Saturday, 25 December 2010

Blog Takes A Christmas Break

There will be no more blogs until the New Year.
We wish everyone a Happy and Holy Christmas and a Blessed New Year.

Unto Us is Born a Saviour. He is Christ the Lord

Friday, 24 December 2010

New Priest Welcomed to Cranleigh and Bramley

The parish of Christ the Redeemer, Cranleigh and St Thomas, Bramley report that "Fr. David Osborne and the Rev. Roy Waters have been presented as our new Priest and Deacon by the Dean Fr. Colin Wolczak. Mass was concelebrated by several priests and the large congregation included former parishioners of Fr. David from Ash, Seminarians from Wonersh, Friars from the Friary at Chilworth, Permanent Deacons and friends and colleagues of both Fr. David and Deacon Roy. In his homily Fr. Colin stressed the importance of the priesthood in the life of the church and the roles of Priest in charge and Parish Deacon and asked us to look after both Fr. David and Deacon Roy in their ministry in the parish.

In what is probably quite a unique event the offerings were taken up by Fr. David’s wife Helen and Deacon Roy’s wife Hilary.

Deacon Roy, Hilary, Helen, and Fr David
Photo by David Penson
After Mass there was a celebration buffet in the School Hall organised by Jane Penson and Bev Reed which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone."

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Polegate 'Nativity' Vies with BBC 1 'Nativity'

St George's, Polegate Nativity Cast
Many of you may be watching the BBC's 'Nativity' with interest but a new approach to the Nativity is not just the perogative of TV, for members of the congregation of St. George’s Church, Polegate, recently came together to present a unique blend of acting and carols for an adult audience.

The parish reports that "the idea was floated by three creative people and ideas flew so thick and fast it was difficult to shape them into a cohesive play! A religious theme was required, with the Nativity at its heart, but a new approach was needed to blend pantomimic humour with the importance and spiritual significance of the Birth of Christ.

We badly needed a villain at whom we could poke fun – Herod lent himself to this role and our irreverence was focused on him and his housemaid. Our three kings were called Tom, Dick and Harry, giving Herod the opportunity to announce that he could not allow “any Tom Dick or Harry to know more than I do”. Customers at the Inn also provided a touch of humour, with the shepherds joking uproariously. We gentled down to the Stable scene where Christ was born and a beautiful tableaux was created. Solo singing and more audience participation closed our play on a strong note.

The whole was interspersed with carols, with the audience joining in enthusiastically. The play was a great success, thanks to creative minds and beautiful solo singing. Our creative producer choreographed a very amusing dance for the shepherds, with the musical director selecting and performing music and songs. Fertile minds and careful planning allowed our talented “actors” to give of their very best. For next year – ideas are already flowing!"

Congratulations St George's! Love the Shepherds' beards!

Monday, 20 December 2010

New Deacon David King Ordained for Arundel & Brighton

Bishop Kieran with new Deacon David King
Congratulations to David King from Arundel & Brighton Diocese who was ordained Deacon on Saturday 18 December in the snow at St John's Seminary, Wonersh, near Guildford. 3 other deacons from other diocese were also ordained at the same time by our own Bishop Kieran.

We look forward to David's ordination to the priesthood next year alongside three other men who are to be ordained priest in January and February.

What a joy for the diocese as four men are to be ordained priests next year alongside four more married men who be ordained as permanent Deacons in the summer. A bumper year of ordinations for the diocese.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

A Very Silly Parish!

The parish of the Holy Name, Esher reports:
"Esher parishioners have been busy raising funds for various charities while enjoying themselves at the same time! One of the charities our parish supports – Sisters of Mercy in Mukuru in Kenya has been the beneficiary of a couple of events. 

Early in the autumn our Justice and Peace Committee held a “Silly Hat” Wine Tasting Evening. Guests were asked to wear silly hats in addition to playing "guess the wine" tests laid on by the Organisers!  Also for this charity, our Social Committee held a rather competitive, but very successful, Quiz Night.  We are lucky to have chefs and quiz masters among our congregation."

Silly Hats!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Safe Stoves and Hospice Care in Africa

St Joan of Arc Church in Farnham reports:
"At a recent meeting of Arcaid, a registered charity, but run by parishioners of St. Joan of Arc, Farnham, we had the privilege of viewing two short films about projects to which Arcaid contributes. One, with commentary by Ron Potter, was about the building of safe cooking facilities for families in rural Tanzania, as apparently many children get horrific burns by sleeping next to the open cooking fire.

The second was a film and talk given by Ruth Wooldridge OBE about her initiative to bring Palliative Care to terminally-ill patients in Kenya and other African countries.

Ruth Wooldridge receiving a cheque for her African Palliative
Care initiative from Mariola Boyd on behalf of Arcaid
Her idea was made real when, in 1988, the first hospice was opened in Nairobi. Since then, this vital work has spread to other parts of Kenya and Ruth’s film showed vividly the enormous benefits that Palliative Care can bring to the lives of patients and their families. Teams of doctors, nurses, counsellors and social workers help to control pain, address the complex psychological effects of terminal illness and support patients and their families. Treatment is available within the Hospice, but many sick people are cared for at home, often in extreme poverty, but with the skill and devotion of family members and Hospice staff.

Palliative Care is in its infancy in Rwanda, but with the help of donors, among them Arcaid, local nurses are now being trained in Nairobi, enabling them to bring their knowledge, skills and enthusiasm back to Rwanda.

A very interesting and moving evening for Arcaid supporters. If you would like to watch Ruth’s film, you can do so by visiting and following the link to Film: Frontline Palliative Care. You may wish to support Hospice Care Kenya and help them to turn more ideas into reality.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Two Knights Celebrate 50 Years

The local Knights of St Columba report:
Brothers of the Knights of St Columba (KSC), Province 34, which covers much of Arundel & Brighton Diocese supported by their friends and families gathered at Arundel Cathedral on Sunday 7th November to celebrate the annual Mass for their deceased Brothers.

At the end of the Mass Bishop Kieran (a Member of Honour of the Order) presented a lead crystal plaque to Brother Charles Snowdon (known as Snowie), of the Crawley Council, to commemorate his 50 years as a Knight; Brother Hugh McAloon, also of Crawley Council, was unable to be present to accept his award for 50 years service to the Order – this was presented to him at a recent Knight’s function in Crawley.

Bishop Kieran and
Brother Charles Snowdon 
Charles was born in 1927 in Essex (in a converted stable!) and was the eldest of three children. Having attended the East Essex Technical College he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in 1944 and was trained as a Wireless Fitter. It was during this period he first came across the KSC when he often stayed at their service-men’s hostel in Belgravia. After service on an RAF station in Germany he was de-mobilised in 1948.

Soon after this he joined the then Ministry of Civil Aviation as a Radio Technician. It was during his 39 years in this job that he met Win, his wife, and was received into the Church immediately before their marriage. Shortly after this he was introduced to the KSC by his brother-in-law, a member of Preston Council 52, he joined Reading Council in 1960, transferring to Crawley Council 358, soon after.

In retirement Charles worked for several years in the Special Needs Department of Crawley College teaching basic manual skills; this was followed by fifteen years, so far, on the staff of A&B NEWS which, he says, must be one of the best part-time jobs in the Diocese! He is often to be seen wielding his camera at Diocesan events large and small.

Charles says the Order has been of great value to him, not only spiritually but fraternally as his work took him all over the United Kingdom – and he was never more than a few miles from a KSC Council! So, think on all you young and not so young Catholic gentlemen out there – there must be something in it for you!

Brother Hugh McAloon receiving his medal
Brother Hugh McAloon was born in the Gorbals in Glasgow. During the war he served in the Royal Navy. He met and married his wife Molly and they raised a family of six children.

In 1958 he joined the Knights of St. Columba and moved to Crawley, one of the founder members of that Council. He was also one of the founder members of St. Bernadette’s Church, Tilgate where he and Molly have been active all these years.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Servers Guild Going Strong at Peacehaven

Peacehave Parish Severs with Parish Priest, Fr Tom Ryan SPS
Christina Lynn reports from Peacehaven about their St Stephen's Guild of Servers:
"There are probably not so many parishes around which can boast such a large proportion of altar servers so, here at The Immaculate Conception in Peacehaven, we consider ourselves to be rather lucky.
The Guild of St Stephen is an International Organisation of Altar Servers founded in England in 1904 by Fr Hamilton McDonald. To become a member involves training and serving for at least six months.

In our parish The Guild of St Stephen was inaugurated in 1978 and a special evening mass was held on 1st November this year to commemorate its 32nd anniversary. Of the 30 current members in our parish only two, David O’Shea and David King Jr, have been there from the very beginning. They both, along with David King Sr, possess the gold medal of merit, which is earned after 25 years of service. A further two members at our parish have received their silver medal, awarded after 10 years of service.

Altogether around 70 people have been enrolled into the Guild at Peacehaven over the years. And at its peak in the late 1980s we had an impressive 35 members. Trying to squeeze so many people onto the sanctuary has been quite a challenge at times!

The strength of the Guild is largely in part due to the efforts of the local MCs who also help the servers to arrange their own social events and outings. Barrie Smith originally brought the Guild to the parish and then Ben Ruocco took over for many years. But for just over 20 years now David O’Shea and David King Sr have shared the role of training new altar servers. Masses regularly throng with altar servers, some of whom also participate in the Altar Servers’ Rally at the Cathedral or during special events. Recently, the servers even made a training video.

Many thanks then to these men for their hard work, guidance and instruction, and we pray that our parish may continue to have such a strong representation in the Guild in the years to come. "

It just shows what a parish can achieve when individuals are committed to the work of serving at the Altar.

Friday, 10 December 2010

New Memorial Window at St Mary’s, Preston Park, Brighton

St Mary's Memorial Window
Betty Morris from St Mary's reflects on the new Memorial Window at St Mary's, Preston Park:
"By Baptism we are welcomed into God’s family. It is therefore fitting that Leticia Aurora Bermejo Alfred who for over 30 years until her death in 2007 did so much for the parish, should be commemorated by a new stained glass window in the baptistry of our church. Lety was involved in running the youth club as well as Brownies and Guides. She was also a parish councillor, member of the SVP and of The Red Cross. She had a great organising ability and gift for cookery and flower arranging so contributed to countless aspects of parish life.

The window is a gift from Lety’s husband David and their three daughters, all of who have close links to the church as well as to our local schools: St Bernadette’s and Cardinal Newman. It was designed and made by Caroline Benyon FMGP ACR and installed by David Bowman. Lety, a lover of music, art and nature, would have appreciated its beautiful colours and rich symbolism. Like the Blessed Sacrament Window it is rapidly becoming a much loved feature of our beautiful church."

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Christmas in a Nutshell

Christmas Bazaar and Nativity Exhibition

The Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Littlehampton (FMSL) recently held a Christmas Bazaar and Nativity Exhibition. People came from near and far and raised a fantastic amount £2526.44, including donations, for their Missions at home and abroad. The day was more than a fund raising event. The wonderful atmosphere created by everyone made it a true Franciscan day and a real social occasion.

All the stalls and the Nativity exhibition proved to be very popular with the visitors. First prize in the raffle, a meal for four at the Oystercatcher, complete with a chauffeur driven limousine to and from the restaurant was donated by FA Holland Funeral Directors.

The Children of St Catherine’s RC primary school contributed an outstanding Nativity display (see below) to the exhibition and received many complimentary comments from the public. It was a truly ecumenical and community occasion with many visitors travelling from out of the area to attend. The Sisters are delighted with the money raised and wish to thank everyone involved in making the event such a success.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Fostering Vocations to the Priesthood in Arundel & Brighton

Discovering Priesthood Day

Vocations Directors and Participants
Eighteen young men attended the “Discovering Priesthood Day” at St Johns Seminary in November. During his visit to our country Pope Benedict said “May many young men in this land find the strength to answer the Master’s call to the ministerial priesthood, devoting their lives, their energy and their talents to God”. The day at Wonersh is one just one example of how young men are having the courage to encounter Christ’s call to the priesthood.

The enquirers came from the dioceses of Arundel and Brighton, Southwark and Portsmouth to spend the day of prayer, talks, and discussion with the seminarians and diocesan vocation directors. A number of the enquirers will be applying to start seminary formation in 2011 but most were there to find out more about the priesthood and to learn from the faith and vocation of the students at Wonersh. Many of the current body of seminarians had attended similar days themselves and, therefore, were very generous and inspiring hosts to their visitors.

Five of the young men were from our own diocese and I hope that others will take the opportunity to attend vocation events in the future. In 2011 we will be running a series of Enquiry Evenings, Discovery Days (for 14 – 18 years old men) and a vocations weekend retreat at the seminary in March. For further details please contact Fr Paul Turner (Diocesan Vocations Director) on 01293 603773 or

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Our Men in Rome!

St Ralph Sherwin
 Proto-Martyr of the College
Today 1st December is the Feast of the Martyrs of the Venerable English College in Rome. Today the College in Rome remembers those men who trained in Rome and became priests during the Reformation and returned to England and Wales under the daily threat of capture and trial as 'traitors'. Forty-Four of them were put to death as martrys during this period.

The Venerable English College still trains men for the priesthood and a good number of the curent diocesan clergy including Bishop Kieran trained there. At the moment the diocese has one man training there, Stephen O'Brien who started in September after a preparation year in English College in Vallodalid in Spain. We wish him well in this first year and that he will be inspired by the life of the martyrs.

Fr Tony Milner (left) and 
Fr François-Xavier Dumortier SJ
(Rector of the Gregorian University)
Our other man there is Fr Tony Milner, an Arundel & Brighton priest who is the Theology tutor at the college. He assists the students with their studies as well as leading a couple of theology seminars both for the college and for the Pontifical Gregorian University where most of the students study. The University has students from all over the world and is open to all including clergy, religious, seminarians and lay people. 

Fr Tony is one of a number of priests in our diocese who have roles outside the parish. Fr Jonathan How and Fr Stepehen Dingley, for instance are at St John's Seminary, Wonersh near Guildford where all the other diocesan students are based. There are a number of other priests with other non-parish roles such as Fr Paul Turner, the Diocesan Vocations Director.

We may wonder why with apparently falling priest numbers they are not in parishes. The truth is that many of these men have been in parishes, and are in these current roles only for a few years before returning to a parish. They also have a set of skills and abilities that are vital to the training of new priests and other activities. Finally, in many ways our diocese is blessed with the number of priests it has. A new diocese has just been erected in Tanzania and apart from the Bishop there are only 2 priests for 335,000 Catholics. This diocese has over 100 priests for some 400,000 Catholics. We should count our blessings!

Monday, 29 November 2010

Guildford Parish and School Debate: 'Should Britain Abandon Its Nuclear Deterrent?'

Students and Parishioner Debating Team with
the  Deputy Mayor of Guildford and his wife

The annual debate between the Sixth form of St. Peter’s and the parish of St. Pius X took place recently on a dark autumn evening in the tightly packed auditorium of the Guildhall on Guildford High Street. Whilst city commuters hurried home to their television dinners and late night shoppers clutched bags close to them on their way to the train station rows of spectators inside the Guildhall were treated to a battle royal as the two teams debated fiercely on the proposal that Britain should abandon its nuclear deterrent.

As the teams and their supporters filtered into the Guildhall they were welcomed by the marvelous hosts of the PTA proffering glasses of wine and choice snacks. They could not have anticipated the debate that was to ensue. Brows furrowed, pens were twirled anxiously and there were sharp intakes of breath; the illustrious figures in the paintings on the walls loomed over the proceedings and in his role as Chairperson Mr. Guinea launched the debate.

Members of each team took turns to present their arguments and it was quickly apparent that the participants had done their research. Glittering rhetoric, polished arguments and dazzling oratory met in a heady mixture that left the audience on the edge of their seats and the judges with the unenviable task of separating the two sides. The debate raged from discussion of moral arguments to the Catholic Church’s reflections on the “Just War” theory. There was also much to be said on Britain’s role in the world and the practical and financial implications of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.

At the three quarter point there was opportunity for questions from the floor and members of the audience showed how closely they had been following as they probed for clarification of points made or sought to query the logical and factual basis of the points that had been presented to them. Both teams had to be on their mettle as they had no way of anticipating what would come up. Both teams proved themselves able to think on their feet and it was all conducted in the spirit of shared intellectual appreciation and respect.

At the close of the debate people gathered in groups to discuss which way the judges would call it. Again the PTA was on hand to provide refreshments which were gratefully received. The judges consisted of the St. Peter’s chaplain, Mr. David Beresford; Sarah Nagle, a local solicitor and governor of St. Peter’s and Annabelle Green – Terry, a former student of St. Peter’s and during the break they deliberated on the result.

A silence fell as Mr. David Beresford rose to deliver the judges’ verdict. It was declared a victory for St. Peter’s. The guest of honour, Deputy Mayer Terence Patrick awarded the impressive shield. Mr. Guinea conducted a poll amongst the audience to see whether they agreed with the judges’ verdict and again the Sixth Form came out unanimous winners.

Our thanks go to the Mayor’s Office for so generously allowing the use of the Guildhall which made the event truly memorable and to Deputy Mayor Terence Patrick and his wife for being there to witness the showcasing of the school and parish’s intellectual wares. Our thanks also go to the PTA of St. Peter’s for providing the refreshments and to everyone who made the evening such a spectacle and such a success.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

New Book From Pope Benedict - Light of the World

Now available from DABCEC Bookshop
A new book entitled 'Light of the World' from Pope Benedict which is the result of a series of conversations he had with Peter Seewald, a German journalist has now been published in English and is available in the Diocesan Bookshop.

Catholic Communications Network reports that the 'Light of the World' records the first ever one to one interview with a Pope by a journalist. It is an intimate and very personal interview during which Pope Benedict talks frankly and at times passionately and with great compassion on topics such as the child abuse scandal, his reflections on his experience of being the Pope, the dictatorship of relativism, inter-religious dialogue and the renewal of the Church and society. Overall it gives a fascinating insight into the humanity of the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. Now in his eighties, Pope Benedict reflects in a profound but conversational way on the five years of his Papacy, on the Church and on society.

On the child abuse scandal, Pope Benedict uses blunt language in describing the crisis: “It was really like the crater of a volcano, out of which suddenly a tremendous cloud of filth came, darkening and soiling everything”. The Pope also states that the Church will do everything it can to help those who have suffered abuse and also to do everything possible so it does not happen again.

At the heart of the book, is the Pope’s challenge to modern society to relocate the human at the centre of its endeavours. Throughout the interview, Pope Benedict returns to what it is to be human and what that understanding entails. Embracing the progress achieved across the past three centuries, he also challenges the postmodern world to move beyond a reductionist view of the world, where scientific facts are regarded as truth to the exclusion of ancient truths offered by faith.

The necessary dialogue between faith and reason for the benefit of all in society looked forward to the Pope’s keynote address in Westminster Hall on 17 September during his historic visit to the UK.

Throughout the interview the Pope returns to themes he explored at greater length during his visit to the UK, ending with a call to open the door to the light of Christ. It is the love that we all seek that Pope Benedict argues persuasively is the key to Christianity and while this is not always an easy path, our task is not to be successful but to bear witness to the truth, the love and joy that comes from conversion to Christ.

It is in this context that Pope Benedict’s comments about a rediscovered human morality and the need for a humanisation of sexuality should be read. In answering questions about the AIDs epidemic in Africa and the use of condoms, the Pope said that the fundamental response of the Church is and should be to guide, to support and to accompany those who have contracted HIV. Over 25% of all AIDs care worldwide is provided by Catholic organisations.

The Pope then makes the point that the problem of HIV infection cannot be solved by the distribution of condoms. A lasting solution can only be achieved through a change in behaviour; through abstinence and fidelity.

While the use of condoms do not provide a moral solution to the AIDS epidemic, he reflects that in certain exceptional circumstances the use of a condom to reduce the risk of infection could represent the first step in a move towards a more human and responsible way of living sexuality.

What comes across so clearly throughout the book is the warmth of his humanity, his deep faith in God and his profound understanding of the serious issues facing society and the Church, and the vital role of religious belief in dialogue with human reason. He sees a world that so badly needs “the light of truth, the light of Christ, the light of God in whom there is no darkness.” He acknowledges with great humility the faults and failings of the Church and the need for the Church to be purified if she is to fulfil her mission to proclaim the Good News to a society and world which also needs redemption."

As well as this book the second part of the Holy Father's theological work 'Jesus of Nazareth' will also  shortly be available. To pre-order please contact the DABCEC Bookshop or 01293 654465. Discounts for parishes and clergy available for both books.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Fr Tony Bridson Celebrates 25 Years of Priesthood

A Smiling Fr Tony Greets Well-Wishers
at the end of his Celebration Mass
Bishop Kieran, 40 Priests, a dozen servers and a church full of well-wishers were at The Friary Church in the centre of Crawley on Tuesday evening to celebrate 25 years of the priestly ministry of Fr Tony Bridson. He presided at the Mass assisted by Deacons Andrew Bayes and Tom Murray. It was a joyful celebration with music provided by Crawley Parish musicans from the different churches in the parish assisted by Mike on guitar, a friend  from Fr Tony's seminary days at Wonersh.

Fr David 'Dochi' Foley preached on priesthood and the focus of the ministerial priesthood in sacrifice of Christ on the cross. He had everybody smiling, however, when he said he had only been asked to preach as he was the only living priest who had worked in a parish with Fr Tony when he was his assistant priest in Woking!

Bishop Kieran spoke at the end of Mass to add his thanks for the ministry and priesthood of Fr Tony especiallly for the work he does, outside of a parish, in his vital ministry to priests work. His particular concern is for those priest who are retired, sick or in any kind of difficulty.

Fr Tony also gave thanks for his priesthood and for the many people and parishes who he had ministered to over the years. He especially gave thanks to his parents who were in the congregation and who had brought him into the world along with his 4 other brothers and sisters.

The celebration continued in the Friary Hall with food and drink. He was also presented with the gift of an iPod from Crawley Parish and suggestion that he would have to move with the times transfer all his vinyl records to digital format.

Many congratulations to Fr Tony

Sunday, 21 November 2010

All Saints Hersham Celebrates 50 Years

Bishop Kieran with Hersham Parishioners
Canon Brendan MacCarthy, Parish Priest of All Saints, Hersham reports on the parish's Golden Jubilee celebrations: "Our Parish Church was officially opened by Bishop Cyril Cowderoy of Southwark on -the Feast of All Saints 1960. 'It was built by Fr. Robert Madden, then Parish Priest of St Erconwald's, Walton, on the land bought by his predecessor, Fr. John Jeffries.

Fr. Denis Hayes, All Saints' first Parish Priest came to Hersham on 17th July 1961. The Church was consecrated by Bishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor on 1st November 1978 . Great credit is due to the many parishioners in those days who worked hard in raising the necessary funds to free the parishfrom debt and thus allow the consecration of our parish church.

Fr. Hayes was transferred to Lewes in August 1972. Fr. Michael Spelman took his-place and remained at Hersham until he was transfered to Horsham in 1981.Fr. Kevin Steen became Parish Priest in 1982, and remained in Hersham for 10 years. Fr. Brendan MacCarthy took his place, arriving in Hersham on 8'* September 1992.

Cardinal Newman Catholic Primary School was opened by Bishop David Cashman (First Bishop of Arundel & Brighton) on 25th June 1966. It catered for 280 pupils, and its first Head teacher was Mr Michael O'Malley. It is now a thriving two-form entry Primary School. On this Parish Golden Jubilee Day, we salute its present Head teacher, Ms Gill Keany, and her staff of thirty-four. May Blessed John Henry Newman guide and prosper their work in the service of Catholic Education.

The heart of our Parish is Jesus in the Eucharist, and our church is the Parish 'living room' where He welcomes us in friendship and peace. There too we remember Mary, Queen of All Saints - mother of every family and of every parish community.

As your Parish Priest, I thank especially all whose faithfulness, generosity and dedication help make our parish what it is. We belong to each other in the Body of Christ. The presence of Bishop Kieran this morning gives added focus to our unity with him, who, as our Bishop, is our Shepherd, Teacher and Father 'in Christ'.

On behalf of all gathered at All Saints for our Parish Feast, I thank Bishop Kieran warmly for celebrating our Jubilee Mass. We are a parish 'in mission'. May our Golden Jubilee celebration help renew our Catholic faith. May we be 'doers of God's word and not hearers only'. Responsive also in prayer to the personal holiness to which each of us is called, and determined in our witness to the Gospel, as we live each day for the greater glory of God."

(This is a shorten version of his speech given All Saints, 31" October 2010)

Friday, 19 November 2010

Sussex Catholic School Girl Wins Writer's Prize

Corinna Keefe (right) celebrates her Catholic Young Writer Award
ahead of choir practice
On Wednesday 17th November, A Level student Corinna Keefe of St Leonards-Mayfield School was presented with the prestigious Catholic Young Writer Award for 2010 at a ceremony hosted in St Mary Moorfields Church in London.

Sponsored by the Catholic Union and The Keys, the Catholic Writers’ Guild of England and Wales, the award is open to all young Roman Catholics aged 11 to 18 years, and to all pupils at Roman Catholic secondary schools. This year, to mark the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, and the visit to Britain of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, entrants were invited to write something in poetry or prose expressing, ‘Newman’s quest for truth’.

Despite her many school commitments, Corinna found the time to compose a poem on Newman which the judges described as, ‘very graceful and touching and a clear winner of the Award.’

To seek a shaft of sun amid a grubby world
I followed turns which turned again
On maps stained with a million paths –
I ended lost in smoke and glass.
In fog, in shades of bitter dark.
My soul passed, prayed for honest wings
To strive for wonder in the sky.
Soft feathers fell and veiled my eyes –
At last I must be still and watch
The little lights of glowing souls.
Beneath the grime there shines a good and faithful God.

Corinna Keefe commented: ‘‘I was very honoured to win the award – I got the letter on the same day as my AS results, which was a lovely surprise! It was an exciting competition to take part in, especially since this is the year for Cardinal Newman’s beatification.’’

Joanna Bogle from The Keys Award Committee commented: “We chose a Newman theme for this year's Award, to link with the great events of his beatification and the Papal Visit. It offered young people a chance to think quite deeply and to reflect on the message of John Henry Newman's life – Corinna's poem showed that she had done this and it was a clear winner among all the entries."”

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A Cry For Help from Iraq
The situation in Iraq for Christians is very difficult as they are more and more targeted by Al-Quida. The recent massacre on 31 October in the Syrian Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad is just one of many attacks that have taken place in Iraq on Christians. Many of those Christians are Eastern Rites Catholics from the Chaldean and Syrian Catholic Churches so as a Catholic Community we have a special responsibility to help them.

A UK charity founded by a Iraqi Catholic Dr Suha Rassam called Iraqi Christians in Need (ICIN) reports that the crisis in "is becoming increasingly desperate. During the past few days, many Christians have been killed in Mosul and Baghdad, just because they are Christians. Several thousands have fled their houses and took refuge in Churches in the city and nearby mountains. ICIN has taken the decision to make a substantial donation, from its reserve plus what is received from the 'Crisis in Mosul Fund', directly to those in Mosul who are taking care of the displaced."

Some of our parishes in this diocese are already helping them especially Our Lady of Lourdes, Thames Ditton which is holding a special collection for them during Advent. We ask you to consider helping these desperate Iraqi Christian through ICIN, or any of the organisations concerned with providing aid to those displaced. Click on the links above.

You may be interested to know that at St Peter's Basilica in Rome at 5 p.m. on 25 November, at the initiative of the Syrian-Catholic Church in Rome, a Mass will be held in memory of the priests and faithful who died in an attack against their cathedral in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on 31 October, according to a communique published today.

The Eucharist - which members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See have also been invited to attend - will be celebrated by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

If you wish to find out more about the Church why not have a look at - Usual wikipedia caveats apply.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

New Husband and Wife Catholic Chaplains at Gatwick Airport

Congratulations to Deacon Ian Wells and his wife Jean Wells who are now both part of the Gatwick Airport Chaplaincy team. Gatwick Airport which is just outside Crawley, West Sussex is one of the main airports serving London and the south east. With thousands of passengers passing through everyday the work of the Chaplaincy team is vital. This is not to mention the thousands of staff who work there as well as airline staff who pass through 365 days of the year.

After the departure (sic!) of Deacon Chris Dobson to begin seminary training for the priesthood at St John's, Wonersh, Deacon Ian and his wife Jean agreed to be part of the team with Sr Jo Threfall SND and a rota of priests who provide Mass on a Sunday. They are also part of an ecumenical and inter-faith team of chaplains that are attached to the airport with whom they work closely.

Deacon Ian and Jean
Many congratulations to them both on this new ministry for both of them.

Friday, 12 November 2010

From Peru to Hove via Merstham/Redhill/Reigate

Fr Kevin Dring spent several years in Peru working in our sister of Diocese of Chulucanas. We both celebrate 50 years of existence in 2015 and several Arundel & Brighton priests have benefited from their time and experience serving in that Diocese. Fr Kevin is the latest priest to have been there. He now begins his life as a Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Church in Hove.

Prior to this he was part of the team at the new parish of The Nativity of the Lord consisting of churc communities in Merstham, Redhill and Reigate. He recently said farewell to this parish on 1st October, the Feast of St Teresa. Therefore, St. Teresa's, Merstham, was the appropriate venue for Fr. Kevin Dring's farewell Mass and celebration. Servers, musicians and readers were drawn from all three churches, and when it came to the partying the Catenians were in charge of the wine and the UCM co-ordinated the food - all contributing to a happy and memorable occasion.

Fr Kevin cuts his Cake

The cake, produced by a Merstham parishioner, illustrated Fr. Kevin's journeying from the Andes of 'Darkest Peru' to our parish, represented by nativity figures, and on to his present parish of The Sacred Heart, Hove; on the sides were llamas & sheep for Peru and the South Downs, golf and cyclists for his activities.

In his homily Fr. Kevin focussed on St. Teresa's example and teaching on being a little before God. Fr. Kevin had been asked by a child "Are you God?" Teresa's answer would be "No, you are not God but you are a precious, cherished child of God and He wants you to be filled with his love for you and to let that love flow into everyone and everything around you. Your life is inseparable from God and your happiness will only be real and full if you find it in God."

He pointed out with all her emphasis on obscurity, littleness, and childlikeness, dying age 24, and writing just one book, she is a Doctor of the Church. Her influence is felt throughout the world; she is patron of the Missions, and Priests, and a shining guide to us all. At the end of Mass Fr. Kevin was presented with a handsome cheque and a case of wine.

Thanks to Ann Lardeur for providing the photo and much of the story

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Hastings Primary School Celebrates Opening of New Hall

Recently Bishop Kieran went to Hastings to celebrate a special Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart to bless the new hall and facilities at Sacred Heart School.  The mass, which was held in the school’s new hall was presided over by Bishop Kieran with priests from the parish concelebrating. This included  Fr. John O’Brien and Fr. Joseph Soosai Marian, as well as the Dean, Fr. Chris Spain.  It was a beautiful and uplifting occasion where we were also able to give thanks for the continuing fund-raising efforts to support the school’s wonderful new buildings.

Head Teacher, Mrs Angela O’Connor, OBE, Fr. John O’Brien, Bishop Kieran Conry,
Fr. Chris Spain and Fr. Joseph Soosai Marian

Monday, 8 November 2010

Beautiful New Cross for St John the Baptist School Woking

Claire Heapy next to the new Cross she designed for the School Entrance
Recently one of the Design students of St John the Baptist School, Woking, Claire Heapy, took part in a superb experience, a work placement at Linley’s, the bespoke furniture and interior designers. Claire received an excellent report about her work from her placement employers. She also thoroughly enjoyed her experience.

The school was not only pleased with Claire on her performance at A level but as part of the practical side of her course she created the superb cross which they have placed in the entrance to the school.

Visitors have, since it was erected, consistently admired its simply beauty and strong lines. Every visitor notices this superb and important addition to the school landscape which reminds them of the school Catholic Christian foundation.

The school hopes that Claire as a result of this wonderful work for the school and her work experience at Viscount Linley’s company will go on to do great work.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Go On Retreat this Autumn

Why not go on Retreat this Autumn perhaps during Advent at the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton's beautiful and tranquil Retreat Centre.

The Diocesan Retreat Centre, St Cuthman’s, nr Horsham, is offering a reduced rate for weekday retreats during November and December. Stay two or more nights Mon – Thurs inc. for £60 pppn, full board. Stay individually, as a couple or with a small group – an excellent Advent preparation for Christmas. Phone 01403 741220, or email

Visit for more info.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Fr Michael Aust RIP

Fr Michael Aust RIP
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Fr Michael Aust who was a priest of Arundel & Brighton Diocese and died on Tuesday 2 November in hospital.

The Funeral Mass for Father Michael will be on Wednesday 10 November at 11.30am probably at St Joseph’s Church, Epsom. There will also be a parish Mass at Our Lady and St Peter, Leatherhead at 9.30am on Tuesday 9 November. May he rest in peace.
May he rest in peace

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Poles Lead Crawley Parish in Dance

Polish Dancers in Crawley Parish Hall
The Crawley Parish came together one Sunday in October in the Friary Hall in Crawley town centre for a charity event in aid of Friends Of The Lisiecki Homes In Poland. The Hall was packed with parishioners from all the churches in the Parish.

Friends Of The Lisiecki Homes In Poland is a small charity helping children from poor and underprivileged families in Poland. The afternoon was introduced by their President, Princess Renata Sapieha, who explained to how the charity came to be founded by her family, and introduced the Karolinka Dance Company, who held us spellbound with their lively routines, and passionate performances of authentic traditional Polish dances and folk songs!

Afterwards, while the raffle was being drawn, they enjoyed a welcome cup of tea, with delicious Polish chocolate cake. Even if no one won a prize they did not need to go home empty-handed, as they were able to buy the Karolinka CD of Polish Folk Songs.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Celebrating Halloween with the Saints

St John the Evangelist Parish in Horsham celebrated on Saturday 30 October a very successful 'All Hallows in Horsham' family party held in the church hall.

Fr Terry with St Albert the Great, Patron
Saint of Scientists

Fr Terry Martin, the Parish Priest explained, "The festival of Halloween has been growing alarmingly in popularity over recent years and now seems to be promoted in shops and towns almost as much as Easter or even Christmas! In common with the ministers of other churches in Horsham and with the diocese of Arundel & Brighton, I felt concerned about this mass promotion of what is essentially a celebration of the forces of evil and darkness. It was time to reclaim the true Christian rather than the supposed pagan origins of this festival, and to celebrate instead the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of so many inspirational men and women throughout the ages. Therefore we asked everyone to dress, not as a ghoul or a ghostie, but as their favourite saint."

Invitations were tucked into the parish newsletter at Sunday Mass and Fr Terry wrote to each family at both the local Catholic primary schools, resulting in a pleasing turnout of assorted saints on the day. Mums and dads had done their children proud with costumes; saints in attendance ranged from Biblical characters such as St John the Baptist, through martyrs of Roman times like St Lucy and all the way up to figures from our own times including St Josemaria Escriva and Blessed Mother Teresa.

After the various costumes had been admired and their characters guessed, the party programme included games to work off youthful energy, a feast of treats to eat and tricks from magician Tim Hill. Tim cleverly combined enthralling entertainment with effective evangelisation by using his tricks to illustrate aspects of the Gospel message. Fr Terry and assistant priest Fr Peter Andrews (on this occasion aka St Francis of Assisi) joined in the fun with gusto.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

St Joseph's Catholic Special School Opens a New Sensory Suite

Left to right: John Inverdale and Damon Hill open the new suite
Sports commentator, John Inverdale recently opened a new Sensory Suite at St Joseph’s Catholic Specialist School & College in Cranleigh.

John made a break in his busy schedule to perform the opening ceremony in his role as Surrey Region Honorary President of Wooden Spoon. The charity donated funds for sensory equipment, together with BBC Children in Need and the School’s 3 Peaks Challenge event team. The suite has been created to benefit children at this special needs day and residential school along with their families, staff and other local schools through their community partnerships.

School patron Damon Hill joined the celebrations with Chair of Governors, Mr John MacManus and Headteacher Mrs Mary Fawcett who welcomed representatives from Wooden Spoon and their corporate partners, TNT Byfleet, partner schools and fundraisers.

This new facility was specifically designed to meet the needs of children and young people aged 5 – 19 years with Autistic Spectrum Conditions, with additional moderate and Severe Learning Disabilities. As an Autism Accredited school many of the learners have sensory impairments, and difficulty in communicating and interacting with others. The sensory will really enhance the education given to the children and young people by enabling them to reduce anxieties. This Studio comes as a long awaited additional resource for their highly skilled staff.

“The Suite is fantastic and has something for everyone” commented Karen May, Head of Therapies at the school “providing endless opportunities for communication and interaction. The equipment can be used in such variety of ways it can cope with the enormous range and complexity of disabilities we are faced with on a daily basis. Some of our children need extra stimulation so we need strategies to develop their attention skills, whilst for others need an area of calm where they can ease their anxieties. Distinct areas have been developed in such an imaginative way we can easily create different environments for both individual and group sessions. Through what looks like play equipment we can now undertake learning sessions in a fun way! Whether we are developing memory, teaching “cause and effect” or undertaking specific topics, we have a whole new bank of equipment to use and can truly personalise the whole (communication and interaction) process to match each child’s needs”. We are thrilled to have been chosen to receive this funding and build this facility and can’t wait to see how the children will benefit.”

The wonderful work done by this special school reflects the committment of Arundel & Brighton Diocese to supporting education for all.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Funday with Mother Teresa Missionaries of Charity

Missionary of Charity Sisters in their familar
Saris at the Chilworth Funday
This summer, just gone, saw a Funday for disadvantaged children attending the Mother Teresa Missionaries of Charity Summer Schools at Southall and Bravington Road, Kilburn, organised by the Chilworth/Gomshall parish in conjunction with the Surrey co-workers of Mother Teresa.

The “fun” day was held at the home of Mrs Anne Wightman, a Chilworth parishioner. More than 70 children with accompanying parents, guardians and Sisters arrived in two coaches. The children enjoyed the freedom of the open spaces. There were many attractions including the swimming pool, tractor rides, football and face painting. Food was available in plenty with a wonderful BBQ and ice cream, and drinks and cake later in the afternoon. Having enjoyed their day in the country, it was a happy group that set off in the evening back to London.

Patrick, Marta and Missionary
of Charity Sister
On a connected note in 2006 Patrick Wightman, the son of Anne Wightman, undertook a voluntary three month assignment working at the Mother Teresa Daya Dan orphanage for handicapped children in Calcutta. There he met a Spanish volunteer, Marta Abascal, from Madrid. Over the years romance has blossomed and in August, the couple announced their engagement with a wedding scheduled for next summer.
Many congratulations on both the Funday and the forthcoming wedding.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Created Out of Nothing - God and Creation

Dr. Stephen Hawking's new book, “The Grand Design,” makes the bold claim that the universe “created itself from nothing” based on physical laws such as gravity, making God unnecessary for a self-created and self-unfolding model of the universe.

Br Guy Consolmagno, SJ
Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ, an astronomer at the Vatican Observatory, who has visited the Diocese in the past, says rather that the preconditions for the universe's unfolding and operations were not a form of “nothing,” as Hawking considers them to be. Rather they are the conditions created by God for the ordering of the world. In opposition to Hawking he believes God is the reason why space and time and the laws of nature can be present for the forces to operate that  Hawking talks about.

Hawking's dismissal of God, Br. Consolmagno says, is based not only on his incorrect designation of physical laws as “nothing,” but also on a failure to grasp the notion of God's transcendence. As such, he concluded, Hawking was really dismissing a kind of “god” in which Christians do not believe. In fact for Br. Consolmagno God is the reason why existence itself exists.

Fr Andrew Pinsent
Other philosophers and theologians who challenge Hawking are the American Jesuit, Robert J Spitzer SJ in his book 'New Proofs for the Existence of God' (available from the Dabcec Bookshop) and our own diocesan priest Fr Andrew Pinsent who is an assistant Priest in St Joseph's, Epsom and Research Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at Oxford. Fr Andrew has recently written an article for The Universe newspaper as part of its new apologetics section on reasons for belief in God's existence. He is also closely involved in the new Maryvale Institute MA in Apologetics which is to launch in January 2011. Concluding his article on proofs for the exisitence of God he says "at this particular time in history, God seems to have made it rather difficult to believe in His non-existence."

Some of this article is drawn from a Catholic News Agency article on Hawking's book.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Hand in Hand at St Peter’s Church, Newdigate

Members of Hand in Hand

Hand in Hand, having celebrated Mass with Bishop Kieran at the Annual Fiesta at St Joseph’s, Cranleigh earlier in the year, were invited by RevAndrew Coe to participate in the Family Holy Anglican Communion Service at St Peter’s Church, Newdigate on Sunday, 19th September.

It was a beautiful service in a wonderful old church, which was originally built in the 11th century, with a bell tower added in the 13th century. The service started with a peel of bells and continued in a very reverend and inclusive manner. Before the confession, the Hand in Hand group took the lead in ‘God gave us hands, Hands to create, Hands to love….’. Then after the Creed they prayed using a dance movement to ‘Lay Your Hands Gently Upon Us’. Our final contribution, just before the blessing, was signing (not singing!) ‘The Peace of God I Leave You’, a beautiful hymn written by Bernadette Farrell.

The congregation was very welcoming and appreciative, and thanked us warmly for taking part in their service. After a welcome mug of tea in the church, we were then invited across the road to a sumptuous shared meal in the garden of a converted barn. A good time was had by all.

Hand in Hand is a group, some of whom have learning difficulties, which aims to discover Christ’s presence in and among us, and then bring this to others in a prayerful way, using all types of drama and movement. If anybody is interested in joining Hand in Hand, Contact Denise Adamson 01444 243361 or Email

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

News from Shoreham and Steyning

Adur Valley Youth Group on Isle of Wight
Recently nineteen young people from the parish of Our Lady Queen of Peace, Adur Valley, which covers the areas of Shoreham and Steyning, visited the Abbey of St Cecilia’s on the Isle of Wight for the day. 

They were given a presentation on the foundation of the order and life at the Abbey and then were able to question the sisters on their life and why they joined the Order of St. Benedict.  Fr. Anthony Glaysher from Ryde kindly said Mass and they were then treated to refreshments – they also found some time to enjoy the good weather on the beach!  They were joined by  Sisters from the Convent of the Blessed Sacrament in the parish and Confirmation Catechists. 

From left to right: Fr Dominic and Fr Sean
As well Fr Sean Finnegan has now begun a year’s sabbatical in order to complete his book on the history of Wonersh. Fr Dominic O’Hara has been appointed as Parish Administrator for the year.  We wish them both well in their new settings.