33rd Sunday in Ordinary time – 17th November 2013

Dear Parishioners,

You may remember that in early summer a letter was read in all parishes of the deanery explaining the procedures to be followed in the event of a Parish Priest unexpectedly falling ill on Saturday evening or Sunday morning with no priest in the area available to celebrate Sunday Mass. To cope with such an emergency situation, Deanery proposed to train a few people in each parish whose task would be to inform the congregation of the situation and lead them in a Service of Word and Sacrament. This service would follow the liturgy of the day, as printed on the Sunday Mass sheet, but omit the Offertory and the Eucharistic Prayer, which are reserved for a priest alone. So the liturgy would move directly from the Bidding prayers to the Our Father and Holy Communion which would be distributed by a minister of Holy Communion. Those responsible have been trained and are being commissioned in their parishes. In our parish they are Arnold Marsden and Teresa Mercer. I stress that this arrangement is for an emergency situation only. I pray and don’t envisage that it will occur in Clitheroe – but Fr Frankie is here for three years and when he leaves I shall be 72!

St Michael and St John’s church doesn’t accommodate wheelchairs very well, with users somewhat isolated when parked at the back of the church or to the far sides at the front. So, the front benches on either side of the centre aisle have been adapted to accommodate wheel chairs and are being refurbished at a cost of £1584. Already £620 has been donated to bench renovation fund which remains open. These benches will be the first to have fitted cushioned seating.

The parish website is to be revamped. A small committee looks after the site but they need more parishioners to share the task and help add sparkle. We meet a week on Wednesday 27th November and will welcome volunteers.

These and other issues will be discussed at the Parish Form which meets on Wednesday at 7.30pm in Clitheroe Parish Centre and to which all parishioners are invited.

In response to the dreadful disaster in the Philippines there will be a retiring collection after all Masses today. Your donations will be sent to Cafod, a founding member of the Disasters Emergency Committee which is coordinating the UK voluntary response. For those who wish, Gift Aid envelopes are available at the back. During the week, donations may be posted through the Presbytery letter box.

Reminder: www.catholicnews.org.uk and then click family questionnaire.

Fr John

32nd Sunday in Ordinary time – 10th November 2013

Dear Parishioners,

Pope Francis has called for a special synod in Rome next year from 5th to 19th October to discuss the challenges facing the family, probably the biggest challenges facing the Church in our part of the world. In preparation he has asked bishops’ conferences world-wide to conduct a consultation of Catholics, asking for their opinions on how the church’s teaching is known, accepted or rejected today.

The accompanying document, technically known as a Lineamenta, makes for heavy reading! But fortunately our bishops have broken it into a user friendly questionnaire which may be downloaded and printed off to be responded to by pen and ink or completed and returned online. This is the first time that a world-wide, parish level survey has been conducted by the Church. So, do go to http://www.catholicnews.org.uk/Home/Featured/Synod-of-Bishops-on-the-Family-2014 and have your say.

Since these issues profoundly affect every family, I wonder whether you would prefer a parish meeting/s to discuss them more fully and perhaps contribute to a parish response? Please let me or Fr Frankie know your thoughts.

Now for another family matter: It is great to see Little Church numbers building up again but we are becoming victims of our own success! It has been suggested that the children span too great an age range for our catechists to cater adequately for them all. So, it has been proposed that we restrict Little Church to children aged 4 years and above and that they continue to meet in the large meeting room and that a crèche for children aged 3 and below meet in the smaller room. No decisions have been taken: this is simply an idea made to set interested parents discussing the issue before we take the matter to the Parish Forum a week on Wednesday, 20th November.

There has been an excellent response to the SVP appeal for volunteers. On behalf of the parish I thank all who responded.

You may remember that two weeks ago Pope Francis asked for continual prayer for persecuted Christians – our brothers and sisters! Last week Sadad, a predominantly Syrian Christian town was attacked by Islamic militants. 45 Syrian Orthodox Catholics were killed, 30 injured, 10 are missing and 2,500 have fled. Churches were pillaged and destroyed. Archbishop Alnemeh pleads: “We have cried out to the world for help but no one has listened to us. Where is the Christian conscience? Where is human consciousness? Where are my brothers? We ask everyone to pray for us.” Please do remember them.

Fr Frankie