Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Family Synod Update from Cardinal Nichols

Thanks to Catholic Communications Network for providing this update. You can find more information on the Synod on their website.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Pope's Homily for Opening Family Synod Mass

Pope Francis prays before an Icon of the Holy Family have the full text of the Pope's homily at the opening Mass for the Synod. You can read this below:

"If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us” (1 Jn 4:12).

This Sunday’s Scripture readings seem to have been chosen precisely for this moment of grace which the Church is experiencing: the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the family, which begins with this Eucharistic celebration.

The readings centre on three themes: solitude, love between man and woman, and the family.

Adam, as we heard in the first reading, was living in the Garden of Eden. He named all the other creatures as a sign of his dominion, his clear and undisputed power, over all of them. Nonetheless, he felt alone, because "there was not found a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:20). He was lonely.

The drama of solitude is experienced by countless men and women in our own day. I think of the elderly, abandoned even by their loved ones and children; widows and widowers; the many men and women left by their spouses; all those who feel alone, misunderstood and unheard; migrants and refugees fleeing from war and persecution; and those many young people who are victims of the culture of consumerism, the culture of waste, the throwaway culture.

Today we experience the paradox of a globalized world filled with luxurious mansions and skyscrapers, but a lessening of the warmth of homes and families; many ambitious plans and projects, but little time to enjoy them; many sophisticated means of entertainment, but a deep and growing interior emptiness; many pleasures, but few loves; many liberties, but little freedom… The number of people who feel lonely keeps growing, as does the number of those who are caught up in selfishness, gloominess, destructive violence and slavery to pleasure and money.

Our experience today is, in some way, like that of Adam: so much power and at the same time so much loneliness and vulnerability. The image of this is the family. People are less and less serious about building a solid and fruitful relationship of love: in sickness and in health, for better and for worse, in good times and in bad. Love which is lasting, faithful, conscientious, stable and fruitful is increasingly looked down upon, viewed as a quaint relic of the past. It would seem that the most advanced societies are the very ones which have the lowest birth-rates and the highest percentages of abortion, divorce, suicide, and social and environmental pollution.

Love between man and woman
In the first reading we also hear that God was pained by Adam’s loneliness. He said: "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:18). These words show that nothing makes man’s heart as happy as another heart like his own, a heart which loves him and takes away his sense of being alone. These words also show that God did not create us to live in sorrow or to be alone. He made men and women for happiness, to share their journey with someone who complements them, to live the wondrous experience of love: to love and to be loved, and to see their love bear fruit in children, as the Psalm proclaimed today says (cf. Ps 128).

This is God’s dream for his beloved creation: to see it fulfilled in the loving union between a man and a woman, rejoicing in their shared journey, fruitful in their mutual gift of self. It is the same plan which Jesus presents in today’s Gospel: "From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female’. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh” (Mk 10:6-8; cf. Gen 1:27; 2:24).

To a rhetorical question – probably asked as a trap to make him unpopular with the crowd, which practiced divorce as an established and inviolable fact – Jesus responds in a straightforward and unexpected way. He brings everything back to the beginning, to the beginning of creation, to teach us that God blesses human love, that it is he who joins the hearts of two people who love one another, he who joins them in unity and indissolubility. This shows us that the goal of conjugal life is not simply to live together for life, but to love one another for life! In this way Jesus re-establishes the order which was present from the beginning.

"What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mk 10:9). This is an exhortation to believers to overcome every form of individualism and legalism which conceals a narrow self-centredness and a fear of accepting the true meaning of the couple and of human sexuality in God’s plan.

Indeed, only in the light of the folly of the gratuitousness of Jesus’ paschal love will the folly of the gratuitousness of an exclusive and life-long conjugal love make sense.

For God, marriage is not some adolescent utopia, but a dream without which his creatures will be doomed to solitude! Indeed, being afraid to accept this plan paralyzes the human heart.

Paradoxically, people today – who often ridicule this plan – continue to be attracted and fascinated by every authentic love, by every steadfast love, by every fruitful love, by every faithful and enduring love. We see people chase after fleeting loves while dreaming of true love; they chase after carnal pleasures but desire total self-giving.

"Now that we have fully tasted the promises of unlimited freedom, we begin to appreciate once again the old phrase: "world-weariness”. Forbidden pleasures lost their attraction at the very moment they stopped being forbidden. Even if they are pushed to the extreme and endlessly renewed, they prove dull, for they are finite realities, whereas we thirst for the infinite” (Joseph Ratzinger, Auf Christus schauen. Einübung in Glaube, Hoffnung, Liebe, Freiburg, 1989, p. 73).

In this extremely difficult social and marital context, the Church is called to carry out her mission in fidelity, truth and love.

To carry out her mission in fidelity to her Master as a voice crying out in the desert, in defending faithful love and encouraging the many families which live married life as an experience which reveals of God’s love; in defending the sacredness of life, of every life; in defending the unity and indissolubility of the conjugal bond as a sign of God’s grace and of the human person’s ability to love seriously.

The Church is called to carry out her mission in truth, which is not changed by passing fads or popular opinions. The truth which protects individuals and humanity as a whole from the temptation of self-centredness and from turning fruitful love into sterile selfishness, faithful union into temporary bonds. "Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love” (Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 3).

And the Church is called to carry out her mission in charity, not pointing a finger in judgment of others, but – faithful to her nature as a mother – conscious of her duty to seek out and care for hurting couples with the balm of acceptance and mercy; to be a "field hospital” with doors wide open to whoever knocks in search of help and support; even more, to reach out to others with true love, to walk with our fellow men and women who suffer, to include them and guide them to the wellspring of salvation.

A Church which teaches and defends fundamental values, while not forgetting that "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mk 2:27); and that Jesus also said: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mk 2:17). A Church which teaches authentic love, which is capable of taking loneliness away, without neglecting her mission to be a good Samaritan to wounded humanity.

I remember when Saint John Paul II said: "Error and evil must always be condemned and opposed; but the man who falls or who errs must be understood and loved… we must love our time and help the man of our time” (John Paul II, Address to the Members of Italian Catholic Action, 30 December 1978). The Church must search out these persons, welcome and accompany them, for a Church with closed doors betrays herself and her mission, and, instead of being a bridge, becomes a roadblock: "For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb 2:11).

In this spirit we ask the Lord to accompany us during the Synod and to guide his Church, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Bishop Richard Moth Issues 2nd Pastoral Letter on Refugee Crisis

Bishop Richard has responded to the Refugee Crisis alongside other bishops of England and Wales and the requests from parishes in the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton as to what parishes might do to respond.

This Pastoral Letter is to be read in all parishes the weekend of 12/13 September. He says:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Having heard the Holy Father’s invitation to parishes and religious houses in Europe to respond to the growing refugee crisis, and after discussion with Deans, the following arrangements are to be put in place in this Diocese.

Parish Priests are asked to request information from those who are able and willing to assist in the following ways:

1. With emergency short term placement accommodation; short term accommodation for those who are unable to pay; self-contained long term property for those granted refugee status (who are able to pay rent);
2. With skills and time – including language skills; the teaching of English; legal assistance; knowledge of the local community and the facilities that may be available;
3. Financial support. 

This information is to be sent directly to either Aidan Cantwell at DABCEC or to Mary-Jane Burkett at St. Cuthman’s. Mary-Jane will welcome information especially from Brighton & Hove. Aidan and Mary-Jane will act as our contacts with local councils and information from the Bishops’ Conference will also be passed to them.

It is of the utmost importance that we work through these channels to ensure that the best possible support and aid can be directed in the most effective way.

In terms of schools, Local Authorities will be looking to place an increased number of refugee children through their ‘Fair Access’ protocols. I encourage our Catholic school communities to be as open to this as possible.

We can all be attentive to those who may be newly arrived in our parishes and communities. A warm welcome is, in itself, a gift. Your continuing support and prayers for those refugee families who are already living within the Diocese is greatly appreciated and I am sure our response to the present deepening crisis will prove effective.

With every blessing,


Bishop of Arundel & Brighton

You can also listen to a Podcast from Bishop Richard about the Refugee Crisis here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Bishop Richard Moth Asks for Prayers for Queen Elizabeth II

Bishop Richard has asked that prayer be offered to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 9 September and on the weekend along with a prayer of intercession. 

He has also joined the other Bishops of England and Wales in offering a loyal address to the Queen on the occasion of her becoming the longest reigning British Monarch in history.
Bishop Richard has asked that this prayer be offered to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth on 9 September and on the weekend

Friday, September 4, 2015

Bishop Richard issues first Pastoral Letter to Diocese of Arundel & Brighton

Bishop Richard Moth

Bishop Richard Moth First Pastoral Letter: A Call to Mission and Mercy

Bishop Richard Moth has issued his first Pastoral Letter since he was installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton on 28th May. The Pastoral Letter is to be read in all churches this weekend, 5th and 6th September 2015.

In the Pastoral Letter he places the call to Mission at the heart of our task as Christians. He says: “For we must open our minds and hearts to the Word who is Life and we must proclaim the Word whom we hear. This is the task, the responsibility, of every one of us. This is the mission of the Diocese.”

He reflects on the opportunities he has already had to witness the commitment of so many people in the Diocese to this mission, at the recent Festival 50 celebrations at the Amex Stadium in Brighton, during the annual Lourdes pilgrimage and in parishes and schools across the Diocese, but he goes on to say that: “Yet there is so much to be done, for the mission of the Church is never ending as we seek to respond to the needs of our time and the yearning for truth that is present in the heart of every person.”

He believes that at the heart of carrying out this mission is the need to encounter and share ‘the Mercy of the Father’. For this reason he commends to the Diocese the call of Pope Francis to celebrate a ‘Year of Mercy’ which is to begin on 8th December 2015. He calls on parishes to be “communities of mercy – mercy for one another, lived out in such a way that our witness will be a constant invitation to others to encounter the wonder of the Father’s love for us.”

Likewise Christian homes must also be “places of mercy, where all in the family are enabled to grow in the understanding of the mystery of God’s love that we encounter in Christ.” And finally that our Catholic schools “must continue in their mission to enable our young people to take their place in the Church and in the wider society as missionaries of God’s mercy.”

He concludes his letter by asking those listening that whilst aware of our human frailty to be always trusting in God and to be “ever-more committed to the Mission to which Christ has called us – to proclaim the wonders of the Lord and call all people to know the Mercy, Joy and Peace that is found only in Him.”

Bishop Richard’s Pastoral Letter for the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
6th September 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In Today’s Gospel, Jesus heals the hearing and speech of a man with a word – “Be opened”.[1] When we bring children for Baptism, the celebration brings this event before us as we hear the words: “May he touch your ears to receive his word and your mouth to proclaim his faith.”[2] This little prayer is a wonderful expression of our hope for the newly baptised – that they have the opportunity to hear the Word of God and that they respond by proclaiming it to others.

The word of Jesus and the words of this prayer call us to Mission. For we must open our minds and hearts to the Word who is Life[3] and we must proclaim the Word whom we hear. This is the task, the responsibility, of every one of us. This is the mission of the Diocese.

In the short time since my appointment to the Diocese, I have seen this mission being fulfilled in many wonderful ways – in celebration and witness at the Festival 50 celebrations, in the care and shared prayer of our pilgrimage to Lourdes, in the deaneries, parishes and schools that I have been able to visit, where so much is done to form people in Faith. Yet there is so much to be done, for the mission of the Church is never ending as we seek to respond to the needs of our time and the yearning for truth that is present in the heart of every person.

A first step for every one of us on the road to hearing Jesus’ word to us, in all its wonder and challenge is to acknowledge our own frailty, shortcomings and failures. Experiencing the Mercy of the Father does more than encourage us to be merciful. So, mercy – love in action – becomes an imperative, something that is no longer an option. “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful, says the Lord.”[4] The real encounter with the Love and Mercy of God is an experience of Call – the Call is, as St. James reminds us in today’s second reading, to invite all people home to the Love and Mercy of the Father, experienced in the One Whom he has sent.[5]

Pope Francis, in introducing the Church to the Year of Mercy, writes: “Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life.”[6] Hence, our preparation and celebration of the Year of Mercy should be related in every way to the Mission of the Church.

Our parishes must be communities of mercy – mercy for one another, lived out in such a way that our witness will be a constant invitation to others to encounter the wonder of the Father’s love for us. Our homes should be places of mercy, where all in the family are enabled to grow in the understanding of the mystery of God’s love that we encounter in Christ. Our schools must continue in their mission to enable our young people to take their place in the Church and in the wider society as missionaries of God’s mercy.

As members of Christ’s Church, may we open our minds and hearts to be formed completely by our encounter with the mystery of Lord’s Mercy. We experience that encounter in a very particular way in the Sacraments: the Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Sick and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It must surely be the case that when we realise the wonder of these gifts, we are also called to reflect on the gift of the Priesthood in the life of the Church and in the Mission in which we all share. Pray each day in thanksgiving for the priests who serve in our Diocese. Pray, too, that others will answer the call to serve as Priests, for the encounter with a merciful Church will also be an encounter with the wonder of the Sacraments that bring forgiveness, healing and strength for the mission.

[1] Mk. 7:34.

[2] The Rite of Baptism, n. 101.

[3] 1 Jn. 1:1.

[4] Lk. 6:36.

[5] Jn. 6:29.

[6] POPE FRANCIS, Bull of Indiction Misericordiae vultus of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, n. 10.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Canon Brian O'Sullivan Dies - Funeral Mass in Local Anglican Church

Canon Brian at Lourdes in the Grotto for Mass in 2011
Canon Brian O'Sullivan who died on Friday 21 August. His Funeral Mass will be on Tuesday 8 September at 12 Noon in the local Anglican Parish Church of St Andrew and St Cuthman Church, Vicarage Lane, Steyning BN44 3YL. This is with the kind permission of the Bishop of Chichester and reflects Canon Brian's commitment in his life to Christian Unity.

There will be Vigil Mass for him at 7pm on Monday 7 September at Christ the King, Bramber Road, Steyning BN44 3PB. Please pray for the repose of his soul.

May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sad Closure of St Joseph’s Care Home, Brighton

St Joseph's Care Home, Brighton
The Diocese of Arundel & Brighton was sad to hear of the closure of St Joseph’s Care Home, Brighton

The Institute of Our Lady of Mercy released a statement saying:
'It is with regret that the Institute of Our Lady of Mercy confirmed today August 19th that St Joseph’s Care Home, Brighton will be closing this autumn.

Since the initial announcement on July 6th of the proposal to close the Home a full consultation has been undertaken with the staff. At the same time residents and their families have been given support in finding other accommodation.

Sr Colette Cronin, the Institute Leader, said: “During this consultation period we have not received any viable alternative proposals that would enable us to keep the Home open. At this time, our priority is to ensure the well-being and safety of all remaining residents throughout the closure process. We are working to enable closure to take place by the end of October 2015 at the latest.

We will continue to offer our remaining residents and their families support to help find suitable alternative accommodation.

We know that this has been a very difficult period for residents, families and the staff. We would like to express our deep gratitude to our staff for their professionalism and loyalty. They have continued to offer the highest quality of care throughout this time.”

At the moment no decisions have been made about arrangements for the future of the property in the longer term.'