Tweeting priest has a modern way to help

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A Leyland church is leading the way with a modern take on how to help those most at need.

While most priests are happy with a bible and a pew, Father Jonathon Cotton at St Mary’s Church enlists the help of Facebook and Twitter to preach to the masses.

And Fr Cotton, together with a legion of parishioners at the Broadfield Drive church, is setting up a new website to raise money for the homeless and vulnerable in the community. will encourage local businesses to promote their services online, and any money donated by the businesses will go straight to those who need it most.

Fr Cotton said: “At the church we are inevitably involved with people who are less fortunate in all kinds of different ways.

“They come here a lot and we have a marvellous group in the parish to help. And it’s not just Catholics, we help anybody.

“We realise that it’s time for us as a community to try and make this better.”

The website will be launching at an event at the church tonight (Wednesday), where local businesses will be invited to come along and local people will be asked to add their name to a mailing list to receive offers.

Fr Cotton said: “We asked the parish what they wanted from their priests and they came back with a simple and clear ideas, and that was to develop and promote the whole community.

“We reflected on that and came to the conclusion that one way was to try and support those on the edge of society.”

The newly-formed Newman fund, where proceeds from the website will go, is solely to help vulnerable people in the community.

68-year-old Fr Cotton, who regularly keeps parishioners posted with his own blog, plus followers on Facebook and Twitter, said: “We are hoping that the people of Leyland and in surrounding areas will support the local business who will be asked to put offers and promotions on the website.

“This is for the cobblers and the caterers, not necessarily the big companies. We have to try and help, it’s our responsibility to do so.”

Visit for more information.