A message was sent to journalists from a long-dead saint via a country church in Northumberland last Friday: 'Avoid hurting others'. Fr Richard Harriott, newly-appointed chaplain to the revived branch of the Catholic journalists guild, told members their patron saint St Francis de Sales had this virtue. It led people "gently to the truth," he said. The feast day of St Francis de Sales, 17th century Bishop of Geneva, was marked at St John the Baptist's Church, Annitsford, near Cramlington, with the rebirth of a branch of the St Francis de Sales Guild after a lapse of 28 years. Among the bidding prayers was one praying for people who hold editing positions in the Catholic press. It was "hoped that many would be brought to God" through their work. Prayers were also said for Fr Michael Finnigan, chairman of the editorial panel on the regional Catholic newspaper Northern Cross, who died suddenly while visiting St Aidan's Church, Ashington, Northumberland. Terry Wynn, vice president of the Catholic Writers' Guild, travelled from Essex to attend the 15-strong gathering. Fr Harriott, whose uncle Fr Edward Harriott was chaplain when the guild's branch was started in 1954, accepted an invitation to become chaplain. A recently-retired couple Frank and Mary Swales are to organise a programme among communicators in the North-east. They can be contacted at 88 Bede Burn Road, Jarrow. NE32 5AT. Tel. 0191 421 5649.
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