Portsmouth Diocese e-News 

Tuesday 25th June 2019 - Issue 234 (2019/24)


Dear Friends,

The stained glass window of the Sacred Heart depicted here comes from the convent chapel of the Sisters of Mercy on Cordier Hill in Guernsey, which I was visiting last weekend. The sisters are on great form, although they mourn the loss of Mother Bernadette, their superior of many years (see below). Friday this week is the great Feast of the Sacred Heart – do try to get to Mass that day if you can. Here is a prayer I learnt as a child: “O Sacred Heart of Jesus I implore the grace to love you daily more and more.” Meanwhile, there is lots of news to report this week. There are many beautiful things happening in the Diocese at the moment. May the Lord continue to bless us all with His love and with joy. Please remember in your prayers at this time those preparing for ordination as deacons and priests. Have a blessed week ahead! 













Friday's Feast of the Sacred Heart

This month of June is dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and this Friday we celebrate the Solemnity at the heart of this month. Do try and get to Mass if you can and please pray for all our priests. I shall be travelling to London to join Cardinal Nichols and about a thousand bishops and priests from around the country at a special National Celebration of Priesthood at Westminster Cathedral. Jesus gave us, through St. Margaret Mary, special promises for those who keep a loving devotion to the attribute of His infinite love for mankind as represented in His Most Sacred Heart. Below are the 12 amazing promises of Jesus to those who have a true devotion to His Sacred Heart:


1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.

2. I will establish peace in their homes.

3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.

4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.

5. I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.

6. Sinners will find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

7. Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.

8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.

9. I will bless every place in which an image of my Heart is exposed and honoured.

10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.

11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart.

12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.



St Peter and St Paul

Next Sunday, 30th June, we keep the transferred Solemnity of the holy apostles Peter and Paul who share in a twofold mission in the Church as we hear in the Proper Preface at Mass:

For by your providence the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul bring us joy: Peter, foremost in confessing the faith, Paul, its outstanding preacher, Peter, who established the early Church from the remnant of Israel, Paul, master and teacher of the Gentiles that you call. And so, each in a different way gathered together the one family of Christ; and revered together throughout the world, they share one Martyr’s crown.


Click on the picture for a short reflection from Bishop Robert Barron on the legacies of Peter and Paul, two of the most important figures in the history of the Church. While they were different in various ways—Peter is the archetype of the order and office of the Church, and Paul represents theology and evangelisation—they are united in their love of Jesus and are celebrated together for this reason.Here's the Collect for the day:

O God, who on the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul give us the noble and holy joy of this day, grant, we pray, that your Church may in all things follow the teaching of those through whom she received the beginnings of right religion. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Next Sunday's Gospel

Next Sunday is the (transferred) Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul and the Gospel is from Matthew 16:13-19. Here we give it in the Anglicised English Standard Version (ESVUK) translation.


13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock[a] I will build my church, and the gates of hell[b] shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[c] in heaven.”


Click here for a Lectio Divina (praying with the scriptures) prayer and reflection from the Carmelites.   



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

A new name: SS Peter and Paul (Matthew 16:13-19)

Simon identifies Jesus as ‘the Christ’ and Jesus renames Simon ‘Peter’, ‘the Rock’. It is on this solid rock, this fragile and limited man who will even deny his Master and friend, that Christ chooses to build his Church. After Saul encounters Jesus on the road to Damascus, his name was changed to Paul. With this new name began a new life at the service of the Gospel. Yet Paul’s fiery temperament remains unchanged.


In Peter and Paul, God has chosen to build his Church with the cooperation of limited, fragile, humans. To this day, God requires our cooperation to build his Church and delights in us when we respond to his loving call, even in our limited, fragile, human ways. He gives us a new name, gives us a new grace, and yet infinitely respects our humanity, the humanity he Himself has assumed in Christ.


In this Wednesday webinar, we’ll reflect on:

Faith: Do we believe that the Catholic Church, is, like her Lord, divine as well as human?

Hope: What is the foundation of our hope for the Church?  

Love: How can we grow in our love for the Church?


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



Preparing for 4th July

Don’t forget 4th July is not only USA Independence Day but the liturgical memorial of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati! 4th July was the day he died in 1925. Wanda Gawronska (his niece) usually reminds me at this time of the year to ask everyone to say the Rosary on that day in union with Bl. Pier Giorgio, praying for all our youth, for the poor and needy, for our schools and all who work in them, for our Diocese and for our own intentions. For a text of the Rosary, the Glorious Mysteries, drawn up by Associazione Pier Giorgio Frassati (Roma), click here  A priest who knew PGF well was Fr. Cesario Borla. Speaking of Pier Giorgio’s own love for the Rosary, he once said: “I can still see his devout behavior, which I saw so many times.  He would be kneeling by his bed, his face buried in his hands with his Rosary entwined in his fingers, murmuring his prayers to the Blessed Virgin with a son’s respect.  Sleep would often overtake him, and his head would drop to his chest; then, he would suddenly wake up, confused, and he would resume his praying of the Rosary, sorry that he had interrupted his prayers.” Meanwhile, in the picture, is the holy father meeting members of the Associazione s. Pietro e Paolo, whose youth section take Bl. PGF as their patron. Click on the photo for another picture that I always like – one in which no-one is looking as serious as in this one!



Jennifer Geach reflects... 

One of my brothers, commenting on the recent changes to the Italian and French translations of the Lord’s prayer, pointed out that when we make or repair something, we DO ‘put it to the test’.  We want to know if the repair will hold, if the thing we have made is fit for purpose and can do its job.  So to ask that God, the supreme Maker, not ‘put us to the test’ is to ask Him to deny his own nature: he will test us, like refiner’s gold, to make us sure that we are fit for purpose, that we are fit to serve his honour and glory.  It has been claimed that ‘lead us not into temptation’ is a bad translation: I do not myself see how else one could translate the Greek faithfully. Nor does Dr. Beard.


When Jesus went out into the desert, he was led by the Spirit; and in the desert, he was put to the test.  So it was the Spirit who led Jesus into his confrontations with the devil. A servant is not greater than his master: if Christ was led by the spirit into the desert where he would be tempted, can we expect that we should be treated otherwise by the Father? In that desert, Christ was tempted by the flesh, into self-aggrandisement, and to seeking power by abandoning God, temptations with which we are all woefully familiar.


Read more...  



From Deacon Martin

Bishop Philip and I have at least 2 things in common: we’re both northerners, and we were both educated by the Christian Brothers. The feast of Saints Peter and Paul always makes me recall a reflection given to me when I was 16, by my headmaster, Brother William (Ligouri) Gillespie (RIP).  Br Ligouri was leading a retreat for a group of us, academically-focused young men, half way through our A-level studies, many of us preparing for entrance exams to Oxford or Cambridge.  Br Ligouri reflected on Matthew 16:13-19, which is the gospel for this coming Sunday – Peter’s confession of Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God”.  His reflection has had such a profound impact on my spiritual life, that I’ve kept it in my heart always, and have even extended it myself, from the experience of my own ministry.  So I hope you may find it of value too, as I share it with you. In the gospel, Jesus has 2 questions for his disciples: The first is what you might regard as the “GCSE question” (in my time, this would have been the “O-level question”!): “who do people say I am?” (Mt 16:13)



How Eucharistic Adoration has Transformed a City

Recently, I came across a short piece by my friend Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska. It gives us much edification in the light of last Sunday’s Feast of Corpus Christi. He writes:


For 500 years, Christians have been martyred in China. Since the first Jesuit missionaries arrived in China, Christians have been put to death for proclaiming Jesus Christ. Emperors, nationalists, and communists have persecuted Christianity, often by the sword. Martyrs may one day convert China. But there is one Chinese martyr whose life and death may have already converted millions.


During the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, nationalist forces sought to usurp economic and political control of China from Western powers. Christianity was viewed as a symbol of Western colonialism; so Chinese soldiers were ordered to destroy Catholic churches across the country. They took tabernacles and sacred vessels, and imprisoned Catholic priests. There was one church in the Chinese countryside that was destroyed, while a small girl hid in the back, unnoticed but observant. She watched as the priest was arrested, as the tabernacle was torn away, and as the Sacred Hosts, stored within a ciborium, were strewn across the floor. The girl noticed where the Hosts landed, and noticed that the soldiers never bothered to pick them up. She went back to her home that afternoon, and told her parents what she had seen. And that night, slipping past guards and police officers, she snuck back into the Church, knelt before the discarded Hosts, and spent an hour in adoration. After she had spent time in prayer, she consumed one of the Hosts, and secretly made her way back home.


Continue reading 



Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch to speak in Winchester next week

Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch is a highly regarded academic and historian  who is head of Ecclesiastical History at St Cross College, Oxford.   He has appeared frequently on television and  broadcasts regularly Radio 4. His  programme  on the History of Christianity was repeated again on BBC 4 in the Autumn of 2018 and examined the origins of Christianity and its relevance in the modern world.  It considered its four main forms, Orthodoxy, Oriental Christianity, Western Catholicism and Protestantism. Diarmaid MacCulloch was born in Kent and is father was an Anglican priest.  He read History at Churchill College Cambridge,  and completed his PhD on Tudor History at Cambridge in 1977.  He taught Church History in the Department of Theology at the University of Bristol.  He was ordained Deacon in the Church of England in 1987.  Diarmaid MacCulloch was awarded a Doctor of Divinity (DD) degree by the University of Oxford in 2001.  The DD is the highest degree awarded by Oxford University. He is a prolific author. Amongst his many works are: Henry VIII: Politics, Policy and Piety; Thomas Cranmer: A Life; Tudor Church Militant; Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490 – 1700; A History of Christianity:  The First Three Thousand Years and Thomas Cromwell: A Life.


Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch is coming to speak on Thomas Cranmer to the Winchester Catholic History Society on Monday 1st July at The Stripe Auditorium, the University of Winchester, Sparkford Road, Winchester SO22 4NR at 7.30pm. Visitors £5.00 at the door, Students with ID £2.50. All enquiries to St Peter's Winchester via e-mail or telephone 01962 852804.     



Caritas Bollywood Fundraiser

Kevin Gallagher writes...


As you may already know Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth runs a range of social action projects throughout the diocese. These include projects for the homeless, social isolation, young asylum seekers, refugees etc. As these projects all require a funding base to support them, on Thursday 4th July we are running a Bollywood Music and Dancing fundraising evening at the Cathedral Discovery Centre from 6:30 to 9:30pm. In addition to the music and dancing there will also be an authentic Indian curry buffet. So come along, have a great night out and enjoy some real Indian food knowing that you will be helping Caritas in its work to reach out to​ those in need.


Come along on the night and buy a ticket. More information is available here or contact Kevin Gallagher: kgallagher@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk



Our Lady of Guadalupe in Aldershot next week 

Next week the Miraculous Relic Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe from the Shrine in Bedford will be visiting St Joseph’s Church, Aldershot, from Friday 5th July until Monday 8th July.  The Relic Image is one of 220 authorised digital replicas placed in the major countries in the world, which confers by Papal degree, the same blessings and graces as the original in Mexico.  The visit of the image forms a major part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of the parish and begins on the Friday evening at 7pm with the Guadalupe Mass and formal Reception of the Miraculous Relic Image at which Monsignor Keith Newton, PA, Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, will be the principal celebrant and preacher.  During this special weekend, there will be Masses honouring Our Lady, including an International Mass led by the strong Kerala community, a Polish Mass, a Holy Hour for Vocations plus devotions, reflections and opportunity to venerate the Relic Image.  On the Monday morning, students from the local Catholic schools will have an opportunity to visit the Image, learn more of the history and to venerate. Many graces and blessings have been reported, so why not arrange a pilgrimage from your church or organisation to this very special event? Contact the parish for more information about the timetable for the visit.


Key times are:

Friday 5th July  
Reception Mass at 7pm with Monsignor Keith Newton, PA

Saturday 6th July 
International Mass at 4pm led by the Kerala Community

Sunday 7th July
Holy Mass at 9am (EF Latin), 10.30am (Sung English) and 6pm (Polish)
Holy Hour for Vocations at 3.45pm

Monday 8th July

Visits for children from local Catholic Schools



Jesus Caritas

Fr. Peter Codd writes:


Jesus Caritas, a fraternity for priests, was founded in the 1930s in France and inspired by the life and spirit of Blessed Charles de Foucauld. The Fraternity became international and membership is now open to deacons as well as priests. The members meet in small groups, ideally six to ten in number, once a month, under the leadership of the Responsible who coordinates the group. Basically, the format consists of a period of Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament (usually for an hour), followed by a Shared Lunch with general chatter and cheerful banter; after this there is Shared Bible meditation (e.g. in the form of Lectio Divina). The final element is a Review of Life. There are opportunities to attend organised Retreats, Conferences and events designed to help members enter more deeply into the spirit of Blessed Charles. At the monthly meetings, the Bible Meditation may, for instance, be based on the forthcoming Sunday Gospel and so offers some helpful preparation for preaching. But the element most in need of comment here is probably “the Review of Life.” For us in the Fraternity “the Review of Life” means a common act of faith in which we talk about events in our lives and share our cares, our hopes, our disappointments.  It means laying our lives out openly before each other to discover where the Lord is calling us. All this demands great courage but our review of life is indispensable, for it is first of all to look with love at the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our time.  If we love each other, we have a duty to help each other to do better.


A Fraternity meets monthly in the Diocese at the Sacred Heart Church, Hook. We meet on the second Friday each month from 11.30 am until 3.00 pm. All priests and deacons are welcome. For more, ask Fr. Paul Lyons, local Responsible, pylons@prtsmouthdiocese.org.uk or Fr. Peter Codd, member of the national team, pcodd@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk.



Creation Celebration Masses

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


This summer CAFOD are asking parishioners to celebrate the gift of creation by having a mass of thanksgiving in their parish.  As Pope Francis says “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all” Laudato Si’ #14 So far Creation Celebration Masses have been organised in English Martyrs Church Reading on Thursday 27th June and in South Wight Churches on the weekend of 3rd and 4th August.  St Colman’s Church Cosham and St Edmund Campion Church in Maidenhead are planning masses for the summer. So why not organise your own! We have an organisers’ guide here with suggestions for bidding payers and hymns to thank God for our beautiful earth. After the mass it would be great to have the opportunity to get together for coffee and cake, or shared lunch to discuss how we can as individuals and parishes can tackle the climate crisis.   Last week Teresa May announced that the government will commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 which is fantastic news and shows the impact of campaigning. However, we need ambitious and urgent policies to make this announcement a reality. Only by acting now will we protect the poorest and most vulnerable communities around the world.  In light of this news we have amended our petition to the Prime Minister so please use this one and please do get as many people to sign it as possible and then send it to CAFOD. 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



Responding to World Refugee Day 

Bishop Challoner Catholic Secondary School was delighted to welcome Catherine Knight from Caritas Portsmouth on Thursday 20 June to mark World Refugee Day. She led three assemblies for Years 7 to 9 to ensure they gained an understanding of the global refugee crisis, with particular reference to Syrian refugees and an exciting Community Sponsorship Project being led by Caritas Portsmouth in Basingstoke.


Pope Francis asked every parish and religious community in the West to welcome one refugee family into their community.  In response to this, Caritas Portsmouth has begun work with a group of parishioners from the North West Hampshire Pastoral Area to bring a family of Syrian refugees to live in Basingstoke.  Our students are already asking us how they can get involved and help. Schooling will be an important issue. Bishop Challoner School looks forward to working with the Community Sponsorship team over the months ahead to welcome our Syrian brothers and sisters and help them settle in the area happily and successfully. 



Climate Change – Our Response

Recently, although I know this is a bit late in the day, I came across the following Pastoral Letter from Bishop John Arnold, the Bishop of Salford, on climate change and what as Catholics we might do in response. He issued the Pastoral Letter during Lent, but it’s still well worth reading now, as we head into summer. What I like especially is the way he reminds us that “a great deal of difference can be made through a number of small actions in our personal lives.” The Letter is an impassioned and unprecedented plea for action: "Without immediate and sustained action, we will inflict irreparable damage on our planet which will adversely affect the lives of our children and future generations. ..We are coming to understand what we have done and we have time to correct the damage.” Here it is:


My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the Season of Lent begins in just a few days and calls us to reflect on our Faith and to make resolutions about how we might put our Faith into action in more practical ways. Often this invites us to private reflection about personal routines of prayer, fasting and alms-giving. I would ask that this year we look beyond personal lives, to our role within our wider communities and to the voice of the Church in our world.


Continue Reading



Corpus Christi at the Cathedral

The rubrics of the Roman Missal for the Feast of Corpus Christi, which we kept last Sunday, say this: It is desirable that a procession take place after the Mass. And that’s exactly what we did for the first time in many years, after the 1200h Mass! There were a number of First Holy Communions taking place and the Cathedral was packed. It was a truly joyous occasion and the fruit of much preparation by Sr. Maura, the parish clergy and catechists. At the end of Mass, all the children along with the sizeable congregation joined in a procession around the outside of church. You can’t see this too clearly from the picture, but under the canopy I am carrying the Blessed Sacrament in the large monstrance. We eventually went down Bishop Crispian Way to the piazza at the front. There, under the gaze of St. John the Evangelist, I gave Benediction over the City. Meanwhile, all the cars and buses pouring along the busy A3 could see us, and some people were taking photographs. Please God, they would have received many blessings from the Lord. The whole made an impressive sight and gave a strong witness of faith. Mind you, there were a number of glitches: as you can see, we had a bit of difficulty getting the canopy under and around all the signage and lampposts cluttering the pavement!!



Book launch

Last Monday, 17th June, 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. I then left for Twickenham and caught the tail-end of a conference on the parish called From Christendom to Missiondom. Speakers included Dr. Stephen Bullivant, Hannah Vaughan-Spruce and Sherry Weddell. I got there in time for a supper with the speakers before the book-launch of Why Catholics Leave, What They Miss and How They Might Return (Paulist Press, January 2019, ISBN: 978-08091-5409-8). This is the book that collates and interprets the findings from the 'My Story Shared' survey, that was undertaken in our Diocese of Portsmouth in autumn 2015. It’s 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. 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. If you have friends or family members who "shared their story" - a huge thank you for their contribution. Why not buy them a copy? The picture shews the four chief contributors: Bernadette Durcan, Stephen Bullivant, Hannah Vaughan-Spruce and Catherine Knowles.



Lunch with Retired Priests

Last Tuesday, I went to Winchester for the annual lunch with our retired priests. This time, after meeting, discussion and prayer, we met for the meal in the recently refurbished Milner Hall. The picture gives you an idea of it. Milner Hall was originally built in 1792 and is believed to be the first Catholic church in England to be consecrated since the Reformation. It was instigated by the Dr. John Milner (1752-1826), who went on in 1803 to become Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District until his death in 1826. It is therefore of significance in the history of Catholicism in this country. Today, it serves as a parish hall for St. Peter and the Winchester Martyrs. in our Diocese, we have almost 40 retired priests and their care and needs are looked after in part by a team and also by members of the Priests’ Retirement Fund (PRF). The PRF seeks to provide retired priests with accommodation of choice, within certain guidelines, in an area of their choice. Only properties situated within the Diocese are purchased. If a retired priest wishes to live elsewhere, he may choose to rent his accommodation, and this may also be an alternative within the Diocese. Meanwhile, the annual lunch, organised by Canon David Hopgood, is always a jolly affair, and this year was no exception. Please pray for the retired clergy of our Diocese, for their health and well-being.   



Conference for Secondary RE teachers

On Wednesday 19th June, RE teachers from our secondary schools gathered at the beautiful setting of St Joseph's Ashurst for their annual conference. The day was hosted by Fr Des Connolly of the De Montfort Fathers. Special guest speakers this year were Sr Judith Russi and Andy Lewis from St Bonaventure's School in London. The day was focused on the curriculum and the importance of the RE department within our catholic schools. Our teachers were inspired and challenged by the day. 
In addition a massive thanks goes to the Catenians (seen here in the picture - click on ity for the full group) who very kindly donated £300 to our schools so each school could have a special teaching resource produced by Caritas Salford on Catholic Social Teaching in our schools. This teaching resource was used during the day as part of the sessions to help encourage our staff to further develop CST in our schools among staff and pupils. Lunch was especially enjoyable as we were joined by some visiting De Montfort Fathers from Rome, Roger Lillie and John Singleton from the Catenians along with Robert Dare from the Diocesan Schools and Academies office (CASO). Our day, of course, began and ended with prayers to Our Lord asking Him to bless our schools and communities. 


Aspiring Leaders course for Catholic Teachers

Catherine Hobbs, Director for Education writes:


On Friday I was privileged to attend the final session of an Aspiring Leaders course run by the Catholic Teaching School Alliance (CTSA) in Aldershot. The Deputy Headteachers, Aspiring Headteachers and Phase Leaders presented the outcomes of the projects they had been leading over the past few months.  I am grateful to the CTSA for providing this opportunity to develop our current and future leaders.


St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Aldershot is the lead school for the Catholic Teaching Schools Alliance (CTSA), which is made up of over 25 schools, both Catholic and non-Catholic.  In partnership with several other outstanding schools and educational organisations, the Alliance is committed to working with others to improve teaching and learning. The role and work of teaching schools is part of the rapidly changing educational landscape. You can find out more about the courses they offer from initial teacher training through to courses for Aspiring Leaders on their website.



New Prayer Garden at Fareham school

The Peer Chaplains at St. Anthony’s Catholic Primary School in Fareham write...


As Peer Chaplains at St. Anthony’s Catholic Primary School, one of our targets was to raise money for the school to build a prayer garden for everyone to enjoy. Thanks to the collaboration of Father Peter Hart of St. Margaret Mary in Park Gate, who let us speak at Mass, and the Catenians, who let us take part in a Dragons' Den in Basingstoke under the guidance of our Head Teacher Mrs Ashworth, we were able to raise enough money to build a beautiful prayer garden surrounded by lavender. Parents and grandparents joined our team guided by Mrs Ambrosetti to plant our hedge, and the local community demonstrated their support by providing us with the necessary tools. This garden is very special to us and although our team of Peer Chaplains is leaving to go to secondary school, we are sure that all of the other year groups will enjoy this amazing addition to our fantastic school for class prayers or Mass and that the new team of Peer Chaplains will have more ideas to ensure that it will always represent a gathering and worshipping place for everyone.  The date for the official opening and blessing of our Prayer Garden is yet to be decided but we could not contain our joy to announce that it is finally finished!



Sisters of Mercy

When I was in Guernsey last week for Confirmations, I was happy to meet with the Sisters of Mercy in their convent on Cordier Hill. In the picture with me are Sr. De Lourdes, Sr. Rita, Sr. Dolores and Sr. Mary Ann. Just behind us, you can see photos of Mother Bernadette Murphy, their Superior of many, many years, who died in March.  Mother Bernadette, who was born in 1923 in Co. Clare, came to Guernsey in the August 1938 when she was not yet sixteen. On the outbreak of the War, her Superior at the convent, Mother Columba, offered her the chance to return home, but she refused, choosing instead to remain. She made her First Profession on 14th August, 1941 and her Perpetual Profession on the same day in 1945. Her strength of character and clear sense of direction led the sisters to elect her Reverend Mother, following the death of Mother Columba, in 1956. She kept this role until her death. At one time, she was the Head of Cordier Hill School until retirement in 1987 and in 2009, she was presented with the Bene Merenti medal by Pope Benedict XVI for her service to the Church and to Guernsey’s education.


Mother’s funeral Mass on 18th March was a particularly beautiful yet poignant occasion and I am grateful that Fr. Anthony Glaysher represented me at it. You can read the Order of Service here. May she rest in peace. And may the Lord continue to bless and guide the Sisters.



New Vicar for Religious

I am pleased to announce that Fr. David O’Sullivan has agreed to become our new Vicar for Religious. He takes over from Fr. Bruce Barnes who has done a magnificent job these last years. Fr. Bruce and his team have developed regular meetings, formation and contacts with the religious communities in our Diocese that have led to a richer and deeper collaboration. On all our behalf, I express much gratitude to him.


The Vicar for Religious has a key role in matters relating to the institutes, members and persons of religious and consecrated life in the Diocese. He assists the Bishop in the pastoral care of the religious men and women of the Diocese, and helps the religious to become fully inserted into the life and mission of the Diocese in accordance with their charisms. He visits the religious communities and builds up relationships with them. He also consults on canonical matters concerning persons who follow a vocation of consecrated life, including consecrated virgins and hermits, and represents the Bishop to the various organisations for consecrated life. He provides information on the vocation of consecrated life in its different forms, on third orders and on programmes of association or affiliation with religious institutes, and promotes the vocation of the consecrated life in schools and parishes and at other events. Where duly delegated, he conducts canonical visitations, particularly in regard to institutes directly subject to the diocesan bishop. We wish Fr. David every joy in this key role, and our prayers.



New Coordinating Pastor

Canon Paul Townsend VG has stepped down from being Coordinating Pastor of Avon Stour Pastoral Area and Dean of St. John XXIII Deanery West Solent, in order to devote himself more completely to his other duties, particularly as Vicar General. I express here our profound gratitude to him for his service. Meanwhile, I am pleased to announce that Fr. John Chadwick has agreed to take on this role. Fr. John is the parish priest of Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph, Christchurch and Holy Redeemer, Highcliffe. With thanks, please remember him in your prayers. The role of Coordinating Pastor is important to the development of our parish communities, in helping parishes to collaborate and share resources for the greater good of their communities. Fr. John also has important duties relating to the Margaret Clitherow Trust, mentioned last week, which  offers great support to the Traveller communities.  The Trust was founded in 2015 after a recognition that there was a need for an organisation that served Travellers at a grassroots level, focusing directly on the expressed needs and experiences of the communities. It is named after St. Margaret Clitherow, who gave her life in the service of the persecuted and the marginalised. 



Bishop Philip's Engagements    

Thursday 27th June

Trustees Meeting, Bishop’s House, Portsmouth.  


Friday 28th June 

National Celebration of the Priesthood Mass, Westminster Cathedral, London, 12 Noon 


Saturday 29th June 

Confirmation Mass for Southampton Central and West Pastoral Area,

St John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth, 11am 


Sunday 30th June

Confirmation Mass for St Peter and the Winchester Martyrs Pastoral Area,

St John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth, 3pm 


Tuesday 2nd July 
Stella Maris - Apostleship of the Sea Ship visit, Southampton



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 23rd June

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

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


Monday 24th June


Diocesan Prayer: Parish of St John the Baptist, Andover (dedicated 24.6.2008)

Silver Jubilee: Fr William Wilson (ordained 24.6.1994)


Tuesday 25th June

Feria [12th Week in Ordinary Time]  

Diocesan Prayer: Parish of St Mary, Alton (dedicated 25.6.1982)


Wednesday 26th June

Feria [12th Week in Ordinary Time]  

Diocesan Prayer: Members of Opus Dei in the Diocese

Silver Jubilee: Canon Dominic Golding (ordained 26.6.1994)


Thursday 27th June

St Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop, Doctor of the Church, optional memorial

or: Feria [12th Week in Ordinary Time] 

Diocesan Prayer: Community of Sacred Heart, Shanklin
(consecrated 23.6.1911, rededicated 10.6.1988) 

Golden Jubilee: Fr Gerrit Vervenne (ordained 27.6.1969)


Friday 28th June


Diocesan Prayer: Community of Sacred Heart, St Aubin, Jersey 


Saturday 29th June

The Immaculate Heart of Mary, memorial

Diocesan Prayer: Parish of Corpus Christi, Wokingham


Sunday 30th June

Ss. PETER AND PAUL, Apostles, solemnity [transferred]

Diocesan Prayer: Catholic Community using St Peter’s Anglican Church, Sark 


Forthcoming Events           

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 opportunites    

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. 

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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