Thursday, 30 June 2011

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Happy Feast of St Peter and St Paul

Ravenna Mosiac of St Peter and St Paul
Today we celebrate the Feast of St Peter and St Paul, the two great Apostles who died as martyrs in Rome about 64 AD.

It is a holy day of obligation when Catholics are to attend Mass and remember these two great founder apostles of the faith 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

30 Years of Service to Catholic Education

Sacred Heart School in Hastings reports:
"Our Headteacher, Mrs Angela O’Connor (OBE), is retiring at the end of the Summer Term in July 2011.  She has worked at the school for over 30 years and has been Headteacher for the past 17 years.  Her influence on the development of the school has been significant, resulting in the school being judged ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted for the past 10 years. 
We wish her every happiness in her well-earned retirement.  Any cards or messages of goodwill may be sent to the school office: Sacred Heart School, Old London Road, Hastings, East Sussex, TN35, 5NA. Email:"
We wish her well in retirement  

Sunday, 26 June 2011

A Very French Pilgrimage

Following a Pilgrimage to La Salette, Ars, Macon & Paray-Le-Monial, Jodie Ripley reports:

Arriving at the Sanctuaire Notre Dame de La Salette mid afternoon, the sense of peace & tranquillity were immediate. We celebrated our first mass together later that afternoon in the Basilica and were invited to join in the torchlight procession around the shrine after dinner.

Next day, mass in the Basilica was followed by a tour & short film, explaining the manifestations. The rest of the day was for our own devotions, to spend time quietly with God, to join in the rosary or Stations of the Cross or take a walk into the mountains.

The following day we journeyed to the Carthusian monastery in Chartreuse. Set up by St. Bruno, they spend their time in silent prayer in individual cells, meeting only for prayers & meals. Mass was celebrated here in a tiny & simple church. After a tour & tasting at the Caves du Monastere in Voiron we made our way to Ars Sur Formans.

We walked into Ars next day for mass in the Basilica in front of the shrine of St. Jean-Marie Vianney, patron saint of Parish Priests. Another tour & short film about the life & ministry of the Curé D’ Ars and we were left to explore for ourselves. The two fathers heard our confessions later that afternoon, in this most famous church for this sacrament. Before dinner that night some attended Vespers led by the Benedictine Sisters, who are resident at the sanctuary.

The following day we went to Dardilly, visiting the church where St. Jean Vianney was baptised (we celebrated mass) and the family home. Then on to Lyon, our tour of the cathedral was unfortunately cancelled due to a demonstration in the town. We did manage to tour the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere and then returned to Ars. After dinner many went to listen to the nuns at night prayer.

An early mass in the guesthouse ‘La Providence’, an exquisitely beautiful simple chapel, then a visit to the old Trappist monastery of Notre Dame des Dombes, now a retreat centre.

We visited the parish church where St. Vincent de Paul served as curate in Chatillion-Sur-Chalaronne. On the way to Macon we stopped at shrine of St Peter Chanel in Cuet for the rosary.

The last day was spent in Paray-Le-Monial where St. Margaret Mary received her revelations from Our Lord to promote the devotion to His Sacred Heart. Our last mass together was in the Chapelle des Apparitions, followed by an in-depth tour of the Basilica & the Jesuit church of St. Claude de la Colombière. On our return to Macon we had a brief visit to the Cluny Abbey ruins.

We had the most uplifting, prayerful pilgrimage & we can’t thank Frs Stephen & Terry enough for their time, patience and also fun, plus their most inspirational homilies!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Parish is Anchored in the Faith

Patricipants of the course pictured in the Towers Convent
The parish of Our Lady Queen of Peace, Adur Valley reports that it continues to reap the rewards following the success of the "Anchoring you in the Faith" course during the recent Easter season. Run over six sessions with over 30 participants, the course provided a grounded opportunity to anchor our faith in the informal setting of The Towers Convent. The Maryvale Institute, Birmingham, has developed the course, with each session including a time for communal prayer, study of scripture, reflection on Christian art, and an exploration of the Eucharist.
Parishioners stated "Thank you so much for an in-depth discussion group, each week has got better and better", “I really enjoyed the course, the content and networking within the Parish family” and "When do ordinary Catholics get the opportunity to listen and discuss like we have".

Keen to continue exploring the Catholic Faith, future courses and opportunities to study the scripture are planned over the coming year.

“There is nothing more beautiful than to be visited by Christ and the Gospel. There is nothing more beautiful than to know that what is being offered is the joy of His friendship” (Pope Benedict XVI)

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

In Vino Veritas - Supporting Palestinian Communities

A wonderful idea for supporting poor Palestinian communities came across this desk:
While on a recent pilgrimage in Bethlehem some A&B clergy came across ‘Cremisan Altar Wines’ which are certified by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem for the celebration of the Eucharist. Produced by the Salesians of Don Bosco in their winery in the hills of Bethlehem since 1885 the sale of these wines directly supports the education of poor children in the Holy Land

The wines are being imported here by 5th Gospel Retreats, a not for profit company, run by Della Shenton: a parishioner in the Plymouth Diocese. If you would like more details please see their website: 

Monday, 20 June 2011

Country Friendly Crafts at St Cuthman’s

Example of Willowcraft
St Cuthman's, the diocesan retreat centre reports:
So many traditional country skills have been lost or are in danger of being lost to future generations. Willow craft is one of many. Mike Groom and John Moore, the gardeners at St Cuthman’s , are committed to caring for the 25 acre site in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Part of their stewardship includes using traditional skills such as willow craft to make bean teepees and plant supports, using local willow, including some from our own grounds.

On 19th May Mike and John led a ‘Willow Craft Workshop’ for a small group of people who were keen to learn these useful gardening skills. By the end of the Workshop everyone had managed to make at least one bean teepee, and one or two had also completed a plant support. The participants worked hard, and under the patient and enthusiastic guidance of Mike and John had an enjoyable and productive day. When I visited the group in the early afternoon there was an air of quiet concentration and comments received at the end of the day, reflected some of the joy that can be found in making things.
As well as serving a practical purpose in supporting growing vegetables and flowers, the willow structures are like living pieces of sculpture. There are a number of examples in our grounds and vegetable plot. Participants were keen to have a follow up session in the winter, exploring developing living willow structures. We were pleased to have made a small contribution to sharing a useful skill and maintaining a valuable tradition.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Join Celebrate in Brighton Next Weekend

CELEBRATE have asked us promote there coming event in Brighton next weekend, 25-26 June at Cardinal Newman School, Upper Drive, Hove. They say:

"CELEBRATE is a Family Conference for Christians of all ages, organised by a team from Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

Our vision is to offer a faith-filled and fun event which combines good Christian teaching, inspirational speakers and celebration of the liturgy, where young and old alike join together in a vibrant atmosphere to celebrate the love of God.

Most of us are Catholics, but we are always delighted to welcome a good number from other Christian traditions, including some of our conference speakers. We have much to learn from each other and to share and celebrate.

So we do hope to see you this year at one of the non-residential weekend conferences that are running around the country. We love to see all the familiar ‘Celebrators’ who have been attending for many years and to welcome new faces and families. Come and see what CELEBRATE is all about and invite your parish priest and your friends too!"

If you are interested visit the website or email 

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Priest Completes Vocations Marathon

Marathon Man and Priest
Fr Paul Turner at earlier Brighton Marathon
Fr Paul Turner (Diocesan Vocations Director) finished the South Downs Marathon on Saturday 11th June in a time of 4 hours 1 minute and 26 seconds. He would like to thank all his donors that have helped raise nearly £6,000 for the Vocations Fund. Donations can still be made via his fundraising website at

Alternatively you can send money directly to his address at “The Priest’s House, Haslett Avenue West, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 1HR. (cheques should be made payable to ‘RCD of A&B’)


Thursday, 16 June 2011

The Long March for Young People

These Boots were made for walking
Photo credit (c) Diocese of Arundel & Brighton
Ray Mooney (Diocesan Youth Adviser) finished his walk of the North Downs from one end of the diocese to the other a length of 50 miles on Friday 3rd June over a period of 3 days. He would like to thank all his donors that have helped raise money so far. He hopes to hit £3,000 for the Youth Work in the diocese. Donations can still be made via his fundraising website at

Alternatively you can send money directly to his office at The Christian Education Centre, 4 Southgate Drive. Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 6RP. (cheques should be made payable to ‘RCD of A&B’).

Well done Ray

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Wonder of Wonersh - Part 2

St John's Seminary, Wonersh
Rev Dr Stephen Dingley MA PhD STL in conversation about his life and his work as Lecturer in Theology at Wonersh with A&B News correspondent, Peter Burholt. Part 2.

You were sent to the English College in Rome. What was that like and are you fluent in Italian?
Many memories were being gathered by Fr Stephen of his 6 years stay in Rome and back came that smile.

When I tell you that my first year was studying philosophy – in Italian! – and that we had only had a few weeks of Italian lessons before starting it, you will understand how I felt. Fortunately, the next year was better.

After gaining your Masters in Theology what happened next?
It was back to England and I was ordained in Banstead by Bishop (now Cardinal) Cormac. A placement as curate came at Haywards Heath with Fr Ian Byrnes. I will always be grateful to him as he took an interest in me and my development. However, I did not relish the experience of being left in charge of the parish after two weeks as Fr Ian went on pilgrimage to Medjugorje – along with the only set of parish keys! Later I was relocated to Bognor Regis for a further stint of parish work.

So how did you get to Wonersh? Did you fill in an application form?
One dark January evening the telephone rang. I replied to the caller “Sorry, but Kieran who?” “Your Bishop!” was the rather gruff response. “Would you like to go to St John’s Seminary to teach theology?”
Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather as I assumed I would continue in parish work for the rest of my life. It was an exciting prospect as I had always liked the idea of teaching. Afterwards I found out that the Rector had approached Bishop Kieran – the Rector has his ears to the ground, a bit like a football scout!

I moved into St John’s in the summer before the start of the academic year to sort out what I was supposed to be doing. The first year was pretty hellish at times! I had, as any teacher will tell you, to do it all at once and to somehow keep my head above water.
How long will I be here? I am happy to stay as long as Bishop Kieran and the Rector want me to; but my predecessors have typically lasted around 8 to 12 years.

Monday, 13 June 2011

The Wonder of Wonersh - Part 1

Fr Stephen Dingley
Rev Dr Stephen Dingley MA PhD STL in conversation about his life and his work as Lecturer in Theology at Wonersh with A&B News correspondent, Peter Burholt.

Meeting Fr Stephen at St John’s Seminary in the delightful country village of Wonersh was going to be interesting, but maybe rather dull - given his obvious academic qualifications. On arrival at what must be described as a slightly faded version of one of the famous Oxbridge Colleges, one was ushered up the grand staircase to Fr Stephen’s study. Knocking on his door felt very reminiscent of visiting the headmaster for a reprimand. “Come” was the response. Well, a smile that could melt the largest iceberg appeared in the doorway. Relaxation was instant and we settled down with a mug of tea to talk in his book-lined place of work.

You were born at a very young age. What is your background?
“The Smile” became even broader.

Yes, I was very young! I was born in 1965 in Sutton and I come from a Catholic family – although my mum was a convert when I was about 7 years. My father was born in Malta and came to England in 1936 and my parents and sister, we are all very close. However, I inherited a non-Catholic grandfather, which did create some tensions at times.

One of my earliest memories was watching the moon landing and then making a rocket out of cardboard. I was 4 years old!

How did you start on your vocational journey?
I guess it all started when I was at the John Fisher School in Purley, a place which has produced a notable number of priests. Having said this, at the time my mind was set on going into the sciences as a career and one day getting married. However, I should explain further – at 13 years old there was this nagging notion that I should go into the priesthood, but I quite clearly told God this thought was stupid. My blood ran cold at this prospect!

Next, it was university in Cambridge…but that thought still would not go away. One day I went to the university chaplain to try to sort out my mind. His advice was to take on the research project I had just begun and, when completed, to consider what I wanted to do. So I followed his advice.

Research, which lasted 4½ years, took the form of work in radio astronomy. It was a very happy time in my life, but after a while I felt that there would be more to my life than astronomy.

So, where did you go from there in the world of science?
Research was a good thing as it deepened my sense of what a wonderful place God has created. I have a fascination with the vastness of space, with God being the ultimate in the universe and in our lives. Astronomy has been especially important from when I was an undergraduate.

Having finished my research, I took a few months’ “gap” to decide where my life was going.

After a while and with a degree of anxiety I spoke to a number of priests, eventually plucking up courage to ring Fr Kieran O’Brien, who was vocations director. I was shaking! It was a crisis moment and I was beginning to realise that my life was out of my control as God had a plan for me to follow. It was He, through Bishop (now Cardinal) Cormac, who would determine what happened next. My feelings were confirmed a few months later when I was offered a job in my old laboratory. I did not accept this offer as something was telling me I had another path to tread.

It was an odd feeling finally applying for the priesthood. Having resisted for so long – and having finally given into what seemed like a lot of pressure from God – what would happen if I was turned down? How would I feel about it then? Frankly, I just didn’t know.

Interestingly, my parents were not surprised. They said they had guessed long before!

At this point did your scientific experience (and since then) give you any concerns over your Faith and what you were about to do?
Quite the opposite, in fact. One of the most precious things I gained at the John Fisher School was a clear understanding that religion and science go together very happily. I would not have taken this decision to offer myself for priesthood, let alone come here to St John’s and do the job I am doing if I had concerns.

Part two tomorrow

Sunday, 12 June 2011

All Over the World the Spirit is Moving

Photo credit: Paul Jeffrey - Healthy baby and mother
CAFOD reports some good news for Pentecost: In St Luke’s Gospel Jesus reads that the Spirit of the Lord is upon him because he has anointed him to bring good news to the poor. We share in that Spirit, let us also share in some good news for the poor.

When CAFOD started 50 years ago, 6 out of 10 people had no access to clean water. Now it’s less than 2 out of 10. That’s a difference you’ve helped achieve. Thank you.

By 2005, 41 million more children received primary education than they did in 1999; and the average chance of a child surviving to the age of five had doubled. That’s a difference you’ve helped achieve. Thank you.

In 2010 hundreds of thousands of families lost their homes in the Haiti Earthquake. Thanks to you, CAFOD is helping over 150 families move into a new home every single day - we could not have achieved this without you.

These are just a few examples of what you have made possible. However you support CAFOD - whether you make a regular gift or support us at Fast Day, whether you write to your MP, remember us in your will or in your prayers: you are making a real and lasting difference. Thank you.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Re-opening of Worth Abbey Church on Pentecost Sunday

Artist's Impression from the Font of the Renewed Church
Copyright © 2010 of Worth Abbey
Worth Abbey Church will be re-opened on Pentecost Sunday, 12 June after being closed since last year. The Abbey Church is the most important building at Worth, both in terms of size and significance. The monks gather here six times a day to create a rhythm of prayer that is the foundation of the monastic life. This sanctuary acts as a magnet for individuals who wish to pray alone, as well as for special services and meetings for Christians of different denominations.

The Abbey Church has the largest capacity of any church in Sussex. The foundation stone was laid in 1964, the Church was consecrated in 1974 and the exterior structure completed in 2001. To achieve an open space on such a scale, the architect employed a bridge building technique never before used in a church. This modernist design by Francis Pollen is considered by many to be the finest example of 1960’s church architecture in Britain and is listed grade 2*. The interior and furnishing has remained incomplete - until now.

The Abbot and Community are celebrating the re-opening of the Abbey Church with Solemn Vespers on Pentecost Sunday, 12 June before an invited congregation of benefactors and parishioners.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Vocations on the Run in Arundel & Brighton

Fr Paul at the Brighton Marathon
Fr Paul Turner (Diocesan Vocations Director), having recently successfully completed the Brighton Marathon, is now running the South Downs Marathon on Saturday 11th June to raise money for the promotion of vocations in our diocese.

A glutton for punishment who deserves our support!

You can make a donation via his fundraising website at

Thursday, 9 June 2011

World Youth Day Celebrated and Supported in Crawley

World Youth Day Cake
Barbara Winstanley from Broadfield and Bewbush Church part of Crawley parish writes: "Many thanks to all who made the May Ball on May 7th a fantastic success, raising funds for young people to meet with Pope Benedict at World Youth Day in Madrid in August. A String Quintet formed of pilgrims-to-be accompanied the meal, while other pilgrims-to-be waited on tables.

After the meal parishioners enjoyed the tombola, one of the prizes being a cake made for the 150th anniversary year of the Friary church, and took to the dance floor to the amazing sounds of Reelstrings. More funds were raised by a silent auction of a parishioner’s paintings." 

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Vocation to the Priesthood

Stephen O'Brien
Stephen O’Brien – First Year Seminarian at Venerable English College, Rome reports: I started “enquiring” into the Priesthood in 2008. I had regular meetings with Fr Paul, our Vocations Director, for almost a year. I met with him on a one-to-one basis as well as attending enquiry retreats with others. During this time I also attended the Compass Course at Worth Abbey, which is designed for young adults interested in discerning their vocations.

Fr Paul and I decided that I should make an application for the Selection Conference which took place at St. John’s Seminary, Wonersh in early 2009. The selection process was varied, at times challenging but very encouraging. The final stage of my discernment was my personal interview with Bishop Kieran, who asked me to spend a preparatory year in English College at Valladolid in Spain, before going on to the Seminary here in Rome.

So here I am! I am studying Philosophy, which is the backbone of my academic life, but the life within the College is also vital to the formation: We pray and attend Mass together most days, and our staff are here to help us in all areas of our development, academic as well as pastoral, spiritual and human. We are fortunate to be able to sample the richness of Rome’s spiritual and indeed its cultural life. The life of a seminarian in Rome is definitely a happy one!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Preparing for the New Translation in the Parish

Fr Martin Jakubas in session with the parish
Camberley and Bagshot parish reports: Like every other parish in the English-speaking world, Camberley & Bagshot (C&B) in leafy north-west Surrey has got down to preparing itself for the introduction of the new translation of the Mass. Chair of the A&B Diocesan Liturgy Commission Fr Martin Jakubas came to the parish on Saturday 21 May to give 70 parishioners a serious look at the purpose and meaning of the liturgy including an absorbing critique of the new translation.

Earlier, parish priest Mgr Richard Madders had celebrated Mass in the new translation as a one-off trial. Parishioners from C&B, St Dunstan’s Woking and Our Lady Queen of Heaven, Frimley came to St Tarcisius Church hall for the study day and went away asking for ‘much more of this sort of thing please’. Similar such study days are being planned to cover a variety of topics.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Mayfield girls sing in Malta’s ‘Silent City’

Choir sings during Mass
St Leonards_Mayfield Girls School reports that: The 22-girl choir of St Leonards-Mayfield School in East Sussex was treated to a standing ovation recently, after the girls sung mass at St Paul’s Cathedral in the medieval walled town of Mdina, as part of a four-day musical tour of the island of Malta.

Mdina, known on the island as the ‘Silent City’, rang that evening to the sound of Messe Basse by Fauré and Ave Maria by Saint-Saëns.

The choir also sung mass at St John’s Co-Cathedral in the capital, Valletta, built by the Knights of Malta in the late-16th century.

It wasn’t all work though. The choir took time out to explore the beautiful Mediterranean island both on foot and by boat, and even tried their hands at Salsa and Zumba classes.

Assistant Director of Music, Heather Woodruff, underlined the value of overseas trips to young people: “This was more than just a musical trip. It gave the girls the opportunity to witness and experience mass in a culture different to their own, and in a different language.”

Friday, 3 June 2011

Invocation Festival 2011

Rowena Grunwell reports: After last year’s unprecedented success, Invocation Festival will be returning to St. Mary’s College, Oscott in Birmingham from Friday the 17th to Sunday 19th of June 2011.

Young People gather at Invocation 2010
Invocation is a national event open to all young people between the ages of 16 – 35 who are looking to deepen their relationship with Christ, especially if they are open to the possibility of discerning their vocation to the Priesthood or religious life.

The festival provides the opportunity to meet other young people who are seeking to discern God’s will for their lives without the usual distractions, to learn more about the faith through group discussions and catechesis, as well as times for daily prayer, Mass, Eucharistic Adoration and the Sacrament of Confession. There will also be guest speakers at various points of the weekend to impart their words of wisdom.

From my own experience there last year I can honestly say that Invocation is a life-changing event – there is nothing as encouraging as being in a safe, friendly environment of other young Catholic adults with the sole purpose of sharing our faith, and having the widest variety of priests and religious available to offer guidance and support.

A quote from one of the attendees last year sums up the nature of the event perfectly:
“I experienced space and time to hear and listen. I immediately built a friendship with someone walking by. Nobody had an agenda and it was very laid back and informal.” - Andy

For more information about Invocation 2011 go to

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Lourdes Convent to Close after 107 Years

 Junior School of Lourdes Convent now St Bernadette's School
Photo by Tony Mold
Claire Shelton-Jones reports: The Sisters of Charity of Nevers, who came to the St Mary's, Preston Park in 1904 and set up a school there, have announced that they are about to leave Brighton and St Mary's Parish. (In 1903 the Bishop of Nevers had written to the Bishop of Southwark seeking asylum for the sisters who at that time were suffering from a wave of anti-clerical feeling in France and having their schools closed.)

The convent chapel in Preston Park was the first Catholic church in that part of the City and served as the Parish Church from 1904 until St. Mary's was opened in 1912. Lourdes Convent School celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1953 having grown from 10 pupils to over 300. It finally closed in the 1970s. The old building including the chapel was demolished and part of the land sold for building. The former junior school became St Bernadette’s RC Primary School.

The sisters’ connection with the parish grew even stronger after the school closed, working with parish groups, visiting the sick and involved in the community in so many ways. They will be sadly missed. The Lourdes Convent in Harrington Road closed down on Palm Sunday and the Sisters moved to Dublin and Blackburn.
For reflections and reminiscences on the school and the sisters go to

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Rediscovering Pentecost the Forgotten Feast

Katrina Cooper writes about preparing for Pentecost: Pope John XXIII when he called for the Second Vatican II Council, prayed that God might “renew the Church as by a new Pentecost.” Since then many popes have repeated this message, especially Pope Benedict who has called upon the Church, particularly in the West to spread the culture of Pentecost in the Church. How in practice might we co-operate with this?

Firstly I would suggest raising the bar of expectation of what it means to be a Catholic and seeing ourselves as contemporary disciples of Christ rather than simply Mass goers or nice people. We also need to concretely and actively prepare for the feast of Pentecost during the Easter-tide period, which should be a time of study and expectation for the outpouring of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit on us today.

We could do this by :
- prayerfully reading the Book of Acts during Easter tide with the awareness that the Holy Spirit who operated them is still alive and will operate in us in the same way if we are open.

- Attending Life in the Spirit seminars, an excellent renewal course – usually seven evenings or a weekend, which has brought many people new fervour in faith. A version of this called “This Promise is for You” is available on dvd from Goodnews Books (01582 571011). See  or  for a list of seminars and Pentecost events or ring 020 7352 5298.

- Obtaining copies of the CTS pamphlet “Road to Pentecost” with prayers and meditations for Easter-tide to Pentecost or their Pentecost novena leaflet for ourselves, friends or fellow parishioners (available see above)

- Organizing a Pentecost vigil – all night perhaps – to recreate the Upper Room experience

- Organizing a Pentecost event with other Christians or other nationalities with food to celebrate the birthday of the universal Church.

The more we prepare and the more we focus, the more we receive!