14th Sunday in Ordinary time – 8th July 2018

Dear Parishioners,

With peace in the Middle East as the goal, Pope Francis on Saturday hosted an ecumenical pilgrimage in the southern Italian city of Bari, attended by the representatives of Christian churches with a presence in the Middle East. Bari hosts the shrine of St Nicholas (Father Christmas) a saint revered both by Eastern and Western Catholics

The Christian leaders came together to pray for peace in a region that, due to ongoing conflicts and persecution, has seen the Christian population diminish year after year.

“The Middle East is one of the regions of the world where the situation of Christians is most precarious,” said Cardinal Kurt Koch of Switzerland, head of the Vatican’s office dedicated to promoting Christian Unity. He noted that while Christians represented 20 percent of the population in the region before World War I, today they are only four percent in this “martyred region.” As an example, in Iraq alone, the number of Christians has gone from 1.5 million in 2003 to an estimated 300,000 today.

According to Cardinal Koch, Christians will only remain in the region if peace is restored, and this is why the Catholic Church has been diplomatically working for a peace achieved through political agreements.

“It’s not possible to imagine a Middle East without Christians, not only for political reasons, but because they are essential for the equilibrium of the region,” he said.

Among the Christian leaders who answered Pope Francis’s call are the heads of Orthodox churches, Oriental Orthodox churches, the Assyrian Orthodox Church, members of Catholic Oriental churches, a representative for the Lutheran Church along with a representative for the Middle East Council of Churches. A majority of the 19 leaders attending are patriarchs or heads of churches with only five sending a representative.

Please remember this initiative in your prayers,

Fr John

Laudato Si’ – BoB boxes

We had a great day at Sabden Summer Fair when ten people bought or sponsored a BOB Box for £10 each.  These boxes can accommodate a bird or a bat to nest or roost, and will be sited strategically as part of our Live Simply Award environmental activities.  To learn more about BOB boxes and everything else we are doing, look at our Laudato Si’ group webpage http://www.olotv.org.uk/parishgroups/laudato. If you want to buy or sponsor a box please contact Anthony Brown 01200 422811

13th Sunday in Ordinary time – 1st July 2018

Hope in the Future Report

In response to the Bishop’s request, in Lent we began our Hope in the Future journey in each of our three churches.

Meeting 1 looked at “Welcome”. We reflected on the significance of the San Damiano Cross, an icon, as a way to reignite our faith and to help us spiritually rebuild the Church. We reflected on different images of Christ through selecting illustrations and discussing our choices. The gentle way the presentations were given gave a feeling of warmth and belonging. The content was powerful, particularly the discussions with our chosen pictures. We were able to discuss actions for a more pro-active church and bring the light of Christ openly into our daily lives and communities.

Meeting 2 examined “Gifts”. We reflected on the different spiritual gifts which we have as a community as also those which we lack. Following a reflection, the groups completed an audit of gifts, services and ministries already being done and others that could be done. The resulting lists showed that much is already taking place but there are many more ways in which people could use their gifts and talents. Everyone was in favour of launching an audit of gifts in the Autumn in line with Bishop John’s programme. Ministries need to be explained and a programme produced for those interested in finding out more. Such a survey would show how much we are involved and would bring parishioners together to participate in our parish community.

Meeting 3 focused on “Outreach”. The characteristics of an evangelising community were identified. We need to be a confident community across all generations. The community should be welcoming, joyful, happy, accessible and approachable, reaching out beyond the Parish and working and socialising as a team while recognising individual strengths. It needs to be well structured, well-resourced and well led. Communications were seen as critical.

The future is exciting and we each have a part to play.

Hope in the Future Team

Lourdes Pilgrimage – 27th July

LOURDES PILGRIMAGE 27 JULY  Anyone who wishes a petition to be taken and placed at the grotto, please use the marked boxes at the back of our churches in Clitheroe, Sabden and Dunsop which will be available until Sunday 22 July.  Also, we are collecting for a candle to be placed at the grotto for all the people of the parish.  If you would like to contribute to this, please put your donation in an envelope marked ‘Lourdes Candle’ and put it in the offertory basket at Mass or post it through the Clitheroe presbytery letterbox.

The Nativity of John the Baptist – 24th June 2018

Dear Parishioners,

First, please do remember that next Sunday, 1st July, we celebrate Weld Day when we commemorate John and Mary Weld’s gift of land on which St Michael & St John’s parish complex and sports field now stand. In return, Thomas asked only that parishioners remember him and his wife in their prayers.

This we do annually as we celebrate Weld Day on the first Sunday of July with a Mass celebrated outside in the school garden. This will be the only Sunday Mass (replacing the Clitheroe 9.30 and Sabden 11 o’clock Masses) and will begin at 10.30am. (The Saturday evening  5pm Mass in Clitheroe and the 6.30pm Mass in Dunsop will not be affected)

This year we shall again congratulate the children who made their First Holy Communions in our three churches as they are presented with their certificates and work books.

Afterwards we shall celebrate the foundation of the parish with a parish picnic. A complimentary glass of wine, strawberries and cream and ice-cream will be provided. Parishioners and families need only bring their own picnic box and rug. Some may wish to bring a camp chair or stool.

Hopefully the sun will shine and members of our three communities will enjoy a wonderful summer’s celebration.

In response to enquiries, I remind you that to comply with the new Data Protection Law (GDPR) we shall no longer publish in the newsletter the names of parishioners who are sick. Mass may still be requested for a sick person, Mass cards will be signed and their names will be included in the list of Mass intentions but without reference to illness or other indisposition.

As I mentioned recently, we shall begin in September a new RCIA programme open to any who wish to follow a refresher course in the faith, or learn more about Catholicism, or may have considered becoming a Catholic. For more details please don’t hesitate to have a word with me, and if you know of someone who may be interested then please do encourage them to come along.

The next Parish Forum is on Wednesday 11th July (tea served at 7.15, meeting begins at 7.30pm). For new parishioners I should explain that this is our Parish Council which meets every six weeks or so and is open to all parishioners, each of whom have a right to speak and to vote. Items for the agenda may be submitted in writing after Mass the Sunday before or posted through the Presbytery letterbox by Monday evening at the latest. Have you attended?

Fr John

CAFOD  – Share the Journey

Pope Francis launched Share the Journey in November last year, a new global campaign to stand up for the rights of refugees and migrants.  The campaign will run until the Pope goes to address the UN in September 2018. CAFOD aims to get people to walk 24,091—the distance around the world.  If you would like to organise your own walk and join in this campaign, there are Share The Journey Guides and prayer cards in each of our three churches.  Please remember to fill in the number of miles walked and send to CAFOD


11th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 17th June 2018 (Day for Life)

Day for Life

Day for Life is the day in the Church’s year dedicated to raising awareness about the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition. The theme for this year is human trafficking and Pope Francis appeals to Catholics in England and Wales to open their eyes and hear the cry of human trafficking victims.

Pope Francis has written: “Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred… Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection.

In the last 12 months there have been two major East Lancashire Police operations where coordinated action across six towns led to the arrest of fourteen men and one woman operating a sex trafficking ring based in Blackburn. Its tentacles reached Clitheroe. Human trafficking is a major issue in the UK and in Lancashire we have instances not only of sexual exploitation but also enforced Labour, domestic slavery, forced marriage and enforced criminality. Today’s collection is taken in support of Church supported life activities. There are materials and on-line resources from Day for Life http://www.dayforlife.org/

Caritas Salford Anti-Trafficking, the Santa Marta Group and the Medaille Trust is launching an exercise which is part of an ongoing diocesan strategy to raise awareness on human trafficking in Greater Manchester and Lancashire. Through prayer and greater awareness Catholics can play an important part in helping the Police end this horrific crime. For more information go to:

Catholic Church http://santamartagroup.com/

Anglican Church  https://www.theclewerinitiative.org/

Salvation Army https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/modern-slavery

Please make sure you do not leave church today without taking one of our cards and that you know what to do when you see something that doesn’t look right and probably isn’t.

Together we can end modern slavery.

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 10th June 2018


In his traditional New Year’s Day address, before around 40,000 people who had converged on St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis highlighted the plight of refugees and asylum seekers, describing them as the world’s “weakest and most needy.”

The Pope had chosen the plight of migrants and refugees as the theme for the Church’s World Day of Peace, celebrated annually on January 1, and in his address said:

“For this peace, to which everyone has a right, many of them (the refugees) are willing to risk their lives in a journey, which is often long and dangerous; they are willing to face strain and suffering.”

Refugees’ journeys to safety are sometimes pictured on the news, but so often seem distanced from us – not something that affects us and our community – but not so. This is the testimony of an asylum seeker from the middle east who is living with his wife and young children in Clitheroe, written as homework (“Write 80 words about something you did recently”) for the English class he is attending, and reproduced here with his permission:

 “At 11 o’clock, in the middle of the night, we were in Turkey. We were going to Greece. We are 150 persons going in a small boat in the middle of the sea. The engine was broken. Everyone was scared and cried. I decided to call the police and called them to rescue the boat. After 3 hours they answered they were coming. We nearly died”.

Around 150 refugees and asylum seekers will be visiting the Ribble Valley on Saturday 23rd June. We can’t solve the problems of the world, but we can at least make them welcome for a day.

The day begins on the St. Michael and St. John’s School Field at around 10.30 a.m. when our guests arrive, with a BBQ provided by the Mosque at midday. Then, at around 1pm, the visitors will be heading over to Stonyhurst College, where there will be activities laid on by the College, a refugee v College football match, a walk, ending the afternoon with the now traditional cream tea. Please come along on Saturday morning to say “Hello”. If you would like to join the “Share the Journey” walk organised by parish CAFOD reps (https://cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Share-the-Journey), or come to Stonyhurst College, please let us know. You will need to arrange your own transport.

We are still looking for volunteers on the day. In particular we need First Aiders and people to help at Stonyhurst College. If you can help, leave your details on the form at the back of Church, or contact Tom Clay on 07962136749.

Please pray for the success of the day.

Tom & Kathryn Clay

Laudato Si’ – Live Simply

Our Parish application for the CAFOD Live Simply Award is now registered.  See the registration certificate on the notice board in the porch.  Keep up with activities and offerings via our webpage on the Parish website.

Callum’s Ordination

We will celebrate this with him as a Parish on September 14th in the Old School Rooms.  As well as giving him a spiritual bouquet we would like to present him with a generous gift to help him as he starts off on his journey in the priesthood.  Envelopes will be available at the back of churches from next weekend 16/17th.  Please return these in the weekend collections or at the presbytery.