Friday, June 24, 2016

50 Years a Priest - Fr Liam Celebrates with Bishop Richard

L-R: Bishop Richard, Deacon Gary and Fr Liam O'Connor
The parishioners of English Martyrs Church in Goring by Sea recently celebrated the Golden Anniversary of the Ordination of their parish priest, Father Liam O'Connor. Father Liam was ordained at St John's College, Waterford, Eire on 12 June 1966. Although expecting to be appointed to parishes in the Southwark Diocese, Father Liam very quickly found himself attached to the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton which had been newly formed the year before, 1965. He was appointed to the parish of St. Barnabas, East Molesey in Surrey, where he served until 1970.

Over the following 36 years, Father Liam found himself for various periods at five different parishes, until, in 2006, he was sent to English Martyrs. During his ten years here, Father Liam has become a well loved priest, dedicated to the spiritual wellbeing of the parish family of God. In this Father Liam has lived out his promise of fifty years ago to commit himself as an instrument of Jesus Christ; to serve through sharing in the sacred ministry of Christ himself.

To mark this significant milestone, the celebrations started with a special Mass at 3.00 pm, concelebrated by Father Liam, Bishop Richard Moth and other priests of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. On this occasion the church was full as the parishioners came together, with Father Liam's family and friends from the parishes where he had previously served over the fifty years, as well as clergy from other churches in Goring. After the Mass, presentation was made to Father Liam to mark the occasion. This included a substantial cheque, a specially prepared anniversary candle and a Book of Memories, into which parishioners and friends had recorded their tributes and congratulations to Father Liam. After this, the celebrations continued with a buffet reception for all supported by the performers, Shenanigan, who provided music and song.

These took place in the grade 2 listed Barn, which had served as the first church until 1970, when the present church was brought into use. The church is well known as the home of the reproduction of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling, painted over twenty years ago by Gary Bevans, who, as Deacon Gary, was present at the Mass and celebrations afterwards.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Pope Speaks to Deacons 50 Years on from Foundation of International Diaconate Centre

Pope Francis greeting Deacon Mark Woods and his wife Jane
On Saturday 4 June the Holy Father received in audience in the Hall of Popes the members of the International Centre for the Diaconate, which at the end of last year celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation, and who were on a pilgrimage to Rome on the occasion of the Jubilee of Mercy. With the group was an English Deacon and his wife, Mark and Jane Woods from the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton. The weekend before the Pope had celebrated Mass for thousands of Deacons from around the world as part of the Jubilee of Mercy.

In his address to the deacons, Francis recalled the new commandment that Jesus entrusted to the apostles during the Last Supper – "just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another". "By loving each other, the disciples continue the mission for which the Son of God came into the world", the Pope explained. "And they understand, helped by the Holy Spirit, that this commandment implies service to their brothers and sisters."

However, in order to take care of people and their needs in a practical sense, the apostles chose a number of "deacons", or servants. "Deacons express in a particular way Jesus' commandment: imitate God in the service of others, imitate God Who is love and is driven even to serve us. God's way of acting, with patience, benevolence, compassion and willingness to better us, must also distinguish all the ministries: bishops as successors of the apostles, priests, their collaborators, and, in the concrete work of 'serving tables', deacons. Deacons are the face of the Church in everyday life, of a community that lives and journeys in the midst of the people, and where the great are not those who command, but rather those who serve."

Deacon Mark said he was inspired by both the pontiff's commitment to the diaconate and the attention he paid to others. “I was most impressed how closely the pope listened to both the addresses from the Bishop Protector, Rt Rev Gebhard F├╝rst and the President, Deacon Klaus Kiessling of the International Diaconate Centre. He also blessed my wife, Jane, and I personally and a Bible I had with me from a friend.”

“Pope Francis showed his commitment to the diaconate around the world in meeting with us and in encouraging us to be servants acting in love,” he added.

The International Diaconate Centre was formed in 1965 in the wake of Vatican II to encourage and support the development of the diaconate worldwide. Since that time there are now deacons in more than 50 per cent of dioceses in the world. In England and Wales the last diocese without deacons, Salford, has announced it is hoping to begin deacon formation in the coming years. The Diocese of Arundel & Brighton has had deacons for over 40 years.

You can see additional photos of the audience on the Vatican photo website ( for 4 June).

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Joannie Following in the Footsteps of Julie - World Youth Day Communications

Joannie with ITV's Julie Etchingham
Joannie, a World Youth Day pilgrim from Arundel & Brighton Diocese who is going to Krakow in July for World Youth Day with Pope Francis is following in the footsteps of ITV presenter Julie Etchingham.

Joannie will be a World Youth Day communications officer during her time in Krakow helping to spread the good news via all media from Facebook to news releases about the meeting with the Pope and other young pilgrims. Julie Etchingham herself did the same role some 25 years earlier at an previous World Youth Day in Poland with Pope St John Paul II.

This will be a wonderful opportunity for Joannie not only to do the same as Julie, but to let the world know about the faith and commitment of millions of young Catholics from around the world.

For more on World Youth Day see their website.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Bishop Richard Moth Celebrates 570 Years of Priesthood

L-R: Fr Anthony Meredith, Fr Laurence Quin-Morris, Fr Christopher Sexton, Bishop Richard Moth, Canon Brendan MacCarthy, Fr Rob Esdaile, Fr Liam O'Connor and Mgr Michael Jackson
Bishop Richard Moth celebrated Mass at Arundel Cathedral on Wednesday 8th June for those priests celebrating a Diamond, Golden, Ruby and Silver Jubilee of priestly ordination. He pointed out that between the 10 priests in the Diocese celebrating jubilees this year they had given 570 years of priestly service. He informed us that 570 years ago in 1446 the Blarney Stone was put in position and the Antipope Clement VII died. This helped everybody present to appreciate the amount of loving service provided by these 10 men.

In his homily Bishop Richard reflected that not only had these men responded to the Lord’s call on the day of their ordination, but that they continued to respond to that call every day especially in the people they met and in their regular commitment to the celebration of the Eucharist. He affirmed that at the heart of priesthood lies the mystery of God, revealed in Jesus Christ as the God who is love. He said “Our life as priests is to be lived out in love.”

The Jubilarians present were: Diamond Jubilee – Fr Christopher Sexton and Canon Brendan MacCarthy; Golden Jubilee – Fr Liam O’Connor and Fr Anthony Meredith IC; Ruby Jubilee – Fr Laurence Quin-Morris and Monsignor Michael Jackson; Silver Jubilee – Fr Rob Esdaile. They also prayed for those who were not present: Diamond Jubilee – Fr Frank McHugh and Fr Geoffrey Nixon; Silver Jubilee – Fr Niven Richardson. They also remember Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, former Bishop of Arundel & Brighton Diocese who will celebrate his Diamond Jubilee of ordination this year.

Canon Brendan MacCarthy celebrating his Diamond Jubilee gave a word of thanks on behalf of the Jubilarians at the end of Mass to his brother priests, some 70 or more, who had come to celebrate with them and to the Bishop for his inspiring words and support of the priesthood. He remembered as a young man that he had himself kissed the Blarney Stone which produced knowing laughter amongst those present. He prayed for more vocations to the priesthood saying that “the priests of today are the youth of yesterday, and the priests of tomorrow are the youth of today.” He encouraged all present to promote vocations to the priesthood to young people in their parishes.

Bishop Richard was able to announce himself that 4 men will be starting studies for the priesthood in the autumn to the great joy of all present.

The priests then sat down for a celebratory meal in the Cathedral Centre and toasted the 570 years of priesthood being celebrated this year in the diocese.

Photos: Jubilarians with Bishop Richard ©Arundel & Brighton Diocese

More photos at

Monday, May 23, 2016

New Lectio Divina Leaflet for Year of Mercy

Praying the Scriptures
Bishop Richard Moth in his Pastoral Letter for Trinity Sunday 2016 spoke about prayer and the Year of Mercy and especially the way of praying known as Lectio Divina. Under his guidance the Diocese has produced a leaflet outlining how to pray with the Scriptures in this way.

Copies of the leaflet have been sent to every parish in the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton

To find out more you can find the leaflet here.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Pastoral Letter for Trinity Sunday from Bishop Richard Moth

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This occasion of Trinity Sunday invites us to reflect on the wonder of the One God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The relationships that exist in the three Persons of the Trinity invite us to think about our own relationship with the One God in whom we believe and who invites us to be in relationship with Him – through the person of the Son and through the understanding and knowledge that are gifts of the Spirit.

The encounter that we have with God in prayer is, therefore, of the deepest importance in our lives.  Prayer is not merely an option – it is a key element in the life of each one of us.

In this Year of Mercy we are called, by the Holy Father, to encounter God afresh in his Word to us in the Scriptures.

“[Mercy] is a programme of life as demanding as it is rich with joy and peace…In Order to be capable of mercy, therefore, we must first of all dispose ourselves to listen to the Word of God.  This means rediscovering the value of silence in order to meditate on the Word that comes to us.  In this way, it will be possible to contemplate God’s mercy and adopt it as our lifestyle.”[1]

The experience of the Church down through the ages has brought to us a wonderful way in which to respond to the Holy Father’s call to us.  Lectio Divina – Holy Reading – enables us to listen to God’s Word in a way that is simple and refreshing.  Spending a little time each day with a short passage from the Scriptures, reading it through a number of times and pausing to allow the Word to dwell in the depth of the heart, enables us to hear what God wishes to say to us.   I would recommend taking a Gospel to begin with and working through slowly, reflecting on a short passage each day.

It is truly wonderful to realise that God wishes to say something to you and to me, as individuals whom he has formed and whom he loves.  Through this short time of meditation on the Word of God, we are – over time – formed by the Word.  God speaks to us and we are transformed.  We become the people He wishes us to be and, as the Holy Father has explained, it is only then that Mercy can truly be our lifestyle.

There will be many in the family of the Diocese who have already adopted this practice of Lectio Divina.  Already, one of the great blessings for me during this Year of Mercy has been the gatherings with the young people of the Diocese – well over three hundred of them – to reflect on the Word of God in this way.  Meetings with many of our teachers and in a number of parishes have provided similar opportunities.  The increasing practice of Lectio Divina will, I truly hope, be a major feature of the life of our Diocesan family.

This prayerful encounter with God’s word to us will indeed form us as individuals as we “listen with the ear of the heart”[2] to the Father who loves us.

We can be formed, too, in the many groups in which we gather.  There are many means of formation in the life of the Church, of course, but through opening the mind and heart to the Word of God our formation will be rooted in the love and mercy of the Father.  This will have the most profound effect on the Mission to which the Lord has called us.  It is a foundation on which we can build.

I cannot encourage you strongly enough to take a little time each day to reflect on the Word.  Accompanying this Pastoral Letter, leaflets are available describing Lectio Divina.[3]  Take one of these leaflets with you and set aside a short time to listen to the Father who seeks to speak to your heart.  Practice this Holy Reading in schools, in parish groups, catechetical formation and gatherings – for through our encounter with the Word of God we shall become a people of Mercy and enabled to carry out the Mission to which we have been called.

With every Blessing as we continue together this Jubilee of Mercy,


Bishop of Arundel & Brighton

[1] POPE FRANCIS, Bull of Indiction Misericordiae vultus of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, n. 13.

[2] The Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue, 1.

[3] Also available on the Diocesan Website.