Portsmouth Diocese e-News Issue 277 (2020/21)
Tuesday 26th May 2020
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Welcome from Bishop Philip
Dear Friends,
We’ve been working so hard these last weeks for the (safe) reopening of our churches and as I write today, Tuesday 26th May, I’m delighted to report that this has now been achieved - in Guernsey, a Diocesan first! I say a bit more about Reopening our Churches below. To reopen them will requires a lot of patience, commitment and volunteers – please be generous. Meanwhile, we’re in that very special week of prayer leading up to Pentecost when we pray for the Church’s work of mission and evangelisation: Jennifer Geach talks about this below and Anne-Marie Kershaw refers us to the ‘Thy Kingdom Come” initiative. Next Sunday, you are invited to take part in the National Rosary Rally, which for our Diocese is the hour between midday and 1 pm. We’ve also a couple of feasts to look forward: Bl. Margaret Pole on Thursday and next Monday, Mary Mother of the Church. Have a blessed week ahead – and please continue to pray for the end of the pandemic, the safety of all and the easing of the lockdown. God bless you.

Reopening our Churches – help needed 

Cardinal Nichols is part of a special taskforce set up by the government for the reopening of churches. I have been actively encouraging the Bishops’ Conference in its efforts towards (safe) reopening and recently I wrote to the Secretary of State and to all 34 MPs in our Diocese to enlist their support. In the Diocese, our Crisis Management Team has been drafting guidelines for parishes to reopen churches for private prayer (Phase One) and for the public celebration of the Sacred Liturgy (Phase Two). A couple of weeks ago, I sent the Guidelines out to our clergy for comment and many helpful suggestions have been coming in... 

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 Seventh Sunday of Easter (A)

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

In his fascinating book Genius Loci: Towards a Phenomenology of Archtitecture (1979), the architectural theorist Christian Norberg-Schultz portrays human beings as torn in two directions, towards the earth and towards the sky: towards the earth, the body, the lower, physical realm; and towards the sky, the soul, the higher, spiritual domain. Because of this tension, we experience ourselves as IN the world but not OF it. This is why, he says, humans forever seek to create a home. -Because a home resolves the tension. Its four walls and its roof unite the earth and the sky. A home creates security; it gives us a foothold; and at its heart is the kitchen table where the family gathers to be nourished.


Blessed Margaret Pole – pray for us

This Thursday 28th May, we celebrate the (optional) memorial of Bl. Margaret Pole, the Countess of Salisbury (1473-1541). Margaret was born at Farleigh Hungerford, in Somerset. Her father, the Duke of Clarence, was brother to both Edward IV and Richard III, and so all her life she was seen as a something of a threat to the ruling monarchs, as she had a legitimate claim to the throne. She married Sir Richard Pole and became lady in waiting to Catherine of Aragon, beginning a lifelong friendship. She later became governess to Princess Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine. 

Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church

In 2018, Pope Francis established a new feast day in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, to be kept on the Monday after Pentecost Sunday. This year, the feast falls next Monday, 1st June. Here is the Decree that was issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship explaining the Pope’s thinking and the meaning of this new feast.

Next Sunday's Gospel

Next Sunday is the Pentecost Sunday and the Gospel is John 20:19-23. You can read Scott Hahn's Sunday reflection here

Deacon Martin writes...

Deacon Martin concludes his exploration of 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 is the last in the series, and is, in a sense, its climax: the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-11)...
Jennifer Geach reflects...
Jennifer Geach reflects on the first Novena...

The nine days which the Apostles spent with Mary, and the other women in the Upper room between the Ascension and the feast of Pentecost have given the Church a model of prayer; for this is the example novena.  We are told that they were persevering of one mind in prayer: but we know of one discussion and decision that was made, for it is in these nine days that St Matthias was chosen to take the place of Judas... 

Not the Wednesday Webinar, but the Pentecost Podcast

This week, the Dominican Sisters of St Joseph are on an Ascensiontide Retreat so there will be no Wednesday Webinar, however there will still be the normal Sunday Podcast which will appear here.

The Risen Christ appears to his apostles in the Upper Room and gives them the gift of his Holy Spirit.

Read more
Come Holy Spirit

Anne-Marie Kershaw from our Called and Gifted Team wishes to bring to our attention a wonderful all age resource from the Celebrate Conference for this time leading to Pentecost and for celebrating the great feast using all sorts of media and worship resources.  Some highlights: a new Pentecost song to the Holy Spirit sung by Joe Wells of One Hope Project; reflective storytelling of the Pentecost story using shadow puppets; peg dolls; the Wild Goose film on the Holy Spirit (who knew the wild goose is an ancient Celtic symbol for the Holy Spirit?!); a menu for a Pentecost celebratory meal; flame coloured foliage on the front door; Thy Kingdom Come many inspiring ideas! Find out more here.

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

Significant Wedding Anniversaries

Usually around this time, we would be inviting married couples from across the Diocese, who during the year 2020 are celebrating a significant wedding anniversary, to ‘sign up’ for the special Mass and celebration at St. Bede’s Basingstoke. However, sadly, this year because of COVID-19, we have had to cancel the event, which was due to take place on Saturday 13th June. I remember 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! Instead, this year, what we’re going to do is to offer a Mass live-streamed from my chapel here in Bishop’s House. It will be on the day planned, 13th June, but at 9am... 

Read more

Formation for Mission asks your Opinion 

Sr Hyacinthe and the Formation for Mission Team are trying to discern how to move forward with the team, to make it as helpful as possible to you in your mission to proclaim the Gospel as baptized members of Christ. To do this they need your help... 

Please fill our quick survey and share it with others from the diocese who may be interested. It will take 5 minutes and will help us to offer you what would be actually accessible and useful to your life of faith and ministry.  Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us! you can access the survey here.

The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales: St. Luke Kirby

St Luke Kirby (feast-day 30 May) presents one of those agonising cases of someone who had prepared for years to serve God on the English mission but was abruptly denied the possibility. Ordained at Cambrai in 1577, he travelled to England with Edmund Campion, the future martyr, in 1580, and was arrested as he soon as he landed. Imprisoned at the Gatehouse Prison in London and severely tortured over the following months, he was pressed to attend a Protestant church, but he refused...

Read more
A Marian May in Sway

Sr. Lucy shares news of how the Dominican Sisters in Sway have been keeping a Marian May...

Amidst everything else, here at St Dominic’s Priory the lockdown has provided extra time for creativity! It has become routine on most afternoons to find a sister painting or sketching away, and we’ve all enjoyed seeing the fruits of this time. As May is traditionally celebrated as Our Lady’s month, Sr. Catherine suggested that we introduce a new concept called ‘Mary May’ to our artistic endeavours, and aim to produce more pictures in honour of the Mother of God. It was to this end that I painted an image of the holy Madonna and Child last weekend. It is a copy of one of my favourite Marian pictures, given to me by an uncle many years ago now....

Read more
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 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...
Diocesan Safeguarding Roles

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...

Read more
Are you going into 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. Access to hospitals is restricted at the moment, especially during the coronavirus emergency... 

Read more
Lockdown - a Laudato Si' moment?

Angela Waterhouse is one of the Live Simply team at Our Lady & St Edmund, Abingdon, which has been co-ordinating the Laudato Si' endeavour in the parish since its first campaign to become a Live Simply parish in 2016.

Whilst praying that we look beyond our own preoccupations during lockdown, it also seems good to reflect that, practically speaking, for us at home in our everyday lives, lockdown is a Laudato Si' moment! We are being made aware of the interconnectedness of all things and all people...

Household bubbling in Guernsey

Liz Dene from Guernsey reports on how relaxation of lockdown restrictions in Guernsey has allowed four generations of her family to gather for Mass...

As Guernsey continues to crush the COVID-19 curve (Sunday was day 24 without any new cases being identified in Guernsey and just one active case in the Bailiwick), we are able to join together with up to three other households. This has enabled the four generations of my family to gather at my sister’s home to watch Mass streamed from our principal church of St Joseph and St Mary. It was great to be together as four generations of one family aged between 90 and 6 ears old for Mass as was the case before the lockdown restrictions came into force on 25th March 2020...

Walking for CAFOD 

Jo Lewry thanks Michelle from Jersey for raising over £1000……
Well done and thank you to Michelle from Jersey for walking over 26,000 steps (about 13 miles) on Friday 8th May to raise money for CAFOD’s Coronavirus Emergency Appeal. Michelle told me “I had a wonderful day. Weather was glorious and I now feel I want to do it all over again! Amazingly, I felt fine the next day, too. The training paid off! Cannot believe the amount donated. People have been so generous. My original target was £300!”

From the Archives
This week we begin a look at the previous bishops of the diocese. We start with our first bishop, Bishop John Vertue who was Bishop of Portsmouth from 1882-1900. 

Dr. John Vertue was born in London on 28th April 1826, He attended King's College, London; and St. Edmund's College, Ware between 1845 and 1848. He then studied at the English College, Rome, where he was ordained on 20 December 1851 at Rome. He returned to England and was assigned to a parish in Poplar. In 1882 was appointed the first bishop of the new diocese, established on 18th May. He was consecrated by Cardinal Manning on 25th July and on 10th August of that year opened the Cathedral of St John the Evangelist at Portsmouth. He died in office at the age of 74 on 23rd May 1900. The Lady Chapel in the Cathedral dedicated to Our Lady Immaculate and St Edmund of Abingdon, our Diocesan Patrons, was created in his memory.

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

Congratulations Deacon Stephen

Our congratulations to Deacon Stephen Morgan who was installed as the Fourth Rector of the University of St. Joseph, Macau on Saturday 23rd May by the University Chancellor, Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang, Bishop of Macau. Please pray for him and all at the university as he takes up his new ministry. You can watch the installation ceremony by clicking the image.

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 man? (Click on the picture for the full scene) Just e-mail your answer to Deacon Craig by Friday for a mention. 

The mystery priest in issue 276 was Dom Cuthbert Brogan OSB, Abbot of FarnboroughCongratulations to Sr. Veronica OP, Sr. Laetitia, Canon Gerard Flynn, Richard Trist, Barry Hudd, Andrew Wood, Monica Lyons, John Aburn and Bishop Philip who correctly identified him. 

See how you get on with this week's mystery cleric and don't forget to send in any photos of clergy from years gone by 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. The daily intentions for May can be found here and 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 Powerhosue of Prayer) to pray for.

Donate to the Diocese of Portsmouth

Job Opportunities...

The Diocese is currently recruiting for an:
Administrative Services Manager
(Closing date: Friday 12th June, 1pm). 

For more information and to apply, please click here.

Head of People Management (Human Resources)
(Closing date: Wednesday 10th June, 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 2nd June.
Deadline for submission of items for consideration is
Friday 29th May 2020.
Please click here to send an item for consideration.
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