We cannot be reminded too often about the Union of Catholic Mothers' daily Mass scheme. This is coordinated by one of our national vice-presidents who sends out a fixed rota of dates to each diocesan secretary, who then allocates them to parish foundations. Under this scheme, members of one or more foundations attend Mass on their given date to pray for all our members, which means that every day across the country there is someone praying for us. Isn't that a wonderful thought?
There are other intentions prayed for too: for all who suffer for their faith; for a growth in faith; for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and Religious life; for marriage and family life. So the next time something suddenly goes right or we get some unexpectedly good news or our spirits are lifted, it might just be that a UCM member somewhere has prayed for us.
I have some other good news to report. The Marriage Foundation, quoting figures from the Office for National Statistics, has found that the rate of divorce is falling. The 2014 divorce figures for those in the early years of marriage have halved from their peak in the 1990s. Sir Paul Coleridge, chairman of the foundation, said: "It is really heartening that the number of intact families is not declining despite the generally-held myth that divorce is simply set to get worse and worse."
Finally, the first business meeting of 2017 will be held on Saturday 18 February at 1pm in the Gibberd Room at the Metropolitan Cathedral. I hope to see lots of you there.