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.