On Sunday 4th October, the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, the Bishop of Salford, John Arnold, led a Holy Hour livestreamed from Salford Cathedral on the theme of Hope in Difficult Times.
The intention of the Holy Hour was to reflect on the presence of the Lord through lockdown and to allow all in the diocese to pause, draw breath and grieve where they needed to grieve, but also to be grateful where possible and to feel a sense of renewal as we continue to move forward on our journey.
During his Homily, Bishop Arnold acknowledged the difficult impact of Covid-19 felt personally and in our communities. He called on us to use this time not to worry, but to “renew the essential virtue of our faith – that we can pray to God and he will lead us in the way he wants us to go”.
Bishop Arnold remembered those in refugee camps or those who are persecuted for their faith. He encouraged us to look outwards to think about our global neighbours who share our common home, referring to Laudato Si’ and Pope Francis’s new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, which was published on the same day.
During Benediction, Bishop Arnold gave a blessing to those virtually attending the service as well as moving outside to the Cathedral Piazza to bless all people in the Diocese of Salford and beyond, an offering of hope through these uncertain times.
In the Diocese of Salford, 4th October usually marks the launch of the next stage of its pastoral renewal programme Hope in the Future. This year, due to the strangeness of the present circumstances, the launch of Stage Four has been postponed allowing for a period of reflection, to build a brighter new normal going forward. Stage Four will launch when the time is right.
You can view a recording of the Holy Hour on Church Services TV at: https://www.churchservices.tv/salfordcathedral/archive/recordings/D4j0Xnfvhq8E5OF