News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool
LIVERPOOL CATHEDRAL CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
- A LOOK BACK AT OUR COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE
By Father Simon Gore
I am not sure about anyone else, but the letters BOC now strike a fear in my heart: Because Of Covid.
Please don’t worry that this is going to be a long Covid write-up – I really, at this stage, do not want to dwell on the last few years – but as we might have expected, the lingering effects of various lockdowns have had an effect on all aspects of life, and none more so than in our own churches.
I am sure that many of you reading this will have noticed a difference in your parish life – whether that is people no longer going to Mass as they did a few years ago having fallen out of the habit, or things no longer happening that did happen three years ago.
There is no doubt that BOC has affected life in youth ministry in the diocese. I am pleased to say, though, that the number of schools and parishes we have worked with has not been too affected. In fact, 2021/22 was, in many ways, a ‘normal’ year with lots of retreats and mission days. And our first whole school mission since November 2019!
I think the main issue we have had to deal with has been a smaller team at Animate Youth Ministries. For this past year we had only four of us in the team. To give you an idea, it was not unusual to have eight or nine in some previous years.
As you might imagine, this has created a certain difficulty in working as we would. But from the ashes of problems can rise the phoenix of creativity. And so we set to work thinking of different ways of working. It can be amazing how when forced by circumstances, you find new ways.
And so, even with only a very small team I do not feel that we have had any less interaction with young people through these last 12 months. For that I can only thank the people that have been part of the team here at Lowe House.
For the eagled-eyed among you, you will have noticed that at this time of year I always mention ‘community’. And I think that is appropriate this year more than ever.
Without the element of community that we have, it is difficult to imagine how we might have committed to our various activities and events during this past academic year. Community means, at least to me, that you share the life of the others around you. This may be hard at times. There is no guarantee you will like those you share a community with: we only need to look at scripture to see that. But a community will see past those differences to what binds us together. And from there you can share the joys and sorrows, fears and anxieties, of each other.
It can be one of the most challenging things for a new team member: to recognise inherent differences in personality but then recognise that at the end of the day (literally) you can gather together to find God in that same day.
I type this on my way to Lourdes for the annual diocesan pilgrimage. It will be the first time we have been there as a diocese for three years. It will be a nice way to end our time together as a team. I am sure that without the intercession of the Blessed Virgin and the grace of the Lord we would have had a more difficult year.
Thank you for your prayers this year and please keep us in your prayers for next year! We will pray for all the followers of the Pic at the grotto.
The sense of community that keeps us going
From the ashes of problems can rise the phoenix of creativity