Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent and prepares us for Easter by calling us to a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Given the dramatic state of the world today, with devastating wars and extreme weather events, a biblical exodus of refugees crossing borders and walls built higher and higher to keep them out, the answer to the question: Where is God speaking to us today? is crucial, and for many, a matter of life and death. How are we called to respond to those who cry out to us for justice and mercy?
Sons and daughters, up and down the country, have been invited to nominate their mothers for the title 'Mum of the Year' in the annual competition organised by Britain's largest Christian broadcaster - Premier Christian Radio. Listeners to Premier are being directed to the station's website where they are invited to explain, in no more than 200 words, why their special mums has gone above and beyond the call of duty and deserves the 'Mum of the Year' accolade. Nominations will be accepted through to Thursday, February 18th 2016.
Fr Julius Otoaye a member of the Missionary Society of St Paul of Nigeria was inducted as parish priest of St Pius X church in Norbiton, in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames on 6 February. Ordained in 2009 in Nigeria, Fr Julius served for a year in South Africa before being assigned assistant priest at St John the Evangelist in Gravesend, Kent in 2011. He is one of ten MSP priests working in the Archdiocese of Southwark. The Missionary Society was founded in Nigeria 1997 by Cardinal Ekendem and is now established in 15 countries.
A reception for St Mary's University, organised by Rob Flello MP, was held in Parliament last Wednesday, 3rd February. The reception was preceeded by Mass in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, celebrated by Rt Rev Richard Moth, the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton and Chair of St Mary's University's Board of Governors. In his Homily, Bishop Moth spoke of the need for universities to guide their students and broader communities not only in academic pursuits, but also into a life with God.
The Council of Cardinals met with the Holy Father for a day and a half this week: Monday 8 February, morning and afternoon, and Tuesday 9 in the morning. The cardinals concelebrated with the Pope in the Mass for the Friars Minor Capuchin on Tuesday morning at 7.30 in St Peter's Basilica, at the Altar of the Cathedral. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, was absent for health reasons. His absence was expected since the month of December, as he was expected to undergo a previously scheduled surgical operation.
Exciting rare samples of moon rocks and a collection of impressive meteorites have landed at Stonyhurst St Mary's Hall. The lunar samples were loaned to the prep school as part of a scheme run by NASA and the National Science Museum. Children in year 5 were able to enjoy a unique, interactive experience of astronomy, examining and handling lunar samples collected by the Apollo missions of the late 1960s and early 1970s. 382kg of lunar material was brought back to Earth, for use by scientists in their studies of the Moon, and to develop lunar and
Christian Aid has welcomed the latest commitments made by the UK, Germany, France and others to increase humanitarian support for Syrians and the region. However the charity added that real relief will only happen when the bombs stop. Frances Guy, Christian Aid's Head of Middle East Region said: "For Syrian refugees who rely on food baskets and vouchers from the World Food Programme it will be a relief to know that Germany has already pledged to fund half of the money that is needed for these distributions for this year.
The programme of the Holy Father's apostolic trip to Mexico, with a prior stop in Havana, Cuba to meet with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia was published yesterday. The trip, the twelfth of Pope Francis' papacy, will take place from 12 to 18 February. All times given below are local. The Pope will depart from Fiumicino airport, Rome on Friday 12 February at 7.45am, destined for Jose Marti international airport, Havana, Cuba where he is expected to arrive at 2pm. Shortly after arriving he will meet privately with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, with whom he will sign a Joint
The Right Revd Richard Moth, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton and lead bishop for prisons, has responded to Prime Minister David Cameron's speech on prison reform, which promised efforts to improve prison conditions. Bishop Moth said this morning: "I am very encouraged by the Prime Minister's commitment to reforming our prison system and his recognition that prisoners should be treated as assets to our society rather than liabilities to be managed. How we treat prisoners is one of the most pressing moral challenges today and something that none of us should
Thousands of Britons were welcomed into over 80 mosques across the country on Sunday 7 February, as part of the second annual 'Visit My Mosque' Day. Mosques across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland invited in neighbours to share tea and refreshments, alongside an insight into the day-to-day goings on of a busy Muslim centre of worship. #VisitMyMosque Day was facilitated by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), to provide a platform for Muslims to reach out to fellow Britons and explain their faith and community beyond the hostile headlines.
The persecution of Christians is the driving force behind the forthcoming historic meeting between the heads of the Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches according to a leading Catholic charity's Russian expert. Aid to the Church in Need's Peter Humeniuk said that the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill in Cuba had come about "because we are witnessing a persecution of Christians, which... now threatens the survival of Christianity in parts of the world."
The Bishop of Shrewsbury told a congregation of civic leaders gathered in the historic Shrewsbury Abbey on Sunday that it would be a mistake to try to uncouple Britain from her Christian heritage in the quest to draw up a new set of national values. The Rt Rev Mark Davies, preaching at the annual Civic Service, said that British values were rooted unalterably in the country's Christian history. It was this inheritance which had "formed what is best in us", the Bishop said, and which was represented in the public service given by so many to uphold the value and dignity of every
Pope Francis has sent a message to the people of Mexico as they await his arrival telling them that he is travelling to the nation as a "missionary of mercy and peace". Four days before the start of his apostolic journey to Mexico, the Pope sent a video message to those awaiting him. In the message, in his native Spanish, the Pope highlights the fact that he wants to embrace all Mexican people, especially those who suffer. He also speaks of his devotion for the Blessed Virgin and he expresses his joy at being able to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of
Catholic People's Weeks (CPW) will be running nine events in 2016. The first two - in February and March - still have a few places available. CPW's main aim is to provide continuing formation in the Catholic faith. However, non-Catholic people are very welcome who are interested in, or in sympathy with, the Catholic tradition. Every event offers a chance, in the company of friendly fellow-seekers...
The group 'Border Network for Human Rights', which assists undocumented immigrants travelling between Mexico and the US, has hung a message addressed to Pope Francis, who is visiting Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a week from now. In huge letters the words read, "Immigrant Lives Matter" and the message can be read from both sides of the border.
The Archbishop Romero Trust has announced that Jesuit Fr Francisco de Roux will be its guest speaker for the commemorations in March of Blessed Oscar Romero's martyrdom. He will speak to 'Archbishop Romero and the Search for Peace'. Since the 1980s Fr de Roux has been a leading voice in the efforts to seek a negotiated settlement to Colombia's decades-long armed conflict.
The Commission of Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) has welcomed last week's European Parliament's resolution to recognise the tragic fate of Christians and other minorities as genocide. COMECE sees this as a significant step forward in facilitating measures to prevent the on-going incipient genocide against Christians and other minorities.
CAFOD is asking for donations to support its winter humanitarian aid work in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. The plight of refugees has been portrayed in a moving series of portraits, 'Lost Family Portraits', by the award-winning photographer, Dario Mitidieri. CAFOD partners are supporting refugee families living in informal tent settlements in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon, only nine kilometres from the Syrian border, Mitidieri did studio-style portraits of families whose lives were shattered as they fled the conflict...
I'm a visual person, so it is easy for me to conjure up images for things. I don't find the symbols and iconography of our Christian faith difficult - I might not appreciate certain styles - but the reading from Isaiah 6 where he tries to describe his vision of God isn't something I have any problems with at all. In fact it is quite a powerful set of images, the Lord on a high throne, seraphs with six wings, smoke, the noise of the chants and tremors, the hissing, burning coal which the seraph places on Isaiah's lips as a sign of forgiveness.
Pope Francis offers his prayer intention for February through a short video. He asks people everywhere to pray in solidarity and in response to the many eco-challenges facing humanity. "The prayer intention for February comes at a crucial time for humanity, addressing an area where we urgently need to make changes," says Fr Frédéric Fornos, S.J., international director of the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network. "The Pope asks us to unite in respect for creation and to act to preserve the natural world for future generations" he adds...
Most Rev Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark, has announced the appointment of Fr Brian Coyle as Rector of St John's Seminary, Wonersh, in succession to Mgr Jeremy Garratt. St John's Seminary was established in 1891 as the diocesan Seminary for the then Diocese of Southwark. It accepts students from several dioceses in England and also from Wales and Scotland.
All are welcome to join Pax Christi on Ash Wednesday (10 February) for the 34th year of Christian witness and resistance to nuclear war preparations at the Ministry of Defence in London. This liturgy and witness is undertaken in respectful opposition to the MoD's preparations for the deployment of weapons of mass destruction, and Repentance is a key theme. The event has been organised in conjunction with Christian CND and the London Catholic Worker.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, blessed and formally opened the new Sixth Form and Art & Design Building at St Benedict's School in Ealing, West London, on 28 January, the Feast Day of St Thomas Aquinas. The building will provide a fitting and lasting memory of Headmaster Chris Cleugh, who retires later this year and in whose honour it is named. A gloriously sunny day reflected the joyous mood of the whole occasion.
Lent starts next Wednesday. If you're looking for a way to mark Lent this year personally, or with the young people with whom you work, it's not too late to get involved with silent, organised by Million Minutes. You can take part at any time before Easter Sunday. "There is so much noise in the world! May we learn to be silent in our hearts and before God." Pope Francis
Christians for Calais strongly denounces the sudden destruction of a mosque and church in the Calais 'Jungle' refugee camp.
Prefecture representatives were recorded and witnessed, including by NGO and charity leaders, as stating that they would not bulldoze churches or mosques. This was double checked, as the protestant church and a mosque were within the 100 metre eviction zone announced and then enforced by the authorities. It was reconfirmed verbally that churches and mosques would not be removed, and this was initially upheld as those structures were indeed left untouched when the buffer zone was created on Monday 18 January.