Catholic Pic September 2019

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Schools celebrate exam success INSIDE THIS ISSUE:

40th anniversary of the Diaconate

Archbishop Dufour from Jamaica to Upholland

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contents Welcome 2019 marks a special anniversary for the archdiocese as we celebrate 40 years since our first ordinations to the permanent Diaconate. During those 40 years 175 permanent deacons have been ordained for the archdiocese and currently there are 71 active deacons and 28 retired, with eleven men in formation. Our main feature looks back over the years as we give thanks for their service among us. Some years ago, a priest told me that the Archbishop of Kingston, Jamaica had studied for the priesthood at St Joseph’s College, Upholland in the late 1960s. I have to say that at first, I wasn’t sure about this, but as the conversation continued, I realised it was true. I had the great pleasure of meeting Archbishop Charles Dufour at a St Joseph’s Society reunion a few weeks ago and he was happy to be interviewed as our profile this month. A fascinating story and a reminder that we are a part of a universal Church holding each other in prayer. Over the last few weeks students at our Catholic schools and colleges have been receiving their exam results and we share their hard work and that of all involved in Catholic Education.

From the Archbishop’s Desk It was pointed out to me by one of our priests here in Liverpool that the Dominican order has a new saint. Being a Dominican myself, I have a vested interest in his canonisation. Pope Francis declared St Bartolomé Fernandes of the Martyrs, Archbishop of Braga in Portugal, to be a saint on 5 July 2019. He was made a saint by a process called equipollent canonisation. I have to admit that I had not heard of him or this method of being raised to the altars but basically it means that a second miracle was not required. St Bartolomé who lived in the sixteenth century seemed to be an all-rounder: he took part in the Council of Trent, was a renowned preacher and took care of the poor – and astoundingly his popularity has lasted for nearly five centuries. St Bartolomé’s canonisation made me think of how many hidden saints we have known. I am convinced my grandmother is a saint. She lived a hard life, much of it as a widow bringing up four children on her own. Her faith was everything to her, and if she couldn’t get to daily Mass she knelt down in her kitchen and prayed as if she was in church. Despite the miracle she worked with her children I doubt if she will ever be canonised equipollently or otherwise. In October Cardinal Newman will be canonised and I am looking forward to being in Rome for this which will be a great celebration for the Catholic Church in England and Wales; but I have a sneaking suspicion that he would have like to have been canonised equipollently without all the fuss and bother.

Editor Peter Heneghan

Copy deadline October 2019 Friday 6 September 2019

Editorial Catholic Pictorial Magazine Liverpool Archdiocesan Centre for Evangelisation, Croxteth Drive, Liverpool L17 1AA Tel: 0151 522 1007 Email:

Publisher CPMM Suite 4 Pacific Chambers, 11-13 Victoria Street, Liverpool L2 5QQ

Pictures: Main Feature (I) Profile Peter Heneghan Cover: John Roberts


Main Feature A celebration of the Diaconate


News From around the Archdiocese

13 Animate ‘The highlight of my year’ 14 Sunday Reflections Liturgy and Life 15 Cathedral Record Luggage Label Days 16 What’s On Whats happening in the Archdiocese 20 Education Special News from around our schools on exam day 34 Profile Archbishop Emeritus Charles Henry Dufour A half-century’s service to Jamaica – with lessons learned at Upholland 33 Pic Extras Mums the word News from the KSC

Most Rev Malcolm McMahon OP Archbishop of Liverpool

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36 Pic Life Let’s work together for more vocations 38 Justice and Peace Why do I need religion?

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A celebration of the Diaconate Forty years since the arrival of the diocese’s first permanent deacons, we look back on those first ordinations – and the contribution that they and those who have followed have made. by Simon Hart ‘You will, in the words of St Paul, have to “lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called” and you will have to be “patient, meek, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” especially when dealing with those who have not yet understood the nature and beauty of your vocation.’ These were words of advice given by Archbishop Derek Worlock to the first permanent deacons of Liverpool Archdiocese at their ordination in the Metropolitan Cathedral on 8 July 1979. ‘There were five of us,’ says Leo McNicholas, one of that number, looking back 40 years. ‘We were the first ordained as a result of a training programme. We had two years. Derek Worlock once described me as one of his “protodeacons”. It was something quite new and, to be frank, there wasn’t a lot of education either for the clergy or the laity. ‘The Catholic Pic for three or four years kept referring to us as “lay deacons” but we’re not lay deacons, we’re ordained ministers. It was a learning curve for everybody.’ Leo spent his first eight years as a deacon in the Metropolitan Cathedral parish before moving to the parish that 4

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remains his home today, St Oswald’s in Longton. His fellow pioneers were Gerard Holmes, who went to serve in St Mary’s, Wigan; Gordon Leadbetter (St Anthony of Padua); Gerard Rodgers (Christ the King, Childwall); and John Murphy (St Thomas of Canterbury, Waterloo). Of these others, only John Murphy is still alive and he was unable to attend the gala dinner to mark the 40th anniversary of their ordinations at Liverpool Hope University on Wednesday 10 July. This left Leo and his wife Margaret as guests of honour at the dinner at which Canon Chris Fallon, the diocesan Director for the Permanent Diaconate, gave a speech reflecting on the past four decades – starting with those first ordinations. Chris, who succeeded Monsignor Austin Hunt in the role in 2016, said: ‘The press release stated that their principal work would be the pastoral service of the people and carrying out the charitable works of the Church and it also referred to their liturgical ministry at baptisms, weddings, funerals, preaching and distributing Holy Communion and assisting the priest in the celebration of Mass.’ Chris quoted a line from Archbishop Derek’s homily at that 1979 Mass that ‘this restoration of ancient usage, rather than innovation, is a great enrichment in the Church’s ministry to God’s people.’

‘Working with the bishops and priests, you are a pattern from the past which will give shape to our future’ – Archbishop Derek Worlock on the first intake of permanent deacons

And he also cited the four misunderstandings that the Archbishop said the new deacons could expect to encounter, starting with their mislabelling as lay deacons. ‘The diaconate,’ said the Archbishop, ‘is the first degree or rank of the triple order of ordained ministry: diaconate, priesthood and episcopate, a real and distinct ministry of itself and neither a probationary state for those preparing for priesthood nor a consolation prize for those who cannot approach the priesthood because of their married state or lack of educational opportunity’. There would also be those ‘who will assume that your primary duty is to wear a deacon’s stole and sing the Gospel’ yet Archbishop Derek observed that their first duty in the ordination rite was to preach and teach the Gospel, which was ‘why so much time has been given to your doctrinal and theological training.’ The Archbishop’s homily went on: ‘Some will think and speak of you as part-time deacons, but you will all be full-time deacons wherever you are: heralds of the Gospel at work; ministers of the liturgy, of the Gospel and of charity in the parishes to which you are assigned; and deacons at home, your family happiness being an additional strength you will bring to your ministry. ‘Lastly, you will for a time still be thought by some to be unnecessary, whether as a luxury or an eccentricity. Where the teaching of


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feature the Church has failed, where people continue to close their eyes to the hard facts of the need for a developing ministry in our parishes, time and experience will have to tell … You are breaking new ground. You are helping to show the way. Working with the bishops and priests, you are a pattern from the past which will give shape to our future.’ Overall, 175 permanent deacons have been ordained in Liverpool Archdiocese – the four newest on 7 July. Today there are 71 active deacons and 28 retired, with 11 men currently in formation. In the early days, under the guidance of Mgr Austin Hunt, diaconal candidates would study for the Catholic Teacher’s Certificate, now the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS). Candidates today also study for the Online Certificate in Pastoral Ministry and Leadership provided in partnership with Loyola University Chicago, which forms part of the Archdiocesan Diploma overseen by Liverpool Hope University. In his gala dinner address, Canon Chris Fallon expressed his gratitude to all those who have ‘supported the formation programme’ and added: ‘The scope of ministry in which our deacons are involved has widened over the years, with deacons working directly for the Archdiocese in RE and Safeguarding and indirectly as chaplains to hospitals, schools and prisons, working with asylum seekers, stroke clubs, pro-life charities, movements like Cenacolo, Cursillo, Missio and L’Arche and many others.

7 July 2019

Interested in New Lay Governance Roles for Liverpool Archdiocese? Liverpool Roman Catholic Archdiocesan Trust is a registered charity and its charitable affairs are governed by a group of Trustees appointed by the Archbishop from the senior clergy and suitably qualified and experienced lay faithful of the Archdiocese. The Trustees have recently decided to change the governance structure of the Archdiocese by extending the number of lay trustees and creating some new policy structures. Applications to become a trustee or a member of the policy structures are invited from suitably experienced/qualified lay Catholics. Trustees The Most Reverend Malcom McMahon, OP, the Archbishop of Liverpool, wishes to appoint 4 additional lay trustees. We are especially seeking people who have experience in the following fields: Finance, Legal, Property, HR, Communications, Education. Policy Committees The Archdiocese is establishing 4 committees to carry out detailed policy work on behalf of the Trustees and Archbishop’s Council: Mission Planning, Pastoral Formation, Education and

Finance. There are a number of lay positions on these bodies and we would like to hear from you if you are interested in serving on one of these. For an informal discussion about either of the above roles, please contact: Martin Miller (Chief Operating Officer) or Candice McDonald (Head of HR & OD) Tel: 0151 522 1000 or Email: An information pack which outlines how to apply is available on request or can be downloaded from - Applications for trustee positions should be sent to the Chief Operating Officer by Friday 20th September 2019. - Expressions of interest in the policy roles should be sent to the Chief Operating Officer by Monday 30th September 2019. Please feel free to pass this on to someone who you think would be interested in these roles.

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8 July 1979 ‘Liverpool has also made a contribution to the development of the diaconate on the national and international level. Mgr Hunt chaired for many years the National Conference of Diaconate Directors and Deacon Delegates and was later followed in the role by Deacon John Traynor.’ Chris also spoke of the backing given to Liverpool’s deacons by the archbishops who succeeded Archbishop Derek, Archbishop Patrick Kelly and Archbishop Malcolm McMahon. He added: ‘Archbishop Malcolm and the Trustees have recently giving their backing to a funding bid for a research project, to be carried out at Liverpool Hope University by Father Peter McGrail and one of our newly ordained deacons, Paul Rooney, into the deployment and ministry of deacons and the new Pastoral Associates, which will feed into Synod 2020.’

‘A lot of the success of any deacon depends on family and particularly your wife as without her support you couldn’t do it’ 6

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Leo McNicholas will leave that future to others. Now 83, the Archdiocese’s longest-serving deacon will ‘hang up my stole’, as he puts it, in November following the Feast of Christ the King. ‘We’re supposed to retire at 75, but Archbishop Kelly let me stay on as I thought I had quite a bit to still offer.’

At July’s gala dinner, he received a copy of the painting by German artist Sieger Koder, ‘The Washing of the Feet’ – a fitting gift given it was in Germany, when teaching at a boarding school for army children, that he first began giving homilies for the simple fact the priest could speak not a word of English. The 40 years since 1979 have brought challenges, and rewards. ‘When I was ordained, we had five children of school age. A lot of the success of any deacon depends on family and particularly your wife as without her support you couldn’t do it. We always had this thing about priorities – the family comes first, the job comes second, and the diaconate comes third. It’s like keeping balls up in the air.’ And for Leo, there was no prouder moment than being on the altar when Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral in May 1982. ‘When we came down after Mass we came into sacristy and my youngest son, Kevin, got a kiss on top of his head because he was his mitre bearer and he gave me a hug, which is a special moment. I’ve been hugged by a saint.’

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‘Baptised and Sent’: Extraordinary Month of Mission 2019 World Mission Sunday - the one Sunday in the year when the entire global Church comes together in support of mission - will happen on 20 October this year. And this year, it is running alongside another exciting global event! His Holiness, Pope Francis,has declared October 2019 to be a special month of prayer and action, to strengthen and grow God’s mission through the Church. And the Extraordinary Month of Mission (EMM2019) is nearly here. EMM2019 marks the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, which Pope Francis describes as ‘a milestone in the evolution of the Church’s missionary work’. And a century later, the call to missio ad gentes is as urgent as ever. This is an incredible opportunity for all of us to reflect on and pray for the Church’s mission, and for the whole Church to fully realise that in our rapidly changing world the Gospel is needed now more than ever! Missio: today, tomorrow, together As the Pope’s official charity for world mission, Missio enables Catholics in England and Wales to live out the call received at Baptism: to share in the Church’s universal mission. And in the lead-up to EMM 2019, Missio will be here to help individuals, schools, organisations, dioceses, parishes, communities, orders and congregations in England and Wales to get behind this worldwide Church initiative. Missio invites everyone to get involved in EMM2019, joining our sisters and brothers around the world in faith and renewal. Find out more about EMM2019 at and see how you can get involved - personally and as a community - in this special celebration of mission. You can find out more about World Mission Sunday (October 20) at

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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:

Synod Talks begin As we take the next steps on our Synod journey, themes to proposals, there is an opportunity to think, discern and pray together, this is provided by the Synod Talks. On seven Monday evenings at Hope University an invitation is made to come together to reflect on some of the issues that will help us to better understand some of the pressing concerns of the Church and

society as we continue to discern the Church that God is calling us to be. The first evening is led by Fr Gerry O’Hanlon SJ on Monday 7 October. Father Gerry has recently authored a book entitled: The Quiet Revolution of Pope Francis. His talk will pick up the main themes of his book in which he explores the Catholic Church in Ireland and the papacy of Pope Francis through the lens of Synodality. He uses his own experiences

of ministry, of teaching, lecturing and study to suggest that Pope Francis is charting a pathway that will help us truly become the Church that God is calling us to be. As we continue on our Archdiocesan journey of Synod 2020 his reflections will guide, inspire and challenge us. At the end of his book Father Gerry concludes that the Jesus of the Gospels is always respectful of tradition and the old and yet He confidently proclaims the new. This didn’t end with New Testament times, rather it was understood by the Church to be constitutive of its being. Pope Francis has proposed a synodal model of Church, rooted in a faith encounter with Jesus and committed to mission, as the appropriate response to our changing world and faithful to Christian tradition. This is rooted in respect of the dignity of all the baptised. Father Gerry argues that Synodality is something that must permeate the life of the Church at every level. From this brief summary of his writing you can see how his talk will feed us on our Synod journey. The talk begins at 7.30 pm and is open to everyone. There will be time for questions at the end and then night prayer. There is no charge for the Synod Talks but a donation towards costs will be gratefully received. Hope to see you there. Full details of the talks can be found at

A disco with a difference There's a place where you can hear the theme song to ‘Batman’, and then move seamlessly into the ‘Conga’, and then start dancing to ‘Cha Cha slide’. On the second Friday of every month, Our Lady of Walsingham Parish Centre in Netherton is host to a very special event. The monthly ‘Manor Disco’ is a place where people with various learning and physical needs, and their carers can come together to have a night of fun, dancing and a chance to make or renew friendships. The disco is staffed by a small team, who all work closely together to make sure that a good night is had by all. The wide variety of music is provided by Soundbass Productions, who always ensure that people stay on the dance floor all night. But it’s the atmosphere that makes Manor Disco different from other get togethers. From everyone joining in to dance the conga or the macarena, even to people becoming Elsa for ‘Let it Go’ from the Disney film ‘Frozen’, the people who utilise this disco always make sure that no one is left out, and all are welcomed on the dance floor, no matter how good, or bad, dancing skills are. The bar is also open, with Nicola and staff always ready to serve people who wish to buy a drink; and there are even a couple of 8

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raffles too. All for just £1.50 entrance fee. If you know anyone who would like to come along to the Manor Disco, please tell them. Doors open at 7:30 pm, and the dancing goes on till closing time. Manor Disco is a place where you can be you, and I can be me at Our Lady of Walsingham Club, Stand Park Avenue, Netherton, L30 3SA

Bar manager Nicola and Rose

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news diary

Clergy Appointments The following clergy appointments in the Archdiocese of Liverpool have been announced: Episcopal Vicar for Education Father Michael O’Dowd has stepped down as Episcopal Vicar for Education and will be succeeded by Father Michael Fitzsimons. Episcopal Vicar for Finance Father Sean Kirwin has stepped down as Episcopal Vicar for Finance and will be replaced by Monsignor John Devine. Parish Priest Rev Colin Fealey

Rev Ron Johnson

From: St Edmund Arrowsmith, Leigh To: Christ the King, Queens Drive, Liverpool From: Sabbatical To: St Charles and St Thomas More Aigburth and archdiocesan Director of vocations

Additional Responsibility: Canon Chris Fallon

Parish Priest of St Teresa, Norris Green and Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs and St Swithin, Croxteth

Rev Martin Kershaw

Parish Priest of St Austin, Thatto Heath and St Teresa, Devon Street, St Helens

Rev Andrew Rowlands

Parish Priest of St Michael and All Angels, Kirkby and Parish Administrator of Our Lady Immaculate and St Joseph, Prescot

Assistant Priest: Rev Gerard Tuite Rev Anthony Kelly

Parish Administrator: Rev Andrew Unsworth


St James, Orrell

From: St Julie, St Helens To: Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs and St Swithin, Croxteth and St Teresa, Norris Green


St James, Orrell

Retirement: Monsignor Anthony Dennick From: Our Lady Immaculate and St Joseph, Prescot Canon Joseph Kelly

Other Appointments: Rev John Poland

From: St George, Maghull

From: Christ the King, Queens Drive, Liverpool To: Private Secretary Archbishop’s House and assistant at the Metropolitan Tribunal

Rev James Preston

From: St Charles and St Thomas More Aigburth and archdiocesan Director of vocations To: Spiritual Director St Mary’s College, Oscott

Rev Sean Riley

From: Christ the King, Queens Drive, Liverpool To: Further Studies in Leuven

Obituary of Deacon Edward Kane Deacon Edward Kane who ministered in St Vincent de Paul and St Anne and Blessed Dominic, St Helens, died while on holiday in Spain at the age of 77. Edward Kane was born in St Helens on 15 December 1941. His early education was at St Vincent de Paul, in Parr, and later having passed his scholarship he studied at Grange Park. On leaving school he worked down the mines as a shop fireman. He married Pauline Swann in St Vincent’s on 3 October 1964. His ties to St Vincent’s would prove to be lifelong with fidelity to the community right until the end. His working career was varied after his time in the mines ranging from work in Fibreglass, St Helens, then as a night porter until his retirement. He was ordained Deacon in June 2006 by Archbishop Patrick Kelly and served in St Ann and Blessed Dominic parish, and primarily in his beloved community: St Vincent’s. He loved his ministry in the parish and was highly thought of throughout the Pastoral Area for his dedication, humour, counsel and concern for all whom he came in contact with. His work with the pastoral area marriage preparation course was a particular love of his and the highlight of many days was with the children in Holy Spirit primary school. Ted had an extensive ministry to the bereaved and his death was felt across St Helens, where people shared their stories of his warmth and sensitivity. He died in Spain while on holiday with his beloved wife Pauline on 4 June. His Funeral Mass was celebrated at St Vincent de Paul, St Helens on Tuesday 25 June.

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news diary

St Mary’s Woolton: Working to become a dementia friendly parish Parishioners and visitors gather at St Mary’s parish hall on the last Friday of every month for a joy-filled Afternoon Tea and Singalong. Ann O’Neill explains that it all started in May 2018, when the parish hosted a Dementia Friendly afternoon tea and singalong to mark Dementia Action Week. Due to the success of the event the parish has continued to provide these sessions every month. Guests have a real sense of occasion, and eagerly arrive each month to sing and dance to their heart’s content with many visitors making new friends and useful contacts in dementia care and local befriending services. Visitors and family members of people living with dementia say the occasions have changed the lives of their loved ones. One man in his 80’s says it’s given him a new lease of life and that he’s actually joined a local gym so that he’s fit enough to join in with the dancing. Working with volunteers from the parish and local community there is a growing awareness of people living alone and experiencing social isolation, which why the events are open to everyone; though especially people with dementia and their carers. The parish SVP supports the occasions by offering transport to people who would otherwise find it difficult to attend. The volunteers at St Mary’s say it’s an absolute delight to see people who reportedly have been almost silent for years, singing along and even getting up to dance. One of the guests nominated the team for a special ‘Thank You’ on the BBC Radio 2 Paul O’Grady show and all the volunteers were publicly thanked and received a certificate. The parish has also provided Dementia

Information Sessions along with Dementia Friendly Events. To mark Dementia Action Week this year, there was a Dementia Information Market Place with twenty organisations taking part. Over 100 visitors heard Ruth Eley, Chair of

Annual Family Celebration Mass The Annual Family Celebration Mass was held at Saint Peter and Saint Paul Catholic College in Widnes at the end of June. Archbishop Malcolm was the celebrant and was joined by clergy from throughout the archdiocese. The many children who attended enjoyed the activities that had been provided as well as enjoying their picnic before Mass. Next year’s Mass will be held on Sunday 12 July 2020 at St Richard's Skelmersdale. Please put this date in your parish diaries and encourage as many families to come and join in this celebration and celebrate our faith as an archdiocesan family. 10

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Dementia Action Alliance Liverpool, give an informative talk. For further information, please contact Ann O’Neill at or Tel: 0151 428 2256

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news diary

A sunny summer Pilgrimage Members from the Parish of St William, Wigan (the churches of Saint Patrick and Saint John) enjoyed a pilgrimage to the Ladyewell Shrine and Carmelite Monastery at the beginning of August. Led by Parish Priest, Father Ian O’Shea, the day began with a Rosary procession down to the Shrine and the celebration of Mass. After lunch, many pilgrims explored the Shrine, including the beautiful chapel dedicated to the English Martyrs and the relics in the upstairs museum. There was an opportunity for private, quiet prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament, before Benediction. Pilgrims then travelled to the nearby Carmelite Monastery for a service which included clothing parishioners in the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In his homily, Father O’Shea discussed the powerful nature of the Scapular, which is worn to place an individual under the

loving mantle of Our Lady. During the service, Parishioners also brought forward gifts for the Sisters, including a range of plants, a framed photo of both church congregations and a

donation to the Convent. All Pilgrims enjoyed an uplifting, prayerful and fun day, even if some did turn up to Mass the next day looking more than a little sunburned.

Archdiocesan Safeguarding Conference

Obituary of Deacon Adrian Dickinson

The Safeguarding Department are hosting a conference which will take place on Saturday 14 September 2019 at Liverpool Archdiocese Conference and Events, (LACE) Croxteth Drive, Sefton Park Liverpool L17 1AA, from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm.

Deacon Adrian Dickinson who ministered for many years at St Mary’s, Woolton, died on Monday 12 August, aged 88. Adrian Ignatius Dickinson was born on 10 May 1931 and was baptised and confirmed in St Francis Xavier’s Church, Liverpool. He attended St Francis Xavier Secondary Modern School in Salisbury Street and worked as an insurance agent for the Royal London Insurance Company. He married Margaret Vera West on 19 May 1956 and they had one daughter Patricia and three sons Richard, Peter and Paul. Adrian was in the fourth group of men training for the permanent diaconate in the archdiocese and was ordained in the Metropolitan Cathedral on 4 July 1982. Initially he served in the parish of St Clare, Arundel Avenue, briefly at St Hugh of Lincoln, Wavertree, and then moved to St Mary’s, Woolton. With the Archbishop’s permission he continued in active ministry until 2011 and after that continued bringing Holy Communion to the sick and baptising some of his great grandchildren. His gentle service will be remembered with gratitude by many people. His Funeral Mass was celebrated at St Mary’s on Friday 23 August.

Workshops will focus on various aspects of Safeguarding and will be facilitated by the Archdiocese Safeguarding Commission. They include: Catch 22 on the Criminal and Sexual exploitation of Young People led by Emma Murphy, Child Exploitation Case Worker, who will explain her work in supporting young people who are currently involved in child sexual exploitation, child criminal exploitation, gangs and trafficking. Papyrus which exists to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives. The workshop will be led by Jaydene Cheng, Community Suicide Prevention Worker. IICSA The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) set up in 2015 to investigate organisations and institutions that have failed to protect children from sexual abuse. This workshop will be led by Martine Dunne. The Medaille Trust a charity founded by groups of Religious congregations in 2006 to work against the evils of human trafficking. Their primary mission is the empowerment of women, men and children, who have been freed from the human-trafficking and the modern-day slavery industry in the United Kingdom. This workshop will be led by Richard Owens, Anti-Slavery Envoy. Merseyside Fire and Rescue this workshop will be facilitated by Michelle Langford, Prevention Team Manager, covering Safety in the Home and general Fire Safety Awareness. Bookings: Email: indicating in order of preference three workshops of your choice from the list above that you wish to attend.

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youth ministry

‘The highlight of my year’ Jack Simpson, a Coach 4 pilgrim, reflects on another memorable week in Lourdes with the Liverpool Archdiocese Youth Pilgrimage. This year was my eighth and final pilgrimage to Lourdes as a young person and it is fair to say that Lourdes has made me who I am today. Lourdes is truly a special place where you have the unique opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of pilgrims from our diocese while growing as an individual along with 450 other likeminded young people. Over my eight years, the Archdiocesan Youth Pilgrimage has played a massive role in developing my confidence, social skills and my faith. The week that we travel to Lourdes is consistently the highlight of my year and this year was no exception. Most people would say that a 26-hour coach journey is not their idea of fun but what they don’t realise is that every hour of the journey is full of laughter and singing, of getting to know the people sharing that journey with you. Even from day one, you can feel the strong sense of community. Once we arrived in Lourdes, we started the pilgrimage off with our own opening Mass for the Liverpool Youth. These masses are full of energy with lively music and powerful, relatable messages. The next day we welcomed the pilgrims with a mini-tour around the domain before taking them to their welcome Mass. One of the highlights of the week is that first day, getting to

know the pilgrims and seeing friendships start to form. Once you have been on a few pilgrimages, you start to recognise people that you have worked with previously; it is amazing to see them again and a pleasure to spend time catching up. Throughout the week there are lots of opportunities to socialise with pilgrims and share powerful religious experiences such as the Blessed Sacrament procession, the Torchlight procession, Mass at the Grotto, and the visit to the baths. Towards the end of the week, I did Over-18s duty, which involved getting up early and serving the sick pilgrims breakfast at the St Frai hospital before helping them get ready to go out for the day. For the youth pilgrims, there was also a ‘night of mercy’ which was a moving experience, where we had a chance to reflect on our lives, go to reconciliation and spend time with God during adoration. Finally, I was lucky enough to end the week by singing and waving goodbye to the pilgrims leaving on the Jumbulance – a fitting end to an unbelievable journey. When people ask me what makes a pilgrimage to Lourdes so special, I always struggle to put the experience into words. It is true that words genuinely don’t come close to doing it justice. I would encourage any

young person to take this amazing opportunity in the future as I am sure they too would fall in love with this incredible place. Dates for the diary 1 September – Lourdes Reunion Mass, 6.30pm at St Michael and All Angels, Kirkby. All are welcome to join us for Mass as we take a look back over Lourdes 2019. 24 September – Faith in Action training, 5.30pm at Lowe House, St Helens. For all interested in running the Faith in Action award in their parishes and schools. 1 October – Lourdes 2020 application forms released. Download your application form from 9am at

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sunday reflections On a liturgical note In the middle of September, the Liturgy gives us a Feast which, at first glance, might look more appropriate to Holy Week – or, more specifically, Good Friday. It is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (14 September) and it recalls the discovery (the exaltation or the lifting up) of the relic of the true Cross in Jerusalem by Helena, Mother of the Emperor Constantine, around the year 320 and then the building of a church on the site of the Crucifixion of Jesus in the year 335 by that same Emperor, Constantine. It is from a small chapel dedicated to Saint Helen that the modern-day town of St Helens in our own Archdiocese appears to take its name. So much for the history. What does it say for us today? Many of us will be familiar with the introduction to each station in the devotion, The Stations of the Cross: V/ We adore you O Christ and we praise you R/ Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world Our devotion to and gratitude to God for the Holy Cross and all that it stands for is not merely an acknowledgement of the pain and suffering which was inflicted on an innocent one, Jesus – a

Sunday thoughts I recall Bishop Gus Harris’s advice when I was a student for the priesthood. One of our own priests, he became auxiliary bishop before being appointed Bishop of Middlesbrough. On retirement he returned to Liverpool. He said that people remember the priest who is kind. If he is kind, parishioners will overlook his other faults. I’ve always remembered his words even as I have failed to live up to them. Gentleness doesn’t come easy to me. And I recall that advice once again when I see the first reading for Sunday 1 September (Ecclesiasticus 3:19): ‘Be gentle in carrying out your business and you will be better loved than a lavish giver.’ It’s so easy for a priest to convey the impression that the majority of parishioners aren’t quite up to the mark. They present themselves for marriage, for baptism, for first holy communion, for funerals. My tendency

Canon Philip Gillespie

suffering of innocents which sadly we continue to inflict even in our so-called enlightened times. It is also, and perhaps more fundamentally, a gratitude for that generous love of which Cardinal John Henry Newman wrote: ‘And in the garden secretly, And on the cross on high, (Jesus) should teach His brethren, and inspire To suffer and to die.’ It is the saving power of the selfemptying love of Jesus which continues even to this day to teach us and to inspire us how best and most perfectly to live the life with which God has graced us. As we reflect on the many ways in which the generous love of God – expressed through the kindness and sacrifice of others – has led us to the today which we enjoy, we re-dedicate ourselves to making the Sign of the Cross with even greater devotion and sincerity because it is the sign of so great a love and generosity. • On 14 September, please remember in your prayers Thomas Varavunkal, a student of the Beda College who is being ordained as a priest in India.

Mgr John Devine OBE

is to think ‘I haven’t seen you at Mass’. And I need only think this way for the impression of condemnation to be given. Without speaking the words, judgement is conveyed. And isn’t it true that most Catholics are already on the back foot before they knock at the door (or press the send button)? They know their shortcomings and they steel themselves for the encounter. Their courage and generosity deserve a warmer reception. A lady once told me she had never met a parish priest who wasn’t cross. Her advice was always to go to the curate. Unfortunately, curates are a dying species. So, what’s the bottom line? Is it orthodoxy – believing and doing the right thing – or is it compassion? Is the priest an enforcer or an understanding fellow traveller, a ‘wounded healer’?

Weekly Reflections are on the Archdiocesan website at 14

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The ministry of reconciliation During the Second World War my mum and her family were bombed out of a large terraced house not too far from the city centre. They very soon found a smaller terraced house and settled into their new home. Their new neighbours were Catholic and went to the same church, a mother and a daughter. The daughter was a lovely, gentle, kind woman. She said very little but was always approachable and easy to get on with. She and my mum became life-long friends. Sadly, she was completely dominated by her mother who was her complete opposite. The mother was an aggressive, embittered person. She fell out with people regularly and never had a kind word to say about anyone. Maybe it had something to do with the early death of her husband or the cards that life had dealt her. Whatever it was, she was a very difficult person to deal with. It would have been easy for my mum to not bother with them once she had married and moved away. However, she never lost contact despite the mother’s best attempts to push her away. They came to our house at Christmas and New Year and for most family gatherings. As the years went on, the mother got older and older but no less acidic, alienating people even from her hospital bed. Eventually she died and at her funeral there were just four mourners – her daughter, my aunty, my mum and myself. I often wondered what it was that kept my mum going back for more. I did not understand then, but I hope I am more aware now. It was all about healing and reconciling. Richard Rohr says: ‘The spirit within us creates an unrelenting desire toward forgiveness and reconciliation. The entire Gospel reveals the unfolding mystery of forgiveness; it is the beginning, the middle, and the end of the Gospel’s transformative message.’ It is never easy to follow the path of reconciliation. For Jesus it led him to the cross and the same is true for us. To know we are reconciled in Christ and to become a reconciler in turn is a hard road to travel. We’re invited to get in touch with the truth that God’s heart has always been softened toward humanity and desires that we experience and share with others deep reconciliation That process challenges who we are and how we live. It demands that we drop the ways in which we blame and scapegoat others. It invites us to be forgiving and merciful. It invites us to be filled with compassion toward those who suffer and so allow Christ’s ministry of reconciliation to continue in the world. Fr Chris Thomas

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cathedral Luggage Label Days by Neil Sayer Archdiocesan Archivist Eighty years ago this month the cities and towns of Merseyside sent thousands of their children on train journeys into the unknown. At the start of the Second World War in September 1939, a government scheme had infants with their mothers and schoolchildren with their teachers massed at railway stations. Fleeing the perceived threat from German bombers, they were identified by luggage labels attached to coats and hurriedly-packed suitcases. Many of them from Liverpool, Bootle, Birkenhead and Widnes were transported to north Wales, and their difficulties with settling in have been written about extensively: the language, the religion, their accommodation, culture and class differences all made for an experience that was rather uncomfortable for many of them. Those evacuees who ended up in Herefordshire seem to have had more positive experiences, and this may be reflected in the happy faces in this photograph from summer 1942. Perhaps you will be able to identify parents or grandparents among the 44 children and the handful of teachers or adult helpers pictured with Father Francis Harvey. It isn’t clear how many of the children had been there since 1939, when St John’s parish in Kirkdale had provided the bulk of the evacuees to the Leominster area. That first evacuation

was seen as a failure, partly because the absence of German bombers over English skies during the ‘Phoney War’ period meant that many parents reclaimed their children and returned them to the parental home. After the May Blitz of 1941, another evacuation was ordered. By the time Father Harvey arrived in Leominster in autumn 1941 there were about 170 children and 12 teachers from a variety of parishes in Bootle and Liverpool. Father Harvey was naturally very concerned for the spiritual welfare of his charges, scattered as they were in small groups throughout the county. He ensured that they were supplied with prayer books, and made great efforts to get them to weekly Mass, hiring taxis or buses or driving them himself in his 1936 Standard 10. One of his superiors visited and wrote afterwards, ‘I wish there were thousands like him. I have met many in evacuation work, but only one Father Harvey’. It isn’t known precisely where in Herefordshire the photograph was taken, but local children known to be in the area were the Gordon and Swanson sisters from St Alexander’s, Bootle, four Hughes children from St Winefride’s, and Patricia Laverty and Joan Gannon from the Liverpool suburbs. The children were away from home so long that there were concerns ‘that the parents were losing the affection of their children’. As the threat of air raids diminished the children gradually started to return home, and by November 1943, when only 13 evacuated children remained around Leominster, Father Harvey was recalled to Liverpool.

Cathedral Record Canon Anthony O’Brien – Cathedral Dean Not only was August a record month for wet weather but the downpours when they came were from a variety of wind directions which sorely tested the Cathedral’s ability to keep the water out. Thankfully the situation is nowhere near as bad as it was a few years ago and recent leak repairs managed to remain watertight but instead a few new leaks appeared in least expected places so we begin the month of September with a new list of repairs to be dealt with before the onset of autumn and winter. With the start of September the choirs return and the regular schedule of weekly meetings and other activities restart after the summer break. It is good to have a few weeks of quiet simple liturgies and a quieter atmosphere within the inner working areas of the Cathedral but after a few weeks of peace it is good to welcome everyone back. We have our Annual Cathedral Community mass at 11.00 am on Sunday 15 September to mark the start of the new term. The touring Classical Choral singers ‘The Sixteen’ will be giving a concert in our Cathedral on Friday 20 September as part of their annual tour. This year the programme will include early English polyphony as well as pieces by Taverner and MacMillan. The Guild of Stephen will be holding their Annual National Mass at our Cathedral this year on Saturday 2t September. Archbishop ‘emeritus’ Patrick Kelly will be the main celebrant. This Mass is normally celebrated each year at Westminster Cathedral so it is hoped that with it being in the north this year that altar servers from parishes across the northern dioceses will take the opportunity to come and take part in this annual celebration.

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what’s on Sunday 1 September World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Led by Father Simon Cadwallader. 7.15 pm at St Edmund of Canterbury, 62 Oxford Road, Waterloo, L22 8QF.

Wednesday 4 September Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help ‘Undoer of Knots’ Led by Father John Bradley. 7.15 pm at St Edmund of Canterbury, 62 Oxford Road, Waterloo, L22 8QF.

Friday 13 September to Sunday 15 September Weekend Retreat for SOBS (Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide) At St Joseph’s Prayer Centre, Blundell Avenue, Freshfield, Formby, L37 1PH. Bookings: Tel: 01704 875850/ 07712 178670. Email: Website:

Friday 6 September Roman Catholic Mass Celebrated at 1.05 pm in the Parish Church of Our Lady and St Nicholas, Old Churchyard, Chapel Street, Liverpool, L2 8TZ. Sunday 8 September Education Sunday. Details: Liverpool Bach Collective Johann Sebastian Bach Cantata 110: ‘Unser Mund sei voll Lachens’. (‘May our Mouths be full of Laughter.’) 6.30 pm at St Saviour's Church (Oxton Parish Church), Bidston Road, Wirral, CH43 2JZ. Singers and Players directed by Philip Duffy. Email: Tuesday 10 September Time Out on Tuesdays 10.00 am to 4.00 pm at the Cenacle, Tithebarn Grove, Lance Lane, Liverpool L15 6TW. An opportunity for quiet time, away from the daily rush of life. Offering £10 per person (bring your own lunch). For further details contact: Sister Winifred. Tel: 0151 722 2271, Email: Wednesday 11 September Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help ‘Undoer of Knots’

Friday 13 September Roman Catholic Mass Celebrated at 1.05 pm in the Parish Church of Our Lady and St Nicholas, Old Churchyard, Chapel Street, Liverpool, L2 8TZ. ‘Manor Disco’ Aplace where people with various learning and physical needs and their carers can come together. 7.30 pm at Our Lady of Walsingham Club, Stand Park Avenue, Netherton, L30 3SA. Entrance: £1.50. Saturday 14 September Charity fundraising Tea Party for North West Air Ambulance 12.00 noon-4.00 pm at St Matthew’s Church, Townsend Avenue, Clubmoor, Liverpool, L13 9DL. Home-made cakes, hot and cold refreshments, Tombola, Raffle, hand-made goods and nearly new books for sale. Sunday 15 September Home Mission Day KSC Council 9 Annual Charity Walk 2.00 pm from The Royal Albert Dock gates (opposite The Hilton Hotel) along the waterfront, finishing at Liverpool Cricket Club, with refreshments. All welcome. The walk will raise funds for Zoe's Place, and for the Sisters of Mercy, who provide education and support for

underprivileged children in Mukuru, Kenya. Last year the walk raised over £9,000-00 for the Whitechapel Centre. Wednesday 18 September Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help ‘Undoer of Knots’ Led by Father Tim Buckley CSsR. 7.15 pm at St Edmund of Canterbury, 62 Oxford Road, Waterloo, L22 8QF. UCM bi-monthly Mass 7.30 pm at St Gregory’s, Liverpool Road, Lydiate, L31 2NA. Friday 20 September to Sunday 22 September ‘Imagining Reality’ A weekend exploring the role of the imagination in developing important Christian themes in English literature: our place in the world and the formation of our character. Presentations and readings will focus on a range of well-loved classic, as well as giving a particular insight into JRR Tolkien. To be held at at Theodore House, Stonyhurst, College, Clitheroe, BB7 9PT. Details: Bookings: Tel: 01254 827329. Friday 20 September Roman Catholic Mass Celebrated at 1.05 pm in the Parish Church of Our Lady and St Nicholas, Old Churchyard, Chapel Street, Liverpool, L2 8TZ. Harry Christopher’s The Sixteen Choral Pilgrimage 2019. ‘An Enduring Voice’ Concert.’ Works by Sheppard, Tavener, Whitacre, and MacMillan. 7.30 pm at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. Details and tickets: Tel: 0333 010 2850. Saturday 21 September ‘Faith, Climate and Food.’ A family friendly, multi faith gathering organised by the Faith and Climate

Website at 16

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september Network. Faith action and sharing for climate friendly food solutions. 12.00 noon at St Cuthbert’s church, 4 Langley Close, L12 0NB. Admission free, booking essential at (search ‘faith, Climate and Food’) or at Faiths4Change Tel: 0151 705 2111.

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:

Archconfraternity of St Stephen National Mass for Altar Servers 2.00 pm in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. Celebrant: The Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop Emeritus of Liverpool.

Bach Mass in B Minor Performed by ‘Exsultate’ choir, soloists and orchestra. 7.30 pm at St John’s Church, Standishgate, Wigan, as part of this year’s bicentenary celebrations with St Mary's. Tickets: £10.00 and £8.00.

Sunday 22 September Day of Prayer In thanksgiving for the harvest and fruits of human work.

Come and See Conference 2019 Saturday 12 October to Sunday 13 October

Wednesday 25 September Liverpool Romero Lecture ‘Prophetic Trajectories of Hope from San Salvador to Liverpool.’ A celebration of the ministries of Óscar Romero, Austin Smith, Kevin Kelly and Tom Cullinan by David McLoughlin, Newman University, Birmingham and chaired by Pat Jones. 6.30 pm in the 001 Theatre in the Cornerstone, Hope University (Everton Campus), Liverpool L3 8DR. Preceded by Memorial Mass in St Francis Xavier church, Salisbury Street, Liverpool L3 8DR, at 5.45 pm. Celebrant: Bishop John Rawsthorne Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help ‘Undoer of Knots’ Led by Father Sean O’Connor. 7.15 pm at St Edmund of Canterbury, 62 Oxford Road, Waterloo, L22 8QF. Friday 27 September Roman Catholic Mass Celebrated at 1.05 pm in the Parish Church of Our Lady and St Nicholas, Old Churchyard, Chapel Street, Liverpool, L2 8TZ. Saturday 28 September Quiet Day 10.30 am to 4.00 pm at the Cenacle,

Keynote Speaker: Peter McVerry SJ. Workshops led by Steve Atherton, John Bell, Amy Cameron, Maureen Roche, Louise Swanson, Jean Washbourne and Michael Winstanley SDB. Saturday evening with Anthony Gielty, author of ‘Out of the Darkness’. Music and Prayer led by Jo Boyce and friends with Steve Murray. Christ the King High school, Stamford Road, Southport, PR8 4EX. Suggested donation £40 (concessions available on request) Details and booking form: Tel: 0151 949 1199 or send a stamped addressed envelope to: Irenaeus, 32 Great Georges Road, Liverpol, L22 1 RD.

Looking ahead October 2019 Tuesday 1 October ‘Seeing Creation’ led by Donna Worthington Presentation, discussion, and liturgy, with reference to the Cosmic Christ, and Christ, the Tree of Life. 10.00 am - 3.30 pm at St Joseph’s Prayer Centre, Blundell Avenue, Freshfield, Formby, L37 1PH. £20 including lunch. Bookings: Tel: 01704 875850. Email: Website: Wednesday 2 October Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help ‘Undoer of Knots’ Led by Father Joe Kendall. 7.15 pm at St Edmund of Canterbury, 62 Oxford Road, Waterloo, L22 8QF. Come and find out how Family Groups can support the Ministry of Welcome in your parish Listen to people who have had experience in setting up and who are involved in leading Family Groups. Hear what the rewards and challenges have been. Find out how to get going. 7.30 pm at LACE, Croxteth Drive, Liverpool L17 1AA. Refreshments provided. Friday 4 October Roman Catholic Mass Celebrated at 1.05 pm in the Parish Church of Our Lady and St Nicholas, Old Churchyard, Chapel Street, Liverpool, L2 8TZ. First Friday Mass 7.30 pm at St Joseph’s Prayer Centre, Blundell Avenue, Freshfield, Formby, L37 1PH.

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Lourdes 2019 Archbishop Malcolm led the eighty-ninth annual Liverpool Archdiocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes at the end of July. Accompanied by Bishop Tom Williams and over 1,200 pilgrims. The theme of this year’s pilgrimage was ‘Blessed are the poor, for the Kingdom of God is theirs’ (Luke 6:20). Reflections on the pilgrimage can be found on page 13


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Some very happy faces

GCSE results

Mollie Neal celebrating 2 x grade 9s with Mrs Twist

St Cuthbert’s go from strength to strength St Cuthbert’s continue to go from strength to strength and this year’s results show the commitment of staff, students and families. Mrs Twist, Headteacher said: “When young people and their families work alongside school, great achievements can happen, and this has certainly been the case for many of our students at St Cuthbert’s. “Improvements have been made in the vast majority of subjects and new courses, introduced to enhance future opportunities are showing positive outcomes”. Highlights include for this year indlud Mollie Neal achieved 2 x grade 9s, 2 x grade 8s, 1 x grade 7, 1 x grade 6, 1 grade 5 and 2 x grade 4s. Going on to study A-level drama, history and English literature at Cronton Sixth Form College. Mollie said: “I couldn’t have done it without the amazing support from all at St Cuthbert’s”. Vladut Adam achieved 3 x grade 8s, 2 x grade 7s, 1 grade 6, 1 grade 5 and 1 grade 4. Going on to study A-level mathematics and physics at Cronton Sixth Form College. Harriett Arends achieved 2 x grade 8s, 1 x grade 7, 1 x grade 6, 2 x grade 5s and 2 x grade 4s. Going on to study A-level history,

English language and psychology at Cronton Sixth Form College. Daniel Wall achieved 1 x grade 8, 2 x grade 7s, 3 x grade 6s and 3 x grade 5s. Going on to study A-level geography, mathematics and physics at Cronton College.

Bellerive FCJ Catholic College celebrated some excellent GCSE results Bellerive FCJ Catholic College celebrated some excellent GCSE results. Amongst the many strong performances, well done to Mia who secured a grade 9 in 7 subjects including biology, chemistry and physics, while Megan and Jessica achieved grades 7- 9 in eight subjects. The top grades of 7-9 were also achieved by Irine and Emily in 7 of their GCSE subjects. Headteacher Niamh Howlett welcomed the results and said: “I am very proud of the achievements of all of our pupils and delighted that their hard work and has resulted in these excellent grades. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of high quality teaching, excellent pastoral support and good parental engagement. Our students have risen to the challenge of these exams, showing great resilience and we look forward to them continuing their Happy Bellerive students studies with us next year”.

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GCSE results

Some very happy students from The Academy of St Francis of Assisi

GCSE success for The Academy of St Francis of Assisi students Students and staff at The Academy of St Francis of Assisi (ASFA) are celebrating a fantastic set of GCSE. In recent years, the academy’s results have improved annually and progress for this Year 11 cohort is now in line with the national average. Poland-born Milena, whose second language is English, achieved Grade 8s and 9s across her subjects. Fellow student Candice secured Grade 7s 9s whilst head girl Holly also passed her subjects with Grade 6s – 8s. Many students will be going on to study A-level or vocational courses at All Saints Sixth Form College, a collaboration between ASFA and The Academy of St Nicholas, while others will be heading into alternative education, training and work options. Deputy headteacher Georgina Cousineau said: “A huge well done to our Year 11 students who have collected their GCSE results today. The whole community are so very proud of their achievements. “Our students told us today that they took pride in seeing how their commitment to their studies over the years has paid off and that they are excited to go on to the next chapter in their lives. “I would also like to extend my congratulations to the staff at ASFA for their dedication and commitment. They work tirelessly every day to ensure that every student is successful with the aim that they go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.”

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Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School & Nursery Hall Lane, Kensington, Liverpool L7 TQ

0151 709 1782 Headteacher - Mrs Roach Office Manager - Megan Hanford Website:

Our latest Ofsted Report 2019 stated: “There is no doubt that a culture of love, respect and equality for all threads through the fabric of your school”

Twitter: @Sacred_Heart_Li Facebook: Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School Liverpool


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A-level results

Outstanding success for Bellerive Bellerive FCJ Catholic College students celebrated outstanding successes in their A-level results, marking another year of excellent academic and personal achievements for students at the school. Notable successes include Eleanor Cassidy who achieved two A*s and an A grade in English literature, geography and government and politics and will go on to read geography at St Edmund’s Hall in Oxford. Eve Connor achieved an A* in mathematics and A grades in further mathematics and physics. Scarlett Lowther achieved three A grades in English literature, psychology and history and will go to read history at the University of Liverpool. A future career in journalism beckons for Anna Gorman-Cargill who achieved a place at the University of Liverpool to read communications and media with three A grades in English language, psychology and history. Alice Hill was also successful in securing two A grades and a B and is embarking on a gap year. Students have also taken up offers of apprenticeships and employment whilst some have opted for a gap year to allow them to review their options. Niamh Howlett, headteacher said, ” I am thrilled with the success of our students which is a reward for their hard work and a testament to the support and encouragement of their teachers and parents. “We set very high standards for our students and they have responded accordingly, achieving results which will allow them to

realise their ambitions and follow the careers and further educational pathways of their choice. “I wish them every success in the future. They take their leave of us and go out into a world instilled with the values of an FCJ education using their talents and gifts to make this a better world.”

Carmel College celebrate A-level results 2019 Congratulations were sent to the class of 2019 at Carmel College who received their A-level exam results. The atmosphere in college was fantastic as students celebrated their success with friends, parents and teachers. This year students achieved a very impressive Level 3 pass rate of 98.42% with 55.75% top grades (A*-B / Dist*-Dist) and 79.29% high grades (A*-C / Dist*-Merit). The college were extremely proud of all their students who have worked so hard during their two years and wished them well for the future.

Students celebrate with cake

Carmel College principal, Mike Hill, was delighted. He said: “We are really pleased with this year’s excellent results which follows our Outstanding Ofsted Grade awarded in the summer. It’s so good to see so many of our students gaining the grades they were targeted which will allow them to go on to their chosen destination. “Not only does this show how hard our students have worked, it also illustrates how our staff continue to be passionate about working with students both in passing on their knowledge and supporting them to achieve their best.” There are far too many students to mention individually so these are just a few examples of some exceptional achievements: Cameron Mumtaz-Wong - A*A*A*A – Cambridge University to study Chemical Engineering Olivia Cruickshanks – D*D*D - Chester University to study Midwifery Joe Ford – A*AA – Birmingham University - Physiotherapy Ruby Riley – AAA – Leeds University – Architectural Engineering Widnes students: Lauren Norton – A*BB – Nottingham University to study Veterinary Science Jasmine Lee – A*AA – Lancaster University to study Medicine Zara Cavan – AAB – Nottingham University to study Veterinary Medicine Raphael Ardani – AAA* - University College London to study Civil Engineering

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A-level results

St John Bosco Arts College celebrate success Students from St John Bosco Arts College received their A-levels results achieving an overall pass rate of 100% A*-E. Among those collecting their results was Erin Scullin who achieved A, A, B grades and will be going on to study philosophy, ethics and religious studies at Liverpool Hope University. Isabella Jones achieved A, B, B grades and will be studying English literature at Liverpool Hope University and Malgorzata Trzeciecka achieved A, A, C grades and will be studying mathematics at the University of York. In total, 15% of students achieved the very highest A*A grades, 41% of students achieved A*-B grades, 72% of students achieved A*-C, with 100% achieving A*-E grades. Many are now looking forward to going onto university, whilst others will be entering the world of work or embarking on an apprenticeship. Headteacher of St John Bosco Arts College, Darren

Gidman, said: “It has been another great year for A-level results. Through hard work, dedication and the right support from our teaching staff, our Year 13 students have

done brilliantly and they should be very proud of themselves. “On behalf of all the staff here, I’d like to wish the class of 2019 the very best in everything that they do.”

A fantastic year for All Saints Sixth Form College All Saints Sixth Form College students have set new standards by achieving the best Key Stage 5 results that the College has ever seen. The College, which is part of the All Saints Multi-Academy Trust, is celebrating the fact that more young people than ever before have achieved the top grades, meaning that a record number will be heading off to some of the country’s top universities and apprenticeships. Dave Lancaster, headteacher, said: “Against nearly every measure that we evaluate our Key Stage 5 against, our students have set new standards this year. “There was a significant increase in the number of A* - B grades at A-level and our students continue to perform well


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above the national average across vocational subjects.” These results are on the back of a fantastic year for the college, which was recently rated “Good” by Ofsted, who noted that “leaders of the sixth form have a clear vision for its development” and that “students in the sixth form benefit from strong teaching.” Mr Lancaster continued: “It really has been an incredible year for everyone at All Saints Sixth Form College. Not only have we received significant praise from Ofsted, but these results are the missing piece of the jigsaw and are testament to the hard work of staff and students.” Among the students celebrating was Owen Wilson who achieved an A* in

maths, and As in computer science and physics. Owen has worked exceptionally hard and is now going to the University of Manchester to study computer science and mathematics. Jessica Povey achieved an A in sociology and Distinction* in business. Jessica is delighted to be going to Liverpool John Moore's University to study business management. Chloe Shaw cried with tears of happiness as she achieved a Distinction in digital media and a Distinction* in business studies after facing difficulties overcoming exam anxiety. She is now looking forward to studying business at Edge Hill University and is confident about the future.

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GCSE results

St Mary’s College celebrates excellent GCSE results Students and staff at St Mary’s College in Crosby are celebrating another excellent set of GCSE results in the school’s centenary year. This year marks the third phase of the introduction of the new GCSE 9-1, highest-to-lowest grading system which now covers almost all subjects. In this summer’s exams at the school almost a third (30 per cent) of GCSE passes were at the highest 9-7/A*-A grades, and almost a quarter of candidates (23 per cent) achieved seven or more passes at these top levels. Almost two thirds of students (62 per cent) recorded ten or more GCSE passes, with many achieving 12 GCSEs, reflecting the broad and balanced curriculum at St Mary’s and the fact that the school does not restrict the number of GCSE subjects students can take. In terms of individual performances, Atsayan Sachchin from Waterloo was top of the class achieving 9-7/A*-A passes in all 12 of his GCSE subjects, including eight 9 grades, two 8s, an A* and an A. Atsayan said: “I was overjoyed with my results. It was a pleasant surprise when I opened the envelope and saw that I got top grades in all my 12 subjects. I believe my success is the result of hard work by myself and the work put in by my teachers, and I’m incredibly grateful to them.” Among the girls Laura Kearns from Maghull was the top performer with 13 GCSE passes, including five at the top 9

grade - including a 9 in Ancient Greek and four at grade 8. Laura said: “It was quite surreal to open my results and see I’d got such good grades - it just proves that hard work really does pay off. I’m looking forward to joining the Sixth Form at St Mary’s to study biology, chemistry, history and Ancient Greek.” A group of six students - Atsayan and Laura, along with Hope Brown, Amy Denn and siblings Abigail and Jesse Amara achieved an incredible 72 GCSE passes between then, 63 of which were at the highest possible 9-7/A*-A grades. St Mary’s College principal, Mike Kennedy, said: “I am very pleased with these results which are a testament both to the hard work of our pupils over the past five years, and the ongoing support they have received from staff and parents. “Achieving excellent results in these important examinations is a firm foundation on which young people can build future success at A-level, at university and in their chosen careers. “All our students and their families should be very proud of what they have achieved,” added Mr Kennedy. The new GCSE grading structure - in which a grade 9 pass is higher than the former A* grade - is being phased in over a number of years. This process began with English and maths in 2017, with a further 20 subjects being added last year and most others this summer.

Atsayan Sachchin

Laura Kearns

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A-level results

St Mary’s College students celebrate excellence

Walking the walk – some of the St Mary’s students who achieved three or more A*, A or B grades Students and staff at St Mary’s College in Crosby are celebrating another excellent set of A-level results in the school’s centenary year. Candidates recorded a 99 per cent pass rate in the key examinations this summer – up from 98 per cent in 2018 - with more than a third of students (34 per cent) achieving three or more A*, A or B grades. Further year-on-year improvement saw more than a quarter of all passes (27 per cent) being at A* or A grade (up from 26 per cent last year), and well over half (59 per cent) being at A*, A or B grade, up from 57 per cent last year and 52 per cent in 2017. Overall St Mary’s again recorded an excellent value-added performance, with many students exceeding their predicted grades, demonstrating once again the significant progress that pupils make at the school. Top of the class at the college this year was head boy, Adam Bennett from Aughton, who achieved an incredible four A* passes in chemistry, physics, maths and further maths. Adam is planning to study natural sciences at Durham University, where his older brother Sam - last year’s top A-level student at St Mary’s - is already studying physics. Meanwhile, head girl Helen Fraser from Blundellsands who achieved A grades in biology, chemistry and maths is heading to Birmingham University to study medicine. In a new initiative at St Mary’s this year, Adam and Helen actually stepped down from their head boy and head girl roles at easter in order to concentrate on their

upcoming exams, a very effective change judging by their excellent results! Other high achievers at the school this summer include George Brennan-Rich from Aintree with an A* in maths, A grades in further maths and physics and a B in chemistry. George plans to study engineering physics at Loughborough University. Meanwhile two other students are also aiming for a career in medicine. Hannah Briant from Crosby achieved A* grades in biology and maths and an A in chemistry and will study at the University of Liverpool. And Georgia Shirley from Southport - also a Team GB rower - will be studying medicine at Nottingham University on the back of three A grades in biology, maths and history and a B in chemistry. This year’s A-level exams have also been particularly notable for three students who have become St Mary’s own ‘baby boomers’.

Caroline Kennedy, Alice Gray and Georgia Ismay were the first youngsters to join the new ‘baby room’ at St Mary’s Bright Sparks Nursery when it opened in 2001, and so are the first students to complete their full 0-18 year educational journey at the school. St Mary’s College principal, Mike Kennedy, said: “I am delighted that we have such a pleasing set of A-results to announce as the school also celebrates its very significant 100-year milestone. “The results reflect all the hard work and commitment of our students and staff – and the support they have received from their families - throughout their time at the college. “All these young people have made a big contribution to life at St Mary’s in recent years, naturally we are sorry to see them go, but we wish them every success in the wide range of future education and career paths they have chosen.”

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GCSE results

Students achieve their ‘Personal Best’ at The Academy of St Nicholas There were lots of smiling faces at The Academy of St Nicholas in Garston as students celebrated some of the school’s strongest ever results. The number of students achieving a Grade 4 or above in English and maths rose by 25% and maths results on their own are the best the school has ever secured. While there have been successes across all subjects, there was also particular cause for celebration in PE, art and Spanish, where students made excellent progress and over 70% achieved Grade 4 or above. Students studying vocational subjects once again performed extremely well across the board in business studies, health and social care, hospitality and music. Dave Lancaster, headteacher, said: “There is certainly much for us to celebrate today, but results and data only tell us part of our story. In fact, what we are most proud of is the personal best that our students have shown, with so many exceeding their target grades.” Amongst the smiling faces was Slava Moslem who achieved a Grade 9 in Arabic, Grade 7s in maths, chemistry, physics and ICT along with Grade 6s in English, biology and art. Olivia Hughes gained a Grade 9 in art, Grade 8 in RE and English literature and Grade 6s in maths, science, history and English language. Asia Abdillahi was also celebrating after achieving a Grade 9 in English literature, a Grade 8 in RE, a Grade 6 in chemistry and Grade 5s in maths, physics and computer science. Elliot Spitteri gained a Grade 8 in RE, a Grade 7 in English, maths and computer science and a Grade 6 in chemistry and physics. Among those who performed significantly better than their target grades were: Lucy Melling, Jaime Brown, Shannon Hughes, Mia

Proud parents Edmond, Tai McManaman, Olivia Allen, Abbey Ford, Liam Green, Elizabeth Richardson, Taylor Mackenzie, Roberts Dementjevs, Megan Challoner, Jamie Davies, James Pierce and Liam Price. Mr Lancaster said: “We now have an exciting academic year ahead of us.” “The results are the culmination of a good year at St Nicholas. I am, as always, thankful to the staff, students and their families, we have all worked together with such determination and dedication. In addition to our recent successful Ofsted and improving exam results, we also have a growing Year 7 cohort as significantly more primary school children have applied to join us. “Our Sixth Form results this year were excellent and it is thriving. There is much to look forward to as we continue our journey to be the best we can be and become the school of choice for our community.”

Archbishop Beck show outstanding resilience Staff at Archbishop Beck Catholic College praised their students for outstanding resilience. Paul Dickinson, headteacher, said: “Our greatest success, as I see it, is in the programme of study we provide, where the talents, identity and personality of our students is given the fullest opportunity to develop. Our students and teachers have shown outstanding resilience and sheer determination in the ever

evolving world of education. “But in any good educational campus in the country what really matters are those things that cannot be graded and we remain a college that has at its heart the young people we educate. “Congratulations to all the students at Archbishop Beck Catholic College”. Below: Smiles all round

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GCSE results

St John Bosco Arts College Excellent GCSE Results There was plenty of happy faces at St John Bosco Arts College after students collected their GCSE results. Once again, Year 11 students achieved fantastic results, with many achieving the top grades of 9-7 in English, mathematics and science. The overall pass rate for English and mathematics combined was 59% at grades 9-4 (A*-C equivalent). There were many students who achieved outstanding results across a number of subjects. Of particular note was Milli Grier, who achieved 8 grades at 9-7, including 2 grade 9s in mathematics and science. Over 75 students will now progress into the college’s sixth form, whilst others will pursue alternative education and work options. Headteacher Darren Gidman, says: “St John Bosco Arts College was a hive of activity this morning as we welcomed back our Year 11 students. The results have been brilliant and we are all extremely proud of their achievements. “Everyone has worked incredibly hard this

Headteacher Darren Gidman with a happy student year, not just our students, but also the teaching and office staff who work tirelessly to make the college a positive,

Smiles from students of St John Bosco Arts College


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caring learning environment.” “I wish all of our students every success in the next chapter of their lives!”

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Pic extras

Mums the Word On Wednesday 31 July, the Blessed Sacrament Foundation hosted a Diocesan Study Evening based on Pope Francis’ document ‘Call to Holiness in Today’s World’.

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

Centenary celebrations continue with Harkirk Chapel Mass

Forty UCM members from across the diocese were present to discuss the question of how to achieve this. We were split into groups with different aspects under discussion – and many views were put forward on how to achieve holiness. Many of us feel that we fall a long way short of this ideal even if we believe we know others that we consider could be on their way. Moreover, while we are all called to be saints, how do we get there? More Mass attendance? More prayers? Doing our work to the best of our abilities? Putting family first? Giving more to charity? Much more discussion is required, perhaps in our own foundation meetings, but in the meantime, our thanks go to Kathy Buck, our vicepresident, and to Sheila Sperinck of St Richard's Foundation for a very interesting evening. • The UCM committee were invited to the Princes Road Synagogue in Toxteth to take part in a civic ceremony designated as a memorial service to the Muslim people massacred in Srebrenica in 1995. Maria Bruns, deputy president, and I attended the service conducted by Rabbi Ariel Abel and among the congregation were civic leaders and Louise Ellman MP and Canon Susan Jones, dean of the Anglican Cathedral. We met many of our Jewish friends who attended the UCM's annual Mass, including Alderman Eddie Clein and Ruby Endfield, the Jewish Youth president. How important it is that the different faiths in Liverpool maintain such valuable relationships. • Please note that the date for the September bi-monthly Mass at St Gregory the Great, Lydiate (L31 4HH) has been moved to 18 September from the 11th. They will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the UCM in their parish in 1959. God bless, Madelaine McDonald, media officer

It has been the practice of the Knights of St Columba in recent years to attend the Annual Memorial Mass at Harkirk Chapel in Little Crosby. This is a site of no little historical significance for Catholics: with those who refused to conform following the Reformation denied burial in their parish churchyards, the Blundell family of Crosby Hall provided land there for local Catholics as a burial ground. This year’s Mass took place on 14 July and it provided an occasion to not only remember the dead from penal times; coming during our centenary celebrations and with the visit of the Fraternal Cross, we also took the opportunity to elevate three brothers to full knighthood. For the outdoor Mass, celebrated outside the chapel, we were blessed to have Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, Emeritus Bishop John Rawsthorne and Fathers Dunston Harrington, John Cullen and Chris McCoy all with us to concelebrate the Mass. We wish to thank them all for finding the time in their busy

schedules to be with us and we also thank the Squire of Blundell for allowing us to use such an historic setting. Our photo shows Brothers Sean Morgan, Eric Parkin and Michael Turton (together on the left) following their elevation to full knighthood, along with the Mass celebrants and provincial grand knight Ray Pealing. The Mass was followed by a centenary buffet held at St William of York Parish Centre arranged by provincial action and youth officer Alf Swain, whom we wish to thank. Our thanks also go to provincial secretary Justin Malewesi who recorded a video of the Mass: • Council 12/13 has succeeded in raising over £200 for Headway, a charity providing support for people who suffer brain injuries. Websites: and Email:

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Archbishop Emeritus Charles Henry Dufour

A half-century’s service to Jamaica – with lessons learned at Upholland By Simon Hart ‘The farthest I’d been was Montego Bay,’ says Charles Henry Dufour, the Archbishop Emeritus of Kingston, Jamaica, as he remembers the shock of arriving in Britain in August 1966. ‘I went to my aunt’s house in London and said to her, “I’m freezing, turn on the heat”. And she said, “It’s summer!”.’ With a chuckle, he adds: ‘The first time I saw snow in my life I was so excited I ran out and ate it!’ The reminiscing of the Archbishop Emeritus – also the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Mandeville – comes during a summer reunion at Upholland where he spent three years as a seminarian in the 1960s, sent over with fellow students George Bardowell and Ken Mock Yen by Archbishop John McEleney. He reflects that he arrived with ‘preconceived notions’ yet, despite the cool weather, he found warmth and lasting friendships. ‘When I came to the College I found a family and I’ve maintained contact with that family until today. Many of the students whom I met – those that left, those that are priests – have come to visit me in Jamaica. The friendships have gone on over half a


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century.’ He remains grateful too for the support of lecturers such as Father Kevin Kelly – ‘If I needed help, I could go to the lecturers and sit down with them’ – and those lessons served him well following his ordination in August 1970 and later appointments as Bishop of Montego Bay and then Archbishop of Kingston. ‘Coming here consolidated all that I had in mind for priesthood,’ he says, adding: ‘Sometimes as a priest I felt like running fast like Usain Bolt away from the Church. But I realise I’m serving God not man, so I don’t let man interfere with my ministry.’ Though retired as Archbishop, he remains an authoritative voice on the Church’s challenges in Jamaica where, by his estimate, two per cent of the 2.8 million population are Catholics. ‘We’ve been working on training people to reach out to the 600,000 Jamaicans who have no religious affiliation,’ he says. ‘Some years ago I was in the States speaking to a group of Franciscans and I told them if they had an interest in working in Jamaica, the best vehicle to use to evangelise was a “foot-mobile” not an automobile. Later I went to a missionary

centre in Montego Bay and there was a young Franciscan there. He had got all the age groups attending Mass. He’d used his “foot-mobile”. The car can’t evangelise. Comfortable shoes, strong legs, and a strong determination – that’s what you need.’ That, and time. ‘In a rural area you have to walk to come to church and you get there and want to spend the day there. When Mass is finished, I’m available to talk to people individually. I’m in no hurry. If Mass is at ten o’clock, we finish at 12 and have something to eat and sometimes I leave at five. My motto is “Sent to serve”. I’m not doing a favour – I am here to serve.’ The Archbishop Emeritus has served God in this way for 49 years now and will turn 80 next year, when he celebrates his Golden Jubilee. He does not expect to return to Upholland again yet will take back to Jamaica the memories stirred by his attendance at the reunion organised by the St Joseph’s Society for former students. ‘I wanted to come here and trace my steps,’ he notes. ‘Today I was walking down the road alone, looking at the lake where I’d go boating. My memories just came back.’

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PIC Life Let’s work together for more vocations By Moira Billinge When I was a child my home offered a frequent opportunity for the four or five young priests from the nearby presbytery to escape, for a while, the watchful eye of the kindly, but strict, parish priest. The large number of priests to a parish was not unusual for those times and the oversized presbyteries, some of which still exist, are a reminder of how plentiful vocations to the priesthood – and indeed to the religious life – once were. The situation is now very different; junior seminaries are a thing of the past and today in Britain many seminarians have pursued a career prior to presenting themselves for training for the priesthood. A few have come with a family in tow, having been vicars before their conversion to Catholicism. As we know, vocations to the priesthood have greatly decreased and the long training of yesteryear has been considerably reduced. We are now in a

situation whereby a newly ordained priest, before the chrism of his ordination is even dry, may find himself dealing with greater responsibility than in the past when curates – guided by their parish priest, perhaps for many years – learned on the job and without all the pressures that they now face. Although our smaller Catholic community means that they minister to fewer people, most priests face a heavy workload of administrative and pastoral duties. Our priests continue to serve with dedication, generosity and a determination to do their utmost for the people in their care, while working under the cloud of the negative publicity that the Church has received in recent years. It is easy to forget that the scandals that have rocked the Church have hurt and shocked priests and people in equal measure. It takes great courage for a priest to continue his ministry in the aftermath of such pain. We have perhaps watched the dwindling numbers of priests and put it down as a

Greeting Cards from Carmel If you haven’t already visited Maryton Carmel in Allerton - do put it on your ‘to do’ list. There are beautiful greeting cards for all occasions, prayer cards and medals on sale in the shop, excellent quality and inexpensive. Contact the Sisters at Maryton Grange, Allerton Road, L18 3NU. Telephone the card office on 0151 724 7102 or Email the Sisters at


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sign of the times. We retain a hope that the situation will sort itself out eventually but, unless we become much more proactive, that’s not going to happen and the decline will persist. The Archdiocese of Liverpool works hard in trying to encourage and nurture vocations, but the responsibility to get involved in the effort belongs to the whole Church, and should be embraced by every individual. We have to continue to explore ways of harnessing the energy, talents and enthusiasm of the young which is not an easy challenge because we also have to compete with the relentless pull of addictive technology which dominates so much of life today. We need to pray much more, in every Mass, prayer group, home and school, not only for new vocations but also in support of our current priests, religious and seminarians. It is not an option but a sacred duty. We can all play our part – even children and the sick and housebound, whose prayers are extremely powerful. We could even have a vocations committee in every parish which would serve to keep a permanent focus on vocations in people’s consciousness and may even result in all sorts of new initiatives. If, because of a shortage of vocations, potential seminarians see only stressed, overworked and exhausted priests, then they are not going to find the Church an attractive proposition when it comes to making a lifetime’s commitment. A new dawn of vocations will not happen on its own: it depends on a renewed and concerted effort, in union with God, from all of us.

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Worth a visit - Stonyhurst College Stonyhurst College in Clitheroe is a centuries-old Catholic school renowned for its archive collections, writes Lucy Oliver. After the Jesuits had created colleges in Saint-Omer and then Bruges for boys unable to be educated in the Catholic faith in England, they eventually established Stonyhurst in late 1794. The college saw much growth subsequently: a seminary was added and an observatory and meteorological station were erected in the gardens. The school, now a Grade 1-listed building, retains its strong mission of education; it is home to carefully curated relics of Tudor martyrs, including priests who were captured and tried for treason for celebrating Mass during the Reformation. As well as offering powerful reminders of the persecution of Catholics in the 17th

century, there are other items recalling the struggles of more recent times: a small piece of the blood-soaked alb of Saint Oscar Romero, who was shot dead while celebrating Mass in San Salvador in March 1980, is also carefully preserved there. Canonised by

Pope Francis in 2018, Romero was an outspoken opponent of poverty and social injustice and today inspires the college’s students and visitors to find their own ways to create a more just, more peaceful world.

Keep up to date with all the news from around the Archdiocese at: You can now follow us on twitter at:


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justice & peace

Normandie Wragg Chief Executive Nugent

Strictly Nugent It is that time of year again, when the children begin to think about returning to school, and when we start to think about bringing our winter jumpers out of storage. This time of year is particularly exciting for Nugent. This year, our 4th annual Nugent Strictly event will be held at Anfield Stadium on November 2nd. This is a great event where individuals from our community courageously learn a dance that they didn’t know before and then come together to compete against one another to raise funds and awareness for Nugent. In years past we have had Parish Priests (thank you Father Conor!), school Chaplains, parishioners, Nugent Staff, and other greatly supportive members of our community take part. Last year, in line with our intentions from the Bishops Conference and the Caritas Social Action network, we raised funds to help those who are looking to access accommodation. When we want to purchase new goods for our own family home, we may go online or to the shop to browse what set of plates or a table-cloth may suit our liking. Choice, is a great privilege, and often one I sometimes reflect on. Traditional charity has provided goods and services to those in need of assistance, without much choice, providing what is available at the time. Current thinking is about turning this thinking on its head and facilitating the choice for the person in need. This creates an even greater sense of dignity. Of course, each individual circumstance is unique and one perspective or reflection could not possibly cover all of the wonderfully distinctive experiences of those wanting to help or those needing help. You can help Nugent to help others by donating to our Charity Shop at 73 Allerton Road (or even volunteering at our Charity Shop), volunteering at one of our many services, or even dancing in our Nugent Strictly in November. See our website for more details or call Marie Reynolds on 0151 261 2000 regarding volunteering opportunities. Thank you, as always, for your support of Nugent. Normandie Wragg Chief Executive Officer Nugent 38

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Why do I need religion? By Steve Atherton, Justice & Peace fieldworker When I meet people who say that they don’t need religion, it makes me wonder why I need religion so much. What does it do for me? Why is it such an important part of my identity? It gives me faith that the world is good. It puts me in touch with the bigger picture; in touch with previous generations; in touch with European culture; in touch with fellow Christians; it gives me access to a community so that I have a home wherever I go. Being a Christian challenges me to be like Jesus. It puts me into relationship with Jesus, making me a follower of a man who was driven by compassion and who allows me to see myself as a child of God. To be a child of God is a remarkable claim to make. It is at the same time both humbling and empowering in the light of the vastness of creation. Our Catholicism is based on knowing Jesus and the more I get to know Jesus, the more I realise that his teaching was about life itself rather than about religion. The notion that Jesus travelled around the Holy Land like a travelling Sunday school teacher doesn’t do justice to how dangerous he was. His quarrel/running battle with the scribes and pharisees wasn’t about how many tassels to wear, about liturgy, or even doctrine, but about whether people could have access to the things that made life possible, things that were essential to reduce suffering and to give dignity. My question about religion has become: what would Jesus be struggling for today?

Which translates into: what are the things today that reduce suffering and give dignity? Religion is part of the answer but not all of the answer. Much of the answer is found in access to goods and services: to housing, to healthcare, to education, to work, to food, to community … in short, to those things that are commonly called ‘human rights’. In response to our 21st century situation, where human activity is in danger of making the planet unfit for human habitation, we are called to become actively involved in protecting the environment. Pope Francis has recently said that Laudato si’ was not ‘a green encyclical’ but ‘a social encyclical based on the reality of the custody of creation’. He urged us to pay attention to the little everyday things that affect the future ‘because they are concrete actions’. Among these little ‘concrete actions’ are things as simple as avoiding single-use plastics, limiting car travel, not wasting food, etc. So I end up needing religion to teach me that religion is not the be-all and endall but a way to help me focus on being the best human being that I can be.



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Catholic Pic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land 2020 To take place on Thursday 8 October to Thursday 15 October Leader to be confirmed Cost: ÂŁ1295 sharing ÂŁ1545 single room Please call 0151 733 5492 for brochure and booking form





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