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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
If you wish to attend please sign up here.
For further information please contact Kevin Gallagher.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 13th September
Funeral Mass for Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor
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
Saturday 16th September
Retreat Day for Catechists
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.)
Saturday 23rd September40 days for Life: Portsmouth launch event
Discovery Centre, St John's Cathedral Portsmouth
Sunday 24th September
International Migrant Mass
St John's Cathedral, 2pm
Sunday 24th September
Annual walk from Ryde to Quarr Abbey
27th September - 5th November
40 days for Life
Saturday 30th September
Solemn High Mass & Procession in honour of Our Lady of Walsingham
St Agatha's, Portsmouth
30th September - 1st October
Monday 2nd October
Keys to the Kingdom - a retreat for all religious sisters
Divine Mercy Centre, Ramsgate
12th - 13th October
Fatima 100 years Later: A Marian Call For The Whole Church
Saturday 14th October
Diocesan Day for Catechists
St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth
Saturday 21st October
National Altar Servers' Mass
Westminster Cathedral, 2.30pm.
Saturday 4th November
Diocesan Day for Children's Liturgy of the Word Catechists
St Bede's Basingstoke
Saturday 18th November
Fruitful Discipleship in our Diocese
Sunday 19th November
Monday 20th November
Sharing our Faith with others
St Bede's Basingstoke
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)
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 all clergy moving to new appointments at this time and for their parishes.
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