Farewell Fr Stephen
Congratulations Bishop Tom Williams on your Golden Anniversary of Priesthood this weekend!
The summer period is normally a time for clergy moves and it was announced last week that Fr Stephen Lee will be moving from the Cathedral where he has served as assistant priest and hospital chaplain to take on new responsibilities as a parish priest. He wrote “After seven years being part of the Cathedral community, the time has come for me to move on to pastures new. Therefore, at the beginning of September I will be moving to the Parish of Blessed Sacrament in Walton Vale and become Parish Priest. I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported me during my time here and I want to say that I have really enjoyed my time here. Over the last 3 years being Hospital Chaplain I have not been involved in the Cathedral as much as I previously did, but I have still tried to have some part in the life of the Cathedral. Please be assured of my continued prayers for you all, and I would like to ask you to pray for me as I prepare to begin the next stage of my own journey. God Bless.” Fr Stephen will be here until August so there will be plenty of time for us to say our goodbyes and wish him well for the future.
If you were alive and resident in Liverpool forty years ago you would have been preparing to greet Pope John Paul at one of the venues or somewhere along the route as he visited the city. As a young priest I was involved in the Mass at Speke airport where a few hundred thousand had gathered for Mass and prayer as we awaited the arrival of the Holy Father who spoke to the crowds and led us in prayer, and then journeyed round greeting the people before he travelled in to the city centre.
Along with the many VIP’s there were two representatives from each parish chosen by ballot who filled our Cathedral for the celebration of Mass on Pentecost Sunday. Afterwards Pope John Paul came out to the Cathedral Precinct to speak to a large crowd of young people and then he headed off along Hope Street to be welcomed at Liverpool Cathedral. The whole Hope Street area was packed with people and even the few protesters led by Rev Ian Paisley received a Papal blessing and greeting.
After a hearty English breakfast the next day the Pope travelled on to Manchester where he celebrated Mass in Heaton Park during which he ordained 12 men to the priesthood – one of whom was Bishop Tom Neylon. Many of us have fond and lasting memories of the Papal Visit it was a wonderfully uplifting time for the church in this country and it did much to strengthen ecumenical and civic relationships.
One of the lasting traditions that was a direct result of the Papal Visit forty years ago was the joint afternoon service and procession on Pentecost Sunday. This year it has a real Jubilee feel as we celebrate 40 years and the Queens Jubilee.
Next week the Pentecost Service begins at 3pm with a gathering on the Cathedral Piazza for a short time of prayer led by the church leaders followed by a walk down to Liverpool Cathedral for a further celebration followed by a festive Jubilee Party in the Cathedral. Come along and join the celebration which caters for all ages.
Canon Anthony O’Brien