A Morning at St Mary's

... and Paula's Progress!

There were five Sundays in September, 2012, which meant that it was time to schedule a United Benefice 'Liturgy and Lunch' occasion.
It was also Harvest Festival Sunday, and the first Sunday as robed Reader for Paula O'Shaughnessy
of St Mary's - so it was something of a red letter day

As at all joint service Sundays, there was one service for both congregations, which incidentally meant that the St Faith's
flower arrangers, freed from the
need to decorate their home church for harvest for once, could stroll down the road
and admire, from St Mary's pews, the fine displays in our sister church.

During the course of the joint liturgy, vested for the first time in the traditional blue scarf of a Reader, Paula
was officially welcomed to her new ministry
by our assistant priest, Revd Denise McDougall, who presided
at the eucharist, and St Mary's warden Lynda Dixon.

After the service, the congregation moved into the church hall, to enjoy a festive meal together.
As is the custom on these occasions, we all bring specified offerings of food to be shared by all, and their own drinks.

At the end of this page, Paula writes about her experience at her recent Licensing in Liverpool Cathedral, and her hopes
for the future. Read on for a message by fellow Reader and friend Jacky Parry, and a photograph of the event.

Everyone at St Faith's and St Mary's, who have followed Paula's journey through acceptance and training to final licensing,
congratulate her warmly and wish her every happiness in her ongoing ministry in the United Benefice.
We are truly fortunate to have the services of three priests and, now, four Readers to
carry us onwards through the interregnum.

Paula's Progress

Messages from the latest addition to the United Benefice Ministry Team - and her friend and mentor, Reader Jackie Parry

The Reader licensing service at the cathedral was a very moving experience.  I had not anticipated the overwhelming nature of the occasion.  I was so glad that I had made the journey, and it had not been alone.  It was wonderful to have so many friends from the United Benefice there to share the day with me.  I am thankful to all the congregation and Ministry Team, for their love and prayers - it truly is a great privilege which has been granted to me.

The bishop's charisma and sincere spirituality brought home the true meaning of the licensing - to have received food and then to go out and feed others. He reminded us all  of this, in the Chapter House, when we made our solemn declaration, prior to the service.  He asked us to call to mind all those who had fed us and helped us on our journey. I felt quite tearful, as I recalled those special people.

I will endeavour to offer a heartfelt commitment to all in the United Benefice, in my new ministry as Reader.

With Love and Prayers,


Saturday 22nd September 2012 was a very special day in Liverpool Cathedral, as 12 people were being admitted and licensed to the office of Reader in the Anglican Church, one of whom was our very own Paula O’Shaugnessey. 

It is always a joyous occasion to witness the start of new ministry, but today I felt a little ‘extra-happy’, not only because it is evident that Reader ministry is on the increase, but also because Paula is both a friend and colleague, and I was her mentor (or one of them!) for the past couple of years, so it was especially good to be able to attend the Reader Licensing Service.

Paula and I have shared many a discussion, debate and quiet prayer-time together and I have followed her spiritual journey since she began attending St Mary’s a number of years ago, and it was a privilege to be part of her special day.

Bishop James apparently spent the morning with the prospective Readers, and he also presided over the ceremony and preached an excellent sermon on new ministry, and one could not but help but have goose-bumps witnessing this special event, and my prayers go out to all who were licensed that day, both in the Liverpool Cathedral and throughout the UK.

A prayer for new ministry....

Ever living God, strengthen and sustain all newly licensed Readers, that with patience
and understanding all may love and care for your people; and
grant that together they may follow Jesus Christ, offering to
you their gifts and talents; through him who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

We send our love and prayers to Paula and all of the new Readers as they begin the next step in their ministry.
With my love and prayers,