Westminster Justice and Peace E-Bulletin November 2021

In this coming month of November, 2021, we seem to be reaching a time of very great significance for both the Church and the World. On Sunday the United Nations Climate Conference begins in Glasgow – COP26 – while the universal Catholic Church embarks on a Synodal Pathway, a consultation and listening exercise to which everyone is invited.

Download the November E-Bulletin to find details of some of the many events and activities taking place and how you can participate. We hope you will find something there of interest to you…

Westminster Synod Pathway – Social Justice and Peace Forum Online Listening Event, Thursday 4th November, 7-9pm

Pope Francis has chosen this time to call the whole Church into a deeper process of listening to one another – the Synodal Pathway. There are many ways to get involved in the Diocese of Westminster.

Everyone involved in social action, advocacy and peace-building is especially invited to our own Online Listening Event with Bishops Nicholas Hudson and Paul McAleenan on Thursday 4th November, 7-9pm, on Zoom.

Register for the Social Justice and Peace Online Listening Event

There may seem to be many demands on us but it is important that we pause and take time to truly listen to one another, sharing both our joys and our hurts, if we are truly to journey forwards together.

As well as existing activists and named Parish Contacts for Justice and Peace, we are keen to ensure that this is a time of genuine openness and inclusion so those who would like to join the Forum for the first time are most welcome, priests and parishioners alike. 

We hope to see many of you there as we begin – or, as Bishop Nicholas writes in his invitation below, continue – a conversation that will have far-reaching implications for the Church of the third millennium. 

Invitation

What is the pandemic teaching us about the call to Social Justice and Peace?‘  That was the question with which we launched into our first online Forum last Advent. ‘What is the Catholic vision of work?‘ launched the second Forum in May. And what rich fruits these questions reaped!

We heard in the first gathering about the extraordinary food outreach achieved in this Diocese.  We heard both the pain and joy experienced by people of colour through belonging to a West London parish.  We heard the call for a ‘radical reset’ of our social and economic systems.  We heard in the second event how much parishes stand to learn from Catholic Social Teaching. In short, we were learning from each other what it means to be Church!  We were beginning to see how much more we need to do to become more truly Church.  But we lacked the vocabulary to tell each other that what we had embarked on was, in fact, a Synodal process. Now we realise we had! 

On Thursday 4th November, 7-9pm, the Forum reconvenes and invites you to deepen the Synodal conversation.  The Forum is hosting a ‘Listening Event’ online in which we shall continue this process we began 11 months ago – of listening to our experience of what it means to be Church.  It will be a marvellous opportunity to come together with others who share a passion for Social Justice and Peace – to hear from one another what the Spirit seems to be saying to the Church.

Then we will be encouraged to take the process into the different groups we represent and given guidance as to how then to feed this back into the centre towards a Diocesan submission.  Do encourage all those with whom you share a yearning for the Church to realise her vocation to Social Justice and Peace to come and be a part of this Listening Event.  I look forward to joining you there on this next stage of the journey!

+ Bishop Nicholas Hudson

Register for the Social Justice and Peace Online Listening Event

Prayer Service to Welcome Little Amal to Westminster Cathedral

Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Little AmalPicture by Jane Lowe

On Monday 25th October 2021 we welcomed a very unusual visitor to Westminster Cathedral. Little Amal is a 3.5m puppet of a refugee girl who has walked  from the border of  Turkey / Syria and is heading to Manchester, a journey of 8000km, in search of her mother. Amal’s journey is intended to raise awareness of the many people who undertake such migrant journeys across Europe, especially unaccompanied children. Each one has a personal story of loss, hardship and the search for safety. Amal has already been welcomed to Rome by Pope Francis in September and to St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Saturday 23rd October, as well as many other cultural and religious landmarks in Europe and the UK.

A choir from the Zimbabwean Chaplaincy were waiting on the steps with Cardinal Vincent Nichols to welcome Amal, while musicians and singers from the Congolese Chaplaincy led her into the Cathedral. Cardinal Vincent climbed into the pulpit where he greeted Amal with the words, ‘Welcome to our heart, our home…’

After her welcome from the Cardinal, Amal was invited to walk around the front of the Cathedral visiting the Chapel of St Paul, the Lady Chapel and the Sanctuary as prayers were said at each of these sacred spaces.

First Station – The Chapel of St Paul

Reader: Amal, first we would like to show you the Chapel dedicated to Saint Paul. Like you, Saint Paul was on a journey. His journey was from Jerusalem to Damascus. At the beginning of his journey Saint Paul was persecuting the followers of Jesus, but on that journey Saint Paul also heard the call of Jesus, which changed the course of his entire life. Saint Paul encountered dangers and stresses of many different kinds, but he didn’t give up because he was strengthened by his love of God and God’s love for him, and he was convinced that what he was doing was the right thing to do.

Prayer: We pray for all those who have fled from their homeland to avoid persecution, that they will meet with kindness and understanding on their way to a safer life. We pray, too, for ourselves, that we may let our actions towards others reflect Christ’s love for all people.

Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us

Whatsoever you do to the least of my sisters, that you do unto me.
Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.

Second Station – The Lady Chapel

Reader: Amal, we know that the walk you are on will lead you to your Mother. And, so, we would like to show you this Chapel which is dedicated to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Having said ‘yes’ to God’s call, Mary, also embarked on a series of journeys, which are shown in the mosaics around the top of this beautiful Chapel; first there was Mary’s visit to her cousin, Elizabeth, then to Bethlehem and later to Egypt, to escape persecution. Her life, like ours, had moments of great joy as well as great sorrow. She had to follow her son’s journey – Jesus’ journey – to the Cross, and watch Him die, the hardest thing for a parent to bear. But Mary also followed Jesus to Heaven, where she now prays for all of us.

Prayer: Let us pray for all mothers, fathers and those who parent us. Let us thank God for the sacrifices they make and the unconditional love they give their children.

Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us

And we pray to Mary, who is also our Mother, to intercede for us all as we say together……..

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Whatsoever you do to the least of my sisters, that you do unto me.
Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.

Third Station – The Sanctuary

Reader: Amal, Jesus’ journey through life did not end with His death on the Cross; through his Resurrection, He is still with us, present in the Eucharist, which is celebrated daily on this altar. Jesus in the Eucharist is the food for our journey through life, sustaining us when times are difficult and when our path is hard to follow and accept, which guides us to follow His ways of justice and peace.

Prayer: Let us pray that we can spread hope to those who are suffering persecution; may our minds and hearts be filled with Christ’s love and may we respond with generosity to those who reach out to us in need.

Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us

Cardinal Vincent led the congregation in praying the ‘Our Father’, followed by a reading from St Matthew’s Gospel:

‘People brought little children to Jesus for him to lay his hands on them and say a prayer. The disciples turned them away, but Jesus said. ‘Let the little ones alone, and do not stop them coming to me, for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs’. Then he laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing’.

Matthew 19: 13 -15

Amal embraces reader Megan Pereira from St Michael & St Martin parish in Hounslow.

Amal greets singers and readers on the sanctuary. The Sri Lankan, Congolese, Syro-Malabar and Zimbabwean Chaplaincies are all represented.

At the end of the service Amal received a birthday card from students at St James Catholic High School in Barnet and a gift of a ceramic angel made by students at Caritas St Joseph’s Pastoral Centre, Hendon.

It is hoped that the occasion  will bear fruit in the on-going work of the Diocese of Westminster which will aid the cause of refugees and migrants.

View the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales Flickr account for all pictures from the day:

Little Amal, The Migrant Puppet, Visits Westminster Cathedral

See also – Little Amal is Welcomed at Westminster Cathedral

Good Chance Little Amal – The Walk website

1st November – Candlelit Prayer for COP26 and Other Climate Events

23 October, 11am-5pm – The Tablet Autumn Festival, On the Road to COP26. £23.00. Speakers include Ellen Teague, Lorna Gold, Austen Ivereigh, Andy Atkins, Christine Allen and Gordon Brown. Bookings

23 October – Pre-COP Vigil, Anglican Southwark Cathedral, 2.00-3.45pm. You are encouraged to make a pilgrimage on foot, by bike, by public transport, however you wish, from your place of worship – perhaps in a group – to Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge, SE1 9DA, arriving between 2 – 3pm. Bring a Letter for Creation to pass on to the faith leaders involved in COP. There will be interactive prayer stations from 2pm. At 3.20 we will come together for a time of prayer and reflection with singer Samantha Lindo and St Leonard’s Eco Church Community, ending with a blessing by the Bishop of Kingston. Register to attend in person:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/prayer-vigil-for-cop26-climate-conference-tickets-152732774841 
or Option to watch on livestream here

30 October, 2.30pm – Gathering of the different climate pilgrimages and walking through the Glasgow city: YCCN Relay, Camino to COP and international groups from Germany and Sweden. Meet at McLennan Arch, Glasgow Green. In person.

31 October, 2-3pm – Interfaith Scotland Service for COP26  https://interfaithglasgow.org/cop26/

1-12 November UN Climate Conference COP 26 in Glasgow UK COP26

1 November – 6pm (after 5.30pm Mass). Candle-lit Procession from Westminster Cathedral to Farm Street Church to pray for success of COP26. Organised by London Jesuit Centre, Jesuit Missions and Westminster Justice & Peace. Bring a candle you can carry safely. Some led lights will be provided. Refreshments at Farm Street Church on arrival. Sign up: https://londonjesuitcentre.org/cop-26-candle-lit-procession

3-6 November – Jesuit Missions Pilgrimage Edinburgh to Glasgow. From Sacred Heart Church, Edinburgh, to SEC Centre, Glasgow. For 18-35s. Pilgrimage Chaplain – Fr Nick King SJ   https://jesuitmissions.org.uk/cop-26-pilgrimage/

5 November 11am – 24 Hours for the Climate – Online Vigil Livestreamed from Glasgow. Led by Justice and Peace Scotland https://www.24hoursfortheclimate.org/livestream

6 November – Global Day of Climate Action https://cop26coalition.org/

6 November 11am – London Rally for Climate Action. Meet at St Mary Moorfields Church, 4-5 Eldon Street, London EC2M 7LS, where we will gather with CAFOD supporters before we join the main march outside the Bank of England. Wear a CAFOD T-shirt or something green! Bring a banner. Register to receive updates: https://cafod.org.uk/News/Events/COP26-Day-of-Action-2021

7 November, 4pm – Ecumenical Service for COP 26 St. Mungo’s Cathedral  https://www.glasgowcathedral.org/

14 November – Launch of the Laudato Si’ Platform on of the World Day of the Poor https://laudatosiactionplatform.org/

20 November – RC Diocese of Southwark Justice and Peace Commission Autumn Assembly: ‘COP26: What next?’ Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Brixton Hill, London, SW2 5BJ. What can we do that we aren’t doing now in response to care for the earth, care for the poor, care for a fairer economy? Entrance free.  Everyone welcome. Please bring a packed lunch.  Tea and coffee will be provided. Email jpiccontact@rcaos.org.uk to reserve your place.

For updates on all Key Climate Dates click here

Faith communities urge PM to show leadership at COP26

Faith Campaigners outside the Houses of Parliament, 18 October 2021

Source: CAFOD

Representatives from Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu faiths handed in a statement for the Prime Minister at No 10 Downing Street on Monday morning, saying he was in a “unique position to lead the world in tackling the climate crisis” with the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow less than two weeks away.

The statement highlighted calls from more than 75,000 people across faith communities urging Boris Johnson to show leadership by taking action to tackle the climate emergency in a way that is fair and just for those on the frontlines of the crisis. The statement will specifically call on the Prime Minister to:

  • Keep the 1.5C warming limit agreement alive.
  • Ensure rich countries meet commitments to meet and exceed $100bn in climate finance each year to countries hardest hit by the crisis.
  • End support for fossil fuels everywhere.

Participants included Rt Rev Olivia Graham (Anglican Bishop of Reading), Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg (Senior Rabbi, Masorti Judaism), Imam Emad Choudhury (Imam at Bahu Trust), Avnish Thakrar (National Coordinator, Hindu Climate Action) and Olivia Fuchs (Eco Dharma Network).

The event was organised by CAFOD, Christian Aid, World Vision, SCIAF, Tearfund, and the Faiths 4 Climate Justice network.

Monday 18th October – Faith Communities Call On Boris Johnson To Tackle Climate Crisis Before Crunch Time COP26

On Monday 18th October 10.00 BST representatives from Christian, Muslim, Jewish,
Buddhist and Hindu groups will hand in a statement for the Prime Minister at No.10 Downing
Street telling the Prime Minister he has a “unique position to lead the world in tackling the
climate crisis” with the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow less than two weeks away.


The statement will specifically call on the Prime Minister to:
● Keep 1.5C warming limit agreement alive
● Ensure rich countries meet commitments to meet and exceed $100bn in climate
finance each year to countries hardest hit by the crisis
● End further support for fossil fuels everywhere

The five faith leaders who will take part in the hand in are:
● Rt Rev Olivia Graham – Bishop of Reading
● Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg – Senior Rabbi, Masorti Judaism
● Imam Emad Choudhury – Imam at Bahu Trust
● Avnish Thakrar – National Coordinator, Hindu Climate Action
● Olivia Fuchs – Eco Dharma Network.

The moment is being organised by the aid agencies CAFOD, Christian Aid, World Vision,
SCIAF, Tearfund, and the Faith for the Climate network.

Dr Shanon Shah, Director of Faith for the Climate said:

“We are incredibly proud of the people of diverse religions in the UK and around the world who
have come together with a single message to the leaders who will represent us at COP26:
destroying the planet is against our religions. We’ve demonstrated that for people of faith,
prayers, reflections and meditations are necessary but not enough. We need urgent and
decisive action to address this climate crisis which most severely affects the people who have
done the least to cause it.”

Liam Finn, Campaigns Manager at CAFOD, said:

“We’d like to thank the thousands of Catholics and people from across faith communities who’ve
sent an unequivocal message to Boris Johnson that he has to show leadership at the COP. The
fight to tackle the climate emergency won’t end in Glasgow, but the COP is a vital moment for us
to get on track to ‘keep 1.5 alive’ and prevent our sisters and brothers in vulnerable communities
facing even more catastrophic consequences for a crisis they’ve done least to cause.

“That’s why the Prime Minister has to make sure the people living in communities on the
frontlines of the crisis are put at the heart of COP26, rather than being treated as an
afterthought by decision-makers, as Pope Francis warns is too often the case.”

Little Amal to Visit Westminster Cathedral on Monday 25th October, 2pm

Little Amal, a 3.5m puppet of a refugee girl, is walking  from the border of  Turkey / Syria to Manchester, 8000km,  in search of her mother. On her journey she will visit Westminster Cathedral on Monday 25th October at 2.00pm where she will be welcomed on the steps by Cardinal Vincent and invited to join the congregation gathered inside.

Amal has already visited Pope Francis in Rome and will be welcomed to St Paul’s Cathedral, London, on Saturday 23rd October, among a number of other cultural and religious landmarks in the UK who are preparing to host her.

You are invited to join Cardinal Vincent for this Welcome Liturgy from the Catholic community and significant event showing solidarity with those who make difficult and dangerous journeys to reach safety and sanctuary in this country.

We hope people of all nationalities from around the Diocese will be there to welcome Amal. It is during half term week, which provides an opportunity for families to come together.

Amal is celebrating her 10th birthday the day beforehand, on 24th October, so we will also be wishing her a happy birthday as part of the service.

Further information about Little Amal’s journey is available at  https://www.walkwithamal.org/

There is an educational pack available for schools at https://www.walkwithamal.org/education/

Please be seated by 1.45pm.

Laudato Si’ Animators Pray at Westminster Cathedral – 1st October

Laudato Si’ Animators outside Westminster Cathedral with the ‘Mother of Mercy’ icon

On the 1st October, beginning of the month of the Rosary and towards the end of the Season of Creation, a group of Laudato Si’ Animators gathered outside Westminster Cathedral before and after the 12.30 Mass. 

The purpose was to pray and distribute prayer cards with artist Helen Elwes’ “Mother of Mercy” painting. Thanks to the efforts of Helen and Sr Zoe Leadbetter and the help of various benefactors a big number of these cards has been printed. The hope is that the distribution of this image will help stimulate our Catholic imagination and prayer for our wounded earth. The painting shows Mary, the Mother of Mercy, holding her mantle over all creation, including animals that have become extinct. In the background there are forest fires showing the damage we are doing to the earth. Leaflets about the climate and ecological emergency and the 40 days of prayer before the launching of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform (14th November 2021) were also handed out.

Helen Elwes writes

As an artist I have tried to express my grief for what we are doing to our precious planet in the language I know best – in my painting ‘Mother of Mercy’. It is a contemporary image of the ‘Madonna della Misericordia’ set in a landscape destroyed by fire with the burning rainforest in the distance.

Mary kneels with her blue cloak outstretched around the tree of life, protecting praying figures and endangered animals who take refuge beneath it.

Above her head are the words : ‘Mother of Mercy – Pray For Us’

I have painted it as a modern Icon to inspire prayer but have made it in the form of a banner to bring it out into the world as I feel this message is so urgent. It is a response to the climate and ecological emergency the world is now facing and inspired by Pope Francis’ powerful and visionary call to action in Laudato Si’.

Ellen Teague speaks on Ecological Conversion at Hanwell Masses

Ellen Teague with Jack Edwards at the YCCN Climate Service in Westminster Cathedral 6 Aug 2021

Source: Columban Missionaries Britain

Ellen Teague of the Columban JPIC Team spoke at Masses on 2nd/3rd October 2021 in Hanwell parish, West London, just before the Feast of St. Francis on 4th October. Her talk marked the end of the Season of Creation and suggested ways to continue parish work on climate change and “ecological conversion”.

May the Lord bless us all the days of our life, says today’s psalm. And not just our lives but the lives of our children’s children. These wonderful words written nearly 3,000 years ago inspire my work on Justice, Peace, Ecology issues for the Columban missionaries. Part of this will be representing them at the international UN climate summit in Glasgow in November – the COP26 that you are seeing in the media.

Pope Francis said this week, “every human being has a right to a healthy environment”. He was referring to protecting Planet Earth, our common home, from climate change. But what has prompted my own mission to care for creation?

As a lay missionary in Northern Nigeria in the early 1980s I saw farmers from Niger moving south to work because their farms in Niger had become desertified and prone to soil erosion. Back in Britain, I worked for CAFOD and helped collect funds for the great Ethiopia famine appeal of 1984. TV pictures showed poor people  queuing for food aid amidst a dusty, oppressively hot environment. In the late 1980s I visited Sudan and will never forget witnessing a million people in a refugee camp near the city of Juba, displaced from their homes by drought, exacerbated by conflict, and sitting in a treeless, sun-baked plain completely reliant on humanitarian aid. I was awakened to what several popes have called an “ecological conversion”.

By the 1990s the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was proving that the stability of the world’s climate was being undermined by humanity dumping greenhouse gases into Earth’s atmosphere. Our planet was heating. Why? Energy and transport reliant on fossil fuels, extractive industries tearing up land to access minerals, industrial agriculture were all responsible, alongside raised standards of living in affluent countries such as ours which have literally devoured Earth’s natural resources. Structural issues have include third world debt which forced countries in the global south to destroy their rainforests and export the timber.

The saddest aspect has been that the weakest communities in the poorest countries, who have done least to cause global warming, have been worst affected.  In 2007 I observed the Archdiocese of Manila in the Philippines hold a climate conference attended by over 2000 people – representation from every parish – because, with over half the parishes at or below sea level, they wanted to prepare for flooding caused by inundation from the rising ocean and for more severe weather. And they have had it in recent times. Fr. Sean McDonagh was the keynote speaker. The Filipino bishops said 20 years ago that, “the destruction of creation is sinful and contrary to the teachings of our faith.”

Today’s readings have a strong focus on marriage, family bonds and the rights of children but these relationships are sorely tested by the climate crisis which has torn families and communities apart. Two million people – mostly in the global south – have died as a result of a five-fold increase in weather-related disasters in our lifetimes. Climate refugees could reach 200 million by 2050. Humanity is increasingly on the move and the stability that families and communities need is in jeopardy. The time to act is now.

In 2015 Pope Francis produced his acclaimed environment encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ which is part of the teaching of the Church. It calls on Catholics and all people to heed the warnings of climate experts. “The climate is a good that must be protected” he said and asked us “to hear the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor”. Since then, we have seen increased wild fires, flooding and species extinction around the globe. The climate crisis cannot be ignored anymore, even by those of us not yet feeling the worst impacts.

There is much we can all do.

Tomorrow’s Feast of St. Francis reminds us to appreciate God’s beautiful creation – fresh air, clean water, nutritious food, green spaces, our animal companions. Reflect on your own way of life: avoid waste – especially food waste – conserve water and energy and protect local trees and hedgerows. Share wealth with the victims of climate change.

Hanwell is one of thousands of parishes of all Christian denominations which have celebrated the Season of Creation over the past month. And today, you can support the Climate Appeal of CAFOD. I have a table of resources at the back of the church for finding out more about engagement with COP26. Support your excellent parish Justice and Peace Group, which has raised awareness for many years. Consider becoming a Livesimply parish. And look out for refugees in Ealing and support them – for numbers will grow as people flee climate disasters. Support Westminster Diocese efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. Faith groups are divesting from fossil fuels, such as the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace in this parish.

Outside of your beautiful parish, in the local community, what about engaging with Hanwell Nature which has campaigned to protect the site of Warren Farm for its biodiversity. Did you know it has the only breeding skylark birds in Ealing? These beautiful birds are being conserved and are a blessing in our lives and the lives of our children’s children.

You can be involved nationally and internationally too. Christians are involved with climate justice because climate change affects most heavily communities least able to deal with it and on countries with low greenhouse emission rates, such as Bangladesh and Fiji. We should listen to our young people who demand a future of peace, green jobs and renewable energy. Young Christians have been walking from Cornwall to COP26 in Glasgow since June – a pilgrimage to raise awareness, pray with local churches, and eventually lobby world leaders converging on the city.  They have reached Manchester this weekend.

Another aspect is that we owe respect to the rest of the natural world. Today’s first reading from Genesis speaks of God creating the animals and birds. God sees creation as very good. ‘Laudato Si’ presents a strong critique of modern consumerism which plunders and destroys the natural world. We need soil, trees, rivers and rainfall in order to survive and the Church is speaking out about this louder than it has ever done.

Pope Francis – a global moral beacon – will be speaking in Glasgow to push for urgent action on climate change. The Columbans are supporting him there and organising a 24-hour vigil on 6th-7th November in liaison with other Catholic groups such as Justice and Peace Scotland and the Jesuits in Scotland. CAFOD is organising events in Glasgow and London that same weekend.

You are invited to sign the ‘Healthy Planet, Healthy People’ Petition.  Our Columbans UK website, Facebook and Twitter are updated daily with news of the Catholic response to justice, peace and ecology issues. Details in our latest newsletter at the back. We will help you play your part in lobbying for a successful UN climate summit in November.

Sign the Healthy Planet, Healthy People Petition

Ordinary people like you and me can make a huge difference. At the very least we can identify the habits that have harmed our environment globally and realign as individuals and community to what will keep our society and our environment healthy. This gives everybody hope.

May the Lord indeed bless us all the days of our lives as we follow the Church in promoting justice, peace and “ecological conversion”.

Columban Missionaries Britain

Church of Our Lady and St Joseph, Hanwell, West London

Sign the Healthy Planet, Healthy People Petition