Friday, 30 November 2012

Swifter, higher, Stronger - Song for Towers Convent

Pictured - Maisey with her father Matt Redman and Johnny Bird
The Towers School, Upper Bedding reports:
Not many schools can boast that there has been a song written for them to support their theme for the term but The Towers is delighted that this is what happened for them. The theme chosen by Year 11 girls for this term is 'Swifter, Higher, Stronger' so imagine our delight when Maisey in Year 8 announced that her father Matt Redman had written a song especially for the theme and that he would come in and teach it to the girls.

There was great excitement as he did a few warm up songs including the Jessie J song 'price tag' before he taught the Senior girls to sing his song. They sang with great gusto accompanied by Matt on his guitar and Johnny Bird playing the keyboard. He also told them a little about how he became the Christian song-writer. This certainly proved to be an uplifting start to our day.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Rome for the opening of the Year of Faith

Maryvale Group in front of St Peter's Basilica
 Carol Harnett from St Joan of Arc parish reports:
"I was very privileged to be a member of a small party of Staff and students of Maryvale Institute in Rome for the opening of the Year of Faith, on 11th October 2012. Our pilgrimage began with Mass at 8.00am in the crypt of St Peter’s on 9th October, the feast day of Blessed John Henry Newman, who at one time lived at Maryvale (and indeed gave the house its name). During the days we were in Rome we visited the catacombs of St Pricilla and the four major Basilicas: St John Lateran, the actual Cathedral for the diocese of Rome (St Peter’s is not a Cathedral), St Peter’s St Paul’s Outside the Walls, (where we were able to pray in front of his tomb) and St Mary Major.
We were pleased to receive a guided tour of the beautiful and ancient basilica of St Clemente, built above two previous layers; the 1st Century Roman home of Clemente (third Pope and the “Clement” of St Paul’s letter to the Philippians) become Christian church, the remains of the fourth century basilica founded under Constantine, and the present day 12th century building with its most magnificent gilded mosaic apse teaching the meaning of salvation.

On Wednesday we were privileged to have tickets to the Papal audience where the Holy Father spoke about the precious documents of Vatican II which had been buried under interpretations and misinterpretations, and we were all urged to engage with the exact texts themselves over the coming Year of Faith. At the end our little group was presented to the Holy Father who recognised our link with Newman with a wave in our direction.

Thursday was the highlight of the week, when we had tickets for seats at the Papal Mass opening the Year of Faith. It was an amazing Mass, in Latin, English and Italian. The Holy Father began his homily with these words:
“This celebration has been enriched by several special signs: the opening procession, intended to recall the memorable one of the Council Fathers when they entered this Basilica; the enthronement of a copy of the Book of the Gospels used at the Council; the consignment of the seven final Messages of the Council, and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I will do before the final blessing. These signs help us not only to remember, they also offer us the possibility of going beyond commemorating. They invite us to enter more deeply into the spiritual movement which characterized Vatican II, to make it ours and to develop it according to its true meaning. And its true meaning was and remains faith in Christ, the apostolic faith, animated by the inner desire to communicate Christ to individuals and all people, in the Church’s pilgrimage along the pathways of history...If today the Church proposes a new Year of Faith and a new evangelization, it is not to honour an anniversary, but because there is more need of it, even more than there was fifty years ago!”

At the end of the Mass, messages were personally given by Pope Benedict XVI to individuals representing different communities, and last of all, a Catechism was given to Dr Caroline Farey (Member of staff at Maryvale Institute) as a representative of all the catechists in the world. There was no message for catechists, only the Catechism itself as the foundation of all catechesis in every parish, school and home.

I was very grateful for the opportunity to be in Rome at such a momentous occasion for the Church. If you want to know more about the synod and the Year of Faith, visit for details, blogs and resources for this amazing year

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Lingua Latina - Supporting the Heritage of the Latin Language

Sacrosanctum Concilium: The Latin Text of the Document on the Liturgy
Independent Catholic New reports: Pope Benedict XVI issued the Motu Proprio Latina Lingua recently, which establishes the new Pontifical Academy for Latin. The Academy is meant to promote the knowledge and study of the Latin language and Latin literature, from classical times to the present day.

“The Latin language has always been held in high regard by the Catholic Church and the Roman pontiffs,” writes Pope Benedict. He pointed out Latin and Greek were used in the early Church, being the universal languages of the time, and since then the Church has made Latin “her own language.”

The Holy Father writes: “After the demise of the Roman Empire, the Church of Rome not only continued to make use of the Latin language, but also became in a way its guardian and promoter, both in theology and liturgy, and in formation and the transmission of knowledge.”

Pope Benedict said a good understanding of Latin is more necessary than ever in the Church, due to its importance in studying Theology, Liturgy, Patristics, and Canon Law. He said a “superficial” knowledge of Latin can be detrimental to the philosophical and theological training of future priests.

However, the Academy is also meant to serve the wider society. “in our own times…there is a renewed interest in the Latin language and classical culture, and not only on those continents that have their cultural roots from the Greco-Roman heritage,” Pope Benedict writes. “Such interest is all the more significant because it involves not only the academic world, but also young people and scholars from very diverse nations and traditions.”

The new Pontifical Academy will be under the Pontifical Council for Culture, and replace the Latin Foundation established by Pope Paul VI. The President of the Academy will be Professor Ivano Dionigi, while the Secretary will be Father Roberto Spataro, SDB. Its mandate includes producing publications, hosting conferences and seminars, and promoting Latin in the new media.

See the full report on the Vatican News Service

Monday, 26 November 2012

Surrey Churches Preservation Trust Sponsored Ride and Stride

Rosemary and Peter with Fr Peter
Taking part in their fifth Surrey Churches Preservation Trust Sponsored Stride and Bike Ride, Rosemary Keenan and Peter Ward raised £624 by visiting 22 churches. Their own parish of St Edward the Confessor in Sutton Park, receives fifty percent of the amount raised.

This year Peter and Rosemary were delighted to meet Fr Peter Andrews who had just completed baptising three small infants at St Dunstan’s catholic church in Woking. Rosemary comments that, “One of the interesting aspects of the cycle ride is visiting so many churches and seeing aspects of parish life but this was the first time we had arrived at a church to witness the reception of new members into the faith.”

Amongst some of the different places of worship visited by Rosemary and Peter were: Catholic, Church of England, Methodist, Baptist, Evangelical, Quaker, and Salvation Army.

The Surrey Churches Preservation Trust makes grants available to churches in need of preservation and fifty percent of funds raised by cyclists and walkers go to the parish from which they come. For details about taking part in the Ride and Stride next year visit or phone Hamish Donaldson 01428 644473. For details of contacts in other counties visit

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Bishop Kieran Pastoral Letter for Christ the King

Bishop Kieran
Bishop Kieran has produced a pastoral letter for parishes in Arundel & Brighton for the Feast of Christ the King which you can read below:

Dear people of Arundel & Brighton,
I was in Rome for three weeks in October, at an international meeting of bishops from all over the world called the Synod. The word means something like ‘on the road together’ and while that might be true, it was clear that we are very differently prepared for the journey. For three weeks I sat between a bishop from Liberia and a bishop from Eritrea, and almost the only things we had in common were the English language and the Catholic faith, and teaching that faith (the point of the Synod) presented very different challenges for the three of us. One question that came up again and again, especially from Africa and the Middle East, was the question of relations with other religions, and especially Islam.

The gospel reading today ends just tantalisingly short of that famous line from Pontius Pilate, ‘Truth? What is that?” And because we only have the written word, we don’t know how he said that. Was it a cynical jibe at Jesus, or an honest enquiry? Was it even a word of sympathy, as if to say, “Why are you really standing before me?” After all, he then goes out to the crowd again and says to them, “I find no case against him.”

Today’s Feast of Christ the King ends our liturgical year; next week a new yearly cycle begins with the First Sunday of Advent. So today we not only round off the year but somehow also sum it up. Christ is supreme over all things, and in him truth is to be found. There are the fundamental truths about ourselves, that we are made in the image of God, and that all things came into being through him;
“Through him all things came to be; not one thing had its being but through him,”

as the beginning of John’s gospel tell us. And this tells us the truth about human dignity, that what we call ‘human rights’ are not given to people by the enlightened generosity of governments, but that we all have a fundamental dignity simply because we are human. And because of that, too, there are truths about the sacredness of life and the need for love.

But there are truths, then, that are less clear, and these are the truths about God, and these are truths that we must never stop trying to grasp more fully. What does God mean to me? How do I see God? Do I expect to experience God, and if so, how? And what does God want of me, and how does God see me? Do I really believe that God loves me so much that he sent his only Son to die on the cross for me? I know that for many of our young people these are questions that they are asking seriously as well. Today is also National Youth Sunday, and I ask you to pray for our young people especially. The ones that I meet always give me a great sense of hope and comfort; their lives seem very complicated, but I think their hearts are in the right place, and they tend to see fewer differences between people.

Recently Pope Benedict was quoted as saying that one of the more important documents to come out of the Council was not one of the four we are studying for the diocesan Jubilee. It was the document called in Latin Nostra Aetate, from the opening words, “In this age of ours..” and goes on to talk about how people are coming together much better and how “the bonds of friendship between different people are being strengthened.” I’m not sure we would say that with the same conviction today. But the document goes on to say that the Church wants to examine its relationship with other non-Christian religions, to see what we have in common and to see ways in which this can foster better relations between peoples.

The document talks about questions relevant to all religions: “What is the meaning and purpose of life? How can genuine happiness be found? What happens at death?” In the first chapter of the document there are passing references to Hinduism and Buddhism, and it says that “the Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions.” These were bold words in 1965, even shocking to some. And then the second chapter begins, “The Church also has a high regard for Muslims,” and acknowledges that there has been a sad history of conflict between Christians and Muslims. But it goes on to urge “a sincere effort be made to achieve mutual understanding, for the benefit of all.”

So what of today’s celebration? If Christ is Lord and King of all, how are those saved who do not acknowledge or know him? The answer is that all people, we believe, are saved in Christ, whether they know him or not. Those who consciously reject him presumably do not want to be saved. But it raises the more important question about the nature of truth. Is it something we possess, or is it something we search for?

The search for truth means having an open mind and an active mind. It means having a tolerant and welcoming outlook. It involves listening and praying. It involves thinking and reflecting. It cannot mean standing still.

I’ve no doubt that Pilate never forgot that meeting with Jesus, and for the rest of his life probably wondered, “Who was that man? What was he here for?” They are questions that have been asked by millions since, and as we begin a new year with Advent next week, and especially during this Year of Faith, I ask that we renew ourselves in that sense of search and that willingness to ask and ponder those questions. In the end they are not just questions about Jesus, but about who we are as well.

With my prayers and best wishes for you all.
+ Kieran

Bishop of Arundel & Brighton

Friday, 23 November 2012

Porta Fidei - A Meditation on Faith in Words and Music

Cover of Porta Fidei CD
Jeremy de Satgé from Music Makers writes:
"Pope Benedict XVI has called for a “Year of Faith” to usher the whole Church into a time of particular reflection and rediscovery of the faith. The year starts on 11th October 2012, which is both the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Year of Faith will conclude on 24th November 2013, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King.

It has been a privilege and pleasure to produce a CD to help promote the Year of Faith generally and to produce a reflection on faith in words and music. The music selected for this CD is this recording includes both ancient and modern, Latin and English, with a particular emphasis on English music and featuring especially one of my favourite English composers, Orlando Gibbons.

Once again, I am indebted to Archbishop Bernard Longley, who has taken time from his busy schedule to narrate this CD."

The CD Porta Fidei is narrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley (Archbishop of Birmingham) and the music performed by Schola Cantamus directed by Jeremy de Satge

The CD costs £12.75 per copy and is available from St Pauls Bookshops, Catholic Truth Society, Redemptorist Publications, Pauline Books & Media and other retailers or by direct mail order from The Music Makers.

For more information go to

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Savita Halappanavar: Catholic teaching and Irish Abortion Law

Pauline Gately MA (Bioethics) from Weybridge Parish has produced a very useful article on this very sad case to help explain this matter to others:
"The tragic case of Savita Halappanavar has been the subject of a great deal of media attention this week. Judgment has been made and political conclusions drawn on the basis of an account offered by the widower and without awaiting the results of the two investigations, by Ireland's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and by University Hospital Galway, now underway.

In the mainstream media the alleged circumstances are outlined. It is said that the doctors claimed they could not induce delivery, even to save the mother’s life, because it as contrary to Catholic teaching. This is uncritically and widely reported and it is claimed that Irish law, reflecting Catholic teaching, also prevented vital intervention and that she died as a consequence. This is nonsense.

With regard to Catholic teaching this article, by Catholic Voices, sets the record straight. That the doctors were not constrained by law from inducing delivery (on the basis of the information we have been given by the widower) is demonstrated by Section 21.4 of Ireland’s Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners:

In the mainstream media the alleged circumstances are outlined. It is said that the doctors claimed they could not induce delivery, even to save the mother’s life, because it as contrary to Catholic teaching. This is uncritically and widely reported and it is claimed that Irish law, reflecting Catholic teaching, also prevented vital intervention and that she died as a consequence. This is nonsense.

With regard to Catholic teaching this article, by Catholic Voices, sets the record straight. That the doctors were not constrained by law from inducing delivery (on the basis of the information we have been given by the widower) is demonstrated by Section 21.4 of Ireland’s Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners:

'In current obstetrical practice, rare complications can arise where therapeutic intervention (including termination of a pregnancy) is required at a stage when, due to extreme immaturity of the baby, there may be little or no hope of the baby surviving. In these exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to intervene to terminate the pregnancy to protect the life of the mother, while making every effort to preserve the life of the baby.'

Note here the distinction between terminating the pregnancy and an intentional and direct attack on the unborn child. In the UK ‘termination of pregnancy’ is widely used as a euphemism for an intervention intended to kill the unborn child. But a moral distinction can be made (and is made by the Church) between an intervention to terminate the pregnancy to save the mother’s life but in which the child is not directly attacked and every effort is made also to save the child ("indirect abortion") and one in which the intention is to kill the child ("direct abortion").

Although not directly relevant to this case, it may also be of interest to note that direct abortion may never be necessary to save the life of the mother.

There are questions to be answered, but these are for the hospital and the Government insofar as it has responsibility for the proper conduct of the hospital personnel, not for the church. And this is properly reflected in the two inquiries now under way.

David Quinn, writing in the Irish Independent, speaks of ‘asymmetrical hysteria’: He observes that direct abortion may never be necessary to save the life of the mother.

There are questions to be answered, but these are for the hospital and the Government insofar as it has responsibility for the proper conduct of the hospital personnel, not for the church. And this is properly reflected in the two inquiries now under way.

David Quinn, writing in the Irish Independent, speaks of ‘asymmetrical hysteria’: He observes that "We are only ever outraged by anti-abortion laws and their consequences and never by the consequences of pro-abortion laws."

He goes on to point out that: "The Irish maternal death rate is one of the very lowest in the world at roughly three women per 100,000. The British figure is four times higher at 12 per 100,000 and the US figure is eight times higher at 24 per 100,000."

And he then asks: "How is it that Ireland without abortion is so much safer for pregnant women than Britain and America, which both have highly liberal abortion laws?"

Quinn’s article is also worth reading in full, although his implication at the end that an anti-abortion law will cause some ‘hard cases’ would be challenged by the evidence offered above.

We should reject all efforts to draw political conclusions from this and await the results of the two inquiries. Will they, I wonder, be subject to the same intense media attention as the current allegations?

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Emergency in the Gaza Strip: Help support the Christian Community

Young child playing in Gaza

ATS pro Terra Sancta reports and says:
 "It is following with great concern the evolution of the situation in the Gaza Strip, fearing the repeat of a tragedy like the one four years ago – Operation “Cast Lead”, which caused around 1,300 deaths –with the local population once again in the direct line of fire.

Within the Christian community – a very small minority of about 2,500 Christians currently live in the Gaza Strip – there is great fear and tension. Two days ago the long and persistent Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which for years has weighed heavily on the inhabitants, once again worsened.

The religious members of the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word, present in Gaza City and supported by the friends of the Holy Land, recount the events:

“Since last Sunday [12 November] we experienced moments of tension in the Gaza Strip, a situation that worsened on the afternoon of Wednesday 14 November. The attacks and responses became almost continuous. Daily life was interrupted. The Ministry of Education of the Gaza Strip decided to close schools for 72 hours. Businesses were shut. The people were frightened…The parish is in a sensitive area and, thanks to God, we are all right. Our houses, both those of the priests and the religious, are located on the property of the parish and the school and hence are in one of the safest places. The security of the position is due to the fact that it is a place well known by everyone. A place where violence, of whatever nature, has no place, a place where peace is taught and where people are working to obtain it. We are waiting for something to happen in the coming hours… Our desire is to remain close to as many people as possible, to the many civilians who innocently suffer the consequences of this situation, in particular our Christians.”

The members of the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word have had a permanent presence in Gaza for nearly four years, but their mission there began about eight years ago. The priests serve the only Catholic parish in the Strip – one of the fathers is director of both of the schools in Gaza operated by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The sisters work together with the priests in their mission with the children, youths and Christian families. They take care of the parish sacristy and assist with the liturgy at the Church of the Holy Family. As the sisters explain, in Gaza there is a small Catholic community, of about 200 souls, who seek to live their Christian faith in a simple and devout manner.

ATS pro Terra Sancta has supported the Christian community for a number of years through the project “Emergency Gaza”, which is divided into two activities that you can aid through an online donation or via bank transfer:

- Taking care of the weakest: supporting the disabled in the Gaza Strip

- Supporting Christians in need in the Gaza Strip

It takes just a simple gesture to help the disabled, the children and families living in the Gaza Strip and to support the religious in their delicate mission that in these days more than ever consists in accompanying the Christians, in providing them a word of comfort and hope, in aiding them to ask God for instruction in forgiveness and the value of suffering, lived in a Christian manner."

To make a donation go online on to their website:

Monday, 19 November 2012

Advent Weekend - Preparing for Christmas

Growing numbers of Christians are troubled that Christmas season has become so materialistic. The remarkable work of the Holy Spirit in those who awaited Christ's birth eg. Joseph, Mary, Simeon etc. should cause us to marvel and rejoice and have the same expectancy that the Holy Spirit would work in our lives. We can know by personal experience that our lives change when touched by the power of the Holy Spirit .

So on Saturday, 8th December 2012 @ 7:15pm & Sunday, 9th December 2012 @ 10:30am Marie Bierne, President of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Ireland at St Richards Catholic College, Ashdown Road, Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex TN40 1SE. All are welcome to both days.

As part of the Advent Season she will talk on:
· The Holy Spirit - the power, the gifts, your personal encounter with Jesus;

· The Power of Praise - when the Holy Spirit touched Mary, Elizabeth, Zechariah, the Disciples they were filled with praise. Praise  can create the atmosphere for Miracles . "God lives in the praises of his people"

· The Power of God's Word - "The Word of God is alive and active" (Heb.4:12). ? Is the Word of God alive and active in You?

Upon completion of the talks (Sunday 3:00pm) Mass will be Celebrated by Fr David Parmiter, parish priest of St Mary Magdalene's, Bexhill in the College Hall.

For further information contact: Teresa and Scott Black - Tel: 01424 753613 email:

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Farewell to Mass in Anglican Parish Church

L-R: Deacon Tim, Fr Chris and Marian
The regular First Friday evening Mass in the Anglican Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Bletchingley has had to stop as the number of priests has been reduced in the parish of the Nativity of the Lord, Surrey. This means that the Friday evening Masses have had cease.

The last of these Masses was marked by a fitting celebration of many years of collaboration with the Anglican community. A votive Mass of the Holy Trinity was said by Fr. Chris Spain, assisted by Deacon Tim Murrill. In his homily Fr. Chris spoke about the warmth of the people of Betchingley as an ecumenical enterprise, symbolised by the open door of the church, and expressed the hope that the relationship will continue to prosper. He recalled how, as a nervous seminarian over 20 years ago, he had had to speak at a Sunday Service in this very church. His anxiety had been very quickly dispelled as the same warmth had reached out to him on that occasion.

At the end of Mass he thanked the Anglicans for their contribution, the kindness of having the church and beautiful vestments made available to us, the service rendered by George, the organist who played each month, and the team of bell ringers who made sure we had a melodious welcome. A presentation was made to Mrs. Marian Buck who, for many years, has been co-ordinator making sure no detail was overlooked. There is still open to an occasional Mass wherever there might be a special occasion.

The Anglican Clergy, the bell ringers, and parishioners attended the Mass. Afterwards we all spent a convivial time enjoying wine and snacks.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Missionary Travels 6,300 Miles to Say 'Thank You'

Fr Jack greetings parishioners in Haywards Heath
A Very Special visitor travelled 6,300 miles to St Paul’s Parish, Haywards Heath on Sunday 2nd September to say ‘thank you’ for the support given to the missions. It was Father Jack Davies from Chimbote in Peru. In 1975 parishioners started a campaign to provide life saving water to a community in Tanzania. Since then several overseas projects have received aid, one being the opening of Father Jack’s first hospice in Peru.

Father Jack spoke at both of morning Masses and told the packed congregation of his first visit to Peru as a young Priest and his subsequent 37 year commitment to the people of that country. An impromptu second collection, kindly permitted by parish priest Father Martin, raised over £600 for his mission. These funds will help with the programmes in Chimbote, which started out with soup kitchens to feed those starving in the streets. To this day they continue to feed children, allowing them to focus on their studies with a view to a better future.

His programme now also runs libraries with tutors offering these children a place to study and an opportunity to break the cycle of malnourishment, lack of education and poverty. Father Jack’s mission in Peru embodies all the objectives St Paul’s Hunger Campaign was set up to achieve. It is dedicated to supporting small local initiatives, not generally backed by the major charitable organisations. Firstly, it aims to feed, but then to encourage independence through assistance with wells, pumps and a basic infrastructure leading to self-sufficiency. Personal contact is maintained with each of Hunger Campaign’s projects and the group receives regular reports on the progress of their work.

Father Jack’s visit to thank parishioners for their loyal support over the years made many present realise the value of the assistance the Hunger Campaign is able to offer through small monthly contributions. A donation of £5 per month is all that is needed to give life-saving support.

For anyone in the Diocese interested in knowing more about St Paul’s Parish Hunger Campaign, please contact the parish office on:

Friday, 16 November 2012

From Thames Ditton to Buyamba, Uganda

Sewing in Buyamba
In 2001 a visiting priest from the small village of Buyamba, Uganda spoke movingly from the pulpit of Our Lady of Lourdes, Thames Ditton about the poverty and suffering endured by his people.

Women had to walk 12 miles to the nearest milling station, employment was almost non-existent, 12% of the people were HIV/Aids infected and on average 2-3 children from each family died before the age of 10 due to a lack of medical care. The people of Our Lady of Lourdes, initially encouraged by the late Fr Bernard Rowley (RIP), dug deep, raising £12,000 to build a maize mill and a roof over the parish church.
But that was just the beginning. In 2005 one parishioner, Helmut Wagner (then aged 68), packed his bags for Buyamba to see first-hand what life was like there and how he and his Church could help.

He was so moved by the hopeless situation that he extended the existing parish humanitarian aid mission which has achieved a staggering £420,000 raised by parishioners, friends, relatives and a public company in Germany to set up, amongst other projects, a clean drinking water project providing clean water to 6,000 villagers and seven schools, a dairy goat project, a dressmaking and carpentry training centre, a new, improved school building and dormitory and overhead watering system for farming.

"When I visited the local school I asked the 490 children: `how many of you drink milk every day?' and just three or four put their hands up,'' he said. So a dairy goat project was born, with 430 goats donated to families with HIV/AIDS and orphans, using a breed of goats that supply 2.5 litres of milk per goat a day.
Helmut made eight visits to Buyamba over seven years and enjoyed every one. "I need a break now but a lot of the projects are sustainable and now the people of Buyamba are much better equipped to stand on their own".

Helmut's faith has helped sustain all his hard work.
"Faith is so important and goes beyond being a Catholic, or whatever. "I think every child deserves a chance, whatever their creed or tribe, and we hope that the projects can be sustained by the local community for Buyamba for many years to come.'' Helmut now has a lifelong bond with the people of this Uganda village. "If you go to their church we helped refurbish and hear them singing their hymns you don't feel so far from home," he said.

The people of Buyamba hold Helmut dear and, together with his wife Margrit and close friends Jeff and Anne McCormack whose generosity accounts for more than a quarter of all funds raised, he is on their panel of elders, "I have had a good life in East Molesey and I just wanted to give something back to the poorest of the poor,'' says Helmut. But after 11 years of support for Buyamba the time has come for our parish to transfer its energies and generous fund-raising ability to another part of the world where the need is as great, if not greater.''

Thursday, 15 November 2012

St Joseph’s Guildford Celebrates Benemerenti Medal

L-R; Fr Colin Wolczak, Mrs Holford, Frank Holford and Bishop Kieran
Initially instituted as a reward for military service by Pope Pius VI (1775 – 1799), the Papal decoration now recognises long and exceptional service to the Church. It can be awarded to both Laity and Clergy.

Recently in Guildford a few streets away from the finishing line of the Tour of Britain cycle race on Guildford High Street, the congregation at the 11 am Mass at St Joseph’s parish witnessed Bishop Kieran Conry present a Benemerenti Medal to Francis Holford. The award recognises Francis’ long and varied service to St Joseph’s and in particular his 40 years work with HCPT – The Pilgrimage Trust; a UK based charity which takes children with special needs on a pilgrimage to Lourdes every Easter.

There are over 200 HCPT groups in the UK and Francis and his wife Jenny have been tireless in their work to support Group 2 which has been part of the annual pilgrimage since the Trust’s foundation and has been based at St Joseph’s Guildford for the past 30 years.

The congregation included many “Red Shirts” (aka Lourdes Youth Service Group), the warmth of the applause at the presentation was very evident as was Francis’ complete surprise when called from his place in the choir. Celebrations continued after Mass where parishioners, the Bishop and the Red Shirts were able to congratulate and thank Francis for his many years of unstinting service.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Follow Yonder Star - Arundel Cathedral Festival

Arundel Cathedral will be hosting its annual Advent Art Festival from Friday 14th December 2012 till 6th January 2013and this year the theme will be 'Following Yonder Star'.

The purpose of the Festival is to celebrate, through art, the groups which contribute to our community and make it the special place it is, whilst at the same time offering the public the opportunity to enjoy a visual feast in the lead up to and during Christmas.

This year's artwork is brought to you by a whole host of different groups including local schools, parish groups, and organisations like the NSPCC and the Enable Me Project to name just a few. Illustrations, paintings, 3D models, textiles and even video installations will adorn the pillars, floor and walls of the Cathedral and promise visitors a unique and heart-warming experience.

As part of the festival, free competitions around the artworks will also be run for children to win prizes each Sunday. Entry to the festival is free, donations welcome.

For more information contact: Hannah, Assistant Festival Coordinator - t: 07894 949861; e:

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

CAFOD Launches New Hungry for Change Campaign

CAFOD Hungry for Change Campaigners in front of Westminster Cathedral
Photo credit: Nikola Ivanovski/ CAFOD
CAFOD reports that:
"On 10 November, 250 campaigners joined in an unseasonal picnic - complete with checked rugs, picnic hampers and a giant loaf and fish - outside Westminster Cathedral to raise awareness about CAFOD’s new Hungry for change campaign.

The picnic was the centrepiece of a whole day of activities, including food for thought from speakers and workshops, a pop-up exhibition of previous campaigns, worship and the first viewing of a new animation explaining the food system – all of which left people with an appetite for action.

Father Joe Komakoma shared stories from his native Zambia showing how, despite the country’s relative economic success, many small-scale farmers were struggling to survive and climate change was making it harder for families to grow enough food to eat and sell.

Theologian David McLoughlin encouraged us to read the Lord’s Prayer in the context of a society where people were indebted, went hungry and lived under foreign occupation.

Head of campaigns Clare Lyons urged campaigners to remember the impact of “quiet moments” as well as big events, getting a huge show of hands from those who had contacted their MPs, spoken at Mass or talked to their friends about CAFOD’s campaigns, as well as from those who had joined marches.

She said “We were delighted to see so many people with such a wealth of enthusiasm and experience. We’ve all learnt so much from each other. Now the real work starts, getting the message out that it’s a scandal that millions of people go hungry in a world which provides enough food for all. Through campaigning, we can all do something about this. So what are you waiting for?”

The Hungry for change campaign draws inspiration from Jesus’ feeding of five thousand people with five loaves and two fish and from the belief that our hunger for change, in solidarity with our neighbours and through the grace of God, can transform our world."

Also present were many campaigners from Arundel & Brighton Diocese including Diocesan Justice & Peace Adviser, David Thomson and CAFOD Diocesan Manager, Martin Brown. They have all come back from the day enthusiastic to promote to parishes and get everybody involved in making sure there is enough food for everyone's need.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Congratulations on New Archbishop of Canterbury

Archbishop Elect pictured front
The Catholic Communications Network statement on appointment of Justin Welby as next Archbishop of Canterbury:
"The Mt Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, has issued a statement in response to the announcement that Bishop Justin Welby, the current Bishop of Durham, will succeed Dr Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols said:
“On behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, I warmly welcome the news of the appointment of the current Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Justin Welby as the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

“I know that Bishop Welby will bring many personal gifts and experience to his new role. As the future Primate of the Church of England, I am sure that his ministry, like that of his predecessor Archbishop Rowan Williams, will provide an important Christian witness to this country over the coming years.

“In fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ’s prayer that his followers may all be one, I hope that we will endeavour to strengthen the bonds of Christian friendship and mission already established between the Catholic Church and the Church of England. I look forward to working closely with Bishop Welby in the service of the common good and in the common witness we can give to all the people in our land.

“The Archbishop-elect may be assured of the prayers and best wishes of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales and of the whole Catholic community in our country.”

Friday, 9 November 2012

Diocesan Advent Reflections Now Available

This year’s material will have three elements:
1. Reflection on the Gospel;
2. Reflection on the 1st Reading;
3. Reflection on the Collect;
In preparation for the four Sundays of Advent

N.B. Whilst many parishes are prioritising the Jubilee Small Groups running this Autumn and beyond, we have established that there is still a demand for Advent Groups.

Therefore we are making this material available both for those who wish to run Advent Groups and for parishioners who may wish to use it for individual reflection.

To download the material go to the diocesan website

You can also order multiple copies from the Diocesan Bookshop Email:

Thursday, 8 November 2012

From Sunrise to Sunset with Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP

 Saturday 24th Nov @ St Peter’s Church, York Place, Brighton, BN1 4GU, 9:30am – 3pm

A day event with Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP, Internationally acclaimed speaker and author, and Fr Richard Ounsworth OP, Scripture scholar and lecturer at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, and The Wellspring Community, a Benedictine community in Brighton. The day will explore the ancient prayer known as the Liturgy of the Hours or the Divine Office, in which psalms and short readings are prayed at moments throughout the day, sanctifying time by bringing minds, hearts and all life’s activities back to God in prayer and praise.

The day will include praying the Divine Office; Talks on prayer, the Divine Office, and psalms; Q&A; and Lectio Divina (prayerful reading of Scripture.

The day is supported by the Diocesan Jubilee Office

For more information, please contact Lara: or call 01273243876

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Congratulations on New Head of Coptic Orthodox Church

The visit of the future pope Tawadros II of Alexandria to St Ann's Melkite Catholic Church
Waterford Connectict USA on Sept 22, 2010
Vatican Radio reports: "Pope Benedict XVI has sent a message to His Holiness Abna Tawadros, the new head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, expressing his joy at hearing the news of his election. Tawadros was chosen in a solemn ceremony in the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt Sunday as the new Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Mark, replacing His Holiness Shenouda III, who died in March.

In his English-language message Benedict XVI writes, "I am confident that, like your renowned predecessor Pope Shenouda III, you will be a genuine spiritual father for your people and an effective partner with all your fellow-citizens in building the new Egypt in peace and harmony, serving the common good and the good of the entire Middle East. In these challenging times it is important for all Christians to bear witness to the love and fellowship that binds them together, mindful of the prayer offered by our Lord at the Last Supper: that all may be one, so that the world may believe".

Tawadros II will be installed on November 18th as the 118th pope of the ancient Coptic Orthodox Church."

Picture also shows parishioners and Fr Edward their parish priest with the future Coptic Pope.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Former Papal Nuncio to UK Dies

Archbishop Faustino Saiz Munoz RIP
A statement from Mgr Marcus Stock, the General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, on the death of Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, the former Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain.

“The members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales were very saddened to learn of the death yesterday, Wednesday 31 October, of Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, the former Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain.

The Bishops remember Archbishop Faustino with great affection and admiration. His ministry as the personal representative of the Holy Father was exercised with untiring devotion and great attentiveness to the needs of our countries. Before his premature retirement due to ill health, he had won the profound respect of the diplomatic community and the hearts of the episcopal conferences he worked with.

We send our sincere condolences to the family and personal friends of Archbishop Faustino. We pray that on this Solemnity of All Saints, in the presence of those many blessed souls who now behold the divine countenance, his soul too will enjoy the loving embrace of our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus. May he rest in peace. Amen.”

The Diocese of Arundel & Brighton remembers with great affection his visit to this diocese several years ago when he met with clergy, staff and laity of the diocese. May he rest in peace.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Advent Reflections Now Available from the Diocese

The Diocese of Arundel & Brighton and its Adult Formation team has once again prepared some Advent Reflections for use by small groups or individuals for Advent 2012.
This year’s material has three elements:
1. Reflection on the Gospel
2. Reflection on the 1st Reading
3. Reflection on the Collect
In preparation for the four Sundays of Advent

You can download a copy free of charge here or order multiple copies from the Diocesan Bookshop in Crawley via email

N.B.    Whilst many parishes are prioritising the Jubilee Small Groups running this Autumn and beyond, we have established that there is still a demand for Advent Groups. Therefore we are making this material available both for those who wish to run Advent Groups and for parishioners who may wish to use it for individual reflection.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Message of Hope for those who are grieving the loss of a Loved One

Bishop Kieran Conry has released a message of hope to coincide with the start of the month when Catholics especially remember and pray for those who have died and for those who are grieving.

“Every November throughout the world those who have died are especially remembered and prayed for by the Catholic community. The commemoration begins on 2nd of the month on a day called All Souls when Catholics pray for the dead as they continue, ahead of the living, the journey into the fullness God’s Light. Catholics also pray for those who are left behind and are still grieving. These prayers continue throughout the month of November, with people encouraged to visit a church or cemetery to pray."

“Know that, even if you are not a Catholic, you and your loved ones will be prayed for and remembered during November. Jesus Christ conquered death through his own suffering and death on a cross and by his resurrection. In Him is the source of our hope and light whatever darkness we might currently face. His love for us and those that we love is endless.”

Prayers have been released to coincide with the publication of the Bishop’s message:

Prayers for the Dead and Grieving
Prayer One
Father of mercies and God of all consolation,
N. is gone now from this earthly dwelling
and has left us behind mourning his/her absence.
Let us find in your Son, Jesus,
comfort in our sadness,
certainty in our doubt,
and courage to live through this hour.
Make our faith strong
Through Christ our Lord.

Prayer Two
Most merciful God,
whose wisdom is beyond our understanding,
surround the family of N. with your love,
that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss,
but have confidence in your goodness,
and strength to meet the days to come.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Prayer Three

To you, O God, the dead do not die,
and in death our life is changed, not ended.
Hear our prayers
and command the soul of your servant N.
to dwell with all the saints,
and be raised at last on the great day of judgement.
In your mercy cleanse him / her of any sin
which he / she may have committed through human frailty.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Prayer Four
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them,
may they rest in peace.

Where N. is found in the prayers above please insert the name of your deceased loved one(s).

The day before All Souls, the Catholic Community celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints – a celebration of all the lives of the saints, known and unknown. Catholics give thanks for their example and everyone receives afresh the invitation to become a saint. Both All Souls and All Saints express faith in God’s invitation to share eternal life with him.

Thursday, 1 November 2012