Substack Update

28 October 2023

How the front page of Will Ross Official appears on the Substack platform

At the start of the month I had mentioned that I am now publishing on Substack. This is essentially a publishing platform which is free to use and to access, and it provides readers with the options to read posts either on the website, or through a dedicated app, or to receive posts by email – all you need to do is subscribe (free) and they will be delivered to you.

Those writing on the site – including me – find it very straightforward to use and it covers all my needs well.

The cost of maintaining a dedicated website such as this one, with its own domain and hosting requirements, is reasonably expensive and so I am giving consideration to moving permanently to the Substack platform. All the posts currently residing here would be transferred over there, and all new posts would be added there only. Once all that was done, I would redirect readers here to that place, before eventually closing down this site, although not immediately.


Holy Hour for Peace on Earth

27 October 2023

In St Peter’s Basilica this evening, our Holy Father Pope Francis presided at a Holy Hour for Peace on Earth, where the Rosary was prayed by all present to ask the Lord for the gift of peace in our war-torn world, through the intercession of Our Blessed Lady, the Queen of Peace. The Holy Hour concluded with a prayer written for the occasion and offered by Pope Francis. The full text of this prayer is given at the Vatican website.


New Apostolic Exhortation on St Thérèse

16 October 2023

Pope Francis has published a new Apostolic Exhortation on the spirituality of the ‘Little Flower’, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, one of the most popular Saints of modern times in the Catholic Church – and certainly very popular here in Scotland, as was seen when her Relics visited Carfin Grotto.  

The Holy Father focusses very much on the simplicity of the spirituality of the Little Flower, something all of us can learn from and apply in our own spiritual lives. 

The full document can be found at the Vatican website.



5 October 2023

I thought I would try publishing my articles on Substack as well as here on my website, in case anyone reading here also uses that platform – and I’d be interested to know if that is the case.

You can find me on Substack at –

I’ll try this for a while and see how things go. If you use Substack please add me to your subscriptions (it’s free!) and please, also, let others know the page is there. Even if you don’t use Substack, still you can read the posts there in the same way you would read any other webpage.

Very happy to hear what readers think of this little experiment.


Diocese of Motherwell – Synodal Evening or Prayer

5 October 2023

The Synod Team for the Diocese of Motherwell has arranged an evening of prayer and reflection on the themes of the Synod. Everyone is very welcome to this event, the details of which are given on the poster below.

The primary aim of the evening is to answer the call of the Holy Father to support the work of the Synod and its participants through prayer, and also to encourage people to keep the Synod in mind and in their own times of prayer.

As the Pope has reminded us now several times – “without prayer, there can be no Synod”.



Publication of ‘Laudate Deum’

4 October 2023

This morning, Pope Francis released his Apostolic Exhortation ‘Laudate Deum’ (Praise God) on the climate crisis. This is a follow-up to his Encyclical Letter ‘Laudato Si’, published eight years ago. In this new Exhortation, the Holy Father notes – 

“Eight years have passed since I published the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, when I wanted to share with all of you, my brothers and sisters of our suffering planet, my heartfelt concerns about the care of our common home. Yet, with the passage of time, I have realized that our responses have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point. In addition to this possibility, it is indubitable that the impact of climate change will increasingly prejudice the lives and families of many persons..This is a global social issue and one intimately related to the dignity of human life.”

Looking back at what has taken place in these intervening years, Pope Francis says plainly that “Despite all attempts to deny, conceal, gloss over or relativize the issue, the signs of climate change are here and increasingly evident.

The Pope decries those “even within the Catholic Church” who obstinately and persistently deny – and in the face of all the evidence to the contrary – the problems the world is presently facing because of climate change. He adds that “Some effects of the climate crisis are already irreversible, at least for several hundred years, such as the increase in the global temperature of the oceans, their acidification and the decrease of oxygen.”

He addresses the cultural, political and sociological thrusts which are driving forward this crisis, with no thought for the longer future, and commenting that there have been “several Conferences with scarce results” – speaking of the COP conferences, which have often been slow and reticent in bringing about a desire and will for real change.

Addressing the spiritual motivations which should drive us forward in caring for the earth and her resources, the Holy Father says –

“I cannot fail in this regard to remind the Catholic faithful of the motivations born of their faith. I encourage my brothers and sisters of other religions to do the same, since we know that authentic faith not only gives strength to the human heart, but also transforms life, transfigures our goals and sheds light on our relationship to others and with creation as a whole.”

He concludes –

“I ask everyone to accompany this pilgrimage of reconciliation with the world that is our home and to help make it more beautiful, because that commitment has to do with our personal dignity and highest values. At the same time, I cannot deny that it is necessary to be honest and recognise that the most effective solutions will not come from individual efforts alone, but above all from major political decisions on the national and international level.”


Synodal Reflections

2 October 2023

The participants of the Synod are presently on a spiritual retreat for three days, before the deliberations of the Synod itself begin the day after tomorrow. The retreat is taking place at the Fraterna Domus retreat house in Sacrofano, a little under twenty miles outside Rome.

Image: stock photo

The participants are listening to spiritual meditations and these are being transmitted live on YouTube, where recordings of them can be viewed afterwards, too.

Over the last day, I have been listening very carefully to those meditations offered by Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP – I am finding them to be very thought-provoking and incisive and I greatly recommend them to anyone interested in listening or watching.

“Our journeys are contrary – but they are not contradictory .. difference is fertile, generative”

Of particular note, he is reminding us over and over that the Synod needs to be a moment of listening – and especially to those voices and opinions with which we do not necessarily agree. The Holy Spirit is present in that listening.

“So we too prepare for our synod by going on retreat where, like the disciples, we learn to listen to the Lord. When we set off in three days’ time, we shall often be like those disciples, and misunderstand each other and even quarrel. But the Lord will lead us onwards towards the death and resurrection of the Church. 

Let us ask the Lord to give us hope too: the hope that this synod will lead to a renewal of the Church and not division; the hope that we shall draw closer to each other as brothers and sisters.

This is our hope not just for the Catholic Church but for all our baptised brothers and sisters. People talk of an ‘ecumenical winter’. We hope for an ecumenical spring.” 


Antonia and the Holy Father

22 September 2023

Image © Antonia Sobocki / Vatican Media

During her visit to the Vatican to present the work of LOUDfenceUK, Antonia Sobocki and Maggie Mathews had the privilege of meeting the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and even attaching a white ribbon to his walking aid.

Afterwards, Antonia commented that the Holy Father thanked them for the work of the LOUDfence movement – “It’s a symbol of hope”, said the Pope.

Posting a photo of the ribbon on the walking aid, Antonia wrote – “This photo is dedicated to all those people who’ve been hurt directly or indirectly by abuse. This is for you because you matter and what happened to you matters.”

She added – “The work of the LOUDfence has been recognised and welcomed by @Pontifex.  Such an amazing experience. Feeling quite emotional.”

You can read Anotonia’s account of recent events HERE.


Website Updates – Prayer and News Pages

20 September 2023

I have added two new pages to the website. The first one, is the one you are reading right now – a ‘News’ page where I’ll post snippets of information which I hope might be of interest.

The second is by far the more important – a Prayer page.

Presently, I post brief prayers each day on Twitter/X – however, I thought it would be an obvious thing to replicate that here on the website.

Also, should Twitter decide to institute a paywall for use, I won’t maintain a presence there and will leave that platform altogether; in that event, this will be the only online ‘presence’ I intend to have or maintain.

I hope those who read my posts elsewhere will understand this and I hope, too, that they might find some benefit from the little prayers which will be posted here.


Motherwell Diocese and the Synod

20 September 2023

As there are only a couple of weeks until the opening of the first session of the Synod in Rome, it is perhaps worth noting that the Diocese of Motherwell has an excellent resource section on the diocesan website for all things related to the Synod.

As well as copies of the Diocesan Report there are also copies of the National reports and those of the other dioceses in Scotland. Along with various Synod documents, there are also sections on ‘Basic Questions and Themes’, keynotes for parishes and assorted resources for both parish leaders and general participants.

There are also plans to add downloads of the Prayer Book (a simplified version of the Divine Office) and Prayer Leaflet which were recently distributed throughout the parishes, with the intention of encouraging everyone to pray for the success of the Synod and it’s outcomes.

The website is well laid out and easy to navigate and to find whatever you might be looking for.

You can find the Diocese of Motherwell website here.

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