Monday, 15 May 2017

Christians in Africa - Pope's Video for May 2017

Africa is a continent full of life, with a great cultural and religious patrimony. We cannot abandon it. Let us join our voices to the voice of the African peoples.

“When we look at Africa, we see much more than its great natural richness.

We see its joie de vivre, and above all, we see grounds for hope in Africa’s rich intellectual, cultural and religious heritage.

But we cannot fail to see the fratricidal wars decimating peoples and destroying these natural and cultural resources.

Let us join with our brothers and sisters of this great continent, and pray together that Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace.”

From the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer):

If you would like to see other videos on the pope’s prayer intentions, you will find them at:

With the collaboration of the Vatican Television Center: (

Produced by La Machi Communication:

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Bishop Richard Moth on the Risky Business of the Call to Priesthood - Pastoral Letter

Bishop Richard Moth Ordaining a Priest
In his Pastoral Letter for 4th Sunday of Easter, 7th May to the people of Surrey and Sussex the Bishop of Arundel & Brighton, Rt Rev Richard Moth, speaking of vocation to the priesthood, echoed the words of Pope Francis that being open to the possibility of a priestly vocation involves both good will and a certain risk.

Bishop Richard said, “Good will leads to an openness of mind and heart that enable us to listen to the stirrings of the Holy Spirit.” These stirrings of the Spirit are to be discerned in prayer and through the actions and example of people around us.

The risk says Bishop Richard is that “the decision to reflect further on Priestly Vocation and to offer oneself for Formation and Ordination is a step into life-long commitment and service.”

The whole of the Church in the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton also has a role in promoting vocations, especially through prayer. Bishop Richard to assist in this work of prayer has produced a new Vocations Prayer card which has been sent to all parishes to be given out a Masses on 7th May.

Bishop Richard concludes “To those of you who sense these stirrings of the Holy Spirit, calling you to service of Christ and his Church, I say this: be open to the call, pray, take the risk. Be a part of the Mission of this Diocese as a Priest. You are needed and valued by the whole of our Diocesan Family and can be assured of the prayers and support of all.”

You can read the full letter on the Diocesan website.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Charity Concert - Friar Alessandro, 'Voice from Assisi'

Friar Alessandro
A charity concert on Saturday 6th May at 7.45pm, supported by the RC Archdiocese of Southwark and hosted by St George's Cathedral, featuring the much acclaimed 'Voice from Assisi' Friar Alessandro Brustenghi.

A collection will be taken during this concert, and the proceeds will be shared by: The CAFOD East Africa Crisis Appeal and Caritas Bakihta House supporting women who have escaped human trafficking.

Download poster from the Diocesan website for more information.

Admission: with reserved ticket only available by clicking here.  

You can also see him perform here on YouTube

Thursday, 20 April 2017

In the Footsteps of the Nazarene: Fr. Behnam Benoka

In a return visit to the west, Fr. Benoka has granted us another interview in "In the Footsteps of the Nazarene." Fr. Benoka is an Iraqi priest residing in Kurdistan, where he founded several dispensaries and medical centers for Iraqi refugees who have left their homes because of persecution. 

In this program, he informs us on the current situation of the Christians in Iraqi Kurdistan: their concerns, the current health situation, the miracles that they witness every day thanks to Providence that allows them to continue onwards and on which they "hang." Moreover, Fr. Behnam Benoka takes us deeper into the reality of the conflict that, sooner or later, will leave its mark on Europe. He encourages us to defend the Christian roots of a continent which, little by little, is being Islamized at an accelerated pace.

Follow Him who is the Truth and His witnesses, in "In the footsteps of the Nazarene." See 

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Bishop Richard Moth's Homily for Chrism Mass - a Mission of Service

Bishop Richard ordaining a priest
©A& Diocese 2017
Whenever we gather for the Chrism Mass, the Church is truly present: people, deacons, priests, bishop and today’s liturgy presents us with a wonderful moment to reflect on the call that the Lord gives to his Church.

This call is reflected in our Liturgy today most especially through the focus on the great gift of the Sacraments that the Lord has given to us and on the renewal of Priestly Service.

The Church exists to call people together in the love that exists in the Blessed Trinity. We are called to live in relationship with one another and within the never-ending love that we experience in Father, Son and Spirit. The Church has, therefore, a very clear mission. It is the mission of Jesus Himself. It is foreshadowed by the prophet Isaiah and taken up explicitly by Jesus Himself in his words in the Synagogue in Nazareth.

The Particular Church that is our Diocese has the task of bringing the good news to the poor, proclaiming liberty to captives, sight to the blind, freedom for the downtrodden and the bringing about of the Lord’s year of favour. In a society that is so often driven by a secularist agenda, this call from Christ takes on a particular and challenging significance. Indeed, at this present time in the history of this country, when so many are experiencing times of uncertainty, the message of the Gospel – calling people into unity as children of the Father – offers the only real answer. This Mission of the Church – of our Diocese – is as vital as it has ever been.

In the Liturgy of the Church, we express what we believe, what we know to be true. In today’s celebration we bless and consecrate the Oils that will be used in the administration of the Sacraments. These Oils speak to us of our mission:

The Welcome that is offered to the Catechumen, the one preparing for Baptism: This is at the centre of our Mission, for Baptism is the gateway to the Christian Life, that moment of union with the Blessed Trinity in whose love we are called to live.

The comfort and healing that is brought to the sick and the dying in the Sacrament of the Sick: The mission to the weak is at the centre of our Mission, for it is at the centre of Jesus’ ministry too. We recognise the suffering Christ in the one who suffers. Every one of us is called to reach out to the poor and disadvantaged – something of which Pope Francis reminds is very often in his call for the Church to live in simplicity and in openness to the weakest in our world.

The service of the Church: expressed in the Chrism that is consecrated today. This oil, used in the year ahead in Sacrament of Confirmation and in the Ordination of Priests brings is the sign of the outpouring of the Spirit on those whom Christ calls and enables to be committed to the Christian Life and to the leadership through service to the Church. The Church is a Servant Church – and very often in today’s world a Suffering Servant Church. If we lose sight of Service, we lose sight of who we are called to be.

Our Diocesan Family must be a place of Welcome – welcome for our Catholic Community, especially those who, for whatever reason, have become a little detached from the community of faith. We must also be a Serving Church. It is in that Service to which Christ calls us in today’s Gospel that we shall truly become the community of faith we are called to be.

Our priests will soon re-commit themselves to the Service to which they were called at Ordination. We rejoice in their commitment and each of you is called to pray for them and for me too. As they make their renewal of Priestly Promises, I invite everyone in this Cathedral Church and all in the Diocese to pray for our priests and for vocations to the Priesthood.

Let us also reflect on the call to service that is the joy of every one of the baptised. Service to family and loved ones, service to the wider world and most especially the weak, oppressed and those who have lost sight of the God who loves them. In the measure that we do not reach our in welcome, healing and service – in that measure we are less than the Church we are called to be.

Service must be a constant reality for us. As we receive the One who gave all out of love for us, surely our truly valid response must be Service of our brothers and sisters, motivated solely by the love we have first received.

The Oils, this celebration of the Eucharist, the Renewal of Promises that take place this evening: All are calls to Service and Mission. May our Diocese be truly a community of Mission – the Mission in which Christ Himself calls us to share.

Bishop of Arundel & Brighton

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Bishop Richard Moth Launches Flood Relief Appeal for Peru

As a result of severe flooding hit Peru in March affecting both countryside and cities including areas in our twin Diocese of Chulucanas, where priests from Arundel & Brighton have served over the years, Bishop Richard has launched an appeal for flood relief in the parishes of our Diocese.

Bishop Dan in Chulucanas, has made known the plight of many of his people affected by this natural disaster. The homes and livelihoods of many in the Diocese have been hard hit. Bishop Richard Moth has asked parishes in the Diocese to take a special collection.

Bishop Richard offers his thanks, in advance, for your response to this need. He also asked that you remember in prayer Bishop Dan, all the people priests of his Diocese including Fr Hugh Dutton from our own Diocese serving in Chulucanas.

You can donate via a special donation site direct to the Diocese online or give via a second collection held in your parish for which you can use Diocesan second collection gift-aid envelopes.

Picture shows Bishop Dan Turley at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Arundel & Brighton Diocese in 2015 ©Mazur/

Friday, 7 April 2017

Local food celebrity fundraises for East Africa Emergency Appeal

Rosemary Moon in action

Food writer and champion of local food, Rosemary Moon, has held a fundraising cookery demonstration in a bid to help the millions who face starvation in East Africa.

On 23rd March the parish hall of Our Lady of Sorrows, Bognor Regis, was transformed into a kitchen filled with delectable delights. With the assistance of sous chef, assistant priest Fr. David King, Rosemary cooked a variety of dishes including onion and chilli tabbouleh, butternut noodles with salmon and coconut and a citrus winter fruit salad. Taster areas were set around the room where guests could sample the dishes, which were made using Fairtrade ingredients where possible. £150 was raised for CAFOD’s East Africa appeal

Cookery demonstrator and organiser, Rosemary Moon, said:

“I have a skill and if by contributing the cost of the ingredients and using this skill, people come and have a great evening and the net result is hundreds of pounds for charity, then it’s a no brainer – why not?”

“People think, what possibly can my £1 or £5 do in East Africa, but you have to dig in your pocket and know that it for people out there, it will make a difference. As well as giving money, you have to think about what changes you can make at home to stop climate change, which has been a huge factor in causing the famine. By walking more, using Fairtrade products and so on you can be sure as eggs are eggs that it will make a difference. It’s two-fold – you have to look at what changes you can make and give money.”

In East Africa, there are currently over 16 million people in need of urgent food and other life-saving assistance. Despite the challenges, CAFOD makes sure that aid reaches the families who are most in need, through the network of trusted local organisations which CAFOD works with in South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. The money raised by Our Lady of Sorrows will help CAFOD ensure that assistance reaches those who so desperately need it.

CAFOD’s representative for Bognor Regis, Martin Brown, said:

“We would like to say a big thank you to Rosemary for running the demonstration and for Fr. David King and Our Lady of Sorrows for hosting the evening. It was clearly a huge success and the generosity of you all, and those who attended, is greatly appreciated.”

If you would like to try one of Rosemary’s recipes, then why not try the Onion and chilli tabbouleh?

Onion and chilli tabouleh
Serves 6
6 spring onions
1 red and 1 green chilli
1 bunch watercress
1/2 cucumber
175g cracked wheat
1 lemon
extra virgin olive oil

Finely slice the spring onions. Seed the chillies and chop them finely with the watercress (this can be done in a processor). Coarsely grate the cucumber, reserving the liquid.
Wash the cracked wheat in a sieve then turn it into a pan and add 450ml boiling water. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stir and add the cucumber water, then leave to stand for 10 minutes, covered.
Turn the cracked wheat into a bowl and add the prepared vegetables. Grate the zest from the lemon into the salad, squeeze the juice and add that with some seasoning and leave for a few minutes. Check the moisture and add a little olive oil. Season again and serve.

©Rosemary Moon :

Donate to the Appeal at:

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Bishop Richard Moth on the Prisons and Courts Bill

Bishop Richard in Feltham Young Offenders Prison
Bishop Richard Moth spoke out last week as the landmark Prisons and Courts Bill continued its passage through Parliament. As the Bishop for prisons, Bishop Moth continues to encourage government to understand prisons as places of reform and growth, and not just of punishment. As the bill progresses, Bishop Moth will continue to engage closely with the legislation.

He says:
“Prisons should never exist purely to punish offenders. It is extremely welcome that the most significant reform of UK prison law for over 50 years is introducing a statutory duty for prisons to provide reform, rehabilitation, and preparation for life outside. We have been engaging closely with this legislation, bringing the Church’s vision and experience to the debate.

In particular we are highlighting the importance of regular contact with families, good access to chaplaincy, and a prevailing standard of decency within prison walls. All of this is essential to rehabilitation and to respecting the dignity of those in prison - a dignity which is never lost despite what crimes may have been committed.

Many MPs have raised these issues in Parliament already and I am especially grateful to those who have highlighted the vital role that prison chaplains play. We will of course continue to engage as the bill proceeds through parliament.”

Friday, 31 March 2017

Promises Renewal by The Wellspring Community with Bishop Richard Moth

Wellspring Community with Bishop Richard (r) and Fr Aidan (l)
On the Solemnity of the Annunciation, 25th March, 6 members of The Wellspring Community renewed their community promises at Worth Abbey, near Crawley, West Sussex. The promises were made in the presence of Bishop Richard Moth of Arundel and Brighton Diocese, and the Prior of Worth, Fr Aidan Murray.

The promises - of stability in The Wellspring Community, fidelity to its way of life, and obedience to the call of Christ - were made during the Worth monastic community’s conventual Mass, with around 60 guests present. Joanna Gilbert, Lara Merk, Benjamin Gray, and Katherine Gray, the community’s ‘Core Members’, renewed promises of 3 years, while Jessica Smith and Francesca Carbone who are discerning full membership, made 2 year promises.

Wellspring is a new community, established initially 12 years ago in Brighton, having emerged out of an involvement with Worth Abbey and its (then) lay community. The community takes inspiration from the Benedictine tradition for living the Gospel in community receiving formation from Worth Abbey, and is dedicated to mission work in the local community and Diocese. Currently, it has 10 members in their 20s and 30s, most of whom are single discerning Christ’s call, but also including a family, Ben and Katy, who have two young children.

Fr Aidan - in place of Abbot Luke, who was away in Chile - spoke in his homily of the significance of the ‘yes’ made by Wellspring’s members, in light of Mary’s ‘yes’ to God’s plan at the Annunciation. The Solemnity of the Annunciation has been the date of making or renewing promises for Wellspring’s core members for the last 6 years, and forms an important part of their calling and spirituality. Mary’s radical consent to God’s plan of salvation forms the essential pattern of all Christian discipleship: “Let it be done unto me according to your Word” (Luke 1:38). Wellspring seeks to support its members to grow in availability to God’s will, discovering their calling, and the freedom to respond wholeheartedly.

Based in Brighton, The Wellspring Community live within St Joseph’s parish near the heart of the city. They live a daily pattern of personal prayer and lectio divina, the Divine Office, common life, formation, and mission. From the ‘wellspring’ of a life rooted in Christ, they reach out in service in the local community, working especially with young people: offering a programme of faith formation for young adults and students (“Deep Waters”), as chaplains in Cardinal Newman Catholic School, running retreats for teenagers and young adults at Worth Abbey, supporting missionary outreach and social projects across East Brighton, and involved in wider Diocesan youth work such as Red Shirts and vocations work. The community offers young adults the opportunity to spend a year living in community, receiving formation in the Catholic faith and spiritual life, support to discern vocation, and many dynamic opportunities for mission.

For more information about Wellspring, visit or find them on facebook.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Bishop Richard Moth Pastoral Letter for Laetare Sunday - 4th Sunday of Lent

for the 4th Sunday of Lent – Laetare Sunday
26th March 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, the Church marks a moment of respite on our Lenten Journey as we celebrate Laetare Sunday.  Taken from the Entrance Antiphon for today’s Mass and quoting the Prophet Isaiah, the word “Rejoice” calls us to the happiness that comes from the light that Christ brings.  This joy, this rejoicing, is a gift to those who look at their lives in a new way – a way illumined by the person of Jesus Christ.

Today is the day of the Second Scrutiny for those preparing for Baptism at Easter. The whole Church prays for an increase in joy as we prepare to welcome new Christians amongst us, those who make a new journey in the light of the Gospel.

This new life is seen in the man born blind, who receives his sight at the hands of the Lord.  This miracle is all about new life.  By curing a man on the Sabbath, Jesus challenges the Pharisees and breaks with the old ways.  For the people, such a cure is completely new, for nothing like this has ever been witnessed before.  As for the one who has been cured, he can experience human dignity by being released from the bondage of begging.  New possibilities and new responsibilities open up for him.

Just as the once-blind man in the Gospel sees for the first time in the physical sense, so Jesus calls all of us into the light of his life.   Coming from darkness to light can be dazzling at first.  It certainly challenges us, for Jesus enables us to see ourselves as we really are.  This is a necessary step on our Lenten journey, for it is the first necessary step on the road to repentance and forgiveness.  The Sacrament of Penance enables us to turn to Him for the forgiveness that is given freely to those who repent.

This repentance then opens for us new possibilities.  “Try to discover what the Lord wants of you,”[1] St. Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians.  Our lives become journeys of discovery as we open our minds and hearts to his invitation.  Samuel looked at the sons of Jesse with his own eyes and did not find a leader for the people.  He could only do this when God showed him the way.  It is the same for us.  We find the path to life when we are truly open to the light that comes from Christ.  It is in him we find our dignity and the new possibilities that lead us to life.

This is true for us as individuals and for the whole Church.  We live in challenging and exciting times in the life of the Church.  If we are to be sure of our footing on the journey to which we are called, we must be open to the gift of repentance and open our eyes, open our minds and hearts, to the dazzling message of the Gospel.  Faithful to that message, we shall be able to carry out the Mission to which Christ has called us through our Baptism.  We must be light in the dark places of this world, a community that faithfully proclaims the newness of the Gospel Message, despite the difficulties that will always come with a real response to Christ’s call.

We rejoice today as we see those soon to be baptised take part in the second scrutiny.  Let us give thanks to God for them, for they are signs of new life for the Church, already witnesses of the path that leads to light. 

As we continue our Lenten journey, I ask you to join with me in prayer for every person and every community within our Diocesan family.  Guided by the Holy Spirit, may we come before the Lord in repentance, that our minds and hearts be open to the joy of his light, a light and a joy he commands us to share with our brothers and sisters. 

With every Blessing,

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Bishop of Arundel & Brighton

See Video version on the Diocesan Website 

[1] Eph. 5:9.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

East Africa Crisis Appeal

East Africa Crisis Appeal
Bishop John Arnold, CAFOD Chair of Trustees has written to all parishes in Arundel & Brighton Diocese asking for support for the crisis in East Africa.

He says:

Our Lenten Fast Day has only just past, and so it is with great heaviness of heart that I find it necessary to write to you about the situation of terrible need in East Africa, which you will no doubt have seen in the news. Severe drought, and several compounding problems - lack of food, and civil war - means that now over 16 million people across South Sudan, Somalia, northern Kenya and Ethiopia are facing starvation. The United Nations warns that the world faces the largest humanitarian crisis in more than 70 years.

Only the most serious of crises would lead me to write to you again, so soon after your fasting and giving to CAFOD's work at Lent Fast Day. But the combination of issues in East Africa have created what is now such an intractable crisis that the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), of which CAFOD is a member, is launching a full scale humanitarian crisis appeal today.

So, we are alerting you to that appeal, and inviting you to respond in your parish to support our emergency response across South Sudan, Somalia, northern Kenya and Ethiopia our work in East Africa, the majority of which is in partnership with local Church partners, is as long established as CAFOD itself, and we know it is a region close to the hearts of many in the Catholic community.

The humanitarian crisis In South Sudan, alone, 4.9 million people - nearly half the population - urgently need food aid. Famine has been declared in two areas of Unity State, where 100,000 people face starvation and fears are growing that more vulnerable families in other parts of the country are on the brink of famine.

In last month (February) in a pastoral letter, the Catholic Bishops of South Sudan have called on the international community “for immediate and unconditional concrete intervention and action before thousands of innocent lives are carried away and before it is too late.”

In Somalia, the UN estimates that half the population are in now need of urgent food aidwith over 400,000 children now in need of urgent life-saving support.

In northern Kenya, the government declared drought a national disaster in February, affecting more than 2 million people in northern region of the country.

In Ethiopia, failed autumn rains in 2016 have led to a new drought affecting 5.6 million people in the southern and south eastern regions of the country.

What we and are partners are doing Our trusted local Church partners, and Caritas sister agencies are doing all that they can to reach the most vulnerable in their parishes – on the frontline providing vital aid where the needs are greatest. Unfortunately, those responding have seen the suffering and crisis worsen out of proportion, leading to the DEC's decision to respond this week. This DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal will help to support our partners scale up their work and reach more people in need.

One of saddest things about this truly devastating crisis is that so many of the communities affected have worked tirelessly, for so many years; only to be thwarted by repeatedly failing rains, extreme weathers, and circumstances beyond their control. Yet, their dignity and faith is truly extraordinary.

Most of all, I ask you please to keep the region's people in your prayers. They have endured so much, and for so long.

Please pray too for our local Catholic Church and our other partners who continue to work against the odds in the worst-affected areas across, and for us as we work with them to address this widespread crisis.

Yours in Christ,

Bishop John Arnold

Chair of Trustees, CAFOD

Your parish collection

• The situation is urgent so we are suggesting the weekend of the 18/19th March or 25/26th March for a second collection after Masses.

• Resources - including an appeal poster, prayers, and an announcement about the appeal for your parish newsletter - can be downloaded and printed here

• As usual, collection envelopes can be ordered either by emailing or by calling us on 0300 011 5680

Find more details about the crisis and our work here

Keep up to date with the situation as it evolves here

Friday, 17 March 2017

24 Hours for the Lord

The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization proposes the 24 hours for the Lord in Lent of 2017, on March 24-25. The theme which will guide the reflection in 2017 is I desire mercy (Mt 09:13). For more information see their website.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Bishop Paul Tighe Speaks about the Vatican and Social Media

Bishop Paul Tighe, the man behind the Pope's social media presence and the head of the Vatican's Office of Culture, shares with Jo Ling Kent why the Vatican is aggressively reaching out on social media. He was speaking at South by South West Festival.

For news report see Catholic News Service.

Friday, 10 March 2017

CAFOD Lent Activities in Arundel & Brighton Diocese

Children gathered round their Lent CAFOD Fish
Children at St Thomas a Becket Junior School in Eastbourne have started  Lent with raising money for CAFOD, to help the poorest communities around the world.

They  brought in coins to fill a fish outline and made and sold cup cakes decorated as fish. 

All 250  children in the school wrote a Lenten promise on a little fish which was then placed within the larger fish outline and put on display to mark the beginning of their Lenten journey. 

This is one of the many activities taking place for CAFOD in the Diocese from Schools to Parishes

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

80th Birthday Celebrations for A&B Priest, Fr Kevin Griffin

Bishop Richard Moth with Fr Kevin Griffin
Recently, the parish of St Mary's Crowborough celebrated the 80th birthday of their much-loved Parish Priest, Fr Kevin Griffin. 

There was a packed church for Mass concelebrated with Bishop Richard, during which he highlighted Fr Kevin's gift for preaching. Afterwards, the whole Parish joined Fr Kevin and Bishop Richard for a party in St Mary's School hall, which had been beautifully decorated by the school children. A joy-filled celebration was enjoyed by all.

Celebration time

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Forgiveness and Compassion of an Iraqi Priest - Father Naeem Ayub Shoshandy

Father Naeem Ayub Shoshandy is a 33-year-old Iraqi priest who cannot hold back his tears as he describes the terrible flight on the night of August 6, 2014, when the difficulties, kidnappings, and killing of Christians culminated in the Islamic State's invasion of the Nineveh plain, including his village of Qaraqosh. Fr. Naeem recalls the fire of the mortars, the lifeless bodies of the children who were playing in the street, and finally, the Bishop's decision to flee from Nineveh, leading the Christian community in order to escape from death. Later, when they arrived in Kurdistan, they were exhausted, frightened, “And… when we arrived there… we found ourselves in the street…”

They have been in tents and in prefabricated metal barracks for two years, suffering all sorts of hardships, but sharing the little they have with refugees of other religions, including Muslims. Father Naeem explains, "We have these problems because we have left everything, absolutely everything in our city, in order to save and maintain our faith. Because we could have remained in our city only under three conditions: by apostatizing from our faith and converting to Islam, by paying the yizia, or by death.”

The Iraqi Christians call the priests "the children of the resurrection," not only because of the efforts they make to provide them with the necessary aid on a human level, but above all because hope has triumphed every day in the Kurdistan refugee camps thanks to their spiritual work.

Fr. Naeem saw his own brother die at the hands of the Islamic State's henchmen. He has forgiven the murderers, and does not hesitate to say, "(Forgiveness) makes me a real Christian, and not just a Christian by name."

It is worth listening to his testimony and allowing yourself to be moved by Father Naeem's tears. Hopefully, these tears will soften our hardened hearts, so that we may receive the lesson of faith, of heroic hope, of complete trust in God, and of forgiveness that our Iraqi brothers and sisters offer us.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Lenten Appeal for Alix Manders - St Hugh of Lincoln Catholic Primary School, Knaphill

Alix with one of her children
At St Hugh of Lincoln Catholic Primary School, one of the mums, Alix Manders, was told a few weeks ago that she is terminally ill and that the NHS could do no more for her. Alix has now been offered some hope with the opportunity of immunology treatment, which is available privately at a cost of £100,000. In the first week of fundraising about £25,000 has already been raised towards this. To stand any chance of success, it is critical that this treatment begins without delay.

Please see Alix's story below:

Hi, my name is Alix Manders and I am the mummy to three wonderful and beautiful boys. My world was turned upside down in November 2014, I was 22 weeks pregnant with my third child and I just knew that something wasn't right. I felt very unwell with pain under my left rib and my ever expanding tummy was already the size of a 40 week pregnancy, so I went to my maternity unit. All of the doctors were baffled with what was wrong, however an ultrasound and an emergency MRI confirmed that I had a huge mass in my left ovary which had grown so big it was now under my left rib. After my obstetrician performed emergency surgery to remove it, she and a colorectal surgeon came and gave me the devastating news that they had also found a tumour on my colon and that I had cancer.

Whilst recovering from surgery, I suffered a blood clot in my arm - being pregnant, having surgery and having cancer had increased the risk of this. I then was referred to and seen by the oncology team. They told me I had stage 4 colon cancer as it had spread to my liver and ovaries, but because I was pregnant, I could not have treatment straight away. The doctors decided that my little boy would be delivered by C-Section at 30 weeks - this was necessary because the cancer was spreading at a fast pace to other organs. My beautiful son, Finley, was delivered healthy and after spending five weeks in SCUBU, he was eagerly welcomed home by his over-excited brothers! A week after Finley's birth, I began my 12 rounds of gruelling chemotherapy. This was a joyful, but physically draining time for me - having to care for two energetic children, stay with and care for Finley in hospital and endure chemotherapy all at the same time! My family were an incredible help and gave me the support and strength I needed. A CT scan and an MRI showed I had responded well to the chemotherapy and the tumours had shrunk - we were over the moon with this news. I was also told I was suitable for surgeries to remove the tumours, giving me further hope that I would win this battle.

In December 2015 I had a liver resection. It took me a month to recover from this operation and in February 2016, I then had cytoreductive surgery to remove the tumour from my colon and the surrounding lymph nodes and they stripped off the lining of my peritoneum. I also had hot chemotherapy directly in my abdomen to hopefully get rid of any cancer cells left behind. Recovery was hard and slow. I spent 7 long months in and out of hospital. In the last few months I was allowed home in the days, but had to return for treatment and care every night. I moved into my mum's house with my kids, as I needed help to take care of them. Daily life was hard - school runs, after school activities and the usual chores were all too much on my own. However, with the help and support of my family I carried on. When I returned to hospital for an appointment, a CT scan picked up tumours that were still on my liver, so I had to endure more chemo. I was also offered more surgery or radiotherapy which was promising and yet again gave me further hope!

Devastatingly, a PET scan then showed I also had areas of cancer on the peritoneum (lining of my abdomen) which had never been seen before on previous scans. Five weeks ago, I was told there is nothing more they can do to cure me on the NHS. One kind Doctor told me my only chance is immunotherapy, but there is a huge private cost which I could never raise alone. So here I am - I am not ready to give up and I am not ready to leave behind my three loving boys and the most amazing mum and family I could ever wish for. So please... I really need your help. Thank you xxx

Donations can be made directly at :

Additionally, during the Year of Mercy, Mr George, the headteacher at St Hugh of Lincoln, wrote a weekly reflection for the school newsletter on different aspects of mercy. Good feedback was received from a number of parents and Mr George decided to take the best of them and put them together into a book. Bishop Richard has written a foreword and the 24 page book was recently published.

Copies of the Year of Mercy book are on sale now from Mr George at St Hugh of Lincoln at £4.00 a copy. He can be contacted on 01483 480441 or The Year of Mercy book is also available at the Bookshop at DABCEC in Crawley. All proceeds from the sale of these books will go to the medical fund for Alix.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Father Matthew Gerin – a remarkable French Priest

Dispossessed of his parish in the diocese of Lyons by an anti- clerical French Government, Father Matthew Gerin arrived penniless in England in the late 1880’s. He was taken in by the Woodroffe family at their house Frensham Place (now Edgeborough School) where he celebrated Mass for the family in their little chapel. Soon the family opened the chapel for Mass to the faithful of the neighbourhood, calling it the Chapel of the Holy Name.

With a steady increase of Sunday visitors, Father Gerin decided to found a mission in Farnham and with Bishop Butt’s encouragement and his offer of help with diocesan funds, he purchased the old police station in Bear Lane in the centre of the town. On 26th January 1890, the feast of St Polycarp, the new church was opened in the upstairs room.The following year St Polycarp’s school was opened in one small room downstairs.

In February 1905 Father Gerin met with an accident that put an end to his active life. One morning he was coming home from the workhouse (which later became Farnham Hospital) having said Mass for the Catholic inmates, when a car in the Borough skidded, mounted the pavement and threw him through a plate glass window. He sustained grave injuries to his legs. He never recovered and received no compensation, as in those days not all motorists were insured. He retired as an invalid in May 1907 and for a while lived at Fleet and then at Ash before moving to Littlehampton. His law suit failed and in 1916 he was declared bankrupt.

Father Gerin died in Littlehampton on 2nd February 1918 and was buried there locally in an unmarked grave. It was the time of the Great War. Recently, Patricia Knight, author of The Bear Lane Years of St Polycarp’s School, found the unmarked plot in Littlehampton cemetery. The parish of St Joan of Arc has purchased the plot and erected a memorial stone, recognising the parish’s debt to this extraordinary man, his work and precious legacy. On Monday 13th February Bishop Richard Moth led a graveside service of Blessing and Thanksgiving for finding Father Gerin’s grave.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Austen Ivereigh addressing the group on How to Defend the Catholic Church without Shouting
On Saturday 11 February over 65 people gathered at the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton Christian Education Centre for a day on 'How to Defend the Catholic Faith without Shouting' led by Austen Ivereigh, joint co-ordinator and co-founder of Catholic Voices.

In the first part of the day Austen outlined the method they had successfully adopted in  Catholic Voices in the run up to and during the visit of Pope Benedict to UK in 2010. He said the key action is to listen to what the other people are saying and rather than being defensive to seek the common ground and argue from there. Equally and at the same time to emphasise the compassionate nature of the Catholic faith as underlying all it does. In that way whilst you might not convince the other person it will give a clearer and better picture to others listening as to the reality of the Catholic faith and avoid a defensive shouting match which is usually to our disadvantage.

Austen believes that this is not just a tool for use on the media, but also for use by Catholics with their friends and family, and in the workplace. He his planning to bring this training in the near future. The people there were enthused by the day and many hope to do further training and take further steps to be better prepared whether round the water cooler at work or with local media.

If you are interested in learning more about this method then you can read Austen's book 'Defending the Catholic Faith without Raising your Voice.' Copies are available from the Diocesan Bookshop: 

If you would like to know more about the project and how the Diocese is involved then contact

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Bishop Richard Moth Supporting Prisoners and their Families

Bishop Richard with one of the printing team at HMP Coldingley
Pact was part of a landmark visit to HMP Coldingley with Rt Rev Richard Moth to celebrate the publication of 'The Right Road, the Catholic Church’s approach to Criminal Justice'. The report, which sets out a vision for a prison system that rehabilitates offenders, supports victims and works for society as a whole, was printed at HMP Coldingley in their state of the art print workshop.

The print workshop employs around 50 prisoners and generates essential income for the prison to fund relationship and parenting programmes, family support services and one to one support services that are vital for rehabilitation, reducing re-offending and reducing anxiety and distress that can lead to self-harm, suicide and violence in prison. The Diocese of Arundel & Brighton recently printed its Refugee Newsletter with them and hopes to print further publications from them.

Pact will be providing a number of such services at HMP Coldingley, including:
Play Workers who offer a friendly, welcoming space and fun activities for children visiting a loved one in prison.
First Night and Early Days in Custody service which offers emotional and practical support to prisoners arriving in prison to reduce the high levels of anxiety and distress that are known to trigger self-harm and suicide.
A range of relationship, parenting education and family learning courses to improve personal resilience, empathy and communication skills, and to strengthen key family relationships.
Visitors’ Centre support to ensure that visitors receive a warm welcome, and are given the support, guidance and information needed to ensure that their visit is as positive an experience as possible, and that they are signposted to any additional support they may require.

Pact CEO, Andy Keen-Downs said: "We are pleased that the Church has a strong voice and clear message to policy makers when it comes to prison reform, and as a charity working within the criminal justice landscape, we know that justice must be understood as a process of restoration and healing, and prisons seen as places of learning and rehabilitation. We are proud to be working with HMP Coldingley and are encouraged to see the print workshop providing so many prisoners with the opportunity to learn new skills, and build confidence and self-esteem."

Bishop Richard is the Bishop with responsibility for prisons on behalf of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, and also has pastoral oversight of this prison within the Diocese.

If you would like to find out more about the print workshop at HMP Coldingley please contact:

To download 'The Right Road' please visit

Monday, 30 January 2017

Bishop Richard Moth Inducts Two New Parish Priests in Surrey

New Parish Priest for English Martyrs Church, Horely
On the cold and snowy evening of 12th January 2017, the parishioners of English Martyrs warmly welcomed their new parish administrator, Father Francis Ezennia, MSP (a Nigerian Missionary order) at an Induction Mass celebrated by Bishop Richard Moth.
Guests included the clergy from Redhill and the Missionaries of St Paul, the Town Mayor of Horley Cllr Mike George, representatives from the Anglican, Baptist and Methodist churches, and a coachload of parishioners from St Edmunds, Edmonton, and Our Lady of the Rosary, Brixton, where Father Francis was previously assigned. At the reception that followed, everyone was treated to a spread of English and African food.  

New Parish Priest for St John the Evangelist
Former Royal Naval Chaplain, Monsignor Richard Madders MBE was canonically inducted as the new parish priest of St. John the Evangelist Catholic parish, Tadworth, by the Right Reverend Richard Moth, Bishop of Arundel & Brighton diocese during a special Mass held at St. John’s the evening of 24 January. A packed church, which included local clergy also children from St. Anne’s School, Banstead, attended the colourful ceremony in which Mgr. Madders received the keys of the church and was formally given the responsibility of providing spiritual and pastoral care to the parish. Mgr. Madders spent 22 years in the Royal Navy as a chaplain providing support and pastoral care to sailors in ships on deployment and ashore at various naval bases. Since leaving the navy in 2007 he served as parish priest of Camberley & Bagshot parish. Mgr. Madders succeeds the sadly missed Father Martin Breen who died in November 2015. At the end of the Mass Mgr. Madders thanked Father Anthony Hale who celebrated Mass each weekend for the parish for over a year since Fr. Martin’s death. He also thanked Mrs. Margaret Tickner, who as Parish Secretary, had maintained parish administration. Surprising and delighting all present Mgr. Madders announced that Margaret would now serve as Parish Chairperson.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Defending the Catholic Faith without Shouting - Diocesan Event with Austen Ivereigh

Austen Ivereigh
Defending the Catholic Faith without Shouting
The Diocese invites you to a Formation Day on Saturday 11 February 2017 Christian Education Centre, Crawley RH10 6RP with Austen Ivereigh, Papal Biographer, Coordinator and Co-Founder of Catholic Voices and a contributing editor for Crux. 

The day begins at 9.30am (coffee and registration from 9am). Ends at 3pm. Please bring a packed lunch. All welcome to attend. 

You can book online or contact Mark Woods on 01293 651170 or email:

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Fatima Celebrates 100 Years since the Apparition of Our Lady

The Three Children:
Jacinta, Lucia and Francisco

In the midst of the horrors of the First World War three Portuguese children who were shepherds had a vision of Our Lady in 1917.

The Shrine of Fatima is a place of pilgrimage, which celebrates the memory of its founding event, the apparitions of Our Lady to the three little Shepherds. The pilgrim’s pastoral hospitality is a key element to its mission.

The Shrine of Fatima keeps the memory of the event and the message of Fatima. It has the mission of studying and diffusing this message, worked as a means of evangelisation in Portugal and worldwide.

You can find out more about Fatima and the centenary celebrations on the Shrine website.

In the England & Wales on Sat 18th Feb, Cardinal Nichols will receive, bless and crown the World Apostolate of Fatima, National Pilgrim Virgin statue in Westminster Cathedral at the opening of the Fatima Centenary year 2017. During the celebration Cardinal Nichols will renew the consecration of our country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that was made by Cardinal Griffin on 16th July 1948.

The statute will come to Arundel Cathedral in the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton on 1-2 July 2017.

For more information on England & Wales and the Centenary Celebrations visit the World Apostolate of Fatima website.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

'Am I A Good Neighbour?' - Globalisation and the Fair Society - Diocesan Event

A&B Justice & Peace Assembly 2017: 'Am I A Good Neighbour? - Globalisation and the Fair Society' with Bishop Richard, Fr Augusto Zampini-Davies and Jenny Sinclair on Saturday 28 January, 10am-4pm at Christian Education Centre (DABCEC), 4 Southgate Drive, Crawley RH10 6RP.

Fr Augusto Zampini Davies

Fr Augusto Zampini Davies, Theological Adviser to CAFOD, will reflect on Laudato Si’ (On Care for our Common Home), published by Pope Francis in June 2015. This is a love letter to all mankind and an urgent call to tackle the global human and ecological crisis. With an emphasis on integral human development and the interconnectedness of the ‘Cry of the earth’ and the ‘Cry of the poor’, Fr Augusto will share thoughts on how we are all both part of the problem and part of the solution.

Jenny Sinclair

Jenny Sinclair, Founder and Director of Together for the Common Good (T4CG), will talk about the radical approach needed to make our church outward-facing and acting in the interests of all in society. By working both ecumenically and across all traditions, Jenny will explore and celebrate different ways to foster the relationships necessary for a just and peaceful common life together.

There will be plenty of opportunities to network with others and learn more about initiatives throughout the diocese including our response to the Refugee Crisis. A Fairtrade stall selling goods from marginalised producers and farmers in the developing world will be available throughout the day and will have information on how to become a Fairtrade parish.

Book your place at this exciting event by contacting Ruth Gerun t: 01293 651164 e: or visit

Friday, 20 January 2017

Bishops thank Nuncio for six years of dedicated service as he ends his time in Great Britain

His Excellency Monsignor Antonio Mennini speaking at St John's Seminary
Wonersh in June 2014 © Diocese of Arundel & Brighton
At the request of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, His Excellency Monsignor Antonio Mennini, is being transferred from his current responsibilities to serve directly in the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, assisting in its work in relation to States. In this capacity, Archbishop Mennini will serve the Holy Father with particular reference to the State of Italy. In these matters Archbishop Mennini has unique experience and knowledge which is much appreciated by the Holy See.

Archbishop Mennini has served as Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain for nearly six years, being appointed on 18 December 2010 and presenting his credentials to Her Majesty the Queen on 2 March 2011. He will leave London during the first full week of February.

On behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and in the name of the entire Catholic community, I express our warmest thanks to His Excellency for the service he has given to the Church in our countries. He has been most attentive and sensitive to our needs and situation, while always representing the Holy Father with precision and clarity and sharing insights into the needs of the Universal Church.

His presence amongst us bishops has always been that of a brother and we have never failed to appreciate his kindness and hospitality.

We now wish him well in his new appointment to which he will bring insight and wisdom. We assure him of our prayers for this mission and for his own health and well-being.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster
President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Bringing Your Parish From Maintenance to Mission - A Day for the Diocese

This coming Saturday 21 January from 10am-4pm, at DABCEC, Crawley there will be a day looking at how you can move your parish from maintenance to mission as part of the New Evangelisation.

The guest speaker is Michael Roche from Alpha in a Catholic Context. Michael will explore how we can make our parishes more responsive to the call of the New Evangelisation. He will draw on lessons from the “Divine Renovation" books. These make suggestions as to how we might change the culture within our Parishes, so as to create the right conditions for Evangelisation to take place.

Booking and further information please contact David Wills on (01293) 651157 or email:  or book online.

You can buy copies of the book from the Diocesan Bookshop ring 01293 651165 or email:

Sunday, 15 January 2017

From the Vatican - Pastoral Care Workers Killed in 2016

Christians praying at Mass in Gaza
Photo: ©Mazur/ 
In the year 2016, 28 Catholic pastoral care workers were killed worldwide. For the eighth consecutive year, the place most affected, with an extremely elevated number of pastoral care workers killed is AMERICA, 9 in 2016, more than double the number compared to 2015.

According to information gathered by Agenzia Fides, in 2016 14 priests, 9 religious women, one seminarian, 4 lay people died violently. In America 12 pastoral care workers were killed (9 priests and 3 religious sisters); in Africa 8 pastoral care workers were killed (3 priests, 2 nuns, one seminarian, 2 lay people); in Asia 7 pastoral care workers were killed (1 priest, 4 nuns, 2 lay people); in Europe one priest was killed.

Once again the majority of the pastoral care workers in 2016 were killed in attempted robbery, and in some cases violently attacked, a sign of the climate of moral decline, economic and cultural poverty, which generates violence and disregard for human life. 

In these situations, the priests, religious sisters and lay people who were killed, were among those who loudly denounced injustice, corruption, poverty, in the name of the Gospel. Fr. José Luis Sánchez Ruiz, of the Diocese of San Andres Tuxtla (Veracruz, Mexico) was one of the victims who was kidnapped and then released with "obvious signs of torture", according to a statement from the diocese. In the days before the kidnapping he had received threats, surely for his harsh criticism against corruption and rampant crime (see Fides 14/11/2016). As Pope Francis recalled on the feast of the protomartyr St. Stephen, "the world hates Christians for the same reason it hated Jesus because He brought the light of God and the world prefers the darkness to hide its wicked works". (Angelus 26/12/2016).

They all lived in these human and social contexts, administering the sacraments, helping the poor, taking care of orphans and drug addicts, following development projects or simply opening the door of their home to anyone. And some were murdered by the same people who they helped. Hardly any investigations conducted by the local authorities lead to identifying the perpetrators and the instigators of these killings or the reasons why they were carried out.

There is still much concern regarding the fate of other pastoral care workers kidnapped or have disappeared, of whom we have not had any news.

As it has been for some time, Fides’ list does not only include missionaries ad gentes in the strict sense, but all pastoral care workers who died violent deaths. We do not propose to use the term "martyrs", if not in its etymological meaning of "witnesses" since it is up to the Church to judge their possible merits and also because of the scarcity of available information in most cases, with regard to their life and even the circumstances of their death.

The provisional list compiled annually by Agenzia Fides, must therefore be added to the long list of many of whom there may never be news, who in every corner of the world suffer and even pay with their lives for their faith in Christ. Pope Francis often reminds us that "Today there are Christians who are murdered, tortured, imprisoned, slaughtered because they do not deny Jesus Christ" ... "the martyrs of today are more numerous than those of the first centuries". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 30/12/2016)

For a full report see link below:

Friday, 6 January 2017


Fr Cormac being ordained in Rome by Bishop Luigi Traglia

How many of us stay with the same employer? How many of us work more than 45 years? How about the same boss for 60 years? Cardinal Cormac is in conversation with the A&B News’ Peter Burholt on his 60 years in priesthood – a reflection on his life, both the ups and the downs.

When did you think about being a priest? Did you just fall into priesthood and follow a family tradition, grow into it or was there a ‘Damascus’ moment in your life?

No, I do not remember a dramatic ‘Damascus’ moment in my life. I come from a very Catholic family with uncles who were priests, so it is not surprising that I might consider a vocation to the priesthood. I remember when I was about 15 I was out with my father on his calls - he was a doctor – when he turned to me and asked ‘What do you want to be?’ I said, without hesitation, that I wanted to become a priest. And I never changed my mind.

What were your aspirations when you were going through seminary in Rome? Was it to become, one day, a bishop or a cardinal?

Having expressed my wishes to my father when I was 15, I never really deviated from that by the time I left school at 18. I was convinced I wanted to be a priest and that was the only thought when I went through seminary. No, I had no idea of what the Good Lord had in store for me. Perhaps that was fortunate!

After seminary, what was your first appointment?
This was as a curate in Portsmouth, then a very poor parish where people were mostly dockyard workers or widows from the War. Many were lapsed and I quickly learnt that there was no point in asking why they did not come to Mass.

In time I evolved the idea of starting courses for non-Catholics wishing to know more about the Faith, which were very successful. After four years I moved to another parish and put in place what I had learnt in Portsmouth – it revolutionised the parish.

Do you recall any particular parish experience which has helped you moving forward?
For a moment Cardinal Cormac pondered this question. With a wry smile he replied.

Yes, there was. When in Portsmouth members of the Catholic Evidence Guild would speak about the Faith in Southsea. I went to join them on one occasion and there was a big crowd. The speaker before me was excellent. To my horror, when I started to speak they started moving away because they became bored. That taught me a bit about speaking.

Cardinal Cormac is well-known today for his humorous stories and his ability to hold an audience.

What do you count most precious in your life?

The family is absolutely crucial. The greatest evil of life today is the break-up of families. It has such an effect on the children. The work the Church does in trying to hold marriages together is hugely important.

It is quite common for priests to be tested at some point in their lives. Has this happened to you?

You are right. And I have had my fair share, after all we are human. I must give credit to my family, as well as my Faith and friends for weathering the storms of life. You will always find the cross in life in ways that you hadn’t expected. Even during times when you do not get a result, you realise through it all that the Good Lord was there in the community of the Church.

As a priest, what makes you sad?

There were sad times when I accompanied people as they were dying or families in their bereavement. You get to see the will of God or in the providence of God in everything.

In contrast, the most worthwhile thing about being a priest is being with people. I remember the experience I had of a married couple who were childless for 10 years. They came back, hand-in-hand, to give me the great news that a baby was expected. These are the small things that give me great joy.

If you were not a priest, where do you think your calling would have been? Would it have been a concert pianist or a co-presenter with Chris Evans on BBC2? Or ……………….?
Interesting question. I had thought about being a doctor, like my father, or a musician – or in today’s terms even a DJ. Yes, the Cardinal did say DJ!

We have a strong culture of vocations in the family, there are doctors, teachers, lawyers and business people. I would have liked to have been a teacher. It is a very noble profession and a demanding one. Teachers and priests are similar in that they both have the task of forming the whole person for the greatness of life.

In celebrating your Jubilee, is there a moment which stands out from all the other events?

People have been so kind to me in offering their prayers and good wishes, but I think it was my special trip to Rome when I was joined by 28 of my family. We met the Holy Father, who said that when you get older, you become wiser and more compassionate; wiser because you learn from other people and your own experiences in life; more compassionate because you understand more – therefore, you give more and you learn that you need to be forgiven yourself for your own faults and weaknesses. Wisdom and compassion are the good qualities that good priests have as they become older.

I will tell you something else you need, patience and perseverance.

I remember as I was setting off to Rome to start my formation at the seminary all those years ago, I went to see my parish priest to ask for advice. I thought he would say ‘the harvest is great and the labourers are few’ but he didn’t. Instead, he just said ‘pray for perseverance’. I thought that it was very boring advice, but it has proved to be very true.

Being with Cardinal Cormac talking about some of his reflections on 60 years of priesthood is an honour. However, the one problem is that small matter of time – it was time for the Cardinal to fulfil his next commitment. But that same time has given us a great man over his 60 years of priestly fulfilment. With our prayers and blessings we say ‘Well done for getting this far and may we continue to experience your wisdom and enjoy your humour for many, many years to come. Amen’