Knights of Saint Columba thank Father Chris McCoy

By David Keane

The feast day of our patron, Saint Columba, falls on 9 June and in normal times we would be celebrating this day with Mass at St Columba’s parish church in HuytonAlas, this year it is not possible due to the coronavirus restrictions. Nevertheless, members with their families and friends will find other ways to remember St Columba on this day. 

It is also an opportunity to thank Father Chris McCoy who, until recently, was parish priest at St Columba and St John Fisher and who always went to a great deal of trouble to make our annual visit to his parish so memorable. His homilies and newsletters over the years gave us insights into different aspects of the life and times of St Columba. As a recent example, every member of our centenary pilgrimage to Iona last October received from Fr Chris a souvenir bookmark offering biographical details about St Columba, who arrived on Iona from Ireland in the year 563. The images on the bookmark (pictured) are of window panels in St Columba’s church. 

Another example comes from the parish newsletter for last years Mass for the Feast of St Columba, in which Fr Chris recounted the following tale about our patron: ‘On one of his journeys, St Columba encountered several Picts who were burying the body of a man who had been killed by an aquatic monster which lived in the River Nesa; a story often since interpreted as the first written reference to the Loch Ness Monster. Columba then saved another man from the monster by ordering the beast to retreat, which it did. St Columba died in the monastery he had built on Iona, in 597. The island became a place of pilgrimage, and has remained so ever since.

In February, Fr Chris joined the staff at the Metropolitan Cathedral after ten years as a parish priest. We thank him for all he has done for the KSC in Liverpool over the last decade and wish him well in his new role. /