Saturday, 31 August 2013

St Catherine's Littlehampton Celebrates 150 Years

Bishop Kieran examines his Keralan souvenir against backdrop of parish timeline

Earlier this summer St Catherine's Church in Littlehampton celebrated its 150th birthday. Its sesquicentenary weekend began with a fish-and-chip supper for over 120 parishioners under a 40 ft-long display of the history of the church and its priests.

But the highlight was undoubtedly the Anniversary Mass concelebrated by Bishop Kieran, together with Fr Dominic O'Hara and Fr Albert van der Most, our parish priests for the last 25 years. Reflecting the ethnic mix of the parish, the celebrants entered the church amidst a panoply of brilliantly decorated Keralan umbrellas and a procession of ladies in colourful saris.

Later, after Bishop Kieran had cut the cake and been presented with a memento of the occasion - an elephant carrying both an umbrella and a picture of the Sacred Heart - the Keralan community provided a curry lunch and two hours of excellent entertainment for more than 150 of us. Fr David Rea, whose first parish this had been, gave a vote of thanks to all concerned, reflecting on the change in the composition of the parish from a largely Anglo-Irish congregation 50 years ago to a potentially more vibrant one that now includes large numbers from mainland Europe, Madeira, India and Africa. 

Friday, 30 August 2013

Roman Holiday 60 Years On

Roman Holiday great film, but missing the Pope and St Peter's. The commentary below says no church is visited at all in the film, but in fact it does include the portico of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin belonging to the Greek-Catholic Melkite rite where the Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verita) is situated. reports: It's been more than 60 years now since the world saw Audrey Hepburn's historic holidays through the streets of Rome.

In 1953, the iconic 'Roman Holiday' was filmed in the Eternal City. It inspired people across the world to tour the streets of Rome by Vespa, with Gregory Peck as tour guide.

In a way, Rome itself became the film's third star. Using what was considered innovative techniques at the time, the full movie was filmed outside. Director William Wyler refused to recreate sets, to showcase the city.

The story chronicles the story of a princess that arrives in Rome for an official state visit. Tired of her mandatory functions, she escapes into the city as a normal, everyday woman. She then meets a journalist who guides her throughout Rome. However, he recognizes her and wants to write an sell the story about their meeting.

'Roman Holiday' shows off some of Rome's most emblematic sites like the Spanish Steps, the Bocca della Verita, the Imperial Forum, the Trevi Fountain, the Coliseum and Castel Sant'Angelo. Notably, no church is visited in the film, or even St. Peter's Square, for that matter.

Her starring role in the film catapulted Hepburn to the spotlight, leading her to win the best actress Oscar. The film also won two additional awards. And even though 2013 will also mark 20 years of her death, her work in the film continues to inspire thousands of tourists on their own Roman Holidays.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Chaldean Patriarch Sako: Intervention against Syria would be "a disaster"

Cardinal Sako
Fides News Agency reports:
"The US-led military intervention against Syria would be "a disaster. It would be like a volcano erupting with an explosion meant to destroy Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine. And maybe someone wants this". This is what the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans Louis Raphael I Sako expressed to Fides Agency with regards to his concern over the prospect of an outside attack, which seems to be imminent, against the regime of Assad. 

At the head of the most significant Christian community in Iraq, the Western intervention in Syria fatally recalls the experience lived by its people: "After 10 years of the so-called 'coalition of the willing', that overthrew Saddam" notes to Fides His Beatitude Sako "our Country is still battered by bombs, security problems, by the instability of the economic crisis". In addition, in the Syrian case, according to the Chaldean Patriarch things are even more complicated by the difficulty of grasping the real dynamics of the civil war which has been tearing apart that nation for years: "The opposition to Assad", notes Sako "is divided, the various groups fight each other, there is a proliferation of jihadist militias ... What will happen to that Country, afterwards?". 

For the Patriarch, the formulas used by Western Countries to justify any intervention appear instrumental and confused: "Everyone is talking about democracy and freedom, but to reach those goals one must pass through historical processes and one cannot think of imposing them in a mechanical way or with force. The only way, in Syria, as elsewhere, is the search for political solutions. To push fighters to negotiate, to imagine a provisional government that involves both those of the regime and the opposition forces. Listening to what the Syrian people really want in their majority". 

The Chaldean Patriarch is also cautious on the choice of justifying the intervention as an inevitable retaliation before the use of chemical weapons by t he army of Assad: "Westerners" says His Beatitude Sako "have also justified the intervention against Saddam with the accusation that the Iraqi Regime had weapons of mass destruction. But those weapons have not been found".

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

John Retreats from St Cuthman's

John with his Diocesan Medal
You could be forgiven for passing John Wells-Thorpe by in the street. This modest Anglican, in his 85th year, has decided to step down from his role as a member of the St Cuthman’s management committee. So what, you may ask?

Back in 1999 the St Julian’s Community - occupiers of the Jacobean house and 25½ acre estate and extensive lake – was looking to handover this property to a suitable organisation which would be able to carry on its mission in retreats and pastoral care. John, a distinguished architect of iconic buildings such as Hove Town Hall and a number of Catholic and Anglican churches, was asked to help model the future and to find a suitable successor.

As they say, the rest is history. Bishop (now Cardinal) Cormac Murphy-O’Connor was ready to take on the challenge. With the stewardship changing hands, it was decided to rename the house and estate after St Cuthman of Steyning. Today it is an important part of our thriving diocesan life, offering peace, tranquillity and pastoral care to the many who pass through its door – not only Catholics, but to a wide range of other denominations who share our Christian beliefs and some who have no belief at all.

To mark the occasion of John’s retirement, Bishop Kieran bestowed on him the St Philip Howard medallion (see picture), only one of four people to be awarded during the bishop’s time in the diocese.

After 14 years, John had to have the last say ‘I deeply value this award following my long involvement with St Cuthman’s – it is an honour I do not accept lightly. It will be a lasting reminder of my happy association with the retreat and the opportunity it afforded me to work with such dedicated and generous-spirited colleagues.

For those of us who know and appreciate the legacy he is leaving behind, we wish him well and, quite simply, say a big ‘We thank you and may the Lord bless you for the rest of your life. Amen’.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Bognor Rio - A&B Youth at World Youth Day in Brazil

Bognor Rio Pilgrims with Cardinal George Pell of Sydney 
A group of young people from Bognor Regis parish took part in the recent World Youth Day event in Rio de Janeiro led by Pope Francis. Jessica Hancock, Lydia Hothersall, Bethan Townsend, and Dominic Townsend attended the week long event with their leaders Teresa Lucas and Fr. Paul Turner. They took along with them the Sussex flag of the six marlets which attracted a lot of interest from other young pilgrims. They also handed out to the fellow pilgrims from other nations small Great British flags, mementos of Bognor Regis and St Richard of Chichester prayer cards.

World Youth Day is an international Catholic event that takes place every two or three years, Over 500,000 pilgrims travelled from 175 countries to join in with the Brazilian young people in the week long celebration of faith. By the end of the week over three million attended the Saturday evening Vigil and Sunday Mass. The theme of World Youth Day was “Go and make disciples of all the nations” (Mathew 28:19). Pope Francis told the young pilgrims gathered on Copacabana Beach “It was wonderful to live the faith together with young people from the four corners of the earth, but now you must go and must pass on this experience to others.”

The pilgrims from Bognor Regis were not only able to share their faith with young people throughout the world they were able to enjoy the culture and sights of Rio de Janeiro including the visits to the statue of Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain from where the Sussex flag proudly flew!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Living With Our Limitations - Lourdes Homily

Sick pilgrims during Mass of Anointing in Underground Basilica
Below is Fr Rob Esdaile's Homily from the Mass With Anointing, during the Arundel & Brighton Diocese Lourdes Pilgrimage, July 30, 2013

"Imagine for a moment that your fairy godmother were to appear to you and to say: “I grant you one wish. I shall change for you one aspect of your personality, or take from you one painful memory, or remove one element of your story that has caused you difficulty to make your life easier.” I guess that most of us could think of something. Indeed, if, like me, you’ve got a few miles on the clock, you might be spoilt for choice.

But the good news is that we don’t live in a world of fairy godmothers, even though we inhabit a culture which thinks that selective memory and air-brushing out uncomfortable details and projecting a glossy image is the way to go: “Smile and be happy!” or maybe just “Smile and wave!”

We live in the gospel world of St. Paul, which has no room for pretence or denial. We are as we are. Our past and our story is what it is. And with St. Paul we have to make the same journey towards acceptance of the unwanted and the unsought for, whatever that is in each of our lives. “About this thing,” says St. Paul, “I have pleaded with the Lord three times for it to leave me, but he has said, ‘My grace is enough for you; my power is at its best in weakness.’” (You notice that he doesn’t say what ‘this thing’ is – so we might guess that it’s something pretty embarrassing!)

I believe we cannot live in true freedom of heart until we have heard that voice and made that discovery – as Paul tells us elsewhere in his letters to the Corinthians – that “We hold this treasure in earthenware vessels’” (2 Cor 4.7) and that, “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1Cor 15.10).

By the grace of God I am what I am. God made me and God made my fragility, too. When I am weak, then I am strong; because then I meet the invitation both to trust in God’s grace and to trust in Christ’s presence in my weakness, too; Christ crying out with me and in me: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine.” (Lk 22.42) And God’s will is that nothing in us and in our story is to be rejected as unworthy, or as no good, or as irredeemable, or as a dead end. Our God is always the God of new beginnings.

It’s actually quite easy in our culture to preach the virtue of self-acceptance (as long as it’s a complacent, lazy and uncritical self-acceptance). And it’s always a temptation for Christian preachers in their health and strength to offer cheap explanations of suffering to those among us who live with daily pain. But suffering defies explanation and, if it has a meaning, only the sufferer can discover that.

What we do in this Sacrament of Anointing is not to explain or domesticate or sacralise suffering but something different and something much more creative and worthwhile. We, in our fragility, as Church, stand with you in your fragility. We honour your vulnerability as the vulnerability of Christ, who prays to his heavenly Father both, “Take this cup away from me!” and “Your will be done!”

Your will be done, not through fairy-godmothers or denial or wish-fulfilment but through the power of prayer and the power of Christ’s weakness working in us, and through the unlooked for and unwanted and unexpected Gospel: “My grace is enough for you; my power is at its best in weakness.”

Sunday, 25 August 2013

First Mass in 475 Years Celebrated in Franciscan Friary

Mass celebrated at Chichester Priory
St Richard's Chichester Parish reports:
It was an historic occasion in Chichester on Saturday 10th August when, for the first time in 475 years, Mass was said in Greyfriars Priory in Priory Park – the ‘Mass of St. Francis,’ in honour of the Franciscan monks who lived and worked there from 1269 until the dissolution of the Friary in 1538.

The chief celebrant was Fr Neil Chatfield, of the Eastbourne Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and there were over a hundred people in the congregation. The idea of having a Mass said in the Priory was the brainchild of Fr. Graham Smith, from St. Richard’s; he himself, with other priests from the Ordinariate, and our own Fr. Paul Turner, were the concelebrants of the Mass. 

Fr. Graham gave the homily, including a short but well researched history of the Priory, saying also how it had been used for different purposes. The rest of the Friary buildings were destroyed in 1538 but the Priory church was saved and handed over to the Chichester City Corporation. It is now owned by Chichester District Council as part of its museum facilities and is known locally as the Guildhall. During its life it has served as a courthouse, town hall and an army drill hall.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Evangelium Summer Conference for the Year of Faith

Evangelium participants at the Oratory School
Photo ©Lulu Shutterbug
Over one hundred young adults met deep in the Oxford countryside 2-4 August for the sixth annual Evangelium conference, designed to help Catholics explain and defend the Faith in the modern world. Delegates streamed away from the Oratory School, founded by the recently-beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman, enthused by top-class speakers and liturgical services of stunning beauty and dignity in worship of God. Participants expressed gratitude for the opportunities to make new Catholic friends, for the mutual encouragement in the Faith, for the chance to explore vocations and the commitment to holiness. One participant wrote in the feedback, “Never stop holding these conferences: you are making saints.”

Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury, as well as celebrating Mass for the second time in three years at the conference, spoke movingly on the great 19th century French saint, Jean Vianney, as an inspiration for the Faith in our age, and on the need for perseverance. Other speakers included Fr Jerome Bertram of the Oxford Oratory, James and Joanna Bogle, Dr Alan Fimister and Dr William Newton of the International Theological Institute, Fr John Hermer from Allen Hall, Fr Nicholas Schofield from Westminster Archdiocese, Dr Joseph Shaw from the Faculty of Philosophy at Oxford, Fr Ed Tomlinson from the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and Sr Mary Trinity of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT). 

Besides no shortage of discussion of hot-button topics in apologetics, philosophy, theology, and the defence of marriage and life, there was still time to chill out in the bar to live Colombian music.

The Evangelium project is sponsored by the Catholic Truth Society and started in 2006 with the publication of a catechetical course by Fr Marcus Holden and Fr Andrew Pinsent from A&B Diocese. The next Evangelium conference is planned for 1 – 3 August 2014.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Message from Head of Coptic Catholics in Egypt

Patriarch Ibrahim Issac
Below is a message from Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac of Alexandria for Coptic Catholics, president of the Council of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Egypt following the recent unrest and especially the destruction of Christian churches, schools, homes and businesses:

"With pain, but also with hope, the Catholic Church in Egypt is following what our country is experiencing: terrorist attacks, killings and the burning of churches, schools and state institutions. Therefore, out of love for our country and in solidarity with all lovers of Egypt, Christians and Muslims, we are trying to do our best to communicate with friendly organizations around the world to clarify for them the reality of events taking place in our country. We would like to express the following:

Our free, strong and conscious support for all state institutions, particularly the armed forces and the police for all their efforts in protecting our homeland.

Our appreciation of sincere nations to understand the nature of events while flatly rejecting any attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt or to influence its sovereign decisions, whatever the direction might be.

Our thanks to all Egyptian and international media that report the news and events objectively and impartially while condemning those media that promote lies and falsify the truth in order to mislead world public opinion.

Our thanks to our honorable Muslim compatriots who have stood by our side, as far as they could, in defending our churches and our institutions.

Lastly, we address the international conscious and all national leaders that they understand and believe that what is happening in Egypt now is not a political struggle between different factions, but a war against terrorism.

In conclusion, we express our condolences to all families and relatives of the victims. We ask the Lord to heal all the injured."

+Ibrahim Isaac

Patriarch of Alexandria for Coptic Catholics

President of the Council of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Egypt

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Horsham Deacon Celebrates 40 Years of Marriage and 15 Years of Diaconate

Deacon Tom Murray, his wife Lyn and Fr Richard Biggerstaff
At St John's, Horsham during the 9am Mass on Sunday 18 August Deacon Tom Murray and his wife Lyn received a blessing from Fr Richard Biggerstaff on the day they celebrated their 40th Anniversary of their Sacrament of Matrimony. 

Tom, a long time parishioner of St John's, celebrated his 15th year as a Permanent Deacon this year.

Photos taken by Emmanuel Chimezie 

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Apostolic Blessing for Paul and Anne in Polegate

 Paul and Anne holding their Apostolic Blessing  from Pope Francis with Fr Rory Kelly and Deacon John Truman behind
Paul & Anne Sullivan celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary at the 10am mass on Friday 9 August at St George's Church, Polegate, celebrated by Fr Rory Kelly, assisted by Deacon John Truman. Although the actual milestone date was 17 August the day was brought forward to enable them to celebrate the anniversary away together with their family. The mass and subsequent celebration in the church hall was attended by over 70 people, including many Brothers and wives from the Eastbourne Catenian Circle as well as parishioners and friends. Paul is the immediate Past President of the Eastbourne Circle.

Later, during the cutting of the cake, Paul regaled us with some very amusing anecdotes of the wedding day 50 years ago. Of particular interest was the fact that they honeymooned on the Isles of Scilly, specifically at Our Lady Star of the Sea, which incorporates the Priest’s House, on the island of St Mary's. This had been organised by Paul's uncle who was a Canon in the Penzance area responsible for this extended part of his parish. Their journey there was more than a little intimidating as it was by a very small plane, flying close over the waves and landing on a field which was the landing strip. But the worst part was when they got to the Priest's lodging, which was part of the church building, when they discovered, of course, that the bedroom contained a single bed - more than adequate for a parish priest when visiting the island!!

The photo by: Robert Dixon.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Egypt and 58 churches destroyed - "But it is not a war between Christians and Muslims"

Fides News Agency reports:
Church burns in Egypt
'58 churches and Christian institutions were attacked and set on fire in Egypt in past days. This was reported to Fides Agency by Fr. Rafic Greiche, spokesman of the Catholic Bishops of Egypt. "Out of 58 churches attacked 14 are Catholic, the rest belong to the Coptic Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant communities" says Fr. Greiche. "The attacks against the churches took place all over the Country, but are concentrated especially in the areas of Al Minya and Assiut, because it is there that we find the headquarters of the jihadists, responsible for this violence", adds Fr. Greiche.

"It should be emphasized – the priest says - that Muslims who live in the vicinity of the affected churches have helped men and women religious to put out the fires of the religious buildings".

"This is not a civil war between Christians and Muslims", emphasizes Fr. Greiche. "It is not a civil war but a war against terrorism. And the majority of the population is against terrorism and religious extremism", concludes Fr. Greiche.'

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Pope Francis Calls for Dialogue with Islam

Following on our own Bishop's pastoral letter Pope Francis has recently issued a message for the end of Ramadan comes to an end for Muslims worldwide, Pope Francis issued a message urging for more education to promote mutual respect between Islam and Christianity.

Within the message, Pope Francis referenced his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, to explain his outreach and calls for inter-religious dialogue between the two faiths.

He said that such dialogue must be based in teaching and promoting respect for each others religions, especially with younger generations. In his message, the Pope expressed how it pains him to see attacks on religious leaders and places of worship.

Each year, the Vatican issues a similar message to Muslims, to mark the end of Ramadan. However, the last time a Pope personally signed it was in 1991 with Pope John Paul II.


To Muslims throughout the World, 

It gives me great pleasure to greet you as you celebrate ‘Id al-Fitr, so concluding the month of Ramadan, dedicated mainly to fasting, prayer and almsgiving.

It is a tradition by now that, on this occasion, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue sends you a message of good wishes, together with a proposed theme for common reflection. This year, the first of my Pontificate, I have decided to sign this traditional message myself and to send it to you, dear friends, as an expression of esteem and friendship for all Muslims, especially those who are religious leaders.

As you all know, when the Cardinals elected me as Bishop of Rome and Universal Pastor of the Catholic Church, I chose the name of “Francis”, a very famous saint who loved God and every human being deeply, to the point of being called “universal brother”. He loved, helped and served the needy, the sick and the poor; he also cared greatly for creation.

I am aware that family and social dimensions enjoy a particular prominence for Muslims during this period, and it is worth noting that there are certain parallels in each of these areas with Christian faith and practice.

This year, the theme on which I would like to reflect with you and with all who will read this message is one that concerns both Muslims and Christians: Promoting Mutual Respect through Education.

This year’s theme is intended to underline the importance of education in the way we understand each other, built upon the foundation of mutual respect. “Respect” means an attitude of kindness towards people for whom we have consideration and esteem. “Mutual” means that this is not a one-way process, but something shared by both sides.

What we are called to respect in each person is first of all his life, his physical integrity, his dignity and the rights deriving from that dignity, his reputation, his property, his ethnic and cultural identity, his ideas and his political choices. We are therefore called to think, speak and write respectfully of the other, not only in his presence, but always and everywhere, avoiding unfair criticism or defamation. Families, schools, religious teaching and all forms of media have a role to play in achieving this goal.

Turning to mutual respect in interreligious relations, especially between Christians and Muslims, we are called to respect the religion of the other, its teachings, its symbols, its values. Particular respect is due to religious leaders and to places of worship. How painful are attacks on one or other of these!

It is clear that, when we show respect for the religion of our neighbours or when we offer them our good wishes on the occasion of a religious celebration, we simply seek to share their joy, without making reference to the content of their religious convictions.

Regarding the education of Muslim and Christian youth, we have to bring up our young people to think and speak respectfully of other religions and their followers, and to avoid ridiculing or denigrating their convictions and practices.

We all know that mutual respect is fundamental in any human relationship, especially among people who profess religious belief. In this way, sincere and lasting friendship can grow.
When I received the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See on 22 March 2013, I said: “It is not possible to establish true links with God, while ignoring other people. Hence it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions, and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam. At the Mass marking the beginning of my ministry, I greatly appreciated the presence of so many civil and religious leaders from the Islamic world.” With these words, I wished to emphasize once more the great importance of dialogue and cooperation among believers, in particular Christians and Muslims, and the need for it to be enhanced.

With these sentiments, I reiterate my hope that all Christians and Muslims may be true promoters of mutual respect and friendship, in particular through education. 
Finally, I send you my prayerful good wishes, that your lives may glorify the Almighty and give joy to those around you.

Happy Feast to you all!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Remembering Our English Marian Shrine

Group gathered in the grounds of the Catholic Shrine at Walsingham
On the great Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady of yesterday it is good to remember that England has its own Marian Shrine in Walsingham, Norfolk which was a place of pilgrimage before the Reformation and became again a great place of pilgrimage from 19th century onwards for both Catholics and Anglicans as well as other Christians.

Recently a group from St Richard's, Chichester and others went on pilgrimage to Walsingham as they report:
The pilgrimage was led by Fr Graham Smith alongside Chichester parish priest, Fr Paul Turner. It was a great success, and everyone said how much they enjoyed it.  

Despite having only one whole day, it managed to cover Rosary in the Holy House, The Stations of the Cross, The Sprinkling, a visit to the Slipper Chapel, Mass and Exposition at the Church of Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick at The Church of the Annunciation, A visit to the Orthodox church, the Procession of the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham, and our farewell Mass in the Barn Chapel – and still with plenty of Free Time left over, and a group photo!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven

 Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God. Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome. Pietro Cavallini. 1296-1300.
Today on this Holy Day of Obligation and Patronal Feast of the Diocese we offer a Spiritual Reflection by Paul VI on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

"The solemnity of August 15 celebrates the glorious Assumption of Mary into heaven. It is a feast of her destiny of fullness and blessedness, of the glorification of her immaculate soul and of her virginal body, of her perfect configuration to the Risen Christ; a feast that sets before the eyes of the Church and of all mankind the image and the consoling proof of the fulfillment of their final hope, namely, that this full glorification is the destiny of all those whom Christ has made His brothers.

[The] devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary…reflects God's redemptive plan, in which a special form of veneration is appropriate to the singular place which Mary occupies in that plan. Indeed "the various forms of devotion towards the Mother of God…have developed in harmonious subordination to the worship of Christ.

The Church's reflection today on the mystery of Christ and on her own nature has led her to find at the root of the former and is a culmination of the latter the same figure of a Woman: the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ and the Mother of the Church. And the increased knowledge of Mary's mission has become joyful veneration of her and adoring respect for the wise plan of God, who has placed within His family (the Church), as in every home, the figure of a Woman, who in a hidden manner and in a spirit of service watches over that family "and carefully looks after it until the glorious day of the Lord."

Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation “Marialis Cultus

Please note all diocesan offices closed today in celebration of this great feast day.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

A Golden Occasion

Michael holding the Papal Blessing next to Susan and
L-R Fr Ian Brynes, their son Fr Kevin Dring and Fr David Rea
Earlier last month Michael and Susan Dring celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary with Mass in the Sacred Heart Church, Hove. And, if that wasn’t special enough, the celebrant was their son Kevin, Parish Priest of the Sacred Heart, and concelebrating were two of their oldest priest friends, Fr Ian Byrnes and Fr David Rea.

The front pews were packed with family and friends and Georges Joucerand served the mass with the dignity and reverence that are his hallmarks. The church looked especially beautiful with fresh flowers in the vases and bright sunlight streaming in from the high leaded windows.

Fr. Kevin’s tender tribute to his parents, their love and constancy, would not have been a surprise to them. However, what followed next was. From the back of the alter Fr. Kevin produced a large package wrapped in brown paper and, unwrapping it, proudly presented them with an Papal Blessing from His Holiness Pope Francis, a special and significant moment in an unforgettable day.

Monday, 12 August 2013

New Parish Centre Opens in Redhill

New Nativity of the Lord Parish Centre in Redhill
The Nativity of the Lord parish reports:
Bishop Kieran Conry recently came to officially open a new church community centre. He celebrated Mass in St Joseph's Catholic Church, in Ladbroke Road, before blessing the new centre and unveiling a plaque.

It took just under a year to build the new £2m parish centre at St Joseph's, which boasts a hall that can seat up to 400 people, as well as a kitchen, coffee bar, meeting room and separate space for the pre-school playgroup. The old St Joseph's hall, a former convent which once housed the pre-school, was demolished and the new centre, pre-school building and eight homes built in its place.

The pre-school children moved into the building at the beginning of the year and now the local Brownies, Reigate School of Ballet, toddler groups and young musicians are also already enjoying the new facilities.

The building will be used for parish and community events and meetings.

Father Chris Spain, moderator for the Parish of the Nativity of the Lord - incorporating St Joseph's, Holy Family in Reigate and St Teresa's in Merstham - is delighted with the building and garden.

"On warmer days, with the presbytery windows open, there is the lovely sound of children enjoying their pre-school facilities, which was an important part of the project," he said "We are three churches, three sites, but with a shared heart and mind."

The Tomei and Mackley Partnership designed the centre and is now working on another at Holy Family church in Reigate. The hall, presbytery and parish office are due to be demolished later this year to be replaced with a parish centre - including an office, hall and meeting room - and a small residential development.

A £500,000 fundraising campaign aims to meet part of the build and maintenance costs of both centres, and church leaders have invited locals to get involved with the fundraising by emailing

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Weybridge Prayer Vigil for Vocations

Canon Tom and parishioners in prayer for vocations
Weybridge parish reports:
"Anyone roaming the streets of Weybridge in the early hours recently would have been puzzled at the comings and goings at Christ the Prince of Peace. The parish held an all-night vigil before the Blessed Sacrament with our focus on vocations to the priesthood and religious life. 

Things got underway with Mass at 8.00pm on Friday evening followed by Exposition. Thereafter a rota of parishioners watched before the holy eucharist throughout the night. As well as those scheduled to take their turn many others joined in for various intervals - overall a great turn out by parishioners and a real commitment to the need to encourage vocations. The vigil ended with Mass at 8.00am on the Saturday.

In a recent A & B News article the Diocesan Vocations Director, Fr Terry Martin, urged us all to pray especially for those undergoing preparation for the priesthood. This was Weybridge Parish's response, inspired by our Parish Priest Canon Tom Treherne, and we shall strive to continue our efforts, especially during this Year of Faith."

Any other parishes planning the same thing?

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Churches Together Launch a Food Bank in Burgess Hill

Sadly  food poverty is spiralling out of control in our country, and Church Action on Poverty and Oxfam’s report ‘Walking the Breadline’  makes it plain that half a million people are dependent on emergency food aid and the number of people using them, on account of being too poor to afford food, has trebled in the past year to 500,000.

Burgess Hill have started an independent community based foodbank which was started by a group of ecumenically-minded Christians initially conceptualised by St. John’s Anglican Church and implemented by a group  including particularly St. Wilfrid’s Catholic Church, St. John’s and the local Methodist Church.  

There was a wonderful response from volunteers from the church communities and other voluntary groups (Rotary, the Lions and the British Legion) rapidly got involved and the foodbank has a partnership with the local Waitrose. 

If you would like more information on how Joe (St. Wilfrid’s), Fr. Kevin (St. John’s) and Alec (Methodist Church) started this independent community foodbank get in touch with Sue O’Brien, Mission & Unity Adviser at 

If you want to address the issues of social injustice (Walking the Breadline makes it clear that the single biggest cause of hunger in this country is the benefits system – delays in benefit payments, and now benefits sanctions) that have made us need foodbanks contact David Thomson, Diocesan Justice and Peace Adviser,

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

A Meal to Remember

For any years the Community of Christ the King, Steyning have tithed their income. Over the years various charities have been supported. For the past few years we have been supporting the Shepherds’ Field YMCA in Bethlehem. This came about as two members of our congregation were involved in working with this community and appealed to us for help. As a ‘thank you’ for our help and to keep us fully informed they arranged a special celebration Palestinian meal with a slideshow and talk for us.

On arrival we were greeted with a wonderful selection of starters – a meal in themselves! These ranged from Nan bread, humas, olives, salad and delicious yogurt with mint to little torpedo shaped beef and lamb sausages and many more delights. When we had reached the point of thinking ‘no more’ the main dish arrived. This is a traditional dish made of chicken and rice and spices. This had been cooked for hours and was tuned out rather like a jelly from a mould. This was delicious! All this was accompanied by wine!

We then took a pause to hear about the work of the Shepherds’ field YMCA among the Palestinians. Throughout the meal we had a rolling presentation of pictures of the Holy Land – places familiar to those who had been on pilgrimage. We now saw additional pictures showing people and the situations caused by the present political situation.

After this delicious sweets and a traditional desert were served. This was a wonderful occasion which really put into context for us the problems of the Palestinians and the good use made of our money.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

125 Years in Hove - Celebration of Hove Catholics

Celebration cake for 125 Years of Sacred Heart, Hove
Recently Sacred Heart Church in Hove celebrated its 125th birthday with a special Mass, followed by a party. They inform us:
A congregation of 350 attended the Mass of the Feast of the Sacred Heart, including former priests of the parish, invited clergy from the city and distinguished guests, including Councillor Denise Cobb, newly-elected mayor of Brighton and Hove, in one of her first official engagements.

In his homily during the mass, Rt. Rev. Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel & Brighton, spoke of the importance of parish life extending into the wider community, supporting and enriching it, illustrated by the Sacred Heart’s participation in the Brighton & Hove Churches Winter Night Shelter project.
Two adult choirs, a children’s choir and a Spanish-language choir joined the church organ in a variety of hymns and praise, including Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus.

Dedicated in 1887, the church is the oldest of the three Catholic churches in Hove. The official 125th anniversary was in October 2012 but it was decided to defer celebrations to the patronal feast of the Sacred Heart in 2013  – which was just as well since a theft of lead from the church roof in November 2012 resulted in water pouring in, thousands of pounds damage and weeks of repair work!

After the mass the congregation and guests gathered in the Parish Rooms to cut the celebration cake and enjoy a huge variety of food and drink provided by the parishioners.

Mayor Cobb spoke of her surprise and delight at the large turnout, evidence of a flourishing church, while Father Kevin Dring, Parish Priest, stressed the enormous generosity, friendship and goodwill of the parishioners.   

A full church for the Mass of Celebration