyside on the morning of 30 September, which highlighted his long service to his home city. Remembering his ordination as a priest 49 years ago, he said: ‘I was told I wouldn’t be allowed to live within 30 miles of where I was born and the irony is I’ve never been further than four miles.’ A son of Scotland Road, Bishop Tom, 73, has spent almost five decades serving Liverpool and this service earned a special reward on the last day of September as he received the freedom of the city in a ceremony at Liverpool Town Hall. ‘Surprised and humbled’ is how he summed up his response to the honour. Yet according to the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Mary Rasmussen, speaking at the ceremony, there could be no more fitting a recipient. ‘You truly are a man of the people,’ she told him. ‘Bishop Tom, you deserve to be an honorary freeman of the city of Liverpool. You’re an inspiration, a guiding light, a listening ear and a community leader, speaking up for the area and actively helping make a difference to the lives of local people, and I’m so pleased this has been recognised.’ 4

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The ceremony at the Town Hall began with a rendition of the ‘Theme from Z Cars’ – a nod to Bishop Tom’s lifelong support of Everton FC – and featured contributions from not only the Lord Mayor but also Deputy Mayor Jane Corbett and Radio Merseyside broadcaster Roger Phillips. Mark Bousfield, Director of Regeneration and Economy from Liverpool City Council, read the resolution conferring the honorary freedom of the city on Bishop Tom. This was granted him in January 2020 but the pandemic meant the ceremony had been put on hold until now. Bishop Tom responded by saying: ‘It is this city that has helped and supported me in so many ways. All I’ve ever tried to do is listen to people and to respond without judgement and basically to move them on and myself.’ Bishop Tom has family ties to Liverpool that go back five generations and he has served the city in many different ways. As a priest, he began as curate at St Francis of Assisi in Garston, following his ordination by Archbishop Beck in May 1972. He went on to have spells at Sacred Heart on Hall Lane; Our Lady of Walsingham in Netherton; Our Lady Immaculate on St Domingo Road; and St Anthony’s on Scotland Road. Since his early chaplaincy of Bellerive

‘You’re an inspiration, a guiding light, a listening ear and a community leader.’ – Mary Rasmussen, Lord Mayor Grammar School, he has acted as a governor and chair of governors in various archdiocesan primary and secondary schools. In the late 1970s and early ’80s, he spent nine years as hospital chaplain – four at Liverpool Infirmary and five at the new Royal Liverpool Hospital. He was a member of the Archdiocesan Building Projects Committee and, in 1997, chair of Project Jennifer, the scheme set up by parishioners and others in the Scotland Road area to work with the city council and businesses to regenerate the city’s north end. He was a member of FLAME, an organisation which for four decades funded trips to Lourdes for young people to work with children with disabilities. He also worked with Matalan founder John Hargreaves to establish the NSPCC Liverpool Service Centre on the site of the former Great Homer Street market. ‘Devotion and dedication’ The Lord Mayor began the ceremony by saying: ‘Today the city of Liverpool acknowledges the achievements of Bishop Tom by acknowledging the highest honour this city can bestow in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the faith and community sector of the city, dedicating his life to serving his parishioners and the wider faith community for almost half a century.’ She offered a personal memory of the then ‘Father Williams’ and the support he gave her own family as a young priest at St Francis of Assisi. ‘His work and influence in the city goes beyond faith alone,’ she added, ‘as he has played a key role in the regeneration work which has transformed communities. Bishop Tom has played a pivotal role in all aspects of life in the community and is a trusted voice in Liverpool. Bishop Tom’s contribution to the city has been phenomenal and it is right and

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proper that we reward his work by awarding him the freedom of the city. His devotion and dedication to his home city deserve the highest recognition.’ Deputy Mayor Jane Corbett remembered meeting Bishop Tom at the Royal Liverpool Hospital in 1979. ‘From a nursing point of view the difference that Tom made to the patients was tremendous,’ she recalled. ‘Also, with the staff, we felt incredibly supported by Father Tom. You knew he was there, you knew that he cared for people very deeply. ‘Tom is a man of the people but he’s a priest of the people and he’s a priest from the people and that – for the north end of the city as well as the south end – means a massive amount because you know that he’s there for you and he understands where you’re coming from and where you’re trying to go as well. ‘Father Tom wasn’t just about the Church he was about the community and he was about regeneration of the community,’ she added, referring to his involvement with Project Jennifer. ‘It took us 25 years to get a supermarket on Great Homer Street.’ ‘Where his home and heart is’ Broadcaster Roger Phillips remembered first meeting Bishop Tom at St Anthony’s

in Scotland Road and said: ‘‘I admired him from the start and that was just because of his depth of knowledge of that beautiful church itself and the history of the IrishCatholic community.’ He added: ‘The essence of Tom is that he was and still is, in truth, a parish priest

from the heart of Liverpool’s working-class Catholic community. That background in Liverpool’s Irish-Catholic, working-class community and in grassroots hospital and parish work made his appointment as bishop unusual to say the least. Liverpool, particularly the north end, has always been where his home and his heart is.’

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He recalled too how Archbishop Patrick Kelly, on ordaining him as Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool in May 2003, concluded with the words ‘Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News, but I’d like you to start in Scotland Road!’. Addressing those gathered at the Town Hall, Bishop Tom himself quipped: ‘I’m just thinking of me mam and dad who said, “Your face will get you the parish!” In some ways I’m just thinking, as those beautiful words were being said, “Who is this fella?”. I’m so humbled and grateful to you all.’ Bishop Tom’s father, Richard, was a docker and his mother, Margaret, a

‘Tom has never lived more than four miles from where he was born on Scottie Road. Freedom of the city is a just reward and acknowledgement of his lifelong commitment to this place.’ – Roger Phillips 6

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cleaner at Ashfield Street Primary School. He was 13 when he left St Sylvester’s Secondary School for junior seminary in Chester, before moving on to the English College in Lisbon and then St Joseph’s College, Upholland. The harsh words of a teacher were a motivating factor, as he recalled: ‘The catalyst was a teacher in school who said to us in class, “I don’t know why I bother with you lot – you’re all going to end up brushing the streets, going to jail or working on the docks”. I remember thinking, “How dare you speak to us like that” and that gave me the incentive to actually do something.’ He has certainly done that, and how Liverpool has felt the benefits.

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From secondary school to Sandhurst – how Deacon John Power took a career change following his ordination Deacon John Power has been appointed as Chaplain to the Royal Lancers after completing rigorous training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. When he was ordained in 2020 in St Oswald’s Old Swan, Deacon John worked as a head of department in a secondary school and volunteered in his parish and in the cathedral crypt, until he received an email that completely transformed his career path. He said: ‘After my ordination I became restless that I couldn’t commit more time to serve as an ordained minister in the Church because of my full-time job. I looked at other options such as leaving education and going back into industry, however that option would leave me in the same situation. One day, I received an email listing various jobs including one as a Catholic chaplain to the British Army’. Deacon John applied for the role, which took 12 months as there were various medicals and fitness tests to complete, before being invited to a three-day army officer selection board which involved

more fitness tests, academic aptitude tests, psychometric tests and interviews. Following this, Deacon John had to complete three weeks of chaplaincy training followed by eight weeks at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst. He said: ‘This was extremely difficult, not just

because I was away from my family for so long but also the course was arduous. It involved physical training, combat skills, weapon handling training (even though chaplains do not carry weapons), field craft, 5.30 am room inspections, map reading, going out on exercise drills and accompanying my platoon on section attacks. However, it was a glorious day on the 17 July when my family came down and watched me walk up the steps of Sandhurst’s Old College to commission as an officer, and more importantly as a chaplain.’ Now Deacon John is based with the Royal Lancers in Catterick, North Yorkshire, he says, ‘Being the chaplain includes supporting soldiers and officers with any worries or concerns they have, leading remembrance and regimental services, to most importantly being on the tank park with the soldiers having a cuppa and a good laugh. ‘The most rewarding part of my role is being there for whatever life throws at anyone in the regiment. I’m also very fortunate in being able to bring Christ to people in the most unusual of situations.’

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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:

A diamond day for Father Denis Tuesday 7 September was a diamond day for Father Denis Blackledge SJ, Parish Priest of St Francis Xavier, Liverpool, as he celebrated 60 years as

a Jesuit. Father Joseph Duggan, who entered the Society of Jesus on the same day as Father Denis and who died on 24 August

was remembered as the day had been planned as a double celebration. During the Mass mezzo-soprano Danielle Thomas sang the ‘Pie Jesu’ in memory of Father Joe. Reflecting on his 60 years Father Denis said, ‘at eighteen I knew I wanted to help others to help themselves and be alongside them in their deepest needs as a minister of consolation and compassion. But little did I know of the realistic cost. Sinner and beginner that I am, daily celebrating the Eucharist has by now completely taken me, blessed me, broken me, and given me. I now know a little better the cost of complete simplicity and surrender.’ Parishioners and friends of Father Denis joined him in the celebration and afterwards at a reception where he cut into a home-made Jubilee cake baked by the parishioners.

Reintroduction of Mass at Whiston Hospital On Sunday 1 August the Roman Catholic Mass was reintroduced in The Sanctuary at Whiston Hospital after 16 months suspension due to covid restrictions. Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP, and Father Michael Thompson, Priest Chaplain at Whiston Hospital, concelebrated the Mass with Bishop John Rawsthorne, Ann Marr, Chief Executive of St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, and members of staff also present. Mass will now be celebrated at the hospital every Sunday at the new time of 11.00 am. Pictured left to right: Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, Bishop John Rawsthorne, Ann Marr, Father Michael Thompson. 8

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news diary

World Mission Sunday: ‘We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard’ On World Mission Sunday, 24 October, the entire global Church comes together in support of mission. It is a moment of grace to express solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are living in situations of poverty, violence and oppression. Coordinated by Missio, it is celebrated in every Catholic community in the world. For example, in 2020 the Church in Bangladesh gave just over £3,000 and the Church in Malawi gave

almost £18,500. Last year, here in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, we raised £18,772 for World Mission Sunday. The theme the Holy Father has chosen this year is: ‘We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard’ (Acts 4:20). In his message for World Mission Sunday, he says, ‘Once we experience the power of God’s love we cannot help but proclaim and share what we have seen and heard. Jesus’ relationship with his disciples and his humanity shows us the extent to which

God loves our humanity and makes his own our joys and sufferings, our hopes and our concerns.’ Father Anthony Chantry, Missio’s National Director in England and Wales said: ‘Celebrating World Mission Sunday is so important and relevant in these times. If we are to emerge from all our present global problems stronger in our commitment to Jesus and the coming of his Kingdom of peace and justice, we must work together, helping and supporting each other across the world.’ Help to build peace in Nigeria this World Mission Sunday Intense violence continues to rock communities in Nigeria, with fatalities, mutilations, and destruction of property devastatingly commonplace. The violence caused by poverty, and historical religious tension is easily manipulated to encourage division and mistrust. To quell the tension and create a peaceful and harmonious environment the Women’s Interfaith Council was established in Kaduna, northern Nigeria, by the Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles in 2010 to encourage women of different faiths to work together to build peace through training programmes. These programmes empower women and contribute to healing and reconciliation in their community. Sister Veronica has been leading the Council since 2019 and says, ‘When you train a woman, you train a nation. We bring them together as women and build peace. Every religion talks about love, there is no religion that talks about war.’ One Christian woman who has been personally affected by the violence is 23-year-old Rachel. Her family were attacked in their village by suspected militant Fulani herdsmen. Rachel heard the gun shots that killed her son. Then she and her small daughter were assaulted, and Rachel’s left arm was cut off below her elbow. She says, ‘When thinking about those who killed my son, if they are still alive, I pray for them: “May God forgive them because they don’t know what they have done”’. Today, with the support of Sister Veronica and the Women’s Interfaith Council, Rachel is rebuilding her life and attempting to heal through forgiveness. For more information about World Mission Sunday visit (Rachel’s name has been changed to protect her identity.)

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news diary The mystery object found at SFX church by Judith Callaghan, Friends of SFX A few months ago, a strange wooden object appeared in the Shaw Room at St Francis Xavier church, Liverpool. It was quite battered; nobody knew what it was and it seemed destined for the bin. I thought the woodwork looked as though someone really talented had made it and wondered whether it would make an interesting plant pot. I got permission to take it home and it stood around for a few weeks while I waited for inspiration. But it was such an odd shape that I couldn’t think how to use it. In the meantime, I sent some photos of it to Jesuit Brother Ken Vance, formerly at SFX and now in Edinburgh, knowing that if anyone could say what it was, he would be able to. He got right back to me saying that it had been used in 1958 at a Mass to mark the death of Pope Pius XII. In those days it was white and was used at Mass as a stand for a paper Papal Crown which had a small Orb and Cross on the top. However, Brother Ken thought it was much older than that and probably dated back to Brother Shaw’s time, who was sacristan for many decades straddling the 19th and 20th centuries: the Church meeting room is named after him. I had also sent pictures to Professor Maurice Whitehead, Director of Heritage Collections at the Venerable English

College in Rome, a Friend of SFX, and expert on UK Jesuit history. He told me that he’d never seen anything like it before and suggested we offer it to Dr Jan Graffius, Curator of the Stonyhurst Collections, which we did. We got a speedy, enthusiastic reply from Jan saying ‘Yes, please’. Covid had delayed delivery of the stand to Stonyhurst, but it was eventually taken

there in July during the College holidays. Jan was incredibly busy with a major rehousing of thousands of museum items, but she kindly broke off to take charge of the stand and had time for a quick museum visit. It was lovely to see again some of the items that we had at SFX during the 2008 Capital of Culture ‘Held in Trust’ exhibition (books still available for sale from the church shop at £5.95 each).

Bishop Tom’s First Engagement Following his Episcopal Ordination on Friday 3 September Bishop Tom Neylon visited the parish of Our Lady of Mount

Carmel and St Patrick, Liverpool, on the weekend of 4/5 September for the 70th anniversary of the consecration of the

Bishop Tom with Parish Priest Fr Silviu Climent and parishioners of Our Lady of Mount Carmel 10

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Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. He celebrated Mass in both churches and met with parishioners afterwards.

Bishop Tom at St Patrick’s

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news diary Ordination of Father Michael Taylor CSsR It was a day of joy and celebration on 24 August 2021(the Feast of St Bartholomew) when Redemptorists from across England and Scotland congregated at Bishop Eton for the ordination of one of their own Mike Taylor. Bishop Ralph Heskett CSsR – a fellow Redemptorist - presided at this twice postponed event due to Covid, and it took place a year to the day that he had taken his perpetual vows, and just a day short of the first anniversary of his diaconal ordination. Father Mike was a late vocation to the priesthood having had a twenty-five year career as a Corporate Accountant, including in the City. This experience has been an invaluable preparation for his role as director of the Ace of Clubs - a homeless outreach project in Clapham. This project is a perfect example of ministering ‘to the needs of the poor and most abandoned’ which is what St Alphonsus founded the Redemptorists (Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer) to do. Father Mike studied under the supervision of the Redemptorists’ Prefect of studies Father Charles Corrigan CSsR and at Allen Hall seminary and Heythrop University. In his homily immediately before the ordination rite, Bishop Ralph said: ‘Today, Mike, we send you out to be an instrument of God’s plentiful redemption, to nourish the people of God with the truth of the Gospel and the Sacraments of the Church. To imitate His humble service, to proclaim that it is only in Jesus will our joy be complete. In doing so we pray that you will both enrich the people you serve and continue to be enriched by their love for you.’ First Mass at St Mary’s, Woolton Father Mike’s first mass took place on 25 August at St Mary’s Woolton which is currently under the pastoral care of the

Redemptorists. St Mary’s holds a special place in Father Mike’s heart as his parents were married there. In addition, he was baptised and confirmed there and spent his early life in the parish. 25 August is the Feast Day of the Redemptorist martyr Blessed Methodius Trcka. In his first homily as a priest Father Michael said: ‘John’s gospel tells us: “You did not choose me, no, I chose you.” And I say this in all humility. He chose me as His priest to bear fruit - fruit that will last :To go where He leads…To be for His

people…To celebrate His presence. He has consecrated me to a life of dedication and holiness. He has called me, even in the particularity of my personality, circumstances and context…I am going to be a priest forever, with an indelible mark of priesthood on my soul for all eternity. That’s quite something to live up to. But I will give it my best shot. Thanks be to God.’ The full homily along with information on the Redemptorists can be found at

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news diary

Grateful thanks from Gaza Earlier this year in the June edition of the ‘Catholic Pic’ we reported on the conflict between Israel and Hamas and heard from Sister Nabila Saleh, Principal of the Rosary Sisters School in Gaza which received extensive bomb damage during the conflict. Sister Nabila said, ‘We have big damage in the school – to windows and doors and walls. We must remove and rebuild the solar panels too. We have a project with the Italian Bishops’ Conference for solar panels – we have 275 panels and 170 were damaged by the bombing. The cost of the damage is over 300,000 dollars. We have also five teachers who lost their houses. Now they have nothing.’ At the end of the feature, we offered people the chance to support the work of Sister Nabila and the Rosary Sisters School by making donations through the ‘Friends of the Holy Land’. The latest news is that £2,000 has been received so far and has been transferred directly to the Rosary Sisters school in Gaza via the Latin Patriarchate. Thank you for your generosity.

If you still wish to donate, please send your donations by cheque payable to 'Friends of the Holy Land' and mark your envelope 'Rosary Sisters School’. Send it to: Friends of the Holy Land, Farmer Ward Road, Kenilworth CV8 2DH. You may also donate online at

Sam’s big day Sam Johnson, a parishioner of St Oswald’s, Padgate, Warrington, celebrated his 100th birthday on Friday 10 September. Parish Priest, Father David Heywood, celebrated a thanksgiving Mass for Sam attended by family, friends and parishioners. A Papal Blessing from Pope Francis for the centenarian was presented at the end of the Mass to a great round of applause. Father David began the Mass saying, ‘We’re delighted to gather with you today, Sam. First, we want to give thanks to God for you and the gift you have been to your family and friends, and to this community. And then, later on, we want to celebrate this wonderful milestone in a more informal way.’ In his homily after praising Sam for his ‘determination for life’ Father David went on to speak of his ‘wisdom and kindness’ - ‘The second thing that stands out is your wisdom and kindness. I’ve always found you to be a very kind and friendly chap. Kindness is arguably one of the most important qualities a person can offer today’s world which can often be hostile, arrogant, selfish, entitled and hurtful. So thank you for your example. It’s the fruit of the other virtue I see in you which is wisdom. Wisdom comes from experience – and you have plenty of that. But today’s world often values money, youth and looks over experience and wisdom. The result? We keep making the same mistakes over and over again. The current pandemic is a good example, as is the dreadful situation in Afghanistan. So, Sam, thank you for your wisdom and kindness. 12

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Above: Sam with members of his family. Right: Sam Johnson is presented with the Papal Blessing by Parish Priest, Fr David Heywood. Pictures: Kevin Holt

and put the advice 'Rosary Sisters School' in the comments box or you can call 01926 512980 and make your donation over the phone. We hope to hear more of how the money is being spent directly from Gaza following the visit of the Bishops of the Holy Land Coordination in January next year.

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news diary

A call to support leprosy sufferers Many people believe that leprosy is just a disease of ancient times. But the reality for many millions is that it is a devasting disease still today, with over 200,000 people newly detected with leprosy every year. Millions more go undiagnosed, spreading infection or living with the devasting effects. According to the St Francis Leprosy Guild, a UK-based charity with over 100 years’ experience of working with sufferers, the disease is still found in 120 countries around the world today. What is leprosy? Leprosy is a disease of the nerves and if left undiagnosed, it attacks the nerve endings and causes a lack of sensation in peripheral parts of the body such as the hands and feet. This lack of sensation leads to unintentional injury then chronic ulcers and, if left untreated, clawing of hands and feet, amputation, and blindness. Leprosy causes more disability than any other infectious disease. In times gone by, people with leprosy were considered a threat to society. They were often removed to leprosy colonies or asylums where they lived in poverty. Leprosy couldn’t be cured then and sufferers became deformed, blind, and outcast. It was a highly stigmatised disease too. The L-word – leper – still carries a sting of fear and horror and should never be used to described people affected by the disease. Tragically, leprosy remains one of the most stigmatised diseases on earth. A leprosy diagnosis remains a life sentence for some – many sufferers are thrown out of their homes, communities and jobs. Unbelievably, there are over 120 laws in the statute books, worldwide, that actively discriminate against people with leprosy. How is the disease caused? Since 1873, we’ve known that leprosy is caused by a bacterium. But it took until the 1980s for an effective antibiotic cure to be found. Known as multi-drug therapy, or MDT, this discovery led to around 16 million people being cured. As recently as the 2000s the disease was considered eliminated and health services were scaled back, meaning that leprosy expertise declined. Tragically, an unknown number of people still had leprosy or were catching the disease and then transmitting it into their communities. These people were undiagnosed, untreated and many, including children, developed life-changing disabilities.

Children from a leprosy-affected community Today, if someone suspects they have leprosy, they must find a clinic or hospital for a diagnosis or treatment. People with leprosy often live in remote locations with no healthcare provision and no transport. Sadly, some doctors and nurses don’t recognise leprosy when they see it. A further complication is that leprosy is hard to detect in its early stages. It presents as numb patches on the skin which can be easily confused with other skin complaints such as scabies. There is no point-of-care or field diagnostic test available yet. Diagnosing leprosy involves experience, and confirmation of the disease using a skin biopsy. In addition, it may incubate for 20 years before symptoms appear.

plus medical skills to diagnose and treat patients and maybe their families, friends and neighbours too, and to monitor their progress over time. The St Francis Leprosy Guild has cared for people with leprosy for over 125 years and its current operating strategy emphasises active case-finding and early detection followed by treatment with MDT. If we can find and treat people affected by leprosy – village by village, town by town, country by country – we will see an end to leprosy. But this is not easy, and we need all the support possible to make it a reality. To learn more, please visit our website

What is the solution? Until recently, caring for people with leprosy meant providing treatment with MDT, the provision of healthcare in hospitals and clinics, and surgery to improve disabilities. To end leprosy in today’s world, new strategies are required to find and treat everyone with the disease. Yet active casefinding requires expertise: logistics, mapping, data collection and recording to find people who have leprosy,

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sunday reflections On a liturgical note ‘Bless me Father for I have sinned.’ During his recent visit to Slovakia, Pope Francis referred to Confession as ‘the Sacrament of Joy’ but I wonder how often we have experienced it as such. The gift of the sacraments is that we ‘may have life and have it in abundance’ (John 10:10) and so this is also true for the sacrament of Reconciliation – it is not so much an occasion for us to be judged, as an opportunity for us once again to experience the embrace of the Father. ‘One does not go to Confession as chastised people who must humble themselves, but as children who run to receive the Father's embrace,’ the Pope explained to the young people he was addressing. ‘And the Father lifts us up in every situation, He forgives our every sin. Hear this well: God always forgives! Do you understand? God always forgives!’ One is not going to a judge to settle accounts, but ‘to Jesus who loves me and heals me’. There is a danger that we place ourselves at the centre of Confession - we rightly make an examination of conscience to help us understand ourselves all the better and yet the first thing which we must confess – in the sense of underline or stress – is

Sunday thoughts When Jesus says ‘Follow me’ to a group of fishermen, they drop everything and follow him. But the story of the ‘rich young man’ has a different ending. Matthew, Mark and Luke vary in their descriptions of this meeting. In Matthew, he’s a young and rich man. For Luke, he’s ‘a member of one of the leading families’. In Mark’s account for Sunday 10 October, he’s simply ‘a man’. Unlike Peter and the other apostles, this ‘rich young man’ approaches Jesus rather than vice versa. If the role of apostle had been advertised, this young man’s CV would have perfectly matched both job description and person spec. If Jesus had wanted to recruit a well-qualified and intelligent candidate, the rich young man would have most certainly made the short-list. Well-connected, he presents himself with the selfassurance of someone with a firstclass degree and a fistful of references.

Canon Philip Gillespie

the desire and the mercy of the Father who has brought about the forgiveness of sins and the reconciliation of us all to Himself through the death and resurrection of Jesus and who has extended that to us through time by the working of the Holy Spirit. It is what the Priest prays with the words of Absolution, the words of forgiveness, each time we come to the sacrament: ‘God the Father of Mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son, has reconciled the world to himself and has sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins.’ Pope Francis continued: ‘God rejoices in forgiving us, every time. When He raises us up, He believes in us as He did the first time. He does not get discouraged. We are the ones who are discouraged, He is not. He does not see sinners to label, but children to love. He does not see people who have erred, but beloved children; wounded, perhaps. And then He has even more compassion and tenderness. And every time we confess — never forget this — there is a celebration in Heaven. May it be the same on earth!" Mgr John Devine OBE

He knows the commandments and is confident that he has kept them. A perfect fit. ‘But there is one thing you lack’, says Jesus. The young man must have found this bewildering. For the first time his effortless progression through life has stalled. Jesus looks at him with love, so it’s not a rejection. He was a man ‘of great wealth’. Money itself was not the problem, rather the self-sufficiency that money brings. Jesus leaves the door open but invites him to return once the failures and disappointments of real living have dented his over-confidence. He must learn that wealth, power and influence are not the currency of the Kingdom. Only then will the words ‘follow me’ make sense. Contrast this with the call of Peter. His reaction is so different: ‘Leave me Lord, I am a sinful man.’ The best-possible qualification for a would-be disciple.

Weekly Reflections are on the Archdiocesan website at


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The way of vulnerability One of my favourite books is CS Lewis’s ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. It’s a fantastic story of four children and their encounter with the lion Aslan in the magical land of Narnia, a place where it is always winter, a place held in the grip of evil. Aslan’s battle with evil results in his becoming vulnerable. He is bound and eventually killed on the great stone altar as the children watch from a distance. That’s not the end of the story, though. Aslan rises again to bring freedom to Narnia. For Christians, it’s Jesus death on the Cross that has overcome the great battle. It’s his death and resurrection that transforms the whole of creation. Jesus, the human face of God, out of love becomes vulnerable and powerless, absorbing into himself the mess, transforming it and breaking its power. It’s not the powerful way that God chooses. It’s the weak, broken way of the cross and it’s only those who are in touch with their own brokenness and vulnerability who really understand it. We have to face our own pain to understand the cross and to be able to proclaim the cross, otherwise it’s just another philosophy. We have to know in our lives that death is the only way to life. Sadly, many people don’t understand the way of the cross. The world avoids pain and brokenness. Most of us would rather do anything than become vulnerable. We build ourselves up with our own false illusions about the world and life. We pretend we’ve got it all together. We try to stay in control. Saint Paul says to us that there’s a type of knowledge that is communicated by Christianity and which goes beyond our petty attempts to believe that we’re important and that we’ve got it together. It’s the wisdom of God, that life comes through death, that brokenness is the way to wholeness, that the cross is the way to life. The way of Jesus is about facing our vulnerability and trusting that through it life will come. When we look at the cross, we don’t just see a 2,000-year-old event. We see every moment when we have died within, every moment of rejection and pain that we’ve experienced, every moment of isolation and disappointment, every hope and dream that has been crushed and we see it all in the broken, bruised body of the lamb, hanging on the cross. Learn how to weep, learn to see your pain in the cross of Jesus. Allow love to transform you. In ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ Aslan dares to believe that from his death, life will come. Dare we have that sort of courage when we face the cross? Do we choose to believe that from our vulnerability God will be victorious and can we proclaim that to the world? That’s faith to live by. Father Chris Thomas

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Getting back to what we do best Normandie Wragg Chief Executive Nugent

Awards across the board for Nugent!

After such a long, turbulent period faced by the world and no different for caregivers and charities such as ours, it is pleasing for Nugent colleagues to find a semblance of normality and success in our work and September has been a rewarding month for us. We have hosted our first fundraising event since the pandemic began and have performed excellently at our recent inspection by Ofsted at Marydale Lodge Secure Children’s Home. The fifteenth annual Phil Thompson Golf Classic On Thursday 16 September, 75 keen golfers descended on Houghwood Golf Club in Billinge for our annual Phil Thompson Golf Classic. The event proved to be an overwhelming success. Big smiles, low scores and high generosity joined glorious weather for Nugent’s first in-person fundraising event since the very beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. This year the focus of the event was for the children and young people we support within the charity. Over £11,000 was raised thanks to the generous donations of attendees, as well as the fantastic prizes that were donated by various organisations, sponsors and people, including a limited edition Scotty Cameron putter donated by our headline

sponsors David M. Robinson Jewellery and Watches. Marydale Lodge Secure Children’s Home recent inspection At a recent inspection of our Marydale Lodge Secure Children’s Home in St Helens, Ofsted inspectors were left suitably impressed with the work, dedication and progress shown since their last visit. The inspectors found that the secure children’s home provides highly effective services that consistently exceed the required standards. The actions of the service contribute to significantly improved outcomes and positive experiences for children and young people who need help, protection, and care. Marydale Lodge is the only secure children's home in the country that is charity owned and operated. In January 2020, Jo Henney (Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Governance Officer), in conjunction with the team around her, realised an intensive three-month ‘turnaround’ project to transform Marydale Lodge from an ‘inadequate’ service into ‘good’ service. Since then, Dr Kate Herod has taken on the mantle and has continued to drive improvement in culture and practice with ambition, compassion and dignity.

I am delighted to share with you this month that Nugent has been shortlisted for seven awards by three different bodies. Three Nugent colleagues and one Nugent Service are finalists in the prestigious National Children and Young People Awards. • Jo Henney, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Governance Officer: The Newcomer Award • Jo Lloyd, Registered Manager: The Fostering and Adoption Award • Dr Kate Herod, Head of Secure Children's Services and Registered Manager: The Children's Home Manager Award • Marian House (Suzanne Murray, Registered Manager) for: The Children’s Home Team Award (North) The National Children and Young People Awards celebrate excellence in care for children, young people and families, showcase innovation and best practice in this area. They also pay tribute to those individuals or organisations who excel in quality care provision. The Liverpool Chamber of Commerce has announced Nugent as a finalist in the ‘Business of the Year’ category of its Innovation in Business Awards. In addition to this, and in an extremely humbling turn of events, I have also been shortlisted in the Chamber’s ‘Local Hero’ award category. Please support Nugent and vote for us via the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce voting portal. I am overjoyed to also highlight that Jo Henney, Deputy Chief Executive, has also been shortlisted for a ‘Quality Assurance Leader’ plaudit in the forthcoming Social Care Leadership Awards. I would like to thank the fantastic team we have here at Nugent. Everyone has really pulled together during this difficult period and has proven that we can overcome adversity through cooperation. We owe our success to the core values that drive our charity – integrity, ambition, courage, compassion, optimism, respect and dignity. Our guiding principles are visible in all aspects of what we do and have created a framework for our success.

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Whats Ons October 2021 Thursday 7 October St Wilfrid’s Parish, Widnes October Talks: ‘Hope, Faith, Charity and Love’ ‘Hope’ - Father Sean Riley 7.30 pm in the St John Fisher Hall, Widnes Monday 11 October ‘This, then is my Prayer.’ Reflections on the Book of Ephesians. Irenaeus Zoom Scripture Evening at 7.00 pm. To book email: No charge – donations welcome. Tuesday 12 October Quiet Day. 10.30 am to 4.00 pm at the Cenacle, Tithebarn Grove, Lance Lane, Liverpool L15 6TW. Time to be quiet, reflect and pray. Tea and Coffee provided (bring your own lunch). No booking required. Please wear a face covering indoors. For further details contact: Sister Winifred. Tel: 0151 722 2271, Email: Wednesday 13 October 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: Father Terry Madden MAfr Thursday 14 October Choral Evening Prayer and reception of the relic of St Oscar Romero 6.00 pm in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP presides in the presence of ecumenical leaders. The service will include stories from a recent visit to El Salvador by Father Stephen Pritchard and information on the history of the relic by Jan Graffius, curator of relics at Stonyhurst College. St Wilfrid’s Parish, Widnes October Talks: ‘Hope, Faith, Charity and Love’ ‘Faith’ - Father Mark Beattie 7.30 pm in the St John Fisher Hall, Widnes Sunday 17 October Choral Evening Prayer 3.00 pm in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. To mark the opening of the local phase of the universal Synod 2021-23 and an opportunity to pray for the forthcoming archdiocesan pastoral plan. Liverpool Bach Collective Johann Sebastian Bach Cantata 139: ‘Wohl dem, der sich auf seinen Gott.’ (‘Blessed is he who surrenders himself unto God.’) 6.30 pm at St Paul’s Church, Spring Grove, West Derby L12 8SJ. Singers and Players directed by Philip Duffy. Email: Monday 18 October ‘This, then is my Prayer.’ Reflections on the Book of Ephesians. Irenaeus Zoom Scripture Evening at 7.00 pm. To book email: No charge – donations welcome. Wednesday 20 October 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: Father Stephen Lee Thursday 21 October St Wilfrid’s Parish, Widnes October Talks: ‘Hope, Faith, Charity and Love’ ‘Charity’ - Father Grant Maddock 7.30 pm in the St John Fisher Hall, Widnes Wednesday 27 October 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: Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald MAfr Thursday 28 October St Wilfrid’s Parish, Widnes October Talks: ‘Hope, Faith, Charity and Love’ ‘Love’ - Sister Maria Natella OP 7.30 pm in the St John Fisher Hall, Widnes Wednesday 3 November 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: Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald MAfr 16

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The Lutyen brand new Atmospheric ‘third cathedral’ re ollowing 18 months of closure, one of Liverpool’s architectural hidden gems has reopened its doors. The Lutyens Crypt is launching a brand new exhibition, cocurated by the local community and developed through lockdown.


The Crypt, buried deep under the Metropolitan Cathedral, is all that remains of towering plans for a cathedral for Liverpool, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1930. It was due to become the largest cathedral in the world, but the project was abandoned after the Second World War. With four vast neo-classical halls featuring intricate brickwork, leadlight windows and vaulted ceilings, the Crypt is an unexpected and ambitious contrast to the striking, modernist cathedral that now sits above it. The dramatic space is often referred to as ‘Liverpool’s third cathedral’. Members of the public can once again visit the atmospheric Lutyens Crypt – which now includes a permanent exhibition exploring its fascinating story and the cathedral-that-never-was. Cocurated by members of the local community ‘Secrets of the Crypt’ takes visitors back through hundreds of years of history to discover the people and stories behind this astonishing space, including: • Apprentice bricklayer 19 year-old Arthur Brady, who was the only man left working on the crypt when his colleagues were called up to fight in World War II. Once he was called up, construction came to a standstill for 15 years. • The crypt as a focal point for celebration and sadness in the city. It became an air-raid shelter for local people during World War II; and later saw more than 1 million people turning out for the visit of Pope St John Paul II in 1982 and an outdoor mass for more than 9,000 people on 16 April 1989, the day after the Hillsborough disaster.

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ens Crypt reawakens with w visitor exhibition ’ reopens after 18-month lockdown with new exhibition The exhibition forms part of the National Lottery Heritage Funded ‘Metropolitan Perspectives’ project, which connects members of the local community with heritage and creative professionals to create a range of exciting new visitor experiences within the Grade II* listed Cathedral.

The Lutyens Crypt is open Monday – Saturday 10.00 am – 4.00 pm. Tickets are priced at £5 and can be purchased from the Cathedral welcome desk. For more information visit or email

Volunteer and local resident Debi Eastwood says, ‘I’d not visited the Cathedral before starting this project, but I’ve loved learning about its fascinating history. As part of the project, we attended workshops and training days, and spent time in the Cathedral archives. It’s amazing to think that things we discovered have made it into the final exhibition. I’ve made friends and learned so much thanks to this project.’ The second phase of the project a brand new immersive audio tour of the Cathedral - will launch in mid-October. Entrance to the Crypt also includes access to the Crypt’s glittering Treasury, which contains a priceless collection of church artefacts and sacred vessels – the largest of its kind in the North West.

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profile ‘That was totally out of the blue,’ says Bertie Grogan, recalling the day last summer when Archbishop Malcolm McMahon presented him with his papal knighthood. It was near the end of the Knights of St Columba’s Biennial Mass for deceased members at the Metropolitan Cathedral that Bertie discovered he had been honoured with membership of the Order of St Gregory. He explains: ‘It was just before the last blessing and I’d gone up to present a cheque to the dean, Canon Tony, and was just walking away and the next thing Archbishop Malcolm is calling me back up. Out of the corner of my eye I saw this tray and he says, “The Pope has given you a pontifical award”. I’d not expected that at all. My job was to run the order and do as much good as I could for the order.’ The job in question was supreme knight of the KSC. Bertie held it until 3 October when, back in Liverpool, he passed on the reins to his successor at the knights’ annual supreme conference. Appointed in 2017, he had had the honour of being supreme knight in the KSC’s centenary year of 2019 though the Covid-19 pandemic meant an extra year in the post when everything came to a stop. Hence it was in Liverpool that he stepped down. ‘To get to Liverpool was fantastic,’ he says, noting this year’s centenary of the KSC in the diocese. ‘I have to pay particular tribute to a past supreme knight, Frank Redmond, a Liverpool man who’s done fantastic work for the order.’ Bertie’s own involvement began in 1986, the year after his arrival in London from Ireland, with his wife and two daughters. His work as a film engineer had previously taken him to South Africa in the 1970s, to Johannesburg and then Durban. It was a long way from Tipperary, his birthplace. ‘There was no television network when I went out there. It was beautiful on the coast, with the Indian Ocean rolling in at you.’ Today Bertie is a KSC council member in Whitton, near Twickenham. A particular passion is recruiting new blood to the order. ‘An awful lot of people nowadays don’t want to get involved in their spare time. Some say it’s a poisoned chalice but I’ve travelled the whole country doing it.’ And he draws optimism from a recently created KSC council at the University of Glasgow, supported by the chaplaincy there. ‘During the pandemic


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Bertie Grogan A Knight’s tale - by Simon Hart those young men went out and got shopping and prescriptions for older people,’ he says. Indeed, such social action is central to the purpose of the KSC. ‘The biggest issue is to get publicity out as regards what we are and what we do. In Liverpool alone there’s so much action work that we do, out on the street with the public. The order has a welfare department which looks after brothers and their families and there’s over £1m invested every year. We send bursaries to young seminarians. During the pandemic we looked after the families of

brothers who’d passed on.’ On the future, he says: ‘There are younger generations behind me who’ll take over and run the order in their own way. The order has always been like that, always with various classes of people and backgrounds and creeds and races.’ This is not to say, though, that the 70year-old will be putting his feet up just yet. ‘You must be joking,’ he grins. ‘All past supreme knights, when they step down, take over a role involving audit finance and governance. That’s what you do for the next supreme knight. So no, you don’t put your feet up!’

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The FCJ sisters of Merseyside extend a warm welcome to parishioners, friends and colleagues to join us in a Mass of thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness to our little Society of Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus as we celebrate our 200th birthday and the jubilees of several sisters. St Clare’s Church, Arundel Avenue, L17 2AU

Saturday 23rd October 2:30pm followed by refreshments. RSVP to Thank you!

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education news

Merseyside pupils celebrate Mary’s Meals two million milestone

Thanks to its incredible supporters and volunteers in the UK and around the world, the global school feeding charity, Mary’s Meals, reached the landmark of providing a daily nutritious meal to over two million children living in some of the world’s poorest countries on 8 September. Pupils from Our Lady's Catholic Primary School in Prescot, are among supporters from around the world, who are celebrating the achievement. The school is currently supporting the charity’s Backpack Project which encourages people to fill backpacks with essential education items that are shipped to children receiving Mary’s Meals. Mary’s Meals provides food in a place of education to help even the most vulnerable children to attend school and concentrate in lessons, giving them the freedom to learn and the chance to fulfil their potential. Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder and CEO of Mary’s Meals, said: ‘Today we celebrate an amazing moment in the Mary’s Meals story as two million children ate Mary’s Meals in a place of education. 20

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For every one of those children, many more are still waiting for Mary’s Meals to come to their school, but this happy day shows us that this vision of ours is possible.’ Mr Boyle, headteacher at Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School, said: “Within education we all strive to give the children in our care the best chances in life and to offer opportunities to achieve their dreams. Mary’s Meals help to ensure that the basic need of nutrition is met so that children from the developing world are ready to learn and achieve their full potential. “The children at Our Lady’s learned of the wonderful work that Mary’s Meals do through a presentation assembly led by Anna Dunne from Mary’s Meals in school which created an infectious buzz throughout our community and a burning desire to help those who have less than we have. “The children said that they were proud that all elements of Our Lady’s mission statement, “Loving, Learning and Reaching Out to All”, would be encompassed in helping to contribute to

the Mary’s Meals Appeal.” The work of Mary’s Meals began in 2002 and the charity’s growth is fuelled by countless acts of kindness from people from all walks of life as it reaches out to children in the greatest need, often working with local partner organisations in more remote or challenging areas. Mary’s Meals not only feeds huge numbers of children attending schools in Africa, but also brings daily meals to children finding hope in non-formal education centres in India; the sons and daughters of vulnerable migrant workers in Thailand; young people engaging in education while awaiting trial in prisons in Niger and Madagascar; children affected by the conflict in Syria – through feeding programmes in Aleppo and neighbouring Lebanon; and many thousands of young learners in Haiti, which has been plagued by years of political unrest and natural disasters, most recently a major earthquake. To find out more about the work of Mary’s Meals and how to get involved visit

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education news Commissioning Service at Maricourt A long-held tradition within Maricourt Catholic High School is the annual badges and gowns commissioning service, in which the head boy and girl, prefects and form captains of the school receive their badges and gowns as they take on their roles for the academic year ahead. On Wednesday 29 September staff and students gathered together in Newman Hall for the annual commissioning service for prefects and form captains, as well as sports captains and wellbeing champions. The latter two groups were incorporated into the commissioning service for the first time this year in recognition of how these roles contribute to the holistic development of each student and how they fulfil Jesus’ desire that all “have life to the fullest.” (Jn 10:10). The service included the beautiful singing of the Maricourt choir, particularly their poignant and moving rendition of The Servant Song, with the chaplain Mr Ken McCabe reminding the students how their roles are pivotal and central to living out the mission and ethos of the school. Headteacher Mr Joseph Mangan led the students in reciting their promises and presented them with their gowns and badges. Mr Mangan said: “Service to others is integral to being a Christian and a student of Maricourt. Today’s commissioning service was about affirming our students in taking on these important roles and asking God to give them the courage and grace needed to be role models and a compassionate and caring presence for their peers so all our students can thrive in this school.”

Liverpool schools go head-to-head in robot challenge Two schools from All Saints Multi Academy Trust, The Academy of St Nicholas (ASN) and The Academy of St Francis Assisi (ASFA), went head-to-head against other Liverpool schools in a unique robot challenge. The schools each had a team of four students, made up of Year 10s from ASN and Year 9s from ASFA. Joining them were also teams from West Derby School and North Liverpool Academy. The VEX IQ Challenge was held at North Liverpool Academy and tasked students with designing and building a robot within their team in a game-based engineering competition. In a series of different tasks, students programmed two robots to compete in 60-second-long teamwork matches, working collaboratively to score points. The teams also competed in the robot skills challenge where one robot takes the field to score as many points as possible. These matches consist of driving skills matches, which are entirely driver controlled, and programming skills matches which are autonomous with limited human interaction. Both ASN and ASFA were new to the challenge but that didn’t deter them, with ASN winning in the overall play off. The triumphant team was awarded trophies whilst ASFA’s impressive performance saw them win two drones and a Raspberry Pi. Mr Adam Rooney, Head of Computing at The Academy of St Nicholas, added: “I am extremely proud of the ASN team winning The VEX IQ Challenge! They worked very hard from the start and proved they were a solid team that could solve any problem thrown their way.” Mrs Jessica Haig, Subject Leader of ICT at The Academy of St

Left to right: Alan Khorshid, Pawel Karpacz, Adam Rooney, Ethan Newton, Klaudiusz Dzedzyk from The Academy of St Nicholas

Francis Assisi, said: “It was great for the schools within the Trust to take part in this exciting competition and develop new skills. Our Year 9 team particularly enjoyed playing against students in the year above them and look forward to taking part again next year.” As part of their ongoing commitment to students, both schools will now be adding robotics to their extra-curricular and enrichment programmes.

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education news

Mercy Week at Maricourt On 24 September each year, Maricourt Catholic High School celebrates Mercy Day, which marks the day that Venerable Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, opened the doors of her House of Mercy in Dublin to feed, clothe and educate those most in need on the streets. This year, the school created Mercy Week and co-ordinated activities and events for its students throughout the week to provide opportunities to put the Mercy Education Values into action. On Monday the theme was hospitality and the Year 7 students welcomed their families into the school for the “Good Cup of Tea” event, where everyone watched a presentation, prayed together enjoyed a cup of tea and


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some delicious treats. On Tuesday, the theme of compassion inspired the students from the Sixth Form Centre, along with their

chaplain Mr Ken McCabe, to visit the Missionaries of Charity in Seel Street, where they prayed with the Sisters, helped them prepare food and serve it to the men who called at the door. Wednesday’s theme of justice focused on CAFOD’s “Eyes of the World” campaign as the art and modern foreign languages students created illustrations of eyes that will be used to remind the leaders at the COP26 meeting that the students of Maricourt will be watching them.

On Thursday, the theme was service and Mr McCabe with his band of merry Year 7 litter pickers visited areas in the local community, showing their commitment to the environment. Finally, Mercy Day on Friday was a day off for all staff and students but, in assemblies and collective worship throughout that week, students were challenged to not simply indulge themselves on this day but to do a simple act of charity for another and, in this way, live out the true spirit of Mercy Day.

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youth ministry We asked them to think about what they could offer to their community and how they could all support each other in letting their light shine. One pupil really impressed the class (and us too) with a show of Irish dancing skills. It was great to see the form group all cheering on in support of their classmate.

Back to school Ellie Leatherbarrow from the Animate Youth Ministries’ gap-year team reflects on the start of the new academic year – and the adjustment to working back in schools once more. These past 18 months have been quite a whirlwind. At Animate we have had to learn new skills and find a different way of trying to connect with young people, via online ministry. This brought the challenge of not always knowing exactly who you were targeting and whether your efforts would have the same impact as when doing youth ministry in person. I’m now going into my third year on the Animate team. Spending the majority of my first two years in lockdown was tough. Coming back this September has brought a new challenge, though, with the need to reacquaint myself with all of the classroom resources that we’d not


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been able to use for such a long period of time. We have gone from making YouTube videos to now being able to work with youngsters in person once more. And like many, I wondered whether we had forgotten how to speak to people in ‘real life’. We got there in the end, however, and have already had the pleasure of working with a few different schools from the Archdiocese since the autumn term began. It has been good to be reminded of the significant impact that young people have on our lives, and of how they can teach us new things as the world and the youth of today are forever changing. We worked first with the Year 7s from All Hallows in Penwortham, exploring the theme of ‘Let your light shine’.

We also had the opportunity to work with the Year 7 pupils from St John Fisher, Wigan. We explored the theme of ‘Learning together as a community in Christ’, whereby the pupils reflected on being all on this journey together and how they could support people along the way. One of the activities we did was a music quiz, in which you had to guess the name of the song and the artist. Most of the songs were from the 1980s, yet one pupil impressed us by guessing all of the songs correctly after listening carefully to each one … a reminder, perhaps, that life can get easier if we listen to what God wants of us rather than think we know all the answers ourselves! Working with all of these children so far this year has helped me to realise how we all have something different to offer our communities, no matter what that might be, and knowing this I’m looking forward to engaging so much more with the different schools we’ll be working with in the future.

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Obituary of Dr Meg Whittle Cathedral Record Canon Anthony O’Brien – Cathedral Dean

by Neil Sayer, Archdiocesan Archivist The former Archdiocesan Archivist, Dr Meg Whittle, died suddenly at the age of 81 on 10 September. Meg officially retired at the age of 77, but her love of the collections led her to continue to volunteer at the archives until the pandemic lockdown. Born Margaret Mary Foster in 1940, Meg was a Penwortham girl all her life, though she was educated at the Lark Hill Convent in Preston. Having passed her driving test at a fairly young age, she drove lorries for her father’s firm, and it was not unusual for policemen on point duty to stop the traffic to allow this lady driver’s truck priority. She married David Whittle at St Teresa’s old church in Penwortham in 1962, and three children soon followed. Meg’s love of history led her to enter the world of academia rather late in her life, and she was proud to be awarded a PhD in the subject by the time she was 50. She was volunteering in the library at St

Joseph’s Seminary, Upholland in the mid1990s when the papers of Archbishop Derek Worlock, lately deceased, were transferred there. In 1997 Meg was offered the post as Archivist to prepare these papers for the Archbishop’s official biographer. On the closure of the college buildings in 2000 the archives were moved from Upholland to the Metropolitan Cathedral and Meg oversaw a quite remarkable expansion of the archive collections and supervised several moves, including to the purposely adapted present offices in 2008. She retired in May 2017. On 17 September 2017 she received the Bene Merenti award in recognition of her service to the Church and is pictured with Archbishop Malcolm and members of her family. Meg’s husband David predeceased her, as did her son Daniel, and our condolences go to her daughters Sarah and Lucy and her grandchildren. Her Funeral Mass was celebrated in her home parish of St Teresa’s, Penwortham on Friday 24 September, and Meg was buried at Hill Road Cemetery.

Liturgical life at the Cathedral is now slowly returning to normal. Representative Members of the Knights of St Columba will be joining us for 11.00 am Mass on Sunday 3 October. During Mass Archbishop Malcolm will install the new National Officers and present collarets. Later at 3.00 pm we will be hosting the annual ‘Pause for Hope’ service for all who are affected by Cancer. For those interested in church architecture there is a book launch at the cathedral on 7 October of a new work by Professor Dominic Wilkinson on the buildings and churches designed by FX Velarde. We have three churches within our Diocese designed by Velarde. On Sunday 10 October, prior to the Feast of St Edward the Confessor, we welcome some of the members of staff and younger pupils of St Edwards College at 11.00 am Mass. Compared to former years we have limited the number of school attendees to ensure that we have plenty of room and space for school representatives and general congregation. On the Anniversary of the Canonisation of St Oscar Romero, 14 October, there is an evening service at 6.00 pm at the Cathedral. It is an Ecumenical Service of sung Evening Prayer with the reception of a relic of the saint. Archbishop Malcolm will preside at this service and he will also be here the following Sunday afternoon at 3.00 pm for a special service of Choral Evening Prayer in preparation for the international Synod. Our Café and gift shop have been closed for more than 18 months initially due to the pandemic but now more seriously as a result of leaks and roof problems. We have just received initial proposals for options for repair or development and there will need to be lots of discussions and meetings regarding this. One thing is certain - it is going to take some considerable time before we can reopen a facility for refreshments and gift shop.

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Pic extras

Mums the Word Ladies I am your new media officer and I would like to tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Maria and I was married for 29 years and have been widowed for 18 years. I am a mother of four grown children - three boys and one girl - who have blessed me with 11 grandchildren that keep me very busy. My interests are gardening, listening and dancing to music, jigsaws and spending time with my family, I also love my holidays, exploring new places and seeing all the wonderful sights. I am now retired but worked most of my life within the hospitality industry. I have been a member of St Margaret Mary’s foundation for 17 years and during that time I did two terms of office as treasurer. When I was asked to become media officer, I was a bit apprehensive and nervous, but the ladies of the committee were very reassuring and gave me confidence. I will try my best and hope to live up to Madelaine’s expectations. Enough about me. I hope you are all getting back to the new normal. St Margaret Mary’s returned at the beginning of September and we all enjoyed a cheese and wine buffet. The following week we had a fun quiz. The week after was our bimonthly Mass which was very well attended. Our next bi-monthly Mass will be on Wednesday 10 November at All Saints. I hope to meet you all there and get lots of exciting news from you. The next business meeting is Saturday 27 November and will be held in the Gibberd Room at the Metropolitan Cathedral at 1.00 pm. We are still looking for two Vice Presidents to join the Archdiocesan committee. Please consider joining us. Thank you and God bless ladies. Maria Pimblett Archdiocesan Media Officer


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

Conferences dominate KSC agenda After a long period of preparation, the order’s annual supreme conference took place in Liverpool over three days from 1-3 October, culminating with Sunday Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral. As readers will have seen, we have been making frequent reference to this important event which is normally held in Glasgow, where the KSC was founded over 100 years ago, but which this year was held here in honour of Liverpool being the home of the first council and province in England. Last month’s Pic featured an interview with Brother Ray Pealing, our provincial grand knight, and this edition profiles Brother Bertie Grogan, our supreme knight, who was recently made a Knight of St Gregory by Pope Francis. A full report on the conference will follow in the November Pic. • The annual provincial memorial Mass for deceased members will be held at the Cathedral on Sunday 7 November at 11am. This will be the normal Sunday Mass but the order

has been accorded a number of reserved places along with permission to supply readers for the spiritual readings and participation in the offertory procession. • The COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference will be held in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November, attended by world leaders including Pope Francis. To mark the occasion the Knights of St Columba, in conjunction with the Knights of St Columbanus, Ireland, and the International Alliance of Catholic Knights, will be holding 40 hours’ Adoration for COP 26 at St Mary’s Church, Calton, Glasgow. This will run from 8pm on 1 November to 12 noon on 3 November and the theme will be the Sanctity of Life from Conception to Death. The event will be led and stewarded by the KSC and will also be live-streamed to enable wider participation. Websites: Email:

Couple celebrate On 13 August 2021 Dominic Patrick Witter and Amy Caroline Griffiths celebrated their marriage at Our Lady’s Catholic church, Lydiate. Father Grant Maddock conducted the service assisted by Amy’s uncle the Reverend Christopher Turner. The service was enhanced by the beautiful singing of the Ormskirk Singers choir making it a truly memorable occasion. The first marriage to take place at Our Lady’s was in 1854 of Ellen Haskayne to James Carfoot, Ellen was an ancestor of Dominic’s on his mother’s side of the family, and on his father’s side Dominic was at least the fifth generation to celebrate his marriage there.

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PIC Life Gratitude and our evolving relationship with food By Moira Billinge ‘Bless us, Lord and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive, through Christ Our Lord, Amen.’ How many children have tried to push away the now-cold mountain of unwanted vegetables and a half-eaten fish finger and have discovered that a watchful parent has other ideas? ‘Just think of all those poor starving children! They would be so grateful for what you are wasting!’ How many have grumbled in response, ‘Well they can have it!’, knowing full well that their sorry scraps had no hope of filling the belly of a hungry child. Whether or not we succumbed to this powerful form of manipulation, we

became aware, very early on in our lives, that somewhere in the world, youngsters were dying of hunger. This fact was reinforced in our schools and churches during the annual Holy Childhood collections. In the first couple of decades after the war, when people clearly remembered food rationing, theirs was a healthy relationship with food; it was their friend and they ate to live. In recent years, however, we have the extraordinary situation where, for countless numbers of people, food has actually become an enemy and they are its victims. Such individuals are either eating too much and have become obese, or they are starving themselves through anorexia and/or bulimia. These eating disorders

can have extremely serious and, in some cases, catastrophic health consequences. Various psychological theories are cited as triggering the onset of an eating disorder but the human propensity for ‘habit’ means that it becomes a dependency which very soon engulfs the sufferer in its stranglehold. In these tragic circumstances, it is the changed dynamics of a relationship with food that controls the casualty, rather than the other way around. Understandably, such disorders are not present in famine situations where, sometimes, a couple of daily spoonfuls of food can make the difference between life and death, with no guarantee that they will receive any more. In recent years we have seen the formation of food banks, even in the supposedly more affluent areas of the country. It is an unexpected and increasingly necessary development here in Britain as needs escalate in our days of economic hardship. Food manufacturers, supermarkets and restaurants are examining what it is that they are discarding and are being encouraged to donate it, instead, to the food banks. More households are thinking twice before binning food which has just passed its sell-by-date. Supermarket trolleys no longer cascade with the same quantities of soon-to-bescrapped foodstuffs. Perhaps, now that we are ever more aware of the not-so-bottomless larder and the environment, we will once again learn to appreciate, protect and share all that God has given to us and, with one voice, cry: ‘We give you thanks, Lord, for these, Thy gifts.’

Worth a visit - Fylde Coast Explore the Fylde Coast in style with a visit to a Victorian pier and a heritage tram tour, writes Lucy Oliver. North Pier is the oldest of Blackpool’s three piers and was opened in 1863. This Grade II-listed attraction is the longest pier in the town, perfect for a stroll and views out to sea. Back on the promenade, heritage tram tours run from the North Pier daily, with the option to enjoy an hour’s tour of Blackpool’s front or a longer tour which includes highlights of the Fylde Coast. The Promenade Tour travels from North Pier to Bispham, where the illuminations are situated, and then returns along the coast to the South Shore and the Pleasure Beach before finishing back at North Pier. The Coastal Tour is also a round trip, but lasts two hours, and includes Cleveleys and Fleetwood on its route. Advance booking is recommended, online at, with tickets from just £4. A stone’s throw from North Pier on Talbot Road is another hidden gem, the Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart, which is open every day from 8am. The first Catholic church to be


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built in Blackpool, it has been served by Jesuit fathers for over 150 years.

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From the archives

A Golden Jubilee for Netherton by Neil Sayer Archdiocesan Archivist A cold and foggy Thursday evening might have provided an inauspicious start, but the church of Our Lady of Walsingham in Netherton will very soon reach its 50th birthday. Benny Hill dominated the pop charts then, but Elvis Presley was the teen crush when the parish had been established in 1956. At that time Netherton was a fast-growing suburb of Bootle. A temporary church was put up in the grounds of the junior school, and Father Robert Slattery was making plans for a new church throughout the 1960s. Eventually he commissioned Lanner Ltd, a Wakefield firm well-known for swiftly erected prefabricated churches, to design a building to incorporate the liturgical changes arising from the Second Vatican Council.

clearly engaged Netherton’s local artists. Dave Webster created a mural celebrating Our Lady, Eric Carr provided a font for the baptistery featuring dolphins, and the church glaziers Greenberg Glass fittingly gave a glass crucifix for use in services. Archbishop Beck officially opened the church and celebrated the first Mass on 2 December 1971. The church must have been packed: over 100 priests from around the archdiocese attended, as well as MPs, local councillors, religious and laypeople. Father Slattery, regrettably, did not live to see his vision come into being. He died in December 1969, and by the time the church opened the Parish Priest was Father John Pennington.

Although the temporary church was itself partially prefabricated, in wood, that was not the intention with the new church. Edgar Richards was the architect, and he devised a hexagonal timberframed structure that was so spacious inside that there was room for a congregation of 500. Canadian wood and fawn brick were the main building materials, and the total construction costs were about £50,000. At a time when the archdiocese saw much new church building, the Catholic Pictorial commented that ‘It might well be the answer for any parish needing a church quickly and at a reasonable price’. The altar and lectern were an intriguing manufacture of Westmorland slate, and the possibilities for decorating the church

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Dialogue and Unity

FAITHS4CHANGE (F4C) F4C established in 2010 builds on an initiative called Operation Eden masterminded by Bishop James Jones with vigorous support from Monsignor John Devine OBE (then Churches Officer for the NW based in the NW Regional Development Agency). Their work is deeply rooted in values and beliefs of actively caring for the earth and communities as an integrated whole. These values and roots are shared across all faiths and indeed all people of goodwill. The F4C Chair is Phil Leigh who is on the staff of Bishop Paul Bayes and the Director (since Operation Eden started) is Annie Merry. As we prepare for the COP21 Summit in Glasgow attended by World Leaders including Pope Francis it is appropriate to celebrate the work of F4C which has been actively supported in the archdiocese notably by our Commission for Justice and Peace. ‘Listening, learning, relationships, practical action, and community are central to their work. Our mission is to actively work together to achieve a truly just, thriving Earth home for all.’ Is a punchy statement of all that F4C has achieved and continues to achieve. F4C’s profile has been raised as we all become aware of the Christian imperative to work for action on climate change so forcefully made by Pope Francis, Sir David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg and millions and millions worldwide. F4C played a significant role in the Year of Environment 2019, coordinating the Climate Change and Resilience listening event with partners including Merseyside Environmental Trust, Extinction Rebellion, and many others. The resulting report – calling for a climate assembly and investment in local environment projects was delivered in a presentation at the first Liverpool City Region Environment event. Their prominent role in 2019 Year of Environment has seen F4C Director joining the Liverpool City Region Nature Connected Board and the City Region Climate Partnership – tasked to create a City Region climate plan. Practical Long-term partnerships, include the wonderful ‘Roots in the City’ urban garden with St Michael in the City Liverpool Anglican church. This has become an oasis in the middle of Liverpool providing a haven for wildlife and local people alike; creating opportunities 30

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for residents and people seeking asylum and refuge to connect, learn and grow together. This initiative has enabled 30+ people to undertake accredited horticulture courses with Myerscough College. Since April 2019, F4C gardeners at ‘Roots in the City’ have been growing organic vegetables and herbs for the Micah Foodbank; the joint initiative between the two Cathedrals. To date they’ve grown and donated 0.5 tonnes of food. Local primary school St Vincent’s is engaged in the garden too. Their nurture group have undertaken garden design training and are just about to return to the garden to develop planting plans, explore nature and take back ideas to implement in the school garden. Long term community land and nature connection projects have continued to grow in strength, being shaped by those who engage, including children from all year groups in ‘Busy Bees’ gardening group at St Michael’s Catholic Primary School in Kensington. The ‘Growing Tanhouse’ project grew out of conversations and relationships built up with residents and organisations on Tanhouse estate in Skelmersdale.

Together they sought to improve community wellbeing, resilience, and environmental activity. Through weekly sessions that centred on developing and sharing skills, the group engaged with food growing, international cooking, nutrition on a budget, reuse crafts, creative arts, and litter picking. The group initiated their own community campaign to address antisocial behaviour and violence on the estate. The environment is the starting point but F4C spreads out into wider community engagement. The Green Up Northwood project in Kirkby responded to a local community need in order to tackle poor recycling rates, high bin contamination, litter, and fly-tipping around Northwood. ran creative workshops with children and young people, involvement in Northwood Together summer festival, organised litter picks and set up Pop Up Boutique swap shops days at the local community centre. The Pop-Up Boutiques grew organically to become a community-run that included children’s activities, a repair clinic, skill sharing, local advice and information, volunteer opportunities, community café and social space. F4C established a Liverpool City Region Faith and Climate Network picked up pace with new projects engaging faith leaders, faith communities, and supported the achievement of the Diocese of Liverpool to become a Bronze Eco Diocese. F4C facilitates the Bishop of Liverpool’s Faith Leaders Network which meets with key City Region Leaders. Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald is a member. F4C is an active member of the Archdiocese Environmental Task Group, offering support and network connections to other faith and climate network projects, the environment and climate emergency plans and leads across the Liverpool City Region. The Director is working with and learning from Brian Dunn, our Buildings and Land Manager in the archdiocese. A current major initiative is providing a dynamic one-day accredited Carbon Literacy course which has inspired almost 30 people to take action to reduce global heating in their homes and churches as we prepare for COP21. A small taste of F4C initiatives. Look at their website to be enthused and inspired:

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