We are now entering more deeply into November, with those nights drawing in! Every season of course has its sense of beauty. Last weekend, I was out on a Pastoral Visitation of the excellent parish of St. Laurence in Petersfield with St. Agnes, Liss. It was a splendid day, the sun in a clear sky, with the golden leaves of autumn blowing in the wind – reinvigorating. Thanks be to God for the beauty of His creation! Meanwhile, please find here this week’s e-News, packed with Good News and signs of vitality.
God bless you this coming week.
The Lateran Basilica was built by the Emperor Constantine on the Lateran Hill in Rome in about 324. The feast of its dedication has been celebrated in Rome on 9th November since the twelfth century.
In honour of the basilica, “the mother and head of all the churches of the City and the World,” the feast has been extended to the whole Roman Rite as a sign of unity and love towards the See of Peter, which, as St Ignatius of Antioch said in the second century, “presides over the whole assembly of charity.”
The Basilica of St John Lateran, to give it it's formal title, is the oldest and highest ranking of the four major basilicas in Rome.
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 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Members of the Wedding - and sign up to receive the reflections each week by e-mail here.
“Blessed are the open hands that embrace the poor, they are the hands that bring hope”. These are the words of Pope Francis who calls us all to unite in love and in acts of service to one another and for which he has established the the World Day of the Poor, on Sunday 19th November.
The Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN), under which our own Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth resides, has created an excellent set of materials to help parishes with their observance of the World Day of the Poor. These are available online on the CSAN website.
The material on the CSAN Website includes Posters, a history of Catholic Social Teaching, Homily Notes, Bidding Prayers and a Prayer Card for all parishioners to take away from Mass on the World Day of the Poor.
CSAN exists to support a huge number of Catholic social action charities, one of which is our own Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth. With a special focus on setting up social action projects and firmly based on Catholic Social Teaching, CSAN has a special emphasis on being a voice for the voiceless, to help those most in need and those most vulnerable in our society.
To celebrate this event the Cathedral Parish is organising a play on the life of Oscar Romero (see here for more information) but it is hoped that other parishes will consider celebrating the World Day of the Poor in their own unique way.
After centuries of ministering to the dying, the Catholic Church has a fund of experience to share in what was traditionally called the art of dying well or, in Latin, Ars Moriendi.
The Catholic Church in England and Wales has produced an excellent website on the Art of Dying Well, with many helpful resources, not just for us to think about dying well ourselves, but also how we can help our loved ones when the time comes.
The website covers such topics as:
Please consider attending the Refugee Response Day in Chandlers Ford this coming Friday 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 email@example.com for catering purposes.
Find out more about the Diocesan Refugee Response Working Group, on the 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 November newsletter on their website.
The Called and Gifted process is a fantastic way of discovering your vocation. It is not too late to book for the next Called and Gifted teaching day at St. Bede’s, Basingstoke on Saturday 11th November. Please email Clare Simpson if you would like to attend: firstname.lastname@example.org
We continue to feature stories about more of the charisms that the Lord has given to people in order to love and serve others. These people, and many more in our diocese, have asked themselves “what is God calling me to” and discerned the specific charisms that they are asked to use to build up the Church and be a witness to Jesus Christ to the world.
Click on the titles below to learn more about this week's featured charisms...
Evangelism - share the faith in a way that draws others to become Jesus’s disciples and responsible members of his Church
Hospitality - warmly welcoming and caring for those in need of food, shelter and friendship
Mercy - practical deeds of compassion that comfort those who suffer and help them experience God’s love
I would like to extend my personal invitation to you to attend this exciting day on Saturday 18th November
The Day will be a good training day for Framework Teams, but it is also for everyone in the Diocese who would like to know and serve the Lord more deeply, and move towards being an active disciple. Being with each other in community, both in the parish and diocese, helps us greatly on this journey.
I will be hosting the day and giving a talk at the beginning and the end. There will also be talks by Katherine Coolidge (from Siena Institute) on Fruitful Discipleship and developing a personal relationship with the Lord. We will have a number of testimonies from parishioners, from parishes around the diocese and from Framework Teams. We will hear from a number of active groups and Framework Teams who are doing wonderful work in serving others. It will be inspiring to hear about people using their charisms and the emerging fruit!
Please enrol by emailing Amanda Shorten (email@example.com) giving the name of your Framework Team or your parish, plus your email address and phone number, in case we need to contact you.
I hope you can join me for what promises to be an excellent day!
Faith and Sexuality
When it comes to Catholic teaching on sexual morality, all sorts of confusion abounds as to what the Church's vision actually means. On 23rd October the internationally renowned speaker Fr Philip Bochanski, the Executive Director of Courage International, an apostolate supporting those with same sex attraction, gave a talk in Holy Family parish Southampton in collaboration with the Catholic Academies and Schools Office. Fr Philip gives an uplifting and inspirational presentation on how human sexuality, properly understood and cherished as derived from God's beautiful plan for the joy and fulfilment of every human person is a life-giving truth for all of us but especially those struggling to live in a wholesome way, in a world where sex is cheapened and commodified.
We were delighted to welcome Bishop Michael Bibi to the Cathedral this weekend, the first time a Bishop from Bamenda has been to celebrate Mass here on Bamenda Sunday.
During his visit, Bishop Michael visited me here at Bishop's House and also spent time with the Catholic communities in Wokingham and Jersey.
You can read more about these visits here.
Last week, I visited the Salvation Army centre here in Portsmouth where they run a shop, a café, an infant’s centre and also a church. I met with Julian Watchorn, Major and Commanding Officer, and also Mr. Robert Taylor for a tour of the site. I was quite bowled over by all the programmes they run. Their congregation is barely 100 persons but they run a huge range of charitable activities serving the poor, the needy, the lonely, the homeless. There are 23 visiting groups that go out across Portsmouth to visit the elderly and housebound. The doctrine and the liturgy of the Salvation Army is simpler than ours and yet its members tithe their income and tithe their time to serve their church’s mission. It was a vibrant oasis of Christian life.
There is always more work to do than volunteers. If anyone is interested in finding out more, I said I would put them in contact with Julian: Julian.Watchorn@salvationarmy.org.uk
Sunday 5th November saw the conclusion of the First 40 Days for Life Campaign ran by the Portsmouth Marian Pro-Life group.
We ask ourselves the question - what have we achieved in these last 40 Days?
The good news is that the total number of confirmed babies saved is approaching 500 worldwide so far plus several abortion workers have left their jobs.
You can read the full story here.
Six new Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion were commissioned for St George Catholic College during All Saints Day Mass by Fr Ross Bullock.
The students, from years 10 and 11, are all from the Southampton Central and West Pastoral Area and were confirmed by me in May.
Congratulations to all of them – they are great examples of ministry and service in our school community.
Sound Worship is a Christian orchestra based in Hampshire that specialises in playing traditional hymns and contemporary worship songs. As an orchestra, their aim is to serve God by supporting churches in worship and outreach activities.
They are already taking bookings for 2018 and would be pleased to know if you have a service or outreach event that they can support next year! There is no charge for their services, although a donation to orchestra funds is always appreciated to cover costs.
New musicians and singers are invited to join.
For more information please visit their website.
Boarbank Hall in Cumbria is a community of Catholic Religious Sisters, Canonesses of St Augustine whose life is based on the ideals of unity, love and compassion, as expressed in the fourth-century Rule of Saint Augustine. These ideals inspire them to make Boarbank a centre of healing and hospitality where everyone is welcome.
All their residential events combine talks and discussions with Mass, Prayer of the Church and opportunity for personal prayer, in a context of friendship and community in our beautiful Cumbrian setting beside Morecambe Bay.
Click here for their 2018 programme.
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.
Thursday 9th November
Vicars General Meeting, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth
Talk to Windsor and Maidenhead Community Forum, St Joseph’s Church, Crookham
Friday 10th November
Diocesan Schools Day, St Bede’s Church, Basingstoke
Monday 13th – Thursday 16th November
Bishops’ Conference, Leeds
Friday 10th NovemberRefugee Response Day
St Edward the Confessor, Chandlers Ford
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
Friday 1st December
Vocation Discernment Retreat
Saturday 2nd December
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
Closing date for applications: Friday 24th November 2017 (12 Noon)
Interview date: Saturday 2nd December or by arrangement in special circumstances
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. In this month of November, for all departed clergy and people of the diocese and for all the Faithful Departed. Requiescant in pace.
For the work of Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth and Caritas Jersey and those with whom they work.
We receive a lot of adverts for events. If you would like to advertise an event, please fill out this form here