‘And you shall renew the face of the Earth’ – Our Common Home

When people from all over the Diocese of Hallam gathered with Bishop Ralph at St Marie’s Cathedral for a Creation Celebration, he renewed Pope Francis call in Laudato Si, ‘Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.’

our common home

The news reports show the increasing frequency and severity of the impacts of climate change across the world – including here in the UK. Bishop Ralph warned that we are rapidly approaching the tipping point. Yet we still have chance to mitigate the worst effects if we act now. Continue reading

Advent message from Archbishop Longley

 

Archbishop Longley

Archbishop Longley

Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Brimingham, shares his reflection on the meaning of Advent

This Thursday is the shortest and the darkest day of the year. On the twenty-first of December, at Evening Prayer, the Church calls upon our Lord in these words: O Oriens – O Rising Sun, you are the splendour of eternal light and the sun of justice: O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. In this final week before Christmas we might ask: what does the dawning light of Christ enable us to see more clearly in our own lives and in the world around us?

 

Sun of justice

O Rising Sun,
you are the splendour of eternal light and the sun of justice.
O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

The Advent antiphon gives us a clue where it addresses Our Lord as the sun of justice. The Prophet Isaiah spells it out for us when he describes the work of the Messiah. He has been sent to bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken; to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to those in prison. Christ, the light of the world, fulfils the prophecy of Isaiah through his ministry of healing and forgiving, giving us all a glimpse and a foretaste of the Kingdom of God.

 

We view the world in a new way through the light of Christ and we learn to have a deeper appreciation for the gift of creation. Two years ago Pope Francis emphasised this in his Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ when he said: What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?

Passion fruit

What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us?

The Holy Father urges us never to forget the intimate relationship between the fragility of the planet and the plight of the poor, echoing the compassion of the Messiah: He has sent me to bring good news to the poor. They are the ones who suffer most from the way our earth has been mistreated and exploited.

Pope Francis also says that we need to listen both to the cries of creation and to the cries of the poor. When we do so we undergo what he calls an ecological conversion. The Holy Father encourages us to live more simply, more sustainably and more in solidarity with the poor. He invites us to make our choices based on a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters – including future generations.

Advent Rohingya

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

I would ask you, if you have not already done so, to look carefully at Pope Francis’ encyclical. Perhaps it could be the basis for a study group in your parish during next Lent. Encouraged by Laudato Si’ you may wish to consider becoming a LiveSimply parish next year, using the scheme prepared by CAFOD. In these and other ways we can respond to the encouragement of St Paul in today’s Second Reading: Be happy at all times; pray constantly; for all things give thanks to God.

May the Son of God fill you with joy this Advent as you prepare to celebrate his birth. May you all be kept safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body, for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

This reflection has been edited. You can find the full text here

Holy Rood collecting for Harvest

Jeremy Cain, Community Participation Coordinator (CPC) for Hallam diocese, tells us the best thing about his job.

Yesterday was a good day. Not quite a getting married/having a baby/winning the lottery sort of day, but pretty good nonetheless.

Mother and baby

Khawla and her new baby, Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Arguably, the work of a CPC is not at the glamorous end of the CAFOD spectrum- we don’t jet out to foreign parts and see, first-hand, how our work is having a positive impact on people’s lives. However, what we do get to do is visit the parish communities who so generously support us. For me, it’s definitely the highlight of our job and yesterday was no exception.

Holy Rood people

Pat, Fr. Damian and John at Holy Rood, Barnsley

I’d been invited by Fr. Damian Humphries to speak at Holy Rood in Barnsley about Harvest Fast Day. For years, the parish has been a great supporter so I wasn’t surprised when I was greeted with a “You’re very welcome, Mr. CAFOD!”, and they meant it. Everyone I spoke to was so friendly it left me feeling like this was my home parish. However, it was especially good to meet John, our parish contact, and Pat, a woman with so much enthusiasm that she should bottle and sell it! Together with John’s wife, Sue, who was sadly unwell yesterday, they make sure that CAFOD’s mission remains high on the parish’s list of priorities.

But it’s not, of course, the only priority and John spoke to me about how there’s an increasing demand on people’s generosity; he’s concerned that as people are being asked for more and more, their ability to give to CAFOD will decrease.  Nevertheless, he thinks he’s found an answer and one that chimes perfectly with CAFOD’s commitment to Laudato Si’: recycling!

Trash for cash

Trade in your trash for cash with CAFOD

Did you know, that you can trade in your trash for cash? With only a little bit of effort, the stuff you no longer want or need can be converted into much-needed funds for CAFOD’s work. And the best bit, of course, is that it doesn’t cost you a penny!

We’ll always need people to be as generous as they can for our Fast Days but if, like John, we get creative, then there’s lots of ways we can generate a little extra. Barnsley may not be glamorous (though, to be fair, I didn’t see all of it) but it’s still a great place to be.