8th December 2019 – Second Sunday of Advent


From 5th January next year we will be including the Hope in the Future Prayer at the end of each Mass. The prayer embodies our mission as a parish. In the Diocese of Salford the ‘Hope in the Future’ programme was launched by Bishop Arnold in October 2017 and in his forward he reminds us of its objectives
“Pope Francis urges us to be aware of the poverty, isolation, marginalisation and needs of people around us and to bring the practical care of the Gospel to them. In order to do that effectively we must always be strengthening our own communities with a worthy celebration of the Sacraments, a life of prayer, an effective and engaging catechesis of the faith for the young and those who may feel drawn to our Church.”
For those who missed the launch of hope in the future there is an excellent video clip on the Salford website

Launch of Hope in the Future

In the parish of Our Lady of the Valley we launched the first stage of Hope in the Future ‘Celebrating our Parish’ by exploring and recognising the strengths and the weaknesses of the parish in a series of meetings held in Clitheroe, Sabden and Dunsop Bridge. The second stage ‘Harvesting our Talents’ started in October 2018 and involved many parishioners volunteering to assist.
The next step on our journey is to ‘Live the Eucharist’ and will provide an emphasis on how we can build on the celebration of Eucharist to ensure that our parish is mission orientated through our welcome, our liturgy and our hospitality.
The Hope in the Future Prayer will be said at the end of the bidding prayers at each Mass and will remind us of how central the missionary parish is to Our Lady of the Valley parish.


1st December 2019 – First Sunday of Advent

Thank you for making me feel so welcome in your parish of Our Lady of the Valley.  Thank you also for your patience and understanding as I find my way around the parish and our three churches and three schools.

One of my main priorities, at the moment, is to visit the sick and housebound, so I am slowly making my way around the Nursing homes, and people in their own homes who are sick or housebound.  Please be patient with me as its taking a while for me to get to visit everyone!

If you know of anyone who is not on my list, who would appreciate a visit, please let me know

Also you might know of others who are not sick, but who perhaps would be happy for me to visit, again please just let me know. I’ll get round eventually.

Let us all do what we can to use these days of Advent wisely, as a wonderful God given opportunity to grow closer to the Lord, so that we will be truly ready to celebrate his birth at Christmas.

Fr Paul


As we move into stage 3 of Hope in the Future

Hope in the Future, our diocesan response to Pope Francis’ call to become an evangelising church is based on the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.  Evangelii Gaudium is a truly inspirational document but it’s difficult in some places and it’s long.  As we enter stage 3 of Hope in the Future I was pleased to find these words of  Giuliano Vigini Giuliano Vigini, a Professor at The Catholic University of Milan, who wrote the preface to Pope Francis, the Church of Mercy published shortly after Evangelii Gaudium.  They remind of us of what lies a the very centre of 21st century evangelisation and Hope in the Future.

“Those who are materially, spiritually, and humanly poor are not the focus of special attention because they are an economic, social, or pastoral problem, but because the loving God, poor among the poor, reserved for them a privileged place in Christ’s life and ministry. The “poor Church for the poor”  the Church of Mercy of Pope Francis is a principle that defines in an evangelistic sense the choice of poverty and service to the poor, thus continuing the wonderful story of a loving Church that throughout the centuries has been a way to liberation, inclusion, and promotion for the poor, following Christ’s idea of liberty and love. Christ indeed offers not only generous, practical, and constant solidarity, but he also actively affirms human dignity, pursues justice, and builds a civilization that is effectively “human.”

“In this context of pastoral vision for the Church, Pope Francis’s idea of human beings in relation to society is embedded. His distinctive emphasis runs parallel to and interacts with the rest. His strong and direct speech shakes consciences to strike the “hardened” heart of a society whose culture is not open to the idea of coming together for the common good. These are the premises for a neighbourly and peaceful existence. It is not possible to move forward toward a better world until such idols as power, money, corruption, careerism, selfishness, indifference, or, to sum up, “the spirit of the world,” are demolished.“

“These concepts are clearly explained in Evangelii gaudium, which reveals to us both the bad habits that need to be abandoned and the pastoral priorities in the public life of the Church. In this effort the Pope leads the way by word and sets the pace, which quickens day by day. His aim is to let people understand that an authentic Christianity, faithful to the spirit of the Gospel, is not achievable if the people in Christian communities have a weary and half-asleep faith, without any thrill of excitement, a faith shut up within the walls of their hearts or church buildings. This is the danger that might materialize if the Church grows old and accustomed to caring only about itself rather than flinging open its doors and facing the challenges of the world. It doesn’t matter if the Church sometimes fails on the way. This is why Pope Francis keeps sending out warnings that heavy-handedness, intransigence, hypocrisy, and other shortcomings need to be abolished because they undermine Christian credibility. He is determined to reform and renew the Church so that it becomes better equipped to pursue its goals, with all that that involves.”

“In short, the life of the Church needs to be cleansed, renewed, and revitalized. This requires an ecclesial and pastoral discernment that enables the Church to rediscover the essence of its missionary mandate, in the light of the Holy Spirit and with the intercession of Mary, mother of the task of proclaiming the Gospel.“

As we start Stage 3 of Hope in the Future let us hope that we are now well on that journey of discernment.

Foodbank Christmas Collection

FOODBANK CHRISTMAS COLLECTION  Christmas food is now gratefully received to help many people enjoy Christmas.  Please donate up to the weekend of December 7th/8th. Other donations always accepted.  Many thanks for your generosity.

National Youth Sunday – 24th November

NATIONAL YOUTH SUNDAY—TODAY 24th NOVEMBER  On the Feast of Christ the King, the Church in England and Wales celebrates National Youth Sunday. On this day, we celebrate the young people in our parish and community and all the gifts and talents they share with us.  The theme for this year’s NYS is ‘Significance’ taken from Christus Vivit, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation to young people.  “For him, you have worth; you are not insignificant.  You are important to him, for you are the work of his hands.  That is why he is concerned about you and looks to you with affection. For resources to use go to www.https//nationalyouthsunday.com/foryourparish/


17th November 2019 – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary time

Questionnaire—Parish Website

 In order to help us develop the website to fulfil your needs, could you please answer the questions below and return your form by next weekend to the box at the back of church.

  1. a) Do you use the parish Website?  (www.olotv.org.uk)


If your answer is “NO” please say why not—be frank.

If “YES” please say what you use it for, and how frequently

  1. b) What more would you like to see on the website?
  1. c) Would you like to be contacted by email with Parish updates?


If Yes, please give your email address:

  1. d) Please tick to which age group you belong (optional)

Under 18 (  )      18—25  (  )       26-40  (  )       41—65  (  )

66  –  80   (  )     Over 80  (  )

Please add any other comments or suggestions.


10th November 2019 – 32nd Sunday in Ordinary time

Canonisation of St John Henry Newman.

“Cor ad cor loquitur”, (Heart speaks to heart) is the motto that was taken by Cardinal Newman on his appointment as a Cardinal by Pope Leo X111 in 1879.

On Sunday 13 October 2019 Cardinal Newman was canonised as a saint in St Peter’s Square in Rome.  The parish of Our Lady of the Valley was informally represented by the Spencer’s and the Wallace’s.  The pilgrimage started at Chiesa Nuova, the site of St Philip Neri’s first oratory, which was the base for the organisation of the British contingent.

Twenty thousand seats were laid out in st Peter’s Square and large TV monitors located down the length of the Via della Conciliazione to the Tiber.  The Mass started at 10am with the security gates opening at 7am to process everyone through.  The skies were absolutely blue and the southern façade of the square provided some shade from the sun in the hours leading up to the Eucharistic Celebration of the Canonisation.

The Mass began with the canonisation.  In addition to St John Henry, four other saints were canonised, St Giuseppina from Rome, St Miriam Thresia from India, St Dulce from Brazil, and St Marguerite from the canton of Fribourg.  Many pilgrims had made their way to Rome and the Brazilians and Indians were well represented by a sea of flags.  The Mass started with a short summary of each saints’ life and work.  Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu then made the petition “Beatissimo Padre, la Santa Madre Chiesa chiede che Bostra Santita iscriva I Beati”, (the Holy Mother Church beseeches your Holiness to enrol blessed…..)

Pope Francis then responded declaring them saints “e li scriviamo nell’Albo dei Santi”, (and we enrol them among the saints).  Cardinal Becciu then replied, concluding with the words “Lo ordiniamo”, (we so decree).

There then followed the most incredible organisation as Holy Communion was distributed to the 20,000 seated congregation and beyond.  The crowds extended down to the Tiber and must have exceeded 200,000.  The final hymn of the Mass was ‘Lead kindly light’, written by St John Henry, and a fitting conclusion.  After Mass, Pope Francis was able to drive along the pre-formed alleys to the bottom of St Peter’s Square.

The following day there was a Mass of Thanksgiving with Cardinal Vincent Nichols at the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, which in his final words “brought the party to a conclusion”.  There was another connection with Clitheroe at the end of the Mass when I met with Fr Rod Strange, author of a number of works on St Henry including ‘A Mind Alive’, a former pupil of Stonyhurst and friend of parishioner, David Clews.


27th October 2019 – 30th Sunday in Ordinary time

In Plain Sight Conference, London, October 15

Some of the presenters at the conference, from left to right:  Anthony Brown (Caritas Salford Anti-Trafficking), Phil McCarthy (CEO, CSAN), Peter Hugh Smith (CEO, CCLA),  Cardinal Vincent Nichols,  Andrew Adams (Research Assistant: Ethical and Responsible Investment, CCLA),  Sion Hall (Chair, Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership), Luke de Pulford (Director, Arise Foundation). Mark Wiggin was behind the camera

In Plain Sight, the first national Catholic conference to promote strategies in parishes and dioceses to counter Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking was held in London on 15 October.  A Caritas Salford Initiative, designed and delivered by Caritas Salford and the Catholic Social Action Network (CSAN), and hosted by CCLA investment Limited it was a full house with over seventy delegates from dioceses and religious congregations.  Over half the dioceses in England and Wales were represented.

The first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, now Senior Advisor to the Santa Marta group of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, spoke of the scale of the problem at a global level.  The Santa Marta Group is developing strategies to reset the moral compass within the Church to make sure we are not complicit by indifference to this massive global crime. He said that events like this one will help make this change from words into action.

At a national lever there were inputs from the Santa Marta Group, Caritas Salford, Jesuit Refugee Service, Westminster Bahkita House, Women at the Well, the Medaille Trust, Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partenrship, CCLA, Arise and Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

In concluding Cardinal Vincent Nichols said that agencies engaged in anti-trafficking need clear and shared objectives and the work of this conference was opening the door to the next phase.

The Natter Shack

THE NATTER SHACK SCHEME  – come along and meet new people. The Natter Shack offers a relaxing chat with like-minded people, which aims to combat loneliness and isolation in our local communities. Come along and find out more at Mansell’s Coffee Shop in the Swan Courtyard Thursdays 10am– 11.30am