Portsmouth Diocese e-News 

Tuesday 18th June 2019 - Issue 233 (2019/23)


Dear Friends,

Yesterday, I attended the first part of a 2-day Conference for Heads, Principals and Deputies from our diocesan schools at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Basingstoke. It was a stellar list of speakers, including David Hutchings, David Wells, Dame Rachel de Souza, Archbishop-Elect John Wilson and Canon Luis Ruscillo. I was sorry to leave, but I then went to Twickenham to catch the end of a day-long symposium on the parish and its future, organised by St. Mary’s University. It was called “From Christendom to Missiondom.” Speakers included Dr. Stephen Bullivant, Hannah Vaughan-Spruce and Sherry Weddell. I was there for a quick supper with the speakers before the book-launch (see below) and Sherry Weddell’s evening keynote speech. It was great to see Sr. Hyancinthe and people from our Diocese of Portsmouth in the audience. Yesterday, then, was a busy day – but a richly informative and thoughtful one! Meanwhile, please find here some news from around the Diocese for this week and some thoughts on next weekend’s great feast day of Corpus Christi. In this month of the Sacred Heart, may God bless you all with His love. 



New Vatican Document on Male and Female

The Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education has just issued a teaching document that gives guidance on changing definitions of love and sexuality resulting from recent “gender theory.” Called Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education, you can read it here. The 30-page document adopts a non-polemical approach of listen-reason-propose, which form the three main sections, and is directed especially to teachers and Catholic schools. It lauds developments that combat discrimination, foster respect for difference, the value of femininity and equality but tackles head-on such currently controverted matters as gender theory, queer theology, transgenderism, ‘intersex,’ the separation of sex and gender, and polyamory. It proposes the alternative Christian anthropology. As Pope Francis says, gender theory “denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family.” Male and Female He Created Them acknowledges the primacy of parents in educating their children and the subsidiary role of schools in this process, reiterating Catholic teaching that every child has the right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother. It recognises that in some cases, sex is not clearly defined but says that medical professionals should make therapeutic interventions that assist and do not yield to individuals making arbitrary decisions. Even so, it notes, whilst gender ideology aims to remove the idea of complementarity between men and women, particularly when it comes to procreation, by proposing alternatives such as in vitro fertilization and surrogacy, a man and a woman are still needed for any process to work.



Published at last!

Why Catholics Leave, What They Miss and How They Might Return 
(Paulist Press, January 2019, ISBN: 978-08091-5409-8) 


We are delighted to announce that the findings from the 'My Story Shared' survey, that was undertaken in the Diocese of Portsmouth in autumn 2015, have now been published in a book, and are available to buy here. The survey sought to listen to and understand the reasons why Catholics in our diocese have stopped attending church, and 256 people generously responded by sharing their story. This project was a joint collaboration between the social research unit of the Diocese of Portsmouth and St Mary's University, Twickenham. The book presents an honest, rich and varied picture of why Catholics no longer practise; at many points it is hard reading, and the purpose of this project is to help parishes discern how they might better serve and reach out to those missing and missed from our parishes. There is also a note of hope through the stories: as Sherry Weddell writes, everyone is in "spiritual motion", and there is much evidence of the search for belonging and in some places, for God in these testimonies that the Church is uniquely in a position to respond to. The book, for which I wrote a foreword, also features reflective contributions from Sherry Weddell and Fr. James Mallon. It was launched on Monday 17th June at an evening reception at The Exchange, Twickenham, as part of a symposium on the parish. If you have friends or family members who "shared their story" - a huge thank you for their contribution. Why not buy them a copy?



Corpus Christi

Next Sunday, 23rd June, is the great Feast of Corpus Christi. Pope Benedict XVI once said: “Everything begins, one might say, from the Heart of Christ, who, at the last supper on the eve of his Passion, thanked and praised God and by so doing, with the power of his love, transformed the meaning of death which he was on his way to encounter. The fact that the Sacrament of the Altar acquired the name ‘Eucharist’ – ‘Thanksgiving’ - expresses precisely this: that changing the substance of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is the fruit of the gift that Christ made of himself, the gift of the Love stronger than death, divine love which raised him from the dead. This is fine the Eucharist is the food of eternal life, the Bread of Life.” This week and next, try to find some extra time to be with Jesus in the Tabernacle. After all, “it is pleasant to spend time with Him, to lie close to His breast like the Beloved Disciple and to feel the infinite love present in His Heart...How can we not feel a renewed need to spend time in spiritual converse, in silent adoration, in heartfelt love before Christ present in the Most Holy Sacrament?” (St. John Paul II Ecclesia de Eucharistia).


May the heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time. Amen.




Lauda Sion

For Mass on Corpus Christi, the Liturgy does one of those very rare things: it provides us with a Sequence, a piece of devotional poetry that goes after the Second Reading and before the Gospel Acclamation. This one is called Lauda Sion Salvatorem and it was written by St. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274). He wrote it at the request of Urban IV around the year 1264, for the new Mass of Corpus Christi. The doctrinal content of this hymn is very rich and beautiful. It speaks of the institution of the Holy Eucharist and of the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament brought about by transubstantiation. If you’ve ever been to Lourdes, you will most certainly have sung part of this sequence, although to a different tune, as a song during the Blessed Sacrament Procession at the Grotto. The Gregorian melody is very fine, one of my favourites and it is said to have been borrowed from an 11C melody attributed to Adam of St. Victor. As with St. Thomas’s other Eucharistic hymns, the last few stanzas of the Lauda Sion are often used alone –for instance, the last two verses of the Pange lingua form the Tantum ergo used at Benediction - in this case, the Ecce panis angelorum. This latter has been often set to music down the ages by other composers.


Click on the picture to hear it, along with an English translation.



Next Sunday's Gospel

Next Sunday is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi and the Gospel is from Luke 9:11-17. 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.


11 When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who needed healing.12 Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” 13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 And they did so, and made them all sit down.16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.


Read Scott Hahn's commentary on Sunday's readings here.   



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

From lonely place to communion - Corpus Christi (Year C – Luke 9:11-17)


Jesus leads his disciples and so the crowds who follow him into a lonely place, and inevitably they will be hungry. By-passing the ordinary, human ways of purchasing food, Jesus will show his disciples and the crowds that, in the lonely place of the desert, he is able to feed every one of his followers. On Sunday, as we will celebrate the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, we his followers will also receive sustenance. In the lonely places of suffering, hardships, loss and pain, Jesus will come to feed us with himself, his own Holy Body and Precious Blood. The desert becomes a place of communion.


This Wednesday, in the webinar, we’ll reflect on:
Faith: Do we believe that what looks like ordinary bread and wine is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus?

Hope: What difference can the Eucharist make in a human life?

Love: How can we respond in kind to this Sacrament of Divine Love?      


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



St. John Fisher – pray for us

Next Saturday, 22nd June, is the feast of the two great saints and Englishmen, St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, both of whom were beheaded in 1535 for their Catholic faith. Having been a chaplain in Cambridge at Fisher House, I’ve always had a particular devotion to St. John Fisher (depicted here). He was born in 1469 in Beverley and educated at Cambridge University, where he became a top scholar and eventually the Chancellor of the university. He was ordained a priest in 1491 and appointed spiritual director to Lady Margaret Beaufort, the mother of King Henry VII. At that time, he became closely associated in her endowments to Cambridge; he created scholarships, introduced Greek and Hebrew into the curriculum, and brought in the world-famous Erasmus as professor of Divinity and Greek. In 1504, he was appointed Bishop of Rochester and he dedicated himself wholeheartedly to the welfare of the Diocese. He strove to care for the clergy, whilst living an extremely ascetic life, wearing a hair shirt. From 1527, this humble servant of God actively opposed King Henry VIII’s divorce proceedings against Catherine of Aragon, and steadfastly resisted the king’s claim to be the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Unlike the other bishops, he refused to take the Oath of Succession, acknowledging the issue of Henry and Anne Boleyn as the legitimate heir to the throne, and for this he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. This was April 1534. The following year, Pope Paul III named him a cardinal. In retaliation, on 22nd June 1535, Henry had St. John Fisher beheaded, along with his friend Sir Thomas More. Fisher and More were canonised in 1935 by St. Paul VI.


Let us ask his prayers that we will always have the courage to hold, defend and charitably proclaim our Catholic faith.



Jennifer Geach reflects... 

When I learned to say my prayers, we started “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost”, but at some point in my school the word Ghost was replaced by the word Spirit, and it was explained to me that this was an ecumenical gesture: our ‘separated brethren’ used the word Spirit, and it seemed too small a thing to quarrel over.  However, in this as in so many things the law of unintended consequences prevails.  Whereas previously, children had to be told that the Holy Ghost was not a ghost in the normal sense of the word, a comparatively easy hurdle, the word spirit is used in many contexts which are even more confusing.  For example, I read a booklet which purported to be preparing children for confirmation: and to my great dismay there was a double page spread about school ‘spirit’, team ‘spirit’ and the like. Implicit in this spread, and indeed in the whole booklet was the idea that the Holy Spirit was a sort of nebulous force. Nowhere did the booklet proclaim that the Holy Spirit is a person, and so the children prepared by this course to receive the Holy Spirit in confirmation may have been led astray by a most confused and confusing metaphor.





From Deacon Martin

One of the great privileges of my diaconal ministry is visiting the sick and housebound, especially when it includes bringing the Lord in Holy Communion.  One of the ladies I visit – let’s call her Elsie – has a response to the prayers which has taught me a lot. Instead of saying “Amen”, Elsie regularly says “thank you”. Hers is a strongly scriptural – if not strictly liturgical – response. The Apostle Paul, in our 2nd reading for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, recalls what he “received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you”: that the Lord Jesus took bread “and thanked God for it” (1 Cor 11:24). The Greek word for “thanked”, eucharistēsas, is the source of our word “Eucharist”. We see, in the Apostle’s teaching, that Jesus Himself first gave thanks to His Father. But He intended that His action be continued by us. So what do we give thanks for, when we contemplate this precious gift of His Body and Blood?


The prayers of the Church can help give us an answer. Though it is impossible to fully describe “the inexhaustible richness of this sacrament” (Catechism, 1328), the Preface at Mass this Sunday, of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, gives us 4 ideas which can be a good start for our thanksgiving.


Continue reading...



Explaining the Mass

Next Sunday is the marvellous Feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of the Lord and I know that man of our parishes will be keeping it special in various ways. Here at the Cathedral, I will be saying the 12 noon Mass, at which many of the children of the Cathedral parish will be making their First Holy Communion. Mass will be followed by a Procession of the Blessed Sacrament and a Blessing of the City from the piazza. Meanwhile, I thought it would be good to run a series in Enews over the next weeks of simple explanations about the Mass and its various parts. The Liturgical Institute at Munderlein Seminary near Chicago has produced an excellent range of YouTube videos, each three or four minutes long, on various aspects such as the meaning of the Mass, its purpose, vestments, incense, bows, signs and symbols, processions, active participation and so on. The Institute was established in 2000 by Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, in order to prepare Catholics for a “new era in liturgical renewal.” The series here, called Elements of the Catholic Mass, is designed to help everyone better appreciate the beauty of the Mass. Featuring experts from the Liturgical Institute, it comprises beautifully produced short videos, ideal for personal faith formation or group discussion.



St Edmund Campion Pilgrimage Mass this Sunday

This year Fr Liam Cummins (MHM), parish priest of St Edmund Campion, Maidenhead is the principal celebrant for the St Edmund Campion Pilgrimage Mass to be held at Lyford Grange, near Wantage on Sunday 23rd June 2019 at 4.00pm. It was at the Grange that the Jesuit priest Edmund Campion was captured before shackled to a cart and dragged  through the Thames Valley to London and put on trial.  Campion was subsequently hanged, drawn and quartered with Alexander Briant and Ralph Sherwin on 1st December 1581.  


Background to St Edmund Campion Pilgrimage:  In the late 1960’s Mgr Hume, Fr Tiger SJ and Fr Woodard of Our Lady of Peace, Burnham decided to organise a pilgrimage with St Edmund Campion’s Relic supporting  the Canonisation of a group of representative English and Welsh Roman Catholics who were martyred between 1535 and 1679; they were selected from 200 already beatified by earlier Popes. On 25th October 1970, Pope Paul VI  Canonised  St Edmund Campion as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. After the canonisation of the Martyrs it was decided to carry on this act of worship for Christian Unity and Peace. The Knights of St Columba were asked to organise the annual pilgrimage with the Relic resting at churches overnight following as near as possible the route Campion took on his way from Lyford Grange in Oxfordshire -  where he was captured, to Tyburn in London where he was put to death. The route includes Stonor where there is a priest’s hole and Campion famously hid his printing press. This year's full pilgrimage schedule can be found here.


For those pilgrims who would like to join the local Lyford pilgrimage it is advisable to park at Lyford Grange (OX12 0EQ)  before proceeding to the Anglican Church of St Mary the Virgin in Lyford village at 3:30pm, the procession then returns  to  Lyford Grange for Mass in the Barn at 4:00pm. Canon Peter Turbitt and parishioners from St John Vianney, Wantage . There will be refreshments after the Mass. Further details from John Lynn by email or telephone: 01628-636668



Significant Wedding Anniversaries Mass

Are you celebrating an anniversary this year?

Are you celebrating a 25th, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or any wedding anniversary over 60 years this year? If so I would like to invite you to join me at a special celebration Mass. This will take place at St Bede’s Church in Basingstoke on Saturday 6th July 2019It is a wonderful occasion to celebrate and witness to Marriage. If you would like to come, please visit the anniversaries website for more information and to register.


Could you be part of the choir for this event?


Come and sing with St Bede's parish choir at this special Mass. Most of the music will be well known, but you'll need to read music. Short rehearsal on the day. Contact Chris Olding and mention if you’re soprano, alto, tenor, bass or tune by 23rd June.




An invitation to a Desert Day

Desert Days are very special, a time of spiritual refreshment, an opportunity for guidance.  If anybody has a particular joy or concern, they are free to share it.  We explore the Mass readings together.  After Mass the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in the chapel.  There is a short time of contemplative style prayer for those who wish to join in.  People are free to pray quietly, to browse the many books we have, or to go for a walk – we are very close to gardens and the cliff path. Desert Days are held on Tuesdays from 9:30 to 2pm, in Sandown, IoW and led by Fr Brian Coogan MHM. 


• A day of spiritual refreshment beginning with Mass at 9:30am
• Then silence till 2pm with a soup lunch at 12:30pm

• Numbers are limited, so if you would like to attend, please phone or text Mary on 0781 800

• Venue: The Presbytery, Grange Road, Sandown, PO36 8NE (bungalow behind St Patrick’s

• Parking is available


A note from Fr Brian:-

I’ve been walking (and stumbling) along the pathways of prayer for 88 years, since my first holy communion, with enormous help from many sources. Mill Hill started me on serious prayer, as I prepared for ordination.  I love books and devoured them greedily.  In Borneo, I was helped by the Legion of Mary.  I learned a lot from the joys of the Charismatic Renewal. The Carmelites in Quidenham teach and encourage me. I started the Desert Days in East Cowes as we realised our need to go deeper in prayer.  We’re still learning!



Fundraising for CAFOD on the Isle of Wight

Jo Lewry, CAFOD Portsmouth Community Partnership Co-ordinator writes...


The summer is a great time to fundraise for CAFOD from cake sales to quiz nights, afternoon teas to summer barbeques why not get together and have fun while raising money for those in need. Geraldine Heath is our Parish Volunteer Coordinator for the Isle of Wight and our parish volunteer at St Thomas of Canterbury Church in Cowes. On Sunday 12th May she organised a plant and cake sale after mass with the help of fellow parishioners Peter, Sue, Lin and Donna who contributed plants and made cakes for the sale. They raised the amazing amount of £346! Geraldine told me “We had cucumbers, tomatoes cosmos, geraniums, dahlias, basket plants such as petunias. perennials such as nepeta, heuchera and some shrubs. It provided a great opportunity for chat and people seemed to enjoy the plants and the very nice coffee which helps a lot. Lots of people came in after Mass on Sunday and bought plants or cake. We all felt it went well; we enjoyed ourselves getting to know each other better and seeing everyone’s different talents and hearing about their gardens.” Many thanks to Geraldine and all those who helped her with the sale. We have lots of fundraising ideas here on our website so why not have fun while fundraising!


There are a variety of volunteering roles from being a parish volunteer to visiting schools to  to getting your parish involved in our campaigns. We always need more volunteers especially in parishes so do get in touch if you want to find out more by emailing portsmouth@cafod.org.uk or call Jo on 01252 328385 or go to our website



Confirmation for the Traveller Communities

Last weekend, I went up to Christ the King, Reading for a wonderful celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation during a Mass for youngsters from the Traveller communities. At the Mass, seven children also made their First Holy Communion. The Liturgy was followed by a somewhat chaotic photo session as you can see from this picture! But in it, alongside me are the concelebrant priests, Fr. Pat Madden, parish priest, and Fr. Liam Cummins from St. Edmund Campion, Maidenhead. Fr. John Chadwick is our diocesan chaplain to the Traveller communities and he, along with a team of helpers, did a fantastic job, organising the occasion and the catechesis needed. I was very happy to be there and I hope to make this a regular event. There are large numbers of travellers in the area of our Diocese and beyond, and Fr. John is a founding member of the Margaret Clitherow Trust which serves communities in the South of England and South Wales. They help through programmes of pastoral care, mental health, advocacy, health, social wellbeing and education. Due to social exclusion, many Travellers find it hard to access support in these areas via conventional means. The Trust was founded in 2015 and was named after St. Margaret Clitherow, who gave her life in the service of the persecuted and the marginalised. 



Clergy On-going support

Last week, I had a visit from Mr. Gerard O’Connor, who is on the staff of the St. John Vianney Centre in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Here he is in the picture with me and with Fr. Kevin Hoiles, the parish priest of Our Lady of Peace, Southbourne, who is our amicus clero. The Diocese expends a lot of time, energy and resources on the support of our clergy, and I have established an Office for the Support of the Clergy, led by Canon Paul Townsend, our Vicar for Clergy. Of course, in these troubling times, it can never be enough. The Vianney centre is a technical facility offering many supports similar to our own St. Luke’s Centre in Manchester. All clergy on-going help and formation is inspired by Pope St. John Paul’s 1992 Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis which outlined the four dimensions or pillars of clergy welfare: the spiritual, the human, the intellectual and the pastoral. Each of these ‘pillars’ is crucial, especially the spiritual and the human. The aim “must be that of promoting a general and integral process of constant growth, deepening each of the aspects of formation – human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral – as well as ensuring their active and harmonious integration, based on pastoral charity and in reference to it” (Pastores Dabo Vobis 71). As with every human being, so too with clergy, things can go wrong. There can be suffering, broken hopes and dreams. St. John Vianney, patron saint of the parish clergy, is always an inspiration. Please pray to him for all our clergy – and thank you also for all your love and support of the clergy.



Welcome to Worship in Avon Stour

Richard Martin reports on the recent Welcome to Worship event in Christchurch...


On Wednesday 5th June, over 70 people from across the Avon Stour Pastoral Area and beyond gathered in St Joseph’s Church in Christchurch for this term’s Welcome to Worship evening. Since it was just a few days before the great feast of Pentecost, our theme was:  “Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). We began with some great contemporary worship music and singing, led by a wonderful band of musicians and singers from across the Pastoral Area.  Then, after listening to our scripture reading (Acts 1:6-9 “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you“), the short talk focused on the impact of the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, followed by a powerful prayer for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all of us present.  We then entered a wonderfully prayerful and moving period of silent reflective activities to help us respond in whatever way we chose – a ‘Bible Fire Dip’ of Holy Spirit scripture verses, a creative ‘Flame Prayers’ area, a chance to recommit to our Baptismal promises in a practical way and an opportunity for silent prayer ministry. You can read all about it and view some photos and comments from people who came here


For more information contact Richard Martin on rmartin@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk



Laudato Si' Award for St Anthony's

Roxy Ashworth, Head Teacher at St Anthony's Primary School in Fareham writes...

St Anthony's was delighted to be awarded the Laudato Si' Award recently by CAFOD after a year in which we have focused on our responsibilities for our environment.  

Our pupils began the academic year by making personal promises of things they could do individually to reduce the damage we inflict on the Earth and they have tried to keep these pledges throughout the year.  We continued this work by tying in our Science Week in March to Laudato Si' as each year group worked on a science project to encourage more wildlife to share our school grounds: for example we made bird feeders, bird houses, bug hotels, litter picked, ran an 'Eco brick' competition and we even had a visit from a bee keeper to learn about how to encourage more bees to our local area. The work towards the Laudato Si' Award has tied in beautifully with our increasing focus on outdoor learning at St Anthony's with our forest and farm schools. We believe the Laudato Si' Award has helped so many of our pupils to think about our world and how we can all make it a better place to share with everyone.


The Graces and Challenges of Catholic Education

Nelle Dalton, Lay Chaplain at Farnborough Hill writes:


In June, teachers from Farnborough Hill, Salesian College, St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School, St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School and Rydes Hill Preparatory School came together in the Chapel at Farnborough Hill to hear the gifted and renowned speaker, David Wells.


Catholic theologian David Wells travels the world delivering inspirational talks; he aims to share ‘accessible theology for the busy, burnt-out and bewildered’ and has written several best-selling books on the subject of faith. His audiences range in size from small groups in the local village hall, to tens-of-thousands strong at prestigious events such as the Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, California. He is a former Deputy Headteacher and has guest-lectured at three English universities, as well as serving on several working parties for the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.


Continue reading...



New Head of Department

We are ever grateful to Canon Gerard Flynn for his great work as our Vocations Director.  But I am now pleased to announce that he has agreed to become the leader of the Department for Vocation in succession to Mgr. Vincent Harvey.  I must take this opportunity to express here our gratitude to Mgr. Vincent for all his good work over the years as Head of Department. Canon Gerard will now work with Mgr. Jeremy Garratt, the Episcopal Vicar, Canon Paul Townsend who looks after Bishop’s Support of the Clergy, and Fr. John Lee, who leads the various chaplaincy services. The Department for Vocation that Canon Gerard will jointly co-ordinate includes many important functions of the Church’s mission in our Diocese, and Framework Teams such as Pre-Discipleship, Spiritual Formation, Marriage and Family Life, and Liturgy. Please pray for him in this new role. Click here to see the current Framework Diagram that shews all the various responsibilities.



Thanks to Fr Tony Gatt

After various levels of consultation, we have decided to merge the Pastoral Area of Southampton Central and West (comprising the parishes of Holy Family, Millbrook, St. Boniface, Shirley, St. Joseph and St. Edmund in the city centre and St. Vincent de Paul, Lordswood) with the Pastoral Area of Southampton East (Immaculate Conception, Portswood, Christ the King and St Colman, Bitterne, Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Brigid, Hedge End, St. Patrick’s Woolston and Annunciation, Netley). There will now be one Pastoral Area serving the city of Southampton. The Pastoral Areas are thus ‘assumed’ into the Stella Maris Deanery of Southampton. We did a similar exercise in Reading a few years back, and we think the new arrangement will bring a lot of benefits in pastoral planning and sharing of resources for the mission and evangelisation of the city. I am very grateful to Fr. Tony Gatt for agreeing pro tem to be the Dean and please remember him in your prayers. The statistics of the Southampton Deanery are both encouraging and challenging. The total population is just under 300,000 of whom an estimated 170,000 are Christian, of whom 20,000 are Catholics. Sunday Mass attendance is about 2,800 (14%).  


The Dean / Coordinating Pastor is the lead Parish Priest within the Area. His principal task is to coordinate clergy and lay resources in order to help:

•  give spiritual leadership to the Pastoral Area;
•  share expertise (lay/clerical) across the area; 
•  preserve and support smaller parishes and Mass centres; 
•  maintain and develop chaplaincy services in hospitals, prisons, etc.; 
•  create better opportunities for ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue; 
•  provide pastoral care and catechesis more effectively; and
•  enable a greater priority for the work of evangelisation, mission and outreach.


Fr Michael Purbrick R.I.P.

Of your charity please pray for Fr Michael Purbrick who died on Wednesday 12th June 2019, a priest of the Diocese of Portsmouth for 62 years.


Fr Michael was born in Abingdon on 21st July 1932. Following Formation at St Mary's College Oscott, he was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood on the Feast of St. Patrick, 17th March 1957. Following curacies in Maidenhead and Woodley, he was appointed Parish Priest of Bishops Waltham in 1970, followed by Holbury and North Hinksey, before his final appointment to Cowes, IoW, when he remained as Parish Priest for 26 years until his retirement on 1st December 2014, at the age of 82. He was a much loved and respected priest who loved his priesthood. Please keep his sister, Janet and the rest of his family in your prayers at this time.


Fr Michael’s body will be received into St Thomas of Canterbury, Cowes, PO31 7TJ, on Wednesday 3rd July at 4pm, with the Funeral Mass the following day, Thursday 4th July at 1pm, which I shall celebrate, with burial thereafter at Northwood Cemetery.



Book Recommendation

Next Sunday is the Feast of Corpus Christi, so please forgive me once again recommending this excellent book, recently published by the CTS, called Book of Eucharistic Devotions (London, CTS: 2018 [ISBN 978-1-78469-570-5]). It is a book I could particularly recommend to our clergy, but also to anyone who is keen on developing their Eucharistic piety. It is like an updated version of the old Manual of Prayers, a battered copy of which can be found in many sacristies and still occasionally deployed for Benediction. This book contains all the traditional prayers associated with Exposition and Benediction such as the Prayer for England, together with many more recent litanies and prayers, such as the Litany of the Eucharist, as well as a selection of Scripture readings and psalms. It also includes all the rubrics for Exposition, such as when it follows Mass or when there is to be an extended period of Adoration. It is of high quality and the same size as the recent Order of Celebrating Matrimony. No doubt a copy can be obtained from the usual book sellers or direct from the CTS itself.



Bishop Philip's Engagements                    

Thursday 20th June
Coordinating Pastors Meeting
Vicars General Meeting  
Friday 21st June
Confirmation Mass, Guernsey 
Sunday 23rd June
Corpus Christi Procession, St John’s Cathedral
Monday 24th June
Joint Education Meeting, Bishopsgrove, Fareham
Schools and Academies Department Meeting, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth
Tuesday 25th June
Diaconate Update Meeting, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth
Thursday 27th June 
Trustees Meeting, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth 
Friday 28th June
Mass for National Celebration the Priesthood, Westminster Cathedral, London, 12Noon  
Saturday 29th June 
Confirmation Mass for Southampton Central and West Pastoral Area,
St John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth, 11am


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 16th June


National Prayer Cycle: Day for Life 

Diocesan Prayer: Lay Parish Pastoral Assistants  


Monday 17th June

Feria [11th Week in Ordinary Time]  

Diocesan Prayer: Parish of St Boniface, Shirley, Southampton (consecrated 17.6.1947) 


Tuesday 18th June

Feria [11th Week in Ordinary Time]  

Diocesan Prayer: Parish Prayer Groups


Wednesday 19th June

St Romuald, Abbot, optional memorial

or: Feria [11th Week in Ordinary Time] 

Diocesan Prayer: Sisters of Our Lady of Pity

Silver Jubilee: Fr Kevin Jones (ordained 19.6.1994) 


Thursday 20th June

St Alban, Martyr, optional memorial

or: Feria [11th Week in Ordinary Time]  

Diocesan Prayer: Military Chapel of St. Alban, Shrivenham


Friday 21st June

St Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious, memorial  

Diocesan Prayer: Parish of Sacred Heart, Bordon (dedicated 21.6.1990);
Parish of St Mary, Woolhampton (dedicated 21.6.1995)


Saturday 22nd June

Ss JOHN FISHER, Bishop & THOMAS MORE, Martyrs, feast 

National Prayer Cycle: Those who suffer persecution, oppression and denial of human rights Diocesan Prayer: Parish of St Anne & St Mary Magdalen, Alderney (consecrated 22.6.1973); Communities of St Thomas More at Stockbridge, Hartley Wintney, & Boars Hill;
Communities of St John Fisher, Whitchurch & Reading [FSSP]


Sunday 23rd June

CORPUS CHRISTI [The Body and Blood of Christ], solemnity [transferred]

Diocesan Prayer: This year’s First Communicants, their families and catechists


Forthcoming Events          

Saturday 22nd June

Alton Day of Renewal

NB: Change of venue for this month:
Alton Methodist Church, Draymans Way, Alton GU34 1LG

Read more


Tuesday 25th & Wednesday 26th June

Conferences on G.K. Chesterton
Quarr Abbey, Ryde, IoW

Read more


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.

Read more


Thursday 4th July

Caritas Bollywood Fundraiser
Catedral Discovery Centre

Read more


Friday 5th July

Vocation Seeker Group

Sacred Heart Church Fareham

Read more


Friday 5th - Monday 8th July

Visit of the Miraculous Relic Image of
Our Lady of Guadalupe

St Joseph's Aldershot

Read more


Saturday 6th July

Significant Wedding Anniversaries Mass

St Bede's Basingstoke

Read more


Saturday 6th July

First Saturday Devotions

St Mary's Gosport

Read more


Saturday 6th July

Marian Group 

St Mary's Gosport

Read more


Friday 12th July

Basingstoke Catenian Circle Golf Day 
in aid of CAFOD
Read more


Saturday 20th July

Ordination of Priests

St John's Cathedral, 11am


Saturday 20th July


St Mary's Church, Gosport, 7.30-10.30pm


Sunday 21st July

Ordination of Deacons

St John's Cathedral, 2pm


25th-30th July 

Pilgrimage to Lourdes

Read more


Saturday 27th July

Alton Day of Renewal

Alton Convent

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


Saturday 3rd August

First Saturday Devotions

St Mary's Gosport

Read more


Saturday 3rd August

Marian Group 

St Mary's Gosport

Read more


Saturday 17th - Sunday 18th August

Behold the Man!

Havant Passion Play

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


Saturday 28th - Sunday 29th September 

Southampton Celebrate Weekend

Read more


October 2019

Extraordinary Mission Month


11th-21st October 

Pilgrimage to Rome & Assisi for Extraordinary Mission Month

Read more


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    

The Diocese of Portsmouth currently has the following positions available: 

Safeguarding Parish Support (Part-time, 14 hours)
The Diocese wishes to appoint a new role of Safeguarding Parish Support to join the existing Safeguarding team based in Portsmouth.

Co-ordinator of Catechesis  (Part -time, 10-12 hours) 
Crowthorne & Sandhurst Parish wishes to appoint a suitably qualified and experienced Catechist to deliver and develop sacramental preparation and evangelistic programmes for 10 – 12 hours per week (mostly evenings).

Parish Administrator (Part-time, 20 hours)
St Edmund Campion Maidenhead has a vacancy for a part-time Parish Administrator. 

Parish Bookkeeper -  The Parish of Corpus Christi with St. Joseph (Part-time, 8 hours)
Corpus Christi with St Joseph parish in Portsmouth wishes to appoint a Bookkeeper to work in the Parish Office for 8 hours per week initially 9am – 2pm Wednesday and 9am – 12noon Saturday.

Assistant Chaplain - St Peter’s School, Bournemouth
The governing body of St Peter’s Catholic School wish to appoint an inspirational Assistant Chaplain who feels called to make a significant contribution to the faith journey of every member of our school community.

Visit our Vacancies page for more details on these opportunities.



Please pray for..

All who are taking examinations at this time.


All being baptised and confirmed at this time and for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on them and throughout the Church. 


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.


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.


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. 


We try to include a broad range of news and reflective articles, but publication of an article does not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or of the Bishop.


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 FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


Follow Vocations Promotion on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


Follow the Diocesan Youth Team on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.





With all good wishes and an assurance of my prayers,
In Corde Iesu


Bishop of Portsmouth


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