We are now in the last week of the Church's liturgical Year, preparing for the season of Advent that begins next Sunday. Advent this year is the shortest possible, since Christmas Day falls on Monday immediately after the Fourth Sunday of Advent. I wish you well with your Christmas cards and Christmas shopping - I'd better get my finger out! Meanwhile, may God bless you over these days ahead - and thank you for all you do to live out your Catholic faith in these challenging times.
Wait for the Lord, whose day is near - wait for the Lord, keep watch, take heart!
Each week founder of the St Paul Center for Biblical Theology, the theologian and best-selling author, Dr Scott Hahn, offers a wonderful reflection on the readings for the coming Sunday.
This Sunday, the First Sunday of Advent, the new Church year begins with a plea for God’s visitation. Although the readings are relatively brief, their language and “message” are deceptively simple. But we should take note of the serious mood and penitential aspect of the Liturgy this Sunday – as the people of Israel recognise their sinfulness, their failures to keep God’s covenant, their inability to save themselves.
And in this Advent season, we should see our own lives in the experience of Israel. As we examine our consciences, can’t we, too, find that we often harden our hearts, refuse His rule, wander from His ways, withhold our love from Him?
You can read his complete reflection for this coming Sunday - and sign up to receive the reflections each week by e-mail here.
Here are a few ideas to help you make the most of this Advent:
Congratulations to Abbot Xavier Perrin of Quarr Abbey IOW, who has just published a new book on Mary Immaculate! The book is called The Radiance of Her Face: A Triptych in Honor of Mary Immaculate. It is an enlarged version of one originally written in French, but translated expertly by Sr. Laetitia Payne of St. Cecilia’s Abbey, Ryde and Sr. Deirdre Clarke of the Ordinariate Sisters of the BVM, Birmingham. In it, Abbot Xavier paints a fresh and vivid portrait of the Blessed Virgin’s share in God’s redeeming work. He reflects on the development of Marian doctrine in the life of the Church and seeks to rekindle devotion to Mary Immaculate.
I commend this small book to you, not least because it is in honour of Mary Immaculate, Co-Patron of our Diocese. Available from Amazon and other bookstores, it would make an ideal Christmas gift!
Paperback: 106 pages
Angelico Press (5 Nov. 2017)
1st January each year, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, is also the World Day for Peace.
2018 marks the 51st World Day for Peace and will have the theme: Migrants and refugees: men and women in search of peace.
The Holy Father Pope Francis has recently released his Message for the 51st World Day of Peace, ahead of the celebration.
In it, the Holy Father says that when we think of migrants and refugees, "we discover that they do not arrive empty-handed. They bring their courage, skills, energy and aspirations, as well as the treasures of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations that receive them. We also come to see the creativity, tenacity and spirit of sacrifice of the countless individuals, families and communities around the world who open their doors and hearts to migrants and refugees, even where resources are scarce."
You can read the full text of the Holy Father's message here.
NightFever is a very special evening we are not only able to follow Christ’s call to “Reach out to others,” by inviting passers-by to come and light a candle and pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament, but we to have the opportunity to spend time with Jesus in a beautiful atmosphere.
The next NightFever event will take place on Saturday 2nd December at St Mary's Gosport beginning at 7.30pm. (There is a Mass before at 6pm.)
All are very welcome please do come along, taste and see.
If anyone would like further information or would like to take part in the evening please contact Mike Slater on 02392 554537 or contact the Parish Office 02392 580119.
Please keep NightFever in your prayers.
Do you support Catholic schools and the right of Catholics to send their children to them? Then we need you to make your voice heard.
In 2010 the Coalition Government placed a faith-based admissions cap on new free schools. In practice, this means that only 50% of oversubscribed places can be allocated on the basis of faith. This has precluded the opening of new Catholic schools as it would require Catholic schools to turn away Catholic pupils in favour of other applicants. The Government has acknowledged that this policy discriminates against Catholics and it is vital that the Catholic community makes its voice heard on this issue.
The Church has been working with Parliament and the Government on this issue since 2010. The Prime Minister reiterated her belief that the cap should be removed in 2016, and the 2017 Conservative Party manifesto promised to do so. However, the Secretary of State for Education may be about to reverse this decision. If she does, it will rob parents of the right to give their children a Catholic education, and of their children to receive one.
In an effort to show the Secretary of State that this is a deeply important issue to the Catholic community, I am asking you all to consider using this online form which can be used to send an email to the Secretary of State, registering your concern and asking the Secretary of State to rethink this anti-Catholic policy.
Recently I was in Leeds with my brother bishops for the November 2017 meeting of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales.
Here's a 20-minute wrap of what they discussed. Archbishop Peter Smith, Vice President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales chaired the press conference. He was joined by Bishop Nicholas Hudson, Bishop John Sherrington, Fr Christopher Thomas and Teresa Carvalho.
You can listen here.
Advance notice: all change next year! At its recent meeting, the Bishops’ Conference decided that from next year 2018, the annual Mass count will be taken not on the four Sundays of October as previously but on the last two weekends of September and the first two weekends of October. This is because, as many parish priests point out, the school half-term holidays disrupt the usual statistics, with many families away, and others visiting. It was felt that a better picture would be gained by amending the dates.
These figures are also captured by our Diocesan Dashboard, which contains huge amounts of fascinating data about every parish, Pastoral Area and Deanery in our Diocese. The Dashboard is of particular interest to clergy, schools, Pastoral Area ESTs, parish teams and lay ministers – anyone on mission. Have you downloaded your copy yet? For details about how to download it, see here.
In recent issues of e-News we have featured some articles on Ars Moriendi, the Art of Dying Well, including information on the website commissioned by the Catholic Church in England and Wales which gives much helpful advice to those facing death and those who care for them.
Dying well means different things to different people. Death is an individual experience, but a community of accompaniment on the journey can help us to prepare by bringing consolation and spiritual peace.
This week we begin to feature a series of podcasts on this theme beginning with child bereavement. You can listen to it here.
Now is the time for Churches and Churches Together Groups to start planning their Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18th-25th January 2018) services. This year the Caribbean churches have produced the material which uses Exodus 15, a song of triumph over oppression, as the motif for the Week of Prayer.
The themes of the daily material raises some of the contemporary issues addressed by the churches of the Caribbean. Abuses of human rights are found across the region and we are challenged to consider our manner of welcoming of the stranger into our midst. Human trafficking and modern-day slavery continue to be huge issues. Addiction to pornography and drugs, continue to be serious challenges to all societies. The debt crisis has a negative impact upon the nations and upon individuals – the economies of the nations and people have become precarious. Family life continues to be challenged by the economic restrictions which lead to migration, domestic abuse and violence.
The Caribbean Churches work together to heal the wounds in the body of Christ. Reconciliation demands repentance, reparation and the healing of memories. The whole Church is called to be both a sign and an active agent of this reconciliation.
There are slight differences in the prayers but the theme is an international one.
The diocesan Christian Unity Committee would love to hear of your plans for the week. Contact them here
You can view some photos and read my homily from the Mass here.
No fewer than four parishioners from St Joseph’s in Tilehurst have been honoured in the past year for their dedicated service to the church.
Between them, these founding mothers and fathers have laid a solid foundation for the Parish, and are a shining example for generations to come and have been duly recognised during the past year with two Benemerenti awards and two Diocesan medals.
You can read the full story here. Congratulations to them all.
Fr Bruce Barnes, Vicar for Religious writes:
Over the last two years representatives of the Religious of the Diocese have been meeting for what is called a "Day for Religious." It is a chance for the Religious to get to know one an other and it is a chance to listen to a speaker and discuss various interesting subjects. Our last Meeting was a great success and there were many Houses of Religious represented. It was held at Ashurst by kind permission of the De Montfort Community and we celebrated a Requiem Mass for those Religious who had died during the year. Our thoughts were led by Deacon Stephen Morgan who gave two talks concerning Blessed John Henry Newman and the Idea of a Community. Lunch followed the first talk and there was time to have a good natter before the second talk which was directed towards Newman and the founding of an Oratory. There was a chance for questions which were stimulated by the presence of our own Bournemouth Oratorians.
There is a Team for Religious which plan events, and I am thankful to them for their efforts and support in celebrating the Religious Life in our Diocese.
Last Saturday I celebrated a Thanksgiving Mass for Sr Rebekah Marie’s perpetual profession as a Stella Matutina Sister at Grayshott. Congratulations to her!
Please remember her and the community in your prayers.
You can read my homily from the Mass here.
I would like to encourage all readers to send in items for the e-News about events in parishes, pastoral areas and schools about the many sacramental celebrations and general good news about people in the diocese.
I often hear much Good News 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 by Friday for consideration for the following week's issue to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have a Parish or Diocesan event to advertise, please complete this form.
Thursday 30th November – Friday 1st December
Clergy overnight gathering, Marwell
Monday 4th December
Talk and Carol Service, Reading University
Tuesday 5th December
Safeguarding Head of Department meeting, Bishop’s House
Schools and Academies Department meeting, Bishop’s House
Joint Catholic and Church of England Education meeting, Fareham
Thursday 7th December
Trustees meeting, Bishop’s House
Vicars General meeting, Bishop’s House
Friday 8th December
Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception,
St John’s Cathedral, 12:15pm
Religious visitation: Handmaids of Sacred Heart, Boscombe
Saturday 2nd December
St Mary's Gosport
Monday 4th December
Winchester Catholic History Group
Talk on The Monastic Revival in the 19th century by Dom Xavier Perrin
St Peter's Church, Winchester
Saturday 16th December
Carol Concert with the Harmonium Singers
St Mary’s Church, Andover
24th - 27th December
Christmas at Cold Ash
Monday 8th January 2018
Winchester Catholic History Group
Talk on The Vowess, A Forgotten Vocation by Dr Laura Wood
St Peter's Church, Winchester
Saturday 27th January 2018Alton Day of Renewal
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
Part time - 13.5 per week to be worked over 3 days, plus approximately 12 hours per year (taking minutes at 6 evening meetings).
The Parish of Sacred Heart, Bordon and St Joseph, Grayshott, is seeking a skilled and enthusiastic person to be Parish Secretary. The role is to provide high quality support in all aspects of administration to the Parish Priest. Previous secretarial experience and broad computer literacy essential.
Closing date for applications: Wednesday 20th December 2017
Interview date: Tuesday 9th January 2018 (at Sacred Heart Church Hall, Bordon).
Part time - 6 hrs per week to be worked at times required ensuring effective financial administration of the Parish (Flexible working to be agreed).
The Parish of Corpus Christi in Wokingham is looking to appoint a part time Parish Bookkeeper to provide financial services to the Parish.
Commencement Date: As soon as possible
Closing date for applications: Monday 15th January 2018 (4.00pm)
Interviews will take place on: Wednesday 7th February 2018
Full time - 37 Hours per Week, Term time only
The Governors are looking to appoint a Lay Chaplain for the school in the Spring Term 2018. The position has arisen as the previous post holder has retired, following eight years of service with the school. The successful candidate will be a Catholic and will contribute to the spiritual formation of the school.
Closing Date: Monday 18th December 2017
Interview Date: January 2018
The repose of the souls of all who have died recently, especially Mary Heaps (Fr Christopher Heaps' Mother) and Reginald Glaysher (Fr Anthony Glaysher's Father) and for all those killed through acts of warfare, violence, terrorism and natural disaster. For all departed clergy and people of the diocese and for all the Faithful Departed. Requiescant in pace.
All those suffering in the world through hunger, disease, persecution and natural disaster, for all refugees and victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.
For the work of Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth and Caritas Jersey and those with whom they work.
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