World Day of Prayer 2021 (formerly Women’s World Day of Prayer). This year this ecumenically run, women-led service is going ahead in some places, but the decision has been taken that it will not this year be held in the southern half of our parish, I.e. the area including Oldland Common, North Common etc. It is organised by the women of Vanuatu, details available online at WDP 2021 | World Day Of Prayer (wwdp.org.uk) and donations, normally made at the service, may also be made via this website to support this organization, an important one for worldwide prayer.
All are invited to join Caritas Plymouth and Caritas Clifton for an online event on the Feast of St Bakhita on 8th February 2021 from 5-6.30pm to reflect on the challenges facing refugees and migrants and the threat of modern slavery. Pope Francis’ Encyclical ‘Fratelli Tutti’ shared a vision of a more welcoming world. This joint event, which will be attended by Bishop Mark O’Keefe and Bishop Declan Lang, will share prayers and reflections as well as offering some practical suggestions about how we can take steps to Welcome the Stranger into our Communities. Guest speakers include Nick Hanrahan fom the Jesuit Refugee Services and Caroline Virgo from Clewer initiative. This event will take place via zoom and you can register to attend by following clicking on this link or emailing email@example.com.
How much do we know of the story of St Josephine Bakhita?
She was born in Darfur, now western Sudan and was the niece of the village chief. In 1877 when just 7 yrs old, she was seized by Arab slave traders who had abducted her elder 2 sisters earlier. She was forced to walk barefoot 960kms, that’s over 600m and was sold and bought twice en route and subsequently over the next 12 yrs, 3 more times before being given away.
The story is that the trauma of her abduction caused her to forget her birth name and so she took the name given to her by abductors, Bakhita, which is Arabic for lucky or fortunate. She was also forcibly converted to Islam.
During her time as a slave she endured many injuries, the worst of which as for many other slaves, left permanent scarring. Only following the threat of attack from revolutionaries did her captors sell her to the Italian vice consul who when he had to return to Italy, Bakhita begged him to take her there too and she lived in Venice and worked as nanny.
She was inspired by the Canossian Sisters in Venice and 1888 the family with whom she lived wanted to move back to Sudan where they had a hotel. Bakhita refused and finally an Italian court ruled that because Italian law didn’t recognise slavery as legal, she had never legally been so. For the first time in her life she had control of her destiny and chose to remain with the Canossians. In January 1890 she was baptised Josephine Margaret and the same day she was confirmed and received Holy Communion from Arch-bishop Giuseppe Sarto, the Cardinal Patriarch of Venice and the future Pius X.
When asked what would she do if she met her captors, replied she would kneel and kiss their hands for if these things hadn’t happened to her she would not be a Christian and religious.
She was in much pain in her last years but alway cheerful. She passed away in 1947 and the petitions for her canonisation began immediately. Canonisation was begun by John XXIII in 1959 and in October 2000 she was made St Josephine Bakhita. Her legacy is that transformation is possible through suffering. Her story of deliverance from physical slavery also symbolises all those who find meaning in delivery from mental slavery which Martin Luther King spoke about.*
John Paul II visited Khartoum in 1992 when only 9 months earlier news of her beatification was banned. He said of her ‘rejoice all of Africa! Bakhita has come back to you. The daughter of Sudan sold into slavery as a living piece of merchandise and yet still free. Free with the freedom of the saints!’ Her feast day is the 8th February.
What does her story speak to you about? What can we do to help stop modern slavery?
Pope Francis encourages us ‘so that in every part of the world, men and women may no longer be used as a means to an end and that their inviolable dignity may always be respected.’
Bishop Declan spoke with James Abbott from the Bishop’s Conference about the online co-ordination meeting this week. He speaks about the current situation in Gaza how the Christian community is supporting the whole community. They also discuss how we, and the co-ordination group, can support the Christian communities in the Holy Land. Listen to the podcast here https://soundcloud.com/clifton-diocese/bishop-declan-speaks-with-james-abbott
If you need support following baby loss; been affected by miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth, pregnancy loss of any kind; Baby Loss Matters have three services to help those affected by baby loss to access free and confidential support:
Ring the National Helpline on 0808 8025433
Text the Text-to-Talk service 07860 077339 or Send a message to our email support
Services are person-centred, confidential and 100% free. Trained staff, volunteers, and BACP-accredited counsellors are on hand 9am to 6pm to provide you with a safe space to explore your emotions. If you’re unable to reach us during these times, please leave a message and we’ll get back in touch Baby Loss Matters operate through Life’s Pregnancy Matters™ service. This includes emotional support and online resources. For more information on Pregnancy Matters™ click here.
For the past 50 years, Worldwide Marriage Encounter has been offering marriage enrichment programs all around the world. Focused on couples who want to enrich their relationship and gain a deeper understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage, it offers a unique experience to explore your relationship at a deeper, more intimate level, regardless of how long you have been together. The next Marriage Encounter Online Experience is scheduled on 30 & 31 January 2021 and there are many other dates over the year – you can find out more and book your place at www.wwme.org.uk or contact them on 0845 260 2016.
Lent, the Global Catholic Climate Movement invites you to ‘Global Healing’ in
response to Pope Francis’ call to care more deeply for Our Common Home!
When? Six Thursdays from 18th February – 25th March 2021, 7.30pm – 8.30pm
What? The Global Healing film sessions with reflection, guest speakers & discussion.
How to join? To register click HERE or email firstname.lastname@example.orgHosted by GCCM Laudato Si’ Animators in the UK.
The aim of this series is to help us get a sense of the Scriptures as a whole. To see the unfolding of God’s liberating and creative love in the history of Israel and in the Church.
Download the course here The God Who Speaks
David McLoughlin is the Emeritus Fellow of Christian Theology at Newman University, Birmingham. He has helped to train Christian activists, priests, deacons, ministers and teachers for 40 years.
Could you be a School Governor? Clifton Diocese is seeking to recruit people to serve on school governing bodies. If you believe in Catholic education, have enthusiasm and commitment, then you can make a valuable contribution to the governing body of a Catholic school. It also provides the opportunity to use your life/work skills and experience, for the benefit of the children in our schools. Please visit https://cliftondiocese.com/news/could-you-be-a-school-governor/ for more information and to complete an online nomination form or contact email@example.com or 07710094976 – he would be delighted to hear from you. Your support for our schools would be much appreciated.
Consultation on the proposed Federation of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School and St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School, Corsham
The period of consultation lasts six weeks, after which the Governing Bodies will vote on whether to proceed with Federation. You can make your views known by completing the response form (Document 2). The response form for the proposal to establish a Federation is attached to this document. The consultation will close at midday on Wednesday 24th February 2021
In light of the current rise in cases of Covid-19, in order to keep each other safe, save lives and support the NHS, .Please call the parish office if there is an emergency and we will try to work out how we can help.
You can live stream masses from all over the UK and Ireland everyday via www.churchservices.tv or daily mass from our Cathedral in Clifton at 9.30am every day.
For now, please view/download:
When Mass cannot be celebrated publicly
Prayers during a time of flu and illness
Stay safe and contact the parish office if you, or someone you know, need practical or emotional help as we will do our best to get you some help.
We are happy to announce that we have been allowed to stay open for communal worship with the latest lockdown restrictions that have come into force as of 5th January 2020,
We realise that not everyone will be able to continue coming to mass - those who are extremely vulnerable and required to shield again or those who are unwell and need to isolate. You can still attend daily mass being streamed daily from the Cathedral or through churchservices.tv for online streaming of mass throughout the day from all over the UK and Ireland.
If you are struggling with worries or loneliness, please reach out and we will do our best to offer practical support.
We must continue be extremely careful and adhere to all safety measures in place in church - social distancing, wearing masks, sanitising hands, etc. and following the instructions our the stewards who are there to guide you. This is a difficult time and our main aim is to keep everyone safe.
We pray for an end to Covid-19 and a return to a safer world.
The full guidance of the national lockdown can be found here National lockdown: Stay at Home - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)