currencyTwo lovely stories today from the adventure that is the Catholic Chaplaincy at Manchester.  It has been widely reported about the great scandal of loneliness amongst the elderly in our country, ia great shame.  It is alarming the growing intolerance of the old – often seen as a nuisance, slowing our consumerist society down.  Coupled with this is the growing scandal of heating bills and the greed of the energy companies, to which the old are particularly vulnerable. An Old Lady came in this morning – who regularly attends mass.  Very frail, hunched over but with a real spark in her eyes.  I look forward to our weekly conversation.  She told me with tears in her eyes that she was moving back to Newcastle – because she couldn’t afford to heat her flat in Manchester.  According to her the council had ripped out the night storage heaters and updated the radiators.  She has found a smaller flat in Newcastle which is more efficiently heated.  And then stooping down she pulled out a huge jam jar full of 10ps and copper she had been collecting for years!  She wanted me to take it for the church. The widows mite indeed.

images (5)Also we had the foodbank open this morning and an emaciated young man was referred to us.  An essential part of the foodbank is that people are welcomed and sit down and treated to tea and homemade cakes (from the students).  Whilst the food parcels are being prepared, they tell us a bit of their story and we find out more about the nature of their crisis.  This helps us to ‘signpost’ them to other support services they might not be aware of. Talking to one of our students he said how he was struggling to cope with the aftermath of his fathers death.  Evidently a pentecostal  ‘pastor’ had told him that as he was gay he was to never go into a church.  For some reason he had obeyed this idiot  (millstones round necks come to mind) .  The young man  really wanted someone to pray with him for his father.  So to his great relief and delight our student took him into the chapel and they prayed together.  A case of spiritual wounds being harder to cure then the physical wounds of hunger.