Saturday, 31 May 2014

Pope to meet with victims of sexual abuse at the Vatican in June offers feedback from Pope's press conference on the flight back from the Holy Land: Pope Francis will meet for the first time with eight victims of sexual abuse committed by priests at Casa Santa Marta. Boston Card. Sean O'Malley will join him for the private meeting, which will take place in the first days of June.

In a press conference on board the return flight from the Holy Land, the Pope reiterated the Church's zero tolerance policy, and denied that some clerics enjoy certain privileges. He also revealed that three bishops are currently under investigation for allegedly covering up abuse.

"A priest that does this betrays the body of the Lord, because these priests need to lead this boy, this girl, this young man, this young woman, to holiness. And this boy, this girl, they trust him. And this priest, instead of leading them to holiness, abuses them. This is very serious. It's like... I'll give you a comparison: it's like a Satanic Mass. You have to lead them to holiness, and instead you give them a problem that lasts their entire life.”

Pope Francis also addressed financial scandals within the Vatican. He said there will always be scandals, because humans are also sinners. But he added that honesty and transparency are the key to good economic management.

When asked about married clergy, the Pope explained that celibacy in the priesthood is not a "dogma,” but a "rule of life,” which he said he appreciated greatly and considered it to be "a gift for the Church.” But he admitted that there are other priorities. When asked if he'd consider stepping down, like Benedict XVI, Pope Francis said he would listen to God's will.

"Seventy years ago bishop emeritus did not exist. Today we have so many. What will happen with Popes emeritus? I think we should look at it as an institution, that he opened the door to, that of Popes emeritus. Will there be more? Only God knows. But the door is open.”

On the topic of divorced and remarried Catholics, the Pope said they should not be treated as "strangers.” He added that they will address this complex issue during the Synod of the Family, looking into several aspects like communion and the current process for marriage annulments.

Speaking about other challenges that the Church faces today, Pope Francis denounced yet again the current economic crisis, and the "throw away culture” it creates. But in addition to the elderly and defenseless, he talked about its effect on the large number of youth employment worldwide.

"This means that there is an entire generation of young people that do not study and do not work, and this is very serious. En entire generation of young people is cast off. This throw away culture is very serious.”

During the press conference, Pope Francis insisted that dialogue is the only way to achieve peace in the Holy Land. He added that this dialogue should also decide on the status of Jerusalem, which he said should be the capital of the three major monotheistic religions.

Lastly, the Pope also confirmed he will travel to Asia not only in August, but early next year. He will visit South Korea in a few months. Meanwhile in January, he will travel to Sri Lanka and the Philippines, where he will tour several areas destroyed by the typhoon last year.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Best images of Pope Francis' trip to the Holy Land 2014 provides a montage from his three-day trip to the Holy Land when Pope Francis lived and was at the center of historical moments.

Among them, his meeting with refugees by the Jordan River and the Lord's Prayer he recited along with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Also, the heartfelt hug he gave a Rabbi and a Muslim leader before the Western Wall.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Vatican announces Anti-Human Trafficking campaign for Brazil's World Cup 2014 says: "It's no secret that Pope Francis is a huge soccer fan. In the past year, he has received everything from personalized jerseys to signed soccer balls.

On a social level, it's also true that he has been very vocal about condemned human trafficking.

Now a group of religious are putting these two factors together, by launching a campaign against human trafficking, specifically during the World Cup in Brazil in mid June. It's called: Play for Life.

"Without this awareness, the World Cup Final may turn out to be a terrible shame instead of a feast for humanity.”

The campaign is being launched by Talitha Kum, which includes a worldwide network of women religious who for years now, have helped victims and developed prevention programs. Falling into the trap, they say, isn't as complicated as it may seem. A false promise of a better job is often the hook.

"They trick them by offering them what seems to be like a dream job in another city or foreign country, so they go voluntarily. But then they're forced into prostitution. The fact that they go voluntarily at first makes the business more lucrative and much more easier for the criminals.”

The plan of action is already underway in Brazil. It includes marketing in the cities buses and metros, education in schools and a presence at airports and other high risk areas.

But when it comes to human trafficking, these sisters say, it's not just about sexual exploitation. The problem also includes the sale of organs, forced labor and vulnerable children also face high risks.

"There are a lot of forms of kidnapping. This includes the adoption of kids who eventually disappear without a trace. Then there are those who are kidnapped to be beggars.”

About 21 million people are affected by this crime worldwide. Some experts the industry is becoming even more lucrative than the sale of illegal drugs.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Bishop Kieran's Invitation to the Diocesan Festival 2014

Bishop Kieran Conry invites the whole Diocese of Arundel & Brighton to come along on 29 June to the Diocesan Festival 2014 at St Wilfrid's Catholic School in Crawley as we prepare for the Diocesan Golden Jubilee in 2015.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Bishop Kieran Joins Twin Diocese of Chulucanas for 50 Year Celebration

Peruvian family in the Diocese of Chulucanas
Bishop Kieran has traveled to Peru to the Diocese of Chulucanas which is twinned with the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton. They celebrate 50 years of their existence this year just as this diocese celebrates 50 years in 2015. Bishop Kieran will be meeting and spending time with the people, religious and clergy of the diocese including their Bishop, Dan Turley OSA.

The picture above was taken by Fr Kevin Dring who worked in the Diocese of Chulucanas for several years. He together with other priests who worked there together with Fr Hugh Dutton who is still working there will join the celebrations.

They hope to invite some catechists, clergy and Bishop Dan back to England in 2015 to join in our own celebrations on 5th July at Jubilee15 in the Amex Stadium in Brighton.

We look forward to hearing from the Bishop on his return and he sharing his stories at the upcoming Diocesan Festival 2014 on 29 June at St Wilfrid's Catholic School, Crawley.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Bishop in Europe Encourage Catholics to Vote on Thursday 22 May

The Catholic Bishops of Europe publish today a Statement in view of the upcoming European elections. In this text, they reaffirm their support for the European project. They encourage all citizens of the European Union to go to the polling booths on the 22nd and 25th May, and to start engaging, during the run-up to the election, in constructive dialogue with their MEP’s and those who are candidates for seats.

At the same time, COMECE invites the Bishops’ conferences in the EU, to adopt this text, either by using it as an Election Statement as such or as an inspiration for their own election statements.

The text reads as follows:
Elections to the European Parliament take place on 22 – 25 May 2014. The outcome will shape the legislature of the EU for the next half-decade and will have major implications for those who lead the Union over the coming years.

It is essential that EU citizens participate in the democratic process through casting their vote on polling day. The stronger the turn-out, the stronger the new legislature.

The run-up to the election offers an opportunity for the whole of European society to debate the central socio-economic questions which will shape the Union in the years ahead.

We feel it is our duty, as the Bishops of COMECE, to offer guidance to the EU voter in forming his or her conscience, and we wish to do this by highlighting issues of importance, assessing them through the prism of Catholic social teaching.

Even if we speak, in the first instance, only to those EU citizens who are Catholic, we would hope that our counsel may also receive a favourable hearing from all men and women of good will who care about the success of the European project. We would hope that our voice be also heard by those seeking a mandate to serve in the European Parliament.

We begin by drawing attention to some general considerations:

1. It is the right and duty of every EU citizen to cast his or her vote. Many millions of young citizens will be voting for the first time, some still in education, others in the labour market, but many, alas, unemployed. We urge our young people to make their voices heard by engaging in the political debate and, above all, by voting.

2. It is important that those aspiring to office or seeking to return to the European Parliament be aware of the collateral damage of the banking and economic crises which began in 2008. Pope Francis has drawn public attention to the plight of those already poor and vulnerable, the young and the disabled, not forgetting those pushed into poverty recently by the crisis. The numbers of “new poor ”are growing at an alarming rate.

3. The Christian message is one of hope. It is our belief that the European project is inspired by a noble view of mankind. Individual citizens, communities and even nation-states must be capable of putting aside particular interest in pursuit of the common good. The papal exhortation Ecclesia in Europa issued by Pope John Paul II in 2003 was one of hope, and it is with a firm belief in a better future that the Church approaches the European challenge.

4. Temperance is one of the natural virtues at the heart of Christian spirituality. A culture of restraint must shape the social-market economy and environment policy. We must learn to live with less, but by the same token see that those in real poverty get a fairer share.

There are specific areas of EU policy to which we might also direct the attention of our fellow-citizens:

1. It is important that the increasing moves towards unity within the EU do not sacrifice the subsidiarity principle, a basic pillar of the unique family of nation-states which constitutes the EU, nor compromise the long-standing traditions which prevail in so many of the Member States.

2. Another pillar of the Union but also a principle which is at the base of Catholic social teaching is solidarity. It should be seen to govern policy at every level across the EU, between nations, regions and population groups. We need to build a different Europe, with solidarity at its heart.

3. It is essential to recall that underpinning all areas of socio-economic policy is a vision of man rooted in profound respect for human dignity. Human life must be protected from the moment of conception to that of natural death. The family, as the basic building-block of society, must also enjoy the protection it needs.

4. Europe is a continent on the move and migration – internal and from outside – impacts on the life of the individual and of society. The EU has a common external border. The responsibility of reception and integration of migrants and asylum seekers needs to be shared proportionately by the Member States. It is vital that treatment of migrants at the point of entry be humane, that their human rights be scrupulously respected, and that subsequently every effort be made, including by the Churches, to secure successful integration into host societies within the EU.

5. We are stewards of creation and we must deepen our resolve to respect and attain CO2 emission targets, promote international understanding on climate change, commit ourselves to a greener approach and insist that sustainability be a fundamental element of any growth or development policy.

6. Religious freedom is a fundamental feature of a tolerant, open society. This freedom includes the right to manifest one’s belief in public. We welcome the EU guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion and belief, and we hope that the new European Parliament will intensify its work on this important matter.

7. We support all measures to protect the commonly shared weekly day of rest, which is Sunday.

8. Over the next five years demographic change will make a deeper impact on the life of the EU. We plead on behalf of our elderly citizens for the level and quality of care to which they are entitled, but would plead also for policies that create new opportunities for the young.

The European Union is at a turning point. The economic crisis, sparked by the banking collapse of 2008, and the burden of public debt have strained relationships between Member States, has challenged the foundational principle of solidarity across the Union, and has brought in its wake increasing poverty for a huge number of citizens as well as blighting the future prospects of many of our young. The situation is dramatic, for many even tragic.

We, Catholic Bishops, would plead that the European project not be put at risk nor abandoned under current duress. It is essential that all of us – politicians, candidates for office, all stake-holders – contribute constructively to fashioning Europe’s future. We have too much to lose if the European project is derailed.

It is essential that all of us who are European citizens go to the polling booths on 22 – 25 May. We Bishops would urge that votes be cast in response to the promptings of an informed conscience.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Pope Francis Appoints New Bishop of Hallam

Bishop Ralph Heskett CSSR
Catholic Communications Network reports: The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has appointed as the new Bishop of Hallam, the Right Reverend Ralph Heskett CSSR, until now the Bishop of Gibraltar.

Bishop Heskett thanked the people and priests of Gibraltar as he announced his leaving for Hallam.

“My first visit to Gibraltar was in 1981. I think that it is fair to say that I immediately fell in love with Gibraltar and its people. Today, 33 years on, I am still in love with Gibraltar and its people!

“For nearly 30 years, I regarded Gibraltar as my second home and then, to my great surprise and delight, in 2010, Gibraltar became my permanent home and the people of Gibraltar, my extended family. Over the last four years, I have been very happy here and have experienced at first hand the warmth and affection of the people of Gibraltar for which I shall be eternally grateful.

“So it is with great sadness that I announce that I must take my leave. I have been asked by Pope Francis to be the next Bishop of Hallam in the UK in succession to Bishop John Rawsthorne. I was surprised to be asked to be bishop four years ago and I am even more surprised now to be asked to be the new bishop of Hallam. Over the last four years, when I have been asked, “How long do you expect to be in Gibraltar?” I have always replied, “Until they bury me in the crypt of the cathedral!” And I fully believed that this would be the case.

“It is sometimes difficult to see the hand of God at work in the different circumstances of life but having had the time to reflect over the last few days on recent events, I am sure that this change in all our lives is part of God’s plan for the diocese of Gibraltar, for the priests and people of the Hallam diocese and for me.

“I came to Gibraltar to be bishop in a spirit of obedience to Pope Benedict and now, I must leave in a spirit of obedience to Pope Francis to take up the new mission he has entrusted to me. To be asked to pastor and shepherd of two different diocesan families is a privilege I do not deserve and a responsibility I feel inadequate to undertake. This will be a great personal challenge for me as I leave Gibraltar and the priests and people I love. It is also an invitation to be generous in serving the diocese of Hallam.

“The Church here in Gibraltar is a great praying community. More prayer takes place here in Gibraltar per square metre than anywhere else in the world, I suspect! Today I ask you for a continued share in those prayers. Knowing that I have the support of your prayers will give me the courage and confidence I need to take up the new task entrusted to me.”

The Right Reverend John Rawsthorne, Bishop of Hallam, said he was delighted at the appointment, having known Bishop Heskett as a parish priest in Liverpool.

“He will fit in very well in Hallam. He has a lot of parish experience as he is a very fine pastor as well as being a good preacher. The people of this Diocese are very warm and welcoming. They will take him to their hearts in no time at all. My 17 years here have been marked by the welcome and close collaboration of all of the priests and the people of Hallam.”

On learning of the appointment, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said, “I warmly welcome the news of the appointment by Pope Francis of Bishop Ralph Heskett CSSR as the new Bishop of Hallam. Over the past four years Bishop Heskett’s presence as an official observer at the Plenary Assembly meetings of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has been very much valued and appreciated. On behalf of all the bishops, I can assure him of our prayers as he prepares for his installation in St Marie’s Cathedral in Sheffield and of our support in the years ahead.”

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Praying for Christians in the Holy Land - Sunday 25 May 2014

Bishop Kieran has asked all parishes in the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton to observe an hour of Adoration from 3-4pm on Sunday 25 May 2014 for the Christians of Palestine.

This is to coincide with Pope Francis’ visit to the Holy Land during his time in Bethlehem.

Linked to this call for prayer the Diocese has a Justice & Peace Assembly on Saturday 17 May 2014 titled 'Israel – Palestine: Any hope for Justice & Peace?' This will take place at the Christian Education Centre, 4 Southgate Drive, Crawley RH10 6RP. All are welcome to attend. 

The Knights of St Columba in Sussex Province also have a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Consolation at West Grinstead on Sunday 25 May 2014 from 3pm with Rosary, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. There will be tea and cakes afterwards. All welcome to attend.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Continue to Pray for Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life

Please continue to pray for vocations to the priesthood following on from Vocations Sunday last weekend. Our Arundel & Brighton seminarians are: Tristan (Rome), Joe & Edmund (Wonersh), Robin (awaiting an ordination date) and Tom (Valladolid). In September Wonersh will welcome Martin, Andrew and Peter. Pray for them all and for many many many vocations to the priesthood for this diocese.

Vocations in England and Wales have been on the rise over the last decade, with nearly 100 men and women entering convents, seminaries and religious houses in 2013.

“These figures highlight the generosity of Catholic women and men in responding to God’s call,” said Fr Christopher Jamison, Director of the Catholic Church’s National Office for Vocation. “They also show that the emphasis on discernment before recruitment is working”.

These entry figures include 44 men to seminary, 22 men to religious life and 30 women to religious life.

This rise in numbers is attributed to various factors, such as the work of diocesan and religious vocations directors (well done our own Fr Terry Martin, Director for Vocations). There are also vocations groups which invite men and women to take part in various gatherings (including Arundel & Brighton). Recently, two dioceses in England have set up residential communities to facilitate the discernment of priestly vocations.

Fr. Jamison adds that there is no room for complacency. “For Vocations Sunday on 11 May we sent out posters and mini cards to parishes and schools up and down the country asking people to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life”.

For more information on vocations to the priesthood and religious life contact Fr Terry Martin or visit the vocations website.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Continue to Pray for all those Received into the Church at Easter

Continue to pray for all those received this Easter into the Church

Pray that they stay strong in their faith

Monday, 12 May 2014

Edwin Fawcett - Music for God

Listen to this report from about Edwin Fawcett who has performed his music in this diocese many times. tell us that the British singer and composer Edwin Fawcett likes to say that God gave him the gift of music 15 years ago. Since then, he takes every chance possible to load his songs with profound lyrics.

He started taking piano lessons in a conservatory and also sung in a gospel choir. Later, he was composing his own music for the first time.

Fawcett grew up in East London and his music is full of the variety that distinguishes that area: he mixes jazz, soul, R&B and even indie!

Not by chance Fawcett proudly states that 100 different countries are present every week at his parish for Sunday Mass.

His latest album 'Behold,' features 17 instrumental and vocal tracks, five of which were composed by Facwett himself and his sister Hermione.

This is his fourth album overall. Edwin Facwett says they all are an attempt to repay God for the gift of music.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Pray for Fr Mark Elvin OFM Cap who died last week

Please Pray for the repose of the soul of Fr Mark Elvin OFM Cap, former priest of the Arundel & Brighton Diocese who died last week.
May he rest in peace.