Bishop's Conference Statement on the EU Referendum – 23 June 2016
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.
The coming together of European countries in the aftermath of a catastrophic war was designed to bind together former combatants and the contribution of the European project to peace in Western Europe should be recognised. Pope Francis reminds us, in his address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 25 November 2014, that the ideals which shaped this European project from the beginning were peace, subsidiarity and solidarity. In the Treaty of Rome, trade was harnessed to peace. The peace achieved in Western Europe shows indeed how “our problems can become powerful forces for unity” (par 5). Our decision in the referendum should thus be taken in the context of how best we can promote justice and peace.
Our focus needs to be above all on the human person. We need to build a Europe “which revolves not around the economy but around the sacredness of the human person, around inalienable values” (par 37). We all have a responsibility to keep the dignity of the human person at the forefront of the debate. We must ask ourselves, in the face of every issue, what will best serve the dignity of all people both within Europe and beyond.
This referendum therefore is about much more than economics.
We must not forget the profoundly religious roots of European nations; that Europe has a two thousand year-old Christian culture that has shaped the continent and is a dynamic spiritual, moral and intellectual resource as we address the future. As Pope Francis reminds us, we need continually to ask ourselves: who is my neighbour? In response to grave challenges, we are called to be generous and welcoming to all others, especially the most vulnerable.
Each person will have their own views about the best political framework in which to realise these ideals. We acknowledge the justifiable concerns that many people have in relation to the European Union, its institutions and the implications of increasing integration.
This referendum is an opportunity to reflect on those values we cherish as a nation and as Catholics. High among these values are mutual respect and civility, vital in this national conversation about the very future of our nation within the world.
Prepare and Act
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”.
Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission Conference 2014
Living the Gospel in today’s World
|Venue Holy Family Church,|
226 Trelawney Avenue
Fair Trade Fortnight - St Peter's a fair-trade parish
Pope Francis recognizes that this requires politicians and governments to take heed and “broaden their horizons”, but these issues involve everyone.
So what can the rest of us do in our daily lives and in our local communities to bring about change peacefully?
We can make a stand as Christians, and take action as St James - the apostle of our Lord - instructs us and make our voices heard and challenge others to do what is right for our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate than we, and who need our help.
Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 24 February to 9 March this year and you are being set the challenge to ‘stick with Foncho to make bananas fair’. Albeiro Alfonso ‘Foncho’ Cantillo is a small-scale banana farmer from Colombia who sells mostly Fairtrade produce. This means he can afford to care for his family and give his daughter a good education.
But unfortunately most banana growers are not that fortunate and are lucky if they can cover their costs.
By sticking with Foncho, you will buy only Fairtrade bananas. But more importantly call on the UK government to rebalance our food system and ensuring our brothers and sisters working in global supply chains get a fair deal.
Why not Get clued up on Fairtrade ?>>>
And take up the challenge to support CAFODs Hungry for change campaign. As part of the campaign CAFOD have been recommending lifestyle tips to help you play your part in building a fairer food system for all.
Buying food from Fairtrade companies is a fantastic way to do this: it encourages greater support for small-scale farmers like Foncho, ensuring large supermarkets give growers a fair return for their produce.
So this year fair Trade are asking you to do three things:
- Make Foncho famous in our church
- Gather as many petition signatures as possible - pick up a leaflet at church or you can do this on line click here.
- Buy Fairtrade produce - especially bananas!
CAFOD special day of reflection
Day of Prayer for peace in Syria
|Join us in praying and fasting for Syria.|
Pope Francis has called on all the faithful worldwide to join in a day of prayer and fasting on the 7th September, for peace in Syria and the Middle East. However the information came out too late for St Peter's Parish, Biggleswade, to respond so we've deferred it to Saturday 14th where Mass will be celebrated at 11:00am followed by exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Come and join us and show your solidarity with those suffering from this awful conflict.
“From the bottom of my heart, I would like to express my closeness in prayer and solidarity with all the victims of this conflict, with all those who suffer, especially children, and I invite you to keep alive the hope of peace.”
If you can't make it then please join us at home and be in solidarity with the people of Syria. Say this prayer and share with family, friends and your local community.
Download our intercessions for Syria >
Explore CAFOD prayer resources >
Prayer text from Roman Missal © 2010 ICEL
Used with permission from the website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
New Year Message-His Holiness The Pope
POPE BENEDICT XVI
FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE
WORLD DAY OF PEACE
the rest can be found at Pope's New Year Message
Lectures - “Celebrating Vatican II”
Message from Fr Tad – Battle of Russia
“Battle of Russia”
Help restore Russia’s Christian faith! There has been a religious vacuum in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union, most Russians remain atheists- yet the Russian Orthodox Church which wishes to be regarded as Russia’s only genuine and national Church and restore Christianity in this country, fails to fulfil that role satisfactorily. Other churches, the Roman Catholic Church among them, want to help, yet with the Russian Orthodox Church’s hostile attitude and without the government’s full approval and support they fall short of their task to help spread and strengthen Christianity in Russia. The Society of the Divine Word is present on the Russian religious scene, working actively on the vast territory from St. Petersburg in the west till Blagoveshtshensk, on the Chinese border, in the Russian Far East. There is a shortage of people willing to co-operate, there is a shortage of financial means. Due to official statistics, in 2025 Russia will need at least 10 million immigrants to fill all jobs, for the number of the native people decreases severely. The majority of immigrants will surely come from Asia, from the former Soviet republics, bringing along with them the faith they profess- the Islam. Are you going to allow Russia, once Christian, to become another Islamic country because of the lack of Christian support. Help us win the Battle of Christian Russia!
Steyler Bank, Sankt Augustin, Germany; Konto-Nr. 12 0985, BLZ: 386 215 00, BIC: GENODED1STB
IBAN: DE 89 3862 1500 0000 1209 85
Rio +20 Lobbying – 20-22 June
We are all urged to support the multi-agency campaign to lobby for the principles of the Rio Conference to be sustained and built.
Progressio are asking everyone to think about the future they want. They've mailed a Rio+20 action pack to every Catholic parish in England and Wales. And they have produced a number of resources available exclusively online to go with it: (Click the Progressio link above for more details).
Be inspired - watch this video:
2012 Olympic Games - 100 days of peace
The 2012 Games are nearly here. It is great that London Citizens have chosen to mark the start of the 100 Days of Peace on 9th June 2012 with events highlighting their CitySafe Havens achievements around London, all being filmed from a helicopter! They will celebrate the initiatives of young people across the capital who have been working in their local communities to ensure that there are always safe places to go for anyone who feels threatened by violence.
An open Prayer Vigil from 11.00pm on Friday 8th June at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, will see the 100 Days of Peace begin with hourly prayers from different traditions,culminating in songs of praise and a service at 11.00am, Saturday 9th June, attended by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, and the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, and other London Church Leaders. There are so many ways we can celebrate this Olympic peace season; perhaps we could think of ways too?