We have now entered the high summer month of July, a month in which we honour the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. St. John XXIII especially wanted us to have a vibrant devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus, the price of our redemption, and the pledge of our salvation and eternal life. When we receive Holy Communion from the chalice during this month, let us pray that the Lord will wash away all our sins and forgive and convert those who bring bloodshed and violence to our world. Sometimes, sadly, I have heard people refer to Holy Communion from the chalice as “receiving the wine” - a terrible mistake! Let’s never refer to ‘wine’ but only to the Precious Blood. In 1960, Pope John asked the Congregation of Rites to compose a litany in honour of the Precious Blood. It is a beautiful prayer that you can slowly reflect on. Please pray it often this month. You can find it here.
Meanwhile, God bless you and have a good week ahead.
This week we celebrated the Feast Day of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.
His Feast Day is 4th July - the anniversary of his death in 1925 at the age of 24.
He was beatified by Pope St John Paul II on 20th May 1990 and is the Patron of the Catholic Youth of our diocese.
The Convocation, held at the De Vere Hotel, Windsor from 13th to 15th June, was for all the clergy of the Diocese of Portsmouth in active ministry in parishes, schools and communities. With 120 present, including 15 deacons, it was very close to a 100% turnout. The event lasted only 48 hours, although it was such an intense period of work that it seemed to last much longer. The retired clergy were invited to join us for the final Mass and lunch, and also to the Thursday afternoon workshops. These latter were also open to the laity and anyone interested. It was a full house. The whole Convocation was a remarkable and grace-filled experience, not unlike what Vatican II was, they say, for its participants, an “event” that transcended its actual contents.
This is what some of the Clergy thought…
On Monday 3rd July, St George Catholic College in Southampton was pleased to host the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima and relics of Saints Jacinta and Francisco. Students came and heard the story of Fatima and venerated the statue and relics as well as receiving rosaries and prayer cards from the World Apsotolate of Fatima. Children from the local catholic primary schools were also invited in to see the statue and relics, including students from St Patrick's in Woolston and St Jude's in Fareham to this special occasion.
I was unable to attend the event in person, but I sent a message which was read out to all students, as St George is the only school that will be hosting the statue and relics in the centenary year.
I have made some further new clergy appointments in the diocese, which take effect from 8th September 2017.
Please pray that in the new appointments the Lord will bless these pastors and their communities abundantly.
I have also appointed two new Coordinating Pastors: Fr. Mark Hogan to Hampshire Downs (with my thanks to Fr. Peter Hart for all his work) and Canon Dominic Golding VG to Portsmouth Pastoral Area (with my thanks to Fr. Steven Restori for all his work).
I would like to draw your attention to a world-wide campaign to ask the Holy Father to canonise Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati at the end of the Synod on Youth next year and a sign-up web-based petition. Blessed Pier Giorgio's niece, Wanda Gawronska, who I met earlier this year recently wrote to me:
"Fr. Niemczak has put on the internet a letter petition to Pope Francis to be signed by every friend of Pier Giorgio but above all by youth devoted to Pier Giorgio, petition for canonization on the occasion of the Synod. I am sure you will help in spreading it also. Bishop Sartain is coming to Pollone around the 20th of July and he is also willing to work on a letter signed by the USA bishops, friends of Pier Giorgio!”
You can sign the petition here.
I'd like to draw your attention to some key dates for your 2018 diary!
A Eucharistic Congress will be taking place in Liverpool over three days, Friday 7th to Sunday 9th September 2018.
Here in Portsmouth Diocese we are arranging two days of preparation. On Friday 4th May we will hold a day for our schools where I will invite each school to send delegates to a day of activities and celebration centred on the Eucharist and on Saturday 5th May there will be an event for people from across the diocese to unite before the Blessed Sacrament – more detail on this as soon as they become available, but for now please save these dates.
"We can do better science—and medicine—when we recognize that human beings have abilities that transcend reductionist material explanations. In this century of unprecedented advances in brain research, it’s remarkable that the deepest insights emerge from an ancient paradigm: Thomas Aquinas’s map of the soul."
I recently came across this fascinating article by Michael Egnor, a professor of neurological surgery at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, A Map of the soul.
You can read the full article on First Things website.
Richard Martin writes...
On Tuesday 29th June, about 100 people from across the Avon Stour Pastoral Area and beyond gathered in St Joseph’s Church, Christchurch, for another Welcome to Worship event. The theme was “Seek first the kingdom” (Matt 6:33) and the evening consisted of praise and worship, prayer, Scripture reading and a short talk/reflection exploring the meaning of “kingdom”, why it is necessary to “seek” and what this might mean in practice, and the challenge of putting this “first” in our lives. There followed an extended opportunity to respond silently and prayerfully in a range of ways: personal reflection on different aspects of the theme stimulated and challenged by a series of beautifully prepared and presented ‘prayer station’ displays and resources; a practical act of repentance and commitment using rough stones and smooth gems; listening to reflective Christian music; and receiving individual prayer ministry.
The whole Welcome to Worship event was a moving and powerful spiritual experience, as indicated by some of the comments made by those participating, such as: “I feel like I’ve had a mini retreat”, “thank you for the wonderful prayer and worship evening”, “I could not believe I was only there one and a half hours. I gained from the evening as much as a whole weekend in the past”, “prayerful and uplifting”, “I felt spoken to”, …
This was our third Welcome to Worship event in Avon Stour and the aim is to hold one per term in different churches across the Pastoral Area. Anyone is welcome to join us, so keep an eye on your e-News for details of the next one!
On Friday 30 June Farnborough Hill saw a sea of people, all dressed in bright yellow, complete a 3k run through its beautiful grounds. The run was organised by members of the Lower Sixth and dedicated to the memory their friend, Farnborough Hill ex-student Lucy Pygott, who, together with fellow athlete Stacey Burrows, was tragically killed in a road accident whilst out running with the Aldershot, Farnham and District Athletic Club in November of last year. Lucy was not only an exceptionally talented athlete, but also an extremely well-loved student.
I support this initiative and Fr. Mark Hogan represented me at this year’s gathering.
This month's issue contains details of the Oscar Romero Walking Pilgrimage taking place in September.
In commemoration of the Centenary of the Fatima Apparitions, the Grayshott Sisters invite us all to pray the Holy Rosary before the image of Our Lady of Fatima on the 13th of each month (June to October).
All are welcome to join them at 7.15 pm at St. Joseph's Church in Grayshott.
If you cannot attend, perhaps join them in prayer at this time from wherever you are.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham and The Mercy Tour in conjunction with Chris Stefanick and Real Life Catholic proudly present REBOOT! Live!
Reboot Live! is a high-energy, 2 ½ hour renewal event designed to bring a brand new energy and vitality to parish communities and the Church. It is an opportunity to ignite a new passion and resolve in the hearts and minds of everyone who attends. We want you to imagine your parish full of people with a much clearer understanding of God’s plan for their lives. Imagine more prayer, more study, and more generosity. Imagine more energy, more inquisitiveness, and more commitment. Imagine lives truly transformed in Christ! This is what REBOOT! Live! is all about.
Wednesday 12th July at St Mary's, Twickenham is the second leg in Chris' UK tour, with music provided by the Mercy Tour it promises to be an inspiring, unmissable event.
2017’s biggest young Catholic Summer Festival!
Inheritance, a 5-day camping festival run by young people for young people. It is about us discovering who we are as we come face-to-face with the God who made us, knows us and loves us.
Thursday 24th - Monday 28th August 2017
Guests can arrive onsite from 5pm on Thursday 24th August. The festival kicks-off at 7pm that evening and will finish at 1pm on Monday 28th August. Guests will need to leave the site by 5pm on Monday evening.
The National Catholic Shrine of Our Lady in Walsingham. The festival site is just opposite to the premises of the Catholic shrine. It is just 15 minutes drive from the seaside town of Wells-next-the-Sea and 2 and a half hours from London (via the M11). Look out for the big top!
Houghton St Giles, Walsingham, Norfolk, NR22 6AL
St Joseph's & St Edmund's Parish in Southampton City Centre is organising a Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela from 16th– 23rd June 2018.
To secure the excellent price of £830 the firm organising the travel arrangements need to book flights by mid-August to secure the best possible deal. (Deposit £200 per head).
Fly to Madrid and then drive to Burgos when we will spend one day in Loyola, the birth place of St Ignatius to visit his shrine. We then follow the route of the Camino, the way of St James, to Santiago. There is the opportunity for walking some of the route but the coach will also be available for those who would rather use it. There will be daily celebration of Mass.
For further details and booking forms please contact Godfrey Doyle via e-mail or telephone 07714 370529.
The Formation for Mission Team have a number of new courses starting soon which provide training for Parish Catechists. You can download an information booklet here.
The new course We are all Witnesses - Essential Training for Catechists is now available to book. You can find details here.
You can find out more about the Formation for Mission Team on their website.
Wednesday 12th July
Reboot Live! UK Tour
St Mary's University Twickenham
Neighbour or Stranger:
A Christian Response to Forced Displacement in the World
University of Winchester
National Justice & Peace Conference:
A Sabbath for the Earth and the Poor
the challenge of Pope Francis
The Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire
Saturday 22nd July
Alton Day of Renewal
23rd - 29th July
Don Bosco Summer Camp
St Cassian's Kintbury
St John Paul II Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham
Saturday 12th August
Franciscan Celebration Called to be Presence in the World
Friday 18th - Friday 25th August
Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes
Monday 21st - Friday 25th August
Fanning the Flame - Hampshire Camp
Saturday 9th September
Blessed Oscar Romero Walking Pilgrimage
St Joseph's Church, Havant to St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth
Sunday 24th September
International Migrant Mass
St John's Cathedral, 3pm
30th September - 1st October
Saturday 21st October
National Altar Servers' Mass
Westminster Cathedral, 2.30pm.
Thursday 6th July
Trustees meeting, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth
Saturday 8th July
Confirmation Mass, St John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth
The repose of the souls of all who have died recently, especially those killed through acts of warfare, violence, terrorism and natural disaster. Please pray particularly for the repose of the soul of the founder of Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity, Fr. Jaime Bonet, who died recently. Requiescant in pace.
For all clergy preparing to move to new appointments and for their parishes.
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