Westminster Justice & Peace E-Bulletin June 2023

John Coleby, Director, Caritas Westminster

John Coleby, Director of Caritas Westminster, writes:

I am writing this note as I come to the end of my time as Director of Caritas Westminster. The time of the Spirit compels us to remember the fundamentals of our faith. Jesus is risen; he has shown us how to live and in doing so we experience that love the Father has for all his creation. He has sent us the spirit of love, forgiveness, service and justice to transform us and our world. We are on our own roads to Emmaus or Damascus. It seems to me we have the roadmap and the clues and yet on all levels we struggle to consistently stay on the path. I think this is what it so challenging to live a fully Christian life and why the social teaching of the Church is its best-kept secret.

In recent times, we have seen years of austerity and increasing levels of poverty, the global pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the cost of living crisis, wars in the horn of Africa and North Africa, floods and droughts and fires caused by ongoing environmental degradation. As a worker for social justice one can feel overwhelmed and, at times, without hope. But while these occurrences are disturbing, I do find hope – in the greater part because I have observed and experienced the love, forgiveness, service and fight for justice by ordinary people who are moved by the Spirit to carry on in the face of such challenges and get stuff done and show God to the world.

I see God’s love demonstrated in the quality of relationships we build with people with intellectual disabilities, people in need of food, people excluded because they are deaf, people recovering from domestic abuse and modern slavery, people who are alone and frightened, people seeking sanctuary. I see the commitment to loving neighbour as self and the recognition that as Church we are to listen to all people, thus affirming their dignity and ensuring they are the architects of their own futures. Love is made concrete in acts of service to our fellow human beings and so, together with forgiveness and reconciliation, we seek justice for a fairer world where everybody has a place and where everybody’s story is worthy of being heard and appreciated.

It has been a privilege to work alongside Justice and Peace colleagues during my time as Director of Caritas Westminster. I will cherish your profound questioning and call for radical change so that people may find God’s love in everyone they encounter.

Fr Dominic and Colette write: We thank John for his time of service on the Westminster Justice and Peace Commission and for all his good work establishing and leading Caritas Westminster over the past eleven years. We wish him well for the next chapter of his life and look forward to welcoming the new Director in due course.

Westminster Justice & Peace E-Bulletin May 2023

The monthly E-Bulletin contains a two-page list of dates and activities for Catholics and others interested in getting involved in justice and peace issues. We try to produce short, pithy descriptions suitable for cutting and pasting into parish newsletters, but please do let us know if there is any way the information could be improved or better presented – justiceandpeace@rcdow.org.uk

Here is a sample of the Diary Dates to give you an idea of the sort of events that are included:

5 May, 7-9pm: Catholics and the Monarchy in Britain – London Jesuit Centre. 114 Mount Street, London, W1K 3AH.At the coronation of Charles III, join a discussion about the relationship between Catholics and the Monarchy. Dr Aidan Cottrell-Boyce with Mary Kenny, Peter Stamford and Jon Crudas MP. £10 suggested contribution. Book in advance

6 May – 30 July: St Francis of Assisi Exhibition, National Gallery, Trafalgar Square. Art and imagery of Saint Francis (1182–1226) from the 13th century to today. Paintings from the National Gallery Collection by SassettaBotticelli, and Zurbarán with international loans including works by Caravaggio, Josefa de Óbidos, Stanley Spencer, Antony Gormley, Giuseppe Penone, Andrea Büttner, and a new commission from Richard Long. Saint Francis of Assisi

9 May: Day of Prayer for Survivors of Abuse – a national day of prayer called by the bishops of England and Wales for those who have been abused in a season of hope and new life. The Isaiah Journey has prepared a range of resources for prayer, action and reflection for use throughout the year, to be launched on the day of prayer. CBCEW Day of Prayer

13 May 10.15am-4.30pm: A Climate Retreat with Ruth Valerio – The Royal Foundation of St. Katharine, 2 Butcher Row, London, E14 8DS. An opportunity to be refreshed and re-envisioned amidst our current climate crisis. Ruth Valerio is an environmentalist, theologian and social activist. Cost £45. Bookings with Eventbrite

13-21 May: Urban Tree FestivalProgramme 2023

15 May, 12.45-2.00pm: Southern Dioceses Environment Network – Update on the Guardians of Creation Project. Monthly online meeting for prayer, sharing and networking on the Care of Creation. Attend as a one-off or participate regularly. Southern Dioceses Environment Network

15 May, 12.30-1.30pm: Monthly Prayer Vigil outside the Home Office with Westminster Justice & Peace and London Catholic Worker to pray for migrants seeking safe passage to the UK. Marsham Street, SW1P 4DF. Contact Barbara Kentish for more details please message barbarakentish@talktalk.net

17 May, 11.30am: Westminster Cathedral Interfaith Group – Group visit to the National Gallery to see the St Francis of Assisi exhibition. Free, but please book own tickets in advance. Contact John Woodhouse to let him know if you would like to join in woodhousesopten@btinternet.com

17 May, 2-3.30p.m: Westminster Cathedral Interfaith Group – ‘Who is my neighbour?’ Monthly discussions on Fratelli Tutti, the encyclical on fraternity and social friendship by Pope Francis. Chapter 5 “A better kind of politics” with Sheikh Ramzy from Oxford. Hinsley Room, Morpeth Terrace, SW1 1EN. Contact John Woodhouse woodhousesopten@btinternet.com

24 May: 8th Anniversary of Laudato Si’ – Laudato Si Week 21-28 May

24 May, 6-8.30pm: PACT Harold Hood Lecture – “Is there a Christian answer to the problems of the criminal justice system?” Speaker: Dr Chijioke Nwalozie (Senior Lecturer in Criminology at De Montfort University.) Maria Fidelis Catholic School, Drummond Crescent, London NW1 1LY. Music by Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir. Free. Optional £25 suggested donation towards the support of prisoners and their families, if you can afford it. More details from PACT

We hope you will read or download the full bulletin to find out the rest!

Westminster Justice and Peace E-Bulletin April 2023

Photo: ©Mazur/ CBCEW

Dear Friends of Justice and Peace,

This spring and summer we are supporting many activities across the Diocese for refugees, ending homelessness, tackling racial discrimination and promoting peace. As usual, protecting our natural environment is a key priority for us, so for Friday 21st April we especially invite you to join ‘The Big One’ – the largest climate rally planned yet for action to end the dangerous fossil fuel emissions that are harming our planet. 

Westminster Justice & Peace will be joining CAFODFaith for the ClimateChristian AidChristian Climate Action and many other groups for an ecumenical ‘No Faith in Fossil Fuels’ service at St Johns, Waterloo Rd, London, SE1 8TY, 12noon, after which we will walk together to join the main civic rally outside the Houses of Parliament, pausing via the Shell HQ on the South Bank. Participants are invited to compose and bring prayers for climate justice on a placard, which you can hold up as we walk.

We would love to be joined by clergy and parishioners from all over the Diocese. For more details please visit:

21 April – ‘The Big One’ – Climate Service and Rally

We wish you a blessed and sacred time this Holy Week as together we accompany Jesus through his passion to the Cross. 

May we rejoice once more in the joy of the Resurrection and know the love of the Lord in everything we do.

In peace, with justice,

Colette Joyce (Co-ordinator)

Westminster Justice and Peace E-Bulletin March 2023

Fr Dominic writes:

Prayer, fasting, and works of charity are the three traditional strands of Lenten observance recommended by the Church. 

As such, they are part of a whole, representing how on our Lenten journey we live out our faith as God’s Pilgrim People and, as the living out of the Church’s social teaching is at the heart of our faith, each dimension involves the hallmark of the Kingdom of love, peace, justice, truth. 

In our prayer we are called to remember those most in need, especially those affected by war and conflict, and those on the margins in whatever way. 

We are called to make some concrete expression of our need for God in fasting from earthly pleasures, and in so doing are in solidarity with those who suffer and grow into closer communion with the whole of creation groaning for rebirth.  CAFOD’s Lent Family Fast Day is a good time to do this but, of course, the whole of Lent presents opportunities for fasting. 

And we are called to do something tangible which assists those most in need and our ailing planet.  Here we can volunteer through Caritas with the homeless, food banks, with the SVP and so many other charities, and there are so many practical things we can do to care better for the environment 

There is so much we can do as individuals and as communities in our parishes, schools and chaplaincies, to prepare for the greatest feast of the Church’s year at Easter. If nothing else, however, I hope we can spend some more time reflecting on our own frailty and sinfulness as God’s constantly journeying Pilgrim People, to be renewed in our commitment to be a Church which truly proclaims the Kingdom of peace and justice, to be a Church which, as the Holy Father puts it, is a Church not just with or for but “of the poor”.

The Lent 2023 Faith-Sharing group resource, prepared this year by Westminster Justice and Peace, is there also to help us embrace Lenten renewal in communities.  I hope that our growing network of Contacts representing our communities can promote it.  Download a copy

In encouraging us to use it widely, this gives me the opportunity to thank all our contacts and other volunteers for the work of Justice & Peace in their communities, and especially Colette Joyce, for all the work on this and so much else as Justice & Peace Co-ordinator.

I thank also the Commission, now rebuilding and growing, and this month welcome back Hilda McAfferty, who will represent the vast network of parishes in West London where so much valuable work is going on.

Many thanks again for your faithfulness to the work of Justice and Peace in our diocese.

And a blessed Lent to all!   

Fr Dominic Robinson, SJ
Chair, Westminster Justice and Peace

Westminster Justice and Peace E-Bulletin February 2023

Fr Dominic Robinson SJ and Colette Joyce have co-authored this year’s Lent Faith-Sharing resource booklet for the Agency for Evangelisation for use by small groups in parishes over five 60-90 minute sessions in Lent, covering the themes of homelessness, racial justice, care of creation, migrants and peace, in the light of the Scriptures and drawing on local examples in the Diocese of Westminster.

Dear Friends of Justice and Peace,

This month’s Westminster Justice & Peace E-Bulletin is now available for download, packed with the usual assortment of Diary Dates: events, talks, webinars, meetings and actions across a whole range of concerns from helping the homeless into dignified work with Caritas, to Synodal explorations on the role of women in the Church with the National Board of Catholic Women, to supporting the international development work of CAFOD. We hope there is something for everyone. 

Peace, hope and happiness this Feast of the Presentation.

Westminster Justice and Peace E-Bulletin January 2023

Dear Friends of Justice and Peace,

Happy New Year!

Today we pray and remember Pope Benedict and the legacy he left the Church, especially in his great witness and love for the person of Jesus. Requiescat in pace.


Looking ahead to 2023, the E-Bulletin contains an update on the on-going Synodal Pathway. There are a smaller than usual number of Diary Dates – to begin the year at a gentle pace. No doubt many more will be added in the months to come!

Peace Sunday on 15th January is the next key event promoted by the Justice and Peace Commission. As we draw closer to the one year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia (24 February 2022), we invite you to give particular consideration to this year’s Message from Pope Francis for the World Day of Peace and to look up the work and resources of Pax Christi in preparation for Masses on this weekend. We remember, too, that there are still many other parts of the world experiencing conflict and strife that are not in the headlines and we keep them in our prayers. 

Peace Sunday

Westminster Justice and Peace E-Bulletin December 2022

Family members mourning Shereen Abu Akleh at a meeting with the Holy Land Coordination group May 2022

Bishop Nicholas Hudson writes:

“For the peace of Jerusalem pray!” (Psalm 122, 6). That was the phrase that resonated most deeply within me as we sought as a group of bishops to fathom Jerusalem’s religious vocation. We had gathered from diverse nations to make up this year’s Holy Land Coordination.

That Jerusalem is a Jewish city, a Christian city, a Muslim city: that was the deepest truth we took away from our visit to this city, which is so sacred to all three faiths. We also took away the conviction that the Christian community in Jerusalem has a particular calling to articulate this conviction.  Not only is the Christian community an essential part of Jerusalem’s identity.  It also has a peculiar freedom to speak the truth of Jerusalem’s multiple identity.

Meanwhile the Holy Land Coordination feels duty bound to warn that the Christian community’s continued presence there is threatened by occupation and injustice.  Many of those we encountered are facing violence and intimidation by settler groups, restrictions on their freedom of movement, or separation from their families because of the status they are assigned.

Issues of occupation, status, diverse cultures and faiths being forced to live alongside one another – every one of these modern realities was, of course, central to the Jerusalem into which walked the Holy Family two millennia ago. The Massacre of the Innocents, of “Rachel weeping for her children” (Jeremiah 31, 15), were made all the more real for us as we witnessed the pain being experienced by the family of Palestinian Catholic journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. She had been gunned down as she went about her work as a journalist reporting on the inequities she observed in Israeli society – only for her mourners to be fired upon as they laid her body to rest.

“I came into the world for this,” Jesus told Pilate, “to witness to the truth” (John 18).  Because he witnessed to the truth, his life was taken from him.  The life was taken from Shireen because she too witnessed to the truth.  

Visiting Jerusalem at the time of her mourning brought home to us with greater force than ever the truth that Christians worldwide share a dual vocation with regard to Jerusalem: to denounce the persecution of the continuing Christian community there but, at the same time, call that community to have the courage to declare more loudly than ever that this sacred place is not only Christian but also Jewish and Muslim. For that is surely the only way to “the peace of Jerusalem”.

+Nicholas Hudson

Advent 2022

Bishops meet with family of Christian Palestinian journalist killed in Jenin

Westminster Justice and Peace E-Bulletin November 2022

Colette Joyce, Westminster Justice & Peace Co-ordinator, writes:

In person events are back! And we have three coming up all on the same day which provide opportunities for formation and action across a range of issues that are currently at the forefront of our minds. Perhaps one or other of them will be of particular interest to you, your friends, family or other parishioners? Please pray for all the organisers who are working hard to enable the Catholic community to respond to the biggest concerns of our day .

12th November, 10.30am-5.00pm
Firm Foundations in a Cost-of-Living Crisis
With Caritas Westminster
All Saints College, 75 St Charles Square, W10 6EL
Includes workshops.
Light lunch provided.
Register with Eventbrite

 12th November, 11am-4pm
National Justice and Peace Network (NJPN) Open Networking Day
‘A Better Kind of Politics’ 
Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Rd, London, SE1 7JB.
Facilitated by the Quaker Truth and Integrity Group.
More details on NJPN Website

12th November, 11.30am-4pm
COP27 Global Day of Action Mobilisation
Start outside St John’s Church, Waterloo, SE1 8TY, for prayers.
Walk to Shell building on the South Bank.
Rally at Trafalgar Square.
Register with CAFOD to let us know you will be joining us on the day
To walk with Westminster Justice & Peace contact Colette colettejoyce@rcdow.org.uk / 07593 434905
More details on COP27

As usual, our E-Bulletin provides many ways to get involved with the responses of our Catholic community and others. We invite you, in particular in the coming weeks, to pray for the government, business and community leaders gathering in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, for the UN Climate Conference, COP27, 6th-18th November 2022. Twenty-six previous such meetings have yet to result in any overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions but the urgency is growing with each year that passes and so we can and must keep the pressure on to demand tangible results this time.  Visit our COP27 webpage to find out more and how to get involved. 

Westminster Justice and Peace E-Bulletin October 2022

I hope you have enjoyed celebrating nature this month, even as we become ever more aware of the efforts we must make to protect our common home. There is still the Feast of St Francis to come on Tuesday, 4th October, to close the season, as we seek his intercession and inspiration in our care for the environment for rest of the year. 

Our E-Bulletin this month contains a report from our most recent Westminster Social Justice and Peace Forum on Saturday, 17th September, when people from around the Diocese joined Bishop Nicholas Hudson and Bishop Paul McAleenan on Zoom. The theme of the Forum was ‘To Accompany Refugees’, and it took place on the weekend preceding the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (25th September). The Forum was chaired by Bishop Nicholas Hudson, who underlined that this was an opportunity to explore what the response in the ecclesial community in Westminster has been…  Read the full report on our website

Welcome to New Commission Member  

Fr Dominic writes: 

A warm welcome to Sr Carolyn Morrison ra, University Chaplain based at Newman House, to the Westminster Justice and Peace Commission. We look forward to benefiting from Sr Carolyn’s skills and experience. We hope to recruit more new members to the Commission in due course.  

The current Commission members are: Fr Dominic Robinson SJ (Chair), Colette Joyce (Co-ordinator), Tony Sheen (CAFOD), John Coleby (Caritas), Sr Carolyn Morrison ra 

Parish Contacts

Thank you to everyone who has volunteered to serve as a Parish Contact for Justice & Peace in 2023.  The current list can be found here:

Westminster Justice and Peace Parish Contacts

Finally, in this month which includes Homeless Sunday and Challenge Poverty Week, we continue to consider how best we might help our communities rise to meet the current cost-of-living challenges. There are many links and events in the Diary pages to inform our response, including a one-day Conference with Caritas Westminster on 12th November at All Saints Catholic College, 75 Saint Charles Square, London, W10 6EL, which will bring together a number of different organisations offering assistance, with people from schools, parishes and projects across the Diocese. 

12th November, 10.30am-5.00pm: Firm Foundations in a Cost of Living Crisis

Please keep all the organisers of these events in your prayers. 

Westminster Justice and Peace E-Bulletin September 2022

The new term has seen a plethora of events dropping into my inbox so there are THREE pages of Diary Dates this month. No-one can do it all, but I hope you will find one or two things of particular interest to you among this myriad of ideas for putting our faith into practice.

Two highlights for us are:

The Season of Creation, 1st September – 4th October 

This year’s theme is “Listen to the Voice of Creation.” As the Psalmist declares:

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; 
and the firmament proclaims God’s handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge…their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the Earth
and their words to the end of the world.” 
(Psalm 19: 1-4)

Find resources for the Season of Creation

Westminster Social Justice and Peace Forum ‘To Accompany Refugees’, 17th September, 10am-1pm.

Join Bishops Nicholas Hudson and Paul McAleenan along with guest speakers including Megan Knowles (Jesuit Refugee Service) and Teresa Clarke (St Alban’s Hostel Visiting Group), for sharing and discussion of our response to the worldwide movement of peoples. 

Register with Eventbrite