UK & Ireland

News from United Kingdom & Ireland covering parishes, dioceses, religious orders, community groups, homelessness, moral & political issues and pilgrims.

A poem for Palm Sunday

Palmless Sunday

We gather virtually these days, with virtual palms and virtual cries of praise. Virtual cloaks we scatter underfoot to greet the Son of David whom we long to meet.

Two metres wide (at least) the Covid social distancing that separates the would-be members of the crowd as we avoid quite gathering to gree...

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Letter urges government to protect prostitutes during Coronavirus

Image ICN/JS

Sarah Champion MP, Chair of the APPG prostitution and global sex trade, has joined forces with a cross party group of MPs, Peers, former Met Police Chief, Church and women's groups to urge the Home Secretary to safeguard prostitutes in the UK. They write:

"We write to seek reassurance that the Home Office is responding to the heightened risks faced by prostituted peop...

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BBC Radio 4 to broadcast Palm Sunday worship from Farm Street church

Church of  the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street

At 8.10 on Palm Sunday, Dr Theodora Hawksley from the London Jesuit Centre at Farm Street, London, will reflect on the way that the faithful accompany Jesus spiritually, as He accompanies Christians when facing times of trial, suffering and bereavement.

Leading the service is Fr Dominic Robinson SJ, parish priest at Farm Street. The service will mark the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jeru...

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Meditation as a path through the crisis

As the sense of isolation begins to grate on Christians secluding themselves away from the reach of Covid-19 in their homes, whether they are working or workless, they are looking for new ways of being community. Many have found their way online to reasonably local churches which happen to be livestreaming Sunday Mass - and taken their pick, no longer trammelled by how far they are prepared to...

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COVID-19: Bishop welcomes release of pregnant women and new mothers from prison

The lead Catholic Bishop for prisons has welcomed the release of pregnant women and new mothers from custody, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread. Writing to the Justice Secretary today Bishop Richard Moth said: "I recognise that this will not have been an easy step to take, but with Catholic charities and chaplains working in our prisons, this will help to relieve pressure on the pris...

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COVID-19: Call for solidarity with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities

Bl Zefferino Malla

Father Dan Mason, National Catholic Chaplain for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers, has called for solidarity with these communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fr Dan said: "Our sisters and brothers in the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities are among those being hardest hit by the pandemic. Insecure accommodation and employment will leave many people particularly vulnerable.

"As ou...

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NI Bishops' express concern at new abortion legislation

Thousands in silent demonstration at Stormont Parliament Buildings,  September 2019

The Catholic Bishops of Northern Ireland have issued this statement today, on the coming in to effect of Westminster abortion legislation in Northern Ireland.

Today across NI, all of us, especially our medical staff, are doing all we can to save life. As the number of deaths caused by Coronavirus continues to rise, news reporters frequently remind us that behind the statistics a...

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Columban Competition 2020 - 'I Only Feel Angry When I See Waste'

Maeve Ann Burrell was joint third prize winner of the written section of the Columbans UK journalism competition in 2020.

"I only feel angry when I see waste; when I see people throwing away things we could use."

These heartfelt words were spoken by St Teresa of Calcutta, one of the most renowned advocates of peace, selflessness and harmony, so we find it hard to believe t...

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Alone Together: Guide to social isolation from those who know

Introduced by Benedictine Father Christopher Jamison, these online resources are offered to help people live through the coronavirus pandemic. Their special quality is that they don't come from theories; they all come from those with experience of social distancing or isolation, people who have lived this reality either intentionally like monks and nuns or against their will like hostages or th...

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Global congregation to attend CAFOD's first on-line Mass

CAFOD plans to hold their first live-streamed Mass, celebrated by Fr Liam Hayes, on Wednesday 1 April at 6 pm BST.

This Mass will virtually bring together the Catholic community around the country - and the world.

Jo Kitterick, CAFOD's Head of Fundraising and Participation, said: "We are incredibly lucky to have such committed and compassionate supporters, who in the face of Coronav...

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Over half a million people join Rededication of England to Mary

History was made at noon on Sunday 29 March, when more than 500,000 people took part through live streaming in the Rededication of England as the Dowry of Mary, with many more joining at home at other times of the day.

Following a 2017 decision by the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, 29 March was fixed as the date to rededicate England as the Dowry of Mary. The original p...

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China: new report highlights vulnerable religious communities

A new report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide on the situation of oppressed religious communities in China is released today amid concerns that some of these groups are especially vulnerable to the spread of the coronavirus and its wider impact on freedoms in China.

The report, entitled 'Repressed, Removed, Re-Educated: The stranglehold on religious life in China,' contends that...

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Bishop urges government to tackle COVID-19 in prisons

The Catholic Church has joined calls for the government to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in prisons by urgently releasing some people where it is safe to do.

Lead Bishop for prisons Rt Rev Richard Moth said: "The tens of thousands of women and men in our overcrowded prisons are at particular risk from this pandemic. They are no less deserving of safety and healthcare than anyone else in o...

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Ireland: Diocese issues further COVID-19 restriction guidelines

Bishop Larry Duffy

Following consultations and discussions, and having taken into account the various restrictions that have been imposed throughout Ireland over recent days, the Bishop of Clogher, Bishop Larry Duffy, has put in place a series of further guidelines for clergy and parish communities across the diocese, with immediate effect.

Bishop Duffy says that he is "saddened to have to take this course ...

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