Portsmouth Diocese e-News

Tuesday 27th November 2018 - Issue 206 (2018/41)


Dear Friends,

My prayers and best wishes to you as we continue through the last week of the Church’s Liturgical Year and prepare for the magical season of Advent that begins next Sunday. Please pray for the repose of a Mill Hill Missionary priest, Fr. Cosmos Oboto Ondari, who was killed in Mamfe in Cameroon last week. I have written a note of sympathy and prayers on all our behalf to Fr. Liam Cummins and to the superior of the MHMs in Maidenhead. Please continue to pray for the peoples of Cameroon, and for peace, reconciliation and justice in that land. Meanwhile, I’m en route to Ireland this week to speak at the Transforming Parish Conferences in Maynooth, Dublin and Clonmel. Please pray it all goes well. May God bless you all. 






Advent is coming!

Next Sunday, 2nd December, is the First Sunday of Advent, when the Church enters into a short but magical season that prepares us for the Coming of Christ. Advent has a twofold character: as a season to prepare for Christmas when Christ’s first coming to us in Bethlehem is remembered, and as a season when that remembrance directs the mind and heart to await Christ’s second coming at the end of time. Advent is thus a period of hope, of devout and joyful expectation. At Sunday Mass, the Gospel readings each have a distinctive theme: the Lord's coming at the end of time (First Sunday of Advent), John the Baptist (Second and Third Sunday), and the events that prepared immediately for the Lord's birth (Fourth Sunday). The Old Testament readings are prophecies about the Messiah and the Messianic age, especially from the Isaiah. On weekdays, there are two series of readings: one to be used from the beginning of Advent until 16th December, the other from 17th to 24th December. In the first part of Advent there are readings from Isaiah, distributed in accord with the sequence of the book itself and including those texts that are also read on the Sundays. In “late Advent,” the last week before Christmas, the events that immediately prepared for the Lord's birth are presented from Matthew and Luke.


I always find Advent a busy period, not least with writing Christmas cards! The challenge is to find time for prayer and reflection. I pray that you will be successful in finding time in order to keep a sense of true perspective during this holy season and thus be able to find from the Lord much joy and happiness. Click on the picture to watch a two-minute video on what Advent is all about.




St. Andrew, Patron of Scotland

This Friday 30th November is the Feast of St. Andrew – a great day to go to Mass, if you can. St. Andrew was one of the twelve apostles and the older brother of St. Peter. He was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee and was a fisherman. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and saw Andrew and Simon Peter fishing. It is then he asked the two to become disciples and "fishers of men." The Gospel of John says Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist. When Jesus walked by one day, John the Baptist said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" It is then that Andrew decided to follow Jesus. Little else is said about him in the Gospels. It was Andrew who told Jesus about the boy with the loaves and fishes, according to John 6:8. When Philip wanted to speak to Jesus about Greeks seeking him, he spoke to Andrew first. Andrew was present at the Last Supper. After the Resurrection, he is said to have preached the Gospel around the Black Sea and throughout Greece and Turkey. He was martyred by crucifixion in Patras, bound, rather than nailed, to an X-shaped cross or a "saltire." Today this is commonly referred to as "St. Andrew's Cross." Relics of St. Andrew were said to have reached Scottish soil thanks to St Rule, a Greek monk who had set sail from Patras in 345 and who was eventually shipwrecked in Fife at “St. Andrews.” Andrew became patron saint of Scotland in 832, after Oengus II led an army of Picts and Scots to victory in a battle against Aethelstan’s Angles at East Lothian. Oengus was badly outnumbered and feared defeat until he saw an X-shaped cloud in the sky. In 1320 Scotland announced its independence from England with the Declaration of Arbroath and officially adopted St. Andrew as its patron.


Here is a  prayer from Westminster Cathedral’s Chapel of St. Andrew:

Lord, we pray for the people of Scotland.

Bless them with peace and prosperity.

Help us all, like St Andrew, to hear Jesus' call to be his disciple,

And to make his gospel known in our world. Amen.



Scott Hahn reflects on the First Sunday of Advent

Every Advent, the Liturgy of the Word gives our sense of time a reorientation. There’s a deliberate tension in the next four weeks’ readings—between promise and fulfilment, expectation and deliverance, between looking forward and looking back. In Sunday’s First Reading, the prophet Jeremiah focuses our gaze on the promise God made to David, some 1,000 years before Christ. God says through the prophet that He will fulfil this promise by raising up a “just shoot,” a righteous offspring of David, who will rule Israel in justice. The Psalm, too, sounds the theme of Israel’s ancient expectation: “Guide me in Your truth and teach Me. For You are God my Saviour and for You I will wait all day.” We look back on Israel’s desire and anticipation knowing that God has already made good on those promises by sending His only Son into the world. Jesus is the “just shoot,” the God and Saviour for Whom Israel was waiting. Knowing that He is a God who keeps His promises lends grave urgency to the words of Jesus in the Gospel.


Read Scott Hahn's complete reflection for this coming Sunday here.   



Join us for the Wednesday Webinar this Wednesday 7 - 8pm

“The coming of the Son of Man” - 1st Sunday of Advent, Year C
(Luke 21:25-28, 34-36)

We begin Advent with a warning from St Luke that the Son of Man – Jesus – is coming in glory. The picture of the second coming that Luke gives us is one of fear and confidence. As we begin the new Liturgical Year, this is a call for us to examine our own attitude towards the future, both the future of the world and the immediate future of our own life. Are they focused on fear or confidence? How can we learn from the Gospel to grow in trust amidst all the worries and concerns we experience personally and in our society?

We’ll reflect on:
Faith: How does our Faith inform our attitude towards the future?

Hope: What realistic hope can we foster, and how can we grow in hope?
Love: Why should we continue to love God and others, even when selfishness seems to grow around us?


Sign up for the webinar here or catch up via the recording if you are unable to join us.  



Jennifer Geach reflects...

Liturgically, the end of the Church’s year is marked by two themes: the end of the age, which is often miscalled the end of the world, and the  manifestation of Christ’s  Lordship, which is proclaimed on the last Sunday of the year.  This annual reminder of the fact that the Father has given lordship over everything to Christ should be a call to a reconfiguring and rebalancing of our lives.  For this lordship of Christ is not a remote thing; he is not like some mighty emperor wielding power somewhere far away.  His lordship is over each one of us individually, in the depths of our hearts, and what he demands of us, as is his right, is complete fidelity, total subjection to his loving authority.  In Christ, says St Paul, we have a high priest who was tempted in all things as we are, so that he can sympathise with our weakness, but is without sin. 



Read the full reflection here



My brother Pier Giorgio: His Faith

Click here for part of a talk given in 1975 by Guiseppe Lazzati to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Blessed Pier Giorgio’s death. It is included in the draft English translation of the book by Luciana Frassati, the sister of Blessed Pier Giorgio, My Brother Pier Giorgio: His Faith, which I very much hope will soon be published. Giuseppe Lazzati (1909-1986) has been recognized by Pope Francis as ‘Venerable,’ a Servant of God. He was one of the most outstanding personalities of the Italian Catholic world in late twentieth century. He was a collaborator of several well-known figures in Italian politics such as Giorgio La Pira and Aldo Moro  while he maintained close relationships with Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. From his youth he was touched by Pier Giorgio’s personality. He once said  “I want to follow his example . . . For this purpose I pray a lot to the Lord, because I want Him to make me a saint, a great saint, and right away!”  This is what he wrote in his diary in 1928.  In World War II, upon his refusal to swear allegiance to the Fascists, he was arrested and interned in Nazi concentration camps, after the war, he distinguished himself as a politician.  He became rector of the Catholic University of Milan from 1968-1983.  Together with Bl. Pier Giorgio, he anticipated the Second Vatican Council’s teaching on the role of the laity in the Church.  His cause for beatification is in progress.  The diocesan process was concluded in 1996. 



The Advent Wreath

We’re now only a few days away from Advent and I wanted to suggest you make for your home an Advent wreath. The origins of the Advent wreath are German and Lutheran but in recent times Catholics, too, have adopted them as a way of marking mark the progression of Advent to the Nativity. The wreath is formed of evergreens (yew or fir or laurel) and is either suspended from the ceiling or placed on a table. Fastened to it are four candles standing upright, at equal distances, representing the four weeks of Advent. Ideally, at a set time,  the family gathers for a prayer and each Sunday of Advent one more candle is lit, until all four candles shed their cheerful light to announce the forthcoming birthday of the Lord. The symbolism is a reminder of the Old Testament, when humanity was "sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death" (Luke 2:79); when the prophets, illumined by God, announced the Redeemer; and when the hearts of all burned with desire for the Messiah. It is common to use three violet candles and one rose, symbolizing the respective liturgical colours of the four Sundays of Advent, though in Germany, red candles are used.



Share your faith this Christmas

The buying of Proper Christmas stamps becomes more and more difficult. If you look at the Royal Mail on-line catalogue and scroll down the very last items you will find them there – presumably where those Christians will not make a nuisance of themselves by actually wanting to buy them! Royal Mail has confirmed that they are available, but you may need to badger your local Post Office to order them for you.


Alternatively you can buy them online direct from Royal Mail. See here for 1st class stamps and here for 2nd class. However you get them, please use the stamp on your envelope to express the true meaning of Christmas as well as the card inside it.




Caritas 'Open Church' project returns to Southsea

Lisa Butler writes...


After much success with the 2018 pilot homeless project I am pleased to announce the return of the Caritas ‘Open Church' Project in Southsea. We will be working alongside seven christian churches from several denominations to provide a hot meal, friendship and bed for one night a week for the homeless during the coldest winter period. Rev. Adam Denley, Curate at St Jude’s Anglican church will be leading the project which will run from the 7th January –3rd March. St Swithun's Church, Waverley Road, Southsea will be hosting the Monday evening with support from Caritas. As we are not willing to just stand by and do nothing, come along and be part of this project to open our church doors this winter to rough sleepers on our streets.


If you are interested in joining the volunteer team for next year and are able to assist as a volunteer for an evening, overnight or morning shift, please don’t hesitate to contact Lisa Butler (Caritas Open Church – Co-ordinator, St Swithun’s) via e-mail or on 07444 714835. Training will be provided and the Diocese will arrange the required DBS clearance.



Winchester Catholic History Group invite you to their next talk

Winchester Catholic History Group invite readers to join them for their next talk on Monday 3rd December when Dr Simon Roffey of the University of Winchester will be giving a talk entitled: ‘A Vision of Salvation, the Art, Architecture & Archaeology of the Medieval Parish Church’.


This illustrated talk will consider the influence of medieval beliefs in the afterlife on the development of the medieval Parish church.  This includes form, fabric, tombs, images and painting. In particular, it will examine the development of Purgatorial beliefs and the role of the Chantry Chapel and related memorial spaces in late medieval religious experience.  As well as the crucial and implicit role of the laity in church memorial practice.


The talk begins at 7.30 pm in the Milner Hall, St Peter Street, Winchester. Entry is £5 (£2.50 for students with ID), payable at the door.



A Day of Reflection for Healthcare and Mental Health Professionals

Gifts, Service and Faith is a day of reflection for healthcare and mental health professionals to be held on Saturday 12 January 2019, 10am-3.15pm at The Royal Foundation of St Katharine, 2 Butcher Row, Limehouse, London, E14 8DS.


The vocation of working in healthcare or mental health care is a calling from God to use the gifts he has given to care for and look after the sick and needy. The aim of this Day of Reflection is to better understand how we can use our gifts in the service to others, as well as using our gifts to care for ourselves and improve our own spiritual health and wellbeing. This is a Day of Reflection for healthcare and mental health professionals and practitioners, led by Bishop Paul Mason (Catholic Bishop for Healthcare) and Bishop Richard Moth (Catholic Bishop for Mental Health). The day will consist of Mass, reflective sessions and prayer. The Day of Reflection is free of charge. Lunch will be provided. See here for further information and details of how to register.



Join Us For Oberammergau 2020 And Lake Garda

If you've always wanted to visit Oberammergau, then here is a great opportunity to join me for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Bavaria to see this centuries old Passion play. We will spend two nights in historic Oberammergau followed by three nights in wonderful Lake Garda. We leave by air for Munich on Monday, May 25 and return on Saturday, May 30, 2020. Guide price is £1425 per person based on two sharing. This cost includes almost everything but lunches (except in Oberammergau, where it is full board), and personal expenses such as souvenirs and travel insurance. A full spiritual programme will be available.This will be a fantastic pilgrimage, so if it is of interest do not delay in getting in touch as there are just a few rooms left and they will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Further information, email Father PJ Smith at  or Yvette Harrington.
Click on the picture for a taste of what to expect!




Deacon Martin writes...

Earlier this week, I watched a television documentary about Prince Charles, in which he talked about what sort of king he hoped to be, when he eventually succeeds his mother, the Queen. In this Sunday’s Gospel, of the Solemnity of Christ the Universal King, Jesus makes clear what sort of king He is. He came to “bear witness to the truth”. The Greek word for “bear witness” is martyreso, from which our word “martyr” is derived. It’s clear that Jesus’s conception of monarchy is not about power, or prestige, or privilege, but about responsibility. He came into the world not to be served, but to serve.  And He expects the same of those of us who follow Him:  to be servants, not to be like the “so-called rulers of the gentiles, who lord it over their subjects” (Mk 10:42-45). 


Recently, I baptised a child – my first baptism as a deacon. As I anointed her head with Sacred Chrism (itself a sign of royalty and priesthood), I prayed that she would “remain for ever a member of Christ, Who is priest, prophet and king.”  So, through baptism, we are incorporated into Christ, and as a result, inherit His royal mission.  And how do we fulfil our royal calling? By serving. Many of our altar servers are members of the Guild of St Stephen, and the medal they wear has the Latin motto cui servire regnare est, which can be translated “Whom to serve is to reign”. The “Whom” refers to Christ: only in Him, and in serving Him, are we truly free, truly sharing His royal identity.


In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray: “Thy kingdom come”.  How is this kingdom to come? We, who share in Christ’s “royal priesthood” (1 Pet 2:9), must work in Him to help establish it.  How can we do that? We can start by knowing what sort of kingdom Christ brings about: the Preface of the Solemnity of Christ the King describes it as “a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace”.  So, in baptism, we are made kingly; we fulfil our royal calling by service; and so we hope, by remaining “a member of Christ”, to reign with Him for ever. As the Apostle Paul says: “If we hold firm, we shall reign with him.” (2 Tim 2:12). 



Bishop Robert Barron on The Mass 

Bishop Robert Barron is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries. He is the creator of the award winning documentary series, "Catholicism" and "Catholicism:The New Evangelization." He has a huge online following with 1.5 million followers on Facebook.


Bishop Barron was the keynote speaker at the Adoremus 2018 Eucharistic Congress and gave two addresses. The first was an excellent talk on the various aspects of the Mass which we featured in last week's e-news.


In this second address, he reflects on Sainthood, sanctity and what makes us holy. St. Peter in his First Letter, says this: 'Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy' (1: 14-16). You can watch the video by clicking on the image.



Book recommendation

Recently I recommended a book by Scott Hahn called The Fourth Cup. Here is another book I can heartily recommend, a book for which Scott Hahn has written a Foreword. It’s called Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper and it’s by the Catholic scripture scholar Brant Pitre, professor of Scripture at Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans. It is very straightforward to read and highly illuminating.  Pitre explores ancient Jewish beliefs about the Passover of the Messiah, the miraculous Manna from heaven, and the mysterious Bread of the Presence. As he shows, these three keys - the Passover, the Manna, and the Bread of the Presence - have the power to unlock the original meaning of the Eucharistic words of Jesus. He laso discusses what Hahn in his book dealt with, the so-called “fourth cup.” Along the way, Pitre explains how Jesus united the Last Supper to his death on Good Friday and his Resurrection on Easter Sunday. Like Scott Hahn, Pitre is not only a biblical scholar but a biblical theologian, keen to link his scriptural insights with the bigger picture of Christian faith and life.





Annual Schools' Day

Edmund Adamus, Diocesan Schools Commissioner reports on last week's conference...


Yet another successful conference was hosted by the Catholic Academies & Schools team on Friday 23rd November for the Annual Schools Day. Over 100 delegates representing virtually all our schools in the diocese came to hear the keynote speaker John Battle, former Labour MP and Pro-Chancellor of Leeds-Trinity University. John delivered two excellent presentations on the Catholic social teaching for Catholic schools and the new evangelisation in the light to Pope Francis two Apostolic Exhortations; Evangelii Gaudium and Gaudete et Exsultate on the call to holiness in the modern world. Drawing upon his vast experience of a lifetime in public service as a Catholic but also a diverse range of achievements in applying Catholic social action in local contexts, John uplifted and inspired the delegates with engaging anecdotes and practical wisdom to help shape our continuing conversation with the schools to help them deepen their identity as “agencies of mission” and “Catholic formation communities.”  



Mass in honour of St. Oscar Romero

I’m old enough to remember the horror and sadness that spread over the world on 24th March 1980 when the then Archbishop Oscar Romero, archbishop of San Salvador, was assassinated during Mass, a remarkable priest whom everyone knew was ever close to his people the poor, and ever close to the Lord. It was a special joy when last month the Holy Father declared him to be a saint, bishop and martyr. Last Saturday, 24th November, we had a Mass in the Cathedral in the afternoon to celebrate his canonization, with a special celebration and talk afterwards. The event was organised by Mugeni Sumba, RE teacher from Oaklands Catholic School, Waterlooville, in conjunction with the Romero Trust and CAFOD. A number of schoolchildren, teachers, school chaplains and heads were present, including Fr. Tom Grufferty, Chaplain to Heads and Deputies, Fr. PJ Smith, Episcopal Vicar for Education and Mgr. Jeremy Garratt Episcopal Vicar for Vocation. After the Mass there were refreshments in the Cathedral Discovery Centre, and an inspiring talk given by Stephen Davies from the Romero Trust. You can see some photos of the event here, where you can also read my homily and listen to Stephen's talk. 



Maryvale Graduation 2018

Sr Veronica, OP, heads up our Diocesan provision for Maryvale courses. Here she reports on the recent Graduation ceremony held at St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham...


Each year the students and staff of the Maryvale Institute gather to celebrate the achievements of the past year at St Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham. It is a wonderful occasion and this year we were graced by the presence of our own Bishop Philip who granted the awards and gave the address to the students.


Maryvale House was the first Catholic home of Bl. John Henry Newman and the original seminary at Oscott. Today it fulfils the dream of J.H. Newman for an educated laity. The courses offered range from simple further education courses in the formation of catechists in health care chaplaincy work, RCIA catechesis, Catholic Social Teaching, Marriage and Family, Parish Mission and Ministry and numerous independent learning modules in catechism, scripture studies and the writings of recent Popes. This year several of the students graduating were from our own diocese and it was an opportunity for Bishop Philip to meet students from his own diocese at various stages on the ladder of learning. Because Maryvale is a distance learning college it is able to provide a valuable service to the English Speaking Church in Singapore, the Cameroons, the Middle East (UAE) the USA and Belarus as well as to places nearer to home in Scotland, England and Ireland and within the Prison service in England and Scotland.


Read the full story and see some photos of those who graduated here.



Civic Mass

Last Sunday 25th November, the feast of Christ the King, was also the occasion here at the Cathedral for our annual Civic Mass, to which the Lord Mayor, leaders, members, councillors and aldermen of the city are invited. This year, I celebrated the Mass and Fr. PJ Smith preached a splendid homily. As ever many came along, together with Stephan Morgan our local MP. The occasion gives the Catholic community of Portsmouth an opportunity to honour the self-sacrificing service that our civic leaders give, and also to pray for them, asking God’s blessing on their work, which is generously done for our benefit, though often little appreciated and little rewarded. One of the things I was keen to ask them about are all the new high-rise buildings going up around us here in the city centre. Our Cathedral will soon be a bit like St. Patrick’s New York, a gothic ‘pile’ dwarfed by a forest of glass and concrete towers! Already opposite the Cathedral the new multi-floor Travelodge is taking shape and then almost around the corner, another giant edifice of student accommodation is underway. It’s interesting coming into Portsmouth on the M275 to see its ever-changing skyline. There are some photos here.


Here is a prayer from the Roman Missal to say for those in civil authority: 

Almighty ever-living God, in whose hand lies every human heart and the rights of peoples, look with favour, we pray, on those who govern with authority over us,  that throughout the whole world the prosperity of peoples, the assurance of peace, and freedom of religion may through your gift be made secure. 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. Amen.



Diocesan Youth Gathering

Last Sunday 25th November was the Feast of Christ the King, which is also in England and Wales National Youth Sunday. We invited students and chaplains from the various universities of our Diocese: Southampton, Portsmouth, Reading, Winchester and Bournemouth to the Cathedral for our 6 pm Mass. Fr. PJ, Head of the Department of Youth Chaplaincies, said the Mass and I preached: you can read my homily here. The Mass was followed by a bowl of pasta and time for fellowship in the Discovery Centre.  Two recent graduates spoke about their own experience and how to survive university as a Catholic, whilst nurturing one’s faith. It was a great time together, and already we are looking at how to develop things for next year. Our university chaplaincies are crucial to the mission and work of evangelisation and they are places where friendships and support are given to youngsters, often far away from home. One of the talks on Sunday was given by Shay, who is a FOCUS missionary in Southampton. He spoke of the importance of true friendship as a means of bringing another person to the Gospel. That is what he had experienced himself as a student. He had been ‘adrift’ in his life but it was thanks to a friend who really cared for him, a man of deep faith, that he came to meet the Lord for himself and to find joy in his Catholic life. There are some photos and an audio of the homily here.



Our Lady of all Nations

Julian Waterfield writes...
St George Catholic College was delighted to welcome two Sisters from the Family of Mary who help run the 'Our Lady of all Nations ' shrine in Amsterdam. Sisters Crescentia and Jacinta came and had a tour of the school, they spoke to students about their vocation and their life at the shrine as well as handing out holy cards with the beautiful prayer to Our Lady of all Nations. The Sisters also gave out some images of Our Lady for the school and encouraged the staff to continue to pray and seek the intercession of Our Lady. We were very blessed by their visit.
Here is the famous prayer they promote:

Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of the Father,

Send now Your Spirit

Over the Earth.

Let the Holy Spirit live

In the hearts of all nations,

That they may be preserved

From degeneration, disaster and war.

May the Lady of all Nations,

The Blessed Virgin Mary,

Be our advocate.




Celebrating Blessed John Henry Newman in Southampton

St Anne’s School in Southampton was delighted to host colleagues from schools from around the Newman Partnership for a Mass for staff and family members at St Edmund’s Church.  Mgr Vincent Harvey celebrated a Votive Mass of the patron and spoke movingly of his famous words, ‘heart speaks unto heart,’ expounding on the lived vocation of those who work in schools. 


It was a wonderful celebration of shared purpose and community, bringing light as the weather and evening drew in.  During the intercessions, representatives prayed for their schools and local communities by writing intentions on leaves that formed a prayer tree.


There was a real buzz over tea and cake in the school’s Performing Arts Centre as people caught up with old friends and had a chance to network, as well as an opportunity for some to try to peek at the exciting building work ahead of the new bespoke Sixth Form Centre, opening in 2019.



St. Mary’s Independent School celebrate their Founder 

Fr Michael Peters, St Mary's School Chaplain writes...


St. Mary’s Independent School celebrate their Founder, The Venerable John de Lamennais. He was born at Saint-Malo, on 8 September 1780. During the period of the French Revolution, his family sheltered priests who would offer Mass secretly in their home in the middle of the night and the youngster feltdrawn to follow them. When the reign of terror was over, John studied for his ordination on 4 May 1804. The country had lost many priests to the guillotine  and many people had abandoned their faith. John quickly realised that hard work lay ahead and he set about with zeal to found seminaries and schools for the abandoned youth. especially among working class. Thus two religious congregations were founded: The Brothers of Christian Instruction and the Daughters of Providence. The motherhouse was established in Ploërmel (1824). At the time of his death on St. Stephen’s Day, 1860, there were 852 Brothers serving throughout France and its far flung colonies in the world, from French Guiana to Senegal; spreading later to Africa, North and South America, Asia and Europe.  One such European school was Saint Mary’s in Southampton, which was opened in September 1922. The Mass this year was extra special because it marked several months of preparation for the 200th anniversary of the Congregation (6th June 2019). The ikon selected by the Brothers is ‘A New Page’.  Several pupils from Nursery to Year Eleven presented highlights of John’s life by stepping through pages of his life  and listening to a former Head, Brother Francis, OBE, explaining in detail the importance of this remarkable Founder. In the photo, Brother Francis, former Head of the school, invites Teddy Blake to turn over the next page in the story of the Brothers of Christian Instruction.



Bishop Philip's Engagements           

Tuesday 27th - Thursday 29th November 


Transformed Parish Conference, Ireland




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.                 

Sunday 25th November


National Prayer Cycle: Young People [National Youth Sunday]

Diocesan Prayer: Parish of Christ the King, Reading;

Chapel of Christ the King, Sandhurst


Monday 26th November 

Feria [34th Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Diocese of Cloyne & associations with St Colman of Cloyne via dedications and devotions


Tuesday 27th November 

Feria [34th Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Benefactors and Management Board of the Diocesan Clergy Retirement Fund


Wednesday 28th November

Feria [34th Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: ‘Survive-MIVA’ 


Thursday 29th November

Feria [34th Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Managers of the Diocesan website


Friday 30th November

ST ANDREW, Apostle (Feast)

Diocesan Prayer: Community of St Andrew, North Baddesley; Community of St Edmund Campion, Bournemouth (dedicated 30.11.1981) 


Saturday 1st December

Our Lady on Saturday

or: Feria [34th Week in Ordinary Time]

Berkshire & Oxfordshire parishes: St Edmund Campion, Priest, Martyr, memorial

Diocesan Prayer: Parish of St Edmund Campion, Maidenhead


Sunday 2nd December


Diocesan Prayer: Parishes & Communities in the North Downs Pastoral Area 


Forthcoming Events                  

Friday 30th November - Sunday 2nd December

Advent Silent Retreat

Verbum Dei Retreat Centre, Isle of Wight

Read more 


Saturday 1st December

Sycamore Leaders Training Day

St Patrick’s Church, Soho Square, London

Read more 


Sunday 23rd December

"The Magi are in a Muddle"

St Edward the Confessor, Chandlers Ford

Read more 


Wednesday 6th February 2019

Feast of St Josephine Bakhita

Day of Prayer against Human Trafficking


25th-30th July 2019

Pilgrimage to Lourdes
More information coming soon - save the dates!


October 2019

Extraordinary Mission Month


8th-15th October 2019

Pilgrimage to Malta
Read more


Job Vacancies   

Parish Secretary (Maternity Cover) - St Joseph’s Parish, Maidenhead 

St Joseph’s Parish,  in Maidenhead is looking to employ a new Parish Secretary to cover a period of maternity leave for up to eleven months.  This is a part-time post; five hours per day, Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 1.00pm.  The ideal candidate will be experienced in a similar role, possess good communication skills and be IT literate.  In addition, the successful candidate must have the confidence to manage and organize a busy parish office.  


Closing date for applications: Friday 4th January 2019.

Interviews: Tuesday 8th January 2019.


Successful applicant will be expected to start on Friday 18th January 2019. 


More information here.



Please pray for..

Archbishop Cornelius and the clergy and people of our twin diocese of Bamenda and for an end to the troubles there.


The repose of the souls of all who have died recently, for all those killed through acts of warfare, violence, terrorism and natural disaster. Requiescant in pace.


All affected by sexual, domestic and emotional abuse.


Peace in the world and for those who govern the nations that they may do so wisely and justly.


Vocations to all states of life and ministry in the Church, especially to the Sacred Priesthood, Diaconate and Religious Life. 

All our students currently in formation for ordination and those responsible for their formation in the various seminaries in which they are based. 

The work of the New Evangelisation across the diocese that we may all play our part in bringing people closer to Jesus Christ through His Church.


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

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

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. That 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.   

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.

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.


That all we do in the diocese may bring people closer to Jesus Christ through His Church. 



Please share your good news with us

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 Deacon Craig Aburn: 



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.



Keep in touch on Social Media

Don't forget you can keep in touch with what's going on in and around the diocese in between issues of e-News by following us on Social Media.


Follow me on Twitter.


Follow the Diocese on Facebook and Twitter.


The Diocesan Youth Team are also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.





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).