In six years of war the face of Syria has changed quite a lot. It is a huge disaster zone of debris, carbonized buildings; burned down houses, ghost neighbourhoods and towns destroyed to the ground. More than twelve millions Syrians, 50% of the population, are lacking a roof. They form the largest mass of refugees since the Second World War. Several millions have left the country in search of more merciful skies. Many are waiting for mercy in camps of misery, some have drowned attempting
The sisters of the Congregation of Jesus announced yesterday the sudden death at the Bar Convent, York, of Sister Cecilia Goodman CJ on Sunday February 26th. The director of St. Bede's Pastoral Centre in York and former provincial superior of the CJ, Sister Cecilia played a major role in offering training for spiritual directors inthe Ignatian tradition. She was an outstanding spiritual director herself, but also a skilled trainer and enabler of the ministry of others across a wide ecumenical spectrum.
Pope Francis addressed participants in a conference on the human right to water, organised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, on Friday. The Holy Father said the questions concerning the right to water are not marginal, but basic and pressing. Basic, because where there is water there is life, and pressing, because our common home needs to be protected. Yet we must also realise, he said, that not all water is life-giving, but only water that is safe and of good quality. The right to safe drinking water,
I am a 51-year-old caring female seeking a live-in care paid position. I have experience in elderly care as well as extensive experience in children and young adults with physical and learning difficulties. I have done both paid and volunteer work in these roles. My main goal is to find a role where I can help a person or persons to be as independent as possible and live their life to the fullest. I am from Canada but have British Citizenship as well. I am a car owner and am very happy to use my car if that will be beneficial to the person
TRAC UK (Trafficking, Advocacy and Campaigning to end sex trafficking) has welcomed the news from the Republic of Ireland and applauded the government for the passage of the Criminal Law Bill (Sexual Offences) which decriminalises prostituted people and penalises the purchase of sex. Years of lobbying and campaigning by various bodies in Ireland has been successful as the Bill passed Ireland's Lower House, Dáil Eireann, on 7 February and approved by the Upper House, Seanad Eireann on 14
It was a privilege to be part of this Delegation from 13th - 19th February, Fr Joe Ryan, from Westminster Justice and Peace writes. Some of us have participated in the first Delegation in February 2016 to Istanbul and then followed on to Strasbourg to encourage the Committee for Prevention of Torture to intervene for Mr Ocalan, who has been in prison since February 1999. Most of this time; he has been in solitary confinement and not allowed visits either by his family or his lawyers. This has been
Professor Judith Champ, Church History Lecturer and Academic Tutor at Oscott College (the seminary of the Archdiocese of Birmingham serving the Catholic Church in England, Wales and Scotland) has become a Dame of the Order of St Sylvester. The award exists to recognise lay Catholic men and women whose professional work is of great service to the Church, to the wider community and to the country. The Investiture of Judith Champ as a Dame of Sylvester took place during a Mass celebrated by
Ash Wednesday starts a springtime season of personal renewal as well as a preparation for the Easter celebration. Fr Laurence Freeman OSB starts us off today for a fresh and liberating forty days with this event at The Meditatio Centre. Fr Laurence Freeman is a Benedictine monk and spiritual successor of John Main and has been teaching meditation in the Christian tradition since the 1970s. He is the Founder and Director of The World Community for Christian Meditation.
The Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) has launched a revised version of its global port chaplains' directory which helps seafarers get access to pastoral and faith resources wherever they are in the world. The Port Chaplain Directory 2017 lists phone numbers and e-mail addresses of the seafarers' charity's chaplains in 261 ports across 55 countries, compared to 207 ports and 49 countries in 2016. AoS Development Director John Green said: "We have chaplains in most of the world's ports. Providing up to date and
More pilgrims with special care needs will be able to travel to Lourdes pilgrimage this summer after an additional Jumbulance was blessed by Cardinal Nichols on 25th February. The Jumbulance, a coach-sized ambulance, will accommodate those pilgrims who are unable to fly and require constant medical care. The blessing took place after a Mass of Thanksgiving at Westminster Cathedral which welcomed staff and supporters from ACROSS, the charity providing the Jumbulance who
During his Angelus address on Sunday to pilgrims and tourists gathered in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis focussed on the Gospel reading of the day in which Jesus calls us not to worry about tomorrow, recalling that above all there is a loving Father who never forgets his children. Drawing from this passage the Pope reminded those present to trust in God who takes care of all living beings of creation. Trusting in him, explained the Holy Father, "will not magically solve our problems, but it lets us face
History was made on Sunday when Pope Francis visited the Anglican Parish of All Saints in Rome - the first time a pope has ever visited an Anglican place of worship in his diocese of Rome. The Pope presided over an evensong service with the bishop of the Anglican Diocese in Europe Robert Innes and together with Anglican and Orthodox clergy present, he blessed a new icon by the English artist Ian Knowles, who heads a school for Palestinian art students in Bethlehem.
Throughout Lent, Karolina Stolarska is running a creative prayer group for Lent at Ealing Abbey - where participants will be creating visual art in response to Scripture and themes from The Little Way of St Therese of Lisieux. Karolina writes: "St Therese and her Little Way have appealed to countless Christians and others who realise our finitude does not get in the way of true greatness. Therese herself enjoyed composing poetry and drawing, and simple art-making has made a come-back for adults - not least through
Anne O'Connor has again produced a leaflet of Daily Actions and Reflections based on the Scripture Readings for Lent. Composed for the National Justice and Peace Network... Liverpool J&P and CAFOD Liverpool have written a series of reflections for each week in Lent. Each of the five sessions follows the same format: Gospel, case study from at home, case study from overseas, quotations from Laudato Si', with prayers and prompts for discussion throughout the sessions. Columban missionaries in Australia have
The Catholic Diocese of Hallam and the Anglican Diocese of Sheffield came together to host an ecumenical Study Day on Pope Francis' encyclical on Saturday, 25th February. A packed room at Sheffield's Quaker Meeting House came away enthused and inspired to foster care for creation in their home parishes. "The suggestion to explore Laudato Si together came from the Anglican diocese", explained Greg Ryan, adult formation advisor for Hallam. "Not only have we been studying together, but
Church and community leaders in Vancouver, British Columbia, are campaigning to stop the controversial Christian evangelist Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, from speaking to thousands of people at a two day festival in the city next week. Graham is scheduled to preach at the Festival of Hope from 3-5 March at one of the city's largest stadiums. But many of his past statements are causing concern. Graham has called on the United States "to use weapons of mass destruction if need be"
On 9 February the UK Parliament unanimously debated and approved a motion appealing for the resumption of peace talks on Israel and Palestine and condemning the ongoing construction of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. The advocacy group Open Bethlehem submitted the following briefing for the debate: Open Bethlehem is a film and advocacy project that works to bring greater understanding of the challenges that face Bethlehem today with a special focus on the Christian
In a pastoral letter being read in parishes throughout the Diocese of Westminster today, the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, 26th February, His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols urges the faithful not just to hand the sick over to professional care, but to offer them pastoral and spiritual care in their communities. He reflects on the diocesan season of prayer entitled 'Called to Serve the Sick' which is intended as a continuation of the Year of Mercy. Introducing this season, which began with Mass in honour of
There is a theme of consolation running through our readings, it's not explicitly stated but it's there and may help us at a time when huge shifts seem to be taking place all over our world. People do feel uncertain; puzzled perhaps because virtues like honesty, truthfulness, generosity and kindness rarely feature in the success stories of our public figures, for powerful personalities are not noted for their tenderness to others. Perhaps that's why Pope Francis catches imaginations as he has that touch of
This morning (Saturday) in the Vatican, Pope Francis met with parish priests participating in a training course dealing with annulment procedures and other legal issues surrounding marriage. The course was organized by the Roman Rota, the highest appellate tribunal of the Church. Referring to the proposals of the Synod of Bishops on 'Marriage and the Family"' and his subsequent Apostolic Exhortation, 'Amoris Laetitia', the Pope praised this study initiative saying it is the parish priest who is in
An interpretative 'meditation' on the divine revelations of Julian of Norwich takes place at Norwich Cathedral on Monday, 27 February from 6.30-7.45pm. The evening of meditative activities will see meditation explored and expressed through song, dance, narrative and illustration. This presentation has been produced by the creators of the award-winning Chickenshed theatre company. All are very welcome to attend this free event.
A wave of violent attacks on Catholic churches and property has taken place in DR Congo over the last week. On 18 and 19 February there were incidents at the major seminary of Malole in Kananga, in Central Kasai and St Dominic Parish in Limete, in the capital Kinshasa. During the night between 21 and 22 February, unknown persons vandalized the parish of Santa Maria of Lukalaba, in Eastern Kasai, while another group attempted to loot the parishes of St Robert Kansele and Saint Albert le Grand
The Focolare Movement Scotland and Ahl Al Bait Society present an open lecture on: Unity in God and Unity of God on Monday, 27 February at 6.30pm in the Lecture Theatre 1, Boyd Orr Building, University of Glasgow...'We are living in an historic moment in time - characterised in many ways by war, division, conflict and fear. Talk of dialogue and unity between people of different faiths in such a context seems unattractive or impossible to many. Yet true dialogue, peace and unity is not only possible, it is
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Jesuits of the US, together with the Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation and St Francis Mission on the Rosebud Reservation, state that they are deeply concerned by the recent decision of the US Army Corps of Engineers concerning the Dakota Access Pipeline. They state: 'The decision to issue an easement allowing the pipeline to cross under the Missouri River north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation is a direct response to
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan made a strong call to conversion in his 2017 Budget Speech. Quoting Pope Francis he said, "Reforming the social structures which perpetuate poverty and the exclusion of the poor first requires a conversion of mind and heart". He went on to say, "We need to radically transform our economy so that we have a more diversified economy, with more jobs and inclusivity in ownership and participation". There is no doubt that South Africa is sitting on a fast-ticking social time bomb.