Jesuits to leave St Francis Xavier Church in Liverpool

December 3, 2022

The Jesuits in Britain have announced that the next parish priest of St Francis Xavier Church in Everton will be a member of the Archdiocesan clergy. The parish has always been served by Jesuit priests and brothers, although it has been in the ownership of the Archdiocese of Liverpool in recent years. The handover will take place shortly after Easter 2023.

2023 marks the 175th Centenary of the parish. Over the course of more than a century and a half, Jesuits have prayed and worked side by side with the local community, administering the sacraments and sharing the joys of Catholic life with generations of Liverpudlians. The Jesuits in Britain leave the parish confident in the knowledge that the community has strong roots and a commitment to the Gospel.

The present parish priest, Fr Denis Blackledge, commented:

“I hit 80 at Easter and move into whatever ‘retirement’ might mean. The privilege of being parish priest at SFX - as our church is fondly known - for these past seven years has provided me with some of the best moments of my priestly ministry. I love the people to bits, and they’ve given me far more than I could ever give them. I’ve been part of a wonderful team amidst wonderful people, and just wish I were 20 years younger to be able to stay on with them. I’m going to miss them terribly.”

The Provincial of the Jesuits, Fr Damian Howard, said:

“Although there is sadness in saying farewell, it’s only because there has been so much affection between the people of the parish and the Society of Jesus. The Jesuits have been privileged to share the lives of the people of Everton for so long and we will always keep the memory of our association with them alive in their hearts.”

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