Monday, September 22, 2014

An App to Follow and Learn about the Mass features a new app:
This educational app offers the Mass from a different point of view. It's called "Mass Explained” and it is the perfect way to understand and learn more about the meaning of the actions, words, signs and rites of the Mass.

It explains the Roman Rite, the Mass the majority of Catholics are familiar with. Additionally, it explores each section of the liturgy with prayers and unique gestures.

The app is interactive and includes 3D videos and panoramic photos. It also contains biblical references, quotes from the Fathers of the Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and encyclicals.

"Mass Explained” is available in English for the iPad.

Monday, September 15, 2014

St Peter's Wins Cricket Match against St Peter's!

Vatican and Brighton St Peter's Cricket Teams
St. Peter's Vatican lost the T20 game to St. Peter's Brighton

St. Peter's Brighton 168/6 (20 overs)

St. Peter's Vatican 114/9 (20 overs)

The Vatican team said "Congratulations to all our friends in Brighton for having offered us a wonderful day... Many thanks from the bottom of our hearts..."

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ania’s 102nd Birthday Celebrations at St Joan of Arc Farnham

Ania Botwin with Great-Niece Gosia in St. Joan’s Centre, Farnham
On 6th August, Ania Botwin, a parishioner of St Joan of Arc in Farnham, celebrated her 102nd birthday. Mass on the following Sunday was celebrated for her intentions and Father Niven Richardson gave her a blessing and a special candle.

After Mass, many of the congregation joined her and family members for a drink and cake in St Joan’s Parish Centre. A lovely feature of this celebration was a Bach Gavotte for violin played by Gosia, Ania’s 16 year old great-niece. Gosia is studying violin in Warsaw and is spending two weeks holidaying with Ania and family in Farnham.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Want to find more information on Popes? There's an 'app' for that

Pope Francis is the 266th Pontiff in the history of the Catholic Church. He's obviously very popular, but the lives of other Popes, like Gregory X, aren't as well known.

Now, there's an 'app' for that. It's called Popes Encyclopedia and with one simple click the lives of every single Pope become available.

It allows users to choose information on the Popes by date, name, country or religious order.

Tapping on the cross will open the main menu. There one can find all kinds of information like the age of John XXIII upon his election, or where Pope Callistus III was born.

Users can also search topics ranging from the longest papacy to resignations and even Popes who have been canonized.

A picture of each Pope can be found along with a card that lists key details about their lives. Popes Encyclopedia is available for iPhone and Android smartphones.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

25th Anniversary of Depaul UK and its work with Young People

A Nightstop host volunteer welcomes a young person to stay for the night. Photo: Courtesy of Depaul UK 
Twenty-five years ago, the charity Depaul UK was set up in response to the growing number of young people sleeping rough on the streets across the country. A thanksgiving mass will celebrate the charity’s anniversary at 2pm on 27th September 2014 - the feast day of St Vincent de Paul - at Westminster Cathedral, presided over by the charity’s patron Cardinal Vincent Nichols. 

An unprecedented rise in youth homelessness has caused demand for Depaul UK’s services to increase by 300% in just 12 months in some parts of the country. In order to meet rising demand, Depaul is calling on households across the Catholic community who have a spare room to consider making it available to a young homeless person.

The charity supports a network of 40 safe emergency accommodation services across the UK, called Nightstops, placing homeless young people aged 16-25 in the homes of over 740 volunteer hosts approved by Depaul UK. The scheme sees volunteer hosts provide a room, evening meal and listening ear to a young homeless person for one night or for up to two weeks. Once engaged with Nightstop, staff can then work with the young person in partnership with local agencies to help them address issues that caused them to become homeless, providing family mediation and securing longer-term settled accommodation.

Martin Houghton-Brown, Chief Executive of Depaul UK, said:
“The thanksgiving mass is a great opportunity to thank the Catholic community for the invaluable support and commitment that has helped the charity transform the lives of so many young people who are homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged.

“But recent times have been tough on young people, with an estimated 80,000 becoming homeless or sleeping rough last year in the UK and demand for our services rising so fast we are having to turn young people away. This is forcing more and more to sleep in unsafe places, vulnerable to exploitation and harm.

“Nightstop is a unique and increasingly vital service made possible by the generosity of inspirational people, many from the Catholic community, with a spare room and a desire to help young people in crisis.”

Depaul’s journey began over 400 years ago in a small village in the Pyrenees where St Vincent de Paul was born in 1581. And since Depaul UK was founded in 1989 through the partnership of three Catholic charities and the vision of the late Cardinal Basil Hume, the values based Vincentian charity has continued its strong links with the Catholic Church.

Since 1989, the charity has helped over 80,000 children through a national network of youth homelessness projects in the UK and now also operates in Ireland, France, Slovakia, the USA and Ukraine. Conflict in Ukraine is driving many displaced families to Kharkiv and Odessa where Depaul projects have been offering a vital lifeline, providing hot meals, first aid, shelter and support for those living on the margins of a society in turmoil.

If you would like to sign up as a host family, visit to find your local Nightstop. Alternatively contact us via Twitter and we will put you in touch with the right project: @DepaulNightstop

Friday, August 29, 2014

Supporting and Praying for the Ukraine

Rt Rev Hlib Lonchyna (see picture), Holy Family Eparch of London for Ukrainian Catholics in Great Britain has written:
"The letter of the Primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is a heartfelt appeal for prayer and support for the Ukrainian people of all faiths in this most dangerous and volatile situation, as well as a plea to be wary of many forms of misinformation coming not only from government sources (the media), but - regretfully - even from the Russian Orthodox Church.”

Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halych (see picture), Primate of Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church

Kyiv, August 21, 2014
Prot. N. 14/370
To the Catholic Episcopal conferences
То the World’s Religious and Political Leaders
To All People of Good Will

For nine months Ukrainians, have been on an arduous pilgrimage from post-Soviet fear to freedom and God-given dignity. Traumatized by twentieth century World Wars, brown and red totalitarianism and genocide, they seek a just society and a democratic, European future. With patience, endurance, and great human sacrifice they overcame in February the brutal regime of Viktor Yanukovych. This moral triumph was answered in March by Russia’s territorial annexation of Crimea. Now, for months the country endures foreign supported destabilization, separatism, and terrorist activity in the Donetsk and Luhansk Regions, in one word: war. Tragically, as became manifest in the criminal shootdown of Malasian Airlines Flight 17, the Ukrainian trial affects the global community.

All of the Churches and religious organizations of Ukraine stood together against the violence of the Yanukovych regime, the annexation of Crimea, and the division of the country. On the Maydan-Square for months, every day, and hourly in the night, in common prayer they insisted on respect of civil rights, non-violence, unity of the country, and dialogue. This civic ecumenical and inter-religious harmony and cooperation has been an important source of moral inspiration and social cohesion in Ukraine.

In annexed Crimea and in the Eastern war zone some of the Churches and religious communities have been targeted for discrimination, enduring outright violence. In Crimea the most exposed have been the Muslim Tatars. The Tatar community as a whole is in daily danger. Some of its leadership has been exiled, barred from their homeland. The existence of Greek and Roman Catholics ministries, Orthodox parishes of the Kyivan Patriarchate, and the Jewish community in Crimea has been variously menaced.

In April violence was instigated in eastern Ukraine. According to Ukrainian authorities some 1000 people, including international journalist and peace monitors, were kidnapped or detained; dozens were tortured or killed. The anti-terror operation launched by the Ukrainian government faces a foreign aggression that co-opts local rebels and local and international criminal delinquents. As a result today there are over thousand civilian casualties in the densely populated cities, with the number rising by 50 deaths or more daily, not to mention the 298 victims of MA Flight 17. The infrastructure of the cities including roads and bridges, electric substations, coal mines, and industrial installations are being destroyed to cripple the economy and future reconstruction that will become the responsibility of the Ukrainian state. Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee the warfare that has been brought into the heart of the cities by the so-called separatists.

Amidst the horrors of war the tiny Ukrainian Greek and Roman Catholic minority experience oppression on the territories controlled by the “separatists.” Three Catholic priests were kidnapped: Pawel Witek and Wiktor Wąsowicz (Roman Catholic), Tykhon Kulbaka (Greek Catholic). The later was kept in captivity for 10 days and deprived of medicine he needed. The episcopal residence of the Greek Catholic bishop in Donetsk was robbed and sealed, depriving him of his chancery and all documentation. The Cathedral yard was hit by “separatist” rocket fire damaging the building and windows with shrapnel. The bishop and almost all Greek Catholic priests were forced to leave the environs of Donetsk. Armed representatives of separatist regime entered the church and desecrated the sanctuary. They “allowed” priests to stay and conduct services but put them on travel restrictions. Terrorists blackmail the clergy by threatening to harm their parishioners.

Most recently, on Saturday, August 16, the small monastery of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate in Donetsk was seized and violated. The sisters who generously and humbly served the community and who were on a summer retreat or at summer camps for children outside of Donetsk cannot now return to their home now being used by the “separatists.”

Protestants are targeted by pro-Russian terrorist groups and have suffered the gravest violence: two sons of the pastor of the Evangelical Church “Metamorphosis” Alexander Pavlenko and two deacons of that church, Victor Brodarsky and Vladimir Velichko were taken from a church service, tortured, and killed by the terrorists. Their bodies were exhumed from amass grave in Sloviansk.

Unfortunately, the beleaguered Ukrainian Catholics, Greek and Roman, faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate and Protestants in the east of Ukraine are further endangered by the rhetoric of the Orthodox leadership in Russia, which is becoming increasingly similar to the propaganda of Russian political authorities and media.

In recent documents issued in Moscow at the highest level of the Russian Orthodox Church, particularly in a letter to the Primates of the Orthodox Churches, Greek Catholics and the Ukrainian Orthodox of the Kyivan Patriarchate, disrespectfully called "Uniates" and "schismatics”, are defamed. They are held responsible for the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine and are accused of generating the warfare, especially the violence against Orthodox clergy and faithful endured as a result of military operations. Russian Orthodox leaders spread libelous information about Greek Catholics and other confessions thereby putting them in danger from the separatist militants who identify themselves as warriors for Russian Orthodoxy.

We strongly reject these claims and accusations. The Ukrainian military is not structured as a denominational entity. Therefore, chaplains of various denominations serve in the zone of the Antiterrorist Operation. Chaplains are not permitted to interfere in the life of local religious communities. Accusations that chaplains of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church have committed acts of violence against members of other churches and religious groups are not true.

The tragedy that Ukraine is experiencing today, due to military aggression, is a tragedy for all peoples, believers of all faiths, and all social groups. Buildings, churches and monasteries of all religious and ethnic groups are being damaged or destroyed. Clergy of all faiths who exercise their pastoral ministry in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and Crimea have suffered, some risking their own lives. Two Orthodox priests who were killed in the region are among more than a thousand civilians killed during the conflict and their terrible deaths are not connected with their religious beliefs. They were accidental victims of shelling.

We pray for all the innocent victims and for peace in Ukraine. And our Church is doing everything to bring peace and alleviate the suffering of those affected by this terrible conflict.

Ukraine needs the effective support of the global Christian community and support of all people of good will. In a media context rife with propaganda we ask you to evaluate information critically. We need your prayer, your discernment, your good words and effective deeds. Silence and inaction will lead to further tragedy. The fate of MA Flight 17 is an example of what may happen if the terrorist activity is allowed to continue.

Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halych
Primate of Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church