Bishop John Arnold celebrated a special Mass of Thanksgiving for the work of the Justice and Peace Association at Wardley Hall on Thursday 28th June 2018. The day marked the final transfer of the work of the Justice and Peace Association to fully come under Caritas Diocese of Salford. Bishop John gave recognition and thanks for the dedication and faithfulness of so many people who are committed to making the world a better place, where faith does justice and justice leads us all to peace.
The journey towards a world where justice and peace flourish is not an easy one, nor has it been easy for the Justice and Peace movement in England and Wales in recent years. The road has had many challenges but also joys as shared by the members in a get together after the Mass where stories and achievements of the work were shared by members. Alongside Bishop John, Mark Wiggin, Director of Caritas paid tribute to the many members past and present who have dedicated their lives to faith, hope and charity by raising awareness and taking action to address the structures and systems in our world that perpetuate inequality and discrimination. Commenting on the role he said. “It’s not easy to be a prophetic voice, a witness in a hostile world or to speak out against things that are wrong. Sticking ones head above the parapets risks losing it and it takes both courage and conviction to stand up for other people’s rights, especially when you are challenging the establishment or institutions that you are part of”.
Over the years there have been many campaigns and causes supported by Justice and Peace and many have emanated from a close association with the National Justice and Peace Network, others through justice based organisations such as Pax Christi and Cafod. All their good work has always been nourished by prayer. Remembering this important point the meeting ended with an invitation to join Cafod and Caritas on 22nd October in the Cathedral to celebrate the canonisation of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, who was martyred as he was celebrating Mass. He will be canonized on October 14th, along with Pope Paul VI whose papacy was characterised by a call to dialogue with the world.