Pope Paul VI


Justice & Peace Reports J&P Summary 2017 Issue 3.pdf



Justice & Peace NEWS



This week, Justice & Peace Scotland reminds parishes of the forthcoming feast day of Blessed Oscar Romero, Archbishop and Martyr, who was assassinated on March 24th 1980 while saying Mass in El Salvador. Never afraid to publically criticise the violent activities of government armed forces against the people, he saw it as the Church’s responsibility to take a stand on behalf of the poor.  His message chosen this week is fundamental to catholic social teaching:

 “When the church hears the cry of the oppressed it cannot but denounce the social structures that give rise to and perpetuate the misery from which the cry arises”.

MOVING FROM HOMELESSNESS: St Gabriel’s parish has been congratulated and thanked for being the first church to deliver donated items which go towards assembling Starter Packs for new home-makers. 13 churches in East Lothian have agreed to take part in Scottish Churches Housing Action’s initiative. 

SPONSORED WALK : Information about Christian Aid’s proposed walk across the Forth Bridge on Saturday April 28th can be obtained from Gill Barber [01875 812546]who has the sponsor forms for those wishing to either take part or sponsor someone else with the time and energy for this venture. Last year this parish managed to raise £300.00. 


This week, Justice & Peace Scotland has given us this quotation from Pope Francis [Pontifex 16 01 16] to reflect upon:


" The Gospel calls us to be close to the poor and the forgotten, and to give them real hope"         .

*NEW HOMES IN EAST LOTHIAN & THE FOOD BANK APPEALS: We therefore wish to thank the parish who, through their generous donations, are indeed bringing real hope and comfort to the so often forgotten homeless as they try to establish themselves and their family in a new home, and to those struggling to feed themselves and their families and who find themselves dependent on Food Banks.

*CHRISTIAN AID: The approaching April Springtime could be an invitation to keep fit. If anyone is keen to take part in the annual sponsored walk over the Forth Bridge in support of Christian Aid on Saturday April 28th, please take a sponsors’ form which will be available from the back of the church. Gill Barber or anyone from the Justice & Peace group can answer parishioners’ questions about this venture. 


In commemorating International Women’s Day,this coming Thursday March 8th, St Catherine of Sienna’s advice should encourage all of us during these challenging times Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire!”

FAIR TRADE :* Around the time of the forthcoming Fair Trade Fortnight, the Justice & Peace Group plan to hold a Fair Trade Taster Event. Come along, try some new tasty treats and see for yourself the goodness of Fair Trade for all. Our Fair Trade Stall will be there too, just in case there's something you need in time for Easter. Buying Fair Trade goods, like chocolate, coffee, tea, biscuits etc improves the lives of farmers, producers and their communities. A minimum price for their ethically produced goods is guaranteed, plus a premium to be spent on community development [schools, health centres] instead of profits going to the multinationals.


THE CHILDREN OF EASTERN GHOUTA NEED YOU! - * Recent news of 400,000 innocent people, including children, being trapped, victims of bombing, cut off from food and medical care, in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, has caused Amnesty International to call for signatures to their appeal to the Syrian government to allow its citizens to escape to safety. Parishioners who are able to are asked to find ‘the Seige of Eastern Ghouta,Syria’ on website www.amnesty.org if they wish to sign the petition.

Defeated by the weather, our last meeting had to be cancelled, so we plan to hold our Justice & Peace group meeting this coming  WEDNESDAY MARCH 7th after evening Mass in the side chapel. As usual, everyone is welcome to come along.


Two years ago Pope Francis’s message for Lent happened to be one which we can continue to reflect upon now: God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of faithful love, to become merciful in turn. In an ever new miracle, divine mercy shines forth in our lives, inspiring each of us to love our neighbour and to devote ourselves to what the Church’s tradition calls the SPIRITUAL AND CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY” .

 FOODBANK We have been asked by the Food Bank this week to appeal in particular for tinned tomatoes, please. They are grateful to St Gabriel’s for our continuing generosity – last week’s contribution weighted in at 11.2  kilos.

 Moving from Homelessness ....to making a Home in East Lothian A BIG thank you to all parishioners for your generous donations which have now begun their journey to becoming Starter Packs.  Should you have filed the donated items list too safely, please take another list from the back of the church. Again thank you from the Justice & Peace group.

 The next meeting of the Justice & Peace Group will take place in the side room next to the Chapel this coming WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 28TH, at 7.30 pm after evening Mass, to which anyone interested in coming along would be very welcome.


 The very first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 provides us with exactly the relevant focus for the beginning of Lent:                     

  “Love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential to the Church as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel. The Church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the sacraments and the Word.”  DEUS CARITAS EST [Paragraph 22] 

 The generosity of parishioners in St Gabriel’s certainly illustrated this call, as shown by the van packed to bursting with your donations last week, in response to the “Making A Home In East Lothian” appeal. Many thanks indeed to all of you. Do please continue to put in the box
at the back of the church any of your unwanted items which are in good condition, but surplus to your needs, which can be made up into starter packs for those moving into new homes.


Pope Paul VI tells us: “If we want peace, work for justice”

Moving from Homelessness....to making a home in East Lothian - Sometimes words are spoken, heard and that's it. Yet in St Gabriel's Parish, when there is an appeal to help those in need, there is always a very positive response. So a HUGE thank you for the many items already handed in on this first week of the appeal. They will be on their way to be made into Starter Packs this coming week. The problem of homelessness is not going to be resolved any time soon so whenever you have one of the items on the list, which is in good condition but surplus to your needs, then just pop it in the box at the back of the church. Thank you for your much appreciated help!


We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless.The poverty of being unwanted, unloved, uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty”  [Saint Teresa of Kolkata]        

 These words of Saint Teresa of Kolkata, better known to the world as ‘Mother Teresa’, provide us with a key to understanding the fundamental cause of so many of our social problems.

* MAKING A HOME IN EAST LOTHIAN This weekend we launch our appeal to the parish for donations of surplus household items in decent condition to be made up into starter packs for people moving into their new home after having been homeless. Do please take a leaflet with you listing the basic commodities which will be needed.  This is an initiative, which St Gabriel’s has agreed to be part of, organised by the charities SCOTTISH CHURCHES HOUSING ACTION, RECYCLING FIRST and FRESH START.

* FOOD BANK We have been approached again for donations of instant mash potato, UHT milk, powdered milk and long life fruit juice in particular as these are items which are most in demand.  We have to bear in mind that not everyone has access to a fridge, or indeed electricity, whereby they can keep fresh goods. 



Pope Saint John Paul ll tells us in Redemptoris Missio:

      “The Church is called to bear witness to Christ by taking courageous, prophetic stands in the face of corruption of political or economic power; by not seeking her own glory and material wealth; by using her resources to serve the poorest and by imitating Christ’s own simplicity of life” [Paragraph 43]

Bearing in mind that this Sunday January 28th is ‘Homelessness Sunday,’ the final part of this message from His Holiness rings loudly when we consider that the official homeless figures rose by 13,000 last year. We can only hope and pray that the message of this encyclical might inform the social and economic policy decisions of our political leaders, to prevent those who are the most vulnerable in our communities from becoming homeless. 

 Two BIG Thank-yous to St Gabriel's parish were received this week.

1.      Mary's Meals have sent a Thank-you letter and certificate for the money raised in the parish in our Mary's Meals Christmas Card donations appeal.  The £1500 raised was matched by sponsors which together with a further £174 of gift aid will feed 227 children for a whole school year.  Recently we received a surprise call from Julie MacFarlane-Barrow, Magnus's wife, who was taking time out to thank you all in St. Gabriel's Parish for your great generosity and help to Mary's Meals. We, of course, thanked Mary's Meals for all their work for children across the world. Her response.....'It's great to be part of such a wonderful family' .Yes that says it all: the children in need, Mary's Meals workers, the MacFarlane - Barrows and all the fundraisers, like us, who support their work are indeed one with each other, part of God's Family.  See J&P noticeboard...for more details.

2.      We've also received a Thank you letter and certificate from Blythswood Trust who distributed the Christmas Shoeboxes filled by St Gabriel's School pupils and members of the Parish.  Amazingly, our shoeboxes contributed to a staggering total of 116,000 shoeboxes delivered throughout the world this Christmas 2017. See J&P noticeboard...for more information.                                                                                           

     TOGETHER, AS A PARISH, WE CAN ACHIEVE GREAT THINGS!  So, a very GREAT BIG THANK-YOU to everyone who contributed to these worthwhile events.



Commitment to justice and peace will perhaps have never seemed more relevant as we mark next Saturday January 27th : Holocaust Memorial Day. It will be remembered throughout the world as the date when the concentration camp at Auschwitz was liberated. Pope St John Paul ll in his speech at Yad Vashem eighteen years ago reinforced the reason for remembering this date :  

  to ensure that never again will evil prevail, as it did for the millions of innocent victims of Nazism. How could man have such utter contempt for man?          Because he had reached the point of contempt for God. Only a Godless ideology could plan and carry out the extermination of a whole people”

* In renewing our commitment to the principles of justice and peace, our group met last Wednesday to consider our programme for the coming months. Next week we shall start by joining forces with other churches in the appeal to assist people in East Lothian who have been homeless and now obtaining a tenancy, but who cannot afford such basic household items as cutlery or crockery.  

* When we visited the Tranent Food Bank last Monday with St Gabriel’s generous collections, we asked which items in particular were in most demand. It appears that long life milk, long life fruit juice and instant mash are greatly needed by impoverished families. We are passing on this information to the parish along with grateful thanks from the Food Bank.

* Finally, we are delighted to say that our group is expanding. However, we should still like to extend our invitation to St Martin’s parishioners who would be very welcome to come along to our next meeting on February 21st.   


When visiting St Patrick’s in the City [Washington DC] in September 2015, Pope Francis was inspired to say:

 “In prayer our hearts find the strength not to be cold and insensitive in the face of situations of injustice. In prayer, God keeps calling us, opening our hearts to charity”.

  * Last Sunday, which was Justice & Peace Sunday, Bishop William Nolan’s moving letter was read at Mass. His visit to the refugee camp in Calais had prompted the lodging of an early day motion in the UK Parliament in December by Patrick Grady MP, sponsored by Stuart McDonald MP, with twenty signatories. In noting the work of the Maria Skobtsova Catholic Worker House charity in assisting refugees in France, the motion called upon the UK Government to establish facilities that will “allow migrants to realise their asylum claims from Europe.” So effective had the Bishop’s visit been in drawing the attention of our government to this issue that the  text of Bishop Nolan’s letter is appended to this week’s newsletter.

 * We shall have our monthly meeting this coming Wednesday January 17th after the Eucharistic Service in the side chapel. We invite anyone along who would like to take part or who would simply wish to contribute suggestions for the group to focus on this year.   


The International Day of Awareness of Human Trafficking falls on Monday January 8th. In 2007 the US Conference of Catholic Bishops made this statement, which regrettably remains relevant eleven years later:

Human trafficking will never be truly defeated without eliminating the consumerism that feeds it, and prosecuting those actors in the receiving countries, including our own, that benefit because of the exploitation of vulnerable human beings.”

 This year, as we prepare to concentrate our thoughts and efforts on those in our community whose vulnerability should be our concern, we would welcome any suggestions for action to consider at our meeting in the evening of WEDNESDAY JANUARY 17TH after Mass in the side chapel. Do please come along as it would be helpful to us to hear the views of the parish.

 In the meantime, one of the issues which we shall be focusing on this year is homelessness. Currently there is a petition to the Prime Minister to sign on-line, asking for the provision of permanent shelter and housing for rough sleepers. The hope is that 25,000 signatures might be obtained.  To encourage parishioners who are able to do so, we include a link to the website where you will find a petition to sign or forward to others: http://chn.ge/2lIOoTF



 The Justice & Peace group meets monthly, normally on a Wednesday at 7:30PM after the evening Mass in the Meeting Room, adjacent to the side chapel. The meetings are informal, lively and we aim to have a different focus event/activity for each month of the year. Come and join us. All Welcome!!

For further information on the J&P Group please keep coming back to this webpage, look at the church notice board or contact J&P Group

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