Monday, September 26, 2016

Bishop Richard Moth Pastoral Letter to Act on Poverty

Bishop Richard Moth
©Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk

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.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Diocese Seeks New Volunteer Editor for A&B News


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 ruth.gerun@dabnet.org
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 communications@dabnet.org

Friday, August 12, 2016

Young People are Interested in the Church and Faith - A&B World Youth Day Feedback

WYD Pilgrims at prayer during Saturday Vigil
What’s the biggest crowd you’ve ever been in? Have a think…

The biggest football matches in this country draw about 90,000 people. Glastonbury this year drew almost twice as many. If you were at Festival 50 last July, you were probably one of around 11,000, and if you went to Big Church Day Out this year, you were in among 25,000.

As impressive as those numbers are though, a group of pilgrims from our Diocese were part of an event in last month which drew more than three million! That’s seventeen times larger than Glastonbury, and more than a hundred times bigger than Big Church Day Out. We’re talking, of course, about World Youth Day 2016. According to Wikipedia, one of the thirty-or-so largest gatherings of any kind ever!

World Youth Day started back in the mid 1980s, the brainchild of Pope Saint John Paul II. It takes place locally every year (in the UK, we mark it with ‘National Youth Sunday’ in the Autumn) but every two or three years, it’s marked with a huge international gathering. In 2011, it was in Madrid, in 2013 in Rio, and in 2016 it was the turn of the beautiful city of Krakow in Poland. 49 A&B pilgrims joined pilgrims from all over the world and, importantly, the Holy Father!

The choice of Krakow is an interesting one. Krakow, of course, is synonymous with Saint John Paul, the founder of World Youth Day. This festival gave us not only a chance to celebrate him, but also to focus on the city that produced him, together with its rich Catholic heritage.

The phrase ‘World Youth Day’ is actually a bit misleading. It all culminates in Sunday Mass with the Holy Father, but leading up to that is a week of events all focused on the host city.

A&B WYD Group
For the A&B group, our journey to Krakow began on the previous Sunday, July 24th. After Fr Simon Dray said Mass for us at DABCEC, we piled into our coach and hit the road.

Our first obstacle was to clear Dover. This was the weekend where the media were reporting huge delays at Dover. Luckily, we cleared Dover with no delay at all. Proof, if proof were needed, that prayer works - we all got on the case, as did the people gathered for the Lourdes briefing back home!

The journey to Krakow was plain sailing until we hit the Polish border. The four-hour delay while the coach driver registered with the Polish authorities was an annoying setback, but it gave us a great chance to mix with thousands of other pilgrims who were in the same boat – our first taste of the crazy festival atmosphere of World Youth Day.

Ahead of the weekend, the events of WYD follow a simple format. There are three large events, attended by everyone, punctuated by a load of smaller ones.

The three large events are the Opening Mass, the welcome ceremony for the Pope, and the Stations of the Cross. The Opening Mass in particular, gave us our first taste of huge crowds, and our first chance to explore the themes of WYD. Ahead of the Pope’s arrival, it was celebrated by Cardinal Dsiwisz, the Archbishop of Krakow, and John Paul’s long time secretary.

WYD English speakers at catechises session
From Wednesday onwards, our days followed a simple format: Catechesis in the morning and ‘Youth Festival’ activities in the afternoon and evening. The latter was all about exploring the events put on around the city, while the former was about exploring our faith and celebrating Mass in language groups. We went to a huge arena for a programme of events laid on the by Knights of Columbus. We were lucky enough to be led in catechesis by Cardinal O’Malley of Boston and Cardinal Tagle of Manila.

A&B Group at WYD Saturday night in Campus Misericordiae

WYD Saturday night in Campus Misericordiae
On the Saturday morning, all of this came together and all of those assembled in Krakow left their accommodation to head for Campus Misericordiae – a huge area outside the city designed to hold a few million pilgrims. Since it’s impossible to get that many people in to an area in the space of a few hours, the tradition has developed at WYD that we file in throughout the Saturday and sleep out overnight! It’s not the most comfortable night’s sleep in your life, but definitely one of the most memorable. The sleep is bookended by a vigil with the Holy Father on the Saturday evening and the Mass the next day.

We were led on our pilgrimage by Fr Aaron Spinelli, the Diocese’s Priest Adviser for Youth Ministry. He was helped out by four other chaplains, who helped to animate and explain what was going on within our group and who were on hand to hear confessions and celebrate Mass for us throughout the week. One of the key things they kept telling us was that we had come to Krakow at the invitation of the Pope, but we had really come to meet Christ!

By the end of the week, it was clear that the week had affected everyone. Before we left, we talked about how we are going to continue what we’ve started back home. During his homily on the Saturday night, Pope Francis challenged those present not to be stay “on the couch!” It’s tempting, he remarked, but in reality it limits our freedom and stifles who we really are. If we want to see a change in the world, we have to bring the best version of ourselves that we can. A great challenge for young people everywhere!

Fr Aaron with some of the A&B WYD group


Friday, August 5, 2016

Blessing of Lourdes Benches in Memory of Lady Sarah Clutton RIP

One of Benches to be blessed

Blessing of Benches by Bishop Richard

Bishop Richard with Lady Herries (sister of Lady Sarah), Mgr Barry Wymes and Mr Francois Labadie, Director of the Accueil Notre Dame, Lourdes Sanctuary
In memory of Lady Sarah Clutton