Monday, October 17, 2016

Healing the broken-hearted this World Mission Sunday 23 October

It has been over twenty years since the genocide that devastated Rwanda. And while the saying ‘time heals all wounds’ may ring true, many people across this small African nation are still in need of practical, spiritual and emotional support. This World Mission Sunday, Missio, the Pope’s official charity for overseas mission, will be appealing to the faithful to help heal the broken-hearted.

Following years of ethnic tension, a series of mass killings violently broke out in Rwanda in April 1994. In one hundred days approximately one million people – twenty per cent of the population – were brutally tortured and killed in one of the worst genocides the world has ever seen.

Fr Emmanuel Nsengiyumva was just eighteen years old when the systematic slaughter began. He lost two of his brothers and knows well the deep emotional wounds of his people: ‘Your relatives, your mother, your father, your brothers, is not only killed but they torture him in front of you. Some of them would die in two days… two days of agony.’

With the support of Missio, Fr Emmanuel has dedicated his life to reaching out to his fellow Rwandans as parish priest in Nyamata. His desire for his people is that through forgiveness their broken-hearts may be healed.

Fr Anthony Chantry, National Director of Missio in England and Wales, says ‘There are some wounds so deep in human experience that they require the healing touch of God’s love. The Church with its vital ministry of caring for victims of senseless and appalling violence allows God’s grace to heal those whose lives are broken.’

World Mission Sunday is celebrated by Catholics in every country where the Church is present. On 23 October, parishes all over the world will be encouraged to pray for the missionary work of the Church and share what they can to support faith communities overseas which are in urgent need.

Two of the many Rwandans that are working through their pain are Edouard and Immaculée, who have been married for 23 years and feature on the World Mission Sunday poster. Devastatingly in the space of one week, more than ten thousand people - including Edouard and Immaculée’s parents, as well as fifteen brothers and sisters between them - were brutally killed in and around the local Catholic Church in Nyamata. Both carry deep wounds and struggle with the trauma of their past. Edouard recalls: ‘Just after the genocide we visited the church and tried to find our relatives, but it was impossible because there were just so many dead bodies.’

After the genocide, many perpetrators were brought to trial and imprisoned. Having served their time, many of these prisoners are now returning to the neighbourhoods they brutalised. Many priests, sisters and brothers in Rwanda are supporting these communities through counselling and healing workshops, which focus on forgiveness and mercy. Edouard explains, ‘The church has helped us to be strong, the priests have tried to bring our community together.’

In the Nyamata parish alone, two hundred people, both former prisoners and survivors, are currently engaged in a ‘Two Ways Healing’ programme where the perpetrators have ‘the key of asking for forgiveness’ and the survivors have ‘the key of forgiving’. In this Year of Mercy, this programme encourages the perpetrators to truthfully ask for forgiveness from survivors, whom they know and live with daily. While the survivors are encouraged to forgive sincerely, helping both in their mutual journey of healing and reconciliation.

This process, supported by Missio, is conducted within an intensive pastoral care programme. The former prisoners meet every week for six months and after three months, they begin to connect with the survivors, asking for forgiveness and gradually reconnecting with their communities and with the Church. This World Mission Sunday, the support of Catholics all over the world will help more parishes implement and conduct similar life-giving programmes.

Through this programme, Fr Emmanuel is supporting those whose lives have been shattered look to the future with hope. His work is supported by Missio, which works to answer the call to love God and to love our neighbour by bringing the hope of the Gospel where there is turmoil, poverty and uncertainty. The Pope’s worldwide collection is a real sign of God’s mercy and love to our sisters and brothers around the world who are suffering through war and conflict.

To make a donation, or to find out more, please visit

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Peace in the Middle East? - Bishops' Conference Podcast

The latest Middle East Analysis podcast from the Bishops’ Conference, sees a welcome return to studio duties for Dr Harry Hagopian – the Bishops’ consultant on matters relating to the Middle East North North Africa (MENA) region.

After a two-month Summer hiatus, there was much to talk about when he popped into the studio with James Abbott. Rather than pursuing the futile task of trying to catch up with eight weeks’ worth of events in a region racked by explosions of violence, tension and uncertainty, they focused on three things:
  • The US-Russian brokered ceasefire in Syria
  • The UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants held in New York on Monday 19 September 2016
  • World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel #DismantlingBarriers

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Diocese Seeks New Volunteer Editor of A&B News

A&B News needs you!
The current Volunteer Editor of A&B News, the diocesan newspaper of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton is retiring at the end of the year and the Diocese is looking for a new Volunteer Editor. The Editor works as part of the Communications Team and is responsible to the Communications Officer. There is part-time secretarial assistance to the paper. Travel and other appropriate expenses are paid. Work space is provided at the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton Christian Education Centre in Crawley.
You can see a full Job Description, Person Specification here to download. Otherwise ring Ruth Gerun on 01293 651164 or email
Interested individuals should send in a CV and covering letter explaining their interest in the role to Mark Woods by 31 October 2016. If anyone wishes to discuss the position further then please contact Mark Woods, Communications Officer on 0752 843 8042 or email

Monday, September 26, 2016

Bishop Richard Moth Pastoral Letter to Act on Poverty

Bishop Richard Moth

Bishop Richard Moth as Bishop of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton has issued a further Pastoral Letter for the Year of Mercy calling on members of the Diocese to take action on poverty. The Pastoral Letter was to be read in all churches the weekend, 24th and 25th September 2016.

In his first Pastoral Letter for the Year of Mercy in Lent he asked people through the traditional ways of prayer, fasting and giving to the poor to be open to ‘the way of Mercy’. In this letter he focusses on the Gospel command to love neighbor and especially those living in poverty.

Reflecting on the parable of the rich man and the poor man, Lazarus, at the rich man’s door he says: “The question for us today, and every day, is quite simple.  Do I reach out to the one in need, or do I relax in comfort, safe within the walls and gates I have constructed for myself?  Am I like the rich man’s family, with a conscience that is not even stirred by the One who died for me and rose from the Dead? In the words of Pope Francis, has my conscience grown dull in the face of poverty?”

In helping the poor and loving neighbour we, says the Bishop “recognise them as people created by a loving God.” He insists that if we love God we must love and be merciful to others. This means “we must act.” It is not enough, important as it is, just to give money, but says Bishop Richard “I invite you today to join with me in an examination of conscience as to the way in which you respond to the Lord's call to express the love that he has given to us in the care we offer to our brothers and sisters, mindful that these works of mercy will be used as the measure for our lives.”

He sees this Jubilee Year of Mercy as an opportunity for a renewal of our commitment to service which is integral to the Christian life. 

Pastoral Letter below in full.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
 As our celebration of the Jubilee of Mercy progresses, I would like to share with you some reflections on one of the great themes of the Jubilee, the Corporal Works of Mercy.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us the Parable of the rich man and Lazarus.   The rich man has everything, the other nothing.  In the world’s terms, the rich man has great dignity, the other – Lazarus – none whatsoever.  The rich man has it in his power, with very little cost to himself, to raise up from the abject poverty of the gutter, the poor man who sits at his gate.  He does nothing.  He looks only at himself.  The harshest judgement comes to the rich man, while poor Lazarus is raised up. 

The question for us today, and every day, is quite simple.  Do I reach out to the one in need, or do I relax in comfort, safe within the walls and gates I have constructed for myself?  Am I like the rich man’s family, with a conscience that is not even stirred by the One who died for me and rose from the Dead? In the words of Pope Francis, has my conscience grown dull in the face of poverty? 

We know from St. Matthew’s Gospel that the yardstick by which we shall be judged is that of our mercy to others.  We are called to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, to care for the sick and to visit those in prison and to bury the dead. These works are called "corporal" because they are concerned with the physical well-being of our brothers and sisters. 

The two-fold commandment of Christ – to Love God and love our neighbour  – is the key to our understanding of mercy, for it places our motivation for action in the right context. We are enabled to be merciful to our brothers and sisters because we recognise them as people created by a loving God; because we recognise the dignity of the other.  When we are prompted by the loving relationship that we have with God, we cannot but be merciful to others.  Mercy becomes an imperative for us and flows out to others in practical ways.  

We cannot simply wish others well and then leave them to manage for themselves.  St. James reminds us of this in his letter, stating that such behaviour indicates that faith in us is dead.  We must act.  The corporal works of mercy are, simply, the outflowing of the love out of which God our Father has created us; the love that has brought us forgiveness and new life in the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, His Son; the fruits of the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

There will indeed be many ways in which we can celebrate the exercise of these Corporal Works of Mercy across our Diocese - in the work of our SVP groups, in contributions to food banks, in the work of many volunteers who assist in prison chaplaincy in the Diocese, in our response to the Refugee Crisis (to name but a few) - but there will always be more.  

We may be generous in charitable offerings of one kind and another, but sometimes a financial contribution can be a very easy option.  I invite you today to join with me in an examination of conscience as to the way in which you respond to the Lord's call to express the love that he has given to us in the care we offer to our brothers and sisters, mindful that these works of mercy will be used as the measure for our lives.  We might begin by recognising the need to be 'tuned in' to the needs of those around us.  The rich man in today’s Gospel was not. Unless we are ‘tuned in’ how shall we be able to respond in real terms.  We must abandon any hardness of heart and reach out to all.  To fail in this area of our lives is not an option, for Jesus calls us to this and we cannot but respond to the one who died for us.

May this Jubilee Year continue to be a time of great blessing for us all and a time when we respond with renewed energies to the call to service that is at the heart of the Christian life.

With every Blessing,

Yours sincerely in Christ

+ Richard 

Bishop of Arundel & Brighton

Monday, September 19, 2016

Working with Refugees in Arundel & Brighton Diocese

Voices in Exile CEO Mary Jane Burkett speaks about its work with Refugees and Ayslum seekers in Sussex and Surrey in cooperation with, among others, the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton and the Anglican Diocese of Chichester, the latter who produced this video.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Woking parishioner awarded gold medal

Mr John Sylvester with Fr Frank Harrington having received his medal
Woking parishioner awarded gold medal - no, not an Olympic gold but a Gold Medal of Merit from the Guild of St Stephen, for long and dedicated service as an Altar Server. John Sylvester of Woking started as an Altar Server at the age of 8 years old and has served for 79 years.

During his military service he supervised and trained other men as Altar Servers on board ship to the Middle East and in Palestine, Egypt and Libya in 1947-49. John has continued to serve throughout his life and still is a regular Altar Server at St Dunstan’s Catholic Church, Woking. John was awarded this rare gold Medal of Merit for his dedication over 79 years. The photograph shows Canon Frank Harrington, Parish Priest, presenting John with the award.