Friday, 30 September 2011

Solemn Profession of Sr Joanna Harrison

Newly Professed Sr Joanna with members of Hand in Hand
Sr. Joanna Harrison made her Solemn Profession at the Cistercian Community at Holy Cross Abbey, Whitland, in West Wales on Saturday 20th August. It took place on the Feast of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, who founded the old Whitland Abbey in 1151.

Sr Joanna was previously a parishioner of St Joseph’s in Brighton and was very involved with the ‘Hand-in-hand’ group. Many of her family and friends join her for the celebrations of her solemn profession. The celebrations began on Friday morning after Mass, when Jo’s guests who were treated to a tour of the Abbey and grounds and a talk on the community life.

The present-day Cistercian Community at Holy Cross Abbey seeks to live the Cistercian charism in a life of prayer, daily manual work and lectio divina. The Community earns its living making altar breads, and have a small monastic guest-house, where retreatants and those coming for a "quiet day" are welcomed. They maintain flower gardens for guests and are expanding their market garden of fruit and vegetables for their own use and for sale.

The Mass was concelebrated by Dom Joseph Delargy, Abbot of Mount Saint Bernard Abbey and Dom John Moakler, the chaplain to the community. Mother Christine, the Abbess, received her vows and Sister Joanna was clothed in the Cistercian cowl. She then sung the verse from Psalm 118 “Suscipe me, Domine, secundum eloquium tuum et vivam; et non confundas me ab expectatione mea” (Sustain me, Lord by your word and I shall live; let my hope not be in vain).

Hand in Hand danced during the Offertory Hymn, 'Take, O Take me as I am', as Jo’s sisters Maire and Beth and niece Jennifer, presented the gifts. After communion Hand in Hand, joined by Sister Jo and Sister Edith, signed to the hymn Christ Has No Body Now But Yours, which moved everyone to tears. The Mass was followed by a sumptuous buffet lunch, thoroughly enjoyed by all. The entire weekend was one of celebration and absolute joy as those privileged enough to share those days with Sr. Joanna will surely testify!"

Story and picture by Elaine Soudain

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Thinking Bioethics

Continuing next month the parish of Christ the Prince of Peace in Weybridge are hosting a series of talks under the title “Thinking Bioethics”.

Bioethical controversies are never far from the headlines and the arguments presented in public debate seem rarely to be balanced or fully informed. Appeal is often made to a ‘compassion’, focussed on individual cases or selected interest groups, with little regard for the wider implications.

There is a clear need for a deeper, more informed, debate. This initiative is a response to that need and is aimed at motivating and equipping participants to engage respectfully and fruitfully in that debate.

The line up of guest speakers is exceptional so this is a very special opportunity. No prior knowledge is necessary and all are most welcome to attend.

For further information see

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Gatwick Airport - Catholic Chaplaincy has Lift Off!

Deacon Ian with World Youth Day pilgrims and their priests
Jean Wells reports:
"We have lift off! A year ago my husband, Deacon Ian Wells, and I found ourselves at Gatwick Airport. To fly? Well not quite, although we do seem to be flying around! Together with Sister Jo Threlfall, we form the Roman Catholic Chaplaincy Team at the multi-faith chapels in South and North Terminals.

Many Catholic travellers and staff come to the chapels for the Services, to pray and to share their needs. In December, the Gatwick Chaplaincy celebrates its 35th birthday. Each chapel has a book for people to write down their own prayers. It is well used! So pop in if you are going on holiday or meeting somebody.

Recently, we had a group of 55 young people and their Priests from the Dioceses of Derry, Down & Connor who celebrated Mass in South Chapel on their way to Madrid for World Youth Day. It was such a joy to have them with us. How wonderful to know that they were joining our own young people from the Diocese of A&B, together with youngsters from all over the World to meet the Pope.."

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Help Towards Tanzanian Orphanage Trip

Pictured left to right: Brother John Gramme, Alona Shaji, President Denis Cronin,
and Father Chris Spain – Former Parish Priest
The Bexhill Catenians had an extra special reason to celebrate President’s Sunday recently.

After the 11.00am Mass at St.Mary Magdalene’s Church, President Denis Cronin presented local youngster, Alona Shaji, with a cheque for £300.00 in front of the congregation!

Alona, and four other youngsters are on their way to Tanzania as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Along with the others, Alona will be working at an orphanage in The Village of Hope and Grace, in Tanga in the North East of Tanzania.

As the building is still under construction, the team will be camping in the grounds of the orphanage. Part of their work in Tanga will be working alongside locals, helping to build a boundary wall to increase the security of the site.

At the same time the young people and their leaders are to run two activity camps for orphan, some of who may well end up living at the orphanage on its completion. Activities open to the children include art, craft, sports, singing, dancing, treasure hunts and simply enjoying themselves around organised bonfires.

Organiser Rosemary Henley said, “Everyone in the team has paid their own way for the trip. They are also raising money to pay for the camps, food for the children along with tables, chairs and mattresses for the orphanage.”

President Denis Cronin remarked, “When we heard about Alona’s trip and were approached for help we were only to glad to be able to assist her having obtained help from the Bursary Fund. It is our intention to invite Alona to join us at one of our after meeting dinners so she can inform us of her experience.”

Monday, 26 September 2011

A Golden Ray in East Preston

Fr David Rae (left) with Bishop Kieran
MONTHS OF PLANNING and preparation by many parishioners finally came to fruition on earlier in the summer as the joyous weekend celebrations began for Fr David Rae’s Golden Jubilee of his Ordination to the Priesthood. Fr David’s family and friends joined him and the parish in a Mass of thanksgiving for his 50 years as a Priest. Following Mass, Irish entertainment and a buffet supper were enjoyed by everyone in a marquee in the church garden.

The jubilee continued through the weekend, when the Parish was honoured by two visits from Bishop Kieran who came to celebrate Pentecost at Our Lady Star of the Sea. The children and young people of the parish excelled themselves in their participation in the Mass on Sunday; the speeches, songs and presentations shone with enthusiasm.

On Monday the final, but very special event in celebration of Fr David’s ministry, was a visit to St Wilfrid’s Primary School in Angmering. Bishop Kieran again joined Fr David – he was heard to say that “Fr David had had more visits than he (Bishop Kieran) had with the Pope on his visit to this country!”

What a surprise when Fr David was presented with a “This Is Your Life” by a governor who had visited Ireland for a month to carry out the research. This was recorded in a fine book as a keepsake. Many other gifts were given including a drawing of the church, a gold cross, jubilee cake and a generous cheque from his parishioners. In conclusion, this much-loved golden ray from East Preston said “I have offered my jubilee in thanksgiving to the Lord for all my family, friends and parishioners”.
Story by Sylvia Petty

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Celebrating Our Lady of Walshingham

Pilgrims from St Joan of Arc, Farnham at Walshingham
The 24th September is the Feast of Our Lady of Walshingham, the ancient English Marian Shrine in Walshingham, Norfolk shared by Catholics and Anglicans. She is also the special patron of the new Ordinariate and our Eastbourne group will be celebrating the Patronal Feast on SUnday 25th September at 4pm in St Agnes, Eastbourne.

This short report of a recent A&B parish pilgrimage from Nancy Sackwood has comet through:
"Twenty-six pilgrims set off by coach from St. Joan of Arc Church on a three-day pilgrimage to Walsingham on August 15th and arrived at the Church of Reconciliation in time for our Pilgrimage Mass at midday. we attended Mass and we said both morning and evening prayers each day at the Church of the Annunciation.

In the course of the limited time of our visit we succeeded in visiting all the shrines of Our Lady, namely the Slipper Chapel, the Church of the Holy Spirit, the Church of Reconciliation, the Anglican Shrine, the Orthodox Chapel, Abbey Ruins and we even had time to spend four relaxing fun hours at the coast at Wells-Next-the-Sea.

On our second evening we had a candlelit procession to a shrine of our lady in the garden of the Church of the Annunciation. On our final day we walked the mile along the Pilgrim Way to the Church of Reconciliation in procession, reciting the Rosary while four pilgrims carried a statue of our lady of Walsingham. The three days was a most uplifting and enjoyable experience."

Friday, 23 September 2011

Inauguration of a Liturgy Institute for England and Wales

Bishop Alan Hopes and Prof. Ephrem Carr were welcomed as guests of honour by the Abbots of Ealing and Farnborough at the inauguration of a new Liturgy Institute at Ealing Abbey in the summer. The Liturgy Institute promotes graduate research and teaching accredited by the Catholic University of Leuven, and the Bishops of England and Wales have given their endorsement.

The inauguration was marked in the afternoon by a presentation by Bishop Alan Hopes and then by the first St Bede Liturgy Lecture, given by Prof. Ephrem Carr, OSB, President of the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy in Rome: “Sacrosanctum Concilium and its Consequences: A Contribution to the Current Discussion on Liturgy in the Church”. Both presentation and lecture will be published.

If there is one aspect of Catholicism that can always be relied upon to cause interest and either raise or quench a discussion, it is liturgy. From the so-called “Tridentine Rite” to the new English translation of the Missal and the arrangement of a church, worship provokes strong emotions. It is the hope of the founders that research and graduate level teaching will help those who attend to rise above polarised positions to make an irenic contribution to the broader Church.

The summer teaching programme from June to August prepares future university teachers and forms members of diocesan, national and religious liturgical commissions. All interested will be welcome to attend as credit or auditor students for single courses or the certificate programme. The courses provide English language access to Licence and Doctoral degrees at the Catholic University of Leuven and the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy in Rome. Other specialist courses for clergy, laity and and religious are being considered. The teaching programme is supported by research and publishing throughout the year. The Latin Institute provides instruction from the first encounter through to proficiency, using the teaching method of Fr Reginald Foster, O.C.D., forty years Papal Latinist.

The Liturgy Institute is the product of three years of study and preparation by Dom Daniel McCarthy of St Benedict’s Abbey, Atchison, Kansas, and Dom James Leachman of Ealing Abbey, London, their respective communities and that of Farnborough Abbey. Endorsing sponsors include Abbot Barnabas Senecal of St. Benedict’s Abbey and Sr Anne Shepard, O.S.B., the Prioress of Mount St. Scholastica, both of Atchison, and Abbot Gregory Polan of Conception Abbey, Missouri.

The Rt. Rev. Alan Hopes, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster is Chairman of the Committee on Liturgy of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Rt Rev. Martin Shipperlee, O.S.B., of Ealing and Rt Rev. Cuthbert Brogan, O.S.B., of Farnborough also welcomed guests, benefactors and collaborators. Honoured guests included Prof. Joris Geldhof, Head of Liturgy, Catholic University of Leuven, and of the Liturgical Institute in Leuven; Abbot Francis Rossiter, the former Abbot President of the English Benedictine Congregation; and Abbot Cuthbert Johnson of Quarr Abbey, President of the Henry Bradshaw Society and Advisor to the Vox Clara Committee on the Liturgy. All the guests were invited to tour the institute’s new facilities.

“Now, first of all, whenever you undertake any good work, beg the Lord with most earnest prayer to bring it to completion”.

For details of their courses for 2012 go to

Thursday, 22 September 2011

As a matter of fact, the Holy Land does not need walls, but bridges!

The Holy Land is in the news much this week as the Palestians make a bid for statehood at the UN. Christians in the Holy Land, especially those in Palestians area on the West Bank and Gaza remain in real need of financial help and prayer support. You can help support the Holy Places and help maintain the Christian Community in the Holy Land through Acta Pro Terra Sancta.

ATS serves the Custody of the Holy Land, which is under the care of the Franciscans, in its proper task of: maintaining and promoting the Holy Places, keeping up the Christian Community in the Middle East, advancing peace and dialogue.It promotes and coordinates activities for the development of international solidarity in the Holy Land in the Middle East, particularly in the areas in which the Custody of the Holy Land is represented: Israel, Palestinian Territories, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus, Rhodes.

One of the projects ATS supports is Bridges for Peace. This is an educational project encouraging dialogue and peace in the Holy Land through the involvement of the children. By promoting exchange programs between Italian and Holy Land schools, it aims to enable children from Italy and the Holy Land to meet, find out about each others’ lives and cultural background and become friends.

To find out more about ATS and their work why not visit their website

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Artist Captures Spirit of Jesus and His Sacred Heart

Fr Kevin Dring with Artist Sara Abbott in front of new parish sign
Anna Hayward from Sacred Heart Parish, Hove reports:
"The Church of The Sacred Heart, Hove now has a beautiful, eye-catching new board to invite Parishioners and passers-by to come to the church and have a thought for Jesus.

Painted by gifted local artist and neighbour to the church, Sara Abbott, the sign was unveiled and blessed on a sunny Sunday morning, with many Parishioners present.

Sara approached Parish Priest Fr Kevin Dring, saying that it was a project she had in heart to do for many years. Such was her inspiration, that once she started painting, the project was completed in just a couple of weeks.

The lifelike and modern depiction of Jesus has drawn many favourable comments and feedback, typically how it brings Jesus closer to our everyday lives."

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

New Beginnings - A Student for the Priesthood Writes

5 of 6 current A&B Seminarians with
Bishop Kieran and Cardinal Cormac
in Lourdes
Simon Dray who is a student for the priesthood for the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton, at the beginning of the new term at St John's Seminary, Wonersh, near Guildford, Surrey, writes:

"Readers may be delighted to know that the community has now returned to Wonersh for the new academic year and marked the new year with Solmen Mass for the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Last Monday (5th September), 14 new men for various dioceses started at Wonersh of which 9 are in the first year This is a sure sign of the Lord's goodness and am sure also a fruit of Pope Benedict's Papal Visit, whose legacy we celebrated last weekend. On the Sunday, the Seminarians from Wonersh joined our brothers from Allen Hall, Oscott and The Venerable English College and others who worked so hard in making Pope Benedict's visit so successful at a special Mass at Westminster Cathedral.

2010/2011 was an extradordinary year and the Holy Spirit working through the Papal Visits to the UK and to Madrid for World Youth Day have indeed encouraged men, young and not so young to be open to the call to priesthood. I have heard this called the "Benedict Bounce". It was also an amazing year because of four Ordinations to the Priesthood (Fr Gerard Hatton, Fr Kevin O'Donnell, Fr Alex Hill and Fr David King). At present we currently have five men in formation to the Priesthood: Deacon Chris Dobson (Wonersh), Simon Dray (Wonersh), John Watts (now on Extended Pastoral Placement at Sacred Heart in Hove), Stephen O'Brien (English College, Rome) and starting his formation Tristan Cranfield (English College, Rome).

We are all excited about Fr Terry Martin's appointment as Vocations Director and are also extremely grateful to Fr Paul Turner for all his guidance, wisdom and support of these past few years and wish him well for his move to Chichester. On Tuesday 6th September we all (except Tristan who has already left for Rome for his intensive Italian Language course) met with Fr Terry at Arundel for Mass in the Fitzalan Chapel in Arundel Cathedral. We prayed Vespers together and shared a meal. We also enjoyed a talk from Fr Jonathan Martin the Chancellor of the Diocese. We are extremely grateful to Canon Tim for his hospitality and his continued support as we discern our vocations.

Those who want to find out more about Vocations to the Priesthood can visit the ArundelBrighton Vocations Facebook page:

People can also sign up for the group: A Decade a Day for Vocations:

Fr Terry has also launched a new Vocations blog: titled "I will give you Shepherds".

Also don't forget to visit the new Seminary website

Let us all pray that the "Benedict Bounce" continues and that this time next year we can count A&B students amongst the new intake. Please pray for us as we prepare for priesthood and for all our priests."

Monday, 19 September 2011

Catholics Called to Help Build Communities and the Renewal of Church and Society

A&B Deacon Chris Dobson who proclaimed the Gospel at the
Mass of Thanksgiving for the Papal Visit with youth worker, Sean.
CCN reports:
The anniversary of the State Visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to the UK was marked by a Mass of Thanksgiving at Westminster Cathedral on Sunday 18 September. The Mass was attended by those who made a particular contribution to the organization of the Visit. All of the Bishops of England & Wales, along with all seminarians, will attend remembering the historic meeting of the Holy Father with the Bishops and seminarians at St Mary’s College, Oscott, on 19 September, 2010. Her Majesty’s Government will be represented by officials headed by Simon Martin, the Director of Protocol for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, accompanied by the Ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel Baker. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England will be represented by the Bishop of St Albans.

Bishops from England and Wales have called on all Catholics to be confident, faithful and courageous in playing a full part in building a better future for all in this country, especially during these difficult times of economic and social turbulence.

The call comes on the first anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s historic State Visit to the UK during which he helped many to recognise that “faith is not a problem to be solved, but a gift to be discovered afresh”. Polling undertaken immediately after the Pope’s visit showed that the majority of the country agreed that there is a place for God and religion in public life.

Reflecting on the Pope’s call for all to discover the definite service that God has called all of us to give, the Bishops have set out their priorities for the Church over the next five years. The Bishops state:

“Following the wonderful example Pope Benedict has given us, in our mission we must be gentle but also confident in manifesting the ‘beauty of holiness’... faithful in proclaiming the ‘splendour of truth’... courageous in testifying to ‘the joy and freedom born of a living relationship with Christ’.”

Following the re-establishment of Friday abstinence as a common act of witness and of solidarity with those who are in need or suffer and as an expression of our vocation to follow Christ who sacrificed his life for the good of all humanity, the Bishops called on all Catholics to witness publicly to their faith with renewed confidence and to assist in all of their activities to work together for the good of the community at large.

The Bishops conclude:
“On Home Mission Sunday, the anniversary of the Holy Father’s visit to our country, we renew our faith in the power of God to lead us through the difficult times faced by our nation and by our world. Confidently Catholic we look forward not anxiously or fearfully, but with renewed hope and courage. We invoke God’s blessing on our country and on our world.”

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Consultation launched to provide Catholic Guidance on the Equality Act

Bishop John Arnold
(c) Catholic Church England and Wales
The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales reports:
"In a letter sent the other week ago to Catholic parishes and dioceses; schools and colleges, charities and agencies, the Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster and Chair of the Equality Act Working Group, Department of Christian Responsibility and Citizenship, Bishop John Arnold, has launched a consultation within the Catholic community, to inform guidance which the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales will be producing on the Equality Act.

The guidance is intended to meet the issues raised by the Act which are particularly matters of concern to Catholics, though it will undoubtedly be of benefit to other Christians and to some other religions. It will be produced on the basis of legal advice.

“Much of the Act affects Catholics in the same way that it does any group in society, and indeed reflects Catholic teaching. However, some parts of the Act will affect Catholics in ways specific to them,” writes Bishop John Arnold. “Discrimination in employment is subject to exemptions on sex and sexuality reflecting religious beliefs; questions arise about how far a Parish can restrict the commercial letting of its hall; as employees, Catholics need to know what protection the law provides them; and as recipients of public services, Catholics need to be aware of what action they can expect of public authorities.”

“To address the issues specific to the Catholic Community, the Bishops’ Conference has decided to draw up some first-line guidance....It will also offer guidance on how best to resolve problems without seeking legal redress.”

The letter asks respondents to identify particular issues which have arisen in their Catholic parish/diocese/college/school/charity/agency and to submit responses to the consultation by 15 October 2011.
See Bishop John Arnold's  letter (scroll to the bottom of the page):

To participate in this consultation, please use the form included in the letter and respond to the most appropriate Working Group Member below:

Catholic Charities and Agencies – Helen.O’

Catholic Schools and Colleges –

Diocese and Parishes –

Any other responses –

By Post: Equality Act Consultation
39 Eccleston Square
London SW1V 1BX

Friday, 16 September 2011

Pope Benedict XVI - The Legacy with Bishop Kieran

Vatican Radio Reports: "One year ago this week, Pope Benedict was greeted by Queen Elizabeth at the start of his historic state visit to England and Scotland, a 4 day visit that culminated with the beatification of the 19th century Cardinal John Henry Newman, a prominent Anglican churchman who converted to Catholicism. Other key moments of the papal visit last September were a prayer vigil with young people in London’s Hyde Park and the Pope’s address to Britain’s political movers and shakers in the Hall of Westminster.

So how does the local Church view the impact of that historic papal visit, 12 months later? Susy Hodges spoke to Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton in southern England, Chair of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis. He said one of the main benefits of the papal visit to Britain was that it helped Catholics to be more confident in their faith and it "significantly changed peoples' perception of the Catholic Church generally." Bishop Conry said "there had been a suspicion or a feeling that the Church was being increasingly marginalised (in Britain) but I think the Pope's visit changed all that."

One of the hundreds of thousands of young Catholics who attended the prayer vigil with the pope in London’s Hyde Park last September was 21 year old Lucy Jenkinson who’s just graduated from university. She said seeing the pope in person and attending the vigil and the mass at Westminister Cathedral "was a really positive expereience" that helped her "consolidate" her faith and gave her "more confidence" to talk about it."
 Listen to the full interviews with Bishop Kieran Conry and Lucy Jenkinson by Susy Hodges.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Remembering World Youth Day and the Pope's Visit

This Friday 16 September Bishop Kieran will join with young people from the diocese at the Christian Education Centre in Crawley for a celebration remembering the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to these shores a year ago as well as the recent meeting with him at World Youth Day in Madrid.

It is only a few weeks ago that the Diocesan Youth Service was in Madrid for World Youth Day with over a 160 young people from this Diocese and up to 2 million in total! It was hot, it was chaotic, but more than that it was a faith-filled event. For more pictures and stories visit the youth website via

It is also a year since the Holy Father was with us in the United Kingdom. We are still unpacking the legacy of that visit (see for more on this). One way, and there are many more, this legacy is being recognized is by the reintroduction of abstinence from meat on Fridays. See the video comment from Simon orginally from this diocese below

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

New British Ambassador to the Holy See

On 9th September in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Nigel Marcus Baker, the new British ambassador to the Holy See.

Addressing the diplomat in English, the Pope recalled his own visit to the United Kingdom last year for the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, and expressed the hope that a "fresh awareness" of the new blessed's writings would "bear new fruit among those searching for solutions to the political, economic and social questions of our age".

"The Holy See and the United Kingdom continue to share a common concern for peace among nations, the integral development of peoples throughout the world, ... and the spread of authentic human rights, especially through the rule of law and fair participative government, with a special care for the needy and those whose natural rights are denied", said the Holy Father.

He also mentioned the recent visit made by Queen Elizabeth II to the Republic of Ireland, describing it as "an important milestone in the process of reconciliation that is happily becoming ever more firmly established in Northern Ireland, despite the unrest that occurred there during this past summer. I take this opportunity once again to encourage all who would resort to violence to put aside their grievances, and to seek instead a dialogue with their neighbours for the peace and prosperity of the whole community".

The Holy Father pointed out that the British government "wishes to employ policies that are based on enduring values that cannot be simply expressed in legal terms. This is especially important in the light of events in England this summer. When policies do not presume or promote objective values, the resulting moral relativism ... tends instead to produce frustration, despair, selfishness and a disregard for the life and liberty of others. Policy makers are therefore right to look urgently for ways to uphold excellence in education, to promote social opportunity and economic mobility, and to examine ways to favour long-term employment".

 "The sustainable development of the world's poorer peoples through well-targeted assistance remains a worthy goal", the Pope went on. "Such assistance should always aim to improve their lives and their economic prospects. As you know, development is also of benefit to donor countries, not only through the creation of economic markets, but also through the fostering of mutual respect, solidarity, and above all peace through prosperity for all the world's peoples".

Pope Benedict concluded his remarks by noting that the promotion of "models of development which employ modern knowledge to husband natural resources will also have the benefit of better protecting the environment for emerging and developed countries alike".
From Vatican Information Service

Monday, 12 September 2011

Bishop Kieran the First Ten Years - Part 2

FOR SOME, 10 years is a lifetime. For others, it is but a blink of an eyelid. How has it been for Bishop Kieran? Here he is in continued conversation with A & B News correspondent, Peter Burholt.

Bishop Kieran was ordained in Arundel Cathedral as the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton on Saturday 9th June 2001.

What reaction have you had in the Diocesan ranks on the merits or otherwise of the New Translation of the Roman Missal 

I would say that the reaction has been fairly positive. This is a liturgical renewal, although the use of the word “consubstantial” is slightly more difficult for people to understand. Consubstantial = the Father and Son are “of one being”.

People are accepting the changes and they are seeing the beauty of the new translations. One church-goer from South Africa reported her experience there of being one of great spiritual renewal.

On a simple basis, it gives us all – including myself – a reason to think about what we say, what we listen to and how we pray. Maybe, if we could propel ourselves forward 10 years, I guess we would be saying “what changes?”

Last time we met you stated that you were a priest first and a bishop second. Does this still apply after 10 years and how do you manage the need for pastoral care in a job dictated by meetings and appointments?

Yes, I still firmly believe in this statement. A lot of what I do is pastoral - I get particular excitement and stimulation by the enthusiasm and commitment of the youth of the Diocese. As the years go on I try to get to know parishioners, such as the mother and young boy delivering a card to my front door when you arrived.

Yes, I do have many meetings to attend, both in the Diocese and in connection with my national commitments. They are often back-to-back and I must admit things do get forgotten.

You are an extremely accessible Bishop. Some might say that you have become the Diocese’s “Agony Aunt”. Does this lead to times when you would just like to close your front door and to be alone?

I get my fair share of counselling to do, but I try to manage the process – much like a parish priest.

Without warning the ring of the telephone abruptly broke into our conversation. “Yes, can I help?” The conversation went on for some time with Bishop Kieran patiently saying to the caller “Well, that issue was sorted 400 years ago!” The caller’s agitated voice could be heard across the room. The conversation ended fairly abruptly “I must really go now as I need to leave immediately to confirm 150 young people in Guildford”. The receiver was politely, but firmly replaced.

Bishop Kieran returned to the dining table and nothing more was said on the subject!

Where have you gone to get your own counselling? Is it back with the family?

My family is away from here and so I mostly rely on close friends, who do not talk Church! I relax with them and try to get up to London when I can, but I need what is called non-contact time away from my role here in A&B.

Great support is given by my fellow bishops in England and Wales and this is where I can take any issues to do with my life as Bishop.

Looking over his shoulder to the garden, unsurprisingly, the man with an Irish pedigree said:

Well, I’ve started to grow potatoes again. That helps!
Do you have any regrets over matters which you feel frustrated and unable to get a result?

I do have regrets. It is the way in which contemporary society has got itself into a mess. It has been seduced into selfishness and is short sighted. However, I still maintain a great faith in our future – just look at the 190 confirmations in Weybridge. I live in great optimism.

Have there been any disappointments in the last 10 years?

On reflection, I cannot think of any important disappointments. Maybe I do get just a bit frustrated at the slowness of parish reforms. Whether we like it or not, we do not have choice in this matter and we need to move on.

Before A & B, you were settled in the depths of London. Given your very packed diary, do you have a chance to take your shoes and socks off and go paddling along the coastline of your Diocese?

My visitors are the ones who get me out! Although I still marvel at the beauty of the countryside in this part of England! Just today driving back here the banks were full of white summer flowers – what a wonderful sight.

On days off I try to do something different, which helps me relax into another world. Digging potatoes!

What about moments of lightness – have there been any?

In this, I assume you are referring to lightness of heart. Yes, there have been plenty of occasions to mention, some being the Chrism Mass, the Lourdes pilgrimages, ordinations and confirmations. These all give me great happiness and pleasure.

What is your greatest achievement since being ordained our Bishop?

Staying the course and keeping a sense of humour!

Are you happy?

Yes, I am. This is an honest answer, not just what you expect to hear. I wake up each morning and look forward to the day ahead; I look forward to the challenges. I have never been otherwise.

What do you want to achieve in the next 10 years?

My main aim over the next 10 years is to keep doing what I think is best for the clergy, the religious and people of the Diocese. After the new translation has been introduced in Advent, I would like to see all the plans put in place which are now underway.

Then, there is the 50th anniversary of the Diocese coming up in 2015. God willing, I will be here to celebrate this great milestone.

Any desires about becoming an archbishop, or even a cardinal?

If my Diocesan family can stand me I’m staying put, firmly here in A&B!

In the blink of an eyelid our conversation was at an end. Bishop Kieran jumped into his slightly beaten up Astra and was away to Guildford. He is a man we are fortunate to have as our Shepherd. May we, in turn, support him in his journey for the next 10 years…..and then there are the celebrations in 2015 for the Diocese’s 50th anniversary. I wonder - will it be his place or ours for the party?

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Bishop Kieran the First Ten Years - Part 1

FOR SOME, 10 years is a lifetime. For others, it is but a blink of an eyelid. How has it been for Bishop Kieran? Here he is in conversation with A & B News correspondent, Peter Burholt.

Bishop Kieran was ordained in Arundel Cathedral as the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton on Saturday 9th June 2001.

When we last talked you said your ordination was a momentous time in your life. How has the last 10 years been for you?

It has been generally good, but gone very quickly! Although not as much as I would like, I have got to know the clergy, many young people and some parishioners. I have particularly enjoyed my involvement with the schools – the young people give me hope and inspiration for the future. It has been very much a case of learning on the job, but it does get easier as time goes on. Yes, I must admit I have made mistakes in the 10 years, but I hope not too many!

Has your role as Bishop turned out the way you expected or, given the unexpected way you became Bishop, did you have any expectations? Was it a bit like taking a parachute jump for the first time?

This is a difficult question to answer. I knew several bishops before I was ordained, so my life has not been entirely surprising. However, it is a job which is not easy to describe and, so, my expectations have always been quite modest.

Did Pope Benedict’s visit rate as something exceptional?

Yes, Pope Benedict’s visit was a high point in my life as Bishop. Given the anxiety before his visit and the intense media speculation that it would be a disaster, I was surprised and gladdened to see how he spoke in an enquiring way – it was very apparent that he listened before he made his visit.

Since his visit I have noticed an upsurge of interest in the Church and in our Faith. We are having record numbers being confirmed, a greater number of baptisms and marriages, and a general increase in those enquiring - but it’s too early to say it is because of the visit.

Do you meet the Pope on a regular basis?

No, only on my official visit to the Vatican every 5 years – unless there is a serious reason to get us all together. Did you know that there are 5,000 bishops in the world and sometimes the Holy Father is shaking hands with over 150 of my colleagues each week? Poor man!

Before you were elected Bishop you had a deep involvement in the media and communications concerning the Church in this country. Have you felt any repercussions as Bishop when sensitive topics have not been handled as well as you might have hoped, especially on some of the more prominent issues which have hit the headlines over the past 10 years?

Bishop Kieran took a moment to think about his reply.

Generally, in this country the answer must be that communications and the media have been handled well. I’m not so sure that the same can be expressed of the Vatican. They, like us in the Diocese, were on a steep learning curve so I guess, with the benefit of hindsight, a different approach could have been taken.

Does the advent of some Church of England’s clergy and congregations becoming part of our Diocesan family feature as an important milestone in your life?

The honest answer to this question is that I do not know yet. Not that I am ducking the answer, this is a very long term evolvement – you need to remember the Church works in decades, not months or years! I do know that, by embracing those religious and parishioners transferring from the Anglican faith, our lives already have been enriched.

You ask about Ordinariates – this is certainly an interesting move and one which I most definitely put a positive slant on for the future. Again, this initiative is at its early stage as even the ordinations of those transferring have yet to be completed.

Friday, 9 September 2011

New Book on History of St John's Seminary - In Hope of Harvest

You may remember a few weeks ago that this blog featured the poetry of Fr Rob Esdaile from Arundel & Brighton Diocese. Now we are able to introduce Fr Sean Finnegan, the Parish Priest of Our Lady Queen of Peace, Adur Valley in Sussex who has recently finished a book on the seminary (priest's training college) at St John's, Wonersh near Guildford. The book 'In Hope of Harvest' looks at the 'family' history of this college since its foundation in 1891 until recent times.

Tree Planting by then Rector now Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith
This will interest not only those who attended the seminary over the last many years, but also those who are interested to find out how Catholic priests have been and are trained in this country. Fr Sean was a student at the seminary and also now teaches there part-time. A Church historian he produces a book that is more than a dry collection of facts, but in the word of one former student, Fr Graham Bamford (Parish Priest of Ewell) he has written an "understanding history of our seminary. After reading it I feel even prouder of being part of that history."

The book is available from the Diocesan Bookshop at price £18 inc p&p

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Fan into a Flame the Gift of God

St Paul's, Haywards Heath
St Paul’s Parish in Haywards Heath in Arundel & Brighton Diocese report that starting on Saturday they are having a Mission from the 10 – 25 September 2011:
"The Sion Community, based in Brentwood, Essex, will be leading this time of renewal. The Sion Community is made up of religious and laity, young and old, married and single individuals. It was founded 25 years ago, in the belief that God has called its members to Evangelise.

Parish Ministry is at the heart of the Community’s missionary activity and their vision is to equip and enable ordinary Catholics, at a grass roots level, to be active disciples of Jesus who can bear witness to and share faith. The Mission team will attempt to engage as many parishioners as possible in as many different types of liturgy as practicable, to ensure that their missionary work touches the majority of our Parish community and therefore continues long after they have left.

The aim of this Mission at St Paul’s is to encourage and renew the practising Catholics of the Parish, the active members within our community in our faith. This will eventually enable us to “have life in all its fullness” and to reach out to the wider community."

For more information go to the Mission page on their website.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Four Benemerenti Medals for One Parish

Camberley & Bagshot Catholic Parish report that:
Parish Priest, Mgr Richard Madders said a prayer, crossed his fingers and hoped when he made an application not just for one but for four Benemerenti medals to be awarded in the parish. The whole parish was therefore delighted when the Holy Father graciously bestowed the papal honour on Mr Mick Moore, Mrs Mary Guinan-Casey, Mrs Mary Holloway and Mr John Looby.

Mgr Richard and his four Benemerenti Parishioners
The awarding of four medals at one go in a single parish (though three communities) is probably something of a record, but Fr Richard in his citation mentioned how very well deserved they were and that in a sense they also marked an appreciation to spouses and the parish teams working alongside the recipients.

The Benemerenti is a Pontifical decoration begun by Pope Gregory XVI in 1852 and conferred in recognition of distinguished service of the Church. The medal has BENEMERENTI surrounded by a crown of oak leaves engraved on its face side. They are worn on the breast, supported by ribbons in the papal colours.

Monday, 5 September 2011

St John's, Horsham Flowers into an Ark!

Recently St John’s Arts & Flower Festival gives ARK a lifeline:
A cheque for £1,373 was presented to Lisa Burrell, founder of local charity ARK, by Jill Smith, co-ordinator of last month’s Arts & Flower Festival at St John The Evangelist RC Church. The money was raised from visitor donations, concert ticket and refreshment sales and sponsorship of the floral displays.

Jill Smith said: “The Festival was a real celebration of not just the many gifts and talents on display, but of our lives together as a parish community. We are delighted that we have been able to raise this significant sum for ARK, a worthwhile and much needed charity working in the Horsham community.”

Lisa Burrell said: “I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the people at St John’s and the love they are showing to those often overlooked by society. This money will make an enormous difference to those looking to change their lives.”

ARK - Achieving Recovery through the Kingdom - is a new Christian charity supported and run by volunteers from local churches. It provides a friendly, safe place to be for those seeking a way out of issues such as homelessness, addiction and poverty. As a member organization of the Recovery Alliance, ARK also provides one-to-one support to help people address problems preventing them from leading a full life. ARK helps with housing and benefit applications, mental health appointments, probation, substance intervention and seeks to find education, training and employment opportunities. ARK also provides a hot meal on a Monday and Thursday at the United Reform Church and engages with recipients of food parcels at the URC on a Monday evening. Central to ARK's vision is the provision of supported accommodation and as an interim measure it is looking to provide a night shelter. For further information contact Lisa on 07825 284 054 or

St John’s Arts & Flower Festival raised the same amount for its parish World Youth Day Fund, which helped a group of young St John’s parishioners visit Madrid 16-21 August, when they will gather with over a million others from around the world to celebrate and learn about their faith.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

And with Your Spirit - 'New Translation Order of Mass Day'

Today parishes in Arundel & Brighton are beginning to use the new  translation of the order of Mass. The next couple of months will enable people to get use to using the new translation and give them opportunity to explore it before it is fully implement at Advent.

To help people the diocese is providing many opportunities through the Liturgy Department to think about and deepen their understanding of the new translation.One of the most important is the session with Fr Paul Turner, a leading liturgist from Kansas City Diocese who will be speaking in the diocese on Saturday 8th October 2011 - 10 am until 4 pm at St. Paul’s Catholic College, Jane Murray Way, Burgess Hill, RH15 8GA.

For resources why not contact or visit the Diocesan Bookshop which include a very helpful book (pictured above) from Fr Paul about the revision of the Mass texts.

Friday, 2 September 2011

In a day's time Catholic parishes in England and Wales will begin to use the new translation of the Roman Missal for the celebration of Mass. Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth, Executive Director of the Secretariat of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), talks about the new translation:

“There has been a lot of feedback from the countries that are already using elements of the translation. The Order of Mass is already in use currently in South Africa, in New Zealand and in Australia and a number of places including ourselves here in England and Wales are now implementing the sung parts of the Mass, and looking to an implementation of the Order of the Mass at some stage between now and the beginning of Advent.”

Feedback“Generally the feedback has been very positive. People find the elegance of the language, its dignity, the sort of cadence of the language - which particularly lends itself to the sung parts of the liturgy - they find all of that to be a great improvement.”

Music“The printed altar edition of the new Missal has the largest amount of music of any Missal the Church has ever produced in any language. The style of the music that’s in the altar edition of the Missal is Gregorian chant, which is a common form of liturgical song which is traditional in the Catholic Church and takes us back to the Church of the first Millennium and the earliest centuries. That’s the music which is in the Latin Missal, of which our English Missal is a translation.”

“So the music that we have in the new Missal, that’s about to be implemented, is an English adaptation of those same Latin chants that are found in the Missal. Now we’re not saying that that will exclusively be the style of music that people have to adopt in their liturgies. The Church admits a great diversity of styles, not only of liturgical celebration but particularly of liturgical music.”

Creativity“I think it’s exciting to think that there will be a great moment of creativity. A lot of composers have already responded very positively to this challenge and a lot of new Mass settings are becoming available at the present time. A lot of very familiar settings that we’ve sung for a long time have been revised by their composers so that they meet the needs of the new text.”

In England and Wales, the Order of Mass in the new translation will be used in Catholic parishes from September 2011, and from Advent 2011 all of the Mass will be said using the new translation."

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Thursday, 1 September 2011

Evangelium Summer Conference 2011

The fourth Evangelium Summer Conference attracted over 150 participants to a joyful gathering at the Reading Oratory School, 5 – 7 August 2011. Focusing this year on the theme of the Catholic reading of Scripture, the conference covered many topics important for evangelisation in the modern world and provided a great opportunity for young people to meet others who share their faith.

Participants at the Conference
(c) Lulu Shutterbug
The conference was also blessed by the presence of Rt Rev. Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury, and some of the newly ordained clergy of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Bishop Davies encouraged those present in the task of the ‘new evangelisation’. In his homily, cited at length in a recent article in the Catholic Herald (12 August), Bishop Davies referred to the re-discovery, often by the young, of the Catholic faith as a ‘coherent whole’, referring to the “Holy Eucharist, the grace of Confession, the Bible as the Church’s book, the Rosary as a Gospel prayer, the witness of the saints in whom we see the Church at its truest, a new love for Mary, a genuine loyalty to the Successor of Peter, the courage for a new evangelisation.”

Other speakers included Steve Ray, a world famous Catholic evangelist and former Baptist, Dr Edmund Adamus, Fr Jerome Bertram, Joanna Bogle, Fr Thomas Crean OP, Fr Phillip Harris, Dr Andrew Nash, Fiorella Nash, Sr Roseann Reddy, Dr Joseph Shaw and Rev. Ed Tomlinson of the Ordinariate. The conference also provided an opportunity to showcase the new DVDs Hostia: the Power and Presence of the Eucharist and Keys of the Kingdom: Understanding the Papacy by St Anthony Communications. The conference was sponsored by the Catholic Truth Society and organised by the Evangelium Project, founded by Fr Marcus Holden and Arundel & Brighton Priest, Fr Andrew Pinsent. The next Evangelium conference is planned for 3 – 5 August 2012.