Saturday, 30 December 2017

Pastoral Letter from Bishop Richard Moth for Feast of the Holy Family 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Every day provides us with opportunities to reflect on the wonder of God’s love for us and the Gospel of today’s Feast enables us to see that love reflected at every age of life.

Simeon is an example of patient waiting and trust. He has lived his whole life in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah and, as he takes the Infant Jesus in his arms in the act of Presentation, his life’s work is complete. His eyes have seen salvation.[1] His expectations and hopes are fulfilled. Anna the elderly woman, who is always at prayer, rejoices and her joy spills over as she tells everyone she meets that the Immanuel – God-with-us[2] – is here.

Mary and Joseph, carrying out their responsibilities as devout Jews, have offered their firstborn to the Father. The Word made flesh is offered to the God who spoke the Word at the very dawn of time. Just as Mary ponders in her heart at the birth of her Son,[3] so must we. To realise that this infant child, reliant upon Mary and Joseph, is the “Word that was with God…in the beginning”[4] is a most wonderful truth. Simeon, in his own way, expressed what John writes: “The Word was made flesh. He lived among us.”[5]

As we gaze upon the Holy Family, gathered with Simeon and Anna in the Temple or in their home in Nazareth during the thirty hidden years, our first response must be “to look, listen, to meditate and penetrate the meaning…of this very simple, very humble and very beautiful manifestation of the Son of God.”[6]

Such reflection will draw us closer to Jesus and enable us to understand more deeply the wonder of our own family life. No matter how small or large our family may be, “the family is the original cell of social life.”[7] It is in the family that the “foundations [are laid] for freedom, security and fraternity within society.”[8] It is in the context of the family that we are trained “to live together in this greater home [society]. In the family, we learn closeness, care and respect for others.”[9]

Family life is never without its struggles and difficulties, but it is in the midst of these struggles – perhaps sometimes even because of them – that we grow in our witness to the One who is God-with-us. The family is a community of action, a place where the Gospel is proclaimed and where witness to Christ is given through “solidarity with the poor, openness to a diversity of people, the protection of creation, moral and material solidarity with other families, including those most in need, commitment to the promotion of the common good and the transformation of unjust social structures, beginning in the territory in which the family lives, through the practice of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.”[10]

All must be modelled on the person of Jesus and when we look, listen and reflect on the Holy Family we also learn to imitate.[11] On this Feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth and on every day, may we rejoice with Simeon that the Messiah has come; may we listen to the Holy Family and reflect, as Mary did, on the wonder of God’s love; may the love of the Saviour, whom the Father placed in the care of the Family of Nazareth, transform our families, that we may truly be his witnesses to the World.

With every Blessing,


Bishop of Arundel & Brighton

[1] Lk. 2:30.
[2] Mt. 1:23.
[3] Lk. 2:19.
[4] Jn. 1:1.
[5] Jn. 1:13.
[6] BLESSED PAUL VI, Address, 5th January 1964.
[7] CCC, n. 2207, cf. ST. JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Familiaris Consortio, n. 21.
[8] loc.cit.
[9] POPE FRANCIS, Encyclical Letter Amoris Laetitia, n.276.
[10] ibid. n. 290.
[11] BLESSED PAUL VI, op.cit.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas Greetings from Bishop Richard Moth

In Advent the whole Church looks forward in Hope, to our celebration of the Saviour’s Birth and to the Coming Kingdom of the Father. It is a time when we are called to open ourselves anew to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, that our time of waiting may be fruitful. It is a time when we can reflect on the call that the Lord has given to each of us to be witnesses to Hope, calling others to share in the wonder of His Birth and in anticipation of that experience of God’s Love and will be possible only in the Kingdom of Heaven, when “we shall see Him as he really is”.

Let us pray for one another that our witness of Hope may truly call others into relationship with the Saviour, the Word who is Life.

I take this opportunity to wish you a Joyous celebration of the wonderful Feast of Christmas.

With every Blessing,

Bishop of Arundel & Brighton

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Pope Video December 2017 - For the elderly

This month the pope asks us to pray for the elderly. Those who have lived the longest have the most to give! Let us take care of them. They are our future.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Pastoral Letter 1st Sunday of Advent 2017 from Diocese Arundel and Brighton on Vimeo.

Bishop Richard Moth speaks in his Pastoral Letter for the 1st Sunday of Advent 2017 about two key events coming up in summer 2018, the World Meeting of Families in Dublin and the National Eucharistic Congress in Liverpool and how they are both important for the Diocese to be involved with.

You can read the letter in full below:

Pastoral Letter for the 1st Sunday of Advent

Today marks the beginning of the Church’s Year. The Season of Advent is a time of Joyful Waiting for the coming of the Saviour, the Word Incarnate who is our Life. We reflect not only on the Solemnity of His Birth, but on his coming again and on the life to which He calls us.

As the Family of the Diocese, we have in recent weeks been reflecting on the Mission to which the Lord has called us and I am grateful to all those who took part in the meetings in deaneries during these last months. I am grateful, too, for your conversations in parishes and deaneries and I look forward to hearing the fruits of those reflections in the New Year. Your commitment to these conversations will, I believe, make this a significant year for us all as we discern together and re-commit ourselves to the task to which we have all been called.

The Family is a key element in the life of the Church and an important witness to the God of Love. The fact that the World Gathering of Families will take place during this coming Year is a blessing for us. Information about this World Gathering – taking place in Dublin from 21st to 26th August 2018 – has already been sent to parishes. It is hoped that Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at the World Gathering.

This opportunity to celebrate the gift of the Family will be a tremendous opportunity to deepen our understanding of the Family Life and to foster the Family as a focus for growth in the Gospel, in prayer and in witness to the person of Christ. Please do consider being a part of this very significant moment in the life of the Church throughout the world. The Diocese has an allocation of 100 places. Those taking part will bring much back to the Diocese and the fruits of the World Gathering will surely have a deep impact on the life of us all.

A second very significant event next year will take place in Liverpool from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th September. This is the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage & Congress – Adoremus. The Final Programme, together with booking information, will be sent to parishes in the coming days. The first day will be a day of Formation, with lectures and workshops. Saturday will see 10,000 people gather from across England & Wales and we have 400 places available for our Diocese. Bishop Robert Barron will address the assembly, as will Cardinal Vincent Nichols. The Sunday will be marked by two Masses in Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and a Procession of the Blessed Sacrament. I ask parishes to assist those who wish to take part in Adoremus. Transport will be arranged by the Diocese to enable people to travel to various parts of the event and delegates will be commissioned to represent the Diocese on Corpus Christi next year. Each Diocese is being asked to contribute something of itself to the Congress and the Flower Carpet Team from Arundel Cathedral will lay a Flower Carpet in Liverpool Cathedral.

This Pilgrimage & Congress will be a time of focus and renewal of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Adoration calls us to focus our minds and hearts on the Lord’s gift of Himself in the Eucharist – the source of our life and the Mission to which we have been called. Those taking part will bring much home to parish communities that will enable us all to renew Mission centred on – and growing from – the Eucharist.

It will be wonderful to see our Diocesan allocation of places filled for both these important events and there will be opportunities to prepare for the World Gathering of Families and for Adoremus: at St. John’s, Horsham on Saturday 10th February, at St. Dunstan’s, Woking on Saturday 24th March and at Christ the King, Eastbourne on Saturday 19th May. There will also be a special Families Day at St. John’s Seminary, Wonersh, on Sunday 3rd June.

As we journey together towards our celebration of the Lord’s Birth, let us pray for one another, for all our families and for all our parish communities, that focused on the Word made Flesh – the Word who is Life, we may be renewed in our commitment to the task the Lord has given to us, to make disciples of all nations and call all around us to live in the love that exists in Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

May Mary, who rejoiced at the coming birth of Her Son, pray for us that we may truly be His disciples.

With every Blessing,

Yours sincerely in Christ,

+ Richard

Bishop of Arundel and Brighton