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Issue 150 MARCH 2017
A celebration of marriage and family life Inside this issue: James Luxton: Making music at the Cathedral
Celebrating Blessed Oscar Romeroâ€™s centenary
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contents Welcome This year the March edition of the ‘Catholic Pictorial’ coincides with the beginning of the season of Lent, traditionally a time of fasting, prayer and almsgiving. Our main feature celebrates the life of Blessed Oscar Romero, a champion of the poor. During this season we need to reach out to others as Pope Francis reminds us in his Message for Lent 2017: ‘Dear friends, Lent is the favourable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the sacraments and in our neighbour. The Lord, who overcame the deceptions of the tempter during the forty days in the desert, shows us the path we must take. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need...Let us pray for one another so that, by sharing in the victory of Christ, we may open our doors to the weak and poor. Then we will be able to experience and share to the full the joy of Easter.’
From the Archbishop’s Desk Every bishop has a special connection with Blessed Oscar Romero, because every bishop somewhere in his heart wants to be like him. Another twentieth century bishop, St John Paul II, says that the life of the bishop is characterised by the self-emptying that Christ himself embodied, and a life of simple service. Oscar Romero, a martyr for the truth of the Gospel, who sided with the poor, was a bishop who lived up to this ideal. A long time ago, St Augustine was aware of the pitfalls involved in being a bishop; he tells us: ‘When I am frightened by what I am for you, then I am consoled by what I am with you. For you I am the bishop, with you I am a Christian. The first is an office, the second a grace; the first a danger, the second salvation.’ (Sermon 340.1) This good advice is relevant today. Being a bishop can be dangerous as he gets tied up with administration and strays from sanctifying and teaching God’s people. Oscar Romero used to get his secretary to ‘spring’ him from meetings he hated by telephoning him and saying he was urgently needed elsewhere, so that he could get among his people. Otherwise he would have been in danger of being far from the poor and losing sight of their needs. Blessed Oscar Romero did not fall into these traps; he sided with the poor and those who were unjustly treated in his country, El Salvador. It cost him his life.
Main Feature Celebrating Blessed Oscar Romero’s centenary
News From around the Archdiocese
14 Sunday Reflections Liturgy and Life 15 Nugent News Charity Ambassadors for Nugent 16 What’s On Whats happening in the Archdiocese 19 Profile James Luxton Making music at the Cathedral 21 Animate Youth Ministry My wish for Lent 25 Cathedral Record Lenten Reflections 26 Pic Extras Mums the word News from the KSC
Most Rev Malcolm McMahon OP Archbishop of Liverpool
28 Pic Life What is more sacred to us: a tree or an unborn child? Editor Peter Heneghan Editorial Catholic Pictorial Magazine Liverpool Archdiocesan Centre for Evangelisation, Croxteth Drive, Liverpool L17 1AA Tel: 0151 522 1007 Email: email@example.com Pictures Cover: Liam Deveney Advertising Sales team 0151 709 7567 Publisher CPMM 36 Henry Street, Liverpool L1 5BS
Copy deadlines April issue 6 March 2017
29 Join In Family Fun and More Mullarkey
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Celebrating Archbishop Romero’s centenary A statue of Blessed Oscar Romero will be unveiled at the Metropolitan Cathedral at this month’s 37th annual Mass to commemorate the life of a modern-day martyr. By Steve Atherton There are only two places in the world that have commemorated the death of Blessed Oscar Romero every year since he was murdered on 24 March 1980. One is El Salvador and the other is rather closer to home – here in the Archdiocese of Liverpool. This year’s annual Romero Mass, scheduled for Sunday 19 March, will hold extra significance since 2017 brings the centenary of the one-time Archbishop of
El Salvador, born in August 1917, whose name became synonymous with the fight for justice for the poor. This struggle led to his death by a single assassin’s bullet but his martyrdom became, and remains, an inspiration for so many of us. As Pope Francis said in a message on the occasion of Archbishop Romero’s beatification in San Salvador in May 2015: ‘His ministry was distinguished by a particular attention to the poor and marginalised.’ This year’s Archdiocesan Mass to commemorate Archbishop Romero will take place at the Metropolitan Cathedral for the first time in a decade, following a ten-year process of staging it across the Archdiocese in order to introduce new people to his life and ministry. Archbishop Malcolm McMahon will be the principle celebrant and Father Jim O’Keefe – an influential voice in introducing people to Catholic Social Teaching – will deliver the homily. At end of Mass, a new statue of Blessed Oscar Romero, created by sculptor Rory Young, will be blessed and installed in the cathedral. One hundred years after his birth, it would be wonderful for as many people as possible to join us for this celebration
– whether you have a long-standing devotion to Romero or would simply like to learn more. After Mass there will be refreshments in the Gibberd Room and the chance to hear from Sister Martha Zeichmeister who, as a guest of the Romero Trust, is visiting the United Kingdom on a speaking tour from the Jesuit University of San Salvador, where she is professor of systematic theology. A life less ordinary Portraits of Romero’s life depict a very devout, conservative Catholic who, for most of his life, spent hours in daily prayer. He was a quiet and shy man, an efficient administrator with a fondness for books, who was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador because he was regarded as a safe pair of hands. The assumption was he could be relied on to keep well away from politics so that the Church would be protected in the complex, violent sociopolitical reality of the time. As it was, Romero’s experiences as archbishop brought him into increasing contact with the harsh realities of the lives of the poor. He had been a long-time friend of a radical priest, Father Rutillo Grande, and, though appalled by the poverty of his people, he did not initially share Grande’s vision that the Church should be actively involved in helping to combat poverty and exclusion. Romero’s life-changing moment came when Grande was assassinated at the order of rich landowners. On hearing the news, Romero went straight to the site of the murder. He approached the corpse and, after standing in silence for several moments, said: ‘If we don’t change now, we never will.’ He was 63 years old. Romero took the unusual step of cancelling all parish Masses across the diocese on the following Sunday and calling everyone to attend at the cathedral. From then, on Romero became a relentless critic of the government albeit while still maintaining his commitment to nonviolence. He was in a difficult situation. He knew that injustice was
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feature rife. He knew the government was serving the interests of a tiny minority. He realised that the Gospel had implications. ‘The Church would betray its own love for God and its fidelity to the Gospel if it stopped being a defender of the rights of the poor,’ he said. But he was accused of taking sides and was even reported to the Vatican by his fellow bishops. Romero positioned himself in a very narrow space where he could speak truth publicly and privately, based on the
stories he heard and the reality he witnessed day after day – where he could plead for an end to all the violence, for a peace that was not, in his words, ‘the silence of cemeteries’. Once, when asked what he did as an archbishop, he replied: ‘I bury people.’ Every Sunday in his homily he would name all those who had been killed or had gone missing that week. His sermons were broadcast across the country to a massive audience. In his last
sermon he said, ‘No soldier is obliged to follow an order contrary to the law of God’ and then issued the following call to the soldiers in his country: ‘In the name of God then, in the name of the suffering people I ask you, I beg you, I command you: stop the repression.’ With these words he uttered his own death sentence. The following morning he was shot through the heart as he celebrated Mass at the chapel attached to the hospital where he lived. Romero believed that each person’s life, each one’s history is his or her meeting place with God. And this is one of the things he can teach us: God is active in our lives. Archbishop Romero’s deep spirituality and powerful witness make him an exceptional model for would-be disciples of Jesus. He is like a brother to Pope Francis who has warned us recently about losing the Gospel in ‘an ocean of words’. Liverpool’s Justice and Peace Commission is rightly proud of its association with Blessed Oscar Romero. We have held a commemorative Mass every year since his assassination, starting in the Cathedral in 1980 when Father Kevin Kelly gave the first homily. The following year, when Julian Filochowski concluded his remarks with the words, ‘Saint Oscar Romero of the Americas, Pray for us’, Archbishop Derek Worlock was heard to mutter, ‘Steady on’. Yet a personal view is that Julian’s assessment was right. Romero is a contemporary Christian martyr-witness, who shows us that the preferential option for the poor is quite possible. Left: Sculptor Rory Young in his workshop with the statue of Oscar Romero
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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
RCIA Rite of Welcome and Acceptance Two newly welcomed parishioners of St. Aidan’s Winstanley, share their thoughts as they prepare to attend today’s Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion in the Metropolitan Cathedral Jemma says, ‘Growing up everyone I met along the way had been baptised, I knew I felt the same, believed the same but I was missing something. Years went
Graham and Jemma with Father John Paul Illunga
by, then after my first child we spoke about baptism and it got me thinking this could be my time too. ‘I heard about RCIA, at the time it seemed like a massive commitment, was I ready? I wasn’t so sure. Time passed and my second child arrived, after the birth I suffered from an infection and am told I am lucky to still be here. This got me thinking, maybe Jesus is looking out for me, there is a reason I am still here. I should show my commitment. Everyone has been kind and welcoming and since starting the process. I feel I have grown massively as a person; I am much less judgemental and more considerate. ‘I was welling up before my Rite of Welcome thinking how am I going to speak in front of the whole church? I needn’t have worried, it was a lovely moment, and I felt encouraged that I was doing the right thing.’ Graham says, ‘I have been attending Sunday Mass at St Aidan’s with my wife and our children for over ten years now so my decision to become Catholic felt like a natural one. I was baptised at Rainford Parish church as a baby and as a child I attended Sunday school, both here in England and in Canada where I emigrated with my parents and younger brother. I met the RCIA team for our area last year and started to attend regular meetings in September and have found them to be both enjoyable and informative. I was overwhelmed by the support of the parishioners, our new priest Father Jean Paul and the members of the RCIA team at my Rite of Welcome.’
Mariapolis ‘A retreat with a difference’ ‘A retreat with a difference’, ‘a temporary town built on the gospel’, ‘a unique kind of holiday’ and ‘a challenge’ would all fit Mariapolis 2017 which will take place at Ampleforth College from 7 to 11 April. Mariapolis is an annual gathering organised by the Focolare Movement; Focolare, meaning ‘hearth’, had its origins in the Roman Catholic Church, but now involves people of many Christian denominations, the faithful of the great world religions and also those of goodwill with no formal expression of belief. One of the organisers, Helen Copeland, says, ‘Many of us know the importance of taking time out of our busy lives to re-focus on God and what He is doing in our lives. However, that doesn’t mean we have to close ourselves off from one another. Mariapolis is where we experience God’s presence by trying to put his words into practice: by loving our neighbour, and anyone can do this: children, the elderly, families, and people from all walks of life’. Last year saw Mariapolis in Liverpool when some of the young people took an afternoon to dig over an allotment nearby for refugees to be able to grow their own food and also improve their mental health.
Helen continued ‘Our experience at Mariapolis is that the more we go out to others, the deeper our relationship grows with God, and this also has a positive effect on the world around us’. For further details contact Helen Copeland email email@example.com or at www.focolare.org.uk
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news diary Obituary of Canon Gerard Wharton Canon Gerard Wharton, former parish priest of Blessed Sacrament, Walton; St Oswald’s, Old Swan and Our Lady of Good Help, Wavertree died on Sunday 12 February aged 86 and in the 60th year of his priesthood. Thomas Gerard Wharton was born at Seaforth on 3 November 1930, the son of Thomas and Mary Wharton. He was educated at St Edmund’s, Waterloo, and St Joseph’s College, Upholland, where he was ordained priest in the college chapel on 6 July 1957. He served as assistant priest in a number of parishes across the archdiocese: St Matthew’s, Clubmoor in August 1957; Sacred Heart, St Helens from September 1957; St Patrick’s, Liverpool from October 1962; All Saints, Anfield from May 1968 and St Oswald’s, Ashton-in-Makerfield from August 1977. He then served as priest-in-charge at St Sylvester’s, Liverpool from 1978 to 1983. In May 1983 he was appointed parish priest of Blessed Sacrament, Walton. He then served as parish priest in two more parishes: St Oswald’s, Old Swan from November 1990 and Our Lady of Good Help, Wavertree from September 1998. Over the years he received many seminarians on placements in his parishes and proved to be inspirational through his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Blessed Lady, and for the way in which he lived his life as a priest. Following his retirement as parish priest in June 2004 he lived at: St Thomas, Waterloo from 2004 to 2008; All Saints, Anfield from 2008 to 2011; Nazareth House, Crosby from 2011 to 2015 and finally at James Nugent Court, Liverpool from 2015. He served as chaplain at Nazareth House, Crosby, from 2006 until 2012. For his services to the archdiocese he was named an honorary canon in October 1992, and he served as a Canon of the Metropolitan Cathedral Chapter from 1998 until 2016. For many people across the archdiocese Canon Wharton was a familiar figure as a loved and respected participant in the annual pilgrimage to Lourdes. He served as chaplain to the Hospitalité from 1986 until 2001 and also had the honour of being made a Canon of the shrine at Lourdes on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee. Canon Wharton’s Funeral Mass was celebrated on Thursday 23 February at St Edmund’s Church, Waterloo, followed by burial in his parents’ grave at St Peter and St Paul, Crosby.
Academy of St Francis of Assisi earns ‘sanctuary’ status The Academy of St Francis of Assisi (ASFA) has become the first secondary school in Liverpool to receive ‘School of Sanctuary’ status as reward for its efforts to provide a safe haven for its pupils. The Kensington-based academy caters for pupils from a wide range of cultural backgrounds, including refugees and asylum-seekers, and more than 40 languages are spoken by the children studying there. Head of school Tracey Greenough explained the efforts undertaken to ensure that pupils feel at home at the joint-faith Catholic and Church of England academy. ‘Creating sanctuary is something that I’m thrilled ASFA has been recognised for,’ she said. ‘Lots of hard work and commitment has contributed to our School of Sanctuary status. ‘Day-to-day life at the academy is underpinned by the Christian values of respect, care, compassion, peace and reconciliation. With these values in mind, creating an inclusive environment for all of our students is at the top of the agenda.’ As well as meeting the parents or care-givers of each pupil on their arrival at the academy, ASFA staff work hard to break down potential
communication barriers, according to Mrs Greenough. ‘More often than not, language barriers can lead to the isolation of pupils who arrive with little to no English skills,’ she explained. ‘Even the smallest gestures can ease this transition such as providing every pupil with a bilingual dictionary and offering English booster classes. One of our most successful schemes is our language buddy programme which pairs common language pupils together to aid each other with language progression.’ To help promote positive attitudes, the academy encourages its pupils to learn about other languages and cultures, with Polish and Arabic courses offered up to GSCE level. It also provides a physical haven in the form of a rooftop garden, where pupils can grow and harvest vegetables together. Additionally, ASFA has developed strong links with Asylum Link Merseyside and the Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service (EMTAS), and is involved with Alder Hey Hospital in its Tree of Life project, whereby children can reflect on their strengths and cultural and social histories.
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news diary A Celebration of Marriage and Family Life Archbishop Malcolm celebrated the Annual Mass for Marriage and Family Life in the Metropolitan Cathedral on Sunday 12 February. During the Mass couples were invited to renew the promises made on their wedding day and three Bibles were passed on to couples celebrating special anniversaries. Karen and Andy Schofield, from St Joseph’s Penketh will celebrate their Ruby Wedding in June and were presented with a Bible by the Archbishop, Karen writes: ‘When our parish deacon, John McClure, asked me to receive the Bible although I felt honoured I didn’t feel worthy. He knows our battles with mental, physical and spiritual health, and he made us realise we were worthy of such an honour. John soon made me realise that I am a good Christian trying to keep the faith in our wonderful, diverse, loving family: my husband who is C of E, one son who is agnostic, and the other an atheist. ‘I found the whole day uplifting, Archbishop Malcolm explained the Gospel and brought it up to date in his homily, and the choir, as always, helped me to reflect. When we received the Bible the Archbishop was so warm and friendly. I also loved the renewal of vows; it made me laugh how the men
mumbled through while the women proudly proclaimed theirs. ‘My son Neil and his wife Susie were to take part in the offertory procession. However, at 7.00 am that morning they had to take their children, Isla and Josh, to the doctor (thank goodness they are better now). Our other son Martin and girlfriend Nicole stepped in. I felt very emotional at this point and I’d like to thank Martin for being so respectful taking the offertory to the Archbishop, but as a mother I’ll never give up hope and carry on praying. ‘So to those who may be asked to take part in some way, proudly accept as we did and enjoy the whole experience.’ Fellow parishioners, Tony and Pat Banks, also took part in the Mass: ‘We love, each year, seeing and speaking to the many young families and older couples who go along and celebrate together at the Mass. This year was a special occasion for us as in July we will celebrate our Golden Wedding Anniversary. ‘After the Homily and exchange of family bibles, we were invited by Archbishop Malcolm to renew the promises we made to one another on our wedding day. Facing one another as, in turn, we renewed those promises, was very moving. ‘After Mass, we had
refreshments and greeted friends as we shared many happy memories. The whole day was joyful and we felt very blessed. ‘Unusually, in 1967, we paid a visit to the Cathedral Convent the day after our wedding. We had stayed in Liverpool for one night before going on
honeymoon. After Mass, we visited the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Sisters who had just then moved from Scotland Road; they were friends from Pat’s college days on Mount Pleasant. Fifty years later the Cathedral is still playing a large part in our lives.’
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news diary ‘Why we need more deacons’ The call for more deacons had been sounded more than once by Archbishop Malcolm, and it elicited a generous response when Holy Name, Fazakerley, hosted an information evening about the permanent diaconate on 7 February. The event had been organised by the Archbishop to inform ‘men wondering if they are called to serve as deacons’ more fully about the diaconal ministry and the period of formation involved. Father Chris Fallon, director of the diaconal programme for Liverpool Archdiocese, led the meeting
which covered various topics including the history of the permanent diaconate, its restoration after Vatican II, its introduction in this diocese in 1976, the skills and gifts needed for this pastoral and practical ministry, and the process of discernment and formation. About 30 people attended the evening, including several men enquiring about the diaconate, some of whom were accompanied by their wives and/or parish priests, and a number of serving deacons. Two ordained deacons, Grahame Appleyard and Tony Kerrigan, spoke about
their own diaconal stories. Permanent deacons are called to a ministry of word, altar and charity and are meant to be the driving force for the Church’s service of the world. They can be married or celibate, but cannot marry after ordination. A highly instructive evening ended with a number of the men filling in an expression of interest in the permanent diaconate. Anyone wishing to know more about the diaconate can contact Father Chris Fallon or Mrs Pauline Sweeney at the Diaconate Office in LACE, tel: 0151 522 1042 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opportunities with VMM VMM International, or the Volunteer Missionary Movement, is offering inspirational short-term volunteering opportunities in Africa among its range of activities for 2017. The short-term volunteering programme offers a chance to take part in projects in Malawi, Uganda and Ghana, as VMM responds to a clearly articulated need from partner organisations in Africa. Successful applicants will spend three to six weeks working alongside local VMM volunteers and coordinators on a variety of schemes, including teaching assistance, community development and even construction. The main initiatives, and the countries involved, are: • Uganda: teaching assistance work at local primary schools, including helping with lessons and after-school activities; construction and admin positions • Malawi: community development placements in youth work, teaching assistance and home care for those
affected by HIV • Ghana: volunteer possibilities in childcare, sports coaching, education and building projects These opportunities are open to people of all ages and levels of experience; while some openings are aimed specifically at 18 to 25-year-olds, there are other specialised projects for those with a lifetime's experience. Additionally, professional placements are possible. Student Phoebe Pennington, who completed a short-term teaching placement in Uganda last summer, said: ‘As I planned to study education and international development at university, this placement gave me a great opportunity to gain first-hand experience of development work in the area of primary education. Volunteering allowed me to share my skills with the teachers and students, but also gave me the chance to learn and develop. My time in Africa was inspirational.’ VMM is an international development and
volunteering organisation which, since being founded in 1969, has sent more than 2,000 lay volunteers to nearly 40 countries. As a faith and values-based operation, it works to help grassroots partners in nine African countries take care of the needs that local people consider most important. Bishop John Arnold, chair of Cafod's board of trustees, says: ‘The work of VMM goes much further than just giving money to the needy, it is about fulfilling the potential of people.’ John Denny, VMM CEO, adds: ‘This is our contribution to the wider mission family in responding positively to real need and, in so doing, reinforcing and developing the role of lay mission in international development.’ Thus VMM recruits, trains, sends out and supports skilled and committed volunteers to share their own unique skills with people in developing countries. One key corollary of these efforts is to promote in a positive light in the UK and Ireland the concept of mission. The organisation has strong partnerships with universities, professional associations, mission orders and development NGOs that share a commitment to making real the aspirations of the Sustainable Development Goals 2016, for some of the poorest and most marginalised communities on our planet. It is a network that VMM strives continually to consolidate in order to keep making a positive difference – and, ideally, to create a vital surplus for mission investment. VMM has offices in Dublin, Liverpool and Kenya. For UK, contact Van Garber via: email@example.com or 0044 (0)151 291 3438.
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Paralympian pays ‘inspiring’ visit to St Mary’s St Mary’s Catholic High School in Astley welcomed an ‘inspiring’ Paralympian when wheelchair racer Andrew Small came to speak to pupils earlier this term. The Nantwich-based athlete made his Paralympic debut at the Rio 2016 Games, earning a bronze medal in the T33 100m, and he took time out from preparing for this summer’s World Para Athletics Championships in London to visit St Mary’s on 26 January. The 24-year-old was promoting a competition among six to 15-year-olds to design mascots for the World Para Athletics Championships and the IAAF World Championships London 2017. ‘Anything you can do to inspire young people is worthwhile,” he said. ‘I went to watch the Paralympic Games in 2012 and saw Hannah Cockroft winning a gold medal – those moments inspired me to take up the sport. I hope these students will be encouraged to come and watch us in London this summer and be inspired
like I was.’ James Horman, head of PE and health at St Mary’s, said: ‘We followed the Paralympic Games in Rio last summer closely and to have a medallist local to the school come in and talk to the children about it was inspiring. Andrew’s visit has definitely created a buzz and we wish him all the best for 2017 and look forward to hopefully watching him in
London.’ The World Para Athletics Championships run from 14-23 July at the London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Any schools wishing to get involved should visit www.london2017athletics.com/schools. For information about tailored school packages, visit www.sportexperiences.co.uk.
St John Bosco girls mark feast day The feast of St John Bosco is celebrated each year by the Liverpool school of the same name – and 2017 has been no different. The Catholic Salesian College in Croxteth marked St John Bosco’s feast on 31 January with a special event involving the whole school and aimed at celebrating his life and work with young people. Friendship and creativity were the main themes and each year group took part in different activities aimed at building strong relationships across the school body – such as making friendship bracelets, sewing, trying out circus skills, creating Salesian superheroes, and dance and drama. Year 11 students were tasked with designing Prom tickets, while sixth form students took part in dementia awareness workshops and hand massage sessions. The day culminated in a Mass at what is the only all-girls school in the UK attached to the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco. Head teacher Darren Gidman said: ‘It’s a unique opportunity for the entire school to come together in celebration of our namesake. Taking part in various fun activities on the day was a great opportunity for the girls to get out of the classroom and come together to cement relationships across the school.’
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news diary Archbishop Malcolm visits ESLA Gives blessing to new name of The Academy of St Nicholas
Archbishop Malcolm McMahon visited Enterprise South Liverpool Academy and gave his blessing for the name change to The Academy of St Nicholas and All Saints Sixth Form College from September 2017. He endorsed the hard work done by all and was impressed with students and staff. He commented on the stunning facilities and calm and purposeful climate for learning and promised to officiate at the official launch of All Saints Sixth Form College in the autumn. Students presented the Archbishop with honey from the academy bee hives, a ‘Built for Service’ gift reflecting his engineering and priestly service and a rose bush to plant in his garden which will grow as The Academy of St Nicholas grows. The new symbolic name of St Nicholas, patron saint of children, represents the trust’s joint faith and Christian ethos.
Archbishop Malcolm was able to see the growing ethos of respect, care, and spirituality during his visit and recognised in the academy section 48 report which acknowledged rapid improvements stating ‘The Academy is a rapidly improving community that has clearly established its Christian mission and vision to direct success in every sphere. There is a tangibly growing commitment to the common good, increasingly shared by ESLA and the community it serves.’ Executive Headteacher Mrs Anne Pontifex, joined the Archbishop on the tour and explained, ‘the change of name for ESLA and the introduction of All Saints Sixth Form College is great news for the region promising innovation in education. It is fantastic that the hard work has been recognised. The future looks bright in South Liverpool and we are all delighted to be a part if this.’
Savio pupils thanked The pupils and teachers of Savio Salesian College in Bootle have been praised for their generous fundraising efforts which have brought in around £5,000 to St Joseph’s Hospice. The school has developed innovative ways of raising funds over the years and pupils sold 250 St Joseph’s Hospice teddies and over 150 Light up a Life badges last term alone. After receiving the school’s most recent donation, Laura Smith, community fundraiser for the Thornton-based hospice, said: ‘‘We are so very grateful for the support we receive from Savio Salesian College and want to thank the students and teachers for their generosity. We need to raise £6,500 every day to keep our services running so donations like this are vital.’ Savio even stage an annual 'Reindeer Romp' each December. All 500 students and teachers make a donation before completing two laps of the school site wearing reindeer antlers. Mike Bennett, the associate assistant head teacher and head of RE, said: ‘Over 70 per cent of hospice patients are from the Bootle area and so most of our staff and students have a personal connection to the hospice. To find out how you can support St Joseph’s Hospice, please call 0151 932 6044 or email firstname.lastname@example.org 12
Obituary of Rev Kevin Snape Former parish priest of Holy Family, Boothstown and Our Lady’s, Portico, Father Kevin Snape, died on Tuesday 7 February aged 88 and in the 62nd year of his Priesthood. Anthony Kevin Snape was born at Euxton on 15 January 1929, the son of Richard and Clare Snape. He was educated at St Joseph’s College, Upholland, where he was ordained priest in the college chapel by Archbishop William Godfrey on 4 June 1955. He was appointed to his first and only curacy in August 1955 at Holy Name, Fazakerley, where he remained for the first three years of his priestly ministry. In 1958 he returned to Upholland College to join the staff of the junior seminary, where he taught mathematics for many years. He was also a keen musician and for a period he directed the college schola. He also served as a member of the Archdiocesan Music Commission from 1967 to 1973. In 1978 he left the college and was seconded to the Diocese of Menevia in order to allow Father Tom Shepherd to be released to play a major part in the planning and organisation of the National Pastoral Congress held in Liverpool in 1980. During his secondment he ministered in the parish of Our Lady, Help of Christians, at Ruthin in North Wales. Whilst at Ruthin he celebrated the Silver Jubilee of his priestly ordination. Shortly after his jubilee celebrations he returned to the archdiocese in September 1980 to take up an appointment as parish priest at Holy Family, Boothstown. He ministered there for fifteen years before being granted a leave of absence. In April 1998 he was appointed parish priest at Our Lady’s, Portico, and was there for a short time until his retirement to Standish in November 1999. In September 2016 he was diagnosed with cancer and after a successful operation he moved to Ince Blundell Hall. However, he was taken ill suddenly at the beginning of February and died at Fazakerley Hospital. Archbishop Malcolm McMahon celebrated his Funeral Mass at St Marie’s Church, Standish, on Monday 20 February prior to burial at St Chad’s, South Hill.
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sunday reflections On a liturgical note The Liturgy in Lent invites us to accompany those who are preparing to be baptised and received into the Church at Easter. Many of us can name the date on which we were baptised (past) but of course the important thing is that we recognise that we are baptised (present). Therefore the way in which I live today is important because it is showing the fruits of the gift of the Holy Spirit – which in Saint Paul’s words (Galatians 5:2223) are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and selfcontrol. What this ‘fruit’ looks like in our own unique and individual lives may differ, but the important thing is that we do bear that fruit, to the glory of God the Father. And it is not a bad examination of conscience each day to look seriously at that list – or indeed just one word from the list – and say: ‘How have I borne that fruit today, how has someone else
Sunday thoughts The thought of Lent fills me with dread. Coping with winter weather is bad enough. I need cheering up rather than extra layers of austerity. Past experience tells me that my resolutions at the beginning of Lent go the way of all good intentions. I don’t live up to them. They are slowly eroded. I choose to give up alcohol but very soon I identify occasions when it would be inappropriate for me not to drink. I decide not to listen to the car radio but then make an exception for news bulletins. I give up cake until someone offers me some for a birthday. It would be uncharitable for me to refuse. Two weeks into Lent and I have forgotten it is a special time at all. When Holy Week arrives I am the same old mediocre me as I was on Ash Wednesday. Maybe my understanding of Lent as a self-improvement programme is
Canon Philip Gillespie
taught me and been an example of that fruit, what do I need to learn?’ Pope Francis has written a message to us all for this Season of Lent in which he asks us to give thanks for the Word of God which can be a guide for our living, bringing true and lasting wisdom to us. He asks us to recognise that sin can make us blind – blind to the gifts which are given for service of others, blind also to the way in which God’s grace comes to us through the care which others bring to us every day. We are to be attentive to the opportunities and the potential of each day, of each life, of each moment. ‘May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need.’
Mgr John Devine OBE
deficient. Maybe Lent’s precise purpose is to convince me that self-discipline is futile. That will never get me to heaven. Should I try a different tack this year? Maybe Alcoholics Anonymous has a point. I should appeal to a ‘higher power’. And so I have resolved to acknowledge Lent as a special time of preparation for Easter. I will accept it as a grace-filled time, a gift to be received rather than an ordeal to be endured. I am not in the driving seat, even for Lent. I will avoid the urge to ‘try harder’ and instead see Lent as a time of waiting. I won’t pray more but will try to be more attentive. I will get the Lord do the heavy lifting. I will go with the flow and maybe even enjoy it.
Weekly Reflections are on the Archdiocesan website at www.liverpoolcatholic.org.uk/reflection 14
Make the cross our focus Just recently I was having dinner with some friends and we began to share our images of God. The image of God that most people around the table seemed to have was of a God who is in control and governing the world’s way through history. This God is omnipotent, all powerful, all seeing and all knowing. While that may be true there is another image of God that I think Lent particularly invites us to reflect on. It is the image of the incarnate God who hangs on a cross: vulnerable, broken, bleeding. According to the law of Moses, anyone who was crucified was thought to be cursed by God and outside the realm of God’s love and mercy. What Jesus was doing by dying on the cross was identifying with everyone who seemed to be beyond redemption and showing us, if we have eyes to see, that God is somehow right in the centre of the mess and suffering in our lives and in the world. The truth is that no-one and nothing is outside the realm of God’s mercy. God’s love is limitless and available to anyone – even those who seem to be on the outside, even those we categorise and label and judge. The Cross stands as a beacon for those who suffer the pain of rejection and isolation. It is an invitation to those whose shame crucifies them that all is not lost. The cross hangs over the world as a reminder that the heart of God is open for all. Richard Rohr, the American spiritual writer, says that ‘this is somehow saying that God suffers and our suffering is also God’s suffering, and God’s suffering is ours (Colossians 1:24). That has the power to transform the human dilemma of tragedy, absurdity, and all unjust suffering—which is just about all suffering.' So this Lent take time to focus on the cross and what it means for us as individuals and for the human race as a whole. It is the good news that now and forever God has redeemed us in Christ and that no-one is beyond the realms of His forgiving love. Father Chris Thomas
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nugent news It seems like ages since we have been living in ‘austerity’, however it is a reality, and each year more funding is cut to health and social care budgets and more of our community’s vulnerable are and will be affected. Since 2010 Liverpool City Council has had to find £330 million of Government funding reductions. This year, they will need to find a further £90 million of savings. £90 million! That’s significant in an area that has already been decimated by cuts. The Director of Adult Social Care in Liverpool resigned from Liverpool City Council this week citing that that social services will ‘not exist’ by 2019 unless savings are made. Other local authorities in the Archdiocese are facing similar situations. You may not be aware of how these cuts impact you directly, so I’ll provide you an example, citing just one of the areas where we provide care. We are an aging community and as our community ages more people may need to receive care, whether in their own homes or within a residential or nursing home. Councils contract with local providers, both charitable (like Nugent) and commercial to provide these services for a set fee. Because there are limitations on funding available, those with the highest need will meet the assessment required for care and achieve highest level of funding. Older people who can
Chief Executive Nugent Care afford to pay privately often access any care they require immediately, whilst older people coming into care that is funded by the council, may have to wait for longer to get the care that they need, or may not receive it in a place of their choosing due to levels of local authority funding. The regulators, the ‘executive nondepartmental public body, sponsored by the Department of Health’ and the departments of the council that watch over the services to ensure that we provide high quality care are industrious in their inspections and expectations, and in my opinion rightfully so. However, the maintenance and improvement of quality, costs. Our staff merit a living wage; after all they are looking after the most vulnerable in society, taking care of personal care needs such as washing and feeding. These staff need to be offered continuous professional development and a wage that will both attract new staff and retain our current staff; without this we rely on agency staff, which is extremely costly in terms of finances, but also there are issues around continuous care. After all, wouldn’t you want your loved one to be cared for by someone they are familiar
with rather than someone they have just met? This is no disrespect intended to those who work with agencies, at all, as we often recruit agency staff who want to remain with us as permanent staff. Quality Care costs, and the true cost of care is not being met by the contracts with local authorities and having services only available to private fee payers detracts from our mission that Father Nugent started so many years ago. For several years our charity has been making up the difference between the true cost of care and the fees received to pay for the services. We cannot sustain this. We are here to serve the vulnerable. Nugent as the social welfare arm of the Archdiocese serves and protects our communities, including both the parishioners and the priests of the Archdiocese of Liverpool. We are courageously facing the future as we navigate through these waters. Please, as parishioners of the Archdiocese, support us, volunteer for Nugent, support our Charity Shop, support our appeals and remember us in your wills. All help is gratefully received. God bless.
Charity Ambassadors for Nugent Twenty-two students from Hope Academy in St Helens have been trained as Charity Ambassadors for Nugent. Dr Michelle Goodwin, Chaplain to the Academy said, ‘We are delighted to have Nugent as one of our five Hope Charity Partners. Each year group in the school has a charity that they support and our Year 8 students have adopted Nugent.’ Since being trained, the ambassadors have led assemblies at school, volunteered to help with Nugent’s ‘Light up a Life’ service at the Metropolitan Cathedral, run a Nugent stall at the Academy’s Christmas Market, and led a Christmas Appeal to collect items for hampers. The Charity Ambassadors are now working on their Challenge20 Lent appeal which challenges each form in the school to raise £20 or more for Nugent, and are planning their assemblies. Imogen Leatherbarrow, a Year 8 Nugent Ambassador, said, ‘I wanted to be trained as a Nugent ambassador because I love the work that they do and how many people they help. I had a really fun time at the Ambassador Training Day and loved meeting the staff. Nugent is one of our school’s most popular charity partners and I am really looking forward to doing more work with them in the future.’
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what’s on Wednesday 1 March Ash Wednesday Pax Christi Liverpool public act of witness and repentance for nuclear war preparations Gather in Liverpool City Centre. Details: Jan Harper Tel: 07746 919915. Email: email@example.com Thursday 2 March Oasis: a listening ear and a cuppa 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm at St Thomas of Canterbury church, Great Georges Road, Waterloo, L22 1RD. Details: Tel 0151 949 1199 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday 4 March Responding to the Call Vocation Discernment Group. A monthly day of recollection to support those exploring Vocations to the Priesthood by helping men who feel called to ordained ministry to discover more about diocesan priesthood and meet others discerning a call to priesthood. An opportunity to talk with, and hear from, priests who minister in the diocese, and also a time for prayer and discussion at St Charles' Presbytery, 224 Aigburth Road, Liverpool, L17 9PG. Details: Father James Preston, Vocations Director Tel: 0151 727 2493 Email: email@example.com. Sunday 5 March First Sunday of Lent Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion 3.00 pm at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. Fund raising Barn Dance/Ceili for the Pilgrimage to Banneux 2.00 pm at St. Michaels Irish Centre, 6 Boundary Lane, L6 5JG. Music by Michael Coyne, licensed Bar and refreshments. Tickets £5 from Sister Catherine Tel: 0151 924 0706 or 07703 769903 or from St Helens Parish Office, Crosby Tel: 0151 924 3417. A Coach will be leaving from St. Helens Church, Alexandra Rd., Crosby, L23 7TQ. Stations of the Cross and Reflections on the Passion 4.00 pm at St Mary’s, Church Road, Woolton, L25 5JF. Liverpool Bach Collective Johann Sebastian Bach Reformation Cantata 80: ‘Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott’. (‘A Mighty Fortress is our God.’) 6.30 pm at St Vincent de Paul, St James Street, Liverpool L1 5HA. For this performance the Bach Collective joins Liverpool’s two Lutheran communities for a Sunday act of worship. Singers and Players directed by Philip Duffy.
Tuesday 7 March Support Group for people living with dementia and their carers 1.00 pm at Our Lady Help of Christians, Portico Parish Hall, Prescot, L34 2QT. Details: Joan O’Hanlon Tel: 07984 735590. Everyone welcome. Stations of the Cross 7.30 pm at St Alban’s, Bewsey Street, Warrington, WA2 7JQ. Stations of the Cross and Benediction 7.30 pm at St Albert the Great, Hollow Croft Stockbridge Village, L28 4EA. Wednesday 8 March ‘Growing in Love with the Healer of our Souls.’ Lenten Retreat Day led by Sister Annie Lunney SMG at St Joseph’s Prayer Centre, Blundell Avenue, Freshfield, Formby, L37 1PH. Tel: 01704 875850 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ‘Songs we Remember.’ A morning of singing and enjoyment for anyone who likes to sing but particularly geared towards those living with dementia and their carers. 11.00 am to 12.30 pm, followed by lunch, at St Thomas of Canterbury Parish Hall, Great Georges Road, Waterloo, L22 1RD. Details: The Irenaeus Project Tel: 0151 949 1199. Website: www.irenaeus.co.uk
Monday 13 March Lenten Mass and Morning Prayer 8.00 am at St Albert the Great, Hollow Croft Stockbridge Village, L28 4EA. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 2.00 pm at St Marie of the Annunciation, Almond Brook Road, Standish, WN6 0TB. Tuesday 14 March Time Out on Tuesdays 10.00 am to 4.00 pm at the Cenacle, Tithebarn Grove, Lance Lane, Liverpool L15 6TW. Open to all who are involved in any form of ministry or service to others, giving time for silence and personal reflection. Offering £10 per person (bring your own lunch). For further details contact: Sister Winifred. Tel: 0151 722 2271, Email: email@example.com Stations of the Cross 7.30 pm at St Alban’s, Bewsey Street, Warrington, WA2 7JQ. Stations of the Cross and Benediction 7.30 pm at St Albert the Great, Hollow Croft Stockbridge Village, L28 4EA.
Thursday 9 March Stations of the Cross 6.30 pm at St Marie of the Annunciation, Almond Brook Road, Standish, WN6 0TB.
Thursday 16 March Stations of the Cross 6.30 pm at St Marie of the Annunciation, Almond Brook Road, Standish, WN6 0TB.
Friday 10 March Cafod Lent Fast Day. Lenten Mass 7.00 am at St Mary’s, Church Road, Woolton, L25 5JF.
Newman Association Talk: ‘Chemin Neuf.’ Speaker: Marie-Eve Fontaine. 7.30 pm (after 7.00 pm Mass) at St Helen's Parish Centre, Alexandra Road, Crosby, L23 7TQ. Details: John Potts Tel: 07889 841096
Stations of the Cross followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 11.00 am at St Bernadette, Wigan Road, Shevington, WN6 8AP.
Lenten Evening ‘Give me the heart of stone within you’ led by the Irenaeus Team 7.15 pm at St Anthony of Padua, Queens Drive, L18 8AY.
Exposition 6.45 pm at St Mary’s, Church Road, Woolton, L25 5JF.
Friday 17 March Lenten Mass 7.00 am at St Mary’s, Church Road, Woolton, L25 5JF.
Stations of the Cross 7.00 pm at St Joseph’s, Harpers Lane, Chorley, PR6 0HR. Night Prayer led by the Choir 8.45 pm at St Mary’s, Church Road, Woolton, L25 5JF.
Monday 6 March Lenten Mass and Morning Prayer 8.00 am at St Albert the Great, Hollow Croft Stockbridge Village, L28 4EA.
All Night Vigil before the Blessed Sacrament for the Priesthood and the Holy Souls 10.00 pm at Holy Family, Hall Lane, Cronton WA8 5DP, concludes with Mass at 7.00 pm
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 2.00 pm at St Marie of the Annunciation, Almond Brook Road, Standish, WN6 0TB.
Sunday 12 March Second Sunday of Lent
Stations of the Cross and Reflections on the Passion 4.00 pm at St Mary’s, Church Road, Woolton, L25 5JF.
UCM Bi-monthly Mass 7.30 pm at St Gregory the Great, Liverpool Road, Lydiate.
website at liverpoolcatholic.org.uk 16
‘Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith’ DVD Presentation followed by discussion. 3.00 pm at Our Lady, Help of Christians, Hesketh Lane, Tarleton, PR4 6AS.
Stations of the Cross followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 11.00 am at St Bernadette, Wigan Road, Shevington, WN6 8AP. Exposition 6.45 pm at St Mary’s, Church Road, Woolton, L25 5JF. Stations of the Cross 7.00 pm at St Joseph’s, Harpers Lane, Chorley, PR6 0HR. Night Prayer led by the Choir 8.45 pm at St Mary’s, Church Road, Woolton, L25 5JF.
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march Sunday 19 March to Saturday 25 March Parish Mission: ‘The healing Mercy of God’ Led by Father Jim McManus CSsR at Holy Name and Our Lady and St. Philomena’s Parish, Liverpool. The Mission will include early and mid-morning Mass each day, daily talks, evening services, anointing of the sick, reconciliation, and Family Mass. Details: https://holynamestphilomenas.wordpress.com/ Sunday 19 March Third Sunday of Lent. Mass for the centenary of the birth of Blessed Oscar Romero Celebrant: Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP. 11.00 am in the Metropolitan cathedral of Christ the King. ‘Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith’ DVD Presentation followed by discussion. 3.00 pm at Our Lady, Help of Christians, Hesketh Lane, Tarleton, PR4 6AS. Stations of the Cross and Reflections on the Passion 4.00 pm at St Mary’s, Church Road, Woolton, L25 5JF. Monday 20 March Lenten Mass and Morning Prayer 8.00 am at St Albert the Great, Hollow Croft Stockbridge Village, L28 4EA. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 2.00 pm at St Marie of the Annunciation, Almond Brook Road, Standish, WN6 0TB. Tuesday 21 March ‘Changing World Changing Church.’ A Retreat Day led by Bishop John Arnold at St Joseph’s Prayer Centre, Blundell Avenue, Freshfield, Formby, L37 1PH. Tel: 01704 875850 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Suggested donation: £20 (includes lunch.) Metropolitan Cathedral Chapter Mass 12.15 pm in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. Stations of the Cross 7.30 pm at St Alban’s, Bewsey Street, Warrington, WA2 7JQ. Wednesday 22 March ‘Songs we Remember.’ A morning of singing and enjoyment for anyone who likes to sing but particularly geared towards those living with dementia and their carers. 11.00 am to 12.30 pm, followed by lunch, at St Thomas of Canterbury Parish Hall, Great Georges Road, Waterloo, L22 1RD. Details: The Irenaeus Project Tel: 0151 949 1199. Website: www.irenaeus.co.uk Stations of the Cross and Benediction 7.30 pm at St Albert the Great, Hollow Croft Stockbridge Village, L28 4EA. Thursday 23 March Lenten Evening ‘Give me the heart of stone within you’ led by the Irenaeus Team 7.15 pm at St Anthony of Padua, Queens Drive, L18 8AY.
Stations of the Cross 6.30 pm at St Marie of the Annunciation, Almond Brook Road, Standish, WN6 0TB. Friday 24 March Lenten Mass 7.00 am at St Mary’s, Church Road, Woolton, L25 5JF.
Wednesday 29 March ‘Growing in Love with the Healer of our Souls.’ Lenten Retreat Day led by Sister Annie Lunney SMG at St Joseph’s Prayer Centre, Blundell Avenue, Freshfield, Formby, L37 1PH. Tel: 01704 875850 Email: email@example.com
Stations of the Cross followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 11.00 am at St Bernadette, Wigan Road, Shevington, WN6 8AP.
Choral Evening Prayer broadcast by BBC Radio 3 3.30 pm in the Metropolitan cathedral of Christ the King.
Exposition 6.45 pm at St Mary’s, Church Road, Woolton, L25 5JF.
Stations of the Cross and Benediction 7.30 pm at St Albert the Great, Hollow Croft Stockbridge Village, L28 4EA.
Stations of the Cross 7.00 pm at St Joseph’s, Harpers Lane, Chorley, PR6 0HR.
Thursday 30 March Lenten Evening led by the Irenaeus Team ‘Give me the heart of stone within you’ led by the Irenaeus Team 7.15 pm at St Anthony of Padua, Queens Drive, L18 8AY.
Night Prayer led by the Choir 8.45 pm at St Mary’s, Church Road, Woolton, L25 5JF. Friday 24 March to Sunday 26 March ‘Footsteps in the sand.’ A quiet weekend led by Sister Moira Meeghan at lrenaeus, 32 Great Georges Road, Waterloo, L22 1RD. Details Tel: 0151 949 1199. Website: www.irenaeus.co.uk Saturday 25 March Quiet Day 10.00 am to 4.00 pm at the Cenacle, Tithebarn Grove, Lance Lane, Liverpool L15 6TW. Time to be quiet, reflect and pray. Offering £10 per person (bring your own lunch). No booking required. For further details contact: Sister Winifred. Tel: 0151 722 2271, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sunday 26 March Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday) ‘Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith’ DVD Presentation followed by discussion. 3.00 pm at Our Lady, Help of Christians, Hesketh Lane, Tarleton, PR4 6AS.
Stations of the Cross 6.30 pm at St Marie of the Annunciation, Almond Brook Road, Standish, WN6 0TB. Friday 31 March Lenten Mass 7.00 am at St Mary’s, Church Road, Woolton, L25 5JF. Stations of the Cross followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 11.00 am at St Bernadette, Wigan Road, Shevington, WN6 8AP. Exposition 6.45 pm at St Mary’s, Church Road, Woolton, L25 5JF. Stations of the Cross 7.00 pm at St Joseph’s, Harpers Lane, Chorley, PR6 0HR. Night Prayer led by the Choir 8.45 pm at St Mary’s, Church Road, Woolton, L25 5JF.
Monday 27 March Lenten Mass and Morning Prayer 8.00 am at St Albert the Great, Hollow Croft Stockbridge Village, L28 4EA. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 2.00 pm at St Marie of the Annunciation, Almond Brook Road, Standish, WN6 0TB. Tuesday 28 March Stations of the Cross 7.30 pm at St Alban’s, Bewsey Street, Warrington, WA2 7JQ.
World of Atherton
‘I keep having this nightmare where I’ve given up drink for Lent and when Lent’s over I find I’ve lost the taste for it’
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James Luxton Making music at the Met By Simon Hart hould any of the girl choristers under his charge ever struggle with butterflies, James Luxton would not be lacking in empathy. After all, James, assistant director of music at the Metropolitan Cathedral, knows all about nerves, as a tale from his time playing the organ at Oscott College underlines. He recalls: ‘I’d been playing there a couple of years and one day they said, “James, we need an organist for something” and I said, “OK, what is it?”. They said, “You know the Pope is coming?”.’ It was Pope Benedict XVI’s 2010 visit to these shores. James was 22. ‘It was quite stressful,’ he adds, ‘as there are quite a few variables with live TV and with loads of organists tuning in and thinking, “Can James play?”. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience but at the end of it I was quite relieved. ‘I didn’t actually get to meet him. I did run out of the chapel after I’d finished playing but his car had already driven away. And then I remembered I couldn’t run because of the marksmen in the helicopters!’ Back then, James had just graduated from the Birmingham Conservatoire with a first class degree in Music. What followed was a spell working as sub-
assistant organist at Worcester Cathedral before, in 2014, this Dudley native headed north to Liverpool. ‘I feel I’ve done Liverpool and Worcester the wrong way round,’ the 28-year-old smiles. ‘Liverpool is a vibrant city that demands a very energetic pace of life, whereas people go to Worcester to retire. It’s an ancient cathedral and there’s a modern one here. It was like stepping into a parallel universe! And it’s a fantastic building here with what the acoustics do to the music we make.’ It is not just the acoustics that are different to his Black Country ears. ‘Occasionally when the kids are singing you’ll hear things and think, “Oh that’s a bit Scouse” but actually it’s quite close to Latin – some of the vowels are better,’ explains James, whose main responsibility as assistant director of music is directing the girl choristers and the youth choir. He is now busy helping director of music Chris McElroy with the musical preparations for the Cathedral’s 50th anniversary celebrations. ‘We are pulling out the stops,’ he says, no pun intended. The Cathedral choir spent three evenings in February recording a special Golden Jubilee CD and he explains: ‘The CD is going to feature
music that means something to the cathedral – for example, Abide With Me, which was sung at the special Mass the day after Hillsborough in 1989, our ‘own’ hymn, Hail Redeemer, King Divine and others that were sung at other significant events over the past fifty years.’ It will include also a specially commissioned piece for the anniversary, a Te Deum by Colin Mawby, once the master of music at Westminster Cathedral. This is not the only original piece we will hear this year with a Congregational Mass by Philip Duffy, the Cathedral’s former master of music, also in the offing. The summer, meanwhile, will bring a series of celebrity organ recitals. James elaborates: ‘One is Johann Vexo from Notre Dame in Paris. We’ve also got Martin Baker, master of music at Westminster Cathedral, coming and Ian Tracey, Liverpool city organist. ‘I don’t know if he often gets to play at our place!’ The fourth recital will be by James himself – or ‘some lad from Dudley’ as he puts it. ‘A bit of an anticlimax,’ he adds self-deprecatingly, though if it’s good enough for a Pope, it will surely do for us too.
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My wish for Lent Animate Youth Ministries team coordinator Lauren reflects on her Lenten mission to get closer to others as well as to God. ‘If anyone decides to sue you and take your coat, let them have your cloak as well, and whoever forces you to go one mile, go with them a second also. Give to whoever begs, and do not turn away anyone wishing to borrow from you.’ (Matthew 5:40-42) This feels like quite a fitting passage to lead us into this time of Lent. After all, for me Lent is a time not only for self-renewal but also to really consider the needs of other people around me. This means, for instance, accepting whatever suffering or conflict may arise for the sake of peace, and placing them into the Lord’s hands. Is it not better to give sometimes to that undeserving individual than to turn away the person who is really in need? When Jesus sacrificed himself for us, we could have mostly been classed as undeserving individuals too … it is the Lord who has shown us how to place others before ourselves. This is the challenge I am given this Lent. While I wait those 40 days and nights I will be thinking about my own selfdiscovery, I will be thinking about who Jesus is to me and who I am to Jesus. I will be preparing myself, through confession and adoration, for the Resurrection of the Lord. I have come to recognise that this time is not just for myself. Jesus did not go to the desert for Himself. He went for us. In the same way I should come to recognise that this Lenten journey is for us all. We all prepare in our own ways, but we come together as one at the end of this journey. I pray, therefore, that this Lent I will learn to not turn away from others, but to allow myself to be brought closer to others by God’s love and mercy. • If you are looking for things to do in Lent to help grow closer to the Lord, you are welcome to join us at Life and Soul+. This is a time of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament with an opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. During this time passages of Scripture will be read aloud followed by short reflections, and there will also be music and the opportunity to sing hymns of praise. This event is led by the Animate team but people of all ages are very welcome. The next event is at Holy Family Church, Southport on Wednesday 15 March (7-8pm). • Our next Youth Alive Mass is on Palm Sunday, 9 April at 6.30pm at SS Peter and Paul Church, Apostles Way, Kirkby.
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21 JULY 2017 | 7 NIGHTS BY AIR FROM LIVERPOOL