12th January 2020 – The Baptism of the Lord

“When England returns to Walsingham, Our Lady will return to England” – Pope Leo XIII.

As we begin 2020 we approach a most important moment in the spiritual life of our country with the re-dedication of England as the Dowry of Mary.  The consecration takes place on the solemnity of the Annunciation 25th March.  There is then a 3 day triduum of prayer on the 26th, 27th and 28th.  On Sunday 29th March the Catholic Faithful in of England will render to Mary, Mother of God, a personal re-dedication of England as her Dowry.  This will be done throughout the country in Walsingham, Cathedrals, Parishes and homes.  More details to follow as to how you can take part.

England will render to Mary, Mother of God, a personal re-dedication.

The first dedication in 1381 was by King Richard II, when he sought the prayers and protection of Our Lady of Puy in Westminster Abbey, in a time of great political decision and turmoil.

Since 2018 the National Statue of Our Lady of Walsingham has been visiting England’s Catholic Cathedrals for a 3 day triduum of prayer.  As the statue has already visited Salford Cathedral you are encouraged to support the Statue’s visit to Lancaster Cathedral Balmoral Road, Lancaster LA1 3BT from 6th—8th February.  Annually there are 2 two pilgrimages to Walsingham from this area, for details see the poster in our church porch or parish Web site: olotv.org.uk.


Caritas is asking all parishioners to use their gifts and talents to BeTheChange and to help House the Homeless, Build Stronger Families and Communities, and Welcome Refugees. The second collection after Mass and ongoing support will allow Caritas Diocese of Salford to BeTheChange in our parishies across the Diocese. The Caritas representative for our parish is Anthony Brown. There will be a retiring collection at all masses next weekend for Caritas, Diocese of Salford


In Christianity Holy Water is water that has been blessed by a member of the clergy and is used in baptism and to bless individuals, churches, homes and articles of devotion.  The Holy Water fonts known as stoups can be found at the back of churches as you enter, and in Clitheroe  on two of the pillars situated in the side aisles.

Fr Paul has blessed some water this week, and filled Holy Water bottles are now available for sale at the back of church for 50p (for the bottle not the water), in all of our three churches

Why not take one home with you to use to bless your house and family


5th January 2020 – The Epiphany

Refugee Day Out, 2020

Refugees at Stonyhurst College on 23rd June 2018

When the body of 3 year old Alan Kurdi was washed up on a Mediterranean beach on 2 September 2015, it sent shock waves around the World.  Alan might have been from a distant country but in most other respects his world was just like ours until it was torn apart by ISIL.  It’s easy to feel that Alan’s death wasn’t our fault or our responsibility and the extreme expression of minority British had been expressed by Kate Hopkins’ in the Sun earlier that year: “Show me pictures of coffins, show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad. I still don’t care…Make no mistake, these migrants are like cockroaches.”  As Christians we don’t need Catholic Social Teaching to recognise the abhorrence of this view.  Jesus said to “love one another as I have loved you” and Pope Francis has reminded us that when no-one is to blame then everybody is to blame.   We must acknowledge personal complicity. Through Christian eyes, these people have as much right to live here as those lucky enough to be born here.

Tom and Kathryn Clay’s response to Alan Kurdi’s death was immediate in bringing together the Christian and Faith communities in the first of three refugee days out from 2016 to 2018.  One can’t imagine how much pleasure these outing brought to refugees from Manchester and Burnley until one realises just how little these people have to survive on, let alone to spend on small luxuries.

For 2019 Tom and Kathryn needed a break and  it seemed reasonable that someone else would take the lead but that lead never materialised.  We got as far as an inter-faith meeting, a resolve to work in a partnership of Faith communities and a June 13 date for a Refugee Day Out for 2020.

We now propose to progress our thoughts and plans and will meet in the presbytery at 7.30 pm on January 8th.  We need all  the volunteers we can get so please come and join us and help make a 2020 Refugee Day Out a reality.

15th December 2019 – Third Sunday of Advent


On the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees on September 29th, Pope Francis celebrated mass in St Peter’s Square, Rome, in front of 40,000 faithful.

At the end of mass, he underlined the moral imperative to welcome and give hospitality to refugees by inaugurating a 20-foot tall bronze, three and a half-ton sculpture, in St. Peter’s Square.

Entitled “Angels Unaware”, the work by Canadian artist Timothy P Schmalz depicts 140 migrants and refugees from various historical periods travelling on a boat, and includes the Virgin Mary and Joseph, Jews fleeing Nazi Germany and those from war-torn countries, along with an Angel.

Pope Francis said the statue had been inspired by a passage in “Letter to the Hebrews” from the New Testament: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

Our Parish continues, alongside members of our community from other faiths and from none, to lend support to refugees and asylum seekers. Recently, a 4 generation family of Sikhs who had fled persecution in Afghanistan, and had been placed by the Home Office in Clitheroe, were finally given leave to remain in the UK. They have since moved to Southall in London to be part of the Sikh community there.

The future of the Kurdish Iraqi family, whose legal costs the Parish has been supporting, is now awaiting the outcome of a Judicial Review – we await the date. Their lawyer thinks they have a strong case. Another Kurdish family also living in Clitheroe, this time from Iran, is awaiting a Home Office decision on their future.

So we think of the migration of the Holy Family, firstly to Bethlehem and then, after the birth of our Lord, to Egypt to escape Herod’s persecution, please pray for a good outcome for these families, and for all others fleeing persecution, war, and famine.


Appeal for Toys – Caritas

Caritas Schools Service are short of 95 sacks of toys for children who would otherwise receive nothing on Christmas Day.  They would be grateful for any donations of new unwrapped toys by 17th December.  Please contact Admin Team on 0161 717 2276 for collection/delivery dates or Anthony Brown 01200 422811 for more information


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.