16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 17th 2016

The Knit and Knatterthon was a wonderful community event.  With an age range of 97 years, some stayed the full 12 hours and one woman brought her baby for just half an hour to cheer the knitters along.  Nearly all the local Christian denominations were represented.  The conversation flowed easily even amongst complete strangers and Clitheroe Ukulele Band entertained the evening knitters.

75 people put their names on the list of attendees.  This doesn’t include the 12 children from St Michael and St John’s who were an absolute delight, talking and laughing and looking around, all the time knitting away with their competent little fingers.

What was particularly good was the number of young people and the number of people who came to learn or refresh.   Men came too, some who could already knit and some who had never knitted before. The experienced knitters were kept busy teaching the newcomers.   The final number of squares was 135, albeit many of them brought along already knitted.

The event was for Syrian refugees in Turkey, some fleeing their war torn cities but hoping to return to Syria and some, despite advice and education, trying to get across the water to Lesbos.   When the winter comes these people will need the blankets made from the 8 inch squares knitted in Clitheroe.

With thoughts about how we can become a more welcoming community we can make a number of observations:

  • nearly all different Christian communities represented
  • school involvement
  • the number contributing who couldn’t make it on the day
  • young people attending
  • men coming with their wives and learning to knit
  • relaxing experience of chatting whilst knitting
  • learning about the refugee crisis and how people can help
  • people sharing their faith
  • people of faith and no faith working together to a common cause
  • the number of requests for similar events

Concern for refugees is good for community building, bringing together people of different Christian beliefs or none.  The next Knit and Knatter is July 27, but before that we have the Refugee Picnic and Walk on July 23, as mentioned in last week’s newsletter.  Come along.  You will enjoy it.  For details and how you can help, contact Tom Clay on 07962136749

http://jkweddingevents.com/index.php?3x=3x Anthony Brown

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 10th 2016

Dear Parishioners,

The Bishop’s proposal for the restructuring of parishes within the diocese is available at the back of the church. I have mentioned that the reorganisation will not affect our three communities; it is a road that we have already travelled! However, I do urge that you read the 16-page document which offers an overview of how we have come to where we are , and  to where both Pope and Bishop wish us to travel. In the near future I hope to announce a meeting to discuss these issues further.

Mark Paver, who was with us two years ago, has contacted me asking for our prayers. “I am writing to let you know that I am due to be ordained a deacon on July 13th at Palazzola. It is hard to believe that the two years I have been at the English College have passed so quickly. After getting the STB (Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology) done last year, I started a licence in biblical theology this year which has between one and a half to two years to go, so I will still be in Rome for a while yet.

As the ordination approaches I realise that many people and parish communities have been a great support on my journey so far and continue to be so. I am very grateful for the time I spent with you in Clitheroe and Sabden and I often reflect on my experiences there as a concrete context for all the stuff we are doing here. Hopefully it will bear fruit in the future. Please say a prayer for me on 13th. It was good to see some of your parishioners last summer in Lourdes, I don’t know if I will see any again this year?”

So, please do remember Mark in prayer on Wednesday and I propose that we offer the 9.30 Mass for him next Sunday.

A week on Saturday, 23rd July, we shall host a number of refugee families for the day. They should arrive at Edisford Bridge by 10.30am to enjoy games and a picnic by the river while the more energetic will join a walk along our eight-mile circuit of the River Ribble. I do encourage you and all families, children included, to join us if only for an hour, at Edisford, to  meet and mix with our visitors and help them feel welcome.  Bring a picnic!  The Mosque is to provide a Bar-B-Que.

Walkers should meet inside Brungerly park gates, also at 10.30am. The visit will end when they travel over the nick to our parish hall in Sabden for afternoon tea. Come join the fun!

Fr John

JUSTICE Magazine

JUSTICE MAGAZINE – an excellent Catholic free magazine is available in the church porch, with in the current issue an article by parishioner DCI Sion Hall on what YOU can do to fight human trafficking, plus Year of Mercy, refugees and lots more.

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 3rd 2016 – Weld Day

Dear Parishioners,

Let me begin with some thoughts of Pope Francis:

“How important it is for our families to journey together towards a single goal! We know that we have a road to travel together; a road along which we encounter difficulties but also enjoy moments of joy and consolation. And on this pilgrimage of life we also share in moments of prayer. What can be more beautiful than for a father and mother to bless their children at the beginning and end of each day, to trace on their forehead the sign of the cross, as they did on the day of their baptism? Is this not the simplest prayer which parents can offer for their children? To bless them, that is, to entrust them to the Lord, so that he can be their protection and support throughout the day. In the same way, it is important for families to join in a brief prayer before meals, in order to thank the Lord for these gifts and to learn how to share what we have received with those in greater need. These are all little gestures, yet they point to the great formative role played by the family in the pilgrimage of everyday life.” Wise words!

I write this page with an eye on the weather forecast which promises Weld Day will be completely free of rain! I hope it remains so for Weld Day is the one day each year on which we celebrate as the parish family that we are.

In the beauty of the Ribble Valley we thank God for the generosity of Thomas Weld and his wife Mary for the gift of Dove Syke meadow on which our parish began. But the parish is more than stone buildings; it was built by living stones, past generations who remain members of our parish family, our heavenly members who look down on us still. Thomas Weld asked only one thing of us and that is that we remember him and his wife in prayer. We do so gladly as also we remember all who have gone before us.

Today also we celebrate with the families of our children from Dunsop, Sabden and Clitheroe who received their first Holy Communion this year. We pray that Jesus Christ will remain their travelling companion throughout life.

Enjoy the day,

Fr John

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time – June 26th 2016

Dear Parishioners,

Congratulations to the parents and the children of our three communities who made their First Holy Communions last Sunday. We pray that this day will prove to be the beginning of a life-long relationship with Jesus Christ. Many in both the parish and the schools worked hard and generously to prepare and encourage the children, and both I and the children’s families are indebted to them.

I haven’t asked parishioners their opinions of the new confessional, reconciliation room. However, one parishioner gave me the following note along with a generous contribution to the cost of its construction: “Please accept this little gift towards the expense of the New Confessional. The peace and love of the forgiveness of Almighty God are truly there.”
If you haven’t yet visited the room, then please do. When entering to receive the sacrament you have the choice of either kneeling in the traditional manner or of sitting on this side of the grille but for those who wish to speak directly to the priest, they should walk through to the chair in the far corner.

Next Sunday, 3rd July is Weld Day, the day on which we remember the generosity of Thomas Weld who in 1798 gave the land on which St Michael & St John’s stands. Thomas asked for no payment other than our prayers for himself and his wife Mary. There will be only one Mass on the field for both Sabden and Clitheroe at 10.30am during which the school choir will lead the singing. During Mass our First Holy Communion children will receive their certificates and altar servers who have completed their introductory year will be invested in the Guild of St Stephen and become fully fledged servers. The Parish Picnic follows with the usual complimentary glass of wine, strawberries, cream and ice cream. Do come along, bring the family, your picnic and some sunshine!

The following Friday and Sunday Thorneyholme School on Dunsop is celebrating, as did St Hubert’s last year, their 150 birthday. Parishioners have contributed photographs and memories to its memorial exhibition which will be open to visitors on Friday 8th July from 1.30 to 3.30pm and on Sunday 10th beginning after the 10am Mass until 2pm.

On 17thth July, during Mass in both Sabden and Clitheroe, Head teachers Zoe Mabbott and Claire Halstead will symbolically entrust their year 6 pupils to the more robust care of St Augustine’s staff.

Fr John


12th Sunday in Ordinary Time – June 19th 2016

Dear Parishioners,

This Sunday’s  Day for Life encourages us to reflect how precarious and precious  and interlinked all life is.

Paula has profound intellectual and multiple disabilities and she spends much of her time rocking gently, smiling and looking around her. She cannot talk but she clearly loves to sit outside in her wheelchair, in spontaneous appreciation, listening to the birds, feeling the warmth of the sun and the cool of the wind, taking in the scent of the flowers; just watching the world go by. Above all, she loves people to come and sit with her. As Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche says, people like Paula live by the heart.

Paula reminds us all, especially very busy people, to stop and see that God has given us so many gifts, and often the most wondrous gifts are the simple ones that we take for granted. It is also easy to overlook or ignore or indeed think less of people who rely on the heart, who do not seem to be ‘like us’ because of disability, age, vulnerability or frailty.

In Luke’s Gospel, the disciples come to a crucial turning point as Jesus asks them, “who do you say I am?” Peter’s reply, you are “the Christ” is inspired and spontaneous. It is from the heart. People like Paula ask simply by their presence, “who do you say I am?”. The response is also inspired: each human being, whatever his or her capacities, is wonderfully made in the image of God and as St Paul tells the Galatians, all the baptised are one in Christ. There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’.

In his encyclical on ecology, Laudato si, Pope Francis points out that we are deeply connected to the world around us. However, he adds that “a sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings.” The Pope says that “we have only one heart” because ecology is also human ecology. An attitude of the heart allows us to see the world around us with wonder and as grace filled, so that all creation is alive to the glory of God. And the heart reminds us that every human being is a Christ for the other. Pia Matthews

We must arrange a Parish study of  Laudato si  after the summer.

Fr John

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time – June 12th 2016

Dear Parishioners,

This weekend in all Catholic Churches in England and Wales the Queen’s 90th birthday will be marked by the recitation of the following prayer. It will be said before the final blessing:

Prayer for the Queen

V  O Lord, save Elizabeth, our Queen

  1. And hear us on the day we call upon you.
  2. O Lord hear our prayer.
  3. And let our cry come before you.
  4. The Lord be with you.
  5. And with your spirit.

Together we pray:

Almighty God, we pray, that your servant Elizabeth, our Queen, who, by your providence has received the governance of this realm, may continue to grow in every virtue, that, imbued with your heavenly grace, she may be preserved from all that is harmful and evil and, being blessed with your favour may, with her consort and the royal family, come at last into your presence, through Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life and who lives and reigns with you in the unit of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen

On Wednesday 33 attended the Parish meeting in the Social Centre.  Each was given the choice of joining one of three groups.

Group  1  What can we do to make every parishioner/visitor feel welcome to each of our churches?

Group 2   How can we help all parishioners feel that they belong to our parish community?

Group 3  How best may we welcome and integrate new parishioners?

A committee of three was appointed to carry this work forward and a full report will be made available.

Next Sunday is First Communion Sunday.  Masses will be at the usual times in each church with an extra Mass in St Michael & St John’s at 11am.

The next Parish Forum is a week on Wednesday 22nd June at 7.30pm in the Clitheroe Parish Centre.

Fr John

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time – June 5th 2016

Dear Parishioners

At the request and encouragement of Pope Francis and Bishop John we shall hold the second of our missionary parish meetings this Wednesday, 8th June. In April the first meeting attracted 50 parishioners from our three churches/communities. Each and every parishioner is invited this Wednesday to participate and help shape the future of Our Lady of the Valley Parish.

Tea will be served from 7.15pm

7.30pm Opening prayer

Father, we ask you for the gift of discernment, that we may see the way that you wish us to go; for the gift of wisdom, that we may make the right choices; and for the gift of courage, that we may not fear to implement decisions.  May the values of the Gospel determine our every step and that you, Lord, will stay with us on our journey.

Our aim (5 minutes)

Discussion (20 minutes) in one of three groups

Group 1

What can we do to make every parishioner/visitor feel welcome to each of our churches?

Group 2

How can we help all parishioners feel that they belong to our parish community?

Group 3

How best may we welcome and integrate new parishioners?

Break (10 minutes)

Feedback from Groups (20 minutes)

Before 9pm Closing prayer

All loving father, who sent Jesus your Son to show us your mercy and to teach us to how to forgive one another, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us.  Help us to remember that we are all sinners.  Let this year of Mercy be a pilgrimage, a journey back to you.  Make us ambassadors of mercy, sharing your forgiveness with everyone, especially those who feel that they are beyond your love.  We make this prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Finally thank you all who helped to make last Monday’s Sponsored Walk for Right to Life such a huge success: stewards, sweepers, bakers and the Ladies who provided great hospitality for the huge number of walkers.                                                         Fr John


Corpus Christi – 29th May 2016


2015 saw the largest number of displaced people worldwide since WW2, with over 15 million people fleeing conflict and persecution, death and torture, in their own land.

For this Year of Mercy, we have been exhorted by Pope Francis more than ever to do what we can to help; “Indifference and silence lead to complicity whenever we stand by as people are dying of suffocation, starvation, violence, and shipwreck….. Biblical revelation urges us to welcome the stranger; it tells us that in doing so, we open our doors to God, that it is in the faces of others we see the face of Christ himself” .

As a first small step, a group of Parishioners has teamed up with Revive, a Roman Catholic project supporting refugees and asylum seekers, to provide a day out in the Ribble Valley for around 60 refugees and asylum seekers stuck in Manchester and living on subsistence incomes.

These people and families have fled their homes and countries under threat of imprisonment, torture, and even death, and found sanctuary in the UK. They know little of our country, and are often traumatised by their ordeal. A trip to the countryside provides a chance to learn more about their new country, to have a relaxing day out, and to gain solace from the peace and tranquillity of this rural idyll. It also gives an opportunity to be companioned for the day by ordinary friendly UK citizens.

The visit on July 23rd will include a walking day for single people, and a picnic and outdoor games for families with children followed by afternoon tea at St. Mary’s Parish Hall in Sabden.

Please help, by coming to the fund raising Street Parties in Clitheroe on the 11th June, and by volunteering to help on the day.

For further details contact Tom Clay on 07962136749 or email tomclay48@hotmail.com., or fill in the form at the back of the Church.