33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time -16th November 2014

Dear Parishioners,

This Sunday in Clitheroe our First Communion children join us for Mass before going over to the school to learn about prayer while their parents join me to reflect on prayer in family life. In Sabden this session will be on Saturday morning. Then at next Sunday’s masses in both churches the children return to celebrate prayer in their lives and for the first time the new Youth choir will lead the singing in Clitheroe.

The Parish Forum meets on Wednesday when a new chair will be elected. The constitution states: The forum is chaired by a parishioner elected by the forum to serve for three years. He/she may not serve for two consecutive periods. So we shall thank Peter White who has carried the torch well for the past three years and invite him to fulfil his final task and supervise the election of his successor. Margaret Donnelly, the secretary, has also completed a three year term but, unlike the chair, may stand again for election.

Many parishioners may remember when baptisms were conferred on Sunday afternoon at around 3 o’clock in most churches and the congregations consisted of maybe a dozen close family and friends. Times have changed and now the majority of baptisms are attended by congregations of 50 or more with relatives travelling considerable distances and are usually followed by a family party. Mid-afternoon is considered rather late to accommodate this and so we baptise at 12noon. While Fr Frankie is here this doesn’t present an insuperable problem but increasingly Sundays are becoming more congested and, of course, Fr Frankie is only here for another two years at the very most. So for Clitheroe, I propose to move Baptisms to 12.30 on Saturdays. Saturday has an evening Mass so the noon Eucharistic service, which is attended by fewer and fewer, will cease but Exposition, Reconciliation and the Rosary will continue.
Another development is the increasingly frequent requests for more than two Godparents: 6 is not unknown! Church regulations envisage either a single or two Godparents. If there are two, they may be of one or either gender.
The Godparents task is an important one. They are to take an interest in the child’s spiritual development and help the parents with this responsibility. So, for instance, if parents can’t bring a child to Mass then the Godparent should! Church regulation is that at least one Godparent must be a practising Catholic and the other at least a baptised Christian. Sadly, experience is that when there are more than two Godparents they are unlikely to take a real interest in the child.
So come along for a lively debate on Wednesday.

Fr John


Traffik Jam Concert A Resounding Success

The Parish Hall was full to capacity at the Traffik Jam concert at the Parish Centre on 31st October.  The event raised £2,222.50 for the Medaille Trust.  You may have noticed that the figure keeps going up.  It isn’t too late to add to it.  The Medaille Trust is a charity that provides safe houses for people rescued from human trafficking.  Starting with the Garage Band who played English and Irish music with a fine blend of lyrical ballads, comedy and banter, the concert moved onto Nyima Murry’s haunting folk/blues and some of her own compositions.  The evening finished with the hall echoing to the sounds of over two hundred voices singing popular songs along with Clitheroe Ukulele Orchestra.  It was an evening of fun in aid of a serious issue, the music ranging from light hearted sing alongs to the searing reality of human trafficking.  Nyima Murry sang a trafficking song specially composed for the occasion.

Speaking at the concert Anthony Brown said that the Medaille Trust has 6 safe houses, 3 for sex victims and 3 for men plus a family unit and an Albanian Unit.  Government figures for referrals of potential victims of trafficking  for 2013 in the UK were 1746, of which approximately two thirds were female and two thirds were sexual exploitation.  Nearly one third were minors.  These figures are known cases and represent the tip of an iceberg.  Locally, we are working with the Police via parishioner Detective Chief Inspector Sion Hall.  In East Lancashire there has only been one prosecution in recent years but there is no room for complacency.  The trafficking industry is massive world wide and growing and the Police need the public’s eyes and ears.

A large number of people and organisations have been very generous with their support and particular mention should be made of Sign Design, Burnley for their large outdoor posters and Jenny Press for their large free advert.   Donations and raffle prizes have been many but notably from the Lancaster Foundation, Manchester Football Museum, Ultraframe, Carter Leisure, Sitting Pretty, Byrnes Wine Shop, Townsend Records, Booths and Sainsburys.  Thanks to generous raffle prizes the raffle alone made £354 and sponsorship and donations amounted to £663.50.




The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica – 9th November 2014

Dear Parishioners,

The Ebola appeal will remain open for the next couple of weeks. Donations may be left in the collection boxes at the back of church, though notes should be handed in directly.

Now, news from two parishioners supporting charities.

The Traffik Jam concert was an enormous success with well over 200 in attendance and everyone thoroughly enjoying themselves. The concert made £2,211.00 for the Medaille Trust. A full report and pictures will appear on the Parish website. Thank you all, Anthony Brown

In 2010 I visited Musami Mission in Zimbabwe, which has been run by the Jesuits since the 1920s. During my visit I was taken to the Mbare district of Harare, one of the most impoverished and violent districts of any city in the world. Amongst the multiple horrors I witnessed – most too gruelling to recount here – was a seven year old curled up in a doorway covered in polythene, two tiny sisters rummaging through refuse for scraps and a ten year old attempting to sell empty plastic bottles at the roadside with an infant on her hip and a toddler by the hand. These are the orphans of Africa’s AIDS epidemic. Every child’s face I looked into on that afternoon became the face of my son, or my nephew. I imagined the mothers of these children, dying in fear for their futures. Never before had the words ‘there but for the grace of God’ rung so true.
I have remained in touch with those I briefly worked with at Musami, one of whom was Patricia Vetutete. Patricia too had been shocked by what we witnessed in Mbare, but despite her own poverty, she decided to help. With my assistance and that of Jackie Robinson an experienced charity worker and my sister the charity Ray of Light was born.
The money we raise is delivered by Jesuit missions in Zimbabwe, and we have no overheads. Every penny we raise goes directly to the neediest children. It costs £160 to clothe, feed and educate a child for a year. Four of Ray of Light’s children have sponsors who will pay that sum until their education is complete. Sponsorship gives a child the confidence that she or he can complete his/her education, but any donation helps. Since 2011 it has put 17 street children in fulltime education. Ray of Light will be awarded registered charity status when it is able to £5,000 in a single year. As you leave church, please take a leaflet and for more information wvisit www.rayoflightafrica.org.
Thank you, Catherine Robinson.

                                                             Fr John


All Saints – 2nd November 2014

Dear Parishioners,

I must first thank parishioners and both our primary schools for the Spiritual Bouquet and the many cards, cakes, gifts and well wishes you so generously gave me on Sunday (the actual day!) for my 70th birthday. What a great surprise it was and never before have I received so many and such huge birthday cards! It was a most affirming experience and I am grateful to you all.

In response to the emergency appeal to help fight the dreadful Ebola epidemic that is raging through some West African counties and to prevent its further spread, there will be a retiring collection for those who wish to contribute to CAFOD’s work in the area.

Next Sunday is Remembrance Day and so, as last year, Mass will be delayed for half an hour in Sabden to allow parishioners to join the local community for a short Remembrance service at the village cenotaph. Mass will begin at 11.30am.
With the centenary of WWI in mind, Peter and Susan White spent two days restoring the war memorial chapel in St Michael and St John’s. The panelling has been cleaned, re-gilded where necessary, polished, and the two missing names of Pte E Snape and L’cpl D Moon have been added to the memorial Roll of Honour. In addition the icon of La Madonna della Strada (Our Lady of the Way) was cleaned and re-gilded.

At 7.30pm on Tuesday there will be an interfaith meeting in the Presbytery during which we will not be talking theology nor, for that matter, politics! This will be, hopefully, the first of a number of gatherings where folk from the various Churches in Clitheroe meet with members of the Muslim community to talk about life and so come to know each other a little better. We begin on Tuesday by discussing the various customs and religious rituals that surround birth and the new-born in our communities. Surely, everyone is an expert on that? The meeting will end by 9pm. Then in future gatherings we’ll look at childhood, adolescence, marriage, old age, and plenty more before arriving at death and burial. So do come along. If we are too many for the Presbytery (which I doubt) we’ll move to the parish centre.

Finally, again this weekend and after both Masses in Clitheroe Ann Harkin our parish’s Safeguarding Representative will be on hand to answer questions and deal with any other matters regarding safeguarding. Eucharistic Ministers who depart church immediately with Holy Communion may leave name and telephone number and Ann will contact them later.

 Fr John

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 26th October 2014

Dear Parishioners,

Bishop Arnold will be installed as Bishop of Salford on Monday December 8th, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, at 11am. The great and the good of the civic and ecumenical scenes will be there, the Cathedral will be packed but there are two places reserved, and also at the reception, for parishioners from Our Lady of the Valley. If you would like to attend then please contact me within the coming 5 days. If there are more than two, I shall place all names in a hat and draw two names.

As you are probably aware the Catholic Church in England and Wales has adopted a common policy for all dioceses as it continues to move towards creating “a culture of safeguarding where all are safe from harm and abuse”. The reality today is that our Church provides one of the safest environments in the country for children and vulnerable adults. But all procedures can be improved and that is what safeguarding is about.
Ann Harkin (and much to my relief and gratitude) has agreed to be the parish’s Safeguarding Representative.She writes:

“On the practical side, we need to do a little bit of “catching up” on clearances to make sure that our parish is up to date with all who have contact with children or vulnerable adults in its many and varied activities. I’ll ‘steal’ a room in the Presbytery this and next weekend after both Saturday and Sunday Masses, to answer questions and queries, to provide forms (nothing too difficult!) to those who require them and check completed forms with you before forwarding them to the diocesan office.
If you are a Eucharistic Minister or have regular contact through with children or vulnerable adults through any parish related group, please come and see me. Two exceptions are SVP and Scout Association members who have their own approved procedures.
The bulk of volunteers reside in Clitheroe and most already have an enhanced disclosure certificate but if you are in doubt then please do pop in and see me.
As soon as I have finished in Clitheroe I will visit St Mary’s Sabden, again on a Sunday after Mass.
Finally, thank you all who have already contacted me.”

Please do respond to Anne’s appeal and if you have any doubts or questions, please speak to her or to me.

Fr John


29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 19th October 2014

http://thebloodynerve.com/category/music/ Dear Parishioners,
In today’s Gospel we hear that Jesus didn’t carry money in his purse. So, when asked a question about paying taxes to the occupying Romans he asked to see the coin with which the tax was paid. He knew it would be a Roman coin! A clever move. But of interest today, World Mission Sunday, is the detail that Jesus was empty-handed as he preached his message to the Jews. So, he commanded his disciples to go out to the whole world and rely on the generosity of others, just as missionaries today leave everything to go and share their faith, often with people living in poverty. Today we are asked to remember missionaries in our prayers and to support them by giving to the retiring collection.
Last week our First Communion children began their preparation which will help them over the coming months to grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. Today they and their parents publically commit themselves to this programme that will lead them through First Reconciliation (Confession), Confirmation and on to First Holy Communion. Please remember them and their parents in your prayers.

You may notice in the procession to the altar that we have what appears to be a new and rather splendid Book of the Gospels. In fact, it is the old one that was beginning to fall apart but now has been beautifully restored and rebound at the expense of an anonymous donor.

In the recent Parish Forum it was decided that families be invited to take up the offertory gifts at Sunday Mass. So, if you and your family are invited to present the gifts then please don’t be shy.
Also at Forum Barbara Mason introduced a five day Parish Mission to help us prepare for Advent. Beginning on the feast of Christ the King, Sunday 23rd November, it will run each evening from 7.30 to 9pm until Friday. Please do consider joining us and pencil the dates in your diary. Full details will be published later.

I gather that quite a number of parishioners wrote objecting to a proposed generic chaplaincy service in NHS hospitals. The replies received may not have directly addressed the writers concerns but show that they have been noted. Such letters do matter.

The war memorial in St Michael & John’s is to be renovated by Peter White and two names will be added: Edward Snape from WWI and David Moon killed in Northern Ireland in 1972. RIP

Camberley Fr John

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 12th October 2014

Dear Parishioners,

The response of the Church to Human Trafficking

Pope Francis has made the fight against human trafficking a priority in his papacy and recently attended a conference in Rome, co-ordinated by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales. He has met with victims and described trafficking as “an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity.”
The UK is prime destination country for trafficking. Some people are brought directly to the UK for sexual exploitation or slave labour, while others are exploited in transit countries before ultimately arriving in the UK. The majority of trafficked victims in the UK are from Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. The Home Office estimates that between 4,000 and 10,000 women have been trafficked into the UK. You may think that human trafficking is confined to the major cities but it is on our doorstep. In recent years there have been instances of trafficking in Preston, Burnley and Rochdale and it is beyond doubt that the majority of trafficking crimes go undetected.
The Catholic Church in England and Wales is now developing a national response to the destructive practice of human trafficking and is increasingly playing an important role in raising awareness of the scale of human trafficking and developing ways to counter this crime. This is not only a job for the experts and we can all play a part through raising awareness and praying for an end to this most destructive of crimes against vulnerable people.
What we can do within parishes? Pray; raise awareness; volunteer; contact your MP; campaign for slave free labour; donate. For my own part, I aim to start a Parish Anti- Trafficking Group with a webpage on the Parish website. I am also working closely with the Medaille Trust, a charity working in Salford Diocese that provides safe houses for trafficked victims and with Mark Wiggin of Caritas Salford in developing ideas for awareness raising especially with young people.
There will a be a concert at St Michaels and St John’s Parish Centre on Friday 31 October, 7pm. Besides an entertaining evening, the concert is a fundraiser so please spread the word. For more information contact me on 01200 422811 or abrown.boggarts@gmail.com


Anthony Brown
Diocesan Representative (Salford) for the Medaille Trust


27th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 5th October 2014

Dear Parishioners,

As you have probably heard, Pope Francis has appointed 61year old Bishop John Arnold, an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Westminster, as Bishop of Salford diocese in succession to Bishop Brain who last December reached the retirement age of 75.
He hails from Sheffield but headed South to study Law at Oxford University before he set his mind on the priesthood. He trained in Rome from where he was ordained Priest in July 1983. He then gained a Doctorate in Canon Law before being appointed to Westminster Cathedral and chaplain to the Westminster Hospital in 1985. A wide variety of appointments followed before his ordination in 2006 as an Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster.
Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, said of him: “For many years Bishop John Arnold has been a faithful and devoted priest in the Diocese of Westminster. He has served as assistant priest, parish priest, Vicar General and, for the last eight years, Auxiliary Bishop. In all of these roles he has won the admiration and deep esteem of us all. In the name of Westminster Archdiocese, then, I rejoice in his appointment as the next Bishop of Salford, a major responsibility for which he is well suited. We shall miss him. His new Diocese, I know, will welcome him and quickly come to appreciate his many gifts, his profound dedication and his generous spirit.”
Bishop Brain has written: “I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to you all for the prayers that you have offered for my ministry among you: I have been very conscious of that strength behind me. I am also grateful for the affirmation and collaboration that I have received from the Diocesan family in so many ways: it has been a privilege to serve you all. I recognise that I did not always get it right and at times some of you were frustrated by my decisions but I pray God that, together, we have done some great things for Him and that we are in good heart to go forward on the journey of faith with Bishop John. So I simply say, thank you, God bless you. And I promise to keep you all in prayer. I have enjoyed being part of this family of God, and the last words I would like to share with you I take from that great and holy Lancashire lass, Alice Ingham: “Isn’t God great!”

Bishop John Arnold will be installed as Bishop of Salford on 8th December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, details of which will be released later.

Fr John


26th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 28th September 2014

buy Pregabalin cheap Dear Parishioners,

As you are probably aware an important meeting, a synod, of the Pope with representative bishops from around the world and other experts will gather in Rome from 5th to 29th October to discuss the challenges facing family life and the Church. In its support we are asked to pray the following prayer, written by Pope Francis, until the conclusion of the Synod.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendour of true love,
to you we turn with trust.

 Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic Churches.

 Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again
experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.

 Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
graciously hear our prayer.

 Fr John

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 21st September 2014

Dear fellow Parishioners,

Today is Home Mission Sunday – a day we are invited to pray for and support the Church’s work of Evangelisation in our own country.
As Baptised Christians we evangelise best by our witness to our faith in our daily lives: generously helping someone in need, for example, or not drinking alcohol in Lent when going out with workmates to the pub on a Friday, or by a teenager having the courage to come to Mass on Sunday despite his or her friends’ mockery. To do this we have to renew our own commitment constantly. As Pope Francis says, “I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ. The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk”. So take some time to reflect on your relationship with Christ. Do you devote time to prayer? Does your lifestyle mirror your commitment to Christ?
Secondly, we need to reflect on our family life. So, parents: how do you pass on the faith to your children, and are you transmitting God’s values to them? Children: what do you do to help family life? What can you do to make the world a better place? As members of a family we evangelise best by our witness in our daily lives: coming to Mass every Sunday, praying together and working together as a family.
Thirdly, we need to reflect on the life of our parish family. As a parish we evangelise by the witness of our shared commitment to parish support for others: support of the food bank; the work of the SVP and Eucharist Ministers who take the Church and Communion to the housebound and to care homes; catechists and teachers who sacrifice time to prepare our children for First Communion; the HTCP and Right to Life sponsored walks; the RCIA team – to name but a few. Are you a part of these and other activities. And if you are unable to actively support these, do you pray for them?
Fourthly, we are called, to quote Pope Francis, to reach out to “the baptised whose lives do not reflect the demands of Baptism, who lack a meaningful relationship to the Church and no longer experience the consolation born of faith.” Research suggests that an estimated 80% of Catholics in England and Wales rarely or never attend Mass. They are our responsibility; they are members of our faith family. We must try to find out why they are not participating in our community’s faith life, to find ways of attracting them back to the practice of the faith, and to be welcoming when they do return. People do reconnect, they do come back!
God does not hold grudges and does not demand an accounting. He offers simply a “Welcome home.” But we are the ones who must deliver the invitation!

Fr John