Portsmouth Diocese e-News 

Tuesday 5th March 2019 - Issue 219 (2019/09)


Dear Friends,

First of all, Happy Lent! The next forty days are an amazing God-given opportunity for renewal when the Lord is near and the Holy Spirit renovates our hearts. The three works that the Church invites us to in this season - self–denial, prayer and charity – along with the Sacrament of Reconciliation, are well-tried ways of bringing about a deeper conversion to Christ our Saviour in our lives. Let us pray for each other as we engage in this Lenten journey to Easter. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the e-News this week with its usual round up of the latest diocesan news and future events, plus articles and media to enhance and deepen faith. I wish you all the blessings of this holy season. Please pray for me.        



See you on Saturday! 

This Saturday 9th March 2019, the Rite of Election in the Cathedral at 11.00 am. Please come and join us! The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion normally takes place each year on the Saturday after Ash Wednesday. It is the liturgy in which those adults who are preparing for Baptism at Easter and those candidates who are being received into full communion with the Catholic Church are presented to the Bishop for the Church’s blessing. For the ‘catechumens’ (those under catechesis for Baptism) especially, this Rite is important: it’s the moment in their formation when they are formally ‘elected’ or chosen by the Bishop, on the testimony of their godparents and others, to become members of the Church. Their names are inscribed in the Book of the Elect to signify that they have heard the Lord calling them by name and that they wish to respond publicly to His call.The Rite of Election is always full of joy! Since the mission of our Diocese of Portsmouth is Bringing People Closer to Jesus Christ through His Church and as a sign that mission and evangelisation is always our first priority, I want to invite everyone to come and join us for the celebration. Please encourage catechumens and candidates to come along, together with their sponsors, families and friends, registering first through their parish or email Sr. Hyacinthe. Clergy are invited to support those being received and to vest for the celebration, joining with the Bishop in the procession.



Pope’s Message for Lent 2019

In his Lenten Message for this year, Pope Francis meditates on St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 8: 19 “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God”.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,


Each year, through Mother Church, God “gives us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed… as we recall the great events that gave us new life in Christ” (Preface of Lent I). We can thus journey from Easter to Easter towards the fulfilment of the salvation we have already received as a result of Christ’s paschal mystery – “for in hope we were saved” (Rom 8:24). This mystery of salvation, already at work in us during our earthly lives, is a dynamic process that also embraces history and all of creation. As Saint Paul says, “the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God” (Rom 8:19). In this perspective, I would like to offer a few reflections to accompany our journey of conversion this coming Lent.


Read more



On Instagram:  made_for_God_uk

Now - now - it is the Lord who speaks. Come back to me with all your heart, fasting, weeping, mourning. Let your hearts be broken not your garments torn. Turn to the Lord your God again, for he is all tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in graciousness and ready to relent” (the First Reading at Mass for Ash Wednesday, from Prophet Isaiah). I know you will have lots of ideas for Lent. But one way to observe Lent might be to follow made_for_god_uk on Instagram. Made for God has daily posts on Scripture, the readings taken from the Mass, Prayer, and the Saints of the day to support followers to reflect more deeply in the Lord on the faith of the Church. They are creating posts with a modern and stylish twist, beautifully designed to help encourage faith, inspire prayer and bring daily reflections into our digital world by the grace of God.




Forty Days: Scott Hahn reflects on 1st Sunday in Lent

In Sunday’s epic Gospel scene, Jesus relives in His flesh the history of Israel. We’ve already seen that, like Israel, Jesus has passed through water and been called God’s beloved Son. Now, as Israel was tested for forty years in the wilderness, Jesus is led into the desert to be tested for forty days and nights. He faces the temptations put to Israel: Hungry, He’s tempted to grumble against God for food. As Israel quarreled at Massah, He’s tempted to doubt God’s care. When the Devil asks for His homage, He’s tempted to do what Israel did in creating the golden calf. Jesus fights the Devil with the Word of God, three times quoting from Moses’ lecture about the lessons Israel was supposed to learn from its wilderness wanderings.


Why do we read this story on the first Sunday of Lent? Because like the biblical sign of forty, the forty days of Lent are a time of trial and purification. Lent is to teach us what we hear over and over in Sunday’s readings. “Call upon me, and I will answer,” the Lord promises in today’s Psalm. Paul promises the same thing in Sunday's Second Reading. This was Israel’s experience, as Moses reminds his people in Sunday’s First Reading: “We cried to the LORD . . . and He heard.” But each of us is tempted, as Israel was, to forget the great deeds He works in our lives, to neglect our birthright as His beloved sons and daughters. Like the litany of remembrance Moses prescribes for Israel, we should see in the Mass a memorial of our salvation, and “bow down in His presence,” offering ourselves in thanksgiving for all He has given us.


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



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

“Two Spirits, but no match” - 1st Sunday in Lent, Year C (Luke 4:1-13)

In his account of the temptations of Jesus, Luke emphasises the presence and action of the Holy Spirit. Surprisingly, the Holy Spirit leads Jesus to the place of temptation. There Jesus meets another kind of spirit, the evil spirit which is the devil. The devil is no match for the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, the devil is a creature who has rejected God. Our faith is not dualistic. We do not understand the world to be a battlefield between two powers of equal strength, good and evil. Rather, we proclaim and experience daily the victory of God who in Jesus comes to fight our battles in our own flesh and claims every victory for us, in us, and with us, providing we unite ourselves to Him. This is the call of Lent.


We’ll reflect on:

Faith: Do we truly believe in God’s victory over evil, and act accordingly?  

Hope: What can we do when we fall in the battle of sin and holiness?  

Love: What kind of victory is God claiming over the world?   



Jennifer Geach reflects... 

We all know in theory that we are going to die.  This is a knowledge very hard to accept as a reality: we shall be no more, and the world will go on without us: that seems almost impossible!  But it is so, and the sooner we make this knowledge real to ourselves, the more richly and therefore happily we shall live out our little day. Death is real; but Christians have a sure hope, for Christ has defeated death, and through His life death and Resurrection we hope for resurrection to a new and utterly different life. There is a common misunderstanding about this, so that some people speak about the dead as becoming angels, especially when thinking about children.  However, that is not our hope.  Our dignity is precisely the dignity of rational animals: and it is as rational animals that we shall give glory to God forever in Heaven.  As Job put it ‘though worms devour this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God’.


Read the full reflection here.  



From Deacon Martin

The Lectionary for Ash Wednesday brings us one of my favourite scripture passages. The second reading, from St Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, quotes from the prophet Isaiah (49:8), to exhort his readers: “Well, now is the favourable time; this is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor 6:2). The Greek word that the Apostle uses for “time” is kairos: it carries the idea of time in a qualitative sense, the “right” or opportune time, as distinct from the word chronos, from which we derive the idea of sequential time, as we humans perceive the passing of seconds, minutes, hours and days. Kairos is a word used memorably in the Eastern Church’s Divine Liturgy, when the Deacon says “It is time (kairos) for the Lord to act”.


We often think of Lent as a time for us to make an extra effort, giving up things or taking on new or renewed good practices. That’s laudable enough, but perhaps it misses the key point. Lent is a period of preparation: its 40 days echo Christ’s 40 days in the desert before the start of His public ministry, and Israel’s 40 years of journeying towards the Promised Land – but Lent’s climax, the summit towards which all its days are preparation, is the Paschal Mystery of the Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. Only if we see Lent through the lens of the Paschal Triduum and of Easter, do we see that the action is not ours, but the Lord’s.


Our job is to take the opportunity (kairos) to align ourselves with that Paschal Mystery: to quieten the self, become submissive, and make room for the Lord to act in us. Tradition (see the Catechism, 1434) gives us 3 excellent ways:

• Prayer is the foundation: it bends our hearts towards the Lord and His will;
• Fasting aims to gain control over ourselves and our desires – to turn our hearts towards the Creator rather than created things;
• Almsgiving is the natural consequence of a heart turned to God, when it then turns outwards to provide for others.

In an age of “self-help”, where we prefer to rely on our own powers, and are tempted to think we have all the answers, such submission is counter-cultural. Lent’s change is not of externals, but of the heart – and it is entirely dependent on God’s grace. Lent prepares us to accept, not neglect, that grace that He is offering (2 Cor 6:1). Only then can we become, as the Apostle also says in that second reading on Ash Wednesday, “ambassadors” for Christ (2 Cor 5:20). But before the external sign, must come the internal change of heart. As the prophet Joel says in Ash Wednesday’s first reading: “Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn” (Joel 2:13).



Can you help? Can you sing?

Can you sing? Are you a musician? Would you be willing to help at the Chrism Mass this Holy Week? The Chrism Mass is at 11 o’clock here in the Cathedral on Tuesday 16th April and it’s always a very special occasion. The Roman Missal says: The Chrism Mass, which the Bishop concelebrates with his priests, should, as it were, be a manifestation of the priests’ communion with their Bishop; it is desirable that all priests participate in it. Chris Olding has generously agreed to be the Director of Music for this year’s celebration. Besides the organ, we’re hoping this time to have a small orchestra and music group, alongside an ad hoc choir of volunteers from across the diocese. The music this year will be a blend of old and new, but with an emphasis on beauty – only the best for the Lord. At the moment Chris is finalising the schedule of music, but he is appealing for singers and musicians willing to assist. He intends to arrange a practice one evening a couple of weeks before the Mass, probably in the Eastleigh area. If you would be willing to help or want further information, please email Martin Ryan who is helping with registration.



Visit of the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham

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. Fr. PJ Smith and the Cathedral parish is preparing for this unique event and the event timetable is now available here.



Lourdes Pilgrimage

Our diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes 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 staying with us in Hotel La Solitude. They 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. The youth pilgrimage costs £475 per person. For more details, see here or contact Fr. PJ Smith on 07780 221686 or by e-mail.




Vocations Discernment Conference

Currently, we are making preparations for our annual Vocations Discernment Conference. The Conference, in which we interview potential candidates for the priesthood, takes place at the end of March. Please pray for those coming forward this year and, of course, for more vocations to the priesthood, that the Lord will bless us abundantly (cf. Mt 9: 38).  The Conference will once again be at Douai Abbey, which provides an excellent spiritual setting. Canon Gerard Flynn, our Vocations Director, organises the occasion and the timetable includes Mass, prayer, time for reflection and conversation, as well as a series of interviews. A panel of four interviewers meet individually with candidates, taking in turn the four dimensions of priestly formation: intellectual, spiritual, pastoral and human. I chair the Conference. Afterwards, the interviewers meet with me and Canon Gerard to present their assessments and to make recommendations.


Meanwhile, please also keep in your prayers Fr. John Cooke, our Vocations Promoter, and his assistant, Clare Ryan. Fr. John and Clare run a monthly “Seekers Meeting” on a Friday evening and this is already proving popular. In collaboration with the Communications Team they are about to release an awesome Vocations Promotion website for the Diocese which should go live in the next weeks. It will knock your socks off! Fr. John publishes a monthly newsletter, weekly inserts for parish newsletters, a series of striking posters and a Rosary booklet with prayers for vocations. Once a month, he goes out to different parishes to preach about vocation. These are early days, but I’m convinced the Diocese of Portsmouth already is well on the way to providing the best and most intensive Vocations’ Promotion programme in the country!



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!


• 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.
• 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 or e-mail your questions and we will do our best to answer them.
• 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.   


The Grandeur of Bl. Pier Giorgio

Blessed Pier Giorgio, Patron of our Youth, was an amazing athlete. He loved cycling, swimming, horse-riding, skiing and many other sports. But his greatest passion was for mountaineering. Here we get an insight into his love for the mountains, which ever led him to give glory and praise to their Creator:


 “By mid-day the weather had cleared a little, so I took the path to the mountain, with a bit of bread in my pocket and my skis over my shoulder. I wanted to surprise the Black Lake in its savagery. And there I was - alone in all the countryside! I swung along with rhythmic step, the heels of my heavy boots beating a merry tattoo on the ground, sleeves rolled up, coat open, the icy air ruffling my hair and stinging my body with its razor-keen breath. I stopped. A hollow, muffled sound seemed to boom past my ears. I could have run, jumped, yelled aloud to satisfy some wild inner and incomprehensible urge! Then I stood, silent, immobile, resting on my skis, the mountain mist drawing near me as I remained there, isolated in the autumnal Alps, listening to their wind, the wind which blows unceasingly over and around the flanks of the Matterhorn. The Matterhorn? Why, it was there, quite near me, hidden in the thickening fog. And the genie who speaks in the wind, poured into my heart the potion of the Mountain. It was indeed the spirit of the Mountain who was tormenting me; he was waiting for me, crouching in the hollow of the rock; his invisible wings had brushed me as I passed. Thus crossing the border of the Black Lake, in the autumn mist, listening to the plaintive voice of the wind, the passion, the sublime passion for the Mountain possessed me. And in the grip of this passion, I discovered and I began singing of Him who created the Mountain. …”


People with Lived Experience of Suicide

Last week, e-News carried a provocative piece from Jennifer Geach on suicide and assisted dying in the light of developments in Jersey. This week, Liz Slinn, a parishioner from St. Peter and the Winchester Martyrs, offers a response.


Yesterday afternoon I finished a four-way phone conversation planning a workshop for People with Lived Experience (PLE) of suicide. The local authorities are responsible for suicide prevention planning and Hampshire, where I live, has an alive and active multi-agency planning forum. I was invited to be the PLE representative about four years ago after I lost my beloved daughter, Philippa, to suicide. After this constructive phone discussion, I then read the reflection by Jennifer Geach on suicide and euthanasia and felt disorientated.


A few months ago I attended a national workshop where I met other people bereaved by suicide, people who care for the suicidal and people who have attempted and survived suicide. For some of the latter it was a recent and perhaps frequent occurrence. Some explained that they carry this compelling and destructive impulse with them constantly. One lady described it as walking into a room where the door she enters by disappears and the only door is ‘out’. Suicide is a complex and growing phenomenon, with males and particularly young males being a growing concern. There is a lot of ongoing research into this cause of death and you can look at data and evidence at the following link.





Council of Priests

The other day, we had our termly Council of Priests meeting in the Aula at Bishop’s House. The Presbyteral Council or Council of Priests is a group of priests chosen from among those incardinated into the Diocese to assist the Bishop in an advisory capacity in the governance of the Diocese. The Council addresses matters concerning the pastoral welfare of the people and clergy of the diocese. The current members are Frs. John Chadwick, John Chandler, Ansel D’Mello, Mark Hogan, Paul Lyons, J-P Lyttle, George Ngwa and PJ Smith and Canons Michael Dennehy, Paul Townsend, Gerard Flynn and Jeremy Garratt. Fr. Philip Carroll is the Secretary. Mgr. Nick France represents the retired priests and Rev. Gary May the deacons. About half of the members of the Council are elected by the clergy; the others have membership either because of a position they hold or because they have been nominated by the Bishop. The meetings are always lively! This time we ranged over a number of issues from safeguarding and parish and diocesan finances, to the vocation and identity of the priest, media training and the forthcoming Year of the Bible.





Over the weekend, I attended Flame 2019 at Wembley Arena. Flame is organised by the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation (CYMFED) and takes place every two years. About 8,000 youngsters from across England and Wales were present, including over 300 from across our Diocese of Portsmouth. Billed as the largest event for Catholic young people in England and Wales, the strong message this year was that we are “persons of significance.” It was largely aimed at teenagers - who responded noisily and enthusiastically to all the presentations! One of the speakers was Archbishop Eamon Martin, the Primate of All Ireland, who said: "You, my young friends, are in the heart of God and in the heart of the Church. You are personally called to holiness". We were urged not to let social media define our sense of self-worth. There was a video interview with the Canadian Jean Vanier, which was very powerful. Worship was led by Tim Hughes and by the Christian rapper, Guvna B. Several bishops were in attendance and Cardinal Vincent led the Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction at the end of the day. One of the most impressive things for me was the drama presentations led by the Christian group RISE Theatre.



Anglican-Catholic Joint Education Meeting

Early last week, I went to Bishopsgrove in Fareham, which is the residence and office of Bishop Christopher Foster, the Church of England Bishop of Portsmouth. Bishop Chris and I meet regularly for different matters, but this meeting occurs once a term and involves our respective education staff. We alternate locations between Bishopsgrove in Fareham and Bishop’s House here in Portsmouth. Fr. PJ Smith, our Episcopal Vicar for Education, and Catherine Hobbs and Edmund Adamus from the Catholic Academies and Schools Office (CASO) are usually present, together with their opposite numbers from the Anglican diocese. We have two joint (Anglican-Catholic) schools, both of which are on the Isle of Wight: St. Francis’s Primary Academy in Ventnor and Christ the King College (secondary school and sixth form) in Newport. These joint meetings allow us to discuss any matters arising and how best we can jointly support the schools. Indeed, one of our topics this time was my visit to Christ the King in a couple of weeks’ time when I’ll be meeting staff, seeing the development works and speaking to the Sixth Form. The meetings also allow us to raise other educational issues of common concern, such as our respective responses to the new Department for Education guidance on Sex and Relationships Education (SRE). Bishop Chris is always a great host. Please pray for him and for our Anglican brothers and sisters.



Visitation of St. John Fisher Parish, Reading

On Sunday, I was pleased to visit the new ‘personal parish’ of St. John Fisher in Reading and formally to install Fr. Matthew Goddard as the parish priest. The parish meets in St. William of York church and is in the care of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP). Here in the photo I am accompanied by (from my right) Fr. Matthew Goddard and the two assistant priests, Fr. Patrick O’Donohue and Fr. Seth Phipps. The liturgy, Mass and sacraments of the parish are administered exclusively in the Extraordinary Form and the Mass at 11 o’clock, for which I was present, was packed. I was struck by the large number of young altar servers and also by the fact that the average age of the congregation seemed very low. I am not familiar myself with the Extraordinary Form, but guided by an old missal and some notes from Fr. Matthew, it was wonderful to be part of such a beautiful celebration. I was also pleased that they sang Mass XI Orbis Factor, which I’ve not heard for a while. Click on the picture to hear its evocative and haunting Kyrie. We will be using this Kyrie at the Chrism Mass.




Reading University Chaplaincy

Recently, I went to Reading to say Mass in the University Chaplaincy, at the invitation of Fr. Stan Gibzinski, the Catholic Chaplain, Dorinda Bray, Chaplaincy Assistant, and the CathSoc, some of whose members are shewn in the photo here. The Mass was the regular Chaplaincy Mass at 6 o’clock every Sunday in St. William of York church. It has a great schola and Adrian, a PhD student who is a fantastic musician, played the organ. It was pleasing that Rev. Mark Laynesmith, the Anglican Chaplain, was present too, and after Mass, we had a get-together in the parish centre. The Chaplaincy attracts lots of students from across the disciplines and they have many questions. I was myself for a time a university chaplain at Fisher House in Cambridge and I always look back to that period with great joy. I spoke about this in the homily and also of my own student days at Kings College, London. University is a very special time in a person’s life, something that Pope St. John Paul II noted. He was always surrounded by students and liked working with them. Please pray for the students at all our universities in the Diocese, for the chaplaincy services and for our chaplains. You can read about my vision for University Catholic Chaplaincies here.



Welcome Fr. Innaready Gada!

We’re pleased to welcome to the Diocese Fr. Innaready Gada (“Fr. Inna”). Fr. Inna was due to arrive last year with Fr. Jaya Praveen but unfortunately he became delayed in the visa system. Like Fr. Jaya, he is on loan to us from Bishop Bhagaiah Chinnabathini of the Diocese of Guntur, India. Guntur is in the state of Andhra Pradesh, not far from Hyderabad. Fr. Inna was ordained 5 years ago, having spent the first two years as an assistant priest and then three years as a parish priest. He’s certainly got youth on his side! I’ve asked Fr. Inna to go to Our Lady Queen of Peace in Southbourne as assistant priest with Fr. Kevin Hoiles. The parish has not had an assistant priest for some time and so I know he has been given a warm welcome from the parishioners. There’s plenty to do in the parish, together with visiting the various care-homes and also St. Peter’s School. Please pray for Fr. Inna and give him a warm welcome yourself when you meet – pray too for Fr. Jaya doing great work in Southampton!






Praying for our Seminarians

Our Seminarian to keep in your prayers this month is Anthony Fyk


Anthony is in his 3rd year of Formation at the Venerable English College, Rome.  However, for this year, he is at St. John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth, for his pastoral placement.


Anthony writes: “As a little child, I had a keen interest in the Priesthood. I was brought up in a conscientious family, where religion played an important role in our family.  I also benefited from the example of my grandparents who lived the faith devoutly.  A couple of my extended family members were priests.  After some years of university study with art history, history and theology, I decided to formally commit to seminary formation programme.  For the past years, I have been studying in Rome.  This year, I am based at St. John’s Cathedral.  It is a joy to be able to serve Mass, to visit the local Catholic schools, to teach our beautiful faith and to help out in whatever capacity I am called to do.”


Anthony has asked that during March we pray: For the faithful of the Diocese of Portsmouth and for many good and holy vocations to the priesthood and religious life.”


You can read more from our Vocations Promotion Team in their newsletter and sign up to receive it each month here. As Lent begins, you might also like to pray these Stations of the Cross for Vocations.



Bishop Philip's Engagements               

Tuesday 5th March  

Called and Gifted Meeting;  

Visit to St John’s Seminary, Wonersh


Wednesday 6th March 

12:15pm Mass for Ash Wednesday, St John’s Cathedral  


Thursday 7th March

Bishop’s Council, Bishop’s House  


Friday 8th March

School Visitation: St Michael’s, Burghclere,

Blessing of new flats, Maryfield Convent, Hook  


Saturday 9th March 

Rite of Election, St John’s Cathedral


Sunday 10th March

Parish Visitation, Westbourne  


Monday 11th - Wednesday 13th March  

Seminary Visits (Beda and VEC), Rome  


Thursday 14th March 

School Visitation: Christ the King, Isle of Wight  


Saturday 15th March  

Dialogue with Cultural Sectors, Bishop’s House



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 3rd March


National Prayer Cycle: The unemployed

Diocesan Prayer: National Board of Catholic Women 


Monday 4th March

St. Casimir, Prince of Poland, optional memorial

or: Feria [8th week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Priests no longer in active ministry


Tuesday 5th March

Feria [8th Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Fair Trade Networks


Wednesday 6th March


ASH WEDNESDAY, Day of Fasting & Abstinence

Diocesan Prayer:The grace to keep a good Lent


Thursday 7th March

Thursday after Ash Wednesday (Commemoration of SS Perpetua & Felicity)

Diocesan Prayer: Mill Hill Fathers in the Diocese


Friday 8th March

Friday after Ash Wednesday (Commemoration of St John of God)

Diocesan Prayer: All working in the Hospice movement


Saturday 9th March

Saturday after Ash Wednesday (Commemoration of St Frances of Rome)

Diocesan Prayer: All participating in the Rite of Election of Catechumens and Welcome of Candidates, their sponsors, families, catechists and parish communities


Sunday 10th March


National Prayer Cycle: Candidates for the Sacraments

Diocesan Prayer: Parish of St Edward the Confessor, Chandler’s Ford (consecrated 10.3.1938, rededicated 8.10.1989)


Forthcoming Events   

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


Monday 8th April

Winchester Catholic History Group meeting

"Rubens & the Counter Reformation"

The Milner Hall, St Peter Street, Winchester SO23 8BW

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


Monday 13th May

Winchester Catholic History Group meeting

"‘Los Reyos Catolicos’ -
Isabel of Castile & Ferdinand of Aragon"

The Milner Hall, St Peter Street, Winchester SO23 8BW

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


Monday 3rd June

Winchester Catholic History Group meeting

"The Impact of the Black Death (1348 -1349)
on the Diocese of Winchester"

The Milner Hall, St Peter Street, Winchester SO23 8BW

Read more


Saturday 15th June

Children’s Liturgy of the Word Training & Support Day

St Edward the Confessor, Chandlers Ford

Read more


Monday 3rd June

Winchester Catholic History Group meeting

"Thomas Cranmer - Who was he?"

(Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch)

Venue TBC

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


Monday 16th - Thursday 26th September 2019

Pilgrimage to The Eucharistic Miracles &
the special saints of Italy 

Read more


October 2019

Extraordinary Mission Month


2nd - 8th October 2019

Pilgrimage to Knock
More details


8th-15th October 2019

Pilgrimage to Malta
Read more


25th - 30th May 2020

Trip to Bavaria - Oberammergau and Lake Garda
Read more




Job Vacancies    

Director of Music & Pastoral Musician, Didcot and Wallingford

We are seeking to appoint a Director of Music & Pastoral Musician for the parishes of English Martyrs, Didcot and St John, Wallingford. The Director of Music and Pastoral Musician needs to be a competent organist and experienced choir trainer. He/she needs to be able to work with, help organise other musicians and be sensitive to the needs of the parishes. Principal duties include playing the organ or keyboard at two Masses each week (either Didcot or Wallingford, depending on the Sunday), working with, directing and developing the other musicians and singers in both parishes and liaising with the parish priest. A new initiative will be establishing a children’s choir and, in time, an adult choir. (Full details in Job Description.)


Hours per week: (on average over a year) with the possibility of more when an adult choir is established: 8 hours

Salary: £7,360 p.a. (based on £20.00 p/h)


Fees: Funeral £50 (negotiable), Wedding £150 (negotiable), Baptism (when required if not part of Sunday Mass) £40.00.


Closing Date for Applications:  Monday 1st April 2019

Interviews to be held week commencing:  Monday 8th April 2019 


For more details and an application form please see our Vacancies page here 


Please pray for..

The grace to keep a good Lent.


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


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).