Sunday, 18 February 2018

Bishop Richard Installed as Honorary Canon of Chichester Cathedral

(l-r) Bishop Martin and Bishop Richard at Chichester Cathedral
The Bishop of Chichester Rt Rev Martin Warner installed the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, the Rt Rev Richard Moth, as one of the 5 Canons of Honour of Chichester Cathedral on Sunday 11th February during Choral Evensong in what the Bishop of Chichester called "an expression of friendship and unity".

Dr Martin Warner, said: "It is a privilege for us in the diocese of Chichester and an expression of friendship and unity in Christ that Bishop Richard Moth, the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, becomes a Canon of Honour. He joins other ecumenical Canons of Honour who represent our ecumenical partnership with Lutherans and Roman Catholics in Bavaria and with the diocese of Chartres."

Bishop Moth said: "It is a great privilege for me to be installed as a Canon of Honour, a wonderful ecumenical gesture from Bishop Martin and the Anglican Diocese of Chichester."

Photo:  Bishop Richard Moth and Bishop Martin Warner ©Luke Marshall Chichester Diocese 2018

Friday, 16 February 2018

Home Secretary consultation on Pro-life Vigils

A Pro-Life Vigil
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has asked “interested parties” with experience of pro-life vigils outside abortion clinics to have their say as part of a Government consultation.

The Home Office has launched a review into alleged “harassment” by pro-lifers outside abortion clinics. It is considering whether new powers are needed to protect people going to the clinic or working there.

You can read the full story here.

The deadline for contributions from the public is 19th February and the questionnaire can be accessed here.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Lenten Message of His Holiness Pope Francis

(c) Marzur/
“Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold” (Mt 24:12)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Once again, the Pasch of the Lord draws near! In our preparation for Easter, God in his providence offers us each year the season of Lent as a “sacramental sign of our conversion”.1 Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life.

With this message, I would like again this year to help the entire Church experience this time of grace anew, with joy and in truth. I will take my cue from the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: “Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold” (24:12).

These words appear in Christ’s preaching about the end of time. They were spoken in Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives, where the Lord’s passion would begin. In reply to a question of the disciples, Jesus foretells a great tribulation and describes a situation in which the community of believers might well find itself: amid great trials, false prophets would lead people astray and the love that is the core of the Gospel would grow cold in the hearts of many.

False prophets

Let us listen to the Gospel passage and try to understand the guise such false prophets can assume.

They can appear as “snake charmers”, who manipulate human emotions in order to enslave others and lead them where they would have them go. How many of God’s children are mesmerized by momentary pleasures, mistaking them for true happiness! How many men and women live entranced by the dream of wealth, which only makes them slaves to profit and petty interests! How many go
through life believing that they are sufficient unto themselves, and end up entrapped by loneliness!

False prophets can also be “charlatans”, who offer easy and immediate solutions to suffering that soon prove utterly useless. How many young people are taken in by the panacea of drugs, of disposable relationships, of easy but dishonest gains! How many more are ensnared in a thoroughly “virtual” existence, in which relationships appear quick and straightforward, only to prove meaningless! These swindlers, in peddling things that have no real value, rob people of all that is most precious: dignity, freedom and the ability to love. They appeal to our vanity, our trust in appearances, but in the end they only make fools of us. Nor should we be surprised. In order to confound the human heart, the devil, who is “a liar and the father of lies” (Jn 8:44), has always presented evil as good, falsehood as truth. That is why each of us is called to peer into our heart to see if we are falling prey to the lies of these false prophets. We must learn to look closely, beneath the surface, and to recognize what leaves a good and lasting mark on our hearts, because it comes from God and is truly for our benefit.

A cold heart

In his description of hell, Dante Alighieri pictures the devil seated on a throne of ice 2, in frozen and loveless isolation. We might well ask ourselves how it happens that charity can turn cold within us. What are the signs that indicate that our love is beginning to cool?

More than anything else, what destroys charity is greed for money, “the root of all evil” (1 Tim 6:10). The rejection of God and his peace soon follows; we prefer our own desolation rather than the comfort found in his word and the sacraments 3. All this leads to violence against anyone we think is a threat to our own “certainties”: the unborn child, the elderly and infirm, the migrant, the alien among us, or our neighbour who does not live up to our expectations.

Creation itself becomes a silent witness to this cooling of charity. The earth is poisoned by refuse, discarded out of carelessness or for self-interest. The seas, themselves polluted, engulf the remains of countless shipwrecked victims of forced migration. The heavens, which in God’s plan, were created to sing his praises, are rent by engines raining down implements of death.

Love can also grow cold in our own communities. In the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, I sought to describe the most evident signs of this lack of love: selfishness and spiritual sloth, sterile pessimism, the temptation to self-absorption, constant warring among ourselves, and the worldly mentality that makes us concerned only for appearances, and thus lessens our missionary zeal.4

What are we to do?

Perhaps we see, deep within ourselves and all about us, the signs I have just described. But the Church, our Mother and Teacher, along with the often bitter medicine of the truth, offers us in the Lenten season the soothing remedy of prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

By devoting more time to prayer, we enable our hearts to root out our secret lies and forms of self-deception,5 and then to find the consolation God offers. He is our Father and he wants us to live life well.

Almsgiving sets us free from greed and helps us to regard our neighbour as a brother or sister. What I possess is never mine alone. How I would like almsgiving to become a genuine style of life for each of us! How I would like us, as Christians, to follow the example of the Apostles and see in the sharing of our possessions a tangible witness of the communion that is ours in the Church! For this reason, I echo Saint Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians to take up a collection for the community of Jerusalem as something from which they themselves would benefit (cf. 2 Cor 8:10). This is all the more fitting during the Lenten season, when many groups take up collections to assist Churches and peoples in need. Yet I would also hope that, even in our daily encounters with those who beg for our assistance, we would see such requests as coming from God himself. When we give alms, we share in God’s providential care for each of his children. If through me God helps someone today, will he not tomorrow provide for my own needs? For no one is more generous than God.6

Fasting weakens our tendency to violence; it disarms us and becomes an important opportunity for growth. On the one hand, it allows us to experience what the destitute and the starving have to endure. On the other hand, it expresses our own spiritual hunger and thirst for life in God. Fasting wakes us up. It makes us more attentive to God and our neighbour. It revives our desire to obey God, who alone is capable of satisfying our hunger.

I would also like my invitation to extend beyond the bounds of the Catholic Church, and to reach all of you, men and women of good will, who are open to hearing God’s voice. Perhaps, like ourselves, you are disturbed by the spread of iniquity in the world, you are concerned about the chill that paralyzes hearts and actions, and you see a weakening in our sense of being members of the one human family. Join us, then, in raising our plea to God, in fasting, and in offering whatever you can to our brothers and sisters in need!

The fire of Easter

Above all, I urge the members of the Church to take up the Lenten journey with enthusiasm, sustained by almsgiving, fasting and prayer. If, at times, the flame of charity seems to die in our own hearts, know that this is never the case in the heart of God! He constantly gives us a chance to begin loving anew.

One such moment of grace will be, again this year, the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative, which invites the entire Church community to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation in the context of Eucharistic adoration. In 2018, inspired by the words of Psalm 130:4, “With you is forgiveness”, this will take place from Friday, 9 March to Saturday, 10 March. In each diocese, at least one church will remain open for twenty-four consecutive hours, offering an opportunity for both Eucharistic adoration and sacramental confession.

During the Easter Vigil, we will celebrate once more the moving rite of the lighting of the Easter candle. Drawn from the “new fire”, this light will slowly overcome the darkness and illuminate the liturgical assembly. “May the light of Christ rising in glory dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds”,7 and enable all of us to relive the experience of the disciples on the way to Emmaus. By listening to God’s word and drawing nourishment from the table of the Eucharist, may our hearts be ever more ardent in faith, hope and love.

With affection and the promise of my prayers for all of you, I send you my blessing. Please do not forget to pray for me.

From the Vatican, 1 November 2017

Solemnity of All Saints

1 Roman Missal, Collect for the First Sunday of Lent (Italian).
2 Inferno XXXIV, 28-29.
3 “It is curious, but many times we are afraid of consolation, of being comforted. Or rather, we feel
more secure in sorrow and desolation. Do you know why? Because in sorrow we feel almost as
protagonists. However, in consolation the Holy Spirit is the protagonist!” (Angelus, 7 December
4 Evangelii Gaudium, 76-109.
5 Cf. BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi, 33.
6 Cf. PIUS XII, Encyclical Letter Fidei Donum, III.
7 Roman Missal (Third Edition), Easter Vigil, Lucernarium.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Pope Francis Appoints New Bishop of Lancaster

Bishop Elect, Canon Paul Swarbrick
Pope Francis has named, today, Tuesday 12th February, a priest of the Diocese of Lancaster as the seventh Bishop of the Diocese: Canon Paul Swarbrick.

On receiving news of the appointment Bishop Michael Campbell said:
“I am delighted to welcome Canon Paul Swarbrick as my successor as Bishop of Lancaster, and I thank our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for naming Canon Paul as the seventh bishop of the Diocese. The news of Canon Swarbrick’s appointment will give much pleasure to many, both within and beyond the Diocese. A native son of the Diocese of Lancaster, Bishop-Elect Swarbrick comes to the office of bishop with considerable pastoral experience, having served since his ordination in a number of parishes here in the Diocese as well as a long period as a fidei donum priest in the Diocese of Monze, Zambia. I know he will use these gifts to the great advantage of the priests and people of Lancaster, who will be well-served by their new Bishop.
I wish Canon Swarbrick every blessing as he assumes this new and challenging ministry as Bishop of Lancaster, and assure him of the prayers of all of us that he will prove to be a true shepherd after the heart of Christ”.

Bishop-Elect Paul Swarbrick, 59, from Garstang has been a priest of the Diocese for over 35 years. Born on 2 July 1958 to George Vincent Swarbrick and Alice Swarbrick (Horn), Canon Paul Swarbrick has three sisters and one brother. He went to primary school in Garstang and then on to Lancaster Royal Grammar school before training for the Priesthood at Ushaw College, Co Durham. Ordained priest on 10 July 1982 at Ss Mary & Michael’s church, Garstang, he would go on to serve as Assistant Priest at St. Mary, Kells, Whitehaven (1982-1983), St Maria Goretti, Preston (1983-1984), St Cuthbert, Blackpool (1984-1990) where he was also Chaplain to St Mary’s Catholic High School, Blackpool before volunteering to serve on the missions in Monze Diocese, Zambia (1990-2005).
Upon his return from Zambia he assisted at English Martyrs, Preston (2005-2006) and for a few months at Mater Amabilis, Ambleside until he was appointed Parish Priest of the Sacred Heart, Preston whilst also in charge of St Walburge, Preston (2007-2010). In 2010 he was appointed Parish Priest of Our Lady & St Michael, Workington – now the enlarged parish of Christ the Good Shepherd, Workington-Harrington where he currently serves – and is also the local Dean (Vicar Forane) for West Cumbria. In 2015 he was made a Canon of Lancaster Cathedral Chapter.

Upon hearing of his appointment Bishop-Elect Swarbrick commented:
“The Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, His Excellency Archbishop Edward Adams, has informed me that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has named me Bishop of Lancaster in succession to Bishop Michael Campbell OSA.
I give thanks to God for His unfailing care for the Diocese of Lancaster. In accepting the decision of His Holiness I must, first of all, acknowledge the example Bishop Campbell has given. He has been a faithful and generous Shepherd of the Lord’s flock.
I must confess to being in a state of surprise and shock at my appointment, and to a feeling of great inadequacy when faced with what lies ahead. Since my ordination to the Priesthood at Garstang in July 1982 this was never something I expected or feel prepared for. I have given my acceptance in a spirit of profound humility, deeply conscious of my unworthiness and sinfulness. It is a call to follow Jesus with greater trust and more generous love, ever mindful of what He has done for me and, ultimately, the fullness of Life He calls me to share.
I beg your daily prayers, your patience and your collaboration; our mission is to make our Lord, Jesus Christ more widely known and loved in the Diocese of Lancaster. I draw on the example of so many saints and martyrs, as well as on the witness and memory of my own wonderful parents, grandparents and family. Faced with so much that is unknown and uncertain I am comforted by the presence of the Good Shepherd who has promised never to forsake His flock. I will serve to the best of my ability.”

Note: Bishop-Elect Swarbrick will be ordained Bishop and take possession of the Diocese at St Peter’s Cathedral, Lancaster on a date yet to be confirmed. Meanwhile, although Bishop Campbell’s resignation has been accepted, until Bishop-Elect Swarbrick’s Ordination Bishop Campbell has been appointed by Pope Francis as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Saying No to Corruption - Pope's Video for February 2018

That those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption.
Pope Francis - February 2018
“What is at the root of slavery, unemployment, and disregard for nature and goods held in common? Corruption, a process of death that feeds the culture of death.
Because the thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. 
Corruption is not countered with silence. 
We must speak about it, denounce its evils, and try to understand it so as to show our resolve to make mercy reign over meanness, beauty over nothingness. 
Let us pray that those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption.”