Clifton Diocese

Clifton Diocese is the Catholic diocese covering the West of England and includes the City and County of Bristol, the counties of Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset.

Clifton Cathedral


Clifton Cathedral (The Cathedral Church of Saints Peter and Paul) in Bristol is the Mother Church of the Diocese of Clifton and the Seat of Bishop Declan Lang, the ninth Bishop of Clifton.

Bishop Declan Lang

is the ninth Bishop of Clifton. Within the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, he is Chair of the Department of International Affairs

A Future full of Hope

The Year of Communion we will focus on a Spirituality of Communion and how we are called and saved, not as individuals but as God’s people. 

Clifton Diocese

We welcome all to join us!


Message from Bishop Declan:

Following the disappointing announcement that potentially our churches will not re-open until 4 July 2020, the Bishops’ Conference is actively engaging with the Government to try and agree that churches can be opened as soon as possible for private prayer. However, we will need to guarantee that we will fully observe public health guidelines. Detailed plans of how this can be achieved are being prepared and full guidance and procedures will be provided once a decision on the way forward has been agreed.

Meanwhile I hope you are continuing to keep safe and well.

With my best wishes and prayers



Bishop Declan has recorded a message for Pentecost:

Full text of Bishop Declan's Messaage

Pentecost brings 50 days of Easter celebrations to completion with the coming of the Holy Spirit, filling the hearts of God’s people with the fire of God’s love and renewing the face of the earth. Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. The beginnings did not look too auspicious as the disciples were hiding behind locked doors for fear of the authorities. They were a group of vulnerable people whose lives had been shattered and whose hopes had been destroyed. What changed them in a remarkable way was the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives them courage and strength to witness to Jesus, the Christ, without fear or anxiety. In the Acts of the Apostles we are told that the disciples were given the gift of speaking foreign languages so that all nations might hear about the marvels of God. There was one language, the language of God, for many nations. Unlike the Tower of Babel where the languages would cause a division among the people, the language of God heals divisions, unites humanity and brings peace between God and humanity and the whole of creation. At the birth of a child people often wonder what the child will turn out to be. At the birth of John the Baptist there was such a reaction. At the birth of the Church we can ask the same question: what will the Church turn out to be? Throughout history the Church has adapted and reformed in response to the joys and sorrows of particular times and cultures. Today the Church finds different ways to proclaim and celebrate the Gospel. The means may change but the message remains the same – the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus. The message is life giving and is the way to the truth of life. Within the community of the Church there are millions of people who are gifted by the Holy Spirit. We, all of us, are part of that people. There are many gifts but always given by God for the good of others. Each one of us is created for a good purpose. We discover that purpose through the loving service we give to others. It is in giving that we receive. In this time of Covid-19 many people have shown great generosity. Neighbours who may have been strangers to one another have become friends. People who have felt alone and isolated have experienced the care and love of people who they did not previously know. The first disciples were not unique in experiencing fear, hiding behind locked doors. All of us experience fear at certain times in our lives. Fear can paralyse us and make us feel useless and powerless. Pentecost puts an end to the fear. The Holy Spirit fills us with the fire of God’s love. Though the circumstances that cause us fear may remain the same, the fear is taken away. The Coronavirus has been a cause of fear and uncertainty, making people feel vulnerable, especially when faced by the death of a family member or friend. People ask when will it end. When will we be able to get back to how things were before the pandemic? However, we cannot return to how things once were. The experience worldwide has made a difference to our lives. We can only live in the present moment and look to the future. We need to reflect on what we have learnt from our experiences of the Coronavirus both individually and institutionally – including the Church. Pope Francis compares the Church to a field hospital. The Church must not hide behind locked doors but be in the midst of people listening to their voices and bringing healing and hope to those who are afflicted physically, mentally, spiritually and socially. This will make us vulnerable and we will make mistakes, but we will be giving ourselves and others reasons for living in the present and looking with hope to the future. We are called to have a sense of togetherness in this our common home and a sense of wonder about the whole of creation entrusted to our care. To us today Jesus says: Peace be with you. As the Father sent me so am I sending you. Receive the Holy Spirit.



In this ‘Year of the Word’, we find that there are many ways to appreciate how God speaks to us in the scriptures. Throughout history, artists have been inspired to express their own understanding and relationship with the Word of God. As we approach the end of the Easter season, we offer two artistic  reflections on the two major Feasts which bring the season to an end – the Feast of the Ascension of Christ and the Feast of Pentecost.

In the second of our two reflections we turn to the Feast of Pentecost

It’s Luke who narrates the account of Pentecost for us in the second part of his Gospel, the Acts of the Apostles. He has spent most of his Gospel following Jesus on his pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the place where Jesus meets mission’s fulfilment and mission’s goal in the cross and in the resurrection. Jerusalem becomes the focus of the ‘ending’ of Jesus’ mission but, as Luke shows us in Acts, Jerusalem becomes the beginning of a new mission that sees anointed disciples starting in Jerusalem but finding themselves bringing the Good News to the ends of the known world.

This Feast of Pentecost – a harvest celebration that recalls the giving of the Law – sees the disciples gathered together again in the familiar setting of an upper room. Faithful to what the Lord asked of them as he ascended into heaven, they gather, they pray and they wait for what he promised. His departure means an arrival for, unless he goes, the promised Spirit cannot come. But this is a real encounter with the unknown. Jesus is not there to reassure them, to unfold things for them, to deepen their understanding or quieten their troubled minds – all they rely on now is the memory of his word and they have to fall back on everything he taught them.

So here in El Greco’s (c1600) painting of the coming of the Holy Spirit, which hangs in the Prado museum in Madrid, we have an open window to allow us to watch, to look on, as the promised gift of the Spirit anoints the women and the disciples in that room. They are all squashed in – there’s no room to breathe… but this isn’t about them breathing.  It’s about God breathing life into them and bringing them to a new birth – just as God breathed into the lifeless form of dust that was Adam the very breath of life. This is a moment of gift, a moment of creation, a moment of giving as the Spirit – the breath of God – comes down upon this anxious, weary, fearful band of followers. There’s the gesture of prayer in Mary; she’s no stranger to the coming of the Holy Spirit. She knows what God’s overshadowing can do in and for her. The disciples are shown in wonder, in amazement and in joy. Notice how open their arms are to what is being given; notice the openness, the surrender that El Greco paints, as light comes into the shadows of this space. The Spirit illuminates the whole room – there is no other light source in this painting. The Spirit illuminates their minds and their hearts, opening them up to the great potential of the Word of God in them. Just as Mary, overshadowed by the Spirit at the Annunciation, brings forth the Word made Flesh, so now these disciples of the Risen Christ are transformed into Apostles, those who are sent, so that the Word of God might find a home in all those who hear Good News proclaimed. Those tongues of fire or flames resting upon each of them give them that burning zeal that they will need to go out with boldness and courage. Do not worry about what to say or how to speak… the Spirit will remind you of everything I have told you. They are alight with strength of God, the courage of God, the boldness of God, the energy and enthusiasm to allow them to open that door and step out into new mission territory, armed only with the Good News that Jesus is the Son of God, come to set us free and bring us life.

And, as the overshadowing of the Spirit in the Annunciation unties the knot of Eve’s disobedience and her ‘no’, in Mary’s obedience and her ‘yes’, so the same Spirit unloosens tied tongues that were knotted at Babel so that a speech, confused because of arrogance and pride, is now eloquent and articulate through this healing balm of the Spirit. These are no longer apprentices, following a teacher; these are men and women gifted with everything they need to be the instruments, the earthenware jars, that hold the treasure of God’s invitation to life and to love.

This fiftieth day gives us a chance to look back across the Easter Season. We have had fifty days to bathe in the light of the Risen Christ. Now, anointed by the Spirit of Pentecost, we, too, are sent out into the ordinariness of our lives, the simplicity of our everyday lives, to be proclaimers of beauty, goodness and truth through the lives we lead, through what we say and through what we do. We’re not sent to strange lands: Jerusalem was not strange territory for the apostles. It’s the mission that changes, the focus, the ‘reason’ that changes. Christ is at the heart of everything and the Spirit of Pentecost allows us to hold the memory of Jesus, too. 

We bring our Easter Season to a beautiful conclusion with this celebration… but the work is far from done! Anointed by the same Spirit, we go from our own ‘upper room’ to step out into our ‘work’, our mission of bringing Christ – his light, his love, his forgiveness, his healing, his encouragement, his joy and his peace – to a world still waiting to hear Good News.

Live Daily Mass

You can watch a daily Mass live from Clifton Cathedral below at 9.30am

If you would like to donate to Clifton Diocese or the Clifton Cathedral in this testing time and while our churches are closed, please do so below:

Clifton Diocese

Clifton Cathedral

Isolation during the Year of Communion:

As we journey through the Year of Communion we hear from people around the diocese and beyond about their experience of living in isolation during this time of COVID-19.

Our Director of Adult Education and Evangelisation, Sarah Adams, introduces the series of audio reflections.

Listen to all the Reflections on our Communion page:

This prayerful, meditative reflection comes from Fr James Hanvey SJ, former Master of Campion Hall, Oxford and currently serving in Rome at the Jesuit Curia.

It’s a thought-provoking piece for these times of uncertainty and anxiety as we look to arrest the global spread of COVID-19.


Prayer Resources and More

Making (more) room for Jesus in your own home

Make time for each other,

never let work at home become more important than spending time together.

Laugh often, tell jokes; Alexa tell us a joke…

Alexa is brilliant at finding jokes, songs, and musicals.

Share a funny family story that you remember.

Support one another and be thankful for each other.

Think back over the day at the things you are thankful for,

then say thanks to God. 

Messy Church is a way of being church for families and others. It is Christ-centred, for all ages, based on creativity, hospitality and celebration.

Sharing the Sunday Gospel with families through primary schools and enriching the Home, School & Parish partnership

Loyola Press gives us tips on how to pray with children on their page here

Some examples of Children’s Liturgy ideas can be found on   Click ‘playlist’ where you will see recent Sunday’s Children’s Liturgies.  You will also see ‘GIFT’ (Growing in Faith Together) which is, too, a lovely family resource.

If you are on Facebook ‘Colour and Shape’ is another very good resource for looking at Children’s Liturgy ideas.

‘Family at Prayer Book’ and the leaflet for ‘prayer in times of an flu/illness’ are useful for parents and young adults.

Family at Prayer book

Prayer in times of an flu/illness

Download this booklet to help you communicate about Covid-19 to the children and teens in your life. Download

Sacred space

Discover a wealth of prayer resources to support and enhance your daily prayer                                     .


Tasked by our Bishop with implementing the vision of the Liturgy Constitution of the Second Vatican Council

What We Believe

Catholicism is the most ancient Christian Church. Jesus established his Apostles to go and proclaim his love to the world.


Resources and information for ‘The year of the Word’ – the God who Speaks. See how you can get involved

Pope Francis

The Pope’s Monthly Intentions videos are to assist in the dissemination of monthly intentions of the Holy Father

Today’s Readings

What is the Liturgy of the Hours? Find the daily readings courtesy of here everyday

Youth Ministry

Clifton Diocese Youth Ministry provides opportunities for young people to further their involvement in the Catholic Church


Find all the information about our Diocesan pilgrimages: Lourdes, Glastonbury and the Holy Land


“Being loved and being kept safe go to the very core of the Church’s Ministry to children and vulnerable adults

Clifton Diocese

Our Latest News

How will a post-COVID world look? 

How will a post-COVID world look? 

Today, mid-pandemic, let us begin to imagine a post-COVID world! “What kind of world”, Pope Francis asked us all, 5 years ago, “do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” (Laudato Si', 160). This is how Pope Francis...

Pope Francis invites you to celebrate Laudato Si’ Week

Pope Francis invites you to celebrate Laudato Si’ Week

We’re living through history-shaping events. Laudato Si’ teaches us how to build a better world–together. People everywhere are crying out for hope, and our faith is urgently needed to light the way. For Laudato Si’ Week, 16-24 May, Catholics are uniting in solidarity...

Subscribe & Follow

Join Our Newsletter