Firstly, a big thank you to everyone who responded to our Advent appeal by sending Christmas cards to the victims of torture or to the parishes and schools in the Holy Land that were named on the lists that we circulated. A selection of the addresses appeared in this column last month. The Justice and Peace office estimates that nearly 1,000 cards were sent from parishes across the Archdiocese. Each one of those cards will have made a difference to someone's life.
Secondly, an invitation to the Annual Memorial Lecture at the LACE diocesan centre – Croxteth Drive, Sefton Park, Liverpool L17 1AA – on the afternoon of Sunday 21 January, from 2–3.30pm (doors open 1.30). These lectures always provide an interesting opportunity to stretch our thinking about issues central to social justice. This year we have invited Dr Peter North from the Liverpool University Geography department to speak about a way of organising society that puts people above profit.
Under the title 'Solidarity Economics', he will explore how we support each other as neighbours and communities in ways that don't involve big government, big business or big sums of money. Solidarity is a key concept in Catholic social teaching (CST), and Pete is particularly interested in the role of churches in this sort of community support. This will not be a dry, 'academic' lecture but will involve conversations with other participants as Pete tries to discover how we in our parishes live up to the ideals of CST. It promises to be a challenging and thought-provoking afternoon. It would be lovely to see you there.
Thirdly, I'm just back from a Romero Trust pilgrimage to El Salvador and would welcome invitations to come and speak to parish groups about Blessed Óscar Romero. I can offer an illustrated talk with information about his life story, the places associated with him and the relevance of his example to our lives here in this diocese. While on pilgrimage, we learned that the miracle for canonisation has been approved by relevant authorities in the Vatican, which means that we can expect a canonisation soon. This would be a good time, then, to introduce your parish to the life and example of the soon-to-be-canonised Blessed Óscar.
To find out more or to make a booking for the Memorial Lecture or a Romero talk, ring the J&P office on 0151 522 1080/1081 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.