The timetable has been unveiled for events during the Dowry Tour of Our Lady of Walsingham to St Mary’s Cathedral in Middlesbrough.
The statue, which usually resides in the shrine’s famous Slipper Chapel, is being taken around the country for two years as part of the spiritual preparation for England’s rededication as the Dowry of Mary in 2020.
Although the exact origin of this title is unknown, in medieval times it was widely used to indicate that England belonged in a special way to Mary as the country’s protector.
Speaking of the rededication, which will take place around the Solemnity of the Annunciation in March 2020, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said: “This is a moment of great promise for the Church in this country and for our mission.”
The cathedral will be open to welcome people to venerate, pray, and place flowers before the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham. There will be talks on the Dowry of Mary by the rector of the shrine at Walsingham, Monsignor John Armitage. Pilgrims will also be able to view an exhibition about the title of England as Mary’s Dowry and the history of the shrine.
The statue was given a place of honour during Pope Saint John Paul II’s visit to England in 1982 and again during this year’s Adoremus Eucharistic Congress in Liverpool.
The village of Walsingham, in Norfolk, has been a major centre of pilgrimage for almost 1,000 years and now has both Catholic and Anglican shrines, as well as an Orthodox chapel.
Thursday December 13
5pm: Shrine and exhibition open. Rosary for a spiritual renewal to facilitate the New Evangelisation
6.30pm: Opening Mass with welcome from Monsignor John Armitage, rector of the Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham – Main celebrant, Monsignor Gerard Robinson
7.30pm: Confessions available
8.15pm: Talk on the Dowry of Mary by Monsignor Armitage
Friday December 14, Feast of St John of the Cross
8am: Morning Mass, celebrant Monsignor John Armitage
8.45am: Shrine and Dowry Exhibition open for pilgrims – Confessions available throughout the day.
11am: Rosary for the conversion of our families, friends and enemies
11.30am–12.30pm: Holy Hour, including sacrament of reconciliation
Noon: Angelus and midday Mass celebrated by Father Richard Marsden
2pm: Dementia friendly carol concert
4pm: Rosary for the conversion of England
6.30pm: Rosary for vocations to priesthood and religious life
7pm: Adoration with sung Evening Prayer
8.30pm: Talk on Dowry of Mary by Monsignor Armitage
Saturday December 15
8am: Mass of Our Lady celebrated by Monsignor Armitage
8.30am: Shrine and exhibition open
10am: Rosary for the renewal of marriage and family life
Noon: Solemn Mass with Bishop Terry
Shrine and exhibition close
Deacon John Steel, who served in several parishes in our diocese as well as working as diocesan safeguarding coordinator, has died at the age of 73 after a long illness.
Born in Easington Colliery, County Durham, on March 14 1943, John had a variety of managerial jobs and was managing director of Stagecoach Cambus Holdings. After being ordained a deacon for the Diocese of East Anglia, he returned to the North East and was incardinated into the Diocese of Middlesbrough.
He worked at St Mary and Romuald Parish in Yarm and also in Thirsk Parish under a number of priests including Canon Alan Sheridan and Father James Blenkinsopp. He retired in 2014 and moved to Cambridgeshire with his wife Margaret. Sadly, he had cancer and recently contracted pneumonia and pleurisy.
His last visit to the diocese was for Sister Sheila’s funeral at the Bar Convent in York. Unfortunately, the cancer spread and he died on Thursday October 25.
Deacon Peter Warren worked alongside John for about five years in the curial offices and was his deputy in the safeguarding department.
“He was very dedicated to the work of the diocese and was instrumental in setting up its safeguarding structure,” he said. “He was equally dedicated to the parishes he worked in, taking a key role in their running and always putting the needs of the people first.”
Bishop Terry was among the mourners at Deacon John’s funeral at St Etheldreda’s, Ely, on Wednesday October 31. Canon Sheridan gave the eulogy and Deacon Ken Senior was one of the readers. As well as Margaret, he also leaves two sons, John and Michael, and five grandchildren.
Bishop Terry celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving at St Mary’s Cathedral organised by Catholic charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS).
During the services he commissioned AoS ship visitors Hugh Ward, Mary Ward, Billy Barnett, Jun Barnett, Roger Worton and Gerry Quinn, who provide pastoral support to seafarers in the Humber and Tees region.
AoS Tees Port chaplain Deacon Peter Barrigan delivered the homily, explaining how AoS’ ministry was one of brief encounters with seafarers.
“Our ministry is to be present and very often provide seafarers with phone top-up cards, Rosaries and transport into town, but mainly to listen to them,” he said.
“These are brief encounters. We probably won’t see them again, so it’s important to be with them in the moment. We can’t always know where these brief encounters will go but they will be remembered. My own father sailed in the merchant navy and told many stories about the kindness of people he encountered.
“Jesus’ ministry a lot of times consists of brief encounters. The gospel has lots of stories about Jesus spending time with strangers, listening to them, carrying out acts of kindness.
“We at AoS are sent by the Church, commissioned by the bishop, to be Christ to all we meet at ports. We welcome the stranger, are gentle and compassionate with them and need to be self-giving in our sacrifice.
“We are in a privileged position to care for seafarers and do this under the protection of Our Blessed Lady Star of the Sea, Stella Maris.”
The Mass, which was followed by a reception, was attended by Anne McLaren, AoS senior regional port chaplain (North East England) and AoS port chaplain for Hull & Goole, AoS volunteers from Hull, Tees and Middlesbrough, supporters, parish contacts, head office staff and local parishioners.
Journalist and writer Veronica Whitty will give a talk entitled “Gentle as silence: the life and hymns of Estelle White” at this month’s meeting of Cleveland Newman Circle.
Veronica leads Enneagram and dream workshops in the UK and abroad and as a teenager she volunteered to go to India with VSO, working in a Hindu orphanage and meeting Mother Teresa. She has retained a link with the Daughters of Charity, witnessing their work in Japan and Colombia.
She published her autobiography in 2007 and is currently writing a book on the single practicing Catholic laywoman.
A member of Pax Christi, she has worked in the Department of Interreligious Relations for the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, promoting a joint Christian and Muslim women’s event for the past seven years.
Born on Tyneside in 1925, Estelle White wrote more than 160 hymns, including As Bread My Lord Comes To Me, Oh The Love Of My Lord and O, The Love Of My Lord Is The Essence. She became a Catholic while living in Canada and later settled in Dewsbury. She died in 2011 at the age of 85.
The talk, on Wednesday November 21 in St Mary’s Cathedral Hall, Middlesbrough, begins at 7.45pm with tea and coffee served from 7.30pm onwards. All are welcome.
On Tuesday October 30 Stefano Cracolici gives his rescheduled talk on “Mater Admirabilis: the birth of a global sacred icon”.
Cheryl-Ann Smith, from the Madonna House community in Robin Hood’s Bay, gave an inspiring account of her conversion to Catholicism during a recent talk. Cheryl-Ann was 18 when she felt God’s love so deeply as the choir sang the Hallelujah chorus at a performance of Handel’s Messiah that it changed the whole course of her life.
Cleveland Newman Circle holds six talks a year. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01642 316493.
See poster for more details.
St Mary’s Cathedral will be one of the many places around the country to host a choir concert as part of Raise Your Voices this advent.
Many people in this country find they are not heard and Raise Your Voices will combine fantastic singing and music with speaking out about social concerns.
Those seeking asylum or experiencing homelessness, families facing food poverty and financial exclusion and people who feel they are on the edge, isolated and lonely all face considerable challenges.
Please come and join us on Monday December 10 at 7pm to enjoy a fantastic evening of music with Middlesbrough Town Hall Community Choir and Streetwise Opera.
You will also hear the voices of people who have faced struggles in life and how simple acts of human kindness and new opportunities have helped to bring transformation.
Tickets are only £5, so please spread the word, bring a group from your parish or community and be part of a life-changing evening.
Contact Together Middlesbrough & Cleveland on 01642 593273 or visit togethermc.org for more details, posters and ticket sales.
All proceeds will be used by Together Middlesbrough & Cleveland and the Church Urban Fund to support local projects and activities that help people and communities to flourish. Now that’s something to sing about!
A North Yorkshire parishioner’s experiences while studying for a Certificate in Pastoral Ministry have spurred her on to volunteer as a bereavement counsellor.
The course is a customised professional development programme offered by Loyola University Chicago in partnership with the Archdiocese of Liverpool and dioceses in the north of England and Wales.
Our diocese has secured funding to enable others to take the course and is inviting people who may be interested to find out more.
Marion Cuthill read about the certificate on the parish newsletter at St Leonard and St Mary’s in Malton, where she is a Eucharistic Minister, and says she couldn’t think about anything else during Mass.
“I felt the Holy Spirit was asking me to do it and I don’t know why yet!” says Marion. “It’s not academic, which will hopefully encourage more people to take part.
“We have some reading and a short video each week of each module. We then post a 250-word answer to a question online and we read each others’ responses and write at least two replies, although most do more because the discussion gets quite lively.”
A former Samaritan, Marion is currently training for Cruse Bereavement Care and is hoping to assist with similar work in her parish.
“I’m a cradle Catholic and since my husband died 15 years ago I’ve done various courses, including a degree in psychology at Hull University when I was 60,” she says.
“It was the course, and lots of prayer, that helped me decide to volunteer for Cruse. I’m still not sure where the pastoral ministry course will lead me but I am drawn to helping people who have been bereaved.
“I also hope to look more at the Bible when the course is finished because we’ve only been able to scrape the surface but it’s whetted my appetite to find out more.”
This non-degree, non-credit programme offered over two years is designed to equip teachers, deacons, catechists and lay leaders with up-to-date knowledge, skills, and education for contemporary pastoral ministry.
It has ten six-week online modules, beginning in February 2019 and running until December 2020. Each module requires around 20 hours of online engagement, reading and reflection.
The modules are
1. What Is Pastoral Ministry?
2. God Who Reveals: Looking At The Old Testament
3. Christ And His Disciples: Looking At The New Testament
4. Missionary Disciples: The Story Of The Church In Britain
5. Vision Of The Church: Vatican II
6. Holiness And Wholeness: How We Grow As People Of Faith
7. Building A Fairer World: Catholic Social Teaching
8. Building Parish Communities
9. Making Connections: Catechesis As Sharing Faith Today
10. Serving And Leading: Skills And Strategies For Ministry
Three days are also set aside for participants to meet each other and the course co-ordinators face to face, along with time for prayer, reflection and creative engagement.
Participants must be serious about their own faith development, willing to serve in the local church and have competent computer skills.
A series of information sessions are being held, including two near our diocese, both on Saturday November 3.
10am for 10.30am to noon: SS William and Francis De Sales, Darlington, DL1 2NL.
2.30pm to 4pm: Hinsley Hall, 62 Headingley Lane, Leeds, LS6 2BX.
Please visit luc.edu/ips/Liverpool or contact Deacon Vince Purcell at email@example.com for more details.
Bishop Terry has blessed a plaque erected by the Postgate Society on the site of the original Egton Mass House, which was used for the celebration of Mass in secret during penal times.
It was rediscovered in 1830 when a servant girl accidentally pushed her hand through the ceiling of a ground-floor room and found a roof space above containing an altar with vestments still laid out for Mass.
By the late 1920s the house had fallen into such a bad state of repair that it had to be demolished but the more modern building on the site is still known as “The Mass House”.
A small gathering of clergy and people attended the blessing ceremony and enjoyed a cup of tea afterwards in St Hedda’s school canteen in Egton Bridge.
Statement from the Bishops of England and Wales, Rome, Saturday 29 September 2018
As we end our visit, ad limina Apostolorum, we offer these reflections on our days together in Rome. On Friday September 28 we were immensely privileged to share conversation with Pope Francis for over two hours. It was a most remarkable and intimate experience.
We asked the Holy Father for a message which we could bring back to our dioceses, to our priests and people. His message was simple: we are to live the gift of our faith with joy. Joy was his great emphasis. He explained that this joy is rooted firmly in our relationship with Jesus. It is a joy of knowing that he is with us; of knowing the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives, drawing and guiding us towards the will of God; a joy of knowing our Heavenly Father is waiting for us, longing to hold us in his embrace of loving mercy. This is the joy of the faith by which we are to live. He added that this joy is the source of lasting peace in our hearts and lives, no matter our circumstances.
As we spoke with Pope Francis we realised, more and more, that he simply radiates this joy and peace. He is indeed gifted with a unique grace of the Holy Spirit of God. Even in this time of turmoil, the Holy Father is so clearly rooted in God and blessed by God. His peace is secure. His life is serene. We know, because he showed us his heart. It is the heart of a loving father. In our turn, we affirmed our deep communion with him and promised him our love, support and prayers. We expressed confidently these sentiments on behalf of all the faithful Catholics of England and Wales.
We spoke with the Holy Father about the difficulties of fulfilling our role as bishops. In turn he reflected on the importance of prayer and preaching in our lives, and of paternal closeness to our priests and people, with care and with firm justice. He spoke of the encouragement he wishes to give to priests today, who can sometimes feel vulnerable in the face of difficult circumstances, in a critical environment. He spoke, movingly, of the wounds inflicted by abuse and neglect, wounds that wreak such harm in the lives of its victims and in the life of the Church. Wherever they are found, these are wounds in the Body of Christ and are painful to touch. He encouraged us, in our pastoral work, never to neglect even the tiny flames of faith that exist in so many communities and people.
We have been given a warm welcome in our visits to all the departments of the Roman Curia. We were asked to speak freely about our endeavours and problems. In the officials of the Holy See we have found a spirit of true cooperation. Everywhere we have been encouraged and given helpful advice. We have seen clear evidence that the life of the Catholic communities of England and Wales is generally well respected and even admired here in Rome.
Our reports of the Eucharistic Congress, Adoremus, have been well received, as has the strength of our compassionate outreach to those in need. Indeed, the leaders of our diocesan charitable works were present in Rome at this same time, at the instigation of the Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN), and we were able to spend time and pray together. In encouraging this work of outreach, Pope Francis urged us always to walk with those engaged in its projects so as to draw them nearer to the Lord who is the source of compassion and mercy. We know so well that it is from our prayer, especially before the Blessed Sacrament, that the mission of each of the baptised truly springs.
In a number of our visits we have been accompanied by two bishops of the Church of England, Bishop Martin Warner and Bishop Christopher Foster. On one occasion we were joined by Sister Frances Orchard CJ of the Conference of Religious in England and Wales. We also visited the Pontifical Commission for Communication, whose prefect, Dr Paolo Ruffini, is a layman. These are all firsts, examples of openness and change.
Our ad limina visit is now completed. We have celebrated Mass together in the four great Roman basilicas, at the tomb of St Peter and the tomb of St Paul. We have been embraced by the Successor of Peter, Pope Francis. Our pilgrimage has been richly blessed and we are glad to share this sense of the deep encouragement and powerful grace we have received.
Pope Francis commended us to our Blessed Lady, Mary our Mother, reflecting beautifully on her role as the “untier of knots”, a deep devotion in his own life. May she always be at our side. We pray that God bless and strengthen our Holy Father, Pope Francis. May God guide us in all our ways that we may share the joy of our faith and the ways of peace.
STATEMENT FROM OUR CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF ENGLAND AND WALES, SEPTEMBER 24 2018
As we gather in Rome for our visit ad Limina Apostolorum, we have spent time together reflecting again on the impact of the recent reports containing stark revelations of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, including in England and Wales, and of evident failures of local leadership.
These reports make it clear that both bishops and religious leaders, in various places, failed to protect the children in their care from those who have done them great harm. In particular, the failures of bishops to listen or give credence to those who have courageously spoken out about the profound damage they have suffered through childhood abuse, together with the steps some have taken in order to cover up or minimise the abuse that became known, are a great betrayal of the trust placed in them by the faithful and of the responsibilities that come with episcopal office.
Throughout our ad Limina visit here in Rome, the impact and consequences of the shame and sorrow we feel will constantly be in our hearts and in our prayers, especially as we come to pray at the tomb of St Peter and at the tomb of St Paul, key moments in our visit. These themes will also be part of our conversation with Pope Francis, when we meet with him on Friday. Our visit, then, has a penitential heart, as in communion with bishops throughout the world, we seek forgiveness from the Lord and grace for our future ministry.
We have also reflected on the practical steps we must take. We do so in the light of all that has been achieved since the Report of Lord Nolan in 2001. We have endeavoured to build a culture of safeguarding within the Church’s parishes and religious communities in England and Wales, thereby providing a safe environment for all. In every parish there is a Parish Safeguarding Representative. In every diocese, there is a Safeguarding Coordinator and a Diocesan Safeguarding Commission, composed of experts in the main disciplines needed for effective safeguarding. It is these experts and independent commissions that take the lead in handling every allegation of abuse, whether from the distant past or the present day. They do so in accordance with our nationally agreed protocols, to be followed in all cases, including the steps to be taken if allegations of abusive behaviour were to be made against a bishop. We have established a National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (the NCSC), with a strong majority membership of experts, independent of the authority structures of the Catholic Church. Much has been achieved. Much is to be learned.
These recent reports, shocking as they are, have caused us to reflect again on our own leadership and on the responsibilities we hold in England and Wales for ensuring that safeguarding is embedded in every aspect of the life of the Church.
Today we have decided to ask the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission to commission an entirely independent and comprehensive review of the safeguarding structures that currently operate within the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Importantly, we will seek to ensure that the voices of the victims and survivors of abuse, through the Survivors Advisory Panel established by the NCSC, fully inform the review and its recommendations.
In calling for this review, we are taking an important step towards meeting the Holy Father’s recent injunction in his “Letter to the People of God” in respect of sexual abuse: “No effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening” (August 20 2018).
Each bishop has decided that he will take steps to set aside time for the purpose of meeting with victims and survivors of clerical abuse who live in his diocese. This will be done in cooperation with the Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator, to assist the bishop in responding in the best possible way to those who speak to him, in his pastoral role as their bishop, of their pain, hurt and anger.
May God guide us during this week and in this work, that the voice of Christ, crying out in those who have suffered, may be heard with compassion and discernment.
Parishes in our diocese have been responding to the call of Pope Francis for prayer and fasting after the latest revelations concerning sexual abuse within the Church.
The Holy Father called for this penitential exercise as a sign of solidarity with victims and commitment to a culture of care that says “never again” to every form of abuse.
Special events and services were held at many parishes on Friday September 14, the feast of the Triumph of the Cross.
They included St Wilfrid’s in York, where there was a day of penance and reparation, including Masses, exposition and Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy and Benediction.
All Saints Church in Thirsk remained open all day for prayer, while the survivors of abuse were prayed for during veneration of the cross at St Gabriel’s in Ormesby, Middlesbrough.
Afterwards there was a simple soup and cheese lunch, with donations given to the NSPCC.
“Although as individuals we are not directly responsible for the crimes of abuse, we belong to a faith community where this has happened with sickening frequency,” said St Gabriel’s parish priest Canon John Lumley.
“This was a sign of our sorrow at these crimes and a small expression of our solidarity with those who have survived abuse from members of the clergy and religious.”
In his impassioned letter, Pope Francis recognised with “shame and repentance” that the ecclesiastical community “showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.”
“Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient,” he said. “Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated.
“The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults.”