News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool
by Father Denis Blackledge SJ
I was privileged to be Religious Adviser to the BBC1 six-episode series of ‘Broken, screened last year, written by Jimmy McGovern, and starring Sean Bean as Father Michael Kerrigan. The series was produced over 14 weeks in late 2016 in Liverpool. When we were filming the very final scene of the series I was chatting to Jimmy off camera, and he said: ‘Denis, it's all about the Eucharist’.
So, when Eleanor Lalley came along in the early days of preparing the Parallel Programme for the National Eucharistic Congress and asked St Francis Xavier [SFX] church to take an active role in it, the obvious suggestion I made was to ask Jimmy McGovern if he would kindly come along on the Friday and Saturday of the Congress, and be available for a Q and A session each day, after showing an episode of ‘Broken’.
Jimmy readily agreed, and so SFX had two days of celebrations, centred on the Eucharist in the Sodality Chapel in the late morning, with a quiet Holy Hour, followed by Mass at midday, for which about 100 people turned up each day. After lunch at 1.30 pm on Friday we showed Episode One of ‘Broken’, and Episode Five on Saturday. Audiences were 175 and 150 respectively and the Q and A sessions lasted about 45 minutes each day.
The whole event was deeply touching, and many positive comments came from folk from as far away as the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Man. What Jimmy provided was a positive outlook on the modern-day Catholic parish priest, ministering in a tough urban parish situation. We priests and people owe him a deep debt of gratitude.
As parish priest of the parish where most of the Eucharist was filmed for the ‘Broken’ series, I felt doubly-delighted and privileged to be a living part of the National Congress, as ‘Broken’ has touched hearts and minds of folk not just nationally, but internationally.