Portsmouth Diocese E-News

Tuesday 29th August 2017 - Issue 149 (2017/30)
Dear all,

I’ve just come back for our Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes. It was a huge success and a moment of great grace. Our thanks to Fr. John Cooke and Clare Ryan who organised us, to The Catholic Association of which our diocesan contingent formed part, and to Tangney Tours for their expert organisation of transport and other arrangements. It was a week full of activities, but with space and time also to relax. Lourdes gives a remarkable witness of faith and it is a place where the sick and needy are the VIPs. I was happy this year that Fr. PJ Smith and some of our Youth Leaders came too. My hope is that next year, we can bring a group of 14 to 18 year olds to have their own Diocesan Youth Pilgrimage running alongside the adult Diocesan Pilgrimage. 


Meanwhile, God bless you all in these last days of the school holidays!



World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation - Friday 1st September


On 10th August 2015, Pope Francis instituted the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation to be held each year on 1st September.


Following the heels of his Encyclical Laudato Si’, the day calls Christians to take care of God’s creation that he has entrusted to us. In his encyclical, Francis emphasizes that it is human responsibility to take care of your world: We are not God. The earth was here before us and it has been given to us. This allows this to respond to the charge that Judeo-Christian thinking, on the basis of the Genesis account which grants man “dominion” over the earth (cf. Gen 1:28), has encouraged the unbridled exploitation of nature by painting him as domineering and destructive by nature. This is not a correct interpretation of the Bible as understood by the Church. Although it is true that we Christians have at times incorrectly interpreted the Scriptures, nowadays we must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures.  The biblical texts are to be read in their context, with an appropriate hermeneutic, recognizing that they tell us to “till and keep” the garden of the world (cf. Gen 2:15). “Tilling” refers to cultivating, ploughing or working, while “keeping” means caring, protecting, overseeing and preserving. This implies the relationship of mutual responsibility between human beings and nature. Each community can take from the bounty of the Earth whatever it needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations. “The earth is the Lord’s” (Ps 24:1); to him belongs “the earth and all that is within it (Dt 10:14). Thus God rejects every claim to absolute ownership: “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with me” (Lev 25:23) (LS,67).


On this World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, consider the ways in which your parish community can be better stewards of the environment and care for human life.


Taken from: 2017 Sourcebook for Sundays, Seasons, and Weekdays, Liturgy Training Publications, Archdiocese of Chicago.



Mother Mary David Totah, OSB, R.I.P.

Of your charity, please pray for the repose of the soul of Mother Mary David Michele Totah  of the Order of St. Benedict, Solesmes Congregation, Novice Mistress and Prioress of St Cecilia's Abbey, Ryde who returned to God on 28th August 2017 strengthened by the Sacraments of the Church in the 61st year of her age and the 30th year of her monastic profession. Requiescat in pace.


Please pray also for the Abbess & Community of St. Cecilia’s Abbey, Ryde, Isle of Wight and all who mourn her passing.


(Mother Mary David is pictured with Dom Cuthbert Brogan, OSB, Abbot of Farnborough.)



Diocesan Day for Altar Servers

I would like to invite all the altar servers in the diocese to a special event at St John's Cathedral on Saturday 9th September. The event will include a Eucharistic Procession and Holy Half Hour, formation and testimony about serving, and team games. The day begins at 10am in the Discovery Centre, and ends at 3.30pm. Please bring a packed lunch and your server's robes.


You can register your attendance as an individual or parish group by contacting Tom Sellars on 01329 318869 (ext 222) or by e-mail.



Visit of the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima 

This past weekend saw the joyful occasion of the visit of the National Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima and the relics in recently canonised Saints Francisco and Jacinto Marto, two of the three shepherd children to who the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in a series of apparitions in 1917. The visit of the statue and the relics was part of a nationwide tour of the cathedrals of England and Wales during this Centenary Year. 
The day began with the crowning of the Pilgrim Statue and a wonderful Mass in a packed Cathedral. You can read my homily here and view some photos here. Following Mass, Canon Dominic Golding, VG, enrolled many of the faithful with the Brown Scapular of Our Lady followed by Veneration of the Relics of Saints Francisco and Jacinto during which the Holy Rosary was prayed.




Could the canonization of Bl. Pier Giorgio happen next year?

Ahead of the 2018 synod on youth in Rome, a group of Catholic young people are asking for testimonies and signatures in support of the canonization of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. 
Read more 



Formation for Mission

Weekly Webinar

Don't forget that the Formation for Mission team offer a weekly webinar to unlock the Sunday Gospel and respond to your questions about the Faith, every Wednesday from 7 to 8 pm.

Reviews of the webinar:


“I wasn't sure what to expect. Immediately I felt part of an interested group and found the pace of the presentation kept me interested all the way through. The information was conveyed in a logical, thoughtful way and left the participants with lots to ponder. Thank you.”


“This is a very easy way for many people to gain access to teaching about the gospel and improve their knowledge of the bible. It also allows people to participate as much or as little as they are comfortable with and so is a non-threatening way of adults increasing their knowledge without having to attend a face to face meeting.”


“I highly recommend this session to anyone wanting to have a better understanding of the weekly gospel and wanting to develop their faith.”


You can register here, subscribe to the audio podcast on iTunes here and you can find all the previous webinar recordings here.


Diocesan Day for Catechists


Register here to book a place to our annual Day for Catechists in St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth on Saturday 14th October. The day will be dedicated to deepening our understanding and love of Scripture, with a talk by Fr Richard Ounsworth, OP in the morning, and three forums in the afternoon to discover a great selection of scriptural resources and methods for the catechesis of children, young people and adults.


Other courses


You can read all about all the events and courses (1 or 2 year courses) offered by the Formation for Mission team in this downloadable booklet. Funding is available from the Living our Faith Fund for these courses. 


Free Formation programme for young adults


The Dominican Institute in the USA is offering a free formation programme for young adults. It has been billed as one of the best online Catholic Resources ever. It would be good for any adults, not just the young and is based on YOUCAT The Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church (downloadable).


It comprises six videos:


1 - Ignite

2 - Spark

3 - Flame

4 - Heat

5 - Blaze

6 - Torch


The programme can be found here. There is an introductory video with Bob Rice (Franciscan University of Steubenville) and Mark Hart (Lifeteen Ministries). After watching the Introductory Video, there is a button to press: “Get It for Free.”  You give your email address and then enter.


I highly recommend it!



Caritas Celebration

Please come and join with us on Friday 13th October to celebrate the work and development of Caritas in the diocese. At the event we will share with you some of our key projects and hopefully you will be able to give us some feedback about where you think Caritas should be heading in the future. Bishop Philip will join us in this event and will offer the opening prayer. A simple lunch will also be provided. A warm welcome to all who are interested in the future role of Caritas and its promotion of Catholic social teaching and social action.


10:30-11:00 Guest arrival

11:00-11:20 Welcome address and welcome prayer - Bishop Philip

11:20-11:40 “The Caritas Family” – Phil McCarthy - CSAN Director

11:40-12:25 Project Presentations
1. Insight Project – Sue Cregan/Lucy Sayer
2. Stella Maris Project – Roger Stone
3. Dragon’s Den Project – Gerry Penfold

12:25-12:45 “Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth – The way forward” -

Fr. Mark Hogan and Kevin Gallagher

12:45-12:50 Final prayer – Fr. Mark Hogan

12:50-13:30 Reception


If you wish to attend please sign up here.


For further information please contact Kevin Gallagher.



Former Jersey Altar Server ordained to the Sacred Priesthood

Maria Etienne writes:


Father Daniel Etienne was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood on Saturday 1st July in Lancaster Cathedral by Bishop Michael Campbell OSA. It was a joyous occasion attended by many family and friends who had travelled over from Jersey as well as fellow seminarians. 

Daniel was baptised and confirmed in St Thomas' Church, Jersey and it was wonderful that he was able to be with us at St. Thomas' on 16 July to celebrate Mass with the community where he used to be an altar server. A reception followed in St. Thomas' Hall and many parishioners received their First Blessing from Father Daniel.

Read more



Visit of Bishop Martin Olorunmolu

I was happy the other day to welcome Bishop Martin, Fr. Paul Obada’s bishop, to lunch. This was his first visit to England and he has been staying with Fr. Paul at Highcliffe. He is the Bishop of Lokoja in Nigeria, a big town about 300 km south of Abuja. He has 55 priests in his diocese, with another 27 in formation. The diocese was founded in 1965 and Bishop Martin is the fourth bishop. Fr. Paul took the bishop to visit London, which he found fascinating, and also gave him a tour of the New Forest. I thanked him for the service of Fr. Paul, who is shortly moving to Southampton. I also sent greetings to Fr. Dominic Adeiza, who preceded Fr. Paul, and was for a time in Yateley, among other places. 




Novena for Marriage and the Family

This Wednesday is the start of the Novena to the Blessed Virgin Mary for Marriage and the Family in the nine days preceding the Feast of her Nativity.
Please pray this novena for all married couples and families in the diocese, for all our engaged couples, for an increase in vocations to the married state and for the work of our Marriage and Family Life team.
You can sign up here to receive the daily prayers into your inbox.




Justice, Peace and Social Responsibility

The September bulletin is now available to read here.
"Together we pledge our commitment to raising awareness about the stewardship of creation." Pope Francis




Do you have some good news to share?

I would like to encourage all readers to send in items for the Enews about events in parishes, pastoral areas and schools about the many sacramental celebrations and general good news about people in the diocese.


I kept hearing much Good News when we were in Lourdes from many people - do share it with us so we can share it with others in the diocese.


Thanks, of course, to all who already contribute articles for the e-News on an occasional or regular basis.


Please e-mail all news items to: executiveassistant@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk 




Do you by any chance have Sky TV?

Well, if so, channel 589 is the Catholic channel called EWTN. They have a range of programmes including Mass, devotions, catechesis and talks. Plus series on lives of saints. They also broadcast children’s programmes. Why not check the schedule here.


When I used to be a priest in the United States, I often used to find parishioners in their homes were watching EWTN and joining in their programmes.



Bishop Philip's Engagements 

Thursday 31st August 

Caritas visit to Holiday Club: Southampton


Saturday 2nd - Sunday 3rd September 

Parish Visitation: Wokingham


Monday 4th September

Various Meetings: Bishop's House, Portsmouth


Tuesday 5th September

Various Meetings: Bishop's House, Portsmouth


Forthcoming events  

Monday 4th September

Apostleship of the Sea Stella Maris Mass

St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth, 12.15pm

Read more


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

Read more


Saturday 9th September

Night Fever

St Mary's Church, Gosport

Read more


Saturday 16th September

Retreat Day for Catechists

Read more


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)

Read more


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.)

Read more


Sunday 24th September

International Migrant Mass

St John's Cathedral, 2pm


Sunday 24th September

Annual walk from Ryde to Quarr Abbey

Read more


30th September - 1st October

Celebrate! Southampton

Read more


Saturday 14th October

Diocesan Day for Catechists

St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth

Read more


Saturday 21st October

National Altar Servers' Mass

Westminster Cathedral, 2.30pm.

Read more


Saturday 4th November

Diocesan Day for Children's Liturgy of the Word Catechists

St Bede's Basingstoke

Read more


Saturday 18th November

Discipleship Day


More details soon!



Employment opportunities

Parish Secretary at St Laurence, Petersfield
12 hours per week to be worked over 3 days, plus approximately 12 hours per year (taking minutes at 6 evening meetings).

Closing date for applications: 8th September 2017.


Headteacher - St Bernadette's School Farnborough
Required for January 2018

Closing date for applications: Friday 15th September 2017 (12 noon)

Read more





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Please pray for...

The repose of the souls of all who have died recently, especially for Mother Mary David Totah, OSB and for all those killed through acts of warfare, violence, terrorism and natural disaster. Requiescant in pace.


For Vocations to the Priesthood, Diaconate and Religious Life, for all currently discerning their vocation and for those in, or soon to begin formation for ordination to the sacred priesthood and diaconate.

For all the sick clergy and people in our Diocese who are in need of our prayers, among them, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor who is seriously ill in hospital.

Peace in the world and for those who govern the nations that they may do so wisely and justly.

All those suffering in the world through hunger, disease, persecution and natural disaster.

For all clergy preparing to move to new appointments and for their parishes.


Archbishop Cornelius and the clergy and people of our twin diocese of Bamenda.

The work of all Evangelisation Strategy Teams across our Diocese and for those entering the "Called and Gifted" process.

All the faithful of the Diocese that they may share their time and talents for the the good of the Church and discern how God is calling them in a particular way to be more intentional disciples. 





Bishop Philip Egan

 With all good wishes and an assurance of my prayers, 


In Corde Iesu


Bishop of Portsmouth


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