Bishop Declan launched the new diocesan vision‘A Future Full of Hope‘ on Saturday 28 October, at St Brendan’s College, Brislington, Bristol. Over three hundred people came together from all over the diocese to explore the new diocesan strategy. This document, inspired by Pope Francis, emphasises a ‘more outward focus’ and sets out a roadmap for the next three years.
In mid-October, Fr James Mallon and his team from St Benedict, Halifax, Nova Scotia, came to the UK to share their experience of a vibrant, growing Church.
Our Lady of Lourdes sent a delegation of six to St Mary’s University, Twickenham, for the two-day “From Maintenance to Mission’ Conference.
We were accompanied by Fr John Eze MSP, newly assigned to the parish, and Fr Aidan Murray SDB, who joined us from retirement.
ALPHA is key to the success of the M2M philosophy, but it doesn’t stand alone.
St Benedict’s has a formation cycle, ‘the road map’, that nurtures converts in their faith, integrates them into the life of the Church and engages them as missionary disciples in their turn.
The success of Fr Mallon’s ‘Divine Renovation’ project has been years in the making. The team from Halifax openly shared their mistakes, false starts and dead-ends. Moving “From Maintenance to Mission” wasn’t easy but the project is now bearing fruit.
I came away from the conference with a conviction that St Benedict’s model is transferable, and the Leadership Team here at OLL has taken a decision to formulate a ‘road map’ of their own.
In June 2017 Fr Aidan, Jeanette Trevail and Mary Francis attended the 28th Parish Evangelising Cells Conference in Milan, Italy.
Fr Aidan has enthused about the Cell system since attending the 27th Conference so there was some interest already.
After Milan with the Liturgist and the Adult Formation catechist sharing the enthusiasm, the scene was set for the initiation of a cell in Newent.
The Parish is still at the exploratory phase: there is much work to do in developing this initiative, especially with training cell leaders, but there is a sense of excitement in the air.
Parishioners who attended the ‘taster’ sessions have expressed delight in the sense that the Holy Spirit is working through the Cell Movement and have been willing to give their time and their blessing to further it.
September 3rd 2017 marked the end of an era, as the Parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes, Newent, and St Michael’s Blaisdon, bid farewell to Fr Aidan Murray, and the Salesians ended a chapter in their history, as they formally handed over care of the Parish, to the Diocese of Clifton.
The Celebration of the Eucharist was led by Fr Gerry Briody SDB, the Salesian Provincial, with Mgr Liam VG representing the bishop.
Father Aidan Murray:A Tribute From the Rt. Rev. Bishop Declan Lang
” This weekend is a special time in the life of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Newent, since it marks the retirement of Fr Aidan Murray and the departure of the Salesian Fathers from our Diocese.
I am very grateful for Fr Aidan’s presence in Newent, Blaisdon and the Diocese. He has been a Good Shepard who has shown tremendous dedication in his priestly ministry. In the words of Pope Francis, he has ‘the smell of the sheep’. He is a holy man in the best sense of the word and an example of what it is to be a good parish priest. He is truly loved.
I would also like to acknowledge the work of the Salesians in our Diocese over many years with the special school at Blaisdon, the Parish of Newent and other parishes in the Gloucester Deanery. I am grateful for the contribution the Salesians have made to the mission of the Church in the Diocese of Clifton. I am sorry they are unable to remain in the Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes. I know they will not be forgotten and they will always be part of the story of the Church in this part of the country
As we look to the future, we do so as a People of Hope believing in the presence of Christ, celebrating that presence and living our faith in daily life, knowing that in a time of change, we are called to be faithful to the Gospel.”
Fron the left:
Fr Barnabus Page, Rev David Hebbes, Mon Liam Slattery, Fr Aidan Murray SDB, Fr Gerry Briody SDB, Fr Sean Murray SDB, Fr Pat Sherlock SDB
NASA developed this ‘photograph’ from the ‘negative’ that appears on the Turin shroud. It’s a compelling image isn’t it? The origin of the shroud is a great mystery. Carbon dating in 1988 declared the artefact to be a medieval forgery, later experts have cast doubts on the validity of those tests, so the controversy rages on.
There is such a serenity and a strength in this image that is truly Christ-like: from that we may take comfort. We who are called to live by faith, not by sight, can be content with that.
Here are Pope Francis’ thoughts on the spiritual significance of, what he terms, ‘the icon’ above:
“The face in the shroud “invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth. This image … speaks to our heart and moves us to climb the hill of Calvary, to look upon the wood of the Cross, and to immerse ourselves in the eloquent silence of love.”
“By means of the Holy Shroud, the unique and supreme Word of God comes to us: Love made man, incarnate in our history; the merciful love of God who has taken upon himself all the evil of the world to free us from its power,” Francis said.
“This disfigured face resembles all those faces of men and women marred by a life which does not respect their dignity, by war and violence which afflict the weakest.”
Thank you Geraldine Hulme for bringing this beautiful picture to our attention.