Pope Francis issued the following letter to the Superior General of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, Fr Xavier Cannistrà, to mark the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the birth of Saint Teresa of Avila on Saturday... St Teresa is primarily a teacher of prayer. The discovery of Christ's humanity was central to her experience. Moved by the desire to share this personal experience with others, she describes it in a vivid and simple way, accessible to everyone, because it consists simply in "a relationship of friendship ... with he who we know loves us"
On Friday night, 27th March, 35 teenagers from Basildon in Essex, slept out all night in the church car park at St Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Laindon. They are preparing to be Confirmed as Catholics, and part of their preparation includes understanding the church's work with the needy and most vulnerable in our town. "There is no better way to understand something than to experience it," said their Parish Priest, Fr Dominic Howarth, who joined the group in sleeping in the car park for the evening. "Pope Francis says we should be 'a poor Church, for the poor' and this is one way of living that."
A group of 17 Anglican Bishops from all six continents have called for urgent prayer and action on the "unprecedented climate crisis". Their Declaration The World Is Our Host: A Call to Urgent Action for Climate Justice released today sets a new agenda on climate change for the 85 million-strong Anglican Communion. The group met in South Africa in February to build on months of conversations carried out via the internet. The group involved bishops both from cultures and nations that are major contributors to climate change, and those producing low levels of CO2 but
The White House has issued a statement announcing that United States President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle will host Pope Francis on September 23, 2015. The meeting will take place in the White House. The statement says President Obama and Pope Francis will discuss several issues of mutual interest, including "caring for the marginalized and the poor; advancing economic opportunity for all; serving as good stewards of the environment; protecting religious minorities and promoting religious freedom around the world; and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities."
As the clock of St Paul's Cathedral strikes 12 noon on Wednesday 1st April 2015, the Cross, carried by nine-year-old Shay O'Dwyer will enter Paternoster Square and will be blessed by Bishop Nicholas Hudson. Palm Crosses will be distributed. There will be five stops covering the 14 Stations. At the first stop, covering the first three Stations of the Cross, (1st Jesus is condemned to death; 2nd Jesus receives the Cross: 3rd Jesus falls the first time the meditation). will be read by Malcolm Johnstone and a talk given by Bishop Nicholas Hudson
Around 500 children from a Catholic, an Anglican and a Muslim primary school, gathered together on their last day of term on Friday, for Palm Sunday celebrations. St Mary's Priory Catholic primary school in Tottenham, north London, hosted visits by pupils from St Ann's CoE primary school and the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation school. There were processions around the school gardens and playground - with the star of the day: a donkey called William - before short open air services, led by Fr Clive Lee and Deacon Kassa Tsegaye from St Thomas More's RC church in Manor
In a BBC Hereford & Worcester Lenten Pause broadcast on Palm Sunday, the Archbishop of Birmingham invited listeners to use these coming 40 days to help shape the kind of society that we wish to be a part of. He said that our politicians have just 40 days to convince us that their policies are the right ones and that they have the ability to steer the country in the interests of the common good. During this time, he said we can find opportunities to engage with our local parliamentary candidates and we can also challenge ourselves to ask what kind of world we want.
Pope Francis delivered the homily at the Palm Sunday Mass in St Peter's Square today, the beginning of Holy Week, 2015. The official English translation follows: At the heart of this celebration, which seems so festive, are the words we heard in the hymn of the Letter to the Philippians: "He humbled himself" (2:8). Jesus' humiliation. These words show us God's way and the way of Christians: it is humility. A way which constantly amazes and disturbs us: we will never get used to a humble God! Humility is above all God's way: God humbles himself to walk with his people, to put up with their infidelity.
The lights went out on St Peter's Basilica for one hour on Saturday evening, joining once again the international 'Earth Hour' effort to raise awareness about climate change. The annual initiative, which began in 2007, invites cities around the world to turn off the lights on their national monuments and public buildings, as well as in offices, shops and homes, to help raise awareness about the need to adopt more environmentally sound practices. Earth Hour is being observed today, 28 March in major cities across the world, from 8.30 to 9.30pm, local time in each country.
His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East died on Thursday morning, March 26 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Patriarch Mar Dinkha was 80 years old and the cause of death was a virus infection and pneumonia. The funeral service will be held on April 8 at St George Church in Chicago. Patriarch Dinkha, the 111th Patriarch of the Church of the East, was consecrated as Patriarch on October 17, 1976, serving 39 years at his post.
On Friday evening, Pope Francis went to the Sistine Chapel to greet the 150 homeless persons who had been invited to visit the Vatican Museums through an initiative of the Office of Papal Charities. On his arrival the Pope said: "Welcome. This is the house of all; this is your house. The doors are always open to all." He went on to shake hands and talk with each person, staying for about 20 minutes. Later, he thanked Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, Papal Almoner, for having organized the visit, which he called a "small kindness" for the guests.
Though we like to perceive the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey as moment of 'humble access', it wouldn't have been without precedent. There was a regional custom that called upon nobles and rulers to enter Jerusalem in procession riding on the back of a donkey and animal that was a symbol of peace and good intentions rather than the horses of warrior and conqueror. The palm fronds strewn before him were a traditional way of welcoming a King and carried all kinds of meaning from victory to eternal life.
Speaking at the international conference of the Irish Churches' Peace Project in the Hilton Belfast Templepatrick, the leaders of the participating churches issued the following statement: "Against the backdrop of continuing political instability, the experience of the Irish Churches' Peace Project (ICPP) highlights the contribution of local leadership in rebuilding trust and overcoming remaining obstacles to peace in our society. Notwithstanding the considerable achievements of the peace process, seventeen years on from the Good Friday Agreement there is still
Sacred Voices of the Levant - a concert of sacred Levantine (Middle Eastern) music and chants for the deliverance of Iraq and Syria will take place on Saturday, 28 March at 6pm 2015 in St Barnabas Church, St Barnabas Street (off Pimlico Road), London SW1W 8PF, with Syriac and Byzantine chants for Lent and Holy Week - performed by the choirs of the Levantine Churches in London. There will be choirs from the Melkites, Maronites, Syriac Orthodox, Chaldean and Syro-Malabar communities; plus Mr Abdul Salam from the Muslim Community, giving us a recital on the oud.
Music, laughter and celebrations were the theme of the night at the annual Caritas Anchor House Awards Ceremony yesterday. There was a fantastic turn out to the event as people gathered together to mark the hard work and achievements of the homeless charity's residents, staff members and partners. The evening started with musical performances given by students from the East London Arts and Music academy, followed by a touching rendition of 'True Traveller', an original song by Miss Jacqui's based on the life story of a Caritas Anchor House resident.
A group of young people representing different religions have joined together as the first interfaith lobby of Parliament calling for action to be taken on the changing climate. Nearly 30 youth representatives from CAFOD, Christian Aid, World Jewish Relief, Islamic Relief, and MADE in Europe travelled to Parliament as part of the #FaithOnClimate lobby on Wednesday 25 March and questioned MPs from various parties about what action they are taking to tackle climate change. The politicians encouraged the young people to continue to put pressure on political leaders, with Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, describing climate change as "the issue of our century."
Pope Francis held special prayers for peace yesterday, as part of 500th anniversary celebrations marking the birth of St Teresa of Avila. The Pope led the hour of prayer at the Casa Santa Marta before concelebrating Mass with the Superior General of the Discalced Carmelite Order, Father Saverio Cannestrà. Pope Francis' letter to the Discalced Carmelites follows: .... "The world is all in flames [...] and are we to waste time asking for things that if God were to give them we would have one soul less in heaven? No, my Sisters, this is not the time to be discussing with God matters that have little
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, spoke at the 28th meeting of the Council for Human Rights on 10 March. His speech, emphasizing the fundamental importance of religious freedom as well as the freedom of expression, was published by the Vatican today. A text summary follows:"The International Community is now confronted with a delicate, complex, and urgent challenge with regard to respect for religious sensibilities and the need for peaceful coexistence in an ever more pluralistic world:
The announcement by the Chancellor earlier today of the last round of grants to cathedrals in England under the First World War Centenary Cathedrals Repairs Fund brings welcome news to seven Catholic cathedrals and 24 Church of England cathedrals. A total of £1,370,230 has been awarded in this third and final round. This brings the total offered to Catholic cathedrals to £3,744,758. The WWI Centenary Cathedral Repairs fund of £20m was announced by the Chancellor in last year's budget. The largest grant in this round was to Plymouth Cathedral (£398,496) to fund urgent roof repairs, repointing
Cardinal Vincent Nichol has welcomed the Modern Slavery Act which received Royal Assent yesterday. The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is the first of its kind in Europe, and one of the first in the world, to specifically address slavery and trafficking in the 21st The Modern Slavery Act 2015 will ensure victims receive the protection and support they deserve by: Creating a statutory defence for victims of modern slavery so that they are not inappropriately criminalised; Giving the courts new powers to order perpetrators of slavery and trafficking to pay Reparation Orders to their victims;
The funeral service for Father Anthony Sims took place at Christ the King in Coventry on Thursday 26th March at 11.30. The service was led Archbishop Bernard Longley. Many of the priests from the archdiocese were present. The Homily at the Mass was given by Canon Tom Farrell, Parish Priest at Christ the King in Coventry and is detailed below. Following the service at Christ the King, Father Sims was cremated at Canley Crematorium and his remains will be buried with his family at later date at London Road cemetery, Coventry. Donations were made and can still be made to Father Sims' memory
The Cardinal Hume Centre in Westminster is looking for someone to play a vital role in growing our income from, and presence in, schools and Parishes. We are looking for someone who is keen to develop their fundraising career and enjoys meeting and interacting with supporters. The role is based in the office but the expectation is you will be proactive in seeking talks/meetings in schools and parishes that would require some evening and weekend working.
Students from three London schools enjoyed a very special afternoon on Wednesday, when they attended an exclusive concert of Baroque music: JS Bach's - Psalm 51 based on Pergolesi's Stabat Mater - performed by The Venice Chamber Orchestra, L'Offerta Musicale di Venezia, conducted by Riccardo Parravicini with Miranda Heldt, soprano and Elena Traversi contralto. The concert, at Our Lady Help of Christians church in Kentish Town, came at the end of an exciting two weeks in which the musicians and singers worked with classes at La Sainte Union school in Highgate, Notre Dame, Southwark and St Patrick's, Kentish Town.
The Archbishop of Canterbury led prayers and the blessing at the reinterment of King Richard III at Leicester Cathedral today (Thursday). Archbishop Justin Welby blessed the remains of Richard III during a special ceremony attended by Royal Family members, Bishop of Leicester Tim Stevens, senior ecumenical clergy and civic leaders, among others. During the sombre service the Archbishop censed Richard III's coffin and blessed it with holy water. He then led the prayers, before sprinkling the coffin with soil from Fotheringhay, Middleham and Bosworth
It is faith that brings joy - not 'cold doctrine' , Pope Francis said during his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta this morning. Commenting on the day's readings, Pope Francis remarked that Abraham and his wife Sarah are old, but he believes and opens "his heart to hope" and is "full of consolation." Jesus reminds the doctors of the law that Abraham "rejoiced" to see his day "and was full of joy": "And that's what these doctors of the law did not understand. They did not understand the joy of promise; they did not understand the joy of hope;