Portsmouth Diocese e-News

Wednesday 23rd January 2019 - Issue 213 (2019/03)


Dear Friends,

This is an important week as we continue the Octave of Prayer for the unity of Christians. The Octave ends with the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul this Friday. Please use the materials offered (see below) or offer a decade of the Rosary each day for this really important intention. Meanwhile, last weekend I had an enjoyable visit from Bishop Michael Bibi of Bamenda. It was a great opportunity to catch up, to learn about events in Bamenda and to discuss with him how we can help from here. We have the various projects we support but how can we help the many people displaced by the deteriorating situation? He said the first task was prayer. He then suggested we might help the Ad Hoc Committees - a brilliant idea (see below) and one easy to enact! Please be generous to this appeal. Thank you in advance for this. God bless you.






Praying this week for Christian Unity

This week is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which is observed from the 18th to the 25th January – the week leading up to the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, this Friday.


Indonesian Christians have prepared the resources for the 2019 Week of Prayer. Indonesia is 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. 86% of its 260 million people are estimated to be Muslim, making it the largest Islamic population of any country in the world. 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.


The 2019 materials therefore reflect the need for unity alongside Indonesia’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 website. The Diocesan Christian Unity Committee would be glad to hear of events happening in your area: christianunity@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk



This Friday – St. Paul’s Conversion

This Friday 25th January is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, when we commemorate St. Paul’s dramatic conversion to Christ. Travelling to Damascus, one midday he was suddenly thrown to the ground by a bright light, and he heard  Jesus asking him: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (cf. Acts 22: 3-16). Initially blinded, he spent many months in Damascus, accompanied by a devout Christian man Ananias, reflecting on his life, turning to Christ and being formed and catechised in the Faith. Later, he emerged from solitude as one of the early Church’s greatest and most amazing evangelisers. Thanks more than anything to the efforts of this one man, the seeds of the Gospel were sown across Asia Minor, Greece and Rome, and the Catholic Faith has been able to reach us today. The Conversion of St. Paul makes us think of our own journey in Christ, our own conversion and our own call to follow Jesus. For many of us, conversion is a life-long endeavour, with all sorts of ups and downs, reverses and high-points. It’s our task just like St. Paul to work wholeheartedly at Bringing People Closer to Jesus Christ through His Church. Try to get to Mass on Friday if you can in order to renew your own vocation to discipleship and to pray for the mission of the Church in our Diocese of Portsmouth. Pray that all the followers of Christ in our diocese might be more intentional disciples. Pray too for the many people around us without a faith or spiritual home to belong to, that they may hear the Gospel effectively and meet the Lord. And please pray for the many fellow-Catholics, almost 9 in 10, who do not practice their faith: ask St. Paul to intercede for them that the Lord will help them find Him along the journey of life, just as He once helped Paul on the road to Damascus.



Scott Hahn on 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The meaning of today’s liturgy is subtle and many-layered. We need background to understand what’s happening in the First Reading. Babylon having been defeated, King Cyrus of Persia decreed that the exiled Jews could return home to Jerusalem. They rebuilt their ruined temple and under Nehemiah finished rebuilding the city walls .The stage was set for the renewal of the covenant and the re-establishment of the Law of Moses as the people’s rule of life. That’s what’s going on in the First Reading, as Ezra reads and interprets the Law and the people respond with a great “Amen!” Israel, as we sing in the Psalm, is rededicating itself to God and His Law. The scene seems like the Isaiah prophecy that Jesus reads from in today’s Gospel.


Read all of Isaiah 61. The “glad tidings” Isaiah brings include these promises: the liberation of prisoners (61:1); the rebuilding of Jerusalem, or Zion ; the restoration of Israel as a kingdom of priests; and the forging of an everlasting covenant. It sounds a lot like the First Reading. Jesus, in turn, declares that Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in Him. The Gospel scene, too, recalls the First Reading. Like Ezra, Jesus stands before the people, is handed a scroll, unrolls it, then reads and interprets it. We witness in the Liturgy the creation of a new people of God. Ezra started reading at dawn of the first day of the Jewish new year. Jesus also proclaims a “sabbath,” a great year of Jubilee, a deliverance from slavery to sin, a release from the debts we owe to God. The people greeted Ezra “as one man.” And, as today’s Epistle teaches, in the Spirit the new people of God—the Church—is made “one body” with Him.


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



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

“This text is being fulfilled today”
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C – Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

In the Gospel Jesus proclaims that he has fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah by proclaiming liberty to captives, giving the blind new sight, and setting the downtrodden free. Yet 2000 years later, the world is still waiting for freedom from captivity, injustices, sickness, sin and death. How can we understand the words of Jesus, and make sense of them, when the reality we encounter in world news and around us seems to deny them?


We’ll reflect on:

Faith: Did the coming, death and resurrection of Jesus make any real difference to the human condition?

Hope: Can we still trust in the words of Jesus after 2000 years?

Love: How can God’s love make a difference today in our life?  



Jennifer Geach reflects... 

One of the things that shakes me out of torpor, and makes me less unwilling to face my Maker, whether at a public celebration, or in private prayer, is a recognition of the enormous privilege I enjoy.  In the West at the moment, Christians are not hindered in their worship: we may assemble freely and openly to celebrate mass, and we can even have processions.  We are not prevented from owning bibles, and there are crosses and Christian symbols not only on churches, but on other public buildings.  This is by no means universally the case: all over the world, Christians are marginalised, persecuted, even imprisoned and killed for serving Christ.  The bravery of the persecuted makes me ashamed that, by pressure of work and family life or worse in pursuit of some idle pleasure, I allow myself to be hindered in the worship I owe to God.


Read the full reflection here.  



Saints of the Diocesan Calendar - St Anne Line

St Anne Line is traditionally commemorated in Ringwood on 1st February, the anniversary of the day before her arrest.


She was the daughter of William Heigham of Dunmow, Essex, a gentleman of means and an ardent Calvinist. When she and her brother announced their intention of becoming Catholics they were both disinherited and driven from home. In 1585 Anne married Roger Line, also a convert, and lived for a time in his home town of Ringwood, now in the Diocese. Shortly after their marriage he was arrested for attending Mass and imprisoned. After a short confinement he was allowed to go into exile in Flanders, where he died in 1594. Anne became housekeeper to Fr John Gerard SJ, who had established a house in London offering refuge to priests. She took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in order to be more completely dedicated to her work. After Fr Gerard’s escape from the Tower in 1597, Anne moved to another house which became a rallying-point for neighbouring Catholics. 





Jason Evert

Jason Evert was one of the speakers we heard at SEEK2019 on the evening of Eucharistic Adoration and Confessions. Click on the picture above for his inspirational appeal encouraging the young to take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. What is holding you back? What are the doubts, fears and obstacles in giving your life to him tonight?


Jason and his wife Crystalina have spoken over the past twenty years to more than one million people on six continents about the virtue of chastity. He has founded an institute called Chastity Project (https://chastity.com). Chastity Project believes that young people play a pivotal role in the new evangelisation, and invites them to launch chastity projects within their schools and churches to promote the good news of purity to their peers. As Pope Francis said, “Do you know what the best tool is for evangelising the young? Another young person. This is the path to follow!” Those who minister to teenagers today have unlimited needs, but very limited budgets. Therefore, through low cost approaches, media appearances, seminars and social media, Chastity Project exists to promote the virtue of chastity so that individuals can see God, and be free to love (Matt. 5:8). The orange and green colours of the Chastity Project logo are from the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe, to whom the ministry is consecrated.



Deacon Martin on the Body of Christ

This week, my daughter and her husband visited us with our granddaughter.  Maria (7 months old) is learning to co-ordinate her hands, eyes and mouth to feed herself.  It is a delight to watch her concentration, and to see her pleasure when she succeeds!


Our second reading this coming Sunday (3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time) continues the apostle Paul’s description of the Body of Christ, which is made up of different parts, all working together – just like a human body. Paul tells us that every part of the body is important, because it fulfils a unique function. So, “the eye cannot say to the hand, ’I do not need you’.” (1 Cor 12:21).


Also this week, I attended a parish team meeting, where each of us completed the Clifton 5 strengths finder.  It was wonderful to see the diversity of strengths in the team, encouraging us to work together to make use of everyone’s talents.  For if everyone is a strategic thinker, who will do the implementation? If most people are driven to achieve and deliver, who will look after the relationships?  Paul makes the same point, in what I think is a comically grotesque way: “if the whole body was just one eye, how would you hear anything”? (1 Cor 12:17The Lord seems to take delight in our diversity, for it was He who created us this way.  And His Spirit has given us different gifts “just as he chooses” (1 Cor 12:11).  Nevertheless, we are one in Christ, who is the true head of the body (1 Cor 11:3; Col 1:18; Eph 1:22, 4:4, 4:12, 5:23). 


So, here’s 3 things I suggest each of us could do this week, to continue to build up the Body of Christ:

1. Ask yourself: what gifts have I been given?
If you think you have none, read the parable of the talents (Mt 25:14-30), and pray to God to show you what talents He has given you. Think of attending a Called and Gifted session. It changed the path of my discipleship; perhaps it could help you in yours?

2. If you’ve seen a strength in someone else, why not encourage them, by telling them?
Everyone takes strengths from encouragement and affirmation. Those who are not yet using their talents may need your word of encouragement, to get them over their own diffidence, and start to use their talents. (See 1 Thess 5:11 and Ex 17:12 for more on why encouragement is important).

3. What talents are lying undiscovered in your parish?
Can you help them to be uncovered, by asking God to reveal them: to the gifted person, to their fellow parishioners, to their pastors?

Remember, “no-one else can ever be the part of God’s plan that’s me.” 
[Bernadette Farrell, I am special, © 1995 OCP Publications, Inc.]


Keeping Discernment Simple!

Chris Stefanick is a consultant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth, and an internationally acclaimed author and speaker who has devoted his life to inspiring people to live a bold, contagious faith. His videos and radio spots reach over one million people every month. He founded Real Life Catholic, based in Denver, a non-profit association that operates as the headquarters for various initiatives. He is married to Natalie and the father of their six children.


In this one minute video he urges us to keep the process of discerning God's will for our lives simple! Here he is pictured with some of the students from Southampton who attended the recent SEEK2019 conference in Indianapolis. Click on the image to watch it.


We offer to you, Loving God, the gifts and needs of youth. Bless them with your guiding grace as they face the challenges and opportunities in their lives. Touch their hearts with the gentleness of your love, that they may know they are valued and valuable beings. Send your Holy Spirit of hope to their lives, that they may believe they are needed in this world. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Caritas Love in Action - Lenten Project 

As the Season of Lent will be upon us soon, some parishes will certainly be thinking about a suitable Lenten project. For parishes who feel a calling to reach out to those in need, those on the margins of society, I would like to introduce a Caritas program called “Love in Action”.


Having been setup and piloted by Caritas in Westminster, it has proven to be a big success and is now ready to roll out into other areas. This resource rich program, which runs in conjunction with the Sunday Liturgy, group activities and workshops, is free and introduces the parish to the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. When the program has been completed the group will have all the tools required to get involved in effective social action projects. It has already been run in one parish in our diocese with great success.


As members of the Catholic Church we are all called upon to preserve the dignity of all human beings, to care for creation and to reach out to all of our sisters and brothers in need. These principles form part of Catholic Social Teaching (CST), a body of work developed by church leaders over the centuries. Pope Francis emphasises that it is our duty to work together to bring about a more just and peaceful world, in other words to put Love into Action.


For any parish, justice and peace group, or other groups who feel the need to put “Love into Action” please contact Kevin Gallagher.



Would you like to become a teacher?

The Catholic Teaching Schools Alliance is running a series of Open days  at a variety of  hub schools through out the South East. The CTSA believe the best way to train to be a teacher is in the classroom supported by a team of experts, trainers and mentors who will support you throughout your day to day experience. They work with several Catholic and non-Catholic partner schools across the south east, in which students are able to train. Each area is supported by a main training hub as well as the overall support from the main teaching school (St Joseph’s Catholic Primary), to ensure students have access to a wealth of experience and tutelage from all over the south east of England. Their hubs are based in Aldershot, Basingstoke, Bournemouth, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton. The CTSA has a number of training programs available for potential teachers at both Primary and Secondary levels suitable for both Catholic and non-Catholic applicants. Students will be based in one of the Alliance schools most conveniently placed. The Alliance schools can be found throughout Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire and  Dorset. See here for the courses offered.


If you would like to find out more the CTSA is running several different teacher training open days at various schools over the  South East. There is no need to book, just turn up on the day.


Thursday 24th January 09.00 – 11.00 St Joseph’s Aldershot 

Thursday 7th February 09.00 – 11.00 Springhill Southampton 

Thursday 14th February 09.00 – 11.00 Corpus Christi Bournemouth 

Thursday 7th March 09.00 – 11.00 St Bede’s Basingstoke  



First Saturday in Gosport

St Mary’s Parish in Gosport invite you to join them on Saturday 2nd February for their First Saturday Devotions.


Come and join these devotions beginning with Holy Rosary at 9.00 am followed by a solemn sung Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form at 9.30 am. This then flows into Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with Rosary, a meditation on the Coronation of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven and first Saturday devotions to the Immaculate Heart. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available. The morning ends with Benediction at 12.00 pm. Following the First Saturday Devotions, The Marian Group meets for their Seasonal Social from 12 to 3 pm in the Upper Room at St Mary’s Hall. A reflection by Father Serafino with question and answer, followed by a bring and share meal. You can find St Mary's church at 32 High Street, Gosport PO12 1DF or visit their website for more information.


You can read more about the First Saturday devotions here.



Spring conferences at the School of the Annunciation

The School of the Annunciation is a centre for adult formation at all levels, responding to the Church’s call for a New Evangelisation, in which the Catholic Faith is joyfully transmitted anew in all its beauty, depth and vigour. Here you have a sure place for finding the fullness of the faith known, loved, prayed, taught and celebrated.


It is also a Catholic Institute of Higher Education, for higher studies in the Catholic Faith. Situated in the extensive grounds of Buckfast Abbey, on the edge of the beautiful National Park of Dartmoor in Devon, England, every programme of the School is harmonised with the rhythm of the Divine Office sung each day by the community of monks at the Abbey.


The School of the Annunciation offers a range of courses in key areas of the Catholic faith to support the New Evangelisation. All are rooted in the Church’s Scriptures and living Tradition and present the teachings of the universal Magisterium. Courses being developed use a collaborative-distance-learning model of short residency periods, course texts and online interaction for personal student support. Course details may be found by navigating to the menu above.


Enrolment is now open for their Spring Theology and Philosophy Conferences. 



How to defend the faith without raising your voice

Catholic Voices is coming to Winchester to deliver their popular day programme on Saturday 2nd February. All over the age of 18 are welcome, especially students, young adults, youth ministers and catechists. It’s tough when you’re asked about a controversial issue. Catholic Voices trains Catholics to lose the fear of controversy and instead see it as a unique opportunity to share the Church’s message.


Catholic Voices have conducted dozens of interviews over the past few years for news outlets such as Al Jazeera, BBC, ITN and CNN, commenting on current affairs and communicating Catholic perspectives with charity and clarity. They will be sharing their expertise and equipping participants to do the same in their ministries and everyday lives. Lunch will be provided, and tickets are available here




The Role of the Family in Building a Culture of Life

The Second Annual Day Retreat for young (18+) Catholics in healthcare and young (18+) Catholic adults  on The Role of the Family in Building a Culture of Life has been organised by the Catholic Medical Association's Committee for the New Evangelization.
It will take place at The Rosary Shrine, St Dominic's Priory, London NW5 4LB on Saturday 9th February. The day will begin with Sung Mass in the Dominican Rite at 11:30, followed by lunch, talks, and tour of the shrine. The day ends at 18:00. There is a £10 suggested donation (includes lunch).
For more information and to register: http://theroleofthefamily.eventbrite.co.uk
Registration is essential as places are limited.




Discernment weekend for men aged 30 to 55 

The Beda College in Rome is running a discernment weekend for men between the ages of 30 and 55 from Friday 30th August to Sunday 1st September 2019. It will take place at St Beuno’s Spirituality Centre in North Wales.


The weekend is aimed at men who are not already officially in touch with their diocese and is a first step for those who may be exploring the possibility of priestly vocation in later life. 


Information and registration forms can be found here and you can also find a poster here


Please continue to pray for more vocations to the Sacred Prieshood for our diocese and for those who foster and promote vocations and those responsible for the discernment, formation and care of our aspirants and seminarians.





Bamenda – How can we help?

We had a great visit from Bishop Michael Bibi, auxiliary bishop of Bamenda, over the weekend. He is currently in Rome, but wanted to come over to be with us and to offer Mass for our intentions in the Cathedral (see here for some photos and an interview with Bishop Michael). I asked him about the social-political tension in Cameroon and the deteriorating situation and how the Diocese of Portsmouth might help.  He told me that for most of the time, life in Bamenda goes on as normal. But together with road-blocks and ghost days, quite a few people have been displaced, their homes and villages burned down, some living as refugees in the woods or with strangers who have offered to take them in. He told me of one family of 5 that now has 10 other people living in their home. There are shortages of food, medicines and clothes. In response, the Archdiocese of Bamenda has set up in every parish an Ad Hoc Committee with a coordinating Ad Hoc Committee at archdiocesan level. These parish Committees are a true godsend. They enable people to share their own resources and they also, when they have them, dispense food, clothes and medical supplies to those in need: click on the picture on the left for a short video of a typical scene.  I am sure that the charitable works these Ad Hoc Committees enable will be remembered in the future by people of all religions: the Catholic Church – acting truly like a ‘field-hospital,’ to use Pope Francis’s famous description – helped them in their time of want and need.


I said that helping these Ad Hoc Committees would be a great project for us! It’s difficult to send out aid from here, but we can donate monies, however small or great, to our Bamenda Fund (cheques payable to Diocese of Portsmouth Bamenda Commission). There are plenty of supplies in Bamenda – the only issue is acquiring them and distributing them. This is where the Archdiocese and the Ad Hoc Committees come in, enabling us to help people directly on the ground. Any donation is welcome. £10 can supply warm clothing, £30 a huge sack of rice, £50 a range of medical supplies such as bandages, antibiotics, pain killers etc.


Can you help? It would be fantastic if individuals, communities, parishes and schools from our Diocese of Portsmouth might generously give some help in this simple way. It would make a great Lenten project. You can donate directly on our diocesan Bamenda Committee website: https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/bamendacommission. Or you could send a cheque – mark inside that you wish it to go to the Ad Hoc Committees – here to Bishop’s Office addressing the envelope to “The Bamenda Committee.” If you have any queries email the Chair: clennon@bamendaandportsmouth.com or contact the Committee Treasurer: gdailly@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk



The Catholic and Anglican Bishops’ Meeting

On Wednesday and Thursday last week, I went to Leicester for a bi-annual meeting of the Catholic Bishops and the Church of England Bishops. We stayed at the Cathedral, opposite the new King Richard III Centre: the photo is a reconstruction by experts of what they think he looked like. The meeting was facilitated by two theologians, one Catholic the other Anglican, Dr. Paul Murray of the Centre for Catholic Studies in Durham, and Dr. Paula Gooder, writer and lecturer, who works full time for the Bible Society. The topic was the new ARCIC III agreed statement Walking Together on the Way: Learning to Be the Church – Local, Regional, Universal, has gone live. It can be read here. Cardinal Vincent led the Catholic delegation and Archbishop Justin Welby the Anglican. What was particularly useful about the meeting is that we were arranged at tables by region, so Bishop Richard Moth and I were seated around the same table with the Church of England bishops from our locality, notably Bishop Christopher Foster of Portsmouth, Bishop Mark Sowerby of Horsham and Bishop Martin Warner of Chichester. These discussions quickly turned from the theological to the pastoral and practical and led to some lively discussion. The last session of the conference addressed issues to do with the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and led to a sharing of experience between our two communions.



Farewell to the Little Sisters of the Poor

Last Saturday, I went to St. Thomas’s Jersey to offer a Mass in Thanksgiving for the Little Sisters of the Poor who will be leaving the island shortly after 133 years of service, caring for the elderly and the dying. The Little Sisters were founded in 1839 by a Breton woman, St. Jeanne Jugan, to care for the elderly poor, many of whom at the time in France were homeless. Once communities were established in France, the Little Sisters crossed the channel to England, and then later to the Americas, the Philippines and the Far East. They came to Jersey in 1887, where they built their imposing residence in Hautville, although the earlier building was replaced in 1982 by the present one. The Sisters have always provided incredibly high standards of care, physical, medical but especially spiritual. At one time, there were 15 sisters in the community in Jersey, although today there are only four. More than anything else, the lack of indigenous vocations has caused them to review their mission and to take the momentous decision to consolidate resources and to leave the island.


The Mass, which was attended by the Mother General, the Mother Provincial and by sisters from the other houses in Britain, was truly a time of rejoicing and thanksgiving. It was also for many of us tinged with a sense of sadness. You can read my homily here. The Sisters leave with all our love, our gratitude and our prayers. Meanwhile, please continue to pray for vocations to the religious life.



The Magi are in a Muddle!

The inside scoop of the “best show yet” is here reports Joanna Azavedo-Parker from St Swithun Wells Parish... 

The Magi are in a Muddle captivated much interest across the parish with an almost Full House. So, what captured their interest?   The story was set around the Magi not knowing how many they should be or when they should visit the new born king.  A belligerent King Herod was also interested in the new born king but for other reasons.   Mary and Joseph were keen to make everyone welcome to see the baby whilst keeping a firm hold of a slightly disgruntled Angel.  Star was feeling privileged in her role and needed to share this with everyone in a dance during which she highlighted how every one of us has been chosen for a purpose.   The shepherds were keen to get as much “J” as they could so didn’t mind the tardiness of the Magi.   The Magi’s down trodden but cheeky servants couldn’t find the socks but seemed to have more of a handle on business ahead whilst their employers worried about timing and geography, not to mention facing THE Herod. “How many Herod’s do you know?” was a comedic question asked in the show but actually there were many in real life!


Read the full story here.



AoS Port Chaplains welcome Vice Chair of Trustees to Southampton

Stella Maris-Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) Southampton Port Chaplains Fr John Lavers and Peter Morgan and their ship visitors were delighted to welcome AoS Vice Chair of Trustees Captain Esteban Pacha on January 15, who joined them on their ship visits to see how AoS provides pastoral and practical assistance to seafarers. Captain Esteban was a former ship's captain himself and said of his visit, "It was a great experience to get back on board during the on-the-field visit to our port chaplains and ship visitors in Southampton."


There are some more photos here.




Bishop's Office

I am always grateful to those who work closely with me here at Bishop’s House, namely my Office staff. Without them, I would be unable to fulfil the episcopal role the Lord has asked of me. Here is a splendid picture of us all at our annual Christmas lunch - well, New Year’s lunch really! Next to me on my left is Fr. Philip Carroll, Bishop’s Secretary, and then Deacon Craig Aburn, Executive Assistant, editor of our weekly e-News and who also assists with many matters, not least accounts and awards. Opposite him is Chris Smith, our Director of Communications, and on his left, Jackie Emmerson, who was administration assistant until recently. Jackie, as you may recall, retired from work just before Christmas, but we were delighted she was able to join us for the occasion. Then, last but not least, nearest the camera is my PA, the excellent Kirsten McGuire. I cannot thank all of them enough for their immense generosity and hard work. Sometimes, the Office can be really busy with lots of post, emails, phone calls, people arriving for meetings and many other things happening too. Yet everyone remains calm and committed, loving their work for the Lord and His Church. Please pray for them – and pray for me and everything we seek to do to serve the Diocese.



Focus on... Kezia Harrow 

Kezia Harrow our CAFOD Step into the Gap volunteer based at St Cassian's retreat centre Kintbury describes how she is preparing for her trip to visit CAFOD projects in the Holy Land. She will be talking about her experience at our Lent meeting on 5th March at St Joseph’s Church Newbury.


At this point of my CAFOD voluntary year I am filled with anticipation, nerves, excitement and fear. What I am going to be witnessing is going to be anything beyond my imagination and going to change me forever. I don’t think I can fully comprehend the amazing opportunity I have been given by CAFOD to go and see how communities thrive and flourish through their work in the Holy Land. I feel so excited and privileged to be able to experience the work that CAFOD does in the Holy Land. One thing I am most excited about is the opportunity to work with both Israeli and Palestinian young people and communities. To see CAFOD’S work in action is going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.


What I have really taken on board is that the amount of preparation you need to do before visiting another country. Preparing yourself with knowledge and information is just as crucial as preparing yourself mentally. I feel like I have learnt so much already in preparation about the geographical issues of the Holy Land and am so excited to expand my knowledge further. The amount of knowledge and skills I am going to gain from the communities and the people I meet in them is going to be invaluable. The skills I will gain will enable me to bring so many things back to the UK to inspire other young people to get involved in CAFOD’s work via fundraising and campaigning.

Being able to share this experience with other people who are passionate about their faith and put their faith into action is going to enable me to get the most out of my time in the Holy Land. We all have a common passion which will root all the things we will do whilst we are in the Holy Land. I think this will add a unique and brilliant dimension to our work. Please keep me and all the other gappers in your prayers as we make our journeys.



Finally …. Isn’t this impressive?

Click on the photo for a one-minute video time-lapse of last weekend’s March for Life in the US capital, Washington. It’s amazing to see so many hundreds of thousands of marchers, supporting the dignity and value of life from conception to natural death, and especially calling for the limitation of abortion. This was the 46th annual March for Life and featured many speakers including Mike Pence, the Vice President, and his wife, Karen, the Second Lady. At the same time, Bishop Ed Scharfenberger, the Bishop of Albany, sent a short but incisive and prophetic letter to the New York governor, Andrew Cuomo – in fact, a baptised Catholic – who is proposing to expand considerably within the state provision for abortion: to read it click here. The US debate on abortion is much more finely balanced than here in the UK and it is encouraging to see how in some ways the tide is turning over there. I hope that this will give us new heart over here in Britain. May you and I never give up witnessing to what we believe about the inviolable dignity of every human being, even the smallest and weakest, the baby in the womb. As the Catechism says: Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being (2258).



Bishop Philip's Engagements           

Friday 25th January

Bishop's Council meeting


Sunday 27th January

Mass at University of Southampton


Saturday 2nd February

Dialogue with Cultural Sectors Meeting;

Mass and meeting with Communion and Liberation team, Winchester.



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 20th January


Today is a Day of Prayer for Peace

National Prayer Cycle: World Peace

Diocesan Prayer: The Anglican Communion


Monday 21st January

St Agnes, Virgin, Martyr, memorial 

Diocesan Prayer: The Free Churches; Community of St Agnes, Liss


Tuesday 22nd January

St Vincent, Deacon, Martyr, optional memorial

or: Feria [2nd Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: The Byzantine Orthodox & Oriental Orthodox Churches


Wednesday 23rd January

Feria [2nd Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Association of Inter-Church Families


Thursday 24th January

St Francis de Sales, Bishop, Doctor of the Church, memorial

Diocesan Prayer: Parish of St Francis de Sales, Wash Common


Friday 25th January


The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity ends today

Diocesan Prayer: Local Covenants of Churches 


Saturday 26th January

St Timothy, Bishop, Martyr & St Titus, Bishop, memorial

Diocesan Prayer: Students for the Priesthood or Permanent Diaconate


Sunday 27th January


Diocesan Prayer: Diocesan Department for the New Evangelisation


Forthcoming Events

18th-25th January

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Read more


Friday 25th - Sunday 27th January 

Aquinas Weekend - Formation for young women

St Joseph's Convent, Grayshott

Read more  


Saturday 26th January 

Alton Day of Renewal

Alton Convent

Read more  


Friday 8th February 

Feast of St Josephine Bakhita

Day of Prayer against Human Trafficking


Saturday 9th February 

CAFOD Lent Fast Day briefing

St Theresa of the Child Jesus Totton 2:30pm to 4:30pm


Saturday 16th February 

CAFOD Lent Fast Day briefing

St Thomas of Canterbury Cowes IoW 10:30 am to 12:30pm


Monday 18th February 

CAFOD Lent Fast Day briefing

Christ the King, Reading 7:15pm to 9pm


Thursday 21st February 

CAFOD Lent Fast Day briefing

St Margaret Mary, Park Gate 7:15pm to 9pm


Saturday 23rd February 

CAFOD Lent Fast Day briefing

St Bede’s, Basingstoke 10:30am to 1pm 


Saturday 23rd February

Poetry Reading with Four Poets
Quarr Abbey, IOW

Read more


Saturday 23rd February

Alton Day of Renewal

Alton Convent

Read more  


Sunday 24th February

Bosco Experience

St Peter's Winchester

Read more  


Tuesday 5th March 

CAFOD Lent Fast Day briefing

St Joseph’s, Newbury 7:15pm to 9pm


Saturday 6th July

Significant Wedding Anniversaries Mass

St Bede's Basingstoke

Read more


25th-30th July 2019

Pilgrimage to Lourdes

Read more


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    

Parish Administrator - Christ the King Whitley, Reading

A vacancy has arisen for a part-time parish administrator for the Church of Christ the King in Whitley, Reading.


This is an extremely busy parish, requiring a person with varied, flexible skills and an unflappable temperament.


As well as possessing excellent, all-round secretarial skills, the successful candidate will have a first-class command of English and a high level of computer literacy. Experience in using Word, Excel and Publisher is essential.


Hours of work: 15 per week (Days and hours to be agreed with the parish priest) 

Salary: £10 per hour.


For more information and an informal discussion about the role please contact Maria Mahdavi on 0118 931 4469.


Closing date for applications:  Monday 28th January

Interviews to be held:  Tuesday 5th February.


For more information and how to apply see here.



Parish Administrator - St John Bosco, Woodley Reading

25 to 30 hours per week (hours subject to negotiation but each weekday desirable)


St John Bosco Parish wishes to appoint a Parish Administrator to provide a full confidential administrative and secretarial service to the Parish Priest and Woodley Parish, providing a sympathetic and efficient focal point for enquiries and administrative support. The parish office is a busy place and you will be running the office yourself but with a small team of volunteers and other parish staff in the church as colleagues.


Applicants should be experienced in administration with excellent communication skills. A good knowledge of Microsoft Word and Publisher are essential and you should be comfortable working in a Catholic Church environment.


Closing date for applications: Tuesday 12th February (9am)

Interviews to be held: Friday 22nd February


For more information and how to apply see here.



Parish Secretary / Administrator - St Colman with St Paul Parish

28 hours per week (initially 9am – 4.30pm Monday to Thursday)


St Colman’s with St. Paul Parish wishes to appoint a Parish Secretary/Administrator to work in the Parish Office. The role will be to facilitate the smooth running of the Parish Office and the Parish Halls and to provide secretarial support to Father Innaiah Maddineni.


Applicants should be diligent and reliable and able to work unsupervised to deliver a high standard of administrative and secretarial support.  A working knowledge of Microsoft Word and Publisher and familiarity with reconciling accounts are essential.


Closing date for applications: Friday 15th February (12 Noon)

Interviews to be held: Monday 4th March (at St Colman’s, Cosham) 


For more information and how to apply see here.



Deputy Head Teacher - St John’s Cathedral Catholic Primary School, Portsmouth

Full time (split between class responsibilities and leadership time)
Salary: L6-10


The Governors of St John’s Cathedral Catholic Primary School are seeking to appoint an enthusiastic, dedicated and highly motivated Deputy Head Teacher for this happy school.   


St John’s Cathedral Catholic Primary is a one form entry Catholic primary school serving the parish of St John’s Cathedral in Portsmouth. Our school has been judged by OFSTED as outstanding and we are determined to maintain that standard and improve upon it. The school is part of the Diocesan Edith Stein Partnership and the Governors see this as an opportunity to share best practice and work closely with other local Catholic schools.


Closing date: Monday 28th January 2019 (12 Noon)

Shortlisting: Monday 28th January 2019

Interviews: Monday 25th February 2019


For more information and how to apply see 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: 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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