A packed congregation filled St Monica's church, Bootle, on Friday evening, 22 June, the Feast of St John Fisher and St Thomas More, for the Ordination to the Priesthood of Gerard Callacher by the Archbishop of Liverpool, the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly.
Gerard, who had been an altar server at St Monica's, was born in Bootle in 1975. From an early age music played an important part in his life. He began learning the piano and organ, and was appointed organist at St Joan of Arc, Bootle, at the age of eleven. After school he continued his musical studies at Liverpool University, and after graduation went on to do a Master's degree in Piano Performance. During this time he was Organ Scholar at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral, and Director of Music at St Faith's Church, Crosby.
Before studies for the priesthood in 2006, at Ushaw College, Durham, he worked as a freelance musician, teaching piano and organ privately and in several schools on Merseyside. He was also accompanist to Birkenhead and Formby Choral Societies.
Gerard said: "The seeds of my vocation were sown in my early family life, particularly at St Monica's Church, Bootle, where my brothers and I were altar servers. My work as a church musician has led me to appreciate the importance of music as a spiritual enhancement to human life; at best it can give us a glimpse of the beauty and transcendence of God. Also, this work has given me the privileged opportunity of working closely with people of all ages and backgrounds, with all the joys and challenges it brings.
"After spending my year as a deacon with Father Martin Kershaw and the people of St Austin's Parish, Thatto Heath, St Helens I am very much looking forward to the next chapter in my ministry. I have always loved working with people, and look forward to the new challenges and joys that priesthood will bring."
Archbishop Patrick Kelly picked up on the new priest's musical background concluding his homily at the Mass of Ordination with the words: '"Ged, out of compassion for the crowds, harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd, go, feed the lambs, look after the sheep, and feed the sheep. Gather them around the one Good Shepherd who came that they may have life and have it abundantly. And teach them to sing."
Source: Archdiocese of Liverpool