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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com for catering purposes.
Find out more about the Diocesan Refugee Response Working Group, on the website.
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.
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.
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+.
I must recommend to you The Magis Centre. Its mission is to restore, reconstruct, and revitalise belief in:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!’
The next issue of eNews will be published week commencing 30th October.
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 by Friday for consideration for the following week's issue.
If you have a Parish or Diocesan event to advertise, please complete this form.
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
Tuesday 17th October
Day of Recollection: Our Lady, Fatima and the Rosary
St Mary's Ryde
Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd October
Creative Ministry Retreat
Cold Ash Centre
Saturday 21st October
National Altar Servers' Mass
Westminster Cathedral, 2.30pm.
Monday 23rd October
Courage: Speaking the Truth in Love with Father Philip Bochanski
Holy Family Catholic Church, Southampton
Saturday 28th October
Alton Day of Renewal
Saturday 4th November
Diocesan Day for Children's Liturgy of the Word Catechists
St Bede's Basingstoke
Saturday 11th November
Demystifying Natural Family Planning Day
St. Michael and All Angels, Leigh Park
Saturday 18th November
Fruitful Discipleship in our Diocese
Saturday 18th November
Rise theatre company presents Romero: the Heartbeat of El Salvador
St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth
Sunday 19th November
Monday 20th November
Sharing our Faith with others
St Bede's Basingstoke
17th-28th September 2018
Trinity Pilgrimage to
Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania
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
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.
For the work of Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth and Caritas Jersey and those with whom they work.
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