Sabden School Stations


The Stations of the Cross and Adoration service at St Mary's, Sabden on the last Tuesday of Lent (March 22nd) was led by the children of St Mary's Primary School, accompanied musically by Father Kevin. A beautiful service, and beautifully illustrated with the pictures of the Stations that the children had produced. Here they are in a slideshow, and below in gallery form...


  • 1 - Jesus is condemned to death

Palm Sunday – 20th March 2016


This week we embark on a journey that will take us from the joy of Palm Sunday through the suffering and sorrow of Holy Week to the triumph and celebration of Easter.

Maundy Thursday

Clitheroe 8.00pm Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper

We commemorate the last meal that Jesus ate with his disciples in which he washed their feet and instituted the Eucharist. Afterwards he walked to the Garden of Gethsemane where the Apostles were unable to stay awake and pray with him. In darkness he was arrested. We commemorate this by the removal of the Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose. As a community we respond to Christ’s words, “Could you not watch with me one hour?” by watching with Christ from 9.00pm until Compline (the Church’s night prayer) at 10.00pm.

Good Friday
Today is a day of Fast and Abstinence

Clitheroe 9.00am Stations of the Cross

Sabden 10.00am Stations of the Cross

Clitheroe: 10.00am Ecumenical Service at St Mary Magdalene’s, followed by procession of the Cross to Castle Gate

Sabden: 11.00am Ecumenical Service at the Village Cross

Clitheroe 3.00pm Celebration of the Lord’s Passion

Jesus died at the ninth hour, three o’clock in the afternoon. We gather in mourning to hear St John’s account of Jesus’ Passion; to pray for all for whom Christ died; to venerate the cross on which he died; and to share the fruit of his redeeming death in Holy Communion.

Holy Saturday    

Clitheroe 8.00pm Easter Vigil

In darkness, the Easter fire and the blessing of the Paschal Candle celebrate Our Saviour’s resurrection from the dead and the victory of light over darkness. Extended readings recall God’s redeeming acts throughout history that culminated in the Resurrection. The Easter Water is blessed and we are invited to commit ourselves afresh to Christ by renewing our baptismal promises. This Vigil Mass is the most important Service of the whole year and should be attended even in preference to Mass on Easter Sunday itself.

Easter Sunday

Clitheroe 9.30am Mass & Renewal of Baptismal Promises

Dunsop Bridge 10am Mass & Renewal of Baptismal Promises

Sabden 11am Mass & Renewal of Baptismal Promises


A prayerful Holy Week and Joyous Easter to all our parishioners…

Fifth Sunday of Lent – 13th March 2016

Dear Parishioners,

You may recall a few weeks ago that I quoted Pope Francis stating that we shouldn’t think of sin as a ‘stain’ on the soul that needs washing away but rather as a wound that needs healing. There is a sacrament of this, that heals both spiritually and psychologically: it is the sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as Confession.

In the same interview Pope Francis was asked: “You have said many times, that God never tires of forgiving, it is we who get tired of asking him for forgiveness. Why does God never tire of forgiving us?”

He replied: “Because he is God, because he is mercy, and because mercy is the first attribute of God. Mercy is the name of God.

There are no situations we cannot get out of; we are not condemned to sink into quicksand, in which the more we move the deeper we sink. Jesus is there, his hand extended, ready to reach out to us and pull us out of the mud, out of sin, out of the abyss of evil into which we have fallen. We need only be conscious of our state, be honest with ourselves, and not lick our wounds. We need to ask for the grace to recognize ourselves as sinners. The more we acknowledge that we are in need, the more shame and humility we feel, the sooner we will feel his embrace of grace. Jesus waits for us, he goes ahead of us, he extends his hand to us, he is patient with us. God is faithful. Mercy will always be greater than any sin; no one can put a limit on the love of the all-forgiving God.

Just by looking at him, just by raising our eyes from ourselves and our wounds, we leave an opening for the action of his grace. Jesus performs miracles with our sins, with what we are, with our nothingness, with our wretchedness.

This week the First Holy Communion children from our three schools, Dunsop, Clitheroe and Sabden, will receive the sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time.

On Tuesday evening at St Michael and St John’s beginning at 6.30pm.

On Wednesday evening at St Mary’s Sabden, beginning at 6pm

Parents and parishioners are invited and encouraged to join with them and take advantage of this opportunity to receive this great sacrament of healing, forgiveness and peace.

Fr John


CAFOD News – Climate In a letter to CAFOD, prompted by your campaign actions, Climate and Energy Secretary Amber Rudd highlighted the important role that Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si played in securing an ambitious deal on climate: “I would like to thank CAFOD for the key role they played in helping to communicate the document and look forward to working closely together to build on what was achieved at COP21. ‘TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE’”

Fourth Sunday of Lent – 6th March 2016

Dear Parishioners,

Defending one’s faith or religion in general is challenging. It demands trust in Jesus’ promises and belief in the assistance of the Holy Spirit.

This is how George Brandis, Australia’s Attorney General did so towards the end of last year.

Religious freedom is just as important as political freedom, he said, in a speech given on November 5th at Australia’s Human Rights Commission’s Religious Freedom Roundtable, held in Sydney.

The event was meant to provide a forum for people of diverse religious faiths and also those who do not profess a faith, but who take an interest in religious affairs.

“To those who are adherents of a religious faith – and in Australia, according to the last census, that was seven among every 10 of us – religion can be the most fundamental source of our sense of right and wrong; and of those beliefs about mankind and his place in the cosmos which transcend the everyday.”

He noted that many notions of political liberties had their origin in the struggles for religious liberty, referring to the political battles of the 17th and 18th centuries in England and to the writings of such authors as John Milton and John Locke.

At the same time over the Atlantic, in the colonies of North America, there was a strong commitment to religious liberty, not least in the writings of such persons as Thomas Jefferson.

In more recent times Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights strongly affirmed the right to religious freedom and liberty of conscience.

Turning to the current situation in Australia, Brandis commented that sometimes there is an inconsistent attitude towards religious tolerance. “Members of Christian faiths – in particular the Catholic faith – are routinely the subject of mockery and insult by prominent writers and commentators, provoking Mr Dyson Heydon’s observation, in his Acton Lecture last year, that ‘anti-Catholicism in Australia now might be called the racism of the intellectuals’ – or perhaps he should have said, the pseudo-intellectuals,” Brandis observed.

He also referred to what he termed the “incessant, smearing ridicule” of the former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, on account of his religious faith, describing it as “bigotry at its most shameful.”

In our country it is no different: anti-Catholicism remains the last respectable prejudice. So I say to George Brandis, “Good on ya, mate!”

Fr John

For Polish readers…

Jestes po rozwodzie? Myslisz o wszcczeciu procesu o orzeczenie niewaznosci swojego malzenstwa, tylko nie wiesz jak sie do tego zabrac? Skontaktuj sie z Salford Diocesan Tribunal  pod tel 0161 817 2202 lub

Diana jes Polka i moze udzielic Tobie bezplatnejporady w tej sprawie


Third Sunday of Lent – 28th February 2016

Dear Parishioners,

Lent is flying by with only a month to go before we celebrate the great Easter feast.

If you haven’t yet made a Lenten resolution or if you have already broken one, don’t worry. With a month to go it isn’t too late to start afresh. Don’t let time slip you by; do something for Lent, no matter how small it may be.

The final parish meetings to study and discuss Pope Francis’ important letter Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) are on Wednesday of this week, 2nd March, and Wednesday of next week, the 9th. Tea and cake is available from 7.15pm, the meeting begins at 7.30 and lasts only one hour until 8.30pm, though some then take the opportunity of an extra cuppa and further chat. These last two sessions will hopefully generate ideas of how best we may become the Missionary Parish that both Pope Francis and Bishop John are urging us to be. Why not do something positive for lent by coming along?

Last week I was able to send a cheque for £1,000.oo to Oliveaid, the charity run by Bethlehem’s Catholic University which provides olive tree saplings to Palestinian families whose trees and therefore their livelihoods have been taken by that infamous security wall. £258.oo was raised by Christmas Crib donations and £430.oo by donations from parishioners. Thank you all. The charity supports Muslim as well as Christian families and particularly has helped Christian families remain in the Holy Land.

This weekend the Easter Lily Remembrance Book opens at the back of St Michael and St John’s. For paying the cost of an Easter Lily, £3, donors may write the name of a deceased member of their family or a friend or indeed for anyone for whom they may be praying in the Easter Lily Book which will remain at the Altar during Eastertide. The resulting display of lilies magnificently decorates the sanctuary during this most important time of the Church’s year.

The popular Family Paschal candles have arrived complete with stands and are still only £10 each. I have only 10, so first come first served.

St Michael and John’s needs more volunteers to read at Mass. Please don’t be afraid of stepping forward, particularly younger members of the congregation. It isn’t as daunting as you may think and we will help with training. Please speak to either of the priests or to Teresa Mercer.

Fr John


Second Sunday of Lent – 21st February 2016

Dear Parishioners,

Pope Francis has asked that we make Lent, in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, a special time to celebrate and experience God’s mercy by receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation. On countless occasions he has reminded us that God never tires of forgiving, it is we who tire of asking him for forgiveness!
In a recently published book THE NAME OF GOD IS MERCY Pope Francis was asked: ‘You once said that the confessional should not be a “dry cleaner.” What did you mean by that?’
He answered: “It was an example; an image to explain the mistake of those who believe that sin is a strain, only a stain, something that you can have dry-cleaned so that everything goes back to normal. The way you take a jacket or dress to have a stain removed: you put it in the wash and that’s it. But sin is more than a stain. Sin is a wound; it needs to be treated, healed.”
In response to his plea, a number of events have been arranged in the Deanery to encourage you to attend the field hospital of the Spirit, the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

This Saturday, 27th February, the Mercy Bus will be in Blackburn, parked up (with permission!) from 11am until 4pm on King William Street, opposite the Town Hall. Young volunteers will be on hand to explain to passers-by what the bus is all about. Priests will be on hand to respond to requests for a blessing or Confession (Reconciliation). Some parishioners will remember that Fr Frankie spoke of this and his picture with the Pope and the bus at the recent parish Jimmy Cricket evening. So, do come along if only out of curiosity!

Then on Tuesday 1st March at 7.30pm in St Albans, Blackburn, there will be a special Deanery Lenten Mass to celebrate the Year of Mercy. From 7pm onwards and throughout the evening a number of priests will be available for Reconciliation (Confession). Fr Frankie will preach at the Mass.

On Tuesday 15th March in St Michael and John’s at 6.30pm there will be a Service of Reconciliation at which our Clitheroe and Dunsop Bridge First Communion children will make their First Confessions.
Parishioners are also welcome to celebrate the sacrament with Fr Wareing, Fr Kevin or me.
The following day, Wednesday 16th Fr Kevin and I shall be in St Mary’s Sabden where the Service will begin at 6pm.

In St Michael and John’s the usual Saturday morning Confessions will continue from 11 until 11.45am and on Friday evenings during the Stations of the Cross at 7.30pm.

I leave the last word to Pope Francis: “God is faithful. His mercy will always be greater than any sin; no one can put a limit on the love of the all-forgiving God. We should only be conscious of our need, be honest with ourselves, and not simply lick our wounds.”

Fr John

Lent Talks 2016 “Christianity at Work”

You are warmly invited to our Lent Talks which will be taking place each Saturday morning for five weeks metonymically starting on Saturday 20 February Kindia at 11 am with coffee served from 10 30.

The talks will be held at the St. Michael and St. John’s Parish Centre in Lowergate, except for Saturday 27th when we meet at the United Reformed Church.

This year’s theme is “Christianity at work”.  Each week we will learn about the challenges and joys experienced by Christians in their work and the principles which we can apply to our everyday lives.”

Saturday 20 February  “Investigating modern slavery”

Detective Chief Inspector Sion Hall of Lancashire Police at St. Michael & St. John’s

 Saturday 27 February “Serving Lancashire communities”

Gill Beeley of Together Lancashire and Blackburn Anglican Diocese at the URC

 Saturday 5 March “Supporting children and families”

Nick Shelley of Blackburn with Darwen Children’s Services

at St. Michael & St. John’s

 Saturday 12 March “Working with young people”

Chris Meyer of the Grand at St. Michael & St. John’s

 Saturday 19 March “Whole life discipleship – the onward journey”

“Christianity at work” Shirley Jenner of Manchester University Global Development Institute

at St. Michael & St. John’s