Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Father Matthew Gerin – a remarkable French Priest


Dispossessed of his parish in the diocese of Lyons by an anti- clerical French Government, Father Matthew Gerin arrived penniless in England in the late 1880’s. He was taken in by the Woodroffe family at their house Frensham Place (now Edgeborough School) where he celebrated Mass for the family in their little chapel. Soon the family opened the chapel for Mass to the faithful of the neighbourhood, calling it the Chapel of the Holy Name.

With a steady increase of Sunday visitors, Father Gerin decided to found a mission in Farnham and with Bishop Butt’s encouragement and his offer of help with diocesan funds, he purchased the old police station in Bear Lane in the centre of the town. On 26th January 1890, the feast of St Polycarp, the new church was opened in the upstairs room.The following year St Polycarp’s school was opened in one small room downstairs.

In February 1905 Father Gerin met with an accident that put an end to his active life. One morning he was coming home from the workhouse (which later became Farnham Hospital) having said Mass for the Catholic inmates, when a car in the Borough skidded, mounted the pavement and threw him through a plate glass window. He sustained grave injuries to his legs. He never recovered and received no compensation, as in those days not all motorists were insured. He retired as an invalid in May 1907 and for a while lived at Fleet and then at Ash before moving to Littlehampton. His law suit failed and in 1916 he was declared bankrupt.

Father Gerin died in Littlehampton on 2nd February 1918 and was buried there locally in an unmarked grave. It was the time of the Great War. Recently, Patricia Knight, author of The Bear Lane Years of St Polycarp’s School, found the unmarked plot in Littlehampton cemetery. The parish of St Joan of Arc has purchased the plot and erected a memorial stone, recognising the parish’s debt to this extraordinary man, his work and precious legacy. On Monday 13th February Bishop Richard Moth led a graveside service of Blessing and Thanksgiving for finding Father Gerin’s grave.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Austen Ivereigh addressing the group on How to Defend the Catholic Church without Shouting
On Saturday 11 February over 65 people gathered at the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton Christian Education Centre for a day on 'How to Defend the Catholic Faith without Shouting' led by Austen Ivereigh, joint co-ordinator and co-founder of Catholic Voices.

In the first part of the day Austen outlined the method they had successfully adopted in  Catholic Voices in the run up to and during the visit of Pope Benedict to UK in 2010. He said the key action is to listen to what the other people are saying and rather than being defensive to seek the common ground and argue from there. Equally and at the same time to emphasise the compassionate nature of the Catholic faith as underlying all it does. In that way whilst you might not convince the other person it will give a clearer and better picture to others listening as to the reality of the Catholic faith and avoid a defensive shouting match which is usually to our disadvantage.

Austen believes that this is not just a tool for use on the media, but also for use by Catholics with their friends and family, and in the workplace. He his planning to bring this training in the near future. The people there were enthused by the day and many hope to do further training and take further steps to be better prepared whether round the water cooler at work or with local media.

If you are interested in learning more about this method then you can read Austen's book 'Defending the Catholic Faith without Raising your Voice.' Copies are available from the Diocesan Bookshop: bookshop@dabnet.org. 

If you would like to know more about the project and how the Diocese is involved then contact communications@dabnet.org.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Bishop Richard Moth Supporting Prisoners and their Families

Bishop Richard with one of the printing team at HMP Coldingley
Pact was part of a landmark visit to HMP Coldingley with Rt Rev Richard Moth to celebrate the publication of 'The Right Road, the Catholic Church’s approach to Criminal Justice'. The report, which sets out a vision for a prison system that rehabilitates offenders, supports victims and works for society as a whole, was printed at HMP Coldingley in their state of the art print workshop.

The print workshop employs around 50 prisoners and generates essential income for the prison to fund relationship and parenting programmes, family support services and one to one support services that are vital for rehabilitation, reducing re-offending and reducing anxiety and distress that can lead to self-harm, suicide and violence in prison. The Diocese of Arundel & Brighton recently printed its Refugee Newsletter with them and hopes to print further publications from them.

Pact will be providing a number of such services at HMP Coldingley, including:
Play Workers who offer a friendly, welcoming space and fun activities for children visiting a loved one in prison.
First Night and Early Days in Custody service which offers emotional and practical support to prisoners arriving in prison to reduce the high levels of anxiety and distress that are known to trigger self-harm and suicide.
A range of relationship, parenting education and family learning courses to improve personal resilience, empathy and communication skills, and to strengthen key family relationships.
Visitors’ Centre support to ensure that visitors receive a warm welcome, and are given the support, guidance and information needed to ensure that their visit is as positive an experience as possible, and that they are signposted to any additional support they may require.

Pact CEO, Andy Keen-Downs said: "We are pleased that the Church has a strong voice and clear message to policy makers when it comes to prison reform, and as a charity working within the criminal justice landscape, we know that justice must be understood as a process of restoration and healing, and prisons seen as places of learning and rehabilitation. We are proud to be working with HMP Coldingley and are encouraged to see the print workshop providing so many prisoners with the opportunity to learn new skills, and build confidence and self-esteem."

Bishop Richard is the Bishop with responsibility for prisons on behalf of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, and also has pastoral oversight of this prison within the Diocese.

If you would like to find out more about the print workshop at HMP Coldingley please contact: Jane.Ashwood@hmps.gsi.gov.uk

To download 'The Right Road' please visit http://www.catholicnews.org.uk/Home/News/The-Right-Road

Monday, 30 January 2017

Bishop Richard Moth Inducts Two New Parish Priests in Surrey

New Parish Priest for English Martyrs Church, Horely
On the cold and snowy evening of 12th January 2017, the parishioners of English Martyrs warmly welcomed their new parish administrator, Father Francis Ezennia, MSP (a Nigerian Missionary order) at an Induction Mass celebrated by Bishop Richard Moth.
Guests included the clergy from Redhill and the Missionaries of St Paul, the Town Mayor of Horley Cllr Mike George, representatives from the Anglican, Baptist and Methodist churches, and a coachload of parishioners from St Edmunds, Edmonton, and Our Lady of the Rosary, Brixton, where Father Francis was previously assigned. At the reception that followed, everyone was treated to a spread of English and African food.  



New Parish Priest for St John the Evangelist
Tadworth
Former Royal Naval Chaplain, Monsignor Richard Madders MBE was canonically inducted as the new parish priest of St. John the Evangelist Catholic parish, Tadworth, by the Right Reverend Richard Moth, Bishop of Arundel & Brighton diocese during a special Mass held at St. John’s the evening of 24 January. A packed church, which included local clergy also children from St. Anne’s School, Banstead, attended the colourful ceremony in which Mgr. Madders received the keys of the church and was formally given the responsibility of providing spiritual and pastoral care to the parish. Mgr. Madders spent 22 years in the Royal Navy as a chaplain providing support and pastoral care to sailors in ships on deployment and ashore at various naval bases. Since leaving the navy in 2007 he served as parish priest of Camberley & Bagshot parish. Mgr. Madders succeeds the sadly missed Father Martin Breen who died in November 2015. At the end of the Mass Mgr. Madders thanked Father Anthony Hale who celebrated Mass each weekend for the parish for over a year since Fr. Martin’s death. He also thanked Mrs. Margaret Tickner, who as Parish Secretary, had maintained parish administration. Surprising and delighting all present Mgr. Madders announced that Margaret would now serve as Parish Chairperson.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Defending the Catholic Faith without Shouting - Diocesan Event with Austen Ivereigh

Austen Ivereigh
Defending the Catholic Faith without Shouting
The Diocese invites you to a Formation Day on Saturday 11 February 2017 Christian Education Centre, Crawley RH10 6RP with Austen Ivereigh, Papal Biographer, Coordinator and Co-Founder of Catholic Voices and a contributing editor for Crux. 

The day begins at 9.30am (coffee and registration from 9am). Ends at 3pm. Please bring a packed lunch. All welcome to attend. 

You can book online or contact Mark Woods on 01293 651170 or email: communications@dabnet.org

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Fatima Celebrates 100 Years since the Apparition of Our Lady



The Three Children:
Jacinta, Lucia and Francisco

In the midst of the horrors of the First World War three Portuguese children who were shepherds had a vision of Our Lady in 1917.

The Shrine of Fatima is a place of pilgrimage, which celebrates the memory of its founding event, the apparitions of Our Lady to the three little Shepherds. The pilgrim’s pastoral hospitality is a key element to its mission.

The Shrine of Fatima keeps the memory of the event and the message of Fatima. It has the mission of studying and diffusing this message, worked as a means of evangelisation in Portugal and worldwide.

You can find out more about Fatima and the centenary celebrations on the Shrine website.

In the England & Wales on Sat 18th Feb, Cardinal Nichols will receive, bless and crown the World Apostolate of Fatima, National Pilgrim Virgin statue in Westminster Cathedral at the opening of the Fatima Centenary year 2017. During the celebration Cardinal Nichols will renew the consecration of our country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that was made by Cardinal Griffin on 16th July 1948.

The statute will come to Arundel Cathedral in the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton on 1-2 July 2017.

For more information on England & Wales and the Centenary Celebrations visit the World Apostolate of Fatima website.