Parish Focus

Stage 1 – Celebrating our Parish

This page celebrates the wonderful things and good practice happening in our parishes across the Diocese as part of Hope in the Future.

For more details click on the links below. If you have something to share from your parish email

Our Lady’s and St Alphonsus, Mossside & Old Trafford

The Hope in the Future team at Our Lady’s and St Alphonsus organised and ran an Alpha Course in their parish. The team thought it would be a good idea if all members of the team had a first-hand experience of Alpha – both as leaders and members. As a result, they planned a taster six week course and publicised this within the parish. On the first night over 40 members of the community attended. Each week there was a wonderful atmosphere sharing a meal, watching the videos, and engaging in discussions about different aspects of our faith. On our final night, they gave each person a crucifix that had been blessed by Our Lady at Medjugorje on Christmas day. They hope to run an Alpha course for the wider community in the future.

Comments from attendees:

  • Excellent course – loved the DVDs!
  • Ideal way to bring people at various stages in their journeys together not too intimidating – Excellent – very well done. Many Blessings
  • I really enjoyed the Alpha course, it helped strengthen my faith.

Could you run an Alpha course in your parish or school? Here is an information sheet describing how too. If you require any assistance please email

St Peter's, Middleton

The Hope in the Future Team at St Peter’s in collaboration with Fr Peter and Fr Paul organised a celebration of Quarant Ore. Quarant Ore is devotion in which continuous prayer is made for forty hours before the Blessed Sacrament in solemn exposition. The large red votive candles were purchased by parishioners to burn throughout the weekend in remembrance of their special intentions.

Spend sometime in prayer before Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament asking Him what He wants you to do for your Parish and Diocese and please pray for the success of the Hope in the Future Programme. Here is a suggested Holy Hour Prayer Service you can use in your parish.

Christ the Redeemer, Bolton

The Parish of Christ the Redeemer in Bolton created a visual representation of the many ministries and groups in their parish.


Why not download a ministry tree template by clicking the link above and celebrate the Missionary Activity already taking place in your parish?

Hope in the Future was officially launched in the parish on the feast of Pentecost. A short liturgy was held to give thanks to God for the many groups and ministries in the parish. There was a stall at the back of Church with more information and all parishioners were given this reflection so they could prayerful discern how they could contribute to the mission of the parish. After Mass the children received a balloon with the word HOPE printed on them.

The parish also produced a Parish Handbook to showcase all the groups and ministries and to share the vision of the Hope in the Future Programme with the wider parish. It also gives a point of contact for each part of parish life encouraging others to get involved. It can be viewed here


St Joseph's, Longsight

The Hope in the Future Team at St Joseph’s Longsight have produced a wonderful booklet to celebrate their vibrant parish. It can be viewed here.

English Martyrs and the Holy Rosary, Urmston

The Hope for the Future Team at the Parish of English Martyrs and the Holy Rosary Urmston launched ‘Nightfever’ in their church on the evening of the 15th June. ‘Nightfever’ is a very gentle way of Evangelisation. The concept is very simple, the church remains open from around 7pm – 10pm, bathed in just candlelight. On the altar is the exposed Blessed Sacrament with opportunity for confession. Live music is softly played in the background. The atmosphere is one of beauty and of peace. Trained volunteers from the parish invited people to come into the church and light a candle. At the front of church was a basket with paper and pens so that anyone who wanted to could write down the name or a cause to be included as a special intention. A number of regular parishioners volunteered to pray in the church for the street mission taking place outside. Over 30 new people were brought into the presence of Jesus that evening. It was a very uplifting experience. More information about ‘Nightfever’ can be found here –  and a suggested Holy Hour Prayer Service is available here.

For more information about Nightfever training please email .


St Michael and St Bernadette's Parish, Whitefield

“We have been together for a year. It has been a wonderful period of developing and deepening our friendships as well as reaching out to others in the wider community and learning so many new skills. There is a tangible atmosphere of love. We love each other, without love we can do nothing. This is even before our family has arrived from the refugee camp. We have secured a property in the heart of our community working with a housing association. Now, we are on to the second phrase preparing for their arrival within the next couple of months, furnishing the home, repairing the garden, putting into places welfare and employment opportunities, preparing lessons to teach the parents English, working with the local authority to provide school places for the children, preparing welcome packs and when they arrive being with them to guide them safely to their new lives eventually promoting independence. It may seem daunting and we have achieved a lot so far but it has been step by step, great fun and always guided by the Caritas Sponsorship Community Scheme.”

Felicity Brangan, Parish Caritas Representative


In June, St Michael’s & St Bernadette’s Parish in association with Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), and Manchester University (MU), hosted a “Loneliness Connects Us” Seminar. The Seminar was a great success, attracting over 70 participants.

There were expert presentations on Loneliness,from Prof. Pamela Qualter, MU, Faculty of Education and Dr. James Duggan, MMU, Faculty of Education, Youth and Social Care.

Pamela and James are both specialists and researchers in Loneliness and Youth Loneliness. Niell Watkins, Seminar Organiser and Member of the Parish Team, said the main aim of the Seminar, was to raise the awareness of Loneliness in the Parish and the Community.

Mark Wiggin, Director of Caritas, attended the Seminar and congratulated the Parish and the Seminar Organiser, for hosting, organising and raising the awareness of such an important social issue as Loneliness. He said “Caritas will now work with others to help support the loneliness and social issues projects generated and created at the Seminar. He expressed further, now that the conversation has started Caritas will follow up more awareness work, through relationships with the academic world, to ensure that the diocese will connect all of us. So let’s try to help end loneliness together”.

The participants at the Seminar created and generated seven projects to help end loneliness. One project has been the establishment of a New Facebook Page “Loneliness Connects Us All”

The Page will enable the participants and the community to have a platform to raise the awareness of loneliness. Other projects which are now in progress such as a Youth Suicide Conference, in September.

There was particular interest and focus by the participants was in developing inter-generational work between young and older people. Sister Joan, also was at the Seminar and said she really enjoyed the day and was happy, through the Seminar, to be able to meet and help a homeless lady with children to find a home.

Pamela Qualter said that Loneliness is the difference between the desired and the actual quality of a person’s relationships. Loneliness is “Social Pain” telling us to connect with others and do something about isolation and lack of human contact with significant others in our lives.

Niell Watkins said that it is hoped that the Seminar will encourage churches and parishes to work together with young and older people on social issues such as loneliness, as our society and communities live in a significant period of change, which many find difficult to adjust to.

Loneliness Facebook Page

St Marie's and St Joseph's, Bury

Members of the Hope in the Future Team at the parish of St Marie’s & St Joseph’s, Bury started a ‘Padre Pio Prayer Group’. The prayer time includes praise and worship, reading God’s Word, Times of Silence and Individual and Group prayer.

In August the prayer group attended a ‘Padre Pio Retreat Day’ at the Pantasaph Franciscan Friary in North Wales.

St Mary's (The Hidden Gem), Manchester

The Caritas in Action group at St Mary’s Manchester was formed 18 months ago. Since then some of their achievements include:

  • A team of volunteers assisting in English lessons for refugees/asylum seekers.
  • A foodbank collection point in church which is then delivered fortnightly to the Lalley Centre and Cornerstone in rotation.
  • 4 members who volunteer weekly at Cornerstone
  • Providing 70 Selection Boxes for children at the Lalley Christmas Fair.
  • A ‘Buy a special Christmas Gift’ initiative which raised over £10,000 for Cornerstone.
  • Supported the Big Sleep Out raising almost £2000.
  • Organised a walking tour of Manchester Centre, led by a professional guide, with the objective of giving refugees/asylum seekers an opportunity to practise their English whilst being introduced to some of the sights of Manchester. Over 30 parishioners and asylum seekers took part.
  • Taking part in faith group initiatives and developing connections with other faiths.


Our Lady & St Gerard Majella, Lostock Hall

The Parish of our Lady and St Gerard Majella in Lostock Hall had Afternoon Tea for all their volunteers as a thank you for all their help and as an introduction to them of Hope in the Future, they had over 130 attend! They presented all the different groups with a card with the patron saint and feast day of each ministry which you can view here.


St Boniface, Lower Broughton

St Boniface’s, Lower Broughton launched Hope in the Future as a celebration of St Boniface’s past, present and future. The B you see in the photo is in three sections, two people carried each part up to the altar with a corresponding symbol and read a prayer and gradually the B was assembled. The three B’s were for:

Boniface representing the parishes foundation and background and general community;

Body and Blood for the actual work and participation for the Mass

Be for the future.

St John Fisher, Kearsley

St John Fisher Parish in Kearsley launched Hope in the Future on the same day as their Christmas Fayre. They are following up in the next few months by arranging events to reach out to others including a carol service at Forest Bank Prison. Additionally rather than sending Christmas cards parishioners are asked to just send one to go on a publically displayed tree, and have a donation box for the money saved on postage and cards. The money saved will be donated to the Salvation Army to give a homeless person a meal and a bed for Christmas Day.

St Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Hope in the Future launch at St Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton took the format of a Jigsaw that was created by pupils from the Primary School. Each piece of the jigsaw represents one of the parish ministries:

Formation – Children
Formation – Adult

A representative from each ministry brought a piece of the jigsaw to the altar and placed it on the image of the San Damiano cross to symbolise the unity in the parish.

St Mary's Bamber Bridge

St Mary’s Bamber Bridge chose to focus on trees, which are very much part of the tradition of Bamber Bridge. To celebrate the life of St Mary’s they created “The Brownedge Parish Tree”. It will follow the idea of the “Jesse Tree”, a tree which grows in life during Advent until it flourishes into a Christmas tree. The Brownedge Tree will be decorative tree which will be adorned with fifty small crosses, each labelled with a different group or aspect of parish life. Parishioners were asked to place the crosses onto the tree at Sunday Masses for the First Sunday of Advent, thus creating “The Brownedge Parish Tree”.

Next summer Thomas Hocking, an active member of the church community, is going to Uganda with a group of scouts to take part in a community project.  They will help to build a farm to allow the community to feed themselves from their own produce. To help fund this project Thomas is taking part in a sponsored swim which is being supported by other parishioners.

The Good Shepherd, Pendle

The Good Shepherd Parish Pendle saw over 70  parishioners taking part in the processions in their three churches. They also came up with some inventive ‘symbols’ of their ministries/areas of activities within the parish.



Parishioners with friends from other local Christian churches, gathered on Palm Sunday in the local park to commemorate the Passion of Jesus Christ.Young people from the Stage Door Theatre Group created tableaux of the Stations of the Cross, whilst more than 60 followed the procession listening to readings and singing hymns as they made their way around the park. Each year attracts more participants and this year was no exception. We were delighted to be joined by our MP Andrew Stephenson and local Councillor Joe Cooney.

The Parish Craft group created an exhibition which was displayed in ‘The Glass House’ in the main street in Colne to bear witness of Holy Week and Easter to the local community.







Mount Carmel & St John Bosco, Blackley

The Parish of Mount Carmel and St. John Bosco, Blackley had their celebration on Caritas Sunday. During the introduction a parishioner carried forward the San Damiano cross and during the offertory a talent tree was carried forward showcasing the many ministries in the parish.


The Parish of the Holy Spirit

The Parish of the Holy Spirit had a joint celebration with parishioners from St Anne’s Ancoats, St Brigid’s Bradford and members of the French community on the first Sunday of Advent. This included the beginning of the journey of their Posada statue moving around the Parish. In addition they hosted a senior citizen Christmas party for 30 parishioners.



During Lent the parish organised a retreat led by Fr Eamonn Mulcahy with the theme ‘Journeying to Emmaus’. They marked Mothering Sunday remembering all the mothers in the parish who have died and a special blessing for all mothers in the parish with the children’s liturgy singing ‘More than enough’ after Mass.

A group shown their support for International Women’s Day by ‘Pressing for Progress’ promising to challenge stereotyping and bias in everyday life.

St Charles Borromeo, Swinton

The parish of St Charles Borromeo, Swinton have produced a fantastic Hope in the Future Parish Booklet, celebrating the wonderful gifts and talents shared by their parishioners through their Parish ministries.

Why not create one for your parish so everyone in your parish knows how much great work is going on and how they can get involved.

You can view their booklet here and their video here.


In addition the parish is taking part in a sponsored silence during Lent called siLENT where parishioners are encouraged to spend time in prayer and reflection before the San Damiano cross and raise money for Mary’s Meals and the Salford Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes. You can view the prayer resources on their website and keep up to date on their social media.





On Sunday 22nd April the parish celebrated the diversity of their parish with an International Mass. There were music, readings and dance from the many cultures. Following the Mass there was a ministry fair showcasing the parish groups with opportunity for new members to get involved. There was lots of fun too with a BBQ, games and a bouncy castle in the fun.
















The Cathedral Church of St John the Evangelist

The Cathedral Church of St John the Evangelist have displayed their many ministries and groups at the back of the Cathedral. Their Hope in the Future team decided to print enough copies of the Lent and Holy Week reflections for parishioners and visitors to the Cathedral to taker away each week after Mass to reflection on. This has helped the parishes prayer life throughout Lent and helped people discern how they can get involved with parish life. The reflections are available here.

Formation Day on Mission & Evangelisation

On Saturday 27th January we had our first Formation day on Mission and Evangelisation for the Hope in the Future parish teams from the Burnley and Blackburn deaneries. Over 70 people attended and there was wonderful discussions and times of prayer. Fr Ged Kelly led the day and said ‘This is an exciting time for our Diocese, we have the great privilege to bring forward Bishop John’s vision for Evangelisation in our parish.’

Formation Day on Mission & Evangelisation

Our second Formation day on Mission and Evangelisation took place on Saturday 17th February at Our Lady of Grace, Prestwich aimed at Hope in the Future Teams from the deaneries of Oldham, Rochdale and Bury. There was lots of ideas shared and attendees gave excellent feedback on day describing it as inspiring and challenging. The day will be repeated for the other deaneries, more information can be found here.

Formation Day on Mission & Evangelisation

Our third Formation day on Mission and Evangelisation took place on Saturday 10th March at Schoenstatt Shrine in Kearsley for Hope in the Future Teams from the deaneries of Salford and Bolton. The day will be repeated for the other deaneries, more information can be found here.

St Mary’s, Oswaldtwistle

On Saturday 17th March at 11am the annual “Deanery Lenten Station Mass” took place here at St Mary’s Oswaldtwistle, attended by over 125 people from parishes within the Deanery area along with seven guest priests. This was a welcome opportunity to share with other parishes how we have developed certain skills and projects for those in need of support in our area. Other parishes were invited to share their individual skills and experiences with a view to recognising new possibilities and needs, and to share best practice while forming joint projects in the future. Displays and information remained available following all weekend Masses, most information and contact details for group leaders are available via the parish web sites.

This celebration weekend was a good way to show others within the parish, and wider Deanery area, the status of many of our long term Hyndburn community projects by displaying the works undertaken within our ministry groups and supporting volunteer teams.

The Community Project Team, whose members are currently working towards housing a refuge family from Syria, presented their objectives and progress, as did the Schools “Faith in Action” Teams.  

The “Churches Together Foodbank Project” driven by our parishioners and others based in Oswaldtwistle, initially for three months, has been running for some years now, and is an essential and greatly appreciated community service locally. The Foodbank is supported by several major retailers in Hyndburn whose generosity is greatly appreciated.  

The Lourdes Pilgrimage Group displayed memories and good wishes of those who had been given the opportunity to visit Lourdes though one of our funded trips for selected local pilgrims. People were selected for our pilgrimages based on their needs, and were selected from those who did not necessarily qualify with one of the major charity groups for funding.  

Eucharistic Ministers who visit the sick and housebound with the Blessed Sacrament weekly were also represented and thanked for their dedication. We cannot underestimate the support and assistance given to the terminally ill and bereaved families by our EMMAUS team who are on hand to help at times of need.

 Choirs and musicians are an integral part of our services, as are the numerous other teams of workers who manage CAFOD, Caritas, Fairtraid, Mary’s Meals, and other Diocese based organisations working for the benefit of worldwide needy and oppressed people.  

Top left to right:

Holy Communion & Liturgy, Worship, Parish Notices, Mary’s Meals, Caritas.

Bottom left to right:

Lourdes Group & Lourdes @ Home, CAFOD, EMMAUS Group, Ossy Mills Group, Parish Community Groups (Refugees), St Mary’s School.

Last row: Communications, Mount Carmel School.

Priests Left to Right:

Fr John Broadley, Fr Alan Swift, Fr Michael Waters, Mgr John Daly VG [Parish Priest], Fr Frank Thorpe, Fr Philip Boast, Fr Patrick Tansey, Mgr Peter Wilkinson




Formation Day on Mission & Evangelisation

Our forth Formation Day took place on Saturday 24th March at the Cathedral Centre for Hope in the Future Teams from the Manchester Deaneries. Over 80 people attended. Lots of great ideas were shared and people left feeling empowered for evangelisation in their communities.

Sacred Heart & St Francis, Gorton

The Hope in the Future Team from the Parish of Sacred Heart and St Francis helped to organise a special liturgy and display celebrating the gifts of the Holy Spirit on the Feast of Pentecost.

The team also arranged a prayer vigil to remember those who lost their lives at the Manchester Arena attack. The Church was open until 10:30pm so members of the parish could light a candle and pray for the victims and their families. The youth music group ‘ambition’ also performed a song.