The Holy Father dedicated the catechesis of his Wednesday general audience with pilgrims in St Peter's Square, to a reflection on the biblical meaning of the Jubilee. Francis explained that every fifty years, on the Day of Atonement, a great event of liberation was announced. It consisted of a type of "general amnesty", in which all debts were cancelled and the land was restored to its owners. The central idea is that the earth belongs to God and has been entrusted to men as administrators. The Pope added that the biblical jubilee was a true jubilee of
On Ash Wednesday, Church House Conference Centre, which houses the administrative headquarters of the Church of England, once again hosted a military think tank, ignoring the calls from Christians to stop doing business with the organisation. The think-tank, called RUSI (Royal United Services Institutes) is heavily funded by the arms industry. Its research and events are sponsored by, among others, AWE, responsible for delivering the Trident warheads, BAE Systems, Eurofighter, Finmeccanica, Lockheed Martin, MBDA
Around 100 people marked the beginning of Lent with a procession and vigil outside the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, London, to challenge the UK Government nuclear weapons policy. The event was organised by Pax Christi, Christian CND, London Catholic Worker and the Catholic Worker Farm. Participants included religious and parish groups and some Japanese Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist monks and nuns who are based at the Battersea Peace Temple. Clergy included Fr Rob Esdaile of Arundel and Brighton Diocese and Fr Joe Ryan,
A few days before Christmas, we published an urgent appeal by Della Shenton from Parishes for Peace who was leaving for Jordan, to spend Christmas with Christian refugee families, living in cramped conditions in the grounds of a Catholic church. Della asked us for cards with messages, or donations to buy small gifts for them. The response was very generous and Della has sent a message of thanks to ICN readers. THINKING OF YOU - PRAYING FOR YOU - WE LOVE YOU - These are the messages Della Shenton took with her in over 1,000
Horrific photographs of starving children from the besieged Syrian town of Madaya are the latest defining images from the tormented country. Conflict there has claimed the lives of over 260,000 people - 55,000 in 2015 alone. However, peace in Syria is unlikely in the near future. The deluge of people flowing out of that country - and many other troubled regions - will not abate soon. As the refugee crisis intensifies, Europe will have to consider ambitious, comprehensive solutions.
History was made last night, Tuesday 9th February, when Cardinal Vincent Nichols celebrated Vespers in the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court. This was the first Catholic service to be held in the chapel in 450 years, since the reign of Queen Mary I. The Bishop of London and Dean of the Chapel Royal, Bishop Richard Chartres and Home Secretary Theresa May also took part. Before Vespers, there was a discussion between Cardinal Vincent and Bishop Chartres on the theme 'Faith and Crown',
A charity campaign has been launched in Ireland through Lent, to provide nutritious meals to sick, disabled and disadvantaged children in Thailand. The Feed a Future campaign is being run by Thai Children's Trust Ireland and asks people to save just €1 a day over the 40 days of Lent to support schools and orphanages in some of the most poverty-stricken areas of the country. Sarnelli House, near Nong Khai in the north-east, and Heavenly Home, on the Thai-Burma border in the west, are just two of the safe havens to benefit from this urgent appeal.
At a time when great uncertainty for Christianity's future in its place of origin, the Middle East, constantly hangs over the Church of Christ, Great and Holy Lent takes on a distinctive role in calling us back to the essentials of our faith. Those of us who have homes, jobs, and security can share in some way with the sufferings of those who have nothing! More than that Great Lent with its triple framework of doing good, praying insistently and positive fasting, places humanity into a new relationship with God and all creation. The tradition of Ramadan, such a hallmark of Islam comes from
On Tuesday evening Pope Francis met with the Missionaries of Mercy, the priests who will be preaching mercy and hearing confessions in dioceses around the world during the Jubilee of Mercy. They have also been commissioned to hear confessions at St Peter's Basilica today, Ash Wednesday. The Pope asked them to be "a living sign of the Father's welcome to all those in search of his forgiveness." Before their commissioning, Pope Francis told them they are a "sign of special importance" which characterizes the Jubilee of Mercy, and offered some
Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent and prepares us for Easter by calling us to a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Given the dramatic state of the world today, with devastating wars and extreme weather events, a biblical exodus of refugees crossing borders and walls built higher and higher to keep them out, the answer to the question: Where is God speaking to us today? is crucial, and for many, a matter of life and death. How are we called to respond to those who cry out to us for justice and mercy?
Sons and daughters, up and down the country, have been invited to nominate their mothers for the title 'Mum of the Year' in the annual competition organised by Britain's largest Christian broadcaster - Premier Christian Radio. Listeners to Premier are being directed to the station's website where they are invited to explain, in no more than 200 words, why their special mums has gone above and beyond the call of duty and deserves the 'Mum of the Year' accolade. Nominations will be accepted through to Thursday, February 18th 2016.
Fr Julius Otoaye a member of the Missionary Society of St Paul of Nigeria was inducted as parish priest of St Pius X church in Norbiton, in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames on 6 February. Ordained in 2009 in Nigeria, Fr Julius served for a year in South Africa before being assigned assistant priest at St John the Evangelist in Gravesend, Kent in 2011. He is one of ten MSP priests working in the Archdiocese of Southwark. The Missionary Society was founded in Nigeria 1997 by Cardinal Ekendem and is now established in 15 countries.
A reception for St Mary's University, organised by Rob Flello MP, was held in Parliament last Wednesday, 3rd February. The reception was preceeded by Mass in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, celebrated by Rt Rev Richard Moth, the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton and Chair of St Mary's University's Board of Governors. In his Homily, Bishop Moth spoke of the need for universities to guide their students and broader communities not only in academic pursuits, but also into a life with God.
The Council of Cardinals met with the Holy Father for a day and a half this week: Monday 8 February, morning and afternoon, and Tuesday 9 in the morning. The cardinals concelebrated with the Pope in the Mass for the Friars Minor Capuchin on Tuesday morning at 7.30 in St Peter's Basilica, at the Altar of the Cathedral. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, was absent for health reasons. His absence was expected since the month of December, as he was expected to undergo a previously scheduled surgical operation.
Exciting rare samples of moon rocks and a collection of impressive meteorites have landed at Stonyhurst St Mary's Hall. The lunar samples were loaned to the prep school as part of a scheme run by NASA and the National Science Museum. Children in year 5 were able to enjoy a unique, interactive experience of astronomy, examining and handling lunar samples collected by the Apollo missions of the late 1960s and early 1970s. 382kg of lunar material was brought back to Earth, for use by scientists in their studies of the Moon, and to develop lunar and
Christian Aid has welcomed the latest commitments made by the UK, Germany, France and others to increase humanitarian support for Syrians and the region. However the charity added that real relief will only happen when the bombs stop. Frances Guy, Christian Aid's Head of Middle East Region said: "For Syrian refugees who rely on food baskets and vouchers from the World Food Programme it will be a relief to know that Germany has already pledged to fund half of the money that is needed for these distributions for this year.
The programme of the Holy Father's apostolic trip to Mexico, with a prior stop in Havana, Cuba to meet with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia was published yesterday. The trip, the twelfth of Pope Francis' papacy, will take place from 12 to 18 February. All times given below are local. The Pope will depart from Fiumicino airport, Rome on Friday 12 February at 7.45am, destined for Jose Marti international airport, Havana, Cuba where he is expected to arrive at 2pm. Shortly after arriving he will meet privately with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, with whom he will sign a Joint
The Right Revd Richard Moth, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton and lead bishop for prisons, has responded to Prime Minister David Cameron's speech on prison reform, which promised efforts to improve prison conditions. Bishop Moth said this morning: "I am very encouraged by the Prime Minister's commitment to reforming our prison system and his recognition that prisoners should be treated as assets to our society rather than liabilities to be managed. How we treat prisoners is one of the most pressing moral challenges today and something that none of us should
Thousands of Britons were welcomed into over 80 mosques across the country on Sunday 7 February, as part of the second annual 'Visit My Mosque' Day. Mosques across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland invited in neighbours to share tea and refreshments, alongside an insight into the day-to-day goings on of a busy Muslim centre of worship. #VisitMyMosque Day was facilitated by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), to provide a platform for Muslims to reach out to fellow Britons and explain their faith and community beyond the hostile headlines.
The persecution of Christians is the driving force behind the forthcoming historic meeting between the heads of the Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches according to a leading Catholic charity's Russian expert. Aid to the Church in Need's Peter Humeniuk said that the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill in Cuba had come about "because we are witnessing a persecution of Christians, which... now threatens the survival of Christianity in parts of the world."
The Bishop of Shrewsbury told a congregation of civic leaders gathered in the historic Shrewsbury Abbey on Sunday that it would be a mistake to try to uncouple Britain from her Christian heritage in the quest to draw up a new set of national values. The Rt Rev Mark Davies, preaching at the annual Civic Service, said that British values were rooted unalterably in the country's Christian history. It was this inheritance which had "formed what is best in us", the Bishop said, and which was represented in the public service given by so many to uphold the value and dignity of every
Pope Francis has sent a message to the people of Mexico as they await his arrival telling them that he is travelling to the nation as a "missionary of mercy and peace". Four days before the start of his apostolic journey to Mexico, the Pope sent a video message to those awaiting him. In the message, in his native Spanish, the Pope highlights the fact that he wants to embrace all Mexican people, especially those who suffer. He also speaks of his devotion for the Blessed Virgin and he expresses his joy at being able to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of
Catholic People's Weeks (CPW) will be running nine events in 2016. The first two - in February and March - still have a few places available. CPW's main aim is to provide continuing formation in the Catholic faith. However, non-Catholic people are very welcome who are interested in, or in sympathy with, the Catholic tradition. Every event offers a chance, in the company of friendly fellow-seekers...
The group 'Border Network for Human Rights', which assists undocumented immigrants travelling between Mexico and the US, has hung a message addressed to Pope Francis, who is visiting Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a week from now. In huge letters the words read, "Immigrant Lives Matter" and the message can be read from both sides of the border.