Happy New Year
After the two masses on Monday 11th January both churches were closed until the weekend of January 28th and then the pandemic situation will be reviewed for our two churches. We are in a rapidly changing and increasingly dangerous situation.
Please keep indoors as much as possible over the next couple of weeks and only go out if it is absolutely essential. Please God we can all meet up again for Mass at the end of the month.
There is no obligation to attend a Sunday Mass
so just come along on the day you prefer.
Subject to regulations and Subject also to having enough volunteers to help at each Mass.
Please do your best to attend a weekday Mass instead of Sunday.
Wear a mask unless exempt.
Please Only sit during mass. Do not kneel or stand.
And please follow any instructions given.
If you are receiving Holy Communion, receive on the outstretched hand and please leave the church immediately after receiving and do not congregate outside.
The less we move about in church the safer we are.
Not adhering to these instructions may cause the church to be closed on us.
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Please pray for Pope Francis our spiritual leader inspired by the Holy Spirit, as he faithfully leads the church. He invites us all in this difficult time to “welcome the gift of hope that comes from Christ”. Pray for him as he prays for us.
Parish centre. Following the latest instructions from the government all our shows and functions have been cancelled for the next six months. The hall will remain closed to individuals and groups to adhere to the national restrictions.
Two or three volunteers are still needed each day to quickly sanitise for ten minutes after each Mass and others to act as stewards. Can you spare one day a week to help?
The stewards simply welcome people, show them where to sanitise their hands and help them to find seats and supervise Communion. It is then important that parishioners leave the church immediately after Mass to allow the cleaning to take place.
During the Virus.
The church is simply open for Mass. There are no other services except funerals.
We live in a changing situation. As the situation changes then obviously our response as a parish will change. Our first duty is to safeguard and protect those using the churches as we gather together for Mass.
Caring as a parish.
The virus is affecting people in many different ways. The young and not so young can and do feel isolated and frightened. As we pray for each other, please keep in regular contact with each other, friends, neighbours and parishioners. Even a quick and regular telephone call can make the world of a difference to people both making and receiving the call. Perhaps even someone on your own street that you dont normally have a chat with could benefit from your contact..
The basic Christian command is that we love God by loving our neighbour.
Donations to St Dunstan and John Vianney Parish
making a bank payment
If you would like to donate through your bank or by phone app, occasionally or on a regular basis. we have a Salford diocese business account please ask for details.
Several people already use this quick and efficient method to support our parish.
Envelopes If you use envelopes let us know your name and envelope number (if you already have one) and we will have them ready for you. Alternatively pick up a box as you come to church. At the moment cheques or notes, not coins can be easily banked.
Thank you to everyone especially for your donations and cheques for past weeks
The Serenity Prayer – Reinhold Niebuhr
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.
St John Vianney’s
Pastoral Letter of the Right Reverend John Arnold Bishop of Salford
DIOCESE OF SALFORDPastoral Letter of the
Right Reverend John Arnold
Bishop of Salford
To be read and circulated on the weekend of 16th/17th January 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In the first place, I would like to wish you all a Hope-filled, happier and healthier New Year; one in which we may rise to the challenges and opportunities of our response to the pandemic, renewing those Gospel values which will make us more attentive to the needs of our brothers and sisters, our global family, and care for our common home. I do believe that there are important choices to be considered, in which we will all have our part to play. Today, I am writing to you about two important, and connected, matters.
The final Sunday of this month, January 31st, is dedicated, in this Diocese, to the work of Caritas Diocese of Salford. You may well be familiar with at least some of the wide range of work and projects that are undertaken by Caritas. Its whole focus of activity is the commitment of putting Faith into action by responding to emergencies, helping people to transform their lives and emerge from poverty in all its forms, and advocating change in our society so that everyone may live with dignity, in a sustainable way.
There is much work to be done. While we live in the sixth wealthiest nation, the statistics indicate that all too many people are not included in this prosperity. For example, there are 70-80 people sleeping on the streets in central Manchester every night, while many families are in inadequate and temporary housing, vulnerable to eviction. A recent government survey estimated that over one million people in this country are isolated and alone, even before the pandemic arrived. Isolation and loneliness lead to depression and mental illness. Even the increasing adoption of the real living wage still means that many families, even where the adults are employed, do not have adequate resources to provide healthy food for their children. All too many people are marginalised as if, as Pope Francis says, they have been “thrown away”
Our Faith has a very practical priority. We are asked to love our neighbours as ourselves and that love must include a constant care for the well-being of others. There should be no need for foodbanks and night shelters but, while ever there is the need, we as Christians must strive to provide them.
The Covid pandemic has caused so much more poverty, unemployment, and distress but I believe that we have every good reason to be proud of the work of Caritas and its diverse engagement in the social problems of our times. Caritas has been able, because of your generosity, to continue its services throughout this difficult time. Thank you for all that you have done, by generous giving and volunteering, to make Caritas all that it is today. I can only ask that this good work is enabled to continue so that no-one is beyond reach and no-one is marginalised or left behind. Your gift in the retiring collection on Caritas Sunday is even more important in these difficult times.
My second reason for writing to you concerns our preparation for the future. Since my arrival in Salford, in 2014, we have carried out a re-structuring of parishes which has been mainly due to the reduction in the number of priests, and the diminishing of large Catholic communities. Now we must look carefully at the way we must expect our parishes to flourish in the increasing secularisation of the times in which we live. Given the disruption to parish life over the last year, we have also to consider carefully how best we organise our sacramental programmes and the preparation and celebration of Baptisms, First Reconciliation, First Holy Communion and Confirmation during these days of pandemic.
I have asked Fr Paul Daly, the Episcopal Vicar for Formation, to extend his role, both in planning for our immediate needs in sacramental provision and for developing our various adult formation programmes which will be essential in our “Journey to 2030” when our parishes will need to function in a very different way. Parishes will need to be increasingly reliant on the contribution of their parishioners in many and diverse ways. Fr Paul has agreed to relinquish his role as parish priest so as to be more available to assist others in developing parish formation. I am very grateful to him for his readiness to undertake this extended role which is initially intended for one year but may be extended according to need. Fr Paul will be working from Cathedral Centre and visiting parishes.
Despite the advent of vaccines, this time of pandemic will be with us for some time to come. Even with the gloom, anxiety, and frustration of living through these days, I am optimistic that we can set ourselves a new road, with better priorities for our Church and our nation and our world. I believe that much good can be achieved and we must remain adamant in our prayer, as we ask: “Stay with us, Lord, on our Journey”.
With my best wishes for all that lies ahead in this New Year and my thanks for all that is being achieved through your goodness and generosity.
Bishop of Salford
FOR THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING 2020
Sunday November 22nd
We remind ourselves that the Church is not and was never meant to be a collection of physical buildings but we the people of God, together are the Church.
We pray for those suffering from depression, anxiety and fear around the world at this terrible time and especially for those suffering discrimination and persecution in the USA.
We pray for our communities may they grow into communities of love, transforming society and transforming lives, reflecting Gods loving care for all people, during the virus and afterwards in our new reality, as God’s children in God’s world.
Because there have been such impressive initiatives in the parishes to build up communication during this time of pandemic and lockdown, I am confident that this letter will reach recipients throughout the Diocese. I have been aware of regular, even daily, messages from priests to their parish communities, weekly newsletters and live streaming of Masses and services and of personal connection with isolated and housebound members of our parishes. Sincere thanks to all those who have done so much to ensure that there have been such good levels of communication. I am writing now as we approach the close of the Church’s year and as we look forward to the beginning of the Season of Advent and our preparations for Christmas.
I certainly do not want to dismiss the difficulties that so many people have had to face in these recent months, and the continuing challenges as this pandemic rolls on. And people have been so generous, in many and diverse ways, in caring for their neighbours. My thanks, also, for the great generosity and thoughtfulness shown to our priests during this time of two lockdowns, understanding the difficulties they have faced in adapting their ministry. Those thanks extend to the many volunteers who have ensured that our churches have been the safest places for indoor gatherings and allowed them to open once that initial lockdown was over. After this second lockdown, I am sure we will open our churches safely again, when allowed to do so. While recognising all the difficulties, we have to ask what possibilities and opportunities are uniquely presented to us in our current situation? We must emerge from this pandemic with a sense of vision and with renewed priorities. Our Christmas celebrations will have to be different, but they can, and must, be important to us.
I think it is true to say that Christmas has become increasingly secularised in recent years. The accent has been on presents, decorations, parties and family gatherings – all perfectly reasonable and good in themselves, but there has been almost no public and media mention of the Christmas Story which is the foundational reason for all this celebration. The crib is rarely seen in public places and we are not reminded of the gift of Christ’s birth and presence among us.
This year we must celebrate Christmas in a different way. Assuming that our churches will be open but still having a limited capacity, we will return to the ancient tradition of observing the Christmas Octave and I invite everyone, able to do so, to attend a Christmas Mass on at least one of the days during the Octave, from Christmas Eve through to New Year’s Day. Each parish will have its own arrangements for managing its capacity. During those days there are important Feasts which can be celebrated specifically in the light of Christmas. We will also provide some resources for the family at home, and resources for children. Can we connect more closely with the simplicity of Christmas and the importance of what God is saying to us in the birth of His Son?
That First Christmas was the story of a family without home or security. God’s Son is born in a stable. A few shepherds, among the humblest of people of the day, are given the great privilege of being called to witness what is happening. I enjoy contemplating the simple crib setting with Mary and Joseph, shepherds and the ox and ass. There is a silent adoration of the new-born baby. There is no need for words. We have the wonder of silently gazing on the presence of God among us. There is surely a wonderful sense of hope and reassurance in that scene.
This family then must become refugees and flee from the wrath of King Herod, into Egypt. God is uniting His new-born Son with the homeless, the rejected, the poor and the insecurity that surrounds so many people in our own generation. We need to remember the real Christmas Story if we are to truly celebrate its importance. And this year, when families cannot meet in large numbers, and Christmas must be very different – the invitation is there to remind ourselves of what this feast is really all about. Jesus has been born into the brokenness of our world. He comes to share our reality and to lead us in truth. As we celebrate Christmas this year, we have every reason to be confident that, out of the many difficulties and problems that face our world today, progress can be made in seeking justice and peace and care for our brothers and sisters and our common home.
It is also a time to recognise, with thanks, all that we have and the good things that surround us; those qualities of life which everyone should enjoy.
Looking beyond Christmas, into 2021, there will need to be a lot of careful consideration given to our ministry and programmes in the Diocese. We need to consider how best to provide the sacramental preparation for our young people, the ways of preparing people for reception into the Church, for those preparing for marriage. There is a need for more resources to help us in strengthening a spirituality of “Church at home”. It can be a time for all of us to reinforce and develop our personal faith. I have begun discussions about how we might most effectively provide for our present circumstances and I will hope to explain the arrangements early in the New Year. And our planning cannot just be about a catching up on things delayed and postponed in 2020. We must also be thinking and planning for our continuing journey as a Diocese – a “Journey to 2030” and beyond.
Pope Francis is leading the Church – and speaking to the whole world – through these most difficult and challenging times. He is not afraid to warn us of the reality of Climate Change, to speak of our care for our brothers and sisters and our common home. He identifies the need for change from our localised thinking, to a sense of global encounter and dialogue. We face serious challenges, but Pope Francis always speaks with Hope. There is still time for us to change, to repair and to renew – and our prayer must be the foundation of all our actions, decisions and choices.
In the sadness of these days, we remember especially those suffering from the virus, those who have died and those who have lost family members and friends in the pandemic. We also remember those whose own suffering or loss has been overshadowed by a focus on the pandemic. We give thanks for the commitment of so many in the Health Service and those who provide other essential services at this time. We pray for that resilience by which we will build a better world for all our brothers and sisters. We pray for one another and our journey together.
May God bless you and keep you safe and well – assured always of His love “Stay with us, Lord, on our Journey”
John Arnold Bishop of Salford
Look after each other in the parish by prayer and action as you always have done.
May God Bless and protect us all.