Portsmouth Diocese e-News

Wednesday 15th November 2017 - Issue 159 (2017/40)

Dear Friends,


I’m sending this e-News from the November meeting of the Bishops Conference here at Hinsley Hall in Leeds. The Conference runs from Monday to Thursday. As ever, it’s an action packed occasion with a day and a half of business plus a day of going through Departmental reports. One of the best things however is being with brother Bishops, praying with them and sharing experience. Sometimes when I hear of others’ difficulties, I can confide my own. At the same time I thank God all the time for all the graces we receive from the Lord in our Diocese of Portsmouth. Please pray for all our Bishops - especially this one here!


Thanks to Deacon Craig for producing another bumper e-News this week.


God bless you this coming week.


What you should know about Purgatory


What is meant by the final purification?


Understanding the Catholic notion of purgatory requires knowing the difference between a temporal consequence and an eternal consequence; this difference has nothing to do with damnation and salvation. Some people reject the idea of purgatory because they misunderstand its purpose. In this video, Fr. Mike Schmitz explains why purgatory is needed and straightens out some of those misunderstandings.


This is a timely consideration in this month of November when we pray for all the Faithful Departed, especially the Holy Souls in Purgatory.



St Edmund of Abingdon, pray for us - 16th November

This Thursday we celebrate the Solemnity of St Edmund of Abingdon, Joint Principal Patron of our Diocese.
St Edmund Rich was born at St Edmund’s Lane, Abingdon, on 20 November, probably in the year 1175. His father was a rich merchant, hence the surname (which he never in fact used himself). Under the influence of his mother he led an ascetic life. He studied at Oxford and Paris, and became a teacher in about 1200 or a little earlier. For six years he lectured on mathematics and dialectics, apparently dividing his time between Oxford and Paris, and winning distinction for his part in introducing the study of Aristotle. He is the first known Oxford Master of Arts, and the place where he taught was eventually renamed St Edmund Hall. Between 1205 and 1210 he changed direction, studying theology and being ordained a priest. He took a doctorate in divinity, and soon won fame as a lecturer on theology and as an extemporaneous preacher. Some time between 1219 and 1222 he was appointed vicar of the parish of Calne in Wiltshire and Treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral, and finally became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1233. He was a notable and effective reforming Bishop. His love for discipline and justice aroused opposition, and he found himself ranged against Rome as champion of the national Church. Eventually, like his predecessors St Thomas Becket and Stephen Langton, he retired to Pontigny, where he is buried. He died at Soisy-Bouy on 16 November 1240. His cultus was especially marked at Abingdon, and at Catesby where his sisters were both nuns. Edmund was canonised in 1246, and is the Joint-Principal Patron of the Diocese of Portsmouth.


Prayer of St Edmund of Abingdon


Into your hands, O Lord, and into the hands of your holy angels, I commit and entrust this day my soul, my relations, my benefactors, my friends and my enemies, and all your people. Keep us, O Lord, through the day, by the merits and intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, from all vicious and unruly desires, from all sins and temptations of the devil, and from sudden and unprovided death and the pains of hell. Illuminate my heart with the grace of your Holy Spirit; grant that I may ever be obedient to your commandments; suffer me not to be separated from you, O Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with God the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.


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 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Settling Accounts - 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. 



Fruitful Discipleship Day in Winchester this coming Saturday

I would like to extend my personal invitation to you to attend this exciting day this coming 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!


Join us this Saturday 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.  



I invite all young adults to join me on 26th November...  

As you may know, we are in a time of preparation for the Synod on Youth Faith and Vocational Discernment. The general assembly of this synod will take place in October 2018 in the meantime Pope Francis has asked Church leaders to listen to young people. Many young people have responded to the national online survey, and some have also completed the Vatican questionnaire. However, the emphasis of National Youth Sunday this year is to encourage the local Church to listen to their young people. By providing resources that encourage those in leadership within the Church have a conversation with young people, we hope that it will benefit the work you do in the future and would, therefore, ask that you enable these conversations, whether around a meal, a coffee or some other situation, to take place. 


You might like to watch this video which follows a group of young people who accepted the invitation to meet with their priest as it follows five young people who go for a meal with Fr Bob.


While the synod is aimed at those aged between 16-29 years of age, if you work with a younger age group, perhaps it would be possible to invite priests and those involved in parish life (such as members of the parish council) to a meal with your youth group or in your school.


If organising a larger scale event, we would love to help you get the word out so more young people can attend just complete this form and submit. Your event will then be advertised on the events section of this website as well as on a variety of social media platforms.


I would like to invite all Sixth Form and University Students, to join me for evening Mass at St John’s Cathedral on National Youth Sunday 26th November, the Feast of Christ the King at 6pm.  Mass will be followed by a Pizza supper.


You can find our Youth Ministry Programme for the year here.



New Confirmation Guidelines 

As we move closer to next year's celebrations of the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Confirmation page on the website and the Confirmation Guidelines have recently been updated.


Bishop's Office is the first point of contact for all arrangements for the celebration. Confirmation Mass dates continue to be arranged with Kirsten McGuire (Bishop's PA) by the Co-ordinating Pastor and Liturgy Planning forms and draft Orders of Service now go to Deacon Craig Aburn (Bishop's Executive Assistant).


Please pray for all our young people preparing to receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.


You can visit the Confirmation webpage to view the guidelines and other resources here.



Share the Journey

Pope Francis has made numerous appeals to promote the culture of encounter in an effort to combat the culture of indifference in the world today. It means seeing through the eyes of others rather than turning a blind eye.
Share the Journey is an initiative of Caritas and has at its heart the vision of a united global human family. The focus is on our joint journey as people on the move in departure, transit and host communities. The public awareness campaign promotes opportunities and spaces for migrants and communities to come together and share stories and experiences with the aim of strengthening the bonds between migrants and communities.

Pope Francis launched the campaign from St Peter’s Square on 27th September. On that day he invited everyone around the world to “Share the Journey” with refugees and migrants.


This initiative runs until late 2019. Please pray for its success and get involved where you can.



Churches campaign for Universal Credit changes

Churches and Christian organisations are campaigning to change Universal Credit, the UK government’s replacement for a number of welfare benefits including housing benefit, income support and child tax credits. Many local Foodbanks supported by parishes across the diocese are also concerned that they will not be able to meet increased demand from those affected by these changes.
Read more 




New initiatives to support our Catholic Schools

I have asked our Catholic Schools and Academies Office CASO to establish in my name a new diocesan Education Steering Group to look at formulating practical strategies to achieve our key objectives.  I would like this group to be really representative and to consider how to implement the vision for Catholic education laid out in the Pastoral Letters. How, for instance, as Catholic Formation Communities can we help parents truly become the first educators of their children in the Faith? How can we develop evangelisation strategies for the differing constituencies (the practicing, the not yet practising, the people of good will)? How can we offer an integrated training and formation programme for our 350 foundation governors, with opportunities for regular gatherings with the Bishop? And a crucial one: How can we develop appropriate structures, programmes and career paths to help recruit, form, retain and develop Catholic teachers and future Catholic leaders? To be designated a Catholic School is a privilege dependent on the Bishop’s recognitio and so one of the tasks of this steering group will be consider the new CES protocols on the relationship of schools to Dioceses.


I am also establishing an Educational Stewardship Group to look at how together we can fund the work of CASO whilst ensuring transparency and a new diocesan School Business Managers Forum to advise and assist all our schools in order make real economic gains through the purchase of common services and to facilitate tendering for best value contracts.


You can read about this in more detail here in the address I gave at Schools' Day last Friday.



Catholic Christians and Inter-religious Collaboration

Britain today is a hypermarket of religion. We inhabit a pluralist, secular democracy, and as subjects of Her Majesty the Queen, we enjoy extensive religious freedom. Yet, as people of religion, in this 21st Century we are also facing growing challenges to that freedom, especially to freedom of religious expression. In my lifetime, society has given the strong impression that religion has no place in a busy, modern life, and that where religion does appear, it can be the cause of problems, extremism, violence. Moreover, hardly a day goes by without the press reporting a collision between religion and today’s so-called secular culture.


Catholicism is enthusiastically committed to inter-religious collaboration and, last week, I was invited to address a meeting of Windsor and Maidenhead Community Forum.


You can read the full text of my address here.


You can find out more about Windsor and Maidenhead Community Forum on their website where you can also find their 2018 programme.



Called and Gifted process begins in Basingstoke 

The St. Bede’s and Holy Ghost parish Basingstoke started the Called and Gifted process last Saturday with a teaching day for 30 parishioners. 


The comments on the feedback forms at the end of the day were very positive and everyone has signed up for a one-to-one Spiritual Conversation over the next month. 


The hospitality charism was very evident in the parish through the set-up of the room, the care and attention and warmth given to the Called and Gifted team throughout the day, the delicious lunch for all, and the desire to use the process to help the development of the parish. 


Thank you from the Called and Gifted team! 




Retiring after 33 years active Diaconal Ministry

Deacon Langford Vincent BSc(Eng), MIMechE was ordained in May 1984 at Sacred Heart Fareham along with another man from the same parish, Mervyn Portman (R.I.P) by Bishop Antony Emery when Fr Michael Peters was the Parish Priest of Fareham.  


Deacon Langford studied for the Diaconate with six others at Maryvale Pastoral Centre, Park Place Pastoral Centre and St John's Seminary Wonersh. All seven men were ordained in the same year.  He is now retiring having served as a Deacon for 33 years.


Over the past 33 years in Fareham Parish he has served under seven Parish Priests: Fr Michael Peters, Canon David Hopgood, Canon Paul Townsend, Fr Chris Whelan, Fr Joe McNerney, Fr Joseph Gruszkiewcz and most recently, Fr  PJ Smith, the current parish priest


In his professional working life he worked as a Senior Project Engineer for an International Design & Construction Engineering Company from where he retired in 1999.


He has been married to Margaret for 52 years.


Benemerenti Medal awarded to former St George's Head

On Monday 6th November Mr Graham Wilson, the former Head Teacher of St George Catholic College, Southampton  was presented with the Benemerenti Medal by Mr Charles Marchetti, Chair of Governors


It was granted to Mr Wilson because of his outstanding service to St George College:  not only has he enabled the College to be a successful school, achieving high standards, he has also enhanced the Catholic ethos of the College, placing its spirituality at the very centre of College life.   St George is now a beacon of Catholic Education in the City.  The award also highlights the high regard Mr Wilson was held in around the Diocese by other Heads, teachers, clergy and the Bishop.


We thank him and wish him well in his new venture, assuring him of our prayers.






Spirituality Team

Christopher Simon Evans and his wife Isabelle are moving to Normandy and so he has resigned from leading our Spirituality Team. I would like on all our behalf to thank him for the great work he has done, and for his energy and enthusiasm. We pray for him in his move and this new chapter.


Meanwhile, I am very grateful to Chris Brydon for taking up the reins.





Founder President of Yateley UCM dies

Please pray for the happy repose of the soul of Anne Lambkin, R.I.P.


Anne was very well known and loved by many people in the diocese, will be missed and hard to replace. Yateley Foundation of the UCM are in shock.


An obituary will feature in the next issue of Portsmouth People.




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

Monday 13th – Thursday 16th November

Bishops’ Conference, Leeds


Friday 17th November 

Meeting with newly ordained priests, St Dominic’s Priory, New Forest


Saturday 18th November

Called & Gifted Discipleship Day, Winchester


Sunday 19th November 

Deacons’ Conference, Marwell


Tuesday 21st November 

Meeting with Vocations Director, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth

Meeting with Naval Chaplain, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth



Forthcoming events           

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


Saturday 25th November

Wessex Theological Society Lecture:

"Luther on Conscience and Christianity: a Blessing and a Curse"


Read more


Saturday 25th November

Alton Day of Renewal
Alton Convent

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 - Portsmouth based (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



Administrative Assistant - Catholic Academies & Schools Office (CASO)

Part time -  14 hours per week (Thursday and Friday) The Catholic Academies & Schools Office (CASO) in Portsmouth are looking to appoint an Administrative Assistant to support their work with the schools in the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth. This will be an interesting and varied role and would be suitable for an existing Clerk to the Governors, or those with an interest in school administration.


Closing date for applications: Thursday 30th November 2017 (16:00)

Interview date: w/c 4th December 2017


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. 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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