Important Message: Holy Week and the Triduum

Father Edmund

13 Mar 2022

This Sunday you will be invited to take a leaflet showing the times of Masses and Services during Holy Week and the Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.

This past week, Fr Humphrey was ill. He took ill on Ash Wednesday and returning to work from this Saturday, God willing. Fr Humphrey’s illness gave us an opportunity to see how the present schedule, introduced in September, would bear being carried by one priest. Only the weekend Masses needed cover, and I am grateful to Fr Paul Shaw, our Dean, and Fr Neil Robb for stepping in. Without this support from local clergy, Sunday Masses, offered in different churches but at the same time, would have to be cancelled, if only one priest was available. Sunday Mass times are a point to which we must return in the months ahead, as our Sunday schedule requires two priests every Sunday, without fail.

This Sunday you will be invited to take a leaflet showing the times of Masses and Services during Holy Week and the Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. You will see that whilst Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday are unaffected, there is only one Holy Thursday, one Good Friday, and one Easter Vigil for the whole of Ellesmere Port and Hooton, and all these at Our Lady Star of the Sea. I wanted to share with you a few of the reasons that has led me to this decision:

First, the bishop has asked us to work, pray, and come together increasingly as one parish community and thank you all the many ways that you have embraced this in the time I have been parish priest. Holy Week is a good time for us to deepen and strengthen this communion and community.

Secondly, Our Lady Star of the Sea is the largest church of the three in the parish and has the benefit of the largest car park of the three churches: it can comfortably fit the sizes of congregations from across all three churches, without logistical or liturgical complications or headaches.

Thirdly, I had considered offering two Holy Week schedules: one at Our Lady Star of the Sea and one across St Saviour and St Mary of the Angels, but our recent experience of priest-absence due to illness demonstrated that we need to prepare our parish community to be self-sufficient. Should Fr Humphrey or I become ill during Holy Week, or another parish in the Deanery require supply, as we did so recently,
and there were two Holy Week liturgies, we would be in an unnecessarily complex and difficult situation.

I understand the sadness there may be at St Saviour and St Mary of the Angels. I thank those communities, in advance, for their understanding, forbearance, and charity. We can look to the example given by all those who built up St Bernard’s parish, asked so recently to join with Our Lady Star of the Sea for Sunday Masses, the grace of beginning to see our community more broadly than any one of our churches. I hope that you will understand all these different and competing logistical, liturgical, and pastoral pressures, and know that in all of this, I am trying and working hard to do my very best for you, as we manage the change and transitions that working together invites.

Please pray for me, and for our whole parish community.


Holy Week and Easter Mass Times

Wednesday of Holy Week - 13 April
St Michael and All Angels, Woodchurch
The Chrism Mass - 7pm

Holy Thursday - 14 April
Our Lady Star of the Sea
Mass of the Lord's Supper followed by Watching at the Altar Repose - 7pm

Good Friday - 15 April
Our Lady Star of the Sea
Childrens Stations of the Cross - 10am
Our Lady Star of the Sea
Solemn Liturgy of the Lord's Passion - 3pm

Holy Saturday - 16 April
Our Lady Star of the Sea
The Easter Vigil - 8:30pm

Easter Sunday - 17 April
St Mary of the Angels - 9am
Our Lady Star of the Sea - 9am
St Saviour - 11am
Our Lady Star of the Sea - 11am