FrMichael  parish

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Fr Tim

The Holy Years of Mercy and Our Lady of Perpetual SuccourIn the next edition of BE Alive I will outline a plan to unite these two celebrations so that we may all benefit from the graces which are being offered. Also, I hope that this will provide us with an opportunity to renew and develop our Novena Devotions on a Wednesday evening. On this subject I will welcome suggestions as to how this might be done.

‘Thank you’ for all the good wishes to Fr Barrie on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee of Ordination and for all that is going on in the parish. I called into the new ‘Women’s Group’ last Monday evening and I was bowled over by the wonderful atmosphere. I am grateful for another successful ‘Parish Helpers’ Evening’ and for all those who helped to make our Mass for the Servers such a blessed occasion.


FR BARRIE O’TOOLE’S GOLDEN JUBILEE OF PRIESTHOOD. I am sure that you all join me in congratulating Fr Barrie on reaching his remarkable milestone this weekend. I know how much his compassionate and gentle ministry and his self-deprecating sense of humour are appreciated. Bearing in mind the considerable health problems he has had to cope with during the past couple of years, his contribution to the life of our two parishes has been nothing short of outstanding. Thank you Fr Barrie and may you continue to minister among us for many more years to come.


May I begin, on behalf of the Redemptorist family, by again wishing you and your families


Christmas was simply wonderful. I would estimate that over 1600 people came to the Christmas Masses at Bishop Eton, which means that with St Mary’s we celebrated the Feast with congregations numbering around 3,000. But it wasn’t just the numbers: the spirit at all the Masses was one of good will and friendship. I believe we enter the New Year ready to continue the work of building our two parishes into more and more vibrant communities. The Holy Year of Mercy and the celebrations around the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour will provide us with special focuses for our prayer and ministry.

I also want to thank you for all the encouragement you continue to give me and my Redemptorist confrères and for your generosity over Christmas, including gifts and an extraordinary collection of close over £5,000.

Please remember to put in your diaries our Parish Evening on Friday 15 January from 7.00pm, when we want to express our gratitude to all of you who give so much of your time and talents in the service of the parish.


I don’t know about you, but when we get into the weekend after Christmas I begin to lose it and forget what day of the week it is. This year, with Boxing Day falling on a Saturday, the problem seems to be accentuated because the same evening we are already celebrating the Vigil Mass of the following Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Family. I would suggest that the only time the arrangements become even more complicated is when Christmas Day falls on a Saturday, but breathe a sigh of relief because next year is a leap year, so Christmas Day will be on the Sunday, which makes life a lot simpler.

In the build-up to Christmas this year I was musing on how blessed we are to be men and women of faith. Christmas captivates our minds and hearts and the story is easily grasped by the children who love to relive it for us. Our lives are enriched by the beauty of the Christmas music: I have always loved the carols and many wonderful new ones have been added to the traditional ones we know by heart. But there is a Christmas song which always stops me in my tracks. The music and the words are powerful, but have you noted the final verse?

It’s all a dream, an illusion now

It must come true, sometime soon somehow

All across the land, dawns a brand new morn

This comes to pass when a child is born.

The challenge for you and me is to remind the world that the dream has come true and it is for us and our children to prove it. Thank you again for all the hard work that has gone into making this Christmas another wonderful experience in our two parishes. Thank you for all that you do throughout the year to bring the dream alive.



With Fr Andrew, Fr Barrie and all the members of the Redemptorist Community, I wish you and your families the peace and joy of the Christmas season. Every year we have so much to be thankful for, while at the same time we realise that as Christians there remains so much to be done to ensure that others can come to know the wonder of Christ in their lives. To see in the child of Bethlehem the presence of God requires great humility; to grasp the mystery that the Spirit of God – who made it possible for Mary to conceive that child – continues to make Christ present on our altars and therefore in all of us who are in communion with him, also requires great humility. As we celebrate Christ’s Mass this year, may our children remind us that Jesus requires us all to be like little children and only then can we begin to understand what it is he is offering us.

Our Awakening Day in October unleashed an enormous amount of energy and good will and reminded me of just how blessed I am to be ministering in our two parishes at this time. Once again I want to thank in a special way all the volunteers who devote so much time to ensuring that everything runs smoothly and invite you to our parish volunteers’ ‘Get-Together’ on Friday 15 January in the Fisher-More Hall.

I believe that with the Year of Mercy and the 150th Anniversary of the Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour being entrusted to the Redemptorists coinciding next year, we will have opportunities to build on the foundations of the awakening experience and grow together into even more vibrant and missionary communities. Watch this space!

A very happy Christmas to you all… Tim Buckley, C.Ss.R .

yearofmercyHOLY YEAR OF MERCY.

My thanks to all of you who were able to celebrate Mass last Tuesday to launch the Holy Year. I sense that it is going to be a time of great grace. The world needs reconciliation; we need reconciliation. In the New Year I will share some more thoughts with you about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but for now, please remember that priests will be available at the usual times and after all the weekday Masses until Christmas, and the Reconciliation Services are at 7.30pm this Monday (14 December) in Bishop Eton and this Tuesday (15 December) in St Mary’s. They will be conducted in the way that is becoming our tradition.

Tuesday is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and it marks the beginning of the Holy Year of Mercy, called for by Pope Francis.

We will seek ways of celebrating God’s mercy throughout the coming year. If it is possible, please come to Mass on Tuesday and pray for one another and the wider world. We all desperately need to hear and heed the message. We will have an extra Mass at  St Mary’s, Woolton, on Tuesday evening at 7.30pm, which means that between the two parishes there will be four opportunities to celebrate Mass on the day.

Advent: The preparations for Christmas continue apace, especially in our schools. Please remember the Sacrament of Reconciliation will normally be available after the weekday Masses and Reconciliation Services will take place next week: Monday 14  at Bishop Eton and Tuesday 15 at St Mary’s (both at 7.30pm). For further Advent preparations and details of Carol Services, see notices below.

ADVENT: I do hope the Advent Season will provide us all with the time and space to prepare well for Christmas. There will be the usual round of Nativity Plays and Carol Services, which I always thoroughly enjoy. There will also be  opportunities for us to reflect on our lives. As far as possible we will have priests available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation after the weekday Masses throughout Advent and of course there will be a Reconciliation Service on  Monday 14 December at 7.30pm.

Parish Awakening: A full report is available for everyone this weekend. I thank all those who have put so much work into preparing this impressive document.


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