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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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”.
Consider buying less stuff.
Think before buying: will it last?
What happens to it at the end of it’s life?
A copy of the letter below is being sent through our schools by the Bishop, inviting our Year 6 parishioners to an important meeting to launch the new Confirmation programme. If you know the parents of a Year 6 pupil not attending a Catholic school, please encourage them to contact me for a copy.
Your journey in Faith is a precious and wonderful gift which began at your Baptism. On that day you were welcomed into the Church, becoming a follower of Jesus Christ.
This journey continued with your sacramental programme which led to you receiving Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time.
I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to continue this journey.
The first disciples knew they needed the accompaniment of Jesus Christ to proclaim the gospel and to be truly missionary disciples. In his goodness, God gave them the Gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in order to do this. Today we can still receive this Gift through the Sacrament of Confirmation.
I am personally inviting you to prepare to receive this gift along with your friends which will begin with a gathering on
Saturday 15th June 2019, 10.00pm – 2.00pm at the Victoria Hall, 37 Knowsley St, Bolton, BL1 2AS.
At this gathering, like the first disciples, we will learn that our Faith in Jesus Christ is something to be shared not just in our words but through our actions.
I hope you will take this opportunity to grow in your Faith and I look forward to journeying with you as you prepare to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.
In order to book your place for the initial gathering in June, can I please ask your parent/carer to return the enclosed form to your teacher?
Following this, more information will be sent to your parent/carer. If they or you have any questions, please ask them to email the Department for Formation at:
With my best wishes,
+John Arnold, Bishop of Salford’