16th June 2019 – Trinity Sunday

Dear Parishioners,

A Eucharistic service should not be held in a church on the same day as a Mass is celebrated. We ‘bent’ the rule here in Clitheroe to accommodate, on Saturday morning, a small number of people who were unable to attend Sunday Mass because of their disabilities, agoraphobia being one, These parishioners have now gone to the Lord. Saturday. Next Saturday at 11am we celebrate the First Communion Mass for St Michael and St John’s, so the usual Eucharistic service has to be cancelled. Given that there is a 5 o’clock Saturday Mass here in Clitheroe followed by a 6.30pm Mass in Dunsop, with a further two Masses on Sunday we have more Masses than most other parishes and so I think that this is an opportune moment to announce that these Saturday morning Eucharistic services will not be resumed.

St Elisabeth Convent is a Russian Orthodox community in Belarus that was founded in 1999 in the outskirts of Minsk. The convent currently has a large number of sisters whose vocation is to serve the poor, particularly the physically and mentally disabled.

The convent has cared for 200 orphan children suffering from both physical and mental needs for the past 14 years. “We consider it vital to raise children in the atmosphere of love, mercy and care,” Sr Olga told me.

They also run a shelter on the Convent farmstead for the homeless, drug or alcohol addicts, ex-prisoners and the less able. Over 200 residents live there today. The Convent provides them with accommodation, meals and necessary medicines, medical and helps them to register for their important national identity papers.

There is a separate rehabilitation facility for female ex-prisoners and homeless and the mentally challenged women.

To support and develop these activities, the sisters run twenty craft workshops which include sewing and embroidery work, candle making, wood-carving, stone and metalwork – “all made with love and prayer”.

Two sisters will display a selection of their products for sale both here in Clitheroe after Mass and also in Our Lady’s, Langho.

Fr John

Weld Day – 7th July

Next Sunday is Weld Day.  The 9.30am Clitheroe Mass and the 11am Sabden Mass will be replaced by ONE Mass at 10.30am on the Parish field in Clitheroe and will be followed by the Parish Picnic.

Complimentary Ice Cream, Strawberries and cream and a glass of wine are provided,  you simply bring your picnic and rug or chair.  This will be the 11th Weld Day when we celebrate and thank Thomas and Mary Weld for the field they gave for the foundation of our parish.


9th June 2019 – Pentecost Sunday

Come Holy Spirit of God

Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ:
shine in our hearts,
in our society,
in the world of nature around us,
in the church.
Enrich the poverty of our spirits and imaginations
with the abundance of your gifts.
To the restless anxiety of our hearts,
to the turmoil of our lives,
bring your sweet message of peace.
Be the still point in the midst of our anxious activity,
be our rest after toil,
be a cool shade in life’s burning heat,
be the solace of our sorrows and disappointments.
Come then to us, Holy Spirit of God,
send our dry roots rain.
Take possession of us
to comfort and renew:
Cleanse all that is defiled in us,
Heal all that is diseased in us,
Make fruitful all that is barren in us,
Soften all that is angry and inflexible in us,
Warm all that is frigid and unloving in us,
Straighten all that is crooked and deceitful in us.
Give to all who open themselves to you
the gifts of wisdom and understanding,
insight and tenderness,
the knowledge of the dignity of the redeemed,
and the courage to live up to it.
Give them a humble reverence before the mystery of God,
before the beauty and fragility of our world,
and before the glory of our human nature
which you fill with your presence and your power, as your living temple.
And when for each of us in death
the hints and shadows of this world
give way to the reality of God,
be yourself the homecoming and the fulfilment
of all that your presence here has taught us to hope for.

2nd June 2019 – 7th Sunday of Easter

Dear Parishioners,

Diocesan training courses and events in support of Hope in the Future

 Catechist Training

David Wells will present three workshops for catechists for would-be catechists in June. These will be suitable for those involved in Baptismal, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation preparation, as also RCIA. David Wells is an excellent teacher so the course will soon be booked out. Please contact me ASAP if you are interested.

Choose one venue – it’s the same course at all three.

St. Michael’s, Ribble Drive, Whitefield on Saturday 22nd June 10am-12noon
Our Lady and the English Martyrs Parish Centre, Davyhulme Rd, Urmston, Sunday 23rd June 2pm – 4pm
St. John Southworth, Vaughan Street, Nelson, Thursday 4th July 7-9pm

North West Scripture Festival 2019

Saturday 29th June at Thornleigh Salesian College, Bolton, 9.30am to 3.30 pm.
The theme of this year’s festival will be Peter and Paul: Chosen and Sent.

Prayer and worship; Scripture reflections; Small group conversation; Creative plenary sessions. Tea and coffee provided; please bring a packed lunch. Suggested donation of £10 per person. To book your place please contact formation@rcaol.co.uk or ring 0151 522 1040.

 An Afternoon/Evening with Sherry Weddell for Clergy and Laity

Thursday 20th June 2019, 5:30pm – 9:00pm, St Bernadette’s Parish Centre, Whitefiled, M45 7SX
5:30pm – Holy Hour / Confessions
6:30pm – Tea/Coffee
7:00pm – Talk – Forming Intentional Disciples
8:30pm – Q&A and discussions
9:00pm -Departures
Suggested donation of £5:00 payable on the door. Register online – www.dioceseofsalford.org.uk/parishes/events/ or by emailing john.griffin@dioceseofsalford.org.uk or calling 0161 817 2214.

Fr John

19th May 2019 – 5th Sunday of Easter

Dear Parishioners,

You may remember two Palestinian Christians visiting the parish some years ago, they will return next weekend. Elias Rishmawy represents Christian families in and around Bethlehem and has written to explain their mission.  Fr John


Bethlehem art is run by the Christian families in and around Bethlehem.

Our mission statement is to provide an income for the few Christian families still living in Bethlehem. There are few pilgrims and visitors to the Holy Land and so families have no means of selling their work. The result is that many families are facing great poverty and distress, as this is for many is their main livelihood.

The items produced by local craftsmen are individually hand carved from the wood of the olive tree that are common throughout the Holy Land and in particular those which surround my native city of Bethlehem. Many of the trees are over 300 years old and many used for the carvings have fallen during the troubles.

Since olive wood is one of the hardest woods on earth, the woodcarvings and their detailing require the patience of very skilled craftsmen. God has blessed the craftsmen of Bethlehem with a very special talent.

This art of woodcarvings has been practised for centuries and passed down through generations from father to son.

Once the items are carved, they are sanded and coated with a sealant varnish to protect the wood and highlight the grain. There will be no need for oiling or any further treatment, just display it and enjoy its beauty. These items will last a lifetime and can easily be enjoyed by generations to come.

I have the honour of representing the families and the craftsmen in my town of Bethlehem and I am proud to bring their carvings here to the United Kingdom for you to enjoy.

Every purchase of these carvings will help to support the many Christian families that still in current times live under constant deprivation and conflict.

Elias Rishmawy


12th May 2019 – 4th Sunday of Easter

Dear Parishioners,
Today is Vocation Sunday on which we are asked to pray for Vocations, particularly to the priesthood but also to the many vocations in the Church. More about this in the homily. After all Masses this weekend there will be a retiring collection for the fund which pays for the training of future priests. There will be a special Holy Hour and Benediction to pray for vocations in SS Michael and John’s on Sunday 9th June at 3pm. This year the Diocese looks forward to the ordination to the Priesthood of Damien Louden and Bob Hayes. Please pray for them and seminarians.

Bishop John will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Cathedral on Whit Sunday, 9th June. Any adult over the age of 13 (or at least currently in school year 8) who has not been confirmed and is a baptised Roman Catholic is eligible to receive this sacrament. Any who may be interested should contact me as soon as possible.
A polite reminder that Children in school year 6 or younger and who wish to be confirmed must follow the new confirmation preparation course which begins next month.

Members of our various parish committees are encouraged to join one or more workshops on finance, administration, buildings and health and safety that will be run by the diocese this coming Saturday 18th May 2019, from 10 to 3pm at the Cathedral Centre, 3 Ford Street, Salford, M3 6DP Workshops will include:
1) Finance (Gift Aid, Returns, levy, banking)
2) General Administration (Data protection, employment, use of volunteers, insurance, IT, background to diocese as trust/charity)
3) Property (Building/Grounds Maintenance, H&S)
The day is free but you are asked to bring a packed lunch. Tea/Coffee will be provided.
Register online – www.dioceseofsalford.org.uk/parishes/events/ or by emailing john.griffin@dioceseofsalford.org.uk or calling 0161 817 2214

To celebrate fostering fortnight, parishioners are invited to Caritas’ annual Coffee Morning Event on Friday 17th May from 12 to 2pm. Open to any who are interested in fostering, or learning how to support foster families in their parish at the Cathedral Centre, 3 Ford Street, Salford, M3 6DP. Tel: 0161 817 2250. www.caritasfostering.org.uk

Remember Parish Forum this Wednesday 7.30pm.

Fr John

5th May 2019 – 3rd Sunday of Easter

As part of the parish’s Hope in the Future Programme, the Salvete and Communications Groups are looking at how they might be more welcoming and in touch with our young people.

Christus Vivit (Christ is Alive) is the name of a recent letter written by Pope Francis to Young People, in which he calls us all to reflect on the young and for the young.  The figures in brackets relate to paragraphs in his letter.

He emphasises that the young are the present of the Church not merely its future, and call us to prayerful and attentive listening to them.

‘Each young person’s heart should thus be considered ‘holy ground’, a bearer of seeds of divine life, before which we must ‘take off our shoes’ in order to draw near and enter more deeply in the Mystery.’ (68).  Pope Francis further suggests we should work together inter-generationally.  ‘We adults can often be tempted to list all the problems and failings of today’s young people.’  ‘But what would be the result of such an attitude?  Greater distance, less closeness, less mutual assistance.’ (66) Instead ‘Our institutions should provide young people with places they can make their own.  Where they can come and go freely, feel welcome, and readily meet other young people.  Whether at times of difficulty and frustration, or of joy and celebration.’ (218)

His plea is that: ‘the Church sets aside narrow preconceptions and listens carefully to the young, this empathy enriches her, for it allows young people to make their own contribution to the community, helping it to appreciate new sensitivities and to consider new questions’ (65)

In response, the Salvete & Communications groups have called their first focus group meeting, with young people aged 11-16, pupils from St Augustine’s High School, to take place on 8th May.  The aim is to develop new types of links between the focus group and the church’s offering and community.

The meeting will start by hearing what the current Church means to the young people, hearing what motivates and attracts them, listening to which aspects of the Church are of interest and finally exploring some ideas for new activities and actions that hopefully will be led by young people, accompanied by others.

Please pray for positive fruits from the meeting that might guide us towards a more youthful and inclusive Church.  We look forward to feeding back the progress in a future newsletter.

28th April 2019 – 2nd Sunday of Easter

Dear Parishioners,

Last Wednesday, while speaking on the ‘Our Father’, and particularly the words “as we forgive those who trespass against us” he (Pope Francis) said “We have received everything from Him, in terms of nature and of grace. Our life was not only willed but was also loved by God. There is truly no room for presumption when we join our hands to pray. “Self-made men” don’t exist in the Church — men who made themselves. We are all debtors of God and of so many persons who have given us favourable conditions of life. Our identity is built from the good received. The first is life.

One who prays learns to say “thank you.”  And we so often forget to say “thank you.” We are egoistic. One who prays learns to say, “thank you,” and asks God to be benevolent to him or to her. Try as we might, an overwhelming debt remains before God, which we will never be able to restore: He loves us infinitely more than we love Him. And then, try as we might to live according to Christian teachings, there will always be something in our life for which to ask forgiveness: we think of days spent lazily, of moments in which resentment occupied our heart, and so on.  It’s these experiences, unfortunately not rare, which make us implore: “Lord, Father, forgive us our trespasses.” So we ask God for forgiveness.

If we think properly, the invocation could also be limited to this first part; it would be good. Instead, Jesus welds it with a second expression that is altogether one with the first. The vertical relationship of benevolence on God’s part is refracted and we are called to translate it into a new relationship that we live with our brothers: a horizontal relationship. The good God invites us to be altogether good. The two parts of the invocation are linked together with a merciless conjunction: we ask the Lord to forgive us our trespasses, our sins “as” we forgive our friends, the people that live with us, our neighbours, the people who have done something bad to us”.

Fr John