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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
A number of people from parishes in the Deanery of St John Vianney (Burnley Deanery) took part in the Strung Sung Supper at St Joseph’s Hall Accrington on 17th January 2020. Over 150 people from parishes in our Deanery attended and thoroughly enjoyed singing an eclectic range of popular and folk songs professionally accompanied by seminarian, Luke Bradbury, Fr David Featherstone and a number of other musicians. The stars of the evening were the audience as they all had been given song sheets to sustain the singing. Among the highlights were two traditional Lancashire folk songs from the Burnley Cloggers as well as an unforgettable rendition of “Bring me sunshine” led on guitar by Fr Pat Tansey. We also welcomed a group of adults with additional needs from a local care home who were delighted to share the evening with us. A wonderful hot supper was provided and those present had an opportunity to meet with other parishioners and priests of our Deanery. Funds raised at the event are to be donated to two local causes and to a school in Kenya. The band were really pleased to be asked to an encore at the end so it looks like this will be the first of many such gatherings in East Lancashire.
The parish of Our Lady & St. Patrick’s, Oldham produced a 150 year anniversary booklet celebrating all that they have achieved over that time which you can view here
Training & Formation Day for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
On Saturday 18th January over 120 Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion from parishes across the diocese attended a training and formation day led by the Irenaeus Project. Fr Chris Thomas and Sr Moira Meeghan explored the themes of Baptism and Vocation, the vision of the Church, practical sessions, dementia awareness and safeguarding guidance.
St Mary, Bamber Bridge
The mission team at St Mary’s in Bamber Bridge asked parishioners to complete a questionnaire in response to the first pastoral message and worksheet on how we Meet Jesus in our Welcome. The responses were compiled and shared with the rest of the parish to help with planning to improve the parishes welcome. A similar process will be arranged for the other three pastoral messages.
St John Fisher, Denton
As a way of improving the parish welcome, St John Fisher, Denton, purchased high chairs to allow some of their youngest Mass-goers to enjoy mid-morning snacks in the parish hall whilst parents have a cup of tea and a chat; a lovely welcome.
The parish of St Mary and St Philip Neri made a display exploring the reflection questions on the first Pastoral Message & Worksheet on Meeting Jesus in our Welcome encouraging the assembly to think about the Introductory Rites of Mass.
The parish Hope in the Future team meet each month alternating with prayer and reflection and business and planning. The team includes representatives from their 3 Catholic schools who feedback and strengthen links with the schools. There is a notice board in the foyer of Holy Cross Church designed by the children of the schools which showcase how they have been Missionary Disciples. An Advent Challenge was organised with the Church and school community raising £1700 to provide wells in Africa. The Lenten challenge raised £1500 for Mary’s meals. Food and clothing are delivered each week by a committee member to Loaves and Fishes homeless centre. English classes support and encourage asylum seekers and refugees from within the area.
A parishioner designed a stained glass window of St John Fisher which was blessed by Bishop John followed by Blessed Sacrament procession. Quarantore was organised and was very well attended and ended with a youth celebration. A sensory Garden is being built to help people with dementia and will be called a Hope Garden. Fr Bryan is in the process of setting up a Shared Leadership Team.
The parish Social Group organised a ‘Jacob’s Feast’ in September, where parishioners contributed food to celebrate the diverse cultures which make up our community. A ‘RefuTea’ was held in June to raise funds and awareness in support of the Refugee Council. The parish is also working closely with Caritas and RADAR (a local inter-ecumenical initiative to provide support for refugees and destitute asylum seekers), with the intention of utilising the empty presbytery at St. John’s as a pilot scheme to provide accommodation for those in need. Members of the Legion of Mary continue to evangelise in Rochdale town centre on Saturdays.
To celebrate Fr Peter Kinsella’s Silver Jubilee of priesthood the parish arranged the production of the musical ‘Oliver’. They also signed up to CAFOD’S Living Simply Award and drafted a consultation document. This was shared with parishioners, and the staff and pupils of our three schools. It ties in with action to counteract climate change and one of the big initiatives has been to turn the lawns at the front of St. John Fisher Church into a wildflower garden. Lots of hard work have produced great results.
The parish Hope in the Future Team have been forging greater links with their Primary School at St. Anne’s. There were already strong links between school and parish but this year the congregation were invited into school to judge some of their Lent and Easter artwork. They had created Stations of Cross and Easter eggs decorated to highlight environmental issues. The group have taken on the Social and Outreach work for the Parish and have started an annual MacMillan Coffee Morning.
The parish created a directory with details of over 30 activities, encouraging greater involvement in the life and mission of the parish, opportunities for all parishioners to discern their gifts and talents.
The CAFOD group joined with the primary school’s ECO group and the high school to organise an evening Mass, ‘Care for our Common Home,’ inspired by Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’.
The ‘Young Christian Workers’ group organised and served a delicious ‘Mothers’ Day Afternoon Tea.’
Their hopes for the future are encapsulated in enduring community, charity and spirituality.
David Wells led a day for our Clergy on Hope in the Future exploring the encyclicals of Pope Francis offering the opportunity to reflect on our hopes for the future of our parishes, suggesting a new way of working and Shared Leadership.
Fr Ged Kelly provided four Formation Days on Gifts, Talents and Charisms around the Diocese. There were opportunity for group discussion and attendees received a Spiritual Gifts Inventory to help them prayerfully discern their Gifts and attend training days to assist with the various areas of parish life.
Other training days included…
- Developing & Supporting School & Parish Links
- Growing in the Gifts of the Spirit
- Parish Catechesis
- Parish Management
- Parish Social Action
- Engaging Young People in the Parish
Audio recordings of the keynote addresses and the presentations from the workshops can be found here.
One of the first initiatives of the St Mary’s Caritas Group, was to set up a foodbank collection box at the back of the church. This has proved to be very successful in the 2+ years it has been in use. Parishioners (and visitors to the church) drop in non-perishable items of food and other necessities. Every two weeks a delivery of six or seven crates of donated items are delivered to one of our two supported centres – the Lalley Centre and the Cornerstone Day Centre. Mgr. Anthony Kay, the parish priest of the Hidden Gem, told us – “Each time, the parishioner making the delivery, asks the staff of the Lalley or Cornerstone, if they have need of any particular items; I mention it in the next weekly parish newsletter, and it is amazing, the items that are needed come into the box, along with the regular contributions.”
David Wells on the Virtue of Joy
David is a well-known inspirational speaker and catechist. He explored the papal encyclicals of Pope Francis each with the common theme of Joy. David suggested that this Joy could be the virtue which brings others to Jesus.
Sherry Weddell on Fruitful Discipleship
Sherry led a session for our clergy during the day and for our parish teams in the evening on Fruitful Discipleship. Sherry is a well-known speaker on parish renewal and development in the United States. Sherry’s book, “Forming Intentional Disciples”, published in July 2012, has sold over 150,000 copies. She gave us plenty to think about for our Missionary Activities encouraging us to break the silence, tell the great story of Jesus and prayerfully ask God what he wants us to do for his Church.
Fr Denis McBride C.Ss.R on Jesus the Relational Leader
Denis is a Redemptorist priest from Scotland who spoke to parishioners on the topic of Jesus the Relational Leader.
Fr Denis reminded those present that if we are to be on mission with the Good News we first must have a personal relationship with Jesus.
Following his talk there were opportunities for questions which allowed people to reflect on how we can develop our relationship with Jesus in order to go on mission.
School staff and governors responsible for links between parishes and schools were invited to a training day called ‘Finding the Way’. Together, we were able to explore how we can strengthen links between home, school and parish, recognising that each is essential in strengthening our mission.
A challenging but exciting opportunity is engaging parents to support their children as
the primary educators of the faith. The day began with a reflection from Fr Bryan Cunningham on the importance of faith in family life and was followed by workshops on involving young people & families in the parish, providing opportunities for encounter and accompaniment on the new Sacramental programme.
The Deanery of St Joseph, Bolton, organised an ecumenical concert of prayer and music to celebrate the Hope Jesus brings to the area at Bolton Victoria Hall. The evening included a talk from Fr Chris Gorton and performance from the Millennium Chapel Choir, Sacred Heart Primary School and Thornleigh Salesian College. All money raised went to Francis House Children’s Hospice.
On Saturday 6 July, more than 150 parish delegates from all over the Diocese of Salford filled Holy Cross College, Bury, to celebrate Hope in the Future.
The parish social action day was organised by Caritas Diocese of Salford as part of the second stage of the Hope in the Future programme.
Hope in the Future is the parish-based programme re-energising the Diocese of Salford and encouraging the faithful to become ‘missionary disciples’ by reaching out to their local communities and putting faith into action.
Attendees at the Caritas day heard from a range of speakers including Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, John Battle, Chair of Leeds Justice and Peace group and Leeds Citizens, and Sir Peter Fahy who was formerly the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police.
John Battle opened the conference by inviting delegates to respond to the cry of the poor by supporting organisations and groups that addressed poverty, saying that “even in small ways, we can and do make a difference.”
Sir Peter Fahy, who is a trustee of both Caritas and the Diocese, spoke passionately about the importance of supporting church and faith-based communities that can reach to the grassroots of society and can work with the local community. He said: “No amount of government spending or statutory services can be a substitute for a good neighbour in the community.”
Voluntary organisations joined parishioners on the day, including Aid to the Church in Need and the YCW Impact group, to share how they could support them and make an impact on their local community. Lee House and Modern Day Slavery also offered an interactive refugee experience which helped parishioners from the Diocese to place themselves in the shoes of others and empowered them to use their own gifts and talents to take action in their own parishes.
Workshops followed in the afternoon focusing on the need to promote Catholic Social Teaching and encourage fostering-friendly parishes, as well as hearing about wider current issues that Caritas are working on such as refugees and the environment.
The strong commitments made by parishioners who attended the event illustrate the community spirit of those in the Diocese, with attendees pledging to reach out to the wider community and those on the margins, to support Community Sponsorship programmes to resettle refugees and to use their parish buildings for social action and community outreach.
On the day, Sr Joan led beautifully simple prayers and reflections and uplifting live music was provided by members of the Caritas team.
The Hope in the Future team at St Vincent de Paul in Norden designed and printed a welcome sheet. It was designed with a view to making it initially available to their own parishioners but principally for other Christians, non-Christians and those who have become lukewarm or have fallen away from the practice of the Faith and are visiting our church for funerals, weddings and christenings.
The document can be viewed here.
The Deanery of St Chad (North Manchester) organised a Pentecost International Celebration with over 100 attendees celebrating the birthday and diversity of the Church. There were dancing and dishes from a range of cultures and it was an opportunity for the deanery to get to know each other and start to build links between parishes at deanery level. Other Hope in the Future deanery teams are planning similar events such as a deanery walk, magazine, concert and Alpha course.
The Hope in the Future team organised a Quarant’ore leading up to January 31st, the feast of St John Bosco, who is a patron of our parish with Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Quarant’ore is a special time of prayer in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament which takes place over 40 hours. The tradition originally was consecutive hours including through the night but to make it more accessible to all, the 40 hours were planned over 5 days. We began on Sunday with Benediction which was well attended and a wonderful beginning for our prayer journey.
The Blessed Sacrament was exposed for the 40 hours on the altar, which was beautifully decorated with flowers and candles. Parishioners purchased 100 candles, which were lit in remembrance of special intentions.
Over the 5 days, as well as time for silent prayer and meditation, there were times of communal prayer which included Holy Mass on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and the Angelus and Rosary at 12noon each day ending each evening with the night prayers of the church. Prayer books and leaflets were available for those who wished to be guided in their own prayers .
As well as ‘the watchers’, people who had volunteered to be in church for each of the 40 hours, there was a steady stream of people visiting the Blessed Sacrament each day. Children from St John Bosco’s school and Mount Carmel school attended for afternoon visits and there were priests and people in attendance from other parishes in the deanery and from further afield.
Quarant’ore ended with Holy Mass at 7pm on Thursday to celebrate the feast of St John Bosco. Mass was attended by many parishioners and friends and was a beautiful end to our celebration.
In the words of St John Bosco, “ I beg you to recommend to everyone first, adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and then reverence for most holy Mary.”
Mary help of Christians, pray for us.
In February 2019 the parish celebrated an International Mass to give thanks for and celebrate the many different nationalities that make up our vibrant parish community. Some of the children came forward at the beginning of Mass and presented a flag representing their country of origin. The bidding prayers were prayed in a variety of languages and the Eucharistic Prayer was prayed in Polish, Latin, French and Italian. The Our Father was also sung in Latin. It was a very enjoyable celebration with standing room only.
Members of the Hope in the Future Team at the parish 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.
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.
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.
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
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. https://www.stjosephsmanchester.co.uk/files/20180327_Portfolio_final_online.pdf
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 Lorraine.Leonard@dioceseofsalford.org.uk .
“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 www.facebook.com/Loneliness-Connects-Us-All
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.
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’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 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.
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:
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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.’
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.
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
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.