Portsmouth Diocese e-News Issue 274 (2020/18)
Tuesday 5th May 2020
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Welcome from Bishop Philip
Dear Friends,

Let’s begin with a short prayer: click on the picture for the link.

Welcome to this e-News for the Fourth Week of Easter, with an update on what’s happening around the Diocese, plus all our usual articles. I am actively campaigning at the moment for the reopening of our churches, although this will of course present us with some challenges. There is a Message from the Archbishops on this too. Last Sunday was Good Shepherd Sunday: I attach the homily I preached at 12 noon Mass here in the Cathedral. I also draw your attention to our Clergy Training Fund which relies entirely on your generosity. You can also donate on line to your parish and to the Diocese through the link below.   We’ve been celebrating this week the English Martyrs, so it is great to hear of the initiative on the Isle of Wight and also of the new booklet from the IoW History Society on the Dowry of Mary. Please remember to pray not only for our parish clergy but also for our schools who are doing a magnificent job at this time: you can read about what St. Mary’s have been doing and also St. Teresa’s Wokingham. Meanwhile, let us continue to pray to our merciful God for a speedy end to the pandemic. I pray that He will keep you safe from all harm. May God bless you over these Eastertime days ahead. 
Reopening our Churches

To me, one of the most painful aspects of the current crisis is that our churches have had to be closed and public celebrations of the Liturgy suspended. I would love to reopen our churches (of course, with appropriate safeguards etc.) as soon as we can. I firmly believe that our churches are an ‘essential service’. We need them for our spiritual well-being and in them, we receive from the Lord Himself the Sacraments of salvation and eternal life. Consequently, I have written to the government and to all our MPs asking that our churches be included in the first wave of re-openings. I am passionately encouraging the Bishops’ Conference in its efforts with the government and to me it’s crucial that the Bishops work together collaboratively with this aim in mind. Please pray for a positive outcome....

Read more
Bishop's Homily for Good Shepherd Sunday

Here is the homily I preached last Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, at the 12 noon Mass in the Cathedral.
If you’re ever near Worcester, once the COVID-19 crisis is over, a place you must visit is Harvington Hall. A rambling, fairy-tale, Elizabethan manor-house with a big moat, it was built during Penal Times, when Catholics, especially priests, could be persecuted, imprisoned, hanged, drawn and quartered for the Faith. The Throckmorton family designed the house with lots of ‘hides’ or priest-holes: secret passageways, hidden rooms, a removable stair, spaces behind the wood panelling, where a priest could hide or Mass vestments be concealed. Harvington Hall is fascinating... 


Daily Mass with the Bishop

I’d like to invite you each morning to join me 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. The Readings and Collects of the Mass and the texts for Morning Prayer can be found in Universalis and i-Breviary. 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 for the next days:
Read more and tune in...

Message from the Archbishops

After last week’s Bishops’ Conference, the five metropolitan archbishops of England and Wales issued a statement called “A People who Hope in Christ.” The archbishops are Cardinal Vincent Nichols (Westminster), Archbishop John Wilson (Southwark), Archbishop Bernard Longley (Birmingham), Archbishop Malcolm McMahon (Liverpool) and Archbishop George Stack (Cardiff).

Next Sunday's Gospel

Next Sunday is the Fifth Sunday of Easter and the Gospel is John 14:1-12. You can read Scott Hahn's Sunday reflection here

Deacon Martin writes...

Deacon Martin continues to explore the Sunday Lectionary’s first readings, from the Acts of the Apostles…examining what they can show us about how to be the Church today.  The first reading this coming Sunday, the Fifth Sunday of Easter (year A), is from Acts 6:1-7; it describes the commissioning of the “Seven” in service.
Jennifer Geach reflects...
Jennifer Geach reflects this week on how "The law of the Lord is perfect", looking at the longest psalm used in the old monastic office for the ‘little hours’ (Terce, Sext and None) from Sunday to Tuesday, divided into chunks of eight verses each, being a poem in praise of God’s law...
Zoe (Life)
Deacon Martin brings us the latest instalment of Bible Words, a series of articles and podcasts exploring each week how a single word is used across the Scriptures.  This week, we look at the Greek noun zoe, which means “life”.  This word appears in the Gospel (Jn 11:1‑45) of the Fifth Sunday of Lent, year A, where Jesus tells Martha that He is the “resurrection and the life” (Jn 11:25).  We’ll see that this little Greek word gives some ladies the beautiful name of Zoe, and also expresses not only physical life, but spiritual (including eternal) life. We see this zoe life most powerfully in the Gospel of John, which contains 3 times more occurrences of the word zoe (36) than any other part of the New Testament. Why don’t you “come and see” how? (Jn 1:39, 46)

Join us for the Wednesday Webinar

In this week's Wednesday Webinar we shall see how, in response to his disciples’ questions, Jesus exhorts them to believe in Him in order to see and know the Father.

Read more
R U going into Hospital?

In our Diocese of Portsmouth, we have a number of major hospitals, including the Queen Alexandra (QA) Portsmouth, University Hospital Southampton, Christchurch Hospital, 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. 

SOS - Support Our Seminarians

On Good Shepherd Sunday, this last Sunday 3rd May 2020, a special collection is usually made to support vocations and especially priestly vocations. During this time, when parishes are closed for public liturgies, the lay faithful are unable to give generously in person to the second collection. A special online giving page has been set up to receive any generous donations that people may wish to give to support our seminarians and clergy. If you would like to ensure the future of the Church in our Diocese by sponsoring our seminarians, please consider donating to support the training of our future priests. We thank you in advance for any donation you may make. 

'All or Nothing' - the calling of Sr. Clare Crockett

Anne-Marie Kershaw from our Called and Gifted team brings another viewing recommendation. She writes...

As it was Vocation Sunday this past weekend I wanted to mention this lovely gem of a film about the life and calling of Clare Crockett, a young woman from Derry. It's been out a while so may already be known in the Diocese but I came across it this week and was very moved. It is both inspiring and challenging, her life's motto: all or nothing! She is so genuine, such an authentic witness. I think we will be hearing more about her in the years to come...
Virtual pilgrimage from Emsworth to Canterbury 

Maureen Thompson from Havant and Emsworth parish invites us to a different way to exercise each day...

Each day in May Christians in Emsworth, where there are two churches dedicated to St Thomas Becket, our Catholic church and the Anglican church have decided to  set off on a   spiritual journey where we imagine we are travelling to Canterbury to commemorate 850 years since the death of St Thomas of Canterbury.  
We hope to meet others as we journey so we invite others to join us - Give your daily exercise meaning by imagining the Old way pilgrimage route we would travel . Read the thought for the day  and share your own prayers, we will even meet up on Monday evenings on Zoom. Join Facebook Christians Together in Emsworth, look at our website or email for more information.

News from St. Mary’s Independent School, Southampton

Fr Michael Peters, Chaplain at St Mary's Independent School in Southampton shares the latest lockdown initiative from the school...

These fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost (31st May) should be very special to us. Sadly, during the lockdown, most of us cannot be in our churches or schools to witness the joy of the Resurrection visuals and the reminders of the coming of the Holy Spirit. The students (and families) of St. Mary’s Independent School, Southampton, were thus given extra R.E. ‘homework’. They were presented with an on-line worksheet of those seven gifts with a brief explanation of each. Alongside was a list of the seven most pressing bidding prayers that we are have in our hearts: seven groups of people working so hard to get us through this pandemic. They had to decide on one in particular and compose a prayer, adding-if possible-a drawing. From the many received, this caught my attention because the  six-year old's mother is a nurse and COURAGE is what she prays for most.

News from St. Teresa’s School, Wokingham

Nikki Peters, Headteacher at St Teresa’s Catholic Academy Wokingham writes...

The children made some rainbows last week as a tribute to NHS staff and carers – they make quite a statement on a main road into Wokingham.  The children also wrote some of the prayers of the faithful which Canon Simon Thomson read out at Mass and they made some artwork based on yesterday’s Gospel of the Good Shepherd which was placed at the front of the altar during Mass.

CAFOD Coronavirus Appeal
Recently, I received an email from Christine Allen, Director of CAFOD, about their new Coronavirus Appeal. 
Volunteers Needed
Jo Lewry asks "could you volunteer for CAFOD in your parish...?"

In Portsmouth Diocese we have a fantastic team of CAFOD parish volunteers who promote our Harvest fast day on the first Friday of October, and the Lent fast day on the second Friday of Lent each year. These parish volunteers are essential to CAFOD’s work ensuring that parishioners find out about the difference that their generous donations make to communities living in poverty overseas.
Rugby for Refugees - a UK first
Kevin Gallagher, Director of Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth writes...

An interesting title for an e-News article! The name reflects a joint refugee project between Caritas Portsmouth and the Ellingham and Ringwood Rugby Club. Caritas presently has four refugee projects all run under what is known as “Community Sponsorship” in the Home Office. Three are parish based but this one is the first of its kind in partnership with a sports club.

Remembering the Isle of Wight Martyrs  

Mass was offered by Fr. Jonathan Redvers Harris on the Third Sunday of Easter outside St. Thomas of Canterbury Church at Cowes. Taking the place of the usual 9am Mass in the church building, this Mass (Ordinariate) was outside the church at the memorial to the two Isle of Wight Martyrs, Blessed Robert Anderton and Blessed William Marsden. The day was significant as it marked the anniversary of their martyrdom in 1586.

New book on The Dowry of Mary

Edmund Matyjaszek, Principal of the Priory School of Our Lady of Walsingham on the  Isle of Wight shares news of his publication, "England: The Dowry of Mary - Meaning and Mission". In light of the rededication of England as Mary’s Dowry on 29th March, the Isle of Wight Catholic History Society has sponsored publication of a sumptuously illustrated 24 page booklet. He writes...

WhatsApp Group for Young Catholic Adults

Rina Bird invites young Catholic adults to join a new nationwide Young Catholic Adult Network UK (YouCAN) WhatsApp Group for sharing faith and prayer.

If you are, or if you know, a young Catholic adult between the ages of 18 to 35ish, you, or they, may be interested in joining the recently formed Young Catholic Adult Network UK (YouCAN) WhatsApp Group. There are already nearly 80  in the group from across the country who share their Faith and pray together. Such fellowship is especially important at the present time when so many are isolating in their homes, and are out of their usual routines.  To join, please send your mobile number to Rina at More information about YouCAN can be found at The Network already  has considerable support, particularly from Catholic Dioceses, all of the major Religious Orders, and lay organisations. 

From the Archives
Peter Clarke from the Isle of Wight Catholic History Society has kindly sent in this archive image appropriate for the month of May. He writes...
A photo of the Annual May Procession in 1958. The statue of Our Lady was crowned in St. Mary’s Church and then carried in procession out into Ryde High Street whilst the Rosary and Litany of Our Lady was recited. The Sisters of the Presentation Order can be seen behind the statue. The priest is Fr. McDermot-Roe. (Click on the image for a full version.)

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

Our Seminarian to keep in your prayers this coming month is Farvin Gonsalves who is currently part way through the Propaedeutic/Discernment Year that, up until the lockdown, was taking place at the Mater Sacerdotum - House of Discernment, in Shrewsbury.  Farvin's home Parish is Christ the King, Whitley, Reading. He writes...


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 did this little boy grow up to be? 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 273 was Fr Shaun BuddenCongratulations to Canon Gerard Flynn and Fr Anthony Pennicott who correctly identified him. See how you get on with this week's mystery cleric seen meeting Pope St John Paul II. 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 April 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

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 12th May.
Deadline for submission of items for consideration is
Friday 8th May 2020.
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