Portsmouth Diocese e-News Issue 271 (2020/15)
Wednesday 15th April 2020
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Welcome to this week's e-News from Bishop Philip
Dear Friends,

A very happy Easter to you! For us as Catholics, this Holy Week and Easter have been like no other. We’ve not been able to go into church let alone celebrate the Mass and the dramatic liturgies of the sacred Triduum. Even so, I’m amazed and grateful at the creative ideas of our clergy and parishioners in order to keep in touch. Many parishes have taken to live streaming the liturgy or emailing parishioners or even taking to the simple ministry of the telephone. Our schools too – teachers, governors and pupils – have been doing some amazing work supporting the families of front-line workers and also those who are vulnerable, poor and alone. The coronavirus crisis is a wake-up call for us all. I am saddened to hear of the medics who have died after contracting it. Again, the other day in the supermarket, many of the shelves were empty. Much of normal life is now disrupted and we wonder when and even whether things will ever be the same again. Yet this is why as Christians our faith and example is crucial. We need to pray for an end to the virus, for the sick and those who care for them, and for those who have died. But more, we need to assure people of God’s love for them: that He is on our side and offering us His grace. And we need to communicate His love: that Jesus Christ His Son gave His life for us on the Cross and promises us resurrection and new life. Meanwhile, once again, Happy Easter! May God will fill you with deeper faith, with His love and with joy. Thank you, clergy and people of the Diocese of Portsmouth, for your witness and example at this difficult time. With the strength of the Lord in our hearts, let's keep up the good work of Bringing People Closer to Jesus Christ through His Church.
Daily Mass with the Bishop

I’d like to invite you each morning to join me for Eucharistic Adoration, Morning Prayer and Mass in my private chapel in Bishop’s House, Portsmouth. I will be live-streaming the Liturgy over these next weeks. The liturgies will be simple. I will endeavour to offer a short message, inspired by the daily Readings. The Readings and Collects of the Mass and the texts for Morning Prayer can be found in Universalis and i-Breviary. At the Mass, you are invited to make a Spiritual Communion. Details of how to connect are given on the special page on the Diocesan website here. Here is the schedule for the next days:

Read more and Tune-in...
Another BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day

On Wednesday 8th April in Holy Week, I was invited once again to appear on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 to give the Thought for the Day. Click on the picture to hear it (NB you will need to sign in). Here is the text:.

Read the text here...
Urbi et Orbi

Here we share a video of the Papal Mass of Easter Sunday followed by his Easter Message and "Urbi et Orbi" blessing. The Easter message begins around 1:18. Pope Francis’ message challenges us to ban indifference, self-centredness, division and forgetfulness during this time of Covid-19 – and to spread the “contagion” of hope. You can read more this here.

Divine Mercy Sunday

In the year 2000, the Vatican declared the second Sunday of Easter - next Sunday – to be Divine Mercy Sunday. Many Christians prepare for it by saying each day the Divine Mercy Chaplet and other prayers proposed by St. Faustina. What is the origin of Divine Mercy Sunday, the image (pictured), the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the novena prayers? Here is the brief explanation given by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).


Next Sunday's Gospel

Next Sunday is Easter Sunday, and the Gospel is St John's account of the appearing of Jesus to the disciples, eight days after the Resurrection (John 20:19-31). You can read Scott Hahn's Sunday reflection here

Join us for the Wednesday Webinar

Second Sunday of Easter (John 20:19-31): Thomas’ encounter with the risen Christ reveals the meaning of faith.

Read more

Deacon Martin writes...

Deacon Martin sees an example of how to be the Church, in Sunday’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles…
Jennifer Geach reflects...

Jennifer Geach reflects on Christ's Descent into Hell...

Easter Sunday Homily

Here is the homily I preached at the Easter Vigil and, in adapted form, at the 12 noon Mass in the Cathedral on Easter Sunday.

Victimae Paschali Laudes

On Easter Sunday and (optionally) throughout this Easter week, we hear at Mass a ‘prose’ or sequence after the Reading just before the Gospel Acclamation or Alleluia verse.  It is the superb Victimae Paschali Laudes. Click on the picture to hear it sung by the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Fontgombault (France). 

What is an Indulgence?

Last week, I mentioned the emergency Plenary Indulgence that the Holy Father has promulgated for those with coronavirus and subject to quarantine. I also attached an explanation of it by Rev. Dr. Anthony Barratt, Director of Prayer and Worship for the Diocese of Albany, N.Y. However, a couple of readers have asked: What is an Indulgence? So I went back to Fr. Anthony to ask him. You can read his explanation here...

Your Priests are praying for you
I’m grateful to Edward Hauschild, one of our students from the Venerable English College in Rome, who has drawn my attention to this short video. It’s a clip of Mgr. James Moroney, the rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul in Worcester, Ma., preaching about the priesthood at the Office of Readings on Holy Thursday. I recommend its inspiring sentiments to all of you, clergy and laity, as Mgr. Moroney speaks about the important role of prayer during this time of pandemic.
Clap for our Chaplains

As we ‘Clap for our Carers’ every Thursday, please also ‘Clap for our Hospital Chaplains’ – and say a prayer for them. They are heroes, never more so than at this time of crisis ministering to the dying in our hospitals. We have six major hospitals in the Diocese and, with much gratitude to the priests for their generosity, I have been reorganising the chaplains in order to ensure that each hospital has sufficient cover and back-up cover for this emergency period during the pandemic. 

Find out more...
From Fr. James McAuley in Rome

I received an email on Easter Sunday from Fr. James McAuley in Rome. As you know, he is currently on the staff of the Venerable English College. I reproduce some of the email here, as I’m sure you’ll find it interesting reading. It gives a fascinating insight into things in Rome at the moment. 

Update from Bamenda

Jo Overton, Co-Chair of the Bamenda-Portsmouth Committee shares the latest news from our Twin Diocese....

News from CAFOD
Jo Lewry shares Easter hope and joy …
May I wish you a joyful Easter full of love and hope in these difficult times. I would like to share some Easter prayers with you and also to invite you to our online talks and webinars that are happening this week .
News from Caritas
Kevin Gallagher, Director of Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth writes...

With the coronavirus facing us there will be difficult times ahead with many people having to self-isolate. In facing this rather new confined lifestyle during the next few months, with church services stopped and restrictions on non-essential meetings there will be much time for personal reflection and to hopefully re-evalute life and see what it means to be a loving community by reaching out to those in need... 
News from Blessed Hugh Faringdon school

Dr Simon Uttley, Head of  Blessed Hugh Faringdon school reports on streaming the Easter Triduum from the school...
In these extraordinary times, with Blessed Hugh Faringdon school open over the Easter holidays as a Hub School at the service of the children of Reading, Dr Simon Uttley and his team wanted to ensure the school was reaching out to the school community and placing the joy, the sorrow and the glory of the Easter Triduum at the forefront of minds and hearts. Broadcasting three  scripture-based ‘reflections’ – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Monday - through the school’s social media proved very impacting. Click on the picture of the school for the Easter Monday streaming.

Prayer to say during the Pandemic

Gerry Penfold, Leader of the Called and Gifted Team shares a prayer the Team and its "graduates" have been encouraged to offer at this time...

Click here for the prayer...
Photo of PGF

In e-News last week, we published a cracking photo of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, a very clear shot showing his face and eyes. It was clearly a clip from a bigger picture taken during a mountain expedition with friends. It led me into an email conversation over the weekend with his niece, Wanda Gawronska, and so I asked her about the photo and where it came from. She kindly sent me this one (pictured). It depicts the whole ensemble. It was taken in 1923, so Pier Giorgio would have been 22 at the time. Wanda does not know the names of everyone in the group, except that behind Pier Giorgio is Laura Hildago. A member of the FUCI club for women Gaetana Agnese, Laura acted as the secretary of the Tipi Loschi society and became the object of Pier Giorgio’s very pure love, which he never expressed to her. She was three years older than him and as an orphan, raised her younger brother. Pier Giorgio admired her for this. She graduated from the Regio Polytechnico with a degree in maths and later in life became a professor of maths and the director of a library.

A Poem for our Times
Here is a poem written in 1869 by an Irish Poet, Kathleen O'Meara (d. 1888) after a plague devastated Ireland in the late 1860s. It was sent in by a reader who deemed it very appropriate for us today.
And people stayed home
and read books and listened
and rested and exercised
and made art and played
and learned new ways of being
and were still
and listened more deeply
someone meditated
someone prayed
someone danced
someone met their own shadow
and people started thinking differently----
And people healed...
And in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways
dangerous, mindless, and heartless....
The earth began to heal---
And when the danger ended
and people found themselves...
They grieved for the dead
and they made new choices
and dreamed of new visions
and created new ways to live
and heal the earth fully
just as they had been healed.  
From the Archives
We continue to look back at archive images from days gone by in our diocese. This week we feature the church of St Joseph, Bugle Street, Southampton with thanks to Tom and Carole Olding's digging in the Southampton City Archives. The first picture shows the church in 1910 (note the clearly visible ship sanctuary lamp on the right of the picture, mentioned in the article in issue 265 about Bishop Philip's visit to open the new Stella Maris AoS offices). If you click on the image you can see another of the Easter Altar, pre-1888.

[We invite readers to send any photos they have of specific memories from the past. Ed.]


I don’t know whether you have discovered Magnificat yet? At the moment, during the coronavirus crisis, they are allowing anyone to access its online version free. I promise that I get no commission for recommending Magnificat to you! Magnificat is published monthly in a number of languages, including an English edition for the UK, based on our own liturgical calendar, lectionary and feast days. It contains the Mass for each day with a meditation from the great spiritual writers of the Church throughout history. It also contains prayer for mornings and evenings based on the Liturgy of the Hours. It features lives of the saints, articles on spiritual topics by contemporary writers, Prayer at Night, hymns and in each issue an essay on a great example of Christian art. It is beautifully produced. I find it very handy for travelling and also for personal prayer in preparation for Mass. If I am attending Mass or concelebrating, I like using it to follow all the prayers and prefaces. You can find out more and subscribe by clicking here.

Fr Eddie Matthews RIP

Please pray for the repose of Canon Eddie Matthews, a priest of the Diocese of Westminster, who died on 1st April, 2020. I remember him well from my days at Allen Hall Seminary in Chelsea where he was on the staff and taught Liturgy. I’m sure many other clergy from our Diocese will remember him affectionately too. Fr. Eddie died peacefully at the East Surrey Hospital following admission. Fr. Eddie was born in London on 9th February 1937 and ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Westminster at the English College, Lisbon on 16th June 1962.  In recent years he lived near Horsham, West Sussex having retired from active ministry. Before he went to teach at Allen Hall, he studied Liturgy in Rome before teaching at Allen Hall.  Sympathy is extended to Canon Eddie’s family and friends, and to the Clergy and parishioners of his former parishes in the Diocese, and to those in Henfield and Horsham in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.

And finally...Who is this?

We continue to feature some of the best known and best loved clergy of our Diocese of Portsmouth – but in their younger forms. But who did this little boy grow up to be? Just e-mail your answer to Deacon Craig by Friday for a mention. Don't forget to send in any photos of clergy from years gone by from your own collection to feature in a future issue!

The mystery priest in issue 270 was Fr Bernadine Nsom, Parish Priest of The Annunciation and St Edmund Campion parish Charminster. Congratulations to Dr Emmanuel Ngwa, Fr Phil Carroll and Bishop Philip who identified him. See how you get on with this week's mystery cleric. As it's Easter we've given you an easy one this week. 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. The daily intentions for April can be found here.    

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 Powerhosue of Prayer) to pray for.

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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:
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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 21st April.
Deadline for submission of items for consideration is
Friday 17th April 2020.
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