Global Healing

GLOBAL HEALING A big thank you to all who came to the well-attended Laudato Si film and meeting on Wednesday. In keeping with the Live Simply campaign we didn’t use any plastic plates or cutlery and everybody seemed to engage with an important aspect of our faith whilst enjoying themselves in good company. See photo and full report on the parish website.

2nd December 2018 – 1st Sunday of Advent

THANK YOU ALL…

Recently, all parishioners were invited to complete a questionnaire entitled “Offering my Time and Gifts” as part of the Hope in the Future initiative.

On the 4th October 2017 Bishop John launched this initiative for the renewal of the Diocese of Salford. Earlier in the year, three meetings were held in all three churches in our parish to help us reflect on how to follow the example of St Francis of Assisi in rebuilding our church, by recognising and celebrating our gifts in the service of the church and  others.

Following on from these meetings the questionnaire was launched to look at harvesting our gifts. The questionnaire invited each parishioner to confirm which parish groups they already volunteer for and which parish groups they would be interested in knowing more about with a view to volunteering. The response to the questionnaire has been amazing and a big thank you must go out to all those who returned their questionnaire.

Out of the 350 forms taken over 80 were returned. These showed the vast number of people that already volunteer for the numerous parish groups we have and they also showed just how many of our parishioners want to volunteer.

Every parishioner who returned a questionnaire stating their interest in a parish group will in due course be contacted with further information. Due to the overwhelming response this will take a little time but be assured contact will be made.

Out of the 71 parish groups listed on the questionnaire, interest was shown in relation to 54, with many groups having several volunteers. Some of the groups already exist in our parish but many are new, which will hopefully represent exciting times for our parish moving forward. Sadly, we received little response to the youth groups, which with dropping numbers of teenagers and young people attending church is something many parishioners have raised as a concern.

If you have not yet returned your questionnaire, it is not too late. They can be returned to the Presbytery at any time. Spare questionnaires are still available at the back of church after Mass, so if you have not yet had one, please feel free to take one.

As already stated, those who have shown interest will be contacted in due course and for now, we thank those who already volunteer and those who have shown interest.

Hope in the Future Steering Group

Christ the King – 25th November 2018

Dear Parishioners,

(An interesting extract from an article written by the respected journalist John Allen)

Over the last three weeks, Christians and others concerned with religious freedom have been watching the drama play out in Pakistan, where Asia Bibi was finally released from nine years on death row on a blasphemy charge only to be forced into hiding inside the country with no clear exit strategy for asylum.

Bibi, an illiterate Catholic mother of five, at least has the good fortune that her case has become something of an international cause célèbre, so it garners steady media and political attention. Yet hers is hardly an isolated story, with most other victims of religious persecution around the world languishing in silence.

In this context, it’s worth revisiting a landmark study released in the spring of 2017 by “Under Caesar’s Sword”, a joint partnership between Notre Dame (Catholic University in Indiana) and the Washington based Religious Freedom Institute, which is devoted to understanding global Christian communities. In this case, the study focused on Christian responses to persecution in 25 nations, generally those where anti-Christian oppression is the strongest and most violent.

Although there are several annual reports on religious freedom violations worldwide, few focus specifically on anti-Christian persecution, and this is the first to ever ponder not merely the fact of oppression but how Christians respond to it.

In terms of why the focus on Christians, the study couldn’t have been clearer: “In short, Christians are the most widely targeted religious community, suffering terrible persecution globally.”

Further, the study noted another compelling reason for the focus on Christians: “Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this persecution is the lack of press coverage it receives … the mainstream media and human rights organizations give it little attention.”

As an example, the study noted that during a period from 2008 to 2011, Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s most respected watchdog groups, devoted just 2.5 percent of its reports to religious persecution of any sort, and fewer than half that number included Christians. This despite the fact that the low-end estimate for the number of Christians killed for their faith around the world every year works out to one new martyr almost every hour of every day.

Fr John

33rd Sunday in Ordinary time – 18th November 2018

Dear Parishioners,

As you may be aware, on 18 June 2015 Pope Francis published a letter called Laudato Si which emphasises our responsibility to care for our common home, planet earth, which faces a dire future if present trends continue.

He speaks to the whole world about the increasing damage we are inflicting on our environment and challenges us all to make the connections between our lifestyles and the damage they do to the planet.  He encourages us to learn to recognise the choices we have in our lives to help or hinder our planet’s health.  Every drop of water we drink, every strand of cotton we wear, every word we write on our computers affects the environment in some way or other. And need I add: plastic bags?

His letter has been received positively by other churches, environmental groups and governments

He calls us to recognise our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork, as an essential aspect of Christian living. We must all take responsibility to safeguard God’s creation.

In our parish this Advent, we are launching a short course called Global Healing on 5 December, which will continue with two sessions after the New Year. Bishop John has recommended it to the diocese.  It starts with an evening of film, discussion and a multicultural meal.  In the spirit of our “Live Simply” parish initiative, the 30-minute film illustrates practical responses from dioceses, parishes, families and individuals around the country. The film includes interviews with Cardinal Nichols and specialists in environmental questions.

Seven people have already volunteered to provide a choice of meals from around the world. But it would be good if more volunteered to join them! Please contact any member of the Live Simply (Laudato Si) group, or ring Anthony Brown on 01200 422811 for further information.

Also, volunteers from the group will be outside after Masses who will be only too glad to answer your questions and offer tickets (so that we have an idea how many will come, to ensure sufficient meals with no wastage of food).   The tickets are free but please only take one if you intend to come, and return it if you find you can’t.  Please feel welcome to invite family and friends.

Fr John

Further information: – http://www.olotv.org.uk/parish-groups/laudato-si

31st Sunday in Ordinary time – 4 November 2018

Dear Parishioners,

I’m writing this on Halloween, a contraction of All Hallows eve, the eve of All Saints Day.

So, maybe a few thoughts about the most critical moment of life: Death. Death is life’s moment of truth when we shall see and recognise ourselves for what we are. It is then that God waits to accept us into his infinite loving embrace. Some may fall into God’s arms immediately. For others the embarrassment of fickle, imperfect, vacillating love may prevent an unconditional acceptance of God’s embrace until love is purified and refined. Sadly, some may be so full of hatred and denial of everything good that they turn their face forever away from love, from God. An eternity without love is simply Hell.

On the other hand, Heaven is an endless moment of love. Nothing more separates the saints from the God whom they have sought their life long. Together with the angels they rejoice eternally in and with God. (Observe a couple in love) oblivious to the world as they look into each other’s eyes or a suckling baby looking up to its mother’s face — then you have some inkling of Heaven. To be able to see God face to face is like a single, never-ending moment of love.

Purgatory, often imagined as a place, is actually a condition. One who dies in God’s grace but whose frail and wavering love is in need of purifying of selfishness is in the state we name: Purgatory. After Peter’s betrayal, Jesus looked at him but Peter could only turn in shame to weep bitterly — he withdrew, unable to accept Jesus’ forgiving gaze of love. Just such a purgatory, a purification of love probably awaits most at death — the Lord will look at us full of love but on our side burning shame and remorse for past faithlessness and unloving behaviour will hold us back. Only after purification will our love rush us into God’s loving embrace in untroubled heavenly joy.

We, who are baptized, both the living and the dead, are united in one family, in one communion. So we pray for each other — we ask the saints to intercede for us and in turn we intercede for our dead. Our example is St Thomas More who wrote to his daughter Meg on the night before his execution: “Farewell, my dear child, and pray for me, and I shall for you, and for all your friends, that we may merrily meet in heaven.”

All Saints is the day we praise God for his miracles of grace. All Souls is the day we remember and pray for our departed family and friends.

Fr John

30th Sunday in Ordinary time – 28th October 2018

Dear Parishioners,

This weekend ends the month of October which is the month specially dedicated to Mary and the Rosary. It seems an appropriate time to think about Lourdes. The events in Lourdes took place 160 years ago but they are as relevant today as ever. At the first apparition on 11th February 1858 Bernadette prayed the Rosary with the “beautiful lady”. Mary appeared to Bernadette 18 times, she asked for prayer and penance, she asked Bernadette to tell the priests that people are to come in procession and to build a church and on the 16th apparition she revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception.

Since then Lourdes has been a place of pilgrimage and is visited by people of all religions and from all over the world. It is a place of love and prayer, hope and renewal, equality, compassion and friendship. Each year the Bishop of Lourdes has a theme for pilgrims on which to focus. The theme this year was “Do whatever He tells you”, Mary’s instructions at the Marriage Feast of Cana and in 2019, from the Magnificat, “The Almighty has done great things for me”.

The Salford Diocesan Pilgrimage is let by Bishop John Arnold and for the last four years a small group from our parish has joined the Diocese. The week is a very special experience, as well as spiritually renewing; it is a week of fun, laughter and tears and a great sense of belonging to the Diocesan family. The sick are at the centre of the pilgrimage and are cared for by many volunteers of all ages. The liturgies are beautifully planned and there is time for quiet, private prayer, for socialising in the many bars and cafe, for shopping and to visit other places.

If you would like to know more about the pilgrimage or are considering coming in 2019 there will be a meeting in the presbytery on Monday November 21st at 7pm when we will talk about the week’s activities and organisation, travel and cost. Please come if you are interested, there will no commitment.”

Margaret Donnelly (2018 group co-ordinator)

 

SVP – Help needed

S.V.P.  Help needed.  From time to time the SVP need use of a van to transport items of furniture to people’s houses and wondered if any parishioner may be able to help us when needed.  We are also looking for a microwave, a kettle and a toaster for a young single parent.  If anyone could help with any of this, please ring Peter on 01200 441081 or speak to any SVP member.  Thank you.

29th Sunday in Ordinary time – 21st October 2018

URGENT RESPONSE

Asia Bibi a Roman Catholic woman on death row in Pakistan has made a direct appeal to Christians in the UK, urging them to pray for her. This message was conveyed by her husband, Ashiq Bibi, who has travelled to the UK to highlight the plight of his wife. He emphasised that his wife had been imprisoned since 2009, but she has always said that Jesus is her life and despite the pressures will never deny her faith.

She was sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010 after being accused by two women of insulting the prophet Mohammed.  The accusation was made five days after the women rowed with Asia because she had taken water from a common water supply which they said was for muslims alone. Asia Bibi is just one example of how blasphemy laws in Pakistan have been misused to settle personal vendettas.

The subsequent legal battle has led to protests and to the assassination of two politicians who publicly defended her.

The Supreme Court in Pakistan is due to rule on an appeal against Asia’s death sentence. An announcement planned for last Monday has been postponed without a reason being given. Please remember to pray for Asia and her family and consider writing to Imran Khan, the new Prime Minister of Pakistan to plead for her life and her freedom.

The text below may help you to write a letter to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, but please do not simply rip this page off and send it to him, that would be totally counter productive and preferably you should use your own words.

 

Prime Minister Imran Khan, P.M Secretariat, Constitution Avenue, G-5/2,

Islamabad, Pakistan

Dear Prime Minister

I am writing to express my concern for a Asia Bibi, a citizen of Pakistan who is in jail in your country for alleged blasphemy. She has now been in jail for some 9 years with the death penalty hanging over her for an action which, even if true, surely does not merit the death penalty. In any case, a long imprisonment is more than sufficient punishment. Furthermore, the evidence that she committed this crime is questioned by very many.

We are all encouraged to show our belief in the mercy of God in our actions. I would humbly ask that mercy is shown to Asia Bibi, and that you use your best efforts to secure her release from prison

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

(signed etc)

28th Sunday in Ordinary time – 14th October 2018

My hand, Your hand, Our hands

As you know, Bishop John, inspired by Pope Francis in “Evangelli Gaudium” has launched the Hope in the Future programme in the Salford Diocese. He encourages all parishes to take up the challenge to develop Missionary parishes.

We have followed the programme here and held three meetings during Lent in each church of our parish to reflect on and plan how we could move forward. Meeting 2 looked at how we might harvest the many gifts and talents in our large parish. Only through working together and looking outward can we become a Missionary Parish.

As you leave church today you will be offered a pack consisting of a parish information booklet, a leaflet for you to complete indicating any interest you may have and an envelope in which to return the leaflet to Fr. John. Please return to the presbytery or in the collection plate by Sunday 18th November.

We hope that every adult will find at least one group that interests them so that all can take up the challenge of the Gospel.

Your information will be treated in line with the Data protection Act.

The Missionary Steering Team