Jubilee Blessings!

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Dear Friends in Christ,

Three members of the Preston community of the Little Sisters of the Poor, Sisters Bernardine, Patricia and Maria, had the joy of celebrating their golden jubilee of Religious Profession last Saturday.

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The jubilarians were joined for the Mass of celebration both by members of their own families as well as other Little Sisters from neighbouring communities. During the liturgy the three sisters renewed their religious vows, first taken fifty years ago.

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In the course of my homily (here) I made a point both of congratulating the sisters on this very significant milestone in their religious life, but also thanking them on behalf of the Church for those many years of witness and service to the elderly in various parts of the world.

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The Little Sisters, inspired by their foundress St. Jeanne Jugan, have a particular care for the frail and elderly, and dedicate themselves unselfishly to caring for those men and women in the evening of their lives.

The Little Sisters also take a vow of hospitality, a virtue which is so evident to all who enter their homes.

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I mused on the marvellous fact of one hundred and fifty years of religious witness given by the three sisters celebrating their jubilees, and just how often they will have brought the mercy and healing of the compassionate Christ to innumerable men and women in the later stages of their life’s journey, and especially at its end.

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The need for the Little Sisters’ communities is as great as ever in our day. May their prayers for vocations to continue their work be answered by the Lord, and young people be generous in their response!

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The Canons of the Cathedral Chapter had one of their two annual meetings followed by Mass in the cathedral on Tuesday. Currently, the Chapter is also the College of Consultors in the Diocese.

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On Tuesday evening I travelled to Our Lady & St. Michael’s Parish, Alston Lane, to administer the sacrament of Confirmation to Year 6 of the Primary School. A pleasant, near summer evening in this rural setting, added to what was a very happy and grace-filled parish occasion for the young people, their families and friends, and of course their parish priest.

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The children appeared to be exuberant afterwards, and my prayer is that the newly-Confirmed will be graced with that sense and awareness of the gentle presence of the Holy Spirit throughout their lives.

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Finally, on Thursday I celebrated Confirmations at Our Lady & St Edward’s, Preston where the preparation of the 24 candidates and the prayerful silence of the children, parents and congregation were most impressive and an inspiration into deeper faith for all.

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This weekend we offer our prayerful support for the success of the Holy Father Pope Francis’ Pilgrimage to the Holy Land which has now begun.

Until next week – may God bless you all who read this weekly blog,

As ever in Christ our Lord,

+Michael G Campbell OSA
Bishop of Lancaster

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