Second Sunday of Lent – 25th February 2018

Dear Parishioners,

Pope Francis has chosen Dublin to host the largest international gathering of families in the world. The World Meeting of Families will take place this summer from 21st to 26th August.

Bishop John wishes to invite people from our Diocese to accompany him to take part in the gathering at which, it is anticipated, Pope Francis will be present. Travelling by luxury coach, with six nights dinner, bed and breakfast in the 4* Plaza Hotel, the trip included attendance at the three day congress and tickets for the Festival of Families and the Final Mass which, it is expected, Pope Francis will celebrate. This may be of interest to families, married couples or parishioners involved in marriage preparation and support. The cost is £690 per person, £500 for children 4-12. A single room supplement is payable.

Each parish of the Deanery is invited to select one family who are willing to attend and on their return report to Parishes or Deanery. Each of the selected families will be entered into a draw and the winning family or couple will be part-funded by the Deanery.

Individuals are quite welcome to investigate travelling to Dublin independently for further details please see me or go to

A National Eucharistic Convention will be held in Liverpool from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th September. Friday is a Symposium Day with lectures or presentations on the Eucharist in Scripture, and in the teaching and the life of the Church. The day concludes with Mass in the Cathedral.

Saturday’s events begin with Mass in the Cathedral followed by a day of events in the ACC Liverpool Echo Arena, ending with Exposition, Benediction and Vespers of Corpus Christi.

Sunday begins with 2 Solemn Masses in the Cathedral followed by an Outdoor Eucharistic Procession and finishing with Benediction.

The cost for the Friday and Saturday events is £40 per person per day. On Friday numbers are not restricted but on Saturday there may be only four participants from each Parish. Sunday is free and numbers are not restricted.

I have copies of the programmes, so if you are in any way interested, please ask for one. The deanery has 97 places available.

Fr John

First Sunday of Lent – 18 February 2018


Our newly launched Laudato Si group (formed to promote Pope Francis’ concern for the poor and for the earth (our common home) has decided to challenge the parish to earn CAFOD’s Live Simply Award. This will encourage us to care for the planet and work for a fair sharing of the planet’s resources among all people.  It will also link in with the many activities already taking place in the parish: the Hope in the Future programme, the work of the SVP, the Food Bank, the refugee support initiatives, work on behalf of the unborn, the threats to introduce euthanasia and the support of victims of human trafficking to mention only some.

CAFOD’s focus for Lent this year is on children suffering from hunger and malnutrition. Next week Lent Family Fast Day, will concentrate on helping families, particularly in Zimbabwe, ensure that their children grow up healthily and enjoy their childhoods. Every pound raised during Lent will be matched by the UK Government!

As a CAFOD trustee, Bishop John has travelled to places where he has seen the people who live from what they find on piles of rubbish. Speaking on Laudato Si last September, he asked that we See, Judge and Act.  We must SEE what is happening in the world, JUDGE where it is wrong and then ACT. In 2012 the UK wasted 7 million tons of food whilst 1.2 billion people worldwide went to bed hungry. We must ACT by changing our attitude to the food we buy and the way we spend our money.  It is estimated that 30% of the food on our plate goes into the bin.

World hunger will only be eradicated if we take action both at home and overseas.

This Sunday CAFOD distributes Family Fast Day envelopes.  This year we ask that you keep your envelope throughout Lent and each time you resist a treat or otherwise abstain or sacrifice put the money you save in the envelope and then return the envelope on Easter Sunday.

This Lent, try to live simply so that others may simply live — and also help save the planet!.

Laudato Si and CAFOD groups

Santa Marta Group meet at the Vatican to promote struggle against human trafficking

Senior law enforcement officers, Bishops, religious women and key international organisations met together last week for the fifth Santa Marta Group conference in the Vatican to update and share best practise in the fight against human trafficking and modern slavery.

At this year’s conference over 30 countries were represented, including delegates from Africa, Europe, Asia Pacific, North and South America. The conference had a regional focus enabling delegates to share tailored solutions to human trafficking within their geographical context.  They discussed the challenges they face and showcase the collaborative work the Church and law enforcement is doing to eradicate human trafficking. 

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, president of the Santa Marta Group was a speaker alongside other Church leaders.  The conference ended with a Papal Audience on Friday.

This year the conference coincided with the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita, patron saint of human trafficking and who herself was a survivor of slavery.  Cardinal Pietro Parolin will celebrate the feast with a mass in St Peter’s Basilica. 

Launched in 2014 by Pope Francis and led by Cardinal Vincent Nichols the Santa Marta Group is a unique global partnership between law enforcement and the Catholic Church. Since 2014 the group has grown to become a worldwide network covering 35 countries. 

Santa Marta Group President Cardinal Vincent Nichols:

Slavery continues to affect the most vulnerable in our communities and the latest UN figures suggests over forty million people are now potential victims. This year’s conference hopes to build on the hard work produced by SMG partners since the group was established in 2014.The conference is an opportunity for law enforcement and the Church to share evidence of practical cooperation and effective responses driven by the importance of supporting survivors of human trafficking. 

“Slavery is an affront to human dignity and we all have a responsibility to fight against it. This conference is a unique opportunity to strengthen our global response as we move to specific and accountable actions.”

For more information go to

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 11 February 2018

Dear Parishioners,

In Lent we are asked to prepare for Easter by prayer and sacrifice.  If you haven’t decided yet what you will do for Lent then please

consider one of the following (or more than one!).

*Give God some silent attention each day.

*Buy (£1) the ‘Walk With Me’ booklet which will help you pray and reflect each day of Lent.

*Join the Stations of the cross in Clitheroe at 7.30pm on Fridays and in Sabden at 7.30pm on Tuesdays.

*Attend the three Hope in the Future Parish meetings

*Spend a little time each day reading the Bible in the quiet of your home.

*Attend daily Mass (details weekly in the newsletter)

*Come to Exposition on Saturday mornings between 11am and 12noon

*Pay a visit to the church which is open daily during daylight hours.

*Encourage someone who has been away from mass to return to practice and accompany them to church.

*Recite the Rosary at home or join the weekday recitation in church at 9.30am.

*Visit someone in need of help or friendship or perhaps an elderly relative you haven’t visited for a while?

*Make up a longstanding quarrel.

*Help to clean the church on Monday mornings at 9.30

*Give up a favourite treat like sweets, drink, watching too much TV or cigarettes.

*Keep ‘Family Fast day’ on Friday

*Every Friday give up eating meat.

*Make a clean sweep. Go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), available Saturdays in Clitheroe from 11 to 11.45

*Attend the series of ecumenical Lenten talks on Saturday mornings in the Hall at 11am (Coffee from 10.30)

*Attend the Deanery Stations Mass  on Wednesday 7th March at 7.30pm in St Joseph’s Blackburn.

*Think before you take your car.  Walk in town and fight Global Warming.

Wishing you a fruitful Lent.

Fr John



Gap Year? – Just Youth

THINKING OF TAKING A GAP YEAR?  We’re Just Youth, a youth ministry project based in Salford run by the Spiritans, who work with children/young people in the North West.  We need volunteers between ages of 18-26 to join our team this summer—enthusiastic creative and willing young people .  If you are fresh out of college or Uni rise to the challenge and take a gap year with us. or visit our website

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 28 January 2018


Caritas Diocese of Salford is the official charity that co-ordinates Social Work within the diocese. Its vision is that the lives of all people should be free from poverty, disadvantage and discrimination. It helps the most vulnerable children, young people and adults in our communities to transform their lives and fulfil their potential. It raises awareness on human trafficking and campaigns for justice.  It welcomes the stranger and visits the housebound.  It works in schools and supports young mothers and babies.  Four young parishioners from Sabden raised £100 towards St Augustine’s High School total of around £800 to decorate the Caritas Young Parents Home in Blackburn.

Last year this parish raised £793 for Caritas’s Refugee Response, out of a total of £37,238, this went directly to the ground-breaking work across the Diocese to welcome refugees and asylum seekers.  From almost zero activity just two years ago, Caritas has set up Refugee and Asylum Centre Drop-Ins in Haslingden and Wythenshawe to provide casework support and a welcome face to those escaping war or persecution.  They have provided Volunteer-led English lessons; worked with Revive in Manchester to arrange days out in our parish communities in the Ribble Valley and Irlam; and in October they launched the Refugee Come Dine with Me parish initiative, after a pilot involving many of our parishioners.  Caritas has continued to pioneer the Refugee Community Sponsorship Programme, taking the Canadian model, where a community group welcomes a Refugee Family; from meeting them at the airport, to finding local accommodation, helping with schools, medical registration and providing friendship.  From the original pilot at St Monica’s, Flixton another nine parishes have followed suit and Caritas worker Sean Ryan received an MBE in the New Year’s honours list as a recognition of his leadership and coordination of his leading-edge work with refugees.

Caritas offers emergency accommodation to the destitute, and supporters are campaigning for individual asylum seekers, even in some instances housing them in their own homes! They continue to respond to poverty and social injustice in our parishes in whatever form it might take.  This year’s second collection will enable us to reach out with compassion to those greatest in need.

To learn more, go to or contact the parish’s Caritas Representative, Anthony Brown on 01200 422811.

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 21 January 2018

Dear Parishioners,

The Maintenance committee met on Tuesday to review recent projects, ongoing work and urgently required maintenance.

Major completed projects include the external repair and redecorating of SMSJ’s church, presbytery and social centre. Inside the church the loop and audio system have been improved by relaying wires and introducing four auxiliary speakers.

The total refurbishment of the porch/sacristy in Sabden is nearing completion. A steel H beam replaced the main roof support which had rotted, the plaster and cement were hacked off the walls, an area of dry rot was eliminated, the window replaced and floor, walls and ceiling were insulated to warm the coldest room in Sabden! The outside steps have also been replaced.

Major redevelopments begin in Dunsop this week to extend the extremely cramped sacristy and provide storage space for the church by incorporating a back room from the presbytery. The house will be divided from the church before a total refurbishment will make it an attractive rental in the property market. The income will eventually repay the parish for the budgeted cost of £66,000 and then provide financial security for St Hubert’s Church which as you are aware is now listed at grade II. A new toilet will be introduced next to the Church.

From Monday 26th February to 9th March work will be carried out in the porch of St Michael and John’s. During this period, entrance to the church will be by the side door, though for Sunday Masses on 3rd & 4th of March we may have to lay some temporary flooring.  As many of you may be aware, the heavy oak church doors are difficult to open, not because of the weight of the doors but because the floor has risen. This is the result of the iron tray holding the door mat rusting and lifting the floor tiles. The iron will be replaced by stainless steel and the tiles will be relaid.

Two smaller jobs in Clitheroe will be an extension of the CCTV surveillance. In the Social Centre the doors between the top bar (the School Room) and the Hall (the Assembly Hall) will be sound proofed.

So, enough to be getting on with!

Fr John

A prayer from Laudato Si’

Said at our Laudato Si’ meeting on January 10

All-powerful God,
you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned
and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty,
not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature as
we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.