Portsmouth Diocese e-News Issue 276 (2020/20)
Tuesday 19th May 2020
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Welcome from Bishop Philip
Dear Friends,
Welcome to e-News. We are now rapidly ploughing through Eastertide, this being the Sixth Week of Easter. On Thursday we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, an important feastday (and usually a Holy Day of Obligation): do try to tune into a live-streamed Mass that day either from your parish or the Cathedral. (I am saying Mass live-streamed from my chapel at 0830h). We then begin the Great Novena, nine days of prayer leading up to Pentecost Sunday, when we join Our Lady, St. Peter and the apostles in the Upper Room in preparation for the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This Novena is also an ecumenical week of prayer in which we pray for the evangelisation of our land (‘Thy Kingdom Come”). Then, on Pentecost Sunday, we are invited to join the National Rosary Rally.  Meanwhile, let’s continue to pray for an end to the coronavirus crisis, for the sick and those who care for them, for all who have died, for those facing major financial challenges and for the speedy (safe) reopening of our churches, at least for private prayer. Prayers for Deacon Stephen and his new role in Macau. And congratulations to our Editor Deacon Craig and his wife, Nicki, who this week celebrate their silver wedding anniversary! God bless you all.


Join me for Daily Mass  

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...
Bishop's Homily for Sixth Sunday of Easter (A)

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

I was for three years an assistant priest at St. Anthony’s, Wythenshawe, near Manchester Airport, a big parish with three priests. One day the doorbell rang; it was a woman – let’s call her Pat – who said she wanted to become a Catholic. Pat worked for the police and she had a young daughter and so, when I met her each week to go through the Catechism, her daughter came along too...


Christ’s Ascension - this Thursday

This Thursday, make sure you tune into a live-stream Mass. For we celebrate the feast of the Lord’s Ascension when we also begin the Great Novena or Nine Days of Prayer, with Mary, Peter and the Apostles in the Upper Room, for the Coming of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the Church’s mission to the world. Adveniat regnum tuum we pray in the Our Father: ‘Thy Kingdom come.’ During this Novena, Catholics are invited to join with Anglican and other Christians in the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ initiative. Just as in January we have the Week of Prayer for the Unity of Christians, so in this week, we join ecumenically with our brother and sister Christians in the other communities to pray for the mission of the Church and the spread of the Gospel in our land. During this novena, why not pray each day the great Prayer to the Holy Spirit for this intention:
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, 
and enkindle in them the fire of your love. 
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, 
and You shall renew the face of the earth. 
Let us pray. 
O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, 
did instruct the hearts of the faithful, 
grant that by the gifts of the same Spirit, 
they may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolations. 
Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.


Next Sunday's Gospel

Next Sunday is the Seventh Sunday of Easter and the Gospel is John 17:1-11. You can read Scott Hahn's Sunday reflection here. (There is also a reflection on the readings for the Ascension of the Lord available here.)

Deacon Martin writes...

Deacon Martin continues to explore the Sunday Lectionary’s first readings, from the Acts of the Apostles…

Over the last few weeks, I have been looking at the first readings during the Sundays of Eastertide, taken from the Acts of the Apostles – examining what they can show us about how to be the Church today. This week, we have a double helping of readings from Acts: because of the happy return of the Solemnity of the Ascension to a Thursday, we not only get the account from Acts of that event (Acts 1:1-11), but we are also able, once more, to enjoy the short reading from Acts 1:12-14 on this coming Sunday, the Seventh Sunday of Easter (year A)...
Jennifer Geach reflects...
Jennifer Geach reflects on the marvels of the Ascension of the Lord...

On Thursday, we celebrate the glorious feast of the Ascension, which in normal times would be a Holy Day of Obligation, when we would assemble to marvel and rejoice at the utter victory of Christ over sin and death.  This victory is once for all, it is forever: the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Our Saviour have changed the world forever, and have brought us, who were far off, into kinship with God himself...
All in a day's work
Sr. Carino OP offers an Eastertide reflection on the busy day we read about in Luke Chapter 24...

‘On that same day,’ we read in Luke 24:13, ‘two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.’ We all know the story of the Road to Emmaus, and we all know the story of the empty tomb which immediately precedes it. What we perhaps overlook is how strongly Luke wants to emphasise to us that these astonishing events all take place on the same day. In fact, the whole of Luke 24, from the Resurrection at the beginning to the Ascension at the end, takes place on one single day... 

Join us for the Wednesday Webinar

In this week's Wednesday Webinar we shall see how on the eve of his Passion Jesus prays to his Father on behalf of humanity, for whom he will soon offer his life, asking that they may see his glory...

Read more

Daily Lectio Divina 

Sr Hyacinthe OP, Leader of the Formation for Mission Team writes...

The Dominican sisters invite you to join them everyday (except Sundays!) at 4pm, for a time of sharing and prayer on the Word of God. Each day, we read and ponder together the Gospel given to us in the liturgy of the Word at Mass. Join us by clicking here each day at 4pm.

However, please note that the sisters will be on retreat from Ascension to Pentecost, and therefore the daily Lectio Divina is suspended from 21st-30th May inclusive and there will be no Wednesday Webinar at 7pm on the 27th May, but there will be a podcast, details in the normal Webinar slot next week.

National Rosary Relay Rally

Antonia Moffat from the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham asks us to join in a national Rosary Relay Rally next Sunday, Pentecost. Our time is 12 noon.

Pope Francis is encouraging Catholics to pray the Rosary in their family homes during the month of May, especially when the Pandemic is making us aware of the value of our families and making it possible for us to pray together in lockdown at home. He encourages simple Rosaries and joining online Rosary initiatives to pray to Our Lady for deliverance from Covid-19 and he has composed two prayers for this intention.  I invite you to join in an initiative that follows on the Pope’s request, the Pentecost Sunday National Rosary Rally, from 9.00am to 9.00pm across Scotland England and Wales.  Our Diocese has been asked to pray a Rosary Hour at 12 noon, and I warmly invite you to take part. 

Read more
Faith in a Scientific Age

Dr Christina Pal from the Academy of the Annunciation which is based at Sacred Heart Bournemouth (Bournemouth Oratory in Formation) writes...

The Academy of the Annunciation invites you to watch the short video above and to join us in considering reasons for faith in a scientific age. Whether it's the big bang or evolution, or DNA and genetics, come and see how faith does not contradict reason, and how true religion does not contradict science. Enjoy live video-conferencing and interactive discussion, faith and fellowship with others from around the world! Click here for more information. Whether you are interested in the New Evangelization or just have questions about Catholicism and the Christian Faith, you are welcome to join us!

Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes

It is with sadness we must announce that our Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes has been postponed until 19th-23rd July 2021.  I am grateful to Father PJ and his team for all their efforts. The decision was not taken lightly but came after much consultation and out of a desire to protect the health and wellbeing of pilgrims as well as the monies they had already paid.  The Tour operator Joe Walsh Tours will be writing to each pilgrim independently and if this applies to you and you have not heard from them in 10 days’ time do please contact The good news however, is that the cost of the pilgrimage will remain the same in 2021! 

Read more
Your Support Needed

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 here below.

Donate here...
Pilgrimage to Oberammergau 2022

Yvette Harrington shares news of the re-arranged pilgrimage to Oberammergau...

We have just one double/twin room and three single rooms left on our postponed pilgrimage to Oberammergau in May 2022. The pilgrimage tour operator is fully bonded so any money you pay out, such as deposits, are absolutely safe. If you would like further information, please send an email to If you are interested, please do not delay getting in touch as the original 2020 pilgrimage was fully booked a year in advance and it is likely that these remaining rooms on the 2022 trip will go very quickly, too.

Using Social Media safely

Ruth Attfield, our Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator, has some advice about how we can use safely social media and other technologies.

In what are unprecedented times, Covid-19 has presented many challenges to individuals and organisations.  Whilst having to adjust to the situation, it is important that we continue to follow safeguarding procedures to ensure the safety and protection of all, but in particular those who are vulnerable or at risk.  Everyone in the Church has a responsibility to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of those who worship in our Church or who join us for any activity facilitated by Church members.  

Read more
Admission to Hospital

In our Diocese of Portsmouth, we have a number of major hospitals, including the Queen Alexandra (QA) Portsmouth, University Hospital Southampton, The Royal Bournemouth Hospital in Christchurch, the North Hampshire Hospital, Basingstoke, the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, and the Royal Berkshire in Reading. We also have a number of smaller hospitals, including those on the isle of Wight and the Channel Islands. It is always an issue but it is crucially important that if as a Catholic you are admitted to hospital, please ensure – or ask your family to ensure - that the Catholic Chaplaincy is contacted so that appropriate support can be given. 

Read more
Message to Seafarers

Recently, the Apostleship of the Sea informed me there are a number of cruise liners moored along the south coast, including four in Southampton, on which thousands of cruise ship workers and seafarers are currently in lockdown. Many of these are people miles away from home and families - India, the Philippines, Africa or wherever. Some have been taken off the ships because they have the coronavirus and this in its turn has made others anxious for their own well-being. Consequently, with Fr. John Lavers and the support of the owners and authorities, we devised a plan by which I would go down to the quayside to deliver by loudspeaker a message and blessing, first to the staff of one ship, then on the next, and so on round the port... 

Read more and watch the video
News from St. Cecilia’s Abbey, Ryde
The Sisters at St Cecilia’s Abbey, Ryde, Isle of Wight write...

Who would choose a permanent state of lockdown?  The Sisters at St Cecilia’s Abbey on the Isle of Wight are strictly enclosed but this is by our free choice.  No one forced this upon us; rather, we chose it joyfully as our response to the Lord’s invitation.  The space in which we live – admittedly very beautiful, next to the sea at Ryde – is the Lord’s own garden.  We have given up any idea of TV, social media, holidays and excursions so that we can concentrate with all our hearts on our life of prayer.  Starting at 5.15am, we meet in our church to sing God’s praises eight times a day, and outside those times we continue to seek him in our private prayer, reading and work.
Seminarians in Lockdown

Canon Gerard Flynn, Diocesan Vocations Director writes...

Our ad hoc Covid19 community at the Presbytery of St Michael and All Angels is keeping diverted with a series of evenings on themes such as those below. Seminarian David Bateman has given us the latest challenge; writing a poem to read to each other. These evenings can all be done even by people living alone, using Teams, Zoom, the phone or just by sending offerings to someone else in the post...

News from Bamenda

Jo Overton, Co-Chair of our Portsmouth-Bamenda Committee writes...

We often report on the challenges that our brothers and sisters face in the Archdiocese of Bamenda. The news remains mixed of course as they battle the pandemic virus alongside the Anglophone crisis. This month we have heard news of a young nurse shot by the military for treating independence fighters; the Government provision of protective equipment being only 10 masks per health facility and the inadequate communication still leaving the population confused about whether the pandemic is real or a hoax. On the other hand, we have positive stories of the relative calmness in some places and the infection numbers not growing as fast as ours. Some churches are open for 50 people per Mass on a Sunday and there is news of your funds being put to good use on projects... 

CAFOD Campaign

Maureen Thompson, our CAFOD Campaign Volunteer Coordinator shares the Emsworth to Canterbury pilgrimage and ask us to sign CAFOD coronavirus petition...

Our world has changed so much now, much more has to be done from our armchairs. Sometimes it can be a bit lonely and our levels of anxiety are high so Maureen our campaigns volunteer from Emsworth  has come up with the idea virtually making the trip the parish was considering to travel to Canterbury  to commemorate  850 years since the martyrdom of Thomas Becket. A spiritual journey supported by our daily exercise each day. We have been “walking” for 12 days sharing our prayer and actions with fellow travellers as we imagine a journey along the Old Way along the south downs to Canterbury...

From St. Peter’s Primary School, Waterlooville

Richard Cunningham, Headteacher at St Peter's Catholic Primary School in Waterlooville writes..
In recent weeks I have seen the following quote of Lenin’s used in a variety of places; “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen”.  Were he alive today, Lenin may add to that in commenting that there are weeks that simply feel like decades even when nothing happens!  Recently we saw the convergence of two major national efforts in the marking of the 75th Anniversary of VE during a time of national coronavirus lockdown – I think the repercussions of the latter will last for decades even if it is not marked by a 75th Anniversary...

Pentecost Appeal

Deacon Andrew Philpott from Southampton City Parish shares news of the Friends of the Holy Land (FHL) Pentecost Appeal...

The Friends of the Holy Land (FHL) have launched an appeal in aid of those living under even greater difficulty. They recently launched an appeal for those living in Bethlehem, but as the situation worsens have extended the appeal to the entire Holy Land. We might feel that life is difficult here at the moment, but it is grim at the best of times especially for our Christian brother’s and sisters in the Holy Land.

Find out more...
I Close My Eyes, What Do I Hear?

Maria Burns, a parishioner at Sacred Heart, Hook writes...

I have recently felt an unexpected urge to write my thoughts down in the form of poetry, which first started in the early hours of Palm Sunday morning as I was unable to get to sleep. I have never really written poetry before. Here is a follow-up to my previous poem I Open my Eyes, What do I See?...

New book from IoW Catholic History Society

Peter Clarke of the Isle of White Catholic History Society shares news of a new publication, "A Wight Reformation" by H.R. Hodd...

This book (just published) has been written to explore the effect of Henry VIII’s break with Rome, on church and social life on the Isle of Wight community. The state of the Pre-Reformation Island Church is examined, and further developments during the reigns of each of the Tudor monarchs are assessed... 

From the Archives
This week we feature Sacred Heart Bournemouth (the Bournemouth Oratory in Formation) from July 1911 when Bishop Timothy Cotter (3rd Bishop of Portsmouth) visited the parish to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation.

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

Prayers for Deacon Stephen

Our prayers and congratulations to Dr. Stephan Morgan who is to be installed as the Fourth Rector of the University of St. Joseph, Macau on Saturday 23rd May. Please say a special prayer for him on that day as he assumes this most prestigious position. The University of Saint Joseph offers a wide range of programmes across different fields of knowledge. It is a Catholic university of China, rooted in a long tradition of intercultural exchange that has been the hallmark of Catholic higher education in Macao since the College of Saint Paul, which was founded in 1594. 


Bishop Vincent Malone R.I.P. 

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Bishop Vincent Malone, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Liverpool, who died on Monday 18th May 2020 at the Royal Liverpool Hospital aged 88 years. Fr Stephen Lee, the hospital chaplain, was able to administer the sacraments to him during the night. Bishop Vincent trained for the priesthood at St Joseph's College, Upholland, and was ordained priest at St Oswald's Church, Old Swan, Liverpool on 18th September 1955. 


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 is this young monk? (Click on the picture for the full scene) 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 275 was Fr Mark Whiting, Parish Priest of St Patrick's Hayling IslandCongratulations to Jan Petford and Bishop Philip who correctly identified him. See how you get on with this week's mystery cleric. 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 May 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.

Donate to the Diocese of Portsmouth

Job Opportunities...

The Diocese is currently recruiting for a:
Health Safety and Environment Officer
(Closing date: Wednesday 27th May, 1pm). 
For more information and to apply, please click 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:
  • Submission of copy does not guarantee publication of an article. 
  • Publication does not necessarily reflect the views of either the Editor or 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 26th May.
Deadline for submission of items for consideration is
Friday 22nd May 2020.
Please click here to send an item for consideration.
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