This page will include links to selected letters of Pope Francis, Diocesan Pastoral Letters, and to seasonal notes, guidance documents and similar resources published in the parish, See also the separate page on Marriage & Family Life
*** St Columba’s & St Theresa’s parish items: ***
- Parish Merger: After several years of working together, the separate parishes of St. Columba and St. Theresa have been formally merged into a single parish: Parish of St. Columba & St. Theresa, with effect from 16th July 2019. Here you can see Bishop Mark’s Decrees which bring about the merger and which make the necessary changes to parish boundaries in Chester:
Fr Jonathan is named as the Parish Priest of the merged parish, but he is to transfer to a new parish in early September 2019 and will be replaced by a named priest of the Spiritan Community who will take over the running of the parish – and will reside in the presbytery at Blacon. In late August 2019 Fr Isidore will move to Shrewsbury to assist with parish activities associated with the cathedral. (Here is an explanatory leaflet about the work in the UK of The Spiritans, the Holy Ghost Fathers, including details of the various parishes they serve.)
Consequential changes will include the revision or replacement of this website to fully cover the activities at both churches within the single parish. Further information will be included in the weekly Joint Newsletter, and in the Home/ Welcome page of the present website.
- Letter to Parishioners from Fr Jonathan: This letter, fr-jonathan-letter-16-7-17 sets out the arrangements for establishing a Parish Pastoral Council for the combined parishes of St Columba and St Theresa, and inviting nominations for parishioners to serve on the new council – nominations to be received by 31st July. The existing pastoral Council had its final meeting on 10th July 2017 and the intention is to have the new council in place by mid-September 2017.
- Letter to Parishioners from Fr Jonathan: This letter was circulated on 4-5 March 2017, following the recent parish visitations by Bishop Mark. The letter outlines the next steps to be taken to formalise the coming together of the parishes of St Columba and St Theresa. fr-jonathan-letter-4-3-17 The letter also explains that Fr Isidore’s initial appointment of one year is to be extended: he will continue to serve in the parish for the forseeable future.
- Mass Intentions at St Columba’s: A leaflet for parishioners explaining how to request a Special Intention for offering at a Mass.
- “Our Mission Together”: Letter from Bishop Mark, outlining how the parish will be part of a campaign to develop pastoral and financial resources in the diocese. The letter was read at Masses on 9-10 July 2016. Here is the link to Bishop Mark’s explanatory video (on the Diocesan website).
- Letter to Parishioners from Fr Jonathan: Letter of 26 June, which makes an adjustment to the proposed changed Mass times set out in the earlier letter.
- Letter to St Theresa’s Parishioners from Fr Jonathan: Letter of 28 May, emphasising that the proposed change of Mass times is not a prelude to the closure of the Church.
- Letter to Parishioners from Fr Jonathan: This letter sets out proposals for the consolidation and reconfiguration of Mass times between St. Columba’s and St. Theresa’s. The deadline for comments is 20th June 2016.
- Ministry of the Word: Guidance notes for Readers at St. Columba’s (pdf version of a 7 page booklet) NotesforReaders
******* Diocesan and wider items: *******
- A Pastoral Letter on the Canonisation of Saint John Henry Newman: Bishop Mark’s Pastoral Letter, read at all Masses on Sunday 13th October, 2019.
- Advent Pastoral Letter: Bishop Mark’s Pastoral Letter for the First Sunday of Advent 2018 (link to the Diocesan website).
- “Our Mission Together”: Bishop Mark’s Pastoral Letter read on Sunday 24th June 2018, in thanksgiving for the Diocesan-wide initiative.
- Lenten Pastoral Letter: Bishop Mark’s Pastoral Letter on the “Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” (link to the Diocesan website)
- General Election 2017: Letter to Catholics in England and Wales, prepared on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The letter stresses the importance of voting, and voting being a matter of conscience. It sets out a number of questions that might be considered and raised with the candidates or their supporters.
- A Pastoral Letter on our Social Mission: Bishop Mark’s Pastoral Letter of Sunday 5th February 2017, marking the launch of Caritas Diocese of Shrewsbury (link to Diocesan website).
- Q&A briefing note on “Assisted Dying”: Archbishop Peter Smith, Chairman of the Bishops’ Conference Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship has prepared a briefing note on assisted dying in the light of the recent debates, both in our country and more widely in Europe, following the legislation in Belgium for children’s euthanasia.
- Pastoral Letter, Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, 19th July 2015: Bishop Mark’s Pastoral Letter about “Laudato Si’ “. (Link to Diocesan website)
- Refugees: Statement on the Refugee Crisis issued by Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Peter Smith on behalf of the Bishops of England and Wales, September 2015.
- Home Mission Sunday 2015: Pastoral Letter issued by Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Peter Smith on behalf of the Bishops of England and Wales. 20th September 2015.
*** Letters of Pope Francis: ***
- Message of Pope Francis for the 52nd World Day of Peace (1st January 2019, link to the Vatican website). “Good politics is at the service of peace”
- Letter to the People of God: Pope Francis has responded to new reports of clerical sexual abuse and the ecclesial cover-up of abuse. In an impassioned letter addressed to the whole People of God, he calls on the Church to be close to victims in solidarity, and to join in acts of prayer and fasting in penance for such “atrocities”. Full text (20th August 2018)
- “Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace”: This is the title of Pope Francis’ Message for the World Day of Peace, 1 January 2017. The Pope asks God to help all of us to cultivate nonviolence in our most personal thoughts and values. “In the most local and ordinary situations and in the international order, may nonviolence become the hallmark of our decisions, our relationships and our actions, and indeed of political life in all its forms.” Here is the link to the full message: World Day of Peace 2017
- “Evangelii Gaudium” Here is a brief synopsis of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel”: Evangelii Gaudium – synopsis
- “Laudato Si’ “, Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis: Published on 18th June 2015 with the sub-title “On care for our common home”, this is an encyclical dedicated to the environment, in which the Pope urges the world to embark upon a revolutionary ethical rethink and change of heart in its relationship with the planet. Laudato Si Encyclical 18-6-15