Letters from Fr John

17 September

Dear Parishioners of Our Lady’s, St Anne’s and St Jerome’s.

I would like to begin this letter with a sincere ‘thank you’. In the midst of the most difficult situation any of us can remember, a pandemic which has uprooted so much that is dear to us, especially our freedom to mix freely with each other and to worship as part of a large, faithful congregation. Thank you to each one of you, the members of our Catholic community here in Formby, for your patience and understanding, especially in the way you have responded to the limiting and frustrating restrictions on our acts of worship; whether enduring the continued closure of your church, the very different atmosphere in our churches, or the distressing experience of being told that the church is full.

Thank you especially to all those who have given their time to steward, to ensure that our churches are cared for, and those who have worked to improve our communication outreach to the parishes. Thank you to those who are working quietly in the background to serve, encourage, care for and reach out to those who most need it. I have witnessed much of this in these past weeks and I am deeply grateful for your example.

We know that we are not out of the woods yet. Further restrictions have been placed on us. It would be very easy to grow angry, frustrated and resentful. We are all weary of this pandemic. Maybe we can have one final push in the weeks ahead to stay safe and to be mindful of those in need around us. It may not seem that we can do much, but it’s the little things that matter. A kind word, a smile, a phone call, an e mail. The world has such need of the presence of Jesus. Let us do our part to shed a little of his light on those around us. 

A final word to the parishioners of Our Lady’s. These last few weeks have been something of a whirlwind. Much work has been done to get our church up and running after the long months of lockdown, particularly the problems of damp which have worsened significantly. The problem is now being gripped. Thank you for all your patience and hopefully things will begin to settle soon. We found disturbing evidence of an intrusion into the church at the beginning of the week. It was disturbing because there was no sign of a forced entry. It is possible that someone hid in the church after Mass and exited through the emergency exit. Nothing was taken, but a number of items were disturbed. It is also possible that a key was used to access the church. We cannot be sure. 

The diocese were in attendance and ordered the immediate changing of all locks leading into the church premises. Our security systems will now be reviewed and we are taking advice from the insurance company on how best to proceed. Nothing was taken and no one was hurt, thank God. But I would ask that we all remain vigilant. If there is any further news I shall let you know.

To you all, a renewed and sincere thank you.

May God bless you and your loved ones.

Father John