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!