Friday, 27 February 2015

Festival 50 Launch in Parishes this Weekend

Parishes around the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton are gearing up to launch Festival 50 in the parish and local area over the coming two weekends. With a message from Archbishop Peter Smith (see below) and a talk for use at Mass together with all the wealth of promotional materials this is a great opporunity to encourage people to both get involved, get the date in the diary and get themselves booked on one of the parish coaches.

All the information and materials for the launch are available on the Festival 50 webpages.

Message from Archbishop Peter Smith about Festival 50

Archbishop Peter Smith, as Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese has sent parishes a message about Festival 50.

He says "‘Festival 50’ on 5th July this year will be an important event in the history of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton. I hope and pray that many of the people of the Diocese will be inspired to participate in the day, especially those who are sick and infirm. I invite you all to join me at the Festival, in the morning from 10am and for the Jubilee Mass at 3pm.."

You find out more about Festival 50 here

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Aquinas - Great Catholic Thinker Poster

This together with other posters in the series are available from the Diocesan Bookshop and from CTS. They are produced by Arundel & Brighton Diocesan Priest Fr Andrew Pinsent.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Festival 50 Supplement with A&B News this month

This month's A&B News carries Festival 50 Supplement with information and ideas of how to get involved. Pick yours up in your local parish this weekend.

See for more information.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Peter Smith Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

to be read at all Masses on the weekend of 14/15 February 2015

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The recent and on-going crisis of the Ebola virus in Africa, the scourge of Aids and to a lesser extent the fear of bird flu a few years ago, perhaps can give us some insight into the plight of the person with leprosy, mentioned in today’s readings from the Book of Leviticus and in the Gospel of Mark. In Old Testament times leprosy inspired fear and dread, and those suffering from it were isolated and cut off from their communities.  Perhaps that’s why, over the centuries, leprosy was used as a metaphor for sin. Pope Francis uses a different image which he calls “spiritual destitution”. “If we think we don’t need God who reaches out to us through Christ, because we believe we can make it on our own, we are headed for a fall.” And that way of putting it perhaps reminds us of the ‘fall’ of Adam and Eve which disrupted the harmonious relationship between God and humankind. It was then that God took the initiative, because only God could restore that relationship, because God alone can truly save us and free us from sin. And that he did when in due time, he sent his only-begotten Son, to become one like us in everything but sin. He came to heal a broken and fragile humanity, and he continues to do so through the gift of the Holy Spirit and the sacraments of the Church.

Those readings and metaphors are a fruitful basis for our thinking and reflection as we approach the Season of Lent, which begins next Wednesday. We cannot transform and change our lives for the better without God’s help, and if we think we can, then we are deluding ourselves. And we also need good friends to accompany us on our journey of faith, and encourage us to seek God’s help. We are all in some way or other subject to incapacity, whether through sin and selfishness, or simply human weakness and fragility. If our lives are to be transformed and renewed, then we need the grace of the Holy Spirit and the support and encouragement of each other.
Lent offers us once again an opportunity to reflect upon the very heart of Christian life: God loves you and me with a steadfast and unconditional love, and he asks us to love him and our neighbour in return. Lent is a favourable time to renew our journey of faith, both as individuals and as a community, with the help of the word of God and the sacraments, and especially during this season the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is a journey marked by prayer, fasting and almsgiving; three of the principal ways that help us grow in our love for God and for our brothers and sisters, especially the poor and the isolated.  
This special time is given to us by the Church to help us in preparing to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ - the great feast of Easter - in just over six weeks’ time. During this time the Church exhorts us to get to know God better, and to get to know ourselves better too! He wants us to “incarnate”, to embody, that love and compassion in our relationships with one another and to express it in a practical way, particularly to those who are in any kind of need. He commands us to use generously the gifts and talents we have received from the Holy Spirit for the building up of the community of his Church; to help build that communion of love, compassion and mercy, which reflects the very life of the Trinity.
My experience over the years is that in order to do as the Lord asks of me, my heart must be united with his heart; I must come to know him more deeply, and abide with him day by day with ever greater commitment. Lent is that “favourable time” for me to ask myself some searching questions about where I stand with God, and how I am responding to the commission he has given to all of us who are baptised. I cannot do that fruitfully unless I become more attentive to the word of God in the scriptures and through spending time each day in prayer. I cannot, from my own resources, produce the fruit that will last, unless I allow the living Word of God to nurture my faith and trust in Him who loves me unconditionally with a steadfast love; who looks on me in my weakness with great mercy and compassion.   That living word of God is life-giving. It not only informs my mind and heart, so that I come to know him better, but also transforms my life so that I can indeed become “the light of the world”, “the salt of the earth.” I know too that I will never be perfect in this life, but I am often comforted by the words of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta: “God doesn’t ask us to be successful - he asks us to be faithful.”

“Behold I stand at the door and knock.” This Lent, I shall be asking myself the question, “Am I open to hear that knock at the door of my heart each day, and am I going to open that door and welcome him in, whatever the cost to myself?” If I’m realistic, I know I have so little to give him, yet in my heart of hearts, I also know and believe that the little I have, he can, and will, multiply in abundance.

With an assurance of my prayers and blessing for you all this Lent,

Apostolic Administrator

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Holocaust Survivor shares his incredible story with Catholic School

Ladislaus aged 11 on entry into Switzerland
As this spring marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps by the Allies, St Leonards-Mayfield School has chosen to commemorate this event in a way that our students will remember and reflect on in later life. With the co-operation of several departments, the Religious Studies Department arranged for an appropriate speaker to address the girls of Year 11 and some Sixth Formers and staff. This is the second such visitor to Mayfield and follows the successful talk by Rudi Oppenheimer to the girls of Year 8 last Summer Term.

Professor Ladislaus Löb was born in 1933 in Transylvania and was only a small boy when his thought provoking testimony truly began. Interspersed with humour and pathos, Ladislaus told the girls and staff present his story. How, following the Hungarian occupation of Transylvania, he was accused of “attacking the Hungarian nation” by trying to catch a fluttering Hungarian flag and how his mother died in 1942 before the Hungarian holocaust began.

In 1944 Ladislaus and his father were deported to a ghetto before escaping and moving to Budapest. They were selected to join a transport of 1700 Jews on the “Kastner Train”, which involved a Hungarian Jewish Lawyer named Rudolf Kastner arranging for the purchase of 1700 Jews from one of the greatest architects of the Sho’ah, Adolf Eichmann.

Ladislaus then recounted that, despite the purchase being made, the group were routed to Bergen-Belsen and remained there for five months before being transported to Switzerland. In his hour long address he described the appalling conditions in Belsen before the liberation and also told the tragic story of Kastner’s trial in Israel for alleged collaboration for buying the freedom of Jews from the Nazis, his assassination by fellow Jews, and his posthumous acquittal.

The girls and staff were then able to ask Professor Löb questions and these covered many topics; how he felt about Germans and Hungarians, whether he had to have a tattoo in Belsen and what advice he could give the girls for their future. This lecture, while relevant to the girls’ GCSE studies in Religious Studies, also has much wider applications, both to their academic and also ethical and moral education. Following his address he posed for a photo with each Tutor Group, and was thanked repeatedly by staff and students alike.

The visit was a great success and was well received by his listeners. We are currently planning for other visits so that as many girls as possible will have the great opportunity to meet with such witnesses while they are still able to share their stories.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Newman Catholic College in Hove Officially Opens

Cardinal Cormac addressing the gathering
The Official Opening of Newman College, the new sixth form centre of Cardinal Newman Catholic School, was conducted by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor recently. The Cardinal will be back in our Diocese to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Diocese on 5th July at the Amex Stadium in nearby Falmer.

The opening was a lovely ceremony attended by many friends of the school both past and present. Special thanks was given to the Architect and Building teams for creating the new Sixth Form Centre. Some current students of Newman College also talked about what the new building meant to them and how it had improved their learning environment.

The new centre has state-of-the-art facilities and cost £4 million to build. It was a very ambitious project and took just 10 months to complete. The new centre comprises of classrooms, a lecture theatre, a library, common room and offices. The school has been preparing the plans for the past three years and it involved input from the school’s students who will be able to use the facilities as they move up through the school.

The additional space means that the school’s sixth form can now expand to offer further education to 500 students where as the previous sixth form could only provide space for 300 students. It is one of the most popular and successful sixth forms in the city so this new centre offers much-needed space for more students.

Headteacher, Dr James Kilmartin said: “'It was a great honour for us that Cardinal Cormac agreed to bless and open our new building. As a former Bishop of Arundel and Brighton he has had a long and close association with the school. Our new building will help to inspire both students and staff to be the best they can be and ensure that our Sixth Form truly is a "springboard to success."

Newman College welcomes applications from any students, aged 16-18, who want to succeed and be part of a caring community. The Sixth Form Centre welcomes all faiths – students join from a range of schools, both in and out of Brighton and Hove. If you are considering joining our Sixth Form, please contact Mrs Jones on 01273 234332 or email Further details on what we can offer are also available on 

Newman College Entrance

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Congratulations to Stephen Bloy on BBC's The Voice

Many congratulations to Stephen Bloy, a member of Crawley Parish in Arundel & Brighton Diocese who this January appeared on BBC's The Voice.

Within three days of his performance there had been over 70,000 YouTube hits.

You can watch it now.