The Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) has provided support to a group of seafarers after their colleague fell ill on board and had to be airlifted to hospital last Friday. The bulk carrier HC Jette Marit was stationed four miles east off Sunderland when its chief engineer suffered a possible heart attack on board and the alarm was raised, prompting a dramatic rescue at sea. Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) Tyne port chaplain Paul Atkinson received a tip-off about the incident and contacted AoS Sunderland ship visitor Sr Mary Scholastica, who boarded the ship to assist the crew as soon as it docked at Sunderland Port.
Bishop John McAreavey has welcomed Pope Francis' 2017 message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees on 'child migrants, the vulnerable and the voiceless.' "There have been many changes in Irish society but our duty to love our neighbour no matter where he or she is from is unchanged and, thankfully, unchangeable".For 2017... Pope Francis is expressly asking all of us to particularly "take care of the young, who in a threefold way are defenceless: they are children, they are foreigners, and they have no means to protect themselves." Every community that can, should heed this call, and should do so now.
This weekend the Diocese of Salford published its plan for the future organisation of its parishes and churches, entitled: 'Strengthening Our Presence as Church, a Journey in Hope'. Just over 100 parishes will be involved in amalgamations. The plan identifies the closure of 22 churches across the diocese, three of which are not currently used...These changes have been developed for a number of reasons including to encourage parishioners to support and manage the general administration of parishes. This is intended to give priests more time to perform their pastoral duties,
A group of campaigners held a protest in the Old Palace Yard, outside Parliament on Monday as MPs returned after the Christmas break, ringing a bell to raise the alarm over the housing crisis. 3.5 million adults in the UK are homeless, 73,000 household in temporary accommodation, evictions are rising dramatically and the housing needs of the disabled are often ignored. Working people as well as those on benefits are struggling to pay rents in a chaotic housing market with unfair caps on housing allowances, benefits and the bedroom tax.
Extra volunteers are needed to help support the Catholic church-run Winter Night Shelters in central London - near Victoria Station, Leicester Square and Soho. During the coldest months of the year, the shelters provide a hot evening meal, advice and support, a warm place to stay, showers and breakfast for people who would otherwise be sleeping on the city streets. Projects currently needing extra volunteers are:
The Diocese of Brentwood has appointed Steven Webb as Director of Development for a three-year fixed period. Currently director of the Brentwood Catholic Children's Society, Steven will facilitate a time of discernment, decision making and change for the Diocese, as it seeks to make best use of its resources to spread the Gospel and to offer the best possible pastoral support to Catholics across Essex and East London. His role will involve the design and management of a diocesan change plan involving clergy, lay people and other stakeholders.
An AoS port chaplain has described a poignant meeting with the captain of a ship that rescued hundreds of migrants lost at sea in a small boat. Steve Willows went on board the ship, mv Erasmusgracht, which berthed at Immingham Docks in Lincolnshire recently. He met Captain Joop van Zadel, the Dutch master of the ship, who recounted how he and his crew saved 393 Syrian refugees in the Ionian Sea in 2014. On 5 December 2014, the ship received a call from Italian coastguard asking them if they could assist a boat with people on board who needed assistance.
On the eve of the World Day for Migrants and Refugees, Cardinal Nichols has renewed his call for refugees from the Middle East to be welcomed and accommodated in this country. In 2015 the Cardinal met with Christian and Yazidi refugees during a pastoral visit in Erbil, Iraq. Bishops from England and Wales also met with refugees from Syria and Iraq during the annual Holy Land Co-ordination visit, which went to Jordan last year. The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has been in regular contact with the government about developments in the region,
Streetwise Opera and The Passage's Burns Night ceilidh returns! Beat the January blues and join 'London's finest ceilidh band' Ceilidh Tree for a night of brilliant music, dancing and fun. There's haggis too (or a vegetarian alternative) if you opt for a ticket including their Burns Night supper! Everyone's welcome and it doesn't matter if you've never tried a ceilidh before or have two left feet as there's a caller to let you know the steps. All proceeds go towards Streetwise Opera and The Passage's vital work supporting homeless people in Westminster and beyond.
From the names of streets and areas (Blackfriars, Whitefriars, Ave Maria Lane, Sanctuary, Covent Garden, Holywell Row and many more) to its beautiful old churches and buildings - London is steeped in Catholic history, ancient and more recent - and who better to act as a guide than the author and broadcaster Joanna Bogle, who begins a new series of walks later this month. All are welcome. There is no need to book - just turn up! All walks start at 2pm
As with all people, none of us are immune from standing at the gate of the New Year and reflecting on what the last twelve months have brought - and wondering what 2017 might bring. The world is an uncertain place. As we enter this New Year we are mindful of people who continue to suffer as a result of conflict, especially in the Middle East, and the humanitarian crisis that continues to unfold in Syria. As we pray for these situations, we also remember and lift in prayer those in our own communities who are affected by homelessness and those struggling to make ends meet.
2017 is the centenary year of the birth of Blessed Oscar Romero, born 15th August 1917. Following a petition from the Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Rev Peter Smith, to have Blessed Oscar Romero added to the liturgical Calendar of the Diocese, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, by virtue of the faculties granted to it by Pope Francis, has granted that a 'liturgical commemoration' may be celebrated annually in St George's Cathedral, Southwark, on the 24th March, the anniversary of his martyrdom.
Notre Dame de France in the West End of London, is seeking a new Evangelisation Coordinator. The successful candidate will play an important role in the continued development of Notre Dame de France mission to evangelise "in word and action".
He or she will be an excellent communicator. The post requires enthusiasm, creativity, commitment and flexibility.
A competence for developing strategies, planning and delivery of service is required. The successful candidate will be well organised,
In her traditional Christmas message, British Queen Elizabeth II expressed her appreciation for Mother Teresa of Kolkata saying ordinary people can do extraordinary things with their quiet dedication... She recalled Mother Teresa once said: 'Not all of us can do great things -- but we can do small things with great love.' The Queen said she knew that sometimes the world's problems seem too big for individuals to affect. "On our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice.. But the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine."
We wish you a very Happy and Holy Christmas and a New Year full of hope. ICN will be running a limited service over the holidays. Our next email to subscribers will be on 2 January 2017.
The world at the end of 2016 seems a very different place than it did at this time last year. People speak of a profound and pervasive sense of uncertainty and insecurity all around us. Many are now finding themselves asking questions about their identity in a new and bewildered way. Is our deepest identity to be found in the local setting, or in a wider context? How local a setting, and how much wider a context? From a Christian perspective, our fullest identity is found in our being children of God, an identity we share with everyone on this planet.
The Jimmy Mizen campaign has achieved a great deal this year - in spite of setbacks - a flood, a break-in and illness - and they have announced some exciting plans for the new year. A charity café set up in southeast London in memory of murdered schoolboy Jimmy Mizen, was broken into on Sunday. The Ten Thousand Hands Café in Lewisham, run by Jimmy's brother Tommy, trains young people including those with autism as well as providing a community facility. But on Sunday around £6,000 worth of equipment was stolen, including a coffee machine and a panini maker.
HRH The Prince of Wales has released a message today describing the "evil" of religious persecution today. The Prince's message - broadcast on BBC Radio 4's 'Thought for the Day'- was inspired by Aid to the Church in Need's recently released Religious Freedom in the World 2016 Report. HRH goes on to highlight the report's key finding that extremism is seeking to eliminate all types of religious diversity. Prince Charles speaks out against the persecution of Christians, Yazidis, Jews, Ahmadis, Baha'is and other groups and stresses how for some people religious freedom is a daily stark choice
Christmas is expected to be a busy time at churches around the diocese of Westminster, with numbers expected to increase as congregations welcome family and visitors returning to join in the celebrations in London and Hertfordshire. Cardinal Nichols will be the principal celebrant at Midnight Mass at Westminster Cathedral. Masses will also be celebrated at over 200 parishes throughout the diocese, and will be offered in different languages, reflecting the cultural and ethnic diversity of Catholics in London and Hertfordshire.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has just sent his Christmas message for 2016 in which he expressed his wish for us all to have mercy in our our hearts and show compassion to those nearest to us.... What a wonderful time of the year, just a few days before Christmas and all of those festivities to look forward to. We have just finished the year of mercy in which I believe the church has grown greatly in its appreciation of God's mercy and of God reaching out to us that we may walk tall.
Churches across the UK are involved with individuals on their journey out of homelessness. This is not just trying to help them find accommodation but involves other social actions such as improving life skills such as literacy, night shelters, addiction groups, etc. This is because homelessness is a complex problem that often has multiple causes which play out on an individual level. Many people who experience homelessness face a number of complex and overlapping issues, such as drug and alcohol addiction, mental health problems, childhood trauma, poverty and destitution.
Midnight Mass on BBC One on Christmas Eve this year, will come from St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham with Archbishop Bernard Longley as the Principal Celebrant. The Mass will be televised live. It will begin by candlelight at 11.45pm with the Blessing of the Crib. Access will be through the Cathedral House Reception. The Cathedral choir will be conducted by Professor David Saint. The Dean of the Cathedral, Canon Gerry Breen, said: "In this, the 175th anniversary of the Cathedral, the BBC broadcast is a great opportunity for St Chad's and an honour.
A kind-hearted and thoughtful 11-year-old boy, who wanted to do something to help the homeless cope with the cold this winter, has came up with a great idea. Finn Collins, from Whitstable in Kent, was looking through SVP cold weather packs - known as Vinnie Packs - which his mother was distributing to the homeless when he noticed that something was missing. "I had really dry lips at the time and it was making me really uncomfortable," he said. "I thought about homeless people who must get really sore lips as they are outside all the time and decided it would be nice if the Vinnie Packs had lip balms in them."
The solemn consecration of the new church of the Holy Hierarch Cyril, bishop of Turaŭ and All the Patron Saints of the Belarusian People took place today, 17 December, in Woodside Park, north London. This building is the first purpose-built Belarusian Catholic church in the world outside Belarus and the first all-wooden church in the city since the Great Fire of London. Consecrated on the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986, the church is also dedicated to the memory of the victims and survivors of that event.
The Most Rev Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and His Excellency Mr Nasser Kamel, Ambassador of Egypt to the UK & Northern Ireland, spoke at a prayer vigil alongside His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, at the Innocent Victims' Memorial, Westminster Abbey. The vigil was held yesterday, 14 December 2016 in honour of the 25 Coptic Orthodox Christians, mostly women and children, who lost their lives in the recent tragic bombing of St Peter's Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo.