Monday, 31 March 2014

Pope appoints Mgr Nicholas Hudson as new Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster

Mgr Nicholas Hudson
©Mark Woods/A&B Diocese
Congratulations to Mgr Nicholas Hudson on his appoint as Auxiliary Bishop in Westminster. Catholic Communications Network reports:
Pope Francis has appointed as the new Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster Monsignor Nicholas Hudson, a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark, former Rector of the English College in Rome and since January 2014, the Parish Priest of Sacred Heart, Wimbledon.

Mgr Nicholas Hudson’s episcopal ordination will take place at Westminster Cathedral on 4 June at 11:00.

Mgr Nicholas Hudson said:
“I feel both honoured and humbled to have been appointed by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, as Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster. I will do everything in my capacity to serve and assist His Eminence Cardinal Nichols in his ministry as Pastor of the Diocese.

“Coming from the south side of the Thames, I have always felt at home in both Westminster and Southwark. I look forward now to getting to know the Diocese of Westminster very much better: the great number of clergy, laity, religious, parishes, schools, and colleges; the many people of other Christian denominations and of other faith traditions – and help them in our shared journey of faith.

“It is exciting to be a Catholic in this second year of the pontificate of Pope Francis. I pray that I might emulate the Holy Father’s radical simplicity and outreach to those on the margins of society and of the Church. Of all the many gifts received as a priest of Southwark most precious has been the privilege of knowing people with severe disabilities, who call us to make a place always for the poor at the heart of the Church.

“As I prepare to cross the river, my heart is full of gratitude to my home diocese, not least the Parish of the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, where I first received the Faith. It has been a joy to serve there since January as parish priest: I am only sorry I cannot stay there longer. I thank my family; thank the priests and people of the parish where I was first a priest, in Canterbury; thank all those with whom I worked in the field of R.E. and Catechesis at the Southwark Christian Education Centre. I would wish to thank as well the staff and students of the Venerable English College: years of helping to form future priests in Rome rekindled within me that sense of mission with which I first offered myself for the priesthood some twenty-seven years ago, a mission which I feel privileged now to share with the people and clergy of Westminster.”

Cardinal Vincent Nichols said:
“I welcome most warmly the appointment of Mgr Nicholas Hudson as Auxiliary Bishop in Westminster Diocese. I thank our Holy father, Pope Francis, for this appointment.

“Mgr Hudson will bring wide experience and fine personal qualities to our Diocese. He has served as a parish priest, as leader of catechetics and, of course, as Vice-Rector and the Rector of the English College in Rome. I know that he will be received enthusiastically on this side of the Thames by both clergy and laity. We look forward very much to the start of his ministry among us.
“I also wish to thank Archbishop Peter Smith and the Diocese of Southwark for their gift. Mgr Hudson will be much missed in his home diocese. This appointment is one of the ways in which dioceses serve each other and together enrich the leadership of our Church in this country.”

On learning of the appointment, Archbishop Peter Smith said:
“On behalf of the Bishops, clergy, religious and laity in the Archdiocese of Southwark, I offer my hearty congratulations to Mgr Nicholas Hudson on his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop in Westminster. I am very sorry that we will be losing him from Southwark but I know that Westminster will be very fortunate to have a new Auxiliary Bishop with a wide experience of dedicated priestly ministry over the past 28 years; in Canterbury, the Diocesan Christian Education Centre and as Vice Rector and Rector of the Venerable English College in Rome from 2000 until 2013. He will be missed especially by the parishioners of the Sacred Heart parish, Wimbledon, his home parish, to which he was appointed parish priest only this January. However, Southwark’s loss is Westminster’s gain - and will be very blessed to have him as one of their Auxiliary Bishops. I assure Mgr Nicholas of our prayers and good wishes as he prepares to take up his Episcopal appointment in Westminster in the near future.”

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Vatican's New Commission For Protection of Minors says:
The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is starting to take shape. The Vatican has announced the names of its governing body, which includes priests, theologians, psychiatrists, lawyers and a sex abuse victim. 

Among the members is Marie Collins. She is a native of Ireland, and she helped the Archdiocese of Dublin in setting up its Child Protection Services. Her presence in the commission will be key, since she herself was abused by a priest as a minor.

Professor Sheila Hollins is from the UK. She is a psychiatrist who specializes in mental health.

Dr. Catherine Bonnet, is from France and her area of expertise is child psychology.

The Archbishop of Boston, Sean O'Malley, is the only cardinal in the group. He announced the creation of the commission back in December after the Pope held a meeting with him and other members of the G8's advisory group.

Prof. Claudio Papale is a civil lawyer and also a professor at the Pontifical Urbaniana University. As an expert in canon law he also serves in the disciplinary department of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Poland's former prime minister, Hanna Suchocka is also in the commission. She is an expert in Constitutional Law and is a professor at the University of Poznan.

Fr. Humberto Miguel Yañez is from Argentina. He is a theology professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He has helped organize a conference on the prevention of sex abuse.

Fr. Hans Zollner, is from Germany. He is a licensed psychologist and psychotherapist. He is based in Rome and serves as the chair of the Steering Committee of the Center for Child Protection.

The Commission was announced back in December 2013. The group's first assignment will be to establish the task and competencies of the Commission. According to the Vatican's press office, more members will be added in the future.

Friday, 28 March 2014

From Burger Bar to Burgomeister

Mayor Bob Smytherman
A&B News Correspondent, Peter Burholt meets with Mayor of Worthing, Bob Smytherman:
"How to describe this bubbly and warm character? Perhaps a cross between Joe Pasquale and Harry Secombe? ‘Come into my parlour and what would you like, tea or coffee?’ With a twinkle he added ‘Or something stronger from the mayor’s cocktail cabinet?’ Sadly, the offer had to be declined. The grandeur of the entrance hall and staircase carried through to the official parlour, with lots of space in this oak paneled office. One slightly unusual aspect to this meeting - there were three of us in the room. Was the third person the mayor’s bodyguard – as your correspondent had experienced in Chicago many years ago – or was he there to record the interview for posterity’s sake? ‘This is John Young, who is making a photographic record of my year’ explained the mayor. The snapping started immediately we sat down in a couple of comfortable chairs.

What do I address you? Is it Your Worshipful Mayor, Mr Mayor or just Sir?
Would Bob do? I don’t do ‘formal’!

Is Worthing your home town or have you come from some other place?
I’m a real home town boy, having been born down the road in Lancing but spent many early years with by Nan up the road in Tarring Village and of course at St Mary’s Primary School. In fact, my family goes back over 200 years with its connection with the town and we have lived mostly in the same area. Worthing means a lot to me.

Has your family had a long history of being mayors?
This question appealed to Bob and, with a chuckle, he said ‘No, far from it! I am the first.

What prepared you for this position? Did you have a career which naturally led up to this point in your life?
Again, the thought of these questions brought on that broad smile and another chuckle.

Although I had the normal education when I was young, it didn’t have much impact on me! I wanted to go to Chatsmore High, but was persuade by friends from Lancing otherwise - so Boundstone School had the pleasure of trying to educate me. I did get into the local catering college for two years, but again I did not really shine.

I ran a burger bar for 15 years. Much to the surprise of my fellow councillors, this formed part of my inaugural speech! Although I am politically Lib Dem, the council has a Conservative majority. Council life for me goes back almost 12 years and, when I agreed to be mayor, I was the Night Manager at the local Chatsworth Hotel. But I decided to give this position up as I wanted to allow plenty of time to do the job properly.

A year as Deputy Mayor gave me a head start, although I must say I hit the ground running from day one. The role of mayor has been here in the town since 1890 and started in the reign of Queen Victoria, so I have a lot of history to maintain. Also, I am very proud to be a County Councillor.

At this point we got up to look at a fine portrait of himself and his Mayoresss, specially painted by James Chasteauneuf, a local parishioner.

You are possibly the only Catholic mayor in the Diocese. Does being a Catholic have an impact on your official life?
As I mentioned, I have been around this town all my life. For me being a Catholic has never been an option and I would not compromise on this fact. Today I am an Extraordinary Minster of Holy Communion at my local church, St Mary of the Angels, which is the church 5 generations of my family were married in (although not me). My mother was not of this faith, but she certainly made sure I was carrying out my duties from the start. I have been on the Council since 2002 and people have got used to me being around. I do not hide being a Catholic and I cannot remember a time when there was any opposition to my faith.

Although I have a few months to go in office, already I have some vivid memories of my role as mayor involving my faith. There was my inauguration at St Mary’s at Pentecost. It was memorable – my parish priest, Fr Chris Beynon, was the celebrant who gave the blessing (see picture) and I am told it was one of the best attended occasions in living memory. Fr Chris, as my chaplain, supports me in everything I do, even in leading the prayers before each Council meeting.

On a similar vein, there was the unforgettable vespers service at Arundel Cathedral. The High Sherriff of West Sussex was there along with the other 2 High Sheriffs from East Sussex and Surrey – did you know he is also a Catholic? All the mayors and civic leaders from the Diocese came to the service. What a great setting for this special occasion and how all the colours of the robes were shown off against the backdrop of the Cathedral.

Who is the Mayoress?
For the first time Bob needed to reflect on the question before giving his answer.

You might imagine my wife would take on this role. Sadly, I was married for three years, but things did not work out between us. However, I have the great benefit of being supported by another fellow councillor, Norah Fisher. She is a stalwart, despite the difficulties of being in a wheel chair.

Being mayor must bring you many benefits. Do you get paid and do you line your pockets, as well as having loads of privileges?
At this point Bob nearly fell off his chair with laughter.

You must be joking! This is a year which costs me money as budgets have been slashed in the past. Earlier you asked about the mayoral car – was it a Bentley or a Rolls Royce? No, it is a second hand Skoda. With my background I am more than happy with this car, although it did breakdown the other week on an official visit and I had to arrive at my second appointment by taxi!

Privileges? Not really – you saw that I made your coffee when we started and Liz supports me, as well as having other duties. My real privilege is more to do with holding this office as representative of the people of Worthing, trying to do the best I can. Being mayor does enable me to open doors which were closed to me in the past. I reckon I will attend over 500 engagements in my year and this exposure does help to get my message around the town.

My focus is most definitely on Worthing. Some mayors like to go beyond these boundaries and attend the good-and-the-great occasions. Sometimes they are referred to as the ‘Chain Gang’. No, that is not for me. Having said that, the way in which my year falls I will get to go to the royal garden party at Buckingham Palace!

You appear to have very specific charities in mind this year, possibly not what other mayors might have chosen.
Yes, I am specific – it reflects some major influences in my life which have affected the way I go about my job as mayor and, indeed, as a councillor.

I am the first mayor to have mental health awareness as my theme - not the most glamorous of subjects. Coastal West Sussex MIND, the Alzheimer’s Society and Worthing Guild Care are the named charities. Our mental awareness week – the first in Worthing – was a great success and certainly made people treat the subject as not the taboo it is made out to be. Why did I choose these charities?

The next few moments were spent in serious discussion.

Firstly, my sister suffered from post-natal depression and, without going into the sad details, she ended up committing suicide on the Downs. She set fire to herself. We are a very close family and that event left a massive impression with me. The awareness week was in her memory.

Secondly, there was the occasion of Ryan Chapman’s death. He was a young man who suffered from a mental illness. But, one day, he managed to get out of the local mental health unit and walked in front of a lorry on the A27. This shocked everyone. His friends organized a charity football match, which was attended by over 1,000 people. Ryan’s sunglasses were raffled, raising over £1,000 for his widow and family. It was his friends who had raised the money. I’m not embarrassed to say that tears were rolling down my cheeks.

I had another difficult moment when I attended the ‘Light up a Light’ gathering at St Barnabas. I was there in my official capacity, but my mother was also in the Worthing hospital, having suffered a major stroke. I am pleased to say she has made a recovery and will be shortly discharged to where else but one of Guild Care’s nursing homes!

Does the use of social media play a part in being mayor?
Most definitely, I am a great believer at using social media to spread the word in a quick manner. I even got a ‘cool mayor’ message via Twitter from one young member of our community. That pleased me!

True to his word, the photographs from our interview were on his web page under a special A&B News section by the time your correspondent had got home.

I think I am the first mayor to have a website especially dedicated to my charities. And you can even donate via this media.

How would you like to be remembered?
I would hope that people would look back and say ‘He did a really good job for Worthing and I remember the moment we met.’

After two hours of non-stop conversation we still had lots to talk about, but commitments of the mayor had to take priority. Finally, photographer John Young – who was either snapping photographs or sitting quietly throughout this interview - had his say. ‘There is only one like him’

Our time was up, but what a way to spend a Friday afternoon with such a humble character. He is truly a man of his people, one that does not sit on his official laurels, but gets out there to make a difference. Not afraid to go down routes former mayors may have felt were unpopular. Driving away from Worthing, all your correspondent could think about was ‘What a great pity his office is for one year only’. He does make a difference, Catholic or not.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Haslemere Host a Roast for Lourdes Pilgrimage Sick Fund

'Allo, Allo!!
Fay Foster reports that:
All three churches in Haslemere, Hindhead and Chiddingfold parish joined together for the ‘Host a Roast’ event for the A&B Lourdes Pilgrimage Sick Fund.

The Parish Hall had been transformed into a French café, festooned with flags and with checked tablecloths and a tableau depicting a typically French scene. Eighty guests sat down to a delicious meal of Ardennes paté, Coq au Vin, ripe Brie and chocolate mousse avec Cointreau, all cooked and prepared by a group of ladies headed by Diane Breen.

Waitresses wore striped tops, neck scarves and berets, while male helpers sported a variety of moustaches and onions! Among other outfits, several guest appeared as characters from TV’s “’Allo, ‘Allo”.

Between courses there was entertainment from 16-year-old Verity Foster who played ‘Clair de Lune’ on her harp, and provided keyboard accompaniment for her father Jonathan and grandmother Fay in their French-themed songs.

A picture quiz sought the names of French celebrities, paintings, music and film titles, while, towns had to be added to an outline map of France. Instead of a raffle there was a donation envelope draw for a splendid French food hamper.

Throughout the evening bidders took part in the interactive Auction and tension was high as finally
four parishioners successfully won their chosen lots.

As well as being a most enjoyable parish function, it excelled financially, with a profit of over £1,300, excluding the auction.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Whoever Sings Prays Twice

The Bishops of England and Wales have fixed the end date of the transitional period for implementing music in the new translation of the Roman Missal which was introduced in 2011. As from Pentecost Sunday, 8 June 2014 only settings of the Ordinary of the Mass using the new translation are permitted to be sung at Mass. Settings using the previous translation or paraphrased texts may no longer be used in our parishes, schools and communities. Recommendations and resources have been provided for parishes, schools and communities and can be found on the website

For the full statement:

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Pray for Syria in Lent - Statement of Catholic Bishops

Patriarch Gregory III
President of Catholic Bishops in Syria
The Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy of Syria held its spring session in the course of one day, 12 March
2014. Due to difficult travel conditions inside Syria, the Assembly was held at the Melkite Greek Catholic patriarchal residence in Rabweh (Antelias, Lebanon.)

The meeting was chaired by Patriarch Gregorios III, President of the Assembly, in the presence of Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Archbishop Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio to Syria, and the other hierarchs and members of the Assembly.

The Assembly dealt with the programme prepared by Chorbishop Mounir Sakkal, Secretary to the Assembly.

At the end of the meeting, the Assembly published the following press-release:

1- The Syrian crisis is now in its fourth year. Our situation can be described in the words of the Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes: “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts.”

2- We pray for the repose of all victims. We pray for the healing of all sick, injured, handicapped or marginalised persons in distress. We remember the kidnapped, especially our two brother bishops, Gregorios Youhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi, the two priests, Michael Kayyal and Ishaq Mahfouz, and many other sons and daughters of our parishes.

3- We declare our rejection of all forms of extremism, takfirism, murder and extortion, and all attacks on people and buildings. We condemn attacks on places of worship, whether churches or mosques. The number of damaged or destroyed churches of all denominations is now around one hundred.

4- We should like to express solidarity with our beloved country, Syria, its people and government. We support all efforts towards a peaceful, just and rapid solution to the crisis, especially through a continuance of the Geneva talks. We want a united, free, democratic and pluralistic Syria, with the same citizenship criteria for everyone, and we want a worthy life for all constituents of Syrian society, irrespective of party.

5- On the occasion of Great and Holy Lent, we invite our sons and daughters to fast and show solidarity, charity and collaboration in alleviating the sufferings of internally and externally displaced persons. We need the grace of fasting, prayer, spiritual strength, faith, hope and love. We must not give way to feelings of despair, frustration and fear, despite our tragic, terrible suffering that is daily increasing. We hear the voice of the Holy Father Pope Francis and thank him for his support, love and prayers for Syria. He tells us, "Let us never lose the courage of prayer!” He also says, "Let us never lose hope! Let us never allow it to die in our hearts." We call upon everyone, especially Christians during Great Lent, to ensure that the whole of Syria become so many hands raised in prayer. May Lent cause the feelings and power of hope to spring up in us!

6- We beseech the Lord to lead our tragic, bloody way of the cross towards the dawn and joy of the holy Resurrection. Let Syria return to its former state of peace, security, love, kindliness, communication, fellowship, mutual respect, living together, and a worthy life for all citizens.

7- We appeal to all citizens, asking them to work for peace by all means, both local and international and emphasise the need for a cease-fire, dialogue, reconciliation and reconstruction. We all have the responsibility of working hard for peace.

8- Our special thanks go to His Holiness Pope Francis, together with our congratulations on the first anniversary of his pontificate. We also thank all (especially Catholic) international institutions for their support offered with the aim of alleviating the suffering of all Syrian citizens.

May the Virgin Mary, our Lady of Damascus and Saidnaya, and all other Marian places of pilgrimage, keep Syria under her protection: may she spread peace and love throughout the country. We appeal to the conscience of all nations, and especially those countries capable of playing a decisive role in the Syrian crisis, to find a way to end the crisis.

With the Church we pray, “Commemorating our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and each other and all our lives unto Christ our God.”

With the Lord we say to the sons and daughters of our parishes:

“Fear not, little flock!

Be light, salt and leaven!”

+ Gregorios III

Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem
President of the Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy of Syria

Friday, 21 March 2014

Congratulations to the New Archbishop of Liverpool

Archbishop Elect Malcolm McMahon

Pope Francis has appointed the Right Reverend Malcolm McMahon, Bishop of Nottingham, to be the ninth Archbishop of Liverpool.

Archbishop-Elect McMahon’s Mass of Installation as Archbishop of Liverpool will be celebrated at 12.00 noon on Thursday 1 May 2014, the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool.

Speaking at a press conference in the Metropolitan Cathedral Archbishop-Elect McMahon said:

‘I am honoured and humbled to have been appointed by our Holy Father Pope Francis as Archbishop of Liverpool. I promise to do my best to repay the trust that he has placed in me, and which the priests and people of the Archdiocese of Liverpool are being asked to put in me from today.

‘I would like to thank Archbishop Patrick Kelly for his many years of service in this Archdiocese, and Bishop Tom Williams, who has been Apostolic Administrator since Archbishop Kelly’s retirement last year.

‘I am grateful to my family and friends, my Dominican brethren, and the priests and people of the Diocese of Nottingham for their support, guidance and friendship. I am naturally sorry to be leaving Nottingham, my home for the last thirteen years, and I will miss the people there; I hope that the prayers of my Diocese will come with me as I prepare to bid them a fond farewell shortly after Easter.

‘The Archdiocese of Liverpool has a long and proud history, rich in the tradition of missionary discipleship. We just have to think of the many priests, deacons, religious and laypeople who have done so much to proclaim the Kingdom of God and who gave their lives in his service, and the Archdiocese’s parishes, churches and schools are living witnesses to God’s love for us. The rich and living Catholic heritage of the Archdiocese should inspire us and challenge us, and I know that I can rely on the prayers and support of the Catholic faithful as I take up the challenge which lies ahead of me.

‘I am also looking forward to working with my fellow Christians from other Churches and communities, people from all religious traditions, and civic and political leaders, building up the good relationships which already exist between us, in our endeavour to serve the common good.

‘From the day of my installation I will do my level best to lead, guide and serve the people of this great Archdiocese, in Liverpool, west Lancashire and the Isle of Man, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. There is much work to be done, because the challenges which we face as a community are real. But we are a people of hope; just as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King is visible for miles around, speaking to us of God’s presence in our midst, I pray that all of us in the Archdiocese of Liverpool will be living signs of God’s eternal love, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ in all that we say and do.

‘I ask for the prayers of our heavenly patrons, Our Blessed Lady Immaculate, Saint Joseph and Saint Kentigern, and the entire Catholic community as I begin my ministry as Archbishop of Liverpool, and I assure you of my prayers in return. Let us make the words of Pope John Paul II, spoken here in the Metropolitan Cathedral in 1982, our own:

“Send forth your Spirit, O Lord! Renew our hearts and minds with the gifts of light and truth. Renew our homes and families with the gifts of unity and joy. Renew our cities and our countries with true justice and lasting peace.”’

Bishop Thomas Williams, Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Liverpool welcomed the Archbishop-Elect saying:

‘I have to say on behalf of Archbishop Emeritus Patrick and the priests and people of the Archdiocese how pleased we are to welcome Archbishop-Elect Malcolm. We have always been well blessed with our Archbishops and are grateful and appreciative of the gifts and talents and service given by Archbishop Emeritus Patrick.

‘We welcome Archbishop-Elect Malcolm with open arms and fully commit ourselves to him in a spirit of brotherly love and service. We know he is a Londoner and an Arsenal supporter but nevertheless we welcome him unconditionally.’

Monsignor Thomas McGovern, Vicar General of the Diocese of Nottingham, paid tribute to the work of Bishop McMahon in the Diocese:

‘All of us in the Diocese of Nottingham are sorry to be losing Bishop Malcolm after over thirteen years as our Bishop. Since he came to us in December 2000, he has become a well-loved and well-respected shepherd, and we will miss him. The priests, deacons, religious and laypeople of our Diocese will look back on his ministry here with great affection, and Bishop Malcolm can be assured of our prayers for him as he prepares to take up his duties as Archbishop of Liverpool, where we hope that he will be very happy. I am sure that his kind personality, good sense of humour and commitment to social justice will endear him very quickly to the priests and people of his new Archdiocese, and that they will be richly blessed by his presence among them.’

Thursday, 20 March 2014

60 Years of Care - Sisters Community Founded in Diocese of Arundel & Brighton

Sister Kathy (centre), pictured after her re-election, with Bishop Kieran and the General Councillors.
Sister Kathy Yeeles OSB was re-elected as Prioress General of the Grace and Compassion Benedictines for a second eight-year term of office, at the General Chapter held in early this year. Sister Kathy was first elected in 2005, when she succeeded the late Mother Mary Garson, the foundress of this international congregation, which has 217 members in five countries – England, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Uganda.

The Sisters are this year celebrating the 60th anniversary of the start of their work of caring for the elderly in this country. This began at St Mary’s House, Preston Park Avenue, Brighton, which is still today a highly regarded care home for the elderly. They run two other care homes in this Diocese – at Holy Cross Priory in Heathfield and St Joseph’s, Bognor Regis – as well as homes in Bury St Edmunds and Stroud. A major development recently completed at Holy Cross Priory is a retirement village, which comprises a 60 bed care home, together with 58 apartments and ancillary facilities.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

St Peter’s Catholic School – Topping Out Ceremony for St Cecilia’s Theatre

Eighteen months ago, St Peter’s School, Guildford realised that they needed a new theatre and liturgy building that represented the dynamism and vibrancy of the school. A building that was welcoming, that had a real sense of arrival, a place that students value, a place where they feel they belong. It had to be multi-functional allowing for large school productions and concerts, but also incorporating teaching space that is used daily. The theatre will also built to be used for liturgies and R.E. activities and it was designed to incorporate both uses equally well. The theatre style has been built to reflect the students’ forward thinking and the world in which they aspire to live in. It has been built to be as environmentally friendly as is feasible, and constructed from sustainable materials where appropriate.

St Peter’s also has a long history and superb reputation for its productions and musical concerts and the school and the governing body decided to embark on this ambitious project and to build a theatre and liturgy building fit for the school. Since then with the generous assistance of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton, Surrey County Councillor Graham Ellwood, the Guildford Catenians and the Humphrey Richardson Taylor Trust plus our own tireless fundraising in main through the Name a Seat Appeal we have raised the over £1m required to complete the project. We were also delighted to receive a donation from the Wintershall CharitableTrust to enable us to buy an altar for St Cecilia’s.

When asked to support the new Theatre & Liturgy Building Appeal at St Peter’s, the Right Reverend Bishop Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton said:

"Our Catholic schools support our children on their journey of faith and provide an environment where they grow in the love of Jesus and respect one another. We are constantly striving to improve the quality of provision in our schools and I am delighted to add my full support to the proposed new Theatre & Liturgy Building at St Peter’s Catholic School."

St Cecilia’s is well under way and the project is due to complete in May 2014. On Wednesday 5th March there was a “topping out ceremony” – a rite of passage with new buildings to celebrate the fact that the roof is on and secure and the building is now dry and protected from the elements.

At the topping out ceremony were Headteacher Robert Guinea, Chair of Governors Helen Read, Mary Reynolds Director of Education at the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton, Mark Ingram Governor and Chair of the New Build Committee, Tania Cantoni Marketing & Fundraising Manager, David Banks from Flowitts Llp, Architects, Alexander Kitchin from HA & DB Kitchin the main building contractors and David Bakker the Project Site Manager (see picture above).

St Cecilia’s Theatre will open on 26th June 2014 which is close to the Feast Day of St Peter and St Paul on 29th June and we are pleased that Bishop Kieran be present and will bless the new theatre as part of the whole school Feast Day Mass.

Robert Guinea said “I am delighted that we will shortly have a brilliant building to use for liturgies, assemblies and reflection days and also a place to showcase the many talents of our students through school productions and concerts. I look forward to many exciting productions and liturgies in the years to come.”

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Congratulations to New Auxiliary Bishop in Birmingham Fr Robert Byrne

Fr Robert Byrne CO
CCN reports: Pope Francis has appointed as the new Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, Fr Robert Byrne CO, until now National Ecumenical Officer for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

Fr Robert Byrne’s episcopal ordination will take place at 11am on Tuesday 13 May 2014 at the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, St Chad’s Cathedral. He will succeed Bishop Philip Pargeter, who has been Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham since 1990.

Fr Robert Byrne said:
“I am deeply honoured and humbled that the Holy Father, Pope Francis has appointed me as Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham. His example will continue to inspire and shape my ministry in Birmingham, especially to serve the poor, the marginalised and those who may feel alienated from God and society. In the spirit of St Philip Neri – the founder of the Oratory and a saint with a great sense of humour - I am committed to helping share the joy of the Gospel message with others.

“I began my priestly ministry in Birmingham twenty nine years ago and I look forward to renewing my friendships and to making my home once again in this great city. I have a great love for the Malvern Hills and the music of Elgar, so was particularly pleased when I learned that my ministry would include the pastoral care of the Worcestershire deaneries.

“I have been richly blessed in these years by the people that I have met and the work that I’ve been asked to do – as a parish priest, in prison chaplaincy, and latterly as the Bishops’ Conference’s National Ecumenical Officer. I look forward to building upon this experience and to working closely with other Christians and people of all faiths and none.

“I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to my Oratorian community for their priestly example, friendship and support. I shall miss them greatly and also the parishioners of St Aloysius parish in Oxford.

“Blessed John Henry Newman, the founder of the English Oratory has inspired me as a priest. I hope in some way to be able to follow his example, particularly in the care and love that he showed for his priests and people.

“I know I can count on the prayer, co-operation and support of the people, the religious and the priests of the diocese. I look forward to working with and learning from Archbishop Bernard and Bishops William and David.

“I ask for the prayers of Mary Immaculate, Patroness of the Diocese, together with St Chad and Blessed John Henry Newman as I begin my new ministry as Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham.”

Archbishop Bernard Longley said:
“I am immensely grateful to Pope Francis for appointing Fr Robert Byrne Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham. From his time at the Birmingham Oratory and as Provost of the Oxford Oratory, Fr Robert has come to know our Archdiocese well.

“Having worked alongside him in recent years as the Bishops’ Conference’s Ecumenical Officer, I know that he will bring considerable pastoral, theological and administrative skills to his new responsibilities as a bishop. Above all I am grateful that he brings the spirituality of St Philip Neri, the founder of the Oratory, to enrich his ministry among us.

“I know that everybody in the Archdiocese, and especially in his pastoral area of Birmingham and Worcestershire, will join me in asking for the prayers of Fr Robert’s fellow Oratorian, Blessed John Henry Newman, as he now prepares for his episcopal ordination in May.

“I also wish to record my abiding gratitude to Bishop Philip Pargeter for continuing to serve the Archdiocese with great dedication in recent years and for the support and friendship he has so generously given me.”

For video of the new Bishop elect visit CCN website

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Pope Francis Celebrates One Year since His Election

Pope Francis with Bishop Kieran, Archbishop (now Cardinal) Vincent, Cardinal Cormac
and Archbishop Arthur 
Congratulations to Pope Francis after one year as Pope and Bishop of Rome. The Vatican has produced an online book to celebrate the occasion called 'Do We Want to be Holy? Yes or No?' With beautiful photographs and quotes from the Pope himself it is a fitting tribute.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Watercolour "Flats" by Tony Parsons
 Artists Open House image
St Patrick's church Cowley Drive Woodingdean is taking part again in the Brighton Festival in May 2014. St Patrick's will be an Artists Open House. We are hosting several painters and jewellers, a potter who makes functional decorative ceramics, and professionals who do weaving and tapestry, crochet, photography, silk work, card- box and print making, photo art and restoration.

The church will be open on Saturday and Sunday 10-11th May and 17-18th May from 11am until 5pm. We offer a range of refreshments during open times as well as events.
Details of our eleven professional artists and events will be on the Artists Open House website, Twitter @stpwoodingdean and on Facebook St Patrick's Woodingdean.

Coordinator is Bernadette Skinner tel 01273 309118

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Eating in Peruvian Solidarity

Peruvian Meal
Eighty parishioners from the Nativity of the Lord visited Peru just for one evening. Unfortunately it was virtual not actual! It was an evening of information, competition and South American food to launch of our project to raise funds to support Warmi Huasi (Women’s House in Quetcha, the Indian language of Peru). Eamonn, a seminarian from St John’s, Wonersh, spoke of his recent experience in the materially very poor parish of San Benito, where the effects of industrial pollution and lack of basic amenities, such as clean running water have a dramatic effect on everyday life. Appreciating the generous hospitality he received, he did however have qualms when the water used to cleanse dishes was passed through a sieve and then boiled to make tea.

We explored the area in photos and a video and learned how many women in San Benito have to bring up their children on their own. Husbands are absent for varying reasons; they might be doing seasonal work far away, some are in prison and others are unable to cope with the responsibility of parenthood. Mothers must work to feed and clothe their children, but this is often at the cost of their children’s safety and well-being.

The Parish of the Nativity of the Lord aims to provide funds to equip and maintain a nursery and homework club; an invaluable service to the community which will give the children of San Benito the chance to learn and develop in a safe environment.

There was a challenging quiz, interrupted by servings of Papas Papas (papas means potatoes in Quetcha), Spicy Chicken and quinoia salad. There was a raffle and the chance to purchase FairTrade Peruvian crafts. The proceeds, £850, are being sent off as soon as possible.

Text by Jane Manfield and Ann Lardeur. Photo Ann Lardeur.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Pray for Three Recently Deceased Priests

Please pray for  Mgr Canon Jeffrey Hadyn Scott, Fr Tom Mulvey and Fr Kevin Gaskin who all died recently. Their obituaries appear below:

Mgr Canon Jeff in Canonical robes
Mgr Canon Jeffrey Scott was born in Leeds, Yorkshire on 17th January 1945. He put his conversion down to a visit to Notre Dame in Paris. Fr Ken McCarthy who was Parish Priest of Langley Green instructed and received him as a Catholic and said that bound up with this was a calling to Priesthood. Ordination to Priesthood was on 31st May 1945, this was followed by studies in Canon Law, Ottawa where he gained the LCL and MCL. These he put to good use in the Matrimonial Tribunal as Judicial Vicar and also in lecturing at the Seminary. With his sharp mind and head for figures he served as Chairman of the Diocesan Finance Committee, a Trustee and other positions assisting the Bishop. Parishioners in Woodingdean, Preston Park, Keymer and Arundel and Knaphill remember him as a kindly, supportive and direct person who loved a meal in good company. What characterised Fr Jeff was his love of dogs – to start with naming them after Popes – Ben, Leo and then Holly, Merlin and Tom the Jack Russell. In quieter moments his methodical streak found its outlet as a philatelist.

Over 9 years he bore his medical condition with courage going to the Lord on 3rd February 2014.

Fr Tom Mulvey was the first Diocesan Youth Service Director from 1964-1967, based at Bishop’s House, Hove and attending a Youth Work Course at Swansea University College. Born in Ireland on 8th January 1928 he trained at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh 1948-1954 serving as Curate in Stockwell, Burgess Hill, Sevenoaks and Hove. He was Parish Priest in Woodingdean, Eastbourne, St. Agnes, West Grinstead, Molesey, Angmering, Leatherhead and Newhaven before retiring to Ireland in 1999. At different stages of his priestly life Fr. Tom explored religious life and this searching explains why some of his appointments were for just two or three years. He retired to Castlepollard, Westmeath, dying there on 3rd February 2014. The Parish Priest of St Michael’s, Castlepollard, Fr. Patrick Moore, kept an eye on him and conducted his funeral.

Whilst at West Grinstead his devotion to St Sharbel Makhluf (Feastday 24th July) grew and his name was given to his retirement home. A quiet man with a disarming smile. (Sorry no photo currently available)

Fr Kevin onboard a beloved steam train
Fr Kevin Gaskin, a Brightonian in his younger days, was born on 12th April 1937, educated at the Xaverian College, Brighton and grew up at the entrance to the Patcham railway tunnel. This must have given him his enthusiasm for railways, one which on his 50th Anniversary of Ordination came to the zenith with a celebratory trip on the Bluebell Railway from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead. His Ordination to Priesthood took place in St Mary’s, Preston Park on 29th June 1962. He served as Curate in Dorking, Weybridge before becoming Parish Priest of St Anne’s, Banstead, Our Lady & St Peter, East Grinstead and The Sacred Heart, Wadhurst. In 1996 he underwent heart surgery in London and recovered to continue his priestly ministry in Wadhurst. One of his dreams came true with the extension of the Church, forming a meeting room and overflow space.

He retired to East Grinstead in 2012 but all too soon he was diagnosed with a condition which led to his death at St Raphael’s, Danehill on 5th March 2014.

Fr Kevin was known for membership of his support group, the Council of Priests and his gregarious nature with clergy and faithful alike. For many years he was the Spiritual Director of the Catholic Women’s League in the Diocese.

A much loved priest called all too soon to his heavenly reward.

May they all rest in peace

Saturday, 8 March 2014

A Quick Journey Through the Bible

Rachel O’Mara Miller from Our Lady of Lourdes, Haslemere reports on the recent Bible Study Day:
Aidan Cantwell, Social Action Adviser, Fr Peter Andrews and
David Wills, Adult Formation Adviser
"St Dunstan’s, Woking was the venue for an informative and invaluable one-day course entitled, A Quick Journey Through the Bible'.

The course is specifically aimed at those new to Bible Study, who perhaps like me, have never felt capable of actually understanding a lot of their Bible and therefore have never tried to

The course is wonderfully designed concentrating on fourteen narrative books of the Bible (i.e. not all of them) and the twelve major time periods of salvation history. We discovered all the major people, places, events and themes of the Bible. We also studied the six covenants God made with humanity, leading to the establishment of the Catholic Church.

The Student Workbook and Bible Timeline Chart, which you take away with you, proves an invaluable tool to the novice, as you begin to study your bible on your own, it is, if you like, a fools guide to help you as the story develops, enabling you to know what to look for and who to concentrate on. The Timeline specifically is really useful before Mass providing reference to which period of history the readings are from and their reference.

For me, this course was the best 7 hours I have spent in a long time, and I would strongly recommend it as I now having the tools to begin a 90 Day Bible Study programme at home."

If this has whetted your appetite then additional courses are coming up in Redhill and Arundel in April and you can find out information on the diocesan website.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Primary School Preparing Promises for Lent

In readiness for Lent at St Marys RC Primary in Crowborough the children took their lenten promises out to the playground and burned them with some palms from last years Palm Sunday celebrations.

They watched as the smoke carried their promises up to heaven.

The next day at the Ash Wednesday service Fr Kevin Griffin from St Mary's parish, Crowborough blessed the ashes and used them for the whole community.

It was a special moment for the children watching as the papers and palms burned and thinking about their promises to God at this Lenten season.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A Joyful Lent!

To Catholics of a certain age, ‘a joyful Lent’ may seem like a contradiction in terms. What was Lent for? Well, for ‘giving things up’, chiefly, in the popular imagination. And quite apart from our own private little acts of self-denial (typically, biscuits, booze or chocolate) the liturgy shot past sober to positively sombre: out with Gloria and Alleluia alike; in with the rather dismal purples and mauves used for Lenten vestments and altar hangings.

But, if you happen to be fluent in Anglo-Saxon, you’ll remember that the root meaning of the word, ‘Lent’, is ‘Springtime’. The sap rises, March hares go mad. Birds and bees begin to do what birds and bees do. Optimism and chocolate (eggs and bunnies, not hares) impose themselves, despite our best intentions.

More importantly, Christian joy bursts through before the first daffodils. As Pope Francis reminds us at the beginning of his letter on ‘The Joy of the Gospel’ (Evangelii Gaudium n.1): “With Christ joy is constantly born anew.” Constantly, because Christ is constantly present, constantly forgiving, constantly “restoring our joy” (EvG n.3) so we can begin our journey again.

It is that joyful beginning again which Lent is about. So don’t focus on what you’re going to give up or what penitential practices you’re going to take on this Lent. Decide what song you’re going to sing on your 40 day journey. And make sure it’s a joyful one, because if it isn’t, no one else will want to listen to you.

By Fr. Rob Esdaile, parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes, Thames Ditton

Monday, 3 March 2014

Buy a Real Easter Egg for Easter Sunday

For more information and to order them for your parish go to the Real Easter Egg website. They should be available for individuals to buy in supermarkets so ask if yours isn't stocking them.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Bishop Kieran Says Go To Confession and Be Appy

to be read at all Masses on the weekend of 1/2 March 2014 Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Dear brothers and sisters of Arundel & Brighton,
Sometimes when you go to the doctor you just know that you’re not feeling well, but are not sure why. One of the skills of the doctor is that he or she can then get you to identify more precisely what the problem is. What sort of ‘disease’ is it – in other words, what is making you feel uneasy, what is taking away your normal feeling of ease? It’s the same with counselling. A skilled counsellor will get you to identify your feelings; you’re feeling bad, but is it anger, fear or regret? All these things can make us unhappy, but often it’s difficult to pin the feeling down precisely without some help. And that help is enabling us to put a name either on the feeling of being unwell, or feeling bad and unhappy within ourselves.

This Lent, the Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales is publishing material to help people either re-connect with the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or get to know it for the first time. The sacrament has been referred to traditionally as ‘confession’, but the Church has recognised that there is more to the celebration than simply the act of confessing sins. It is a re-building of our relationship with God and with one another.

Over the last few decades, most churches have seen a steep decline in the numbers of people taking advantage of this sacrament, and the reasons are not always clear. One of the reasons may be a different attitude to sin. In the past there seemed to be great emphasis on sin as something that you ‘did’, or even thought of doing; many people confused sin with temptation and even now there is still confusion about what constitutes sin. Many adults, for instance, will confess anger as a sin, but anger is an emotional response we can’t do anything about, and the Church has always taught that sin must be the deliberate and conscious carrying out of something we know to be wrong.

There may also have been a growing sense that the traditional ‘penance’ such as three ‘Hail Marys’ can’t really put right something that I know to be seriously wrong, or make up for the hurt I might have caused somebody.

Sin is harmful because it does damage. It damages ourselves, it damages others, it damages the community and it damages our relationship with God. The sacrament of reconciliation helps to start repairing that damage. It helps to start, but the actual re-building of those relationships will perhaps take a long time.

While many churches have witnessed a decline in the number of adult ‘confessions’ there is some evidence of a growth in the numbers of young people celebrating the sacrament, especially in Rome, and probably because of the influence of Pope Francis. He has said some very helpful things, inviting people to take a fresh look at the notion of reconciliation.

While he says that confessing our sins is not to be equated with psychotherapy or counselling, he does refer to the counselling principle of putting a name on our problems and difficulties. He says that children don’t talk in general or vague terms, in the way that adults sometime confess to being ‘uncharitable’ or ‘selfish’. They say precisely what they have done wrong, and recognise it for what it is. And he says that it is important to have this conversation with a priest; it has to be real. To those who say ‘I can confess to God,’ Pope Francis says that it’s not like sending God an email; it is personal encounter. It has to be eye-to-eye contact, he says. And while it is a very private and confidential meeting with a priest, the priest represents the community of the Church, and it is the community, as well as the individual that is being healed.

The pope uses the word’ shame’ when he talks about our response to our own wrong-doing. This seems to be different from ‘guilt’. Guilt is something that most of us carry around all the time, guilt for the things we have done and said and guilt for the things we have left un-done and un-said. But shame is possibly less easy to carry around, and must be washed away. And when shame starts to close a door, Pope Francis says, confessing our shame can open that door again, the door of our relationship with others and the door of our relationship with God.

And finally, he reminds us that this is not all about ourselves, it is about God and his mercy and love for us. Celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation is giving praise to God for his goodness and unconditional acceptance of us. This is the God who became like me to save me from my sin, and one of the most immediate and real ways to experience this salvation is in the sacrament.

You don’t have to remember any formula of words, or how many times you have done something wrong. The priest will help you. The pope reminds us that the priest himself, bishops and even the pope himself need to celebrate this sacrament. So if you haven’t ‘been to confession’ for some time and want to discover it again, this Lent might be a good time to do it. There are even a couple of smart-phone ‘apps’ that you can look at; one is called simply ‘Confession’, I think, and the other is Mea culpa. They don’t allow you to confess over the phone – the pope says it has to be person-to-person - but they might help if you have that technology.

So I hope that Lent is a fruitful season for you, that you experience change not only in the weather and the lengthening of the days, but also in the light in your heart and the warmth of your inner self, and come to Easter with a real sense of re-discovered joy in the Lord.

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