Portsmouth Diocese E-News

Wednesday 13th September 2017 - Issue 151 (2017/32)
Dear all,

As we continue this first full week of the new academic year, spare a thought and say a prayer for all your students, teachers, governors, parents and staff resuming school after the summer break. I have challenged our schools to build on their good work and truly become ‘Catholic Formation Communities’ for all. Indeed, our schools and our parishes are the two principle agencies of the Church’s mission in our Diocese. May God bless them abundantly in this new year. 


Meanwhile, God bless you too this coming week! Thank you for all your prayers and support.



The Exaltation of the Holy Cross - Thursday 14th September


This Thursday is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.


What are these Christians about, exalting an instrument of torture? First, we rejoice that something so terrible should have been transformed into a means of redemption for the whole human race. Second, we remind ourselves of the fact that Christianity is not an abstract and spiritual religion. It springs from God’s direct intervention in the affairs of the world, a real historical event involving real people and, in the end, a real execution on a real cross. We may theorise and theologise all we like; but all our theorising and theologising is nothing without the history on which they are based. Take away that history – take away the Cross – and Christianity is nonsense.


St Michael the Archangel

Later this month, on 29th September to be precise, the Church celebrates the Feastday of the three Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Then, three days later on 2nd October, she celebrates the Memorial of the holy Guardian Angels.


Angels are spiritual, personal and immortal creatures, with intelligence and free will, who glorify God and serve him as messengers of his saving plan. God sends angels to us to make announcements, take care of us, protect us on our journey, guide us on the way in life, and to inspire us with apostolic zeal to draw others closer to Him. Traditionally, the choirs of angels have been divided into various ranks, including archangels, cherubim, seraphim, thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers (see Col 1:16).


Over the next editions of Enews as we prepare for these two feastdays, I wish to share some reflections on angels and their role in helping us, today on St. Michael, Prince of the heavenly Hosts.


Read more 




Novena to Our Lady of Walsingham

Mgr. John Armitage, Rector of our National Marian Shrine in Walsingham has asked me to promote this newly published Novena in Honour of Our Lady of Walsingham.


He writes...

It would be really wonderful if, in this year of the Centenary of the Our Lady of Fatima apparitions, we might begin to build up a movement of prayer for a National Novena in honour of Our Lady of Walsingham - our Patroness and Queen, throughout England Mary's Dowry and Wales in preparation for the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham on September 24th.


The Novena - or nine days of prayer - begins on Friday 15th September, the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows and continues up to the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham, the anniversary of my Episcopal Ordination, so please remember me in your prayers as you pray this novena and also the priests of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham who serve parishes within our diocese.


You can download the Novena prayers here.





Fr Terry Burke MHM, R.I.P.

I am sorry to pass on the news of the recent death of Fr Terry Burke MHM.  As many of you will know Fr Terry had terminal cancer.  Initially he stayed with his sister Margaret in Tilehurst and finally at the Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading, where he actually died.  During his illness he was supported by his family and the Mill Hill Missionaries.  Fr Terry asked that his Funeral Mass be at St James, that his body be cremated and that his ashes should be buried in the Mill Hill Missionary Cemetery.  I had some memorable moments with Fr Terry when I visited him during his illness and celebrated the anointing of the sick with him.  


Fr Terry's Funeral Mass will be held at St James Church, Forbury Road, Reading on Friday 22nd September at 12.30pm, Cremation to follow at Reading Crematorium. If you wish to concelebrate please email  or telephone  01189574171.  Parking is in Reading Retail Park (opposite the church and prison on other side of dual carriage way) as there is a very small car park at the church (please request a parking permit from St James').


Fr Terry spent most of his life teaching at St Peter’s Seminary in Malaysia.  He was the Catholic Chaplain at Reading University for about 10 years and prior to that was assistant priest at St James Church Reading for about 2 years.  Our condolences to his sister Margaret, the family and the Mill Hill Missionaries. 


May he rest in peace.





Adoremus update

I recently announced (see here) the opening of the Adoremus Centre for prayer dedicated to the work of the “New Evangelisation”.  The word “Adoremus” means to give glory to God. The Adoremus Centre is located on Alderney (Channel Islands) within the Parish of St Anne and St Mary Magdalen.


The purpose of the Adoremus Centre is to beg and obtain God’s grace & blessing for the clergy, people, schools and ministries of the diocese in their work of proclaiming the Gospel to the people living in the contemporary and secular age of our time.


Read more 




A Day with Mary

I invite you to join me at the Cathedral on Saturday 23rd September for A Day with Mary. The day begins at 10am with Procession and Crowning of the statue of Our Lady, followed by Mass. Other devotions during the day include Procession of the Blessed Sacrament, Homilies on Our Lady and the Holy Rosary.
You can find full details of the programme here.


Catholic Disability Fellowship Annual Mass

The Catholic Disability Fellowship invite you to their Annual Mass on Saturday 23rd September at Sacred Heart Waterlooville. You can find more details on the poster here.
Please display the poster in your parish to help advertise this event.




Come and celebrate ethnic diversity!

I invite you to come an join me in celebrating the ethnic diversity within our diocese at the Annual International Migrant Mass on Sunday 24th September in the Cathedral.
Please advertise this event.
You can download a poster here.



Caritas Celebration

Please come and join with us on Friday 13th October at the Holy Family Church in Southampton 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/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.



Have you ever thought about being a priest?

How many priests has your Parish produced? Maybe you live in one of those 'hot spots' of the Diocese from which quite a few of our present priests have come? There's another and much more important question. How many priests is your Parish going to give in the future? I reminded everyone of this in my last Pastoral Letter that priests come from families just like yours and mine. At a football match, for instance, it could be both a fan in the crowd and a player on the field who are called to priesthood. Jesus called all sorts to be his first followers. He calls all of us now to be his missionary disciples. From among those he calls some will hear the call to the sacred priesthood. It could be you or someone you know.


Read more 




Portsmouth Diocesan App

Have you downloaded the Diocesan App yet?


The Portsmouth Catholic Diocese App is available on Apple and Android and is free to download for your smartphone or tablet.


Here you can find maps and information for your nearest Church, including Mass times, Eucharistic Adoration and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

You will also find a regularly updated calendar of events and many other features relating to Catholic life.

Read more about it here.




Introducing the "Diocesan Dashboard"

Over the last two years, our diocesan Social Research Unit has been undertaking a special project with a company called Field Dynamics to establish a computerised data-base that collates data and statistics about the Diocese and about each and every parish, pastoral area and deanery. The data-base, called the “Diocesan Dashboard,” will be especially helpful for our diocesan administration and our Catholic Schools and Academies Office, as well as for Framework Teams such as Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth, and for parish, pastoral area and deanery Evangelisation Strategy Teams. It incorporates both internal and external data about the Diocese and indeed, will be an invaluable tool for anyone engaged in pastoral planning at any level. For instance, it could help planners determine where to build a new school or church, or the sorts of ethnic chaplaincy services to be provided or the types of mission and evangelisation strategies appropriate to the given demographics.
Read more 


Welcome to our FOCUS Chaplaincy assistants

Who are the people in this photo? They are Kaitlin Gilday (from Massachusetts), Sarra Stanley (from Colorado), Shea McMahon (from Indiana) and Anthony Thompson (from California). They are the four FOCUS Chaplaincy Assistants who will work with Fr. James Bradley and Sr. Valentina in the University Chaplaincy at Southampton.


So what is Focus? See here.





Diocesan Day for Altar Servers

Last Saturday around 100 Altar Servers from across the diocese gathered at our Cathedral in Portsmouth for the annual Altar Servers' Day.


I spent the day with the young people some of whom have travelled from the very north of the diocese to spend the day with other young (and not so young) people who also offer themselves for this important ministry, some of whom have more than 60 years experience!


During the morning I led a crowd - stopping Eucharistic Procession through the streets of the city. Many shoppers and visitors stopped to view the spectacular sight of Christ leading the young and older servers through the city streets.


A good day was had by all – huge thanks to Tom Sellars, Father PJ and Annette O’Beirne for organising the day for the Youth Ministry Team for their massive support and for the Friars of the Immaculate for leading the Eucharistic procession.


We all look forward very much to next year’s day!


Read the full report and see some photos from the day here.


Italy 2017 Summer Camp with the Gosport Friars

A group of 19 of us set off on a plane for Italy on 23rd August, with an alpine chalet to ourselves for a week in the Adamello Nature Park, North Italy. We had time for a mix of beautiful mountain excursions, games and activities, but all to help us become more aware of God, growing closer to Christ and allowing him to be the centre of our lives. Every day we had Mass, usually in the little village nearby, we prayed the Rosary along with other moments of prayer, we had talks and sang songs... and always finished the day by singing Compline together. Then on for three days of pilgrimage, to Assisi and then Rome. Some of the kids had some very powerful experiences of grace as we visited different holy places, especially at the Portiuncula near Assisi, at the tombs of St Peter and St Paul, and at the Holy Stairs. The only problem was that some of them didn't want to get off the aeroplane... they wanted to go straight back to Italy!  



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 




Bishop Philip's Engagements 


Wednesday 13th September

Funeral Mass for Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor

Westminster Cathedral


Thursday 14th September
Trustees Meeting, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth

Saturday 16th - Sunday 17th September

Parish Visitation: Havant


Monday 18th September 

Meeting Head of Administration Department, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth

Interview and filming with Marriage and Family Life


Tuesday 19th September

Official visit to the Naval Dockyard, Portsmouth


Thursday 21st – Friday 22nd September

Clergy Overnight Gathering, Marwell


Saturday 23rd September

Day with Mary, St John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth



Forthcoming events   

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


Saturday 23rd September

40 days for Life: Portsmouth launch event

Discovery Centre, St John's Cathedral Portsmouth

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


27th September - 5th November

40 days for Life

Read more


Saturday 30th September

Solemn High Mass & Procession in honour of Our Lady of Walsingham

St Agatha's, Portsmouth

Read more


30th September - 1st October

Celebrate! Southampton

Read more


Monday 2nd October

Keys to the Kingdom - a retreat for all religious sisters

Divine Mercy Centre, Ramsgate

Read more


12th - 13th October

Fatima 100 years Later: A Marian Call For The Whole Church

Buckfast Abbey

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

Fruitful Discipleship in our Diocese


Read more


Sunday 19th November

Kerygma Retreat


Read more


Monday 20th November

Sharing our Faith with others

St Bede's Basingstoke

Read more



Employment opportunities


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

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

Parish Administrator and Office Manager 

Immaculate Conception Church, Portswood, Southampton. 

10 hours per week (days and times to be negotiated with the Parish Priest, but ideally to cover Tuesdays and Fridays and one evening per month)

Closing date for applications: Saturday 23rd September (12 noon)


Read more





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You can also follow the Diocese on Facebook and Twitter.




Please pray for...

The repose of the souls of all who have died recently, especially for Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, 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.

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 moving to new appointments at this time 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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