2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 14 January 2018

Dear Parishioners,

In the early 1900’s the Catholic population of sub-Saharan Africa was less than 2 million. Today it is estimated that Africa is home to 200 million Catholics. That is, by any estimation, a staggering growth rate.

However, by 2050, based on projections from the World Christian Database, Africa should have over 450 million Catholics, becoming by far the world’s largest Catholic continent!

In 1975 when I began work in East Africa, my Bishop was a Dutch Mill Hill Missionary and the diocese was staffed by missionaries with only a handful of African priests. Within two years an African was appointed Bishop and the area of that single diocese is now covered by nine dioceses and all are staffed by local priests and bishops.

Following the 2nd Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI made the training of African priests a priority and today vocations are plentiful. There is major seminary in Nigeria which began life in 1952 with 12 students, today it has over 1,000 and is only one of 8 Nigerian major seminaries.

Today, African leaders hold important posts in the Church, men such as Cardinals Francis Arinze and John Onaiyekan of Nigeria, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo of the Democratic Republic of Congo (who’s also a member of Pope Francis’s council of cardinal advisers) Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana (who heads the Vatican’s ministry for Promoting Integral Human Development and heads a great deal of Pope Francis’s peace-and-justice initiatives) and Cardinals Robert Sarah and Wilfrid Napier.

Almost all dioceses in this country have African priests to help staff parishes. In our own diocese, four parishes are served by priests from Africa.

The traditional Missionary societies now overwhelmingly rely on candidates recruited from Africa and Asia while Africa has founded at least two Missionary societies of its own.

But success must not deceive us. Africa still needs missionaries to share the love, the mercy and knowledge of Jesus Christ, as also it still relies on our prayerful and financial Support.

Today we welcome to Our Lady of the Valley parish Fr Waslaw Krzempek of the Society of African Missions who will preach the annual mission appeal.

Fr John

Spring Happening

At the recent Our Lady of the Valley Parish Forum it was proposed and agreed to have a “Spring Happening”. This will be a celebration to include all our parish, friends and local communities; playgroups, primary and High Schools, parish groups, local community groups and parishioners. With games to play, stalls, crafts, demonstrations,refreshments and lots more. Let’s have fun for all the family at this Spring Happening. The event is open to one and all.

So, save the date, Sunday 20th May 2018, at St Michael and St John’s Secret Garden and Assembly Hall. It is important that everyone contributes – no matter how big or small, your ideas are valued. We will be delighted to see you at the “Spring Happening” planning meetings that have been arranged for Monday 5th February at 11.00am and again at 7.30pm, at St Michael and St John’s Presbytery, Clitheroe. This should enable us all to have a greater understanding of each other’s needs for this celebration and to join together with our local communities.

If you are unable to attend but would like to contribute, do not hesitate to contact one of the following:

Jane Brown, 01200 441949  jane_ann_brown@hotmail.com
Susan Felllows, 078877690402 susan-fellows@hotmail.co.uk
Ann Harkin, 07823400278 anhark456@aol.com

The Epiphany – 7th January 2018

Laudato Si’ Group

The Laudato Si’ Group has agreed that the way forward for our Parish to begin implementing Pope Francis’ and Bishop John’s request that we respond positively to the Pope’s letter Laudato Si is to work towards gaining CAFOD’s Live Simply Award.

As well as a means for progressing Laudato Si’, the award will bring together the many strands of our Parish groups so we can work as a community to live sustainably with creation and in solidarity with the poor.

Under these overlapping headings there is much we are already doing and much more we can do.  Some of it will engage environmentally-concerned individuals and families with outings to learn about wild flower meadows around Slaidburn or a visit to a farm at Rimington which provides educational opportunities for children.  The Yorkshire Dales National Park and Natural England have conservation sites.  Dale Head church (near Stocks Reservoir) and Horton-in-Ribblesdale church are best examples of conservation.

We can apply lessons learned. The old Catholic cemetery on Waddington Road is a potential conservation site. “Bob boxes” (for bats and birds) can be a learning vehicle. Children can sponsor a box to learn how they work and what they attract. We can encourage domestic Wildlife Gardening and develop the ground behind St Mary’s, Sabden and St Hubert’s, Dunsop Bridge. We can have practical foraging lessons as family days out.

At a personal level we can learn of products associated with environmental damage and serious labour exploitation. We can check the ethics of purchases and think Fairtrade. We can buy vegetables in season to avoid the expense of storage and transport. We have plenty of water but purification takes energy. In avoiding energy wastage and wastage of food, fuel and wastage generally, we live in solidarity with the poor. Pope Francis reminds us that “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs”. At a Parish level we will provide a list of things to do and products to avoid buying on ethical grounds.

To learn more and have your say, come to the Parish Centre on Wednesday, January 10th at 7.30 pm. Joe Howson and Mark Rotherham (Lee House Mission Awareness Centre) will talk about their environmental projects and Joseph Cooper will talk about their Live Simply Award plans and progress at St Wilfrid’s Parish, Preston.

Now is the time to put Laudato Si into action!

Laudato Si Action Group.

Second Sunday of Advent – 10 December 2017

St Augustine’s RC High School Garden of Peace

The Young Enterprise Group at St Augustine’s is raising funds to develop a ‘Garden of Peace’, which will be located at the main entrance and will commemorate the centenary of the end of World War I in 2018.  It will be a spectacular visual experience for visitors to the school and will provide a space where people can reflect, think creatively and develop their spiritual awareness.

St Augustine’s would like to offer you a unique and special opportunity to purchase a paving stone which will be laid on our ‘pathway to peace’ in the garden.  Each paving stone will be professionally engraved with your name, family name or an inspirational quote. You may wish to purchase an individual stone for each family member, one stone depicting your family name, for example, ‘The Smith Family’ or stones with quotes about peace engraved on them. The quotes will require larger paving stones.

We welcome corporate sponsors and our School Chaplaincy Group have decided that it would be fitting for sponsors’ names to be part of a wonderful piece of artwork that has been designed by pupils.

Further information about the project and online purchase information can be found on the school website www.sarchs.com.  This is a community project and the school would be grateful of any skills, sponsorship or general support that you would like to offer. If you would like to help or make suggestions about the project, please contact the school via email head@sarchs.com or by telephone through the main office 01254 823362.

If you are in contact with any members of the school community personally, through social media or in any other way; please tell them about the project.  When St Augustine’s celebrated 50 years of outstanding Catholic education they were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and commitment of the school community, both past and present.

St Hubert’s Bingo & Social Night

On Monday the parish held its annual Bingo & Social Night, which included the drawing of our Christmas Raffle.  Thank you to everyone for their support, donation of prizes, supporting the event and assisting in its running. Special thanks to our first time caller Kevin Johnson who did a great job, especially coping with the smoking speaker unit and shouting the numbers for the last 3 games out.  Congratulations to all the winners, (see poster) and thanks to everyone who bought and sold tickets, special thanks to Arnold Marsden who co-ordinated the sales of a record 1000 tickets to our parish friends in Clitheroe.  The event was a great success with a total income of  £2,910,  profit after expenses £1,972.60.  Fantastic achievement and thank you once again.  Still one unclaimed raffle prize—Bottle of Sherry number 0581 HW

First Sunday of Advent – 3 December 2017

Spring Happening

At our recent Our Lady of the Valley Parish forum it was proposed and agreed to have a ‘Spring Happening’. This will be a celebration to include all our Parish, friends and local communities; playgroups, primary and high schools, parish groups, local community groups and parishioners. With games to play, stalls, crafts, demonstrations, refreshments and lots more. Let’s have fun for all the family at this Spring Happening. This event is open for one and all.

So save the date, Sunday 20th May 2018 at St. Michael and St. John’s Secret Garden and Assembly Hall.  It is important that everyone contributes, no matter how big or small your ideas are valued. We will be delighted to see you at the ‘Spring Happening’ planning meetings which have been arranged for Monday 4th December at 11am and 7.30 pm at St. Michael and St. John’s Presbytery, Clitheroe. This should enable us all to have a greater understanding of each other needs for this celebration and to join together with our local communities.

If you are unable to attend, but would like to contribute, do not hesitate to contact one of the below.

Jane Brown, 01200 441949 jane_ann_brown@hotmail.com

Susan Fellows, 07887690402 susan-fellows@hotmail.co.uk

Ann Harkin, 07823400278 anhark456@aol.com

From the Bishop

Do you support Catholic schools and the right of Catholics to send their children to them? Then we need you to make your voice heard. The Government is making a critical decision on whether to overturn the admissions cap which prevents Catholic schools from allowing all Catholic pupils to attend. They have acknowledged that this policy discriminates against Catholics and promised to abandon it, but there are signs that they are going to abandon this pledge. We all need to tell them not to u-turn on their promise to Catholics.

Go to: http://catholicnews.org.uk/education-cap

or search for ‘Catholic Education’ in your search engine to write to the Government and urge them to drop their policy which bans new Catholic schools from accepting more than a 50% Catholic intake. Thank you for your cooperation.

Christ the King – 26th November 2017

A new Interfaith Initiative

Whilst visiting the New Neighbours Refugee and Asylum Seeker project in Burnley we learned that another new family had arrived in Clitheroe, from Syria. They were desperate to learn English. Currently the only English classes for men and women are in Blackburn and Burnley. As Refugees and Asylum Seekers only get £5.00 a day to live on and the bus fare is more than £4.00 each way it is impossible to attend an English class.

Recently, Clitheroe Christians in Partnership, the Mosque and friends, met to discuss coordinating the refugee response in our area. We began by sharing our belief that the Refugee crisis is a humanitarian problem and so reaffirmed our wish to work together.

As a result of this meeting we are to begin an exciting new initiative in Clitheroe. We are setting up an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) class and Refugee and Asylum Seeker drop in.

The United Reformed Church have kindly offered a room, heated and insured. Teaching requires a lot of resources which needs funding. Astonishingly, this weekend, we had had an anonymous donation, from a lady in the Hodder valley, to cover the cost of teaching materials. The Ark Project, Blackburn despite being extremely busy, have generously offered to advise on Safeguarding and legal requirements.

We would like to invite interested parishioners or retired teachers who hold a DBS (Disclosure and barring) certificate to help staff the project. It is important to have stability in the staffing arrangement, so we would require a commitment, once a week, from January 2018 until July 2018 in the first instance.  This would cover the first two terms. There are a variety of roles including 1:1 teaching support for each student, child care support for children during the adult English class and help with tea, coffee and friendship.

We have wondered what the project should be called and would welcome suggestions. We also hoped to have a nurse as part of the team.  Unbelievably we met a paediatric nurse who is due to retire in December. She explained that she hoped to work on a Refugee project and as health is a key issue in this area of work we were delighted to welcome her on board.

We do need more volunteers. For information ring Tom Clay on 07962 136749 or email: tom.clay48@hotmail.com

Tom and Kathryn Clay


CAFOD – Christmas

Stuck what Christmas gifts to buy? Tired of trawling shops to find that perfect present? World Gifts deliver the true spirit of Christmas giving.  Whatever you choose, your gift will make a real difference to someone in need this Christmas.  So look no further.  Avoid the chaos of the shops and choose an ethical gift for your loved ones to help someone smile this Christmas.  Pick up a catalogue in all 3 churches.

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 19th November 2017

Update on Safeguarding

Safeguarding is much more than completing lots of forms,  but rather about promoting the well being of children and vulnerable adults in our Parish.  We have to ensure that parents and carers can be confident that our volunteers have been “cleared” and also that we are all aware of “Best Practice”.

There have been several developments since the last update:

Alpha Cards   These wallet size cards contain a short summary of what to do if a problem is suspected. They will be distributed in the next few days.

Diocesan Support  The Safeguarding Office in Salford have a heavy workload in processing clearance applications as well as dealing with cases.  The Bishop has recognised this and an additional person has been recruited to the team so that the application process should speed up

Incident Report Forms   The Incident Report Forms are designed to capture any issues such as falls, faints or “near misses” to ensure that we can alter our processes or make repairs where necessary.

Web Site    We shall soon be unveiling the Safeguarding page on the Parish website which will give access to local information as well as Newsletters from Salford Diocese.

Help Needed  Bridget has now moved from the Parish and I’m sure that we’d all like to thank her for her hard work.

It’s important that we have two Safeguarding Reps to ensure that one of us is always available – especially with so much ground to cover over the three Churches.  I’d be really grateful if someone could volunteer to be a new Rep.  There is the odd flurry of activity on admin side, but mainly it’s about being available if someone has a question or a concern.  No direct  experience is necessary – just a willingness to ensure that we are keeping each other “safe”.

If you have any further concerns (or wish to volunteer!!), please contact me on anhark456@aol.com

Foodbank – Christmas meals

Volunteers would be greatly appreciated to help the Ribble Valley Foodbank to collect Christmas food at Clitheroe Tesco from 9am-6pm Thursday 30th November, Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd December.  Each collection period lasts for 90 minutes.  The food donated on this occasion ensures that our clients can enjoy special Christmas meals over the festive period. To confirm your availability ring 07849 534431 or email info@ribblevalleyfoodbank.org.uk.  Thank you very much.