Portsmouth Diocese e-News Issue 282 (2020/26)
Tuesday 30th June 2020
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Welcome from Bishop Philip
Dear Friends,
With great joy – albeit with a bit of trepidation too – we look forward to the reopening of our churches for the sacred Liturgy this coming weekend. Yesterday, the Government issued detailed advice on church services and so we will need to update the Diocesan Guidelines sent to parishes in the light of it. Not every church will be able to reopen immediately. The danger of COVID-19 is still present and so our reopening will be gradual, subject to hygiene regulations and social distancing. You might wish to attend a weekday Mass initially in order to spread numbers across the week. Again, to the young and healthy, we appeal to you to volunteer as a helper: please ask your parish priest. It will be wonderful for everyone to be able to receive the sacraments once again, to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Our Diocese, parishes and schools must now resume our great mission, to bring people closer to Jesus Christ through His Church. We need to look outwards to connect with and serve the poor and needy, not least those, sometimes far from Christianity and the Church, whose faith has been kindled or re-awakened during the crisis. Read more about this in my Message below. We’ve also Ordinations to look forward to next weekend – plus other events too! Meanwhile, may God bless you these next summer days, granting you all a deeper faith and joy.
From me to you - as our churches reopen 

Here is the text of a Pastoral Message I issued to to the Clergy, Religious and Faithful of the Diocese on the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, 29th June 2020 as our churches reopen...

My dear People,
“You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16: 18 ESV). These words of Jesus from the Gospel today, the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, are thrilling. They reassure us that the Church is founded on Christ and led by the Holy Spirit, that as disciples of Christ, abiding in Him, we will be safe in the Truth, and that whatever perils the Barque of Peter might encounter in history, the Church’s life and mission will endure on earth until the Lord returns at the End-Time.

Dear friends, these last months of coronavirus have been extraordinary and very distressing. Let us commend to the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, all who have been ill and those who have generously cared for them, all who have died and their families, and all who have suffered - and will continue to suffer - financially or in whatever way because of the pandemic. We humbly ask God our Father to grant everyone a safe and effective recovery...

Ordinations next Sunday

Next Sunday (5th July 2020) at 2 pm in the Cathedral, I will be ordaining Deacon Matthew King (pictured), currently attached to Sacred Heart Fareham, as a priest. The Lord is giving the gift of a new priest to our Diocese. He is the only priest being ordained for our Diocese this year, so he deserves all our love and prayers. At the same time, I will also be ordaining Anthony Fyk (also pictured), currently at Fordingbridge, to the diaconate. Anthony returns to Rome in the autumn to complete his studies and will be ordained a priest of the Diocese next summer. During the Mass, Edward Hauschild, a student at the VEC in Rome, and Ambrose Chou, a student at Oscott, will be instituted to the ministry of acolyte and lector respectively. There will be a short break after Mass before we return to the Cathedral for Evening Prayer about 4.15 pm. During Evening Prayer, Paul Nwune, a student at Wonersh, and James Lewis, a student at Allen Hall, who have reached the final phase of their formation before the diaconate, will be accepted as candidates for ordination and three new students, who begin their formation this autumn, Tom Hiney, Francis Ezeani and Yipeng John Ni, will receive a special blessing during an Act of Entrustment to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Please pray for all these generous men and for all our seminarians.
For health and safety reasons, the liturgies will be limited to the participants, but please do pray and join us online on the Cathedral live-stream: 2 pm next Sunday.

Message to St. James’s Reading

After the atrocity in Reading last weekend, I sent a Message to Canon John O’Shea and the parish of St. James’s. The Message was issued for the Feast of SS. John Fisher and Thomas More, 22nd June 2020. Here it is:

Dear Canon John and Dear Parishioners,
I am deeply saddened by the events that have taken place just outside your church this last weekend. I am appalled and sickened that people should lose their lives in this way. Let us pray for those who were killed and their grieving families, for all who were injured, for those who work selflessly in the police and emergency services and for the conversion of heart of the attacker. This was a tragic incident and my thoughts and prayers are with you and all the people of Reading at this time. It is only a short while since I was with you for the Parish Visitation and so I know Forbury Gardens well...

Daily Mass from my Chapel – last week!  

With the reopening of our churches for the public celebration of the Sacred Liturgy next weekend and the changes this will bring to my own daily schedules, this week is the last week I will be live-streaming from my private chapel in Bishop’s House, Portsmouth. I invite you to join me ‘virtually’ for Eucharistic Adoration, Morning Prayer and Mass over these next days. 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 going forward. Please note that the Mass on Saturday is in Blackfriars Oxford – that will be live-streamed from their website – during which Brother Joseph Bailham will be ordained to the Diaconate. Mass on Sunday in the Cathedral includes the ordinations of Rev. Matthew King and Anthony Fyk: see the note above.
Read more and tune in...
Homily in honour of SS. Peter and Paul

Here is the homily I preached on Sunday 28th June 2020, the Solemnity of SS. Peter and Paul.
In 1939, engineers in St. Peter’s in Rome were creating a new tomb for the late Pope Pius XI, when accidentally they broke through the floor into a hitherto forgotten lower level. A team of archaeologists went in and to their surprise, they uncovered beneath the basilica an extensive Roman cemetery, with the graves arranged in concentric circles down to a central point. At that point was a rough stone sarcophagus with an inscription: PETROS. It was then they realised what they’d found. For that grave was directly beneath the low altar of the church Constantine built in 4C, which is beneath the crypt altar of the church Charlemagne built in 8C, which in turn is exactly beneath the great high altar of St. Peter’s today. Amazed by their discovery, they asked permission of the pope to open the tomb. What they found inside were the bones of a 1C Palestinian male, aged in his sixties, who had died by being crucified...


Message from the Archbishops

The Metropolitan Archbishops in England have sent a letter addressed to the Catholic community about the resumption of Public Worship. The opening of churches in Wales is devolved to the Welsh Assembly, who are still evaluating their position on opening places of worship.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. On Tuesday we heard the announcement that, from the 4th July this year, places of worship will be able to reopen for prayer and services. We welcome this news with great joy. Since the lockdown began, members of all faiths have faced restrictions on how they have been able to celebrate important religious festivals. Our own experience of Easter was unlike any other we have known. Now, in our churches, and with our people, we can look forward again to celebrating the central mysteries of our faith in the Holy Eucharist.

Next Sunday's Gospel

Next Sunday is 14th Sunday of the Year and the Gospel is Matthew 11:25-30. You can read Scott Hahn's reflection on the Sunday reading here.

Join us for the Wednesday Webinar 

In this week's Webinar we shall hear Jesus offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God the Father, revealing him to be both his only-begotten Son and also our means to eternal life with him...

Having instructed his twelve apostles in their mission of teaching and healing, Jesus now goes and himself preaches his Good News to the surrounding cities. But in revealing his divine truths to all those who will listen, Jesus also reveals the source and the origin of his saving mission: the Father in Heaven...

Thought for the Week
“Maintaining the flock that God has entrusted to us means feeding the sheep. According to Jesus and His apostles, feeding the sheep occupies a high pastoral priority. It is something that we must do. And it’s not easy. If you are seeing some success in maintaining the flock, then congratulations. We are living in a decidedly anti-faith culture. Wolves are circling the flock and people are being picked off left, right and centre. Keeping the flock together in any way is a real achievement. While maintenance focuses on feeding the sheep we do have, mission focuses on reaching those outside the flock. A mission-focused Church is concerned with the needs, hopes, sorrows, joys and eternal destiny of all men and women, especially those furthest from Christ and His Church. The posture of a mission-focused Church is fundamentally outward towards the world.” (Fr. James Mallon Beyond the Parish)

Saturday 4th July

Saturday 4th July is the feast day of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, pictured here with friends, third from the right, (with Laura Hildago on his right and Marco Beltramo on his left). Wanda Gawronska his niece has just sent me a Novena of Prayer that we are invited to say in preparation for 4th, although the period of time is now well underway, and I suppose we’ll have to make do: click here for a copy. Please include in your prayer intention Brother Joseph Bailham, a Dominican from Blackfriars, Oxford and a devotee of Blessed PGF, who is being ordained deacon on PGF’s feastday. Meanwhile, here is a memory of Pier Giorgio from Ubaldo Leva, a reporter from La Stampa who met him one evening: 
Homily in honour of St. Josemaria Escriva 

Here is the homily I preached at Mass in the Cathedral on Friday 26th June 2020, the Feast day of St. Josemaria Escriva...

When I went to university, I didn’t know anyone. But in my first week, I remember hearing one of the new students humming a tune that was strangely familiar. It took me a day or so to work it out and to my great surprise, it was the hymn from Benediction, the Tantum Ergo. Then the penny dropped: he was Spanish so he must be a Catholic! In fact, over time, we became good friends and one week, he invited me to supper in his hall of residence. The hall was Catholic; it had its own chapel, and the food was amazing: steak and chips. It belonged to Opus Dei and this for me was my first contact with the great and holy priest we venerate today, a 20C apostle to whom Jesus’s words to Simon truly applied: Do not be afraid; from now on it is people you will catch.

St. Josemaria Escriva was a Spanish priest ordained in Saragossa in 1925. He was inspired to found a lay organisation, first for men, then early on for women too, called Opus Dei... 

Jennifer Geach reflects...

Jennifer Geach, a parishioner from Guernsey parish reflects on the honour given to St John the Baptist with the celebration of the Feast of his Nativity last week...

Generally speaking, we celebrate saints’ days on the day of their death, that is on the day of their birth into eternal life.  There are however, three ‘normal’ birthdays celebrated in the church’s year: Christmas, obviously, celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, whose conception is remembered on Lady Day, that is the feast of the Annunciation.  Similarly, the conception as well as the birth of Our blessed Mother are memorialised: we recall her Immaculate conception on the 8th December, and her birthday nine months later, on 8th September.  The third birthday remembered is that of St John the Baptist, on 24th June, six months before the birthday of Our Lord...

News from Bamenda 

Fr. Anthony Chiatu, who is with us at the Cathedral and is an MA student at Southampton University, is a priest of the Archdiocese of Bamenda. He shares a few thoughts with us about the situation in Bamenda and asks for our prayers.
At a time when the entire world is brought to its knees by the unprecedented pandemic, all and sundry fear for their lives. Within months, millions have lost their lives and the fate of thousands still hang on ventilators. Although this is indubitably a significant source of fear to the faithful of our sister diocese in Bamenda, Cameroon; something more serious seems to be keeping them most frightened: the anglophone crisis. It has been four years running since a special appeal for prayers was launched for our sister diocese of Bamenda. We are grateful to the individuals, parishes and communities who dedicated time to pray for a speedy solution to the ongoing anglophone crisis in Cameroon... 

Update on the Guernsey Abortion Law

Liz Dene, a parishioner from Guernsey parish updates us with the latest news on the liberalisation of the Abortion Law on the island...

Despite the valiant endeavours of a small handful of Guernsey States Members, on 24th June 2020, the proposals to significantly liberalise Guernsey’s abortion laws were passed by a substantial majority. The decision came almost exactly 24 years after the decision on 13th June 1996 to legalise abortions up to the 12th week of a pregnancy and 110 years after a decision on 15th June 1910 to make procuring an abortion illegal.
It is surely not coincidence that the decision was reached on the Feast of the birthday of St John the Baptist. John the Baptist’s witness to the love and mercy of God commenced before he was born when he leapt in the womb of his mother, Elizabeth, when our Blessed Lady went to help and support her cousin. In St Luke’s Gospel we lean of Elizabeth’s pregnancy and how as a women in her old age has conceived a son...

Could you be part of our Diocesan Safeguarding Commission?

Our Diocese of Portsmouth is seeking to re-establish a professional and credible Safeguarding Commission, who can provide leadership and strong oversight in the development of safeguarding practice across the Diocese, in the context of wider developments in safeguarding within the Catholic Church. We are seeking a number of skilled and experienced professionals who are passionate and committed to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable people and sympathetic to the teachings and ethos of the Catholic Church, with capacity to undertake this important volunteer role. You will need to have comprehensive knowledge of safeguarding legislation, policy and procedure and be able to advise on best practice.  With a background in statutory services such as: social care, police, probation or health services, you will need specific experience as a senior safeguarding professional within your organisation. Volunteers are sought for the following roles:
Chair of the Commission - you will play a strategic role in the ongoing development of safeguarding across the Diocese.  As a Chair, you will have significant experience of chairing multi-disciplinary meetings, demonstrating strong, inspiring leadership skills, and a passion for safeguarding the vulnerable.
Member(s) of the Commission – you will provide support to the Chair in the ongoing development of the safeguarding work across the Diocese.  Providing scrutiny and oversight on the work of the Diocesan safeguarding office, you will assist in ensuring arrangements are appropriate, continuously evaluated and developed.  
We are specifically (but not exclusively) seeking Commission members with a background in children’s social care, adult social care, and policing. If you wish to have a discussion regarding the above opportunities, in the first instance please contact Ruth Attfield, Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator. 

CAFOD's 10,000 Steps Challenge

Jo Lewry asks could you take part in our 10,000 Steps Challenge?

Geraldine, Sue and Christine three of our CAFOD parish volunteers in the Isle of Wight have decided to fundraise for CAFOD’s coronavirus appeal by walking 10,000 steps (about 4 miles) . They were inspired to do this after hearing about the impact of coronavirus in Sierra Leone from Kayode CAFOD’s Programme Officer there. Inspired by them I thought that maybe other volunteers and supporters would like to take part in the challenge and walk 10,000 steps as well..!

Journeying for the Care of the Common Home

Peter and Anne Dodd, members of the Live Simply team at Our Lady and St. Edmund's Abingdon, emailed me recently about the upcoming Season of Creation. Here is part of their message, and the challenge they present to us all.
Dear Bishop Philip, the Vatican has just released a document marking the 5th Anniversary of Laudato Si. It offers a guide to all Christians on our relationship with God`s Creation and reaffirms that “caring for our common home is an integral part of Christian life”. The document is entitled Journeying for the Care of the Common Home. Initiatives such as the Season of Creation (1st September - 4th October) should be enhanced, the document advises, and should be part of the Liturgical Calendar. This year the Season of Creation will have even more significance as it will form part of the Laudato Si Year which was announced by Pope Francis on 24th May...


Bible Challenge - Acts of the Apostles

Judith Aylmer from our diocesan Year of the Bible team shares another fun bible challenge with us, this time based on the Acts of the Apostles...
In this year of The God Who Speaks, we all need to open our Bibles and read the Word of God to let the Lord speak to us. I had been undecided about moving closer to the grandchildren and asked for prayer on the subject from the telephone prayer ministry team from the Alton Day of Renewal. They did not have a word to give me but, coming off the phone, I felt inspired to open the Word of God to see if the Lord would speak to me...

New Book – highly recommended

Fr. James Mallon has just published an excellent new book called “Beyond the Parish,” available from the usual sources (ISBN 978-1-59325-143-7). It builds on his acclaimed Divine Renovation: Bringing your Parish from Maintenance to Mission. This book takes up where the story left off, so to speak, and includes much of Fr. Mallon’s more recent thinking about the culture of our Dioceses and the interrelationship between priests and parish communities within the diocesan structures. He also homes in on leadership, working as part of a team and the essentials for leadership at parish, area and diocesan level, as well as how to live as a missionary diocese. “Parishes are communities of faith that are gathered in union with their bishop” he says and so “the success and long-term fruitfulness of a parish as it moves into missionary posture is absolutely dependent upon diocesan leadership”. This is must-read book for us all and I highly recommend it.

New Rector of Wonersh

Please pray for Mgr Gerald Ewing who has been appointed the new Rector of St John’s Seminary, Wonersh. Mgr Ewing has served as Vice-Rector since 2017 and has been Acting-Rector since Easter this year. He is a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark, ordained in 1981, and has extensive pastoral experience. Fr. Gerry was born in Wimbledon in 1954 and educated at St Mary’s Primary School Wimbledon and Richard Challoner Secondary School, New Malden, Surrey. He began his studies for the priesthood at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh in 1973 and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark in 1981. He obtained a Bachelor of Theology degree from the University of Southampton and subsequently a Master of Arts degree in Theology and Education from King’s College, London, and a Master of Arts degree in Canon Law from Heythrop College. From 1981, he has worked in various parishes and was for a while chaplain at St Francis Xavier Sixth Form College, Clapham. He became parish priest of Holy Ghost, Balham, in 2012, and Vice-Rector of St John’s Seminary in 2017. Our prayers and congratulations to him.

From the Archives
This week we feature Bishop Derek Worlock, the 5th Bishop of Portsmouth from 1965-1976. 

Derek Worlock was born in St John's Wood, London on 4th February 1920, the son of Captain Harford Worlock and his wife Dora (née Hoblyn), a suffragette. His father, a journalist turned Conservative political agent, attended Keble College, Oxford, and planned to become a priest in the Church of England; many of his forebears had been Anglican clergy. However, Harford and Dora Worlock converted to Roman Catholicism and raised their son in that faith...

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 preparing to have the bishop's hands imposed at his ordination? Just e-mail your answer to Deacon Craig by Friday for a mention. 

Last week's mystery cleric seen in prostration before his ordination was Deacon Larry Murawski from the Cathedral parish. Congratulations to Fr Johnpromise Umeozuru, Sr Veronica OP, Canon Gerard Flynn, Pam Darroch, Vickie Chandler and Deacon Nick O'Neill.

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 July here.

Prayer for Renewal...

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.

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 7th July.
Deadline for submission of items for consideration is
Friday 3rd July 2020.
Please click here to send an item for consideration.
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