The next meeting of the Commission will be on Saturday the 7th October 2017 at 11am at St John’s, Sundon Park, Luton, LU3 3AL
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18th June 2016. The Justice & Peace commission held a Diocesan Conference on the Laudato Si' encyclical at St John's, Sundon Park, Luton.
This report by Stephen Forster, to whom many thanks. Photos from Deborah Purfield.
Over 34 representatives from parishes in the Northampton diocese met at St John’s (Luton) for this year’s Diocesan Justice and Peace Conference. The theme was Laudato Si' and the keynote speaker was Barbara Kentish, fieldworker for the Westminster archdiocese J&P commission.
Barbara’s emphasis was on the importance that Pope Francis gives to the link between the sensible guardianship of the Earth’s resources and the need to protect the poorest members of society from exploitation. The encyclical was a rallying cry against the worst aspects of consumerism. Thus, it is not just about climate change. Throughout the encyclical Pope Francis emphasised that climate change was but one feature of global problems which all impact on each other. In language not often heard coming from papal pronouncements, the encyclical says that “the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”
During the day the talking was interspersed with a “Cosmic Walk”. In this, a cord was laid out with markers showing significant dates in the development of our planet. It brought home just how long the planet took to develop, compared with just how short a time has elapsed in which man has had stewardship of it, and how in such a short time we have abused the earth.The day ended with discussion groups which focussed on what could be done in parishes in support of the Laudato Si' message. Apart from the central programme, those attending were, during the refreshment breaks and discussion groups, able to benefit from sharing their experiences. As is so often the case this last was as useful and interesting as the central theme of the day.
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A Northampton Diocese Pax Christi group was launched at a meeting of local members and supporters on 31 October 2015.
Pax Christi – the international Catholic movement for peace – is a grassroots peace organisation working nonviolently for peace and reconciliation in over 100 countries worldwide. The work of Pax Christi UK focuses particularly on campaigning against the arms trade, against nuclear weapons, and for a just peace in Israel and Palestine.
As members met in Northampton to discern what a local expression of Pax Christi’s work would consist of, they spoke of the issues that prohibit peace in their local areas and how they might be engaged with.
Members explored many ideas and issues including how Pax Christi’s Peace Sunday (17 January in 2016) may be better promote and celebrated in our parishes, how the companies working in the arms trade within our diocese might be challenged, and how we can work locally in support of the campaign to scrap the UK’s nuclear weapons.
To get involved in the work of Pax Christi in the Northampton Diocese please email email@example.com
The 2014 Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission Conference took place on Saturday 4 October 2014 at Holy Family Church, Langley.
The report below by Deborah Purfield of CAFOD was published in the January 2015 Vine.
Holy Family, Langley was the venue of this year’s Diocesan Justice and Peace Conference- Living the Gospel in today’s World. Over 40 people attended from around the Diocese including Bishop Peter, priests and deacons. There were stalls with information on CAFOD, Pax Christi and the Medaille Trust and a large selection of Fairtrade products for sale.
The day opened with Mass celebrated in the church and then after welcoming refreshments,there was a wonderful liturgy prepared by Maureen Borbonne from the Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission. The format this year was different to other years in that there were two invited speakers, rather than one speaker and workshops.
David McLoughlin (Theologian, Newman College Birmingham) gave a talk on Justice in the Gospels which was very well received. He gave new insights into the scripture especially Deuteronomy and Leviticus and linked this with Jesus’ interpretation of the law. David’s talk was really very helpful, illuminating and inspiring.The discussion which followed linked Jesus’ words and actions that David had referred to in his talk to our communities and way of life for all of us in the 21st Century.
The afternoon session was given by Canon James Cronin (National Director APF) who talked about the work of Missio and about the difficult situation for some Christians around the world. There was time for discussion over tea thereafter.
It was a great opportunity for the Justice and Peace Commission (via CAFOD) to give an update of the Fairtrade status in the Diocese and what steps were needed at both parish and diocesan levels to make the Northampton Diocese a Fairtrade Diocese. The day ended with a short prayer.
If you would like to join the Commission or have any ideas for future events please contact Father Tony Brennan on 01582 502400.. .
Contact Nicky Wiseman for information.
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The 2013 Northampton Diocese Justice & Peace Commission ANNUAL CONFERENCE took place on 27th April at St. John the Apostle Church, Luton.
A report reproduced from the June Vine.
More than sixty people attended the Diocesan Justice and Peace Conference in Luton on 27 April.
The day began with a moving liturgy led by pupils from Cardinal Newman School.
J&P Coordinator, Fr Tony Brennan welcomed Westminster Auxiliary Bishop John Sherington who spoke on the Theology of Justice and Peace.
‘I hope this talk will in some way increase your understanding and motivation,’ he said
He reminded us that Pope Francis said that he wanted a poor Church for the poor. He spoke of his own early experience in the Philippines where acute poverty lived cheek by jowl with great wealth, just separated by gated compounds. He said that we all live in our own gated compounds, both literally and in our minds, and part of our task as Catholic Christians is to be able to cross into the ‘otherness’ of the other world.
‘Jesus was able to cross these barriers,’ he said, ‘to go beyond the barriers and enter into solidarity with those he met. ‘The heart of our mission is acting in solidarity with others, crossing the boundaries to enter the world of another person. The foundation of our solidarity with others is the solidarity that Christ has shown for us.
‘Pope Francis reminds us that this is our motivation for our work of justice and building a world that has peace. He says that without this relationship with Christ we would end up as a compassionate NGO!’
He spoke of wealth and the challenge of wealth put into church buildings ‘It’s a ‘both-and’, he said, ‘and if we decorate our churches and honour Our Lord in worship we must also reach out to the poor and needy’.
He reflected on the parable of the Good Samaritan. He said that to help the victim the Samaritan must have had to kneel down in the dust and look into his face.‘So entering into solidarity is about kneeling down and getting dusty. Solidarity speaks about the strong bond needed to exist within the social order to foster the common good. The human person must be at the centre of any economic and social development.’
‘Pope John Paul II talked about a world that is created with ‘standards of sin’. They don’t place the human person at the centre of any enterprise. They are caused by a thirst for power and profit. He said that we counter that by development of solidarity with people, a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good.
Bishop John said that today we are overwhelmed by crises on the television - Korea, Syria, etc - but we need to give sustained attention - some to Syria, some to the environment, some to people with disabilities.’ In the church’s teaching the gifts of the world are given to all people and we are called to be good stewards. There are limits to the amount of private property - just what is needed for life and family and also provision for sickness and old age. Everything else should be given away.
‘That’s a challenge for all of us!’ he said. ‘There is also the environment. We are all stewards of the gift of creation. How are we to ensure it is left in a good state for the future?’
‘From our prayer and celebrations of the Eucharist we are sent out to serve those who are fragile, vulnerable and poor, in loving solidarity. We are called, like the Good Samaritan, to bend down, kneel on the floor, and get dusty, to see the state of the person who is vulnerable, and respond to the question that person is asking: Who am I and how are you going to treat me? - then ultimately the question - do you care for me?’
Bishop John left his audience with questions as to what they were going to do in terms of living solidarity. Two workshops followed: The Diocesan Covenant with the Poor led by CAFOD’s Frank Diamond, and "Mental Health Issues and the Church" run by Deacon Michael Fleming and based on the work done in St Gregory the Great in Northampton.
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The National Justice and Peace Network met at St Paul's School, Milton Keynes in March 2013. This report is reproduced from the May Vine.
Members came from all parts of the country and local Justice and Peace workers were well represented
After a short prayer service, the issues of the day were tackled. Nicola Wiseman reported on all the activities around the diocese: Slough's London run, the Cathedral helping Palestine, Northampton soup kitchen, Luton a Fair Trade town, Leighton Buzzard's awareness of poverty. And Sr Marie Hayes spoke about Luton Interfaith work
The invited speaker was Bishop William Kenney He lived in Europe for 30 years, and is the representative of the Bishops of England and Wales in Europe and a member of Caritas International
He spoke of the history, the present and the future of the European Union. He said that the founding fathers were all Catholic and had all been though two world wars. The basic tenet of the Union is "we will never go to war again". Since its foundation there has been the longest period without war in Europe, whereas this country is involved in more wars than any other. The two major decisions were - no armaments, and people must depend on each other - when they do, they will not go to war. The first project was the EU coal and steel union. By 1960 they had removed customs tariffs between member states The next problem (and we have that too) is lack of social cohesion - getting people to take part in the society to which they belong. All the things we do in our parishes, people bringing their own food, it's all small steps
There is real concern in Brussels about the minimum standards of living for all Europeans. The UK won't have anything to do with the situation. They have opted out of the working hours' directive and minimum standards of social care They don't like being controlled by Brussels !
A huge problem is immigration People prepared to take their family to a new country are the people you want. They want to work but we keep them out.
We need better people in Europe. Most countries put their best politicians in the European Parliament
A lively question and answer session followed the talk (I bet it did ! - webmaster)
The Bishop was asked what two things could we do. His answer: Get involved in politics, and keep in touch with your MEPs
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A different report of the above event appears on the NJPN website here.
For the National Justice & Peace Network Calendar – see website here and check out the Rolling Diary for monthly events