Portsmouth Diocese e-News Issue 280 (2020/24)
Tuesday 16th June 2020
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Welcome from Bishop Philip
Dear Friends,
It’s great news that our churches are now gradually reopening, although this is a process that will vary from place to place. It depends on everyone’s generosity. Many parishes urgently need volunteers, especially those not in the vulnerable category – so please think of giving an hour or two of your time to serve as helper, thus enabling the Lord Jesus to meet His people in the Blessed Sacrament in this time of need. Let’s hope and pray that the public celebration of the Sacred Liturgy can (safely) resume soon. The churches in Guernsey are now open fully, but on the island moves are afoot to liberalise greatly the abortion laws. Fr. Bruce and the parish have united with other Christian leaders and many people of good will to resist the proposed legislation and a spirited campaign is underway. I attach again this week the message of support I sent them last Sunday, the Most Holy Trinity, in case you missed it. Meanwhile, I wish you a blessed few days ahead, safe and sound. This Friday is one of my favourite Feastdays: the Sacred Heart. I will pray for you especially on that day. I end, invoking upon you God’s blessing and asking: oremus pro invicem (“Let us pray for each other”).
Bishop's Homily for Corpus Christi

Here is the homily I preached last Sunday, the Feast of Corpus Christi, at the 12 noon Mass in the Cathedral.
Whoever eats me will draw life from me. Thomas Merton, the American Trappist monk and famous 20C spiritual writer, in his autobiography The Seven Story Mountain, writes at length of his search for God and eventual conversion. As a journalist in New York, he used to see people at lunchtimes going into a basement workshop, near his apartment. He decided one day to investigate and to his surprise, he discovered it was a Catholic chapel...


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...

Message to Catholics in Guernsey

My dear Parishioners,
Listen to this line from the Gospel account of the Virgin Mary visiting her cousin St. Elizabeth: “As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1: 41). Notice what St. Luke says: “the child leapt in her womb.” He does not say “the foetus leapt in Her womb” - no, the child. That child, of course, was John the Baptist, who, sensing Christ in Mary’s womb, leapt for joy. Indeed, in this scene, there are two pregnant mothers, one very early term, the other at twenty-four weeks (Luke 1: 37). One is Mary, the Mother of God, carrying in Her womb, Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. The other is Elizabeth, “getting on in years” (Luke 1: 7), carrying the Prophet sent to prepare the way of the Lord (cf. Luke 1: 76), of whom, Jesus later said, “of all the children born of women, no-one is greater” (Luke 7: 28).
The point is this: both these babies, like every child, were God-given. Every child conceived in the womb is God-given. Every child is willed personally by God. Every child is placed on earth by God for a purpose. Carried in the womb, Jesus and John were not just biological materials, an assemblage of cells, embryos. No, they were babies. From the moment of conception, they had infinite dignity and value. Already, they were persons, children, people - yes, vulnerable, fragile, dependent on their mothers - but beautiful, free personalities, full of potential...

Feast of the Sacred Heart this Friday

Devotion to the Sacred Heart, encouraged by mediaeval mystics and promoted by St Gertrude, St Margaret Mary Alacoque, St John Eudes and others, represents a devotion to Jesus in his human nature, in particular referring to the heart as the seat of the emotions. The symbolic image of Christ’s heart burning with love for us, even while pierced with the thorns of our indifference and ingratitude is also associated with this devotion. Why not pray the Litany to the Sacred Heart this Friday? Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

Pictured is the window in the Sacred Heart Chapel at the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham. This is the first public Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the British Isles.

Next Sunday's Gospel

Next Sunday is 12th Sunday of the Year and the Gospel is Matthew 10:26-33. You can read Scott Hahn's Sunday reflection here

Join us for the Wednesday Webinar 

In this week's Webinar we shall hear how Jesus strengthens the newly formed band of apostles with words of teaching and consolation, reminding them that he is their way to the Father.

From the Anscombe Bioethics Centre 

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford, is tasked with assisting medical professionals and the wider Catholic community in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, in relation to the ethics of healthcare and biomedical research. The pandemic has raised new and difficult moral questions, and the Centre remains ‘open for business’, even if much of its service is currently online. They continue to be contactable by phone or email, should healthcare professionals, patients, clergy and members of the public have moral questions about healthcare, whether they are related to the pandemic or not. 

Next week: Celebrate Together 

Lucy Sayer, a parishioner from St Swithun’s Southsea and a member of the Celebrate Southampton Leadership Team draws our attention to the forthcoming Celebrate Online Conference...

The CELEBRATE Online Conference is less than two weeks away! Over the weekend (27-28th June) we’ll be releasing everything at specific times, but you can replay all our content at any point if you missed it or want to watch again. You can take part in as little or as much as you’d like, whether it’s for an hour, or if you want to use the whole weekend to retreat. We really encourage you, along with your friends, parishes and families to take the opportunity to approach the CELEBRATE Online Conference as dedicated time for you and the Lord.

Next week: Alton Day of Renewal Online

Alastair Emblem Core Group Leader of the Alton Day of Renewal (ADoRe) asks us to share details of this month's meeting...

Although the usual meetings are suspended till further notice, there will be an ADoRE Online 27th June, including livestream Mass, praise and worship and an inspiring talk on witnessing. For full details and how to participate go to

The New Lectionary

Work continues apace on the new Lectionary for Mass, that is, the books that contain the readings and responsorial psalms appointed for use during the Liturgy. The current version of the lectionary mostly in use – some places choose to use the Revised Standard version (RSV) edition – has three volumes and dates back to 1981. It is based on the Jerusalem Bible (JB) translation. The new Lectionary underway will be based on the English Standard Version – Catholic Edition (ESV-CE). At the moment, the Liturgy Office of the Bishops’ Conference is sending out small sections of the proposed new Lectionary to all the bishops, one per fortnight, for their review and comment. Because of the scale of the task, this will take well into next year. The new Lectionary, once approved, will comprise four volumes, with the current Volume Two, the large blue volume, that covers the weekdays of Ordinary Time and the Proper of the Saints, split into two separate volumes for ease of use. The ESV-CE has been used at Mass in India for some time and is well-liked. The advantage of this version, they say, is that is a text that combines a literal accuracy of translation with the grandeur and resonances of the RSV. Here is a sample comparison between the two versions...
The Saints of Guernsey: St Sampson of Dol

Jude Klement is a student from Guernsey parish who looks to a career in journalism. He has an interest in the Saints of Guernsey and shares with us an article he has written about St Sampson of Dol...

The Saints of the Channel Islands are mysterious figures dating from the end of the Roman period to the 12th century. Their lives and problems often seem alien and barbaric to our cushioned lives today. Stories of intense mortification, martyrisation and bizarre evangelisation make these impressive individuals seem untouchable but in reality everything they did we can imitate just in a different way. Guernsey’s patron saint, St Sampson of Dol (Born around 486 AD in South Wales) lived a life as close we could possibly get to our modern lives being of royal blood (His grandfather was the king of Glamorgan and Gwent). However he abandoned it all to become a priest and eventually a bishop, as the angel who had visited his mother had predicted. At his ordination it is said that a dove perched on his shoulder which only proved his importance. The rest of his recorded life was mainly about his infamous travels.

Simplicity - a poem for our times

Martinus Johannes Maria de Groot, a parishioner from Ringwood feeling that we are presently in a situation of the unknown, decided to write this poem 'Simplicity' to illustrate his feelings and express hope for the future...

Where are we going from here?
If only we could see the road to you O’ Lord, we could feel near.
Let us all sing a song from dusk till dawn, about love.
You showed us the way, told us what we had to do and say.
Because you wanted to tell us and show us the way.
Life would be joy, not anything on earth we would destroy.
Water be clean, only fresh air to be seen.
We can do it together because Christ will come to our aid.
Because Lord we need you, we will obey before it is too late.
Holy Mary we ask you, the feeling inside of us tells what to do.
And we would all be happy one day in heaven with you.

My experience of Lockdown

Joanna Azavedo-Parker, a parishioner from St Swithun Wells parish, shares a reflection on what she has experienced during this time of lockdown...
I live and thrive in the parish of St Swithun Wells and am blessed with a young and enthusiastic clergy, full of energy and faith.  Lockdown was coming but it still came as a shock when it did come.  My employer was prepared for this and literally one working day before Lockdown started, I was set up to work from home.  God had sent signs and those who listened were prepared. Like Noah...

Passion Play Postponed

Liz Dene, a parishioner from Guernsey parish, reflects on the postponement of the 2020 Oberammergau Passion Play...

Along with Bishop Philip, Father PJ and other members of our Diocese, I had been preparing for the pilgrimage to Oberammergau to see the Passion Play. Sadly, COVID-19 has put pay to that trip as for I think for only the second or third time in its history 387 year history, the Passion Play has been postponed and will now take place in 2022. I have already rebooked my place on the pilgrimage for 2022!

Why I became a CAFOD volunteer

Steve Deadman our CAFOD Parish Volunteer Coordinator for the Southampton area and a school volunteer shares what inspired him to become a CAFOD volunteer ….

Five years ago, I was in the fortunate position of coming up to retirement. I wanted my retirement years to be active and useful, especially in terms of living and expressing my faith more fully in daily life. A school, where I am a Governor, has the mission statement that “We follow the loving example of Jesus.”  This is my aim and, following Jesus, my focus must be especially for the poor, sick and marginalised of our world. Therefore, I began to research locally and further afield into possibilities of work and activities that might action these aims...

Could your parish adopt a refugee family?

Kevin Gallagher, Director of Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth draws our attention to Refugee Week, which runs from 15th-21st June...

Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees. Founded in 1998 and held every year around World Refugee Day on the 20 June, Refugee Week is also a growing global movement. Although this year the celebrations are very limited it would be good to cast our minds back to September 2015, and that distressing picture of a 3-year-old Syrian boy named Aylan Kurdi who drowned after a 15-foot boat ferrying him to a Greek island capsized. Pictures of the toddler’s lifeless body on a beach horrified us all and incited many churches around the world to act. Pictures such as these remind us of the risks migrants and refugees will take to escape oppression and hopelessness for life in another country...   

Refugee Week – Welcoming Our Neighbour

As we enter Refugee Week, Maureen Graham, a parishioner at St Edmund's Horndean and Chair of the ToDaRe (Together with Dignity and Respect for everyone) Project in the parish reports on how the parish is preparing to welcome a refugee family...

In May 2019 I was invited to a talk given by Caritas Portsmouth and Caritas Salford at Sacred Heart, Waterlooville, on the Home Office Refugee Sponsorship Project; as a member of the Justice and Peace Group at St. Edmund’s I went along. There were four of us from my parish as we were interested in finding our more...

Significant Wedding Anniversaries Mass 

Last Saturday was the day when I would have offered Mass in St. Bede’s Basingstoke for all those couples in our Diocese who, during this year 2020, are celebrating a significant Wedding Anniversary: 10, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 60+ years of marriage. Last year, when once again St. Bede’s did us proud, 79 couples joined us for the occasion, including 25 celebrating a Golden Wedding Anniversary, and 13 couples married 60 years or more. In total, we thanked God for 3,467 years of marriage! Because of the lockdown, I offered the Mass instead in my chapel here in Bishop’s House. Click the picture above for a recording of the Mass and its homily.  

News from St Teresa's Wokingham 

Paris Finnegan, class teacher at St Teresa’s, Wokingham shares news of how the school children are contributing to the local live-streamed Mass...

We are very lucky in the Parish of Corpus Christi Wokingham to have access to a live streamed Mass every Sunday with our very own Canon Simon Thomson, it is so lovely to still be able to ‘come together’ as a community during these difficult times. The children of Keyworkers who have been in school over the last few weeks, have been busy helping to bring a focus to some of the Masses by creating beautiful pieces of art to stand in front of the lectern. The children start their creation by researching the Gospel story for the coming Sunday, they then discuss the key points and reflect these in their artwork.  

It has been so lovely to see people from the wider community complimenting their work on the live feed, the children feel very proud and look forward to their new task! 

Virtual Catenians

Vince Kelly, Marketing and Youth Officer for Portsmouth Catenians reports on what the local Catenians have been up to during the period of lockdown...

Portsmouth Catenians have responded to the current crisis by successfully organising Circle and Council meetings on Zoom. At the Circle Meeting held on 27 April a number of guests were able to join the meeting including Roger Lillee of Southampton Circle. Roger is a long time supporter of Portsmouth Catenians in his role as Provincial Director. Also in virtual attendance was the National President Eddie O’Donnell! There is definite potential for learning about other Circles and their activities...


Seminarians Update

Please pray for Rev. Matthew King who is soon to be ordained a priest. Deacon Matthew is currently attached to Sacred Heart Fareham with Fr. John Cooke. He is the only priest being ordained for our Diocese this year, so he certainly deserves all our love and support. Please also pray for Anthony Fyk, currently at Fordingbridge with Canon Paul Townsend. Anthony, who this week and next is doing his exams from Santa Croce, Rome, will shortly be ordained deacon...

From the Archives
This week we return to our series of past bishops of the Diocese of Portsmouth, featuring Archbishop John Henry King, the 4th Bishop of Portsmouth from 1941-1965 having previously been appointed Auxiliary to Bishop Cotter in 1938.

John Henry King was born in Wardour on 16th September 1880. He was ordained at St Helier, Jersey on 20th November 1904 as a priest for the Diocese of Portsmouth by French Jesuit Bishop Prosper Paris SJ, Bishop Cahill being too ill to ordain King himself. For 19 years, the young Fr King was Secretary to Bishop Cahill and then Bishop Cotter...

And finally...Who is this?

We continue to feature some of the clergy of our Diocese of Portsmouth. This week we return to 'younger forms' but who is this? Just e-mail your answer to Deacon Craig by Friday for a mention. 

Congratulations to: Fr Johnpromise Umeozuru and Vickie Chandler who correctly identified our 'puzzling deacon' as Deacon James Snyder from the parish of the Holy Trinity and Our Lady, Fleet and Church Crookham.

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

The Diocese is currently recruiting for:

Planned Giving Officer
(Closing date: Monday 22nd June, 1pm).
For more information and to apply, please click here.

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 23rd June.
Deadline for submission of items for consideration is
Friday 19th June 2020.
Please click here to send an item for consideration.
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