Ladies, I wish you a blessed, happy and productive 2018. Let us raise our voices to enlist Our Lady's support; raise our spirits; and raise our membership numbers. And this year may more of us be inspired to take up the reins of office, nationally and at our own foundation level, in the Union of Catholic Mothers.
• The first bi-monthly Mass of 2018 will be celebrated at Blessed Sacrament parish, Aintree on Wednesday 10 January. On this occasion we will have the annual presentation of cheques to the charities chosen by our members from across the Archdiocese. This year's recipients will be: the Priests' Training fund (which we support every year); the Swan Women's Centre, a counselling service based in Litherland; the West Lancashire Women's Refuge in Skelmersdale, which offers support following domestic abuse; and the Missionaries of Charity in Seel Street, who provide food and shelter to those in need. Thank you all for your unfailing generosity, in addition to backing so many charities in your own foundations.
• Looking through some quarterly minutes from – wait for it – 1961, I thought you might be interested in this item, considering we have just celebrated the 50th anniversary of our Cathedral. Mrs Abraham, then diocesan president, announced that 'the UCM will raise money to buy something for the Lady Chapel of the new Cathedral. For four years from January 1961 each foundation should contribute 2/6d (2 shillings and sixpence, i.e. 12½p) per member per year for four years towards this object. On the present membership of 2,000 this would mean that after four years the UCM would be able to present to His Grace the sum of £1,000.' Mrs Abraham felt that 2/6d was not very much and we could raise it in any way we thought fit; and she felt that if each member was asked to give the actual 2/6d, they would readily agree. The intriguing question is: did we raise the £1,000? What did we donate?
Our research goes on, and Neil Sayer, the Cathedral archivist, is being particularly helpful. Of course, some of our senior ladies may also remember ...