Please click below for the latest Newsletter 1839
Just before the start of Lent, Cardinal Vincent launched his annual Lenten Appeal, which this year focuses on the problem of food poverty and food insecurity. At the same time, he announced the launch of a new food relief initiative across the Diocese of Westminster.
Our parish supports this through the Foodbank and Feed up Warm up
For all the details click on the link below
The lost property last displayed here was recycled at the Sue Ryder Shop on 18th May.
There are still items of lost property in the basket under the table in the church porch.
On Good Friday, the Wintershall players performed their acclaimed portrayal of the final days of Jesus to a packed crowd in London’s Trafalgar Square.
You can find more information and photos from the event on their website, or you can watch a video of the performance below.
Cardinal Vincent is attending a Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences in Rome, called by Pope Francis to address the protection of minors within the worldwide Church. He has sent a letter to the parishes asking that we unite in prayer for all those attending this meeting. The letter is copied here, you can open the original letter using the link below.
WESTMINSTER, LONDON, SW1P 1QJ
19 February 2019
Tomorrow, Wednesday, I travel to Rome to take part in the meeting called by Pope Francis to address the protection of minors within the Catholic Church worldwide in the light of the abuse suffered by them within the communities of the Church. I write to ask for your prayers and those of your people, for the positive outcome of this meeting and for all survivors of such abuse who will find these days particularly difficult as so much public attention is given to this reality.
The broad themes of the meeting are those of responsibility – knowing what is to be done; accountability – the ways in which we are responsible to each other; and transparency – the determination that there are no hiding places in these matters. These are the virtues, the qualities of our life together, that need to be renewed and strengthened.
An excellent website provides detailed information about this event: www.pbc2019.org.
On Saturday evening there will be a Penitential Liturgy. I ask that at Mass on Saturday evening, you add a prayer or a comment uniting your parish to Pope Francis and all taking part in that liturgy so that together we ask the Lord’s pardon for our failings. On Sunday morning, at 8.30 UK time, we will gather in Rome for the celebration of Holy Mass, seeking the Lord’s blessings on the work accomplished and for the challenges ahead. Please do unite your parish celebration of Mass with this intention.
I am sure you will know the best ways in which to respond to these requests.
Finally, at a very personal level, please do keep me in your own prayers. These will be difficult and painful days and I need your prayers.
With my best wishes and prayers,
Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster
The most exciting news recently has been the safe arrival of a baby girl In Stevenage this week although they only just made it to the hospital. Fortunately, one of our lovely volunteers gave the mother a lift and they got there with just a few minutes to spare. Both mother and baby are doing well and she is already home with her four older brothers.
A new family arrived in Letchworth this week and there will be another one coming at the end of May which is the total number that North Herts council committed to. We look forward to welcoming them to one of our social events. Because of the numbers involved now, we have been experimenting with splitting the lunches and held the first one for the families in Stevenage and Hitchin at the beginning of April which included an Easter egg hunt for the children which went down well. The next one in June will be primarily for the 8 Letchworth families.
Those of you who made it to our AGM in April will agree that it was an inspiring occasion, particularly the contributions from the Syrian people who spoke of their experiences over the last year and their hopes for the future. What was particularly impressive was that they all spoke in English, including a couple of people who last year wanted everything translated. We were also treated to the trailer of the animated film that Katie Seaton, one of our founder members, is making based on the story of one of the men from North Herts who is very committed to sharing his story. You can see the trailer here https://vimeo.com/328620695 The person concerned was very moved by seeing the clip and said that the animator, Rosie Wyllie, had captured the scenes uncannily well and it felt very close to his own experience.
We continue to organise various women’s activities in both Stevenage and North Herts. Two volunteers are arranging outings for the women in the Stevenage families and they have already visited the museum and the local play centre. A group of Soroptomists are offering conversation sessions for the women which ran successfully last year and the conversation class in Letchworth is being extended to include the Hitchin women.
Thanks to all your generosity, most families have the gardening tools they need and several have made a start at digging and planting up their gardens. Several have planted apple trees which seems to express a confidence in a future here in Hertfordshire as they wait for trees to bear fruit.
With best wishes and thanks for all your support
The following letter has been received by the parish.
CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE OF ENGLAND AND WALES
Statement on the Settlement Scheme for EU citizens
The Catholic Church in England and Wales stands in solidarity with all EU citizens who have made their home here. As the majority are themselves Catholic this is a special pastoral concern for us.
The Church has experienced first-hand the extensive contribution that people from across Europe have made to our society. They are an integral and valued part of our parishes, schools and communities.
We also recognise the evidence that immigration from Europe has not undermined opportunities for UK citizens, but rather brought considerable economic and social benefits.
It is clear that since the 2016 referendum many people living here have faced profound uncertainty and insecurity about their future.
Although the reassurances offered by senior politicians are important, people have been given far too little information or binding commitments about their right to stay.
For some this has been worsened by the appalling rise in hate crime, which has left them feeling unwelcome or even threatened in the country that has become their home.
The Settlement Scheme
The government will soon launch a Settlement Scheme, offering EU citizens living here a legal route to remain.
While this is an important step we understand that, especially for people who have contributed to our society over many years, it may feel unjust and divisive that they are now required to apply for permission to stay.
We also expect that some people, particularly those who are already vulnerable, may face difficulties in practically accessing the scheme, leaving their immigration status at risk.
We strongly oppose the decision to charge people for securing the rights they already have. This is not only unprincipled but will also create a barrier for larger families or people facing financial difficulties.
The Bishops’ Conference has made representations on these issues to ministers and through the Home Office working groups set up to discuss the Settlement Scheme. We will continue to do so as it is implemented.
Applying for the scheme
Notwithstanding our concerns about these principles and practicalities, it remains a fact that EU citizens must apply if they are to protect their existing rights and their place in our society.
We therefore ask Catholic parishes, schools and organisations to bring the Settlement Scheme to the attention of all who need to avail of it and to be aware of vulnerable people who may face barriers to applying or not realise that they need to apply.
In particular we encourage you to signpost people towards the official information on the Settlement Scheme: gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families
And to make use of the various information resources available: gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-community-leaders-toolkit
Finally we urge the whole Catholic community to take up Pope Francis’ call to welcome, protect, promote and help to integrate everyone who has made their home here – with particular concern at present for our European brothers and sisters.
Bishop Paul McAleenan
Lead Bishop for Migration and Asylum
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
The full statement is also in the attached PDF: Statement on the Settlement Scheme for EU citizens
We had the pleasure of hearing the Orpheus Choir of North Herts perform a Christmas Concert on Saturday 8th December.
The event raised £ 540 for the church funds, and the music was wonderful and a great tribute on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
With effect from Wed 5 Dec, a volunteer group – CC Street Food – will be providing meals for the
homeless from the Scout Hut. This will operate between 4pm and 10pm until the end of February
2019 initially. The group of volunteers will need access to the three parking bays next to the Scout Hut towards Grove Road. Please leave these free on a Wed evening. Thank you for your help and understanding.
We are holding a kick of event for all those that want to volunteer. If you want to volunteer – you must attend this event.
Venue: Scout Hut. Our Lady’s Church. Nightingale Road. Hitchin. SG5 1QS
Date and Time: 28 November at 7pm.
If you want to volunteer you need to attend this event to understand what we want to achieve, know the set up and how things will work.
Please note you must be over 18 and compete the relevant paperwork before you can volunteer. This will be given and needs to be completed on the night.
After the event we will release the December rota and tasks.
Looking forward to seeing you there!