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Our story


The Irenaeus Project is an initiative of Fr Chris Thomas and supported by the Archdiocese of Liverpool.


We take our inspiration from St Irenaeus, a 4th century bishop and Doctor of the Church, who said "the glory of God is a person fully alive".


In that spirit, we work throughout the archdiocese and further afield to help people have opportunities to pray, explore the Scriptures, reflect on what it means to be human and alive and to know the truth that God is with us. Any reflection on the Scriptures and any time spent in prayer has to have a concrete expression in the way in which we live our lives in our desire for justice and our willingness to be open to otherness.

The Irenaeus Project isn’t the answer to the ills of the Church or the world but it is an attempt to reach out in new ways and help people explore and discover.

Along with Sr Moira Meeghan and Jenny Linker who have been part of the project from the very beginning, there is a group of very committed volunteers who are part of our team. Ruth Aughton, Maureen Knight, Therese and Mike McGrath, Les Page.​

For nearly seven years Fr Chris worked part time at Sandymount House of Prayer in Blundellsands. The more he talked with people and prayed with them and shared their stories, the more aware he became of the desperate need there is within people to find meaning in life. In Christian language we could say that there is an overwhelming desire to search for God and to explore what it means to be fully alive. Prayer and reflection is vital in the process by which people become fully alive.

Someone once said that spirituality is about the process of having our inner sight restored so that we can see clearly. God is always present in everything. The sadness is that we don't open our eyes and see the presence of God within us and all around us. The incarnation is about God gracing the world with presence. Spirituality is about opening our eyes and seeing the reality of God in all that happens in our lives and in our world.


On Sunday 2 August 2020 it was announced that the parish in which we live, St Thomas of Canterbury, was closing. The closure of the parish has meant that The Irenaeus Project has been offered the chance to take the buildings and turn them into a centre for spirituality and outreach which is tremendously exciting for us and offers a new development for St Thomas’ rather than it being another mothballed church.

The development of a centre will enable us to continue to offer short courses on methods of prayer and the Scriptures and host renewal events. During the liturgical seasons of the year, we will continue to offer evenings and days of prayer and retreats of various sorts. The centre will help us to continue to provide opportunities for spiritual direction and accompaniment for anyone requiring it on a regular or ad hoc basis but all of this to larger numbers.

Have a look around our centre

with one of our volunteers, Mike Anderson.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself studying and debating the various types of prayer. At the end of the course I decided to take steps to request a spiritual adviser. This request was met and I am enjoying continuing my spiritual journey with a lovely well known sage and handmaid of the Lord.


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