Portsmouth Diocese e-News

Tuesday 31st October 2017 - Issue 157 (2017/38)

Dear Friends,


There’s lots about saints this week in eNews – including a possible new one: see below about the young man, Carlo Acutis, a computer whizz-kid. There’s also an excellent clip from Bishop Robert Barron on All Saints. 


This week, here in the middle of late autumn, the Church puts before us the three days of Hallowe'en ("All Hallows’ Eve"), All Saints and All Souls. These three days form a kind of ‘Triduum' celebrating Christ’s Victory over Death and through our incorporation into His Body the Church, our own Passover in Him from death to life. On Hallowe'en, we mock Death by silly games, because Christ has conquered Death. On All Souls' Day, and throughout November, we pray for the souls in Purgatory, especially our own loved ones, that they might be admitted, as the Roman Canon puts it, into a place of refreshment, light and peace with the Lord. On All Saints' Day, we rejoice in the communion of the Church across space and time. We rejoice in the heroes and heroines of Church history. And we rejoice too in that huge number impossible to count of other saints, from every nation, race, tribe and language, and surely some of our own relatives and friends too, who are now, by God’s grace, with Him in Paradise. 


Let us pray that one day we too might join in that happiness of heaven.



Reclaiming Hallowe'en for Christ!




The Desire to be a Saint


Episode 8 of his book CATHOLICISM is entitled A VAST COMPANY OF WITNESSES - THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS. In it, Bishop Barron examines the examples of those men and women who dedicated their lives to knowing and serving Jesus Christ. The Catholic Faith is made visible in real human lives. Bishop Barron gives consideration to some of the Church's greatest heroes, and demonstrates how their extraordinary examples display both the passion and creative potential of the Catholic Church. Highlighting Katharine Drexel, Therese of Lisieux, Edith Stein, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta, he tells the story of the Church as a vast company of witness who are called by Christ to be a Communion of Saints.


What is All Souls' Day?

All Souls' Day is a day set aside for honouring the dead. The day is primarily celebrated in the Catholic Church, but it is also celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Anglican church keeps it too, although most Protestant denominations do not recognize the day and disagree with the theology behind it.


According to Catholic belief, the soul of a person who dies can go to one of three places. The first is heaven, where a person who dies in a state of perfect grace and communion with God goes. The second is hell, where those who die in a state of mortal sin are naturally condemned by their choice. The intermediate option is purgatory, which is thought to be where most people, free of mortal sin, but still in a state of lesser (venial) sin, must go.


Read more


Bamenda Sunday

This coming Sunday, the first Sunday of November each year, is Bamenda Sunday when we pray across the diocese for "Our twinned Diocese of Bamenda and the Bamenda Committee." Please do keep Archbishop Cornelius and his clergy and people very much in your prayers, especially this coming weekend and please be as generous as you can in our special collection for Bamenda. Bishop Michael Bibi, Auxiliary Bishop of Bamenda will celebrate the 10am Mass in the Cathedral.


Earlier this month, I issued a message to the Clergy and People of the Diocese of Portsmouth about the need to pray for the peoples of Bamenda. You can read the full text of my message here.


Fr Bonaventure Ndong, a priest of Bamenda Diocese worked here in our diocese for nearly six years until this July. After he left, he wrote a reflective piece on his time in our diocese, Mine was a journey, which you can read here.


For more information on our partnership with our twin diocese, visit the Bamenda and Portsmouth website. 


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 his reflection for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time - Calling the Fathers - and    sign up to receive the reflections each week by e-mail here


Free resources for All Saints' Day

To celebrate All Saints Day, Ten Ten Theatre have offered parishes and schools in the Diocese of Portsmouth the opportunity to download a series of free assembly and classroom resources which explore the lives of Saints through the eyes of children and young people.  Using the medium of film, the assembly and lesson plans help students to develop a real and personal relationship with the Saints and they will inspire pupils to follow their extraordinary example.  


Primary schools can download resources on St Bernadette, St Damien of Molokai, St Vincent de Paul, St John XXIII and St Catherine of Siena.  More information here


Secondary schools can download resources on St Josephine Bakhita, St Maximilian Kolbe, St John Southworth, St Thomas More and St Alban.  More information here.


The resources can also be used by parish youth groups as the basis for an 'All Saints Night', an alternative celebration to Halloween.


To register, please email office@tententheatre.co.uk with the following information:


Your Name

Your School

You School Postcode

Special Offer Code for free access: PORTS


Carlo Acutis – pray for us

Recently, I had a letter from Fr. Marcus Brisley, parish priest of Crowthorne and Sandhurst, in which he said:


“I [must] bring your attention to somebody I came across by chance recently in an idle moment looking up hagiological matters on the internet. He is the Servant of God, Carlo Acutis who, having been born in London, died in 2006 in Milan of leukaemia at the age of 15, offering his sufferings for the Church and the Pope. Evidently he was Normal with a capital "N" and was even some sort of computer whizz-kid! However, he attended Mass every day and led a deeply Eucharistic life, spending hours in Adoration. He once said "All people are born as originals but many die as photocopies". Anyway, I have decided that he is going to feature in the Confirmation sessions currently happening here, so don't be surprised if you get a number of "Carlos" among the names next Spring.”


For more on this remarkable young man, see here (select English)


There was an article about him recently on the Aleteia website.




Statement on Abortion from the Catholic Bishops  

This statement, published by the Catholic Bishops of England, Wales and Scotland, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 UK Abortion Act, is addressed not only to Catholics of our countries, but more broadly to all people who seek to uphold the dignity of human life and protect the unborn child. Over the last fifty years, the bishops of our countries, along with many other people, have spoken consistently in favour of the intrinsic value of human life and both the good of the child in the womb and the good of the mother. This anniversary provides an opportunity to lament the loss of life due to abortion and seek a change of minds and hearts about the good of the child in the womb and the care of mothers who are pregnant.


You can read the full statement here.


The Church's teaching about human embryos 

Respect for all human lives from the very beginning


At the Annunciation, the human life of Jesus Christ began in the womb of the Virgin Mary.  At this moment, as with the ordinary conception of other humans, a new human being began.


This is of course also true of the fusion of sperm with ovum in a laboratory dish. One of the makers of the first "test-tube baby" described the few-days-old, full-stop-sized embryo as "a    microscopic    human    being   in the very earliest stage of its development" (A Matter of Life, Steptoe and Edwards).


Many human embryos are daily destroyed by so-called contraceptive pills which have a back-up effect of ending any lives which have begun.


The Church opposes artificial contraception – though not natural family planning - as interfering with the total self-giving of married couples. Read more here.


A reminder that there is a day of presentations and workshops on Natural Family Planning on Saturday 11th November.  There is a poster available to download and publicise this event.




Supporting Refugees and Migrants

Pope Francis has recently launched Share the Journeya campaign in support of refugees and migrants, backed by more than 200 Catholic organisations including CAFOD and Caritas Social Action in England and Wales. 


Inspired by Pope Francis’ special concern for people on the move, CAFOD has launched an online petition to the Prime Minister to urge Britain to play a leading role in the forthcoming global compacts on migration and refugees, which I encourage you to support.


Please also consider attending the forthcoming Refugee Response Day to find out more about, and maybe become involved in, the local response to refugees.


When:       Friday 10th November 1-4pm

Where:      St Edward the Confessor Catholic Church

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

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.


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.  


Christ at the Heart of the Curriculum 

Our Diocesan Catholic Academies and Schools Office invite you to a four part course, beginning on 15th November and led by Fr Andrew Pinsent from the University of Oxford, to explore how diverse subject areas can deepen the Christian identity of schools.
More information on the poster here.




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. Please support this event by booking your tickets now and publicise it as widely as possible.

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




Luther on Conscience and Christianity: A blessing and a curse

The Wessex Theological Society invite you to a lecture by Dr Jacob Phillips of St Mary's University, Twickenham entitled "Luther on Conscience and Christianity: a Blessing and a Curse" at 10.30am Saturday November 25th at St Peter’s Parish Centre Jewry Street, Winchester. 


This will be followed by a talk on "Apologetics of Blaise Pascal: Coherent Structure or Romantic Ruin?" by Graham Rhys-Jones.  


Bring a lunch for sharing if you wish. All Welcome.


More information here.



Fruitful Discipleship

Many people have asked  “What are the fruits of the Called and Gifted process?”  We are seeing an abundant number of fruits, and some of these are hidden or start small , just as Jesus told us it would.  Others are obvious in the parishes that have been through the process,  bringing forth new confident people to carry out the parish mission of serving others.  Recently we have written up various testimonies and stories as well as making short videos of people with particular charisms.  Each week in e-news we will feature a couple of charisms, but they can all be found on the Called and Gifted page of the diocese website.


Intercessory Prayer charism

People with this charism pray for others for long periods each day and their prayers are answered in remarkable ways.  Please read the stories and watch the videos here.



Inspired artistic or creative works that beautifies and/or orders the physical world. Please watch these two short video clips here.



Provide the planning and co-ordination needed to accomplish good things. Here is one story.


Don't forget the Fruitful Discipleship day on Saturday 18th November - details here.


5 Reasons Why Catholics Don't Evangelize

In 2013, the Barna Group did a large survey on the importance of sharing the faith of Christians. Though probably not a surprise - the demographic which had the lowest number of people who actively shared their faith was Catholics. Here is the truly sad part. They only polled those they designated as "people who said they have made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today” and who also indicated they believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their saviour."


Read more here.



Divine Renovation Conference


A significant number of priests and parishioners from the Diocese of Portsmouth attended the Divine Renovation Conference on Parish Renewal at St Mary's University, Twickenham from 18th- 19th October. The conference, led by Fr. James Mallon and his team, was open to clergy and laity from across the country. Over hundred priests attended and two hundred laity. I am grateful to Fr. Gerard Flynn, who has posted the brief video report above.



Called and Gifted in Portsmouth

The Called and Gifted teaching took place earlier this month in Portsmouth.  It was for members of the Curia and people from local parishes who wanted to experience the process.  It was held at Our Lady of Lourdes church in Southsea  where pews and chairs were moved to create a lovely presentation area and space for tables and chairs.  The parish were so welcoming and hospitable and everyone enjoyed the day, and are now having one-to-one conversations about the charisms that the Lord has given them to serve others. 


Here are a few quotes from the feedback forms:


Best part of the day


·        The authority of the Holy Spirit created a safe and creative place, so I could relax and              receive

·         Understanding the difference between a charism and a natural talent

·         Great clarity and coherence.  I really appreciated the real life examples.  Thank you                for your personal sharing


Why did you decide to come?


·         recommendation by previous participants

·         I received a very warm and friendly invitation

·         to find out my purpose and charisms

·         Because I love the Lord and I want to do His will and offer myself to Him



Launch of new Maryvale Courses

The Formation for Mission Team in collaboration with Fr. Peter Hart and the Maryvale Institute launched two new courses for the diocese on 28th October at Park Gate.


The Certificate of Catechetical Studies has been specially designed by the Maryvale Institute for the pastoral formation of deacons in our Diocese. It includes areas that often do not get covered in their initial formation prior to Ordination such as modules on Catechesis, Catechetical Methodology and RCIA, the Church and Mary and a basic introduction to Philosophy which is crucial for their understanding of the way people think and act in our present cultural climate. There are several deacons and some who are in the early stages of formation participating in the course.


Read more 


Don't ditch Fairtrade!

Parishioners from St Edmund Campion and St Joseph’s parishes in Maidenhead challenged their local Sainsbury’s last Saturday as part of the “Don’t ditch Fairtrade” campaign, supported by CAFOD and other NGOs. The campaign aims to raise awareness of Sainsbury’s decision to replace the Fairtrade Mark on its Red Label and selected other teas with its own ‘fairly traded’ version. The group submitted a petition to the Store Manager, signed by 100 local people, expressing their concerns. Online petitions asking Sainsbury’s to keep the Fairtrade mark have already attracted over 130,000 signatures.


You can find the full story on the CAFOD blog.



International Mass in Southampton

The Annual ‘International Mass’ took place at St Edmund’s in Southampton with over 300 people participating from 40 or so different nations.  The Scripture readings and intercessions were in 6 and more languages.  After the celebration the Hall was full to bursting with members of the congregation sharing national dishes from around the globe.






New Opening Hours for the St John’s Cathedral Shop  

The Cathedral Discovery Centre Team would like to thank you for your support over the last year and for feedback on the shop’s new fresh look. The whole Discovery Centre is being decorated, volunteer-led, and our thanks to all parishioners for their time and energy.   In particular, we offer our thanks to the Royal Marines, led by  Lt Commander Peter Barfoot RN from HMS Tyne, who donated their time and skills last month. 


The shop opening hours have changed to reflect when it is most popular:

Tuesday to Saturday, 11.00 am to 2.30 pm and Sunday, 9.30 - 1.30 pm.


We aim to continue to support the events held in the Cathedral Centre and hope you will let us know if you need us to open outside these, our core hours.


CDC Team cdc@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk



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 31st October

Clergy Day, Winchester


Thursday 2nd November
Schools and Academies Department Update, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth
Visit to the Salvation Army, Southsea


Friday 3rd November
Various internal meetings, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth


Saturday 4th November 
Dialogue with Sectors Meeting, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth


Saturday 4th - Sunday 5th November 

Parish Visitation: Petersfield, Hampshire



Forthcoming events           

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


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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