Saturday, 26 April 2014

Bishop Kieran on Redemption and Resurrection in the Ordinary

Bishop Kieran
Bishop Kieran has issued a Pastoral Letter for the Second Sunday of Easter focuses on the hope and promise of the resurrection to be found in the ordinary things of life as he reflects on a current exhibition of the artist Stanley Spencer in Chichester.

You can read the Pastoral Letter below or listen to it on the diocesan website.

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Arundel & Brighton,

If you live anywhere near Chichester, (or even if you don’t), I would recommend that you visit the Pallant Picture Gallery there before June 15th. That’s the final date of an exhibition of paintings done by Stanley Spencer. The paintings have been temporarily removed from the chapel they were originally painted for while the chapel is being refurbished.

The paintings all represent scenes from Spencer’s experiences during the First World War. Spencer was not fit enough to fight in the trenches and so enrolled in the Royal Army Medical Corps; the pictures reflect his experiences in a hospital near Bristol and also on the front in Macedonia. He saw fighting first-hand and its results in the hospital, but his pictures are remarkably peaceful and radiate hope. Many of them are explicitly religious, and depict quite mundane and ordinary activities; titles include ‘Scrubbing floors’, ‘Filling tea-urns’ and ‘Bedmaking’. In the last of these, one of the hospital orderlies is stretching a sheet out, and the obvious reference is to the outstretched arms of Christ on the cross.

In these paintings, Spencer expresses hope in the midst of war and that hope is in the resurrection, even where death is violent and cruel, and the result of humanity’s own foolishness and aggression. That same hope in the resurrection is explicit in another of his paintings in Tate Britain in London. It is called ‘The Resurrection at Cookham’. Cookham was his home village, and the painting shows his friends and neighbours waking from their sleep of death in the graveyard by the church, under the eyes of God and the saints, and recognising not just one another, but their new situation. They then make their way down to the River Thames and board a pleasure boat to sail off to a place of eternal peace.

But the paintings in Chichester suggest something more than just hope. They suggest that redemption, the experience of resurrection – new life – is to be found in ordinary and mundane things. Things like making the bed and washing the floor. It is in ordinary, daily experiences like this we recognise the new life that Christ has given us. The orderlies in the paintings are serving soldiers who have suffered both physically and mentally, and it is a wonderfully Christ-like gesture to ensure that the urns are ready for tea or that bread is buttered.

In today’s gospel, we have the well-known – too well-known – story of poor ‘doubting Thomas’ and how he missed Jesus’ first appearance to the other disciples. On that occasion, John’s gospel tells how the disciples were ‘filled with joy’ when Jesus appeared in their midst. Thomas does not have that same experience; instead he has the rather embarrassing experience of having to prove it for himself in a very physical and even unpleasant way, as Jesus invites him to put his hand into the wound in his side. So again the resurrection experience comes down to something very basic and ordinary. It is not a blinding flash of recognition that the disciples on the road to Emmaus had when Jesus broke the bread at table. It is looking at holes in a man’s hands.

It is a sad and challenging fact that a number of those who have been received into full communion with the Catholic Church last week may not be with us next year. Often it’s just because the experience of Church is something of an anti-climax; it promised to be exciting, but it’s not. Sometimes it’s because they haven’t felt particularly welcomed, and this is the challenge to all of us. But it may also be a mirror of our own experience of Easter, that it is all something of an anti-climax. We have five weeks of Lent to prepare, and then suddenly it’s all over and we feel just the same as before.

Spencer didn’t paint heroic acts of courage when he painted war. Nor did he try to portray its full horrors. Instead he painted men who had suffered, and others whom were looking after them. I must say I found the exhibition an incredibly uplifting experience, and one that gave me a great deal to reflect on. It speaks quietly of the resurrection as an experience of today, even the day when very little seems to be happening, or – worse – when things seem to be going from bad to worse. The triumph of Christ over suffering and death is perhaps even more relevant and important in the latter case. But it’s real every day and in small and great ways. It’s there in today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, too: “they shared their food gladly and generously.” A small gesture, but one that points to an overpowering reality.

So I wish you a quiet and peaceful Eastertide, a time when you can find the Risen Lord in the small things of life, in the tiny gesture of kindness and in the minor disappointments that crowd our lives. When God appeared to the prophet Elijah, it was not in the mighty wind, the earthquake or the fire; it was in the gentle breeze. Find God in the small things, in making tea or beds.

I hope that you can get to see Spencer’s paintings. As I say, the exhibition finishes on the 15th of June, and it’s half-price on Tuesdays. I may even see you there myself.

With my prayers and good wishes

+ Kieran

Thursday, 24 April 2014

The City of Rome Gets Ready to Welcome Hundreds of Thousands of Pilgrims says: With such a popular canonization like that of John Paul II and John XXIII, there's a lot of behind the scenes work that comes into play. Everything from transportation and security to volunteers and ushers.

The first thing of course is making sure everyone gets to see the ceremony, but with limited space in St. Peter's Square, a total of 19 screens will be set up along the city. From nearby streets all the way down to Piazza Navona and even the Fiumicino airport.

MSGR. LIBERIO ANDREATTA: Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi
"The city will be welcoming and livable during the ceremony. The city will see something that has never happened in the history of Rome or in the history of the Church. Two saintly Popes and two living Popes.”

Rome's Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, also announced other details for religious ceremonies.
On Saturday April 26th, at 5 o clock, a Vigil will take place in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls . Yet another vigil will take place at 7 o clock in the so called 'Chiesa degli Artisti' in Piazza del Popolo. Parishes across the city will join in evening prayer at 9 o clock.

"Since mid April we've been adopting the appropriate measures. When it comes to transportation the 64 bus which takes passengers from the Termini Train station all the way to St. Peter's has been going back and fourth basically 24 hours a day.”

Sunday April 27th is of course the big day of the canonization. It will start at 10.00am in St. Peter's Square. Tickets are not necessary. It's basically a first come, first serve basis and of course, it's completely free. The main entrance to the Square will be at the end of Via della Conciliazione.

Then on Monday 28th, a Mass will be held at 10.00 in the Square.

As far as how many people are expected, the numbers range from 800,000 all the way to 2 million. Either way, the city of Rome and the Vatican are making sure they're ready for either scenario.


S. Agnese in Agone a Piazza Navona - Via di Santa Maria dell’Anima 30 A – 00186 (POLISH)
S. Marco al Campidoglio - Piazza San Marco 48 - 00186 ITA (ENGLISH)
S. Anastasia - Piazza di Sant’Anastasia - 00186 (PORTGUESE)
Santissimo Nome di Gesù all’Argentina - Piazza del Gesù – 00186 ITA, SPANISH
S. Maria in Vallicella - Via del Governo Vecchio 134 – 00186 ITALIAN
S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini - Via Acciaioli 2 – 00186 ITALIAN
S. Andrea della Valle - Piazza Vidoni 6 - 00186 FRENCH
S. Bartolomeo all’Isola Tiberina - Isola Tiberina 22 – 00186 ARAB
S. Ignazio di Loyola in Campo Marzio - Via del Caravita 8/a - 00186 ITALIAN
Chiesa delle SS. Stimmate - Largo delle Stimmate 1 – 00187ITALIAN
Chiesa dei XII Apostoli - Piazza Santi Apostoli 51 - 00186 ITALIAN
Basilica Sacro Cuore di Gesù - Via Marsala 42 - 00186 ITALIAN

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

There are Angels Walking on the Streets of Woking!

Woking Street Angels celebrated three years of operation in a special service held at St Paul’s CofE Church on 23 February. During the service both new and experienced Street Angels were (re)commissioned in prayer. Street Angels provide help to the vulnerable and others in need of assistance in towns and cities across the country at night when pubs and clubs are busiest.

At the service, Camilla Edmundson of Woking Borough Council and Detective Chief Superintendent Helen Collins of Surrey Police spoke of the valued work of Street Angels since they started in 2011. Working together with the police and door staff at various establishments, there has been a 30.4% reduction in violent crime on the nights Street Angels operate in Woking.

Woking Street Angels come from 18 different churches in and around Woking, including St Dunstan’s and St Hugh’s Catholic churches. Non-Christians and one Muslim are also valued volunteers. New recruits are always sought and a Summer Ball is planned in June to raise funds.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Friday, 18 April 2014

Thursday, 17 April 2014

I Have Given You an Example

Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337), Cappella Scrovegni a Padova, Washing of the Feet
'I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you'

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Diocese of Arundel & Brighton Celebrates Chrism Mass

Today Wednesday 16 April Bishop Kieran will gather with priests, deacons and people to celebrate the Mass of Chrism in Arundel Cathedral. At this Mass, the Bishop will bless the Holy Oils which each parish receives for the rites of anointing.
Saint Ambrose [340-397] began this custom – which we now call the Chrism Mass – in his Cathedral in Milan. Three Holy Oils, which are used to sanctify the Faithful, have been channels of holiness for centuries!

The Oil of Catechumens is used to anoint the chest of infants and hands of adults before their Baptism; the Oil of the Sick is used on the forehead and hands of the infirm in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick; and Sacred Chrism is used to anoint the head of the newly baptized, the foreheads of confirmandi, the hands of a priest at his ordination, the head of a bishop at his ordination, and the altar and walls of new churches.

At the Mass, all priests make a Renewal of Commitment to Priestly Service, recommitting themselves to their Bishop and to their ministry to God and His People; the Bishop and all priests then ask the deacons and people for a pledge of their prayerful support.

All are welcome to attend tonight at 6pm in Arundel Cathedral

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Sistine Chapel Ceiling in Sussex

The Creation of Adam as painted by Deacon Gary Bevans
English Martyrs, Goring-by-sea is now open for viewing our their ever-popular ceiling. This year also marks the 450th anniversary of the completion of the original in the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo.  

GaryBevans, who completed the copy about twenty years ago, has been serving our parish as Deacon for the last four years. Gary was inspired by a visit to Rome and the Sistine Chapel, but unlike Michelangelo Gary completed the ceiling alone and without the assistance of others.

They are open for viewing Tuesdays to Fridays from 10am to 4pm.  Those who have not already visited us have missed a world famous work of art – the only painted copy of Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the world!  

If you would like to bring a group and have an explanatory talk, please ring 01903 506890 (Church Repository) or 01903 14224 (Parish Office) No booking needed for individual.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Congratulations to New Bishop of Brentwood

Fr Alan Williams SM
Brentwood Diocese reports:
Pope Francis has appointed Father Alan Williams SM, currently the Director of the National Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham, as the seventh Bishop of Brentwood.

His episcopal ordination will take place at Brentwood Cathedral on 1st July 2014 at 12 noon.

The bishop-elect was born in Oldham, Lancashire in 1951. He took final vows in the Society of Mary [Marist Fathers] in 1981 and was ordained priest in St Anne’s Whitechapel in 1983.

Father Alan holds degrees in theology, psychology and religious education and has served in a number of pastoral roles. He has worked as a teacher and chaplain in secondary schools. He also served as Catholic Chaplain at Sheffield Hallam University and taught Christian Spirituality at postgraduate level.

He is a former major superior of the Marist Fathers in England and has worked as a parish priest in the Archdiocese of Southwark. At Walsingham he has had overall responsibility for pilgrimage and retreat work.

Father Alan Williams said:
“I am both surprised and humbled to have been appointed by Pope Francis as the new Bishop of Brentwood. There is indeed a God of surprises and in my life as a priest and religious I have learned to trust ever more in the grace of God for whatever task has been assigned to me.

“The Diocese of Brentwood embraces many and diverse communities in city and rural locations. I look forward to getting to know the people and clergy of the Diocese; I am aware that I will have a lot of learning and listening to do.

“Emeritus Pope Benedict encouraged Shrine Directors to have a special regard for those on the margins of the Church, ‘of weak ecclesial affiliation’. Great numbers of those on the margins make their way to England’s National Shrine at Walsingham. I believe that the pilgrim journey is an invitation to everyone; Pope Francis reminds us that those who accept the gospel are set free- ‘With Christ joy is constantly born anew’.

“There are many parishes, educational and other communities in Brentwood Diocese and my previous ministries as parish priest, teacher and school and university chaplain, have made me eager to share Christ’s joy with all whom I meet.

“I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor Bishop Thomas McMahon for his faithful and long service to the Diocese. I have worked in a number of different dioceses in England and I know that I can count on the generous support of the priests and deacons of Brentwood.

“I ask for your continued prayers as I undertake my new ministry. Over the years many pilgrims from Brentwood Diocese have made their way to Walsingham; my own pilgrimage now takes me to Brentwood under the patronage of Mary the mother of Jesus and all the saints of the Diocese.”

Outgoing Bishop Thomas McMahon said:
“I have been hugely privileged to be Bishop of this diocese for 34 years and now it is time to look to the future.

“I very much welcome the appointment of Fr Alan Williams SM as my successor. Those who have met him in his role at Walsingham – including many from our diocese – have always been deeply impressed by the outstanding hospitality, thoughtfulness and care for pilgrims that he has shown there. He now brings these pastoral gifts – so important in today’s Church and especially under the present pontificate – to a new and wider role as our next Bishop.

“Part of his charism is that focus on mission which is particularly to do with the fields of evangelisation and education. His skills are wide-ranging: as a former Major Superior to the Marist Communities in Britain, he has leadership experience; he has the pastoral experience of working in a parish; and his work in education is particularly apt for a diocese with nearly 100 schools.”

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Helping to Save the Jews of Hungary tells how two vatican diplomats saved 15,00 Jews in Hungary:
During World War II, more than 400,000 Jews were murdered by the Nazi regime in Hungary. Back then, the Vatican's nuncio was Angelo Rotta. He along with his secretary, Gennaro Verolino, helped saved roughly 15,000 Jews during the Holocaust.

MATTEO LUIGI: Author 'The Righteous of Budapest'
"They processed passports and left them blank, so that if someone needed to flee, they could do so. They also rented a series of building in Budapest. I think there were about 25 units. They created fictitious offices and they displayed the Vatican flag as if it was part of the nunciature. There they allowed Jews to hide.”

Back in Rome, the Vatican knew exactly what they were doing, and in fact, those two diplomats weren't the only ones. Back when he was a Vatican diplomat, John XXIII also helped Jews flee from the Nazis when he served as nuncio in Istanbul.

MATTEO LUIGI: Author 'The Righteous of Budapest'
"Verolino's letters clearly state this. He describes that the Pope was well aware of all these actions and all these delicate situations.”

"You can't just rent out 25 homes without informing the Holy See. Msgr. Verolino was directly in contact with other Eastern European nuncios, including Msgr. Roncalli, who later became John XXIII. They prepared passports so that Jews could flee to Palestine. The Holy See knew about this. So they weren't your typical rebels, but rather they were part of a much more strategic and complicated strategy.”

The work carried out by these diplomats has been openly recognized by the Jews.They even honored nuncio Angelo Rotta, by giving him the title 'Righteous Among the Nations,' which acknowledges people from other faiths, who helped Jews during the Holocaust.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Catholic Women Offer Support to Lourdes Charity

L-R: Mark Elms, Barbara Elms and Dave Turner
The Catholic Women's League Bexhill Section invited Mark Elms from HCPT, The Pilgrimage Trust to be a guest speaker at its monthly meeting to explain the work which the  Trust carries out. He told us that HCPT is a charity offering pilgrimage holidays to Lourdes in the south of France, for disabled and disadvantaged people from around the UK and further afield.

Every Easter over 1,000 disabled and disadvantaged children enjoy a week in Lourdes, staying in hotels with their volunteer helpers. Each Summer over 1,500 people, many of them disabled adults, enjoy a week at HCPT’s Hosanna House in Bartrès near Lourdes. HCPT is a Catholic charity and its services are open to all. Volunteers and beneficiaries come from all walks of life and from all faiths and none. 

Mark's talk was inspiring and uplifting, outlining the great work carried out by so many young adults in their caring for disadvantaged pilgrims. Our picture shows Mark, together with CWL Chairlady Barbara Elms who presented the CWL's donation cheque to Deacon Dave Turner, a Group leader for HCPT.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Invasion of Grace - Reflection from Fr Robert Barron

Fr Robert Barron
Fr Robert Barron of Word on Fire offers the following reflection today for Lent. You may not of heard of these baseball stars, but his reflection is still well worth reading:
"A few years ago, news reports revealed that baseball superstar Alex Rodriquez had been using steroids. By his own admission, the great A-Rod joined the sad ranks of Ken Caminiti, Rafael Palmiero, John Rocker, Mark Maguire, Roger Clemens, and of course Barry Bonds. But when I reflected on the two most prominent players in this scandal--A-Rod and Barry Bonds--something struck me with particular power. These two figures began using steroids--Bonds in 1998 and Rodriguez in 2001--when they were at the top of their games, when they were generally regarded as the best players in baseball. They both had sterling records, both were guaranteed a place in the Hall of Fame, both had more money than they could spend in ten lifetimes, both could out-hit, out-run, and out-play practically any player in the game.

But why would these gods of baseball, these men who were, without artificial help, dominating their respective leagues, turn to steroids? It has been suggested that Bonds was jealous of the national frenzy around the Maguire-Sosa homerun race in 1998 and that Rodriguez felt the pressure of living up to the expectations generated by his unprecedented contract. Fair enough. But I think that things go deeper than that.

St. Augustine spoke of "concupiscent desire," by which he meant a perversion of the will. We have, Augustine said, been wired for God ("Lord, you have made us for yourself"), and therefore, nothing in this world will ever be able finally to satisfy us ("our hearts are restless until they rest in thee"). When we hook our infinite desire for God onto something less than God--pleasure, money, power, success, honor, victory--we fall into a perverted and ultimately self-destructive pattern.

When money isn't enough (and it never is), we convince ourselves we need more and more of it; when honor isn't enough (and it never is), we seek honor desperately, obsessively; when athletic success isn't enough (and it never is), we will go to any extreme to assure more and more of it.

This awful and frustrating rhythm, which Augustine called "concupiscent," we would call today "addictive." Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez were not addicted to steroids per se; they were addicted to success, and we know this because they were at the pinnacle of success and still didn't think it was enough.

One of the most liberating and salutary things that we can know is that we are not meant to be perfectly happy in this life. When we convince ourselves otherwise, we, necessarily, fall into one or more forms of addiction. Bonds and Rodriguez still felt, at the height of their success, a nagging sense of incompleteness. That was not an invitation to take desperate measures; it was the invasion of grace.

As Lent nears its end, let your incompleteness be filled by God and not by any of the false, unsatisfying substitutes."

Monday, 7 April 2014

Looking for Joyful Women Evangelists

Nominations are invited for the 2014 Catholic Women of the Year. Every year, four women are honoured, chosen by ballot from nominations sent in from across Britain. Any Catholic woman can be nominated – and the aim is especially to honour those who are living out their faith publicly, in service and in witness, as part of the New Evangelisation of our country.

Pope Francis has emphasised joy – Evangelii Gaudium – the Joy of the Faith. We are looking for joyful women who teach the Faith, serve their local community, and share Catholic values with the next generation.

“In fidelity to the example of the Master, it is vitally important for the Church today to go forth and preach the Gospel to all: to all places, on all occasions, with­out hesitation, reluctance or fear. The joy of the Gospel is for all people: no one can be excluded”. (Pope Francis: Evangelii Gaudium)

How to nominate some one as a Catholic Woman of the Year
It’s simple. You can use the form here:
or you can send an email to:
or a letter to: Catholic Women of the Year 2014, 22 Milton Road, WARE, Herts SG12 0PZ

All we need from you to nominate some one is the lady’s name and information on why why she is being nominated: a few paragraphs setting out what she does, and where she does it, and the spirit in which she does it! The nomination can be from a friend, family member, or parish priest. It does not have to be long, but it must give relevant information – and must give the writer’s name and contact details. It is not necessary to obtain permission from the lady being nominated – for most of our Catholic Women of the Year, the honour comes as a complete surprise, and perhaps that’s the way it should be!

Closing date for nomination is April 30th 2014

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Schools Raises Money for Zambian Orphans

Mr Harris, Fr.Biggerstaff, School Head Boy,
Miss Crossley (School Charities Co-ordinator)
Cranmore School has raised over £4K for Orphans in Zambia in its annual Action Day.

Action Day is an annual fixture in the Cranmore School Calendar. Organised by the Director of Music, Richard Harris, every boy in the senior department (aged 8-13) participates in a full day of “action” which is given over to the performing arts. Richards says, “ Boys can choose to play an instrument, recite a poem or even perform in a humorous sketch. They raise money through sponsorship and all funds go to our chosen charity. We are delighted to support Mission Together which is part of Missio” 

Missio is the Catholic Mission Charity helping people across the world.

Fr Richard Biggerstaff, who collected the donation on behalf of the charity, delivered a powerful school assembly in which he explained how this sum alone would almost cover the full cost of a new house for the many orphans in need.

The final sum raised was £4,324.59.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Queen Elizabeth and her Meetings with Popes say:
Queen Elizabeth II has probably met more Popes than any other queen. She met Pius XII back in 1951 when she was still a princess. Then John XXIII in 1961. John Paul II met her twice at the Vatican and once in the UK, followed by Benedict XVI's visit in 2010.

Thursday marks the first meeting between Pope Francis and the Queen.

NIGEL BAKER - British Ambassador to the Holy See
"It will be an unusual visit, in one sense, at the Vatican because unlike her previous visits to Rome, protocol will be very light. This is a mutual preference.”

Despite the casual and informal atmosphere, the meeting is quite symbolic. 2014, marks 100 years since the UK and the Holy See established diplomatic relations.

NIGEL BAKER - British Ambassador to the Holy See
"That was in 1914 after a very long hiatus going back to 1570 when relations between the Holy See and England at the time were broken when Queen Elizabeth I was excommunicated by the Pope.”

Since then, there's been a lot of progress. The Queen is the supreme governor of the Church of England. Under her reign the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Anglican communion has improved dramatically. She also saw the effects of the Second Vatican Council come to life.

NIGEL BAKER - British Ambassador to the Holy See
"There are very few people she hasn’t met over the last 60 years, or more than 60 years now of her reign.”

In fact, Queen Elizabeth II is one of the few people who actually met John XXIII and John Paul II, both of whom will be canonized on April 27th. The Queen won't be able to make it to the ceremony, but a close family member will be there instead.

NIGEL BAKER - British Ambassador to the Holy See
"She is going to be represented at the canonization by her cousin, the Duke of Gloucester. For her it was very important that she was personally represented here for the canonization.”

So, April 3, 2014 will be jotted down in history as the day when Queen Elizabeth II held her 7th papal meeting.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Diocesan Youth Adviser Not Completely Hanging Up His Boots

Ray Mooney former Youth Adviser and now Lourdes Redshirt Co-ordinator
Ray Mooney, the Youth Adviser has announced his retirement. Ray has been in this role for 17 years. During his time he has overseen the creation and development of the Redshirts project which has become an important part of the diocesan Lourdes pilgrimage. Ray has worked closely with schools and has developed, among other things, the annual YouthGather event. He has also taken groups of young people to World Youth Days and worked with others in a variety of ways.

The growing links between the Redshirts and the main pilgrimage has made this a good moment in which to transfer responsibility for Redshirts to the Lourdes Pilgrimage Office. Ray will be retaining his involvement with the Redshirts through the Lourdes Office.

Ray’s departure creates a space on the pastoral team in the vital area of youth ministry. Bishop Kieran met with a number of people from across the diocese engaged in youth ministry recently to discuss the development of this area in the future.

In the meantime, we would all want to thank Ray for his many years of service to the Diocese and to wish him well in the next phase of the development of the Redshirts.

The post of Youth Adviser will be advertised in the near future.