Portsmouth Diocese e-News Issue 290 (2020/34)
Tuesday 22nd September 2020
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Welcome from Bishop Philip
Dear friends, thank you for joining us for this week’s e-News. I hope and pray that you are keeping safe and are in good health. The Church is currently keeping the ‘Year of the Word:’  read about an amazing new commission below. We are also in the middle of the short ‘Season of Creation’, during which we seek to respond to the call to review our lives and live more simply and sustainably. ACTA invite us to join their Zoom discussion. In relation to this, the Diocese is currently drafting a revised environmental strategy and we are looking to re-establishing our Justice, Peace and Social Responsibility Team with new and young members to keep this matter before us in the times ahead. Please say a prayer this Thursday, which is the eighth anniversary of my ordination as the Bishop of Portsmouth. Remember too to pray next Sunday for migrants and refugees.  This week is also the tenth anniversary of the papal visit to our shores by Pope Benedict.  You find below some invitations: to undertake a course at the Academy of the Annunciation, to register for the Celebrate event and to join a new online Alpha course. Meanwhile, with thanks to Deacon Craig for assembling the e-News for us, I pray God will bless you over these days ahead.

Refreshing our Mission

In these grim days of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that amidst all our other concerns, we don’t lose sight of our key purpose as the Diocese of Portsmouth: bringing people closer to Jesus Christ through His Church. Click on the picture for a message from me about this mission. In the video I say “This is what I really want to call every single person in our Diocese to work at and to work towards: that you will be fired up with the joy of the Gospel.” This video is on our diocesan website which is currently being updated. We hope to publish the new website shortly.

The Papal Visit

This weekend is the tenth anniversary of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to England and Scotland (16th–19th September 2010). The Bishops’ Conference has assembled an excellent website full of resources - the filmed speeches, addresses, homilies and much more - telling the story of those amazing four days. He landed in Edinburgh on Thursday 16th September 2010 for an audience with the Queen and Mass in Glasgow. He then went on Friday to St. Mary’s Twickenham for a gathering of schoolchildren and teachers. He called on the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace and gave a profound Address to politicians in the Houses of Parliament. I remember that evening being with him in Westminster Abbey for an ecumenical service. On Saturday, after meeting the Prime Minister, he celebrated a solemn Mass in Westminster Cathedral, visited a Home for the Elderly and finished with an unforgettable Youth Vigil of Prayer in Hyde Park. First thing Sunday, he flew to Birmingham for the Mass of Beatification of John Henry Newman, the high point of the visit. After lunch at the Oratory and a Meeting with the Bishops at Oscott College, he returned to Rome - no doubt exhausted but after four amazing days. I remember the Holy Father’s comment the following week in an Audience at St. Peter’s: “I could see how strong the Christian heritage still is [in Britain] and how active it still is in social life at every level. British hearts and British lives are open to the reality of God and there are numerous expressions of religious feeling that my Visit .. made even more visible.” Let us pray for Pope Emeritus Benedict, for his good health and thanking God for all He has given to us through him.

God, the Generous Employer

Here is the homily I preached last Sunday, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday of the Year on “God the Generous Employer”, at the 12 noon Mass in the Cathedral.
This weekend is the 10th anniversary of the four-day papal visit of Pope Benedict XVI. He landed in Edinburgh for an audience with the Queen before heading to Twickenham for a gathering of schoolchildren and teachers. After visiting the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace, he gave a profound Address to politicians in the Houses of Parliament. I remember that evening being with him in Westminster Abbey for an ecumenical service. On Saturday, after meeting the Prime Minister, he celebrated Mass in Westminster Cathedral, visited a Home for the Elderly and finished with an unforgettable Youth Vigil of Prayer in Hyde Park. He flew to Birmingham, first thing Sunday, for the Mass of Beatification of John Henry Newman. This was the high point of the visit. After lunch at the Oratory and a Bishops’ conference at Oscott College, he returned to Rome, no doubt exhausted, but after four amazing days. This weekend let’s pray for Pope Emeritus Benedict, for his good health, grateful to God for all He has given us through him...

Eight Years Ago 

This Thursday, 24th September, is the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham, and the eighth anniversary of my ordination as Bishop of Portsmouth. Please pray for me – and most importantly for our Diocese, its clergy, religious and faithful. I can still remember vividly that happy day in 2012 with Bishop Crispian and the Cardinal, many of the bishops of England and Wales, hundreds of priests and faithful all packed into the Cathedral here for the Mass. The Cardinal preached a splendid homily and then at the end of the Mass, I made an Address. I thought you might like to hear the Address again and so I give it below...

Updated Coronavirus Safety Guidelines

The Diocese has updated its Coronavirus guidance in the light of the latest Government instructions issued on 14th September 2020. There is a little more flexibility in some areas than previously, for example, in ministry to the sick and housebound, although great care must still be taken. The use of halls and the possibility of reinstating some group meetings are covered. There is limited scope for general socialising because the ‘Rule of 6’ has been imposed. Our churches are very COVID-safe, provided everyone is following the proper safety procedures. Our thanks as ever to clergy and parishioners who are working hard at this. One area, however, that remains a challenge is having sufficient volunteers (e.g. stewards and cleaners) to assist. If you are hale and hearty, please do offer to help– your assistance will enable many more people to return to Mass, thereby bringing them closer to Jesus Christ through His Church. Let us all pray for a speedy end to the pandemic.

Special Commission for the Year of the Word 

Pete Codling (from Southsea) has been commissioned by the Bible Society to create a work of art – a ‘polytych’ - for the Year of the Word. This work was shewn for the first time here in our Cathedral last weekend before going on a national tour. Click on the photo for a short video of Pete at work in his studio and his explanation of the work. The Year has inspired him to create a Byzantine and multi-panel smalti-mosaic. It reflects both how God speaks through all ages and all people. “I take you on a journey through the life of Jesus, Mary, St Jerome, St Matthew and many other biblical figures united through the dynamic of the Trinity. In using techniques in mosaic and wood, I reference the translation of the bible through material and imagery as well as through word. The idea behind this artwork has challenged me technically as well as artistically. My research for this artwork took me to Ravenna and Venice in search of materials, technique and craftmanship. It is very detailed and colourful, full of contrast and texture, lots to look at! It is relatively small in comparison with my other work, but is certainly a heavy weight in terms of its content and ambition. I look forward to sharing it with you all soon.”

Next Sunday's Gospel

Next Sunday is 26th Sunday of the Year and the Gospel is Matthew 21:28-32. You can read Scott Hahn's reflection on the Sunday readings here.

Join us for the Wednesday Webinar 

In next Sunday's Gospel Jesus takes us deeper into the mystery of the Kingdom of God using the parable of two sons called to work in their Father’s vineyard. Obedience to our parents can be difficult – but the response of a truly loving and wise parent to our struggles to do the right thing can reveal something, however small, of the overwhelming love and wisdom of God. The son who changes his mind, turns himself around and applies himself to working in his Father’s vineyard, having first rejected his Father’s will, is a symbol of conversion: the process by which those of us far from God are drawn, by the grace of His Son Jesus, into the blessings of the Kingdom.

Thought for the Week
“I have seen over my years of working towards parish renewal that people increase their giving as they buy into the mission. The more a parish focuses on the mission of making disciples, the more people experience conversion. The more people experience conversion, the more they will buy into the mission. The more they buy in, the more they give. The more people give, the more a parish can focus on the mission. In addition, the more people give, the more connected they feel to the parish. It creates a kind of virtuous cycle. Focusing on evangelisation and discipleship, therefore, is one of the greatest things that we can do to increase giving. There is a direct correlation between the evangelisation and discipleship formation that happens in your parish and the income you receive” (Fr. James Mallon Beyond the Parish).
Donate to the Diocese of Portsmouth

Second Collections - online

I am conscious that many people in the Diocese wish to donate to the good causes that usually come before us by means of a Second Collection at Mass. This year, many of these charities and groups have suspended their appeals because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, we have received some new guidance from the Bishop’s Conference. To relieve the pressure on parishes, we have now set up an online giving page for each collection. The Second Collection for this weekend, 19th-20th September 2020, is the rescheduled Pontifical Good Friday Collection to support Christians in the Holy Land. The online giving page can be found here.

Prayers for Victims and Survivors of Sexual Abuse 

Here are two prayers that we can say for the victims and survivors of sexual abuse. They have been promoted for use by the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors:
Heavenly Father, who loves and cares for all of your children,
especially the smallest and most vulnerable,
we entrust to you the lives of the many children and vulnerable adults,
who have been sexually abused,
and whose trust and innocence have been destroyed.
Help us to hear their cries of pain
and to take responsibility for so many broken lives.
We pray that within their communities and families
they may find understanding and support
so that with the help of your grace their wounds may be healed,
and they may again know peace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who shared our weakness in all things but sin,
and lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit
forever and ever.
Join the Academy of the Annunciation

Greetings from Dr Christina Pal and Dr Denise Clare Oliver at the Academy of the Annunciation (AoA)! We invite you to consider engaging more deeply in the work of the New Evangelisation by joining one of our two new courses.  Both programmes are designed to help promote parish renewal and, as Bishop Philip says, "to help bring people closer to Jesus Christ through His Church!"

This autumn, AoA is launching the St John Diploma in Spiritual Formation. This programme is designed to help people to learn about the path of the soul toward union with God, the path of prayer, and growth in holiness.  It is particularly helpful for spiritual directors, religious, formators, spirituality team members, prayer leaders, and anyone interested in learning more about the path of prayer. The introductory video (above) is less than 3 minutes long.

Registering for Celebrate

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 event "Back to Basics" for ehich registration is now open...

We are very excited about what the Lord has planned for CELEBRATE. Following our successful online conference in June, we are delighted that so many new people joined us on the CELEBRATE Facebook hub, for which we praise God. We believe that the Lord is now calling us to share the vision of CELEBRATE with all who have joined our CELEBRATE family over the last few months. We also want to reconnect and remind our longstanding CELEBRATORS of our foundational values and so we are going Back to Basics! Launching online on Monday 21st September we will be going Back to Basics to explore the five values which encapsulate the CELEBRATE vision: Baptism in the Holy Spirit; Family; Unity; Formation; Mission. Click on the image above for more information.

Alpha Online

Clare Simpson,  Leader of the Pre-Discipleship Team & Healing Advisory Group shares news of a new online Alpha Course beginning next week...

The Alpha Course is running very well on-line and attracting people who find it easier to join a course at home, rather than go to a parish hall. It also means that people can join a course from any location!  The Windsor parish would like to offer their Autumn course to anyone in the diocese or their friends and family. It will be on Thursday evenings, starting 1st October, using Zoom. If you are interested or would like an electronic invitation to send to your family/friends, please contact Ryan and Kim Greig:

Next Sunday: World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Kevin Gallagher, Director of Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth draws our attention to the special day of prayer for Migrants and Refugees next Sunday...

Who could not be moved after seeing that distressing picture of the lifeless body of Alan Kurdi, the 3 year old washed up on a beach in Turkey in 2015?. Contrast this with how you feel after reading tabloid headings such as “Breaking Point” or “The Swarm on our Streets” and ask yourself where do you stand as a Christian with regard to people who are escaping persecution simply to find a life of safety most of us take for granted. We could also do well to remind ourselves of how the Holy Family had to flee to safety as refugees...

CAFOD Harvest Fast Day

Jo Lewry tells us about the inspiring talk from Kayode at the online Harvest fast day meeting last Saturday…

It was great to see so many parish volunteers from Arundel & Brighton and Portsmouth Dioceses on Saturday 12th September for our first joint Harvest fast day online meeting. We were very privileged to have Kayode Akintola, our Country Representative for Sierra Leone and Liberia joining us at the meeting. The advantage of an online meeting was that Kayode could speak to us from his home in Freetown Sierra Leone. He told us how coronavirus was having a devastating impact on communities. Due to lockdown, farmers had been unable to go to their fields to sow seeds and those who relied on casual work for money to buy food were not earning any money so many families did not have food to eat. Also many rural communities do not have a nearby access to clean water so hand washing is very difficult...

ACTA Video Presentation

Fr Derek Reeve from Portsmouth's ACTA group invites you to join their series of 'virtual' evenings discussing climate change...
The Portsmouth ACTA (‘A Call to Action’) group has arranged a series of evenings  to view and discuss the climate crisis and Laudato si’, Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter using video material from Catholic Faith Exploration on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. The three sessions will be held on Wednesdays 30th September, 14th October and 28th October from  7.00 to 8.00 p.m. The video is in three 15 minute sessions with discussion points and final prayer. It is excellent material and ACTA propose to screen each part over the three sessions. Find our more and download your own copy of the video here. To access each of the three sessions use this link with Meeting ID: 924 197 8872 and Passcode: 411511.

Annual Pilgrimage

Peter Clarke from the Isle of Wight Catholic History Society reports on the annual pilgrimage walk from Ryde to Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight held on Sunday 13th September...

It was a blessing that despite so many cancelled events due to the pandemic, this year’s annual walk (pilgrimage) from Ryde to Quarr Abbey, was able to go ahead as usual with beautiful sunny weather, albeit with reduced numbers attending and with appropriate social restrictions when necessary. This annual walk was started by Fr. John Baptist Cahill (who became the second Bishop of Portsmouth) in 1882, when he walked with his parishioners from St. Mary’s, Ryde to the Cistercian monastic ruins of Quarr on Sunday afternoons in Summer. He prayed with them for the return of monastic life to Quarr; a prayer that was answered within 30 years when the Benedictines came in 1908. 

More New Catholics

Francis Connolly KSG from St. Francis de Sales Wash Common shares news of the latest new Catholics to join the Church...

On Friday 18th September three more of our RCIA Candidates from St. Francis de Sales Wash Common and Our Lady of Lourdes Hungerford were received into Full Communion of the Church by Fr. Zbigniew Budyn in a prayerful and joyful celebration at St Francis de Sales, Wash Common. This long awaited reception, which was delayed from Easter, completed their Journey in Faith. Holly McMordie, Felicity Burrows and Arthur Mitchell joined our other five candidates who were received into Full Communion at Our Lady of Lourdes on 16th July.

Summer of 2020…How will it be remembered?

Michael Keogh from St Boniface Parish Southampton reflects on how we may look back on the Summer of 2020 in years to come...

Tokyo Olympics games, postponed. EUFA football championships, with the final due at Wembley, postponed.  No Wimbledon tennis championships, Silverstone Grand Prix or London Marathon. No Glastonbury festival (I bet the cows were pleased!) Even the Oberammergau Passion play has had to be postponed until 2022. There was no audience participation at this year’s Proms. The Premier league and European club football did manage to restart along with Test cricket, unfortunately with no spectators. And in any normal year, what do all these events need to open and run safely, stewards. So where can people attend and participate as they have done before? Church!

In 1 Corinthians, 12:28, St Paul talks about the different parts of the body that form apostles, disciples and teachers, etc. So, when we look back at the Summer of 2020 and wonder what may have been a highlight, one for sure would be the reopening of our Parish churches for private prayer and Public Masses. Let’s give a big shout out to those parts of the body, namely stewards who stepped up to allow Churches all over the Diocese to reopen safely for Private Prayer and Public Masses. Thank you.

Hymn for the Month

Julia Courtney, a parishioner from St Patrick’s Church, Sandown, IoW, brings us the latest choice of her Hymn of the Month...

Recently I read a lively and informative article by John Ainslie, who was student choirmaster at the Venerable English College in Rome during the Second Vatican Council (1962-66), and latterly music director and active parishioner at Mary Immaculate and St Gregory, Barnet. He explains why many of the hymns in our parish hymnals come from a British or European post-Reformation tradition, with others derived from very ancient Catholic sources or written in relatively modern days...

Book Recommendation

This book might appeal more naturally to clergy, but is very accessible to anyone with an interest in the Sacred Liturgy and its evolution under Pope Francis. In Pope Francis and the Liturgy (New York, Paulist Press: 2020), Fr. Kevin Irwin summarises, analyses and assesses the ways Pope Francis understands the Liturgy. He takes particular care to contextualise Francis’s own contributions in the light of developments under Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict. Pope Francis constantly emphasises the intrinsic connection between the Liturgy and the practical ways as Christians we ought to be living our lives. He challenges us to see Christ in the other - especially in the poor, the migrant, the vulnerable, the addicted - as much as we see Christ in the Eucharist. In this book, Fr. Irwin examines in turn each of Pope Francis’s liturgical initiatives, the issue of participation and the use of the vernacular, the continuity of Francis with his predecessors and sacramental theology in the light of Laudato Si'. I recommend it for autumnal reading.

Farewell Fr. Vittorio

This weekend we bid farewell to Fr. Vittorio Scomparin of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. Fr. Vittorio (pictured here on my left surrounded by members of the families) has been resident here in Paulsgrove as the chaplain to the NeoCat families that form the missio ad gentes within the area of St. Paul’s parish. Kiko Arguello, co-founder in 1964 of the Neo-Catechumenal Way and the leader of the International Responsible Team of the Way, has asked Fr. Vittorio to move to Canada. There he will have responsibility for the Way across the whole country, with its various missiones and its three Redemptoris Mater seminaries. Please pray for him in this new and heavy responsibility. Canada’s gain is, of course, our loss. We will miss him from the Portsmouth area. Recently, he completed an amazing walking pilgrimage from Rome to Compostella – over 2,000 miles. He prayed every day for our Diocese and its intentions. Mind you, he looks fitter than ever, ideal for the new post! The families especially will miss him. We hope his successor will be named shortly. Meanwhile, buon viaggio Fr. Vittorio! We thank God for all that you have given these last years. We will miss you. But we promise you our prayers in these days ahead.

And finally...

We continue our fun feature for you to try and identify some of the clergy of our Diocese of Portsmouth but in their younger forms or from unusual angles... 

Last week's mystery baby was Deacon Nick O'Neill, AoS Stella Maris Senior Regional Port Chaplain for the South of England and Wales and Deacon at St Michael's Leigh Park, assisting Canon Gerard Flynn. Unfortunately, nobody managed to identify him!

This week we test your powers of observation with one of our priests from a few years ago - but who is it? Just e-mail your answer to Deacon Craig by Friday for a mention next week. 

Please remember to send in any photos of clergy from years gone by or challenging angles from your own collection - and please encourage your own clergy to offer photos of themselves so we can continue this fun feature. 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 September here.

Please pray for the Renewal of the Diocese

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...


Please pray for...

Please pray for these intentions.  

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

St John’s Cathedral is seeking a Director of Cathedral Development
(Full time, 35 hours per week)
Competitive salary
(Closing date: Friday 25th September, 12 Noon)

The Diocese of Portsmouth is seeking a Financial Controller (12 month contract)
(Full time, 35 hours per week, Monday to Friday) based in Portsmouth
£45-50,000 per annum depending on experience plus contributory pension
Closing date for applications: Tuesday 29th September at 1300 hrs

Full details of the above vacancies can be found 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 to Deacon Craig Aburn: by Friday for consideration for the following week's issue

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 29th September.
Deadline for submission of items for consideration is
Friday 25th September 2020.
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