Wednesday, 6 March 2019

San Damiano Cross for Haslemere

The artist Antoni Pytel with his Icon

Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Haslemere, has just received a wonderful gift from a master craftsman.  Antoni Pytel, the father of a parishioner, has been working on an iconic San Damiano Cross which was shown to the congregation and used for the first time for an ecumenical Taizé service recently.

A San Damiano cross is a large Romanesque rood cross that St Francis of Assisi was praying before when he received the commission from the Lord to rebuild the Church. The original cross hangs in the Basilica of St Clare in Assisi and Franciscans cherish this cross as the symbol of their mission from God. It is of a type sometimes called an icon because, besides the main figure of Christ, it contains images of other saints and people connected with Christ’s crucifixion. The tradition of such crosses began in the Eastern Church and probably reached Italy via Serbia and Croatia.

Antoni Pytel, whose favourite hobby is painting religious icons, worked on the cross for around two months. When in Britain he always attends Our Lady of Lourdes, and decided to present his masterpiece to the church where his daughter and grandchildren worship.

For the Taizé service, attended by people from many other churches in Haslemere, the cross formed the centre of worship. In flickering candlelight its artistic beauty could be shown off to perfection.

Article by Fay Foster

Friday, 1 March 2019

New Diocesan Director for Missio in Arundel & Brighton - Focus on Mission

Deacon Duncan Brown - Arundel & Brighton Diocese Missio Director
Bishop Richard Moth and Missio’s National Director, Fr. Anthony Chantry are delighted to announce that Missio’s new Diocesan Director for the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton is to be Deacon Duncan Brown.

Missio’s Diocesan Directors are responsible for leading each diocese’s focus on Mission and promoting support for Missio, the Pope’s own Charity for overseas Mission. The work of the organisation involves raising money to support the 1069 Mission Dioceses throughout the developing world which are too young or too poor to support themselves. This takes place through the Red Box Scheme which has existed in the vast majority of Catholic parishes in England and Wales for the past 80 years.

Deacon Duncan will be helping all those in Arundel and Brighton Diocese interested in discerning how they can become more deeply involved in the Church’s mission and in becoming Missionary Disciples.

Duncan Brown was ordained deacon in 2016 and serves in the parish of St Mary Star of the Sea, Hastings. He is married with two teenage children. Having worked with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company for a number of years, he now works in a family firm as a funeral director in St. Leonards on Sea.

Deacon Duncan says ‘ I am excited to be taking up this role in 2019, following Pope Francis’s announcement of the Extraordinary Month of Mission due to take place throughout October. I look forward to working with the team at Missio as well as Missio’s diocesan directors from all over England and Wales. I would like to encourage anyone who is interested in becoming involved with our Mission work in the diocese to contact me.’

If you would like to get in touch with Deacon Duncan with regard to promoting Missio in your parish or would like to become more involved in the promotion of Mission more generally in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, kindly contact Duncan at