Friday, 5 September 2008

On a wet Friday

On a damp and very rainy Friday I think it is good to have a bit of news from the diocese and beyond that raises the spirits and shows the grace of God at work in our world.

My first bit of news concerns Lourdes which this year celebrates 150 years since the apparitions of Our Lady to Bernadette Soubirous. In A&B we were not only able to celebrate it with a pilgrimage led by Bishop Kieran of over 1,000 people but also with the publication of a moving and beautiful book from 18 year old Catherine Simon, called Where Echoes Meet. If you want to know more about the book then listen to BBC Southern Counties Radio with Catherine on the morning of Sunday 7th September some time just after 7.35am. You can tune in on 104.0–104.8 & 95.0–95.3 FM and on 1161, 1368 & 1485 AM. Or if you want a lie-in (!) you can catch it online for a week on

The book will then be officially launched on Friday 12th September at St Paul's bookshop in Westminster in the presence of Cardinal Cormac. Next day the Cardinal sets off to Lourdes to join the Pope there for the anniversary celebrations. You can find more out about the book on Catherine's website

The second bit of news concerns Fairtrade. A&B is a recognized Fairtrade diocese and there are now a couple of ways in which parishes and clergy can directly support this. The first is a Fairtrade Communion Wine produced by Los Robles in Chile who make other Fairtrade wines stocked by leading Supermarkets. I have tried it and I think it is very acceptable as a communion wine. It does of course meet canonical standards. It can be obtained from Whitebridge Wines via their special website

The second is another new venture offering Fairtrade clerical shirts. The cotton for the shirts, which are currently only available in black (what other colour would you want!) is grown in Africa and the shirts themselves are made in Mauritius. Is the next thing Fairtrade cassocks? Find out how to order by visiting the website

Have a joyful weekend!
'O that today you would listen to his voice, harden not your hearts' (Ps 94)

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