Father Mark Madden and Friends of the Holy Land are supporting two projects at the moment:
St Martha's House , a centre in Bethlehem where elderly women can meet, eat and pray together. There is no state welfare for the elderly and many of their family members have been forced to migrate.
Olive Trees can be purchased, planted and dedicated by name, for £25 each. Half of the fee is used to provide scholarships to Bethlehem University.
If you require further information, or would like to be actively involved, please contact Dave Hart on 0151 722 4656 or contact the parish office.
Other useful contacts
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Bethlehem, the City of David, where the birth of a child in a stable was heralded by angels, and visited by shepherds from the surrounding hills, is celebrated throughout Christendom in December. Traditionally celebrations continue until the twelfth night, representing the arrival of the wise men bearing gifts, and also bringing a warning that enabled the Holy Family to seek safe refuge to the south, in Egypt.
Vatican news reported a record number of pilgrims, over 200,000, heading towards Bethlehem for Christmas 2011.
On the feast of the Epiphany 2012 some "wise men of Liverpool" will be joining the throngs, Archbishop Patrick and Fr. Mark Madden among them. The arrival of so many pilgrims and distinguished visitors will make it a joyful time for the people of Bethlehem, so isolated and yet with a population that is thirty five per cent Christian. Their morale will surely be boosted with the knowledge that there are people outside the wall who care about them. Sadly they have been let down again by custodial disputes between rival Christian clerics, as so quickly seized upon and reported by the British media.
The tragedy of recent history has changed the City of David. On many of the surrounding hills are the high rise flats of the illegal Israeli settlements, linked by new roads to cater for the annual quota of immigrants. The city is now surrounded by a nine metre high concrete wall, with one point of exit and entry for the Palestinian residents and visitors. Would the three kings have been allowed through the checkpoint?
Much of the land used for grazing and olive groves has been taken. I suspect that the angels would have had major logistical problems finding the shepherds today. Palestinian homes, and the centuries old olive groves, the traditional sign of legal possession, are being ruthlessly bull-dozed to make way for "the wall" despite protestations from both the Vatican and the UN.
Joseph and Mary were able to return to their homes, unlike the refugees of today. In the last twenty years the Christian population of the Holy Land has declined from thirty per cent to little more than one per cent. Whilst the people, especially the children, are of a happy disposition, the privations have proved too much for many. Young and old have left to seek employment, families to seek a safe place to raise their children, a place where basic essentials such as drinking water are guaranteed. In spite of this Bethlehem University stands like a beacon above the city, alive with enthusiastic and determined students whose hope and vision is for a future Palestine where Jew, Christian and Moslem can return to a life that their grandparents once shared and enjoyed together. The De La Salle brothers are proud of the integration they are achieving amongst the students.
In 2012 why not display the crib in your home until February 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation. Like the kings, make a special visit on the Epiphany in solidarity with the Christians in the land of Jesus, and their visitors from Liverpool
Please pray for the beleaguered Christian communities in the Holy Land as Christmas approaches.
Midday Mass on Saturday 3rd December at Bishop Eton will be offered for peace and justice in the Holy Land.
If you would like to contribute towards the St Martha’s House Project please use the FHL envelopes which will be available at the back of church on the 10th and 11th of December. Funds are being raised to provide residential care for elderly women, and will be taken to Nablus in the new year by Fr. Mark Madden.
To see a gallery of photos of St Martha's House please click here.
The One World Group would like to thank all those who have supported our fundraising events that we have held this year. All the events have been so well attended and the atmosphere has been lovely. We would like to highlight the events and the money raised through your generous support be it through your attendance or kind donations.
- Our year began in style with a Chinese Buffet in the Fisher-More Hall this January. The musical entertainment was provided by a cabaret singer and disco. The night was solely for the benefit of the Zimbabwe project and what a great night it was! A staggering £2,777 was raised.
- On 20th March, we held our Sunday Afternoon Cream Tea with beautiful home-made sandwiches and delicious cakes. Supporting us on this and indeed on one or two other occasions, was Margaret with her wonderful flower arranging demonstrations. We raised £749.20.
- 25th June was our "Midsummer Evening" at Childwall Golf Club. What a great venue, food, disco and fun. We raised £1,357.80.
- 17th September saw the return of the ever popular Safari Supper where lovely culinary dishes were shared at different locations. A good time was had by all and £305 was raised in the process.
- For our final event of the year, on 16th October we hosted a "Sunday Lunch" at 60 Hope Street. We had a really good turn out in a great venue, good food and a lovely relaxed atmosphere (by popular request we are planning to repeat this in the Spring – watch this space!). The amount raised £612.
Once again on behalf of the One World Group, thank you all so much for supporting these events. As you know, all funds raised do go to our projects in Africa.
Teresa Jackson , One World Group
Fr Desmond was completely overwhelmed by the generous gifts, Mass Cards and best wishes from the parish. It is not possible to acknowledge everyone individually so this is a general and sincere thank you for all the kindness. Mass will be said for the intention of all parishioners.
Goodbye from Fr Desmond. May I take this opportunity to say a very sincere thank you for the privilege of serving the parish of Our Lady of The Annunciation, Bishop Eton, for the past nine years. Thank you for all the kindness, support and generosity of the parish to me over the years. I am truly grateful for this very blessed time in my life as a Redemptorist priest serving this wonderful parish community. I wish Father Richard, Father Tim, Father Barrie and all the community every joy, blessing and success in the time ahead.
Goodbye to Fr Desmond. On behalf of all the parishioners and the Redemptorist community I wish to thank Fr Desmond for his faithful service of the parish during the past nine years. We wish him every happiness and success in Edinburgh and assure him of our prayers. Tim Buckley C.Ss.R.
The Parish School's goodbye can be found by clicking here
Fr Desmond's new Parish is St Patricks.
Bishops' Conference prayer for the Royal Wedding
Heavenly Father, we ask your blessing upon his Royal Highness, Prince William, and upon Catherine, as they pledge their love for each other in marriage. May your love unite them through their lives.
Grant them the strength to serve you, our country and the Commonwealth, with integrity and faithfulness.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bishop Eton has had an active parish SVP group, or conference since 1981. The conference is part of the Society of St Vincent de Paul which was founded in Paris in 1833 by a group of students led by Blessed Frederick Ozanam, who wished to meet the challeng of living the message of the Gospels through practical Christain action. The Society was placed under the patronage of St Vincent de Paul, the patron of charitable works, hence its name.
The Society exists to seek out and help the poor and needy and for the spiritual development of its members. Despite the many changes in our world and the development of the welfare state, there are still many in need today, almost two centuries after the founding of the Society. What has changed in many cases is the type of need, and this is reflected in the work of the conference.
We provide practical and financial help to those who have real material need, including families and individuals outside our parish, in surrounding parishes and communities where there is either no SVP conference or a very overstretched one. Many of our visits are to those who are unable to get out and miss the chance to talk about and keep up to date with what is happening in the parish. This includes thse who are in residential homes and hospitals. At other times we have have helped those who need transport to a hospital or medical appointment when there is no family member available to take them, or to get to Mass.
The conference also looks outside our immediate area and contributes, as we are required to do, through the payment of tithes to the National SVP funds, from the very generous financial support we receive in our monthly church collections. We also provide practical help to those working with asylum seekers in St Anne's and St Bernard's parishes and through the Twinnage scheme, support the work of the SVP in India and Sudan.
We are told in the Rule of the Society that, "no work of charity should be foreign" to us and are constantly looking to offer support and help where it is required. If any parishioner knows of any one who needs our help or support we are always happy to respond, all we ask is that you have checked with the person concerned that they are happy for their name and details to be passed to us. We can be contacted as detailed below.
In the same way we are always open to new members who wish to share in the work of the Society. There is perhaps a misconception that the Parish conference is only for men. This is not the case but as it was originally formed when there was no spiritual society for men in the parish, but several for women, the membership over the years has been predominantly male.
In accordance with current safeguarding regulations all members and prospective members are subject to full CRB checks which can take some weeks before a new member can take an active part in the work of the conference.
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