Church Seeks To Raise Awareness Of Settlement Scheme

Bishop Terry, right, with brother bishops at Adoremus in 2018

The Catholic Church in England and Wales stands in solidarity with all European citizens who have made their homes here.

They are a valued part of our parishes, schools and communities.

All EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK are required by the government to apply through its Settlement Scheme to continue living, working and accessing services here.

The deadline for applications is June 30 2021. Details and links to the application process can be found at gov.uk/eusettledstatus.

Please bring this to the attention of friends, family members and fellow parishioners who may need to apply.

Information on assistance for those who may have difficulty applying is available at gov.uk/help-eu-settlement-scheme.

John Paul Centre To Close

The John Paul Centre in Middlesbrough

The much-loved John Paul Centre, which has been a hub for community and voluntary services in Middlesbrough for many decades, is to close for safety reasons.

The centre, on Grange Road, is home to a wide range of groups serving refugees, asylum seekers, the homeless and other vulnerable people, as well as religious communities of several denominations.

The closure comes after a report was presented to the trustees of the diocese, which owns the building.

It catalogued serious defects including unsafe electrical and heating systems and fire safety issues and estimates the bill to make the centre compliant would run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

In the light of the report, the diocese felt it had to act immediately and the centre will close on February 28, when the final weekday Mass will be celebrated.

In a letter to centre users and groups, Bishop Terry said the decision had been taken with great regret.

“The diocese is uncertain at the moment what the future holds for this much-loved building and we will be exploring what our options are in the coming weeks and months,” he said.

“With God’s grace, goodwill and cooperation, the Diocese of Middlesbrough hopes and prays that good will come from this difficult situation.”

Previously the town’s Irish Centre, the building was once home to a community of Blessed Sacrament Fathers and then clergy from the Redemptorist order, who left in 2016 after 21 years serving the town.

Since then it has been under the pastoral care of the Sacred Heart Parish on Linthorpe Road.

As well as a coffee shop and a chapel offering daily Mass for those visiting the town centre, the John Paul Centre has provided a base to many charitable organisations including the North East Refugee Service, Investing in People and Culture and homelessness charity De Paul UK.

Religious groups including St Stephen’s Free Church of England, Good Tidings Bible Church and an African worship group also use the building.

“So many good things have emanated from the John Paul Centre over the years,” said Bishop Terry.

“So much goodwill and positive action has been generated and practical help offered, especially through the generosity and dedication of the many volunteers who have given their time and efforts willingly and tirelessly.

“The apostolate of the ‘Upper Room’ has provided such a necessary assistance and we will continue to explore any possible avenue which allows this project to continue.”

After a direct request to Mayor Andy Preston, Middlesbrough Council has offered to try to find temporary accommodation to organisations currently using the building and a senior council representative attended a meeting on Monday February 17 when stakeholders were informed of the closure.

“I am very grateful to the mayor and the chief executive for their concern and their very generous offer of help,” added Bishop Terry.

Worshippers were informed at the John Paul Centre at the 12.10pm Mass on Tuesday February 18.

 

Pope’s Four “Dreams” For Amazon As Exhortation Is Published

Pope Francis

Pope Francis has spoken of his four “dreams” for the Amazon region in his post-synodal apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia.

The final document of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region, who met in Rome from October 6 to 27 last year, has also been published.

“The beloved Amazon region stands before the world in all its splendour, its drama and its mystery,” says exhortation, which is addressed to the whole world.

“May God grant that the entire Church be enriched and challenged by the work of the synodal assembly. May the pastors, consecrated men and women and lay faithful of the Amazon region strive to apply it.

“I am addressing the present Exhortation to the whole world. I am doing so to help awaken their affection and concern for that land which is also ‘ours’.

“Everything that the Church has to offer must become incarnate in a distinctive way in each part of the world.

“I dream of an Amazon region that fights for the rights of the poor, the original peoples and the least of our brothers and sisters, where their voices can be heard and their dignity advanced.

“I dream of an Amazon region that can preserve its distinctive cultural riches, where the beauty of our humanity shines forth in so many varied ways.

“I dream of an Amazon region that can jealously preserve its overwhelming natural beauty and the superabundant life teeming in its rivers and forests.

“I dream of Christian communities capable of generous commitment, incarnate in the Amazon region, and giving the Church new faces with Amazonian features.”

Pope Francis then outlines in detail his social, cultural, ecological and ecclesial dreams for the region.

The Holy Father concludes the document by turning to Mary, who he says reveals herself in the Amazon region in distinct ways, with the following prayer.

Mother of life,
in your maternal womb Jesus took flesh,
the Lord of all that exists.
Risen, he transfigured you by his light
and made you the Queen of all creation.
For that reason, we ask you, Mary, to reign
in the beating heart of Amazonia.
Show yourself the Mother of all creatures,
in the beauty of the flowers, the rivers,
the great river that courses through it
and all the life pulsing in its forests.
Tenderly care for this explosion of beauty.
Ask Jesus to pour out all his love
on the men and women who dwell there,
that they may know how to appreciate and care for it.
Bring your Son to birth in their hearts,
so that he can shine forth in the Amazon region,
in its peoples and in its cultures,
by the light of his word,
by his consoling love,
by his message of fraternity and justice.
And at every Eucharist,
may all this awe and wonder be lifted up
to the glory of the Father.
Mother, look upon the poor of the Amazon region,
for their home is being destroyed by petty interests.
How much pain and misery,
how much neglect and abuse there is
in this blessed land
overflowing with life!
Touch the hearts of the powerful,
for, even though we sense that the hour is late,
you call us to save what is still alive.
Mother whose heart is pierced,
who yourself suffer in your mistreated sons and daughters,
and in the wounds inflicted on nature,
reign in the Amazon,
together with your Son.
Reign so that no one else can claim lordship
over the handiwork of God.
We trust in you, Mother of life.
Do not abandon us
in this dark hour.

Amen.

Copies of a handwritten note from Pope Francis have been sent to Bishop Terry and bishops throughout the world.

It reads: “I am sending you the Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia. I hope that it will help promote new life in the Amazon, in your own diocese and throughout the world. Please don’t forget to pray for me.”

Pope Francis is encouraging the faithful to read both the exhortation and the final document of the synod in full.

They are available on the Vatican website, vatican.va.

 

 

Opening For An Admin Assistant

The Diocese of Middlesbrough wishes to appoint an experienced, full-time, cross-departmental admin assistant.

Applicants should have experience of implementing and maintaining office systems and procedures.

The successful applicant must have excellent communication and organisational skills and will be expected to undertake a wide range of office-based duties.

The applicant must be computer literate with proficiency in the full Microsoft Office suite and be experienced in audio/copy typing.

Based in Middlesbrough, the post is a full-time appointment based on a core 35-hour week, with the expectation of some flexibility.

Working hours may be negotiable for the right candidate.

The appointment is offered on an initial two-year contract. The salary is £17,000 per annum.

For a job description and application form please telephone 01642 850505 ext 257 and ask for Sarah Holmes. Closing date for applications is Wednesday March 25 2020. Interviews will be held on April 3 2020.

Pope Francis’s Prayer Intention For February

Pope's Prayer Network, February 2020

An urgent and tragic aspect of human life today is the suffering of millions of our brothers and sisters who have been forced to become refugees.

A particularly harrowing dimension of this tragedy is illegal human trafficking. In his prayer Intention for February, Pope Francis asks us to confront this reality that faces contemporary humanity, asking us to “Listen to the Migrants’ Cries: we pray that the cries of our migrant brothers and sisters, victims of criminal trafficking, may be heard and considered”.

As each month, the Pope has entrusted his intention to the faithful, and to all people of good will, through his own prayer-group, the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (formerly known as the Apostleship of Prayer).

These monthly intentions really can focus and enliven our prayer, as individuals and as a worshipping community, such as a parish or a chaplaincy. We will find ourselves motivated and mobilised for action and further reflection, leading to discipleship – and personal consolation – that does make a difference!

CULTURE OF INDIFFERENCE

All too often, the victims of trafficking are forgotten or, if remembered, they are viewed as a problem; as are refugees and displaced people generally. Pope Francis described the matter as an “open wound on the body of contemporary society”. He has said that “They are among the most dehumanised and discarded of people in the modern world and all over the world.” Our world, so often, treats people as mere objects. There is, sometimes, indifference and at other times enormous hostility in receiving countries yet there is also, often, humane hospitality and a warm welcome.

SERVE THE DISPOSSESSED

It is so important that we remember that refugees and displaced people are individual persons, each of infinite value; they are families, although all too often their families have been shattered and scattered. If we pray, as the Pope asks this month, that their cry be heard, we are making ourselves more available to criminally trafficked people, even if we might not be aware of ever having met one. We are opening our hearts to them as we pray; we are hearing and considering their cries. We will have stopped ignoring this reality, in our towns and cities, of criminally trafficked people. Praying for another person, even one whom we’ve never met, marks the beginning of solidarity with that person. We begin to share their suffering and we begin to ask why they are suffering.

THE CHURCH’S RESPONSE

The matter of human trafficking is not a new or recent one, nor is the church’s concern for its victims. We have become more aware of the issue in recent times thanks to several significant initiatives of the Church, in various ways. Pope Francis has intensified this concern before now. At the beginning of 2015, Pope Francis dedicated his annual Message for the World Day of Peace to Human Trafficking. “We are facing a global phenomenon that exceeds the competence of any one community or country,” and therefore, “we need a mobilisation comparable in size to that of the phenomenon itself.” That mobilisation began in early 2017, when the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery on Integral Human Development in Rome began its work of assisting and orienting the bishops and all who are serving the victims of human trafficking. Among other examples of good work in this area has been an innovative partnership in London between the Metropolitan Police and the RC Diocese of Westminster. JRS, the Jesuit Refugee Service, from their based in east London, is another agency deeply involved in tackling this issue and supporting its victims.

MEDITATION MOMENT

In our Living Prayer 2020 booklet (details below), the reflection for this month reminds us of an important point made by Pope Francis in his beautiful exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and be Glad). There, he touched on the unfashionable topic of heresy, showing that its modern-day forms include placing our human knowledge above God and placing our human will before God or God’s will; either way, we mock God’s grace. The Pope then went on to propose placing two faces before us when we pray. These are the face of God and the face of someone in need. Sometimes we look only at the face of God – that mistake can lead us into heresy, forgetting God’s grace. The invitation to serve the one in need “roots us in the compassion and mercy of God which draws us away from our own insular ideas and culs-de-sac cultivated by our own will”. Let the faces we view in prayer this month be those of our trafficked brothers and sisters so that we will remain open to God’s grace and become channels of god’s justice and mercy for them and their predicament.

THREE WAYS OF PUTTING YOUR PRAYER INTO ACTION THIS MONTH

  • Investigate and learn about the work of the Santa Marta group, an international partnership between the church and law-enforcement agencies, that works to combat human trafficking and modern slavery.
  • Think and pray about ways in which you or your parish, or worshipping community, might be able to support the work of JRS – the Jesuit Refugee Service, whose mission is to serve, accompany and advocate for refugees and displaced people. not least those held in detention. They offer several fundraising and volunteering opportunities.
  • In a parish prayer-group or activity group, take the Pope’s Intention for this month for your prayer, reflecting on it together, considering how the rest of your parish might join in praying for the Pope’s intention. Be open to hearing a call to action.

PRAYER MOMENT

(A prayer offered by the Holy See’s Migrant & Refugee Section in Rome) Loving God, pour your merciful light into our troubled world. Let it flood into the darkest shadows. Bring salvation to the innocents who suffer under sinful abuse. Bring conversion to the utterly lost souls who hold them captive and exploit them. Give us all the strength to grow in the true freedom of love for you, for each other and for our common home – Amen.

(A daily offering prayer from our Living Prayer 2020 booklet) Father, at the beginning of this new day, I pause for a few moments to enjoy the beauty of your creation. May your Holy Spirit guide me along the path of truth and strengthen me as I strive to be charitable to those around me. I offer you every beat of my heart, my every thought and my simplest works this day for the intention of Pope Francis this month. Our Father …

MORNING OFFERING

The Morning Offering is part of the Daily Prayer Pathway, practised by countless Christians in the PWPN, the Pope’s personal prayer group and the largest in the Church. You can then say a brief prayer around noon and pray an Ignatian-style review of the day in the evening. Please ask for our Daily Prayer Pathway and Review of the Day cards; we’ll post them to you free of charge. Check also our popular Click-to-Pray App and website, with its new set of prayers each day, direct to your phone or Tablet.

ORDER RESOURCES and ONLINE

1: Living Prayer 2020; booklet now available to order at GBP1.75 + £1 P&P (UK nations only). Place order on our direct voicemail 020 8442 5232 or by email to prayernetwork@jesuit.org.uk with full delivery address. Digital payment only; please note that we cannot accept cheques.

2: Sacred Heart Messenger: a modern message in a much-loved tradition. Email: sales@messenger.ie or phone 00353 1 676 7491.

3: NEW! Click-to-Pray eRosary: to order, see www.clicktoprayerosary.org

4: All our websites and apps: search clicktopray.org, thepopevideo.org and popesglobalprayer.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Applications Invited For Safeguarding Commission Chair

St Mary's Cathedral, Middlesbrough – Photo by Chris Booth

The Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough is seeking an individual to take over the role of Independent Chair of the Middlesbrough Safeguarding Commission.

The commission provides independent oversight of all safeguarding matters that impact on the diocese and aligned religious orders. It performs a regulatory, advisory and supportive function at a strategic and operational level; as such it involves making recommendations to the Bishop and the Safeguarding Coordinator.

Candidates should have extensive and current professional safeguarding expertise and experience in working with children and/or adults who may be at risk and will ideally have a proven track record or working extensively at a senior level in related areas (ie social care, police, probation or family law).

We are looking for an individual with strong skills in governance and strategic planning with the ability to communicate clearly and concisely particularly on sensitive matters, who is able to work as part of a team and above all, has a commitment to safeguarding.

It is not essential that the individual is a member of the Catholic Church. However, every applicant should respect the ethos of the Catholic faith.

The term of office is four years and may be extended for a further four years. The role receives remuneration for hours worked and involves attending a minimum of three commission meetings per year, meeting regularly with the safeguarding coordinator and annually with the Bishop. Travel expenses are also paid.

For further information about the role please call Mick Walker, Safeguarding Coordinator, on 01642 850505. Application is by way of the completion of an application form and the provision of two referees to be submitted to mickwalker@rcdmidd.org.uk.

The closing date is February 29 2020.

Interviews will take place on Tuesday March 24 2020 at the Curial Office 50a The Avenue, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough TS5 6QT.

Memorial Mass For Father Colman Ryan

Bishop Terry will be the main celebrant at a Memorial Requiem Mass for Father Colman Ryan, who died on November 12 last year.

Father Colman, who was 77, served in parishes in Whitby, Middlesbrough, Hull, Scarborough and Thirsk. He had been in ill health for several years.

Born Colman Marius Patrick Ryan in Limerick city on November 23 1941, he attended seminary at St Patrick’s, Thurles, and was ordained in Tipperary on June 10 1967, the same day as fellow diocesan priests Father Dan O’Neill, Father Bill Ryan, Father Dermot Nunan RIP, Father Kevin Trehy and Father Pat Bluett.

He came to the diocese as curate at St Hilda’s in Whitby between 1967 and 1976 and then moved on to St Francis’, Middlesbrough, where he remained until 1981. Between 1981 and 1992 he served as parish priest at the Holy Name in Hull before moving to St Peter’s, Scarborough, where he remained until 1998.

His final posting was as parish priest at All Saints in Thirsk. When he retired from there in 2010 he returned to Hull, where was cared for at Alexandra Court Care Home. Father Colman’s body was taken back to Ireland and his funeral Mass was celebrated in Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Limerick, before burial in Mount St Lawrence Cemetery.

“We give grateful thanks for his ministry in the diocese,” said the vicar general, Monsignor Gerard Robinson. “We would also like to express thanks to the staff at Alexandra Court Care Home and I know many priests and Father Colman’s family visited him there regularly. We will continue to keep him and his family in our prayers.”

Father Colman is survived by his brothers, William, Father Damian and Joseph, his sisters-in-law Carmel and Ronnie, nephews and nieces and an extended family.

The Memorial Mass will take place in All Saints Church, Thirsk, at noon on Tuesday February 18.

The intentions of Father Colman’s family and friends will also be remembered during the Mass and it is hoped that relatives will be able to come from Ireland to be with us.

 

 

Job Opening With CAFOD

CAFOD currently has an opening for an administrative support and development officer on a one-year contract.

The closing date for applications is February 10.

Click here for more details.

 

In Solidarity With The Poor – Who Will Speak If We Don’t?

World Day of the Poor – Photo by Johan Bergström-Allen

More than 250 people gathered in our cathedral to follow Pope Francis’ call to stand in solidarity with those in poverty on the third World Day of the Poor.

This inspiring event, organised by the Diocese of Middlesbrough Caritas team, brought together many agencies whose aims are to combat poverty in its myriad forms, across the diocese, nationally and internationally.

After a welcome from Bishop Terry, Middlesbrough-born Sister Lynda Dearlove gave the keynote address, speaking of her work with women at risk of prostitution through the Women at the Well project.

The issue of poverty was highlighted by people’s stories, through drama and music led by Streetwise Opera.

People were asked to listen as those living in poverty on Teesside shared their experiences. One young mother spoke of her situation in dealing with Universal Credit which left her and her daughter in dire poverty and at risk of homelessness.

She also talked of how grateful she was to the CAUSE hamper campaign, which not only helped her at Christmas but at other times during the year too. Her story is one of hope and she is working hard for a better future for her daughter and herself.

We heard from Ali Awad Ali Muhammed, who came from Sudan to the UK as a refugee, seeking asylum. He spoke of how generously he was received on Teesside and how much they have helped him.

“I personally felt very affected by the day, which seems to have done so much good to so many people,” said Canon John Lumley, Episcopal Vicar for Christian Discipleship. “It was both moving and uplifting and the pace of the event seemed just right.

“The input from the speakers was perfect and the venue seemed to lend itself to that kind of gathering. Someone said to me that if Pope Francis walked in, he would feel at home. My response was that I thought if Jesus walked in, he would feel at home too – except, of course, he was already there.

“I would like to thank everyone who did so much to bring the day together, especially the Caritas Middlesbrough group, who worked so tirelessly in the background for many months.”

Terry Doyle, who works with asylum seekers at the St John Paul Centre, said: “Bishop Terry asked me without a moment’s hesitation to be introduced to the asylum seekers and he genuinely and warmly shared a healthy conversation with some of them and of his time in Africa.

“I also saw Monsignor Ricardo and others deliberately sitting among the asylum seekers, most of whom were Muslim, and happily chatting away together.

“This is what Pope Francis asks of us – to be an inclusive Church where we get alongside our most vulnerable and marginalised people and listen to their stories. It is a sacred ministry indeed to do just what we witnessed at the cathedral.”

Methodist Asylum Project manager Ailsa told Terry it meant so much to her clients that people in the cathedral made them feel so welcome, even though many were wary because of their traumatic pasts and their fears of organisations and power structures.

“Everyone loved the day, from those who sang with us in Streetwise Opera and those who came along to listen,” said Terry.

“One of the Iranians was an architect back home and he spent his time marvelling at the design of the cathedral itself.

“Ali, from Sudan, was so proud to be able to wear his national outfit and speak to us all about how moved he has been to be so warmly welcomed into Middlesbrough.

“At such a fractious time in our political system, our warmth of welcome has to continue now beyond the event and our inspiration has to be Jesus’ messages of welcome as replicated through Pope Francis and all the many organisations who came together to express our Catholic faith and its social teaching.”

The event closed with a Liturgy of the Word led by Bishop Terry, who thanked our speakers and those who work so hard to help those in need.

Canon Lumley pointed out that the event isn’t an end in itself – reaching out to those in all kinds of need, both at home and overseas, has to be a daily commitment from all of us who claim to be Christians.

What some of you said about the day…

“The testimony of the woman supported by CAUSE was moving and showed the power of the human spirit. Thanks to all who organised the day. Sister Lynda’s reflection left me with much food for thought.”

“I can’t tell you how I felt when I saw the rainbow candle and an LGBT stand in the Cathedral. After all these years, I finally felt that I really belonged to my Catholic Church.”

“Wasn’t it great to have people of all colours and creeds in the cathedral and to have a Muslim guy speaking to us? I smiled inside when I listened to him.”

“A celebration of all the good work in our diocese to support the vulnerable, the marginalised and those in poverty. It was indeed an inspirational day, with uplifting music.”

“It was such a moving experience. I was full of admiration for the young woman, who I spoke to later, bless her, and she needs all our prayers. Sister Lynda was amazing, such wonderful work she does.”

“It was a very uplifting day. I particularly enjoyed talking to Ali who offered his services to talk at other events.”

“It was by far the best Church event I have ever been to.”

“I was moved to tears listening to the asylum seekers singing.”

“I got up and danced in the aisles to the singing, it moved me that much!”

“It was a very moving and inspiring experience. Wonderful to see so many people there representing some of the fantastic work that goes on to help those in need of love and compassion in our country. The testimonies of deep gratitude of those who have been helped were humbling.”

Ambitious Plans To Place Postgate Painting In Every Church

Blessed Nicholas Postgate

As part of the efforts of the Postgate Society to promote the cause of Blessed Nicholas Postgate we are planning to place a copy of a painting of Father Postgate in every church in the diocese.

This ambitious project, which has the support of Bishop Terry, which will take several months to implement. A start has been made in the Coastal Deanery and pictures will soon be on display in every church between Saltburn and Filey.

Over the first half of this year we plan to extend the scheme to include the other three deaneries in our diocese.

This is the only known likeness of Blessed Nicholas Postgate and can be found in Whitby Museum. The image itself, painted on a wooden panel, measures roughly six inches by five inches.

The painting is of unknown age – there are too few tree rings on the frame or the painting itself to enable them to be dated using dendrochronology. The frame contains a number of embedded rusty nails, which indicate it may have come from an old piece of furniture or a floorboard.

In 2013 it was sent to art conservators in London where it was found that there are no modern white pigments in the painting, but the presence of Prussian blue indicates an earliest possible date of 1710, some 30 years after Father Postgate’s execution.

This examination indicates that the painting was not from life, as was once thought, but the possibility exists that the portrait was painted by someone who had known him – or by a person working from a first-hand description of someone who had.

By displaying this image of Blessed Nicholas Postgate we hope to encourage more people to pray to him. Another miracle is required before he, and the other English Martyrs, can be canonised. That is our goal – but it will never happen unless people pray for it.

Blessed Nicholas Postgate pray for us.

Monica Ventress and David Smallwood

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