New calendar event

Do you wonder what all the fuss is about Climate Change? Does it matter? Is it somebody else’s problem?

Some countries are more exposed than others to the effects of Climate Change. Come and listen to a salutary talk about the Future of Food at the St Wilfrid’s Parish Centre on the 30th September 2019 at 7pm.

See here for more details. Remember that if you use an electronic calendar then you can subscribe to our calendar and never miss an event.

“Go and ask your Dad.”

My Dad has many wise sayings… usually around drink. When someone bought him a drink it was either; “Your face I may forget. Your kindness, never!” or “May your giving hand never wither!” What a philosopher the old man is! One other which he quoted frequently to us, usually around exam times, was “If you fail to prepare, be prepared to fail.”

On Monday and Tuesday (12/13th of August) we will be meeting in Coatbridge, looking at our plans for the next three years as a Region. As well as the Xaverians actively involved in our centres in Preston, Coatbridge and the Parish in Glasgow, Hugh Foy, the UK programmes director and our new recruit Phil Callaghan, Deputy Director of Programmes, will meet to pray, reflect and strategise the priorities and our activities until the next Regional Chapter in 2022. Hopefully in the next few weeks we will highlight the way ahead for us as the UK Region and give more direction and focus to our presences in Scotland and England.

Coupled with these meetings, here in Preston, we will be preparing for our Xaverian Charism Day on September 14th. On that day we hope to understand better the vision of Conforti, the history of the Xaverian Family, the lived out Xaverian Vocation and develop our mission spirituality too. In this exploration day we hope that we all emerge better prepared to make mission happen in the here and now. This will be a chance for us to take seriously Pope Francis’ invite to become missionary disciples!

We also are putting on hold the proposed Open Day which was scheduled for 7th of September. Why we meet, what we do, how we fundraise, socialise, bring people together, use our resources, reach out… will hopefully creatively come forth when we have a better handle on what being a missionary is today.

“Every day is a school day!” – another one of Dad’s pearls of wisdom – reminds us that we learn, grow, better ourselves… if prepared to do so. So let’s seize the moment and allow God to speak to us, through us and among us, so that the idea of failing might never be an option.

Jim

The week ahead: 4th August – 10th August

Highlights this week include two monthly events at the Centre.

The ‘Women At Prayer’ group meet again this coming Wednesday 7th Aug 2-3pm in the prayer Room. There will be some time of input, sharing and quiet reflection. All women welcome. Donation £3 requested towards the running of the centre.

It is also the Labyrinth group meeting in the evening of the same day. 7 – 9pm

If you have not tried these then please do feel free to come along. You will receive a warm welcome and a gentle time of reflection.

In addition there is the monthly rosary at the Carmelite Monastery Church, St Vincent’s Road on Tuesday 6th August at 2pm.

New wine, new wineskins…

Sometimes reality hits us hard. A few years ago, in my home Parish in Scotland, one of the Altar Servers asked if I was Father Clarke. When I replied that I was, she then continued… “Yes, you were at school with my Grandad. ”After the initial shock, I have since invested heavily on anti-wrinkle cream and anti-depressants, but the numbers don’t lie. And so it is great to announce that we are having an injection of youth to the old skins at 169.

On July the 1st we welcomed to our Regional and Preston Centre staff, Phil Callaghan who will be beefing up the team (as if I need beefing up) and will be jointly responsible for the Administration at the Xaverian Centre and as Deputy Director of Programmes for the UK Region.

Phil is from Manchester (but don’t hold that against him) and a big United fan (bless him). He has extensive experience as a lay person working in the Church. He has worked as a hospitality worker at the Quaker Meeting House, worked freelance in adult formation and in preparing and managing an event for Catholic young adults in the lead up to the Synod of Bishops’ on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment. He has been a Development Worker for the Young Christian Workers (YCW) and was also the National President between 2011 and 2017 as well as being involved in the Salford Diocese Lourdes Pilgrimage.

Phil studied at Heythrop College, London where he obtained a BA in Theology. It was there where Phil first encountered the Xaverians, as our confrere Rocco Viviano was studying and teaching there.

Phil came and did some YCW training in Coatbridge a few years ago and myself and Hugh took part in a YCW weekend at that time. We were both impressed by Phil’s deep faith, his love of the Gospel, his sense of justice and general desire to reach out as a missionary disciple.

Our Region felt the need to give Preston a real go and Phil’s presence with us, along with his youth, enthusiasm, energy and experience, will aid that greatly. We will also have a few changes in the make up of the Xaverian Community, which will see three Xaverians and Phil actively dedicated to programmes and projects at the Preston Centre (Watch this space).

To this end we are also having a day of Formation on Mission Spirituality and the Xaverian Charism on September 14th, where hopefully together we can look at being missionaries, here and now and plan meaningful activities. Also on September 7th we will have an Open Day to allow people to come and meet us.

The summer has been mixed, in terms of weather. As I write this it is raining heavily whereas two days ago it was tropical. From speedos and sandals to Wellies and waterproofs… such is life. We hope too that as we move on in the next few months, things will get heated up in terms of our activities and our initiatives and that our wine will be bubbly, refreshing and energising.

Please join us in these exciting times!

Quiet days

Late July and August have always been quiet days at the centre and activity levels are down as people leave for their Summer holidays.

Check the calendar for news of the events and if you are going away then have a great time.

For the love of Saree …by Barkha Rani

Saree is one of the most well-known silhouettes of Indian fashion. The beauty of the saree is non parallel and the way it beautifies Indian women is why all of us admire sarees. Saree is the identity of Indian women and sets them apart. Most foreigners upon seeing a woman wearing a saree would instantly recognise that the woman belongs to the Indian subcontinent.

Saree speak has created a platform to celebrate this beautiful garment and the ladies who wear them. Saree Speak is an informal Facebook group created by an Indian lady called Vini Tandon. It has more than 110 thousand members all over the world mainly from the Indian subcontinent. The numbers are growing across the globe and women from the Indian diaspora are more enthused now to celebrate their sarees.

In Preston, Lancashire, a group of women who were inspired by Saree speak decided to celebrate the essence of womanhood and their love of sarees. Sixty five ladies attended this event held at the Xaverian mission spirituality centre in Fulwood, Preston on Friday 14th June 2019.

It is thought that there are more than 100 different types of sarees and ladies came wearing varied types of sarees from all over India. To name a few , Paithani from Maharashtra, Pochampally from Andhra Pradesh, Kanjeevaram from Tamil Nadu, Kasavu from Kerala, and Bandhani from Rajasthan. Ladies also wore sarees in different styles. Apart from the conventional style, we had women wearing sarees in Gujarati, Bihari, Navvari style and some experimental ladies wore trendy frill saree and fusion saree.

As the theme of the evening was about saree, the two comperes were successful in capturing the attention of the audience by discussing various aspects of a saree. There were women who spoke about their fond memories of wearing a saree, their strong emotional attachment to saree and their admiration for strong loving women in their lives who wore sarees and passed it on to them like mothers, mothers in law and grandmothers. A lady spoke of her pride about buying sarees for her daughter’s wedding, one spoke about being brought up wearing saree in Gujarati style and marrying a boy from Karnataka where saree is worn in a completely different fashion. There was another who explained how the Navvari style of wearing saree evolved. The children and youngsters also talked about how they feel when they see their mother in a saree and how in the future they might consider wearing a saree.

Ladies exhibited their singing and dancing talent. There was a dance medley of various dance forms from across India. The crowd was allowed to hone their dancing skills by a Bollywood dance tutorial. The pièce de résistance was a fashion show where all ladies walked the ramp exhibiting their proud saree.

The evening ended with a scrumptious Indian Buffet dinner and an open dance floor where the ladies danced away to pure happiness in their lovely sarees. We all got to know a little bit more about each other, mingled and laughed and celebrated womanhood and regaled in the one thing that bound us all together for that evening – saree!

In this women dominated event, there was one man who aided the event by letting us use the venue and helping with the organisation. A big thanks to dear Father Cosmito.

The support from true friends is priceless and this event would not have been possible without the lovely group of friends I am surrounded by. I thank each and every one of them for their contribution and hard work.

Elegance is the only beauty that never fades and saree is one of the most elegant of fashion garment across the globe. Let us celebrate this lovely garment today and every day. Look out for the next saree speak event in Preston next year.

The Summer of ’89

Someone once quipped “If Bishops and Priests went on strike, would anyone notice.” Don’t answer, please!

From many comments such as “It’s alright for you, you only work one day a week!” and “Priesthood? That’s a cushy number. That’s why you never see it advertised at the Job Centre!” I have had my share.

On the 17th of June 2019 I will celebrate 30 years of priesthood. (Not looking for a fanfare and balloons) I have never gone on strike, but I’d like to hope I have been of some relevance to some people over that period.

Reflecting on the years gone by, I thank God for the call to ordained priesthood, for the opportunity to respond to that call (sadly not the case for many others) and for the places, people and plethora of positions the call has put me in. All in all, I have been blessed.

During the ordination rite, the Bishop asks the Superior, “Do you judge him to be worthy?” I read someone once saying that this is the wrong question. It should be “do you judge him to be unworthy?” For Christ calls the weak, the unworthy, the last … as his co-workers and I identify with that. I studied with many people, of both sexes, who would have been better equipped than me for ordained priesthood, but that is not Jesus’ criteria.

Over the 30 years I have made mistakes, I have fallen short, I have been unfaithful, I have let people down, I have let myself down…but I keep trying my best, limited at times as that may be.

However, I have been blessed and encouraged by the priesthood that we all share as Baptised. And that has inspired me to be better. Be it the women in the Base Communities in Brazil rowing for hours to teach other mum’s good child care, be it Hattie Williams in South Side Chicago opening her doors to bring the black and white communities together, be it Mrs. Murphy who gives her £5.00 every week for the missions, be it the many great men and women, who we can all think of, who have brought Christ to others, the catechists, the Eucharist Minsters, the folk who make the coffee after mass, those who visit the sick, collect for the poor, volunteer for this and that… this is the priesthood we all share, and I thank God for the priests (non-ordained) who have enriched my life and encouraged me.

I would like to believe that at our Centre here in Preston, we can create a space for all priesthoods to be welcomed, celebrated, encouraged and empowered. The body of Christ has many parts…but all part of the same!

Have a look at the range of activities on the go and maybe bring something yourself. We all have pieces of the jigsaw and together we can make the picture more complete. After all God didn’t do it alone – the Trinity, that we celebrate reminds us of the perfect community, each one playing different parts…creating, redeeming and empowering.

The late great Norman Walsh used to joke when someone was celebrating a wedding anniversary… “Did you have a minute’s silence?“ On Monday I will take a minute or two to thank God for priestly ministry, mine and others. Please take a minute too, to do the same.

Jim

Spirituality for Summer

We have the Saturday Retreat “Spirituality for Summer” coming up on Saturday the 22nd June.

The organisers would be grateful for an idea of numbers so they can plan ahead. If you you are thinking of coming it would be very helpful if you would let Rose and Greg McCrave know by completing the form at the bottom of this page.

New “Women at Prayer” Group

This new small group is now launched and on the calendar. We will meet on the 1st Wednesday of each month commencing Wednesday 3rd July 2-3pm. £3 donation in support of the centre would be appreciated. Refreshments available. We will spend some time sharing, reflecting and praying. All women welcome.