Monday, 30 April 2012

The Golden Relgious Life

Bishop Kieran and Sr Hannah cut a cake
(c) Francis Fernandes
Crawley parish recently celebrated the Golden Jubilee in religious life of Sr Hannah Murray IJ. It was an immensely joyful occasion for her, her family, her friends and the parish.

Bishop Kieran joined the celebrations by presiding at Mass and then for a reception in the parish hall afterwards. Many parishioners came along to give thanks for the ministry of this particular religious sister.

Sr Hannah continues to minister in the parish.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Good Shepherds, Not Hired Men - Fr Rob Reflects

Fr Rob with his collection of Poems
Fr Rob Esdaile, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes, Thames Ditton reflects on Good Shepherd Sunday and Priesthood:

"Every year we read a section of the tenth chapter of John’s Gospel at Mass on the Fourth Sunday of Easter (this year it’s on April 29), thus giving the Sunday its name. And, given the Gospel reading, it’s scarcely surprising that ‘Good Shepherd Sunday’ is the principal Day of Prayer for Vocations in the Church’s Year, because the title reminds us of the one calling we all share: the call to listen to the voice of Jesus Christ. At the same time, we are confronted with the challenge of that calling. Whatever our path in life, we don’t just need to follow the Shepherd. We also need to become like him, people who willingly lay down our lives for others.

Jesus makes an important distinction between ‘The Good Shepherd’ and ‘The Hired Man’. The second character very understandably runs for safety when a wolf pack attacks. The Good Shepherd cannot, not because he is less agile than the wage-slave but because his sheep are his life. It’s as true to say that ‘he belongs to them’ as that ‘they belong to him’.

A Church which has ‘professional’ (i.e. full-time) clergy certainly runs risks, as we sadly know all too well (clericalism, careerism dressed up as piety, the abuse of power ...). Yet there’s also something beautiful in a life fully given for others and for the building up of the communion of the Church.

The shape of the ordained ministry is bound to change radically in coming years, but it would be very sad if we lost the expectation that our pastors give themselves totally in service of a particular community, so that their ministry can become a lived parable of Christ, the true Shepherd. So, beginning today, pray for your pastors – and pray that you too will listen to the Lord’s call."

Friday, 27 April 2012

Other Vocations:Deacon Dave - My First Forty Eight Hours

Deacon David Turner on his Ordination Day
Although this weekend is specially focussed on vocations to the priesthood and religious life there are many other vocations that people are called to in the Church. One of those is to the Permanent Diaconate. Below is the reflection from one such Deacon in a letter to Peter Burholt:

In it newly ordained Deacon Dave Turner - from the Parish of St Paul, Haywards Heath - writes to Peter Burholt, A&B News’ special correspondent, on his first 48 hours as a deacon He is one of our new deacons, appearing with Bishop Kieran on the cover of the current Diocesan directory.

"My Dear Peter
Saturday was truly memorable and a day to be savoured. My daughter Clare’s future father-in-law, who is a non-Catholic, remarked that there was an incredible amount of good-will in the church. I called it love.

Anyway, I never really had time to chat to everyone at the reception and I managed to miss some priests and friends entirely. I ended up being the last one to leave, walking home alone with a balloon and gifts in one hand, and carrying a bottle of champagne in the other. A passer-by asked if I had come from a vicar and tarts party! I was still wearing my badge “I did it and did it good!”

My head was buzzing. To be honest, my head was scrambled and I was incensing all night long – I got up way too early and did a few loads of washing-up. Barbara had an awful night too.

Now it was Sunday and I needed to get to 8.30 am Mass. I was again greeted by more well-wishing parishioners, which was hugely uplifting. This led on to the beginning of 10.30 am Mass, when one of my young people from the liturgy group was making his first Holy Communion. I didn’t stay for Mass, but went home to prepare for Don’s ordination in Potters Bar. Barb said that she couldn’t come with me and would I be comfortable driving there and back? “Of course” I said “that would be fine”. Then I reflected on it and the M25, and saw the wisdom of pulling out. The spirit was willing, but ….

Then, according to Barb, I feel asleep! Waking at 4ish I realised that I hadn’t actually been to a full Mass. I shot over to the church and saw Fr Martin Jakubas. Rather surprised to see me, he said “What are you doing here?” Deacon Gerard was in church on a day off, so Fr Martin said “Come on, let’s give the parishioners a double-act!” and we dived straight in and hurriedly un-packed the spare dalmatic. Our parish priest was flanked by two deacons and told everyone that they were not seeing double! I proclaimed my first Gospel and the Mass community appeared to be delighted by this impromptu appearance of the whole “team”.

That evening, dinner with Fr Martin was superb and I think we got home some time after midnight. He had invited us to a combined celebration, as it was his 28th anniversary in the priesthood and Deacon Gerard Irwin’s 5th anniversary. Including my special day, all fell on the same date.

Monday dawned and I was about to say prayers in the garden. Instead, something told me to get dressed and go to St Joseph’s primary school, I gate-crashed the 9 am morning assembly. However, the head played a blinder and worked me into the assembly, with an off-the-cuff handing over to me – I gave the children a chat about being a deacon and the love of Jesus shining on all of us. At the end of the final hymn I gave them a blessing and, as I will be having a chaplaincy role, they promised to make me a badge. From here I managed to gate-crash Morning Prayers in the church and it was then up to the hospital to get inducted with the NHS chaplaincy team.

You know my Dad is unwell and could not come to my great day so, on Monday evening I spent a couple of hours tending to his basic needs in the East Surrey Hospital. He is quite poorly after his fall and with a weak heart. The medics have just started to treat him for a liver infection – he is 88 years old and they give him great care. Please remember him in your prayers.

Now it was to bed. Well, if all of this happened in my first 48 hours as a deacon, what is to come? Only the good Lord knows.
God bless
Deacon Dave"

Postscript – John Turner passed away three weeks after his son’s ordination. May he rest in peace in the knowledge his son, also, is now closer to the Lord.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Vocations Sunday Approaches in Arundel & Brighton Diocese

Fr David King at his by
Bishop Kieran
Fr Terry Martin, Vocations Director for the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton writes about this coming Vocations Sunday:

"VOCATIONS SUNDAY (29th April) is a day when, as a diocese, we pray particularly for vocations to the priesthood.

The life of the priest is immensely fulfilling. It is a calling which brings great joy and blessing. Please pray hard for vocations to the priesthood. Your sons and grandsons are those whom God may be calling to this radical way of life ... Every young Catholic single man needs to ask himself the question, at some stage in his life, 'Is God calling me to be a priest?'.

Please consider how best you might help single men of all ages to consider the calling of Christ in their lives. Do you pray for vocations to the priesthood? Could you start a parish prayer group to support vocations to the priesthood? Do you invite the young men of your parish or your family to seriously consider the priesthood? Could you be a link person with the Vocations Director for your parish? Could you organise a monthly Holy Hour for vocations in your parish? Are there other things that you could do? Please feel free to use this prayer again and again as we ask the Lord to send us many many priestly vocations for our diocese:

Prayer for Vocations
Father of all,
in the name of Jesus Christ
who came not to be served but to serve,
grant us the grace of many new vocations to the priesthood
in our diocese.

Give us men after your own heart who,
following the example of the Good Shepherd himself,
are willing to joyfully lay down their lives in your service
and for your glory.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory be ...

The Diocesan Vocation Director is Fr Terry Martin who may be contacted at:"

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Future of Liturgy - Talk by Mgr Wadsworth

Mgr Andrew Wadsworth speaking
Fr Ray Blake invites all to attend this talk a week today (Tuesday 1st May) which forms part of 150th celebrations for St Mary Magdalen's in  Upper North Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 3FH:

“Mgr Andrew Wadsworth of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy will speak at St Mary Magdalen Brighton on “The Future of the Liturgy” on Tuesday 1st May at 7.30pm. Mgr Wadsworth, who was “the man behind the new English translations” will suggest how the liturgy might develop in the light of the teaching of Vatican II documents and current trends in the teaching Pope Benedict XVI and the Congregation for Divine Worship.”

For more information about the celebrations visit

Monday, 23 April 2012

Saint Benedict of Nursia New DVD Release!

Marys Dowry Productions recently announced publication a new DVD on Saint Benedict:
For a detailed and easy biography on the life and mission of Saint Benedict, this is a useful and enjoyable film that combines history and Faith in a simple but original presentation.

Using paintings and frescos of St. Benedict, footage, photographs and especially produced imagery, St. Benedict tells the whole fascinating story of his life, from his early years in Italy with his dear Sister Scholastica, his studies in Rome, his abandoning of the world and his hermitage with only the priest Romanus as an occasional companion, through to his founding of the great Abbey of Monte Cassino, his meeting with Totila the King of the Goths and his final days. Miracles and revelations permeate the unique life of this great Founder and Saint who remains one of the most popular Catholics in the history of Christendom.

With a Run Time of 38 Minutes this DVD is now available worldwide in all Region Formats from or Amazon.Com or Amazon.Co.Uk.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Disappearing Christians in the Holy Land

Meeting Palestinian School Children
At this time of Easter our minds often turn to the Holy Land and the place of Our Lord's death and resurrection, so it is perhaps apposite to consider the position of Christians in these lands. Fr Paul Maddison writes:
"Over the past century, the Christian population in Israel, Jordan and Palestine has reduced from more than 17% to less than 1.5%. What events have caused Christians of the Middle East to flee their sacred land? And what can be done to support these marginalised communities?

The 20th century was a time of much social and political turmoil for Israel and the Palestinian territories, as world leaders struggled to reach a compromise whereby Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities could peacefully and respectfully live side by side in the Holy Land. The failure to reach a workable compromise has come at an enormous cost to the local people: the reality of daily life in the Holy Land ranges from the inconvenient to the catastrophic, as the land divisions complicate every aspect of community life including access to healthcare, education, employment, security, freedom of movement, and of course there is sadly the ever-present threat of military attacks.

In these circumstances, it is not surprising that we have seen an exodus of Christians from the Holy Land. However, as both the Archbishop of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury have underlined, it is crucial that we take every opportunity to support the remaining Christian population: we must not allow them to be forgotten or marginalised and must encourage and support their growth and development.

How can we as UK Christians support the Christian communities of the Middle East? Making a journey to the Holy Land to both experience the holy places and meet the local people is perhaps the single most important thing that Christians can do to express their solidarity. It is one thing to read about the plight of the local communities in newspapers, and to watch TV reports, but to really understand the complexity of life in the Holy Land it is essential to travel there, take the time to speak with the local people, and with an open mind gain an understanding of the multi-layered problems faced by the local communities.

In response to these problems, the Catholic Diocese of East Anglia has been working to strengthen links between UK Christians and the Christian population of the Middle East for over a decade. This work has included twinning the diocese with the Catholic Diocese of Jerusalem, and in 2010 supporting the establishment of Palestine Pilgrimage, a Registered Charity based in Cambridgeshire and led by Fr Paul Maddison, which organises bespoke tours to the Holy Land throughout the year, and donates all surplus income to humanitarian projects in the Holy Land.

Pilgrims inevitable return asking what they can do by way of support and Palestine Pilgrimage helps wherever it can to foster such solidarity. One pilgrimage resulted in a commitment to support the local Catholic school in the parish they visited in the Holy Land. Pilgrims spoke at Sunday Masses and the parish decided to raise £2,000 for the next 10 years to provide scholarships for students whose families could not afford the fees of £300 a year to send their children to the school.

In another initiative where a pilgrim group visited a small village where there was a high level of unemployment the decision was taken, in consultation with the community in the Holy Land, to set up a small soap factory where the locally produced olive oil could be turned into soap and exported. Twelve families now have income through this work and the soap is exported to the UK, France, Italy and the USA.

Pilgrimage is not just about returning from our experience with a deeper understanding of the scriptures and a boost to our own spiritual life; it is making sure that the footprints we leave have a lasting and real benefit for the people we meet.

If your parish, school or deanery would like more information; please visit our website at:"

There are also other pilgrimage and other organisations that help the Christian community in the Holy Land such as Fifth Gospel Retreats, Pro Terra Sancta and Friends of the Holy Land.

Friday, 20 April 2012

150 Year Celebrations Begun for St Mary Magdalen

James McMilan speaking at St Mary Magdalen's
The parish reports:
The 150th Anniversary celebrations for St Mary Magdalen, Brighton got off to a magnificent start with a Solemn Mass on 27th February which is the actual date that the nave of the church was opened 150 years ago. The setting for the Mass was Schubert’s Mass in G and a few additional local singers as well as some young professionals from Oxford joined our choir. Tom Bennett composed a motet, Tu es Petrus, specifically for the occasion. Fr Tim Finigan preached a serious and thought-provoking homily. After the Mass there was a party in the Community Centre which was filled with people enthused by the experience they had all shared.

The church was absolutely packed and the atmosphere joyous and inspiring. The anniversary is seen as a special opportunity for evangelisation and reaching out; parishioners were encouraged to bring friends and it was pleasing to see so many new faces many of whom were not Catholics and some who were atheists or agnostics.

On 9 March James MacMillan, the internationally celebrated Catholic composer who wrote some of the music for the Papal visit came to St Mary Magdalen to give a very challenging talk entitled “The Future of Modernity and the Sacred: A Composer’s Perspective.” This was a great honour for Brighton and the church was full, again with many from outside the parish.

The aim of the celebrations is to reach out to the people of Brighton, to look to the future in the light of the Year of Faith and to think anew about the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

Future Events: Mgr Andrew Wadsworth 1st May The Future of the Liturgy

Mgr Keith Newton 24th May The Future of Ecumenism

Fr Aidan Nichols OP 7 June The Future of the Church in England

Fr Alexander Sherbrooke 27 June The Future of Evangelisation

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Mayfield’s Choir sing at St Paul’s Cathedral

Mayfield School Choir at St Paul's
The choir from St Leonards-Mayfield School, conducted by the School’s Director of Music, Peter Collins, had the honour of singing Evensong on Monday 5 March at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. This is proving to be a memorable season for the choir which has recently returned from overseas tours in Malta and Rome where the girls enjoyed the rare honour of singing in St Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican.

Antonia Beary, the School’s Headmistress, said, ‘As a Catholic School that welcomes pupils from a number of denominations, we were delighted to be invited to sing for this beautiful liturgy – it is a privilege to be involved in such a way in the nation’s religious and artistic heritage’.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Bishop Kieran to Speak to Youth at Eucharistic Congress

Bishop Kieran Conry
Bishop Kieran from Arundel & Brighton Diocese will particiapte in the morning prayer session and  a catechetical session at the Congress for young people on Friday 15th June in the Chiara Luce Youth Space. He will speak about the Church and Suffering.

Bishop Kieran currently holds the position of liasion Bishop for youth ministry in England and Wales. He has also led catechesis at World Youth Days in Sydney and Madrid. As well he actively supports youth work in this diocese.
For more information on attending the Congress and the Youth programme visit the International Eucharistic Congress website at

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Golden Jubilee for Horley Parishioners

History of English Martyrs, Horley
John Scott Cree from Horley Parish reports:
2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Church of the English Martyrs, Horley. As well as special events for the jubilee weekend of 22/23 September, the parish is publishing a 40-page history of the church (see picture, above) on the Feast of the English Martyrs, 4 May.

This book surveys the history of the parish of Horley from pre-Reformation times to the return of Catholic worship to Horley at the beginning of the 20th Century. It describes the subsequent development and growth of the new parish.

As well as extracts from Diocesan archives and local newspapers, the history relies on oral contributions from parishioners. There are descriptions of the periods covered by each visiting missionary and incumbent priest until 2012, focusing in particular on the efforts to build the present church.

Generously illustrated with archive and personal photographs, this book offers a series of enjoyable memories, as well as an insight into the ongoing efforts of a small but dedicated band of people to ensure a life of Faith in Horley.

The history costs £5.00 plus £1.50 postage from

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Longest Day - Refugee Week 2012

Q. What do you call the best night of music and comedy ever to come to Crawley?
A. The Longest Day!
A host of the entertainment industry's brightest stars are coming to town to dazzle Crawley's Hawth Theatre in a spectacular charity benefit gig: the 'Longest Day' on 21 June at 7.30pm.

One of the west end's leading actors, Sheila Hancock, along with the poet and entertainer Michael Rosen, comedian Steve Punt and punk poet and songwriter Attila the Stockbroker, are heading the Midsummer Night's team for what promises to be an unforgettable evening of comedy and music. Joining them on the bill will be some of the UK's most up-and-coming young talents, making it a cutting edge, festival-style night.

The Longest Day, as the show is called, will be a mixture of music and comedy, with some serious bits, and is being presented by the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group. This local charity provides practical and emotional support to people held in the detention centres at Gatwick.
It is one of a number of local events being held during Refugee Week 2012.

Tickets (£15/£10) for The Longest Day are now available from the Hawth Box Office .

There will be just 600 tickets available - and they're selling fast.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Hosanna House Lourdes New Stained Glass for Chapel

The Risen Christ in the Garden with Mary Magdalene
From a Trust Fund set up by founder Chaplain of HCPT (Handicapped Childrens Pilgrimage Trust) Fr Michael Byrne who died in 2006, Hosanna House in Lourdes, providing space and hospitality especially to disabled pilgrims, and especially to young people coming to Lourdes, now has a beautiful stained glass window of the Risen Christ in the garden in its Chapel.

Designed by Eleanor Bird it was insalled in Hosanna House for Easter. There are now plans for sister windows depicting Palm Sunday and Pentecost. If you would like to donate go to

Alleulia He is Risen!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Renew Your Wonders - Using the 50 Days of Easter

Jesus appears to the apostles - Stations of the Resurrection
 Kristina Cooper writes:
"Just before he called the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII prayed “Renew your wonders in this our day as by a New Pentecost” and we have seen an amazing renewal in the Church over the last 45 years as we have come to realize that as ‘the people of God’ we have all been called to announce and work for his kingdom on earth.

Understandably, with this renewed calling and heightened responsibility, there can often be an accompanying sense of inadequacy. How can I do this? Jesus’ first apostles felt the same. They were uneducated working men, yet he gave them the task of preaching the Gospel to all nations. They too felt they weren’t up to it which was why he told them in Luke’s gospel “to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high”. Thus they stayed and prayed and waited for the promised Holy Spirit to come… and the Spirit came at Pentecost. After that the same frightened men went out doing amazing miracles and dying martyr’s deaths, such were their courage and passion for God.

It is the same Holy Spirit living in the Church and in us today, however weak and inadequate we might feel. Easter-tide is a fantastic opportunity for us to reflect on what happened to those first apostles because what happened to them is also possible for us. One of the easiest ways to reflect on this is as the Church directs us in the liturgy, to read the Acts of the Apostles during the Easter-tide period.

After the extra prayer and devotions that we often do during Lent, the temptation is to go back to normal after Easter. However, we still have a wonderful invitation to spend 50 days in celebration and preparation for the great graces God wants to give us at Pentecost. God is still at work doing amazing miracles and healings in the world today through committed Catholics going out and preaching the Gospel. If you want to be encouraged check out

To help people reflect more deeply during Easter-tide, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, one of the new lay movements in the Church have, in conjunction with the Bible Society, produced a wonderful daily prayer guide called “50 Days of Freedom” (cost £2 plus p&p). This is particularly suitable for individual use and RCIA groups. There are special discounts for bulk orders. For further details contact Goodnews, tel: 020 7352 5298 or email The office also has details of other Pentecost events and retreats happening round the country- See

We particularly recommend a wonderful course called, The Life in the Spirit Seminars. If there is one running near you, why not go along? You will find it a great blessing. A version of this called “This Promise is for You” is ideal for parish groups. It is available on DVD from Goodnews Books (tel 01582 571011). Email So let’s pray that Pentecost will this year be a new door opening for all of us as we are transformed and empowered in a new way by the Holy Spirit."

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Walks Of Witness on Good Friday

Walk of Witness, Woking
Many towns and communities in the diocese of Arundel & Brighton held an ecumenical Walk of Witness on Good Friday. Below is a report from Mark Potter of St Dunstan's of the walk in Woking, Surrey:
Churches Together in Woking mark Good Friday
Blessed by glorious sunshine, around 600 people from the Christian churches in central Woking gathered for an Act of Witness on Good Friday.

Passion Drama
This annual event, staged every year for more than 13 years, comprised a procession through the town centre followed by a public, open-air "service" of song, prayers, reading and drama.

In a heartfelt testimony a member of The Coign Church spoke of their conversion to the Faith, finding the love of Jesus during a time in their past life when they had felt most isolated and unlovable. George, a leader from Send Evangelical Church gave an 'outreach' talk, proclaiming the sacrifice that Jesus made for us that makes this Friday "Good Friday".

14 different churches helped with organising or participating in the event including Fr Peter Andrews, assistant priest at St Dunstan's Church, Esther Berry and Jude Wadhwani, Chaplain of St John the Baptist School who gave readings. People from other churches were also among the congregation. "Our aim is to plant seeds of faith in the minds and hearts of passers-by who are lapsed or unchurched and do not know the significance of Good Friday and Easter;" said one of the organisers. "If just one person is touched by what they see or hear and come to know Christ in their life it will have been worthwhile".

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Supporting Our Catholic Grandparents

Pictured on the left is Katherine with Christine
 Christine Evans of Horsham parish recently invited Katherine Bergin, our diocesan Marriage and Family Life Adviser, to address a group of Grandparents one Sunday evening, in order to form a Grandparents' Group in our parish.

After introductions of the eighteen grandparents present Katherine took us through the history, the aims, the involvement of our diocese, the pilgrimage to come later in the summer on 14 July at Aylesford Friary, and the prayer for grandparents written specially by Pope Benedict. The evening concluded successfully with commitments from all present to continue the group.

There will also be a day in the Diocese for Grandparents on Saturday 26th May, 2012 9.45 am – 1 pm (Coffee from 9.30 am) at DABCEC, 4 Southgate Drive, Crawley, RH10 6RP. To book or for further information please contact: Katherine Bergin 01293 651152
or email

Story and picture: David White

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Scouts Getting on in Years!

Beavers , Cubs, Scouts, Explorers and Leaders from17th Reigate Scout Group

Mike Phillipson, Group Scout Leader of 17th Reigate (St. Joseph’s) Scout Group reports:
On 11th March, around eighty Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers, and Leaders from 17th Reigate (St. Joseph’s) Scout Group in Redhill, Surrey celebrated the 97th anniversary of the foundation of the Group by Fr. Westlake. Fr. Chris Spain, Parish Moderator, blessed the Group flags at a Mass dedicated to deceased members and friends of 17th Reigate Scouts.

17th Reigate Scouts is the largest Catholic Scout Group in Surrey and is are currently seeking permission from the Diocese to build a new Scout Hall at St. Joseph’s Church, Redhill. We would like to hear from any former members who would like more information or to get involved: please contact us via the Group’s website

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Easter - He is Risen

Today we celebrate the Feasts of Feasts, the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord! “Christ is Risen! and death is conquered, for by His Death He has trampled on our death! Christ is Risen! and the evil ones are cast down and the angels rejoice, for forgiveness has risen from the tomb. Christ is Risen! and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (St. John Chrysostom, The Easter Sermon).
Χριστός ἀνέστη!Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!
ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܩܳܡ. ܫܪܺܝܪܳܐܝܬ ܩܳܡ܀    
Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere!
Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Holy Saturday

He descended into Hell

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Maundy Thursday and Mass of the Lord's Supper

'We should glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he is our salvation, our life and our resurrection; through him we are saved and made free.' - Entrance Antiphone for Maundy Thursday

Copyright acknowledgment
Extracts from The Revised Translation of the Roman Missal © 2011 ICEL. All rights reserved

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Techie Trainee Priests Adopt Unofficial Patron Saint of Podcasts

St. George Preca
Catholic Communications Network reports that:
Two trainee priests from Oscott College, a seminary in Birmingham, have decided to adopt an unofficial patron saint of podcasts for their very successful ‘Vocationcast’ series. Produced and directed by seminarians for all those discerning their call in life. The dynamic duo, Dan Fitzpatrick, a youth worker before he entered the seminary (currently in his fifth year at Oscott) and Frankie Mulgrew, a former comedian, (also in his fifth year and soon to become a deacon) began Vocationcast in September of last year as a response to the Holy Father, Pope Benedict’s call for priests to engage with the digital continent.

So why did they feel the need to adopt an unofficial patron saint for their work? Dan and Frankie: “We pray before we record and at other times too, asking the intercession of St. Maximilian Kolbe who is associated with media. However we recently looked for a patron saint of podcasting who we could ask for intercession. We were shocked to discover that there is no saint associated with podcasting. So we began to look at saints’ lives to see if one would be suited to podcasting. We came across St. George Preca, a Maltese priest involved in spreading the Gospel.”

St. George Preca was a Roman Catholic priest who was born in Valletta, Malta. He founded the Society of Christian Doctrine, a society of lay catechists. He is affectionately known as "Dun Ġorġ" and is popularly referred to as the "Second Apostle of Malta", after Paul of Tarsus.

It was around 1910 that Dun George had a very powerful mystical experience of “the extraordinary vision of the child Jesus”. One morning he suddenly saw a twelve-year old boy pushing a low cart with a bag full of manure. The boy turned to George and ordered him: “Lend me a hand!” The moment Fr. George put his hand on the cart he felt an extraordinary spiritual sweetness. He later understood that the boy was Jesus and that the Lord was asking him and his followers to help him with nurturing the Lord’s field and vineyard with sound doctrine and formation.

Fr. George Preca strived unceasingly to spread the values and teaching of the Gospel in the Maltese islands. He wrote a great number of books and published numerous prayer booklets. He was undoubtedly a great apostle of the Gospel which he used to call “The Voice of the Beloved”.

They continued: “It is for these reasons that we ask St. George to pray for podcasting, a modern media format, that can be used effectively to preach the Gospel and be a ‘voice of the beloved’ to all people. We pray that he will be the patron of all podcasters, so that his example may inspire and encourage their efforts of communicating to mass audiences.

You can listen to their Vocationcast series on and on iTunes:

What’s coming up on Vocationcast?Next month there is a special episode for National Vocations Sunday, looking at how everyone is called to live out their lives in a special way.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Women’s World Day of Prayer in Bexhill

Frances Hargan from Bexhill reports:
On 2nd March the Women's World Day of Prayer service was held at St. Martha's, Little Common, Bexhill in the morning and at Our Lady of the  Rosary, Sidley, Bexhill in the evening. This was a beautifully themed service of "Let Justice Prevail", prepared by the women of Malayasia, and encompassed ethnic and traditional music.

Parishioner Liz Hopkins dressed in a traditional Malaysian costume
Placards showing life experiences were displayed on the altar and we were given time to reflect on the hardships suffered in the region.  Anne Barry gave an inspiring talk about the Malaysian women. Afterwards, we discussed the evening over tea and refreshments.

Monday, 2 April 2012


The Vatican reports:
Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Archbishop Angelo Becciu, substitute for General Affairs, presented the Holy Father with the 2012 edition of the "Annuario Pontificio" or pontifical yearbook, and the "Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae".

A note concerning the presentation highlights some of the facts contained in the new edition. In 2011, the Pope erected eight new episcopal sees, one personal ordinariate and one military ordinariate. One archdiocese and eight dioceses were elevated to the rank of metropolitan see; one prelature, one apostolic vicariate and one apostolic prefecture were elevated to the rank of diocese, and one "sui iuris" mission was elevated to the rank of apostolic prefecture.

The statistical information, which refers to the year 2010, reveals details about the Catholic Church in the 2,966 ecclesiastical circumscriptions on the planet. The number of Catholics in the world moved from 1,181 million in 2009 to 1,196 million in 2010, an increase of fifteen million faithful, corresponding to a growth of 1.3 percent. Over the last two years the presence of baptised Catholics in the world has remained stable at around 17.5 per cent.

The number of Catholics with respect to the total population varies considerably between the continents. Their numbers have dropped in South America (from 28.54 per cent to 28.34 per cent) and in Europe (from 24.05 per cent to 23.83 per cent), while they have increased in Africa (from 15.15 per cent to 15.55 per cent) and in South-East Asia (from 10.47 per cent to 10.87 per cent).

The number of bishops went from 5,065 to 5,104, a growth of 0.77 per cent. This increase involved Africa (sixteen new bishops), America (fifteen) and Asia (twelve), while numbers fell slightly in Europe (from 1,607 to 1,606) and in Oceania (from 132 to 129).

The steady increase in the number of priests which began in the year 2000 has continued. In 2010 their numbers stood at 412,236, composed of 227,009 diocesan priests and 135,227 regular priests; whereas in 2009 they numbered 410,593 (275,542 diocesan and 135,051 regular). The number of clergy has increased in Asia (by 1695), Africa (765), Oceania (52) and the Americas (42), while their numbers have fallen by 905 in Europe.

Numbers of permanent deacons have increased by 3.7 per cent, from 38,155 in 2009 to 39,564 in 2010. They are present above all in North America and Europe, which respectively represent 64.3 per cent and 33.2 per cent of the world total.

The negative tendency in the number of non-ordained male religious reversed, as their number passed from 54,229 in 2009 to 54,665 in 2010. Numbers fell by 3.5 per cent in South America and by 0.9 per cent in North America, in Europe they remained stationary while Asia and Africa saw an increase of 4.1 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively.

The number of female religious is undergoing a strong decline, moving from 729,371 in 2009 to 721,935 in 2010. Numbers fell by 2.9 per cent in Europe, by 2.6 per cent in Oceania and by 1.6 per cent the Americas. Nonetheless they increased by around 2 per cent in both Africa and Asia

The number of students of philosophy and theology in diocesan and religious seminaries has increased constantly over the last five years, from 114,439 in 2005 to 111,990 in 2010, a growth of 4 per cent.

Numbers of major seminarians have fallen by 10.4 per cent in Europe, and by 1.1 per cent in the Americas, but are increasing in Africa (14.2 per cent,) Asia (13 per cent) and Oceania (12.3 per cent).