Portsmouth Diocese e-News Issue 284 (2020/28)
Tuesday 14th July 2020
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Welcome from Bishop Philip
Dear Friends,
Welcome to this week’s e-News. It was a great joy last Sunday to say Mass in the Cathedral once again with a congregation: you can read my homily here. Please pray for our clergy and parishioners across the diocese as our churches reopen for the sacred Liturgy. This Wednesday I am saying Mass in the Cathedral again: it would have been the day we set off on our Lourdes Pilgrimage. Please join us if you can for the Mass either online or in person. In e-News this week, there is some good news about new support for our brothers and sisters in Bamenda and closer to home about the work of the St. Vincent de Paul (SVP) group in Parkgate. Reopening efforts have got off to a flying start in Abingdon with a Super Saturday and in Twyford too.  And there’s a cracking baby priest to identify this week: can you guess who it is? Meanwhile, happy Feast of St. Camillus today: we commend to his prayers our hospital chaplains, all nurses and all the sick. God bless you.

Please note there will not be an e-News next week.


Lourdes Mass this Wednesday

Please join us, either online or in person, for a special Diocesan Lourdes Celebration Mass this Wednesday 15th July 2020 here at the Cathedral at 1215 pm. I know many of you are disappointed we are not travelling to Lourdes this year on pilgrimage. The pilgrimage would have begun this Wednesday 15th July with an early morning flight from Bournemouth Airport direct to Tarbes, and a short transfer to Lourdes in time for lunch.  Even though we’re not going, we can still pray together and unite in prayer for the world at this time, for an end to the pandemic, for those we know and love, and especially for those who are in need of healing. So please join me for the Mass on Wednesday. I am already looking forward to our 2021 Lourdes Pilgrimage, which promises to be a wonderful few days of prayer and healing, in response to the invitation of our Blessed Lady. The pilgrimage to Lourdes next year runs from Monday 19th July to Friday 23rd July and you can find out more here: May our Lady of Lourdes pray for us.
Bishop’s Homily for 15th Sunday of the Year 

Here is the homily I preached last Sunday, the Fifteenth Sunday of the Year, at the 12 noon Mass in the Cathedral.
It is a great joy after so many weeks once again to celebrate Mass with priests and people together, even if everything is still far from normal and many are not with us. As the Bishop, I’ve been much in touch with our clergy these last months, but it’s you the faithful I’ve really missed. Today, it’s a great joy to see you again and to be with you! Let’s continue to pray for a speedy resolution of this pandemic, not only here but across the world, and for the discovery of an effective vaccine...


Saint Camillus – pray for us

Today, 14th July, we commemorate St. Camillus de Lellis, the patron saint of doctors, nurses and hospitals. He was especially a friend of mine when I was hospital chaplain at Arrowe Park on the Wirral and I had a statue of him installed in the chapel. He was born in 1550 in Italy of a noble family. He became a soldier but his taste for gambling and riotous living eventually lost him everything. At the age of 25 he converted as the result of hearing a sermon. He twice tried to join the Capuchin friars but was rejected because of his poor health. Having had experience of hospitals from the inside, he determined to improve them, and he devoted the rest of his life to the care of the sick. He offered himself to the hospital of San Giacomo in Rome and eventually became its bursar. He introduced many reforms and founded a congregation of priests and lay brothers, the Servants of the Sick (later known as the Camillians) to serve the sick both spiritually and physically. He was ordained priest in 1584. He continued to look after and visit the sick almost until the day of his death in in 1614. The Second Reading at the office of Readings today comes from the Life of St. Camillus by a friend...


July - Month of the Precious Blood

July is traditionally the month dedicated to the Precious Blood of Jesus. Until 1969, when it was combined with the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Most Precious Blood was celebrated on 1st July to begin the month devoted to this dedication. Why not pray the beautiful Litany of the Precious Blood each day for the rest of this month?

Next Sunday's Gospel

Next Sunday is 16th Sunday of the Year and the Gospel is Matthew 13:24-43. You can read Scott Hahn's reflection on the Sunday reading here.

Join us for the Wednesday Webinar 

In this Sunday's Gospel Jesus continues his teaching on the Kingdom of God in the form of parables...

The parables of Jesus are a challenge and an invitation - both for his disciples who first heard them two thousand years ago and for us, his body the Church, who hear them anew in the liturgy today. As he guides us into a deeper understanding of the Kingdom of God, Jesus also prompts us to ask ourselves if this Kingdom is what we truly seek and truly desire...

Thought for the Week
“For those who have eyes to see, we need to ring the fire alarm. Too often however ... it is essentially business as usual and the folks who try to raise the alarm are viewed as an inconvenience, distraction or threat. [The] parish or diocese has become focused on itself,  functioning somewhat like a club that exists to meet the needs of its members. This is the essence of a maintenance parish, whose primary purpose is to serve the needs of parishioners - and not the salvation and transformation of the world beyond the parish. I am haunted by a question I heard years ago: If your parish closed tomorrow, would anyone who isn’t a member care? Would they feel the difference? Or has your parish become self-serving, with negligible impact on the community [around]? Sadly, many Catholic churches in the Western world are experiencing decline, and the response from Church leaders is primarily denial” (Fr. James Mallon Beyond the Parish).
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Grow in your Faith this summer

The Diocesan Formation for Mission (FFM) team is offering a series of online talks and videos this July and August to help bring you closer to Jesus Christ. Whether you're a catechist wanting to develop your ministry or a faithful Catholic looking to learn more, they are here to help...


Spiritual Enrichment with Scott Hahn 

Ruth Preston, Administrator and Executive Assistant to the Director at the Centre for Applied Carmelite Spirituality (CACS) at Boars Hill in Oxford shares details of their special event on Saturday 8th August...

Our world today is reeling in pain. People are turning in different directions searching for healing and restoration. How can the Word of God be a source of healing for a world in pain? The renowned Catholic theologian, Dr Scott Hahn, Professor of Biblical Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio (USA), will explore the healing power of the Word of God for our world in pain. For the Word of God is alive and active and offers a fitting response to the difficulties our world is experiencing presently. On Saturday 8th August Scott Hahn will be delivering a special edition of the Spiritual Enrichment Lecture Series from the Centre for Applied Carmelite Spirituality via livestream. Find out more here.
Bamenda Update

Elizabeth Dene, a parishioner from Guernsey and  Member of the Bamenda-Portsmouth Committee shares an update on how the exceptional disaster relief award made by the Guernsey Overseas Aid & Development Commission in late 2019 has been used to provide emergency relief to the many hundreds of people who have been internally displaced within Bamenda because of the ongoing civil conflict in the region....

In 2019, the Guernsey Overseas Aid & Development Commission made an exceptional emergency relief award to the Diocesan Bamenda Committee to support the work the Ad Hoc Committee of the Archdiocese of Bamenda’s response to provide for the basic needs of the huge numbers of people internally displaced because of the ongoing civil unrest in the region. The Ad Hoc Committee has recently provided its update report on how the first £10,000 of this award has been spent...

Seminarians in Lockdown

With the Covid lockdown, all Seminaries closed and the students were placed nearer home in host parishes - to whom we are most grateful for accommodating them.  Most of the students continued to have lectures & seminars that have taken place remotely, and some have taken their end of year exams too.  They have been working very hard behind the scenes and helping in their host parishes and will be looking forward to a bit of a break during the summer. We offer you a few glimpses of them in action in their parish bases...

A truly special 'Super Saturday' in Abingdon

Pauline Hanley, who leads RCIA team at Our Lady & St Edmund of Abingdon, shares news of a truly special ‘Super Saturday’ as lockdown restrictions were relaxed...

Hairdressers, pubs, clubs all can wait! Our Lady & St Edmund of Abingdon, chose to commemorate a ‘special super Saturday’ dedicating its first mass to celebrating the sacraments of baptism and confirmation for RCIA candidates and catechumens. Unable to gather for this most precious celebration at the Easter vigil this year, Parish Priest Fr Jamie McGrath, determined this would be the first thing he would do when permitted.  And he is a man of his word!

Public Mass resumes in Twyford

Deacon Peter Kelly from St Thomas More Twyford reports on the first public Mass after lockdown...

Twyford parish celebrated its first Mass after lockdown on Sunday 5th July. Fr.Jude had zoomed Mass each day during the lockdown and had kept in contact with his parishioners via a weekly newsletter sent out by email, was clearly delighted to be back among his congregation. In order to accommodate those wishing to attend Mass the parishioners transformed the car park into an open-air Church. After Mass, Fr. Jude thanked all those who had helped especially the marshals who made quite sure that the government guidelines were followed and also thanked those who had so generously supported the parish financially. The Church itself was open for weekday Mass from Wednesday 8th July. Mass will continue to be zoomed for those unable to attend.

Amazing Parish SVP Group

I had an email the other day from Roxy Ashworth, the Headteacher of St. Anthony’s Catholic Primary School, Fareham, in which she praised the work of their parish SVP group at St. Margaret Mary’s Parkgate. In it she said: “I am writing to let you know how amazing the SVP group at St Margaret Mary Church in Park Gate have been during this crisis. When we received the news that our schools were to shut and we were trying to think about how to support our families in need, the SVP approached the school to offer support. They delivered food vouchers over the lockdown period for our families, with notes of how to gain further support if needed. They made up craft packs of pens, paper, books, playdoh etc for each child in need, ensuring it was age appropriate, and matched their interests and they were always keen to figure out how they could continue to help to meet our families needs. I know that their outreach to our school families will have been done along with meeting the needs of their parish family and the wider local community. I have been overwhelmed with their fantastic, fast response support and how they have gone above and beyond. All this done with gentleness, kindness and an eagerness to help those in need. I felt I needed to let you know this wonderful good news story.”

Another 72 miles covered

Jo Lewry writes to thank all those taking part in CAFOD's 10,000 steps challenge to walk the length of Portsmouth diocese (100 miles) and to ask for your support to reach our target of £2000!

Another fantastic week of walking with 72 miles completed. So far we have raised £720 for CAFOD's Coronavirus appeal. But the need is great  for example £12.10 can buy an emergency food pack for a family in lockdown who can’t go out to earn money to buy food and £5.90 can buy a hygiene pack for a family which includes soap and washing powder. Whatever you can give will help those in desperate need. Our target is £2000 and with 2 weeks to go we need your support so please donate to our JustGiving page.

Canon John O’Shea

This autumn, we bid farewell to a well-known and well-loved priest of our Diocese, Canon John O’Shea, who having reached the canonical age, is retiring. Canon John went to seminary in Carlow and was ordained in Carlow Cathedral on 7th June 1969. In the Diocese, he has served as Assistant Priest in Sacred Heart, Bournemouth, St. Michael’s Leigh Park and in St. Joseph’s Guernsey, before studying at the Institute of Religious Education in Dundalk in preparation for becoming the diocesan Advisor on Religious Education and Catechesis, then at Park Place. He ran the RE Centre in Southampton and gained a Masters in RE from Loyola University, Chicago. From 1992-1999, he was parish priest of St. Colman’s Cosham and the Dean of Portsmouth and from 1999 until 2010, the Dean of Southampton and parish priest of St. Joseph and St. Edmund's, Southampton. He became a canon of the chapter in 1999 and since 2010 has been the parish priest of St. James and St William of York in Reading, as well as Coordinating Pastor of Reading. Canon John leaves a massive hole to fill! He will be living in Ireland. We wish him our love and prayers for the next phase, full of gratitude for his ministry in our Diocese.

New Master for Guild of Our Lady of Ransom

Monsignor John Armitage, who many readers will know from his visit to our Cathedral last year during the Dowry Tour preparing for the Rededication of England as Mary's Dowry shortly concludes his five year term as Rector of the National Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham to return to the Diocese of Brentwood. He has recently been appointed as the new Master of The Guild of Our Lady of Ransom...

The Guild of Our Lady of Ransom is a Catholic guild that promotes the re-conversion of England and Wales to the Catholic faith and also works on outreach to lapsed Catholics and promotes prayer for the dead. The guild’s Executive Council has released a statement on the appointment...


Book Recommendation

I recommend this big new book by Dawn M. Beutner Saints: Becoming an Image of Christ every Day of the Year (ISBN: 978-1-62164-341-8). Beutner gives short biographical summaries of all the saints arranged according to each day of the year. She includes all the saints from the usual liturgical calendars (both for the Ordinary form and also for the Extraordinary Form) along with many others commemorated on the day from the Martyrology. She also gives a short prayer and a bon mot, as well as a prayer intention. This is, as I say, a big book, but a great one to have for personal use and devotion. It can also be a help to preachers seeking the right message to communicate.

From the Archives
This week we feature St John's Cathedral as it was before the Second Vatican Council with this photograph from c.1890...

In 1877 Rev. John Horan purchased land from the War Department and hired architect John Crawley to build a church to be dedicated to St John the Evangelist. The building was designed in Gothic Revival style by Crawley between 1877 and 1881. He died just as building started and his partner Joseph Hansom took over the project and modified the design, working on it until 1896. The church is built of Fareham Red Brick with Portland stone dressings. Construction started in 1880, thanks to a donation from the Duke of Norfolk...

And finally...Who is this?

We continue to feature some of the clergy of our Diocese of Portsmouth for you to try an identify. This week we test your powers of observation as we return to our baby vault - but who is this? Just e-mail your answer to Deacon Craig by Friday for a mention. 

Last week's mystery cleric seen during his ordination to the Diaconate was Deacon Tony Darroch, who works with Fr Chris Rutledge and Fr Leo Odomeja at St Bede's Basingstoke. Congratulations to Gerry Penfold, Geoff Poulter, Jack and Melly Noronha, Therese Brown, Vickie Chandler,  Fr Johnpromise Umeozuru, Fr Leo Odomeja, Bishop Philip and Pam Darroch (thankfully!) who correctly identified him.

Please remember to send in any photos of clergy from years gone by or challenging angles from your own collection - and please encourage your own clergy to offer photos of themselves - to feature in a future issue!. Ed.

Diocesan Prayer Intentions

Each day of the year the liturgical calendar gives us a variety of seasons and celebrations of saints. These are outlined in the Diocesan Ordo along with a daily prayer for a diocesan intention. I would like to encourage you to add these intentions to your daily prayers. You can find the daily intentions for July here.

Please pray for the Renewal of the Diocese

During 2020 the Year of the Word and 2021 the Year of the Eucharist, please pray each day the following prayer for the spiritual renewal of all the members of our Diocese of Portsmouth, bishop, clergy, religious and people:
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, we beg you
to change us, to convert us and to make us holy.
Fill us with a deeper faith, hope and love for you.
Send into our hearts the cleansing fire of the Holy Spirit and
powerfully renew all the clergy, religious and laity of our Diocese.
Unite us in love and respect for one another
and unify us as your one, holy people.
Grant us a new passion and zeal for the Catholic Faith,
for mission, outreach and service.
Help us to proclaim your Gospel generously to the poor and needy
that many more souls may be saved
by finding their way to you in your Church.
May Mary Immaculate help us.
May St Edmund of Abingdon and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
pray for us. Amen.
Holy Michael the Archangel defend us in the day of battle.
Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray.
And do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God,
thrust down to hell Satan and all the wicked spirits,
who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

Please pray for...

Please pray for these intentions.  

During 2020 the Year of the Word and 2021 the Year of the Eucharist, please pray each day this prayer for the spiritual renewal of all the members of our Diocese of Portsmouth, bishop, clergy, religious and people.

Click here if you have a prayer intention you would like our Diocesan Intercessory Prayer Team to pray for.
Click here if you have a prayer intention you would like the Sisters at the Adoremus Centre in Alderney (our Powerhouse of Prayer) to pray for.

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Job Opportunities in the Diocese

Diocesan schools vacancies can be found here.

Share your Good News...

We like to share news of what's happening across the diocese and try to include a broad range of news and reflective articles, but please note:
  • The Editorial Team reserve the right not to use submitted copy. Publication of submitted articles is not guaranteed. 
  • Publication does not necessarily reflect the views of either the Editor nor of the Bishop.
  • The Editorial Team reserve the right to edit any articles prior to publication.
  • Due to space, articles may not be published immediately and may be held in reserve for future use.
Please e-mail all news items and forthcoming events by Friday for consideration for the following week's issue to Deacon Craig Aburn:

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With all good wishes and an assurance of my prayers, 

In Corde Iesu

 Bishop of Portsmouth
The next issue of e-News will be on Tuesday 28th July.
Deadline for submission of items for consideration is
Friday 24th July 2020.
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