Portsmouth Diocese e-News Issue 281 (2020/25)
Tuesday 23rd June 2020
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Welcome from Bishop Philip
Dear Friends,
It’s been great seeing people coming into the Cathedral here to pray, now that restrictions have lifted and the church has been able to reopen. Let’s hope and pray that a further easing will take place to enable the Sacred Liturgy to resume in churches across our Diocese wherever resources permit. Mike Slinn offers a few thoughts on what the challenge of COVID-19 means for us and Fr. John Lavers draws our attention to a recent message to seafarers from Pope Francis. The current crisis is one of the many prayer intentions we have at the moment. The people of Reading need our prayers at this time, as do Matthew King, Anthony Fyk and Brother Joseph Bailham preparing for ordination. Please pray too for the people of Guernsey campaigning against the proposed new liberal abortion laws, and for peace in the Holy Land. There is an appeal from Kevin Gallagher, Director of Caritas, and a message from Christine Allen, Director of CAFOD. I’m delighted to commend to you the article by Dr. Dudley Plunkett on St. John Southworth, one of my heroes, a fellow-northerner martyred in the south! Meanwhile, please accept my prayers and best wishes for you and your families and friends for these sunny summer days.
Prayers for Reading 

I am sure we were all shocked and saddened by the knife attack in Reading's Forbury Gardens last Saturday afternoon, 20th June, that left three dead and several others injured. Let us pray for those who were killed and for their families, for all who were injured, for those who work in the police and emergency services and for the conversion of heart of the suspected attacker, a 25-year-old Libyan national. Forbury Gardens I know well, as it is just outside St. James’s Church and I remember being there just a few weeks ago for the Parish Visitation. I emailed our prayers and sympathy to Canon John O’Shea, the parish priest, and to the parish. On Sunday, he told me he was surrounded by police with a helicopter overhead. He had had calls from journalists and been interviewed on Radio Berkshire in the morning. Opening the church had had to be cancelled. Meanwhile, the parish Leadership Team met yesterday to work out where things are and what can be done going forward to support the community with prayers and help. Please pray for the parish and for Canon John at this time – and for the intentions mentioned above. 

Bishop's Homily for 12th Sunday of the Year

Here is the homily I preached last Sunday, the Twelfth Sunday of the Year, at the 12 noon Mass in the Cathedral.

Tomorrow, 22nd June, is the feast of the two great English martyrs, St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More. They were put to death in the Tower of London in 1535 by King Henry VIII, because they would not take the Oath of Supremacy: they would not declare the king, rather than the Pope, to be the head of the Church. Bishop John Fisher was involved in Cambridge in the establishment of colleges. Sir Thomas More a layman was an Oxford don who became Lord Chancellor, the most powerful man in England after the king. His personal life was centred on his wife and four children. Deeply spiritual, his holiness and integrity were brought out well in Robert Bolt’s play, A Man for All Seasons, later made into a movie. In prison, More wrote letters to his daughter, in one of which he said: Although I know well that because of my past wickedness, I deserve to be abandoned by God, I cannot but trust his merciful goodness. I won’t mistrust him - even though I’m full of fear...


Daily Mass from my Chapel

Please join me in the mornings for Eucharistic Adoration, Morning Prayer and Mass in my private chapel in Bishop’s House, Portsmouth. I am live-streaming the Liturgy over these days. The liturgies are simple and I (or Fr. Philip, Bishop’s Secretary) usually offer a short message, inspired by the daily Readings. 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. This is the schedule for the next days...
Read more and tune in...

Pope adds new Titles to Litany of Loreto

Last Saturday 20th June, the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pope Francis approved the inclusion of three additional invocations in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This ‘Litany of Loreto’ originated in use at the shrine of Our Lady of Loreto, Italy, in the mid-sixteenth century and was officially sanctioned for use throughout the Church by Pope Sixtus V in 1587. There have been occasional additions to its invocations over the centuries. Now, Pope Francis has mandated that Mater misericordiae (Mother of mercy) be added after Mater Ecclesiae (Mother of the Church), Mater spei (Mother of Hope) after Mater divinae gratiae (Mother of Divine grace) and Solacium migrantium (Comfort of Migrants) after Refugium peccatorum (Refuge of Sinners). Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for the Divine Liturgy and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said “The titles and invocations which Christian piety has reserved for the Virgin Mary over the course of the centuries, as the privileged and sure way to an encounter with Christ, are innumerable. Even in this present moment, which is marked by feelings of uncertainty and trepidation, devout recourse to Her, which is full of affection and trust, is deeply felt by the People of God.” He added: “We know from the Gospel that the disciples of Jesus had in fact learned from the very beginning to praise her as ‘blessed amongst women’ and to count on her maternal intercession.”

Next Sunday's Gospel

Next Sunday is the Solemnity of Ss Peter and Paul (transferred from next Monday) and the Gospel is Matthew 16:13-19. You can read the Homily Pope Francis gave on this day last year here; the day new archbishops normally visit Rome to receive the pallium from the Holy Father.

Join us for the Wednesday Webinar 

In this week's Webinar we shall hear Peter make his profession of faith in his master Jesus, declaring him to be the Christ, the Son of the living God...

Peter gives an answer inspired by the divine gift of faith to Jesus’ question: ‘Who do you say I am?’ It is  this profession which opens the way for Christ’s first prediction of his Passion, making clear for us the essential link between Jesus’ identity as the Son of God and his mission as the crucified and resurrected saviour of humanity...

Mass this Friday in honour of St. Josemaria 

This Friday, 26th June 2020, I will be offering Mass in the Cathedral at 12.15 pm in honour of St. Josemaria Escriva. Please join me for it. St. Josemaria was born in Barbastro, Spain, in 1902 and ordained to the priesthood in Zaragoza in 1925. He is known for his foundation of Opus Dei, an association of laity and priests who see work, family life, and the ordinary events of each day as the opportunities par excellence for drawing close to Christ, and making Him known to others. Opus have members across our Diocese of Portsmouth and Grandpont House is next door to the church of Holy Rood in Oxford. St. Josemaria died in Rome in 1975 and was canonized by Pope St John Paul II in 2002. His feast day is 26th June. His life was indeed a life of faith, a life holy and full of God—a life dedicated to doing God’s will and bringing to the world the message God entrusted to him, that: “Sanctity is not for a privileged few. The Lord calls all of us. He expects love from all of us—from everyone, wherever they are; from everyone, whatever their state in life, their profession or job. For the daily life we live, apparently so ordinary, can be a path to sanctity: it is not necessary to abandon one’s place in the world in order to search for God…because all the paths of the earth can be the occasion for an encounter with Christ” (Letter 24-III-1930, no. 2).

Saturday 4th July

Saturday 4th July is the feast day of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati (pictured here in the mountains, immediately to the left of the two priests). This year, Brother Joseph Bailham, a Dominican from Blackfriars, Oxford and a great devotee of Blessed PGF, is being ordained deacon: please pray for him. He has asked me to celebrate the Ordination Mass in Oxford, which I am delighted to be able to do. Last summer, Bro. Joseph led a group of students on pilgrimage to Pollone, the Frassati-Ametis villa north of Turin, and Oropa, the nearby shrine of Our Lady up in the mountains, that was well-known and loved by Blessed PG. As we approach 4th July, please pray for Bro. Joseph and also for the canonisation of Blessed Pier Giorgio. Here is the traditional prayer:
O merciful God, Who through the perils of the world deigned to preserve by Your grace Your servant Pier Giorgio Frassati pure of heart and ardent of charity, listen, we ask You, to our prayers and, if it is in Your designs that he be glorified by the Church, show us Your will, granting us the graces we ask of You, through his intercession, by the merits of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen.’ (Imprimatur, 1932 +Maurillo, Archbishop of Turin).

Please continue to Help

These weeks of lockdown are difficult for all of us, and we are particularly mindful of those whose jobs and lives are put on hold because of the pandemic. We want to be here for you during these difficult times. Even so, the Church in our Diocese of Portsmouth, its clergy, parishes and schools, is entirely dependent upon your generous charity. So that we can continue to provide the Liturgy of the Lord and our works, both centrally and from our parishes to the local community, I kindly ask all of the faithful who are able to do so, to continue their generous regular-giving to the Diocese and to their parish churches, which would otherwise lose vital income. You can donate via the button on the diocesan website – or – this is really easy – by clicking below.
Donate Here...
News from the Carmelites at Boars Hill 

Ruth Preston, Administrator and Executive Assistant to the Director at the Centre for Applied Carmelite Spirituality (CACS) at Boars Hill in Oxford shares two study opportunities being offered on Saturday 4th July...

Since the onset of the Pandemic many of our retreats and courses were either cancelled or postponed. At CACS we had already begun live streaming several things but we are now looking to promote Distance Learning. One of our regular lectures runs as a series in the Spiritual Enrichment Lecture Series (SELS) On 4th July at 10.30am, Fr Liam Finnerty, OCD will be presenting Praying Through The Storm: The Experience of St Teresa. We are also running a new live programme The Enrichment Programmes. Fr Kelvin Ekhoegbe OCD will be presenting ‘Prayer Ministers’: Frontline Workers in Scaling the Wall of Covid-19 at 1pm the same day. More information about what CACS offers can be found on their website.

Campaigning for Life in Guernsey

Liz Dene, a parishioner from Guernsey parish updates us with the latest news on proposals to liberalise the Abortion Law on the island and the parish's response...

The Parish of Our Lady and the Saints of Guernsey has been closely united through prayer and petition with the Island’s other churches in the last few weeks in response to proposals to liberalise the Island’s Abortion Law (link to the proposals). We asked our States Members (MPs) to postpone the debate until it has been possible to hold an open and balanced consultation process once the various COVID-19 related restrictions on gatherings and meetings have been relaxed. Two Deputies, one a member of the Parish and the other a pastor to one of the Island’s free churches, have laid a Sursis Motivé, a motion to delay debate. Sadly, the vote was narrowly lost with 19 members supporting delaying the debate and 20 voting against the delay...


Annexation of the West Bank

Prayers are very much needed at the moment for the Holy Land. As Bishop Declan Lang says below ‘The Catholic Church in England and Wales will continue to stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the Holy Land.'

In the negotiations leading to the new coalition government in Israel, the parties agreed that from 1st July 2020 the Knesset could vote on annexing parts of the West Bank, on the basis of President Trump’s Peace to Prosperity plan which envisages significant areas of occupied Palestinian territory being incorporated into the State of Israel. If or when annexation will go ahead, and exactly what it might look like, remains unclear. Moves towards annexation have been met with opposition from around the world, including the UK and EU, on the basis that it would jeopardise the prospects of peace and violate international law. Importantly, the Holy See and the Local Church have voiced their grave opposition. Last month the heads of churches in the Holy Land strongly condemned proposals for annexation and warned that it “would bring about the loss of any remaining hope for the success of the peace process.” In response Bishop Declan Lang stated that “The Catholic Church in England and Wales will continue to stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the Holy Land against any such move.”  In support of the Local Church,  Cardinal Vincent and Archbishop Justin Welby have this week together written to the Prime Minister and the Israeli Ambassador, reaffirming that both the Catholic Church and the Church of England are firmly opposed to annexation, and encouraging the UK government to help prevent it through meaningful diplomatic action.
The Forty Martyrs: St John Southworth 

Dr Dudley Plunkett, former Senior Tutor at the Maryvale Institute and parishioner of the Immaculate Conception, Southampton believes that we need the merits and prayers of our martyrs for the revival of the faith in our country. It was this idea that inspired his recent book, The Noble Martyr: a spiritual Biography of St Philip Howard. Here he offers us the latest instalment in his monthly series offering a brief biography of one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales ahead of their feast-day...
St John, originally from Lancashire, was ordained in Douai in 1618. He returned to England in 1619 and for the next seven years served as a priest in London, Brussels and then in Lancashire, where he was arrested and condemned to death in 1626...

Jesu Dulcis Memoria

The recent series in e-News on great hymns makes me want to share with you one of my own favourite hymns, written by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153). It’s appropriate for this month of June, dedicated to the Heart of Christ. It is called Iesu dulcis memoria and has become well-known thanks to the English translation made by the Victorian hymnologist, Edward Caswall: “Jesus, the very thought of Thee with sweetness fills my breast!” The haunting Gregorian melody of the original has a noble simplicity, but it is the words that are very special to me. Click on the picture to follow the Latin text and hear it sung by the Pietro Allori music group from Sardinia. Here is my own free translation of its five brief verses:

Serving in the Baths in Lourdes

Dr Judy Pellatt a parishioner and altar server at St John's Cathedral, and regular pilgrim to Lourdes who like many others would be thinking about preparations for her annual visit reflects on her experience of serving in the piscines...

The baths in Lourdes are, above all else, a place of prayer where people come to respond to Our Lady’s request to Bernadette; “Go drink of the spring and wash yourself there”. The aim is to allow pilgrims to do this in as prayerful and safe a manner as possible.  A rigorous and long training over seven  years, equips helpers to prepare people for the experience of the bath, including those on stretchers, in wheelchairs and with a myriad of medical conditions... 

COVID-19 - How might the Church respond?

Mike Slinn, a parishioner from St Peter and the Winchester Martyrs parish and a member of the Called and Gifted and Year of the Bible Teams, shares some thoughts on the current situation we all find ourselves in...

COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. We have behaved for decades as if we were in control of our world and now we find that we never really did have control. Our world economy is looking into a chasm which is the worst recession ever. Food banks find that demand for emergency food has doubled. People live in fear of a great invisible enemy that can strike them and their loved ones down at any time. And that enemy is unlikely to be conquered for at least 12 months given the time-lag needed to develop a vaccine and to deliver it to seven billion people...

Pope's Crisis Message to Seafarers 

Fr John Lavers, AoS Stella Maris Director of Chaplaincy for England, Scotland and Wales shares news of a recent message to seafarers from the Vatican...

In a video message sent recently to the Apostleship of the Sea, Pope Francis recognized the difficulties facing seafarers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. He expressed gratitude for their help in feeding humanity despite the risks involved. “Your work as maritime personnel and fishermen has thus become even more important,” he said, “since it is providing our greater human family with food and other primary needs.” You can watch the Holy Father delivering the message above and read more from Vatican News here.

Our Common Home

I received a letter the other day from Christine Allen, the Director of CAFOD, about their exciting new ten-year strategy. It’s called ‘Our Common Home’, the title being taken from Pope Francis’s Encyclical Letter Laudato Si, and you can read it by clicking on the photo. This is what she says:
We are pleased to attach a summary version of Our Common Home, CAFOD’s new strategic framework.  It takes its name from Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ – On Care for Our Common Home.  This new framework offers staff, volunteers and external stakeholders a unifying vision and direction for CAFOD for the next ten years and beyond.  It builds on 60 years of organisational history, working for and achieving local and global change together with the Catholic community in England and Wales and our partners across the world. Reflecting on our experience and current realities, it is clear that the scale of misuse of God’s creation and the disproportionate impact of this misuse on the poorest and most excluded requires a radical global re-think...

CAFOD's Summer of Hope

Jo Lewry writes about CAFOD’s Summer of Hope...

The ‘Summer of Hope’ was launched on 18 June with a nationwide assembly premiered on CAFOD’s YouTube channel to schools in England and Wales. The assembly, titled ‘Hope in the time of coronavirus’ will inspire schools, communities, and young people to reflect on the impact of coronavirus and act to be signs of hope for our global family...

Refugee Day

Kevin Gallagher, Director of Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth draws reflects on last Saturday's Refugee Day...

Refugee day has just past, but it is good to be reminded that, on refugee day, every person around the globe receives an invitation from the United Nations to respond to the call of the 2020 World Refugee Day, a call which is — in part — for us to imagine the reality that is faced by every refugee...


Congratulations Deacon Nick

Deacon Nick O’Neill, from St. Michael’s, Leigh Park, is taking up a new job. Until now, he has worked for the Fishermen’s Mission (‘The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen’), a Christian charity that provides a lifeline of welfare and support to fishermen and their families. But from the summer, he is taking up a new post with Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) as the Senior Regional Port Chaplain for the South of England and Wales. This role until recently used to be undertaken by another deacon, Deacon Roger Stone of Arundel and Brighton Diocese who was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year’s Honour’s List in 2018 for services to the pastoral care of seafarers. Within Stella Maris, Deacon Nick will be serving under another clergyman from our Diocese of Portsmouth, Fr. John Lavers, who is the Director of Chaplaincy for England, Scotland and Wales. It is only right that as a maritime diocese, Portsmouth clergy and laity should be much involved in this important work among seafarers. So many congratulations to Deacon Nick and his family as he begins this exciting new venture, and our prayers for him and his ministry!

From the Archives
This week we return to Ryde, following on from last week's article on Archbishop John Henry King, the 4th Bishop of Portsmouth. Thanks to Peter Clarke from Isle of Wight Catholic History Society for sharing with us this week's photo. He writes...

It is 1954 or 1955. Archbishop John Henry King visits Ryde and calls in to the Presentation Convent School next to the church. The parish priest, Fr. Joseph Troy is on the bishop’s left. The curate, Fr. McDermot-Roe is on the bishop’s right. Sadly, the Presentation Convent school closed in 1990 and the nuns finally vacated the convent in 2008 after sixty one years in Ryde.

[If you have any archive photos and the story behind them to share with our readers, do please send them in for this feature. Ed.]

And finally...Who is this?

We continue to feature some of the clergy of our Diocese of Portsmouth. This week we test your powers of observation with a Portsmouth cleric from an unusual angle, but who is this prostrated in prayer at his ordination? Just e-mail your answer to Deacon Craig by Friday for a mention. 

We beat you last week, as nobody managed to identify a very young Fr David Quarmby, one of our retired priests.

Please remember to send in any photos of clergy from years gone by or challenging angles from your own collection 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 June 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 Powerhouse of Prayer) to pray for.

Donate to the Diocese of Portsmouth

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:

Please send news as plain text and images as attachments rather than embedded in a document. Thank you.

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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 30th June.
Deadline for submission of items for consideration is
Friday 26th June 2020.
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