Mission Sunday: 18th October 2020

Today, over one billion Catholics all over the world observe today as World Mission Sunday. This annual observance was instituted 94 years ago in 1926 by Pope Pius XI’s Papal decree. Every year since then, the universal Church has dedicated the month of October to reflection on and prayer for the missions. This annual celebration gives us a chance to reflect on the importance of mission work for the life of the Church. It reminds us that we are one with the Church around the world and that we are all committed to carrying on the mission of Christ, however different our situations may be.

Pope Francis writes in his 2019 World Mission Day message, Baptized and Sent. “This missionary mandate touches us personally: I am a mission, always; you are a mission, always; every baptized man and woman is a mission.” Hence the Holy Father calls on all Catholics and the Church to revive missionary awareness and commitment. In his 2020 message our Holy Father want us to discharge our mission duty by volunteering with prophet Isaiah “Here am I, send me” (6:8) to alleviate the suffering of our Covid-19-stricken brothers and sisters.

The Bishops’ Conference in England and Wales, in Scotland and in Ireland have their own mission offices and more information about how they are part of the global mission of the church are here:

The Church, according to Vatican Council II, is “missionary” in her very nature because her founder, Jesus Christ, was the first missionary. God the Father sent God the Son, Incarnate in Jesus, His Christ, into the world with a message of God’s love and salvation. Thus, the evangelizing mission of the Church is essentially the announcement of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation, as these are revealed to mankind through the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. How should we evangelize? By exemplary and transparent Christian life, by prayer and by financial support. The most powerful means of preaching Christ is by living a truly Christian life: a life filled with love, mercy, kindness, compassion, and a spirit of forgiveness and service. Prayer is the second means of missionary work. Jesus said: “Without me you can do nothing.” Therefore, prayer is necessary for anyone who wishes to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour. All missionary efforts also require financial support because the love of God can often be explained to the poor only by providing them with food, medicine and means of livelihood. Hence, on this Mission Sunday, there is collection in all churches in all countries to help support the missionary work and all missionaries!

Foxton Centre: Can you offer DIY help?

The Foxton Centre in Preston have a small workshop. They are looking for volunteers who have a DIY background to give some time to help support the guys there.

For more information click here.

The Story of The Foxton Centre Social Enterprise

From our community base we work with many people on the margins of city life – rough sleepers, street sex workers, young people & the community – people who often face problems with poverty, addiction, and mental health issues. Our projects aim to provide practical solutions to help people to move beyond their limitations; to learn, grow and flourish. The Foxton Centre has demonstrated a strong track record of successfully delivering projects for different organisations; City & County Councils, Public Health, Police & Crime Commission to name a few. These have helped create strong connections and we have recently received the funding to create a 24/7 homeless hub at the centre.
The trading activity of our Social Enterprise is based upon up-cycling disused pallets into alternative products (e.g. planters, shelves, tables, cabinets etc). We then sell the items at local markets and via social media in order to create a profit to re-invest in the project.
Financial resilience through productivity with an increase in people power, workshop & trading area. Creating an un-restricted self-sustaining income stream. Social impact for the homeless is increased through meaningful use of time and training in different fields. This increases the potential for employment with the social enterprise and beyond as well as improving the physical and mental wellbeing of participants.

There’s something good cooking

Friday, September 25th, 2020 the Preston Windrush charity prepared over 150 meals for those isolating and lonely. The volunteers had been using a variety kitchens during lockdown and with school going back they found themselves kitchenless. We were approached by a few people who know we had the facilities and asked to use them. Although we are closed to groups at this time we felt that this was something that we could support: helping feed those in our community who are in need.

The kitchen started at 9am and continued throughout the day. The smell of the food was making us hungry and luckily enough there was enough for the community here! We look forward to our Friday kitchen and are thankful and grateful to the volunteers at Preston Windrush for the cooking and support they offer.

For more information on Preston Windrush click here.

Spirituality Centre: News

Just a wee update on where we are regarding the opening of The Spirituality Centre. With the current restrictions still in place is seems that our idea of opening in September has been pushed back. We are now looking at opening once the Furlough Scheme ends in October. There are a few reasons for this:

Looking at the guidance of the Preston City Council website and the UK Government web site it seems that we cannot open under the restrictions in place. We have no idea how long this is going to last and what the implications are.

Places that host conferences or exhibitions are to remain closed and because of current restriction meet with people you do not live with, or have “bubbled” with in other indoor public venues – this includes pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, leisure and entertainment venues or visitor attractions. You may still attend these places with people you live with or are in a protective support bubble with. You must take precautions to socially distance from one another wherever practical.

Other activities are discouraged, and face masks are now mandatory for almost all indoor spaces. Changes to cleaning regimes, entering and leaving, reception, numbers that can be permitted with social distancing have huge implications on our working and finances.

This is disappointing for the community here and for the wider community who use and appreciate the Centre. We continue with our small community mass on a Thursday evening and remember friends and family in our prayers. We also remember the wider Xaverian community and our missions that are suffering at this time. Suffering, not just because of Covid, but also because our ability to help support their work and their mission is severely limited by what is happening here.

I hope that I have better news the next time I write! Thanks for your support, patience and prayers.

Paddy

For more information please follow the links

Preston’s local restrictions

https://www.preston.gov.uk/article/2915/FAQ-on-local-restrictions-what-you-can-and-can-t-do-in-Preston

Business closures

https://www.preston.gov.uk/Businessclosures

UK Government Guidance

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities

Covid update

The government has updated its guidelines for the use of multi-purpose spaces. You can access them here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities

We also fall under the places of worship guidelines as well.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-places-of-worship-during-the-pandemic-from-4-july

I hope you enjoy the read! It is proper government speak, but complicates how we can operate!

Xaverian Spirituality Centre: Are we nearly there yet?

Since March 23rd, 2020 the Xaverian Mission Spirituality Centre has been closed due to the on-going Covid-19 epidemic. This has been a great loss for we Xaverians, in terms of our mission and our pastoral engagements. It has meant that all our regular events have been cancelled: Thursday Evening Mass, The Passover, The God who speaks, Cuppa Chat and many more opportunities to sit and have a chat with the people who come through the doors!

On Thursday evenings, Bideri and I have been celebrating mass (Jim was caught up in Coatbridge when the lockdown took place) and Archie has been shielding himself. It has been a challenging time for all of us, wondering when the doors will be open again, wondering about friends we have not seen and wondering how you are all getting along with your normal routines of life and prayer. Thankfully, the Lord has given us clement weather for gardening (if you have one), for walking, for sitting in the fresh air and for queuing outside the supermarkets!

With the plans for re-opening from the lockdown we have been looking at how we can respond to this. We have been looking at current guidance and we believe that the “feel” and ambience of the Centre will be adversely affected: the two-meter social distancing, use of the kitchen for breaks, use of the toilets, cleaning and preparation of rooms and spaces and protection of people who join us places huge restrictions on what we can offer. Hopefully, with the further easing of restrictions a new “normal” can be in place for us!

However, until then, we have decided that we will wait until the start of September to review our decision to stay closed. This has been a hard decision to take, but there are too many uncertainties at this time. We feel it is better to take out time and get it right for the benefit of all!

We hope that you understand our reasons and we hope that future contact will be more positive with a way we can re-open our doors to friends, groups and those who feel peace and warmth here.

Paddy