St John the Evangelist

Reg. Charity 234025

645 3314

Email stjohntheevangelist@gmail.com

Fr Frank Rice

Rev Philip White

Holy Family 26th December 2010


At first sight the feast of the Holy Family doesn’t seem such an attractive proposition. To some it may appear rather sugary and idealistic with its overtones of domestic bliss that are far from normative in any family home over the Christmas holidays, when relations are forced to live at close quarters and stress and tension have a field day.Yet the feast is about the incarnation, the birth of Jesus into an ordinary human family. And perhaps it’s that word, “ordinary”, that encapsulates what it’s all about. For most families are ordinary, ordinary because they are good. Truly human life is about sacredness and goodness, and it was to show us how much like God we can really be that Jesus humbled himself to live in the family of Nazareth. Families, whether they are nuclear with two parents and children, single parents with children, or couples who are childless, are the school of life. It’s in the family that we learn love, and in the Christian family that we learn of the existence of grace. Grace shows itself in care and gratitude, in respect and love. Not just common or garden fondness, but God’s own love. That’s why we learn to praise, because we recognise traits of God’s creativity in our children, and it’s why we’re quick to forgive because we realise that we are passing on the same forgiveness that our parents brought us from God. Families are holy when their members are there for each other. Each of us is called to “parent” other people, whether our flesh and blood or simply people who cross our paths. We’re called to bring people to life, to encourage, to support those in our wider Christian family of the Church, and those we are related to through the family of the human race.

The Holy Family was probably quite unremarkable until Jesus started his preaching. And in this it mirrors most of our families. The respect and love that today’s prayers urge us to emulate come about through being present to each other, through being wholly family. And holiness is not to be found in any pious demeanour but in being wholly there for each other in playing and praying, in loving and living, in disagreeing and reconciling, in rejoicing and sorrowing together. Not just a group of individuals, but wholly family.


Whoever respects his father is atoning for his sins.

Whoever honours his mother is like someone amassing a fortune. (Ecclesiasticus 3:3)


The model of home life shown by the family of Nazareth sets the standards for us all. How do we treat the other members of our family? And do we recognise that we belong to wider families than our own flesh and blood?

In each family a story is playing itself out, and each family’s story embodies its hope and despair. (Auguste Napier)


To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right. (Confucius)


How does one keep from “growing old inside”? Surely only in community. The only way to make friends with time is to stay friends with people…. Taking community seriously not only gives us the companionship we need, it also relieves us of the notion that we are indispensable.

(Robert McAfee Brown)

Holy family 26th 10am. Parishioners


Mon- Patronal Feast 27th 12md Parishioners


28th 9.15 Nancy Kelsall
Wed 29th. 9.15 Aileen McGuigan
Thurs 30th 9.15. Mike & Stella Wilkinson
Fri 31st 12md Vincent Sarson
Sat- solemnity of Mother of God 1st. 12md Parishioners
Epiphany 2nd. 5.30



Benefactors SSCF


Prayer Meeting

Please pray for our sick and those who care for them

Fred Archbold, Jane Jackson, William Halpen, Philomena Moore, Margaret Randles, Michael Collins, Teresa McLean, Joan Lee, Ann Ferguson, Denis Welch, Josie Cohen, Peter Williamson, Kathy Smith, Marjorie Hoey, Mrs H McCormack, Esther Roche, Fay Challoner, Sheila Stockley, Joan & Charles Reynolds, Mollie Dowling, Kath Holland, Sheila Clayson, Mary Bryden, Owen & Josie Toohey, Betty Kennedy, Helen Worth, Christopher Hadfield, Ivan Gregory, Kath Bassett , Christopher & Raymond McNally , Mark Harrison, Genevieve Foster & Aileen McGuigan. Those in the parish who do not wish their illness to be made public but who also need our prayers

Money Matters-Thank you

Sunday Offering £ 630 45p

Boiler £10

Flowers £223

120 Club Winner No 58 P Davenport £20

I have received a Christmas card from Fred Archbold and he wished me to convey his best wishes to all the parishioners. We hope his recovery continues apace.


Tuesday 28th Vic Gemmell

Ann Gemmell

Thursday30th. Bernard McGuigan

Eleanor McGuigan


I again refer you to all the different mass times etc this coming week- keep the newsletter handy!


In the unusual amount of space available this week, I thought I would take the opportunity to repeat my Christmas message and also to repeat my thanks to all those people who make my ministry possible here. I needed people when I was in my salad days as a priest but having entered my 83rd year I need them more than ever. My thanks to all those people who help to keep me going and to the entire congregation who gather here week after week- without you there would be no St John’s!


Dear Friends

This year has been characterised by cruel weather and economic cuts. I will take an educated guess that none of us have been left unscathed by one or other of these factors, most of us by both. It is easy to become disheartened in circumstances where you may be struggling to find, or to retain employment; to pay your mortgage or to afford to keep warm. But in the midst of the gloom of winter we once again joyfully celebrate the birth of the one who became man to save us.

At the end of a year we tend to take stock –we have usually had a mixture of good and bad experiences and we look forward to what the next year may bring.

Many tributes have been paid to our Bishop Emeritus, Brian and I would like to add my heartfelt admiration for the work he has done in the diocese over the 15 years of his tenure, sometimes in the face of serious illness. He has enriched us with his words of wisdom and has kept a steady hand on the tiller whilst always being ready to listen with an open mind and in a spirit of kindness. I am sure we all wish him a very long retirement- he has even suggested that he might do some supply work in this parish which is a measure of the kind of man he is. We welcomed Bishop Mark to the diocese in February and I know we will pray for him in the difficult task he has ahead of him as the church continues to evolve in the 21st century.

We were very blessed this year by the introduction of Fr Dennis Xulu to our parish family. His joyful spirit and his profound words brought laughter and peace to the house in equal measure. I know many of you shared my disappointment that he was unable to be with us here to share this feast but he is very hopeful that we haven’t seen the last of him. In a recent email he wrote: “You are amazing and loving people! I am really happy to have you walking either side of my life. Really God is provident! Please tell them ngiyaphila [I am doing well] Pass my love all there!” We have many things to thank Philip for but I think finding Fr Dennis is near the top of the list!

So I turn to Philip, my right hand man without whose help life would be almost impossible. Now fully retired from his profession as a solicitor he has consolidated his role as our first Deacon and this Advent has provided us with superb insights on the scriptures of the season. During the year he has found time to take several roles in various Pilgrim Troupe presentations; do a colossal amount of study for his Canon law qualification; help re-form Marriage Care on the Wirral and alongside his wife Sara hold marriage counselling sessions. Phew! My heartfelt thanks go to him and to Sara for their support and friendship. Philip has a room in the house which we named The Deacon’s Den (no fire –breathing creatures allowed)– perhaps in July we will have to move the apostrophe because that is the month in which our ‘home grown’ deacon-in-waiting finally becomes ordained to the permanent deaconate. Mike Daly has put heart and soul into parish life at St John’s whilst continuing his difficult role as a civil servant. His good humour and enthusiasm are unbounded and his organisational skills have paid us great dividends. Alongside his wife Celia, his training of our altar servers ensures they are always admired for their dignity and attentiveness in their key ministries.

These are just a few of the people who make life liveable but I am indebted to those people with a lower profile, Catechists, cleaners, counters, collectors, welcomers, singers, musicians, readers, the bereavement team- and of course the parish team -the list is very long and they are each an invaluable part of the jigsaw, as week in and week out, they fulfill their roles in the parish without fuss or need of recognition. I would like to say a huge thank you to each and every one of them and to every member of the parish including those who are unable to attend church but are still part of our family. God bless you all.




St John the Evangelist
Email stjohntheevangelist@gmail.com
0151 645 3314
Reg. Charity 234025
Fr Frank Rice
Rev Philip White
4th Sunday of Advent 19th December 2010
You can’t turn on the radio this week without being reminded of how many “shopping” days are left before Christmas is upon us. You could be forgiven for thinking that the main purpose of Christmas is to buy things. And if you haven’t gone out and spent your money on gifts and goodies then perhaps you haven’t really celebrated Christmas.
For Christians nothing could be further from the truth, since Christmas is the celebration of God’s becoming a child in the person of Jesus, and our prime aim is to recall that event so that it may have an effect on us here and now.
Because Christmas has been hijacked as a season of commercial bonanza, it can be hard for us to focus on its true meaning. It is essentially about simplicity rather than opulence. The second person of the Trinity humbled himself to share our human nature so that he could teach us how to live, how to love, how to learn and how to laugh. The birth of Jesus took place so that we could find out what it means to be truly human.
Amid the clatter of TV adverts offering super savings at our local stores, we remind ourselves that the season of Advent is a time of spiritual preparation for the Christmas event. The Church journeys along a four-week path of expectation, of yearning and longing for the coming of the Messiah, of self-examination, of rededication and commitment, of joyful preparation. It’s tempting to jump the gun and celebrate a wonderful carol service weeks before the 25th, or to hold a Christmas party to end all Christmas parties when there’s still ten days to go. But it really is worth the wait if we stop to ponder on the Advent journey.
So today we meet Mary and Joseph in our scripture readings. Both of them aware that something momentous is about to happen to them both patiently pondering on the outcome. No rush. No fuss. Just active co-operation with God’s will as announced by the angel.
If Advent has passed you by, don’t worry. There are still some stopping days left before Christmas.

The maiden is with child and will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Emmanuel, a name which means “God-is-with-us”. (Isaiah 7:14/Matthew 1:23)

It’s hard not to get caught up in the having and hoarding that goes with a consumer Christmas. But today the Church offers us the chance to pause and reflect on the true reason why we celebrate this season: God loved us so much that he was prepared to become a little baby.

I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker. (Helen Keller)

Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them. (Abraham Lincoln)

The unique personality which is the real life in me, I cannot gain unless I search for the real life, the spiritual quality, in others. I am myself spiritually dead unless I reach out to the fine quality dormant in others. For it is only with the god enthroned in the innermost shrine of the other, that the god hidden in me, will consent to appear. (Felix Adler

4thSunday of Advent
Nov List
Prayer Meeting
Arthur Brockway

Elizabeth Fryer
November List
Joseph McCaffery
Crib Service
‘MN’ Mass
Christmas day
Holy Family

Please pray for our sick and those who care for them
Fred Archbold, Jane Jackson, William Halpen, Philomena Moore, Margaret Randles, Michael Collins, Teresa McLean, Joan Lee, Ann Ferguson,  Denis Welch, Josie Cohen, Peter Williamson, Kathy Smith, Marjorie Hoey, Mrs H McCormack, Esther Roche, Fay Challoner, Sheila Stockley, Joan & Charles Reynolds, Mollie Dowling, Kath Holland, Sheila Clayson, Mary Bryden, Owen & Josie Toohey,  Betty Kennedy,  Helen Worth, Christopher Hadfield, Ivan Gregory, Kath Bassett , Christopher & Raymond McNally , Mark Harrison, Genevieve Foster& Aileen McGuigan.Those in the parish who do not wish their illness to be made public but who also need our prayers
Money Matters-Thank you
Sunday Offering £ 744 09p
Dance dividend £ 75
120 Club Winner No 26 P Topping £20
There will be a retiring collection this weekend to help defray flower expenses. This fund usually lasts our flower ladies until Easter (which is late next year!) so please give as generously as you can to this collection. They do a wonderful job week in and week out and I think we are very fortunate to have such talented people in our midst.
Tuesday 21st
Teresa Young
Colette Corkill
Thursday 23rd.
Phil Topping
Gerry Topping
Unfortunately the Christmas party was not well supported though those that did attend enjoyed themselves. If you can suggest a better time or have any other ideas of how we can attract more people to similar events then please have a word. I would like to thank all those who helped.
By contrast the Saturday procession was well supported and animals and children as well as adults took part with great enthusiasm. Many thanks to Maria, the organiser in chief, who took a great deal of time and trouble to clothe people appropriately.

Philip’s scripture talks are finished for now but already some of the group who attended are hoping for more such meetings in the future if he can fit them into his busy schedule. We have been a select group but an appreciative one and we all feel a better understanding of the feast which is almost upon us. You don’t know what you missed

The Reconciliation service was very well attended with some of the beautiful prayers being taken from the Pilgrim Troupe’s Advent presentation ‘Waiting in Joyful Hope’ Their last outing was to St Clare’s Chester where the area Rep for CAFOD was presented with the proceeds from the all five evenings an amount in excess of £400. I hope all who attended the service are now basking in God’s forgiveness -ready for Emmanuel.

The O antiphons started on 17th. These cries of longing for the lord continue until we cry out finally for Emmanuel to enter our hearts.

I hope you will take your newsletters home with you and put them in a safe place so that you can refer to them for Mass times etc. It is a strange and busy schedule ahead of us.

Happily Fred Archbold has now been discharged from hospital and is on the road to recovery. He will have to take things easy for a while and we will have to put up with his absence for a little longer. He thanks all for their prayers and good wishes.

This will be on Friday, Christmas Eve, at 4.00 in Church, and will last for about half an hour.
Could each of the children bring a birthday card for Baby Jesus and a cuddly toy to see the manger?
We look forward to seeing you all then.



St John the Evangelist

Email stjohntheevangelist@gmail.com



0151 645 3314

Reg. Charity 234025

Fr Frank Rice

Rev Philip White

3rd Sunday of Advent 12th December 2010


Non-religious people can be forgiven for thinking that Christians are consumed with a religion of fear. In fact, elderly people sometimes remark that their own religious upbringing was characterised by fear of punishment. “Wait till your father gets home” was transferred into threats about what would happen when God came to judge the living and the dead.

If this were true, then Advent would be a miserable season. It would be the time when we all prayed with our lips for the coming of Christ but in our hearts we hoped that it would not be during our lifetime.

Should we be tempted to go along with this in our own practice of faith, then today’s scripture ought to make us think twice. For it forms part of the “Gaudete Sunday” (“Rejoicing”) Advent message: the coming of our God is something to yearn for rather than to dread. We are encouraged to rejoice because our God will come not to condemn us but to set us free. It’s a prize to be grasped, not a plague to be shunned. Advent is not a palliative against the futility of existence; it’s an endorsement of the very meaning of life. It’s a period of great expectations, for when Christ comes, it is to bring fullness of life.

Isaiah tells us that the coming of our God is like an oasis in the desert, like a cure for those who are crippled and struck down. And John the Baptist reminds us that if we want to know whether God really is close by, then we only need to look around us and see the wonders that can happen when the Good News is proclaimed.

And this coming of our God is not merely some distant thing in the future that can have no effect on our lives today. God comes every day. We meet Christ in those whose lives touch ours, both friend and stranger. He looks out on us through the eyes of our smiling grandchildren as much as the tears of the widow and orphan.

The coming of our God is nothing to fear. It is something to look forward to eagerly, both now and at the end of time.



Today’s a day for rejoicing. Known as “Gaudete Sunday” (from the Latin word for “rejoice”) it is Advent’s midpoint when we pause to recollect that the coming of our God is something which should bring us only joy. To be a Christian is to await the coming of a God whose only desire is to save rather than condemn.


Look, your God is coming-he is coming to save you. (Isaiah 35:4)



If our religion encourages universal compassion and positive actions and states of mind then it is doing its job. If it causes hatred, fear, division and pride then it isn’t working and maybe we should try something else. (Sean Robsville)

A man’s ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death. (Albert Einstein)

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.(Plato)







3rd Sunday of Advent 12th 5.30



Eileen Markey


Prayer Meeting

Mon 13th 12md


Funeral Mass

Mary Ann Hearmon



14th 9.15 Ann & Frank McClave
Wed 15th 9.15 Funeral Mass

Pat Ronan

Thurs 16th 7.15.


Elizabeth Fryer

Advent Scriptures with Philip

Fri 17th. 9.15 Graham Brodin
Saturday 18th. 11.45 Carmel Mass
4th. Sunday of Advent. 19th 5.30



Nov List


Prayer Meeting

Please pray for our sick and those who care for them

Fred Archbold, Jane Jackson, William Halpen, Philomena Moore, Margaret Randles, Michael Collins, Teresa McLean, Joan Lee, Ann Ferguson, Denis Welch, Josie Cohen, Peter Williamson, Kathy Smith, Marjorie Hoey, Mrs H McCormack, Esther Roche, Fay Challoner, Sheila Stockley, Joan & Charles Reynolds, Mollie Dowling, Kath Holland, Sheila Clayson, Mary Bryden, Owen & Josie Toohey,  Betty Kennedy,  Helen Worth, Christopher Hadfield, Ivan Gregory, Kath Bassett , Christopher & Raymond McNally , Mark Harrison & Genevieve Foster. Those in the parish who do not wish their illness to be made public but who also need our prayers

Money Matters-Thank you

Sunday Offering £ 659 54p

Boiler £5.85p

120 Club Winner No £20

Electricity Bills: Hall £202 08p, Church, £154 18p, £101 48p house

Tuesday 14th. Teresa Young

Colette Corkill

Thursday 16th. Noelene Evans

Rosemary Larkin

Saturday 18th. D Humphrey

W Humphrey


The Third Sunday of Advent is the “now” Sunday that St Bernard was talking about. We recognise the coming of Jesus in all sorts of people and events in our everyday world. We see Christ not only in the face of the needy but in the rejoicing of those whose lives are enriched and who once again can see, hear and walk. Advent has multi-layered symbolism. There is an undeniable penitential aspect to it as we prepare for the coming of the Son of Man who will judge the living and the dead. But we await this coming in joyful hope, for our saviour comes not to condemn us but to set us free. In fact, on the Third Sunday of Advent it is customary in some places for the liturgical colour to change from purple or violet to rose, thus echoing its popular title of “Gaudete” or “Rejoicing” Sunday. Subtle change of colour and décor, an Advent wreath that visually reminds us of the passing of time, music that is not simply Advent-generic but carefully reflects the stages of the four-week journey… all of this opens us up to the glorious possibilities of God’s grace within us as we celebrate his coming, past, present and future.


Have you cooked up your favourite fayre for the parish Christmas party which is this Sunday after mass? Please try to join your fellow parishioners for an hour of conviviality. This is an effort by your parish team to get people together-why not try it? If you need to slip home then you will still have time to rejoin us and to rejoice!

This coming Monday at 7.30pm we will be holding our Advent Reconciliation service. I hope that you will be able to attend despite the weather and that you have invited other people to come along to celebrate the sacrament with us.

The scripture meetings which Philip has facilitated have been most informative and perhaps the final one this coming Thursday will be the best attended of all. It is so wasteful to allow these opportunities to pass us by. We have been a select group but we have all benefitted very much from sharing and hopefully we will celebrate Christmas with a deeper understanding of Emmanuel.

8th December- many thanks to all who came to celebrate with me last Wednesday on my 56th anniversary. It always evokes many memories for me and it is good to have the opportunity of sharing some of them with my parish family

The Pilgrim Troupe’s final presentation for Advent will take place this Sunday at St Clare’s in Chester. The area CAFOD rep. is a parishioner there and she will be presented with the money which the Troupe has collected from its audiences. The gatherings the Troupe attracts are always very impressed with the ‘performances’ and once they have been to one, it whets their appetites for more! It’s just a shame that the audiences are not larger- not for the cast’s sake, but just because it is such an easy prayerful entertaining way of getting to know the seasons and feasts well. If they had a many people as we have for Reconciliation then everyone would benefit!

If you wish to send a card to Fr Dennis (XULU) his address is:

Mechelsestraat 2002

Leuven 3000


**As you can see Fred Archbold has joined our sick list. He has had emergency major surgery but is recovering slowly. Please remember him in your prayers. He is so good to this parish. **