Portsmouth Diocese e-News

Tuesday 27th February 2018 - Issue 173 (2018/9)


Dear Friends,


I’ve just returned from a visit to our two seminarians Ian and James who are studying at Allen Hall in London. Ian will be ordained a deacon this summer and a priest next year. James is in his second year of studies. Please pray for them both and for more vocations in our Diocese to all states of life and ministry but especially to the priesthood.


Meanwhile may God bless you all in this second week of Lent.





Mass VII ('Kyrie Rex Spendens’) 

This week in our exploration of the eighteen Mass settings of the Kyriale, we come to the Kyrie of Mass VII Kyrie Rex Splendens (‘Lord, Illustrious King’). This is another mediaeval composition, tenth century, and it sounds not unlike the Kyrie from Mass VI that we had last week. Mass VII is another setting appointed for use on feastdays. It is set in Mode VIII and is full of longing and desire for God’s mercy. With a strong and confident lead, I’m sure this is one that could be used in the parish, as it contains recurring repeated phrases, even if, as with many of the chants, it will take a bit of time for people to pick it up. I have heard it on occasion when staying in a monastery on retreat and also once at Mass at Westminster Cathedral. See what you think by clicking on the picture (left).


The Sanctus and the Agnus Dei from this Mass VII are also very fine. 




"Spiritual Sacrifice": Scott Hahn reflects on 3rd Sunday of Lent

Jesus does not come to destroy the Temple, but to fulfill it to reveal its true purpose in God’s saving plan. He is the Lord the prophets said would come—to purify the Temple, banish the merchants, and make it a house of prayer for all peoples. The God who made the heavens and the earth, who brought Israel out of slavery, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands. His law was a gift of divine wisdom, as we sing in the Psalm. It was a law of love perfectly expressed in Christ’s self-offering on the cross. This is the “sign” Jesus offers in the Gospel this Sunday.

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.   

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



Reflections on Abraham and Isaac

Many people struggle with the story of Abraham and Isaac, which is the first reading for the Second Sunday in Lent. 


Someone once said: ‘if I heard voices telling me to kill my son, I would think I had gone mad.’  But Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son, in spite of the fact that it looked as though God was reneging on his promise that through Isaac Abraham would become the father of many nations.  Abraham trusted God: trusted that God would fulfil his promises, and was willing to fulfil his command in spite of the apparent contradiction.  Thus he shows us that nothing can be preferred to the will of God, not our most beloved, nor even our own understanding of that will.  Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son shows the measure of faith and trust we must have in God: but the story also shows that child sacrifice, practiced by the pagans to their false gods, and now by our society in abortion, is the reverse of pleasing to God. 


You can read the full reflection from Jennifer Geach here.



Welcome to our new Director of Communications 

I am delighted to announce that the diocese has appointed Christopher Smith as our new Director of Communications. Husband and father of two, he is a senior television, communications and media executive with over 20 years experience in the field. For the past fifteen years, Christopher has been working for the Catholic Church in the area of communications and promotion, locally and also internationally as a consultant for various projects within the Vatican.


He will be based in Portsmouth but he will spend much of his time working across the various parts of our diocese. Christopher is in the process of moving down from Birmingham Archdiocese and very much looks forward to joining Portsmouth Diocese at the end of the month.




Newman’s Idea: Towards the Future of Catholic Education

Last week, I was invited by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Francis Campbell, and the Senior Management Team of St. Mary’s Twickenham to give an occasional lecture. It was followed by a splendid dinner. I chose as a topic “Newman’s Idea of a University: Towards the Future of Catholic Education.”  In it, I took some of the points Newman raises in Idea and, developing them in the light of Bernard Lonergan’s thought, proposed some pointers as to how the catholicity and ethos of Catholic education at all levels, primary, secondary and tertiary, might be deepened in today’s context. A lively discussion followed. You can read the text here.


Our diocese already has many links with St. Mary’s and as a Catholic university it is full of desire to serve the Church in our land. Let us pray for them, for our university chaplaincies and for all involved with Catholic higher education.


The picture is of the University of Ireland, as it was then called, which Newman helped to establish from 1851-1858.



Please pray for the Church in Syria 

Archbishop Samir Nassar, Maronite  Archbishop of Damascus writes...


This seventh year of war in Syria has seen:

• The build up of attacks and violence.

• An escalation of people leaving the country, especially young people and men looking for work, which is unavailable.

• A social crisis, where inflation has made the Syrians who have remained a people dependent completely on handouts, donations or begging.

• 80% of medical specialists have left the country, which means 90% of doctors.  60%  of those  wounded die through lack of care.

• A peaceful solution has still to be achieved.  The 12 million who are now refugees elsewhere are no worse off than the Syrian people who have stayed or been abandoned. 


Read his letter in full here 


Have you booked your place for Adoremus Congress yet? 

Have you booked your place for Adoremus National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and Congress yet?  Adoremus  will take place from 7th – 9th September 2018 in Liverpool with some 10,000 Catholics expected to attend. 

Adoremus will consist of:


• A one-day Theological Symposium on Friday 7th September.  Admission will be by ticket only at a cost of £40.  Canon Mervyn Tower, Canon David Oakley, and Sr Margaret Atkins will all give Key note speeches.


• A stage led conference on Saturday 8th September, at the Echo Arena, Liverpool for which admission will also be by ticket only at a cost of £40.   The Key note speaker will be Bishop Robert Barron an American prelate of the Catholic Church, author, theologian and evangelist, known for his Word on Fire ministry.


• A Eucharistic Procession in the city of Liverpool on Sunday 9th September.


Our Diocese has a limited ticket allocation.  It is essential that you book your tickets NOW by emailing congress@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk or phoning 07780 221686.


The deadline for ticket applications is Wednesday 14th March!



Could you be a member of the Choir for the Chrism Mass?

The Chrism Mass is an important event in the life of the diocese, when the priests gather with the bishop to renew their commitment to their ministry and the Holy Oils are blessed, which takes place on Tuesday in Holy Week - 27th March - at St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth.


Singers are now being sought to form the choir. Would you like to be part of the choir this year? If so please contact Sarah Gallop sgallop87@gmail.com to register your interest.


A rehearsal will take place on Saturday 24th March, 2:00pm - 4:30pm at Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, Stubbington, PO14 2PL.



"I want to make my home in you" - a new First Holy Communion course

A number of First Holy Communion Catechists have already attended a Training session with the Formation for Mission team and experienced this wonderful new 22 session First Sacrament of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion programme. There are another couple of training days available soon (see item elsewhere in this issue).


The good news is that the resources have now been published by Redemptorist Publications.


Three resources have been published, a Cathechists' GuideChildren's book and also the Illustration pack containing all the silhouette figures used in the sessions.




As Fairtrade Fortnight begins, join us for our Social Justice Assembly

Fairtrade Fortnight: Monday 26th February - Sunday 11th March

This week is the first week of Fairtrade Fortnight which invites us  to "Come on in"  What a great opportunity to welcome people into our parishes sharing not only coffee but also a chance to highlight our care for human dignity and the earth.  Fairtrade is a simple way to make a difference to the lives of the people who grow the things we love. 


By changing the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fair deal for farmers and workers in developing countries we support dignity and independence and stand up against exploitation.  If you are a Fairtrade parish  there are some helpful worship materials on the Fairtrade website.   


Christian Choices in our Common Home - Social Justice Lent Assembly

Saturday 3rd March at St Bede's Basingstoke 

Supporting Fairtrade is just one way we can respond to the needs of our neighbour  We will explore this further on Saturday at our Social Justice Assembly which I shall open on Saturday which features two interesting speakers: Ellen Teague from the Columbans and Tim Alfred from the Fairtrade Foundation.  All welcome bring you own ideas and questions.  Book your place here or contact Maureen: jpsr@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk or call 01243 377411. 



Calling all First Holy Communion Catechists!

The Formation for Mission team is offering 2 training days for anyone interested in the new First Holy Communion programme, ‘I want to make my Home in you’ which I commend to you and recently now published by Redemptorist Publications.


This programme integrates evangelisation and catechesis through the use of Scripture and beautiful silhouettes.


Come and join us to discover the programme and receive training:


Saturday 17th March, in Holy Family Church, Redbridge Hill, Southampton SO16 4PL, from 9.30 am to 1.00 pm for a morning session.


Saturday 12th May, in St Bede’s Church, Popley Way, Basingstoke, RG24 9DX, from 9.30 am (beginning with Mass) to 3.00 pm.


The material for the programme (see next item) will be available for purchase at both these days.


E-mail Sr Hyacinthe: ffm@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk if you would like to attend either of these days.



Rosary on the Coast for Faith, Life & Peace in the British Isles

Sunday 29th April 2018 at 3pm


Rosary on the Coast is an initiative of the Lay Faithful across the British Isles inviting the faithful of our nations, with the support of our clergy and Bishops, to a Day of Prayer for Faith, Life and Peace which will surely be pleasing to the Holy Spirit, and to Our Blessed Mother. The Rectors of our two National Marian Shrines (Walsingham & Our Lady of the Taper) in England and Wales have given Rosary on the Coast their full backing and encouragement. 


This week I sent a personal message of support for the event:


I am happy to support your initiative. Thank you for this important witness to the Truth of faith in Christ and to the power of prayer which by God’s grace will surely bring much goodness. Our culture is facing so many challenges at this moment, not least to the sound values that underpin our family and social life. May Mary’s prayers win our land back to the Lord. May God bless this work and bring it to a good outcome. 


You can find more information on the event here. 


Big Diocesan Day in Preparation for the Eucharistic Congress!

The Educational Chaplaincies team at my request have organised an inspiring day to help develop the mission of our Diocese in prayer, contemplation and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. This will take place on Saturday 5th May at the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth. I invite all adorers from throughout the Diocese together with those who have thought about adoring but have never done so to join me for the day.  I also invite those who would like to know more about the Blessed Sacrament to come too. This will be a day for all to come and Adore!


Amazing inspirational speakers including Fr Stephen Wang, Senior chaplain to London Universities in the Diocese of Westminster and author of many CTS publications, Pippa Baker who has worked in advertising is involved in leadership within the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) and lives in a community house striving to live a life of hospitality and prayer, and FOCUS, The Fellowship of Catholic University Students, a group of people from the states who are passionate about changing the world and helping others to live a life of purpose have been booked.


In addition to our speakers, there will be the opportunity to participate in workshops, adoration and end the day with Mass at St John’s Cathedral.  I think you will agree with me that this sounds like it is going to be an awesome day.


The planning is complete so now it’s your turn.  Please come and join me adore!


Book your ticket now by emailing congress@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk or phoning 07780221686.


Click the image to download and display a poster for the event.



Divine Renovation and Parish Renewal 

Two wonderful opportunities are coming up in May for those wanting to begin or continue moving their parish from maintenance to mission:


Fr James Mallon, known to many in our diocese following the clergy convocation last summer, will be in central London on Wednesday 9th May. Join Fr James and other parishes on the Divine Renovation journey for a practical day that will include times of prayer and worship led by Youth 2000.


Explore what’s involved in the earliest stages and hear from parishes that have already begun. The day will involve a “hands on” approach that will equip you to go back to your parish and begin your own journey.


Sherry Weddell is then coming to our diocese of Portsmouth on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th May, to speak and work with both clergy and parishioners on the key components for Parish Renewal.


Sherry will be sharing the fruit of her experience and research and giving examples of how parishes can develop plans that foster the emergence of an attitude that looks beyond the parish walls, where prayer is the foundation of parish life, and with parishioners that have an alive relationship with God.


In addition, members of various parishes around the diocese will be sharing their experience of developing parish plans, of revitalising their Sacramental programmes, working with parents and families, of prayer groups, and finding multiple ways of evangelising in their local area.


Click here for further information on these events. 



Radio Immaculata launches a new app

Radio Immaculata is a non-profit apostolate of the Marian Franciscan religious community in Gosport. Every On-Line Radio Station must have an "app" to make listening easy. Well now, finally, there is an App for Our Lady! This is the new Radio Immaculata app,  bringing forth Christ through Mary! Broadcasting around the clock, Radio Immaculata brings you the very best of Catholic music, news, catechises, meditations, homilies, devotions and much, much more – all available live and on demand, wherever you are in the world.  


Known as the “Apostle of Consecration to Mary”, St Maximilian believed that the surest way to win souls for Christ is through devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. St Maximilian strove throughout his life – with great success – to bring this message to the world through mass media; he published newspapers and periodicals, broadcasted on the airwaves, and even had plans for a movie studio! As an apostolate of the Marian Franciscans, Radio Immaculata exists to continue St Maximilian’s important work.


You can download the new app for AndroidIOS and "Listen to Tune In


You cannot be my disciples unless you wash each others feet...

For the last four years parishioners of St Edmund in Abingdon have been cleaning shoes (instead of feet!) on Maundy Thursday in Abingdon’s market square.  This reminds many people of the Easter story, and our willingness to serve our community, and is a great way of starting a conversation about Jesus!   The parish has worked with the Community Church who had the necessary public insurance that the town council needed.  It is simple to do.  We set up two small open gazebos, with stools and chairs and a variety of shoe cleaning equipment.  We also had coffee and tea and drinks and food for children.  We also handed out leaflets with the times of all the Easter Services of all the Christian churches.  People were a bit reluctant at first but as soon as we got one or two then others followed and each year we have had a joyful and jolly atmosphere!  It is amazing how intimate a conversation you end up having when you are cleaning someone’s shoes!  If you would like to find out more, please email clare@claresimpson.com


Missio ad gentes community in Paulsgrove enters its second year

The Missio ad gentes community in Paulsgrove is beginning its second year and is formed of four families with a total of seventeen children along with their pastor Fr. Vittorio Scomparin and lay sisters. The Neocatechumenal Way is dedicated to Christian formation. It was formed in Madrid in 1964 by Kiko Argüello and Carmen Hernández. Taking its inspiration from the catechumenate of the early Church, by which converts from paganism were prepared for baptism, it provides post-baptismal formation to adults who are already members of the Church or to those far from the Church who have been attracted by the testimony of Christian life of love and unity in the communities. The Neocatechumenal Way is responsible for communities of families in mission called "Missio ad gentes", living in many cities around the globe. Together with a priest and his socius, and some celibate women, they make present the Church in places of little or no Catholic presence. Today,  there are about 40,000 communities throughout the Church, with an estimated one million Catholics following the itinerary.

Please pray for them as they help in the work of the New Evangelisation I have commissioned them to do.



Local Team of Our Lady enters its 39th year

Teams of Our Lady (French: Equipes Notre Dame)  is for Christian married couples who want to develop their relationship with God both personally and as a couple. They do this as member of a Team of 4-6 couples and a spiritual counsellor, meeting together monthly for a simple meal, discuss, pray and share the ups and downs of everyday life. During the intervening weeks they follow a spiritual pathway and once a year endeavour to make a retreat as a Team. Fareham Two was formed 38 years ago and in recent years Douai Abbey has been their chosen venue for this retreat. The Team photograph here, along with their chaplain for all those years (Fr. Michael Peters) and Dominican Sister Regina (who facilitated the retreat), met on the first weekend of Lent to prepare both for Easter and their 39th year together.


Click on the image for the photo of the whole group.  



Bishop Philip's Engagements 

Tuesday 27th February

Various meetings, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth;

Visit to Allen Hall Seminary, Chelsea


Thursday 1st March

Bishop’s Council Meeting, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth


Friday 2nd March

Schools & Academies Department Meeting, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth;

Funeral Mass for Canon Terence Healy, St John’s Cathedral Portsmouth, 12.15pm;

Joint Catholic-Anglican Meeting, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth


Saturday 3rd March

Diocesan Justice & Peace Conference, St Bede’s Basingstoke


Saturday 3rd - Sunday 4th March

Parish Visitation, Bracknell


Tuesday 6th March

Meeting of Co-ordinating Pastors, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth

Discussion with FOCUS Team, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth


Friday 9th March

Planning session with Vocations Director, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth

 Update from Vocations Promotor, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth


Saturday 10th - Sunday 11th March

Parish Visitation, Our Lady & St Dominic, Farnborough



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.    

Monday 26th February

of the 2nd Week of Lent Mass

Diocesan Prayer: Diocesan ‘Spirituality Development’ Group


Tuesday 27th February

of the 2nd Week of Lent

Diocesan Prayer: All Parish/Community Pastoral Councils


Wednesday 28th February

of the 2nd Week of Lent

Diocesan Prayer: Community of St Oswald, Burghfield Common


Thursday 1st March

ST DAVID, Religious, Bishop, feast

Diocesan Prayer: Parish of St David, East Cowes


Friday 2nd March

of the 2nd Week of Lent

National Prayer Cycle: Women’s World Day of Prayer

Diocesan Prayer: Catholic Women’s Network


Saturday 3rd March

of the 2nd Week of Lent

[Alderney: The Memorial of St Vignal may be commemorated]

Diocesan Prayer: National Board of Catholic Women


Sunday 4th March


National Prayer Cycle: All Penitents

Diocesan Prayer: Priests no longer in active ministry


Monday 5th March

of the 3rd Week of Lent

Diocesan Prayer: Fair Trade Networks


Tuesday 6th March

of the 3rd Week of Lent 

Diocesan Prayer: Wisdom House, Romsey


Wednesday 7th March

of the 3rd Week of Lent

[The Memorial of SS Perpetua & Felicity may be commemorated]

Diocesan Prayer: Mill Hill Fathers in the Diocese 


Thursday 8th March

of the 3rd Week of Lent

[The Memorial of St John of God may be commemorated]

Diocesan Prayer: All working in the Hospice movement


Friday 9th March

of the 3rd Week of Lent

[The Memorial of St Frances of Rome may be commemorated]   

Diocesan Prayer: All religious novices


Saturday 10th March

of the 3rd Week of Lent

Diocesan Prayer: Parish of St Edward the Confessor, Chandler’s Ford

(consecrated 10.3.1938, re-dedicated 8.10.1989)

Jubilee: Canon Peter Turbitt (ordained 10.3.1968)


Forthcoming Events   

Sundays in Lent

The Mystery of the Holy Eucharist

(Series of talks preparing for Adoremus Eucharistic Congress)

Quarr Abbey

Read more


Saturday 3rd March 

Christian Choices in our Common Home,
Social Justice, Assembly for Lent 2018,
St Bede's Basingstoke

Read more 


10th - 11th March 

Lenten Lamentations, Polish Lenten Devotions,
Polish Catholic Church, Reading

Read more 


Monday 2nd April 

"The Resurrection" - an Easter Oratorio

Jazz Cafe, Camden

Read more


Saturday 21st April

Holy Land Pilgrimage information session

Immaculate Conception & St Joseph Church, Christchurch

Read more 


Wednesday 4th July
Feast day of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
Celebration event at St Patrick's Soho
Read more


29th-30th September

Southampton Celebrate

St George Catholic College Southampton

Read more



Job Opportunities

Office Business Manager (English Martyrs, Reading)

Full time - 35 hours per week


English Martyrs, Reading Parish wishes to appoint an Office Business Manager to work in the Parish Office who will be the leading support staff professional assisting the Parish Priest in his duty to ensure that the Parish is fulfilling its mission of Evangelisation. The successful applicant will be responsible for managing the day-to-day function of the church site, Office, Finances and support functions of the Parish.


Closing date for applications:Monday 12th March (12 Noon)

Interviews: w/c Monday 19th March


For informal enquiries please contact the Parish Office on 0118 957 2149.


Read more 



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. Please pray for the repose of the souls of Canon Terence Healy, priest of our diocese (funeral Friday 2nd March see e-News issue 172 for details) and 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, for an end to the troubles there.

The Unity of all Christians in doctrine, life and worship.

The Canonisation of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Patron of our Youth.

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 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.

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 and for an equitable share of the world's resources. 

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, Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth, Caritas Jersey, CAFOD 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.  



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 


Please send news as plain text and images as attachments rather than embedded in a document.


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



Follow us on Social Media

Don't forget you can keep in touch in between issues of e-News by following my Twitter account.


You can also follow the Diocese on Facebook and Twitter.





With all good wishes and an assurance of my prayers,
In Corde Iesu


Bishop of Portsmouth


Do you have an event to advertise or news item to share?

We receive a lot of adverts for events. If you would like to advertise an event, please fill out this form here

Subscribe to Portsmouth Diocese E-news
Keep up to date with what’s happening in the diocese. The diocesan e-news comes out on Tuesday most weeks – latest events, photos, videos.

(Under the terms of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the information provided on this form will be held in confidence and used for the purpose of diocesan communications and no other purpose).