At the recent Forum, in my report on the Parish Social Centre I mentioned the challenge faced by Clitheroe’s local hospitality and catering businesses by the success of the gigantic Holmes Mill project. To meet this challenge we have to attract more custom and one way is by challenging the popular perception that the Centre is more or less for Catholics only! Yes, that attitude still persists. So, the Centre will be given the more modern title of “The Old Schoolroom”, with St Michael and St John’s appearing underneath in smaller letters. When I reported this, some parishioners were uncertain but the simple fact is that if the Centre is to remain open, warm, in good repair and decoration, and pay for itself then we simply must continue to adapt and fight for a share of the market! Consider that a decade ago there were well over a hundred parish social centres and clubs in the diocese but today there are less than twenty still functioning and most of these are fighting for survival. We have to adapt to survive or go the way of the Dodo. However, to assure parishioners that the Centre is and will remain a parish venture, I propose that we hold an Annual General Meeting open to all parishioners and other members, that will provide an annual report followed by opportunity to question, challenge and suggest ways to ensure its future viability.
Also at the Forum, I promised that a committee would be formed to ensure that Pope Francis’ Laudato Si encyclical finds a place at the very heart of our parish. You may remember that last winter, as a parish we studied this document over six evening sessions. These meetings were well attended and produced a number of recommendations on how we should respond to Pope Francis as individuals and as a parish community.
These study sessions and those which previously examined Pope Francis’ first encyclical Evangelli Nunciandi were organised by a small steering team. I would like to invite a new group to carry forward the response to Laudato Si by considering the important environmental and ecological issues that the Pope has raised so that our parish grows to be not only environmentally friendly but also encourages us all to take responsibility for protecting and nurturing our tiny planet, God’s gift to us all. Our children are born to inherit the earth, our common home. In what state shall we bequeath it to them?
If you are interested in this venture then please give or email me your name and contact details and we shall take it from there.
On Wednesday, as we hear today at Mass, Bishop John will unveil his ‘Hope in the Future’ vision for the Diocese More about that later!