Sunday, 25 December 2011

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Friends of the Holy Land Provide Hope for over 500 around Bethlehem at Christmas

Palestinian Christian children light candles
The Friends of the Holy Land are supporting 450 children under 12 from 150 families and 90 elderly people in Bethlehem and the surrounding area at Christmas.

The children are either orphans living with relations, those abandoned by their families, those in real poverty or those physically or mentally sick. They and their families will be individually assessed to receive coupons for staple food items or for clothing, a subsidy towards the family’s utility bills or small gift items. Many will qualify to receive all four levels of support.

The elderly include those who are abandoned by their families or have no family at all. They will also receive blankets, heaters and warm clothes to face the harsh winter weather. Many have lost their jobs, their income and some their homes.

For the first time the FHL are extending their support beyond Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour to Jifna and Zababdeh.

Peter Rand, National Vice-Chairman of the FHL confirmed that “support is only provided to those whom we know by name, along with their financial circumstances.

Lists of names are obtained through the Ministry of the Interior in Palestine and the Parish Priests of St. Catherine’s in Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour. Our work is coordinated by the Sons of the Earth Association (SEA) based in Beit Jala. The FHL are delighted to be able to reach the grass roots of local Christians, and at the same time providing business through the coupon scheme to 20 Christian run businesses in the Bethlehem District.

Ramzi Hodali, President & Founder of SEA said “We use our expertise to bring the progressive community together, to harden our original roots in the Holy Land so the living stones will always prosper.

Our objectives are derived from our daily life, a life of the minority, the life of the oppressed and a life of giving and forgiveness.”

Friday, 23 December 2011

Slaves to Branding - Justice and Peace Conference

Are you a slave to branding?
The Diocese of Arundel and Brighton will host its annual Justice and Peace Assembly on 21st January 2012 at the Christian Education Centre, Crawley. The title of the Assembly will be "Slaves to Branding" and will focus attention on the exploitation of overseas workers in the clothing industry.
Our keynote speaker will be John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want. He has worked in the field of global justice for the past 20 years, and is the author of numerous publications on globalisation, trade and development issues.
Also speaking at the Assembly will be Anna McMullen, Campaigns Co-ordinator, Labour Behind the Label, an organisation supporting garment workers worldwide. John and Anna will highlight the current campaigns of “Love Fashion, Hate Sweatshops” and will also focus on the exploitation of workers stitching sportswear for companies associated with the 2012 London Olympics. Factories supplying the sportswear industry are some of the worst offenders. Hence in 2012, it is particularly relevant to raise awareness of organisations, both local and international that are dealing with the problems of this injustice and the associated problems such as inequality, human trafficking, poverty, violence against employees, the living wage etc.
The aim of the Assembly is to ensure attendees become more familiar with how individual voices calling for justice in the workplace can combine to make a huge impact and to consider practical ways for these voices calling for an end to sweatshop labour to be heard. We also need to understand how we can help, support and protect the innocent victims of such injustice.
Diocesan Justice and Peace Adviser, David Thomson said “I am really looking forward to hearing John and Anna speak. I know they will enthuse those attending and enliven our day. Indeed the whole day will be one that the Catholic parishioners and others can come along to and learn from.”
Also involved in the day will be the Bishop of Arundel & Brighton, Kieran Conry.To book your place at the assembly please contact Ruth Gerun or telephone (01293) 651164

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Podcast – Christmas in the Middle East

Dr Harry Hagopian
 Catholic Communications Network reports:
"Saying it has been an eventful twelve months in the Middle East North Africa region is an understatement of monumental proportions. In a seasonal Middle East Analysis, Dr Harry Hagopian focuses on five myths that have sprung from the region over the last year.

· There has been one uniform uprising by the Arab masses across the whole region in order to rid themselves of oppression and totalitarian regimes to introduce dignity and citizenship rights

· The uprisings have been 'owned' by the younger "facebook" generation

· The popular uprisings dispel the suggestion that Palestine is the hub of the Middle East

· The West can shape the destiny of the Arab world - the MENA region

· Radical Islam will rule across the region

We conclude by offering a prayer for the Christian communities of the Middle East as we turn our eyes to Bethlehem and the birth of Christ:

"It is not our place to tell others how to live their lives. It's our place to stand in solidarity with the Christians of the MENA region, be prayerful with them, speak out alongside them whenever they're concerned, share their joys and celebrations. What better way to share their joy and celebration than now that we're coming to the Christmas season - the Feast of the Nativity.

"In a sense the whole biblical narrative unfolded in countries like Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Israel and Palestine. Our thoughts should be with them, our prayers should be with them, we should be watchful as to what happens in the future in a region that is fragile and uncertain."

Dr Hagopian is an international lawyer and consultant to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales on the Middle East. He's also a former Assistant General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches.

Listen to the Podcast:

Dr Harry Hagopian's website:

The new home for Middle East Analysis is:

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Notre Dame School Opens Brand New Theatre

David Plummer, Bishop Kieran, Bridget Williams and Archbishop Longley
Notre Dame School reports:
"December saw a dream become a reality for Notre Dame School in Cobham, Surrey, when Mayor and Mayoress Sheldon joined Sisters, governors, staff and invited guests to the Opening Gala Event of the Montaigne Theatre with the inaugural performance of “Breath on the Embers”. The magnificent theatre, studio and rehearsal rooms were opened and blessed during a ceremony by Archbishop Bernard Longley and Bishop Kieran Conry.

A long time in the planning and construction, the Montaigne Theatre brings to Notre Dame a facility worthy of the West End. The completed building is testament to the vision of this vibrant community, where all from Sisters, pupils and parents to teachers, governors, local neighbours and skilled professionals have had a chance to contribute to the planning and realisation of our performing arts facilities

Thanks to the Elmbridge Council planning committee and in particular the efforts and support of Mayor and Mayoress John and Mary Sheldon and Cllr John O’Reilly.

The opening play “Breath on the Embers”, commissioned to reflect the founding of this community is very much in the spirit of the school itself. It shows the connection between the human and spiritual side of the school’s tradition. It reflects the legacy of our Foundress, St Jeanne de Lestonnac, and her influential uncle, Michel de Montaigne, for worldwide education. Our proud 400 year tradition is the basis for the best education of the whole person we can offer; the new facilities underline our commitment to the well rounded development of the young people in our care.

The performance was live-streamed across the world with sister schools tuning in from as far as Barcelona, Rome, Bordeaux and California.

The Gala event and the building of the Montaigne Theatre has been achieved through the collective efforts and input from many:

“It was very pleasing to work with a client who had the forethought to engage a theatre consultant, and who embraced our innovative concepts and followed them through. The result is this delightful, intimate, world-class theatre combining an open stage and proscenium with the versatility to adapt to a variety of configurations.” Peter Ruthven Hall Partner, Theatreplan

“For me this has been the most complex and unique project that I’ve ever managed; every day was thought-provoking, not just for me, but for all those involved on site and I’m extremely proud of the whole site team for its efforts and enthusiasm in producing something so very special!” Chris Gamble Senior Site Manager, E R Armfield Ltd

Chairman of Governors Mr Glen Travers said “…blending a 400 year history with the latest 21st Century building, lighting and video internet technology is a fitting and stunning tribute to the capabilities of the staff... a true Notre Dame School, Cobham celebration.”

“First Class venue, First Class hosts, First Class performance…” Robert Garofalo, Director of Voice in a Million

“What a wonderful evening! The performance was amazing and it certainly did justice to your marvellous new theatre. Congratulations to everyone involved and to a magnificent staff and cast. I know that this will be the first of many memorable events which you will hold in the Montaigne Theatre - here's to an exciting future and well done to all for having the vision to go with this amazing project” Wanda Nash, Governor

The Montaigne Theatre has been expertly designed for flexibility and adaptability, so that over the years to come innovative ways of working and new skills, alongside state of the art equipment, can be used to showcase the natural talent of our girls and also be of use and benefit to the wider community.

A Theatre for the Community
If you are interested in hiring their fantastic nonagonal Montaigne Theatre, please contact our Theatre Manager Sue Gilhespie on 01932 869990 or email

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Habemus Papam: 'We Have a Pope' - a New Film

Michel Piccoli as the New Pope
Fr Stepehen Wang reviews a new film by Nanni Moretti about the election of a new Pope:
"The Pope is dead. The Conclave is assembled in the Sistine Chapel. Three heavyweight cardinals, the bookies’ favourites, surge ahead in the first few ballots of the ensuing election – only to fall into a deadlock. When a compromise candidate (played by Michel Piccoli) is eventually chosen from the backbenches he steps forward with a humble heart and a nervous smile. But his courage fails him, and just as he is invited onto the balcony to greet the waiting world, he runs back to his room in terror, and eventually escapes into the city to contemplate the strange turn of events that has brought him to this point.

It’s an unusual theme for Italian director Nanni Moretti, a self-professed atheist. Many viewers might have expected him to put together a hard-hitting expose of ecclesiastical corruption, or at least to take a few easy swipes at the Catholic Church. Instead, we get a light-comedy that treats its ecclesiastical protagonists with amused curiosity and uncritical affection.

It’s an entertaining two hours, but it never really opens up the central question of how a man gets chosen for this high office, or why this particular man finds it impossible to bear. Veteran actor Michel Piccoli brings out the dignity and vulnerability of the avuncular Pontiff; but we don’t get any sense of what this inner struggle means to him.

There are some great scenes. Moretti himself plays a secular psychoanalyst brought into the Vatican to help the Pope overcome his paralysis. Their first session takes place before the assembled cardinals, and the visiting therapist is told he is free to explore any areas of the Pope’s life, apart from… his relationships, his childhood, his mother, etc. Moretti, dumbfounded, ploughs on. The clash of cultures, of mentalities – religious and secular, classical and post-Freudian – is illustrated with such gentleness and humour.

We see a particularly corpulent Swiss guard being led into the papal apartments, and realise he is the Pope’s stand-in, charged with opening the curtains in the morning and switching off the lights at night. On the second day he discovers a penchant for method acting and feels obliged to polish off the lavish Pontifical breakfast; and by the third day he can’t resist the flourish of a papal blessing, raising his hand in benediction from behind the net curtains.

And when the Vatican spokesperson is asked why the new Pope has not appeared and what this unprecedented event means for the wider Church, he responds “It’s perfectly normal for a Holy Father to seek some space for prayer and reflection as he prepares for his new responsibilities” – the kind of pious flannel that so easily becomes a substitute for an uncomfortable truth.

The ending, which I won’t give away, is unsatisfactory. It doesn’t make dramatic sense of what’s come before, and it highlights the fact that the film is a collection of amusing vignettes rather than a coherent whole. We Have a Pope provokes a few reflections about vocation, the yawning gap between office and person, and the relationship between priesthood and acting, but it fails to make any deep impressions. It’s not tough enough or funny enough to avoid falling into whimsy. Directors like Woody Allen and Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful) are somehow able to mix light comedy and even slapstick with themes of profound seriousness; I wish Moretti had managed to do the same."

Monday, 19 December 2011

New Facilities for Bosham Church

L-R: Fr Kieron, Fr Paul, Tony Hancock and Marion Coombes-Shrubb
Brian Howe of Our Lady of the Assumption, Bosham reports:
The turf cutting ceremony for the the extension to provide facilities for the disabled and able bodied alike, together with a kitchenette and bar, commenced at 2.30pm on Monday 21 November.

The contract period is limited to 16 weeks and they look forward to seeing a completed extension in the New Year. The picture shows priests of Chichester with Bosham and Wittering parish Fr Kieron O’Brien and Fr Paul Turner together with Marion Coombes-Shrubb fund raiser and Principal Contractor, Tony Hancock of K.T.Construction (Elmer) Ltd.

Photos by the Architect –Kieth McNally of HOmE PLAN-IT  

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Head Teacher with OBE Receives Papal Award

Bishop Kieran hands Certificate to Mrs Angela O'Connor
Deborah Madden-Towsey reports that:
"Here in Hastings we had the tremendous honour of receiving Bishop Kieran to celebrate a special Mass at St Mary Star of the Sea on Sunday 27 November. The Mass, which inaugurated the first Sunday of Advent, was concelebrated with Bishop Kieran by our parish priests, Fr. John O’Brien and Fr. Joseph Soosai Marian. It was a beautiful and uplifting occasion where Bishop Kieran reminded us about the spirit of Advent and the importance of making time for prayerful reflection in the run-up to Christmas.

The Bishop was also invited to present the recently-awarded Papal Honour of the Bene Merenti Medal to Mrs Angela O’Connor OBE. The Bishop’s presentation was a wonderful opportunity for the school and parish to thank Angela for her outstanding contribution as a teacher and Head Teacher at Sacred Heart School for over thirty years. All at the parish congratulate Angela on this achievement and wish her the very best for a well deserved retirement."

Well done Angela!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Carol Concert to be Broadcast on Radio

Premier Radio are to broadcast a traditional carol concert from St Joseph's, Guildford on Christmas Day at 11pm. St Peter's Catholic School, Merrow, Guildford is to provide the choir and lead the singing. Bishop Kieran of Arundel and Brighton Diocese attended the Concert which was recorded last night (15 December) for the planned broadcst over Christmas.

This is the first time that Premier Radio have broadcast a carol concert from a Catholic Church in this Diocese. It should be a lovely way to end your Christmas Day.

There are several ways to listen:
DAB Digital Radio • Freeview 725 • Sky digital 0123 • •London 1305 1332 1413 MW

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Pope's Three Wishes for Christmas

Christmas tree in St Peter's
The Vatican reportst that: Late Wednesday afternoon, 7 December, thanks to a "tablet" connected to the power grid, Benedict XVI lit the largest Christmas tree in the world from the papal apartments. This electronic "tree" is located in the Italian town of Gubbio. Before flipping the switch he addressed a few words - by television - to those attending the ceremony.
"Before lighting the tree", he said, "I would like to express three wishes. This Christmas tree is formed on the slopes of Mt. Ingino at whose summit is found the basilica of Gubbio's patron saint, St. Ubaldo. When we look at it our eyes are lifted up, raised toward the sky, toward the world of God".

"My first wish, therefore, is that our gaze, that of our minds and our hearts, not rest only on the horizon of this world, on its material things, but that it in some way, like this tree that tends upward, be directed toward God. God never forgets us but He also asks that we don't forget Him".

"The Gospel recounts that, on the holy night of Christ's birth, a light enveloped the shepherds, announcing a great joy to them: the birth of Jesus, the one who brings us light, or better, the One who is the true light that illuminates all. The great tree that I will light up shortly overlooks the city of Gubbio and will illuminate the darkness of the night with its light".

"My second wish is that we recall that we also need a light to illumine the path of our lives and to give us hope, especially in this time in which we feel so greatly the weight of difficulties, of problems, of suffering, and it seems that we are enshrouded in a veil of darkness. But what light can truly illuminate our hearts and give us a firm and sure hope? It is the Child whom we contemplate on Christmas, in a poor and humble manger, because He is the Lord who draws near to each of us and asks that we reeceive Him anew in our lives, asks us to want Him, to trust in Him, to feel His presence, that He is accompanying us, sustaining us, and helping us".

"But this great tree is formed of many lights. My final wish is that each of us contribute something of that light to the spheres in which we live: our families, our jobs, our neighbourhoods, towns, and cities. That each of us be a light for those who are at our sides; that we leave aside the selfishness that, so often, closes our hearts and leads us to think only of ourselves; that we may pay greater attention to others, that we may love them more. Any small gesture of goodness is like one of the lights of this great tree: together with other lights it illuminates the darkness of the night, even of the darkest night".

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Successful Nativity Exhibition

Example of one of the Beautiful Cribs
The Secular Franciscans of Littlehampton and Worthing are delighted to announce their Nativity Exhibition raised £282.54 for the charity HOMElink. Two of our first visitors were Arun District Council Chairman, Councillor Dennis Wilde accompanied by Arun’s strategic Director, Jaqui Ball. Over 70 exhibits were on display including an excellent creation from the pupils of St Catherine’s Catholic primary school, Littlehampton.

Many different countries were represented and various materials and representations were used. These included a diorama using old fashioned clothes pegs, scraps of materials and pipe cleaners. The opening of the exhibition was purposely planned to coincide with Littlehampton’s late night Christmas shopping and the switching on of the Christmas lights. This move proved very positive and encouraged numerous visitors to attend. Some Friday visitors returned again on Saturday for a second viewing.

The ‘bush telegraph’ was in operation and visitors were arriving saying they had been told by friends not to miss this event. We received many favourable comments including this one "Thank you again for such a beautiful and thought-provoking exhibition, and for making me feel so welcome." If we have helped in some small way to put ’Christ’ back into Christmas, then the event has been priceless.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Good News for Fairtrade Progress in the Diocese

Congratulations to St Gabriel’s church, Billingshurst and The Holy Spirit church, Fetcham which have just been awarded Fairtrade status. The Diocese of Arundel & Brighton now has the required 50% of churches with certified Fairtrade status and maintains the title of being a Fairtrade Diocese.

Also, congratulations to Redhill Deanery which is about to become the first deanery with all its churches certified Fairtrade; a truly magnificent achievement.

Advance Warning - Fairtrade Fortnight 2012 dates announced:
Fairtrade Fortnight 2012 will take place from 27th February - 11th March. In 2012 we'll be asking everyone to 'Take a step' for Fairtrade - starting with Fairtrade Fortnight. Keep an eye out for more details over the coming months.

It can be a simple step, like swapping your tea to Fairtrade, or a bigger step like asking everyone in your office to do it too. You’ll be joining thousands of others all over the UK when you take a step for Fairtrade.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Thinking of Scotland

As the Feast of St Andrew, patron of Scotland has just past we might like to think about more things Scottish and Burns Night:

Monday, 5 December 2011

Mass for deceased Knights of St Columba

Bishop Kieran with Bro Geoff Breeze after Mass
Charles Yarham from the Knights of St Columba reports:
On the afternoon of Sunday 13 November Bishop Kieran celebrated Mass at Arundel Cathedral for deceased members of the Knights of St Columba in the Sussex Province.

This was attended by knights from as far as Hastings across to Chichester and up to Crawley. It was fitting that this year the Mass coincided with Remembrance Sunday.

At the end of Mass a presentation was made to Brother Geoffrey Breeze for services to the Order. He was presented with a meritorious service medal for all his hard work over the years. He became a knight in 1989 and apart from his initial training year he has never been out of office. During his membership he filled most officer posts and these included two three year terms as Grand Knight and also two three year terms as Provincial Grand Knight where he was responsible for overseeing the assistance given by the knights to help the Bishop at Confirmation services at the Cathedral and Corpus Christi and also at Worth Abbey.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Difference a Day Can Make ….

St Cuthman's from the other side of the lake
 At the beginning of the year St Cuthman's, the Diocesan Retreat Centre set themselves a goal of doubling the number of ‘Quiet Day’ guests and as they approach Christmas their target has been exceed. They are pleased that a significant number have come from this Diocese of Arundel & Brighton.

It has taken some time to get the word out that we can welcome non-residential day guests, coming individually or as a small group of up to eight people, across the year. Feedback has been very positive with each guest having the freedom to use their time as they wish, but supported by a peaceful atmosphere and the option to join us for Morning Prayer, and/or Mass. During the summer most day visitors spend a lot of time sitting or walking in the grounds and in the winter spend time in the Library, or just sitting by the log fires. Having a home cooked two course lunch, using some of their own produce, is a highlight for many.

Below are a few examples of the comments they have received:
“This was such a treat – a breathing space in a busy life, a step aside to help put things into perspective, and a spiritual rest for a flagging spirit. I came prepared to pray for everyone and everything, and realised that I just needed and could be still, and think about my own self and what I needed to stay close to God.” (Aug 11)

“Having recently been bereaved, and needing a place of peace and spirituality to help me acknowledge my loss, I found that here at St Cuthman’s and look forward to visiting again.” (March 11)

“Coming for just a day is a real blessing for those of us with limited time and budget. It is a good way that new converts to ‘silence and solitude’ may gently ‘dip their toe in the water’. (June 11)

These ‘Quiet Days’ are now firmly established as part of what they offer at St Cuthman’s and their hope is that the numbers will continue to increase in the coming year. For just £25, including refreshments, a two course lunch and afternoon tea, and access to our house, chapel and grounds, this is value for money and a small price to pay for the opportunity to spend some quality time with God.

St Cuthman's currently has two speciallly arranged 'Quiet Days' arranged for Advent on 14 and 15 December. For more information click here

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Obituary: Bishop John Jukes OFM Conv

Bishop John Jukes OFM
Photo ©Catholic Church England and Wales
 The Right Reverend John Jukes OFM Conv, titular bishop of Strathearn and emeritus auxiliary bishop in Southwark, died peacefully at his home in Huntly, Scotland on the morning of Monday 21st November 2011 aged 88 years.

His body will be brought to St. George’s Cathedral, Southwark, Lambeth Road, SE1 7HY on Sunday 4th December 2011 at 5.45pm with Mass at 6.00pm, and his funeral will take place at the Cathedral on Tuesday 6th December 2011 at 12noon.
Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus John Jukes of Southwark will be particularly remembered as someone who sought to bring the insights of Catholic social teaching to business and industry. He was also a devoted pastor, moving to Scotland after his retirement to become a parish priest once again.

The eldest of three children, he was born in Eltham, south-east London, on August 7th, 1923, and was educated at St Joseph's Academy, Blackheath. His father worked for a paint company owned by his family. His mother was a convert from the Church of England.

In 1940 he joined the civil service, during which time he was a representative to the Inland Revenue Staff Federation National Conference. He left the civil service, intending to study agriculture at university.

But while working as a student on Romney Marsh for a year, he decided to become a Franciscan. It was the preaching and hospitality of the friars he met in Rye, East Sussex, that seems to have inspired him. He entered the Order of Friars Minor Conventual in 1946. After completing postulancy and novitiate in Liverpool, he was sent to Rome. He studied philosophy at the Gregorian University and obtained his licentiate in theology at the Pontifical Faculty of St Bonaventure.

Following ordination in 1952, at St. Anthony of Padua, Mossley Hill, Liverpool, he was appointed rector of St Bonaventure's seminary and novitiate in Beaumaris, Anglesey. In 1959 he was made parish priest of St Clare's, Manchester, and the following year became secretary and vice-provincial of the province. He was sent to London in 1964 to take charge of St Patrick's, Waterloo.

He moved to Canterbury in 1969, initially staying with the ordinands at St Augustine's Anglican College. He was one of the founders of the Franciscan International Study Centre, which opened in the city in 1973, and was appointed its vice-principal. He also taught Canon Law, using his parish experiences to bring life to what can be a dry subject, and fundamental theology.

Along with other Franciscans, university staff and local Catholics he was involved in a forum for Catholic thought. He also helped lead parish missions in Kent. He once quipped that the first task was to convert the parish priest. An important part of these missions involved visiting Catholics at home. When Bishop John knocked on the door of one house, the woman immediately led him down to the cellar - she thought he was calling to read the electricity meter.

In the 1970s, at St John's Seminary, Wonersh, he ran courses for priests and laity in evidence taking at matrimonial tribunals. To speed up matrimonial cases, he went to Rome to negotiate the setting up of an appeal court for the province. In 1973 he was made vicar episcopal for religious in Southwark diocese. Six years later he was elected minister provincial of the English province of the Friars Minor. But within months Pope John Paul II appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark and Titular Bishop of Strathearn. He was ordained in St George's Cathedral, Southwark by Archbishop Michael Bowen on 30th January 1980, and given pastoral responsibility for Kent.

His specific responsibilities included chairing the Kent Southwark Diocese Schools Commission and co-ordinating the work of the vicars for religious. He was also appointed episcopal chairman of the Southwark Metropolitan Appeals Tribunal. He served for 20 years as chairman of the bishops' committee for the world of work. He was passionate in his belief that Catholic social teaching had a valuable contribution to make to the understanding of work in society. This was the idea behind the booklet A Spirituality of Work, which the committee published in 2001 and he wrote the foreword to.

He was one of the main organisers of a conference, held in Liverpool in 1991, to mark the centenary of Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical on the Industrial Revolution and the dignity of work. Each year at the TUC Congress, Bishop John celebrated Mass for delegates. In his sermon at St Mary Magdalene's Priory, Brighton, in 1999 he urged Catholics to put gospel values into practice by becoming active members of trade unions. And he urged the TUC to promote ethical values to counter some of the negative effects of globalisation.

Such efforts, he said, will result in setting up barriers to the many ills which are already to be seen as flowing from globalisation; unfair competition; loss of job security; degradation of human individuals or groups forced to work in inhuman conditions. At a TUC rally in Hyde Park, he once shared a platform with National Union of Mineworkers' president Arthur Scargill. He also attended the clergy section of the Amicus annual conference. At a local level, he represented Southwark diocese on the South London Industrial Mission.

He represented the Bishops’ Conference on the Council on Christian Approaches to Defence and Disarmament and was also a member of the joint bio-ethics committee which served the Bishops' Conferences of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland. From 1993 to 1999 he served as the chairman of governors of St Mary's College, Strawberry Hill, and he later received an honorary doctorate from the University of Surrey.

When his mother became ill, she went to live with him at his house - The Hermitage, in West Malling, Kent. The house was piled high with books. Bishop John wore his trademark woolly hat both indoors and outdoors. Although a follower of St Francis, he had little time for the rabbits that invaded his garden.

When Bishop John retired in 1998, he had no intention of returning to parish life. He wrote in Briefing, ‘My original idea on retirement was to settle into a nice little house in the country. From there I planned a peaceful life with time for prayer, ready to help out with Sunday Mass if anyone was stuck.’ However, in 2002, when Bishop Mario Conti of Aberdeen asked him to become parish priest of Huntley, Banff and Portsoy, he accepted. He took on responsibility for around 300 Catholics, scattered across 200 square miles, who had been without a resident priest for six years.

That same year, fellow bishops and over 70 priests joined him at Aylesford Priory in Kent to celebrate his golden jubilee of the priesthood. Three years later, to celebrate his 25 years as a bishop, he went to Rome, with Bishop Howard Tripp, with who had been ordained Bishop. They were present at Pope John Paul II's last audience. Bishop John was one of the contributors to the 1993 book ‘God and the Market Place: Essays on the Morality of Wealth Creation’. He also wrote a number of articles for the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

Long distance walking and mountain climbing were two of his passions. He was particularly fond of Skye, where he would camp out in the church's sacristy and cook lobster. In 2005 he made the headlines in Scotland when he ordained to the diaconate a former priest of the Scottish Episcopal Church, who went on to become the country's first married Catholic priest.

In recent years, as his physical health declined, he retired again, this time from parish ministry; although he kept very much up-to-date with the life of Catholic Church in Great Britain, particularly continuing to have a keen interest in the Church's role in promoting social justice. In August 2010 he wrote an article looking back gratefully on 87 years of celibacy, which was published online by a national newspaper.

He died on the morning 21st November 2011, aged 88 years, in the 65th year of religious life,
the 59th year of his priesthood, having been a Bishop for 31 years.

May he rest in peace.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Notre Dame Sixth Form team give a ‘helping hand’

Cheque presentation
Notre Dame Senior School presented a cheque for £5,000 to charity YoungMinds on Tuesday, 15th November. YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional well-being and mental health of children and young people and empowering their parents and carers.

Headlines today often undervalue and undermine what our young people bring to our society and our world. However the girls of Notre Dame, Cobham, accept the challenge from St. Jeanne de Lestonnac to “give a helping hand” no matter how small, to go out of themselves and think of others.

Every year the Notre Dame Sixth Form students choose a charity and come up with various ideas for raising money for their chosen cause. Over the years the school has had a three-branched output for the funds raised. They are the International Charity of the Sisters of the Company of Mary Our Lady, the chosen charity and emergency fund.

For the school year 2010 – 2011, the girls chose YoungMinds and on Tuesday 15th November 2011 Mr Daryl Nicolas came to accept the cheque for £5,000. Over the year the girls also gave money to the Sisters working with the earthquake victims in Japan and the children in Africa. Money also went to the New Zealand earthquake victims and to the Arundel & Brighton Lourdes Pilgrimage Trust.

A sponsored swim, cake sales, mufti days and car washes are only some of the activities the girls organised throughout the year to raise the money. The girls grew in their awareness of the plight of others who are suffering and through their efforts have tried to give a “helping hand” to our world of today.

Daryl Nicholas of Young Minds, gratefully accepted the cheque from the Sixth Form team, Christopher Walker, Director of Fundraising at YoungMinds said “Five Thousand Pounds is outstanding. We are, quite frankly, rather bowled over. All of the money Noter Dame School raised will have a very real and immediate impact.”

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Funeral of Oldest Priest in the Diocese - Fr Charles Slaughter

Procession to the grave
Fr Charles Slaughter at 94 the oldest priest in the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton recently died and Peggy Purslow of the parish of Wadhurst reports on his funeral:
On Monday November 14, a typically damp and misty November day, the parishioners, relatives and friends of Fr. Charles Slaughter gathered to lay him to rest and give thanks for his life of service and ministry to our parish for 31 years. A moving moment at the vigil Mass was when symbols of his priesthood were placed on his coffin: his chalice, his stole, his crucifix and his very well-worn breviary. As he had stiipulated "no florists' arrangements" his friends scoured their dank, denuded gardens to produce a pretty posy of autumn flowers and leaves, as he had wished.

Fr Charles

Before his Requiem Mass we received a message from Bishop Kieran explaining that as his presence was required at the Bishops Conference in Leeds he was sorry not to be able to officiate. However Mgr. John Hull, the Vicar General, came to say his Requiem, concelebrating with a number of priests from all over the diocese. Fr. Slaughter would have been gratified that at his Requiem Mass many other local Christians took part including the Vicar, Rev. Jeremy James, and the choir comprising Anglicans, Methodists and Catholics, all singing in harmony.

Although Fr. Slaughter retired in 1999 he remained a presence in the area and was often at Mass in Wadhurst until a year ago. Many people have fond memories of him as a dedicated visitor dropping in at all times for a chat. One parishioner discovered that her father had tried to teach him Maths and Physics at Chichester High School. So long was his ministry in Wadhurst that not only did he marry some parishioners but he also married their children. However, it was his efforts to bring about an open and cooperative approach to other Christian traditions that is his lasting legacy to the Sacred Heart parish and one from which we are still benefiting. We in Wadhurst thank God for the life and ministry of a holy and dedicated priest. May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

New Music for the New Translation

Catherine Christmas at the day leading the music
St Michael's, Worthing was the setting for the final session offered by the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton on music for the New Translation one Saturday November morning. Similar events had taken place in other parts of the diocese from Surrey to East Sussex. Choir leaders, choir members and clergy from the local area and beyond were in attendance for the morning.

Leading the day for the diocese was Catherine Christmas, a leading liturgical musican. She led the participants both through new music already produced as well as revised music and also some simple chants that are in the new missal. In particular there was an opportunity to look at new music for the Gloria and the Holy, Holy. There was also an encouragement to sing entrance and communion antiphons which are often a neglected part  of the Roman liturgy. At the end of the morning everyone went away encouraged and enthused to bring new music for the new translation to their parishes over the coming months.

Present at the morning was the Diocesan Bookshop Manager, Paul Quinn with a wide selection of music and CDs for sale. He did a roaring trade as people purchased new music and revised settings to take and introduce to their parishes. To find out what is available from the Diocesan Bookshop and for more information click here

Monday, 28 November 2011

Advent with the Poor Included

CAFOD Organiser Martin Brown reflects on Advent:
"During advent we prepare for the coming of Christ but many children will be avidly awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus. The legend of Saint Nick originates from St Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, who was generous in giving gifts to the poor. He was someone who reflected the love of God in a tangible and touchable way, particularly to the poor and the more we know ourselves to be poor, the more amazing it is that God came to live with us and gives Himself to us. The Gift of God for God’s loved ones, the poor included.

At Christmas we give presents and spend time with our loved ones. As Christians we hope that when we show love, people also see the love of God reflected in our actions. This Christmas why not give, or ask for, World Gifts? For 50p you can give the gift of immunising a child. You can give 16 fruit tree saplings (to different people) for £10. Chickens, goats, piglets, ducks and cows - they are all available and more. They can be expressions of your love and the love of God and a gift of love for your loved ones, the poor included."

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Thirty Years Young

Last Saturday 19th November at St Wilfrid’s School, Crawley, West Sussex, Bishop Kieran Conry of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton joined with 250 people, young and not so young, to celebrate 30 years of the diocesan Youth Service. Bishop, now Cardinal, Cormac Murphy O’Connor set up the Youth Service 30 years ago to offer the young people of the diocese the means to deepen, understand and develop their faith as they moved into adulthood. Many of those ‘young people’, from every era of the Youth Service, were there to recognise and celebrate the value of the work that had been done.

The celebration began with friends, old and new, gathering together to look at displays and pictures from over all the 30 years. There was much laughter as people remembered events and people from over the whole 30 years. It was a real joy for many to meet up again with friends they had not seen for months, years and even decades.

The event also saw the presence of several generations of youth officers as the first Youth Officer, Karen Goldsmith joined later Youth Officers Brendan Conway, Patrick Harrison and the current Youth Officer Ray Mooney to mark this celebration. Their hard work over the years had ensured that today the diocese has many young people active in its life and created a vibrant and lively Catholic youth scene.

Bishop Kieran spoke proudly during the celebration of Mass of the 30 years work of the Youth service. Reflecting on those 30 years he said that the diocese had a responsibility to care for young people just as a shepherd cares for his sheep and the Diocesan Youth Service was a sign of that care. He looked to the future for the Youth Service and young people with much hope.

The evening continued with a resplendent buffet as people continued to chat among themselves and renew old acquaintances, make new ones and share memories recent and long ago.

Current Diocesan Youth Officer, Ray Mooney said “I had no idea who might come, but we have been overwhelmed by the response. Such a large number of people attending stand as a testament to the value of the service in the past, and the value of the service as we go forward into the future. In the words of Pope John Paul II, who initiated the International World Youth Days in 1980s, ‘Remember the past with gratitude, live the present with enthusiasm, look forward to the future with confidence!’ This sums up the work of the Youth Service in this diocese.”

Friday, 25 November 2011

Looking Forward to the Future with Confidence

Fr Laurence cuts the cake
Queuing at the door, standing room only, and standing ovation of several minutes. Not an A list celebrity or keynote speech of a political party conference but the Thanksgiving and Farewell Mass for Fr Laurence Quinn Morris after 10 years service in Redhill and district - and the ovation was for the sermon! His theme was “Remember the past with gratitude, live the present with enthusiasm, look forward to the future with confidence” (Pope John Paul II 2000).

Fr Laurence spent 7 years as Parish Priest of St. Joseph’s followed by 3 years as Moderator of the new parish consisting of Redhill, Reigate (Holy Family) and Merstham (St. Teresa’s). This was a huge task to lead three communities with their own histories and ‘personality’ forward and build relationships and structures to form a super-community in Jesus Christ.

Woven through the sermon was as litany of thanks to various people and for the many good things, fruit of his ministry in this place “the Trinity of Spirit filled words which take us to the root of why we are giving thanks: Faith, Family and Friends”.

At the end of Mass Fr Laurence was presented with box of 2 symbolic crystal glasses by Fr Charles Howell. There was also an envelope with a cheque. Fr Charles pointed out that although there were 5 more boxes awaiting collection in the Presbytery there were not 5 more envelopes!

The throng then progressed to St. Joseph’s School in Linkfield Lane to party - and Fr. Laurence does like to party as well as pray!

Report by Ann Lardeur and photos by Janet Franklin

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Middle East Review - A Catholic Church Perspective

Dr Harry Hagopian
The 'Arab Awakening' - initially dubbed the 'Arab Spring' - started in Tunisia in December 2010. Since then, those revolutions and popular revolts have already enveloped Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain. Today, the whole Middle East North Africa region is in a state of flux - even fear - about the unknown or the unpredictable.

In an extended Middle East Analysis, Dr Harry Hagopian looks back at the major events that took place in the past weeks and analyses both the nature and direction of those changes as well as their impact on the region's people - including the indigenous Christian communities.

It looks at...
The death of Qadhaffi and a new dawn for Libya
Ongoing bloodshed in Syria and its impact on Lebanon and the region as a whole
Israel and Palestine
Post revolution elections in Tunisia and Egypt

To listen to the podcast go to

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Putting Christ back into Christmas - Free Nativity Exhibition

Handmade Clay Nativity
by Valerie Shepherd  (Society of Women Artisits)
Stephanie Shepherd says:
If you want to put 'Christ' back into 'Christmas' then why not attend the Free Nativity Exhibition at Arun Ideas shop, 10 Beach Road, Littlehampton. The Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) of Littlehampton and Worthing are organising the event.

There will be more than 50 Nativity exhibits on display depicting traditional scenes, from around the world, using a variety of materials and interpretations. It is hoped the exhibition will encourage families and individuals to reflect on the season of advent which starts on Sunday 27 November 2011.

The exhibition will open on Friday 25 November 2011 between 4.00pm and 8.00pm, to coincide with the switching on of the Christmas lights and late night shopping in the town. The exhibition will also open on Saturday 26 November 2011 between 10.00am and 4.00pm. Tell your neighbours, bring your friends. Voluntary donations towards the homeless charity work of HOMElink will be appreciated on the day.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Priestly Contribution to the Cultural Life in Redhill

L-R: Robert Munns, accompanist and Fr Charles Howell
Fr Charles Howell, priest of the parish of the Nativity of the Lord and based in Merstham, together with his teacher and accompanist Robert Munns (who is also on the staff of St John's Seminary, Wonersh) gave a lunchtime recital at St. Matthew's Anglican Church in Redhill. The programme was a balanced mixture of sacred and secular pieces ranging from 17th century composers Bach and Handel to those of the present day.

Appropriate for 'Remembrancetide' we heard the call to war "Arm, Arm, ye brave!" from Judas Maccabaeus and later the reminder of the consequences in "Severn Meadows" Ivor Gurney's setting of his own poem, written in the trenches during WW1, longing for his beloved countryside. Shakespeare's "Come away Death" came in two contrasting styles, that of Gerald Finze and Roger Quilter.

From Mendelssohn we heard Elijah calling on "Lord God of Abraham, Issac and Israel" in his confrontation with the priests of Baal. Perhaps less well known were some of the English Songs. "The Infinite Shining Heavens" ( Songs of Travel: Vaughan Williams/Robert Louis Stevenson) was especially evocative since Fr Charles has a special interest in astronomy.

The programme began with part of Bach's "Magnificat" and ended with "a lot of boisterous nonsence about the death of a robin" - "Cocky Robin" by Betty Roe. The whole event could be summed up as 'Magnifique'!

The size of the audience certainly was greater than the organisers' anticipated - they had printed 45 programmes but ran out well before everyone arrived!

Text and photo Ann Lardeur

Monday, 21 November 2011

Wintershall Cast Honoured with Queen's Award

Peter Hutley and his wife Ann with the Queen's Award celebration cake
Her Majesty Qeen Elizabeth II awarded the Wintershall cast, artistic director and support team with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services. This is a highly unusual accolade for an unusual group of people. Presenting the award as the Queen’s representative Mrs Sarah Goad, Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, congratulated the past and present members in the way in which the now famous plays had brought God to people in the modern world. “The Wintershall plays have become the Oberammergau of England” Mrs Goad reflected.

Three hundred were gathered on a sunny Saturday afternoon in late autumn in Holly Barn, where the Acts of the Apostles and the Nativity plays are performed. A host of dignitaries also came for this unique occasion including the Deputy Lieutenants of Surrey, High Sheriff of the County of Surrey, Vice Chairman of Surrey County Council, the Mayor and Mayoress of Guildford, the Mayor and Mayoress of Waverley Borough Council and their Chief Executive, and our own Deacon Roy Waters from Bramley and Cranleigh.

Peter Hutley, accepting the award on behalf of the cast, gave his personal appreciation for all that they have done and continue to do “In addition, I would like to give my public thanks to my wife, Ann, who has supported my vision throughout this evangelisation”. Much applause broke out at this point, only to be interrupted by Peter with a twinkle in his eye “Thanks, but not too much applause please!”

Artistic Director, Ashley Herman, returned the appreciation saying that being involved in these plays at Wintershall had changed all their lives and given them a purpose in their performances.

The afternoon ended with a traditional English tea and with everyone talking eagerly about the next plays to come at Wintershall.

For more information on the Nativity plays go to

Picture: Peter Burholt

Friday, 18 November 2011

100 Years Old and Still Going Strong

John Keating, Molly Donaldson and Heather Couper, all pupils of the 1930’s, help to bury the time capsule
Peter Burholt reports that:
"Centenary Celebrations Proved that St Joseph’s Primary School, Haywards Heath can go on for another 100 years. Originally a private school for day and boarding pupils, it was set up by the Sisters of Mercy on 11th October 1911, the year King George V and Queen Mary were crowned at Westminster Abbey.

Bishop Kieran Conry, celebrating at the Thanks Giving Mass, asked the 300 assembled children what they thought of adults. After a while some got over their shyness at being asked such a direct question in front of parents and teachers “Boring, dull and bossy” came the replies! Turning to the adults, many of whom were previous pupils at St Joseph’s, he suggested that they should be like little children in the eyes of God. “Today’s memories should always be about happiness. I reckon there have been 3,000 pupils through this school in 100 years and we should not underestimate the importance of St Joseph’s in the local community” he concluded.

After Mass, visitors were treated to an outside assembly when each class gave an individual performance, followed by a shared lunch. Then it was the special time to cut a celebration cake – greatly enjoyed by children and adults alike - and to bury a time capsule in the grounds. For those who are around in 100 year’s time, they will find a selection of memorabilia including a school tie and jumper, a copy of the new school song and a DVD of the centenary slide show. God willing, St Joseph’s will still be around in 2111, playing that special role in the life of pupils and the community."

Picture by Shelagh Hodkinson.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Arundel & Brighton Woman Heads Relgious Order

Sister Jane Livesey CJ
Sister Jane Livesey CJ has been elected worldwide leader of the Congregation of Jesus, the religious order founded by Ven. Mary Ward in 1609. Sister Jane, a member of Our Lady of the Assumption parish, Englefield Green in the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton before she entered the novitiate, is the first British woman to hold the office of general superior since the eighteenth century. Over 60 members of the congregation gathered for the election in the sanctuary dedicated to St. Ignatius Loyola in Spain.

Sisters represented countries from Argentina to Zimbabwe, including recent foundations in Mongolia and Cuba. The Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto) sisters also count Mary Ward as their founder. Both orders together number nearly 3,000 sisters worldwide. Yorkshire woman Mary Ward (1585-1645) took her first step towards sainthood when she was declared Venerable by Pope Benedict XVI, a former pupil of a Mary Ward school in Germany, during the recent 400th anniversary of her order’s founding. 2,000 people gathered to celebrate the anniversary which began with a Mass in York Minster celebrated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor and ended with a Mass at Westminster Cathedral attended by Bishop Kieran.

Sister Jane, formerly head of St. Mary's School, Shaftesbury from 1985-1998, will move to the order’s headquarters in Rome. With new vocations to the order beginning to emerge, the sisters recently reopened their novitiate in the historic Bar Convent, York, alongside its flourishing conference and pastoral centres.

Sister Jane’s election coincided with the anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian uprising, celebrated by sisters from the three provinces of Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, which re-emerged from the former Soviet Union after decades of Communist persecution.

In Spain congregation delegates continue to discuss their plans and priorities for their worldwide mission and ministry in the coming years. 'These are exciting times for us', says Sister Jane, 'with challenging opportunities opening up in far-flung parts of the world as they once did here. With vocations beginning to pick up in Mary Ward's own country as well, it feels good to be part of a religious life that is open to the needs of today and tomorrow'.

Many congratulations to Sister Jane

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Acting Justly in Worth Abbey Parish

David Thomson A&B J&P Adviser back centre
with Worth Parish J&P and SVP groups
The Justice & Peace group at Worth Abbey Parish regularly hosts “Speaker Evenings” at which various issues are raised and discussed. Recent evenings have seen this very active group feature the work of CAFOD, the Medaille Trust for trafficked women, the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group, the Jubilee Campaign and the link between poverty and violence from Pax Christi. David Thomson the Justice & Peace Adviser for the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton was delighted to be invited to speak to the group on the 6th October on the subject of 'Justice and Peace: What Can You Do; a Call to Action'.

Approximately 20 parishioners attended, many of whom were either members of the SVP group or the J&P group. Both of these groups are very active in the parish. The talk focussed on the action plan developed at the last diocesan Justice & Peace Assembly, which had been designed to help and inspire Catholic parishes make a positive difference in the pursuit of justice and peace in the world.

The overall theme of the plan is 'Human Rights' (defence of … promotion of) in light of the 60th Anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights (November 3rd, 2011 marking the end of the anniversary year). For information on this year's and next year's Justice & Peace Assembly click here

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Bognor Catholics Honour Modern Saints In-Waiting

Shrine for Blesseds Mother Teresa, John Paul II and Cardinal Newman
Bognor parish reports:
"Catholics in Bognor Regis have a new focus of prayer in the church of Our Lady of Sorrows in a chapel set apart in honour of three recently beatified and much admired personalities.

Photographs of Cardinal John Henry Newman, Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Pope John Paul II have been placed in an area of the church that has been largely un-used in recent years. A votive candle stand and a kneeler for private prayer help to make the chapel a popular place of prayer. The photo of Blessed John Paul II was ready in time for his beatification on May 2nd. The completed chapel was blessed on October 8th the eve of Blessed John Henry Newman’s feast day.

Also in the chapel is the candle blessed by Pope Benedict during his visit to England in 2010. The Parish Priest, Father Anthony Churchill said that “Pope John Paul was always keen to put before us models of holiness from our own times. Many of us will have seen or even met both Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul. Others have always had a fascination for Cardinal Newman. I hope that they will help to make holiness seem more accessible.”

Monday, 14 November 2011

Nós Somos St Michael’s de Worthing

Deacon Mark, Jane, Anita and Fr Chris with messages in Portugese
‘We are St Michael’s in Worthing’ is one the messages in the photo taken at the recent Curry Night at St Michael’s Catholic Parish, High Salvington, Worthing in aid of CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) and Connect2: Brazil. As well as raising over £535 for CAFOD and Connect2: Brazil, the parish sent a message of solidarity to the CAFOD partners in São Paulo, Brazil. These partners work in the favelas (shanty towns) of São Paulo with the homeless and poorly housed fighting for their rights to decent housing, and access to sewage, water and electricity.

Tony Sheen who had recently been on a visit to Brazil to meet with these communities in São Paulo joined St Michael’s over the weekend to speak at all 3 Masses and to those gathered for the Curry Night. He spoke of the work of CAFOD’s partners in enabling local communities to obtain land rights, source funding from local government and provide hope and housing for the homeless. Above all he spoke of the wonderful people he met on his trip and the tireless work they did for the poor communities of São Paolo.

One of the people Tony met was Maria Auxiliadora de Souza who has lived in Divineia, São Paulo for 34 years. “I remember the day I arrived here. I went to a church meeting where people were discussing the neighbourhood’s problems. There was no electricity, no water, only from a well next to a cesspit. Everything was difficult. Then the church trained some of us as community leaders. Almost everything good here is a result of working with the church and the housing movement.”

When Tony had travelled to Brazil he took with him a jar of homemade Spiced Plum Chutney from St Michael’s which he shared with the community. The chutney was made by the Chair of the St Michael’s CAFOD group, Jane Woods. In thanks CAFOD’s partners sent a small gift of a special Brazilian mug and chocolate to Jane. In this small exchange of gifts both groups of people understood that they were tied together with bonds of solidarity and an understanding that the relationship between the two communities was more than just the giving and receiving of money.

Deacon Mark Woods from St Michael’s parish and the CAFOD group said “We had a wonderful Curry Night sharing not only in good food and company, but in the realization that what we do here has real benefit at lots of different levels for those communities in São Paul. We also learn from them that even in the most difficult of circumstances that hope and real action can overcome most things. We, as ever, enjoyed the curries provided by Shafiques of Goring Road, Worthing, and we were also grateful to Tony for sharing with us these positive stories of the Catholic Church and its partners among the poor of Brazil. It also reconfirmed our commitment to be support them not only through giving, but also in the words of the poster I held, in our prayers”

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Praying for Deceased Clergy of the Diocese

Worthing Deanery Clergy processing from Mass at English Martyrs, Goring
Last Tuesday the clergy of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton together with parishioners gathered in their deanery groups to offer Mass for the souls of deceased priests and deacons of each deanery. They gave thanks for their life and ministry, and prayed for the repose of their souls. This happens each November when the Catholic Church especially remembers all the dead and prays for all holy souls.

The reading of the day from Wisdom said "in the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die, their going looked like a disaster, their leaving us, like annihilation; but they are in peace." With that firm conviction for them and that that the same is promised for those gathered to pray for them, the clergy of the diocese and parishioners come together each year for those who in years past who have been good and faithful servants.

Deacon Rob Mason and Dean of Worthing, Fr Chris Benyon
Scripture quote (c) Jerusalem Bible, 1996,1967 and 1968, Darton, Longman & Todd.
Photos (c) Mark Woods/Diocese of Arundel & Brighton

Friday, 11 November 2011

Bishop Celebrates Role of Women in Bexhill

Bishop Kieran with CWL memebers plus Parish Clergy
A new Section of the Catholic Women's League was opened in September and celebrated with an inaugural Mass on October 3rd in St Martha's Church. Twenty three ladies of the parish joined the League and many more have made enquiries. The Mass was concelebrated by Bishop Kieran Conry, Fr Kevin Gaskin - CWL Chaplain for Arundel and Brighton, Fr. David Parmiter, Fr Bruno Witchells and Fr Seamus Hester.

National President Margaret Richards visited us, and along with the Bishop, presented new members with their badges and prayer cards. Our Branch President Sheila Dunbar, Branch Secretary Brenda Hilliam and Regional Representative Jill Sims, with several members from other Sections in the Branch, came along for the evening Mass.

Afterwards, a party was held in the church hall and Margaret Richards cut the celebration cake.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Reaching for the Olympic Dream

Chris Scott centre with Mayor, Head and
two pupils
Barrow Hills School reports:
On Thursday 20th October, pupils and teachers at Barrow Hills School in Witley celebrated as they were officially welcomed in to London 2012’s Get Set network, in recognition of their commitment to the Olympic and Paralympic Values. Barrow Hills is delighted to have this award and is the first school in the area to receive this accreditation.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) awarded Barrow Hills School a plaque and certificate to acknowledge their involvement in the London 2012 education programme. They are now a part of an active London 2012 community of schools and colleges across the UK– the Get Set network - and will receive access to exclusive competitions and 2012 Games related opportunities over the coming years.

Barrow Hills School has raised funds for Linden Lodge School for the Blind for several years now and is also raising funds for a resource centre for the blind at St Benedict’s School in Burkina Faso, Africa. Pupils from Barrow Hills will be staging their own Paralympics, alongside Linden Lodge, in February next year, exactly six months before the opening of the London Paralympics. This exciting event will be part of the School’s Lent fundraising appeal and they are hoping to top this year’s total of £3000 and raise £5000 next year. Already they are practising and taking part in events such as Goalball, Boccia and Blind football during Skills for Life lessons. The aim is to raise awareness of the special talents these gifted athletes have, and the struggles they must face to compete at such a high level within their disciplines.

Chris Scott, Great Britain discus thrower, who presented the school with the plaque and certificate, said: ‘Pupils at Barrow Hills are excellent examples of how London 2012 is helping to spark young people’s imagination and inspiring them to get involved and make a difference. They have clearly demonstrated that London 2012’s education programme extends far beyond PE and sport and I hope they will motivate other young people to join their journey.’

The whole school gathered, along with the Mayor of Haslemere, Mr Jim Edwards, to watch the unveiling of the plaque. It was wonderful to see the children so excited, and the volume was deafening as they joined in with a rousing ‘three cheers’ for the Olympics, waving their mascots at the same time. It was made even more special as they were kindly lent an original Olympic torch from the 1948 Games; the year they were last held in London. This was the very first time that a Paralympic event was held alongside the Olympics and was for the servicemen injured during the Second World War. It was a great honour for the Barrow Hills’ Games Captains, Sophie and William to be able to hold this torch aloft and for all the pupils to see this piece of Olympic history.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

32 Years of Dedication to the Poor

Presentation to Paddy Pearson at St Mary Magdalen

Fr Bruno with Paddy
Chris Jones from Bexhill on Sea Saint Vincent de Paul Conference reports:
"At the recent annual mass at St Mary Magdalen's, Bexhill for the Sick and Housebound, a presentation was made to Paddy Pearson who has been a member of the SVP in the parish for 32 years to thank and celebrate his service and dedication to the society and its work with the poor and marginalised of the local community.

Paddy has been very active through his visiting throughout the parish and he is well known around the town. Paddy has also been an altar server since a young boy and the Master of ceremonies at services for most of his adult life.

The first pictures attached show Paddy being presented with an official SVP certificate for long service and a beautiful medal of St Vincent de Paul and Blessed Frederic Ozanam by Chris Jones SVP President and Fr David Parmiter.

The second picture was taken at the tea after mass and picture Paddy with our assistant Priest, Fr Bruno Witchalls."

Congratulations Paddy!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Deacon in Formation - Taking the Next Steps

Robert Wellbelove with his wife Cath and 3 of his daughters
Sue Royston from St Hugh of Lincoln, Knaphill Parish reports that:
"After his 2nd year of formation and as a major step in his journey to become a Permanent Deacon, Rob Wellbelove was instituted in the summer as Acolyte during Mass at St Hugh of Lincoln, Knaphill (see picture above).

During the institution, Fr Jeff Scott, the Parish Priest presented Rob with the chalice and paten with wine and bread. These are not consecrated at the time, but symbolize the service that Rob, as Acolyte, can now provide for the Church and especially during Mass.

Rob’s has also recently taken the next step towards becoming a Deacon when Bishop Kieran admitted him to Candidacy during a the Parish Mass.

As he now journeys through his final year of preparation, Rob says, “As the Formation programme continues, the profound realisation has hit each of us in formation – that it is ‘God’s will’ and not ours, all He asks of us is our ‘YES’ – not – our journey plan.”

We keep Rob, Cath and family very much in our prayers and the other men in our Diocese who are also in formation."

For more about the Permanent Diaconate and vocations visit