This past weekend I issued my latest Pastoral Letter: "God is calling You!" You can watch it below or download it to read here.
Two key themes are praying for Vocations to the Sacred Priesthood, perhaps through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Holy Rosary and as a lay-person becoming an intentional disciple, a can-do Catholic. Another element is a list of ten questions to assess parliamentary Candidates for the forthcoming General Election.
Prayer for Vocations
Loving Father, touch and transform us by the joy of your love. Make us missionary disciples, empowered to carry the love of Christ to our neighbour. May young people be inspired by our example to take up the path of Christian discipleship and dedicate their lives to the service of the Gospel. Raise up new vocations by the power of your Holy Spirit to the priesthood, diaconate and the consecrated life: send us men and women, inspired to be living signs of your mercy. Grant us all an openness of heart, that we might readily respond to your call, and proclaim with joy the Good News to the whole world. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
At the beginning of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on the 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima, Pope Francis declared two of the Shepherd Children who witnessed the Apparitions in Fatima, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, to be Saints.
During his homily the Holy Father said: "we can take as our examples Saint Francisco and Saint Jacinta, whom the Virgin Mary introduced into the immense ocean of God’s light and taught to adore him." You can read the full text of his homily here.
In the fourth of our series of reflections from Jennifer Geach on the Sundays of Easter, we focus on the Fifth Sunday of Easter - "you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9)
This is a global prayer movement, which invites Christians around the world to pray at this time for more people to come to know Jesus Christ. As Catholics, we can support this initiative with our Pentecost Novena, Prayer of the Faithful and an encouragement for us to pray, as we normally do, with the particular intention for our loved ones to come to faith in Jesus Christ.
Through the Called & Gifted process, a number of people in our Diocese have been able to discern that they have the charism of Intercessory Prayer. Some have expressed the wish to gather together in small groups from time to time, or be connected with each other, and so a Diocesan Intercessory prayer network has been established.
The intercessions could include prayers for our Diocese and all the people in it (from the laity to our Bishop, Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, Religious) as well as all the various needs of the world.
I'm surprised by how few people seem to know the 'Regina Caeli'.
This is the Marian anthem used in Eastertide instead of the Angelus and which is always sung at the end of Night Prayer. Some parishes also use it occasionally at Mass instead of the Hail Mary in the Bidding Prayers during Eastertide.
The origins of the Regina Caeli are said to go back to Pope St Gregory the Great (d. 604) who heard angels chanting the first three lines one Easter morning in Rome. It was certainly in use in many Franciscan communities by the 12th century and presumably caught on from there.
Edmund Adamus - Professional Adviser to the Episcopal Vicar for Education and Schools Commissioner reflects on a great witness to the values of Catholic education.
"Since you are ambassadors and ministers of Jesus Christ in the work that you do, you must act as representing Jesus Christ."
These profound but simple words come from the pen of Jean Baptiste de La Salle who was born in Rheims, France in 1651. As he was declared Patron of Christian teachers on 15 May 1950, it’s an appropriate moment with all of the contemporary challenges facing Catholic education today to remind ourselves of how he so richly personified the vision he wrote.
It was with great sadness that we heard last week that Elizabeth Giltinan had died peacefully in hospital following a recurrence of cancer.
Liz had served in our diocese as Deputy Headteacher at St. Thomas More Catholic Primary School, Bedhampton before taking up the Headship at Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School, Portsmouth where she successfully led the school for nearly 15 years. Liz was passionate about the children, the school, the City, music, Wales and her family. She always sought opportunities to implement the latest research and to share this with colleagues. This was particularly seen following a research trip to Shanghai to investigate their approach to the teaching of Maths.
May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.
Britain is preparing for a General Election and as Catholics we have a crucial contribution to make to this democratic process. Here are ten key questions to think about. You could use them to evaluate a manifesto, or you could put them to a prospective parliamentary candidate.
Saturday 3rd June, 10am-3pm at St. Edward’s Church, 191-193 Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford SO53 2DU.
The diocese will be hosting a day of prayer for the New Evangelisation, beginning with Mass at 10am. Throughout the day, there will be the opportunity to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. There will also be a prayer workshop either side of lunch (please bring your own), centred on the theme of “using the gifts of the Holy Spirit”. You are welcome to come for all or just some of the day. Even if you cannot join us, please take time that day to pray for the New Evangelisation in our diocese – it is essential that all our efforts are founded on a firm bedrock of prayer.
Fr Tom Grufferty writes...
On Sunday 28th May, Parishioners from St. Joseph’s Church, Christchurch are going to walk to Hengistbury Head, which is the highest point in the area, to commemorate the Ascension of Jesus. It is a Bank Holiday weekend and everyone is invited to join them at the different stages as outlined here.
12 Noon start at St. Joseph’s Church, 67 Purewell, BH23 1EH. Walk to Wick Village via Christchurch Priory, the Quay - Join us there. (Some people might want to catch the Ferry to Wick). Walk over Tuckton Bridge through the recreation ground to the Wick Ferry - Join us there. Walk on to The Visitors Centre - Join us there. Walk to Tumulus overlooking Christchurch Harbour - Join us there. There will be a brief prayer service with the scripture story of the Ascension of Jesus and a shared lunch. Everyone is welcome to join in.
People are invited to wear bright colours, comfortable shoes essential, packed lunch, and plenty of liquids. Animals under control at all times are welcome. Afternoon walk to Mudeford ferry to cross to the Quay and return home to Purewell.
This is a new initiative of the Avon Stour Evangelisation Strategy Team.
This year's Lourdes Youth Pilgrimage will be running alongside the main diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage from 18th—25th August and is for teenagers aged from 14 to 17 years. Bookings are now being taken and places may be secured with a £100 deposit. Total cost of pilgrimage is £625. For further information please contact Tom Sellars on 01329 318869 (ext 222) or email.
Could you volunteer as an Adult helper for this year’s Pilgrimage? Or perhaps you are a qualified Nurse or Doctor and would like to consider joining the Catholic Association Pilgrimage?
Our Adult Helper application deadline is 1st June. Please contact Fr John Cooke or Mrs Clare Ryan on 01489 572797 or email for information on helping, or contact them if you would like more information on joining the Pilgrimage this year, but not in a helper capacity.
Kevin Gallagher, Director of Caritas Portsmouth writes...
Having begun work as Director of Caritas Portsmouth on March 1st and spending most of my time travelling round the diocese talking to various charities and organisations, one of the most common tasks is trying to answer the question just exactly what Caritas is?
For a quick sound bite explanation it would be appropriate to say “The Social Action Voice of the Catholic Church”. However, although being the second largest NGO worldwide next to the Red Cross, it does remain rather unknown in the UK.
Last Saturday parishioners from Abingdon, Didcot and East Hendred spent a day reflecting and discussing what Discipleship means. The day was led by Gina and Geoff Poulter who used a variety of scriptural reflections, film clips, testimonies and images to help parishioners think about how to follow closely in Jesus's footsteps. They spent time talking about developed a regular prayer life, throughout each day, in order to develop a personal relationship with Christ. The day ended by looking at the Mission that Jesus sends us out to do, which is when a disciple becomes an apostle. Called and Gifted was briefly discussed as this is when parishioners understand their own charisms and vocation, and consciously go out to others in active mission, just as the apostles did.
(Click on the image for a larger version.)
Friday 19th - Sunday 21st May
Marriage Encounter Weekend
Park Place, Fareham
Saturday 20th MayAlton Day of Renewal
Sunday 2nd July
St Edmund Campion Pilgrimage Mass
Lyford Grange, near Wantage
Neighbour or Stranger:
A Christian Response to Forced Displacement in the World
University of Winchester
23rd - 29th July
Don Bosco Summer Camp
St Cassian's Kintbury
Friday 18th - Friday 25th August
Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes
Monday 21st - Friday 25th August
Fanning the Flame - Hampshire Camp
Tuesday 23rd May
Bishop’s House, Portsmouth
Thursday 25th May
Bishop’s Council Meeting,
Bishop’s House, Portsmouth
Friday 26th May
Confirmation Mass, 11.00
Farleigh School, Andover
Bishop’s House, Portsmouth
Saturday 27th May
Confirmation Mass, 11.00
St John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth
All preparing for Confirmation and First Holy Communion.
We receive a lot of adverts for events. If you would like to advertise an event, please fill out this form here