Portsmouth Diocese e-News

Wednesday 8th November 2017 - Issue 158 (2017/39)

Dear Friends,


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.



Special Feast Day on 9th November

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.


Read more


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 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Members of the Wedding - and sign up to receive the reflections each week by e-mail here


World Day of the Poor - Sunday 19th November

“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. 



Ars Moriendi - the Art of Dying Well

In this  month of November when we pray for the Faithful Departed, it is timely to consider our own mortality and consider how we can be prepared when our own death comes. As Catholics we need to consider how we can 'die well'.

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: 


♦ What is dying well? 


 Talking about death


 Facing death personally


 Losing a loved one


 Caring for the dying




Come and support Refugees and Migrants this Friday 

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 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: new course begins 15th November 

Our Diocesan Catholic Academies and Schools Office invite you to come to St Bede's Basingstoke, or connect via live stream for a new 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.




Join us on 18th November for a moving play about Bl. Oscar Romero

You are invited to come and share the story of Archbishop Oscar Romero in this very moving play at St John's Cathedral on Saturday 18th NovemberRomero: Heartbeat of El Salvador is produced by Rise theatre company in association with Romero Trust and 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.




What is God calling you to do? Find out in Basingstoke this weekend 

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: csimpson@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk


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


Fruitful Discipleship Day in Winchester on 18th November

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 (ashorten@portsmouthdiocese.org.ukgiving 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!



Courage: Speaking the Truth in Love with Father Philip Bochanski



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.


Bishop Michael Bibi visits the Diocese for Bamenda Sunday

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.




Visit to the Portsmouth branch of the Salvation Army 

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



Candlelight Vigil ends 40 days for Life

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.














New Extraordinary Ministers commissioned at St George College

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.





Free Local Worship Orchestra taking bookings  

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.



Fancy a restful break combined with intellectual challenge?

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.





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


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


Forthcoming events           

Friday 10th November

Refugee Response Day

St Edward the Confessor, Chandlers Ford

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


Friday 1st December

Vocation Discernment Retreat
Downside Abbey
Read more

Saturday 2nd December

Mass for the Community Sponsorship of Refugees
St George's Cathedral, Southwark
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 Administrator and Office Manager, 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)

A vacancy has arisen for the role of Parish Administrator and Office Manager to work in the parish office at Immaculate Conception Church, Portswood, Southampton. The role involves providing a full confidential administrative and secretarial service to the Parish Priest and the Immaculate Conception Parish, providing a sympathetic and efficient focal point for enquiries and administrative support. 

Closing date for applications: Friday 24th November 2017 (12 Noon)

Interview date: Saturday 2nd December or by arrangement in special circumstances


Read more




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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. In this month of November, for all departed clergy and people of the diocese and for all the Faithful Departed. 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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