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Picture: Adoration of the Magi by an anonymous Dutch painter, c1520

Happy New Year and Epiphany to you all from the Grapevine Team!

Life is an adventure which, if we stay on the right path, will lead us to a wonderful destination.  Let's make 2022 a year to take up the invitation of the Synod, to be renewed in travelling together and reaching out. 

A year of learning again to listen

Pope Francis repeatedly urges us to 'dialogue' and 'accompaniment'.  On Christmas Day in his Urbi et Orbi address he recalled how the infant Christ, like any child, longs to learn to speak - longed, in fact, for dialogue, which is the first Good News of all.
'He is the word of God...
who wished to learn how to speak'

"Sisters and brothers, 'what would our world be like without the patient dialogue of the many generous persons who keep families and communities together?' (Fratelli Tutti, 198). In this time of pandemic, we have come to realise this more and more..."

"Amid all the many problems of our time, hope prevails, 'for to us a child is born' (Is 9:6). He is the word of God, who became an infant, capable only of crying, and in need of help for everything. He wished to learn how to speak, like every other child, so that we might learn to listen to God, our Father, to listen to one another and to dialogue as brothers and sisters. O Christ, born for our sake, teach us to walk beside you on the paths of peace."

Support for your next Synod steps

What with Covid and Christmas we might feel we've hardly had chance to clear our throats for the Synod dialogue here in the diocese.   But Pope Francis is clear that dialogue is not just a passing initiative - 'synodality' is the nature and future of the Church.  And it's not just a private conversation - that's why Bishop Patrick is urging us to listen to the marginalised, and, crucially, to act on what we hear. 

This month meetings take place (Covid permitting) in every Deanery to discern how to do that together.  As this issue of Grapevine explains, Caritas is here to help you move into action, so that the Synod bears fruit - fruit that will last.

As well as passing on opportunities to grow in faith and service, this issue introduces Helen who has joined us in the Curia and is helping to produce Grapevine.  It's great to have your help, Helen!

-- Paul and Helen
for Caritas Diocese of Nottingham

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In this issue
  • From Synod to action: support from Caritas Diocese of Nottingham
  • Reminder to sign up for 'Finding Faith in Tax Justice', 17th January
  • Peace Sunday, 16th January
  • The Common Good and the Catholic Church’s Social Teaching
  • Nationality and Borders Bill - what can we do to help

From Synod into action...
During Autumn 2021 parishes and chaplaincies across the Diocese were invited to identify two ways (one immediate, one a long-term) to reach out and listen to the marginalised or separated.  This month Deanery meetings of lay people and clergy are planned, to discern what parishes can do together, ecumenically, with other faiths, in charitable outreach and with civic bodies.
Caritas has been established to support your parish in putting this kind of outreach into practice, so please contact us if you think we can help.  We offer a wide range of services, free of charge:
  • Consultancy support and advice for project development and fundraising
  • Networking with people across the diocese who are developing similar work to yours
  • Contacts in the public sector, voluntary agencies and other useful partner organisations
  • Skilled, independent facilitation for discernment workshops and action planning.
Click the link below to let us know any plans emerging so far in your parish, and we will help you put them into action.
Contact us for help with your next steps
Don't forget to sign up for our upcoming webinar with Church Action for Tax Justice
Find out more here and book your place
'Peace Sunday'
16th January 2022

Theme of Pope Francis’ World Peace Day:

Education, work and dialogue between generations:
tools for building lasting peace

Once again Pax Christi, the international Catholic movement for peace, has produced a variety of on-line and paper resources to celebrate the theme.  While there are some limits as to how we come together, Pax Christi have materials for parishes, communities and families - allowing for as much creativity as possible, this is not limited to one day or place! 

In his message to parishes Pax Christi's National President, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon says: "This year has been one of unprecedented and continuing challenges. We are all conscious of the need to restore and rebuild our communities here and around the world, accepting that we need new ways of working and relating to each other. The Christian message of peace, through reconciliation, justice and nonviolence, can offer hope and direction in these times.  I invite you to seriously consider facilitating a collection for, or making a donation to, the work of Pax Christi at this time as a way to make a practical contribution to continuing the work of peace."

Browse Peace Sunday resources here
In the autumn of 1996 the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales published a teaching document entitled The Common Good and the Catholic Church’s Social Teaching.  This aimed to help Catholics and others in the months leading to the May 1997 General Election.

To mark the twenty-fifth anniversary Saint Mary’s University is organising a study day on Wednesday 26th January.
More on the study day here

Nationality and Borders Bill

The Saint Vincent de Paul Society (England and Wales) and the Jesuit Refugee Service UK have produced a campaign toolkit, Eight things you should know about the Nationality and Borders Bill and actions you can take to change it.

This resource examines the Bill in the light of Scripture and Catholic Social Teaching and proposes practical ways in which the Catholic community can express its concerns. Click below to find out more on the website of Caritas Social Action Network.
More on the Bill here
For many years now, Rita Cannon, from St Paul's parish in Nottingham, has been a volunteer for ‘Host Nottingham’ which is actively involved in awareness raising and campaigning for a just asylum system working with other agencies to tackle homelessness among asylum seekers and refugees in Nottingham. Through Host Nottingham, Rita offered her home to Ligia from Iraq (pictured below), enabling her to stay while waiting for her application for asylum to be processed. Rita is featured in an article in the online newsletter Smitten by Faith which you can read by clicking below.
Read Rita and Ligia's story
Find out more about Host Nottingham

Introducing Helen Bozicevic

My name is Helen and I work as a Mission Support Assistant in the Curia office in Nottingham.    I thought I would just introduce myself and let you know what I do and where I fit in. 
Having attended Catholic school since the age of 5 – I loved my time there and flourished under the teaching and guidance received.

Wanting to carry a baguette under arm and wear a beret, I moved to France and Canada, then back to Europe to continue my overseas life, spending a total of 20 years there.  I continued to attend church – sometimes a gospel church, sometimes  a retreat and adapted my Christian life (with Sunday missal in my suitcase) the best I could.
I have returned for a while and am delighted to be working with some wonderful people who are making me challenge the way I am practising my faith.  They are introducing me to how the church now operates and what I can do to make a difference in my own and others’ lives.
One of my tasks is to help with the Grapevine newsletter.  So, If you have any events or news you would like to share with us, please let me know!
Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.
New Years Resolutions - where do I start?
How can I make a difference?
How can Caritas best equip you
to make an impact on the world?

The Church which 'goes forth' is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruits and rejoice....
An evangelising community gets involved by word and deed in people's daily lives, it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others. EG24.

We take this opportunity to thank everyone in the parishes who have volunteered in one way or another and are already involved in their own personal mission. For those of us who haven't yet made the step -  now is the time to reflect on what we should be doing to spread the word of Christ.. 

As the saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day - so let's all commit to stay focused, positive and realistic as we jump into 2022 with a personal goal in mind and a plan of action in place, knowing that we have the support within our parishes to make a difference - to make an impact.

Good Luck!
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Diocese of Nottingham · Willson House · 25 Derby Road · Nottingham, Nottingham NG1 5AW · United Kingdom

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