Friday, 31 May 2013

Fundraising in the Sands of the Sahara

Susie in the Sahara
Sussanah Chan of St Joan of Arc parish, Farnham recently completed a series of marathons held in the Sahara Desert called the Marathon des Sables, known as the "Toughest Footrace in the World" in aid of Farnham Disability Challengers. She says: “I finished the marathon - it was very tough but worth it! The 6 day race is broken down into different races each day- with the shortest day being about 18 miles and the longest 48 miles in one day, it totals 150 miles. The temperature reached 54 degrees on the hottest day, and the pain in my feet was almost too much to bear at some points!

I had to carry all the things I needed to survive on my back with the exception of water and a tent - so I had to carry all my food, sleeping gear and all my survival kit to last the week. On the first day this weighed in at 22lbs, but got lighter as the week went on and I ate the food.

I saw some amazing scenery in the desert and the camaraderie of the other runners was simply fantastic and helped keep you going. The race was tough, but I can honestly say I enjoyed it. Despite the heat it was such a beautiful place to run.“

Disability Challengers is a registered children's charity, dedicated to providing exciting and challenging play and leisure opportunities for disabled children and young people.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Who are Our Priests of the Future in A&B

Men prostrate during ordination rite
The number of men entering seminaries across England and Wales has increased over recent years, as indeed has the number of men and women entering religious life. The new diocesan seminary students for the two countries increased from 21 in 2001 to 44 in 2010. There were 20 priestly ordinations in 2011, 31 in 2012 and the projected number for 2013 is 41.

What is the story in our own diocese of Arundel & Brighton?

Fr Terry Martin, Diocesan Vocation Director, told us about our current students: Due to be ordained to the priesthood in July, soon after his 34th birthday, is Deacon Simon Dray. Robin Farrow, a former Anglican clergyman, is undertaking a special course at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh for those who already have experience in ministry. Hopefully he will soon be ordained deacon and, subsequently, priest.

Some men begin their formation at the Royal English College in Valladolid and in September Alex Smith and Tom Kent will be our students there. Tom, age 19, comes from Wadhurst parish and Alex, age 23, is one of two students from St Joseph’s parish, Brighton. The other, Joe Cook, age 25, is preparing to go to St John’s, Wonersh.

In the Venerable English College, Rome, we have Tristan Cranfield who, it is hoped, will be ordained in about five years time.

Selection for entrance to the seminary is a prayerful process of discernment and reflection, with ongoing discernment continuing throughout the whole six years of formation at seminary.

This may sound a daunting prospect, but it ensures that, when ordained, these men will be confident of their vocation and willing to give good service to the Church. We need to pray for them often.

If you are thinking about a priestly vocation, there are various opportunities to enquire further by contacting Fr Terry Martin on 01293 524329 (mob 07545 576627) or

Monday, 27 May 2013

Make IF Happen- Saturday 8th June in Hyde Park

Hannah De Souza writes: Want to stand up for what’s right? Want to make a difference to those who don’t have a voice? Want to join tens of thousands of others for a once-in-a-lifetime afternoon of activity? Then do it! You may have heard of the ‘Enough Food for Everyone IF’ campaign, or this may be the first time. Either way, you, yes YOU, can be part of something great by coming along to Hyde Park on 8th June 2013 to demand action on hunger. Whether you’re young or...not so young, you can join CAFOD, celebrities and over 100 other agencies in challenging the Prime Minister and G8 leaders to ensure that there is enough food for everyone IF: 

§ We put a STOP to poor farmers being forced off their land

§ Governments KEEP their promises on aid

§ Governments STOP big companies dodging tax

§ Governments and investors are honest about deals made in the poorest countries.

Hélder Câmara once said “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.” So it’s great to give food to the poor, it really is, but it’s time to go deeper. Let’s tackle the reasons WHY these people, who are just like you and me, don’t have food. That way, WE can make a difference to them not just today, but for every day to come.

Still not convinced? Visit to find out more.

Be part of the biggest campaign since Make Poverty History. My name is Hannah, I am volunteering with CAFOD before I head off to University, I will be at Hyde Park on 8th June to make a stand, are you with me?

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Obituary for Anne, Duchess of Norfolk

Anne, Duchess of Norfolk
Canon Tim Madeley writes: On Friday 19th April we celebrated the funeral rites of Anne, Duchess of Norfolk, Duke Edward’s mother and the wife of the late Duke, Miles 17th Duke of Norfolk. She died on Monday 8th April at her beloved home, ‘Bacres’ in the Hambleden Valley where she had lived for 57 years.

Born Anne Mary Teresa Constable-Maxwell on 30 August 1927 in London, through her father, Wing-Commander Gerald Constable-Maxwell she was descended from the Barons Herries and was therefore a distant cousin of Bernard, 16 Duke of Norfolk whom her husband later succeeded to the Dukedom. She married Miles Fitzalan-Howard, a career army officer at the Brompton Oratory in 1949 and although buying Bacres as a permanent home, the two of them endured a typical peripatetic army life moving from place to place. That wasn’t all that kept changing: in 1971 Miles succeeded his mother as the 12th Baron Beaumont, then his father as the 4th Earl of Glossop in 1972 and then his cousin as 17th Duke of Norfolk in 1975, thus Anne had to change her name three times in around five years.

Her great love and work for the hospice movement started through a mis-delivered letter (intended for Duchess Lavinia) asking for help from the nuns who ran the Hackney Hospice of St Joseph in London. From this small start she began the Help the Hospices Charity. To this end, she also used her talents as an artist selling paintings and Christmas cards to raise funds.

Her Requiem Mass at Arundel Cathedral was celebrated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, assisted by Bishop Kieran, the Dean, Canon Tim Madeley and the Provost of the Cathedral Chapter, Canon Tony Whale together with her children (Tessa, Marcia, Carina, Edward and Gerald) and over 600 family, friends, colleagues and parishioners. She was laid to rest next to Miles in the vaults of the Fitzalan Chapel directly after the Requiem.

Cardinal Cormac summed up Duchess Anne’s faith in his homily when he said ‘The greatest act of faith we make is when we come to die, when without knowing exactly what happens, we put an act of faith in God who in Christ has opened up for us the heavenly gates.’

May she rest in peace.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Taste of Taizé in Ewell

Taizé service at St Clements
St. Clement’s recently hosted a beautiful ecumenical Taizé service which was attended by members of six of the Churches Together in Ewell.

With the emphasis on love, peace and forgiveness, there were reflections taken from the last writings of Brother Roger of Taizé, interspersed with some of the lovely, gentle Taizé chants. There were periods of silence, recognising that in silence God’s word can reach the hidden corners of our hearts. 

The final prayer, written by Brother Roger, was a reminder of God’s absolute love for us and that without love for, and trust in, God we would be nothing: Spirit of God, Spirit of compassion, Spirit of praise, Your love for each of us will never disappear. Alleluia!

Story Charlotte Gregory and photo Margaret Cossou

Friday, 24 May 2013

Hove Hearties - Caring for the Little Ones and their Mums

 The helpers with the First Anniversary Cake
Sacred Heart, Hove Parish Playgroup helper,Tara Connor reports: "Little Hearties, recently went off with a bang  as it was their 1st Anniversary. We had a beautiful cake and disco. It is like a little joyful haven of babies and toddlers every fortnight in the Parish Room! The mums are outstanding and the children are so happy in our comfortable safe environment.

Carly Carden and Ros Morris, the two organisers, are superb and perfect with the kids. With the sing-songs, bouncy castle, face painting etc the kiddies love to come and see what’s on offer. From fruit to cakes to breadsticks. I’m the tea-lady, becoming more like Mrs Doyle from TV’s “Fr Ted” every day! There is always something going on so you need eyes in the back of your head. All the hustle and bustle just goes to show how over-worked and stressed these lovely mums are. That’s why we’re here to help the mums come and make friends and put their feet up for a few hours on a Friday morning so they can have some well-earned ‘me’ time.

 Lila, one of the mums has been a part of it all from the beginning and has shown me along the way. As I don’t have any tots of my own. It’s a real inspiration to be a part of it all. One of the kiddies has caught the apple of my eye, Ros’s little angel called Hannah. She will soon be going to Cottesmore St Marys and I am so proud of her. She’s my little princess there! 

Fr Kevin Dring is a big support and friend to Little Hearties and is very caring. He has a very loyal following at our family Parish Church. You should have seen him do the hokey-cokey with the mums and kiddies! Anyhow, if you pop along to Little Hearties with your little cherubs, you can be sure of a warm welcome and a cuppa. I love being around Carly, Ros, Lila, Kathy, Jess and the other helpers. They truly do all have sacred little hearts. 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Biggest Ever Increase in UK Foodbank Use

The Trussel Trust say there has been a 170% rise in numbers turning to Foodbanks in the last 12 Months:

· Numbers given emergency food 100,000 higher than anticipated

· UK Foodbank charity The Trussell Trust says this must be a wake-up call to the nation

Trussell Trust foodbanks have seen the biggest rise in numbers given emergency food since the charity began in 2000. Almost 350,000 people have received at least three days emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks during the last 12 months, nearly 100,000 more than anticipated and close to triple the number helped in 2011-12.


Rising cost of living, static incomes, changes to benefits, underemployment and unemployment have meant increasing numbers of people in the UK have hit a crisis that forces them to go hungry. This dramatic rise in foodbank usage predates April’s welfare reforms, which could see numbers increase further in 2013-14.

346,992 people received a minimum of three days emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks in 2012-13, compared to 128,697 in 2011-12 and up from 26,000 in 2008-09. Of those helped in 2012-13, 126,889 (36.6 percent) were children.

The Trussell Trust has seen a 76% increase in the number of foodbanks launched since April 2012 but has seen a 170% increase in numbers of people given emergency food. Well-established foodbanks that have been running for several years are showing significant rises in numbers helped during the last 12 months. Christian charity The Trussell Trust is launching three new foodbanks every week to help meet demand and has launched 345 UK foodbanks in partnership with churches and communities to date.

Trussell Trust Executive Chairman Chris Mould says:
‘The sheer volume of people who are turning to foodbanks because they can’t afford food is a wake-up call to the nation that we cannot ignore the hunger on our doorstep. Politicians across the political spectrum urgently need to recognise the real extent of UK food poverty and create fresh policies that better address its underlying causes. This is more important than ever as the impact of the biggest reforms to the welfare state since it began start to take effect. Since April 1st we have already seen increasing numbers of people in crisis being sent to foodbanks with nowhere else to go.’

He continues:
‘Last year The Trussell Trust estimated that our foodbanks would help 250,000 people in 2012-13, we’ve helped 100,000 more than that. 2012-13 was much tougher for people than many anticipated. Incomes are being squeezed to breaking point. We’re seeing people from all kinds of backgrounds turning to foodbanks: working people coming in on their lunch-breaks, mums who are going hungry to feed their children, people whose benefits have been delayed and people who are struggling to find enough work. It’s shocking that people are going hungry in 21st century Britain.’

Only four per cent of people turned to foodbanks due to homelessness; 30% were referred due to benefit delay; 18% low income and 15% benefit changes (up from 11% in 2011-12). Other reasons included domestic violence, sickness, refused crisis loans, debt and unemployment. The majority of people turning to foodbanks were working age families.

Over 15,000 frontline care professionals such as doctors, social workers, schools liaison officers and Jobcentre Plus referred their clients to foodbanks in 2012-13. Foodbanks are community driven with an estimated 30,000 volunteers giving their time across the UK. Over 3,400 tonnes of food was donated by the public in 2012-13. Chris Mould adds: ‘Whilst it’s deeply concerning that so many people are facing hunger in the UK, the evident willingness of the public to help their neighbours through foodbanks has prevented thousands of crises escalating into disaster. We regularly hear people say that ‘the foodbank saved my life’ and it’s local communities that make that possible.’

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Archbishops Comment on Same Sex Bill - Think Again

© Mazur/
"We urge members of the House of Commons to think again about the long-term consequences of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in deciding how to vote at the report stage and third reading debates this week (20-21 May).

"Many people within and beyond the faith communities deeply believe that the state should not seek to change the fundamental meaning of marriage. This proposed change in the law is far more profound than first appears. Marriage will become an institution in which openness to children, and with it the responsibility on fathers and mothers to remain together to care for children born into their family, is no longer central to society’s understanding of marriage. It is not too late for Parliament to think again and we urge MPs to do so.

"Furthermore, the Bill as currently drafted poses grave risks to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. If the Bill is to proceed through Parliament we urge members to ensure it is amended so that these fundamental freedoms we all cherish are clearly and demonstrably safeguarded."

Monday, 20 May 2013

Hove Catholic School Creates Prayer Room to Help Exam Stress

Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Hove has created a prayer room to help with exam stress

Thousands of students will be sitting down to take exams across the country this month - but this Catholic school in Brighton & Hove believes it's not only good teaching and revision that gets the grades.

Cardinal Newman Catholic School has set up an interactive prayer room for pupils who are feeling the pressure. Charlotte Wilkins from ITV News has been to take a look. 

Friday, 17 May 2013

Family Talent Show in Selsey Parish for the Local Community

Lucy entertains on the keyboard
On Sunday 21st April St Wilfrid's Selsey opened its doors to welcome the local Community to their ‘Family Talent Show’ This was the first time such an event had been planned and so it was all a bit of an unknown quantity and it was unclear how many would support the enterprise.

After a tentative start in terms of ticket sales and the slow recruitment of local amateur entertainers the event gathered momentum in the week before the big day and a last minute decision to change the venue from the Church Hall to the Church itself proved to be absolutely correct as over 120 members of the Church and wider community attended to see 22 acts ranging in ages from 4 to 84 perform for all.

‘Fernando The Frog’, a Juggler, a Tuba player, a Ukulele trio, Keyboard players, Folk singers, Guitarists, Acapela singers all kept the enthusiastic audience entetained and rocking in the aisles, whilst refreshments including wonderful home-made cakes kept up the energy levels for all and swelled the coffers

A raffle raised extra funds bringing the total raised for Church maintenance for the day to £500.

A Church spokesperson said “the money raised was fantastic but was never the first priority for us; we wanted to reach out to the wider Community to demonstrate that St Wilfrids Church Selsey is alive and well and has great facilities for all ages to come along and enjoy the fun. We will certainly be doing it again next year and now we know what a Family Talent Show looks like we can improve on the ‘prototype’”

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Farnham Parish Brazilian Night

Ready for Rio
The St Polycarp's School Hall looked like the rainforests of Brazil with trees and tall plants all around and jungle creepers across the ceiling. At 6pm, members of Samba bands from Dorking and Horsham were drumming a Brazilian beat to welcome the 60 or so participants to the workshop and within minutes, they were all swaying from side to side with an instrument in their hands and a beam on their face.

Some people made use of the earplugs provided and chatting was impossible, but by half past six, the newly formed band of 60 were ready to parade from the hall to the front of the church of St Joan of Arc, Farnham and back making a noise that wasn't too uncomfortable!

At 7pm the evening guests arrived and participated in a party to remember with pineapple cocktails, salsa dancing, flashing lights and delicious food. At the last count, £2,100 was raised for the group (see many of them pictured) travelling to Rio for the World Youth Day.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

A Story of LIFE - Helping Mothers and the Unborn.

This is the story by Peter Burholt about Iesha who works for the LIFE Charity, but who also benefited from it as a young mother to be.

Iesha – ‘Yes, you pronounce my first name the way it is spelt’ – was not the person I was expecting to meet. Well, what sort of person was I expecting to interview at the LIFE house in Crawley? All I was told was that she had, at some time in the past, benefitted from the house when she became a young unmarried mother and was now working for the charity as a Support Worker.

At the door to this un-prepossessing terrace house was Iesha, with a smile that would melt ice. She welcomed me in and quickly had the coffee on the go. We settled into a small, but neat office. The door was closed so we could talk without interruption and in private.

As an opener I asked Iesha if she came from another country. ‘No, my father is from Pakistan and my mother is English. Unfortunately, he could not handle my mother’s drug addiction, so he left our home. I haven’t seen him since. Where did my name come from? It is the subject of the song Isn’t She Lovely by Stevie Wonder!’

First-of-all I wanted to know how she came to be working at the LIFE house, which had given her support all those years ago ‘It is a bit of a strange story. I needed a job and I applied via an advertisement in the local paper to the local Social Services. I had to state that I had been a previous resident here although, at the time, I had no idea that the job was for this same house. Much to my delight I was successful and I started in March 2011.’

‘With my colleague, Jackie, we give support to the six mothers or mothers-to-be in a wide range of subjects, with a key being to teach life skills, practical parenting, health and safety, and general welfare. It might surprise your readers to know that one lady cracked her first egg in the kitchen next door! It gives us great pleasure to see these mothers get ready for life outside and to be able to support themselves.

Is there a typical profile of the ladies, I wondered? ‘No, they are though generally local and must be aged between 16 to 25 years old. Children are mostly born here, but ladies can move in with a young child, under the age of 5. The 16 year olds have to stay for at least 2 years as they cannot sign up for a property until they reach 18.’

‘You asked about a typical day in the house. Jackie and I look after the life skills programme between us and generally provide a listening ear for any of the ladies, who may have issues to discuss. Yes, we do get some upsets but we normally sort these out. I’m pleased to say that, for the most part, we all get on. Don’t forget, I was on the receiving end some years ago, so I can talk from a real life experience.’

It was time to explore Iesha’s own history.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad was it for you? We paused as Iesha reflected on that time of her life. ‘I guess I would put it at 8. Life could not have been much worse. I turned 17 in October 1994 and gave birth to Danielle two months later. I met the father of my child when we were 14 years old, but he just did not want to know. Home life was a bitter/sweet situation. My mother had taken a partner, who was quite controlling, and she eventually suffered a breakdown as a result of all this tension.’

Next came a revealing statement.

‘I purposely left telling my mother I was pregnant until a time when I was sure the baby could not be aborted.’ Iesha was only 16 when she made this life-changing decision. ‘I was very lonely and scared.’

‘We both went to the local council for help’ So your mother was supportive, I enquired? ‘She was to some extent, but she knew that I had to get out of the family home. Today we have little contact, although my Gran - who lives around the corner and who I see frequently - is very good to me.’

‘Danielle wanted to see her father when she reached 15 years, but he messed up the relationship – he has fathered 4 more children and has no interest in us. Fortunately, that is all in the past. Eleven years ago I met my partner and he accepted Danielle as his own. We now have a complete family, with the birth of our son.’

Although recovering from an illness, last year Iesha took part in the Walk for Life. ‘I had never done anything like this in the past and I wanted to give something back. You know, I had not been a good mother and I realise that, as a baby, I had put my daughter at risk. I thought the walk had a good message and my daughter came along with me. Did we enjoy the experience? We both loved it and now we are looking forward to the next one!

Iesah, this unusual lady, certainly has a story to tell - one which should give those in a similar position hope for the future. LIFE is dedicated to making this happen.

As a parting shot I asked Iesha what she would hope for in the future. Quick as a flash came the response. ‘Another LIFE house in Crawley! We cannot satisfy the demand for our services.’ This was a very fulfilling interview and one which should make readers realise that not all is what it might seem behind the door of an ordinary terraced house in Crawley.

For more information on LIFE and to donate visit

Sunday, 12 May 2013

World Communications Day - This Sunday 12 May

In his message for World Communications Day 2013 - taking place this Sunday 12 May - Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI has acknowledged that social networks are not only a tool of evangelisation, but also a factor in human development. They offer virtual spaces where Christians who feel isolated can gather in unity with a global community of believers.

Our Pope Emeritus recognises that the digital world is not 'a parallel or purely virtual world' but is experienced daily by many - especially young people:

"Social networks are the result of human interaction, but for their part they also reshape the dynamics of communication which builds relationships: a considered understanding of this environment is therefore the prerequisite for a significant presence there."

Elaborating on themes that he has developed over the past three years, Benedict reflects positively on the opportunities for sharing prayer, meditation and the word of God.

"These networks can also open the door to other dimensions of faith. Many people are actually discovering, precisely thanks to a contact initially made online, the importance of direct encounters, experiences of community and even pilgrimage, elements which are always important in the journey of faith...

"In social networks, believers show their authenticity by sharing the profound source of their hope and joy: faith in the merciful and loving God revealed in Christ Jesus. This sharing consists not only in the explicit expression of their faith, but also in their witness, in the way in which they communicate “choices, preferences and judgements that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically".

Find out more here

Friday, 10 May 2013

World Communications Sunday - Video Reflection

Slightly annoying music, but nevertheless good reflection on this year's World Communications Day on 12 May, Ascension Sunday.

Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer with the Catholic Communications Office of the Irish Bishops' Conference reflects on this year's papal message for World Communications Day on Sunday 12 May.

She also talks tweet-ups and the importance of wearing your faith on your virtual sleeve.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

A Parish with A Heart!

Fr Kevin Dring together with Night Shelter Volunteers
Recently it was party time at Sacred Heart Church, Hove to celebrate the end of Brighton & Hove Churches Winter Night Shelter, which ran from 1st December 2012 to the beginning of March 2013. Nine churches provided dinner, overnight accommodation and breakfast for 15 homeless men each night for the three months of the shelter.

Each church was responsible for one night’s activity. This involved shopping for supplies, arranging the dining and sleeping accommodation, assembling 15 beds, registration of the guests from 8.00-8.30pm, preparing and serving dinner, providing entertainment, overseeing sleeping arrangements with volunteers on duty all night, cooking and serving breakfast, departure of the guests by 8.00am, cleaning the venue and moving the beds and bedding on to the next church.

A total of 54 volunteers worked on the Night Shelter at Sacred Heart Church under Fr. Kevin Dring, formed into three shifts; Evening (7.00-10.45pm), Overnight (10.30pm-6.30am) and Morning (6.15-9.00am). Each shift had a designated Leader, a First Aider and a Fire Warden, with a Food Manger for the Evening and Morning shifts.

In total, 42 homeless men used the Brighton & Hove Winter Night Shelter during the 14 weeks it was in operation. An important aspect of the Shelter was the effort made to help the men improve their lives (rather than merely to provide them with accommodation and food). Each guest was offered assistance with finding housing, getting work or identifying a course to improve their skills and, in total, 17 of the 42 men were found housing, with several more starting jobs or courses.

For the churches, the experience was enormously beneficial. It was the ability to carry out the Gospel command to feed the hungry and to shelter the homeless. It was the creation of caring communities that came together to be the Church in action. It was discovering the joy to be found in serving others. Approximately two-thirds of the volunteers at Sacred Heart were female and the ages of the volunteers ranged from university students in their late teens to pensioners, many of whom were over 70. There was a tremendous esprit de corps, with volunteers turning up early for their shifts just so they could spend more time with the guests and each other. Some comments from my file: ‘I was left with a nice warm fluffy feeling’ ‘I really enjoyed helping’ ‘it was a great experience’ ‘rewarding and pleasurable’ ‘I really loved being a volunteer.’

So, we had a party. And we agreed that we would be volunteering again this winter.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Easter in Merrow with Burpham

Stations of the Cross painted by St Thomas of Canterbury School
Below is a report from St Pius X Merrow with Burpham, Surrey part of Guildford, Rydes Hill and Merrow Parish :
"Every class at St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School in Merrow painted a different Station of the Cross, starting with reception and progressing up the school, with year 6 doing “The taking down from the Cross” and “The Lying in the Tomb”. The 14 stations were then displayed around St Pius X Church. They were used for a children's stations on Good Friday morning, in a packed church full of families, who all enjoyed hot cross buns after the service.

The Paschal Candle was painted in acrylics by Gillian Elsom, a parishioner, with beautiful pictures of wild flowers, a butterfly, fish and a rainbow. The significance of these symbols was explained on a card at the foot of the candle.

After Easter Sunday morning Mass the children enjoyed an Easter egg hunt in the fields of nearby St Peter’s school. The children’s liturgy group also held a Family Gathering on a recent Saturday afternoon, and plan to try and do something every 3 months.

All our Easter services were led with enthusiasm by Fr Alan Sharpe, whose first Easter it was as a Catholic priest."

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Heron's Ghyll Parish's Desert Island Discs

Horsham's Castaways
On a cold Sunday afternoon early this year St John the Evangelist, Heron's Ghyll's parish hall was transformed by posters of tropical islands basking in golden sunshine, palms and even a sunshade under which our host, Michael McCarthy chatted to our six castaways.

We were treated to a wonderfully varied programme of music and amusing stories about the books and luxury items chosen by the castaways to take to their desert island and a delicious Ploughman’s lunch with cheese kindly donated by Waitrose.

The hall was full to capacity and £470 was raised to support the Casa Alianza refuge in Guatemala City which houses 56 young mothers and their children who are all victims of human trafficking. Our former Parish Chairman, and contributor to the A&B news, Michael Regan suggested the idea as he had so much enjoyed the previous Desert Island Discs which we organised in 2010. He agreed to be one of our castaways and thoroughly enjoyed the occasion. Sadly, Michael died on Maundy Thursday but we feel very privileged that he was able to participate one last time in our event and in the life of our Parish which he had so strongly supported throughout his life. 

If you would like to read about the life-changing work of Casa Alianza UK, please go to their website:

(Story from Jean McCarthy, Parish Representative for Justice and Peace)

Monday, 6 May 2013

To Be A Pilgrim - Visits to the Diocesan Shrine

Statue of Our Lady of Consolation, the Church and the Priest's House

The Diocese of Arundel & Brighton has its own pilgrimage centre at Our Lady of Consolation in West Grinstead, West Sussex.

If you would like to experience a pilgrimage to the shrine then why not join the Knights of St Columba, Sussex Province, Annual Pilgrimage to the shrine, which takes place on Sunday, 19th May, 2013.

There will be service beginning at 3pm in the grounds around the beautiful Rosary Walk followed by devotions and Benediction, led by  Fr David Goddard and the Knights Chaplain, Deacon Rev. Andrew Bayes.

As well as the time of prayer it is also possible to visit and pray at the site of the secret Chapel in the adjoining house to the Church, where Mass was celebrated during the Penal times.  

The Shrine is situated at the Church of Our Lady of Consolation and St.Francis, situated at the junction of  Park Lane, and the Partridge Green Road, West Grinstead RH13 8LT.

Further details from  Pat Hudson: 

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Time for Confirmation - Holy Spirit at work

Bishop Kieran has begun travelling round the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton to confirm our young people

Below is the story of one group from the parish of  Holy Family church, Farnham and Holy Angel's church, Ash and their Retreat earlier this year:
"We took eleven out if our twelve candidates on retreat to Geo House , in the New Forest on March 15th. We had a fun and spiritual weekend, despite the nonstop heavy rain. Musical talent was discovered and the Piano became a focal point of the weekend. Sadly one candidate was unable to come due to recovering from a recent operation. Thanks to modern technology however, she was able to join us by skype. Everyone enjoyed themselves so much that they requested to go a again as soon as possible."

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign

Emily Mbithuka stands by empty market stalls in Kitui, Kenya
More than 40 years ago, rich countries made a promise to give 0.7% of their wealth to the world's poorest people every year. Thanks to your support, the United Kingdom is now the first member of the G8 to keep this promise. In tough times, we haven't turned our backs on people going hungry.

You should be proud. Thank you. But we're not done yet. We still need you to join in to urge world leaders to tackle global hunger at the G8 summit in June. Join the day in London on June 8 to ask for 'Enough Food for Everyone'.

We produce enough food to feed the world – but a billion people go hungry. 

Are you hungry for change? Act now for a fairer food system:

(David Thomson Diocesan Justice and Peace Adviser)