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

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 12th November 2017


In June, Pope Francis instituted an annual World Day of The Poor, the first being on November 19th.

In announcing it, he said: “It is my wish that, in the week preceding the World Day of the Poor, …. Christian communities will make every effort to create moments of encounter and friendship, solidarity and concrete assistance”. He continues: “This Sunday, if there are poor people where we live who seek protection and assistance, let us draw close to them: it will be a favourable moment to encounter the God we seek.  Following the teaching of Scripture, let us welcome them as honoured guests at our table; they can be teachers who help us live the faith more consistently.”

As a centre piece for the Diocese’s World Day of the Poor, Caritas Salford will be launching the ‘ Refugee Dine With Me’ initiative across the Diocese on Wed 15th November at 6pm at Guardian Angels parish centre in Bury. This was successfully piloted by OLOTV parishioners last year, and Caritas hopes that people who took part in the pilot will come along and share their experiences.

In the preface to the Toolkit, Bishop John Arnold says: “I am very pleased to introduce the launch of this new initiative: ‘Refugee Dine with Me’. It is a very simple but effective way of welcoming people into our parishes who have left their homes and families to seek refuge and safety amongst us. When people sit together to share a meal, especially people from different cultures and life experiences, there is an opportunity to share more than just food. They create what Pope Francis has called a ‘culture of encounter.’ In accepting to share a meal together both host and guest are opening themselves to a very human encounter that breaks down barriers and builds new friendships. ‘Refugee Dine with Me’ creates such an opportunity that also leads us to a deepened understanding of human dignity and to a greater empathy for those who have journeyed to our shores seeking sanctuary. My hope is that you will take up this initiative as a part of the life of a missionary parish.”

If Parishioners want to participate in the initiative, please contact Tom or Kathryn Clay on 07962136749 or email tomclay48@hotmail.com.

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time – 5th November 2017

Dear Parishioners,

You may remember that in a recent Pastoral Letter the Bishop announced the launch of a pastoral programme in the Diocese, called “Hope in the Future”.

Bishop John comments: The first part of the programme will help us acknowledge and celebrate all that parishioners, groups and communities are doing in the parish and what they are achieving. It is important for everyone to realise that the work they are already doing has value and that their contribution counts.”

The project should be lay-led but initially he has asked each parish priest to form a small team that can drive the initiative forward. Thereafter, I should step back and allow the team to carry the project forward.

As you are aware a team has been working with me on a similar project over the past three years, as we have, among other issues, studied Pope Francis two encyclicals, so I have asked them to continue with this project. The group have adopted the name ‘Missionary Steering Team’ (aka MST group) and the members consist of Alison Rowley, Peter Donnelly, Janet Hall, Michael Smith, Ann Cooke, Neil Wallace, Nichola Dixon, Damian Buggy and Teresa Mercer. “The team members have divided into three groups. Each group will be responsible for one of the following sessions within the communities of Dunsop, Sabden and Clitheroe (hence, each community will have an opportunity to attend all three sessions in their local area)

The first three sessions are:

  • Rebuild My Church (reflections on St Francis’ call to mission before the Crucifix of San Damiano; (pictured on the front of the newsletter)
  • Recognising and celebrating our gifts;
  • Using our gifts in the service of others.

These meetings will begin after the New Year.

The newest Parish group, formed in response to my call for volunteers to begin implementing Pope Francis’ vision spelled out in Laudato Si, met on Thursday in the Presbytery. They decided to explore the possibility of us becoming a “Live Simply” parish. Mark Wiggin was elected Chair and Anthony Brown Secretary. To find out more or to join the group please come to the next meeting at 7.30pm on Thursday 30th November in the Presbytery.

Fr John

A unified pro-life lobby can turn the tide against abortion

This week sees the 50th anniversary of the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act and, on paper, things would appear to be very bleak.
Over the past 50 years, 8.8 million lives have been lost to abortion and countless women have endured unimaginable pain and trauma as what was supposed to be a choice for those in the most desperate of circumstances has morphed into an obligation or responsibility to seriously weigh up whether or not you want your unborn child to live.
Politicians have rejected the chance to specifically outlaw sex-selective abortion which, according to recent poll data, is legislation which would be welcomed by over 90 per cent of the population, while babies diagnosed with disabilities or severe illness are able to be aborted right up until the moment that they are born.
In addition, not content with the fact that in effect we have abortion on demand in the UK, the abortion lobby is pushing for more and more ground, demanding decriminalisation of abortion up until birth for any reason, lobbying for the removal of conscience rights for medical professionals who are currently exempted from being involved in abortion procedures and doing whatever they can to stifle the pro-life voice in public…

Read the full article in the Universe

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 22nd October 2017

Dear Parishioners,

Today is World Mission Sunday, a day on which Catholics of every land  join together in prayer for the Worldwide Mission of the Church and contribute towards its support. We shall take a retiring collection.

What does mission mean in practice?

Bishop Paride Taban is called South Sudan’s Desmond Tutu. Now, aged 81, he is one of the few South Sudanese who can remember peace in their country. In 1999, Bishop Paride started a farm on the eastern edge of South Sudan. Today that farm has become the Holy Spirit Peace Village: an oasis of peace. In stark contrast to the rest of this scarred and divided country, the Peace Village is home to people from 24 different tribes who live and work happily together. It is a model of harmonious and sustainable living and the place where he lives in a very active retirement.

Recently, Bishop Paride’s spirit of peace prevented a revenge attack after a little child, John, was kidnapped. Before the spirit of peace took hold, John’s ordeal would have triggered ‘an eye for an eye justice’ from one tribe to another. Cattle would have been stolen, or another child abducted or killed. But John was returned to his family in good health. After a week of tears, John’s mother is happy again, declaring that: ‘Without the Peace Village, our child would just have disappeared. Although l am angry with the people who did this, I know that we must learn to live alongside the communities around us.’

Recently, Bishop Paride received the Hubert Walter Award from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at a ceremony in London in recognition of his half a century promoting Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation, often at great personal risk.

Without the help of money donated to Missio over the past 90 years, Bishop Paride could never been educated and ordained a priest and he could never have built up his diocese or achieved so much in the service of the Gospel.

Now to another important issue. This Friday, 27th of October,

a rally will be held in Parliament Square with a minute of prayerful silence at 11.05 am, commemorating the moment the Abortion Bill became law. In St Michael & St John’s, the Rosary will be prayed at 11.30am on Saturday. Please try and join us and certainly don’t let 50 years and the deaths of 8 million children pass without marking this tragic anniversary in some way.

Fr John

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 15th October 2017

Dear Parishioners,

We have been asked by the Bishop to support this survey.

In 2016, Pope Francis called Modern Slavery a ‘true crime against humanity’ and urged the Catholic Church to assist in the fight to eliminate it.  The eradication of Modern Slavery was included in the United Nations Sustainable Development goals in 2015.  As a Church we are in a privileged position as many of those exploited look to the church and come to the Church for help. In this survey we are asking you to help us identify these vulnerable communities – who they are, where they are, what they need, and what you need to support them effectively.

The Modern Slavery Act (2015) defined the crime of modern slavery as occurring when any person holds another person in slavery or servitude, or when a person requires another person to perform forced or compulsory labour.  In this country there are many faces of modern slavery: people who find themselves in situations of domestic servitude; women and girls from abroad and from the UK trafficked for sexual exploitation; men and women abused by drug cartels and organized crime groups who end up in car washes, nail bars and as cleaners; and finally the thousands of people recruited from Eastern European countries who are exploited in various industrial and agricultural sectors – farming, fishing, poultry and factories.  Human trafficking, more specifically, occurs when one person arranges or organises the movement of another person (within the same country or across national borders) so they can exploit or enslave that person.

Parishes and chaplaincies across the UK are asked to assist with this short survey about modern slavery. It will help the Church, via the Santa Marta Group, in gathering important data in the fight against Modern Slavery.  Please go to the link below and input the password: Bakhita  https://stmarys.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/informational-survey-2017-modern-slavery

And with another question: Should you give money to street beggars? Watch the following 6 minute video made by Fr Jim McCartney for the answer.

Fr John

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 8th October 2017

Dear Parishioners,

Thank you very much indeed for the great privilege and blessing of my time here in Our Lady of the Valley parish these last two years.  I am grateful to you all for the faith, hope and love that you have shared.  Our three churches are alive with people who profess and practise the Catholic faith in active, engaged and inspiring ways.

Thank you especially for the memorable, uplifting celebration on Tuesday evening, when mass was concelebrated to mark my departure and that of Mgr John Chaloner.  This was a wonderful occasion and we all appreciated the inspired music ministry and the involvement of the children in reading, singing and the remarkable “stick dance.”

Thank you for the cards, gifts and the extremely generous cheques.  Coming to priesthood later in life, with a teaching career and savings behind me, I always donate such gifts to charity: thankfully, I am sending over £1,000.00 to Craig Lodge where the charity “Mary’s Meals” is based.  I will tell them that this comes from the great goodness of the people of Our Lady of the Valley parish.

I am grateful for having begun my priestly ministry in a parish where lay people are so involved and where social action is a lived reality and not just a preached ideal.  Our faith community is a beacon to society at large and we should be justly proud of the ministry to the marginalised, the work to support refugees, the campaigning against trafficking and slavery and so many other ways in which the lonely, disadvantaged and vulnerable are supported.

I have come to see what great local Catholic schools we have with truly excellent head teachers and outstandingly devoted staff who go the extra mile in pursuit not just of academic excellence but also of the nurturing of faith.  Parishioners can be assured that their children and grandchildren are being given the best of starts in life.

My greatest gratitude is for the amazing spiritual bouquet that was presented to me.  I have discovered more and more how dependent we priests are on the prayers of the faithful.  Please know that I will also pray and offer the mass for you in the days ahead.  Thank you and God bless you.

Father Kevin

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 1st October 2017

Dear Parishioners,
At the recent Forum, in my report on the Parish Social Centre I mentioned the challenge faced by Clitheroe’s local hospitality and catering businesses by the success of the gigantic Holmes Mill project.  To meet this challenge we have to attract more custom and one way is by challenging the popular perception that the Centre is more or less for Catholics only! Yes, that attitude still persists. So, the Centre will be given the more modern title of “The Old Schoolroom”, with St Michael and St John’s appearing underneath in smaller letters.  When I reported this, some parishioners were uncertain but the simple fact is that if the Centre is to remain open, warm, in good repair and decoration, and pay for itself then we simply must continue to adapt and fight for a share of the market! Consider that a decade ago there were well over a hundred parish social centres and clubs in the diocese but today there are less than twenty still functioning and most of these are fighting for survival. We have to adapt to survive or go the way of the Dodo. However, to assure parishioners that the Centre is and will remain a parish venture, I propose that we hold an Annual General Meeting open to all parishioners and other members, that will provide an annual report followed by opportunity to question, challenge and suggest ways to ensure its future viability.

Also at the Forum, I promised that a committee would be formed to ensure that Pope Francis’ Laudato Si encyclical finds a place at the very heart of our parish. You may remember that last winter, as a parish we studied this document over six evening sessions. These meetings were well attended and produced a number of recommendations on how we should respond to Pope Francis as individuals and as a parish community.

These study sessions and those which previously examined Pope Francis’ first encyclical Evangelli Nunciandi were organised by a small steering team. I would like to invite a new group to carry forward the response to Laudato Si by considering the important environmental and ecological issues that the Pope has raised so that our parish grows to be not only environmentally friendly but also encourages us all to take responsibility for protecting and nurturing our tiny planet, God’s gift to us all. Our children are born to inherit the earth, our common home. In what state shall we bequeath it to them?

If you are interested in this venture then please give or email me your name and contact details and we shall take it from there.

On Wednesday, as we hear today at Mass, Bishop John will unveil his ‘Hope in the Future’ vision for the Diocese  More about that later!

Fr John

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 24th September 2017

Dear Parishioners,

One item on the agenda of the Parish Forum which met last Wednesday discussed the Clitheroe Christmas Fayre which has reached the point of crisis.  This only concerns Clitheroe for both Dunsop Bridge and Sabden run their own successful Christmas events.

For many years now Janet Clegg and Carol Riley have organised our Christmas Fayres.  We have had themed Fayres, Autumn Fayres, a variety of stalls, games, raffles, tombolas, delicious refreshments and of course Father Christmas.

Planning and coordinating this event has taken a lot of hard work and effort and, as well as being a social occasion, has raised significant funds for our Parish.  We thank Janet and Carol for all they have done.  Sadly, the money raised from the event has decreased over the last few years and we have agreed not to have one this year as planned.  What can replace it in Clitheroe?  We do need some new ideas for raising much needed funds.  Two suggestions are a Grand Raffle with real determination to sell all the tickets, (in the past tickets have been unsold) and a Spring Fayre.  Please give it some thought and let us have your ideas.

We also need a small group of enthusiastic volunteers to organise whatever is decided and make it happen.  Can you give some time? Often money raised is for a specific project and, surprisingly, fund raising events contribute to building our Parish Community.  Please think hard !!

Suggestions can be given to Margaret Donnelly, donnelmarg@aol.com (01200 441081) or given to Janet and they will be considered at the next Forum on November 15th.

Thank you,

Secretary Parish Forum