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In-Person Refugee Hosting Information Session 

When: 28th June, 6 – 8.30pm  

Where: Hurtado Jesuit Centre, 2 Chandler St, London E1W 2QT 

To attend, and for more information, sign-up for free via Eventbrite.

The second of the Diocesan Community of Support sessions, focusing on the hosting of Refugee guests. 

This information session is for anyone who is hosting, would like to host, or explore further ways of providing support to those who are seeking sanctuary. 

The session is facilitated by the JRS, who run the ‘At Home’ hosting scheme. 

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Pastoral Letter for the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time 26/27 February 2022

Diocese of Westminster launches new Coat of Arms - Diocese of Westminster

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,
Today I want to take a moment, first of all, to thank you for your faithfulness and for your
presence here at Mass. These last two years have been very difficult and I thank God for the
gift of faith which you have received, which you have nurtured and from which, I know,
you receive great grace and strength. I know this to be true because it is true for me too.


Now I would like to ask your assistance.


During these last two years there were times when our way of life was severely curtailed.
We were in ‘lockdown’. At one time, for three months, even the doors of our churches were
firmly closed. Being unable to enter the House of God and to take part fully in the
celebration of the Mass was, for many, an experience of real dismay and pain.


But that is no longer the case. We are again able to fashion the way of life that we choose.
The doors of our churches can stay wide open. Yet, as you know, many have not resumed
the pattern of coming to church, week by week. Other activities have filled that space. For
some, the thirst for being at Mass, for celebrating life-giving sacraments, has diminished.


This is where I ask for your help. I would like you to be ready to approach those whom you
know, and who are not present here today, with a word of invitation for them to join us. I
know this is not easy. You may well feel it is an intrusive thing to do. Also, taking the step
across the threshold of the church can be daunting for someone who has been away for a
long time. So I ask you to exercise great deference and kindness when approaching them,
perhaps offering to accompany them on this return journey.


I make this request now not simply because fear and restrictions are eased, but because we
are approaching Lent, the traditional and powerful season of our renewal in faith. Beginning
on Ash Wednesday, this coming week, we respond to the Lord’s invitation to come forward
and meet him afresh. He invites us to come through the doors of the church to stand before
him and receive his blessing, his mark of mercy.

Lent is the time to reset our patterns so that there is time for God in our hearts and in our
weekly routines. You know well that the highest form of prayer is the celebration of the
Eucharist. It is here, above all other places, that the Lord wishes to fill us with his gifts, so
that we, in turn, can offer those gifts to others. And then, when we give that which we have
received, we bring this precious light of Christ into our world. He is the best antidote to the
darkness of the pandemic, to the loneliness it has brought, to the lack of clear hope for the
future, to the deep weariness and unexpressed resentment that has entered into the souls of
so many.


So, please, do what you can to invite those who are missing to come with you to be part of
this great family of faith at prayer. If each of you can give a word of encouragement to one
other person, to one other family, then the reward will be great. Then we can journey
together to Easter. There we proclaim again that Jesus alone has mastered death, that he
alone is the Lord of life, that he is now among us and calling us to come to meet him here,
in this House of God, in this Gate of Heaven.


I thank you again for your presence here today. I thank you for all that you will do in
response to this request and I ask God’s blessing on the words that you will speak.
Remember the words of St Paul that we have just heard: ‘Keep on working at the Lord’s
work always, knowing that, in the Lord, you cannot be labouring in vain’ (1Cor. 15:58).


Pease continue in your prayer for peace in Ukraine. We cry out: No more war, no more
violence!


And remember me in your prayers as I will remember you, the faithful people of God!


Yours devotedly,
+Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster

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Baptism and vocations: Vatican to hold Symposium on theology of priesthood

The Holy See hosts a press conference to announce a Symposium on the theology of priesthood, which will seek to explore the relationship between the ordained priesthood and the priesthood of all the baptized.

 

The Vatican will host a Theological Symposium on Vocations on 17-19 February 2022, entitled “Toward a Fundamental Theology of the Priesthood”.

The event was presented on Monday at the Holy See Press Office by Cardinal Marc Ouellett, Professor Michelina Tenace, and Father Vincent Siret.

The trio presented reports with the background and goals of next year’s Symposium, which will address the issue of clerical celibacy in the Latin rite and the priesthood of the baptized.

Each of the three days will focus on a different theme. The first day will be dedicated to “Tradition and New Horizons”, the second to “Trinity, Mission, and Sacramentality”, and the third to “Celibacy, Charism, and Spirituality”. A different Cardinal will preside over the reflections of each half-day, and Pope Francis is expected to offer participants a message at the end of the Symposium.

Theology of vocations

Cardinal Marc Ouellett, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, kicked off the press conference, linking its timing to the upcoming Vocations Sunday, on 25 April.

He said the decision to hold the three-day Symposium was not taken lightly, given the health crisis set off by the pandemic. But, added Cardinal Ouellett, there is a certain urgency to explore the theology of the priesthood, especially after the recent Synods on the family, young people, and the Church in Amazonia.

“The time has come,” he said, “to prolong the reflection and to promote a vocational movement facilitating the sharing of the various Church experiences all over the planet.”

Renewed vision

Cardinal Ouellett said Pope Francis has often repeated his remark in 2015 that “the path of synodality is the path that God expects from the Church of the third millennium.”

Synodality in connection with vocations, he added, requires “close collaboration between lay people, priests and men and women religious, for the proclamation of the Gospel to the world through the attractive witness of Christian communities.”

He said the Symposium will seek to discover a “renewed vision” and “a way of valuing all vocations while respecting what is specific to each.”

Urgent question

Professor Michelina Tenace, who teaches theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, described the urgency of the issues being addressed.

“We see today that in many parts of the world, bishops and priests are struggling to identify the changes required for a priest to truly be a sentinel of the Kingdom of God,” she said.

So, she added, the Symposium will explore the foundation which links the ministerial priesthood to the priesthood of the baptized.

Professor Tenace pointed out that ordained ministers are indispensable “because they guard the divine life through the Sacraments” while the people of God “guard the divine life by building up the Church in the witness of charity and the growth of charisms.”

This, she added, means that the community of the baptized and priests share a mutual responsibility.

Crisis of priestly identity

The Symposium will also address the theology of vocation, priestly celibacy, and the relationship to the sacred.

Professor Tenace said each vocation builds up the Church in its own way. When priesthood is properly understood, she said, the danger of clericalism can be avoided, because the priesthood is identified with service rather than power.

She noted that formation in seminaries is “often very poor precisely in discernment of vocation and formation in the life of communion.”

Seminary formation, she added, should help make the seminarian aware of the gift of celibacy, which is required in the Lain rite “as a prophetic witness of Christ’s priesthood”.

“The Symposium,” said Professor Tenace, “will help us understand that the crisis of priestly identity or of vocations” affects “the ongoing transformation of the whole Church as a body animated by the sap of the Spirit.”

Living celibacy in love

Fr. Vincent Siret, the Rector of the Pontifical French Seminary, invited all seminary formators to follow next year’s Symposium as a way to help candidates for the priesthood to grow into good priests.

Reflecting on the theology of the priesthood, he said, will help seminarians understand the Latin Church’s requirement of celibacy and “to make a commitment with full knowledge of the facts.”

“The consecration of one’s entire life involves the entire person and can only be justified through a self-giving perspective of following Christ in a Trinitarian dynamic,” he said.

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