Monday, 22 December 2008
Friday, 19 December 2008
A Directory, however, cannot give a full picture of the diocese as it is mainly contains facts and figures but the Bishop in his introduction gives a glimpse of the wider picture. He speaks of the positive signs for the future in the diocese with the beginnings of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, the completion of a brand new Church in Woking and the young people who went to World Youth Day and Lourdes with him. He says of the new Church "it is a clear statement about our optimimsm for the future" and of the young people "a further cause for optimism."
Like Bishop Kieran in this season of hope and expectancy "I pray tht 2009 will bring you many blessings and enrich you with hope."
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
Thousands of pilgrimages made their way to Lourdes in this Jubilee Year and it was for many a time of great blessing. One of the pilgrims was Pope Benedict who spent several days there in September. Bishop Kieran from this diocese also led a pilgrimage of over 1,000 people for a week of prayer, celebration and healing. The pilgrimage happens every year but for this Jubilee Year the numbers participating were greater than ever, and more people than ever were able to share in the joy of Lourdes on the diocesan pilgrimage.
Bishop Kieran will again be leading another pilgrimage from the diocese from 23rd - 31st July 2009 and application forms will be available for all those interested in going from January 2009 from the Lourdes Pilgrimage Office, School Lane, Storrington RH20 4LL - firstname.lastname@example.org. Though it will not be the Jubilee Year nevertheless the miracle of Lourdes will still be available for all who share in this pilgrimage.
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
For instance people are often dismayed by the collapse in the number of those entering religious life in this country. Yet it is not a hopeless situation. This summer, for example I was in France and visited the Abbaye de Maumont which is a community of some 55 Nuns following the ancient Benedictine rule. They seemed to be of all ages from their mid-twenties to their nineties. Some communities clearly are still showing signs of vitality and life. In our own diocese we had a recent visit from the Community of St John to lead a parish mission and retreat in Rottingdean near Brighton. This is a growing community with over 500 brothers and 450 sisters across the globe and a couple of the brothers originally come from this diocese . Last summer also saw the simple profession of Sr Joanna Harrison (pictured above right) from Brighton in our diocese as a Cistercian Nun at Holy Cross Abbey in Whitland, Wales. There are many examples of new and ancient religious orders that are flourishing in this day because their charism responds to the needs of our time even as other orders diminish. These religious offer a life of hope in our hopeless world.
Monday, 8 December 2008
Monday, 1 December 2008
Last week was the annual meeting of Directors of Deacon Formation and Deacon delelgates in Leeds which reflects and considers the role of deacons in this modern age. Attending the conference was illumating as we heard about the forthcoming Directory on Diaconate Formation subject to recognito (approval) from Rome and the development of the diaconate in Ireland. The first 24 Irish students are this year beginning their training and preparation. There was a tremendously fruitful discussion on this and other issues and we all came away encouraged.
In this diocese there are some 32 active deacons with another 6 in training and vocations continue to grow to this aspect of ordained ministry. If you want to find out more about the diaconate then they are included on the Diocesan Vocations website.
Please pray for your deacons and those in training, and that more men, married and single will put themselves forward for this ancient ministry being rediscovered anew.
Thursday, 27 November 2008
Ultimately the truth is, of course, that useful as all this new technology is, nevertheless as we approach Advent we are reminded of something greater, the ongoing communication of God in history and most especially in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. It is a communication that reaches across time and space and calls us to something deeper than merely a 'facebook' relationship with God and each other. It is a relationship where to paraphase the motto of Servant of God, John Henry Newman (see picture below), heart must speak to heart. Our communications whether new or old must echo this and try to offer something deeper rather than something superficial. The statement on next year's World Communications Day reminds that we must develop this in the 'new environment and new culture' of the modern media.
Jesus said; "Stay awake and ready, because you do not know the hour when the Son of Man is coming." (Mt 24:42-44)
Thursday, 20 November 2008
'The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed, and he will open the scroll'
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Friday, 7 November 2008
They are asking parishes to hold an emergency appeal if possible. Next weekend and the weekend after there are designated collections but not this weekend. They are also asking individuals to give generously in a mass mail out.
CAFOD is probably one of the best placed organisations to help in this area of the Congo through Caritas Internationalis, the international federation of Catholic agencies and also through exisitng partners such as Caritas Goma, the local diocesan aid agency. Please give generously!
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
It is obviously exciting for the parish to have Guy come and speak to them as Guy, who is a member of the Jesuit order, is amongst other things the curator of the Vatican meteorite collection in Castel Gandolfo near Rome, Italy. His work focuses on the links between asteroids and meteorites, and the origins and evolution of small bodies in the solar system. He believes in the need for science and religion to work alongside one another rather than as competing ideologies.
Castel Gandolfo has been the Headquarters of the Vatican Observatory since 1930s but it was preceded by several earlier Observatories in Rome, the first being in 16th Century. It is one of the oldest continuous astronomical institutes in the world. Since 1981 a sister Observatory has operated in Tucson, Arizona, USA because of the brightening skies over Castel Gandolfo.
Guy is the author of several popular astronomy books including 'Intelligent Life in the Universe? Catholic belief and the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life'. (Catholic Truth Society) as well as the BBC radio series ‘A Brief History of the End of Everything’.
There was also a celebration of another Jesuit recently in Hastings who also saw the links between the cosmos and faith. This was Fr Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ who spent some of his Jesuit training in Hastings, in exile from the French anti-clerical government of the time. A blue plaque (see left) was recently dedicated to him there by the local council and the Teilhard de Chardin Society. His most famous books printed posthumously are perhaps 'The Phenomenon of Man' and 'The Divine Milieu'. His work was and is controversial and some of his theories were condemned by the then Holy Office in 1962. This is still the official Church view, though he was warmly appreciated on the hundredth anniversary of his birth in 1981 in the Vatican Newspaper, Osservatore Romano by Cardinal Casoroli. Indeed some theologians such as Henri de Lubac SJ have written works in support of him. He certainly provokes debate. A very interesting article on him and his theology can, of course, be found on Wikipedia
Friday, 31 October 2008
The recent Synod of Bishops in Rome which came to an end last weekend is linked to this desire for holiness. It was focused on the Word of God and reminded us that as Catholic Christian we are feed both at the Table of the Word and the Table of the Lord i.e. Scripture and Eucharist united in the person of Jesus Christ.
Whilst there was perhaps nothing startling in the final 55 propositions from the Synod, except perhaps the suggestion that women as well as men might be instituted as Lectors (n.17), nevertheless there was an important recommitment to bring the Word of God more clearly into the lives of Catholics. This is to be achieved by, amongst other things, better preaching from clergy, lectio divina (prayerful reading of the Bible) and using modern means of communication to promote study and prayer on the Scriptures.
The 55 propositions are available to read in Italian.
The Diocese for its part is offering Advent reflections based around the Sunday Scriptures as well as planing a Lenten resource focused on the Year of St Paul. As well Liturgy Adviser, Barbara Hopper is always happy to help train readers both in understanding the role of Scriptures in the Mass and also offering them practical advice and skills on proclaiming God's Word at Mass. As well the Diocesan Bookshop contains a whole wide selection of books and resource on the Scriptures.
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
In the parishes meanwhile there are three very interesting events coming up in parishes across the Diocese in the next few weeks. On 6th November, the evening after Bonfire Night, St Pancras, Lewes, East Sussex has its second aptly named 'Know Popery Lecture' on the life of Bishop Challoner (portrait above) who was born in Lewes.
Then on 8th November Christ the King parish in Weybridge, Surrey has the world renowned Vatican Cosmologist, Br Guy Consolmagno SJ speaking on 'Finding God in Space'. And then towards the end of November on 22nd there is a liturgical and musical day called 'Catholics Can Sing' at St Mary Magdalen's in Brighton. All in all a wonderful selection of days on a variety of subjects for individuals in the diocese to engage in. All details can be found via the links and on the diocesan website http://www.dabnet.org/
Monday, 27 October 2008
St Dunstan Pray for us
Thursday, 23 October 2008
Today the second visit was to the Anglican Diocese of Chichester and their Communications Team, David and Lisa. We had much in common in the two jobs and obtained a couple of good ideas from them. We hope as well there are a couple of ways in which we can work and cooperate together to bring the Gospel to others. There will be more on this in future as it develops. You might like to visit their newly launched website http://www.diochi.org.uk/
Jesus said: I came to set fire to the world and how I wish it were blazing now! (Luke 12:49)
Monday, 20 October 2008
More information on this including a podcast from Archbishop Peter Smith (pictured above) and how to contact your MP are available on the Bishops' Conference website http://www.catholicchurch.org.uk/ and the campaigning site http://www.passionforlife.org.uk/
Friday, 17 October 2008
For those who wish to join in the celebrations of this saint there will be festal Mass at 3pm in Arundel Cathedral presided over by Bishop Kieran Conry. We remember that he gave up power, privilege and position in becoming a Catholic and was willing to face death rather than deny his faith. A brand new documentary on his life is available as a DVD from a local production company, Mary's Dowry Productions based in Worthing.
Our minds turn as well this Sunday to the many Christians around the world who do not enjoy a secure life as we do but nevertheless live their faith joyfully in adversity just as St Philip did. This Sunday is World Mission Sunday the theme for which is ‘Help others to see Jesus’. In England and Wales, the collection on World Mission Sunday helps to support 194,855 schools, 5,246 hospitals, 17,530 dispensaries, 577 leprosy centres and 80,560 social and pastoral projects. We would ask you to be generous to our fellow Christians around the world.
For more information click here
Thursday, 16 October 2008
We would like, however, in this short entry to offer congratulations to Bishop Tom Burns on his appointment to the Diocese of Menevia in Wales from the Bishopric of the Forces.
More information including an interview with him and biography can be found on the Catholic Communications Network Website.
Friday, 10 October 2008
The lesson for people in parishes to take is that if this sort of thing happens in your parish then contact the Communications Office in your diocese and they can help you handle such difficult situations in a positive way.
Finally can I ask you all to pray for these two little children that with the angels they may speed to paradise and be enfolded in the mercy of God for all eternity, and that the mother, Kerrie and all their family be comforted in this time of anguish.
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
For more information and a press release from ICEL go to the recent newsletter on the Liturgy Office website of the Bishops' Conference.
On a more local note Bishop Kieran will be joining the young people of the diocese of the annual Youth Gather event which this year is to be held at Woldingham School, Woldingham in Surrey. Ray Mooney, the diocesan Youth Adviser is hoping that today's rain will have disappeared and as last year it will be a bright and beautifal day. Following Mass the Bishop will lead them off on a sponsored walk over several miles. This year they are raising money for a project to support abandoned children from slums in Kerala in India, CAFOD, and a project by one of our secondary schools (St John the Baptist in Woking) to build a school in Africa. We wish them well and it is not of course too late for youth groups and schools to come along. Just let Ray Mooney know you are coming.
The Lord answered: ‘Martha, Martha,’ he said ‘you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her.’ (Luke 10:42)
Friday, 3 October 2008
Meditation and reflection on the Word of God should lead us to deeper contemplation of the mystery of God's salvific will for the world, and to action in spreading God's message by word and deed. The tools to assist in this are available either from the diocese in its Pastoral Team or nationally from any number of sources. So recently on Home Mission Sunday, the Bishops' agency for evangelisation provided a free DVD to all parishes on evangelisation. Today as well, for example, we hold the CAFOD Harvest Fast Day which is one way in which we can support the work of the Church across the world with those who are poor. This office also received information today from the organisation called Action by Christians against Torture, an ecumencial body which runs an annual Christmas Card Campaign for those who have been wrongly imprisoned for their beliefs. There are many other ways in which we can respond to God's Word our lives, we just have to listen.
Finally in the context of reflecting on the Word of God it is worth mentioning that this Sunday is Rosary Sunday. In the Rosary we now begin a month of devotion to Mary, the Mother of God who listened to God's Word and did his will. Just as the Scriptures, the prayer of the Rosary always points us to the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. A useful guide to praying the Rosary is provided by New Advent.
Jesus said: "Anyone who listens to you listens to me." (Luke 10:16)
Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Another key theme of his pontificate appears to be the role of Scripture and the Fathers of the Church. This comes together today on the feast of St Jerome, Doctor and Father of the Church, most well known for his translation of the Bible into Latin, known as the Vulgate. The revised version of the Vulgate (available from the Diocesan Bookshop) is still the standard Latin text of the Church. He is also back in Rome for the start of the next Synod of Bishops from 5-26 October on 'The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church' which was his choice of subject and reflects his concern for the proper place of Scripture in the life of the Church.
'Ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ' (St Jerome)
Monday, 29 September 2008
Thursday, 25 September 2008
At the same time we said goodbye to Kevin Burr, who was Justice & Peace Adviser in the diocese for some 18 years. He now retires after real dedicated service to the Church in Arundel & Brighton. There is much to thank him for whether around his work for ayslum seekers - Gatwick Detainees Welfard Group, or racial justice - the charter, or fairtrade - diocesan certification, or environmental issues - working ecumenically on this issue, or international debt - working closely with CAFOD and Jubilee Debt and so on - the list is long. Social justice so strongly supported by both John Paul II and Benedict XVI as a fundamental part of the Christian mission found a ready agent in Kevin. To continue this work and the mission of the Church in this area a new adviser is now being sought by the diocese.
Monday, 22 September 2008
There then followed a couple of Carmelite coincidences, firstly this office received in the post a copy of a new book on that most famous of Carmelite saints, St Therese of Lisieux. A quick look in the DABCEC Bookshop revealed at least a dozen books on her including her classic spiritual autobiography, Story of a Soul. Next notification was received from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales that on the invitation of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor the relics of St Therese of Lisieux will be visiting various places in England and Wales in 2009, including Aylesford. A full list of the places being visited and other information can be seen on a special website set up for the occasion http://www.catholicrelics.co.uk/. This includes a good explanation of the value and importance of relics.
"I ask Jesus to draw me into the flames of His love, to unite me so closely to Him that He live and act in me." (St Therese of Lisieux)
Thursday, 18 September 2008
Other events taking place are the Music Day 'Making Ritual Music Real' with Paul Inwood led by the diocesan Liturgy office at St Paul's School, Burgess Hill, the CAFOD Supporters Day at St Wilfrid's, Crawley and the Mass for Healthcare Workers with Bishop Kieran at Arundel Cathedral. Finally, some of the deacons of the diocese and their wives will be on retreat this weekend at Aylesford Priory in Kent (see picture). Please pray for the success of all these activities.
I am sure there are many other events taking place around the diocese this Saturday which I do not know about. Do let me know about any future events and I will do my best to mention them in the blog. This can include events beyond the diocese which might be of interest to others.
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
This coming Sunday is Home Mission Sunday and as part of a new start, CASE the Bishops' agency for evangelisation has sent a DVD to each parish and encouraged them to set up new evangelisation teams in each parish - if we don't proclaim the Gospel then no one will hear it!
The website has lots of useful information and downloads to help with this including parish inserts and leaflets. And the good thing is that even if parish does not get around to it this weekend it can be taken up at a later date.
Monday, 15 September 2008
It just shows what a role young people can take in proclaiming their faith. As Catherine knows it is not always easy to share your faith with your peers and it means bravely taking those first few steps.
To that end CASE, the Bishops' agency for evangelisation have set up a new website for young children to help them grow in their faith, called Yfaith. Do encourage young people you know to take a look at it.
Friday, 12 September 2008
The picture on the right is a beautiful mosaic from 12th Century in the Basilica of St Clement's in Rome. The Cross is depicted as the 'tree of life' drawing in all of humanity and creation through Christ's act of redemptive love. This Sunday is also Racial Justice Sunday when we pray for racial justice in our country. This so clearly links to our feast day because as St Paul reminds us in his letter to the Galations that is through the Cross we are united into one single Body and therefore all called to be part of God's kingdom (Gal 2:11-22). So let us pray this weekend for justice and reconciliation between all peoples and races. The diocese for its part is committed to try and make a reality the Charter for Racial Justice sponsored by the Catholic Association for Racial Justice.
A cross that many parishes, both clergy and people have to face at this moment in time is the joining together of parishes with all the upheavel and uncertainty that this brings. But there will always be signs of new life from such 'coming togethers'. The parishes of Holy Family, Lancing and St Charles Borromeo, Worthing have recently joined to form the new parish of East Worthing. To celebrate this they are holding a flower festival to raise money for Worthing Churches Homeless Projects.
Flower Festival Harvest Unite is to be held on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September from 10am to 5pm At St Charles Church, Chesswood Rd, Worthing. There will be a programme of music throughout the weekend and light refreshments served in the Parish Centre. We wish them well.
Thursday, 11 September 2008
This is the second ordination to the priesthood this summer of a son of this diocese following the ordination of Aaron Spinelli in Eastbourne on 30th August. The Vocations Director, Fr Paul Turner was telling me today that we have 4 students beginning their training for the priesthood at St John's Seminary, Wonersh. We also have 4 men beginning their training for the diaconate as well so we are doubly blessed this year.
Carrying on the Arundel theme I happened yesterday to meet the Dean of Arundel Cathedral, Canon Tim Madeley in the Christian Education Centre Bookshop in Crawley. We were discussing a query I had had from an Orthodox priest about the whereabouts of the relics of St Edmund, King and Martyr. It turns out they are neither in Bury St Edmunds or Arundel Cathedral but, though originally destined for Westminster Cathedral, are actually in the Norfolk family vault in Arundel Castle. The most important relics in Arundel Cathedral are, of course, those of St Philip Howard, Duke of Norfolk who was martyred during the reign of Elizabeth I, and who is one of the patron saints of the diocese. His feast day is celebrated on 19th October.
This brings me neatly back to the Tuesday deacons' meeting as among our company was Gary Bevans, who will hopefully be ordained deacon next year. Gary's daughters run a film company which has just produced a new video on the life of St Philip Howard (see left). I have not seen the video yet but I am sure it will be good. They have also produced a further video on the work of their father, Gary on his reproduction of the Sistine Chapel ceiling in his parish church, English Martyrs in Goring. They have a website from which you sample the videos and also buy them - http://www.marysdowryproductions.org/
Jesus said to his disciples: 'I say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly.' Lk 6:27
Monday, 8 September 2008
For those who were awake early on Sunday morning and tuned to BBC Southern Counties they will have heard the excellent interview of Catherine about her book. If you did not get the chance on Sunday to hear it and would like to listen to the interview then go to the her website and listen there at http://www.whereechoesmeet.com/id13.html . Catherine reflected on how human suffering is part of fallen human existence and how we all have need for God's healing.
Catherine is now looking forward to the official book launch on Friday at St Paul's in Westminster with Cardinal Cormac.
On a similar note we had a speaker from Aid to the Church in Need speak at all Masses this weekend reminding us how much of the Church suffers in many parts of the world such as Iraq and China. The situation in the State of Orissa in India is particularly bad at the moment. There is a useful article in The Times on the murders and attacks taking place on Christians there.
On a more positive note I am informed by John Roberts, the diocesan adviser for Mission and Unity that there are a series of talks and discussion on Inter-faith matters in Brighton with some interesting speakers. The series on Sunday afternoons from 5 October is called 'United in Faith?'. For information visit the diocesan website
Please pray for our suffering brothers and sisters in India and elsewhere, and for just solutions based on love and reconciliation.