I send you prayerful greetings from the diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes. It's very hot at the moment here but everyone is in good spirits! Please be assured of my prayers especially for you all. There are regular updates from the Pilgrimage Team on their new social media platforms. You can follow them on Twitter and Facebook for news and photos of our time here. I am also tweeting each day from my Twitter feed.
One of the most wonderful things about our Diocese of Portsmouth is the large number of religious communities we have, almost 40. We have monks, nuns, brothers and sisters from many congregations and societies, ancient and modern: Benedictines, Carmelites, Dominicans, Franciscans, Salesians and Jesuits, to name a few. We also have some well-known abbeys such as Quarr, St. Cecilia’s, Douai and Farnborough, plus nationally-known retreat houses like Cold Ash and Kintbury. The religious with their distinctive charisms, life-styles, work, dress and example, bring great energy to the Diocese and Fr. Bruce Barnes, the Vicar for Religious, who is my representative among these communities, is well busy!
But one thing I have always wanted since becoming Bishop, if it were God’s will, was to have a centre of prayer specifically and directly to support the Diocese in its work of new evangelisation.
Well, I am happy to say from this autumn that we will have just such a place!
Bishop Robert Barron reflects on the Memorial of the Queenship, or Coronation, of Our Lady which we celebrated this Tuesday
and mediate upon every time we pray the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary
During this Centenary Year, the World Apostolate of Fatima statue of Our Lady of Fatima is on a journey around the cathedrals of England and Wales along with relics of recently canonised St Jacinto and St Francisco Marto.
The statue and relics will be visiting St John's Cathedral here in Portsmouth this coming weekend, from Saturday 26th to Sunday 27th August.
Please support and advertise this event across the diocese.
Our Lady of Fatima, St Francisco and St Jacinto, pray for us.
Cardinal Vincent Nicholls recently wrote to all the Bishops of England and Wales:
Cardinal Cormac asks most sincerely for prayers, Cardinal Nichols writes, knowing that "these loving prayers are a source of great strength and comfort as he calmly ponders on all that lies ahead, all in God's good time. May the Lord strengthen him in faith and trust and may the prayers of the Church, which he loves so much, comfort and uphold him.”
Your prayers are asked for the happy repose of the soul of Father Leo Targett, a priest of our diocese for 65 years, who died last week on the Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady. Next month, he would have celebrated his 100th birthday.
May he rest in peace.
Oscott Seminary have introduced a preparatory year for men discerning a call to the Permanent Diaconate. This Propaedeutic year consists of three sessions (Friday-Saturday) and commences on 10th/11th November. The other dates for this academic year are 26th/27th January and 16/17th March.
Its aim is to help candidates better understand the reality of a vocation to Holy Orders and to discern whether this is what God is calling them to. There will be Parish based pastoral elements, spiritual formation and intellectual input given through teaching, seminars and discussions.
Wives of prospective candidates will also be supported during these days and are encouraged to attend. Attendance at these days does not commit an individual to beginning the formation program, but is part of the overall selection process.
In March this year the Catholic Academies and Schools Office were delighted to host a week long visit of the internationally renowned speaker on Catholic education, Jonathan Doyle. Jonathan's message to over 120 teachers was about the vision and purpose of being an educator. You can access his talk here.
We are now delighted to be enlisting 38 of our schools in to Jonathan and Karen Doyle's weekly online faith formation programme - "Going Deeper".
Tens of thousands of teachers worldwide now download the short weekly briefings either for personal development or for use in the context of larger weekly staff gatherings. "Going Deeper" allows staff to gain deeper formation in core principles of vocation and mission and key Church teaching on education and the evangelisation of both staff and young people.
Please keep the schools which will be accessing this unique programme very much in your prayers over the coming academic year that all those who engage with the material will feel inspired and empowered to live afresh their vocation as a Catholic educator or as non Catholics to be enriched in their desire to be part of our schools as communities of Catholic formation.
Jonathan has produced a special two minute introductory video message to build anticipation prior to start of term here.
Fr Gerard Flynn, Vocations Director for the Diocese, thanks all those kind people who pray for the cause of priestly vocations. As this new academic year begins we are blessed to have fourteen seminarians in formation for the priesthood in the Diocese. This is more than at any time in living memory; if anyone’s memory can reach further back perhaps they could let Fr Gerard know! Please could pray for each of our present seminarians, as well as for those who are inquiring and those youngsters who will seek God’s unique call in their lives in years to come.
Allen Hall, London
Beda College, Rome
Venerable English College, Rome
Royal English College, Valladolid
St Mary’s College, Oscott
St John’s College, Wonersh
Niall Farrell (on a year’s Pastoral Placement at St John’s Cathedral)
Father you call each one of us by name and ask us to follow you. Bless your Church by raising up dedicated and generous leaders from our families and friends who will serve your people as Sisters, Priests, Brothers, Deacons, and Lay Ministers. Inspire us as we grow to know you, and open our hearts to hear your call. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Kevin Conmee is one of our new Seminarians and will soon begin his studies for Formation for the Sacred Priesthood at the Beda College in Rome. However, his journey to Rome in slightly out of the ordinary...
I was no longer a spring chicken when Bishop Egan accepted me this year to study for the Sacred Priesthood for the Diocese of Portsmouth at the Beda College in Rome. However, age is no barrier to either God's calling or to pilgrimages. One Sunday morning while praying in Church before Mass I felt inspired to cycle one of the most ancient pilgrim routes from Canterbury to Rome. After receiving Bishop Egan's blessing on the Sunday of Mount Carmel I headed to Ramsgate to visit the shrine of St Augustine, the first missionary sent by Pope Gregory the Great for the conversion of England. St Augustine, was a Benedictine monk, who travelled from to Rome to Canterbury to become the first Archbishop of Canterbury.
A number of people from the diocese attended the recent Blessed Archbishop Romero Centenary Mass celebrated by Archbishop Peter Smith at St George's Cathedral Southwark. The Homily was given by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the postulator for the cause for Blessed Oscar Romero's canonisation. You can read his Homily here and there are some photos here.
The Centenary is being celebrated locally and CAFOD / Caritas who invite you to join them on Saturday 9th September for all or part of their Blessed Archbishop Romero Pilgrimage from Havant to St John's Cathedral. It will start from St Thomas Emsworth (9.45am) to St Joseph’s Havant (10.30am), St Thomas Bedhampton (11.15am) and on into Portsmouth. At each stop the group will hold a station and will recall stories of Archbishop Romero’s life, and pray focusing on their own faith journeys as people of the beatitudes. You can find more information here or call Maureen on 01243 377411.
If you are unable to join the pilgrimage in person, but would like to do something locally here is a copy of liturgy they have prepared.
There are also still tickets available for the National Ecumenical Celebration of Evensong at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 23rd September. Details may be found here.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales are sponsoring a mental health project, with grants available and also many web resources.
The aim is to help increase spiritual and pastoral support for those with mental health challenges, their families and carers.
Prayer to Our Lady of Mental Peace
O Lady of Mental Peace,
Mother of Tranquility and
Mother of Hope,
look upon me in this time
of disquiet and weakness.
Still my restless spirit,
teach my searching heart to know
that God's love for me
is unchanging and that the suffering
which He may will for me now
is to draw me closer to Him.
Let thy gentle peace and His ---
which the world cannot give ---
be always with me, that I may
be sanctified: and then:
I beseech thee
for the grace to bring this
peace to others.
Jesus, My Savior, I give myself
entirely to Thee through Mary:
Our Lady of Mental Peace,
pray for me!
Deaf People from the Dioceses of Portsmouth, Westminster and Arundel & Brighton gathered at St. John’s Cathedral for a retreat day on 9th August – the first of its kind held in the Diocese. Picking up on the day’s feast, the theme of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) was taken for the event. The day was prepared & presented by Fr. Robin Ellwood together with Shell Roca & Sarah Metcalfe of the Westminster Caritas Deaf Service.
It’s a Saturday evening the 6 o’clock Vigil Mass has just ended.
The church is alight with candles, the altar is beautifully decorated. Musicians, the street missionaries and welcome teams are ready. We have many friends and parishioners in prayer.
The Blessed Sacrament is exposed on the altar. It’s 7.30pm. The doors are open and another evening of Nightfever begins.
So what is “Nightfever” all about?
Apostleship of the Sea would like to invite members of the diocese to a Mass in honour of their patron Our Lady Star of the Sea and to pray for seafarers and for AoS’ work on Monday 4th September 2017, 12.15pm at St John the Evangelist Cathedral, Portsmouth.
For more information contact Salvina Bartholomeusz via e-mail or telephone 020 7901 1932.
All welcome - please come along.
More information to follow, but please keep the date free.
Fully escorted 5 Night Pilgrimage to Knock Shrine, Ireland, 15th October 2017. Led by Fr. Tom Grufferty. £699.00 per person sharing. Price includes flight, from London Gatwick, with 15kg checked in bag, all taxes, luxury transfers, 5 nights in newly refurbished Knock House Hotel with full Irish Breakfast each morning and 4 Course Dinner each evening. All entertainment, excursions and guided tours included. We will also visit Ballintubber Abbey, Westport, Foxford Woollen Mills. Wheelchair accessible rooms in the hotel. Limited single rooms at supplement of £60. Groups and Individual bookings welcome.
Contact Patricia anytime on 01268 762 278 or 07740 175557 or via e-mail.
Knock Pilgrimages is fully protected by ATOL T7613.
Havant Passion Play Limited put on another magnificent play over the weekend of 12th and 13th August. Admission was free and the cast was ably led by James Burke-Dunsmore who is well known for taking the role of Jesus at Wintershall and in Trafalgar Square.
The play, Jesus in the Park, showed many of the healings and miracles of Jesus ministry before showing the betrayal, arrest, crucifixion and resurrection. The audience were spellbound at all three performances. One of the greatest achievements was the multiplication of the loaves in the miracle of Feeding the 5000! The audience were delighted and amazed to have a share in an amazing supply of delicious bread! A live horse, a sheep and a goat also played their parts impeccably. The horse in the Good Samaritan story and the sheep and goat at the Last Judgement.
If you missed the performace, DVDs of the play can be ordered at a cost of £20 each by contacting Jacky Chong to place an order.
More photographs can be viewed here.
Sam Hoskin, Head Boy at Our Lady’s Abingdon, was thrilled to learn today that he has secured a place at Jesus College, Oxford to read Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE). Sam exceeded the grades he needed to be accepted on the prestigious course, where previous students have included David Cameron, Lord Heseltine and Ed Miliband.
Sam's success is all the more noteworthy as he is a visually impaired student who has studied his A Level subjects using Braille. On hearing he had achieved his place, Sam said: 'I am surprised but also delighted. To gain a place at Oxford is the fulfilment of a longstanding ambition'. Sam is passionately interested in politics, as well as being a keen cricketer, cyclist and goalball player.
OLA's Principal, Stephen Oliver, paid tribute to Sam’s achievement: 'A huge amount of hard work has gone into Sam's success, including the dedicated help he has received from his teachers and TAs. I am proud of what he and the school have achieved and wish him well for his time at university. I cannot think of a more deserving student.'
Friday 18th August – Friday 25th August
Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes
Saturday 26th August
Mass to welcome Fatima Statue and relics of Saints Jacinta and Francesco,
St John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth
Tuesday 29th August
Various meetings, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth
Thursday 31st August
Caritas visit to Holiday Club, Southampton
Saturday 2nd September
Parish Visitation: Wokingham
Please remember that Bishop’s Office is closed during the month of August.
This means that emails and correspondence will be subject to considerable delay.
Please bear this clearly in mind these next weeks when seeking to make contact.
Saturday 19th August
Alton Day of Renewal
Monday 21st - Friday 25th August
Fanning the Flame - Hampshire Camp
Saturday 26th - Sunday 27th August
Visit of the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima and
the relics of St Jacinto and St Francisco Marto
St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth.
Monday 4th September
Apostleship of the Sea Stella Maris Mass
St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth, 12.15pm
Saturday 9th September
Diocesan Day for Altar Servers
Saturday 9th September
Blessed Oscar Romero Walking Pilgrimage
St Joseph's Church, Havant to St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth
Saturday 9th September
St Mary's Church, Gosport
Sunday 17th September
Annual Pilgrimage of Reparation and Prayer for the Sanctity of Life to Walsingham
led by Rt Rev. Robert Byrne Cong.Orat., Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham.
There will be a coach leaving from Gosport (contact Jacob Campbell – 02392 580119)
Saturday 23rd September
Evensong: National Ecumenical Celebration for the Centenary of Bl. Oscar Romero
3.00pm at Westminster Abbey.
(This event is free entry but requires booked tickets.)
Sunday 24th September
International Migrant Mass
St John's Cathedral, 2pm
Sunday 24th September
Annual walk from Ryde to Quarr Abbey
30th September - 1st October
Saturday 21st October
National Altar Servers' Mass
Westminster Cathedral, 2.30pm.
Saturday 18th November
More details soon!
The repose of the souls of all who have died recently, especially Fr Leo Targett and all those killed through acts of warfare, violence, terrorism and natural disaster. Requiescant in pace.
For all clergy preparing to move to new appointments and for their parishes.
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