Portsmouth Diocese e-News 

Tuesday 29th January 2019 - Issue 214 (2019/04)


Dear Friends,

Welcome to our e-News for this week! It’s really encouraging to see all the things happening in the Diocese and I hope you feel inspired to join in and to offer your help. There are plenty of things to look forward to: Night Fever in Gosport on 9th February, the Apostleship of the Sea talk, the visit to our cathedral of the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham and the Lourdes Pilgrimage in the summer.  All of these efforts, derived from our diocesan commitment to mission and evangelisation, are aimed at Bringing People Closer to Jesus Christ through His Church. Finally, this week, as we prepare to appoint a new Chief Operating Officer for the Diocese, please pray that the best and most brilliant candidate comes forward. God bless you. 






Changes to the Diocesan Framework

We’ve updated our diocesan Framework for Collaboration: click on the picture for the updated diagram. The Framework comprises all the teams and agencies at diocesan level that exist to serve the parishes, schools and communities of our Diocese under the Bishop. The main change for us is the new role of a Chief Operating Officer, whom we hope to appoint shortly. S/he will be responsible for our Support and Administration Services, which will no longer be a Department within the Vicariate for Evangelisation but a service diagrammatically represented assisting all the Vicariates. New additions to the Vicariate for Vocation include the Pre-Discipleship Team, the Art and Patrimony Committee, the liturgical experts’ group who advise the Bishop and, within the Pastoral Care Services, the Care of the Travelling Community. The Vicariate for Evangelisation now has two Departments (Charity and, as before, New Evangelisation). On the right-hand side of the diagram the Trustees are represented as FT (Full Trustees), VT (Vicariate Committee Trustees) and FAR (Finance, Audit and Risk Committee Trustees).  Full details of the scope and purpose of each team are in the new 2019 Diocesan Directory and on the web-site here.


I thank everyone who works in the Framework serving our parishes, schools and communities. The Framework is always a 'work in progress’ and we are always looking for new volunteers to help with the requisite skills. It seeks to be a genuine collaboration between the laity, the clergy and the Bishop to take responsibility for the Church in our Diocese. Please pray that many more volunteers will come forward sharing their gifts and talents for the Lord.



This Saturday – The Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas)

The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, often called Candlemas, commemorates the purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the presentation of Christ in the temple, which occurred 40 days after his birth as prescribed by the Jewish law. According to Mosaic law, a mother who had given birth to a boy was considered unclean for seven days. Also, she was to remain 33 days "in the blood of her purification." St Luke tells us, quoting Exodus 13:2,12, that Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem because every firstborn child was to be dedicated to the Lord. They also went to sacrifice a pair of doves or two young pigeons. This lowly offered showed that Mary and Joseph were likely poor. Once in the temple, Jesus was purified by the prayer of Simeon, in the presence of Anna the prophetess. Simeon, upon seeing the Messiah, gave thanks to the Lord, singing a hymn now called the Nunc Dimittis:


Lord, now you let your servant go in peace, your word has been fulfilled:
My own eyes have seen the salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of every people:
a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.


Simeon told Mary, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against, (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed." Simeon thus foreshadowed the crucifixion and the sorrows of Mary at seeing the death of her Son.


The name Candlemas is derived from the activities associated with the feast. It came to be known as the Candle Mass. In the Western Church, a procession with lighted candles is the distinctive rite.  After the candles have been blessed, the   procession into the church for Mass commemorates Christ's entrance into the temple. 



Scott Hahn on 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

God’s words in Sunday’s First Reading point us beyond Jeremiah to Jesus. Like Jeremiah, Jesus was consecrated in the womb and sent as a “prophet to the nations”. Like the prophets before Him, Jesus too faces hostility. In the Gospel, the crowd in His hometown synagogue quickly turns on Him, apparently demanding a sign, some proof of divine origins—that He’s more than just “the son of Joseph.” The sign He gives them is that of the prophets Elijah and Elisha. From their colourful careers Jesus draws two stories. In each, the prophets bypass “many...in Israel” to bestow God’s blessings on non-Israelites who had faith that the prophets were men of God. “None . . . not one” in Israel was found deserving, Jesus emphasises. His point isn’t lost on His audience. They know He’s likening them to the “many... in Israel” in the days of the prophets. That’s why they try to shove Him off the cliff. As He promised to protect Jeremiah, the Lord delivers Jesus from those who would crush Him. And as were Elijah and Elisha, Jesus is sent to proclaim God’s gift of salvation—not exclusively to one nation or people, but to all who realise in faith that from the womb God alone is their hope, their rescuer, their “rock of refuge,” as we sing in the Psalm. Prophecies, Paul tells us in the Second Reading, are partial and pass away “when the perfect comes.” In Jesus, the word of the prophets has been brought to perfection, fulfilled in those who have ears to hear, as He declares in the Gospel. Greater than the gifts of faith and hope, Jesus shows us how to love as He loved—to love God as our Father, as the one who formed us in the womb and destined us to hear His saving Word. This is the salvation, the “mighty works of the Lord,” that we, like the psalmist, are thankful to proclaim daily in the Eucharist.


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



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

“Success and failure” - 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (Luke 4:21-30)

Here is the first time that Jesus preaches in the synagogue of his hometown, Nazareth, right at the beginning of his public ministry. It starts well, with everyone praising him: “he won the approval of all.” Yet in a dramatic twist, within a few minutes, “everyone in the synagogue was enraged” and they tried to kill him by throwing him down the cliff. Perhaps we have encountered failures in our life, but hopefully never as tragic as Jesus’ first preaching to his friends and family in his own town. How can we make sense of this event? What can it teach us about our own successes and failures?


We’ll reflect on:

Faith: There are no failures in God’s loving plan of salvation, in which everyone has a place.

Hope: We can learn to see the successes and failures of our own life, like those of Jesus, in the light of God’s loving providence.      
Love: How can we respond with love to the hardships, misunderstandings, failings and limitations we constantly encounter around us and within ourselves?  



Jennifer Geach reflects... 

We have no business expecting that it should cost us nothing to be true to the gospel; on the contrary, we have been told that it will cost us everything to be faithful. For the teachings of the gospel have never been wholly acceptable to any age, and the spirit of the age always rages against at least some aspect of Church teaching.  This can be seen in microcosm in our own lives:  there are aspects of Christianity which we find easy and congenial:  there are for most of us anyway aspects which go against the grain, in which we find fidelity to Christ’s teaching hard. 


To give a concrete example about communal rules. For centuries. the practice of duelling was widely accepted, and the church’s condemnation of it was ignored and openly scorned.  However, the fact that the Church’s teaching in this matter was widely ignored and scorned did not and does not affect the truth of the teaching.  So now, the fact that the church’s teachings on contraception, abortion and euthanasia are not only repugnant to the world, but also rejected by many Christians, says nothing about the truth of the teachings. Truth is not subject to a democratic decision.  Either the church is mater et magistra, and teaches with Divine authority, or her teachings are no more significant than those of any other group.  The rage of the world against the Catholic religion is a tacit acknowledgement that the church is what she claims to be. 


Read the full reflection here.  



Dr. Scott Hahn and Sr. Miriam James Heidland

When we were at SEEK2019 in Indianapolis, we heard many great speakers. On this video, here are two: Dr. Scott Hahn (scroll forward to 9:30) and Sr. Miriam James Heidland (at 43:00). The talks they gave last about 25 minutes each and were very inspiring, as you can see from the reaction of the audience. Scott Hahn is the well-known Biblical scholar and here he talks about his own conversion and the mystery of the love of Jesus shewn to us in the Holy Eucharist. Then, Sr. Miriam speaks about the self-sacrificing love of Jesus for us and our response to Him, citing St. Maximilian Kolbe as an example. I found Sr. Miriam’s presentation very moving. Sr. Miriam is a member of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), a missionary community serving in Europe and especially in the US. Her apostolates have included working with elementary school students, parish ministry, coaching high school volleyball and co-hosting a Catholic radio program. The story of her own life of suffering and her conversion has been featured in the Seattle Times, The National Catholic Register and EWTN’s Life on the Rock. Sr. Miriam speaks often on the following topics: Forgiveness and Mercy, Authentic Love and Conversion, The Healing Power of Christ and The Dignity and Beauty of Woman.



Deacon Martin writes...

Recently, my wife and I went to see Mary Poppins Returns.  We enjoyed it very much. I don’t think I’m guilty of a “spoiler”, when I say that the movie’s makers had a challenge: to remain faithful to the tradition established by the original film and its performers, while making something fresh and distinctive in its own right – not simply an imitation or replay of the original. Did they succeed? I recommend you watch the film and decide for yourself! The challenge faced by the movie’s makers did make me think of an important aspect of our life in Christ: that we must remain faithful to the “deposit of faith” (Catechism, 84) established through the apostles, and yet there must also be something dynamic about our discipleship; we are pilgrims, with “no lasting city here” (Heb 13:14).  We must not be satisfied with a “museum faith”, as Pope Francis has described it.


In the gospel of this coming Sunday, the 4th in Ordinary Time, Jesus challenges the fixity of outlook of his hearers, who cannot accept that prophetic sayings are coming from Jesus, “the son of Joseph” (Lk 4:22).  Jesus seeks to expand their understanding, by relating incidents from the scripture about Elijah and Elisha (which are therefore part of the hearers’ tradition), to show how God is continuing to send “good news to the poor…even as [they] listen” (Lk 4:18, 21). Properly understood, there is no conflict between “living tradition” (Catechism, 113) and pilgrim dynamism: the Holy Spirit is the Inspirer of both.  Like the makers of the movie, our challenge is to do both: to show the beauty and truth of our tradition to each generation – and also to make these eternal truths speak with new freshness to the culture in which we live, as missionary disciples have done in every age.


Some of us may be more drawn towards the traditional, others to the contemporary, in liturgy, music, ways of prayer and devotion, and in the ways we witness to our faith in contemporary society.  Can each of us expand our own horizons, by exploring, and discovering the value of the other expressions of our “living tradition”? Perhaps we could reach out to make contact with others in our parish, whose expressions of the faith are different from our own, allowing us to learn from each other, and strengthening the bonds of unity, itself a gift of the Spirit (Eph 4:3). In this way, all of us can become like the scribe (the Jewish keeper of the tradition) who, having been instructed in the dynamism of the kingdom of heaven, “is like a householder who brings from his storeroom both new and old things” (Mt 13:52).



Night Fever returns to Gosport on 9th February

Mike Slater writes...


In the recent Gospel on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Jesus calls us to “proclaim the Good News to all creation.” There is no mistaking that call to evangelise! What a beautiful gift we have through Nightfever and our Thursday Adoration Outreach at St. Mary’s, Gosport to be able to share our faith. Whether it is by inviting our passers-by, or giving witness, by praying before the Blessed Sacrament, welcoming our visitors, or helping to creating a wonderful atmosphere with candle light and music. We do indeed have a unique and wonderful opportunity to spread the Good News. The next Nightfever event is on Saturday 9th February from 7.30 pm at St. Mary's Church in Gosport.


Thank you for all your support, we are so lucky to have such generous helpers. Without you these events would not happen.Please do come and support Nightfever in whatever way you can and enjoy the Blessings of Adoration, Faith and Community. May God bless you, and thank you for reading this note. Look forward to seeing you on 9th.



What does the Apostleship of the Sea do?

Fr John Lavers, AoS South Coast Port Chaplain, will be speaking about his role as Chaplain to the Apostleship of the Sea at St Patrick's Parish Hall (behind the Church), Manor Road, Hayling Island PO11 0QU on Wednesday 20th February. The CWL will serve tea/coffee and biscuits from 6.30 pm and Fr John will begin speaking promptly at 7 pm.


Everybody is welcome. For further details contact Mary Webb (023 9246 3714) or Pauline Brice (023 9246 8498).


The Apostleship of the Sea deploys its chaplains in Britain’s largest ports, where thousands of seafarers visit each year. Tilbury, Southampton, Felixstowe and Aberdeen are among the busiest. The majority of smaller British ports are also covered using a large network of volunteer ship visitors who work in port teams with their local port chaplain. It serves seafarers from across the world, regardless of belief, nationality or race. In all the main ports in Great Britain their team of chaplains and volunteer ship visitors visit thousands of seafarers each year, meeting their needs through the provision of help, support and advice. 


You can find out more about AoS on their website.



Children’s Liturgy of the Word Training and Support Days

Saturday 30th March, 10am to 2.30pm at St James, Reading

Saturday 15th June, 10am to 2.30pm at St Edward the Confessor, Chandlers Ford


The Formation for Mission Team is offering a choice of two training days for leaders and helpers of Liturgy of the Word with Children.Information has been sent directly to Parish Priests and the Liturgy Leaders in our database. The day will be suitable for experienced and new leaders.  Parishes may send as many as they wish; it will be first come first served!  Both sessions will be the same. The programme will include:

• What makes a good Children’s Liturgy?
• Resources that are available
• Recruitment, safety and safeguarding.
•  Time to share on our approach to the next liturgies


Participants are invited to bring and share how they have broken open the scripture in a recent liturgy.  There will be some “take-home” sheets for participants to share their learning with others in the parish. There is no charge to participants but there will be a capacity limit, so liturgy leaders are encouraged to book early. You can book you place here.  If you are a leader of Liturgy of the Word with Children and would like to share ideas and receive information from others, please register here. If you have any questions please contact Paul O’Beirne



Visit of Our Lady of Walsingham statue

Next year, on 25th March 2020, the Feast of the Annunciation, England is going to be rededicated as the ‘Dowry of Mary’ and in preparation for this the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham will be visiting our Cathedral in a few week’s time, from 4th to 7th April. Click on the picture for a brief message about this from Mgr. John Armitage, director of the national shrine in Walsingham. The title “Dowry of Mary’ goes back to St. Edward the Confessor (d. 1066). There is no doubt, about the deep devotion to Our Lady that existed in medieval England, and the fame of Walsingham and other medieval English Shrines of Our Lady throughout Europe are a strong testimony to this devotion. It was in 1381 that our country was ‘officially’ dedicated to Her by King Richard II. The aim of the rededication in 2020 is to seek the help of the Mother of God in building a strong spiritual foundation for the New Evangelisation. We call upon Our Lady to guide and protect our country in the years to come, that our people may work together to face the challenges of our times, as we work to build a Common Good.


During the course of 2018 to 2020 as part of the preparation for the re-dedication, the statue of Our Lady from the Slipper Chapel at the Catholic National Shrine in Walsingham is being taken to every Cathedral in England for a three-day triduum of prayer. Each visit takes place between a Thursday and Saturday. Here in the Diocese of Portsmouth, the Statue will be at the Cathedral from 4th to 7th April. Already Fr. PJ Smith and the Cathedral parish is preparing for this unique event and in time more details will be made available.



Join us for the Lourdes Pilgrimage this summer

Click on the picture for my invitation to you to join me on the diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes this summer. The pilgrimage lasts five days, from Thursday 25th July to Monday 29th July 2019 with 4 nights’ accommodation at the Hotel La Solitude. The pilgrimage is by air from Southampton to Bordeaux, then from there by coach transfer to Lourdes. The cost includes breakfast, lunch and dinner each day with a full pilgrimage programme, facilitated by Joe Walsh Tours in conjunction with the Diocese of Portsmouth. The price (from £645) includes airline taxes and charges, UK government levy and Lourdes city tax. In conjunction with the main pilgrimage is our diocesan youth pilgrimage. The youth will be leading some of the liturgies and generally assisting, as well as having their own programme of formation, prayer and fun. The youth pilgrimage lasts 7 days from Wednesday 24th to Tuesday 30th July and travels by coach. They will be staying with us in Hotel La Solitude. The youth pilgrimage costs £475 per person. For more details, see here or contact Fr. PJ Smith on 07780 221686  or via e-mail. 



Bamenda – appeal for help 

When Bishop Michael Bibi, auxiliary bishop of Bamenda, was here last week, I asked him about the deteriorating situation in Cameroon and how the Diocese of Portsmouth might help.  He said 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 about a 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: 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 



Reply from the Foreign Office

You may remember that a few weeks ago, I wrote on all our behalf to Harriett Baldwin, Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office  to see what is being done and what more could be done to bring pressure to bear on Cameroon and its political leaders in order to help resolve the growing socio-political and humanitarian crisis (see e-News issue 207 here) The Minister has now replied and you can read her response here. I must encourage all our readers too to write to her as this ensures that the political pressure is kept up. When Bishop Michael Bibi was here the other week, he explained at length the complex origins of this crisis but also the apparent injustice and blundering of political leaders throughout this crisis who should have known better and who should have taken a more broad-minded and generous approach. Sadly, whilst at one time a federated solution looked possible, radicalisation has been taking place and many Anglophones are now seeking independence. How can we help? We can help by keeping up the political pressure. We must help by our prayers for new ways forward and a peaceful solution. We can also help practically by supporting the work of the Archdiocese of Bamenda through its Ad Hoc Committees (see elsewhere).



Pray for Philippines

Please pray for all those killed or injured in the callous bomb attacks in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on Jolo Island in the Southern Philippines. The first blast happened at 0845 inside the Cathedral, while Sunday Mass was being celebrated. The picture above shews the extent of the damage and the intensity of the bomb. The second explosion occurred shortly afterwards on the doorstep of the church. Police put the death toll at over 20. The Cathedral has been hit by bombs in the past. Many Filipinos, as you know, live in our Diocese of Portsmouth, especially in our urban areas such as Reading, Portsmouth, Southampton and Bournemouth and they form an important part of our parish and school communities. We acknowledge too Fr. Claro Conde, parish priest of Corpus Christi and St. Joseph, Portsmouth, who is the chaplain to the Filipino community. Our hearts go out to them at this time. Let us pray for peace and justice in the Philippines and also for God’s blessing on all Filipinos who live and work in our towns and cities here.




2018 Catholic Schools Census

Recently, the Catholic Education Service (CES) kindly sent me a copy of their fascinating 2018 Catholic Schools Census covering schools and colleges in England. The census has collated data from every single Catholic school in the country, including the independent schools. Data from the census has proven essential, for instance, when highlighting the ethnic and religious diversity in Catholic schools, proving that Catholic schools are popular with parents of all faiths and none. Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, in his Introduction, says that the “Catholic educational sector is one of the greatest contributions the Church has provided to our country and is one we have been giving since the sixth century. As a community we should continue to be very proud of this.” For a copy of the Census, write to CES, 39 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1BX. Some of its key findings include:


• 823,572 pupils are educated in English Catholic schools (a slight decrease from 2017).
• There are 2,122 Catholic schools in England, of which 511 are academies.
• Catholic schools make up 10% of the national total of state-funded schools.
• 66% of pupils at state-funded Catholic schools are Catholic.
• 48,072 teachers work in state-funded Catholic schools.
• 50% of the teachers in state-funded Catholic schools are Catholic (about the same as last year). Currently, 4.6% of Catholic schools are seeking heads (slightly less than last year).
• 40% of pupils are from an ethnic minority background (31% nationally).
• 19.2% of pupils in state-funded Catholic primary schools are from the poorest backgrounds (13.4% nationally).
• State-funded Catholic schools outperform the national average at Key Stage 2 by 5% and at GCSE by 4%.  


Do you want to “make a difference”?

Roger Lillie, Trustee of the Catenian Bursary Fund writes...


Are you a young Catholic between the ages of 16 and your 25th birthday? Do you intend to volunteer with a project to help the needy and less fortunate in the world or help with a Diocesan or HCPT organised pilgrimage to Lourdes. If so, the Catenian Bursary Fund could help you. Over recent years we have given over £1.25m to over 10,000 applicants and we want to continue our support. All you need to do is to complete one of the application forms on our website.


Please visit and follow us our Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & YouTube) and you will see feedback on the fantastic help carried out by many young Catholics with our support. There are lots of stories and helpful tips and advice from past volunteers – and we hope it will give you ideas! Click on the picture for more.


Look out for us at Flame 19 and make a difference in the world!



From the Spirituality Team

An Open Door Retreat (ODR) is a retreat ‘in daily life’. Based on the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola, and designed by two sisters of the Cenacle Community, an ODR is a great way of setting aside space and time to reflect on one’s relationship with and response to God, to events, to ourselves and to others. “Listen!  I am standing at the door knocking.  If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you with me.” (Revelation 2:20)


What’s involved?

• a two-hour weekly session for nine weeks
• experiential sessions that include input from the team, a variety of music, listening and reflective time
• a gradual openness to sharing within the small group
• a commitment to approx. 15 minutes a day of personal prayer/reflection
• a variety of materials to help with prayer/reflection


Anything else?

• The retreat is lead by a team of two
• A contribution is usually requested to cover the cost of materials
• ODRs can be run in parishes, pastoral areas, ecumenical groups


Here’s what a recent participant said of her ODR experience: Sharing the ODR journey with the leaders and others was a great privilege and joy.  The retreat helped me see that for a real relationship with Jesus I need to spend quality time each day. I strongly recommend it!” 


Contact Chris Bryden if you might be interested in setting up an ODR, training as a leader or would just like to know more.



Mental Health – and the Salvation of Jesus Christ

Mental health is one of the greatest social challenges of our time. Recently, it was said that almost one in four adults in Britain will be diagnosed with a mental illness at some point during their lifetime. Before Christmas, the government  announced additional resources for medical help in this field. Of course, mental health issues range beyond the strictly medical to a broad range of conditions such as loneliness, addictions and happiness. As Catholics, what do we believe about human mental and psychological wellbeing? And pastorally, what can we do to support people suffering depression, mental illness, loneliness, addictions and all the other psychological burdens they face? How can we ensure we make those suffering mental illness welcome in our parishes and communities and on the way to health and salvation? After all, Jesus Christ is our Saviour and through His Sacraments, especially the sacraments of healing, through His liberating Word and teaching, and through His loving support in the Christian community, together with any specialist help that can be given, He touches with healing the hearts and minds of those suffering mental anguish.


Clare Simpson, leader of our Pre-Discipleship Team, and I have begun a discussion about what we might do as a Diocese to give more help in this important area of concern: to help us all become better aware of the problem, to see the issues within a Christ-centred context, to assist sufferers and to put in place appropriate systems of support. If you would like to know more, to offer advice or to help, please contact Clare. You might also be interested in the Bishops’ Conference Mental Health Project.



Southampton University Chaplaincy

On Sunday evening, I said the 1830h Mass in the Chaplaincy at Southampton University – here’s a photo (click on it to see the whole group) of me with some members of CATHSOC, (the chairman on my left), the chaplains Fr. Jaya and Sr. Valentina (next to the CATHSOC chair), and the FOCUS Missionaries, Caitlin, Sarah, Anthony and Shay. It was a great occasion, and afterwards we went to the Faith and Reflection Centre for a shared meal. It was great too to be meet up once again with those students who had been with us at SEEK2019. Representatives from the Catenians were present as well and afterwards they generously presented a cheque of £550 towards liturgical items to enhance the future celebration of Mass in the chaplaincy. I was pleased with the joyful and energetic atmosphere of the Chaplaincy. I kept thinking how wonderful it would be if, instead of commandeering each week a lecture room for Mass, one day we might be able to have a permanent chapel and home on the campus for the Catholic chaplaincy. Clearly, the Chaplaincy is a lifeline for many, especially the overseas students, and a means of deepening faith in the Lord. Please pray for this intention that, if it be the Lord’s will, we might be able to go forward with this. Meanwhile, do remember in your prayers the chaplains and also the FOCUS team.



CAFOD Young Leaders “Give it Up” for Lent fast day

Jo Lewry, Community Participation Coordinator for CAFOD Portsmouth writes...


On Wednesday 16th January students in Year 12 from seven schools in the diocese took part in the second day of training for CAFOD’s Young Leadership programme.  The schools taking part in this year long programme are Blessed Hugh Faringdon Reading, Christ the King Isle of Wight, Farnborough Hill, Oaklands College Waterlooville, Salesian College Farnborough, St Anne’s Southampton and St Joseph’s College Reading. The day explored CAFOD’s values, communication skills, fundraising, and Lent family fast day.


During the afternoon the Young Leaders were asked to plan a fundraising event for the Give it up Lent appeal. They had 2 minutes to present their idea ( in a Dragon Den style)  to the  “Dragons” who would then decide which plan they liked best.  The ideas that they presented were very creative and innovative and included raffling a sixth former to be a “slave” for the day, having a sponsored silence, giving up all drinks apart from water and having a week where each day students would give up something different.  


Many thanks to the students for participating so enthusiastically in the day and also thanks to the teachers and chaplains who accompanied them. I look forward to sharing the results of their “Give it Up” fundraising events soon.



Another step on the way...

Nick O’Neill of the Parish of St Michael and All Angels, Leigh Park, is due, God willing, to be ordained to the permanent diaconate at St John’s Cathedral at 2pm on Sunday 21st July, together with other candidates from across the Diocese. On Sunday 20th January at the 10am Parish Mass he took another step on the way.  The ministry of Acolyte was conferred on him, by his Parish Priest, Canon Gerard Flynn on my behalf. Please keep Nick, his wife Marta and his family in your prayers, together with all the other candidates. Nick is pictured with Canon Gerard and David Bateman, a second year seminarian from St Mary’s College, Oscott, where Nick is also in Formation, who has been on placement at St Michael’s.


Holy  God, Saint  Vincent  served  You  as  a  deacon  and  gave  his  whole  life  and  soul  to You, even  to  the  point  of  becoming  a  martyr.  I  lift  up  to  You  the  deacons  of  the Church  and  all those  who  are  being  called  by  God  to  become  deacons.  Guide  them as they  discern  how to  serve  the  Body  of  Christ.  Prevent  the  attractions  of  the  world and  the  busyness  of secular  jobs  from  interfering  with  their  vocations.  Teach  them  to grow  in  humility.  Help their  families  learn  from  their  examples  and  support  their ministry  with  trust  and  joy. Saint  Vincent,  pray  for  us.  Amen. 


Walking in the footsteps of Don Bosco

Fr Pat Sherlock, Chaplain at Salesian College in Farnborough reports on a recent Salesian trip with a happy coincidence...


It’s one thing to read and hear about Saint John Bosco but this year for the first time a group of students from Years 10 and 11 at Salesian College Farnborough, together with a few from Year 13, were given the opportunity to visit the places where he grew up and began his work with young people. We assembled at the College at 3am, ready for the coach drive to Stansted Airport and the flight to Turin. Our first stop was the Valsalice Salesian School on the hillside to the east of the city. This was where the casket containing the remains of our founder was kept from 1888 to 1929, when it was carried in triumph to its present resting place in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians at Valdocco. We were surprised and delighted to find that alongside depictions of Salesian Saints in the magnificent school chapel, there was a painting of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.


See here for the full story and some more photos.



Queensmead Independent School to close

The Diocese is sad to hear of the closure this week of the Queensmead (formerly the Brigidine Convent) Independent School, Windsor.  From 1948 the building was taken over by the Brigidine Sisters who set up the Brigidine Convent School with an illustrious history of Catholic education. It became a proprietorial school after the Brigidine Order withdrew in 2004. It changed its name in 2018 but has struggled to remain commercially viable for some time. Please keep the staff, students and parents in prayer at this difficult and challenging time.






Our God Heals - Book Recommendation

Fr. Nicholas Broadbridge, known to many of us, is a monk of Douai Abbey for more than 60 years. Born in Liverpool, he worked originally in insurance before joining the Benedictine community of Douai in 1954. In the school there, he taught maths, chemistry, French and Spanish. He was a parish priest too for almost 10 years. In 1996, he suffered a serious car crash and was away from the monastery for some time in recuperation. Since his return, he has developed an expertise in healing ministry and has led many workshops, sessions and seminars on healing. In this book Our God Heals: To Set Free Those Who are Oppressed (Luton, New Life: 2016 [ISBN 978-1-903623-97-8]) he shares some of his experience from the Healing Workshops he has run. There are three chapters: ‘Love, Forgiveness, Healing;’ ‘The Ministry of Deliverance;’ ‘The Gift and Gifts of the Spirit.’ There is a lot of interest at the moment in healing ministry and after much consultation I will shortly as the Bishop be issuing some norms for our Diocese of Portsmouth on healing ministry. Fr. Nicholas’s book can thus help us all towards a better understanding of this important aspect of our Faith and pastoral ministry.



Bishop Philip's Engagements           

Saturday 2nd February

Dialogue with Cultural Sectors Meeting;

Mass and meeting with Communion and Liberation team, Winchester.


Tuesday 5th February

Meeting with Director of Communications, Bishop's House


Wednesday 6th February

Bishops' Conference Evangelisation and Catechesis Department Meetings


Thursday 7th February

Various internal meetings, Bishop's House


Friday 8th February

Schools and Academies Department meeting, Bishop's House

Liturgy meeting, Bishop's House


Saturday 9th - Sunday 10th February

Parish Visitation: Lymington, Milford-on-Sea and Brockenhurst 



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 27th January


Diocesan Prayer: Diocesan Department for the New Evangelisation


Monday 28th January

St Thomas Aquinas, Religious, Doctor of the Church, memorial

Diocesan Prayer: Staff and students in higher education  


Tuesday 29th January

Feria [3rd Week in Ordinary Time]  

Diocesan Prayer: Salesian Cooperators of Don Bosco 


Wednesday 30th January

Feria [3rd Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Parish of St John Bosco, Woodley 


Thursday 31st January

St John Bosco, Founder, memorial  

Diocesan Prayer: Salesians in the Diocese


Friday 1st February

Feria [3rd Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Community of St Brigid, West End


Saturday 2nd February


Diocesan Prayer: Community of Our Lady Queen of Apostles, Bishop’s Waltham
(originally dedicated 2.2.1982)


Sunday 3rd February


Diocesan Prayer: Brigidine Sisters in the Diocese 


Forthcoming Events 

Saturday 2nd February

First Saturday Devotions

St Mary's Gosport

Read more


Saturday 2nd February

Marian Group 

St Mary's Gosport

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 9th March 

Rite of Election

St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth 11am


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 - 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.



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.


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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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