1st Sunday of Lent – 22nd February 2015

Dear Parishioners,

The following is taken from Pope Francis’ homily for Ash Wednesday last year.

He said, during Lent Christians are called to use the three things the Gospel recommends for spiritual growth: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
“In the face of so many wounds that hurt us and could lead to a hardness of heart, we are called to dive into the sea of prayer, which is the sea of the boundless love of God, in order to experience his tenderness.”
With more regular and intense prayer during Lent, Christians are called to think of the needs of others, “interceding before God for the many situations of poverty and suffering” in the world.

As for fasting, Pope Francis said the point isn’t just to follow the rules for Lenten fasting and abstinence, because that could lead to self-satisfaction. “Fasting makes sense if it really chips away at our security and, as a consequence, benefits someone else, if it helps us cultivate the style of the good Samaritan, who bent down to his brother in need and took care of him.”
Fasting should “exercise the heart” to recognize what is absolutely essential and to teach one how to share with others. “It is a sign of becoming aware of and taking responsibility for injustice and oppression, especially of the poor and the least, and is a sign of the trust we place in God and his providence.”

He continued, almsgiving is a practice that should be common among all Christians, but especially during Lent. Christians give concrete help and attention to those in need — asking nothing in return — because they recognize how much God has given them even though they were not deserving. Almsgiving also helps free people from “the obsession of possession, from the fear of losing what they have and from the sadness of not sharing their well-being with others.”

“Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy.” The need for conversion is clear, he said. “There is something not right with us, with our society, with the church and we need to change, to turn, to convert!” The call of the prophets to turn back to God, “reminds us that it is possible to realize something new within ourselves and around us simply because God is faithful, he continues to be rich in goodness and mercy, and he is always ready to forgive us and start all over.”

So, some points to ponder during those snatched moments of silence that Bishop John recommended last week.

Fr John

Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent

From Catholic Online: Stalybridge
Ash Wednesday
marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.
Following the example of the Ninevites, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes, our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth.
Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.
The distribution of ashes comes from a ceremony of ages past. Christians who had committed grave faults performed public penance. On Ash Wednesday, the Bishop blessed the hair shirts which they were to wear during the forty days of penance, and sprinkled over them ashes made from the palms from the previous year. Then, while the faithful recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the penitents were turned out of the church because of their sins — just as Adam, the first man, was turned out of Paradise because of his disobedience. The penitents did not enter the church again until Maundy Thursday after having won reconciliation by the toil of forty days’ penance and sacramental absolution. Later, all Christians, whether public or secret penitents, came to receive ashes out of devotion. In earlier times, the distribution of ashes was followed by a penitential procession.
The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. While the ashes symbolize penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. His Divine mercy is of utmost importance during the season of Lent, and the Church calls on us to seek that mercy during the entire Lenten season with reflection, prayer and penance.

where to order Clomiphene Suggestions for preparation for Easter

cheap beer lyrics Stations of the Cross


6th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 15th February 2015

Dear Parishioners,

In Lent we are asked to prepare for Easter by prayer and sacrifice. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Bishop John suggests we 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.
  • 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 and during the Stations of the Cross on Fridays.
  • Attend the series of ecumenical Lenten talks on Saturday mornings in the Hall at 11am. (Coffee from 10.30)
  • Join a Lent discussion group based on Pope Francis’ recent letter ‘The Joy of the Gospel’, Wednesdays at 7.30pm in the Hall on 4th, 18th and 25th March.
  • Attend a Lenten Station Mass at 7.30pm at St Mary’s Langho 25 Feb, St Joseph’s Blackburn 4th March, St Joseph’s Darwen 11 March, St Gerard’s, Lostock Hall 18 March.

Wishing you a fruitful Lent,

Fr John



5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 8th February 2015

Dear Parishioners,

Pope Francis has made today, the feast of St Josephine Bakhita, an International Day of Prayer against Human Trafficking. Anthony Brown, the parish and local coordinator against human trafficking explains:
Saint Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of trafficking victims, was born in Sudan in 1869. Captured by Arab slavers she was sold in the markets of El Obeid and Khartoum until finally bought by the Italian Consul, Callisto Legnani. For the first time since the day she was kidnapped, she found that no one used the lash when giving her orders; instead, she was treated with love and as one of the family.
Callisto returned to Italy and when he and his family had again to move abroad he left Bakhita in the care of the Canossian sisters, an Italian Religious order. There, she came to know and experience God’s love. She had always believed in God but had never known who he was until then. In January 1890, Bakhita was baptised Josephine and made her First Holy Communion. When Callisto returned, with unusual courage, she expressed her desire to remain with the Canossian sisters. She had by then come of age and enjoyed the freedom of choice which Italian law guaranteed.
On 8 December 1896 Josephine Bakhita made her religious vows and for the next 50 years lived in the Canossian community, involved in various services: cooking, sewing, embroidery and attending to all who called at the convent door, especially the poor and those in trouble. Her sisters in the community esteemed her for her constant sweet nature, exquisite goodness and deep desire to share her love of Jesus with others.
As she grew older she experienced long, painful years of sickness but always responded to people with a smile. She died on 8 February 1947 surrounded by the sisters. A crowd quickly gathered at the convent to have a last look at their ‘Mother Moretta’, their ‘Dark Mother’, and ask for her prayers.

I have ordered 200 prayer cards for Sunday 8 February and hope that you will take one from the porch and pray for the victims of human trafficking.

Sunday 8th February is also Caritas Sunday, when we are invited to be part of the rich heritage of charity in our diocese and to reflect on the part that we all as members of our church and community have to play in bringing about a fair and compassionate society

Anthony Brown, The Medaille Trust and Caritas Salford.

There is a retiring collection today for Caritas which supports people living on the margins of society and who are often overlooked by statutory bodies.

Fr John


Sunday 8 February: Caritas Sunday

Caritas Diocese of Salford is the charity of the Bishop of Salford and began its mission in 1864 when the then Bishop of Salford, Cardinal Herbert Vaughan, invited the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph (FMSJ), a  Salford Diocese founded congregation,  to begin a ministry in industrial Lancashire to rescue children from poverty and the work house. Today, 111 years later, Caritas Diocese of Salford is still working directly with the FMSJ sisters in Caritas projects with homeless and vulnerable people, some sleeping rough on the streets of Manchester,  and with older people and their carers offering respite. Our newest project, again involving the sisters,  is one that we ask your prayers for. It is  our work with young people with life limiting medical conditions so complex that these have the ability to shorten their  young lives. To these young people, we offer a 24 hour nursing and personal care service in our new purpose build home that from the outside looks so ordinary but one you enter through the door you immediately appreciate the atmosphere of love, hope and joy of both staff and young people alike.

Sunday 8th February is Caritas Sunday when we invite you to be part of the rich heritage of charity in our diocese and to reflect on the part that we all as members of our church and community have to play in bringing about a fair and compassionate society. Sunday 8th February is also the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita and we have been asked to especially remember the plight of trafficked people caught up in the terrible curse of Modern Day slavery. Again, Caritas Diocese of Salford is involved in supporting the charitable work of the Medaille Trust who have two safe houses in the Diocese for rescued victims of trafficking. Caritas also supports a brand new anti-trafficking initiative started in our diocese by members of the Parish of Our Lady of the Valley in Clitheroe.

Please remember the work of Caritas Diocese of Salford in your prayers this week support this worthwhile charity.

Thank you

Mark Wiggin, CEO Caritas Diocese of Salford

Sunday 8 February: The Feast of St Bakhita

http://place-des-coachs.com/coach-relations/ St Josephine Bakhita

Born 1869 Darfur, Sudan

Died 8 February 1947 Italy

 When St Josephine Bakhita was seven, she was kidnapped by Arab slave traders and over the next eight years was re-sold five times.  She was so traumatised by the brutality of her captors, she could not remember her birth name. her kidnappers gave her the name “Bakhita” which means fortunate.  Her final owner, the Italian Consul brought her to Italy to be a nanny for his daughter. When the family had to go away on business, they left Bakhita and the child in the care of the Canossian Sisters of the institute of Catechumens in Venice. It was there she came to know and experience God’s love.  In 1890 Bakhita asked to be baptised and received the name Josephine.  When the family returned to reclaim their daughter and Bakhita, Josephine resisted and her case went to court which upheld her freedom, since slavery was not recognised in Italian law.  In 1896 she took her vows as a Canossian Sister and for the next fifty year she led a life of simplicity, prayer and service (especially as the doorkeeper in the convent) always showing kindness to everyone especially the children in the street. In her final years she suffered from sickness and the haunting memories of the flogging and beatins she received whilst in slavery.  Josephine Bakhita died in 1947 and in 2000 she was canonised – the first Sudanese ever to be proclaimed a saint.

 Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking

 O God, who led Saint Josephine Bakhita from abject slavery to the dignity of being your daughter and bride of Christ, grant we pray, that by her example we may show constant love for the Lord Jesus crucified, remaining steadfast in charity and prompt to show compassion.

 Through Christ our Lord.

 St Josephine Bakhita:

 Pray for us

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 1st February 2015

Dear Parishioners,

You may remember that near the beginning of the month I quoted from a letter sent by Bishop John, a part of which read: “As part of the work of the Synod on the family, you may know that Pope Francis has asked us to take time to reflect on marriage and family life, and our own experience. It is all too evident that both marriage and family life have been challenged and, in our generation, they have seen unprecedented breakdown. Despite its many struggles, we know that without the gift of family our society would have lost something fundamentally important and good. Marriage is such a noble vocation and family life must be strengthened and assisted, especially in times of difficulty.”
Following this letter, further information and suggestions were received from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. These were discussed at the Parish Forum on 14th January and Forum’s suggestions were further refined, by a small coordinating group, into a questionnaire.
This questionnaire will be distributed at the end of this month with the request that all responses be returned by 14th March.
The questionnaire will be anonymous though you will be asked to tick boxes indicating your gender, age group and whether you are married, living with a partner, separated, widowed, or single.
To help you give serious thought to this exercise and, if you wish, to discuss it with your friends, the questions are listed below.

1 What are your joys and hopes for family life today?

2 What are your struggles and fears of marriage and family life today?

3 How can we better understand marriage as a vocation?

4 How does your marriage enrich you?

5 How does your family life help the world be a better place?

6 How does the way your family lives witness to our faith?

It is not necessary to answer every question, only those applicable to you and in less than 40 words. This restriction will encourage concise responses and help to coordinate replies. Finally, any replies received back before the questionnaire is distributed will be ignored. And if you don’t like the whole idea, then accept it as a penance for Lent which begins on 18th of this month.

Fr John


Mary and I chanced to be in York on 27 January, which was Holocaust Memorial Day 2015, and we attended the 600 Candles service in York Minster.
In his opening address to the readings, Paul Tyack of York Univeristy concluded with the words of Yehuda Bauer, one of the world’s leading Holocaust scholars and a driving force behind the foundation of Holocaust Memorial Day:  “We are all one  human race, interconnected and interdependent.  Politics that are not based on moral considerations are, at the end of the day, not practical politics at all.  I come from a people that gave the Ten Commandments to the world.  Let us agree that we need three more, and they are these: thou shalt not be a perpetrator; thou shalt not be a victim; and thou shalt never, but never, be a bystander.”
Those last eight words struck a chord.  It isn’t just genocide, it’s all forms of human exploitation, violence and abuse, and of course I thought of trafficking and how easy it is to do nothing because we feel ignorant or powerless.
We CAN do something

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 25th January 2015

Dear Parishioners,

During an impromptu press conference on his flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines Pope Francis condemned the violence surrounding the Charlie Hebdo killings but also said there are limits to free speech — especially when it involves religion.
In particular, he said, one shouldn’t abuse freedom of expression to “provoke” or “offend” others deliberately, and also one shouldn’t be surprised when they react to such taunts.
Nodding towards a friend and smiling, even in the case of a dear friend, Francis said, “If he says a swear word against my mother, he’s going to get a punch in the nose. That’s normal.”
The question was asked by a French journalist about how to balance religious freedom against freedom of expression, and Francis immediately linked his answer to the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
“You’re French, so let’s talk about Paris, let’s speak clearly. One cannot make war [or] kill in the name of one’s own religion, that is, in the name of God,” Francis said. “To kill in the name of God is an aberration.”
That said, Francis also insisted that free speech does not imply total license to insult or offend another’s faith.
“One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith,” he said, “Every religion has its dignity … and I cannot make fun of it,” the pope said. “In freedom of expression there are limits.
“People who make fun of, who toy with other people’s religions, he said, risk running into “what would happen to [that friend] if he said something against my mother.”
Pope Francis appeared to be saying that while nothing can justify the kind of violence witnessed Paris, that doesn’t mean that religion may be gratuitously insulted under the banner of freedom of speech.
Charlie Hebdo, the French magazine where 12 people were slain, was renowned for publishing content that ridiculed Muhammad, the founder of Islam, including occasionally running cartoons of him in pornographic poses.
Unfortunately Pope Francis’ words were prescient. Anti-Charlie Hebdo riots in Niger resulted in at least ten deaths, the destruction of churches and the closure of dispensaries and schools that served the poor.
Freedom of speech must be constrained by courtesy and consideration if we are to live together in peace.

Fr John


2015 WORLD PEACE DAY, SUNDAY 18 JANUARY: slaves no more, but brothers and sisters

The Bishops of England and Wales invite us to make today a day of prayer for world peace and to reflect on the theme chosen by Pope Francis for the annual World Day of Prayer for Peace (celebrated in Rome and elsewhere on January 1st): ‘Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters’.  Perhaps we thought that slavery was a thing of the past, ended in the British Empire through the efforts of William Wilberforce, and long-since driven from the plantations that supply our food and the factories that produce the goods we use.  But in recent years we have begun to recognise many new forms of slavery alongside the older ones – the child soldiers in many foreign wars, for instance, and (more shocking still) people trafficked for domestic service, for sexual exploitation and for the drugs trade hidden within our own communities.

What all those forms of slavery have in common is a lack of respect for the God-given dignity of each person.  And we are caught up in this violation of the rights of our brothers and sisters whenever we choose not to care – about how our goods were produced and at what cost to others.  At the beginning of our Celebration, let us acknowledge our fault; and let us turn to Christ who came that all might belong and live as brothers and sisters under the one God.

For the full text of the Pope’s message follow the link  http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/12/10/day_of_peace_message__%E2%80%9Cno_longer_slaves,_but_brothers/1114217