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

Monday, 7 November 2011

Fr Tony Celebrates 40 Years of Priesthood

Bishop Kieran with Fr Tony
Brendan O'Brien from Bognor with Barnham and Slindon Parish reports:
Completing forty years of priesthood is an achievement, a reason to give thanks and a cause to celebrate. Fr Tony Churchill chose to mark this milestone by sharing the celebration of his ruby jubilee of ordination with the parish, as well as the many friends he has made throughout the diocese, and beyond throughout the course of his ministry.

He concelebrated Mass in Our Lady of Sorrows at four o’clock on the actual anniversary, 10th July, with priests of the parish, the deanery and others from the diocese and even a priest friend of the Coptic rite. There was a large congregation of parishioners as well as friends from other parishes and places he has ministered. Fr Jonathan Martin gave the homily. A reception followed in St Mary’s School, at which speeches of appreciation were made and a presentation from the parish given to the jubilarian, who has been our parish priest now for almost four years."

Fr Tony himself reports: "Bishop Kieran came to celebrate the principal Mass with me because he was unable to be present at my 40th anniversay Mass in July."

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Preparing for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

John Roberts the Diocesan Mission and Unity Adviser informs us that:
"WE WILL ALL BE CHANGED is the title of next year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity materials.

These materials are now available for order or for download from the Churches Together in Britain & Ireland website at and can easily be adapted for local needs. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally observed from the 18th to the 25th January - the octave of  Prayer for Christian Unity ending on the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Some areas, however, observe it at Pentecost or some other time. To allow for local decision making, the material has only the year on it and the days are denoted by the numbers one to eight, so you can use it at any time of year.

“Change is at the heart of our Christian faith. Saint Paul said that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation, and we are called to live as children in the light.

The theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2012 comes to us from the churches in Poland, who have reflected upon their own experience as a nation, and in particular how, as a nation, they have been changed and transformed by the many upheavals of their history, and sustained by their faith.

Change is also at the heart of the ecumenical movement. When we pray for the unity of the church we are praying that the churches that we know and which are so familiar to us will change as they conform more closely to Christ. This is an exciting vision, but also a challenging one. Furthermore, when we pray for this transforming unity we are also praying for change in ourselves and in the world”.

If you require assistance in preparing a liturgy or identifying a speaker for your ecumenical service, please either contact John Roberts or Barbara Hopper at Dabcec."

Friday, 4 November 2011

Supporting a Sacked Catholic Mental Health Worker

The Thomas More Legal Centre is supporting a sacked Mental Health Worker who is a Catholic. They say:
"A Catholic Mental Health Worker has been sacked by the NHS for gross misconduct. What was her offence? Treating elderly patients with callous disregard? Physically abusing mental patients? Ignoring patients who cried out for water? No, it was none of these. The charge against her is that she ‘distributed material which individuals may find offensive’.

Her ‘gross misconduct’ in fact arose from an amicable discussion with a colleague, NOT a patient, who worked as a receptionist organising abortion appointments. In the course of which she handed over the booklet 'Forsaken' in which five women recount their experience of abortion and the mental problems they suffered afterwards. The colleague did not object to receiving the book and indeed is not being called as a witness by the NHS. The booklet contained no graphic images, and it was never suggested that it should be given to patients. The NHS objects to it because the booklet presents a ‘religious view’ of abortion, because one of the women talking about how she now views her Abortion regards it as a sin. Is the expression of a religious view now a sacking offence in Britain?

The Mental Health Worker’s case is being fought at the Central London Employment Tribunal on November 15th. Her legal representation is being provided by the Thomas More Legal Centre.
Donations can be made by cheque (made out to Thomas More Legal Centre) to The Treasurer, Thomas More Legal Centre, Palmyra Chambers,
46 Legh Street,
WA1 1UJ; or by bank transfer to Yorkshire Bank, 34 Princes Street, Stockport, Cheshire, SK1 1RE; sort code 05-09-33, account no. 43102195 (Thomas More Legal Centre). If you are a UK tax-payer making a gift by cheque, please send a signed statement with your name and address asking for the donation to be treated as Gift Aid."

For the full news release see Fr Sean Finnegan's blog

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Chichester Cathedral Installs Fairtrade Weathervane

Golden Cockerill now atop Chichester Cathedral
Chichester Cathedral in West Sussex reports that:
"Yesterday on Wednesday 2nd November a team of steeplejacks installed an extremely special weathervane on the top of Chichester Cathedral’s 277ft Spire. Newly gilded in Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold, this unique weathervane is the result of a pioneering collaboration between Chichester Cathedral, Chichester-based ethical jewellers Cred and the Fairtrade Foundation. When the gilded weathervane is positioned on top of the Cathedral Spire – it will be the first time ever that Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold has been displayed on a public building.

The gold covering the weathervane was responsibly sourced by Chichester’s Cred jewellers from the Sotrami Mine in Peru – one of the first mines in the world to be certified to Fairtrade standards. Both the Sotrami Mine and Cred are part of a new – and revolutionary – programme of Fairtrade and Fairmined Certified Gold launched on Valentine’s Day earlier this year.

Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold is the world’s first independent ethical certification system for gold. The certification enables businesses, from designers and retailers to fabricators and distributors, to offer their customers the guarantee of a product which has been responsibly mined. Crucially, this means that small scale miners receive a fair price for gold, ensuring a more stable future for them and their communities.

The Very Revd Nicholas Frayling, Dean of Chichester, explains why the project is so important: ‘Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold provides a lifeline for thousands of impoverished and exploited miners in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. If every jeweller, and indeed every customer, were to insist on only gold sourced in this way then thousands of small scale miners, and their communities, would be guaranteed a better future. The cost of this project has been borne by a private donor to whom we are very grateful, but the wider ambitions of Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold are priceless.’"

Congratulations to our Anglican Cathedral Community.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

It is Better to Light a Candle…

November is the time that many of us think especially of those that we love but who are no longer with us. It can help us to remember them if we do something positive in their name which will have a lasting impact. For this reason, many people choose to set up a Candlelight Fund with CAFOD.

Just as we light a candle in church in memory of a loved one, donations to a Candlelight Fund can help us gain strength, comfort and hope from knowing that our friend or relative's memory and values live on through their tribute.  

The Funds have no timelines, no targets and no minimum donations. Some people make a regular contribution to their Fund by direct debit. Others make single donations to mark special occasions, such as birthdays or anniversaries. Some Funds are personal acts of remembrance by the individual who set it up, while others have contributions from other family members and friends.

However you choose to give, by celebrating one very special life in this way, you reach out to thousands of people in need – a wonderful living memorial.

For more information, contact Beth Brook on 020 7095 5353 or

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

For All Saints Day See New Saint Thomas More DVD

Mary's Dowry Productions present a new DVD on St Thoms More:
A documentary using costumed portrayals, historical imagery, maps, paintings and scenery to present the life of one of the most famous English Martyr's - Saint Thomas More.

Told from Sir Thomas More's own perspective, step back into early Tudor history and walk through the fascinating life of this great Englishman from his early years in the home of Cardinal Morton, through his friendship with King Henry VIII, his extensive writings against heresies to his final days in the Tower of London and his last walk to Tower Hill. With a look at his encounters with the great figures of Tudor history including Erasmus, Anne Boleyn, Calvin, Luther and Bishop John Fisher, this is a detailed and original documentary presented in a new and interesting style. Seeped in history and touching upon the depths of Saint Thomas More's Faith and love of Christ, enter upon a simple but informative journey with this courageous Chancellor of England.

The DVD has a runtime of 1 Hour and 6 Minutes and is available worldwide in all region formats.

Available through their website at this link or from Amazon UK or Amazon COM