Portsmouth Diocese E-News

Tuesday 17th October 2017 - Issue 156 (2017/37)

Dear Friends,


This last weekend I took part in the 40 Days for Life Prayer and Witness outside the abortion clinic here in Portsmouth. It was not plain-sailing with prayers and hymns, however, as sometimes passers-by jeered and were even abusive. At one point, a smelly and noisy motor bike kept menacingly circling us. The subject of abortion continues to rouse deep emotions: see the article below by Lord Alton. Please pray for the safety of all unborn children, for mothers and fathers who struggle with issues that make abortion seem an easy option, for all the medical staff involved, for better care for the well being of mothers who choose to give birth rather than to have an abortion, for those who have had abortions, for a reduction in the number of abortions and above all, for an end to this barbaric practice. 


Meanwhile, have a blessed week ahead!



Mother Teresa prays the Rosary for Life at Knock Shrine


In October, the Church encourages us to pray the Rosary. There are many intentions to pray for at the moment. In June 1993, Mother Teresa, now St Teresa of Calcutta, prayed the Rosary for life when she visited Knock Shrine in  Ireland.  


This clip here is an extract taken from an old VHS tape that was about to be discarded, but fortunately was saved.


Please play it and say a decade of the Rosary with this inspiring saint of the Church.


St Luke the Evangelist

Saint Luke the Evangelist was a Greek doctor who converted to Christianity. He was a companion of the Apostle Paul, and wrote his Gospel in accordance with Paul’s teaching. He also wrote the Acts of the Apostles, which narrates the early history of the Church up to Paul’s first stay in Rome. As a Greek, he takes care to explain to Gentile readers Jewish customs and the meaning of Hebrew words.


His feast day is this Wednesday, 18th October.


Please ask his intercession for all who are sick in our diocese, for all in hospital and for the doctors, nurses and other medical staff who care for them.

Scott Hahn's Reflection on the Readings at Mass for this coming Sunday 

I would like to recommend to you this resource from the St Paul Center for Biblical Theology.


Each week founder of the centre, the theologian and best-selling author, Dr Scott Hahn, offers a wonderful reflection on the readings for the coming Sunday.


You can read Dr Hahn's reflection for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Caesar and the King - and sign up to receive them by e-mail here



Please continue to pray for Bamenda

This past weekend I issued a message to the Clergy and People of the Diocese of Portsmouth about the Need to Pray for the Peoples of Bamenda, our twin diocese. You can read the full text of my message here.


It is instructive to read the statement from the Cameroon Bishops about the tensions which we featured in last week's eNews.


At this time, I ask your prayers for peace, reconciliation and a just outcome and I invite you all to offer the Rosary this week for the intentions of Bamenda.


                                                                                                                Further news from Independent Catholic News can be found here


What hurts the most?


This summer, many churches across Hampshire, including our Catholic parishes in Basingstoke and Aldershot, took part in an ecumenical initiative called Who Cares? It is a way of showing that not only do we care but also that Jesus cares. The two phases of the initiative are: listening when people are given a card and asked the simple question ‘What hurts the most?’ The church then analyses the responses and responds with compassion, tailoring the normal activities and ministries of the church to meet local people’s needs in an effective and realistic way. Here's the results.


40 Days for Life

At a meeting last weekend (14th October) at Upholland, near Wigan, in Lancashire, Lord Alton of Liverpool said that attempts to “no platform” pro-life speakers and to silence the arguments about the sanctity of human life “smack of an illiberalism worthy of a totalitarian State.”  He also said that it reveals a desperation on the part of opponents who know that “the tide of history is running against them.” He told the annual SERRA Conference that fifty years ago, this month,  when abortion was legalised only 29 MPs voted against it, whereas today hundreds support the pro-life cause or want significant change made to the law. He also spelled out the “significant and eye watering multi-million business that the abortion industry has become ­ often oblivious to the devastating effects on many women and the tragic industrialised destruction of human life” (Details can be seen here.)


His remarks follow a well-attended meeting held in Lancashire on 13 October when the Crossbench Peer, said that since abortion was legalised 50 years ago there had been more than 8 million abortions ­ and that every one of them was a tragedy. He said that over 20 abortions take place every hour in the UK ­ one life is ended every 3 minutes. He focused on the scientific evidence that life begins at conception and said that law and human rights legislation should reflect this. He said that phenomenal sums of money are made by the abortion industry and that women¹s lives have been put at risk. He attacked attempts to prevent freedom of speech and the erosion of conscience.  




Pastoral responses to same-sex attraction

Father Philip Bochanski is the Executive Director of Courage International, an apostolate of the Catholic Church that ministers to persons with same-sex attractions. He will speak about “Welcoming our Brothers and Sisters Experiencing Same-Sex Attractions.” 


Where? Holy Family Catholic Church, Redbridge Hill, Southampton SO16 4PL

When? Monday 23rd October at 8pm


It is a very rare privilege for the diocese to be hosting such an internationally renowned expert and speaker on such urgent and sensitive topics - he is well worth making the effort to come and hear.


You can download a poster for the event here.

Refugee Response Day

Please join us for the afternoon to find out more about, and maybe become involved in, the local response to refugees.


Speakers: Jesuit Refugee Service and Rural Refugee Network


There will also be time to find out about the Diocesan Refugee Response Working Group and other local initiatives.


When:   Friday 10th November 1-4pm

Where:  St Edward the Confessor RC Church

              191 Winchester Road, Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire SO53 2DU


If you would like at attend, please email maidenhead@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk for catering purposes.


Find out more about the Diocesan Refugee Response Working Group, on the website.  


Demystifying Natural Family Planning

Our Marriage and Family Life Team have organised a day of presentations and workshops on Natural Family Planning.  


Theological Perspective, History & development of NFP, Understanding menopausal years, Improving fertility awareness, Achieving pregnancy, etc.


Key speakers include:

Mgr. Jeremy Garrett, Dr Helen Whiting, Dr Olive Duddy and Christine Bergess.


When:   Saturday 11th November 9.45am - 4pm

Where:  St Michael & All Angels, Leigh Park.


Lunch, tea and coffee provided.  There is no charge for the event, but donations are welcome.


There is a poster available to download and publicise this event.


Visit the Marriage and Family Life page on our website.


Romero: Heartbeat of El Salvador

The ministry of the Blessed Archbishop Romero is an inspiration of how to live out the Gospel in very challenging times.
You are invited to come and share his story in this very moving play Romero: Heartbeat of El Salvador at St John's Cathedral on Saturday 18th November produced by Rise theatre company in association with Romero Trust - you can book tickets here or from the Cathedral Discovery Centre. 

This event is organised by our Diocesan Justice Peace and Social Responsibility Team. You can find out more about their work and read their newsletter on their website.




Come and celebrate Youth Sunday with Bishop Philip

I would like to invite young adults from around Portsmouth Diocese to join me at St John's Cathedral on Sunday 26th November: the Feast of Christ the King and National Youth Sunday. I will be celebrating the 6pm Mass, after which there will be a social with food, and talks from inspiring guest speakers in the Cathedral Discovery Centre. 


Isaac Withers from the Bishop's Conference of England and Wales; Former President of Birmingham University Cathsoc will speak on "Being a Catholic Student"


The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) will speak on "Discipleship on Campus"


This is a fantastic opportunity for young adults to network, connect to events locally and further afield, and communicate the things that they want to see happening in the Diocese. 


Register by contacting your University Catholic Chaplaincy, or emailing 



The event costs £7 to attend and is open to ages 16+.



Divine Renovation Conference 2018

Are you feeling called to move your parish from maintenance to mission?

The Divine Renovation 2018 conference will bring together leaders like you from around the world to explore principles and tactics of parish renewal.

Join Fr James Mallon, the Divine Renovation and Saint Benedict Parish teams for several days of talks, networking opportunities and worship. In addition to the keynotes, there will be breakout sessions on a range of topics including hospitality, youth ministry, sacraments and many more.

This conference is for: clergy, lay leaders, and passionate parishioners who want to be part of moving their parish from maintenance to mission and takes place in Nova Scotia, Canada in June 2018.

Divine Renovation conferences sell out quickly. Obedient to Jesus' call to make missionary disciples, see here for how to register. 

Have you visted the Magis Center?

I must recommend to you The Magis Centre. Its mission is to restore, reconstruct, and revitalise belief in:


  • God
  • The transcendent dignity of every human person
  • The significance of virtue
  • The higher levels of happiness, love, and freedom
  • The real presence of Jesus Christ
It has lots of resources on it that would be of interest to a more reflective and thinking Catholic. It is run by an American Jesuit called Fr. Robert Spitzer, one-time president of Gonzaga University and author of several books.
Here is one of his books Finding True Happiness.




Encounters of Evangelisation

Although fewer people are coming to Mass today, people still turn to the church to celebrate at key moments in their lives: they are saying that they are aware of the significance of these key experiences in their lives. This book leads parishes to make the most of these brief encounters as there may be few opportunities to engage with them.


This is not a heavy text book but contains a huge variety of practical ideas and activities for everyone engaged in Parish Life these days with special reference to Evangelisation. As Bishop Nicholas Hudson, the Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, says in his Foreward, it is ideal for use in the Parish, School, home but especially in the heart. It can be used by catechists, teachers, lay leaders, priests, parents, in fact by anyone who has a desire to have a deep relationship with Jesus and share that relationship with others.


ISBN: 9780852314883




Rohingya refugee crisis

You may have seen that a DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee) appeal has been launched in response to the Rohingya refugee crisis. CAFOD is a member of the DEC, so a proportion of the money donated to the appeal will help fund CAFOD’S response in partnership with Caritas Bangladesh.


CAFOD has been supporting Caritas Bangladesh for many years. The work of Caritas is well respected in Bangladesh and they are responding to the refugee crisis by providing emergency aid to those in need, in the Cox’s Bazar district, on the border of Myanmar. In coordination with the Bangladeshi Government and other Caritas agencies, Caritas Bangladesh plans to reach more than 14,000 families with food, clean water, shelter and medical care.


During October and November in our parishes and schools, there are a number of important weekend collections taking place. Moreover, many schools and parishes are already supporting CAFOD Harvest Fast Day this weekend.


In light of this, CAFOD does not intend to make a direct appeal to parishes to hold a parish emergency collection at this time. But as CAFOD responds to the crisis there is an emergencies news webpage, which is being constantly updated. You can also read more specifically about how the CAFOD partner Caritas Bangladesh is responding to the Rohingya refugee crisis. Those who do choose to give can do so by visiting the CAFOD website. 


Please hold those forced to flee from their homes in your thoughts and prayers.



Called and Gifted at Park Gate

St Margaret Mary, Park Gate parish, started the Called and Gifted process a week ago with teaching sessions in their parish hall.  This was initiated by Fr John Cooke but he had just moved to a new parish, and Fr Peter Hart was there for much of the time, encouraging his new parishioners to discern their charisms and become missionary disciples.  The teaching was enhanced by times of personal reflection, and prayer,  short videos and talks by Geoff and Gina Poulter on what it means to be a disciple and, like St. Peter, “getting out of the boat”.    


The parishioners have now started their personal Spiritual Conversations, looking at their relationship with the Lord and possible charisms.  Many thanks to Dorothy Cmochowska for taking the photographs. More photos here




Diocesan Day for Catechists

A big thank you to all the catechists who took part in our diocesan day for Catechists at the Cathedral last Saturday and to the Formation for Mission Team who organised the day.


I celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving for all diocesan catechists, at the end of which I commissioned those present for their ministry in the diocese.


Congratulations to all the catechists who have been awarded their Diocesan and Maryvale certificates, and find themselves better equipped in their vital ministry.


You can see some photos and read Fr Richard Oundsworth's talk and my Homily from the Mass here.



Centenary Festa of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima

Last weekend the Catholic Parish in Jersey welcomed Fr Bernardino Trinade SCJ, to lead the Festa celebrations with Monsignor Nicholas France.  After Rosary, Confessions and Mass celebrated in St Thomas' Church there was an outdoor candlelight procession through the streets around St Thomas' Church.  About 400 parishioners took part in the procession with all the clergy;  the following afternoon  the Rosary, Confessions and Mass concluded with a 'farewell' to Our Lady with an  indoor procession.  It was a memorable and special weekend for all.


Read more 





St Anne's and St George top the School Performance Tables

Congratulations to staff and students at St Anne’s and St George for achieving outstanding results in the summer of 2017, placing both schools at the top of the performance tables in Southampton and exceeding the standards set in Hampshire LA schools. Lyn Bourne, Executive Headteacher said ‘We are extremely pleased with the achievements of both schools. Teachers, pupils and parents worked very effectively together to ensure our young people were given the best opportunity to make outstanding progress. Their record breaking achievement will help to put them on track for a successful future.’

St Anne’s and St George rank 1st and 2nd in the tables locally and 226th and 290th of 3,104 nationally, putting both schools in the top 10% in England. ‘This is excellent news, underlining the exceptional improvement in both attainment and progress of pupils. There is a great deal to celebrate in Catholic secondary education in Hampshire!’











No eNews next week

There will be no eNews next week as our Editor is off to Fatima on Pilgrimage. He would be happy to take any prayer intentions on behalf of readers of eNews. Please send an e-mail to: executiveassistant@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk by Thursday 19th October if you would like any particular prayer intentions offered there.

The next issue of eNews will be published week commencing 30th October.


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 by Friday for consideration for the following week's issue.


If you have a Parish or Diocesan event to advertise, please complete this form.



Bishop Philip's Engagements

Tuesday 24th October 

Council of Priests Meeting, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth

Portsmouth Trustees Training Meeting, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth


Thursday 26th October 

Bishop’s Council Meeting, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth


Saturday 28th October 

Ukranian Mass, Westminster Cathedral


Tuesday 31st October

Clergy Day, Winchester




Forthcoming events          

Tuesday 17th October

Day of Recollection: Our Lady, Fatima and the Rosary

St Mary's Ryde

Read more


Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd October

Creative Ministry Retreat

Cold Ash Centre

Read more


Saturday 21st October

National Altar Servers' Mass

Westminster Cathedral, 2.30pm.

Read more


Monday 23rd October

Courage: Speaking the Truth in Love with Father Philip Bochanski

Holy Family Catholic Church, Southampton

Read more


Saturday 28th October

Alton Day of Renewal

Alton Convent

Read more


Saturday 4th November

Diocesan Day for Children's Liturgy of the Word Catechists

St Bede's Basingstoke

Read more


Saturday 11th November

Demystifying Natural Family Planning Day

St. Michael and All Angels, Leigh Park

Read more


Saturday 18th November

Fruitful Discipleship in our Diocese


Read more


Saturday 18th November

Rise theatre company presents Romero: the Heartbeat of El Salvador

St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth

Read more


Sunday 19th November

Kerygma Retreat


Read more


Monday 20th November

Sharing our Faith with others

St Bede's Basingstoke

Read more


17th-28th September 2018

Trinity Pilgrimage to

Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania

Read more


Employment opportunities

Director of Communications (Full Time)


An exciting new appointment has arisen for the post of Director of Communications for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth. The Diocese is seeking to appoint its first Director of Communications following a detailed Communications Review.


The Director will write the Diocese's Communications Plan based on the recently agreed Communications Objective of ‘bringing people closer to Jesus Christ through His Church’ and lead and manage Diocesan Communications (externally and internally). Working throughout the Diocese this is a tremendous opportunity for a suitably experienced person to play a key role in shaping and delivering a culture of good communication and raising the profile of the Church and the Diocese to Church members and the wider public.


Closing date for applications:  Friday 17th November 2017

Interview date:  w/c Monday 4th or Monday 11th December 2017

Proposed start date:  Early 2018


Parish Secretary (Fixed Term – 2 years)
Parish of Our Lady Peace & Bl Dominic Barberi, Earley
30 hours per week (Days and hours by negotiation)
Closing date:  Friday 20th October (12 Noon)

Read more




Follow us on Social Media

I invite you to keep in touch in between issues of E-News by following my Twitter account.


You can also follow the Diocese on Facebook and Twitter.



Please pray for...

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


Archbishop Cornelius and the clergy and people of our twin diocese of Bamenda and an end to the troubles there.

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

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. 

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

For the work of Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth and Caritas Jersey and those with whom they work.


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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