7th July 2019 – 14th Sunday in Ordinary time (Weld Day)


Saturday, June 22 saw the first Hope in the Future Deanery walk from Stonyhurst along the Tolkien Trail.  Starting with a prayer at the statue of Our Lady, 46 people from 11 St John Southworth Deanery parishes skirted the college grounds and through the fields to the Hodder.   We regrouped frequently to learn about the features of our surroundings and their Tolkien links.  We picnicked just past where the Hodder joins the Ribble and then on to where the Calder joins the Ribble.  A few weeks ago, an osprey was spotted fishing near here.  Like us it needed a lunch break on its journey north to the Lake District.  We had to be content with a heron, a truly magnificent bird none the less.

But it wasn’t the summer sun, the verdant green foliage, the ox eye daisies, the blackbirds, that made the day. It was the people, many of them newcomers to us but of same faith and mind.  It was good to circulate and share experiences of our parishes and hear what others were doing for Hope in the Future.  It became clear that our Parish is ahead of most and perhaps all others in our Deanery.  This will surprise some as it may seem that little has changed.  Hope in the Future is a five-year programme of which the Outreach component comprises:

  • Communicating well through newsletters, websites and social media
  • Serving the particular needs of the local community
  • Creating social outreach groups open to all
  • Linking with Caritas, CAFOD, SVP and similar organisations
  • Caring for the local environment
  • Inviting participation in activities such as parish missions or Alpha courses
  • Reaching out to parishioners who do not regularly attend church
  • Participating in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue and action

None of this is new.  These are the pillars of Catholic Social Teaching.  The only change is about balance.  As Donal Harrington says:  [There is] “a tendency to see spirituality as a private affair between ‘me and God’, with no reference to or need for community. Perhaps this reflects a more widespread tendency to ‘privatise’ that characterises capitalist culture. As times push on and the world becomes insular and populist, we too are pushed along with it.  Hope in the Future encapsulates the mission to address this, to become less inward and more outward looking.”

Anthony Brown


30th June 2019 – SS Peter & Paul


Our young people arrive at their meetings each week prepared to have fun, learn, help other people, love God, be kind, ready to earn badges and to keep the Scout Law.  All of this is reflected in the Beaver and Cub promise each young person makes when they choose to be invested as a Beaver or Cub.

Beavers:  Badge work and awards: we’ve awarded 2 bronze scout awards, 2 & 1 year level badges, personal skills, challenge badges. We’re working towards our cooking skills, adventure & faith badges.

Cubs:  Badge work and awards: we are currently working towards Team Building, Team Leader, Skills and Creative badges. All 5 cubs are in-line for achieving their Chief Scout Silver awards if they remain in Cubs. 1 will be awarded this by July 2019.

Our Beavers and Cubs will enjoy a camp at Bowley this weekend:

2 nights & 2 days for Cubs & 1 night and 1 & half days of activities for Beavers. We’ve got exciting activities to look forward to, such as making own frying pan and cooking own lunch, crate stacking, Beaver and Wolf trails to complete.

Beavers and Cubs will be visiting Pets at Home in July to see the good work that happens there and to complete and be awarded the Animal Friend/Care badge.

When the weather is good, Beavers and Cubs are privileged to be able to have as many meetings on St Michael and St John’s School field as they can.  This allows them to work towards and achieve their Adventure, Team Skills, Leadership, Athletics and Athletics plus challenge and activity badges.

Beavers – we currently have 12 young people. 10 will return in September 2019.

Cubs – we currently have 5 young people. 4 in September 2019

Plea:  We are in need of adults to join our leadership team anytime from now onwards – we can’t keep our group going without Leaders to lead!!

If you know anyone who may be interested, please pass on my contact details as follows:

Mobile: 07887690402; Email: susan_fellows@hotmail.co.uk


Many thanks.

Susan Fellows, AKA Pink Beaver (Beavers) and Akela (Cubs)

‘Stay with us Lord on our Journey’

23rd June 2019 – Corpus Christi

Dear Parishioners,

Today is the feast of Corpus Christi, the feast of the Body of Christ. Catholic belief is that Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross is made present on the altar in the celebration of the Eucharist, the celebration  of the Mass.  How may we gain some insight into this mystery?

I invite you to read the following from ‘A place apart’ by the Cistercian monk Basil Pennington. You may have to read it a dozen times – but stay with it!

“We tend to see and experience things in a linear fashion, one event succeeding another and passing into history. God dwells in an eternal “now.” All that ever was and will be is now present in him. If I were to try to express it in an image, I might say that while we see things stretched out in a line he sees them all piled up, one atop another, in a single point of time. And at the top of the heap is the greatest act of all creation, the focal act of all creation.

God is love. We are made to his image and likeness. We are all that we are to be, to the extent that we are love, lovers, sharing in the love of God become man’s in his Son. The greatest act of creation is the greatest act of love in creation, that act whereby the Son offered the Father the greatest thing in creation: his human life. Greater love than this no man has than to lay down his life. All our love has its meaning and fullness only to the extent it participates in his supreme act of love.

We can reach beyond time into God’s “now” to touch that supreme act at any time by our faith. But God himself in his tremendous mercy and love has given us a ritual act whereby that supreme act of love is brought into our time and made present whenever a priest places that ritual in memory of his Son. The Mass and Calvary are in no wise distinct. The one supreme act of love, abiding ever in the “now” of God, is made present on our table by this ritual act just as truly as it was present on the cross in the heart of the Son. This is the significance of the Mass, and we are invited to it daily.

Fr John

16th June 2019 – Trinity Sunday

Dear Parishioners,

A Eucharistic service should not be held in a church on the same day as a Mass is celebrated. We ‘bent’ the rule here in Clitheroe to accommodate, on Saturday morning, a small number of people who were unable to attend Sunday Mass because of their disabilities, agoraphobia being one, These parishioners have now gone to the Lord. Saturday. Next Saturday at 11am we celebrate the First Communion Mass for St Michael and St John’s, so the usual Eucharistic service has to be cancelled. Given that there is a 5 o’clock Saturday Mass here in Clitheroe followed by a 6.30pm Mass in Dunsop, with a further two Masses on Sunday we have more Masses than most other parishes and so I think that this is an opportune moment to announce that these Saturday morning Eucharistic services will not be resumed.

St Elisabeth Convent is a Russian Orthodox community in Belarus that was founded in 1999 in the outskirts of Minsk. The convent currently has a large number of sisters whose vocation is to serve the poor, particularly the physically and mentally disabled.

The convent has cared for 200 orphan children suffering from both physical and mental needs for the past 14 years. “We consider it vital to raise children in the atmosphere of love, mercy and care,” Sr Olga told me.

They also run a shelter on the Convent farmstead for the homeless, drug or alcohol addicts, ex-prisoners and the less able. Over 200 residents live there today. The Convent provides them with accommodation, meals and necessary medicines, medical and helps them to register for their important national identity papers.

There is a separate rehabilitation facility for female ex-prisoners and homeless and the mentally challenged women.

To support and develop these activities, the sisters run twenty craft workshops which include sewing and embroidery work, candle making, wood-carving, stone and metalwork – “all made with love and prayer”.

Two sisters will display a selection of their products for sale both here in Clitheroe after Mass and also in Our Lady’s, Langho.

Fr John

Pope Francis: Audience with the participants in the General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis, 27.05.2019

[Catholics tend to see Catholic Social Teaching as an optional extra.  These quotes from a recent audience with the Pope are useful reminders about the key place charity has in our Faith]

Today I would like to pause to reflect briefly with you on three key words: charity, integral development and communion.


  • Charity has its origin and its essence in God Himself (see Jn 4: 8); charity is the embrace of God our Father to every man, especially to the least and the suffering, who occupy a preferential place in His heart
  • The Church…. is in Christ, the sign and instrument of God’s love for humanity and for all of creation, our common home.

Integral development

  • The poor are first and foremost persons, and their faces conceal that of Christ Himself. They are His flesh, signs of His crucified body, and we have the duty to reach out to them
  • The service of charity must, therefore, choose the logic of integral development as an antidote to the culture of waste and indifference.


  • It is communion in Christ and in the Church that animates, accompanies and supports the service of charity both in the communities themselves and in emergency situations throughout the world.

Taking up these three fundamental aspects of living in Caritas, I would like to urge you to live them with a style of poverty, gratuitousness and humility….You cannot live charity without having interpersonal relationships with the poor: living with the poor and for the poor…We must always be careful not to fall into the temptation of living a hypocritical or deceitful charity, a charity identified with almsgiving, or as a “tranquilliser” for our uneasy consciences….Charity is not an idea or a pious feeling, but is an experiential encounter with Christ; it is the desire to live with the heart of God Who does not ask us to have a generic love, affection, solidarity, etc. for the poor, but to meet Himself in them (see Mt 25: 31-46), in the style of poverty.

You can read the full text here

9th June 2019 – Pentecost Sunday

Come Holy Spirit of God

Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ:
shine in our hearts,
in our society,
in the world of nature around us,
in the church.
Enrich the poverty of our spirits and imaginations
with the abundance of your gifts.
To the restless anxiety of our hearts,
to the turmoil of our lives,
bring your sweet message of peace.
Be the still point in the midst of our anxious activity,
be our rest after toil,
be a cool shade in life’s burning heat,
be the solace of our sorrows and disappointments.
Come then to us, Holy Spirit of God,
send our dry roots rain.
Take possession of us
to comfort and renew:
Cleanse all that is defiled in us,
Heal all that is diseased in us,
Make fruitful all that is barren in us,
Soften all that is angry and inflexible in us,
Warm all that is frigid and unloving in us,
Straighten all that is crooked and deceitful in us.
Give to all who open themselves to you
the gifts of wisdom and understanding,
insight and tenderness,
the knowledge of the dignity of the redeemed,
and the courage to live up to it.
Give them a humble reverence before the mystery of God,
before the beauty and fragility of our world,
and before the glory of our human nature
which you fill with your presence and your power, as your living temple.
And when for each of us in death
the hints and shadows of this world
give way to the reality of God,
be yourself the homecoming and the fulfilment
of all that your presence here has taught us to hope for.

2nd June 2019 – 7th Sunday of Easter

Dear Parishioners,

Diocesan training courses and events in support of Hope in the Future

 Catechist Training

David Wells will present three workshops for catechists for would-be catechists in June. These will be suitable for those involved in Baptismal, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation preparation, as also RCIA. David Wells is an excellent teacher so the course will soon be booked out. Please contact me ASAP if you are interested.

Choose one venue – it’s the same course at all three.

St. Michael’s, Ribble Drive, Whitefield on Saturday 22nd June 10am-12noon
Our Lady and the English Martyrs Parish Centre, Davyhulme Rd, Urmston, Sunday 23rd June 2pm – 4pm
St. John Southworth, Vaughan Street, Nelson, Thursday 4th July 7-9pm

North West Scripture Festival 2019

Saturday 29th June at Thornleigh Salesian College, Bolton, 9.30am to 3.30 pm.
The theme of this year’s festival will be Peter and Paul: Chosen and Sent.

Prayer and worship; Scripture reflections; Small group conversation; Creative plenary sessions. Tea and coffee provided; please bring a packed lunch. Suggested donation of £10 per person. To book your place please contact formation@rcaol.co.uk or ring 0151 522 1040.

 An Afternoon/Evening with Sherry Weddell for Clergy and Laity

Thursday 20th June 2019, 5:30pm – 9:00pm, St Bernadette’s Parish Centre, Whitefiled, M45 7SX
5:30pm – Holy Hour / Confessions
6:30pm – Tea/Coffee
7:00pm – Talk – Forming Intentional Disciples
8:30pm – Q&A and discussions
9:00pm -Departures
Suggested donation of £5:00 payable on the door. Register online – www.dioceseofsalford.org.uk/parishes/events/ or by emailing john.griffin@dioceseofsalford.org.uk or calling 0161 817 2214.

Fr John

19th May 2019 – 5th Sunday of Easter

Dear Parishioners,

You may remember two Palestinian Christians visiting the parish some years ago, they will return next weekend. Elias Rishmawy represents Christian families in and around Bethlehem and has written to explain their mission.  Fr John


Bethlehem art is run by the Christian families in and around Bethlehem.

Our mission statement is to provide an income for the few Christian families still living in Bethlehem. There are few pilgrims and visitors to the Holy Land and so families have no means of selling their work. The result is that many families are facing great poverty and distress, as this is for many is their main livelihood.

The items produced by local craftsmen are individually hand carved from the wood of the olive tree that are common throughout the Holy Land and in particular those which surround my native city of Bethlehem. Many of the trees are over 300 years old and many used for the carvings have fallen during the troubles.

Since olive wood is one of the hardest woods on earth, the woodcarvings and their detailing require the patience of very skilled craftsmen. God has blessed the craftsmen of Bethlehem with a very special talent.

This art of woodcarvings has been practised for centuries and passed down through generations from father to son.

Once the items are carved, they are sanded and coated with a sealant varnish to protect the wood and highlight the grain. There will be no need for oiling or any further treatment, just display it and enjoy its beauty. These items will last a lifetime and can easily be enjoyed by generations to come.

I have the honour of representing the families and the craftsmen in my town of Bethlehem and I am proud to bring their carvings here to the United Kingdom for you to enjoy.

Every purchase of these carvings will help to support the many Christian families that still in current times live under constant deprivation and conflict.

Elias Rishmawy


Foodbank – Temporary move

Ribble Valley Foodbank

From Monday 20th May the Foodbank will be moving temporarily to Clitheroe United Reformed Church, Castlegate BB7 1AZ.

Please see poster in porch for more details including opening times