Portsmouth Diocese e-News

Wednesday 10th January 2018 - Issue 166 (2018/2)

Dear Friends,


As things now return to normal after the Christmas and New Year break, I wish you God's blessings for the time ahead. Our prayers and congratulations to Damian Hinds, one of our Diocesan MPs (East Hampshire) - a Catholic and a pupil of my old school in Altrincham! - whom Theresa May has made the new Education Secretary. Please pray too for all our Catholic schools - for teachers, staff, students, parents and governors - and for our diocesan Department for Education that as 'Catholic Formation Communities' our schools may help their members grow in knowledge, service and love of the Lord and be filled with missionary zeal and outreach to others, especially the needy.


Meanwhile, have a good week ahead!


Vidimus stellam eius - Alleluia for the Feast of the Epiphany

Last Sunday we celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. Click on the picture for the Latin chant for the Alleluia.


"We saw his star as it rose and have come to do the Lord homage, Alleluia!"

(Cf. Mt 2:2)


Here is recording of the chant.





Reflections by Jennifer Geach 

This week, Jennifer reflects on the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, considering the Magnificat antiphon at Second Vespers:


Three wonders mark this day we celebrate: today the star led the Magi to the manger;

today water was changed into wine at themarriage feast;

today Christ desired to be baptised by John in the river Jordan to bring us salvation, alleluia.


You can read the full reflection here.

"Hearing the Call": reflections on the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

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.  

In the Gospel this coming Sunday,  John’s disciples are prepared to hear God’s call. They are already looking for the Messiah, so they trust in John’s word and follow when he points out the Lamb of God walking by. Samuel is also waiting on the Lord in the first reading – sleeping near the Ark of the Covenant where God’s glory dwells, taking instruction from Eli, the high priest.


Read his complete reflection for this coming Sunday - and sign up to receive the reflections each week by e-mail here.



Please pray for peace this coming Sunday - Peace Sunday 

The 51st World Day for Peace, with the title Migrants and Refugees - Seekers of Peace, will be observed throughout England and Wales this coming Sunday, 14th January, the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. Pax Christi sends resources to parishes each year which you can also find here.


We believe that Jesus was a refugee, had to flee to save his life, with Saint Joseph and Saint Mary, had to leave for Egypt. He was a refugee. Let us pray to Our Lady who knew the pain of refugees. Let us be close to these people, sharing their fears and their uncertainty for the future and alleviating their pain with concrete measures. Mary, mother of refugees, pray for us, asking that the Lord sustain those people and institutions who work with generosity to assure a welcome to refugees, recognise their dignity, and give them reasons for hope. (Pope Francis)


O God, You are the source of human dignity and it is in your image that we are created. Pour out on us the spirit of love and compassion. Enable us to reverence each person, to reach out to anyone in need, to value and appreciate those who differ from us, to share the resources of our nation, to receive the gifts offered to us by people from other cultures. Grant that we may always promote the justice and acceptance that ensures lasting peace and racial harmony. Help us to remember that we are one world and one family. Amen.


The Sacrament of Baptism

On Monday this week, we celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and the end of the Christmas Season.


Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission. Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word." (Catechism 1213)


In this short video, Fr Rob Galea reflects on the Sacrament of Baptism which frees us from our inherited Original Sin.


The Holy Father's Prayer Intention for January

Please join with the Holy Father this month in praying for Religious Minorities in Asia:


That Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practise their faith in full freedom.


Let us pray for them, so that Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practice their faith in full freedom.  


You can watch the Pope's video message here.


Called and Gifted launches new Discipleship Channel on YouTube

A few weeks before Christmas, we held the first of what I hope will be regular Fruitful Discipleship Days in the diocese.  Over one hundred people from 22 parishes came together in Winchester to hear a mixture of teaching, stories of discipleship in action, the work of some Framework teams and some current opportunities to go out and serve others.  I shared my vision for the diocese, and how I hoped that people and parishes would appropriate it to their setting.  I also talked about putting the person of Christ at the centre of our lives, rather than the Church itself, and the passion and change of mindset that gives us.    Our experience of God makes us Christ-centred people who look outwards rather than inwards.     I encouraged everyone to grow their own daily prayer life and say to the Lord that you love Him, follow  Him and want to do all you can for Him.  I also encouraged everyone to use the charisms and gifts that the Lord has given them, and work with others to grow them.  I ended by saying “our diocese has huge vitality and potential.  It is really exciting to be a Catholic here and now. It is cool!  The Holy Spirit is helping our hearts to grow as “can do” people, so that our discipleship may be ever more fruitful”.


I was delighted to introduce Katherine Coolidge, from the Catherine of Siena Institute, who gave us two excellent presentations about Discipleship.  Participants were particularly interested in two areas of her talks, which we will be developing in the diocese this coming year:


The Evangelical Gap - where research shows that a large number of adult Catholics in our parishes need to hear the Initial Proclamation of Jesus before being open and seeking enough for Catechesis work, or becoming a disciple


The Stages of Discipleship - the first stage is about forming habits of discipleship such as daily prayer, worship, study, serving.  This will help develop a living, growing relationship with the Lord.  And then disciples cannot help but becoming witnesses in their everyday life, using their charisms to bear fruit and wanting to share the responsibility for the mission of the Church.


We have set up a new YouTube channel on Discipleship, and here you can watch some summary videos of some talks, plus reactions from some participants here.



CAFOD Fast Day briefings

CAFOD Portsmouth invite you to join them for their Lent fast day briefings to find out more about CAFOD’s work in Zimbabwe tackling malnutrition. To book your place please call 01252 329385 or email portsmouth@cafod.org.uk


Saturday 27th January 10am to 12pm at Our Lady of Sorrows & St Philip Benizi, Salisbury Road, Fordingbridge SP6 1EG


Tuesday 30th January  7:15pm to 9:15pm Sacred Heart Church, Hartlands Road, Fareham PO16 0NL


Saturday 3rd February 10:30am to 1pm St Bede’s Church Hall, Popley Way, Basingstoke RG24 9DX - at this meeting Thom Flint CAFOD’s Film & Photography Content Producer will talk about his recent visit to Zimbabwe.


Thursday 8th February 7:15pm to 9:15pm English Martyrs Church, 64 Liebenrood Road, Reading RG30 2EB



An invitation to Quarr Abbey on 19th January

On the occasion of the release of ONENESS: The Dynamics of Monasticism, Abbot Xavier Perrin and the Quarr Community invite you to join them for an Ecumenical Service on Friday 19th January at 5pm during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Quarr Abbey Church. Homily by Bishop Stephen Platten, Honorary Assistant Bishop in the Anglican Diocese of London.

The service will be followed at 5. 45pm by a talk by Fr George Guiver CR on The Monastery: Wellspring in a Thirsty Land and book signing by the Authors from 6.15pm


Further details here.


Preached Retreats at the Carmelite Priory in Oxford

Each of these weekends begins with a meal at 6.30 pm on Friday evening and ends on Sunday after lunch. (Please note the days of the week may be different in some retreats as specified individually in the programme.) There will be at least four talks and the opportunity to join the resident Carmelite Community for Eucharist and Prayer. Those who arrive early on Friday may also wish to join the Community's Evening Prayer at 5:15 pm. During the retreat, there will also be time for personal prayer, reflection, reading and rest.


You can view the Retreat programme here



Are you ready for the Singularity?

On Saturday last (6th January), our Dialogue with Cultural Sectors team met for its regular meeting at Bishop’s House. We spent much of our time discussing our forthcoming Symposium called “Science – or – Religion?” which is taking place in Winchester later this year (Saturday 3rd November).  There was an article about this in the e-News before Christmas (see here). One of the issues we are now thinking of holding a workshop on is the impact of the digital revolution on being human and how rapidly technology is now evolving. I am grateful to a priest-friend of mine who drew my attention to an article from the website Catholic Answers. It’s called “Are you Ready for the Singularity?” and offers one possible response as a Catholic. The singularity is the “moment when technological change has become so rapid that it is beyond our capacity to comprehend.” Imagine “something as ground-breaking and culture-changing as the iPhone being introduced every day.”  I’m sure you will agree with me, this article makes fascinating reading.



Pray for our new Priests

Recently I came across this short video clip recording images from the ordination to the priesthood last summer of Fr. Ansel D’Mello, who is now assistant priest with us here at the Cathedral, and Fr. Robert Stewart, assistant priest in Abingdon. In fact, I saw both Fr. Ansel and Fr. Rob over Christmas and they were on great form! The first appointments of newly ordained priests are always important and precious. Please keep these priests and all those ordained over these last five years in your prayers. The other intention I wish to put before you is to pray for vocations to the priesthood. We have a number of aspirants at the moment. I am sure there are many others out there too. Please say a prayer today for this crucial intention, that our Diocese will not be lacking in priests – and indeed, will not lack also deacons, religious, and married and single Catholics, willing to serve the Lord and His Church.

Prayer for Vocations

Lord, make us generous people, more considerate towards others, more honest with ourselves, more faithful to you. Help us all to find our true vocation in life, so that through it we may find happiness ourselves and bring happiness to others. Lord, grant those whom you call to priesthood, diaconate or religious life the generosity to answer your call so that those who seek your help may always find it. Amen.


Epiphany celebrations in Southampton school

On return from the Christmas break, Prep children at St.Mary's Independent School in Southampton brought figures of the Magi to the stable in time to celebrate the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord.

The word “epiphany” comes from the Greek epiphainen, a verb that means "to shine upon," "to manifest," or “to make known.” Thus, the feast of the Epiphany celebrates the many ways that Christ has made Himself known to the world, mainly the three events that manifested the mission and divinity of Christ:  the visit of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12), the baptism of Jesus (Mark 1:9-11), and the miracle at Cana (John 2:1-11). The visit of the Magi is especially emphasised on Epiphany Day, whereas Christ's baptism is celebrated on a separate feast, the next day or the following Sunday.


New Guernsey Gregorian Choir

The ethereal sound of Gregorian Chanting is synonymous with Christmas – and a new group of local singers is bring it back to the fore, as the Guernsey Press reports.


Sung in Latin without any form of instrumental accompaniment, Gregorian chant is the purest and oldest form of church music and it is making something of a comeback in Guernsey. The group known as The Gregorians is an offshoot of the St Joseph’s Church choir, the Schola, which for the last two years has been devoted to reviving this ancient form of music locally.


Read the full story here.


Focus on...Bishop's Office

Jackie Emmerson - Administration Assistant


Jackie has been a member of the Bishop's Office team since March 2014. She works in the office two days a week, giving support to the Bishop, Bishop’s Secretary and the Bishop’s PA.  Her many duties include dealing with day to day finances for the office, processing Papal and Diocesan awards and updating the Bishop’s Office PAMIS system.


Jackie is married to Rick, they enjoy a full and varied social life.  Top of their list is visiting National Trust houses in and around the local area. She also enjoys keeping fit and attends regular zumba classes, pilates classes and is in the middle of completing a 'Couch to 5K' course. Her intention is to then run in the local Portsmouth weekend 5K park runs.



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: executiveassistant@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk


If you have a Parish or Diocesan event to advertise, please complete this form.


Diocesan Prayer Intentions

Each day of the year the liturgical calendar gives us a variety of seasons and celebrations of saints. These are outlined in the Diocesan Ordo along with a daily prayer for a diocesan intention. I would like to encourage you to add these intentions to your daily prayers.
Wednesday 10th January
Feria [1st Week in Ordinary Time] 
Diocesan Prayer: Engaged couples 

Thursday 11th January 
Feria [1st Week in Ordinary Time] 
Diocesan Prayer: ‘Marriage Encounter’ & Parish groups supporting the Sacrament of Matrimony


Friday 12th January 
St Aelred, Abbot, optional memorial
or: Feria [1st Week in Ordinary Time]
Diocesan Prayer: ‘Called and Gifted’ Programme


Saturday 13th January
St Hilary, Bishop & Doctor of the Church, optional memorial

or: Our Lady on Saturday

or: Feria [1st Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Catenian Association


Sunday 14th January

Today is a Day of Prayer for Peace

National Prayer Cycle: World Peace

Diocesan Prayer: Verbum Dei Communities in the Diocese


Monday 15th January
Feria [2nd Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Royal Navy and Royal Air Force Chaplains and Personnel


Tuesday 16th January
Feria [2nd Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Army Chaplains and Personnel


Wednesday 17th January
St Anthony of Egypt, Abbot, memorial

Diocesan Prayer: “Churches Together”


Thursday 18th January
Feria [2nd Week in Ordinary Time]

Today is the beginning of the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity

Diocesan Prayer: Diocesan Committee for Christian Unity


Friday 19th January
St Wulstan, Religious, Bishop, optional memorial

or: Feria [2nd Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Parish of Holy Family, Southampton (dedicated 19.1.1983)


Saturday 20th January
St Fabian, Pope, Martyr, optional memorial

or: St Sebastian, Martyr, optional memorial

or: Our Lady on Saturday

or: Feria [2nd Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: The Anglican Communion



Bishop Philip's Engagements    

Monday 15th January 

Bishop’s Office Meeting, Bishop’s House

Meeting Department Head, Bishop’s House


Tuesday 16th January 

Ecumenical Church Leaders meeting, Bishop’s House

Trustee preparation meeting, Bishop’s House

Naval Chaplain meeting, Bishop’s House


Thursday 17th January 

Bishop’s Council, Bishop’s House


Friday 19th January 

Schools and Academies Department Meeting, Bishop’s House

Commission Student Chaplains, St Philip Howard School, Fareham


Saturday 20th - Sunday 21st January

Parish Visitation: Bournemouth and Iford



Forthcoming Events 

Wednesday 10th January 2018

Welcome to Worship in Avon Stour

Our Lady Queen of Peace, Southbourne

Read more


Friday 19th - Saturday 20th January 2018

Unity Christian Theatre presents

Esther and the Zargonites
The Lights Theatre, West Street, Andover

Read more


Saturday 27th January 2018

Alton Day of Renewal
Alton Convent

Read more


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
Read more

17th-28th September 2018
Trinity Pilgrimage to

Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania
Read more



Job Opportunities 

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.



Read more


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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


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