Portsmouth Diocese e-News 

Tuesday 19th February 2019 - Issue 217 (2019/07)


Dear Friends,

Welcome to this week’s e-News with its various prayers, news about the Diocese, and inspiration to deeper faith in the Lord. It was a busy week last week culminating in the Valentine’s Day Breakfast for Engaged Couples and an uplifting Pastoral Visitation of the parish in Gosport at the weekend. This coming week we have our periodic Trustees Meeting: please pray for all those who so generously serve the Diocese as Trustees. Do say a prayer too that we will find the right person to become our Chief Operating Officer: we’re looking for a person who is passionate about the mission of our Diocese. Meanwhile, God bless you over these next two weeks before we enter the great season of Lent.






A New Pastoral Letter coming this Sunday

One of the key tasks of any Bishop, and one that I personally consider to be central to my own ministry, is to teach the Faith. Apostolorum Successores, the Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops, highlights the importance of the Bishop sending out from time a Pastoral Letter to the clergy and faithful of the diocese to be read at Mass: “On special occasions in the life of the diocese, the Bishop should also propose doctrine by means of pastoral letters and messages, addressed to the whole Christian community. These may appropriately be read out in Churches and oratories and also distributed in printed form among the faithful. In drafting these letters, the Bishop may wish to enlist the help of his advisers, of the presbyteral council and, if the case so warrants, of the diocesan pastoral council. These groups may suggest topics to be treated, present-day objections to be refuted, or they may point out issues arising in the diocese on which it is appropriate for the Bishop to speak authoritatively (122).


Since becoming the Bishop of Portsmouth, I have issued twenty Pastoral Letters covering the Church’s teaching in the Creed, on the three Divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity, on Our Lady and St. Joseph, on mission and evangelisation, the Christian view of the human person, moral theology and the Church’s social teaching. Latterly I have been reflecting one by one on the seven Sacraments. The next Pastoral Letter is due for release on 24th February (the Seventh Sunday of the Church’s Year) and will be sent out in written form, and also as a podcast and a video. I intend the Letters to have ‘plenty of meat’ in them so as to lead to further prayer, study and reflection, which is why I always ask parishes to make available copies for people to read as it is being read and to take away afterwards. You can see the list of Pastoral Letters here.



Friday is the Feast of the Chair of St Peter

The Feast of the Chair of St Peter, which we celebrate on 22nd February, has been celebrated in Rome since at least the fourth century. It signifies the unity of the Church founded upon the Apostles. Here is part of a sermon of Saint Leo the Great, pope from the Office of Readings for the feast, The Church of Christ rises on the firm foundation of Peter's faith:


Out of the whole world one man, Peter, is chosen to preside at the calling of all nations, and to be set over all the apostles and all the fathers of the Church. Though there are in God’s people many shepherds, Peter is thus appointed to rule in his own person those whom Christ also rules as the original ruler. Beloved, how great and wonderful is this sharing of his power that God in his goodness has given to this man. Whatever Christ has willed to be shared in common by Peter and the other leaders of the Church, it is only through Peter that he has given to others what he has not refused to bestow on them.


Read more... 



Scott Hahn on 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The story of David and Saul in Sunday’s First Reading functions almost like a parable. Showing mercy to his deadly foe, David gives a concrete example of what Jesus expects to become a way of life for His disciples. The new law Jesus gives in the Gospel would have us all become “Davids”—loving our enemies, doing good to those who would harm us, extending a line of credit to those who won’t ever repay us. The Old Law required only that the Israelites love their fellow countrymen. The new law Jesus brings makes us kin to every man and woman. His kingdom isn’t one of tribe or nationality. It’s a family. As followers of Jesus, we’re to live as He lived among us—as “children of the Most High” . As sons and daughters, we want to walk in the ways of our heavenly Father, to “be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Grateful for His mercy, we’re called to forgive others their trespasses because God has forgiven ours. In the context of Sunday’s liturgy, we’re all “Sauls”—by our sinfulness and pride we make ourselves enemies of God. But we’ve been spared a death we surely deserved to die because God has loved and shown mercy to His enemies, “the ungrateful and the wicked,” as Jesus says. Jesus showed us this love in His Passion, forgiving His enemies as they stripped Him of cloak and tunic, cursed Him and struck Him on the cheek, condemned Him to death on a cross. “He redeems your life from destruction,” David reminds us in the Psalm. That’s the promise, too, of the Second Reading: that we who believe in the “last Adam,” Jesus, will rise from the dead in His image, as today we bear the image of the “first Adam,” who by his sin made God an enemy and brought death into the world.


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



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

“Love without measure” - 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (Luke 6:27-38)

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus invites us to live in a new way, unheard of before, that seems impossible to most of us. Jesus invites us to love others, and especially our enemies without measure, without boundaries, without return. How can the human heart, so limited, so puny, stretch itself to the measure of God’s love? How can we ever hope to love as God loves, to be as compassionate as God? Why is Jesus inviting us to do the impossible? In inviting us to this new kind of love, Jesus depicts his own love, God’s own love. It is only as we allow ourselves to receive his unmeasured love that we will begin to love without measure.


We’ll reflect on:
Faith: What do we mean by God’s love? How can we believe in it?

Hope: How can we possibly hope to love others as God himself loves?
Love: How do we start, today, on that journey of love?   



Jennifer Geach reflects... 

There’s a curious phrase that we used to use a lot; I do not know if it is still current.  We used to say about a man and a woman ‘they’re more than friends’.  What was meant by this (usually) was that the couple were engaged in an unmarried sexual relationship – and this was called being ‘more than friends’. But surely it is odd to speak as though a passion which arises mostly from our animal instincts were a higher and nobler thing than a chosen emotion arising out of our interests and enthusiasms.  Why should an emotion which is largely not subject to rational control be regarded as superior to an emotion which is chosen by our reason, ideally with a view to our own and our friends’ betterment?


For the Ancient Greeks, friendship (philia) was a virtue: and moralists since the book of Proverbs have emphasised the importance of choosing the right friends, of choosing friends who will enhance the best aspects of our own natures, choosing friends with whom we can grow, explore interests and expand our horizons.  For if we choose friends wisely, they will bring out the best in us, as we in them: they will encourage us to look outward, rather than inward; they will strengthen us in virtue and wisdom. Friendship shapes our lives and our characters; the better our friends are, the better we shall be.


Read the full reflection here.  



From Deacon Martin

It is one of the privileges of the Deacon at Mass, to prepare the chalice, before handing it to the Priest. As he pours the wine and "a little water" (Roman Missal, 564), the Deacon says quietly: "By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, Who humbled Himself to share in our humanity.It is such a small action, and the words can easily be missed. But the prayer is remarkable. We ask that we come to share in Christ's divinity, just as He came to share in our humanity.


What is the "mystery" of "this water and wine"? First of all, the prayer links the action explicitly to Christ's Incarnation, in His "humbling himself to share in our humanity". But it is also linked to Christ's Passion, since the chalice that now contains wine and water, will hold the Blood of Christ - and thereby we can recall Jn 19:34, where the soldiers pierced Christ's crucified body, and "immediately there came out blood and water" (see also 1 Jn 5:6).


The prayer, that we become like God (see CCC, 460), is itself a strongly scriptural idea:

• 2 Pet 1:4 rejoices that its addressees "may become partakers of the divine nature";

• Phil 3:20-21 proclaims that "Christ shall transform our mortal bodies to conform to his own glorified body" and 2 Cor 3:18 speaks of our being "transformed into the… image [of God] from one degree of glory to another";

• 1 Jn 3:2 says that although what we are to be in the future has not been revealed, we do know that "we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as he really is". (1 Cor 13:12 says that we will know "as we are known").

Notice that in every one of these texts, the transformation comes only through our association with Christ. "For without me you can do nothing" (Jn 15:5). St Thomas Aquinas said that it is God's love alone, that can draw human nature above the condition of its own nature, to a participation in the Divine Good, via grace – just as only fire can give rise to fire. (Summa Theologica, First Part of the Second Part, Q112, Response 1). St Cyprian found in this mingling of the water and wine, a symbol of our being incorporated into Christ, so that we can be taken up with Him in His Eternal Sacrifice, and never be separated from Him. (Letter 62, to Caecilius, On the Sacrament of the Cup of the Lord).


So there's a good prayer, next time we are at Mass: why not look out for what the Deacon does, and pray it with him?



Grow in your Faith 

The Formation for Mission Team invite you to join them this Lent and grow in your Faith, with many options on offer for you and they are all FREE!


1. Borrow a resource and run a course in your parish. We have a large library of DVD courses for groups large and small and advice on how to get started. You can find details here of what's available and book your course materials here.

2. Sign up to the free on-line St Paul Centre Course running this Lenten season. Take time on the train, over lunch, with a friend or with your family to discover the greatest love story in 'Genesis to Jesus’. Sign up to receive access here.  If you have questions or comments why not share them on our 'Diocese of Portsmouth Formation Study’ Facebook page if you want to start a conversation with others; or e-mail your questions and we will do our best to answer them.

3. Join us for the 'We are all Witnesses' Course in Hook (Essential training for catechists - but you don't have to be a catechist!) from 12th March to 9th April, every Tuesday from 7.30 to 9.00 pm. You can find more details here. The course will take place in the hall of Sacred Heart Church, London Rd, Hook RG27 9LA. Contact Sr Hyacinthe to book a place.  


Lourdes Pilgrimage

Our Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage is now half-full - so if you are thinking of joining us, please act soon! Click on the picture for my invitation. The pilgrimage lasts five days, from Thursday 25th July to Monday 29th July 2019 with 4 nights’ accommodation near the Grotto in the Hotel La Solitude. We fly from Southampton to Bordeaux, then there is a coach transfer from there to Lourdes. The cost, which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner each day with a full pilgrimage programme, facilitated by Joe Walsh Tours in conjunction with the Diocese of Portsmouth, is £645. This also includes the usual 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 by e-mail.



Seeking a new Chief Operating Officer for the Diocese

The Diocese of Portsmouth is at an exciting moment in its history as we seek to move from maintenance to mission, Bringing People Closer to Jesus Christ through His Church. We need to recruit a Chief Operating Officer who will be responsible for all business and administrative aspects of the Diocese in order to help enact this vision. We are looking for a committed Christian who shares our values and drive towards fulfilment of the Charity’s Mission at an exciting time when we have much to contribute to the wider society in terms of ethical and spiritual values.


In our diocesan parish communities, we have exceptional individuals with the necessary talents and charisms for this role. These are people that you know, and I am asking for your help to identify them and share this opportunity with them. You may feel that this is something that you would like to apply for personally.


The successful candidate will be a collaborative leader who can work strategically and operationally, with a proven track record of broad commercial experience in senior management gained in a multi-site organisation. Exceptional interpersonal skills are essential, along with the ability to communicate and influence at all levels. They will be an experienced leader of people – inspiring, motivating and supportive to a committed and dedicated professional team.


If you are interested in applying for this role, or know someone who should, please see here for more information.



Finding God in Anxiety and  Depression

Anxiety and depression are the two most common mental health conditions in Britain today. Illness is a time of spiritual need, and we would very much like to find ways of accompanying people and bringing Hope to them. The carers and families of those with mental illness need our support and encouragement too. Trained professionals are obviously important and in addition how can the diocese and parishes offer pastoral and spiritual support? How can we nurture a sense of Hope in those around us who are experiencing mental distress?  Would you like to get involved in a diocese-wide discussion and help define future work in this area?  Maybe you can contribute your experiences or offer to use your charisms to bring comfort and Hope to others?  Please contact Clare Simpson who is bringing together a team to develop spiritual and pastoral support in this area.




Diocesan Dashboard

If you are a member of the clergy, a religious or a lay person in an active ministry of some kind in our Diocese, I am sure you would find our Diocesan Dashboard not only fascinating but a real help to you in your ministry and pastoral planning. The Dashboard is a fruit of our diocesan Social Research Unit which, with the help of a company called Field Dynamics, has established a computerised data-base that collates data and statistics about the Diocese and about each and every single parish, pastoral area and deanery. This data-base is especially helpful for our diocesan administration and our Catholic Schools and Academies Office (CASO), as well as for Framework Teams such as Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth, and for parish, pastoral area and deanery Evangelisation Strategy Teams. It incorporates both internal and external data about the Diocese and is an invaluable tool for anyone engaged in pastoral planning at any level. For instance, it could help planners determine where to build a new school or church, or the sorts of ethnic chaplaincy services to be provided or the types of mission and evangelisation strategies appropriate to the given demographics.


The Dashboard incorporates external data from publicly available data such as the Office of National Statistics and local government sources. It also includes Experion data, that is, market-research data that gives detailed breakdowns by household of social groups and segments. It can show data by LSOA or ‘Lower Super-Output Area,’ the basic geographical unit used in social surveys, in effect, a street or group of houses in a small area. It can also show that data collectively for a whole area such as a parish, pastoral area and deanery. The Dashboard also incorporates ‘internal’ data. These come from the annual parish returns to the Diocese and include the results of the 2016 Demographic Survey of our parishes: a once every five years snapshot of the Mass going population by age, sex, ethnicity, Rite and frequency of attendance. From there, it  also shews the annual trends for parishes, pastoral areas, deaneries and the Diocese as a whole.


For more on the Dashboard, see here. If you would like to access the data-base for personal use, you can request from Bishop’s Office a password here



Results of ‘My Story Shared’ published

You may remember back in 2016 that we ran as a Diocese, in liaison with the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society at St. Mary’s University Twickenham, a project called My Story Shared. The project was led by Dr. Catherine Knowles from our Social Research Unit and Hannah Vaughan-Spruce. It was an online survey of Catholics who no longer practise their faith, inviting them to share their story and to give some of the reasons why they no longer practice. It was surprising how many people responded and their stories are often unfortunate and dramatic. Almost 9 in every 10 Catholics in our Diocese, in our schools and parishes, do not practice their faith. One of my chief hopes as Bishop and Shepherd is that we will all try much more intentionally and effectively to reach out to them to bring as many of these souls as we can into, or ‘back into’, a deeper union with Our Lord in the sacraments and the life of His Church. The survey with its recommendations has now been published, edited by Stephen Bullivant et al: Why Catholics Leave, What They Miss and How They Might Return (New York, Paulist: 2019 [ISBN 978-0-8091-5409-8]). Fr. James Mallon, Sherry Weddell and myself have added our own contributions to the book. It ends with some important recommendations about ministries of welcome, homilies, music, a sense of the sacred, and so on. It makes for sobering reading but at the same time it opens up new avenues for how we might better serve those missing from our parishes and how we might prevent others from leaving.




2020 - Year of the Bible

The God Who Speaks: A Year of the Word. This is advance notice about a Year of the Bible to be held in the Church in England and Wales next year. The year 2020 is the 10th anniversary of Verbum Domini - Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation on ‘The Word of the Lord’ and the 1,600th anniversary of St Jerome’s death. These dates have motivated the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to make 2020 a year of focus on The God Who Speaks. In 2020 we will be celebrating, living and sharing God‘s word with an exciting new initiative. It will be an opportunity to enrich current practice and to develop and explore new ways of responding to The God who Speaks. Throughout the year, there will be a range of events, activities and creative resources to participate in all around the country. To enable maximum participation with this initiative each diocese has been asked to appoint a Scripture Champion. These Scripture Champions will act as bridge builders between the dioceses and the national planning team. For more information about the entire Initiative contact Fleur Dorrell. The public launch of The God who Speaks will be on the Memorial of St. Jerome, 30th September 2019. I hope, too, later this year to take up this theme in a Pastoral Letter, that I hope will help us all prepare for the Year, give new energy to the Ministry of Lector/Reader in our parishes and encourage us all to study in greater depth the Word of God in the holy scriptures.



Visit to Oscott Seminary

Last Monday I went to St. Mary’s College Oscott, the seminary near Birmingham, for an overnight visit in order to attend the annual Bishops-Staff Meeting. Oscott seems to be going from strength to strength and has just over 60 seminarians (more than twice the number when I was there!). The meeting was very interesting as the Rector, Canon David Oakley, filled us in on recent developments. This includes the plan to launch in autumn 2020 an STL programme through the College’s affiliation with the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, that is, a four-year Licence in Sacred Theology for priests who are in active pastoral ministry. We had a fascinating presentation from Mr. Peter Smallwood, the College’s Human Development Director, on initial discernment of students, selection and pre-seminary preparation. Fr. Paul Keane, the Dean of Studies, explained to us the new Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) now up and running, with assignments submitted through it and online shared module conversations between tutors and students. Meanwhile, the visit gave me an opportunity to go out for a meal with the three students at Oscott from our Diocese of Portsmouth. Here they are in the picture: Ambrose Chou and David Bateman and, on my left, Deacon Edward Mohanraj. Ambrose is in Year One and David in Year Two of the six year programme. Deacon Mohanraj is in his final year and we look forward to his ordination to the priesthood later this year at 11am on Saturday 20th July. Here we are about to order a Mexican meal!



Valentine’s Day Breakfast for Engaged Couples

Last Saturday I invited all the engaged couples of our diocese – those being married in a church either here or abroad – to come together for a Valentine’s Day Breakfast.  Well, Saturday was two days after St. Valentine’s Day, but that didn’t matter:  we had a record turnout! This is the third time we’ve had the Breakfast and it’s always a very happy occasion. Kirsten, Lucy and their teams did a splendid job preparing all the practical arrangements and decorating the Discovery Centre and Fr. PJ Smith and his worship group led the music, hymns and songs through the morning. Couples came from all across the Diocese for a 9.15 am start. After coffee and doughnuts, we had  a sparkling presentation from a newly married couple, Phil and Rosina, who spoke about the complex preparations for their wedding last November - in Mexico! After the break, Deacon Andrew Carter and his wife Nicola spoke about the “Sacred Embrace” and the Catholic view of sexuality. Aba Shields, our Marriage and Family Life Project Worker, recommended the marriage preparation course now used in our Diocese called SmartLoving. The morning ended with a short liturgy in the Cathedral, in which I blessed each couple as they came forward and also their engagement rings. Please pray for all those getting married in our Diocese over the months ahead, and for all married couples, and all our families. Please pray too for all who helped in any way to make The Valentine’s Day Breakfast last Saturday such a memorable occasion. There are some photos here.



Pastoral Visitation of Gosport

This last weekend, I undertook the Pastoral Visitation of St. Mary’s Gosport with St. Columba’s Bridgmary.  Despite it being half-term, I was impressed with the number of youngsters, teenagers and many altar servers present at the Masses and for the Holy Hour in the afternoon for vocations. A big children’s choir, directed by Fr. Pio, sang at the 11 o’clock Mass, combining contemporary songs with a beautiful rendition of the Missa de angelis. I had an opportunity to meet with the youth on Sunday afternoon and with the parish in general after the Masses. The parish is in the pastoral care of Fr. Serafino Lanzetta and the friars of the Family of Mary Immaculate and St. Francis, a diocesan Association. There are nine friars in Gosport and six sisters of the Franciscan Family of the Immaculate Heart and St. Maximilian Kolbe, also a diocesan Association, in Bridgmary. Many parishioners told me how much they love them both and find inspiration in their work and leadership. The parish has weekday Masses in both churches, as well as in Gosport a daily Conventual Mass in Latin. The community is busy with regular Nightfever, and now every Thursday lunchtime, a Eucharistic Outreach (a kind of ‘Dayfever’), Sunday football, broadcasting on its own radio station – tune in to radioimmaculata.org – and a daily soup kitchen for the homeless, with distribution of food parcels. Another striking aspect of the parish is the number of converts and people who after many years have come back to their faith. St. Mary’s church, right on the High Street amidst the shops, is looking very beautiful and is open every day – well worth a visit.  The picture is of me with some of the youth choir at the blessing of the new Shrine at the back of church dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima.



Hampshire Church Leaders Meeting

I am the convenor of the Hampshire Church Leaders and we had our bi-annual meeting here last Thursday. The group includes three Anglican bishops: Tim Dakin of Winchester, David Williams of Basingstoke and Christopher Foster of Portsmouth, plus Clare Downing from the United Reformed Church, Dr. Andrew Wood the Methodist, as well as leaders of the Salvation Army and the Baptists.  The meetings take place here at Bishop’s House and follow the same format: mid-morning coffee, then a period of prayer and a discussion based on an ecumenical agreed statement. There is also time to go round the group talking about developments in our respective communities and personal challenges and joys in ministry. The meeting ends with lunch together. On this occasion, we discussed a passage from Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical letter Laudato Si, on Care of our Common Home, which produced a lively exchange. The Church Leaders Meetings are invaluable as a means of keeping in touch: please pray for a deeper unity among all Christians in doctrine, life and worship. Unfortunately, Bishop Chris was unable to be with us for this meeting, but he and I meet quite frequently, not least for our Joint Education Meetings about the joint schools in the Isle of Wight, Christ the King, Newport and St. Francis’s, Ventnor.



Lent Fast Day Meeting in Totton

Jo Lewry, Community Participation Coordinator for CAFOD Portsmouth reports on a recent Lent Fast Day briefing...


Over thirty parish volunteers and supporters attended the Lent fast day meeting at St Theresa of the Child Jesus Church in Totton on Saturday 9th February. We discussed CAFOD’s new ambition of “no one beyond reach” and discovered that because CAFOD is a member of Caritas Internationalis it can reach people and places that other agencies can’t.   However, 1 in 3 requests that CAFOD receives for help cannot be funded because there simply isn’t enough money to go around.  Which is why the Lent fast day on Friday 15th March is so important as it raises money to support projects in over forty countries.


After exploring the Lent fast day resources Nikki Evans, CAFOD’ s Programme Officer for Bolivia talked about the Hands on Altiplano project which was launched at Harvest 2016. Supporters were asked to donate a regular amount each month to help people living in the Altiplano to learn how to grow a variety of vegetables in very challenging conditions.  Nikki told us how successful the project had been. For example, Nicanora who was featured in the 2016 Harvest appeal has grown in confidence and she now has a thriving garden and green house growing many different types vegetables.  One attendee at the meeting commented that Nikki’s talk was inspirational and really brought CAFOD’s work alive.


We have 3 other Lent fast day meetings around the diocese, so do come along:


21 February St Margaret Mary, Park Gate 7:15pm to 9pm, when Maureen Thompson will be speaking about her recent trip to COP24 UN Climate Summit and CAFOD’s Climate Change Campaign


23 February St Bede’s, Basingstoke 10:30am to 1pm, when Helene Lavaud HR adviser for CAFOD will be speaking about her recent trip to Eastern Congo and CAFOD’s work caring for child soldiers.


5 March St Joseph, Newbury 7:15pm to 9pm, when Kezia Harrow our Step into the Gap volunteer will talk about her recent trip to visit CAFOD projects in the Holy Land.



Maryfield Convent – Catholic Residential Care Home

Recently, four new flats for independent living for retired priests have been completed at Maryfield Convent and we are pleased that two of these are now occupied by Canon Cyril Murtagh and Fr Vincent Convery. Let’s pray for them that they will be happy there. Besides looking after retired priests, Maryfield Convent is open to all. It is a Catholic residential care home in Hook, Hampshire, providing care and comfort to members of all religious denominations. Mass is celebrated daily in the convent chapel.  The sisters and staff provide continuous, quality care, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.  They presently have rooms available with  very reasonable weekly fees.  If you would like to arrange a visit, or require further information, please call: 01256 762394 and speak to Trish Davies.




Open events at St Mary's Independent School in Southampton

St Mary’s Independent School is delighted to be the top performing school in Southampton for GCSE results 2018. Department for Education data released in January 2018 shows that St Mary’s outperforms all other schools in Southampton for GCSE results, across all headline measures.  St Mary’s believes that it is their faith-based, nurturing approach to education that has helped their students achieve such outstanding results. St Mary's Independent School is Southampton's only Catholic all-through co-educational school, educating girls and boys from 3 to 16 years old on their stunning 17-acre site. The school is hosting a series of open events in the coming weeks:


Senior Department open evening: Tuesday 5th March, 4 - 7:30pm

Senior department open morning: Thursday 7th March, 9:30am - 12:00pm

Nursery and Year R tours: Wednesday 25th April, 9:30 - 11:30am


No appointment necessary; just go along to find out what makes them the top performing school in Southampton. Details can be found by visiting their website.



Bishop Philip's Engagements              

Thursday 21st February

Diocesan Trustees' Meeting


Friday 22nd February

Various Meetings


Saturday 23rd - Sunday 24th February

Parish Visitation: Abingdon


Monday 25th February

Joint Catholic  & Anglican Education Meeting, Fareham


Tuesday 26th February

Meeting Vocations Department   


Thursday 28th February

Council of Priests Meeting;  

Vicars General Meeting


Friday 1st March 

Meeting with Head of Safeguarding; 

Meeting with Head of Communications


Saturday 2nd March 

Flame, Wembley with Diocesan Youth 



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 17th February


National Prayer Cycle: Racial Justice

Diocesan Prayer: Servite Secular Institute


Monday 18th February

Feria [6th week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Parish of English Martyrs, Didcot (dedicated 18.2.17)


Tuesday 19th February

Feria [6th Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Association of Separated and Divorced Catholics


Wednesday 20th February

Feria [6th Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Catholic Social Workers’ Guild


Thursday 21st February

St Peter Damian, Religious, Bishop & Doctor of the Church, optional memorial

or: Feria [6th Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Catholic Archivists

Jubilee: Fr Clement Marshall (ordained 21.2.1959)


Friday 22nd February


Diocesan Prayer:The Holy Father


Saturday 23rd February

St Polycarp, Bishop & Martyr, memorial

Diocesan Prayer: Community of St Bernadette, Les Quennevais, Jersey (dedicated 22.2.1986)


Sunday 24th February


Diocesan Prayer: Catholic Girlguiding UK members in the Diocese


Forthcoming Events  

Wednesday 20th February

Fr John Lavers talks about the Apostleship of the Sea

St Patrick's Hayling Island, 6.30pm

Read more


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  


Friday 1st-Sunday 3rd March

Guided weekend retreat: 

“I have brought you into the Land of Carmel”

Carmelite Priory, Boars Hill, Oxford OX1 5HB

Read more


Saturday 2nd March

First Saturday Devotions

St Mary's Gosport

Read more


Saturday 2nd March

Marian Group 

St Mary's Gosport

Read more


Saturday 2nd March

Spiritual Enrichment Lecture:

Praying in the Company of Mary

Carmelite Priory, Boars Hill, Oxford OX1 5HB

Read more


Tuesday 5th March 

CAFOD Lent Fast Day briefing

St Joseph’s, Newbury 7:15pm to 9pm


Friday 8th - Sunday 10th March

Monastic Experience Weekend

Quarr Abbey

Read more


Saturday 9th March 

Rite of Election

St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth 11am


Saturday 2nd March

Spiritual Enrichment Lecture:

Carmelite Prayer, Mindfulness and Mental Prayer

Carmelite Priory, Boars Hill, Oxford OX1 5HB

Read more


Saturday 16th - Sunday 17th March 

Cor Et Lumen Christi Community: "New Life in Christ"

Highfield House, Chertsey

Read more


Friday 22nd-Sunday 24th March

Guided weekend retreat: 

“The Road Less Travelled”

Carmelite Priory, Boars Hill, Oxford OX1 5HB

Read more


Friday 29th-Sunday 31st March

Guided weekend retreat: 

“The Cross and the Glory of Christ”

Carmelite Priory, Boars Hill, Oxford OX1 5HB

Read more


Saturday 30th March

Children’s Liturgy of the Word Training & Support Day

St James', Reading

Read more


Thursday 4th - Sunday 7th April

Dowry of Mary Tour - Visit of the statue of
Our Lady of Walsingham to St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth

Read more


Saturday 6th April

First Saturday Devotions

St Mary's Gosport

Read more


Saturday 6th April

Marian Group 

St Mary's Gosport

Read more


Saturday 4th May

First Saturday Devotions

St Mary's Gosport

Read more


Saturday 4th May

Marian Group 

St Mary's Gosport

Read more


Saturday 1st June

First Saturday Devotions

St Mary's Gosport

Read more


Saturday 1st June

Marian Group 

St Mary's Gosport

Read more


Saturday 15th June

Children’s Liturgy of the Word Training & Support Day

St Edward the Confessor, Chandlers Ford

Read more


Saturday 6th July

Significant Wedding Anniversaries Mass

St Bede's Basingstoke

Read more


25th-30th July 2019

Pilgrimage to Lourdes

Read more


Sunday 28th July – Saturday 3rd August 2019

Don Bosco Camp

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    

Chief Operating Officer  

The Diocese is seeking a Chief Operating Officer to lead the entire business function of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth Trust (“The Charity”) to deliver the Bishop’s Vision. The Diocese includes 91 parishes, 53 schools and covers the area from Portsmouth to Windsor and from to Hungerford and Bournemouth and also includes the Channel Islands.


The COO will work closely with the Trustees of the Charity to convert the Bishop’s Vision into a Strategy from which a Financial Strategy will be developed. Working closely with the Chairs of each of the Vicariates, the holder will need to develop processes by which their respective strategies are implemented. 


The holder will provide leadership to all the staff that empowers them to identify the changes required to improve the efficiency of the business function thereby furthering the impact of the Bishop’s Vision in a cost-effective manner. The culture of the organisation will need to be developed in order to measure the success of various initiatives such that best value can be identified. 


The holder will support the Communications Director to develop communications across the administration of the diocese to create a more inclusive culture between the Diocesan organisation and the Parishes. 


The closing date for applications is 24th February 2019. 


Further information and application details



Part Time Housekeeper - Eastleigh


The Catholic Parish of St Swithun Wells requires a Part Time Housekeeper for the clergy in Eastleigh.


The position will be based in Eastleigh, and involves housekeeping support to the parish clergy; dealing with house cleaning, laundry for the clergy and house; grocery shopping and cooking of some meals. We require an enthusiastic and self-motivated person sympathetic to the ministry and mission of the Catholic Church. Good communication skills are a must and a flexible and positive attitude is required. The role promises a varied and interesting workload.


The job is part-time (7 hours per week– preferably Friday 09.30 to 17.30 including unpaid lunch break) with a salary of £3,476.20 per annum (FTE £17,381). For more details and an application form please see our Vacancies page here.


Closing date for applications: Friday 1st March (12 Noon).

Interview date: Friday 15th March.



Catholic Scripture Engagement Officer (Bible Society)
Swindon and home working
Minimum of 20 hours per week up to full-time, as preferred £21-25k pa pro rata plus flexible benefits


Bible Society is looking for a Catholic Scripture Engagement Officer who will focus on fulfilling its mission to bring the Bible to life within the context of the Catholic community in England and Wales. You will work with the Catholic Scripture Engagement Manager to enable deeper Scripture encounters in the Catholic community, including assisting with the preparation and delivery of our 2020 Bible Campaign. With an infectious passion for the Scriptures and a formal qualification or substantial experience in Theology, Religious Studies or Biblical Studies, you will nurture Scripture conversations with the Catholic community.


For more information and a job description, see here.


Closing date for applications: Wednesday 27th February (midnight)

Interview date: Monday 11th March.



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.


The right candidate for our new Chief Operating Officer


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


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

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

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

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