News

Settlement Scheme for EU Citizens after Brexit

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

Feed Up. Warm up.

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.

Volunteers needed

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!

Lee Walker’s London to Paris cycle ride

The ride was amazing and as an individual challenge/experience, it is up there as one of the best, if not the best.

I would like to thank all those that sponsored me and sent me messages as it helped massively, especially on days 1 and 4 (into Paris). It was an emotional roller coaster and a huge thank you to the parishioners for their kind donations. I raised just over £2,000 and am now thinking of my next challenge…any ideas parishioners.

A little pic of me under the Eiffel Tower

Thank you so much.
God bless,
Lee

Gift boxes for the poor in the Democratic Republic Congo

The results – a message from Elizabeth and Clara

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The Duke of Edinburgh award is a scheme that enables young people to give back and develop life long skills. Parishioner Elizabeth is undertaking this award and as one of the streams of the DofE, she is going to take part in 3 months of voluntary work.

For this she has selected a very worthwhile charity: The ULCDDI. ULCDDI stands for: The Union against Delinquency for Integral Development. It is situated in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in Butembo. This charity helps the very poorest in the DRC.  The aim is to create 400 gift boxes.  That’s where she needs assistance and would be grateful for donations. 

She would welcome donations of the following:

  1. Toys: small stuffed toys (CE marked), small toy truck, skipping rope, yo-yo, small puzzle
  2. Pens, pencils & sharpeners, crayons or felt pens, stamps & ink pad sets, writing pads or notebooks & paper, solar calculators, colouring & picture books etc. 
  3. Hygiene items: Toothbrush, toothpaste, bars or wrapped soap, comb, hair brush
  4. Other: wrapped sweets, hat, cap, hair accessories, 

 The deadline Sunday the 18th November as she would like to get the boxes to Congo in time for Christmas. If you require more information Elizabeth will be available after Mass with leaflets. 

She may also need the church’s help to put the parcels together. If you are able to help please contact clarauche@hotmail.com

Rubbish in heaters – fire risk

Our church heaters seem tempting for those disposing of their rubbish. See below for the rubbish that had been poked through one of the heaters. This is a real fire risk as well as showing a lack of respect for our church.  We hope that it does not happen again. Crisp packets can be recycled in the recycling area to raise money for good causes. Other rubbish can be placed in the black bin outside the kitchen back door to the hall. Thank you for your help and vigilance.

Parishioner Jessica Jackson raises money to conquer global hunger and chronic malnutrition

Message from Jessica

In 2019, I’ll be completing the challenge to trek for 6 days to the famous ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, in Peru. I’ll be doing this to raise money to conquer global hunger and chronic malnutrition.

Being an international swimmer myself, I’ve been privileged enough to represent Great Britain across the world for my own personal endeavours. This time I’d like to travel, in aid of others, who are severely malnourished. Trekking/ Hiking is something I’ve always enjoyed having done my fair share in Slovakia, in 2016. However, this is, without a doubt, my biggest challenge yet. Achieving my fundraising target will allow me to complete my Trekking Challenge.

The issue of global hunger isn’t something that requires research to find a cure, we already know exactly how to treat it. However, it is estimated 52 million children under five in the world today are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Millions of people die from this condition every year when it is an easily curable and preventable issue.

Here are 4 ways Action Against Hunger works globally to eradicate hunger, by 2030:

  • WORKS ALL OVER THE WORLD

With offices in 47 countries around the world from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. They are always monitoring the situation to make sure they are nearest those who need help.

  • CONTRIBUTE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

In 2015, 86.4% of their €296million turnover went directly to support field programmes and activities around the world.

  • USE A MUAC (MID UPPER ARM CIRCUMFERENCE) COLOUR CODED TAPE TO IDENTIFY YOUNG CHILDREN SUFFERING FROM SEVERE ACUTE MALNUTRITION.

If a child is in the ‘red’ or ‘yellow’ boundaries, then they are severely malnourished and their arm circumference could be a small as a £2 coin. Treatment involves ‘Plumpy’Nut’ supplements – a nutrient-enriched, high calorie nut-based paste given to boost the energy intake of severely malnourished children.

  • MORE THAN JUST A HUNGER CHARITY.

Beyond nutrition, the programmes also focus on food security, sustainable livelihoods, mental health & care practices, water, sanitation & hygiene and disaster risk management.

Any donation, no matter the size, will help defeat this global issue, as well as supporting the UN Global goal of removing hunger, for good, by 2030.

My fundraising page is: https://machu-picchu-trek-2018.everydayhero.com/uk/jessica-s-machu-picchu-challenge

Bishop blesses new organ

We are grateful to Bishop Paul who blessed our new organ at the start of the Confirmation last weekend. We are also grateful for the donations and legacies which have made the purchase of the new organ possible. On Sunday at 6pm we will have a service of Prayer and Benediction for peace and there will be a formal goodbye to the old and hello to the new organ.

The old organ will gradually disappear over the summer and the plinth will be extended and new pews will be added behind the font. We are very grateful to all the parishioners who are planning to help with this work. What a wonderful parish we have.