Pope Francis begins his three-day apostolic trip to Turkey this morning, at the invitation of civil authorities, His Holiness Bartolomaios I and the bishops. During his stay the Pope will visit Ankara and Istanbul. The Holy Father will first visit the Mausoleum of Ataturk, after which he will transfer to the presidential palace where he will be received by the president of the Republic and the authorities, to be followed by a meeting with the Prime Minister. He will subsequently visit the president of Religious Affairs in the Diyanet.
An estimated 800,000 women, men, and children are victims of human trafficking within the EU today. Up to 60% of the victims originate from EU states. The EU and its member states urgently need to implement the legal framework already in place and to intensify cooperation with civil society and church organisations that work with victims at the grassroots level. This was one of the main messages of the Dialogue Seminar organised by COMECE and the Church and Society Commission of CEC in cooperation with CCME
In a message to participants of the International Pastoral Congress on the World's Big Cities, held in Barcelona this week, the Pope encouraged church leaders to reflect creatively on the way they face the task of evangelization in the world's growing urban centres. Delivering his message to a group of Cardinals and bishops from big cities across the world whom he received in audience on this morning, Pope Francis began with a reflection on his own personal experience as Archbishop of Buenos Aires
Reality can be ugly, but despite the wars, the suffering, corruption and indifference in today’s world, as Christians we must hold our heads high in hope, Pope Francis said during Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta. Basing his reflections on the day's readings, Pope Francis spoke of the fate of the two cities of Babylon and Jerusalem. He pointed out that both the First Reading from Revelation and the Gospel from St Luke Chapter 21, draw our attention to the end of this world.
Worth School in Sussex played host to 120 Sixth Formers from across the South East recently, for the School's first 'Theology Plus' conference. The event gathered together a wide range of people all reading Theology - Sixth Formers, university professors, monks and teachers - to discuss the place of Theology in the world and what its future might be. It was also hoped that the event would inspire students to read Theology at university.
A special Mass will be celebrated for World AIDS Day next Monday, 1 December at 6pm, in the Jesuit Church of The Immaculate Conception, 114 Mount Street London, W1K 3AH. Organised by Farm Street Parish and LGBT Westminster group, with support from Catholics for AIDS Prevention and Support, there will be music from The Beacon Music Group. Refreshments will be served in the Mount Street Centre after Mass, and at 7.20pm, the newly released acclaimed short film
Yesterday (26 November) , pupils from St Gregory’s Catholic Science College in north west London worked alongside younger pupils from Uxendon Manor Primary School to plant 1200 daffodil bulbs in Woodcock Park, Kenton. Following the successful project, spearheaded by St Gregory’s A Level students, to design and paint a vibrant mural on a neglected wall in the park, St Gregory’s lower school pupils jumped at the opportunity to brighten up the area of the park surrounding the mural, by planting spring bulbs.
Repetitive Motion Disorder: Black Reality and White Denial in America - Tim Wise writes in Tikkun - the US-based interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives: I suppose there is no longer much point in debating the facts surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown. First, because Officer Darren Wilson has been cleared by a grand jury, and even the collective brilliance of a thousand bloggers pointing out the glaring inconsistencies in his version of events that August day won’t result in a different outcome.
A Perthshire school has been chosen as the top independent school in Scotland by The Sunday Times' prestigious 'Parent Power' guide. Kilgraston, in Bridge of Earn, was chosen for the accolade on the strength of the 2013-14 Intermediate 2 grades achieved by the Upper 5th year, which saw 98.6% of girls’ grades scored A-C, against a national average of 77.9%. 82% scored the highest ‘A’ grade. The Guide publishes a ranking of 2,000 schools, using the latest results from public examinations to assess and compare academic performance.
Pope Francis dedicated the catechesis of this morning's general audience (with pilgrims in a rainy St Peter's Square) to “a fundamental truth that Vatican II kept clearly in mind, and must never be forgotten: the Church is not a static reality, an end in itself, but is continually in progress through history, towards the final, marvellous destination that is the Kingdom of Heaven, of which the earthly Church is the seed and the beginning." He continued: “When we face this horizon, we realise that our imagination stops and discovers it is only just able to intuit
The Pontifical Councils for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples and for Justice and Peace, in collaboration with the international male and female Unions of Superior Generals (UISG and USG) are planning an international conference for prayer and reflection on human trafficking, tobe held on 8 February 2015, feast day of St Josephine Bakhita, the Sudanese slave canonised in 2000. The councils said in a statement: “human trafficking is one of the worst examples of slavery in the 21st Century.
During his return flight from Strasbourg, where he had addressed both the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, Pope Francis answered the following questions from journalists - Q: “Your Holiness addressed the European Parliament with pastoral works that may also be regarded as political words, and which may be linked, in my opinion, to a social-democratic stance - for example, when you say that we must ensure that the true expressive force of populations is not removed by multinational powers.
This Sunday, the First Sunday of Advent, sees the start of the Year for Consecrated Life. In announcing this year, Pope Francis said: "Religious should be men and women able to wake up the world." Throughout England and Wales, dioceses and religious congregations are celebrating the start of the year with liturgical events such as Mass in Westminster and Birmingham Cathedrals this Saturday, Vespers at Worth Abbey for Arundel and Brighton the following week and a day for consecrated men and women at Brentwood Cathedral centre last Saturday.
Tomorrow (27 November 2014), Muslim women’s organisation Rabia’s Garden, together with Jewish community organisation JW3 and interfaith charity Three Faiths Forum (3FF), will be hosting an event for women of all faiths and beliefs. The Female Voices event, to be held at Rumi’s Cave in north-west London, is the first time the Muslim and Jewish organisations have collaborated to create connections between women from different backgrounds. The event will be part celebration of the talents of female performers and musicians,
On Sunday 30th November at midday, the Rt Rev Alan Williams, Bishop of Brentwood, will unveil a plaque commemorating the death of Blessed John Beche, the last abbot of the 11th century Benedictine Abbey of St John in Colchester. Situated outside the Gatehouse, the last part of the Abbey remaining, the plaque is the work of the Colchester & Ipswich Museum Service. It is being unveiled at the instigation of English Heritage and records the execution of the abbot on the green on 1st December 1539, after his refusal to acknowledge Henry XIII as head of the church.
As we approach the season of Advent this year, a number of diocesan groups and religious orders in the UK, United States and Australia have put together series of resources for prayer, reflection and action. They are intended for use by individuals, parishes, schools and religious communities and focussing on several different themes. In the UK: Anne O’Connor of the National Justice and Peace Network Media and Marketing Group has produced excellent downloadable Advent Reflections for the four weeks of Advent 2014.
Read More ... Ellen Teague - Posted: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 10:32 am
The head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, told Muslim leaders in Iran on Tuesday that all minority groups should be allowed to speak openly without fear of “any negative reactions.” He said Muslims and Christians should be credible partners in dialogue, while religious text books must “present religions and their followers in an objective and respectful manner.” The cardinal’s words came during the Ninth Colloquium between Iran’s Centre for Interreligious Dialogue of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization
Yesterday, jihadi militants of the Islamic State, who control the city of Mosul, used explosives to severely damage the convent of the Chaldean Sisters of the Sacred Heart - one of 45 Christian institutions they have captured since June. Previously they were living in the building. Chaldean sources report that the explosion took place in two phases. The first attempt was unsuccessful, but then the jihadists used more powerful explosives, causing massive damage to the convent, with the intent to eliminate the cross that stands on the place of worship.
Pope Francis called on Europe’s leaders to work diligently and continuously for creative solutions to divisions and conflict for a peaceful continent. In a wide-ranging speech to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg today, Pope Francis observed that “peace continues all too often to be violated” in many parts of the world where conflicts “continue to fester.” Tensions also continue to exist on the European continent, the Pope noted, which “yearns for peace but which so easily falls back into the temptations of the past.”
Pope Francis addressed members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, today. The full text follows below: In addressing you today, I would like, as a pastor, to offer a message of hope and encouragement to all the citizens of Europe. It is a message of hope, based on the confidence that our problems can become powerful forces for unity in working to overcome all those fears which Europe – together with the entire world – is presently experiencing. It is a message of hope in the Lord, who turns evil into good and death into life.
The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial RC School in west London is celebrating this week after being named Comprehensive School of the Year, for the second year in a row. Ranked first place in the prestigious Sunday Times Parent Power Guide, Cardinal Vaughn’s impressive results at both GCSE and A-Level are the highest they’ve been in the School’s one hundred year history, with ten pupils obtaining a place at Oxbridge each year.
As politicians from around the world arrive in London to discuss Afghanistan’s future, CAFOD warns that more support must be given to local grassroots organisations that empower women. On Thursday 4 December, around 70 foreign ministers from around the world will gather for the London Conference on Afghanistan, co-hosted by the British and Afghan governments. The conference comes at a significant moment in Afghanistan’s history: for the first time, power has been transferred from one elected president
The National Justice and Peace Network of England and Wales (NJPN) held its quarterly meeting at CAFOD’s London offices last Saturday. Nearly 40 representatives of dioceses, religious orders and Catholic agencies shared their work in the areas of justice, peace and care for creation. This followed a talk by Oliver McTernon of Forward Thinking on 'Peace is a Fruit of Remembrance'. They heard that the NJPN has sent suggestions re: Pope Francis’ forthcoming Encyclical on the Environment to Cardinal Peter Turkson of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
Read More ... Ellen Teague - Posted: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 11:04 am
Pope Francis has arrived in Strasbourg where he is due to address the European Parliament and Council of Europe later today. A giant screen has been installed inside the cathedral, to enable parishioners to watch the speeches. This is the EU second time a pope has addresses the EU. Pope John Paul II came in 1998. Ahead of the visit, the Jesuit Refugee Services commented: On the occasion of Pope Francis’s speech before the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 25 November,
Friday 5 December is the third reading of a bill which will enshrine in law, 0.7% of our annual budget to overseas aid. More than 100 MPs in Parliament would guarantee a vote. Please would you contact your MP and ask him/her to ‘Turn up/Save lives’ on that day and vote in favour of the Bill so that it can pass to the House of Lords and subsequently onto the statute books?
Read More ... Sister Gillian Price FC - Posted: Monday, November 24, 2014 10:52 pm