Roman Catholic Church in Scotland launches campaign in support of farming and fishing communities

In view of the escalating crises in the farming and fishing industries, the Roman Catholic Bishops of Scotland have launched an urgent campaign of prayer and action aimed at helping those most directly affected by the foot and mouth outbreak and the fishing dispute.

Every one of the 500 parishes the length and breadth of Scotland is being asked to hold special services to pray for a speedy deliverance from the current disasters which threaten the livelihoods of thousands of families.

Each of Scotland's eight bishops has signed a letter calling for Church communities to offer practical help, and solidarity as well as prayers for the farming and fishing communities.

Launching the campaign, Cardinal Thomas Winning, President of the Bishops Conference of Scotland said: "We have followed with growing concern the twin catastrophes befalling our farmers and fishermen. The Church stands shoulder to shoulder with these communities, and we must do everything humanly and spiritually possible to ease their burden.

"I am asking every one of our charitable bodies and societies to be on standby to offer whatever support may be necessary. In addition, every parish in the country is being asked to start, as soon as possible, to hold special services to implore the Lord to deliver us from this time of trial. We are people who believe in the power of prayer. Now is the time to demonstrate that faith, by our prayers and works.

"We cannot sit idly by and watch families torn apart as they see their livelihood at sea and on land disappear. I feel desperately sorry for the fishing families who face ruin unless some form of help can be offered to them. I watch in horror the funeral pyres of prize herds, and offer my deepest sympathy to farm workers who have seen their life's work literally go up in smoke. I pledge to all concerned the full solidarity and support of the Catholic Church in their hour of trial."

ENDS

Read a copy of the letter sent today to each Roman Catholic Parish in Scotland

For further press inquiries contact Ronnie Convery on 0141 226 5898
In view of the escalating crises in the farming and fishing industries, the Roman Catholic Bishops of Scotland have launched an urgent campaign of prayer and action aimed at helping those most directly affected by the foot and mouth outbreak and the fishing dispute.

Every one of the 500 parishes the length and breadth of Scotland is being asked to hold special services to pray for a speedy deliverance from the current disasters which threaten the livelihoods of thousands of families.

Each of Scotland's eight bishops has signed a letter calling for Church communities to offer practical help, and solidarity as well as prayers for the farming and fishing communities.

Launching the campaign, Cardinal Thomas Winning, President of the Bishops Conference of Scotland said: "We have followed with growing concern the twin catastrophes befalling our farmers and fishermen. The Church stands shoulder to shoulder with these communities, and we must do everything humanly and spiritually possible to ease their burden.

"I am asking every one of our charitable bodies and societies to be on standby to offer whatever support may be necessary. In addition, every parish in the country is being asked to start, as soon as possible, to hold special services to implore the Lord to deliver us from this time of trial. We are people who believe in the power of prayer. Now is the time to demonstrate that faith, by our prayers and works.

"We cannot sit idly by and watch families torn apart as they see their livelihood at sea and on land disappear. I feel desperately sorry for the fishing families who face ruin unless some form of help can be offered to them. I watch in horror the funeral pyres of prize herds, and offer my deepest sympathy to farm workers who have seen their life's work literally go up in smoke. I pledge to all concerned the full solidarity and support of the Catholic Church in their hour of trial."

ENDS

Read a copy of the letter sent today to each Roman Catholic Parish in Scotland

For further press inquiries contact Ronnie Convery on 0141 226 5898

Dear Father,

We have been deeply moved in recent days by the escalating crisis in the farming and fishing industries. It now seems that the livelihood of very large numbers of people,
and the welfare of thousands of families are at stake. As Bishops, we feel the time has come for us to speak, pray and act.

Accordingly we would ask you to organise, at the very earliest opportunity, and regularly, prayer services in your parish, to allow people to come together to ask the Lord for a speedy deliverance from this time of trial.

For example, Sunday evening Lenten Devotions may be geared towards this intention or a period of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, with sufficient publicity to allow people to come along. Or again, a special morning or evening Mass, as soon as practicably possible, may be celebrated for this intention. The prayers and readings of the Lenten Masses, with their themes of deliverance are suitable for this purpose. We would also ask that the Prayers of the Faithful should include this special intention until the country returns to normal.

What is essential at this time is that we alert our people and provide frequent opportunities to pray for our brothers and sisters in the farming and fishing industries and indeed for the many others already adversely affected by the prevailing plight in these areas.

The current crisis in both farming and fishing industries are unprecedented. We have a duty of care and solidarity to our sisters and brothers who are affected in the most tragic way by the present situation. As a believing and praying community, we must do all we can to implore the Lord to shorten this time of trial, while also showing practical help and support to those families so badly affected by the current situations.

At this time we ask the Deans wherever necessary throughout the country, or their representatives, priests or lay, to be the focal point for practical help in whatever way is seen to be appropriate. At the same time we ask our charitable organisations to be on standby for the same purpose.

With every good wish,
Yours devotedly in Christ,

Thomas J. Cardinal Winning -Archbishop of Glasgow
Keith Patrick O'Brien - Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh  
Mario Conti - Bishop of Aberdeen
Joseph Devine - Bishop of Motherwell  
Vincent Logan - Bishop of Dunkeld  
Maurice Taylor - Bishop of Galloway  
John Mone - Bishop of Paisley  
Ian Murray - Bishop of Argyll and the Isles  
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