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A Message from Bishop John on New Restrictions

Yesterday, Parliament passed the law which placed restrictions on many aspects our daily lives, including on public worship and the celebration of Mass.

This is a great loss which will be felt by many across our Diocese. I am grateful for the clergy who will once again work tirelessly to stream private Mass online and to provide pastoral support to those in need in our communities who may not have digital access.

As a Diocese, we will continue to share resources which allow you to build Church at home, particularly as we begin the season of Advent later this month.  It is important to remember that the Church continues in each of us and I once again encourage you to think about creating a prayerful space in your home where you and your family can pray.

Churches may still open for private prayer and, if you are comfortable, I would encourage you to take solace in this.

These are difficult times, but as responsible citizens we must continue to adhere to these regulations as we have done for so long.

Stay with us Lord, on our Journey

Access Online Resources to Pray at Home
Celebrating Stage Three of Hope in the Future

On 4th October 2019 we launched Stage 3 of Hope in the Future at the Cathedral. Stage 3 focused on us Living the Sunday Eucharist.

Just months later, our churches were closed and receiving the Sacraments was difficult to do. Many of us made Spiritual Communion during this time.

While the circumstances were unusual and difficult, many parishioners around the diocese continued to live out their faith generally, but also in line with Stage 3 of Hope in the Future.  A celebration booklet of everyone’s efforts has been published.

The booklet features parishes who have embraced digital and traditional methods of communication to keep parishioners in contact throughout the pandemic, as well as those who have gotten creative to host online prayer groups and dial-in Masses for those without an internet connection.

There is also an update on Caritas, links between Home, School and Parish and talks which have taken place both before lockdown and during, online.

The launch of Stage Four of Hope in the Future has been postponed. When the time is right, we will relaunch Stage Four of Hope in the Future. But for now, we will take a moment to pause; to remember those we’ve lost and to reflect on the challenges and opportunities presented by the pandemic.

View the Celebration Booklet Here
Bees at the Laudato Si Centre go from Strength to Strength

David Crowe from Manchester & District Beekeepers Association provides an update on the bees at the Laudato Si Centre, Wardley Hall

This year has been very rewarding for the bees at Wardley Hall.

Last year, we went into winter with 2 colonies of bees. When the bees came out of winter, we discovered we had lost one hive and the other was not as strong as we hoped.  Our weak colony has progressed to be the best in the apiary and has produced most of the honey that we have harvested.

During the year we were asked to attend Wythenshawe park as the tree surgeon had a bees nest in a tree they were felling. Off we went and retrieved the bees with the queen and brought them back to Wardley Hall.

These bees, that are now fondly named the “Tree Bees”, were in good health and have produced a second colony of bees.

So last year we went into winter with 2 colonies and this year we have 3. Each colony has been left with one super box of stores (honey) for them to feed on over winter.

Now back to the honey; we have extracted 121lbs of honey this year, compared with about 44lbs last year.

We must thank our sponsors, Life for a Life, that made available funds to purchase the extraction equipment. This has made the task so easy to do compared to last year when we had to use a number of different bits of kit to achieve the same result.

Young Adults Group Hosts First Event

A video created by the newly formed Young Adults Group, allowing new members to Meet the Team

Over the past few months, representatives from the youth office have had several Zoom meetings with young people from around the diocese. They’ve tried to find a way in which young adults within the diocese can be supported on their faith journey.

The young people unanimously agreed that the best place to begin is through community; having a core group of people with whom young adults can walk with on their faith journey.

Out of these discussions our group has formed and we want to offer the most warmest of welcomes to anyone who is interested in getting involved. All we ask is that you bring a warm heart and tonnes of enthusiasm.

On Sunday 18th October, the newly formed Salford Young Adults Group held their first social event, a Zoom quiz. It was a great evening and many thanks to those who attended and to the organisers. 

We are hoping to continue to plan regular events over the coming months to help young adults feel connected both spiritually and socially during current lockdown restrictions.

If you have any ideas or would like to join the group (over 18) email the team on

Fratelli Tutti: A Summary and Reflection

Fr Mark Paver from the parish of Our Lady of Hope, Salford, shares a summary of his reflections on Pope Francis’ newest encylical Fratelli Tutti.  The second half of his reflection will be posted on our website on Monday 9th November.

Early on in his latest encyclical Pope Francis states, “Issues of human fraternity and social friendship have always been a concern of mine.” (FT 5) Now he has chosen to make these things the topic of this “reflection”, which he hopes will be an invitation to “dialogue among all people of good will” (FT 6).

The title of the encyclical comes from the writings of St Francis of Assisi. It can be translated as “All brothers and sisters” and Pope Francis wants us to be minded of his namesake’s call “for a love that transcends the barriers of geography and distance, and declares blessed all those who love their brother ‘as much when he is far away from him as when he is with him’” (FT 1).

The Pope hopes that “we may prove capable of responding with a new vision of fraternity and social friendship that will not remain at the level of words.” (FT 6). At the heart of this vision is the principle of the inviolable dignity of the human person, which compels us to love all of our brothers and sisters.

Diagnosis and a Call to Action

Throwaway Culture and Exploitation by the Few

Pope Francis begins the letter by laying out certain trends that “hinder the development of universal fraternity” (FT 9). At the heart of these trends is a “throwaway” world which operates according to an economic model where profit is the paramount value and that “does not hesitate to exploit, discard and even kill human beings” (FT 22). In this model the human family is divided. Power and resources are in the hands of a few and “persons are no longer seen as a paramount value to be cared for and respected, especially when they are poor and disabled, ‘not yet useful’ – like the unborn, or ‘no longer needed’ – like the elderly.” (FT 18)

This pervasive model where “one part of humanity lives in opulence, [while] another part sees its own dignity denied, scorned or trampled upon, and its fundamental rights discarded or violated” (FT 22) is fertile ground for fear, insecurity, a propensity to self-preservation and to building walls rather than bridges.

But even the current pandemic, which, on the one hand in the different ways that various countries responded to the crisis revealed their inability to work together, on the other can be a moment of reflection and hope. While Pope Francis warns that “anyone who thinks that the only lesson to be learned was the need to improve what we were already doing, or to refine existing systems and regulations is denying reality” (FT 7), he prays that “God willing, after all this we will think no longer in terms of “them” and “those”, but only “us” (FT 35).

Read Fr Mark's first article in full on our website
Caritas Advent Appeal:
Campaigning for those without a permanent ‘forever’ home.
When we think about homelessness, our thoughts often turn to those souls sleeping rough in a shop doorway or on a park bench. Of course, sadly we really all know that the problem is so much greater than that.  There are countless people ‘sofa surfing’ – the term given to those relying on friends, family and even casual acquaintances to put them up for a night. 
And then there is the shocking statistic of ‘hidden homelessness’ affecting families, highlighted recently: 
A child is made homeless every 8 minutes in Britain. A staggering 135,000 children are living in temporary accommodation - bed and breakfasts and hostels - totally unsuitable for family life. 
No room at the Inn
Pope Francis reminds us that when Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem, “there was no room at the inn and no place for the stranger from afar.”
Launching early to coincide with World Day of the Poor, this year’s Caritas Advent Appeal will raise funds for all of those without a permanent home. 
A special video coming soon, will feature Rochelle, Nikki and Quinton (pictured) who have all experienced homelessness and are sharing their unique personal story to highlight how they were helped by the love and support of a Caritas frontline service. Their stories are introduced by actor, John Thomson, who was himself a benefactor of Caritas Catholic Children’s Rescue Society, adopted to his ‘forever home’ as a baby.
The short film will be shared with parishes and via Caritas social media feeds and will use the hashtag #MiracleOfKindness, a reference to the recent encyclical Fratelli Tutti in which Pope Francis calls for kindness to be recovered because it is a star “shining in the midst of darkness.”
Fundraising has been almost impossible this year. But the need for our services is greater than ever.  We hope these personal stories of hope will leave an impression that calls for action and shine a light into the darkness.
If you would like to run a virtual fundraiser for this appeal, please speak to Rachel Taylor on 0161 817 2285 or by email   

God Who Speaks at Mass

As part of The God who Speaks series, an in collaboration with Hope in the Future Stage 3, Fr Eamonn Mulcahy, CSSp, led a zoom webinar on the theme ‘The God who Speaks at Mass’.

Fr Eamonn is a Spiritan or Holy Ghost Father Missionary originally from Manchester. A priest since 1980, he has extensive missionary experience, working with young adults, teaching theology and giving retreats. From 2006-2013 Fr. Eamonn lectured in Systematic Theology at Tangaza University College, Nairobi, Kenya. He is resident at the Parish of the Holy Spirit in Manchester as Director, Spiritan Mission and Retreat Animation and Episcopal Vicar for Religious for the diocese.

In his talk he explored the richness of the Mass, especially the Liturgy of the Word , where God speaks to us directly through his Word and through the priest in the homily. He spoke about the richness of the lectionary which carefully weaves together old testament scripture in the first reading with new testament scripture proclaimed in the Gospel. He explained how, as a congregation, we respond to God in the psalm and the Gospel acclamation and listen to letters from St Paul, St Peter, St James and the author of Hebrews in the second reading. He went on to say, ‘the homily is a wonderful opportunity for the priest to ‘break open’ the Word and how the story of salvation history relates to us and our lives.’

After the talk there were opportunities for questions, answers and discussion.

Listen to Fr Eamonn's Talk Here
Recognising Interfaith Week, Building Cohesive Communities

Inter Faith Week 2020 will take place from Sunday 8 – Sunday 15 November.

Interfaith relations are important in increasing understanding and creating a harmonious society in which we can celebrate our commonalities and differences.

Interfaith Week:

  • Highlights the good work done by local faith, inter faith and faith-based groups and organisations
  • Draws new people into inter faith learning and cooperation
  • Enables greater interaction between people of different backgrounds
  • Helps develop integrated and neighbourly communities
  • Celebrates diversity and commonality
  • Opens new possibilities for partnership

Building good relationships and working partnerships between people of different faiths and beliefs is part of the work of the diocese all year round. We support the special week as it provides a focal point, helping to open inter faith activity up to a wider audience so that more and more people are made aware of the importance of this vital work and are able to participate in it.

In our diocese, we have strong links with Citizens UK, a project which see people of different faiths, religions and backgrounds working together for their local community. Many of our churches are part of Churches Together which focuses on ecumenism, and over a number of years we have got to know our Muslim brothers and sisters. 

We do all of this work in faith and with the continued desire to build up cohesive and welcoming communities for all.

“Dialogue is a principle task of our time and the Church must enter into dialogue with the world in which it lives.  It has something to say, a message to give, a communication to make”

Paul VI Encyclical ‘Ecclesiam Suam’

Reflections on the Directory of Catechesis

Earlier this year the Holy See published the new Directory for Catechesis. In many parts it is not an easy read. But it does provide us with the opportunity to look at our catechetical endeavours in the light of changing times, demonstrated, of course, by the lockdown and the journey to a new and undetermined normal.

Over the next year Fr Paul Daly, Episcopal Vicar for Formation, will be summarising the Directory, with some suggested pointers for reflection. A summary is, by its nature, subjective. Fr Paul will try to include the sections that he feels has most to say to ourselves and our parishes and communities at this time.

Each week we will update our website with the next insert. Please feel free to share with parish catechists, sacramental programme coordinators, parish leadership team members; in fact anyone who wants them! 

Find the Reflections on Our Website

We are receiving enquiries from parishioners who have asked us how you can continue giving to your parish during the pandemic. Parishes still greatly need your support, even more so with their weekly congregations and visitors affected.

We do recognise that many parishioners may be in a different financial position than they were previously or struggling financially, and there is no expectation to give where you are unable to do so.

If it is appropriate for you to consider now you can donate to your own parish by clicking the link below or at a later date via the diocesan website. 

In the search function just search for your parish.

Donate Now

Thank you to all of you who have continued to donate to your parish and other agencies of faith at this time.

Our website will be continually updated over the coming weeks and months
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