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Live the Dream

When the story of Pope Francis' papacy comes to be told, a good way of doing so will be by his favourite words.  There are three verbs which stand out for me in his teaching. encounter - accompany and dream.

He invites us to "a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter [us]" (Evangelii Gaudium 3). That in turn invites us to "the challenge of finding and sharing a “mystique” of living together, of mingling and encounter" (87).

The encounter endures, in accompaniment.  "God accompanies the sincere efforts of individuals and groups to find encouragement and meaning in their lives. He dwells among them, fostering solidarity, fraternity, and the desire for goodness, truth and justice. This presence must not be contrived but found, uncovered" (71).

And dreaming?  We need look no further than his book Let Us Dream, and the invitation of the current Synod consultations to dare to dream for the Church, and with the Church.  The prologue of his last encyclical Fratelli Tutti ends  "How important it is to dream together.  By ourselves, we risk seeing mirages, things that are not there. Dreams, on the other hand, are built together” (8).

After our Assembly we have an invitation to continue that work of building together.  Whether you were able to join us or not, come along on Zoom on Tuesday to 'live the dream' as we seek to apply what we heard to real life here in our parishes, and explore how to bring our Synod dreams to life.  You can catch up on all the Assembly talks in this issue too.

Finally, if you're in Nottingham, we invite you to make a Christmas gift, however small, to Open Homes Nottingham, which offers essential crisis accommodation to young people at risk of homelessness.  Your gift will lever in a matching gift from Caritas and other local organisations which have pledged their support.

Programme Leader for Social Action, Diocese of Nottingham

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In this issue
  • Next Tuesday, 7 December: Live the Dream - book now
  • Watch the talks from the annual Justice and Peace Assembly
  • An Advent appeal for Nottingham Nightstop
  • Events for younger adults in the diocese
Later in this bulletin you can catch up on our annual Justice and Peace Assembly on 20 November.  Whether you could make it or not, you're also invited to a follow-up workshop online next Tuesday.  Living the Dream is an opportunity to share in the inspiration our speakers provided, exchange ideas with others, and to help drive forward two key Caritas initiatives:
  • Here: Now: Us, local 'hubs' supporting parish outreach, and further workshops to help put your parish's Synod ideas into practice
  • Pioneer Parishes, the new scheme to support your parish in taking a journey of ecological conversion, right through to 2030.
Scroll down to read more about what we'll cover, or click below to book your place.
Book your place for 7 December
Here: Now: Us and the Synod

Nearly 100 people from around the diocese signed up to one of the Here: Now: Us workshops taking place around the diocese over recent Saturdays.  At Living the Dream you can find out what you missed!

Judging from the feedback, participants enjoyed:
  • 'meeting people from other parishes'
  • 'opportunities to link Catholic Social Teaching with parish action'
  • 'creating friendships in the Gospel' and
  • 'the ideas that came out of the discussion'
- and all of them wanted to meet again to put those ideas into practice. 

Next Tuesday's workshop will bring you up to speed with what emerged, and how we can help ensure that ideas sparked by them and the current Synod consultations bear fruit.
Pioneer Parishes

Could your parish open the way to net-zero for our diocese?

A Pioneer Parish is one which is seeking ways to:
  • form its people as disciples who care for God’s creation
  • reduce carbon emissions to ‘net zero’ – if possible by 2030
  • protect nature – not just safeguarding but restoring it to a better state
and also working for other benefits for the environment and people. 

Every facet of parish life is involved, so that everyone can know that their contribution counts.  Find out more about the scheme in the four-page guide which you can download below.

At Living the Dream you can find out more about the scheme, and help to shape it so that it works for your parish.
Find out about Pioneer Parishes
Book your place for 'Living the Dream'
On 20 November, straight after the COP26 climate summit, parishioners from around the diocese gathered online for the 2021 Justice and Peace Assembly. 

The day was entitled A Change of Era: Covid, Climate and the Missionary Parish, and featured speakers of national standing who helped us navigate the 'new normal' which the pandemic and climate change is unleashing.  Catch up on the talks below.
Our first keynote speaker was Lord Deben, Chair of the Climate Change Committee which advises government on policy for reducing carbon emissions and adptating to a changing climate. He congratulated the Diocese on work we're already doing, but also challenged us to ensure everyone plays their part, and that the UK, which has done so much to change the climate, redresses the injustice we have caused.  Here are some excerpts from his talk.

"We are responsible because we know... We know what's happening and we know who's doing it..., and we have to admit that the reason so many live so comfortably in Britain, the reason we're able to have a welfare state and a National Health Service, is because of what we did to the atmosphere... The rich countries are rich because because of their pollution, and that's why they have to pay for the poor countries"
Also in the video above, after 36 minutes, you will meet Dr Charles Ogunbode and Rosie Brown (pictured below) from the Nottingham Environmental Engagement Lab (NEEL) at the University of Nottingham. Their work aims to enable people from ethnic minority backgrounds to be represented in action and leadership to protect the environment. 

The richest countries have done most to cause climate change, but it is lower income countries that are hardest hit. Charles asked "Where are the representatives of these communities here in the UK?  If they'd been involved in organising before COP26, perhaps these issues would have been addressed".  In fact these 'diaspora' communities are well represented in  our parishes. And so NEEL and Caritas Diocese of Nottingham plan to work together so that our fellow parishioners from around the world can help to build greater climate justice here in the UK.
Our final keynote speaker was Raymond Friel, Chief Executuve Officer of Caritas Social Action Network, the national umbrella body for Caritas organisations.  In a wide ranging illustrated talk, he explored what the pandemic has to teach us - and the leadership which Pope Francis in particular has given.

"In lockdown we remembered so much of what it is to be truly human. This is the language of our faith," said Raymond.  "The Church is not the only place where we encounter the Lord.  Look at the Gospels.  We encounter the Lord in each other, the poor, in an upper room, on the road, by a well.  Let's take the Church to the people"

Immediately following Raymond, 49 minutes into the video, was the launch of the Pioneer Parishes scheme, which will support and foster environmental action around the diocese.  To find out more about becoming a Pioneer Parish, join our follow-up workshop next Tuesday, 7 December.
Book here for next Tuesday's workshop

An Advent appeal

Donate by 7 December and
double it with Caritas!

Caritas Diocese of Nottingham likes to help you lend your support to local charities - through gifts of prayer, time and money.  One way we can do that each year is to announce a Christmas appeal that throws the spotlight on different a place each year around our  diocese.  This year we'd like to introduce you to Nottingham Nightstop.

Nightstop volunteer hosts open their homes to young homeless people (aged 16-25) facing a night on the streets or sleeping in an unsafe place. Volunteer drivers ensure these young people get to a place of safety.  It is a unique project which relies on community hosting to provide a safe, welcoming place for young homeless people in crisis. 61% of the young people who use Nightstop do so because of breakdown in family relationships.  Others have left care, have financial difficulties, or experienced violence. Without a support network around them, they have nowhere to go, and may begin sleeping in unsafe places.  Nottingham Nightstop is one of 30 such services led and supported by the Nightstop team at Depaul UK, a national charity for homeless people.

 The impact a stay with Nightstop can have on a young person is significant. Outcomes include a reduced risk of experiencing harm, improved sleep quality and improved ability to eat healthily.  In addition young people have, improved relationships with family members and developed greater emotional intelligence by staying with different people and adapting to different social situations.

Nottingham Nightstop is run by Open Homes Nottingham.  Until noon 7th December 2021 all donations made will be DOUBLED by matched funding, including a donation from Caritas Diocese of Nottingham.  Open Homes Nottingham are also always open to volunteers to host young people for the short or longer term.
Donate to Nottingham Nightstop
Join FaithJustice and the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace in Nottingham to reflect on the climate emergency, the decisions of COP26, and the future of climate activism.  This event is for those aged between 18 and 40.  You can stay for the whole weekend, Friday-Sunday, or just join for Saturday, free of charge but donations welcome.
More about the FaithJustice weekend

Commemorating Mary Potter

Young Catholics gathered in Nottingham last Saturday and invited passers-by to light a candle at the Cathedral, in remembrance of a loved one who has died.  The event, called Light Fever, was held in honour of the Venerable Mary Potter who dedicated her religious ministry to the dying people of Nottingham and founded the Little Company of Mary, in 1877.

Mother Mary Potter was born in London in 1847 and she later became convinced that God was calling her to start a religious congregation, dedicated to looking after the sick and dying.

In 1877, Bishop Bagshawe of Nottingham, invited her to begin her mission with two companions using a derelict stocking factory. This was the prologue to the founding of the Little Company of Mary. Despite ill health, Mary Potter grew her ministry and travelled to Rome to visit Pope Leo XIII, who then invited her to open a house in Rome.

By the time Mary Potter died in 1913, her congregation had expanded as far as New Zealand. She was declared 'Venerable' in 1988.

(Picture: Luke Potter)

Caritas Diocese of Nottingham wishes you a blessed Advent.
May it be through us that Christ comes into the world.
O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.
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Diocese of Nottingham · Willson House · 25 Derby Road · Nottingham, Nottingham NG1 5AW · United Kingdom

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