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

Ocean Springs St Josephine Bakhita

dating in münchen discord Born 1869 Darfur, Sudan

buy Pregabalin without prescription 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,_but_brothers/1114217

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 18th January 2015

Dear Parishioners,

On New Year’s Day, the feast of Mary the mother of God, Pope Francis focused his homily on Mary as both the mother of God and mother of the Church.
“Jesus,” he told the congregation, “cannot be understood without his mother,” the one who gave him human flesh, raised him and was near him always, even as he died on the cross and rose from the dead.
“Likewise inseparable are Christ and the Church,” he said. And, just as Mary brought Jesus into the world more than 2,000 years ago, the Church continues to bring him to the world, he said.
Pope Francis repeated what he has said in the past: “It is not possible to love Christ without the Church, to listen to Christ but not the Church, to belong to Christ but not the Church.”
The Church brings Christ to people, nourishes people with the sacraments and helps them understand what it means to belong to Christ, the Pope said. “Our faith is not an abstract doctrine or philosophy, but a vital and full relationship with a person: Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God.”
“Where can we encounter him? We encounter him in the Church, in our hierarchical, holy mother Church,” he said. “It is the Church which says today: ‘Behold the Lamb of God.’ It is the Church which proclaims him. It is in the Church that Jesus continues to accomplish his acts of grace which are the sacraments.”
“Without the Church,” the Pope said, “Jesus Christ ends up as an idea, a moral teaching, a feeling.”

Then this past week Pope Francis gave a 45-minute news conference aboard the papal plane traveling from Sri Lanka to the Philippines. Responding to a question related to the murders in Paris he said first that religious liberty and liberty of expression are both “fundamental human rights. “After stating forcefully that “One cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one’s own religion, in the name of God. To kill in the name of God is an aberration.” But then he began to outline what he sees as important limits on free expression: “One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.” “There is a limit, he said. Every religion has its dignity.”
When asked about climate change he said that he remembered a saying: “God always forgives; we men sometimes forgive; but nature never forgives”, adding, “I believe that man has gone a bit too far. Thank God that today, many, many people are talking about this.”

Fr John



Tomorrow’s Parish Forum meeting (Wednesday 14 January) in Sabden majors on the Call, the Journey and the Mission of Marriage and Family Life. Many of you will have already read the reflections referred to on the back page of the Parish Newsletter but in case you want to read more you can find it at:

You can download the PDF document:  The Call, the Journey and the Mission which gives excellent scope for reflection prior to the Forum.

The Baptism of the Lord – 11th January 2015

Dear Parishioners,

Bishop John has sent the following letter to the priests of the diocese:
“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.
The Bishops of England and Wales have prepared some simple reflections on the Call, the Journey and the Mission of marriage and family life. I am asking that these reflections be made available to all parishes. I ask you to invite your congregations to read these reflections and to share your thoughts with one another, especially in your families. If you would like to share those reflections with me then I would be happy for you to write to me. I cannot promise to answer every reply but I will certainly consider what you write, and will use it as part of my submission to Cardinal Vincent Nichols and to Bishop Peter Doyle, who are to be the representatives from England and Wales at the second Synod on the family next October”.
That is Bishop John’s request but the question I have is: How do we implement this, how do we organize a parish wide consultation?
I propose to take the discussion papers to the Forum on Wednesday for you to discuss and suggest how best we may as a parish tackle this project and produce a report. This raises a slight problem: attendance at Forum isn’t great and when it is held at Sabden even fewer go. So, I appeal to all who are interested in the future of our church and country to share cars and make the short journey to St Mary’s parish hall and join the discussion and help us find a way of responding to the bishop’s request.
Secondly, Last November Pope Francis convened a conference in Rome to tackle the scourge of human trafficking, modern day slavery. It was attended by Ministers and Police Chiefs from many governments. Anthony Brown will tell us briefly of one charity that has heeded the Pope’s call for ordinary people to raise awareness of this problem.

Please do respond to both the Pope’s and our Bishop’s requests for action on these two different but important issues.

Fr John


The Epiphany of the Lord – 4th January 2015

Dear Parishioners,

“May there never again be wars, but always the desire and commitment to peace and fraternity among peoples,” the Pope said in his traditional noontime Angelus address on New Year’s Day, delivered before a crowd of more than 100,000 gathered in St. Peter’s Square. He added: “Prayer is at the root of peace.” He also asked Catholics to remain loyal to their Church and honour Mary, the Mother of God.

Fr Frankie and I wish you a happy New Year as we also thank you for the cards and other gifts we received: I have never eaten so many mince pies as this year! Also our thanks go to all who decorated the church and prepared and helped with the ceremonies. I’m sure none will begrudge a special mention of Jane and her team who descended on the church even before Bishop John had left and worked solidly for the following five hours to so splendidly decorate the church and sanctuary. (Perhaps this is the moment to mention that they would welcome new members – no previous experience required!)

Bishop John enjoyed his visit to our outpost of Salford diocese and although time constraints prevented him meeting with the many parishioners who filled St M & J’s he was able to join in the hall after Mass with the many who had packed St Marys and enjoy tea and delicious cakes, some of which went home with him in a doggy bag. He now intends to whizz swiftly round the other 157 parishes in similar fashion! He was as impressed with us as we were by him.

Last Sunday evening Mark Paver, while visiting his family over Christmas joined us for a meal and wishes to be remembered to you all.

This year’s marriage preparation course begins next Sunday, 11th January at 1.30pm in the Presbytery. This is compulsory for all who wish to marry here. So, if you know anyone who is thinking of marrying before March 2016 please invite them to contact me or Fr Frankie as soon as possible.

RCIA resumes on Thursday in the Presbytery.

Please also note that the next Parish Forum will be in Sabden on Wednesday, 14th January. Peter White completed his three year (non-renewable) term as Chairman in November and Mike Bradley was elected to succeed him. We thank Peter for the commitment and enthusiasm that he brought. The secretary may be renewed and Margaret Donnelly was voted for a second term.

Fr John