Today the Pope embarks on a three-day visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan. The visit to Georgia heralds a breakthrough in Orthodox-Catholic relations. When Pope St John Paul II visited the former Soviet Republic in 1999, the Georgian Ortho-dox Church advised believers to shun the public Mass the Pope celebrated in Tbilisi.
The Bishop of Leeds is to lower the age at which Catholic youth in his Diocese receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Bishop Marcus Stock announced plans last Sunday to change the age at which confirmation is conferred from 14 to 11.
Three identical navy blue cars used to drive the Pope through Poland during World Youth Day are to be auctioned for charity. The Volkswagen Golf cars bear the registration plates K1 POPE, K2 POPE and K3 POPE. Each transported Pope Francis during his visit to Poland between July 27th-31st. They are worth $21,000 apiece, according to Caritas, and are to be sold on October 9.
Cathy Corcoran, CEO of the Cardinal Hume Centre, will be sleeping out at the Lord's cricket ground on 31st October to help fight poverty and homelessness. This is her third Sleepout (Wembley, the Oval and now Lords), along with other CEOs. In Cathy's case, vitally needed funds will go towards the Cardinal Hume Centre in Central London and its work in tackling poverty and homelessness.
Four hundred and seventy one years to the day after she sank in the Solent, on the 19th July 2016, the Mary Rose was unveiled to the world in a spectacular and new visual way in Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard. Shortly after 11am, a vast checkered curtain of three lions and fleurs de lys fell to the floor, revealing a completely clear and uninterrupted view of the ship's hull.
In response to this summer's rising tide of hate crime, the Westminster and Bayswater Group of Amnesty International made an inter-faith walk in London last Saturday, carrying the human rights message of justice and reconciliation. The group visited St James's Church, Piccadilly, the New West End Synagogue in Bayswater, and then the London Central Mosque in Regent's Park.
The hugely successful Faith Renewal programme at Knock Shrine in Country Mayo will continue with the next series of events commencing this month. The new series will run throughout the Autumn/Winter and encompasses a range of events which have been developed to give participants the opportunity to enliven, engage on a range of topics and provide solace from busy life.
As Pakistan's Supreme Court prepares to hear the final appeal to save the life of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, Release International is pressing for Pakistan's blasphemy laws to be repealed. Asia Bibi has been described as Pakistan's highest profile prisoner. She has been imprisoned and on death row since 2009, accused of blasphemy. Pakistan's Supreme Court is to hear her final appeal in October.
The Pope has sent a telegram full of "heartfelt condolence" to the people of Israel, after the death of the former President, Shimon Peres. He died this morning (Wednesday, September 28) in a hospital in Tel Aviv, at the age of 93. Peres, the President of Israel from 2007-2014, and twice the country's Prime Minister, met three Popes, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.
Last Sunday, Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Lee was visited by Bishop Patrick Lynch, auxiliary in Southwark, and a representative from aid agency CAFOD for a special service and shared lunch to celebrate receiving the award, which recognises the parish's commitment to live more more simply, in solidarity with people in poverty, and sustainably with creation. Bishop Lynch presented it to livesimply group representatives Kathy Salmon and Mike Conway.
Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said that caring for seafarers is a "profoundly Christian thing to do". "An astonishing percentage of the things sold in our shops in the UK arrives by sea, underlining our dependence on those who work on these ships. To care for them is a profoundly Christian thing to do. It is also very important for the wellbeing of the country," he said.
Two events are to be held to discuss the local and global effects of climate change, the message of Pope Francis in Laudato Si', and practical ways for Catholics to get involved. 'Laudato Si and Care for Creation- where next?' is the title of days to be held at Our Lady of Grace and St Edward in Chiswick on 1 October, 10am-1pm, and Our Lady of Victories in Kensington on 15 October 10.30am - 1.30pm.
Who wouldn't love an ancestor who rode around England on a motorbike in 1918, smoking cigars and getting herself arrested; who was one of the first women to make her living from art; who left all to become a Carmelite nun? Margaret Rope's cousin has been finding out about her, and features in this short programme which introduces an exhibition of her work in Shrewsbury. Available for 28 days.
A convent designed by Augustus Pugin, in the heart of inner city Birmingham, has celebrated its 175th anniversary. St Mary's - described as an architectural gem - is a Grade II listed building with restored interiors, ornate carvings, a heritage trail and exhibition. The Convent has a strong connection to the famous Hardman family of Hardman & Co, the stained glass manufacturers, and also to Bishop Walsh and the Earl of Shrewsbury.
The good thief who spoke to Jesus on the Cross is our model for approaching God, the Pope said today (Wednesday, September 28) at his General Audience. Referring to Luke's account of the Passion, the Pope said that Jesus' words during the Crucifixion culminate in forgiveness as he says, 'Father forgive them; for they do not know what they do (Lk: 23:34)'.
The Pope has appealed once more for peace in Syria, in the wake of airstrikes on rebel-held areas in East Aleppo, home to some 250,000 trapped civilians. "Dramatic news continues to reach me concerning the fate of the people of Aleppo, with whom, through prayer and spiritual closeness, I feel united in suffering," Pope Francis said today (Wednesday, September 28) at his General Audience.
The sun was setting as we began our journey from the airport by coach out of Barcelona into the open countryside of Catalonia. As night fell we could get glimpses of the landscape as distant stormflashes were lighting up the night sky behind high hills. After dinner we took a short stroll around the medieval streets of Cervera - a fascinating town - with an ancient Jewish quarter.
Pope Francis recommends silence and prayer to vanquish inner darkness, rather than popping pills or resorting to drink. Speaking today (Tuesday, September 27), Pope Francis spoke of spiritual desolation, ''that feeling of spiritual darkness, of hopelessness, mistrust, of lacking the desire to live.'' Preaching during Mass at the Santa Marta residence, the Pope said that anyone at all could go through this sadness. He then asked the question:
As Colombia signed a treaty ending a 52-year civil war yesterday, the Vatican's Secretary for State said religion had a vital role in keeping the peace. "The root causes of this conflict which in recent decades has torn apart this country can be found in the wounds of the heart," declared Cardinal Pietro Parolin, as he preached from the Church of St Peter Claver, in Cartagena de Indias. "Religion," he remarked, "leads to listening, to understanding and to recognising the reasons for and the value of the other."
The closure of Progressio, a report on London's 'Refugees Welcome' march on 17 September, and concern by the Caritas Social Action Network over proposals to construct a four-metre high concrete border wall at Calais, all feature in the October bulletin of the National Justice and Peace Network North-West region.
The next meeting of Westminster ACTA will take place at Maria Fidelis Upper School, 34 Phoenix Road, London NW1 1TA on Thursday 29 September 2016 (7:00 - 9:00). The agenda will include an update on National ACTA, small group discussions, and a plenary. Refreshments will be provided - a £5 donation would be welcome on the day to cover the cost of the venue and food.
The main informal ("Jungle") camp in Calais is now scheduled to be removed during October, but the people will still be in need somewhere in France. In addition, about 2000 may remain for a while in official shelters in Calais and certainly about 1500 more in the Grande Synthe camp near Dunkirk, not to mention those who "fade away" locally.
Bishop Richard Moth as Bishop of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton has issued a further Pastoral Letter for the Year of Mercy, calling on members of the Diocese to take action on poverty. The Pastoral Letter was to be read in all churches over the weekend, 24th and 25th September 2016. In his first Pastoral Letter for the Year of Mercy in Lent he asked people - through the traditional ways of prayer, fasting and giving to the poor.
The Global Catholic Climate Movement has produced a new resource of homily helps, petitions, and bulletin announcements for next weekend's liturgies (October 1-2). This is the final weekend of the Season of Creation, which ends with the Feast of St Francis on 4 October. There is also information about the link between climate change and Syria's crisis.
If you are a bright, dynamic self-starter - passionate about building relationships, engaging new audiences and helping them to find their voice on climate change - then Operation Noah wants to hear from you. Operation Noah is seeking a campaigner for 'Turning Up The Heat', a new campaign on engaging Christians for whom climate change is not yet a priority issue.