News from around the Archdiocee of Liverpool
A major focus for the Diocese this year is Eucharistic Adoration as we prepare to welcome representatives from parishes across England and Wales to the National Eucharistic Congress in September.
There will be special holy hours within all deaneries throughout Lent and beyond led by Archbishop Malcolm. Here at the Cathedral we have a period of silent exposition of the Blessed Sacrament every Friday afternoon from 4.00-5.00 pm concluding with a short benediction leading into Mass and then Choral evening prayer. For those who may be working or shopping in Liverpool city centre it provides a wonderful opportunity for quiet prayer and reflection at the end of the working week. If you are visiting the city centre you would be most welcome to pay a visit to the Cathedral and join us during this time of prayer.
The Annual Civic Mass takes place on Sunday 11 February, Archbishop Malcolm will preside and welcome Mayors and Civic Leaders from across the North West as we come together to pray for our local region and communities. We mark the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday,14 February, with the Blessing and distribution of Ashes. Our Mass times are as normal with an extra service of the word and reception of ashes at 7.30 pm.
On the First Sunday of Lent at 3.00 pm all those who have been preparing for reception into full communion with the Catholic Church, will gather in the Cathedral with sponsors and family to be welcomed and enrolled as part of their final journey to receive the sacraments of Initiation at Easter.
Flags of our Fathers
by Neil Sayer, Archdiocesan Archivist
The archives have turned up another contender in the popular priest stakes. This month’s entry is Father Thomas Bede McEvoy, whose parishioners took the time to decorate whole tenement blocks and streets in post-war Liverpool in his honour.
We’ve discovered a photograph album recording the festivities that took place to celebrate Father McEvoy’s Jubilee as a priest at St Augustine’s on Great Howard Street just north of the city centre. Described in the early 20th Century as ‘one of the most Irish parishes in Liverpool’, St Augustine’s was served for most of its existence by priests of the Benedictine order. Father McEvoy was ordained into that order in France in 1899, and having returned to his native city in 1909 to serve at St Augustine’s, in 1949 he celebrated his Golden Jubilee, in the same year that his church was celebrating its centenary.
He must have known what to expect. Even for his Silver Jubilee in 1924, his flock had pulled out all the stops despite his best efforts to play down the anniversary. When he’d returned from a quiet retreat it was to discover the streets bedecked with bunting and a motorised cavalcade at his disposal to tour his parish.
So in 1949 the locals weren’t about to allow continued rationing and post-war austerity to interfere with their efforts to honour their long-serving parish priest. The album of black and white photographs which was presumably presented to Father McEvoy and now survives among the Archdiocesan Archives shows how the streets in the area had been festooned with fairy lights and flags. The Union Jack, the Irish tricolour, even some Stars and Stripes that may have been recycled from VE Day hung from windows and street wires, and proud householders had decorated their front doors with tributes to their modest spiritual guide. Even the streetlights and drinking fountains were lovingly garlanded.
Father McEvoy remained at St Augustine’s until his death in 1958 at the age of 86. By then slum clearances and population resettlement had already begun to denude his parish. The photographs in his album, superb in their black and white clarity, provide us with an incidental but valuable record of the buildings and community that have long since vanished.