Monday, 25 January 2010

Water in Our World, a Thirst for Justice

Ellen Teague reports with Independent Catholic News: ‘Water in our World, a Thirst for Justice’ was the theme of the 2010 Arundel and Brighton diocesan justice and peace assembly, held on Saturday 23 January at the Christian Education Centre in Crawley. Around 150 participants, including diocesan bishop Kieran Conry and local MP Laura Moffatt, reflected upon water stress in many parts of the world and ways in which Catholics in Britain can respond. They were assisted by resource people from CAFOD, Progressio and the Columban Missionary Society and the day was chaired by Fr Kevin Dring of St. Joseph’s parish, Redhill, who once worked as a Fidei Donum priest in Peru.

Fr Seán McDonagh, a Columban priest and eco-theologian, who worked with indigenous people in the Philippines for more than 20 years, highlighted the link between climate change and water shortage. Four million people in the world depend on meltwater from glaciers and as these glaciers melt there will be less water. He urged participants to move on from the disappointments of the December UN Copenhagen Conference on climate change and continue lobbying for a global deal which will significantly bring down greenhouse gas emissions. Laura Moffatt MP, who was part of the British delegation in Copenhagen, agreed. “We don’t have the right to give up” she said, referring to the fact that the worst climate impacts will be on the poorest communities in the world’s poorest countries.

Dr Mike Edwards, Climate Change Adviser for CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development), suggested that we must consider our personal water use and reflect upon links with poverty and water stress overseas. He took flowers from a vase and suggested that many people who purchase flowers for Valentine’s Day on 14 February don’t consider that many of them come from the global south, tying up scarce water resources that could have been used for growing food. Climate change means that many poor countries in the southern hemisphere will be drier in the future. CAFOD is encouraging its supporters to contact Prime Minister Gordon Brown and urge him to champion emissions cuts in the European Union of 30 per cent at the very least, rising to more than 40 per cent if there’s a good global deal.

David Thomson, Justice and Peace Adviser for Arundel & Brighton, intended for the day “to look at the important issue of water and link into organisations and individuals who are trying to bring about change”. Ideas that emerged in the final plenary included changes to personal habits, such as turning off the tap while brushing teeth, boiling less water in the kettle and thanking God every time water is used. Parishes will be encouraged to get involved with the Eco-congregation initiative and undertake environmental audits, plus value water as a gift of God’s creation in liturgies.

Baptisms are opportunities to appreciate “living” water and consider Christian commitment to environmental justice. The suggestion that parish grounds could be turned into allotments raised a laugh from some, but participants could be in no doubt at the end of the day that caring for water globally and locally is a major ethical and religious challenge for Christians today.
The photo shows young people from St Theresa of Lisieux parish in Southwick leading the opening liturgy.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Heavenly New Initiative in Camberley

Heavenly News from Camberley
During Christian Unity Week Churches Together in Camberley and some 300 guests and local dignitaries welcomed the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton to the borough last Sunday to celebrate the launch of a 'heavenly' new community safety initiative.

The Camberley Street Angels scheme, set up by Churches Together in Camberley including the Catholic parish of Camberley and Bagshot with support from the Safer Surrey Heath Partnership, will see groups of volunteers out and about in the town centre on Fridays between 10pm and 3am offering a calming presence and practical support to people in need.

Wearing distinctive jackets, Street Angels carry items to assist anyone who may be having a problem. Among practical things such as plasters for blisters, foil blankets for the lightly dressed facing a long walk home in the wet, and flip flops for girls with sore feet, they will also have lollipops which can be popular with revellers. Volunteers are happy to spend time talking with people and are able to advise of specialist agencies who can provide ongoing assistance if required. Street Angels work with the support of, and in partnership with, other agencies working in the town centre at night and have connecting links by radio with each other, the team base, CCTV and the police.

The launch celebrations, hosted by the Mayor of Surrey Heath, Cllr Craig Fennell, at High Cross Church, Knoll Road, included a commissioning service for Camberley's 29 Street Angel volunteers, conducted by Bishop Kieran Conry. Among the volunteers was Steve Isherwood, Camberley Street Angels Co-ordinator; who said: "I have lived in the Camberley area for much of the last 20 years and retired from the Army last year. I am an active member of St Paul's Church and a supporter of local churches' practical involvement in the community. When the appeal for Street Angel volunteers was made one Sunday morning at church I felt it was a God given opportunity for me to use my time to benefit others.

"The comprehensive training our volunteers have received on such things as personal safety, safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, drugs and alcohol awareness and so on has been professionally delivered and has equipped us to deal with most eventualities we are likely to meet. My hope is that the scheme will be seen by all as a positive and beneficial thing, making our contribution to people enjoying a good night out safely. If all goes well, we hope to recruit more volunteers in due course and expand Street Angels work to include Saturday nights as well."

Commenting on behalf of the Safer Surrey Heath Partnership, Inspector James Norbury said: "Street Angels is a fantastic way of enabling people who care about others to do just that. Working alongside officers from our neighbourhood policing team, Street Angels have the ability to make a positive impact on antisocial behaviour in Camberley town centre. For instance, the Angels will take care of intoxicated people who police officers might otherwise have to look after - freeing us to deal with more serious offences."

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Royal Holloway Talk on Compassion

Fr Vladimir, the chaplain at Royal Holloway College in Egham has told us about the following talk taking place on 26 January, 6 pm at Windsor Building Auditorium Royal Holloway, University of London Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX -

The Compassion: Remedy for the Divided World
A talk by Prof. Karen Armstrong.
The practice of compassion is central to every one of the major world religions – but sometimes you would never know it. People don't even seem to know what compassion is; they imagine that it means to feel pity for somebody. The root meaning of this word is "to feel with" the other. Compassion is the acknowledgment that we all - without exception - share the same human predicament. This is crucial at a time when we are bound together as never before but have rarely been more perilously divided.

Karen Armstrong is one of the most provocative, original thinkers on the role of religion in the modern world. She has written more than 20 books around the ideas of what Islam, Judaism and Christianity have in common, and around their effect on world events.

In 2009 she called for a council of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish leaders to draw up a “Charter for Compassion”. The Charter was unveiled in November 2009. It identifies shared moral priorities in order to foster global understanding in the spirit of the Golden Rule. Its signatories include Prince Hassan of Jordan, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Sir Richard Branson.

For more information tel.: 01784 44 39 50, e-mail:

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Young People Show the Way on Haiti

In the Catholic Parish of Crawley at the weekend some of the young people of the Parish had organised a soup lunch after Mass at St. Edward's, Pound Hill (part of Crawley Parish) to help raise funds towards their World Youth Day trip to Madrid in 2011. Having heard the news of Haiti they decided that CAFOD's need was greater and they gave all the proceeds, over £100, to the Haiti Appeal. Mgr Tony Barry, the Moderator of the parish said "Thank you - you are an example to us all."

Friday, 15 January 2010

Saintly Item on Meridian News

News Item on ITV Meridian News on soon to be canonised Sr Mary MacKillop
Apparently Sr Mary has some relatives in Chichester so Meridian should be running this item this evening and hopefully with commentary on the process of canonisation by Fr Tony Churchill, parish priest of nearby Bognor Regis.

Wikipedia says of her:
Mary MacKillop (15 January 1842 – 8 August 1909) was an Australian Roman Catholic nun who, together with Father Julian Tenison Woods, founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.

Since her death she has attracted much veneration within Australia as a symbol of the strength of the early Catholic Church. She is the only Australian to be beatified (1995); on 19 December 2009 the Vatican announced the recognition of a second miracle attributed to her intercession. It is expected that her canonisation as a saint will occur in 2010. This would make her the first Australian saint. On 17 July 2008, Pope Benedict XVI prayed at her large tomb during his visit to Sydney for World Youth Day 2008.

For more on her in Wikipedia go to

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Haiti Devastation - How you can help

CAFOD Pledge £10,000
As part of the international Catholic Federation of aid and development agencies, Caritas Internationalis, CAFOD has pledged an immediate £10,000 to the earthquake relief agency. As we have seen from the News the earthquake has created total devastation in Haiti which is already one of the poorest countries in the world. If you wish to find out more and make any financial donation then go to
Although the death toll is uncertain, it is estimated that some 3 million people were affected by the disaster. There is concern that the country's impoverished economy will leave the people without adequate emergency services.
We should also pray for the people of Haiti and for the many thousands killed who include the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince. If you wish to read more on this then go to

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The Passion of Jesus in Trafalgar Square

On Good Friday, 2nd April, 2010 the first ever performance of the Passion of Jesus will be acted out freely to the public in Trafalgar Square by over 100 experienced actors.

The play will be acted by an accomplished group of over 100 actors from Wintershall estate in Surrey ( where the annual event of the “Life of Christ” is performed to thousands together with other plays being the Wintershall Nativity and the Acts of the Apostles.

The reason the play is being produced is to remind the public in the Square of the reason why in our predominantly Christian country, the bank holiday of Good Friday is observed. It will act out the events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion, the Roman trial, the death of his human body on the Cross and his resurrection. All will be in biblical costume and the dialogue and music will be amplified throughout the Square and surrounding areas in accordance with the conditions imposed by the Greater London Authority whose Mayor’s office has given permission for the play to take place.

Support by the churches, demonstrates the unity of the denominations in the birth, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We hope to bring faith in Christ to those who don’t know about him, remind those who do, and develop faith as the greatest gift that mankind can have.

For further information contact the following:-
The Producer Peter Hutley 01483 892167 or Producer’s PA Susan Babbington 01483 892167

Friday, 8 January 2010

Did Shakespeare Ever Visit Rome?

For the first time ever, the Venerable English College in Rome, is running an exhibition that explores the history of the College, from its foundation as a hospice in the 1300s to its transformation into a seminary in 1579: Non Angli sed Angeli.

Among the exhibits are copies of three mysterious signatures on pages of parchment in the College's leather bound 16th century guest books for visiting pilgrims: 'Arthurus Stratfordus Wigomniensis' signed the book in 1585, while 'Gulielmus Clerkue Stratfordiensis' arrived in 1589.

Fr Andrew Headon, vice-rector of the college and organiser of the exhibition, said the names can be deciphered as: '(King) Arthur's (compatriot) from Stratford (in the diocese) of Worcester' and 'William the Clerk from Stratford'. A third entry in 1587, 'Shfordus Cestriensis', may stand for 'Sh(akespeare from Strat)ford (in the diocese) of Chester,' he said.

The entries fall within the playwright's 'missing years' between 1585, when he left Stratford abruptly, and 1592, when he began his career as playwright in London. Fr Headon said: "There are several years which are unaccounted for in Shakespeare's life," adding that it was very likely that the playwright had visited Rome and was a covert Catholic.

The 'Shakespeare' entries are being kept in the college's archive for security reasons but have been reproduced for the exhibition, which illustrates the history of the college from its origins as a medieval pilgrims' hospice to a refuge for persecuted Catholics during the Reformation.

For more information see:

Below is a picture of the newly restored English College chapel for more information on that and the work of this seminary see:

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Diocesan Offices to Open but with a Skeleton Staff

Cannot get to work!
Due to continuing adverse weather condition Diocesan Offices will work with a skeleton staff. To contact the Christian Education Centre in Crawley ring 01293 515666 and someone will try and deal with your enquiry.
See here for further information or visit the diocesan website or in an emergency ring 0752 843 8042

Diocesan Offices Closed Due to Bad Weather

Snow on Snow!
All Diocesan Offices are closed today Wednesday 6th January due to the snow.

See here and the diocesan website for further information of re-opening or in an emergency ring 0752 843 8042

Sunday, 3 January 2010

New Priest Ordained in Arundel & Brighton Diocese

Bishop gives thanks at ordination of new Priest, Fr Andy Moss

On Saturday 2nd January in Crawley Parish, Bishop Kieran ordained Andrew Moss to the Priesthood. Joined by over 50 priests from the diocese and elsewhere together with a packed congregation - standing room only - Andrew promised his life to Christ in the priesthood.
Fr Andy is standing on Bishop Kieran's right.
We wish him every blessing and prayers for his future ministry.
A full story will appear in the February issue of the A&B News
Also look out for a recorded interview with Andy on the diocesan website,
This was a great start to the year for the diocese