First of all, I wish you, your family and friends, a truly blessed New Year, 2018. We have many intentions to pray for this New Year, not least for peace in our world, for an end to violence and terrorism, and for reconciliation between peoples. Please pray too for all the clergy, people and religious of our Diocese, for the work of mission and evangelisation, and for gifts of deeper, faith, hope and charity, with a real sense of the presence and love of God in our lives.
Meanwhile, I hope you had a happy Christmas. I went to see the latest Star wars movie, which I enjoyed very much. I also went to see “The Farthest” (you can watch a trailer here), about the Voyager spacecrafts launched in the 1970s to explore the outer planets. Now beyond the heliosphere en route into deep space, they continue to send back fascinating data.
Finally, hope you enjoy this week’s e-News – as ever, my thanks to Deacon Craig for all his good work.
Ecce advenit dominator Dominus - Introit for the Feast of the Epiphany
This Sunday is the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. Click on the picture for the chant for the Introit or Entrance Antiphon. It says: "Behold, the Lord, the Mighty One, has come; and kingship is in his grasp, and power and dominion." (Cf. Mal 3: 1; 1 Chr 29: 12)
Here is the Collect prayer from the Mass:
O God, who on this day
revealed your Only Begotten Son to the nations
by the guidance of a star,
grant in your mercy
that we, who know you already by faith,
may be brought to behold the beauty of your sublime glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
"Newborn King" - reflections on the Epiphany of the Lord
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.
On the Feast of the Epiphany, the child born on Christmas is revealed to be the long-awaited king of the Jews.
As the priests and scribes interpret the prophecies in Sunday's Gospel, he is the ruler expected from the line of King David, whose greatness is to reach to the ends of the earth.
As the magi adored Him in the manger, let us renew our vow to serve Him, placing our gifts—our intentions and talents—on the altar in this Eucharist. We must offer to Him our very lives in thanksgiving. No lesser gift will suffice for this newborn King.
Read his complete reflection for this coming Sunday - and sign up to receive the reflections each week by e-mail here.
Christmas at the Cathedral
At Christmas, here at the Cathedral in Portsmouth, I was the chief celebrant at the 10.00pm Night Mass and the 10.00am Morning Mass. These liturgies were particularly beautiful thanks to the hard work of everyone behind the scenes, and especially to our magnificent Cathedral choir. At the morning Mass, the Readings included the beautiful Prologue from St. John’s Gospel “In the beginning was the Word; the Word was with God and the Word was God... Through Him all things came to be.” That Word became “flesh; He lived among us and we saw His glory” (John 1: 1-14). I spoke about this in the homily: how Jesus reveals to us not only who God is but also who we are and what it means to be human.
You can read the homily here.
Reflections by Jennifer Geach
This week, Jennifer considers yesterday's Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. In it, she reflects back to her childhood when the octave day of Christmas celebrated the Circumcision of the Lord, who by submitting himself to the covenant between God and Abraham, showed himself to be fully and completely human, just as his miracles, culminating in the Resurrection, show him to be fully and completely Divine.
As such, it is wholly suitable that the name day of Jesus, and the first shedding of his blood for the salvation of the world should be subsumed into a celebration of Mary the Mother of God.
You can read the full reflection here.
Former Catholic Bishop of the Forces dies peacefully on Boxing Day
As you may have heard, Bishop Francis Walmsley CBE, the retired Bishop of the Forces, died on Boxing Day. May he rest in peace.
I visited him a couple for weeks before Christmas. He was still as bright as ever, full of stories, and very gracious, but clearly his health was declining. He had lived at St. John’s Convent, Kiln Green in retirement for many years in one of the bungalows in the grounds. Sr. Veronica, Sr. Antonia and the staff there looked after him superbly. Bishop Francis had asked for his funeral to take place at the military Cathedral in Aldershot but we are not sure yet about the details.
Meanwhile, let us pray for his happy repose with the Lord and for the comfort of all those he has left behind. Let us pray too for the community at Kiln Green.
You can read his obituary here.
The Holy Father's New Year Message
I remember as a student for the priesthood in Rome often going to St. Peter’s Square to join the crowds on big occasions and special days when the Holy Father would give a short address. One such address that he usually gives is on New Year’s Day, after the Angelus.
This year, in his speech Pope Francis urged that refugees, migrants and everyone be ensured a future of peace, saying it is everyone's right.
You can read all about it here.
Welcome to Worship in Avon Stour
In Avon Stour Pastoral Area, our ‘Welcome to Worship’ evenings are one key element in our ‘making disciples’ mission – giving people an opportunity to explore their own spirituality and encounter Jesus in a non-threatening, non-judgemental, non-pressured environment, and increasing the senses of welcome and belonging to a community.
Anyone and everyone is welcome to join us for these! Our next one will be just after Christmas (Wednesday 10th January) in Southbourne, near Bournemouth.
Further details here.
Visit to Bamenda
At the end of this month, I will be paying a brief and informal visit to Cameroon to see Archbishop Cornelius, taking with me all our prayers and best wishes. This year, the Archbishop reaches the age of 75 when canonically he is required to offer his resignation to the Holy Father.
The Diocese of Portsmouth has had a special link with the Archdiocese of Bamenda for over 40 years. In 2014 I led a delegation of 26 priests and people from our parishes and schools on a seven-day visit to celebrate the Ruby Jubilee of this relationship. Then in summer 2014, a return delegation of some 30 Catholics from Bamenda, together with Archbishop Cornelius himself, visited our Diocese of Portsmouth. The high point was a Mass of Thanksgiving in the Cathedral on 21st June 2014.
After my visit in 2014, I issued a Message to our Diocese about the nature of our link with the Archdiocese of Bamenda and the role of our Bamenda Committee. In it, I said “I would like our two dioceses to collaborate even more closely together in the work of evangelisation so that we will see ourselves as partners with a joint evangelising mission, they in Cameroon, we in Portsmouth.” In other words, the twinning of our dioceses is not just about giving financial support and practical assistance, but about much more: it’s an “ecclesial exchange.” The gain for Bamenda is clear and practical but our gain in Portsmouth is the conviction that with the Lord 'in giving we receive.' Indeed, I would say that we look to Bamenda for earnest prayer and vibrant faith. We need the clergy and people of Bamenda to refresh our hearts and to reinvigorate our spirituality, to instil within us a new enthusiasm for the Faith, to show us how to evangelise ourselves and to evangelise others.
You can read my short Message here.
Safeguarding our Data
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) May 2018
What is this all about?
Data protection in the UK is changing in May 2018 and the new law gives individuals (you and me) more rights over how information about them is stored and used by organisations including our diocese and parishes. In particular, organisations have to tell individuals what they are doing with information they are storing and processing.
Does this apply to me?
If you work or volunteer for your parish or diocese, framework or other ministry group and collect, use and store information about people this DOES apply to you.
As a Diocese we are currently updating the Diocesan policies with our advisors, amending procedures and forms, and working with our IT partners on data processing. From January 2018 we shall be working with 5 pilot parishes to apply the new procedures and from February/March we shall offer training for all parishes and groups and encourage as many attendees as possible in order to manage the required changes smoothly in time for the May deadline.
What do I need to do?
Please watch for the training dates from February 2018. The Diocese will offer the information that all parishes and groups need in order to comply with the new legislation and keep our data safe.
Justice, Peace and Social Responsibility
The January bulletin from is now available to read here.
It includes details of Peace Sunday which falls this year on Sunday 14th January and also information on the team's plans for the coming year.
Prayer for a Better World
Generous God, we thank you: For the gifts you have given us, the abundance of your Creation, and the beauty that surrounds us. For the people whose lives have touched ours, for the love they show, the burdens they lift, the hopes we share.
Compassionate God, we ask you: To fill us with your love, to place in our hearts a spirit of courage, to move us to reach out to others in need. And lead us to play our part, so that now and in generations to come all your children may share in our hope for a better world. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Don Bosco Summer Camp
The 2018 Portsmouth Diocese Don Bosco Camp will be held from Sunday 29th July – Saturday 4th August 2018.
Bosco Camp provides an opportunity for secondary aged boys (at least finishing Yr 7 in that July) to have an exciting, activity-packed camping holiday in a safe but challenging countryside setting.
The Portsmouth Bosco Camp is currently based in the grounds of St Cassians, a retreat centre in the village of Kintbury, between Newbury and Hungerford. The majority of the facilities of this retreat centre are made available to participants. These modern indoor facilities are essential to hosting the camp each year, especially with the surprises the British summer can bring!
Seminarians Christmas Gathering
I was delighted to host a Christmas gathering for our Seminarians on Friday 22nd December here at Bishop's House.
We currently have fourteen students training for the priesthood. Three are at St. John’s College, Wonersh, two at Allen Hall, Chelsea, two at St. Mary’s College Oscott, four at the Venerable English College in Rome, one at the Beda College in Rome, and two at the Royal English College in Valladolid. Please pray for them as they resume their studies next week after the Christmas break. And please continue to pray earnestly for vocations to all states of life and ministry in the Church, especially to the sacred priesthood.
There are lots of photos here.
Christmas offerings in Jersey for Friends of the Holy Land
Just before Midnight Mass in Jersey, Portuguese Choristers and Musicians brought up greatly appreciated offerings for the Friends of the Holy Land and presented them to Monsignor Nicholas and Deacon Iain MacFirbhisigh.
Don't forget that all Crib offerings across the diocese this Christmastide are for this worthy cause - please give generously.
St Stephen's Day in Aldershot....
On St Stephen's Day, Holy Mass was offered at St Joseph's Aldershot for all Deacons of the Diocese of Portsmouth and for our Parish Altar Servers. During the Mass, Parish Priest, Fr Anthony Glaysher, admitted four new members to the Guild of St Stephen.
The photo shows Fr Anthony Glaysher with Deacons Craig Aburn and Antonio D'Mello along with existing and newly enrolled members of the Guild.
...and in Jersey
At St Thomas' Church, on the Feast of St Stephen, Fr Benjamin presented Chloe with a medal to acknowledge her membership of the Guild of St Stephen and also presented Sean with a certificate for 5 years of serving as an altar server.
The photograph shows Chloe and Sean with Fr Benjamin and Deacon Iain and other Altar Servers at St Thomas'.
Congratulations to all these servers in both Aldershot and Jersey and grateful thanks to all who serve at the altar across the diocese.
Congratulations to Deacon Roger Stone BEM
We send our hearty congratulation to Local Apostleship of Sea (AoS) Port Chaplain Deacon Roger Stone who has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year’s Honour’s List 2018 for services to the pastoral care of seafarers.
Deacon Roger who is a familiar face in the diocese has served as port chaplain for the seafarers’ charity since June 2010 and has provided pastoral, spiritual and welfare support to hundreds of crew members who arrive on ships at ports along the South Coast of England.
Roger says he is truly honoured and humbled to receive the British Empire Medal from Her Majesty The Queen.
Read the full story here.
Focus on...Bishop's Office
Fr Philip Carroll - Bishop's Secretary
Fr Phil is the newest member of the Bishop’s Office team. He started his role as Bishop's Secretary last October after having been in Abingdon for the previous two years. Fr Phil’s responsibilities include working closely with Bishop Philip including meetings, communications, visits and many other areas.
Fr Phil is also one of the priests assisting in the Cathedral parish, helping out with all the usual priestly duties. Added to this Fr Phil is the Priest Chaplain to the University of Portsmouth, assisting the students in their spiritual development.
Outside of these duties his interests include Rugby, Basketball (occasionally playing when time allows) and motorbikes.
The latest issue of Portsmouth People hit the pews at Christmas.
Do keep an eye out for your copy in your parish.
You can also read it here.
Do you have some good news to share?
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.
Bishop Philip's Engagements
Thursday 4th January
Interviews for Director of Communications, Bishop’s House
Planning meeting for engaged couples event, Bishop’s House
Friday 5th January
Various meetings, Bishop’s House
Meeting and Mass with Communion and Liberation, Reading
Saturday 6th January
Dialogue with Sectors Team Meeting, Bishop’s House
Individual meetings with retired clergy
Saturday 6th January 2018
ABLAZE! Catholic Music Concert
Bethel Convention Centre, West Bromwich
Monday 8th January 2018
Winchester Catholic History Group
Talk on The Vowess, A Forgotten Vocation by Dr Laura Wood
St Peter's Church, Winchester
Friday 19th - Saturday 20th January 2018
Unity Christian Theatre presents
Esther and the Zargonites
The Lights Theatre, West Street, Andover
Saturday 27th January 2018
Alton Day of RenewalAlton Convent
1st-10th June 2018
Pilgrimage to Israel and Jordan: Celebrating the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus & the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the Holy Land
17th-28th September 2018
Trinity Pilgrimage to
Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania
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 18th January 2018
Interview date: Wednesday 24th January 2018
Parish Bookkeeper - Parish of Corpus Christi Wokingham
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
Cantor/Animator - St John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth
St John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth, is looking for a Cantor/Animator to join its music department.
The Cantor/Animator leads the singing in the Cathedral at the evening Masses each weekend (Saturday and/or Sunday at 18.00), as well as other liturgies, for example Holy days of Obligation, Sunday 10.00 Mass (should the Cathedral Choir be absent), quarterly Chapter Masses (usually weekdays at 12.15), and Vespers (currently sung on each Friday during Lent and Advent, and on other Holy Days of Obligation). Duties are shared with the existing Cantors/Animators. Remuneration available.
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You can also follow the Diocese on Facebook and Twitter.
Please pray for...
The work of all Evangelisation Strategy Teams across our Diocese and the Holy Spirit's guidance on the formation of the new Diocesan Pastoral Council.
Those entering the "Called and Gifted" process and for the work of the Called & Gifted Team.
The work of our Marriage and Family Life Team.
Vocations to all states of life and ministry in the Church, especially to the Sacred Priesthood, Diaconate and Religious Life, for all our students currently in formation for ordination.
The Canonisation of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Patron of our Youth.
All the sick clergy and people in our Diocese who are in need of our prayers.
Archbishop Cornelius and the clergy and people of our twin diocese of Bamenda and for an end to the troubles there.
Peace in the world and for those who govern the nations that they may do so wisely and justly and for an equitable share of the world's resources.
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. 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.
The work of the Apostleship of the Sea.
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 good of the Church and discern how God is calling them in a particular way to be more intentional disciples.
With all good wishes and an assurance of my prayers,
In Corde Iesu
Bishop of Portsmouth