Portsmouth Diocese e-News 

Tuesday 26th March 2019 - Issue 222 (2019/12)


Dear Friends,

Welcome to this week’s e-News, packed with news, prayers, devotions and encouragement from around the Diocese as we continue this third week of Lent. If your Lent has got off to a ropy start, remember: it’s never too late to start. The Holy Spirit is leading you in your heart to be close to Jesus on His journey to Jerusalem. Next Sunday, Laetare Sunday, we will be half-way there. Next Sunday is also Mothering Sunday and a day to pray to the Blessed Virgin  for our own mothers. Don’t forget too that the clocks go forward on Saturday night – I hope you won’t be like a couple that turned up for Mass one year when I was a parish priest, wondering why the church seemed quiet and why everyone was in the parish hall drinking tea and coffee! Meanwhile, our thanks to Deacon Craig. If you have any good news to share, please send him a paragraph and a picture. God bless you with a truly blessed week ahead.




Mothering Sunday next week

Next Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent is mid-Lent Sunday or Laetare Sunday, from the first words of the Introit Laetare Jerusalem (‘Rejoice, O Jerusalem’) from Isaiah 66:10. As Pope Innocent III said: Today is the middle of Lent, so some relaxation ought to be provided, lest the faithful break down under the severity of their Lenten fasts. So rose vestments are used, flowers too. Simnel cakes (see picture) were often baked for the day. It’s also in our country Mothering Sunday – and we wish all mothers a very happy day! In medieval England, today was a holiday from work when people went home to the mother church in which they were baptised. As families gathered, they gave gifts to their mothers, hence Mothering Sunday, a day we pray for our mothers too. Please remember to say a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary next Sunday for your mother and grandmother.


Here are some prayers from the Book of Blessings. The following intercessions could be added to the Bidding Prayers at Mass:

1. For our mothers, who have given us life and love, that we may show them reverence and love, we pray to the Lord. R. 
2. For mothers who have lost a child through death, that their faith may give them hope, and their family and friends support and console them, we pray to the Lord. R. 
3. For mothers who have died, that God may bring them into the joy of his kingdom, we pray to the Lord. R. 

The following Prayer over the People might be used at the end of Mass:

Loving God, as a mother gives life and nourishment to her children, so you watch over your Church. Bless these women, that they may be strengthened as Christian mothers. Let the example of their faith and love shine forth. Grant that we, their sons and daughters, may honour them always with a spirit of profound respect. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen. 



How to pray during Lent 

Click on the picture for a short video message from Bishop Robert Barron about how to pray during Lent.


I sometimes feel a bit ambivalent during Lent. In this season, we undertake a forty-day pilgrimage with Christ in the desert en route to Jerusalem to celebrate his Passover, his Passing-Over through death to life on the Cross of Calvary. But all the emphasis on penance, self-denial, prayer and sacrifice can be a bit overwhelming. Yet essentially, Lent is a joyful season! The word Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘Lencten’ (‘when the days lengthen’) meaning Springtime. Lent is springtime, a religious springtime, a time of spiritual renewal. It’s a time when God wants to give us new grace and new life. As a child, I used to think Lent was a time when you had to give things up: chocolate, puddings, sugar in tea, and so on. Later in life, more enlightened people would say it was not so much about giving things up, as about doing something extra: an errand, a good turn, raising money for charity. In fact, as the Fathers of the Church remind us, there are 3 works to do in Lent, not just one: (1) self-denial, fasting, mortification; also (2) works of prayer, particularly going to Confession and attending Mass; and thirdly (3) almsgiving, works of justice and charity, helping the poor and needy. These 3 works of self-denial, prayer and charity go together. They are our response to God’s love, and they are meant to bring about within us a true Lencten, a lengthening of life, a new beginning, a time of spiritual rebirth, real change and transformation.



Scott Hahn on 4th Sunday in Lent

In Sunday’s First Reading, God forgives “the reproach” of the generations who grumbled against Him after the Exodus. On the threshold of the promised land, Israel can with a clean heart celebrate the Passover, the feast of God’s firstborn son. Reconciliation is also at the heart of the story Jesus tells in the Gospel. The story of the Prodigal Son is the story of Israel and of the human race. But it is also the story of every believer. In Baptism, we’re given a divine birthright, made “a new creation,” as Paul puts it in the Second Reading. But when we sin, we’re like the Prodigal Son, quitting our Father’s house, squandering our inheritance in trying to live without Him. Lost in sin, we cut ourselves off from the grace of sonship lavished upon us in Baptism. It is still possible for us to come to our senses, make our way back to the Father, as the prodigal does. But only He can remove the reproach and restore the divine sonship we have spurned. Only He can free us from the slavery to sin that causes us—like the Prodigal Son—to see God not as our Father but as our master, One we serve as slaves.


God wants not slaves but children. Like the father in the Gospel, He longs to call each of us “My son,” to share His life with us, to tell us: “Everything I have is yours.” The Father’s words of longing and compassion still come to His prodigal children in the Sacrament of Penance. This is part of what Paul today calls “the ministry of reconciliation” entrusted by Jesus to the Apostles and the Church. Reconciled like Israel, we take our place at the table of the Eucharist, the homecoming banquet the Father calls for His lost sons, the new Passover we celebrate this side of heaven. We taste the goodness of the Lord, as we sing in the Psalm, rejoicing that we who were dead are found alive again.


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



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

“A man had two sons” - 4th Sunday of Lent, Year C (Luke 15:1-3,11-32)

So much is contained in the short sentence which opens the parable of the prodigal son. “A man had two sons.” This opens up for us a whole horizon of human experiences, joys and failures in family life. Yet the experience of belonging to the family of God, of being a child of God, is different from the human experience on two accounts, which have to do with our understanding of justice. First, rarely, if never, does a human father show the almost unjust compassion demonstrated in the parable by the father to his younger son. Secondly, the claims of the elder son seem just and right to many of us, and the attitude of the father unjust. How can we make sense of these? What does this tell us about God’s family?


We’ll reflect on:

Faith: Do we believe that God is just? How can this be true in light of the Father’s attitude to his sons?

Hope: There is hope, even for the worst sinner. What hope is there for the nice, regular person?         
Love: The call to love is addressed to the two brothers, but to us also. How do we respond?


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



Jennifer Geach reflects... 

To say that something is an objectively wrong thing to do is not the same as saying that someone who has performed that action is a sinner: it is for God alone to judge the secrets of men’s hearts. It seems to me that we have got things the wrong way round in the matter of judgement: it is not only possible, but licit for us to judge externalities. People are inclined to forget that a positive judgement is a judgement, just as much as negative one is. Approval of an action is one of the nine ways by which one may share in the guilt of another (these are by counsel, by consent, by command, by provocation, by praise or flattery, by concealment, by partaking, by silence, or by defending the wrong done.) However, even though one may say about a given action that it is objectively absolutely wrong, what is forbidden over and over again in scripture is judgement of a person’s motives and condition. And yet it is precisely this kind of judgement that we are encouraged to use. ‘don’t judge until you have walked in someone’s shoes’ is used as a reason for treating all moral questions as relative, and of adopting situation ethics, or worse yet consequentialism. To say that x is a gravely immoral act is not the same as saying that y is a gravely immoral person, even if y has done the gravely immoral thing. The status of each soul is God’s business only.


Read the full reflection here.



From Deacon Martin

When you listen to the Gospel on the 4th Sunday of Lent, make sure you don’t miss the first sentence: “The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus…, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained.” (Lk 15:1The contrast is striking: one group of people want to draw close to Jesus, the other groups distance themselves from Him. And images of distance are central in the parable:


• The younger son goes away to “a distant country”, but eventually returns: “I will leave this place and go to my Father’s house”. And while the boy was “still a long way off”, the Father “ran to the boy”.

• In contrast, the elder son “refused to go in” to the celebration for the return of his brother; he stayed on the outside, keeping his distance – and showed by his remaining apart, that he wanted nothing to do with the joy of his Father.

Many of us feel some sympathy for the elder son: he had been doing his duty and was not irresponsible. And indeed, the Pharisees and scribes of Jesus’s time were outwardly dutiful in their religious practice, and respectable members of society. But the elder son’s motivation is duty, not love. He talks of having “slaved” and having obeyed “orders”. And the implication of everything he says is to protect his own rights, his own interests; his aspiration is to “celebrate with my friends”, not with his father and brother.


Read more



Statue of Our Lady of Walsingham comes to the Cathedral next week

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.


The event timetable is now available here.



Pilgrimage to Lourdes

Our diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes is filling up 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.




Clergy Overnight 

Immediately after the funeral in Southampton of Canon Dermot MacDermot-Roe, I left for one of the occasional overnights with a selection of our priests. There’s no agenda as such, just informally spending time together. We have Mass and a Holy Hour, morning and evening prayer, and also an evening meal together, finishing with an early lunch the next day before departure back to the coal-face. Over the last five years, I’ve met this way with all the priests in active ministry in the Diocese. It’s a great way of catching up and offering one another mutual support. I arrange a series of slots for individuals to sign-up to see me, if anyone wishes - I’m always surprised how the slots are quickly filled up! One of the great things about our Diocese is the cosmopolitan range of clergy we have - like our congregations too! - with home-grown priests, priests from overseas such as from Bamenda, and priests from religious communities, some of whom are with us for a particular period of time. I try to set up a question for everyone to think about. This time I asked the priests what advice they might give to a newly ordained priest. The feedback was impressive. There was quite a lot of wit - but also immense wisdom, especially the importance of a daily Holy Hour, developing a devotional life, being docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, loving the Mass, having a regular Spiritual Director as well as a good friend to talk to, and taking a day-off. As you know, priests come in all shapes and sizes - please pray and care for your priests. These are difficult times both without and within the Church, which is why we all need to redouble our prayers and our fidelity to the Lord.



Year of the Bible

Last Friday, we began our planning for the forthcoming Year of the Bible called ‘God Who Speaks.’ Fleur Dorrell from the Bishops’ Conference joined our Episcopal Vicars, Frs. Jeremy Garratt, PJ Smith and Mark Hogan, with Sr Hyacinthe from our Formation for Mission team and myself to flesh out some initial ideas. The Year will be formally announced on 30th September, the 1600th anniversary of the death of St Jerome, who, as you know, on the mandate of Pope Damasus, created the first definitive Latin version of the Scriptures, the ‘Vulgate,’ for use in the western Church. The Year also commemorates the 10th anniversary of Pope Benedict’s remarkable document Verbum Domini.’ I must admit, I’m excited by this Year of the Bible as it gives us all a great opportunity to grow in our faith, and we are planning in the Diocese to follow it up with a Year of the Eucharist. Parishes and schools can celebrate the Year each in their own way, but I hope the Diocese can give some helpful leads and suggestions too. One of St Jerome’s best known sayings was ‘Ignorantia scriptuarium ignorantia Christi’ (ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ) for every line of the Bible ultimately points to, and contains, Jesus Christ Himself.  I hope and pray this forthcoming Year will deepen our love and knowledge of the sacred page.



Rosaries for Seafarers

The Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the most popular sacramentals desired by seafarers. Each day around the United Kingdom, chaplains and ship-visitors from the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) – Stella Maris visit ships bringing practical, pastoral and spiritual care to seafarers. While many seafarers will go for months at a time without access to the Holy Mass or the sacraments, they greatly desire to have a piece of or at least a reminder of their Faith close to their hearts. The Holy Rosary is one such item that seafarers love to have with them. Helping in this venture to bring rosaries to seafarers are the Sisters of Mary the Morning Star (Grayshott Sisters) within the Diocese of Portsmouth. The sisters make beautiful rosaries of tropical wood which comes directly from the Philippines. If you would like to commission the Grayshott Sisters to make rosaries for the seafarers of the world, please contact them on 01428 289 481 or e-mail.


Any rosaries commissioned to be made by the Grayshott Sisters will be blessed by Fr John Lavers – Regional Port Chaplain (Stella Maris – AoS) and distributed to seafarers who come to the ports of our Diocese. Mary, the Morning Star…Pray for us! Our Lady Star of the Sea (Stella Maris)…Pray for us!


For more information see the websites of Apostleship of the Sea – Stella Maris and the Sisters of Mary Morning Star.                      



Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS)

Forming today’s Catholics is a pressing issue for the Church. A new report CCRS Twenty-Five Years On: One Size Fits All? takes up this question and shows that one of the main vehicles over the last 25 years called the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS) has made a huge impact on peoples’ personal, spiritual and professional lives. More than 20,000 adults across England and Wales have taken the course since 2000 in order to further their knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith, many of whom work in our Catholic schools and parishes. While the research affirms the role and contribution of the CCRS to adult formation and celebrates all that has been achieved, it also raises timely and important questions to be considered.  


Research findings come from course participants as well as from interviews with bishops, diocesan education directors, head teachers and those who provide CCRS in their local area. The report gives hard evidence of the continuing need for adult theological literacy and the vast majority of participants greatly value the course and would recommend it to others. The research also identifies concerns about the type of curriculum that is needed and how best to enable adult learning with clear theological purpose and practical relevance for today. The report makes a number of recommendations for church authorities to consider but looks ahead with confidence to the next 25 years.


Dr Ros Stuart-Buttle, Director of the Centre for Christian Education at Liverpool Hope University, who led the research project says, “It was a privilege to undertake this research. I was inspired by the many individual stories of how the CCRS has impacted on peoples’ spiritual and professional lives. I was also challenged by the needs, perceptions and expectations that people bring to their experience of faith and stimulated, as a result, to see how lay Catholics today can grow in theological thinking that is relevant to our times.”


Fr Des Seddon, Chairman of the Board of Religious Studies of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, affirms the importance of the research report and says, “The recommendations will provide the Board of Studies with a way forward for the next Phase of developments for the CCRS.  I would like to express my thanks to all those who were involved in the research.”



Visitation of Holy Family Millbrook 

Over the weekend, I was on Pastoral Visitation to the ‘happening’ parish of Holy Family in Millbrook, Southampton. The parish priest, Fr James Bradley, who belongs to the Ordinariate, has been there for two years now and has an exciting pastoral vision. Holy Family is in one of the most socially and economically challenging areas of our Diocese but the parish was truly buzzing! I arrived on Saturday for a meeting with the youth of the parish who had some really good questions for me. We then had a Holy Hour for Vocations, after which I went into the confessional. There was a big queue, with lots of youngsters. I said the 6.30 pm Vigil Mass, which happened to be attended by Aba Shields, our Marriage and Family Life project leader, together with her extended family, celebrating a significant birthday! After Mass, I met with parish representatives to discuss the mission of the parish. Fr. James has a vision based on the most beautiful possible celebration of the Liturgy to which he and his helpers give great care, and on Caritas outreach to and service of the needy. It’s a winning formula in that both the Vigil Mass and the main Sunday morning Mass were full. The Sunday morning Mass was offered with great solemnity, led by a youthful choir of musicians: I was impressed with their rendition of the Macmillan ‘Ecce Sacerdos.’ Holy Family is a community of communities as was evident in the large number of Poles arriving after midday for the Polish Mass, and then those arriving mid-afternoon for the Kenayan Liturgy. Holy Family Church and its campus is well provided for, although clearly there is need for a financial and property plan going forward. Fr James and his teams already have big plans about this for the future. The church itself is well worth a visit with its impressive stained glass windows and its modernistic yet noble simplicity. The parish has a YouTube channel click on the photo for a note on the Visitation.



Installation of Bishop Robert Byrne

After the visitation of Holy Family parish this last weekend, I travelled up to Newcastle for the installation of Bishop Robert Byrne as the new bishop of Hexham and Newcastle Diocese. Bishop Robert, who is an Oratorian, was until now an auxiliary bishop of Birmingham. He and I have a number of things in common in that we were both university students together at Kings College London, although studying different subjects. Bishop Robert also lived at Oscott College, where of course for many years I was on the staff. He now heads north to Lindisfarne and the land of the saints, St Bede, St Aidan, St Cuthbert and many others who did so much in those early centuries to convert our country to Christ. Also at the installation was Bishop Seamus Cunningham, the now retired Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, who, with a new spring in his step, already looks twenty years younger! Please say a prayer for both of them - and for all the clergy and priests of this far-northern diocese. It was a great joy to be with Bishop Robert for the day - and a great feastday of the Lord’s Annunciation on which to begin his new episcopal ministry.



Historic Mass at Whippingham, Isle of Wight

The tour currently underway of the Statue of Our Lady of Walsingham to every Catholic cathedral in preparation for the rededication of England as the Dowry of Mary in the spring of 2020 arrives at St John's Cathedral in Portsmouth on 4th April. It has prompted, and coincided with, exceptional events on the Isle of Wight because one of the island’s schools is named after the shrine – Priory School of Our Lady of Walsingham.


The only secondary school in England so named, it is housed in a royal building on the Osborne Estate – built for the village of Whippingham in 1864 by Queen Victoria to a gothic design by Prince Albert. Priory School is one of only two mainstream independent schools on the Isle of Wight, and is firmly Christian, although non-denominational. It has both Catholic and Anglican Chaplains, and most significantly one of the Chaplains is the Chancellor of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and Parish Priest of St Thomas of Canterbury Cowes and St David East Cowes, Fr Jonathan Redvers Harris, who concelebrated with island priests the first School Mass on Saturday 23rd March. 


Priory School was the Junior School of Upper Chine, a prestigious Girls' Boarding School that closed in the early 90s. It was founded in 1993 and came into the ownership of Edmund Matyjaszek, a poet, playwright and former Director of the Poetry Society in 2009 and moved to its current “royal” site in 2012. In 2017 it was renamed Priory School of  Our Lady of Walsingham and it was the suggestion of Abbot Xavier Perrin of nearby Quarr Abbey that the school take the Annunciation as its patronal feast, as that is the feast of Walsingham itself.


Mass was held in the school hall and attended by Catholics – and Anglicans – from all over the island. It is believed to be the first Mass in Whippingham since 1559. This return after 460 years of the real presence of Christ in the sacrament to Whippingham was welcomed with real warmth and joy at the well-attended service, and will undoubtedly become an annual event. It helps to prepare, of course, for the rededication of England as the Dowry of Mary and there is an island pilgrimage planned to the Statue at St John's Cathedral on Saturday 6th April. It confirms the school motto: “Built by the Queen of England: Dedicated to the Queen of Heaven”.



Teams of Our Lady in Fareham

One of the several endeavours that members of the Teams of Our Lady undertake is to make an annual retreat together. Fareham Two have achieved this since their foundation in 1980. Fr. Michael Peters has been their chaplain since that first monthly meeting and looks forward to sharing a Ruby Anniversary with them in 2020. Their favoured venue for several years now has been Douai Abbey. Here they met with some friends to be lead through the retreat by Sister Regina McGarry, O.P. (centre, front row). The Great Britain Province will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Teams in the U.K. with Mass in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 18th November this year at 2.30pm. Bishop Peter Doyle, Bishop of Northampton and Chair of the Bishops' Committee for Marriage and Family Life, will be the chief Celebrant. For further details of Teams and where they have groups in our diocese, please visit www.teamsgb.org.uk or contact Annette and Paul O'Beirne or telephone 01329 827694. 



Volunteering at a Caritas Night Shelter

Kevin Gallagher, Director of Caritas Portsmouth writes...


Windsor Castle is perhaps a place many of those reading this will have visited. However you may also have noticed the high number of rough sleepers in the streets near the castle and in other areas of Windsor. If ever there was a visible contrast between rich and poor, well here it is.


However the huge number of Windsor residents that came together to volunteer in the Caritas Windsor Night Shelter during a recent 2 month Winter period was amazing and encouraging. This project, based on the Open Church Project in Portsmouth, used a popular rotating church model where a church would open its church hall for one or two nights a week to offer a bed for the night, a hot dinner, breakfast but more importantly friendship and compassion. We called it “More than a Shelter” as it was providing far more than just a bed for the night, the most encouraging was to see that the shelter led to some guests being re-housed by the local authority.


This Caritas project, provided an opportunity for volunteers to meet rough sleepers, to share a meal with them, to engage in conversation and offer compassion and relationship building. The deep personal encounter with those on the margins, those who are so easily forgotten will have a transformative effective on anyone who so chooses to put themselves there. As I experience again and again its in those places we least expect, those places that don’t look so good, perhaps the places we might choose to avoid is where the real spiritual action takes place. Was this not where Jesus choose to be, did St. Francis not kiss the leper, did Oscar Romero not choose to walk with the poor, and is this not the path onto which we are called? When Jesus said “come and see” I don’t think he was asking us to get into some intellectual exercise regarding injustice and poverty, I rather think he was inviting us to get close to the marginalised as what happened in the Caritas Windsor night shelter.


Through this Caritas project and the 5 churches that opened their doors and looked outwards, not only the lives of homeless people were changed but also the many volunteers who took part. When volunteers say “This is the best thing I’ve ever done” and guests say “The shelter gave me time to reflect” or better still, although a bit rough “It's good to see that some people in Windsor do care” you know that Caritas and the Church are onto a good thing.


If any other parish out there is interested in doing similar and thinking about opening up their church halls to rough sleepers during the next Winter season, please get in touch with Caritas and we will show ​you how to get started.


You can contact Kevin here



Congratulations to St Paul's, Tilehurst

St Paul's Catholic Primary School in Tilehurst is the best primary school in the county, according to a comprehensive new guide. The Real Schools Guide 2019, compiled by the Reach data unit, aims to give a far more comprehensive picture than traditional league tables. It takes into account 44 different data points - including not just Key Stage 2 results but other factors like progress, pupil-teacher ratios and absence rates.St Paul's topped both the West Berkshire table of schools and Berkshire overall.


The school received a congratulatory letter from Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education in which he said: "Your school's results, as published on 13 December, show that by improving the percentage of pupils achieving the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics for the second year in a row, 100 per cent of your pupils reached or exceeded the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics at the end of Key Stage 2. This means that your school is in the top 1% of primary schools in England." Read the full letter here.


Congratulations to all the staff and pupils at the school.



Bishop Philip's Engagements                 

Thursday 28th March 

Chapter of Canons Meeting  


Friday 29th - Saturday 30th March

Selection Conference, Douai Abbey 


Tuesday 2nd April 

Chief Operating Officer Interviews  


Thursday 4th April

Visit to Friends without Borders with Anglican Bishop Christopher Foster;

Bishop’s Council, Bishop’s House  


Friday 5th April

Schools and Academies Department Meeting



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 March


National Prayer Cycle: All Penitents

Diocesan Prayer: Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption, Hedge End (dedicated 23.3.1984)


Monday 25th March


Diocesan Prayer: Community of the Annunciation, Charminster;

Community of St Mary, Aldershot (consecrated 25.3.1963)


Tuesday 26th March

Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Lent

Diocesan Prayer: Parish of the Annunciation, Netley Abbey


Wednesday 27th March

Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Lent

Diocesan Prayer: Community of Our Lady of the Annunciation & The Martyrs of Japan,

Saint-Martin, Jersey


Thursday 28th March

Thursday of the 3rd Week of Lent

Diocesan Prayer: Wisdom House, Romsey


Friday 29th March

Friday of the 3rd Week of Lent

Diocesan Prayer: Union of Catholic Mothers


Saturday 30th March

Saturday of the 3rd Week of Lent

Diocesan Prayer: All Pastoral Area Pastoral Councils


Sunday 31st March


Diocesan Prayer: Communities and Schools in the Jersey Pastoral Area/Parish


Forthcoming Events    

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

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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


Thursday 4th April

Centenary of the Death of St Francisco Marto

St Joseph's Centre, Ashurst

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Saturday 6th April

First Saturday Devotions

St Mary's Gosport

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Saturday 6th April

Marian Group 

St Mary's Gosport

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Saturday 6th April
The Wood of the Cross - a play by Roman Brandstaetter

St. Swithun’s Church Southsea

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Monday 8th April

Winchester Catholic History Group meeting

"Rubens & the Counter Reformation"

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

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Friday 12th - Sunday 14th April

"Come and See" weekend

Minster Abbey Benedictine Nuns

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Saturday 4th May

Living Simply and in Solidarity with the Poor 

St Peter's Winchester

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Saturday 4th May

First Saturday Devotions

St Mary's Gosport

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Saturday 4th May

Marian Group 

St Mary's Gosport

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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

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Saturday 25th May

Fatima Devotion Day

St Joseph's Centre, Ashurst

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Saturday 1st June

First Saturday Devotions

St Mary's Gosport

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Saturday 1st June

Marian Group 

St Mary's Gosport

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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

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Saturday 15th June

Children’s Liturgy of the Word Training & Support Day

St Edward the Confessor, Chandlers Ford

Read more


Monday 1st July

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


Friday 12th July

Basingstoke Catenian Circle Golf Day
in aid of CAFOD
Read more


25th-30th July 

Pilgrimage to Lourdes

Read more


Sunday 28th July – Saturday 3rd August 

Don Bosco Camp

Read more


Monday 29th July - Friday 2nd August

Frassati Pilgrimage to Turin and Oropa

in the Footsteps of Bl Pier Giorgio

Read more


Thursday 1st - Sunday 4th August

St John Paul II Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham

Read more


Monday 19th - Friday 23rd August

An Amazing Adventure

Fanning the Flame Summer Camp

Read more


Monday 16th - Thursday 26th September 

Pilgrimage to The Eucharistic Miracles &
the special saints of Italy 

Read more


October 2019

Extraordinary Mission Month


Wednesday 2nd - Tuesday 8th October

Pilgrimage to Knock, Co. Mayo

Further details from Fr Tom Grufferty


8th-15th October 

Pilgrimage to Malta
Read more


25th - 30th May 2020

Trip to Bavaria - Oberammergau and Lake Garda
Read more




Job Vacancies    

Cathedral Centre Events and Catering Manager

Salary:  £12.00 per hour for 20 hours per week


A new opportunity has arisen at St John’s Cathedral Centre, Portsmouth, to cater for Cathedral annual events and a daily hospitality offering.  Working with the existing team of staff and volunteers the successful candidate will be responsible for seeking opportunities for growth both within the diocesan community and with external customers.

Initially the contract will be offered for two years.  The successful candidate will have a sound appreciation of the ministry of welcome and hospitality and be a practising Catholic. They should hold the appropriate qualifications for a catering manager or prepared to obtain them and have experience of managing a budget, creation and delivery of basic menus, and able to work efficiently and effectively.


Closing date for applications:  31st March 2019


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



Administrative Secretary - English Martyrs, Didcot and St John the Evangelist, Wallingford

A vacancy has arisen for a part-time Administrative Secretary to work for Fr Phillip Harris, Parish Priest at the churches of English Martyrs, Didcot and St John the Evangelist, Wallingford.  The successful applicant will be located at the Parish Office in the Presbytery at Didcot.


Hours of work: 8 hours a week, to be worked mornings Tuesday – Friday (Hours by negotiation)


Closing date for applications: Tuesday 16th April

Interviews to be held week commencing: Monday 29th April



For more details and application forms for these posts please see our Vacancies page 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, especially Canon Dermot MacDermot-Roe, Mother Bernadette Murphy and Fr Angelo Phillips; 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 and for those to be ordained or professed in the coming months.

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 Bishop Philip on Twitter.


Follow the Diocese on Facebook and Twitter.


Follow Vocations Promotion on Facebook and Twitter.


Follow the Diocesan Youth Team 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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