SUNDAY 29 JANUARY 2023
It is a great joy to welcome Bishop Mark to the parish as he begins his formal Visitation. This weekend he will offer the Masses at St Saviour and St Mary of the Angels, returning next weekend to offer the Masses at Our Lady Star of the Sea. Last Monday, Bishop Mark visited St Saviour and St Mary of the Angels Catholic Primary Schools, gave an assembly, met informally with the staff, met the RE lead and the Headteachers, and to encourage the schools in all they do for our children. This Friday, Bishop Mark will visit St Bernard and Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary Schools to complete his Visitation to the parish. Welcome, Bishop Mark!
As February approaches, dedicated to the Holy Family, let’s ask their prayers for our parish family. God bless us all in the week ahead.
Energy Costs: December 2022
As you know from your own utility bills, the cost of energy has increased at a phenomenal rate. I have been grateful for parishioners who have so generously responded to my appeal for any one-off donations that people felt able to make.
PRAYER | LITURGY | SACRAMENTS
Baby Isaac, Joanne, Michael, Sophie, Elliott, David, Nicola Gormley, Bernie Garner, Karen Seymour, Mavis O’Donnell, Baby Alana, Chris Laycock, Honora Ellis. Please also pray for Richard O’Connor, Paul Callaghan, Sheila Farley, Linda Carus, Paula Bennett, Elizabeth Donnelly, Stephen McNay, Evonne Ryan, David Francis Deponeo, Vera Joyce and all who have died recently.
World Day of Prayer
The World Day of Prayer is a global ecumenical movement, originally for women but now open to all. The World Day of Prayer this year will be on Friday 3 March and the service has been prepared by the women of Taiwan on the theme 'I have heard about your faith'. There will be no service in Ellesmere Port, but one will be held at Little Sutton Methodist Church, Chester Road, Little Sutton, CH66 1NL at 2pm. Everyone is welcome. If there is anyone who would be prepared to be a reader at the service, would they please contact Catherine Jones via the Parish Office.
Apologies: Cancellation of the Ecumenical Service at St Thomas and All Saints
Apologies from Canon Gordon McGuiness of St Thomas and All Saints that the planned Ecumenical Service last Monday evening was not able to take place due to a diary clash in the use of the church and site. Thank you for those who made the journey, only to find the service could not go ahead. Canon Gordon has said he would like to reschedule, and I will keep you updated with those details.
Meanwhile, thank you to those who were able to come for the special Mass for Christian Unity at St Saviour last Wednesday evening, and to Reverend Antony Dutton for speaking to us.
Rosary before Mass
You are warmly invited to join the praying of the Rosary before the Monday 9.30am Mass at St Mary of the Angels. The prayers begin at 9am and lead into the celebration of the Mass which follows. All welcome.
Advance Notice: First Holy Communion for Children at Non-Catholic Schools
The programme for First Holy Communion for children at non-Catholic schools will take place during the month of May and the early part of June.
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
The annual week of prayer for Christian Unity takes place from Wednesday 18 January until Wednesday 25 January. As part of this, at the kind invitation of Revd. Antony Dutton, Vicar of St John the Evangelist, Great Sutton, I will be preaching at St John’s Sunday eucharist at 10am today. I am grateful to Father Seán Riley of the diocese of Liverpool for offering the 9am and 11am Masses at Our Lady Star of the Sea.
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
This Thursday evening, we celebrate the beautiful feast for the day that the Lord was taken by our Lady and St Joseph to the Temple in Jerusalem. It is a wonderful Mass and begins with the blessing of candles and a candlelit procession. Please come to experience this feast in a way you might not have before – with music and candlelight.
You might notice that at Our Lady Star of the Sea, the Crib has not been taken down, though the Christmas season has ended. Traditionally, Cribs were, and still may, be left in place until the 2 February and the Presentation of the Lord.
The 2 February is also a day we are asked particularly to pray for those who have a religious vocation: monks, nuns, consecrated people, and we can pray in particular for those members of Servitium Christi in our parish, especially Sheilagh Sworm as she prepares for her final profession of vows on Saturday 13 May 2023.
Mass with the Anointing of the Sick
Every year, the Church marks the feast of our Lady of Lourdes 11 February as World Day of Prayer for the Sick. I am grateful to Father Humphrey for consulting those who visit the housebound and the sick, the SVP, our extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, and would like to invite the whole parish – but particularly our sick and housebound parishioners – to a special Mass during which those in need can receive the Sacrament of Anointing.
The Mass will be celebrated on Saturday 11 February at St Saviour at 11am. Transport can be provided for those who are in need of it, and some refreshments will follow this Mass, too. Please do put this date in your diaries: and if any of our parishioners who are reading this wish to come and would appreciate a lift, please contact the Parish Office directly: 0151 355 5877 and we make every effort to assist you.
CHILDREN | YOUTH | FAMILY
OFSTED Report: Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School
Congratulations to our headteacher, Mrs Finlay, our Chair of Governors, Mrs Reilly, and all the staff of Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School for receiving a ‘Good’ classification on the recent OFSTED inspection. The school have done incredibly well and the staff can be proud of gaining this important grade of the school’s achievements and working practices.
Children’s Choir at Our Lady Star of the Sea 11am Mass
I was able to meet with Mr Arathoon and Miss Gallagher from Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School and Judith Ferrante and am very happy to say we are launching a Children’s Choir, at this ‘pilot’ stage simply via the excellent school choir at Our Lady Star of the Sea Primary School. It is hoped, as the project develops, we might involve all children who would like to sing!
Around ten children have already registered an interest, and so we decided to invite this choir to sing ‘seasonally’ to begin with: Lent, Easter, Advent, Christmas and to see how it develops. The children will be invited to sing a piece at the Offertory and following Holy Communion. The first 11am Mass at which the children will sing will be Sunday 19 March, the fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday – which is also Mother’s Day!
Parish of Ellesmere Port and Hooton Junior Youth Club
The Parish Youth Club meet in St Mary’s Stanley Hall on Wednesday evenings from 6.45pm to 8pm, all children in Year 3 and above are welcome.
CHARITY | OUTREACH | GIVING
Tree of Trees and Community Allotment
Last Tuesday at the George Street Bowling Green on the Westminster estate, the Lord Lieutenant, Lady Redmond, planted a tree gifted to the borough by The King in memory of his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II. This tree was one of three hundred that formed the ‘Tree of trees’ that stood outside Buckingham Palace as part of the festival marking the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth.
The Social Supermarket for our town is now up and running and my thanks to all the volunteers from our parish who have participated in the training and are involved with the provision of food to those with real constraints on their family budgets in this time of rising energy, heating, and food prices. To learn more about this wonderful project and the scheme itself, you can visit: https://www.breadandbutterthing.org If you would be interesting in being involved, please contact the Parish Office and leave your details so that we can put parishioners and the organising team together.
Update: Weekend Hot Food Provision at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish Centre
Sir Charles Nicholson, chair of the Companions of the Order of Malta, confirmed with me this past week that they are committed to purchasing all the equipment we need for the provision of hot meals. This is a wonderful investment in our community and parish by this fantastic charity and means that, depending on delivery of the equipment, we can aim for a start date of end of February, beginning of March.
Retired Priests’ Fund Collection
Over the Sunday Masses of 11/12 February, the diocese invites us to have a special collection in support of all our sick and retired priests. With your help, we can build up the Fund to help meet the future needs of our sick and retired priests. If you can Gift Aid your donation, please make your donation Online. To donate Online please go to www.dioceseofshrewsbury.org/retired-priests-fund An electronic version of a leaflet about the Fund is available at www.dioceseofshrewsbury.org/retired-priests-fund and this also explains how you can donate to the Fund by Standing Order or Cheque (please make payable to Retired Priests’ Fund) and how to Gift Aid donations made using these methods.
Read the Leaflet
Update: Weekend Hot Food Provision at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish Centre
Given the number of trades unions striking across the public sector, including teachers’ unions striking this coming week, amongst others, I thought it would be helpful to share with you that the Catholic Church affirms the rights of workers to unionise and supports the fundamental right of workers to take collective action, when seen as necessary, to safeguard their dignity, fair pay, conditions, and to stand in solidarity with other workers who may be under difficult or unreasonable conditions in their workplace.
As Pope St John Paul II wrote in Laborem Exercens back in 1981, ‘One of the methods used by unions is the strike, or work stoppage – a means that is recognized by Catholic social teaching as legitimate under the proper conditions and within proper limits. Workers should be assured of the right to strike without fear of penalty.’
The Church has a rich tradition of social teaching, and many resources, information, and documents are on the CAFOD website:
PARISH | DIOCESE | NOTICES
Railings and Rewards
The railings around Our Lady Star of the Sea Church are very badly tarnished, cracked, rusty, and look unsightly. I have purchased some wire brushes and would like to strip, weather-proof, and then repaint these iron railings. I wonder: would a small team of parishioners be willing to join me and Father Humphrey in tidying these railings up? A reward of Domino’s pizza and soft drinks in Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish Centre would follow a good day’s work: this will likely be on a Saturday in early March. More to come!
Hot Breakfast Rolls after 9am Mass at St Mary of the Angels
To see all the news, celebrations, and events at St Mary of the Angels Catholic Primary School, please check out their weekly school newsletter via their website:
Our Lady Star of the Sea Reader Rotas
The new rotas are in the pigeonholes at the back of church.