Remembering Genocides – and the Power of Words

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Once a year we remember those who suffered, and continue to suffer, as a result of the Jewish holocaust. Holocaust Memorial Day 2018 falls on Saturday 27 January.

In the UK and around the world, 27 January has become known as Holocaust Memorial Day, a day when we remember all those countless numbers of people who have been affected by genocide. Why 27 January? This is the date when, in 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the concentration camps, was liberated from the Nazis. Six million Jews were known to have been murdered by them, but the actual number could far exceed this. However, Holocaust Memorial Day is even more than remembering with sorrow the countless numbers of Jews as well as gypsies, gays and mentally and physically handicapped people who were killed by the Nazis. It is when we remember also all the genocides that have taken place since the second World War. On this day we call and pray for an end to racial violence.

To mark 27 January, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust chooses a different theme each year, relevant to the Holocaust and subsequent genocide. This year the theme is The Power of Words. In these days of “fake news”, it is important to acknowledge the potency of words, both for evil and for good. It is important to remember those who have perished and to flag up a warning for the future, so that such atrocities will no longer disfigure humanity.

The national event to mark the Holocaust Memorial Day will be held in London, but all around the country thousands of events will be held locally – in town halls, schools, churches. See the interactive map for an activity near you on the website of The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

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The Power of Words 175.88 kB<
Resource produced by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust exploring the the theme "The Power of Words"

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Catholic-Jewish relations

Prayer to St Helen

st-helenSaint Helen,
beloved Patroness of our Parish.
You left these Celtic lands
to become the first Christian
Empress of Rome;
You were cast off by your husband,
and so are the patroness of the Divorced;
and in old age you went as a
pilgrim to the Holy Land,
and there sought out and
recovered the True Cross.
Teach us also to seek and find
the truth of the cross
in our own lives and history,
and through it, renew our faith and hope
in the resurrection of Christ,
our Saviour.

Statement on Refugee Crisis by Cardinal Vincent Nichols

Cardinal-Vincent-Nichols-walks-prayerfully-with-a-lit-candleCardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Bishops’ Conference, has made a statement on the refugee crisis.

“The Catholic Church in England and Wales will respond to Pope Francis’ challenge to be generous in supporting people who have been forced to flee their homes.

“We urge government to respond positively to this crisis and to provide the necessary resources and funding to ensure the effective reception and long-term resettlement of these desperate people. We will work with both government and other responsible authorities to meet this grave challenge.

“We invite all Catholics to respond in prayer and in real, practical action. It is my hope to join the prayer vigil which is taking place outside Westminster Cathedral tomorrow night (8 September 2015).

“Guidance will follow shortly on how the Catholic community in England and Wales can practically respond to this refugee crisis.”

A Message From Pope Francis on World Day of the Sick

February 11th, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, is also the Day of Prayer for the Sick. At St Helen’s we will mark it with Mass with the Sacrament of the sick at 2 pm, in the Hall: All who are sick and housebound are invited: Help is available for those who have no transport: Please contact Louisa on 02920 883462. All Parishioners are also invited, and help with transport, welcome, refreshments, and simple friendship would be most gratefully received.

Pope-Francis-in-Popemobile_medium-2Pope Francis in 2014 is commending the 22nd World Day of the Sick to the intercession of Mary, so that she will help sick people to live their own suffering in communion with Jesus Christ.

The theme for this world day is Faith and charity: ” We too must give our lives for the brethren” and in his message to mark this occasion, the Holy Father turns his attention especially to the sick and all those who provide them with care and treatment. The Pope begins his five point message by saying “the Church sees in you, dear sick people, the special presence of the suffering Christ and he goes on to say that God gives us the courage to face each adversity with him and united to Him”.

Why not read Pope Francis’ Message () for the World Day of the Sick?

CAFOD Appeal For The Phillipines

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In the wake of the devastatng storm that hit the Phillipines, leaving thousands dead and which brought devastation for up to 10 million, CAFOD has this week launched an Emergency Appeal. Here’s some information from the CAFOD website:

What has happened?
Typhoon Haiyan – one of the strongest ever to make landfall – swept across the Philippines on Friday 8 November, leaving a trail of massive destruction in its wake. The full extent of the damage is not yet known, but an estimated 9.8 million people have had their lives torn apart. Power, transport and water systems have been severely disrupted.

What are the needs?
We need to provide food, shelter and safety for people whose homes have been destroyed, as well as blankets, clothes and other essentials. Please give today to help us reach the most vulnerable people.

What is CAFOD doing?
Our trusted local partners are on the ground in the worst hit areas, responding to the most immediate needs. We’re also still providing food and shelter to people who lost their homes in the earthquake on the island of Bohol last month. The typhoon has added to the destruction and made it more difficult to deliver aid, but we’re doing everything we can to reach the most isolated and vulnerable people.

We’re currently moving tarpaulins to Cebu City so that we can provide 8,000 families with shelter needs. Our response teams are travelling to the areas hardest hit to determine exactly what people need and how we can help them.

Donate now and help save lives >>

Appeal resources for parishes

  1. Typhoon Haiyan prayers (34 kB) word
  2. Typhoon Haiyan appeal: parish Gift Aid Declaration slips (45 kB) word