Clifton DioceseClifton 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 (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.
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
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:
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: cliftondiocese.com/communion
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.
FAMILIES AND CHILDREN
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.
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 youtube.com/c/blessedsacramentexeter: 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.
Download this booklet to help you communicate about Covid-19 to the children and teens in your life. Download
Prayer and Other Resources:
Click the text below to be taken to that particular page:
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
The Pope’s Monthly Intentions videos are to assist in the dissemination of monthly intentions of the Holy Father
What is the Liturgy of the Hours? Find the daily readings courtesy of Universalis.com here everyday
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
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