Thursday 28 April 2016

Sunday 24 April 2016

Bishop Patrick's Pastoral Letter on Safeguarding

Click here to read this weekend's Pastoral Letter from Bishop Patrick. Here is a short synopsis.

The document on modern slavery of the site to which Bishop Patrick refers can be found here.

Thursday 21 April 2016

Newsletter for 23/24 April - Easter 5(C)

Click here to read the latest newsletter.

Events in Derby

Adult Formation at Nottingham has asked priests to draw these events to the attention of their parishioners:

 Diocesan Retreat Day led by Bishop Patrick at St Joseph’s Church Hall, Burton Road, Derby DE1 1TJ - open to all and run in conjunction with the Diocesan Spirituality Network. Donations will be welcome on the day. Saturday 21st May 2016 10 am – 3 pm.

Children’s Liturgy Formation Day at The Diocesan Centre, Mackworth, Derby DE22 4BD – this will be useful for the experienced as well as those who would like to know more on how Children’s Liturgy is run. The cost is £5 per person. Saturday 11th June 2016 10 am - 3 pm

Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS) at the Diocesan Centre, Mackworth DE22 4BD – this is for all who would like to learn more about their faith, open to parishioners and teachers alike. The cost for this is £360 for the whole course or £55 per module (concessions available). Information and registration session on  Saturday 1st October 2016 beginning 10 am and finishing at 2 pm.

More information from Diane Williams at Adult Formation

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Vocation Discernment Events

For single Catholic women. Weekends of prayer, discussion, reflection, community...  a time to ask questions, find out more... a time to be with others on a similar journey...

An opportunity to find out more about the spirituality and mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart

Friday 10th - Sunday 12th June 2016
208 Botwell Lane
Hayes, Middx

Friday 30th September - Sunday 2nd October

Arriving from 5pm Friday evening and finishing after Sunday lunch

Contact Sr Barbara Sweeney
0191 272 3000
or else via

Do contact us even if you can't make this weekend, as we can always arrange a meeting or visit at some other time

Suggested donation - £25, or else according to means

Monday 18 April 2016

Vocations Weekend for young women (20s and 30s)

Theme: Discerning God's Call in my life
Dates: 27th - 29th May 2016
Location: Broadstairs, Kent

The weekend is organised by the sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJ).
There will be input from the FCJ sisters on different aspects of vowed life, and time for prayer, reflection and discussion with other young women who are also considering a vocation to religious life.
It's an opportunity to live community life for a weekend and meet some sisters!

For more information contact Sr Lynne fcJ at or visit our website

Report from the Ashby Foodbank

I know that some of our parishioners support our local foodbank on a regular basis. You may be interested to read this report.

Sunday 17 April 2016

The call of the Good Shepherd - Deacon Andrew's homily

Click here to read Deacon Andrew's homily which we heard at all our weekend Masses.

Come & See at Holy Cross Abbey, Whitland, West Wales. May 27 - 30

We are a community of Cistercian Nuns who live a quiet life of prayer and work, in solitude and in community. We invite you to join us to experience Cistercian monastic life as lived today. You will share in the Divine Office, in our work, times of quiet prayer, and lectio divina. There will be opportunities to talk about God and to experience one of the many ways to answer God's call.
If you are interested and would like to explore God's call, please visit our website for more information or email

Random thoughts on Good Shepherd Sunday

Many thoughts have filled my heart and mind as we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday and pray for Vocations to the Priesthood, Diaconate and Religious Life.

Some time ago I was asked to take part in a questionnaire by Ten:Ten Theatre who were working with the National Office for Vocation to prepare resources for schools to celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday. I forgot all about it, and was (pleasantly) surprised to see myself quoted, and featured in a picture in one of the resources, "The Gift of Priests and Sisters".

I keep remembering with thanksgiving the "Good Shepherds" I have known during my time as a Catholic and a Priest.

  • Three wonderful, and very different Popes: St John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Francis.
  • Three very different Bishops of Nottingham who have welcomed, supported and affirmed me with great kindness: Bishop James McGuinness, (Arch)bishop Malcolm McMahon, Bishop Patrick McKinney.
  • Many kind priests of our Diocese who accepted this married, convert cleric from a very different background from their own. I remember particularly Fr Jim Hannigan who instructed me and received me into the Church, and Fr Peter Tierney and Fr Adrian Chatterton who were a great strength to me in my early days as a Catholic and as a new priest.
  • Three hard-working deacons who worked alongside me in prison chaplaincy and the two parish settings I have worked since ordination: Deacon Henry Atkinson, Deacon John Timson and Deacon Andrew Martin. It has been/is a privilege to work alongside them. They have all fed me in very different ways..
  • I think of elderly priests who keep feeding their flock with the Word and Sacraments well beyond the age when most men are grateful to ease into retirement.
  • I think of priests in mid-life, often with massive, even overwhelming parochial and diocesan responsibilities.
  • I think of our young priests and seminarians, facing a future when their numbers are few and our culture alternates between hostility and indifference to our faith.
I pray for them all today and thank God for them, for we do what we do out of love for Him and for his people.

It is sometimes said that one picture is worth a thousand words. I have already typed too many words, so let me end with a picture which I found on the Facebook page of one of our young priests this weekend. Please do what the text asks, and please pray for more priests, deacons and sisters.

Saturday 16 April 2016

EU Referendum - Guidance from our Bishops

The Bishops of England & Wales recently held their post-Easter meeting. They issued a statement on the forthcoming EU Referendum. It starts like this.
Reflecting on the forthcoming vote, we recognise the historic nature of this referendum and its implications for future generations. The outcome will have consequences for the future not only of the United Kingdom, but for Europe and for the world.
In our view, three things are essential:
  • that we pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit;
  • that we all inform ourselves of the arguments on both sides of the debate;
  • that we each exercise our vote with a view to the common good of all.

It ends like this.
Before voting, ask yourself the following question:
How in the light of the Gospel, can my vote best serve the common good?
As you vote, you may wish to use this prayer:
"Lord, grant us wisdom that we may walk with integrity, guarding the path of justice, and knowing the protection of your loving care for all".

You can read the full statement here.

Thursday 14 April 2016

Vacancy for Teacher of RE at Blessed Robert Sutton

Bluestone Lane, Stapenhill
Burton on Trent
DE15 9SD
                                            Tel: 01283 749450
                                                                      Fax: 01283 749461

Required September 2016

The Governors are seeking to appoint an outstanding practitioner with the ability to achieve good external examination outcomes in Religious Education. We encourage applicants from individuals who share our values whether they come from a faith or non-faith background. Applications are welcome both from new entrants to the profession and more experienced colleagues.

We are looking to appoint an outstanding teacher with the ability to teach Religious Education throughout KS3 – KS5. The subject is very popular with students and consistently produces good external examination results. The Governors are seeking to appoint a teacher who will be able to make a positive contribution to the department.

We are an 11-18 Catholic comprehensive school serving Burton on Trent and the surrounding community. We are continuously developing and improving the school which has Specialist Sports College status and we are committed to providing stimulating, challenging and high quality teaching and learning. We have a wide range of extra-curricular activities in school and the successful applicant will be expected to play a major part in the broader life of the school. 

The school is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and therefore the appointment for this post is subject to an enhanced DBS disclosure.

Please contact the school or visit our website at for further details and an application form.

Deadline for receipt of applications:               Midday Friday 22nd April
Interview date:                                                Thursday 28th April

Newsletter for 16/17 April - Easter 4(C)

Click here to read the latest newsletter.

This weekend we celebrate the Day of Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life. You can find the message of Pope Francis for this weekend here.  You might like to use the prayer with which the Holy Father ends his message:
Father of mercy, who gave your Son for our salvation and who strengthens us always with the gifts of your Spirit, grant us Christian communities which are alive, fervent and joyous, which are fonts of fraternal life, and which nurture in the young the desire to consecrate themselves to you and to the work of evangelisation. Sustain these communities in their commitment to offer appropriate vocational catechesis and ways of proceeding towards each one’s particular consecration. Grant the wisdom needed for vocational discernment, so that in all things the greatness of your merciful love may shine forth. May Mary, Mother and guide of Jesus, intercede for each Christian community, so that, made fruitful by the Holy Spirit, it may be a source of true vocations for the service of the holy People of God.
This video tells the story of one young man's journey to the priesthood:

Monday 11 April 2016

The Greatest Challenge

The Bishop has asked that we should make this article by Fr Frank Daly available to parishioners. You might also like to take another look at this post about forthcoming "Spanned" events.

“The Greatest Challenge”       Father Frank Daly (Director of SPANNED)
                        There can be no doubt as to what is the greatest challenge facing the Church in our pastoral work in this country at the beginning of the 21st century – the advent and rapid spread of the numbers of people presenting with different types of dementia. While this condition has always been present in society the incidence of it and rate at which it is now spreading over the last five years has reached what might be called ‘epidemic’ proportions, and has taken all of us, particularly those people who have to live with it and their carers, completely by surprise. Wonderful people who previously played a leading role in our respective communities such as reading, Eucharistic ministry, planning liturgies, cleaning and so on have now been reduced to a state in which they appear to recognise no one, even their nearest and dearest. This is a huge frustration for them as they begin to lose hold on what they once had control of and then seemingly ‘withdraw’ into themselves, into another world where they have ‘switched off’ from any outside influence. For those who love them most this is the beginning of what we might call a ‘double bereavement’ – ‘losing’ the person they once knew long before they actually ‘lose’ them again in death.
                        We in SPANNED (which stands for Supporting People with Additional Needs in the Nottingham Diocese) who are about to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our work with people who have learning difficulties or limiting and disabling conditions in the diocese, have noticed a remarkable similarity in the factors of care for our dear friends all those years ago and what has emerged in the situation of those with dementia and their carers today. 40 Years ago, a person with learning difficulties was officially referred to as ‘Educationally Sub-Normal’ (ESN) or ‘Severely Sun-Normal’ (SSN), which now seems unthinkable, and certainly ‘mentally handicapped’, a term in common use then which we would never dream of using today. At that time such a person and their families were:
1.      Not taken seriously as ‘persons’, who had responsibilities, rights and choices to make of their own
2.      Often ‘hidden away’ by their parents and isolated from Church and society for fear of embarrassment or ridicule
3.      Their carers, while struggling to look after them, were anxious to have some ‘respite’, even if only for a few hours, but at the same time not willing to ‘let go’ of the person into the care of others, as they felt he or she was their responsibility.
4.      The carers were ‘angry’ with God for the misfortune that had befallen them but at the same time very possessive of the child they had to care for
5.      Sometimes in what we used to call ‘the scapegoat syndrome’, the child was blamed for the lack of opportunities families had to do the normal things that others did. However, this was also a way of hiding behind the child and their difficulties if the parents had problems themselves or did not want to do those things anyway.

You could transfer these observations almost exactly to the situation of people with dementia today and their carers – it is quite uncanny. We have also found that this situation has impacted directly on SPANNED and its work as many of our group members have Down’s Syndrome,  a condition that years ago would have meant that a person would not live beyond their 50th birthday. Now with the advances in medical science, people with Down’s Syndrome can live well into their 50’s and 60’s, but are also developing illnesses and conditions associated with the ageing process including dementia. A whole new are of work and concern has been the result of this development. Since in SPANNED, we try to address people’s ‘additional’ needs, there can hardly be an additional need of more urgency than this one, so we feel that we should at least make some attempt to discover the scale of the problem and suggest some means of helping people who have dementia and their carers, and maybe, with other agencies such as the SVP, form a sort of ‘umbrella’ under which the work that needs to be done in the diocese can be carried out.

Accordingly, in February, every parish priest will be sent a questionnaire to ascertain the numbers of people with this condition in his parish, and their precise needs. This is with a view to getting some idea of the actual scale of the problem and the actual needs of the people themselves and their carers. We need to look at such matters as:
·                  how many people are living with dementia in your parish?
·                  how are they and their carers supported?
·                  what official provision is made for their care?
·                  what are the main problems that families encounter and would like help with?
·                  who might provide this help?
·                  what agencies and support services are already in existence in your area?
·                  what help is provided by other Christian communities and how might we work with them?
·                  what can we realistically do given our resources of finance and personnel to help?

Sometimes, finding out what happens in one place may be a catalyst or encouragement to try to provide something similar elsewhere. We are anxious to answer some of the great needs that people have at the moment in a practical and constructive way, so if anyone reading this article has any information to give or comment to make, please feel free to do so by contracting me at St.Peter’s Priory, Leicester Rd., Hinckley, LE10 1LW (Tel.01455 634443) or on

Saturday 9 April 2016

Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (‘The Joy of Love’)

Pope Francis has written his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on Love in the Family. Entitled Amoris Laetitia (‘The Joy of Love’), the Exhortation is the fruit of the two meetings of the Synod of Bishops that the Pope summoned to discuss the vocation of the family in the world of today.

Published during the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Amoris Laetitia represents 'an invitation to Christian families to value the gifts of marriage and the family, and to persevere in a love strengthened by the virtues of generosity, commitment, fidelity and patience,' and encourages 'everyone to be a sign of mercy and closeness wherever family life re- mains imperfect or lacks peace and joy’ (AL 5).

Click here to read Amoris Laetitia.
Click here to read a summary of the Exhortation.
Click here to read Questions and Answers about the Exhortation.

And finally, here is a video presenting the Exhortation:

Friday 8 April 2016

Going to Galilee

This weekend we meet the Risen Lord on the shore of Galilee, together with Peter and his companions.

In preparation, I have been looking at some pictures of the Holy Land Plgrimage I made last October and thought it would be good to share them.


The beach where Jesus cooked breakfast for his friends


Do you love me?

Thursday 7 April 2016

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Vacancy for a Catholic Headteacher - Hinckley - extended deadline

The governors of St. Peter's Catholic Primary School, Hinckley are seeking to appoint a new headteacher. For details contact the School Business Manager, Mrs Christine Makepeace at or on 01455 634087. The closing date for applications is now 20th April 2016

Vacancy at the Briars

The Briars Catholic Youth Retreat Centre
The Nottingham Diocesan Catholic Youth Service Trustees seek to appoint
to our busy residential youth centre a high quality, suitably qualified
Programme Coordinator
to deliver residential retreat programmes to young people age 11-18.

The successful candidate will
·         be a committed, practising Catholic
·         have experience in youth ministry, excellent creative and communication skills
·         be dedicated to young people; their spiritual and human development.

Starting salary scale; JNC 6  dependent on qualifications and experience.
On-site accommodation provided whilst leading programme.

For further details and application pack, contact
Director of Youth Service
Angela Gillespie
The Briars Catholic Youth Retreat Centre
Crich Common, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 5BW
01773 852044
Closing date for applications; Friday 15th April 2016
Interviews; Thursday 28th April to start 20th August.

This post is subject to a clear DBS check, enhanced level. The NDCYS is committed to safe recruitment practices.

Nottingham Diocesan Youth Service Trustees. Registered Charity No. 522334

Living Fully 2016: Disability, Culture and Faith

Living Fully 2016: Disability, Culture and Faith

‘In June this year, Bishop Paul Hendricks alongside the Kairos Forum UK and in partnership with the Pontifical Council for Culture, will be coordinating two exciting events in Rome, for the Jubilee Year. These events are creative, international and ecumenical. Our celebratory activities will interweave the Gospel with the lives, stories and experiences of people of all abilities’.

1. 23 June: An academic symposium, Living Fully 2016: Disability, Culture and Faith.

2. 24-26 June: A creative and vibrant conference, Living Fully 2016: Disability, Culture and Faith: A Celebration including a differentiated, parallel programme for people who have been intellectually disabled, enabling them to celebrate and promote their vital place within the Body of Christ

Please do share the news and join us for these events. Information and how to book can be found on or by calling Cristina Gangemi on 01883372114 or