20th Sunday in Ordinary time – 19th August 2018

Dear Parishioners,

An interesting comment from Pope Francis speaking to young people last week.

The dreams of young people scare adults a bit. But do not let yourselves be robbed of your dreams.
There was a boy, here in Italy, twenty, twenty-two years of age, who started to dream and to dream big. And his father, an important businessman, tried to convince him otherwise but he said, “No, I want to dream. I dream what I feel inside”. And in the end, he went away, to dream. And his father followed him.

And that boy sought refuge in the bishop’s house, he took off his robes and gave them to his father: “Let me go on my path”.
This young man, an Italian of the thirteenth century, was called Francis and he changed the history of Italy. Francis risked so he could dream big; he knew no boundaries and ended his life dreaming. Let us think: he was young like you. But how he dreamed! They said that he was mad because he dreamed in this way. And he did so much good, and continues to do so. The young scare adults a bit because adults have stopped dreaming, they have stopped risking, and they have organised themselves well. But as I said before, do not let yourselves be robbed of your dreams.
“And how can I make sure, Father, that no-one robs me of my dreams?”
Look for good teachers capable of helping you to understand them and to make them real, gradually and with serenity. Be good teachers in turn, teachers of hope and trust towards the new generations who will follow you.
“But how, I can become a teacher too?”
Yes, a young person who is capable of dreaming becomes a teacher, through his or her witness. Because it is witness that shakes and moves hearts, and shows the ideals that everyday life covers up. The dream is a great strength.
“Father, where can I buy the pills that make me dream?”
No, those no! Those will not make you dream, they will send your heart to sleep. They will burn out your neurons. Dreams cannot be bought. Dreams are a gift, a gift from God, a gift that God sows in your hearts. Dreams are given to us freely, but so that we give them away freely to others too. Offer your dreams: no-one, taking them, will impoverish you. Offer them to others freely.

Fr John

19th Sunday in Ordinary time – 12th August 2018


They have no need of our help

So do not tell me

These haggard faces could belong to you or l

Should life have dealt a different hand

We need to see them for who they really are

Chancers and scroungers

Layabouts and loungers

With bombs up their sleeves

Cut-throats and thieves

They are not

Welcome here

We should make them

Go back to where they came from

They cannot

Share our food

Share our homes

Share our countries

Instead let us

Build a wall to keep them out

It is not okay to say

These are people just like us

A place should only belong to those who are born there

Do not be so stupid to think that

The world can be looked at another way

Now read from the end to the beginning

Brian Bilston

18th Sunday in Ordinary time – 5th August 2018

 Prayer of St Augustine

Hear my prayer, Lord.

Let my soul not wilt under your discipline.

Let it not tire of remembering your kindness

in rescuing me from my careless ways.

I long for you to be my delight

more than the honeyed pleasures.

I chased in the past.

You have enabled me to love you,

love you strongly, deeply.

You have brought me to hold your hand

with every ounce of strength I have,

that you may keep me from all danger

till my dying day.

See, Lord, you are my King and my God.

Whatever of value I learnt as a boy

I now place at your service.

Whatever I read, or write,

whatever I speak or compute,

let these skills serve you.


From Confessions of St Augustine

(Reflecting on his misspent youth)

17th Sunday in Ordinary time – 29th July 2018

For Trust

O Christ Jesus,

when all is darkness and we feel

our weakness and helplessness,

give us the sense of your presence,

your love, and your strength. 

Help us to have perfect trust

in your protecting love

and strengthening power,

so that nothing may

frighten or worry us,

for, living close to you,

we shall see your hand,

your purpose, your will

through all things.


St Ignatius of Loyola

(Founder of the Jesuits d.1556)

16th Sunday in Ordinary time – 22nd July 2018

Dear Parishioners,

Pope Francis speaking to a large crowd on the place of the Commandments in our relationship with God said:

“Christian life is first and foremost a freely given response to a generous Father. For Christians who follow only their “duties” something is missing! What is the foundation of this duty? The foundation of this duty is the love of God the Father, who first gives, then commands. To place the law before the relationship does not help the path of faith. How can a young person wish to be Christian, if we start out from obligations, commitments, consistency and not from liberation? But to be Christian is a journey of liberation! The commandments free you from your selfishness and they free you because there is the love of God that carries you forward. Christian formation is not based on the strength of will, but on the acceptance of salvation, of allowing oneself to be loved: first the Red Sea, then Mount Sinai. First salvation: God saves His people in the Red Sea; then on Sinai tells them what they must do. But the people know that they must do these things because they have been saved by a Father Who loves them.

“Gratitude is a characteristic trait of the heart visited by the Holy Spirit; to obey God one must first remember the benefits. As Saint Basil says, “Those who do not let those benefits fall into oblivion, are oriented towards good virtue and towards every work of justice”. Where does all this lead us? To perform a memory test: how many beautiful things has God done for each one of us! How generous is our heavenly Father? I would now like to propose a little exercise to you, in silence: each person answer in his or her own heart. How many beautiful things has God done for me? This is the question. In silence, each one of us, answers. How many beautiful things has God done for me? And this is God’s liberation. God does many beautiful things and frees us.

Quoting Pope Benedict, he continued; “The love-story between God and us consists in the very fact that this communion of will increases in a communion of thought and sentiment, and thus our will and God’s will increasingly coincide: God’s will is no longer for me an alien will, something imposed on me from without by the commandments, but it is now my own will, based on the realization that God is in fact more deeply present to me than I am to myself.  Then self-abandonment to God increases and God becomes our joy”

Fr John

15th Sunday in Ordinary time – 15th July 2018

Celebrating the Eucharist Together – Everybody is Welcome to our Church Family

‘God’s heart is a welcoming heart, reaching out in Jesus to embrace all. Our parish dream is that all would feel welcomed and called to welcome.’

Some time ago, the Salvete Group were asked to suggest ways in which we may better identify and welcome visitors and new parishioners to our church.  The group recognised the work of the welcomers who greet and hand mass sheets and hymn books to everyone but also they saw that at busy times the pressure prevented the welcomers sparing time with visitors. So, in an effort to be even more approachable, we are looking for more volunteers to formally welcome people in church, without the distraction of distributing books and newsletters. Peter White has designed some beautiful ‘Welcomer’ badges, featuring the Mother and Child from the stained-glass window in St Hubert’s under which the wearer can print their Christian name.

So, we are looking for enthusiastic and friendly parishioners who are prepared to reach out to visitors and new parishioners, whenever they are free to do so. What is involved? Please read the guidelines below and have a word in St Mary’s Sabden with Carol Hartley or Anthony Brown, in St Michael & St John’s Clitheroe, with Penelope DeSouza or Susan Fellows and in St Hubert’s, Dunsop Bridge with Fr John.

Guidelines for welcomers

  • Be Welcoming to all. A smile is a symbol of friendship and peace.
  • Look out for new people.
  • Inform them of the Mass Sheets, Hymn Books and newsletter.
  • Let them know where they can sit (anywhere!!)
  • Advise them of children’s liturgy/little church and the location of thetoilets (as appropriate)
  • Ask if they are visiting, or new to the area. If they are new invite them to complete the new parishioners leaflet.
  • Offer the new parish information leaflets.Invite them to Coffee afterwards; accompany them as appropriate.

Stay with us Lord on our Journey

14th Sunday in Ordinary time – 8th July 2018

Dear Parishioners,

With peace in the Middle East as the goal, Pope Francis on Saturday hosted an ecumenical pilgrimage in the southern Italian city of Bari, attended by the representatives of Christian churches with a presence in the Middle East. Bari hosts the shrine of St Nicholas (Father Christmas) a saint revered both by Eastern and Western Catholics

The Christian leaders came together to pray for peace in a region that, due to ongoing conflicts and persecution, has seen the Christian population diminish year after year.

“The Middle East is one of the regions of the world where the situation of Christians is most precarious,” said Cardinal Kurt Koch of Switzerland, head of the Vatican’s office dedicated to promoting Christian Unity. He noted that while Christians represented 20 percent of the population in the region before World War I, today they are only four percent in this “martyred region.” As an example, in Iraq alone, the number of Christians has gone from 1.5 million in 2003 to an estimated 300,000 today.

According to Cardinal Koch, Christians will only remain in the region if peace is restored, and this is why the Catholic Church has been diplomatically working for a peace achieved through political agreements.

“It’s not possible to imagine a Middle East without Christians, not only for political reasons, but because they are essential for the equilibrium of the region,” he said.

Among the Christian leaders who answered Pope Francis’s call are the heads of Orthodox churches, Oriental Orthodox churches, the Assyrian Orthodox Church, members of Catholic Oriental churches, a representative for the Lutheran Church along with a representative for the Middle East Council of Churches. A majority of the 19 leaders attending are patriarchs or heads of churches with only five sending a representative.

Please remember this initiative in your prayers,

Fr John

Laudato Si’ – BoB boxes

We had a great day at Sabden Summer Fair when ten people bought or sponsored a BOB Box for £10 each.  These boxes can accommodate a bird or a bat to nest or roost, and will be sited strategically as part of our Live Simply Award environmental activities.  To learn more about BOB boxes and everything else we are doing, look at our Laudato Si’ group webpage http://www.olotv.org.uk/parishgroups/laudato. If you want to buy or sponsor a box please contact Anthony Brown 01200 422811

13th Sunday in Ordinary time – 1st July 2018

Hope in the Future Report

In response to the Bishop’s request, in Lent we began our Hope in the Future journey in each of our three churches.

Meeting 1 looked at “Welcome”. We reflected on the significance of the San Damiano Cross, an icon, as a way to reignite our faith and to help us spiritually rebuild the Church. We reflected on different images of Christ through selecting illustrations and discussing our choices. The gentle way the presentations were given gave a feeling of warmth and belonging. The content was powerful, particularly the discussions with our chosen pictures. We were able to discuss actions for a more pro-active church and bring the light of Christ openly into our daily lives and communities.

Meeting 2 examined “Gifts”. We reflected on the different spiritual gifts which we have as a community as also those which we lack. Following a reflection, the groups completed an audit of gifts, services and ministries already being done and others that could be done. The resulting lists showed that much is already taking place but there are many more ways in which people could use their gifts and talents. Everyone was in favour of launching an audit of gifts in the Autumn in line with Bishop John’s programme. Ministries need to be explained and a programme produced for those interested in finding out more. Such a survey would show how much we are involved and would bring parishioners together to participate in our parish community.

Meeting 3 focused on “Outreach”. The characteristics of an evangelising community were identified. We need to be a confident community across all generations. The community should be welcoming, joyful, happy, accessible and approachable, reaching out beyond the Parish and working and socialising as a team while recognising individual strengths. It needs to be well structured, well-resourced and well led. Communications were seen as critical.

The future is exciting and we each have a part to play.

Hope in the Future Team

The Nativity of John the Baptist – 24th June 2018

Dear Parishioners,

First, please do remember that next Sunday, 1st July, we celebrate Weld Day when we commemorate John and Mary Weld’s gift of land on which St Michael & St John’s parish complex and sports field now stand. In return, Thomas asked only that parishioners remember him and his wife in their prayers.

This we do annually as we celebrate Weld Day on the first Sunday of July with a Mass celebrated outside in the school garden. This will be the only Sunday Mass (replacing the Clitheroe 9.30 and Sabden 11 o’clock Masses) and will begin at 10.30am. (The Saturday evening  5pm Mass in Clitheroe and the 6.30pm Mass in Dunsop will not be affected)

This year we shall again congratulate the children who made their First Holy Communions in our three churches as they are presented with their certificates and work books.

Afterwards we shall celebrate the foundation of the parish with a parish picnic. A complimentary glass of wine, strawberries and cream and ice-cream will be provided. Parishioners and families need only bring their own picnic box and rug. Some may wish to bring a camp chair or stool.

Hopefully the sun will shine and members of our three communities will enjoy a wonderful summer’s celebration.

In response to enquiries, I remind you that to comply with the new Data Protection Law (GDPR) we shall no longer publish in the newsletter the names of parishioners who are sick. Mass may still be requested for a sick person, Mass cards will be signed and their names will be included in the list of Mass intentions but without reference to illness or other indisposition.

As I mentioned recently, we shall begin in September a new RCIA programme open to any who wish to follow a refresher course in the faith, or learn more about Catholicism, or may have considered becoming a Catholic. For more details please don’t hesitate to have a word with me, and if you know of someone who may be interested then please do encourage them to come along.

The next Parish Forum is on Wednesday 11th July (tea served at 7.15, meeting begins at 7.30pm). For new parishioners I should explain that this is our Parish Council which meets every six weeks or so and is open to all parishioners, each of whom have a right to speak and to vote. Items for the agenda may be submitted in writing after Mass the Sunday before or posted through the Presbytery letterbox by Monday evening at the latest. Have you attended?

Fr John