‘A Poor Church for the Poor – Romero & the Joy of the Gospel’ - Monday 24 March marks 34 years since the martyrdom of Archbishop Romero. In celebration of the anniversary Religious Services and other events will be held throughout Romero Week running from Tuesday 19 March through to Monday 24 and beyond. The theme for the week is Pope Francis’ oft-repeated expression ‘A Poor Church for the Poor’ which resonates so powerfully with Archbishop Romero’s ministry.
Pax Christi International on crisis in Ukraine Following the escalating unrest and violence in Kiev and other locations in Ukraine throughout the last part of 2013 and in January – March 2014, Pax Christi International is deeply concerned by the current dangerous developments in Ukraine. Protests broke out in Ukraine after President Yanoukovich’s government rejected a far-reaching agreement with the European Union (EU) in November 2013, in favour of closer cooperation with the Russian Federation. In response, thousands of people engaged in peaceful protests in Kiev, Read More ... Posted: Monday, March 10, 2014 6:20 pm
Manchester: 'Francis Effect' leads priest to give up big house A young parish priest in Manchester has decided to try to follow the example of Pope Francis and move into a small flat, handing over his roomy presbytery for use by the parish community. Fr Anddrew Stringfellow from the Sacred Heart and St Francis parish in Gorton writes: "It doesn't feel right that the priest should live in the biggest house in the parish so we have to look at how we can use this great asset better." His full letter to the parish follows: Read More ... Posted: Monday, March 10, 2014 4:00 pm
Pope on Lenten retreat outside Rome Pope Francis is in the hillside town of Ariccia just south of Rome for a week-long Lenten retreat with members of the Curia. The Pope left the Vatican yesterday afternoon by bus – just a few hours after reciting the Angelus prayer with pilgrims in St Peter’s Square. Breaking from a long-held tradition of holding them in the Vatican, Pope Francis decided to organize this year’s annual retreat from March 9-14 at the Pauline Fathers’ retreat and conference centre in Ariccia. Read More ... Posted: Monday, March 10, 2014 2:57 pm
Pope Francis: One cannot dialogue with Satan During the Angelus yesterday in his address to pilgrims in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel of the first Sunday of Lent which describes the temptations of Jesus. The tempter seeks to divert the Lord from His Father's plan, or rather the way of sacrifice that involves offering Himself in atonement and with love, and attempts to make Him choose the easy path of success and power. "Indeed, the Devil, to divert Jesus from the way of the cross, presents Him with false messianic hopes: economic well-being, Read More ... Posted: Monday, March 10, 2014 2:49 pm
Making churches dementia friendly To coincide with the National Week of Prayer and Awareness of Dementia (12 - 19 March), Catholic charities are calling on Churches to do more to become “dementia friendly communities”. There are currently 800,000 people with dementia in the UK and the number of people affected is estimated to rise to over 1 million by 2021 and 1.7 million by 2050. Kathleen Pitt, Director of Nugent Care, which runs a number of residential homes as well as care in the community projects for people with dementia said: Read More ... Posted: Monday, March 10, 2014 2:15 pm
CAFOD joins call for end to war in Syria As part of the #WithSyria coalition, CAFOD joins more than 90 organisations around the world calling on political leaders to push for a peaceful end to the war in Syria. Anne Street, CAFOD’s Head of Humanitarian Policy, said: “When protests against the Syrian government began on 15 March 2011, few would have predicted that three years later the country would be engulfed in the worst humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st Century. Today it is ordinary Syrians who are paying the heaviest price. Read More ... Posted: Monday, March 10, 2014 1:54 pm
Syria: 13 kidnapped nuns released Syrian Christians are rejoicing today in the news that 13 Greek Orthodox nuns and their three attendants were released overnight and returned to Damascus this morning (10 March) in a prisoner exchange deal. The nuns and attendants are understood to be tired but otherwise well, and report that they were generally treated well by their captors. These nuns and their attendants were abducted on 2 December 2013 after Jabhat al-Nusra and four other armed groups attacked Ma'aloula, a historic Christian town north of Damascus. Read More ... Posted: Monday, March 10, 2014 12:29 pm
Caritas water project turns Palestinian town into 'little paradise' The Palestinian Territories suffer major problems with the supply of water. While generally, there is a severe shortage of clean water, some areas are also suceptible to serious flooding when there is a heavy rainfall. Projects completed by Caritas Jerusalem in recent weeks have addressed and resolved major problems that were affecting the daily lives of people in two Palestinian cities. The town of Ain Arik, less than six kilometres from Ramallah, has always suffered from a shortage of water and the impossibility of finding water which was not contaminated. Read More ... Posted: Monday, March 10, 2014 12:13 am
Pope Francis: Are we ashamed to touch our suffering brothers and sisters? Are we ashamed to touch the flesh of our wounded or suffering brothers and sisters? This was one of the key questions posed by Pope Francis during his homily at the morning Mass at Case Santa Marta on Friday. The Pope stressed that our life of faith is closely linked to a life of charity and Christians who do not practice that are hypocrites... He said Christianity is not a repository of formal observances for people who put on a hypocritical good appearance to conceal their hearts empty of any charity. Read More ... Posted: Sunday, March 9, 2014 11:45 pm
Mexico: Calls for reparations after church closed for 'not being Catholic' Christian Solidarity Worldwide has welcomed the report of the Oaxaca State Ombudsman’s Office which confirmed serious religious freedom violations in the municipality of San Juan Ozolotepec and recommended that reparations be made to the victims. The victims, members of the Independent Christian Pentecostal Church, filed a complaint with the ombudsman’s office in April 2013 after municipal authorities declared the area to be a ‘Protestant-free’ zone and forcibly closed the Pentecostal church with ‘concrete tubes, chains and padlocks Read More ... Posted: Sunday, March 9, 2014 11:18 pm
Pope warns Religious Orders against 'theoretical poverty' Pope Francis has sent a message to participants of a Vatican Symposium on 'The management of the ecclesiastical goods of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, for the service of humanity and for the mission of the Church.' The event is taking place at the Pontifical University Antonianum. “Our times are characterized by significant changes and progress in many areas,”..“However, despite reducing poverty, these achievements have often helped to build an economy of exclusion and inequality. Read More ... Posted: Sunday, March 9, 2014 10:40 pm
Pope in 'positive' meeting with head of World Council of Churches On Friday morning, the Holy Father met with Rev Olav Fykse Tveit, secretary general of the World Council of Churches, accompanied by a delegation. The Pope remarked that this encounter “marks an important chapter in the long and fruitful relationship between the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches”, and acknowledged “the service it performs in the cause of unity between believers in Christ”. “Since its creation, the World Council of Churches has offered a great contribution to forming the sensibility of all Christians with regard to Read More ... Posted: Sunday, March 9, 2014 10:26 pm
Reflection on Evangelii Gaudium - The Joy of the Gospel Many parishes and dioceses around the world are focusing their Lenten Study this year on Pope Francis’ exciting apostolic letter ‘Evangelii Gaudium’. The following presentation on the Letter, given by Julian Filochowski of Jesuit Missions, to a gathering in Georgetown, Guyana, earlier this year, makes a useful resource. The full text follows below: The ‘Arab Spring’ changed the face of the Middle East. Pope Francis inaugurated the ‘Vatican Spring’ and Evangelii Gaudium (EG) can be seen as the Charter for this Vatican Spring. Read More ... Julian Filochowski - Posted: Sunday, March 9, 2014 9:50 pm
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 9 March 2014 By happy coincidence Eastern and Western Christian Churches share Lent and Holy Easter together this year. Perhaps this season should be a real time for learning a bit more about each other and to actively pray that one of the first barriers to be overcome may be finding a common date for Easter! The Eastern Churches began Lent on Monday , the West on Ash Wednesday, but together we journey with the Lord, through the fasting of our hearts and bodies, in works of prayer and love, towards that great feast of feasts. Read More ... Posted: Saturday, March 8, 2014 4:36 pm
Dr Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has said that he views Pope Francis "with enormous enthusiasm".
"Pope Francis has an unerring – I nearly said infallible – eye for the appropriate gesture and symbol," said Dr Williams. "His task is to hold up some very simple and important symbols of what is important." Dr Williams applauded "the difference Pope Francis has made to the atmosphere". He made his comments as part of a wide-ranging address at St John’s College, Southsea, on Monday 3 March where he was a guest of the Politics Society.
Read More ... Dr Philip Crispin - Posted: Saturday, March 8, 2014 1:40 am
The words of Cardinal Basil Hume give guidance and purpose to the Cardinal Hume Centre in Westminster. His pragmatism and prayerfulness inspire their work and his Benedictine values, are what makes the Centre such a special place. This year the centre will publishing some of Cardinal Hume's Lenten Reflections on their website and have given permission to ICN to publish/link up with them also. Ian Fairhurst from the centre writes: "We take real strength from his words 'Each person matters. No human life is ever redundant'.
Women changing the face of support in Leeds This International Women’s Day, one Leeds charity is celebrating the amazing impact of the women working to support Leeds residents through help, hope and opportunity. St Vincent’s, on York Road in Leeds, have been providing support for 18 years. For the last 12 years the predominantly female senior management team has been led by Charlotte Walton, an incredible, proactive female leader who has guided the charity through difficult times to success. All of the work undertaken by Charlotte and her team is supported by over 50 volunteers. Read More ... Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014 4:01 pm
South African Churches call for prayers during Israeli Apartheid Week Following the conclusion of their Triennial Conference the South African Council of Churches (SACC) have issued a statement in which they express concern over the increasing violence and widening gap between the rich and the poor in South Africa. They also called for all parties concerned to work towards a just peace in Israel and Palestine and request churches to dedicate Sunday services on 16 March during Israeli Apartheid Week to reflect and pray for peace with justice in Palestine and Israel. Read More ... Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014 2:42 pm
On 13 March 2013, the Jesuit Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope. Over the past 12 months, how has Pope Francis been influenced by Saint Francis of Assisi and by the founder of the Jesuit Order, St Ignatius of Loyola? What has been his impact on the Church’s evangelical mission, its option for the poor, its hopes for unity with the eastern churches and on global politics? What’s in a name? A conference to mark the anniversary of election of Pope Francis,
Catholic charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) has paid tribute to its women port chaplains and ship visiting volunteers on Women’s World Day of Prayer 2014 and ahead of International Women’s Day 2014. AoS says women have and will continue to play a significant role within the seafarers’ charity. It currently has women port chaplains in East Anglia, Plymouth and Hull, as well as many women ship visiting volunteers up and down the country. Their energy and fantastic work in helping meet seafarers’ spiritual and practical needs are an inspiration to many.
Seafarers’ charity assists Ukrainian crew as crisis unfolds Seafarers’ charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) is helping Ukrainian seafarers establish contact with their families back home following the crisis in Crimea. Some of the seafarers, who had been at sea for the past few weeks, only received news of the trouble when their ships came into port. AoS’ Immingham port chaplain Fr Colum Kelly met the Ukrainian crew of a coal bulker when it arrived at the port a few days ago. The 23 crew members had been at sea for over a month and only found out about the situation in Crimea after watching television. Read More ... Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014 9:36 am
Pope Francis: Is this a clergy that has lost its tears? On Thursday morning, Pope Francis met with the clergy of the diocese of Rome. The central theme of the meeting, inspired by the Gospel of St Matthew, was mercy. The Holy Father recalled how Jesus walked through towns and villages, feeling compassion for those he encountered; people who were “tired and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd”. “We are not here to perform a spiritual exercise for the beginning of Lent, but rather to listen to the voice of the Spirit that speaks to everyone in the Church in this, our time, which is indeed the time of mercy”. Read More ... Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014 11:21 pm
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration, joined by bishops on the border, will travel to Nogales, Arizona, March 30 - April 1 to tour the US-Mexico border and offer Mass for around 6,000 migrants who have died in the US desert since 1998. The purpose of the trip is to highlight the human suffering caused by a broken immigration system, an aspect of the national immigration debate which is often ignored .“What we fail to remember in this debate is the human aspect of immigration – that immigration is primarily about human beings, not economic
London friar admits downloading abuse images A priest based in London has admitted downloading more than 5,000 images of child abuse from the internet. Timothy Gardner, 41, is facing jail after he pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court on Monday to 10 counts of downloading the images. The collection was discovered when police searched his home at St Dominic’s Priory in Haverstock Hill and seized computers in August, after receiving information from the public. Gardner taught RE Read More ... Dan Bergin - Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014 2:09 pm