Portsmouth Diocese e-News Issue 279 (2020/23)
Tuesday 9th June 2020
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Welcome from Bishop Philip
Dear Friends,
We’ve just had the good news that we can indeed begin the reopening of our churches for private prayer. This is from 15th June and below I write a short message about this. I also draw attention to a Pastoral Message I’ve just sent to the Catholics of Guernsey. It is very hard-hitting but I felt it was needed in the circumstances, as efforts are being made, under the cover of the coronavirus crisis, to sneak through some very liberal new abortion legislation. Please keep this intention in your prayers. Next Saturday, I’d like to invite all those with a Significant Wedding Anniversary this year to join me for live-streamed Mass at 9 am from my chapel, whilst on Sunday, we have the added and great joy of celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi. Scott Hahn has crafted a fine reflection for the Readings of the Mass. The Readings are also the focus of this week’s Wednesday Webinar. We have some of uplifting reflections this week on the lockdown: from St. Joseph’s Havant, St. Michael’s Tadley and St. Boniface’s Shirley, plus appeals for help from Caritas and from CAFOD. Fr. Tom Grufferty tells us about a splendid ecumenical pilgrimage to Canterbury he has virtually undertaken. And we have a puzzling deacon – Who is this? – to identify. May the Lord bless you and your families during these coming days. Please pray for me too.

Message to the Parish in Guernsey

Recently, under the cover of the coronavirus lockdown, moves are afoot in Guernsey to liberalise further their abortion laws, in order to facilitate many more opportunities for abortions to take pace, such as when a baby is found to have disabilities. Fr. Bruce and the parish of Our Lady and the Saints of Guernsey, has united with other Christian leaders and many people of good will to resist the proposed legislation, which is euphemistically called a “modernisation” of the law. I sent them the following message of support, encouraging people to pray and to act.
Read the message here...


It looks as if the government is set to allow the reopening of our churches, perhaps from next week (15th June). As I have said before, I reluctantly went along with the mandate to close our churches back in March, in part because of the safety aspects and in part not to be out of step with other dioceses. However, I have always felt it was not a right decision, especially given that shops, newsagents and even off-licenses were open. First, humans are natively spiritual persons, with emotional, mental and psychological needs and a pandemic with a major lockdown is surely just the time when people need to visit and pray in a church? And secondly, for Catholics, a church is not simply a ‘place of worship’: it’s the place where Jesus Christ is really and truly present among His people feeding and healing them in the Sacraments, instructing them with His Word and caring for them with His love. Consequently, I have been actively supporting the Bishops’ Conference in its efforts towards (safe) reopening and 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 drafted guidelines for parishes to reopen churches for private prayer (Phase One) and for the public celebration of the Sacred Liturgy (Phase Two). What is clear is that as in other sectors of life - transport, shops, work - reopening our churches, while COVID-19 remains a threat, is do-able but will not be easy. Local arrangements and resources will vary and it might be a while before some churches can reopen. In Guernsey, churches have already been reopened and so we will have much to learn from the experience of Fr. Bruce and the parishioners there. Those who are sick and those in the “vulnerable” category will be asked not to enter. Arrangements in churches will need to be in place with stewards to ensure hygiene and social distancing. Your parish will need you to help and volunteer! Many other arrangements will need to be put in place, especially when eventually the celebration of the Liturgy resumes. Please keep this matter in your prayers. We want our churches to reopen (safely) as soon as possible. Let us ask the Lord for a speedy end to the pandemic and for His guidance at this difficult time.

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...
Homily for Trinity Sunday

Here is the homily I preached last Sunday, the Feast of the Most Blessed Trinity, at the 12 noon Mass in the Cathedral.
In summer 1901, a young French pianist aged 22 entered the Carmelites in Dijon, against the advice of her mother and a man who sought to marry her. She took the name in religion, Sr. Elizabeth of the Trinity, although she was only to live four years before she died from Addison’s Disease. Like her contemporary St. Thérèse of Lisieux, her life in the convent was not a bed of roses: she suffered much spiritual darkness as well as light. Yet towards the end of her life, she began to call herself Laudem gloriae ‘To the Praise of Glory.’ She’d been meditating on St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, that when a person is baptised, the Trinity comes to dwell within. Once you realise this, she said - that the Blessed Trinity makes Its home in us, that wherever you go, God is within you - your life is totally changed: nothing is ever the same again. She summed it up in a prayer, Lord, make me your heaven. When Pope Francis canonised her in 2016, people spoke of her as one of the greatest mystics of the 20C...


Next Sunday's Gospel

Next Sunday is the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ - Corpus Christi -and the Gospel is John 6:51-58. You can read Scott Hahn's Sunday reflection here

Join us for the Wednesday Webinar 

In this week's Wednesday Webinar we shall see how after the miracle of the loaves and fishes, Jesus unsettles the Jewish crowd by describing himself as the living bread from Heaven: the final and definitive gift of God which brings his people to eternal life.

Saturday: Mass for all celebrating significant anniversaries 

I invite all married couples from across the Diocese, who during this year 2020 are celebrating a significant wedding anniversary, to join me this Saturday 13th June at 9 am for a Mass live-streamed from my chapel here in Bishop’s House. Usually around this time of the year, we would be inviting everyone to ‘sign up’ for the special Mass and celebration at St. Bede’s Basingstoke. However, sadly, because of COVID-19, we have had to cancel the event. 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! So this year, on Saturday here from Portsmouth, I’m going to offer the Mass for all who have been married 10, 20, 25, 40, 50, 60 and 60+ years, praying that, during this anniversary year, the Lord will bless you and your families with His love and joy.

Tune in here on Saturday...
Thank you 

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...
R U going into Hospital?

If you are going into 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. One suggestion would be for the patient to carry a note to give to hospital staff on admission notifying staff that they are Catholic and that they would really appreciate the Catholic chaplaincy service. This could be followed up by a telephone call from the family to the ward making the request. Hospital staff are always under immense pressure, and it can happen that a person’s religious details (“spiritual needs”) are overlooked upon admission, especially if it is an emergency. Our hospitals at this time are doing a fantastic job in enabling our chaplains to operate and to offer support to patients, often in innovative ways, and where possible to administer the Last Rites. Let us pray for all the medical staff who are caring for the sick – and also for our magnificent chaplains in their irreplaceable work. Let us pray too ourselves for a happy death and that no Catholic dies without the sacramental care of Mother Church.

Crisis Counselling Service

The Association of Christian Counsellors (ACC) is offering a COVID-19 Crisis Counselling Support Service. This has been set up to help people who are experiencing difficult feelings, thoughts and circumstances because they work within a NHS setting (medical and ancillary staff) and are being impacted by caring for people who have COVID-19, or they have been bereaved at this time, whether due to COVID-19 or another reason. The service offers up to ten sessions of counselling on a no-fee basis, either on-line or by telephone. To find out more visit ACC’s website or if you don’t have access to a computer, please ring 024 7644 9694. Counsellors offering this service are all working in a voluntary capacity and according to professional standards and codes of ethics and practice. ACC is the Association of Christian Counsellors, which holds an accredited register of counsellors under the Professional Standards Authority. If you are a registered counsellor and would like to apply to volunteer for the service, please contact them on 

More on Blessed Margaret Pole

Recently, we celebrated the memorial of Blessed Margaret Pole (depicted here with her son, Cardinal Reginald Pole). After the previous articles at the time in Enews, Fr. Kevin Hoiles, the parish priest of Our Lady Queen of Peace and Bl. Margaret Pole in Southbourne, emailed me with some fascinating correspondence he had been having with a descendent of Blessed Margaret.

News from St. Joseph’s Havant

Anthony Andrews, a parishioner and former administrator of St. Joseph’s Havant, writes about the experiences of the parish during this period of coronavirus lockdown and how the lockdown has not stopped Catholics practicing their faith.

Two large candles flicker on an altar, a crisp, white cloth spread over its marble surface. A glass water jug is perched on a small silver tray. The chalice, its design so simple, shines like a beacon amidst the gloom of the darkened church. The soft chime of a bell rings out eight times, just as the priest is making his final preparations. Stepping out of the sacristy he rings a second bell to herald the start of Mass...
The Bible Challenge

Judith Aylmer from our diocesan Year of the Bible team shares a fun bible challenge with us...

In this Year of the God who Speaks, the challenge was to encourage people to open their Bible. Last week, Judith set us a challenge with her Bible Quiz. If you haven't had a go yet the questions are here.  

If you've already played, you can check you answers here.

Hymn of the Month for June

Julia Courtney, a parishioner from St Patrick’s Church, Sandown, IoW brings us the latest instalment of her monthly feature for 2020...

The Feast of Corpus Christi was instituted in the thirteenth century as an annual opportunity to celebrate and honour the Blessed Sacrament. Traditionally our neighbouring Diocese of Arundel and Brighton has marked this June feast with a carpet of flowers in the Cathedral, a procession through the streets of Arundel and Benediction in the Castle grounds. This year coronavirus is responsible for its cancellation for only the second time in 140 years.

Even closer home, indeed in all our homes, similar deprivation is felt as we miss Communion at Mass, and visits to the Blessed Sacrament. It will be wonderful when at last we join in a real live liturgy with our fellow parishioners! With hymns of course… As part of Sunday Mass, many parishes include a hymn immediately after Communion, and for me one of the most reverent and inspiring is Be Still, for the Presence of the Lord click on the carpet of flowers image above to listen

Blessings from Lockdown

Peter Hughes, a parishioner from St Michael's, Tadley, shares some reflections on what he has considered blessings during this time of lockdown...

This has been a very strange and often difficult time.  The loss of the direct contact church community and services in our local churches have had some surprising outcomes. Mass is being streamed live from somewhere in the world through the 24 hours of every day So many variations of church building from beautiful modern simplicity to traditionally ornate splendour can be visited virtually. The opportunity is there to hear a number of bishops in other countries preaching, several from their own chapels, as does Bishop Philip, and some in empty cathedrals...

Season of Creation
Anne Dodd from Our Lady and St Edmund Parish, Abingdon draws our attention to the forthcoming Season of Creation...

As the Laudato Si' anniversary year gets underway, the Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development is encouraging Catholics to take part in the annual Season of Creation. This annual ecumenical celebration of prayer and action to protect our common home takes place from 1st September - the World Day of Prayer for Creation - to 4th October - the Feast of St Francis of Assisi. Christians of all traditions are invited to take part by organizing prayer services, community litter clean-ups, or advocacy actions.

This year's event takes place within the context of the special Laudato Si' Anniversary Year, which Pope Francis opened on Sunday, 24 May. The Year coincides with the 5th anniversary of his encyclical. The Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development recently issued a special invitation urging Catholics to take part in the Season of Creation. You can watch the video released in partnership with the Global Catholic Climate Movement above.
Volunteering for CAFOD for over 40 years 

Jo Lewry shares Angela’s story about why she volunteers for CAFOD….

Angela Le Page is our parish volunteer at Our Lady and the Saints of Guernsey, and she has been a volunteer and supporter of CAFOD for over forty years. “I first became involved with CAFOD in 1974. I was a young mum then, happy with my firstborn. But my little 10 yr old sister was dying of leukaemia and the world had been alerted to a famine in Ethiopia. Mary, in spite of her suffering, was deeply concerned for the children dying of starvation. She wanted to do something for them. So, inspired by her, we approached the parish priest of the time, Fr Bernard Fisher and he encouraged us to start a group which we called WINGS, World In Need Group Scheme, so nothing to do with Paul McCartney...

Can you help? - Food Donations needed

Kevin Gallagher, Director of Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth writes about the Caritas Insight Food Project at St. John’s Cathedral and appeals for food donations to support the project...

Over the years the Caritas InSight projects have been an amazing success. The first one started over four years ago on Tuesdays at the St John’s Cathedral Discovery Centre, where it regularly saw around 30-40 people attending on a regular basis. For those living in social isolation, this is a safe place to socialise, get a hot meal but most of all some friendship and love, all for free. Behind it all is an amazing group of volunteers, a caring passionate team dedicated to supporting vulnerable people in the community. In addition to Portsmouth, similar projects have been setup in Basingstoke.

Back to Mass in Guernsey

Liz Dene from Guernsey reports on how further relaxation of lockdown restrictions in Guernsey has allowed limited numbers to gather for Mass and for five parishioners to finally be received into the Church...

For the Parish of Our Lady and the Saints of Guernsey the Feast of Pentecost was truly a “Red Letter Day” as not only were the vestments red but, as the Bailiwick had entered Phase 4 of its Exit from Lockdown Framework, public Masses could once again be celebrated.
Sadly, the restrictions on the size of gatherings, just 30 people can gather at any one time, meant that for most parishioners attendance at Sunday Mass remains a virtual event. However, for five members of our Parish their waiting to enter into full communion with the Church was over. Pam Southall, Jade Radwell, Sophie Williams, Mike Elward and Hugh Rose completed their journey which had been abruptly interrupted as Guernsey entered lockdown on Friday 27th March 2020 and are now very much part of the Parish.

Virtual Pilgrimage to Canterbury

Fr. Tom Grufferty  reflects on the recent Virtual Pilgrimage from Emsworth to Canterbury throughout May to mark the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket...

Shortly after the Churches went into lockdown in March this year Maureen Thompson had the brilliant idea of organising a virtual pilgrimage to Canterbury, to mark the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in December 1170. We began the journey on 1st May in Emsworth. The plan was to arrive in Canterbury for the feast of Pentecost, Sunday 31st May. The significance of both the start and the destination of the pilgrimage became more apparent as we made the journey. There are two Churches in Emsworth dedicated to the Saint: the ancient Anglican Church in Warblington and the Catholic Church in Emsworth. The ecumenical importance was immediately apparent, so much so that all the Christians of Emsworth and the surrounding area were invited to take part. We started out with 29 pilgrims and finished off with over 100.

Sharing the Good News in Shirley
Michael Keogh, a parishioner at St Boniface Shirley shares news of how the parish proclaimed the good news of the Easter season despite the lockdown. He writes:

At St Boniface Church in Shirley Southampton because we have a prominent position on the high street, even though the church might be closed, we can still try and reach out to the good people of Shirley using a banner suspended between the presbytery and the church firstly proclaiming ‘Jesus is Risen’ and now ‘Come Holy Spirit’. The banners were painted by parishioners Hannah and Elizabeth Wood.
From the Archives
This week we take a brief break from the series of the previous bishops of the diocese to feature a seasonally appropriate dip into the archives. Thanks to Peter Clarke from Isle of Wight Catholic History Society for sharing with us this photo of the 1955 Corpus Christi procession at St Mary's Ryde. Peter writes:

This Corpus Christi Procession took place 65 years ago. This annual event (on the Sunday after Corpus Christi) left St. Mary’s in Ryde High Street before processing around the local streets, with the Presentation Sisters following immediately behind with the schoolchildren and then the rest of the congregation. The Parish Priest carrying the monstrance is Fr. Joseph Troy. The Deacon and Sub Deacon are Fr. Dermot MacDermot-Roe and Fr. Brian Murphy O’Connor.

And finally...Who is this?

We continue to feature some of the clergy of our Diocese of Portsmouth – but for the latest challenge, we've adopted a different angle, as it were. This week we feature one of our deacons receiving a blessing before proclaiming the Gospel, but who is it? Just e-mail your answer to Deacon Craig by Friday for a mention. 

We were overwhelmed with correct answers identifying Fr Chris Rutledge, Parish Priest of St Bede's Basingstoke, Co-ordinating Pastor of North West Hampshire and Dean of Blessed John Body Deanery, who we had featured before with a different photo which was only identified by one reader! This time, our congratulations to: Faye Lyons, Gerry Penfold, Valerie Lock, Jennifer Carroll, Maria Wilman, Fr Johnpromise Umeozuru, Renata Clayton, Liz Dene, Mary Looney, Vickie Chandler, Grania Egan, David Brown, Brian  Shorten and Thomas Shorten who all submitted the correct answer!

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:

Head of People Management (Human Resources)
(Closing date: Wednesday 10th June, 1pm). 
For more information and to apply, please click here.

Administrative Services Manager
(Closing date: Friday 12th June, 1pm). 

For more information and to apply, please click here.

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.

Chair and Members of Diocesan Safeguarding Commission (Volunteer roles)
(Closing date: Sunday 14th June 2020, Midnight.)
Find out more 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 16th June.
Deadline for submission of items for consideration is
Friday 12th June 2020.
Please click here to send an item for consideration.
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