St Martin's College, Lancaster
National Centre for Liturgy,St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Ireland.
Pontifical University of Maynooth,Ireland
With the mentorship of the wonderful Fr JT Cribben, I first studied Liturgy in 2000-2001 at the National Centre for Liturgy at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth under Fr Patrick Jones. I was one of the first students to receive the Higher Diploma in Pastoral Liturgy.
The more I learned, the more I vowed that I would share my knowledge with as many people as possible. Knowing where we have come from, and why we do what we do, makes the Liturgy of the Church come alive. Our churches would become different places!
As a primary teacher I have been able to use my skills in the faith life of the school. I wrote a collection of liturgies for every Monday of the school year. Children became presiders and led whole school prayer. They OWNED their worship! Hymn practice was ditched in favour of ‘Liturgy practice.’ We practised gestures, postures and silence! We had a weekly quiz to learn about religious objects, feast days, phrases in Latin and Greek, saints and much more.
I worked with Fr Cribben to plan creative liturgies throughout the year, using signs, symbols and the senses, whilst keeping to the fundamental principles of good liturgy.
In 2011, I returned to Maynooth and completed my Masters Degree in Theology under Professor Liam Tracey, specialising in Liturgy.
My major thesis was on ‘Bread: Sign, Symbol and Sacrament.’
Since 2016, I have been visiting schools, parishes and religious communities, giving Liturgical, Musical and RE training to both adults and young people.
I have written several articles on Pastoral liturgy for Intercom, a Magazine of the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference and now write a monthly article on Liturgy for 'Reality' Magazine published by the Irish Redemptorists.
Director of Music
The first choir I joined was at
St Mary’s Church, Friargate, Preston.
I was 15 years old and learned a repertoire of Latin polyphonic masses and motets.
From 1990, I was the Cantor at St Wilfrid’s Church in the centre of Preston. During this time I studied organ with Michael Pain at Clitheroe Parish Church, achieving distinction at Grade 8.
In 2003 I took over as the Organist and Director of Music at St Wilfrid’s, building up a choir and music group.
In 2012, to celebrate the Preston Guild, I produced a CD of sacred music. We invited parishioners to form a choir for the occasion.
We currently have a choir of 14 members who range from university students (several of whom are international) to retired parishioners.
On several occasions I have organised Sacred Music Concerts, bringing together several church and school choirs. We performed ‘The Feast of Life’ by Marty Haugen and 2 concerts of the music of Liam Lawton, combining music, readings, dance and art.
I have also led the music at the Thinking Faith summer school at Boarbank Hall, Cumbria and work as a musical advisor the Augustinian Community at Boarbank.
In November 2019 I was a workshop leader at a music day for the Diocese of Salford.
My work with parish musicians is increasing, providing formation and practical workshops on singing the Mass and new repertoire.
I studied at St Martin’s College, Lancaster from 1986 to 1990 gaining a BEd (Hons) in Primary teaching. I began as a Reception Class teacher and have since taught every primary age group. I have spent the longest period of time as a Year 3 class teacher, working closely with Catechists in guiding children through the Sacramental Programme.
As the RE Subject Leader I have assisted staff, written policies and development plans and, more recently shaped the school’s RE Self Evaluation (5 W’s) Document .
In 2014 I Became a Specialist Leader of Religious Education (SLRE) for the Diocese of Salford.
I have also presented courses for the Education Department of the Diocese of Salford, including NQT and Middle Management training.
In my own school I introduced staff renewal. These were twilight formation and reflection sessions. TA and ancillary staff joined teachers for an informal, relaxed opportunity to take time out (with a hot chocolate!) and reflect on their own spirituality. These sessions are ready to share with you!