I’m now back from Valladolid where during this last week the twice yearly Bishops’ Conference was held. The College were incredibly hospitable towards us and provided us with excellent facilities. Most of the week was given over to an in-service training seminar on Safeguarding. Towards the end of the week, by a providential coincidence, the Holy Father issued the new motu proprio (see below). Meanwhile, on Sunday we had the World Day of Prayer for Vocations and many of our own seminarians were out and about in parishes across the Diocese speaking about their vocation. Please pray for them and please keep this important intention in your prayers. May God bless you these next days with His love.
Last Thursday, while at the Bishops’ Conference meeting in Valladolid, we were given four days of in-service training by Baroness Hollins and her team. The topic was ‘Safeguarding’ and this theme was approached comprehensively from a number of aspects. We were also graced to have with us a number of victims and survivors, who shared with us their stories and the suffering abuse had caused them. It seemed a providential coincidence, therefore, that on Thursday the Holy Father, Pope Francis released an Apostolic Letter motu proprio called Vos Estis Lux Mundi (‘You are the Light of the World’). Vos Estis establishes new procedures for reporting abuse and violence, and ensures that bishops and religious superiors are held accountable for their actions. It includes a grave obligation on clerics and religious to report abuse. The document is a fruit of the meeting on the protection of minors that was held in the Vatican in February 2019. It establishes new procedural rules, amendments to canon law and universal norms to combat sexual abuse committed by clerics and religious, the use of child pornography, violence and abuse committed against seminarians and novices, and attempted cover-ups of abuse. Every Diocese must have a Safeguarding Office. Accusations of abuse must be reported to civil authorities where this obligation exists. Vos estis lux mundi stresses the importance of protecting minors (defined as anyone under 18) and vulnerable people. Victims and their families must be treated with dignity and respect and must receive appropriate spiritual, medical and psychological assistance. The definition of a "vulnerable person" is broadened to include “any person in a state of infirmity, physical or mental deficiency, or deprivation of personal liberty which, in fact, even occasionally, limits their ability to understand or to want to otherwise resist the offense”. There are also new indications regarding the role of the Metropolitan Archbishop in preliminary investigations: if the accused individual is a Bishop, the Metropolitan receives a mandate from the Holy See to investigate.
You can read Vos estis lux mundi by clicking here.
One of the key tasks of any Bishop is to teach the Faith and this teaching role is one that I personally consider to be central to my own ministry as Bishop. Apostolorum Successores, the Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops, highlights the importance of the Bishop sending out from time to 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-one 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 last Pastoral Letter on 24th February was about Healing. 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. As before, this Letter will be sent out in written form, and also as a podcast and a video. You can see the list of Pastoral Letters here.
Next Sunday is the Fifth Sunday of Easter and the Gospel is from John 13:31-35. Here we give it in the Anglicised English Standard Version (ESVUK) translation with a link to a commentary by the well-known biblical scholar and apologist, Dr. Scott Hahn.
31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Read Scott Hahn's commentary on Sunday's readings here.
How can we be commanded to love? This is what Jesus does, in this Sunday Gospel. Love is commanded, and obedience becomes the greatest act of love. We see this in the life of Jesus and in the life of the Saints. This command to love shapes us and perfects us, by God’s grace, into the likeness and fellowship of Father, Son and Holy spirit. Love makes us ready to enter into the eternity of love which is God, and for which we are made.
We’ll reflect on:
Faith: What do we mean by ‘God is love’?
Hope: How can we ever hope to love as Jesus loved us?
Love: How do we receive God’s love, today?
This week, as we continue our study during this month of May of the Marian anthems used by the Church, we consider the Ave Regina Caelorum. This is appointed for use at Night Prayer in the period from the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, 2nd February, until Holy Week. It comprises two stanzas of four lines each and it’s easy tom imagine it being sung antiphonally, call-response, from one side of a choir to the other. I have to say that in terms of its words and sentiments, it’s my favourite:
Hail, O Queen of Heaven.
Hail, O Lady of Angels
Hail! thou root. Hail! thou gate
From whom unto the world, a light has arisen.
Rejoice, O glorious Virgin,
Lovely beyond all others,
Farewell, most beautiful maiden,
And pray for us to Christ.
Its origins are unknown but it begins to appear in monastic use during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, in Germany and then in England. In the fourteenth century, Pope Clement VI introduced into the Divine Office. It recalls the part Mary played in the drama of the reopening of Heaven and depicts her reigning there as the Queen of Angels. Click on the picture to hear it sung by the Benedictine Monks of Ganagobie Abbey, in south-eastern France, which is a foundation of the Solesmes Congregation that specialises in Gregorian chant.
‘Service guarantees citizenship’ is a line from a Robert Heinlein novel: it has particular reference to military service in the novel, but can usefully be given a wider application. For it is by participating that we become part of a community: the bare minimum, if we are to claim membership, is to be present. This is why our Mother the Church has set certain minimum requirements on us: it is necessary to go to Mass on every Sunday without fail, unless there is some serious impediment; it is necessary to go to confession and communion at least once a year, between Ash Wednesday and Trinity Sunday. For it is by participating in the life of the Church that we become citizens, and heirs to the riches that she holds for us.
Here, as in so many places, the Christian message is poised on a paradox. On the one hand, the death and Resurrection of the Lord are a complete payment for all our offences against the majesty of God: his death is our ransom, and by his stripes we are healed. At the same time, we are obliged to work out our salvation in fear and trembling; for contrary to what the ‘born again’ suppose, it is possible for those justified by faith to lose sanctifying grace, and to fall out of relationship with Almighty God.
If you’re looking for a prayer intention this week, consider giving thanks to God for the compilers of the Lectionary. They did the Church a great service – and we can see one example of their work on the 5th Sunday of Easter. When they were selecting passages for the Sunday Gospels, there must have been a great temptation to just opt for the “highlights”, the memorable passages. But in this week’s Gospel, although there is a famous passage about the “new commandment” (Jn 13:34) which Jesus gives to his disciples, we also get the verses that precede it (Jn 13:31-33). And those verses shed a valuable light on Jesus’s “new commandment”.
Building on the tremendous support and involvement of so many parishioners in our parishes supporting the Foodbank and the Winter Shelter, are we ready to respond to appeals to help a displaced refugee family to come and live in our community in Basingstoke? We are looking to come together as a group of volunteers to help one family from the many tens of thousands who have no home, no life, no country to call their own, without hope or joy in their lives. There are many different ways you could volunteer your talents to help e.g. find suitable housing, take family members to surgery, dentist or hospital; help with form filling, help them to learn English, show them the local shops; at all levels there are so many opportunities to show kindness and compassion to fellow humans who are living at barely subsistence level. The refugee “Community Sponsorship” program is Home Office approved and is based on a well-established process already proven in Canada. In our Diocese it will be overseen by Caritas, the social action agency of the Catholic Church. You are invited to a non-committal briefing seminar in St Bede's Church Hall at 7.00pm on Wednesday 5th June to hear Sean Ryan, Caritas National Co-ordinator, tell us more about this how inspirational project works, from practical experience gained in the Salford RC Diocese. For further information, please see the poster here or contact Pat Murphy on 07785 312486.
The Department for Educational Chaplaincies invite all Youth Ministers and Confirmation Catechists to a Formation and Networking event on Saturday 15th June.
The event will be held at St Joseph's, Bracknell beginning with Mass at 10am, with the event finishing at 2:15pm. Hosted by the Bracknell Youth Ministry Team, this is an opportunity for parishes particularly in the north of the diocese to network, although all parishes are welcome to participate. Key topics include meaningful engagement with young people through social media, and methods and resources currently being applied to good effect in parishes. Packed lunch required, drinks provided, and donations gratefully received. Email email@example.com to book.
When Bishop Philip asked me to be his personal Chaplain to all the Head Teachers and Principals of all the Catholic Schools in the Diocese, I was most reluctant to take on this daunting role. There are 76 Heads and Principals in the public and independent sectors of Catholic Education in the Diocese. Even though in my Parish Ministry I have always aimed to exercise a healthy relationship as a Priest with all the local Catholic Schools, I had great reservations about this Chaplaincy ministry. With a certain amount of fear and trepidation I accepted the job for two years. Fortunately, I was given the liberty to map out and exercise the chaplaincy in whatever ways I deemed appropriate. My initial instinct was to visit each Head and Principal in their place of work. My aims were to introduce myself, introduce the idea of the new chaplaincy, to get to know them, to offer Pastoral guidance and spiritual sustenance as they required and to pray with them.
At the beginning of this academic year I set out on this pilgrimage. From the very start the welcome I received was outstanding and warm. But I was also amazed to find a group of exceptional leaders doing wonderful things for education right across the spectrum. We have men and women who have a powerful and profound passion for the education of our young people, but not just the young people in their care, that passion extends to all the staff of our Catholic Schools, indeed to the Parents and the wider community in the vicinity of their schools. Without contradiction our Catholic Schools are on front line Evangelisation.
Prayer ministry is part of our service to others, praying with another person for a variety of needs. We wish to encourage simple praying with each other and doing it in a way that takes particular care of those who may be vulnerable. We have therefore developed a new diocesan operating policy which explains how to set up and run a parish prayer group and how to pray for people at, for example, the end of Mass or at an Alpha Holy Spirit Day. Our wish is that everyone who currently prays with another needs to go on our short training course to be able to continue in this ministry. We are asking parish priests to ensure this happens.
We have organised two initial dates:
Friday 14th June (10.30am - 3pm) at St. Bede’s Basingstoke
Saturday 22nd June (2pm - 6.30pm) at St. Peter’s Winchester
Please book a place for either of these sessions by emailing Grania (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you cannot attend either of these dates please email Clare Simpson (email@example.com) who can organise more training in the Autumn.
Pope Francis has declared this October an Extraordinary Mission Month. The Catholic Church in Jersey invite you to join them on Pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi from 11th-21st October 2019 under the spiritual direction of Canon Dominic Golding KCHS.
The comprehensive cost of £1600 pp sharing twin room with facilities includes:• Return flights with British Airways
For further information and a booking form please contact the Organisers: Deacon Iain and Cheryl MacFirbhisigh via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: +44 (0)7797 723 853/ +44 (0) 1534 725963
In this short video made during a recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Chris Stefanick speaks outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which encompasses the site both of Calvary and of the Resurrection. He asks: Did Jesus REALLY die? Did He REALLY rise? And why? “This is it! You’re standing in the place of our victory. Archaeologists do not contest this. We know the place of the Crucifixion. We know the place of the Empty Tomb. He is risen! No other faith can claim this, no other philosopher, no other leader. The tomb of our Founder is empty because He is risen. ..The war is finished – the war against darkness. Jesus came into the midst of our human darkness, was born behind enemy lines. He went into the tomb. He went into the darkness in order not to make it easy but to change it from within.” He goes on to say: “You can't not be changed when you touch the rock Jesus was crucified on, enter the empty tomb, walk along the Sea of Galilee, and bow to enter the Bethlehem basilica through the small ‘door of humility’”.
In this Easter season, let us pray for a deeper faith in our crucified and risen Lord, and for the gift of faith to be given abundantly to all our families and friends, especially to those in our society who are spiritually and religiously adrift, lacking meaning and purpose in their life.
Before celebrating a Mass at St. Paul of the Cross, one of the parishes in suburban Rome, Pope Francis answered questions from some of the young parishioners. Emanuele approached the microphone, but then froze. "I can't do it," he kept saying. Pope Francis then told him: "Come and whisper it in my ear." Click on the picture to hear what happened and what the Holy Father said. The little boy had asked the Pope whether his Dad, who had died a few weeks earlier, was in heaven. He had not been a believer, but he had had all his children baptised. Even so, would God allow him into heaven? It is a type of question that I too have been asked by children in youth groups or when visiting a primary school: will God allow non-believers to enter heaven?
Recently, I came across this HD film – almost like a 30 minute TV programme - made by the Chemin Neuf community in France on Blessed Pier Giorgio, which I am happy to commend to you. It features some historical reconstructions, with scenes set in Turin and Pollone as well as contributions from Wanda Gawronska, Pier Giorgio’s niece. The programme was produced in French but is dubbed. The descriptor says: “Born into an upper class Italian family, son of the editor of leading newspaper La Stampa, Pier Giorgio spent his time rescuing those in need in the poor neighbourhoods of Turin. In a period marked by the rise of fascism in Italy, he was also involved in politics and was committed to working for social justice. The energy for these commitments came from his relationship with Christ and his intense prayer life. He was surrounded by close friends with whom he shared his faith and his passions. With a love of sports and mountains, he enjoyed taking his friends ‘to the heights.’ Pier Giorgio Frassati died aged 24, following a fatal disease contracted whilst working with a poor family. On 20th May 1990 he was beatified by Pope John Paul II who called him the 'Man of the Eight Beatitudes'.
It’s well put together. Click on the picture to watch it. I hope you enjoy it.
Last Saturday, 11th May at 11am we had a very joyful Confirmation Mass in the Cathedral. There were over 60 candidates from across the Diocese, representing three Pastoral Areas: South Berkshire, Southampton East and Thames Isis. The candidates had brought along friends and family, catechists and sponsors, and also their parish clergy. A choir and musicians, formed of parishioners from Bracknell, led the singing. The Cathedral was full, but it was interesting in the homily when I asked people if they had ever been to the Cathedral before: the vast majority said this was their first visit. The Cathedral of course is the diocesan Mother Church and the Seat of the Bishop. The symbolism of coming to the Cathedral to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation is so that the Bishop can send out the newly confirmed as missionary-disciples across the parishes and Pastoral Areas of the Diocese. Ideally the following weekend, each parish gathers the newly confirmed together once again for a ‘Sending Forth Mass’ and celebration in their local area. Meanwhile, please pray for the many candidates who will be receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation over the weekends of Eastertide. Please pray too for the clergy, catechists and others helping prepare our young for this Sacrament: there are some helpful guidelines here.
Jo Lewry, CAFOD Portsmouth Community Partnership Co-ordinator reports...
What an inspiring day we had on Saturday 4th May at the joint CAFOD and Caritas Portsmouth conference on “Living simply and in solidarity with the poor”. Many thanks to St Peter’s in Winchester for hosting the day and special thanks to our speakers Libby Abbot Campaigns Officer at CAFOD and Fr Richard McKay. Libby spoke about CAFOD’s new campaign on climate change Our Common Home and shared the many ways to get involved from signing a petition to the Prime Minister which can be printed off so that other parishioners can sign as well , to organising a Creation Celebration Mass in your parish and coming to the Time is Now Climate Change lobby of parliament on 26th June to meet with your MP.
Fr Richard McKay the parish priest from St Nicholas of Tolentino, an inner-city parish in Bristol, spoke about how to live in solidarity with the poor. He focussed on Christ’s words echoing Isaiah “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free..” Luke 4:14 -21. He challenged us all to “open” the doors of the church, to welcome everyone and to be a “field hospital” for those in need. In the afternoon we had a workshop on how to become a livesimply parish led by Anne Dodd from Our Lady and St Edmund’s parish in Abingdon who achieved the award in 2017 . Kevin Gallagher, director of Caritas Portsmouth led a workshop on the different Caritas projects in the diocese. Please read the CAFOD blog about the day here. It was a truly inspiring and challenging day and thank you to all those who came.
Catherine Hobbs; Diocesan Director for Education writes:
I was privileged recently to gather with staff, tutors, Headteachers and students past and present to mark the retirement of Paul Haslam as Director of the Primary Catholic Partnership. The PCP was established 20 years ago as a SCITT to train teachers for Catholic schools in our diocese. Paul has served as the Director of the PCP for the last 14 years and has ensured it has maintained its outstanding rating by OFSTED. His retirement was marked by a Mass celebrated by Fr. PJ Smith, during which he was presented with a Diocesan Medal for his services to education in the diocese. The Mass was followed by a reception in the PCP base.
If you know of anyone who is thinking of teaching please direct them to the PCP website which contains details of how to apply to train there. And don't forget to check out the brand new Catholic Academies' and School's Office (CASO) website here.
I promise that I get no commission for recommending this to you! But do you get ‘Magnificat’? Magnificat is published monthly in a number of languages, including an English edition for the UK, based on our own liturgical calendar, lectionary and feast days. It contains the Mass for each day with a meditation from the great spiritual writers of the Church throughout history. It also contains Prayer for mornings and evenings based on the Liturgy of the Hours. It features lives of the saints, articles on spiritual topics by contemporary writers, Prayer at Night, hymns and in each issue an essay on a great example of Christian art. It is beautifully produced. I find it very handy for travelling and also for personal prayer in preparation for Mass. If I am attending Mass or concelebrating, I like using it to follow all the prayers and prefaces. You can find out more by clicking here. It is available on subscription and is distributed in England by the Catholic Herald.
Wednesday 22nd May
Clergy Safeguarding Day, Apollo Hotel, Basingstoke
Thursday 23rd May
Vocations Department Meeting, Bishop’s House
Council of Priests Meeting, Bishop’s House
Friday 24th May
Confirmation Mass, Farleigh School
Saturday 25th May
Confirmation Mass, St John’s Cathedral, 11am
Sunday 12th May
FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
National Prayer Cycle:
Vocations to the priesthood, the diaconate and the religious life
Diocesan Prayer: Community of the Good Shepherd, Kennington
Monday 13th May
of the 4th Week of Easter
or: Our Lady of Fatima, optional memorial
Diocesan Prayer: Portuguese Chaplaincies
Tuesday 14th May
ST MATTHIAS, Apostle, feast
Diocesan Prayer: Evangelisation Strategy Teams in the Diocese
Wednesday 15th May
of the 4th Week of Easter
Diocesan Prayer: Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus
Thursday 16th May
of the 4th Week of Easter
Diocesan Prayer: Parish of Sacred Heart, Hook
Friday 17th May
of the 4th Week of Easter
or: St Dunstan, Bishop, optional memorial [transferred from May 19]
Diocesan Prayer: Parish of Our Lady of Mercy & St Joseph, Lymington (dedicated 18.5.1979)
Saturday 18th May
of the 4th Week of Easter
or: St John I, Pope, Martyr, optional memorial
Diocesan Prayer: Community of St John the Evangelist, Lee-on-Solent (dedicated 19.5.1981)
Sunday 19th May
FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
[Today is the anniversary of the formation of the Diocese 19.5.1882]
Diocesan Prayer: The Dioceses of the Province;
Canons of the Cathedral Chapter; Parish of St John’s Cathedral
Friday 17th MayFlute and Organ Recital
Saturday 18th May
ADORE (Alton Day Of REnewal)
Alton School, Anstey Lane, Alton
Saturday 25th May
Fatima Devotion Day
St Joseph's Centre, Ashurst
Saturday 25th May
Pilgrimage Information Morning for 2021 Holy Land Pilgrimage
Sacred Heart Church Hall, Fareham
Saturday 1st June
First Saturday Devotions
St Mary's Gosport
Saturday 1st June
St Mary's Gosport
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
Saturday 15th June
Children’s Liturgy of the Word Training & Support Day
St Edward the Confessor, Chandlers Ford
Tuesday 25th & Wednesday 26th JuneConferences on G.K. Chesterton
Monday 1st July
Winchester Catholic History Group meeting
"Thomas Cranmer - Who was he?"
(Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch)
The Stripe Auditorium, The University of Winchester,
Sparkford Road, SO22 4NR.
Saturday 6th July
Significant Wedding Anniversaries Mass
St Bede's Basingstoke
Friday 12th July
Basingstoke Catenian Circle Golf Day
in aid of CAFOD
Pilgrimage to Lourdes
Sunday 28th July – Saturday 3rd August
Don Bosco Camp
Monday 29th July - Friday 2nd August
Frassati Pilgrimage to Turin and Oropa
in the Footsteps of Bl Pier Giorgio
Thursday 1st - Sunday 4th August
St John Paul II Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham
Monday 19th - Friday 23rd August
An Amazing Adventure
Fanning the Flame Summer Camp
Monday 16th - Thursday 26th September
Pilgrimage to The Eucharistic Miracles &
the special saints of Italy
Saturday 28th - Sunday 29th September
Southampton Celebrate Weekend
Extraordinary Mission Month
Pilgrimage to Rome & Assisi for Extraordinary Mission Month
Wednesday 2nd - Tuesday 8th October
Pilgrimage to Knock, Co. Mayo
Further details from Fr Tom Grufferty
Pilgrimage to Malta
25th - 30th May 2020
Trip to Bavaria - Oberammergau and Lake Garda
Parish Secretary (20 hours per week)
St Saviour, Totland Bay & St Thomas of Canterbury, Newport
The Bible Society is seeking to recruit a
Catholic Scripture Engagement Officer (from 20 hours up to full time)
Visit our Vacancies page for more details on these opportunities.
All who are preparing for and taking examinations over the coming weeks.
All being baptised and confirmed during this Easter season and for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on them and throughout the Church.
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.
For blessings on the forthcoming 13th General Chapter of the Society of Christ for Polish Migrants as they prepare to elect a new Superior General and General Council.
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.
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 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.
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: email@example.com.
Please send news as plain text and images as attachments rather than embedded in a document.
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