Portsmouth Diocese e-News 

Tuesday 19th November 2019 - Issue 252 (2019/42)


Dear Friends,

Last Friday, I released an important Pastoral Teaching Message on the 'seal' of Confession – see below. I hope you find it helpful in giving reasons for and defending the Sacrament from those who might wish priests to break the secrecy of the confessional when criminal matters are confessed. It is not the last word on the topic but I try as clearly as possible to express the truth of our Catholic practice. Meanwhile, as we begin this Thirty-Third Week of the Church’s Year, we recognise that we’re heading towards Advent and Christmas – towards the end of the Year and the start of the new liturgical cycle. This is why there are a few items this week relating to the 'Year of God Who Speaks’ that is, to the Year of the Bible. This Year, which is being kept nationally, will be for us in our Diocese an excellent opportunity to grow even closer to the Word of God, Jesus Christ. Do consider taking part in the activities advertised which will help us all deepen our faith in the midst of these challenging times. Finally, I had a birthday the other day - yet another! Thanks to all of you who sent me cards, prayers and greetings. I pray God will bless you with His love this coming week and grant eternal rest to your departed loved ones.  



Pastoral Teaching Message on the Seal of Confession

Last Friday, I released an important Pastoral Teaching Message about the seal of Confession. This is in part because of the inquiry by IICSA (independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse), which over the last couple of weeks has been investigating the safeguarding arrangements and case-handling within the Catholic Church in England and Wales. As you know, I had to appear at the Inquiry to testify about a matter from this Diocese, alongside Bishop Peter Doyle and Cardinal Vincent. Around the world in recent months, leaders and legislators have been calling for Catholic priests to break the seal of the confessional if a penitent confesses child-abuse and to report them to the statutory authorities. Priests, of course, could never do that. But this only shews how many people outside the Church do not understand confession or the nature of the seal. This is the context for the Message I have just released. In it, I try to explain what the seal is, and also what advice typically might be given in confession by the priest to those confessing child-abuse or, again, to a penitent who mentions that they have been abused. Confession is always a most delicate matter. Those who are not Catholics rarely understand what this Sacrament is about and calls for the breaking of the seal often reflect a collision of world-views between those who are religious and those who are not. In this message, I argue that the seal of Confession is a component within an exercise of religious freedom in a secular state.


Click on the picture to read the Message.


Please say this Prayer

As we prepare for the Year of God’s Word beginning this Advent, which is to be followed in 2021 by a Year of the Eucharist, I wish to ask you to pray earnestly for the renewal of our Diocese of Portsmouth. Please say this prayer over these next days for our clergy and laity:


O Sacred Heart of Jesus, we beg you to change us, to convert us and to make us holy. Fill us with a deeper faith, hope and love for you. Send into our hearts the cleansing fire of the Holy Spirit and powerfully renew all the clergy, religious and laity of our Diocese. Unite us in love and respect for one another and unify us as your one, holy people. Grant us a new passion and zeal for the Catholic Faith, for mission, outreach and service. Help us to proclaim your Gospel generously to the poor and needy that many more souls may be saved by finding their way to you in your Church. May Mary Immaculate help us. May St Edmund of Abingdon and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati pray for us. Amen.


Holy Michael the Archangel defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust down to hell Satan and all the wicked spirits, who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.


Next Sunday's Gospel

Next Sunday is Christ the King and the Gospel is from Luke 23:35-43. Here we give it in the Anglicised English Standard Version (ESVUK) translation.


And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” 39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”


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



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

King or criminal? - Christ the King, Year C: Luke 23:35-43

On the Cross, Jesus is mocked by Roman soldiers who see him as a failure and a pretence. But the criminal at his side instead asks for Jesus to save him - a request that Jesus, as the Son of God, readily accepts. The Gospel presents us with two starkly different attitudes towards Jesus at his Crucifixion: on one hand, mocking dismissal; on the other, humble trust that he is the Christ, the anointed one, and that he brings salvation. But even Jesus' antagonists in his Passion help reveal his identity and mission, for we know that Jesus truly is the King of the Jews, the conclusion and fulfilment of God's quest to bring the chosen people of Israel back to him. The criminal's trust that Jesus can forgive and save him places him within this great story of salvation, and Jesus' pardon of the criminal, in the face of his companion's defence of the justice of their sentence, shows there is something that goes beyond justice at work here: mercy. In this Wednesday webinar, we’ll reflect on:

Faith - do I profess that Jesus is my saviour and king?

Hope - do I seek Jesus' forgiveness even in the depths of my sin?

Love - do I show the unconditional and forgiving love I have been given by Jesus to others?


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



Deacon Martin writes...

Deacon Martin McElroy invites us to reflect on the readings for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, in which Jesus is proclaimed as the only true source of unity and reconciliation…


Last weekend, I sang at the wedding of my nephew. He wanted to walk out of the church with his new wife, to the sound of Handel’s Zadok the Priest!  So a hastily arranged group of family and friends (fortunately, all experienced singers) tried to make as grand a sound as possible, with the help of the parish organist.  Westminster Abbey it was certainly not, but the groom and bride were very happy with the result. The text of Handel’s anthem is adapted from 1 Kings 1:38-40, starting like this: “Zadok the Priest, and Nathan the Prophet anointed Solomon King.  And all the people rejoiced”.  It is a striking image of unity, of the different parts of Hebrew society: priest, prophet, people, all united around their king.  Sadly, this unity did not last in Israel; but more about that later…





Jennifer Geach reflects...

When one travels by tube in London, sometimes an announcer says: ‘Mind the gap’.  I think that ‘the gap’ maybe dissuades people from approaching the sacraments – certainly confession, but even communion as well.  The sacraments are ‘outward signs of inward grace ordained by Jesus Christ’ and so approaching any sacrament is like alighting from the train of our everyday concerns, and approaching the light of God.  And that can be daunting: because it makes us mindful of the gap between our profession and our actions, the gap between ourselves and God. There is only one way of bridging that gap: it is to cast ourselves onto the cross of Christ, and so into the abyss of his mercy.  All have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God; and while we should not allow our fears to hinder us from approaching the throne of grace, it is appropriate to ‘mind the gap’.  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” : but while it is appropriate to feel daunted when we approach the throne of grace, we should never allow any fear to hinder our approach. For God is gracious and rich in mercy.   


Read more... 



Year of the Bible starts soon

The Year of the Bible, called ‘The God who Speaks,’ will be an opportunity for all of us in the Diocese to promote the Bible and renew the place the Word of God at the centre of our Catholic life and faith. It is a national campaign, and soon I will be sending out a brochure to parishes, with more details, ideas, resources, and a timeline. It is up to each parish to decide how best to celebrate this Year of the Word. In our Diocese, the Year will form the first phase of our two-year period of Spiritual Renewal and will be followed next year by a ‘Year of the Eucharist.’ I am especially grateful to the Dominican Sisters and our Formation for Mission team led by Sr. Hyacinthe (pictured), for their work on following initiatives:

 a diocesan and ecumenical ‘Scripture Tour’ event in Winchester Cathedral, home of the Winchester Bible, on the 26-27th September 2020, with a Liturgy of the Word, talks, displays, resources, and a number of activities and concerts.
A series of diocesan podcasts, each about 5 minutes long, giving Catholics of all backgrounds an opportunity to give a short witness on how the Word of God has impacted their life, and how it helps them in their faith. (If you would like to contribute to this, please contact Sr. Hyacinthe ffm@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk)
Diocesan Readers Workshops, comprising two workshops of 3 hours each, held on separate days, providing liturgical, biblical and practical formation for all diocesan readers. The workshops enable readers to gain a recognitio, signed by the Bishop and their Parish Priest
The Diocesan Lending Library of Scripture resources
The weekly Gospel Webinar and Podcast based on the Sunday Gospel, using the 4 senses of Scripture.

In addition, I will be distributing to everyone in the Diocese a pocket-sized copy of one of the Gospels, together with a prayer card and Prayer of Renewal to be recited at every Mass in the Bidding Prayers or before the Final Blessing.



Youth Sunday events this weekend

Saturday 23rd November, 10am-5pm,
St Joseph's Havant,
 Age 14-17, £5

Join us for a day exploring Christus Vivit! Back in April, Pope Francis issued a landmark post-synodal document exploring youth, faith and vocational discernment. The focus of the day will be breaking down the principles of the document and working out how its conclusions can help us impact our parishes with passionate young faith and creativity. The day will feature a series of short workshops, testimony, games, food, music and prayer; Led by the Diocesan Youth Mission Team. Accompanying catechists, parents and leaders will also benefit from sessions, with content useful for their parish and family roles. Includes lunch.


Sunday 24th November, 2pm-7pm,
Cathedral Discovery Centre, Age 18-35, £5

Our annual students and young adults event is back! This year we’re shifting to an afternoon session with more inspiring talks, testimony on missionary discipleship, St John Henry Newman, and a workshop on “Tools for Vocational Discernment”. Finishes with the Cathedral’s Sunday evening Mass. All professions within the age bracket are welcome to attend. Includes afternoon tea.


E-mail Tom Sellars, youth@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk to book. Group bookings available subject to space and demand.


Lourdes Pilgrimage 2020

I am inviting you to join me on our Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes. I will be leading the Pilgrimage supported by Fr PJ Smith and Youth Pilgrims aged 14-35 from throughout our Diocese. Our pilgrimage will begin on Wednesday 15th July with an early morning flight from Bournemouth Airport direct to Tarbes, with a short transfer to Lourdes enabling us to arrive in time for lunch.  Throughout our pilgrimage you will be ably supported by our young people, who will push wheelchairs, provide steadying arms as needed, lead music at our liturgies, support the delivery of catechesis, and above all extend the hand of friendship and hospitality to each of us.  We will all stay in the Hotel La Solitude where we will be able to enjoy air conditioned rooms at a location that is very close to the Shrine.  Our pilgrimage will end on Sunday 19th July after we have taken part in the International Mass, and enjoyed a final lunch together. Please note the cost of the pilgrimage is £695pp/sharing, and all pilgrims need to be able to stay in a hotel room without support, as no personal care can be offered. 


Not sure? then click on the picture where you will be able to watch a video we made in Lourdes during our pilgrimage in 2019 and see the joy on our pilgrims' faces. Promotional material and booking forms have been sent to all parish offices and can also be downloaded here. Further details can also be obtained from our Diocesan Pilgrimage Co-ordinator, Sue by either calling her on 07780 221686 or emailing her at lourdes@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk  Those who would like to volunteer as a youth pilgrim should also contact Sue for further details, the cost for a Youth pilgrim is £545pp, and rooms will be shared with three others.


Readers' Training for Diocesan Recognito

Last Saturday, 16th November we had the first half of the Diocese Readers' Training at St Michael's, Leigh Park.  Part 2 at St Michael's follows on Saturday 23rd November at 12.30pm. The first session has been very well received. Each Course has two sessions, with different content.  It is recommended that any readers, or ‘would be’ readers should register to attend. There are a number of further courses, with the same content, to be held throughout the Diocese.  It is necessary for the Diocesan Recognito award to attend both sessions one and two, but not necessarily at the same venue. To REGISTER:- visit the Diocesan website where you will find an outline of the Course and a form to register to attend the Course, asking a few details. You can select the sessions you wish to attend and the venues just by ticking the appropriate boxes. You will receive confirmation of your booking.                                                                        

The next diocesan workshops will be happening in the following parishes:-


• St Michael and all Angels Parish Hall, 

437 Dunsbury Way, Leigh Park, PO9 5BD

Workshop 2: 23rd November, 12.00 noon – 4pm (shared lunch at 12.00)

• St Peter and the Winchester Martyrs church,

Jewry Street, Winchester,  SO23 8RY (in the parish hall)

Workshop 1: 11th January, 10 am to 1 pm (arrival from 9.30 am)

Workshop 2: 25th January, 10 am to 1 pm (arrival from 9.30 am)

• St Joseph Parish, 67 Purewell, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 1EH 

Workshop 1 and 2: 1st February, 10am – 4.30 pm

• St Dominic’s Priory, Shirley Holms Road, Lymington, SO41 8NH

Workshop 1: 7th March, 10 am to 1 pm (arrival from 9.30 am)

Workshop 2: 14th March, 10 am to 1 pm (arrival from 9.30 am)


Further workshops in the Northern part of the Diocese are planned for 2020. Dates to be confirmed.


Gosport Night Shelter – Help Needed

Kevin Gallagher, Director of Caritas Portsmouth tells us about an exciting project coming to Gosport this winter...


Walk down any high street, in any city in the UK, and you are guaranteed to see rough sleepers in doorways begging for money. Although it goes without saying that this is a scandal in a country as wealthy as our own, and something which demands government attention, whose heartstrings are not pulled when seeing our fellow sisters and brother living under such conditions? Maybe we are moved to give some money, perhaps buy a coffee or sandwich which may make us feel good for a while but what about getting closer to the front line and being more personally involved?


Well now is your chance to do so as next January, Caritas will be opening a rotating church shelter in Gosport, where a group of churches in the area will be opening their halls during the cold winter months to offer a bed for the night and also a hot healthy dinner and breakfast. But more importantly, the project will be a place where volunteers and guests can encounter each other, to have some relationship building and regaining of trust for those whom society has all but forgotten and for whom life can seem to have lost all hope.


On 25th November and on 2nd December in St. Mary’s Church Hall, 32 High Street, Gosport, starting at 7pm, Caritas will be running training sessions for all volunteers who wish to join this worthwhile project. As we need volunteers to sign up to help run the shelter’s 3 shifts, to cook food etc please come along and find out more. If you are unable to join as a shift volunteer and as funds are needed to run the shelter and for the move-on future support, perhaps you could consider finding some way to help raise funds for the project? For more information please contact kgallagher@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk or look up our “Gosport Open Doors” Facebook page. 



Could you empower young people to make a difference?

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


CAFOD school volunteers inspire young people in our Catholic primary and secondary schools to explore global justice issues and care for their brothers and sisters around the world. We have a fantastic team of school volunteers in the Portsmouth diocese but we are always looking for more volunteers especially in Guernsey, and in the NE Hampshire, Hampshire Downs, Portsmouth and St Swithun Wells areas. So, if you are a good communicator and have time during the week to visit schools to deliver assemblies and workshops then please consider this role. Full training and support are provided. “It’s a real privilege to be able to visit our Diocesan Schools and share the amazing work that CAFOD is able to accomplish due to the ongoing support of Schools and Parishes. The children are so eager to learn about their brothers and sisters in the developing world and have a real empathy for them in recognising the injustices and social inequalities that exist. Volunteering has allowed me to keep in touch with Catholic Education, work alongside young people and meet old and new friends. I love it when I go into schools and the children recognise me as the CAFOD lady and occasionally I’ll be greeted in the same way out of school. It’s great to have a sense of purpose and be a very small cog in ‘machinery’ that makes up our amazing Catholic charity CAFOD.”  (Linda Heneghan school volunteer in Reading area.) Please contact me for more information by email portsmouth@cafod.org.uk or phone 01252 329385.  Pictured are school volunteers at a training day in September 2019.



Maryvale reflective study course for 2020 

Sr Veronica OP draws our attention to this new study resource for the 'Year of the Word'...


The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales wish to commemorate in 2020 the 10th anniversary of Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini on Sacred Scripture. This will also be the 1,600 anniversary of the death of St. Jerome whose Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible served the Western Church for centuries. A special year of celebrating, living, and sharing the Word of God in scripture, will begin on the feast of St Jerome, 30th September 2019 under the title “The God Who Speaks”. Maryvale Institute is pleased to offer a series of Study Guides to the New Testament. Each single module can be studied alone at home, or as part of a parish study group. You can also work towards the Certificate in New Testament Studies by completing six modules with assignments, for an additional cost. All you need for study is a Bible and the study guide, which is offered as an aid to a reflective, meditative reading of the text. Each study guide costs £25 to audit – with discount for parishes buying multiple copies. For further information contact: FE Programme Director (fedirector@maryvale.ac.uk) or the FE Admin team (feadmin@maryvale.co.uk) or Maryvale Institute, Maryvale House, Old Oscott Hill, Birmingham, B44 9AG 



Year 10 Mission Day at Oaklands

Sarah Keogh, Lay Chaplain at Oaklands School in Waterlooville reports on a recent Mission Day for Year 10 students at the school, preparing for the forthcoming 'Year of the Word'...


On Wednesday 13th November, Oaklands kicked off their ‘Year of the Word’ celebrations is great style with a brilliant, faith-filled Mission Day for all Year 10 students. The day was organised by Sarah Keogh (Lay Chaplain) and was led by a great team including, Hannah Wood, Joseph Gulliford (a seminarian for the Southwark Diocese), Sr Carino (Dominican Sister of St Joseph), the FOCUS Missionaries from Southampton University, Niall Farrell, Tom Sellars, Canon Gerard Flynn, Fr Mark Whiting and Deacon Matthew King.


The day began with an opening liturgy, introducing the theme for the day, ‘The God who Speaks’. Fr Mark Whiting then gave a talk about what the Bible is and an introduction to unpacking the Scriptures. Some of our Mission Team then bravely made up a panel for a Q&A session, which was expertly and very entertainingly facilitated by Hannah Wood. The questions, some of which were written and submitted by the Year 10 students, were all about the importance and relevance of Scripture in our lives today. The panel shared their favourite piece of Scripture, as well as giving testimony and witness to important times in their lives that God has really spoken to them through the Bible.




News from FOCUS

On Saturday, I went over to Southampton to meet with the new members of the FOCUS team, (Federation of Catholic University Students) who are now part of the university chaplaincy. In the picture – taken after a smashing pub lunch! – can be seen (from the left) Sr. Valentina the Chaplain, Jacob (FOCUS missionary), myself, Fr. Jaya the Priest-Chaplain, Katie (FOCUS missionary) and Fr. PJ Smith. Jacob and Katie both come from Minnesota, although, graduates of different universities, they did not know each other before they came to Southampton. They arrived over the summer and have had to grapple with the UK visa system, driving on the left, and all the other characteristics of life this side of The Pond. Full of faith and joy, they are now working alongside Fr. Jaya and Sr. Valentina, and with the other FOCUS missionaries, Shay and his wife Mikel, and Kaitlin, the team leader. For more about the work of FOCUS, check out their website here. I was pleased to receive an update on how things are going in the Chaplaincy. The Sunday evening Mass continues to be the centre of the week, with increased numbers attending. There is also Mass and Eucharistic Adoration on campus on various weekday. FOCUS are running nine Bible Study groups of varying sizes. There are seven students currently wishing to make their First Holy Communion and others wanting to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church. The chaplaincy is also running a programme of fun social events too.


Please pray for the work done by our university chaplaincies in Bournemouth, Southampton, Portsmouth, Reading and Winchester. This ministry for many comes at a crucial time in their life. It is a moment when God touches souls and changes people’s perceptions, setting them on the right road.



News from Edward Hauschild

Have you seen our amazing Portsmouth Vocations website? And have you signed up to pray regularly for vocations in our Diocese? If not click here! Meanwhile, the other day, Fr. John Cooke, our Vocations Promoter, posted a splendid testimony from Edward Hauschild (click on the picture). Edward, who is from Southampton and the son of Heather Hauschild, our Chief Operating Officer, is a student in his third year at the Venerable English College in Rome. (You can hear the College bells tolling in the background.) He has finished his studies in philosophy at the Angelicum and is now in First Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Here, he talks about his vocation. After a career as a manager in the health service, he first thought of joining the Dominicans before eventually coming to the Diocese. It’s inspiring to hear him talk about his conversion and his developing relationship with God. Please pray for him, and for all our seminarians in their various houses of formation. We have a number of aspirants for next year. They are presently preparing for the Discernment Conference, which is at Douai on 20th and 21st March next Spring.



Congratulations 'Canon' Simon

Prayers and congratulations to Fr. Simon Thomson who has been elected a member of the Cathedral Chapter, in succession to Canon Peter Turbitt, who retired recently. Canon Simon will be a great addition to the team! He is currently the parish priest of Corpus Christi Wokingham, the Judicial Vicar of the Diocese, responsible for the Marriage Tribunal in Sandhurst, and a member of the Board of Trustees, on which he is the Chair of the Living Our Faith Committee.  With all of these hats – and now with some ermine too! - he has his work cut out. I personally am very grateful to Fr. Simon for his advice and support on the many complex day to day matters that arise within the management and administration of the Diocese and I thank him for all his hard work. Please pray for him. May God bless him.



Congratulations Fr. James 

Our prayers and congratulations to Fr. James Bradley, the parish priest of Holy Family, Millbrook (Southampton) and priest of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, who has been appointed to Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington DC. He will join the faculty as the Assistant Professor of Canon Law beginning in January 2020. This is a very important role to undertake, although it will be to our great loss as this Christmas he leaves the parish and our Diocese. I want to record my immense gratitude to him for all his work and to assure him of our prayers in his new appointment. As you may know, Fr. James, who was once a chorister at Winchester Cathedral and a graduate of Exeter and Bristol, studied at St Stephen’s House in Oxford and served as an Anglican deacon in Sevenoaks, but in 2011, together with his parish priest and forty members of his congregation, he was received into full communion with the Catholic Church. He was ordained in 2012 by Bishop Alan Hopes in St Patrick's Soho alongside Fr Daniel Lloyd. He then completed an M.A. in Canon Law from the University of London and in 2013 was assigned to full-time studies at CUA, where he successfully gained a Licence in Canon Law and then a Doctorate. CUA’s gain is, of course, our loss and I know how much the faithful of Holy Family will miss him. I thank him for all his hard work. Please pray for him. May God bless him in the mission ahead.



Congratulations Canon Gerard

Artist Ian Etheridge has created a beautiful Sacrament House and the Paraclete Carving for St Michael and All Angels Catholic Church, Leigh Park in the last few years. He has now painted a unique artwork to mark the twentieth anniversary of Canon Gerard Flynn’s priestly ordination by Bishop Crispian Hollis on 21st November 1999 at Christ the King Church, Reading. The three panels of this unique triptych are, most unusually nowadays, painted in egg tempera on gesso and linen and mounted on tulip wood and oak, materials and methods much more common in the Renaissance. Ian was inspired on a visit to Florence which coincided with the commission to create this piece. It is influenced by:

• the image of Christ Pantocrator, an icon in St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai
• an altarpiece detail of Christ’s baptism by John the Baptist, by Fray Bonifacio Ferrer, painted in 1396
• and the figure of Christ the Good Shepherd carved by an unknown sculptor and now in the Vatican Museum.


Canon Gerard was presented with this gift at the end of last Sunday’s Mass and was delighted as well as utterly surprised to be given such a wondrous artefact. It will initially grace the oratory in his Presbytery but will also be used in church on particular occasions. Ian and Maureen Etheridge, seen here with Canon Gerard, are parishioners of St Saviour, Totland Bay on the Isle of Wight, one of Canon Gerard’s former parishes.



Fr. Brian Sandeman R.I.P. 

Please of your charity pray for the repose of Fr. Brian Sandeman who died at the Little Sisters home in Jersey, surrounded by some of his children, last Tuesday 12th November.


Brian was born in 1926 and resided in Jersey. He was married to Jane and had eight children. Sadly Jane died in 1986. As a widower, Brian discerned that the Lord might be calling him to minister to His people through Ordination to the Priesthood and, at the age of 61, Brian went off to study at Wonersh seminary from 1987-90. He was ordained to the Priesthood on 15th May 1993. Brian remained in Jersey to minister within the Parish and also to care for those in the local hospital. We give thanks for his wonderful life of loving service of the Lord. 


His funeral will be at St. Thomas’s Jersey on Thursday 28th November at 11 a.m. As I will be at the Bishops' Conference meeting in Leeds that week, unfortunately I will not be able to celebrate the Requiem Mass myself but will offer Mass for him on that day in Leeds. Please pray for his repose – and for the comfort and consolation of his family.



Book Recommendation

I’ve recommended before books by the Catholic Scripture scholar Brant Pitre, who is Professor of Scripture at the Augustine Institute in Denver, CO. In this new book, co-authored with John Bergsma, a fellow doctoral graduate from Notre Dame, Pitre offers a series of very readable introductions to the 46 books of the Old Testament. J. Bergsma and B. Pitre A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament (San Francisco, Ignatius Press: 2018) discusses when each book was written, why they were written and how we might understand them today. This is a big book running to 1,000 pages but is very accessible to the non-specialist. Bergsma and Pitre examine the literature not only from a historical and cultural perspective but they also interpret it theologically, drawing on the New Testament and on our Catholic faith. They also discuss how the Church’s liturgy uses these books within the Lectionary and the Liturgy of the Hours. There are maps, illustrations and other reference materials that make it an ideal resource for catechists, seminarians and priests as well as for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the Bible. It will make an ideal companion for the Year of the Word. I hope they will soon write a similar volume introducing the New Testament.



Finally...who is this?

Over the next few weeks, during what is called the “run-up to Christmas”, we’ll be featuring in e-News some of the best known and best loved clergy of our Diocese of Portsmouth – but in their younger forms. It’s your mission - should you choose to accept it – to identify them! Just email your answer to Deacon Craig before the next edition of e-News.


Here’s the first one – the correct answer will be in e-News next week. So, do you recognise any diocesan cleric in this shot? Clue: it was taken at a meal with a Communion and Liberation group.



Bishop Philip's Engagements   

Tuesday 19th November
Mass for Deceased Clergy, St John’s Cathedral, 12.15pm
Thursday 21st November
Bishop’s Council Meeting, Bishop’s House;
Evangelisation Leadership Team Meeting, Bishop’s House
Friday 22nd November 
Celebrate Mass for Institution of Acolytes, St Mary's College, Oscott
Saturday 23rd - Sunday 24th November
Parish Visitation: St Joseph’s, Basingstoke
Monday 25th – Thursday 28th November
Bishops’ Conference, Leeds  
Friday 29th November 
Diocesan Schools Day, Basingstoke  
Saturday 30th November
Dialogue with Cultural Sectors Team Meeting
Saturday 30th November - Sunday 1st December
Parish Visitation:  Holy Ghost, Basingstoke


Diocesan Prayer Intentions

Each day of the year the liturgical calendar gives us a variety of seasons and celebrations of saints. These are outlined in the Diocesan Ordo along with a daily prayer for a diocesan intention. I would like to encourage you to add these intentions to your daily prayers.             

Sunday 17th November


National Prayer Cycle: World Day of the Poor

Diocesan Prayer: Sisters of St Joseph of Annécy (Médaille) in the Diocese


Monday 18th November

Dedication of the Basilicas of St Peter & St Paul, Rome, optional memorial

or: Feria [33rd Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: The Parish, Communities & Schools in the Bailiwick of Guernsey Pastoral Area


Tuesday 19th November

Feria [33rd Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Movement of Christian Workers


Wednesday 20th November

Feria [33rd Week in Ordinary Time]

Diocesan Prayer: Presentation Sisters in the Diocese


Thursday 21st November

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, memorial

Diocesan Prayer: Parish of St Edward, Windsor (consecrated 21.11.1910)


Friday 22nd November

St Cecilia, Virgin, Martyr, memorial

Diocesan Prayer: All musicians in the Diocese, and National Network of Pastoral Musicians


Saturday 23rd November

St Clement I, Pope, Martyr, optional memorial

or: St Columbanus, Religious, optional memorial

or: Our Lady on Saturday

or: Feria [33rd Week in Ordinary Time] 

Diocesan Prayer: Parishes, Communities & Schools in the Southampton Central and West Pastoral Area


Sunday 24th November


National Prayer Cycle: Young People [National Youth Sunday]

Diocesan Prayer: Christ the King, Reading; Chapel of Christ the King, Sandhurst


You can find the prayer intentions for each day of November here.



Forthcoming Events            

Wednesday 20th November 

First meeting of new Praise & Worship group

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Stubbington Church Hall, 7.30pm.

All are welcome to come and make this a wonderful evening of modern worship.

More information


Wednesday 20th November 

Havant Passion Play Fundraiser - Fashion Show

Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Waterlooville

More information






Saturday 23rd November 

MFL team Breakthrough workshop

St Phillip Howard, Fareham

More information


Saturday 23rd November 

CAFOD Memorial Mass

St Edmund's Church, The Avenue, Southampton 

More information 


Saturday 23rd November 

Alton Day of Renewal

Alton School

More information  


Monday 2nd December

Winchester Catholic History Society

This is Wren, The Classical, The Baroque & the City of London Churches
(Tony Tucker)

The Milner Hall, St Peter Street, Winchester SO23 8BW at 7.30 pm

More information


Friday 6th December

Vocation Seeker Evening

Sacred Heart Church 41-43 Portland Street, Fareham, PO16 0NF

More information


Saturday 7th December 

First Saturday Devotions

St Mary's Gosport

More information  


Saturday 7th December 

The Marian Group

St Mary's Gosport

More information  


Wednesday 20th November 

Havant Passion Play Fundraiser - 
Voices for Christmas

St Michael and All Angels Church, Leigh Park

More information




Current Vacancies 

Director of Finance and Information Technology

Salary dependent on experience


An exciting opportunity has arisen for an outstanding, experienced finance professional who is values-driven and an inspirational leader to contribute at a senior level in the life of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth.


We are looking for someone who can bring intellect and emotional intelligence to leading in a complex environment. You will have a successful track record in financial leadership at a senior board level and have the personal touch to innovate, drive sustainable change. You will be an exceptional communicator who can quickly develop strong relationships internally and externally with a wide range of external stakeholders. Fundamentally, too, you will be passionate about realising our vision of Bringing people closer to Jesus Christ through his Church.


This wide-ranging role will support the Bishop, the Chief Operating officer, Clergy  and Trustees of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth in all aspects of the Charity including investment management, capital expenditure, financial aspects of property management, data protection, the identification of opportunities for income generation and fundraising and making best use of the assets of the Charitable trust you will ensure compliance with regulatory and accounting practices. You will also lead on the development and implementation of Information technology solutions to achieve effective and responsive service to our parishes and the delivery of our charitable trust business.


CCAB qualified, you will have experience of operating at board level in a complex organisation with a significant interest in property, ideally also with experience of working in the charitable sector. Your ability to contribute to the development of a small Director team will be critical, as will your leadership and team-building skills. You need to demonstrate that, working with clergy and others, you can influence and shape our strategies and plans. You must be able to balance the provision of strategic financial advice to the trust board with a willingness to be hands on and directly lead on operational matters and you will be expected to role model the Trust values and behaviours.


For more information and to apply please click here


Informal enquiries to Soraya Ciccarone (soraya@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk
who will arrange a discussion with Heather Hauschild, Chief Operating Officer.

Closing date: Friday 6th December 2019 at 17:00. 

Interviews: December 2019/Early January 2020 TBC



Parish Secretary

St Michael’s Parish, Tadley
(incorporating St Oswald’s Church, Burghfield Common)

Hours of work:  15 hours per week (days/hours to be agreed)

Rate of pay: £10.60 per hour

Commencement Date:  December 2019


We have a vacancy for a part-time position of Parish Secretary,
based at St Michael’s Church, Bishopswood Road, Tadley, RG26 4HG.


Experience and Qualifications required for the role:

  • Experienced secretary with excellent administrative, organisational, time management and prioritisation skills.
  • Computer literate, skilled in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint and  Publisher), email as well as the use of the internet generally.
  • Communication skills.
  • Basic bookkeeping experience desirable 

Personal Attributes:

  • Sympathetic to the ministry and mission of the Catholic Church
  • Articulate and numerate
  • Diplomatic, discreet with a sympathetic nature and emotional resilience, having a ‘listening ear’
  • Sense of humour
  • Self motivated and flexible, with ability to work without supervision, able to cope with change and work under pressure.

Please see the full job description here.


For more information about the job, please contact: 
Fr Patrick Tansey, Parish Priest on 0118 981 4572


To apply for this post please send CV and covering letter to:



Closing date for applications: Wednesday 27th November at 13:00

Interviews Date: To be confirmed



Diocesan Schools Vacancies


Please click on the appropriate link below to access further details of the listed vacancy. 


Fixed Term PPA Teacher (0.8) required for January 2020 at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Gosport (Closing date: 20 November)


Teacher required for January 2020 at St Swithun Wells Catholic Primary School, Chandler’s Ford (Closing Date: 21 November)


Caretaker (Lettings) required to start as soon as possible at St Edmund’s Catholic School, Portsmouth (Closing date: 22 November)


Teaching Assistant required for January 2020 at St Paul’s Catholic Primary School, Reading (Closing Date: 6 December)



Please pray for.. 

Click here if you have a prayer intention you would like our Diocesan Intercessory Prayer Team to pray for.


Click here if you have a prayer intention you would like the Sisters at the Adoremus Centre in Alderney (our Powerhosue of Prayer) to pray for.


In this month of November, for the souls of all the faithful departed, especially all who have died recently; for all those killed through acts of warfare, violence, terrorism and natural disaster and for the departed clergy of the diocese. Requiescant in pace.


That, as we approach the year of the God Who speaks, we may be the people who listen to His voice in the Holy Scriptures.


That all we do in the diocese may bring people closer to Jesus Christ through His Church. 


The evangelisation of our country and its culture.


Vocations to all states of life and ministry in the Church, especially to the Sacred Priesthood, Diaconate and Religious Life. For the recently ordained and for all our students currently in formation for ordination and those responsible for their formation in the various seminaries in which they are based. 


Archbishop Cornelius and the clergy and people of our twin diocese of Bamenda and for an end to the troubles there.


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 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.



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: 


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. Events are advertised at our discretion and we reserve the right not to advertise an event.



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


Do you have an event to advertise or news item to share?

We receive a lot of adverts for events. If you would like to advertise an event, please fill out this form here.
Submitted events are advertised at our discretion.

News items should be sent via e-mail to: executiveassistant@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk 

Subscribe to Portsmouth Diocese E-news
Keep up to date with what’s happening in the diocese. The diocesan e-news comes out on Tuesday most weeks – latest events, photos, videos.

(Under the terms of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the information provided on this form will be held in confidence and used for the purpose of diocesan communications and no other purpose).