Portsmouth Diocese e-News

Tuesday 18th December 2018 - Issue 209 (2018/44)


Dear Friends,

Welcome to our e-News for this Third Week of Advent. We've just one more e-News to go (next Monday) until Christmas Day and then we’re having a week off. I wish you every grace and blessing at this special time. As ever, our thanks to Deacon Craig who edits e-News and to all our contributors, who help us appreciate the Good News and great work going on across the Diocese for the Lord and His Kingdom.  Please remember the special intentions we need to pray for at this time of the year, especially the poor, those who are suffering, the homeless, migrants and refugees, and those in difficulty. At Christmas here in the Cathedral, I will be saying Midnight Mass – this year, NB, it’s at 2400h – and the 1000h morning Mass. Have a blessed week ahead – and try these next days, if you haven’t done already, to get to the Sacrament of Reconciliation to prepare for the Feast. May God bless you.






Welcome to Late Advent

We have now arrived in the special period of late Advent from 17th to 24th December, when the liturgy of the Church is focused on the coming feast of Christ’s Incarnation at Christmas. Now is the time to put up the tree and the decorations! It is a time especially to be close to the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, asking their prayers. One of the best-known features of the Liturgy during these days is the singing at Vespers of the Great O Antiphons. These are the daily antiphons accompanying the Magnificat to mark the coming birth of the Messiah. They form the basis for each verse of the popular Advent hymn, O come O come Emmanuel. Here is my favourite one, sung on 21st December: O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae et sol justitiae: veni et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra mortis (‘O Morning Star, splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.’). The phrase O Oriens comes from Zach. 3:8 and Isaiah 9:2 - “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shone.” Click on the image to hear it sung by the Cantarte Regensberg. 



Scott Hahn on the Fourth Sunday of Advent

On this last Sunday before Christmas, the Church’s Liturgy reveals the true identity of our Redeemer: He is, as today’s First Reading says, the “ruler…whose origin is from…ancient times.” He will come from Bethlehem, where David was born of Jesse the Ephrathite and anointed king. God promised that an heir of David would reign on his throne forever.Jesus is that heir, the One the prophets promised would restore the scattered tribes of Israel into a new kingdom. He is “the shepherd of Israel,” sung of in the Psalm. From His throne in heaven, He has “come to save us.” Sunday's Second Reading tells us that He is both the Son of David and the only “begotten” Son of God, come “in the flesh” . He is also our “high priest,” from the mould of the mysterious Melchisedech, “priest of God Most High,” who blessed Abraham at the dawn of salvation history. All this is recognised by John when he leaps for joy in his mother’s womb. Elizabeth, too, is filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. She recognises that in Mary “the mother of my Lord” has come to her. We hear in her words another echo of the Psalm quoted in Sunday's Second Reading. Elizabeth blesses Mary for her faith that God’s Word would be fulfilled in her. Mary marks the fulfilment not only of the angel’s promise to her, but of all God’s promises down through history. Mary is the one they await in the First Reading—”she who is to give birth.” She will give birth next week, at Christmas. And the fruit of her womb should bring us joy—she is the mother of our Lord.


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



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

God comes to visit us: 4th Sunday of Advent (Luke 1:39-45)

This Sunday, we hear about the encounter of two expectant mothers: Mary and Elizabeth. One is expecting a great prophet, John the Baptist, and the other is expecting the Lord Himself, God in our flesh. God in Jesus comes to visit humanity in and through Mary, assuming everything that is ours so as to give us everything that He is.


We’ll reflect on:

Faith: Today, how can we recognise and welcome the visit of the Lord to us?

Hope: Can we be confident to trust that God will visit, even those places in the world and in our own life which are apparently most deprived of his presence?     
Love: How can we be bearers of the Lord to others, as Mary was to Elizabeth?


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



Day of Prayer for those in Safeguarding Ministry

Sunday 30th December is the Feast of the Holy Family, but it is also our annual diocesan Day of Prayer for those in the ministry of Safeguarding. It is a day when we pray for children and vulnerable adults, for the victims of abuse and for all who work in the ministry of safeguarding. Just as Mary and Joseph created a safe home-environment for Jesus, so too on this day, let us offer the Rosary and pray that the Church in all her contexts will be a safe haven for our children and for the vulnerable. Let us thank God too for the work of our diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator, Angela McGrory and her assistant Mark Bramah, and also for Soraya Ciccarone and Jane Green who help. We pray for Paul O’Driscoll and the members of the Safeguarding Commission, and above be all for those across the Diocese who serve so generously in our parishes as safeguarding ministers. Here is an intercession that could be used on the day:

On this Feast of the Holy Family, we pray for children and vulnerable adults,

for the victims of abuse and for all who work in the ministry of safeguarding:

that as Mary and Joseph created a safe home-environment for Jesus,

so too the Church in all her contexts will be a safe haven

for our children and for the vulnerable.

V/. Lord in your mercy R/. Hear our prayer.



Jennifer Geach reflects...

For a great number of years, indeed all of my life, the secular world in the West has been plagued by existential terrors.  First there was the bomb, then the ice age, then population explosion, and now global warming.  These enormous terrors distract people’s minds, and make them willing to be disobedient to the commands of God now, in order to secure against some desperate future. But disobedience to God is an awful thing: sin is dreadful, and wilful wrong doing, however good the ends we hope to achieve will lead us to hell.  We should not be so hag-ridden by the ‘future’, which is unknowable and largely outside our control, that we do wrong now: nor should we fear what can kill the body, but rather fear Him who can cast body and soul into hell. In short, we must trust in the providence of God, and always remember his promise that seed time and harvest will not fail so long as earth endures.


Read the full reflection here



The Insights of St. Oscar Romero 

I was delighted a few weeks ago when Pope Francis canonised the outstanding bishop, St. Oscar Romero, archbishop of San Salvador from 1977 to 1980. Pope Francis stated, "his ministry was distinguished by his particular attention to the most poor and marginalised." Romero was mercilessly assassinated on 23rd March 1980 as he was saying Mass. His homilies and speeches, currently being collected together into a multi-volume series, are full of wisdom and insight. They are often incisive and challenging. In one of them he says this: “For the Church, the many abuses of human life, liberty, and dignity are a heartfelt suffering. The Church, entrusted with the earth’s glory, believes that in each person is the Creator’s image and that everyone who tramples it offends God. As holy defender of God’s rights and of his images, the Church must cry out. It takes as spittle in its face, as lashes on its back, as the Cross in its passion, all that human beings suffer, even though they be unbelievers. They suffer as God’s images. There is no dichotomy between man and God’s image. Whoever tortures a human being, whoever abuses a human being, whoever outrages a human being abuses God’s image, and the Church takes as its own that cross, that martyrdom.” 



Catholic Armed Forces Covenant

The Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales recognises the value serving personnel, reservists, veterans and military families bring to the life of our nation. We will seek to uphold the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant by ensuring they do not face disadvantage and where appropriate, receive special treatment. In raising awareness of the unique position faced by so many serving personnel and their families, as well as that faced by veterans, dioceses are encouraged to consider, for example:


• Encouraging Catholic schools to consider provision for children of service families when it comes to admissions. (Service families may have to relocate frequently or live outside catchment areas);

• Holiday arrangements can be dictated by deployments and not always fall during school breaks. Schools can support these families once aware of these special circumstances;

• Regular prayers at Mass for those serving in the Armed Forces;

• Raising awareness in parishes of the particular issues facing Services families. For example: isolation, deployment stress, relationship pressures, adjusting to another new home;

• For employees, looking favourably upon requests for leave and flexible working for spouses and partners of serving personnel before and after deployment

• Consider signing the Armed Forces Covenant as a public sign of your Diocesan commitment to provide the sensitive pastoral care that might be needed by serving personnel and their families as well as ex-service men and women.



Saturday 5th January in Reading

Our Lady of Peace & Blessed Dominic Barberi Parish in Reading invites you to join them on Saturday 5th January to start the year with Mary. Fr Leon Pereira OP is visiting the parish with a talk entitled:  “Experience Medjugorje and Our Lady’s Messages”. The day will begin with Eucharistic Adoration at 11.00am and Holy Mass at Midday which will be followed by lunch (take a packed lunch), the talk and Rosary.


Fr Leon Pereira OP, is a great preacher and a chaplain to the English-speaking pilgrims in Medjugorje, Bosnia & Herzegovina. He stresses the importance of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “Adoration may seem useless – but the world needs it desperately” – Fr Leon reminds us. Everyone is welcome.


Our Lady of Peace & Blessed Dominic Barberi is at 338 Wokingham Road RG6 7DA.



Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally observed from the 18th to the 25th January – the week leading up to the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.


Resources for 2019 have been prepared by Christians from Indonesia, the largest country in South East Asia, made up of more than 17,000 islands, 1,340 different ethnic groups and over 740 local languages, united by one national language Bahasa Indonesia. With some 86% of its 260 million people estimated to be Muslim, it has the largest Islamic population of any country. About 10% of Indonesians are Christian. Indonesians have lived by the principle of gotong royong which is to live in ‘solidarity and by collaboration’, regarding all Indonesians as brothers and sisters. But gotong royong sits ill at ease with the neo-liberal approach to economics that has led to economic growth, and corruption infecting politics and business, often with devastating effects on the environment. Meanwhile those who are supposed to promote justice and protect the weak fail to do so. As a consequence, a country rich in resources bears the burden of many people living in poverty. Particular ethnic and religious groups are often associated with wealth in ways that have fed tensions. The Christians of Indonesia found that the words of Deuteronomy, ‘Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue…' (see Deut. 16:18-20) spoke powerfully to their situation.


Material for 2019 originates from the churches of Indonesia, where there is a strong emphasis upon the need for unity alongside the nation’s ethnic and religious diversity. The resources also highlight issues of economic injustice and how religious pluralism can face challenges in the face of radicalisation. Resources can be downloaded from the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland websiteThe Diocesan Christian Unity Committee would be glad to hear of events in your area. E-mail: christianunity@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk



Participate, don’t just Observe

With the Royal wedding earlier this year, Windsor has been a place much in the news recently and I am sure many reading this will have been there as visitors and been impressed by the castle in the centre. I am sure many of you will also have read about the negative press about the council’s plans to clear the streets of rough sleepers due to this event, however the truthfulness of this is uncertain. What is certain though is that there are still large numbers of rough sleepers on the streets of Windsor, many sleeping within sight of the castle. And perhaps like me you experience some feeling of helplessness when seeing the increasing number of rough sleepers on our streets. There is this feeling of wanting to do more than just give a few pounds, but a difficulty in knowing just what can we do exactly.


Caritas is leading a project in Windsor, known as “More than a Shelter” which will run as a pilot project from January to March 2019 to offer a bed for the night, a hot dinner, breakfast and most importantly friendship and hospitality for up to 15 rough sleepers. It will be run as a multi-church project with various churches in the Windsor area offering their halls for one or more nights a week. The project has attracted a lot of local interest but we are still looking for volunteers so anyone in that area who is interested to join us in one of the 3 shifts, evening, overnight or morning, please get in touch with Caritas asap. It’s a real chance to move from observation to participation, a chance to “do something” about this pressing problem and enter the lives of those on the margins. It is only in personally stepping into these areas that our society really takes a big step forward. To join us or to learn more please contact Caritas or our Caritas representative in the area who is the project coordinator Emilie Chana.



Essential Training for Catechists

Sr Hyacinthe writes:


One of the most exciting and enjoyable of our team’s activities at the service of the diocese this year has been our Essential Training for Catechists, which was launched in September 2017. Since then, it has been taken up by 111 people from around the diocese. These wonderful people volunteer in their parishes as First Holy Communion catechists, Children’s Liturgy leaders, Confirmation catechists, RCIA catechists, Baptism catechists and adult formators. A few also came to find out more before committing themselves to any one of these ministries. One person even came as a driver and ended up receiving her certificate in the Cathedral, after a most enjoyable time! We designed this short course packed with the essential foundations necessary for their ministry of proclamation and explanation of the Good News. We run the course at the request of parishes, and we have been kindly hosted so far in Aldershot, Southampton Holy Family, Wantage, Bournemouth Sacred Heart, Southampton St Patrick and Chandler’s Ford. You can see the participants’ feedback here


Once the participants have completed all the sessions, they receive a diocesan certificate from Bishop Philip during our annual day for Catechists, in the Cathedral. It is a wonderful occasion to worship together and give thanks for the wonderful service of the transmission of the faith in our parishes, in which so many are involved in great or small ways. You can find all the pictures of this great event here.


The next course will be taking place in Hook Parish, every Tuesday evening in Lent from 7.30pm to 9.00pm beginning on 12th March. See poster for details.


If you are interested in attending the course, or hosting the course in your parish, e-mail Sr Hyacinthe. 



Pilgrimage to Oberammergau  

We’ve got just three rooms left to join me on a fantastic pilgrimage to Oberammergau and Lake Garda in May 2020. Oberammergau is a town in the Bavarian Alps, Germany. It’s known for its once-a-decade performance of the Passion Play in the Passion Play Theatre and those who go to it never forget it. 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 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 these remaining few rooms will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. For further information, email Father PJ Smith or Yvette Harrington.   



Deacon Martin writes...

Can you see what the picture on the left is?


It looks like a modern sculpture, but it’s actually a set of chairs stacked up, in our parish hall. I noticed it when I was at a parish meeting earlier this week.  It was remarkable to see how a humble object, a chair, could, together with many others of its kind, combine to form something of beauty.  This image made me think of ourselves and our life together in Christ.  We may feel humble as individuals, but together we are something marvellous, because we are one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28). The first letter of Peter describes us in a similar image, as “living stones, being built up as a spiritual house”, whose cornerstone is Christ (1 Pet 2:4). Another thing I like about our picture, is that the pattern requires all the chairs together: it doesn’t look as good if there are only a few chairs.  And the chair at the top is no more important than the chair at the bottom, nor any of the chairs in the middle – each is playing its part in making the pattern.


The apostle Paul tells us (1 Cor 12:12-30) that we are together the Body of Christ, and that every member is needed to make the body complete. The ear cannot say that because it is not an eye, it is not part of the body, because “If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be?”  Therefore no part can say to another, “I have no need of you”. There’s a song for children which we adults would do well to take to heart:

God made me as I am, part of creation’s plan;
No-one else can ever be the part of God’s plan that’s me. 
[Bernadette Farrell, I am special, © 1995 OCP Publications, Inc.]

This week, let’s try to help build up the Body of Christ, by actively doing something together with others. Here are 3 suggestions:


1. Meet with others: perhaps to ponder scripture, or to plan works of charity, or simply to visit and share love and fellowship;

2. Encourage others: help them to discern their gifts and thank the Lord for them;

3. Pray together; for “if the Lord does not build, in vain do the labourers work” (Ps 127:1)


As individuals we are already precious to the Lord (Is 49:15-16), but together we are the Church, adorned like a bride for her husband, Christ (Rev 21:2).  And the Bridegroom is coming soon (Mt 25:6) – indeed, He is “very near” (Phil 4:5), so let’s make ourselves ready, for Him to see us in our full beauty.



Healing Ministry

I recommend this book Healing Wounds in the Field Hospital of the Church edited by Alan Guile and Fr. Jim McManus CCsR  (ISBN: 978 085244 918 9). It is a collection of essays from a symposium on healing ministry held in Oscott College in 2015. The essays offer many insights for life and ministry and inspiration to pay greater attention to the healing ministry. They will help us all have greater confidence in reaching out to heal the wounds that so many people carry. Priests, deacons and lay ministers will be inspired to give more attention to the healing dimension in the ‘field hospital of the Church.’ Pope Francis has frequently expressed that the Church must heal the wounds in her people, a clarion call to take the healing ministry more seriously and to dedicate more time and resources to clergy and lay training in the exercise of this ministry with prudence and sensitivity. One of its editors, Fr. Jim McManus, has been involved in spiritual renewal work for over 40 years, preaching retreats and missions, directing renewal courses and leading workshops and seminars on healing. Indeed, over the past 30 years, he has published books on many aspects of Christ the Healer. 



Maryvale launches new Certificate in Leadership and Management

The Maryvale Certificate in Leadership and Management, designed in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Birmingham Diocesan Regeneration Office, provides the necessary professional skills in areas such as law, finance and administration for those in the position of responsibility in the voluntary sector. This will include the increasingly important role of parish administrators. Dr. Steven McCabe, Programme Director for the Certificate in Leadership and Management has written an article on The never-ending search for the secret of effective leadership which you can read here
You can find out more about this new course here





Advent Clergy Day

Last Wednesday, I attended the Advent Clergy Day of recollection held in Douai Abbey. Fr. Denis Blackledge SJ, one-time parish priest of Corpus Christi, Bournemouth, was the speaker. A fellow-northerner (although Lancashire not Cheshire!) Fr. Denis went to school at Preston Catholic College and later studied classics at Oxford. He had long had a desire to be a priest and went on to join the Jesuits, studying both in Heythrop and Rome. Once back in England, he gave retreats at Loyola Hall and later worked in Edinburgh as a high school chaplain. In the 1980s he was superior and principal at Campion House, Osterley, a unique pre-seminary college for men, mainly in their 20s. He then worked in Guyana, South America and South Africa before returning to Preston as parish priest.  For 20 years he appeared on BBC Radio Lancashire each week on the Sunday programme, and even had his own classical music programme. He became the Diocesan Communication Officer for Lancaster Diocese. After his time in Bournemouth, he is now the parish priest of St Francis Xavier, Liverpool. There’s something good about Fr. Denis: he loves steam trains and heritage railways! He also has many other interests too from classical music to museums and ancient churches and cathedrals. He led and inspired us last week in a great Day of Prayer, preparing us for Christmas. Please pray for him and his ministry.  



Countering Consumerism 

Jo Lewry, Community Participation Coordinator for CAFOD Portsmouth writes:


On Saturday 3rd November twenty-eight people (click on photo to see the whole group) came to St Joseph’s Retreat Centre in Ashurst for a day of reflection to focus on the Pope’s letter Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad) and his call to holiness. The morning started with prayer and an exploration of The Beatitudes followed by a discussion about which Beatitude most resonated to each person. After looking at passages from the Pope’s letter there was a time of silence and personal reflection. In the afternoon we completed an ecological examination of conscience focussing on four areas: - clothes, electronics, food and travel and the impact our choices have on the world. This led to many fruitful and interesting discussions about how our habits can affect our climate. People then shared how they are trying to make a difference and respond to the Pope’s letter Laudato Si’ Care for Our Common Home.  


Steve, from Immaculate Conception Church in Southampton told us how his parish have achieved the livesimply award which is an award which encourages parishes to look at areas of parish life and to try to live more simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the poor. For more information on the livesimply award please to go the CAFOD website and click on this link


At the moment there are five parishes in the Portsmouth diocese who have achieved the livesimply award and it would be great to have more, so please do contact Jo for more information.   



News from our Marriage and Family Team

Sr. Lucia, one of the Fatima visionaries, wrote "The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue....However, Our Lady has already crushed its head."


On 10th November, Deacon Andrew Carter, Nicola Carter, Aba Shields and others spoke to over 30 people about  the Catholic Grandparents Association, Natural Family Planning, and being Mentors  for  engaged couples in our Diocesan "Smart Loving" marriage preparation course. Matt & Esther shared their testimony of living an NFP lifestyle. It was both admirable, courageous and generous. For more on the day see here


The event was advertised in 4 parishes and the evaluation reports captured the mood and the ambience - ‘lovely day, very uplifting, this should have been advertised more widely, met lots of interesting people, almost all participants said ‘the young couple’s testimony on living an NFP lifestyle  was just amazing’. 


Our Diocesan training for NFP Teachers  is in January 2019 over 6 weekends. For all the above, contact mandfl@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk



A Seafarer's Christmas Tree

On a recent ship-visit in the Port of Southampton Mr Peter Giles (Ship-visitor) and Fr John Lavers (Port Chaplain) encountered a unique a situation. The seafarers aboard this particular ship had no decorations for their tree. Although the seafarers were trying to make ready all the preparations before Christmas, they had nothing to put on their very plain-looking tree. Mr Peter Giles, from his many ship-visits in the past, was quick to offer the crew some helpful tips on how to decorate a Christmas tree if you have no decorations to start with….Peter showed a picture of a Christmas tress which was decorated by another group of seafarers on another ship using only what was at hand. From his detailed explanation, Peter used a photo he had taken last year of a decorated Christmas tree using only plastic bottles and other basic ship items to make a plain old looking tree become a beautiful Christmas tree, truly fit for the Season of Christmas. The seafarers were overjoyed at the prospect of having a ‘real’ Christmas tree on their ship and stated ‘this year Christmas will be truly with us’. The seafarers and their ship will be at sea on Christmas Day…..although all of the seafarers wished they could be back-home with their families at this time of year. Please remember to pray for all the seafarers who are at sea, at anchor or in port on Christmas Day!


For more information on the Apostleship of the Sea- Stella Maris, and more about the Christmas Tree see here.



Advent Adoration in Aldershot

Deacon Craig Aburn, School Chaplain at St. Joseph's Primary School, writes...


During the past three weeks in school each section of the school has had a chance to prepare for Christmas by focusing on the importance of the Season of Advent to prepare for both the annual celebration of the birth of our Saviour and also the important preparation for His Second Coming with an Advent Liturgy based on the following Sunday. Just as with our Lent liturgies, every Advent Liturgy has ended with a short period of Eucharistic Adoration - to focus the children, from Infants to Year 6 of the importance of that personal relationship with Jesus we encounter in this beautiful act of worship - and Benediction. For our final liturgy for Years 5 and 6 we created a wonderful atmosphere by holding our Eucharistic Adoration by candlelight, which was even darker than the photo suggests!




Congratulations Deacon Stephen

At the Curia Christmas lunch today, we bade a fond farewell to Deacon Stephen Morgan as his 14 1/2 years as Diocesan Oeconomus comes to an end.  I want to put on record my particular gratitude for his expertise and tireless dedication to the duties of that office, his commitment to the mission of the Church in our Diocese of Portsmouth, and especially for his loyalty and support of Bishop Crispian and myself, for his love for the priests of the Diocese and his solidarity with his brother deacons. Deacon Stephen has taken up a new post as Dean of the Faculty of Religious Sciences at the University of St Joseph, Macau and as Academic Director of the Diocesan Seminary of the Diocese of Macau.   His work in this role will involve the intellectual formation of clergy, religious and lay faithful in Macau, China and mission territories across the Asia-Pacific.  
I was delighted to present Deacon Stephen with the Papal Award Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in recognition of his outstanding service in our diocese over these past years.  The medal was established by Leo XIII on July 17, 1888, to commemorate his golden sacerdotal jubilee and was originally bestowed on those men and women who had aided and promoted the jubilee, and by other means assisted in making the jubilee and the Vatican Exposition successful. In 1898 it became a permanent papal distinction. The current version of the medal depicts the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul.


Thanks, Fr. John Humphreys

Fr. John Humphreys, married to Alison who, until last week, was one of our Trustees, is a former Anglican priest ordained by Bishop Crispian for our Diocese in 1997. He has served variously in the Diocese and was for several years the parish priest of Stubbington and Lee-on-Solent, as well as the Coordinating Pastor of the Solent Pastoral Area. Four years ago, he and Alison moved to Emsworth and Fr. John took up a new post as assistant priest at Cosham, where he also helped part-time as hospital chaplain to Queen Alexandra Hospital (QA), with a particular care and ministry to military personnel. After Christmas, Fr. John will be retiring from his ministry in the parish and this will enable him to devote more time to his family commitments. He’ll continue as chaplain to the military in QA. However, not to pass over the opportunity, I have asked Fr. John to be my personal representative to the Armed Forces as our Military Liaison and I am grateful to him for agreeing to undertake this. The Diocese of Portsmouth has large numbers of naval and army personnel stationed in various places and this ministry forms is an important responsibility for us as a Diocese. I meet regularly with Mgr. Andrew McFadden, the VG and chaplain to the navy and I hope now to meet also with Fr. John from time to time so as to ensure our support and ministry to those in the armed services (see the article on the Armed Forces Covenant elsewhere in this Enews). Meanwhile on behalf of us all, I express our immense gratitude to Fr. John for his many years of loyal and generous service as a priest in our Diocese and we promise him our prayers for his work in the years ahead.



Fr. Michael Morrissey

Recently, I visited Fr. Michael Morrissey, who until five years ago was the parish priest of St. Edward’s and St. Mark’s, Windsor. He was in Windsor for over twenty years until his retirement, and now lives in an apartment not far from the church. Fr. Michael is full of faith and joy, although he takes life a little more leisurely these days. As a youngster, he was in the RAF, but after ordination as a priest, he worked for many years as a chaplain in the Royal Navy. He told me all about his adventures and assignments, including assignments to Gibraltar and submarine exercises from Faslane. I must admit, the latter is not something I myself would relish! Priests retire in our Diocese at 75 and currently we have over 40 retired priests. Most live within the Diocese although a few now live elsewhere in England and Ireland. Those in good health continue to serve in many different ways, not least by holiday supply-work for our parish clergy or helping out if there is a particular need. The Priests’ Retirement Fund, expertly chaired by Canon David Hopgood, looks after their needs and a small staff of helpers regularly visit our retired clergy to see if things are OK. Please pray for all our clergy, but especially for those who have so generously served the Diocese over the years and are now retired. (Sorry this is not a very good picture: I took it as a ‘selfie’ in Fr. Michael’s sitting room.)



Portsmouth People Update

You may know that following many years of service, and following a short period of discernment, Jay Kettle-Williams felt that it was time to step aside from his role as editor to the diocesan magazine, Portsmouth People. Whilst we are sorry to see Jay go, it has given the diocese the opportunity to 'pause for thought' and review the magazine in its current form. I am sure you will agree that there is a continued need for a printed diocesan publication, one that represents the local Church and demonstrates the witness to faith of so many individuals across our parish and school communities. Please be assured that this is a temporary pause, and the diocese hopes to be in a position to relaunch a printed diocesan publication following a period of open consultation during 2019. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have generously contributed to the magazine over the years and made it such an acclaimed production. We look forward to receiving future contributions once the relaunch has taken place.




Bishop Philip's Engagements           

Thursday 20th December

Various meetings, Bishop's House


Saturday 22nd December

Annual Gathering of Seminarians, Bishop's House


Tuesday 25th December

Midnight Mass, St John's Cathedral, 12 Midnight

Christmas Day Mass, St John's Cathedral, 10.00am



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 16th December


Diocesan Prayer: “Life”


Monday 17th December 

Liturgy of the Day - ‘O Wisdom’

Diocesan Prayer: The Holy Father (born 17.12.1936);

Parishes, Communities & Schools in the Avon Stour Pastoral Area


Tuesday 18th December

Liturgy of the Day ‘O Adonai’

Diocesan Prayer: Bishop’s Secretarial Staff


Wednesday 19th December

Liturgy of the Day - ‘O Root of Jesse’

Diocesan Prayer: Co-workers of Mother Teresa


Thursday 20th December

Liturgy of the Day - O Key of David’

Diocesan Prayer: Sisters of Christ in the Diocese


Friday 21st December

Liturgy of the Day - ‘O Morning Star’

Diocesan Prayer: Parishes, Communities & Schools in the Southampton East Pastoral Area


Saturday 22nd December

Liturgy of the Day - ‘O King of the nations’

Diocesan Prayer: All who promote Collaborative Ministry


Sunday 23rd December


Diocesan Prayer: Chaplains to those with special needs


Forthcoming Events                  

Sunday 23rd December

"The Magi are in a Muddle"

St Edward the Confessor, Chandlers Ford

Read more 


Sunday 30th December

Feast of the Holy Family

Diocesan Day of Prayer for all involved in Safeguarding Ministry


Saturday 10th January 2019

Gifts, Service and Faith

The Royal Foundation of St Katharine, London E14

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


25th - 30th May 2020

Trip to Bavaria - Oberammergau and Lake Garda
Read more


Job Vacancies   

Caritas Holy Family Development Manager (Part-Time, 14 hours per week)

Salary - £14.31 per hour


This is an exciting new role, located in the Holy Family parish Southampton, in the Diocese of Portsmouth to promote, develop and coordinate social action projects within the parish.


The appointed person will work closely with the parish and Caritas to highlight priority areas for social action especially with regard to families and provide a high quality service of support in the way of setting up programmes and projects in the parish.


Applications closing date: 23rd January 2019

Interviews held: w/c 28th January 2019

Anticipated start date: 1st March 2019


This post is part-time and subject to the completion of a successful DBS clearance and an initial 6 month probationary period.


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..

The poor, those who are suffering, the homeless, migrants and refugees, and those in difficulty.


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: 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.



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


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