The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark covers the London boroughs south of the Thames,
the County of Kent and the Medway Unitary Authority

Archbishop John Wilson was installed as the Eleventh Bishop of Southwark on Thursday 25th July 2019

photo © Marcin Mazur

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GrowEdo is the Santa Marta Group's response to defeating Human Trafficking in conjunction with Southwark Diocese

This is the official website for the Archdiocese to give information about our activities to further the Kingdom of God.

The Archdiocese of Southwark is not responsible for the content of external web links, nor does it authorise any blogs.

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ACN Mass for Persecuted Christians

Archbishop John Wilson has made an urgent call for action to support persecuted Christians saying helping them “is not somebody else’s business: it’s our business”.

Speaking at a Mass on Tuesday, 18th February at the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, Sutton, Surrey, Archbishop John spoke out against complacency in the face of persistent reports of anti-Christian persecution. The Mass took place ahead of the Archbishop’s visit to the Sutton-based UK national offices of Aid to the Church in Need and in his homily Archbishop Wilson praised the Catholic charity for its work supporting suffering Christians.

The Archbishop said persecution of Christians “is so frequent that we are now used to it. It has become acceptable for Christians to be persecuted for their faith. It is not acceptable.”

The Archbishop went on: “I want to thank Aid to the Church in Need – and all those who support and work for it – because you put before the world, to our individual churches and governments, the importance of standing up and speaking up for the freedom to believe, to gather for worship, to be able to live and act without suffering persecution.”  He also encouraged members of the congregation to say a decade of the Rosary every day for the persecuted Church and to share information.

Welcoming the Archbishop to the church was parish priest Father Jim McGillicuddy and present were ACN (UK) National Director Neville Kyrke-Smith, chaplain Father Dominic Robinson, members of the UK board of directors, staff and volunteers.

After refreshments in the parish hall, Archbishop Wilson was welcomed to the nearby ACN (UK) national offices where he led the Angelus before receiving a briefing about the charity and its present project priorities.

For more information about the work of Aid to the Church in Need visit:

Archbishop John Wilson appointed as Vice President of PACT

Archbishop John Wilson: Vice President of PACT
Image © Marcin Mazur

We are delighted to announce that Archbishop John Wilson has agreed to become the new Vice-President of the Prison Advice Care Trust.

Welcoming the news, PACT CEO, Andy Keen-Downs said:
we are honoured that since the time of Cardinal Bourne, PACT has been supported by the Cardinals and Archbishops of Southwark as our President and Vice President respectively. Whilst these are essentially honourary titles, they signal to the Catholic community, and the world, the unbroken relationship of solidarity and support between the Catholic Bishops, the community of faith, and PACT's work with and for people of all faiths and none in the prisons of England and Wales, and in our local communities.'

Archbishop John Willson commented:
'Having worked as a prison chaplain I know first-hand something of the realities of life in prison. I am pleased to support the mission of PACT as a Catholic charity which helps prisoners and their families to make a fresh start. Putting the Gospel into practice, PACT works to strenthen family life, enable people to make a contribution to society and protect our communities. This is vital work in helping to change lives for a better future for all.'

PACT works in several prisons in Southwark Diocese, in London HMPs Belmarsh, Isis, High Down, Downview, Wandsworth and Brixton, and in Kent HMPs Stamford Hill, Swaleside, Elmley, Rochester and East Sutton Park. To find our more about PACT and how they are helping prisoners and their families in the Diocese visit:

We are also delighted to announce that PACT will be holding a Diocesan Justice Roadshow event on Saturday 10th October in Amigo Hall, directly next to St George's Cathedral, Lambeth Road, London SE1.

To find out more about PACT's work, or to register interest in attending the PACT Justice Roadshow, please email:

Lent Talks at Aylesford Priory

Behold: Rededication of England


On Wednesday 12 February 2020, after his weekly audience, Pope Francis blessed the “Dowry Painting” of Our Lady of Walsingham, the Catholic National Shrine dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God, in Norfolk, England.
Present at the blessing were Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, Monsignor John Armitage, Rector of the Walsingham Shrine, and Amanda de Pulford, painter of the Dowry Painting. The painting will be at Walsingham for The Rededication of England as Mary’s Dowry on 29 March 2020. After The Rededication the Dowry Painting will begin a journey to every Catholic parish in England.

Cardinal Nichols said: “The blessing of the icon of Our Lady of Walsingham by Pope Francis is a great encouragement to us all as we prepare for 29 March and our act of Rededication. I assured our Holy Father of our prayers and affection and thanked him for his blessing.”

Mgr Armitage said: "Yesterday was a truly blessed day, when the Holy Father blessed the new Dowry Painting in Rome which was presented to him by Cardinal Nichols. The painting, which will visit every Catholic Church in England, was then taken to the tomb of St Gregory the Great in St Peters Basilica, the Pope who sent St Augustine to evangelise the people of England. Before his tomb we prayed for his intercession to strengthen our faith to continue this mission to the people of England."

St John's Day at Wonersh Seminary

 Archbishop John talks to seminarians currently in formation at St John's

On 4th February 2020 Archbishop John joined a signifcant number of Southwark clergy in order to celebrate St John's Day at the seminary in Wonersh, near Guildford.  All gathered in the morning for Mass at which the Archbishop presided, whilst Canon Luke Smith gave a memorable homily.

Clergy, reglious, seminarians, staff and guests then gathered in the Seminary dining room for the Patronal Feast. Towards the end of lunch, Bishop Declan Lang, who celebrates the 45th Anniversary of his ordination as a priest this year, shared his experiences of serving Our Lord, including amusing anecdotes about one or two occasions when things hadn't gone quite as planned!

Please pray for all those who have been called to religious life, that they may receive all the graces that they need to walk ever-more closely with the Lord, and for the clergy and laity that are guiding their steps in holiness, training and formation.

Further photographs of St John's Day

Vietnamese New Year
Tet Festival

On Sunday 2nd February 2020 the Vietnamese community in St Joseph - Shooters Hill celebrated their New Year

200203-Vietnamese New Year in Shooters Hill

200203-Vietnamese New Year in Shooters Hill

The celebration continued in the parish hall

200203-Vietnamese New Year in Shooters Hill

More photos on the RCSouthwark Diocesan's Flickr page

Million Minutes siLENT Campaign

Archbishop John Wilson is encouraging schools, parishes and youth organisations across Southwark Diocese to become involved with the Million Minutes siLENT Campaign during Lent this Year.

The raison d'etre of this Campaign is that by taking time to give up the things that fill life with noise and restlessness, young people wil not only allow time for healthy silence, but they can also raise sponsorship which can make a real difference to other young people without a voice, for whom silence isn’t a choice.

Instead of cutting out sugar or some other treat, we would like to challenge individuals and communities of young people to cut out the noise in their lives this Lent: for example, you might go without your smart phone and stay silent for a day, or you might give up using social media for the whole of Lent!.

Please help Southwark and Million Minutes to do something amazing for young people. All of the money raised from siLENT goes directly into their Grants fund which gives money to youth led social action projects across the country, helping young people change their life and their world!

Find out more about the Campaign or explore how you can get involved below.

1. Sign up and let Million Minutes know how you plan to take part.
2. You'll then be invited to set up your online fundraising.
3.  Raise money the old fashioned way. Download the siLENT sponsor form.

If you have an idea for a youth led social action project you can apply for a grant at

Mass for the Feast of St Oscar Romero

Archbishop John Wilson, the Dean of St George's Cathedral and The Romero Trust warmly invite everybody to join them on 21st March at 12.30 pm in St George's Cathedral, when Mass will be offered for the Feast of St Oscar Romero.  We will also be remembering his Martyrdom in San Salvador 40 years ago.

The statue of Oscar Romero over the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey may be the best-known monument in Britain to the martyred archbishop. But only a mile away, just across the river, St George’s Cathedral, Southwark is the home of the beautiful Romero Shrine, the twin memorial to this contemporary saint.

In December 2019, Archbishop John Wilson approved Statutes for the Shrine in accordance with Canon Law.  This official Diocesan Shrine now has a clear and explicit mission and purpose. The Shrine is not to be seen as an exotic colourful museum piece; rather as the powerful presence of courageous sanctity inspiring us to become ever more authentic disciples of Jesus Christ.   In following St Oscar Romero, the mission statement of the Shrine is intended to become a dynamic focus in the diocese for a prayerful spirituality which embraces an active commitment to the poor and disadvantaged. It could be said that the Statutes constitute a charter of evangelisation for the local Church.

Read an abridged version of the statutes

The Rector of the Shrine is the Dean of St George’s Cathedral, Canon Richard Hearn. He manages the Shrine as an integral part of the life of the Cathedral. Additionally, Archbishop Wilson has appointed four ‘Guardians’ of the Shrine to assist the Rector in fostering devotion to St Oscar Romero and promoting the mission of the Shrine. They are Mgr. John O’ Toole, Canon Alan McLean, Kathleen O’Brien, and Julian Filochowski.  Prior to the approval of the Statutes, the Archbishop Romero Trust transferred ownership of the relics to the diocese. The Shrine of St Oscar Romero is therefore the sole property of the Archdiocese of Southwark.

We look forward to welcoming everyone who wishes to attend the Mass for the Feast of St Oscar Romero on 21st March.

Commissioning of Extraordinary Ministers of
Holy Communion at the Cathedral

On Saturday 1st February 2020 Bishop Paul Hendricks commissioned 125 people as Extra Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

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Bishop Paul started the day with a talk on the Eucharist and this special Ministry

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Bishop Paul presided at a period of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament

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After lunch Deacon Michael spoke of the role of the Extraordinary Minister and the rubrics, including the service of administering Holy Communion to the Sick and the DBS checks that need to be taken before staring this ministry and so therefore bringing together all the training that had been given in every parish, with questions

2020-02-01 13.18.21

Bishop Paul presided at the Commissioning Mass and was joined, Father Tony Kelechi Oleh MSP, parish priest of Kingston, Deacon Micheal and the Cathedral MC, Father Philip Andrews.   During which he commissioned the new Extraordinary Ministers and presented their certificates.  Bishop Paul also thanked all the new Extraordinary Minsters from their commitment in answering the call to serve.

2020-02-01 14.53.37

The Ministers came from 29 parishes around the Archdiocese - Abbeywood,Ashford,Balham,Bermondsey - Melior Street,Bromley,Canterbury,Catford,Clapham,Colliers Wood,Croydon,Earlsfield,Gillingham,Hartley,Kidbrooke,Kingston,Margate,Morden

New Malden,Norbury,Norwood South,Norwood West,Old Coulsdon,Rotherhithe,Sanderstead,Sidcup,Thanet,Thornton Heath,Waddon and Wallington

2020-02-01 15.39.54

2020-02-01 15.41.11

Coronavirus Guidelines

The Catholic Bishops' Conference has issued guidelines about the Coronavirus in order to enable Catholic churches and organisations to find relevant information. At the time of writing, the risk to the public from coronavirus remains low in England and Wales.

Because this is a rapidly changing situation, these guidelines may evolve as the situation changes. In the meantime, it is very important to read these guidelines and to check the latest guidance from Government.

Hygiene Measures
The CBCEW guidance focuses on the hygiene measures needed to disrupt the spread of coronavirus should we get a number of cases in England and Wales.

As Catholics we reiterate the commitment of the Church to health care ministry. Ensuring we disrupt the spread of the virus is key.

Download Guidelines
Version One of this 13-page guide is available to download here.

Government Advice
The UK Government has released its information for the public on the outbreak of coronavirus in China, including the current situation in the UK and information about the virus and its symptoms.

Service for Peace

Last Saturday, 8th February 2020, Archbishop John joined the parishioners of English Martyrs RC Church in Streatham for a Peace and Unity Service, which was also open to the wider community. The occasion followed a terror attack in the locale on the previous Sunday (2nd February), which ignited the desire for people in the area to come together during the morning in prayer.

You can watch Archbishop John's homily below on video or download the full text.

Later iin the day faith communities based in Streatham came together and their various leaders, including Fr Gregory Verissimo, Parish Priest of English Martyrs, offered prayers for peace as well as healing for those injured in the attack. All present committed themselves firmly to unity and harmony.

Faith leaders join together in Streatham to pledge peace and unity

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan also joined this gathering, greeting the faith leaders individually and stating how proud he was of the community in Streatham for showing the world how to come together in the face of adversity.  

To see photographs of the morning service at English Martyrs and afternoon gathering outside Streatham Odeon, click here.

Feast Day of St Josephine Bakhita

Patron Saint of Human Trafficking Survivors

On Saturday 8th February we celebrate the Feast Day of St Josephine Bakhita, Patron Saint of Human Trafficking Survivors.  

Modern slavery, where people are forced into low-grade work for little or no pay has been called 'an open wound on the body of contemporary society' by Pope Francis.  It is estimated that 40 million people are vicitms of modern slavery and that the profits generated from human trafficking amounted to in excess of £25 billion per annum in 2018.

The Santa Marta Group, which was formed in 2014 by the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, seeks to eradicate this evil by bringing together police chiefs and bishops from around the world. They combine their expertise to defeat modern slavery with a a view to practically and pastorally assisting victims.  One of the projects of the Santa Marta Group is GrowEDO: an initiative to create awareness, training and jobs in the locale of Edo State in Nigeria, with a view to preventing human trafficking and the subsequent danger to life and wellbeing. 

Bishop Pat Lynch, the UK Chairman of Santa Marta, alongside Fr Mark Odion, having been offeriing presentations to parishes throught the last year and are very pleased to offer their first newsletter in order to update the generous donors and supporters in Southwark about the progress of the GrowEdo project.

Download the  GrowEdo newsletter

To read more, watch a video and see additional photographs of this project click here.

St Josephine Bakhita

Born in Darfur (Sudan) in approximately 1869, she experienced a happy early life with a large, well respected family, where her uncle was the village chief. In the early part of 1877, she was abducted by Arab slave traders and forced to walk almost 1000 km to El Obeid, being sold twice before reaching this destination. 

During the next 12 years she was sold three more times and given away once, serving both cruel and kind masters: she was once beaten so badly for dropping a case that she couldn’t move from her straw bed for a month! 

Eventually her last owner, Augusto Michieli, acquired a large hotel near the Red Sea and decided to sell his property in Italy and to move his family to Sudan on a permanent basis. It took sometime for transactions to be processed and his wife wanted to visit him in Sudan before everything was ready. Their family villa in Zianigo was already sold and therefore Josephine Bakhita and their daughter, Mimmina, needed a temporary place to stay. They were given to the care of the Canossian sisters in Venice.

Having previously been forced to convert to Islam, Bakhita encountered Christianity for the first time. When Mrs Michieli returned to retrieve her daughter and maid, Bakhita flatly refused to leave. A legal wrangle ensued, but In 1889, an Italian Court ruled that it did not recognise slavery and therefore Bakhita had never lawfully been a slave. 

Bakhita went on to be baptised in 1890 and entered the Novitiate in 1893 with the Canossian Sisters. She took her Vows in December 1896. She was noted for her gentleness and sanctity. She was canonised by Pope John Paul II in October 2000 and Pope Benedict XVI offered her life story as an outstanding illustration of Christian hope in his encyclical letter, Spe Salvi (In hope we were saved). 

May we too, find our way to hope and freedom through Christ. We pray especially for those enduring the evil of human trafficking at this time, and for those endeavouring to eradicate this blight on our modern society

Day of Prayer for Unity and Peace

Peace service to be led by Archbishop John Wilson in Streatham

Following the terror attack in South London last Sunday, English Martyrs RC Church in Streatham have organised a Day of Prayer for Unity and Peace on Saturday 8th February 2020.

The Most Reverend John Wilson will lead a Service for Peace at 10 am and the church itself will be open between 9 am - 12 noon for those that wish to light a candle privately and to pray for peace in our world and in our communities.

All are most welcome to attend.

Directions to English Martyrs RC Church

Nearest Train Station: Streatham (Greater London)

Terror Attack in Streatham

It is both saddening and shocking that, yet again, there has been a terrorist attack on innocent bystanders
on a street in London. A normal Sunday afternoon in Streatham became the
scene for a violent attack.

For those who think that terrorism can achieve anything we commit ourselves with determination to saying ‘no’ to violence on our streets and within our communities.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been injured and with their families, and with all affected by this senseless assault. We thank our emergency services for their support and response.

We will continue to stand together as a community. We will not allow this event, terrible though it is, to divide us. We are from different countries and religious beliefs, but we are united in our common humanity and our shared desire for a peaceful coexistence where every person is respected and can live in safety.

As the Catholic community in Streatham we will continue to build good relations and work for the common good of all those who call this part of London their home. Violence solves nothing. We are, and remain, a people united for peace.

The Most Reverend John Wilson
Archbishop of Southwark

Consecration of a new Church

St Joseph's RC Church, Borough Green

Celebrating Mass in the new Church

On Saturday 1st February 2020, Archbishop John performed his first Consecration of a Church and Altar at the new church of St Joseph’s, Borough Green, Kent.  St Joseph’s is a Chapel-of Ease in the Parish of St Thomas of Canterbury, Sevenoaks. 

Placing the relic in the altar

The Archbishop was assisted by three Deacons – including the Deacon of the relic vested in red (because the relic placed under the Altar is of St Timothy, a martyr) – and several concelebrating Priests, as well as Fr Philip Glandfield, the Archbishop’s Private Secretary and Master of Ceremonies, as well as Paul Moynihan, Master of Ceremonies for Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

Anointing the new altar

The ceremony included the Blessing and Sprinkling of Water, the Depositing of the Relic in an aperture under the Altar, the Prayer of Dedication, Anointing of the new Altar and of the walls of the church, and lighting of the Altar candles and the Consecration candles. 

The relic was sealed in by the stone mason, Adrian Powell. Various guests were present, including Tom Tugendhat, MP, the local MP.  

Anointing the walls of the new church 

Historically speaking, the earliest stone altars were in fact the tombs of martyrs, over which the Mass would have been offered during the persecutions of the Church. Prior to the Second Vatican Council, sealing a relic into an altar was intended to recall the use of martyrs' tombs as places of Eucharistic celebration. In contemporary times, Canon 1237 §2 states that 'The ancient tradition of placing relics of martyrs or other saints under a fixed altar is to be preserved, according to the norms given in the liturgical books'.

The relic placed within the altar at Borough Green is considered a 'first class relic' by the Church; consisting of a small fragment of bone from St Timothy.

We wish the clergy and congregation well as they settle into their beautiful new Chapel-of-Ease within the wider parish of Sevenoaks.

For more photographs of this special occasion, click here.

Many Congratulations Bishop Tripp!

Bishop Howard Tripp celebrating the 40th Anniversary of his Episcopal Ordination with Archbishop John and fellow clergy

The Diocese would like to offer its warmest congratulations to The Right Reverend Bishop Howard Tripp, who celebrated the 40th Anniversary of his Episcopal Ordination on Thursday 30th January 2020. 

Bishop Howard was appointed as an Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark by Pope St John Paul II on 20th December 1979 and given the titular see of Newport.  He was ordained alongside Bishop John Jukes OFM Conv in a ceremony at St. George’s Cathedral, Southwark on 30th January 1980 by Archbishop Michael Bowen, assisted by Bishop Anthony Emery; the Bishop of Portsmouth and Bishop Charles Henderson; Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark.

BishopTripp in Lourdes during the 2011 Catholic Association Pilgrimage

Bishop Howard was appointed as the Area Bishop for the South West Area of the Diocese and from that date until his retirement in 2006 he worked tirelessly, visiting the parishes, schools and the religious communities in his area.  He also was a member of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales and was Chairman of the Committee for Public Life. During his time he also served as the Liaison Bishop for Prisons and was the ecclesiastical advisor to the Catholic Union and the Knights of St Columba.

Following his retirement as Auxiliary Bishop, which came at the age of 86 years, Bishop Howard took on pastoral work in the parish of Saint John Fisher, Merton, where he continued until a few years ago.  He 2012 also chaired the Clergy Support Fund Campaign in Croydon, which was initiated for the care of sick and retired priests within the Diocese.

The Archdiocese gives thanks to God for such a faithful servant, who in this 40th Year of his Episcopal Ordination and the 68th year of his priesthood still is a true shepherd, a faithful pastor, and a good friend.

Ad Multos Annos Bishop Howard.

Mayor's Event to Support London EU Citizens

Southwark's Justice and Peace Commission would like to highlight an event that will be held by the Mayor of London at City Hall this Friday, 31st January 2020 between 5-8 pm (speaker at 6 pm), to support London’s EU citizens in their application for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. This is important information for all EU citizens.

The deadline to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme is 30th June 2021.  This is to give EU citizens either settled or pre-settled status protection according to UK laws after the UK leaves the EU.  The type of status awarded will depend on how long the person has lived in the UK. For more information see
Advice and assistance with applications is also available at centres throughout London, particularly for disadvantaged and vulnerable families.  Go to for the local advice centre.

Please make this information known to anyone who could be affected.

Tilling the Soil

A course at the Centre for Catholic Formation on pre-evanglisation

Those involved in evangelisation and catechesis might like to consider how they 'prepare the soil' to receive the Seed of the Word so that it can flourish.  

This Saturday, 1st February, the Centre for Catholic Formation will hold a training event between 11 am - 4 pm, which will expore pre-evangelisation, the cause of faith in the soul, and how this relates to catechesis and the wider ministry of evangelisation.

The training day is particularly suitable for catechists, evangelists and any Catholic looking to gentle evangelise family and friends.

Tickets: £10 per person, which can be purchased here:
Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Sunday of the Word of God

26th January 2020

Pope Francis has invited Catholics across the world to deepen their appreciation of the Word of God this year.  The aim is that, in doing so, we will become increasingly open to transforming our hearts and entering into closer relationship with Him.

As part of this special year of celebration, the third Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 26th 2020) will be devoted to “the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God”.

As Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization explained, the Pope has entrusted this celebration to the whole Church so that "the Christian community may concentrate on the great value that the Word of God occupies in its daily existence" (Aperuit illis 2).

In addition, he stated that by establishing this special day the Pope intended “to respond to the many requests that have come... so that throughout the Church the Sunday of the Word of God may be celebrated in unity of purpose.”

The Pope will celebrate Mass this Sunday of the Word of God at St Peter's Basilica, commencing with the enthronement of the Lectionary that was used in all the sessions of the Second Vatican Council.”  You can watch this ceremony by accessing our Facebook page on Sunday morning at 9 am.

The Bishop's Conference of England and Wales have put together some excellent resources for the Sunday of the Word of God, which you can view here.

In the meantime, visitors may also wish to view a range of events and services around the Diocese which are connected to celebrating the Year of the Word, starting this weekend. Please visit the Southwark God Who Speaks webpage.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Monsignor Anthony George Stark Prot.Ap KCHS
Master of the Guild of Ransom

who died on Monday 8th January 2020

peacefully in the Whittington Hospital

May he rest in peace

Monday 3rd February 2020
Reception of the body Westminster Cathedral - Lady Chapel
Vespers will follow at 5pm
Mass 5.30pm

Tuesday 4th February 2020
Funeral Mass 11am
Bishop Hudson will preside

Burial in Birmingham

Notice for all Liturgists

The new liturgy planner, which runs between 26th January and 17th May 2020, has now been posted on the left hand bar of the website (underneath the Diocesan Prayer).

Episcopal Vicar for Kent

 We are delighted to announce that Archbishop  John Wilson has appointed Canon John O'Toole  as Episcopal Vicar for Kent until a new Auxiliary  Bishop is appointed by the Holy See.

 Canon John has served as National Ecumenical  Officer and Secretary to the Department for  Dialogue and Unity at the Catholic Bishop's  Conference of England and Wales during the  past five years.  Previously he served as Dean of  St George's Cathedral.

 In a statement made at the Catholic Bishop's  Conference of England and Wales, Archbishop  Wilson said:

 Canon John brings a wealth of experience to  this new role, which he will take up at the  beginning of February 2020. He has also
 fostered warm and fruitful dialogue with
 members of other Christian traditions and  people of other faiths in his role at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. I ask you to support him in his new role and to keep him in your prayers.

The Archbishop also thanked Monsignor Matthew Dickens for his tireless work in supporting the parishes of Kent: a role which he has undertaken in addition to his duties as Vicar General since Bishop Paul Mason's appointment as Bishop of the Forces in 2018.

We wish Canon O'Toole as he commences his new role.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Between 18th - 25th January 2020 we willl be marking the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  The longing for unity and wholeness is deeply rooted in the human psyche.  Even in the face of past history, personal fears, tradition and cultural expectation, we can deeply desire to be heard and achieve a sense of communion with others.

From a biiblcal perspecive, Jesus prayed that His disciples would be one, that the world might believe (John 17:20-21).  His voice of hope continues to echo through the centuries, encouraging us to reach for something higher and greater than our own personal aspirations, so that we might work in unity with each other to bring the love and peace of Christ to our world, along with the Good News of our salvation.

The Bible has special relevance for the shared
life of the churches in Malta because the Gospel first came to the island in the events that are told in the Acts of the Apostles, chapters 27-28.  In these verses, St Paul and his shipmates (who are prisoners) encounter unusual kindness from the inhabitants, having been shipwrecked. In the same way, we are called to consider when have encountered unusual kindness from others during the storms of our own lives, without hope of repayment or reciprocation. This may have enabled us to see our worth in the eyes of others and of God, simply by dint of existence.

In St Paul's account, we read that excess grain was thrown overboard in order to lighten the ship (Acts 27.38).  Likewise, we are encouraged to put our own 'baggage' aside for the greater good. In this way we are able to travel together in faith and bring about the healing and wholeness of God's perfect creation in order to reflect His light to others.

To read more and to download resources for this important week, please see the relevant link on the left hand bar (underneath social media). Please also pray for our Christian brothers and sisters of all denominations,  that we may be as one.

Peace Sunday 2020

This year, Peace Sunday is designated to take place on Sunday 19th January.

In his World Peace Day message for 2020, given on 1st January, Pope Francis spoke of the need for dialogue and renewed relationships of reconciliation, communal solidarity and hope in the future.

He reminded the world that 'peace
and international stability are incompatible with attempts to build upon the fear of mutual destruction or the threat of total annihilation' .
He also encouraged us all to embrace hope in the face of obstacles and trials and to see peace as a journey of hope.

Pax Christi, the international Catholic Movement for Peace, is committed to non-violence and to the Pope’s challenge to 'set aside every act of violence in thought, word and deed'.

Their liturgical booklets have been sent to every parish and they have a number of additional resources online, including prayer cards and an excellent short talk about how to work alongside their peacemaking efforts: this talk can be given by a parish volunteer on the day.


O God of peace, who are peace itself
and whom a spirit of discord
cannot grasp,
nor a violent mind receive,
grant that those who are one in heart
may persevere in what is good
and that those in conflict
may forget evil and so be healed.

Please pray for peace across our world, that we may individually be willing to personally deepen the sometimes challenging commitment to bring the peace of Christ into our own lives and into the lives of others.

Central London Talks on Mary

A number of Southwark clergy have organised the above talks, which mainly take place during Lent. They will focus on Mary, our Mother.

All are welcome to attend, especially young adults and those who are new to the faith and wish to nuture it further.

Light refreshments willl be provided.

Holy Land Coordination 2020

Final Communique
on behalf of the Bishops of the Holy Land Coordination 2020

Overlooking Jerusalem

We must not ignore the voice of people in the Holy Land!

Every year we come to encounter and hear the people of the Holy Land. We are inspired by their enduring resilience and faith in a worsening situation.

In their recent powerful message, the local Catholic Bishops lamented the international community’s failure to help realise justice and peace here in the place of Christ’s birth. Our governments must do more to meet their responsibilities for upholding international law and protecting human dignity. In some cases, they have become actively complicit in the evils of conflict and occupation.

The local Bishops also warned that people are facing further “evaporation of hope for a durable solution”. We have witnessed this reality first-hand, particularly how construction of settlements and the separation wall is destroying any prospect of two states existing in peace.

The HLC20 Bishops at a Kindergarten School, with the Separation Wall in the background

In the same message, the local Bishops have sounded the alarm about living conditions becoming “more and more unbearable”. This is painfully clear in the West Bank where our sisters and brothers are denied even basic rights including freedom of movement. In Gaza, the political decisions of all sides have resulted in the creation of an open-air prison, human rights abuses and a profound humanitarian crisis. We were welcomed by families whose focus is now day-to-day survival and whose aspirations have been reduced to bare essentials such as electricity and clean water.

Amid these circumstances, we are moved by the sacrifice of religious sisters, lay people and priests who are reaching out with respect to every side, in order to build a better future for all. They offer vital services, especially education, job opportunities and care for the most vulnerable people. We give thanks for their witness.

We encourage Christians in our own countries to pray for and support this mission. The increase in people making pilgrimages to the Holy Land is encouraging and we call for those who come to ensure they encounter the local communities.

At the same time, we implore our governments to help build a new political solution rooted in human dignity for all. While this must ultimately be shaped by the peoples of the Holy Land in dialogue, there is an urgent need for our countries to play their part by:

  • Insisting upon the application of international law;
  • Following the Holy See’s lead in recognising the State of Palestine;
  • Addressing the security concerns of Israel and the right of all to live in safety;
  • Rejecting political or economic support for settlements;
  • And resolutely opposing acts of violence or abuses of human rights by any side.
  • In taking these steps the international community can meaningfully stand in solidarity with those Israelis and Palestinians who are refusing to give up their non-violent struggle for justice, peace and human rights.

We pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Bishop Declan Lang
(Chair of the Holy Land Coordination)
England and Wales

Diocesan Fundraising Volunteers Required

We are looking for two fundraising volunteers to be based in the Diocesan Finance Office (London SE1) in order to support the Fundraising Team.

Both roles will suit those who are looking to get hands on experience in fundraising or an office environment, or could bring their office experience and skills to support the team. In return, voluinteers will gain an understanding of how a fundraising department works.

This role will involve tasks such as organising the legacy gifts files, inputting data onto a CRM database, mail-merging thank you letters, general administration, scanning and filing, helping to organise events, printing and mailing materials.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Fundraising Team, you can read the full details here.

To apply
Please send your CV with a cover note explaining you are interested to Sarah Wood, HR Manager, via email

If you have any questions about this role, please email or call Roisin McLaughlin, Head of Fundraising, at

St Thomas More Parish, West Malling

Archbishop John Wilson has issued the following letters with regard to St Thomas More Parish in West Mailling.

Letter of Clarification 11.01.20

Letter to parishioners of St Thomas More, West Malling 20.12.19

Promoting dialogue and peace in the Holy Land

The Holy Land Co-ordination 2020 (HLC20)
11-16 January in support of the local Church

The Chapel at St Jerome's Cave, The Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

Bishops from across Europe and North America will meet in the Holy Land over the coming days to promote dialogue and peace, with a pastoral focus on Christians in Gaza, East Jerusalem and Ramallah.

This annual visit was set up over 20 years ago at the invitation of the Holy See with the aim of visiting and supporting the Holy Land’s local Christian communities as they experience the political and socio-economic realities of living in Israel and Palestine.
The bishops will be based in Ramallah with an overnight visit to Gaza. This year the HLC20 will celebrate Sunday Mass on 12 January with the small Christian community in Gaza. This Christmas, the Israeli government prevented Gazan Christians from visiting Bethlehem or families and relatives in the West Bank so the bishops were determined to go to Gaza and remind the small Christian community that they are not forgotten as Christians from the bishops’ home countries continue to pray for all Gazans and for an end to the conflict.

This visible act of solidarity will be followed by a visit to the House of Peace run by the Missionaries of Charity; meetings with young people, visits to Christian parishioners and a pastoral visit to the sick in the community.

The bishops will also meet with young people in both Jerusalem and Ramallah to listen to their hopes and experiences as they grow up in this divided society. Archbishop Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator to the Latin Patriarchate, and Nuncio Archbishop Girelli will meet with the bishops to discuss the current situation.
In addition to planned meetings with Palestinian and Israeli officials, there will also be visits to East Jerusalem and the Comboni sisters in Bethany, as well as the school and parish in Ramallah.

Please pray for our Bishops as they seek to make good relations with Palestinian and Israeli authorities and aim to bring hope to Christians in Gaza, East Jerusalem and Ramalllah in the coming week. 

Catch Up on Christmas

Did you join us recently for Midnight Mass at St George's Cathedral on Christmas Eve, either in person or via BBC Radio 4?

Would you like to hear Archbishop John's inspiring homily, the Cathedral Dean blessing the Crib or the immensely gifted musicians of the Cathedral Choir and Cathedral Consort once again?  If so, you can do so by tuning into BBC Sounds: You will need to sign in or register for an account but this is free and very simple to do.

Pastoral Letter
for the Feast of the Holy Family 2019

Archbishop John has written his first Pastoral Letter as Archbishop of Southwark, to be read at all Vigil and Sunday Masses over the weekend of 28/29 December 2019, the Feast of the Holy Family

...I want to begin by offering you, your families, and your loved ones, my very best wishes for this Holy Season of Christmas. In what are changing and sometimes challenging times, we, nonetheless, renew our faith that a Saviour has been born for us who is Christ the Lord. May He bless you this Christmas and give you His peace.

Whether in church or at home, it remains a beautiful tradition for our families, andeach one of us, to pray before the Christmas crib. In doing this we return spiritually to Bethlehem. But what do we find there? In the words of the French poet Paul Claudel, we find ‘three poor people who love one another and will change the face of the earth.’

A Christmas Message from Archbishop John 

Image of Archbishop John Wilson courtesy of M. Mazur 

Dear friends

The holy celebration of Christmas invites us to remember what really matters in life. At the centre of Christmas is the birth of a child, the Son of God, defenceless and vulnerable. This new-born is totally dependent on those around him to provide love, food and shelter.

We share the responsibility of providing for each other, especially for our weaker brothers and sisters. We all need protection in one way or another. Someone has to love us enough to speak up for us. We are all vulnerable, carrying our hurts and in need of healing. None of us is wholly self-sufficient, even when we think we are tough enough to cope. In short, whoever we are, whatever our situation, our differences or our difficulties, we need each other; more than this, we really do depend on each other.

God showed us how much we are loved when he sent his Son into the world. The Gospel that Christ brings is not simply a manifesto for living well. It is a call to change our hearts, to realise who we are and who God is. The Lord Jesus does not simply call us to goodness. He invites us to holiness, to live in close relationship with God the Father so our lives can mirror his love for every human life and for the whole of creation.

This essential Christmas perspective on life is not just for the 25 December, but for each day. Without it, we might be tempted to prioritise and prize success, power, and wealth above everything else. When we do this the weak and the poor always suffer most.

But the tiny Christ-child of Bethlehem, the Prince of Peace, points to another way, a better way. ‘As I have loved you,’ said the Lord Jesus, ‘so you must love each other.’ Whatever our religion, our politics or our philosophy, the basic demand of our common humanity is to love others, especially the weakest and the poorest, the neglected and the abandoned. When we do this, Christ is born in us anew and, through us, into our world. We can hear this and ignore it. Or we can hear it and bring about change.

At Christmas and into the new year, our communities and country need the unity and harmony taught by the nativity. There is a space in the stable for everyone, with no exception. Each of us has an active part to play in loving others and it begins in the simplest ways. If we want a better society, country, and world, then we have to start by loving the people around us. This is the example of the Lord Jesus. It sustains our hope that a new future is possible.

Will all our festive babble die out with the pine needles that drop off our trees? Or will the Christmas perspective of love be planted in our hearts, to grow and shape who we are and how we live? We each have a choice to make. Love can be all around us, but only when it begins within us.

Dear friends, may the love of God, made flesh in the birth of Christ, find a new place in you this Christmas. May God give us new courage to love those we find difficult, those who are different, who do not look or think like we do. And may God bless you, your families, and loved ones, this Christmas and throughout the coming year.

+ John Wilson
Archbishop of Southwark

Listen to the Gospel & Homily at Midnight Mass

given by Archbishop John Wilson: 24th December 2019
St George's Cathedral, Southwark

BBC Radio 4 Broadcast of Midnight Mass

Christmas Eve from St George's Cathedral, Southwark

Archbishop John Wilson and the Dean of St George's Cathedral, Canon Richard Hearn, warmly invite you to join them for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at St George's, either in person or by tuning into BBC Radio 4 at 11.30 pm that evening.

During Mass the Cathedral Choir and Cathedral Consort will be singing a collection of stunning music under their Director, Jonathan Schranz. This will include a Mass setting by Neil Cox, plainchant, congregational carols and beautiful motets, including the moving Bethlehem Down by Peter Warlock. Canon Hearn will bless the Crib at the beginning of the Mass and Archbishop John will offer the homily as well as being the main Celebrant.

Please do join us in Southwark for this special service, whether near or far, and welcome our newborn saviour on Christmas Day.

The Crib at St George's Cathedral awaiting the birth of Jesus

New Website for St George's Cathedral

It's been few months in development, but we are thrilled to announce that St George's Cathedral have unveiled a stunning new website in time for Christmas!

The contemporary design is thanks to the excellent work of Glow New Media and the Cathedral Staff, with brilliant images by Marcin Mazur and Seb Budner, the latter of whom is also one of our talented Cathedral Choir Lay Clerks.

As you might expect, it contains details about all services and events, including the forthcoming broadcast of Midnight Mass (from 11.30 pm) this Christmas Eve on BBC Radio 4, as well as parish news, choir details, information about the history of the Cathedral and how to get in contact or hire the Amigo Hall.

In his welcome to website visitors, Canon Richard Hearn, Dean of the Cathedral, explains:
'The Cathedral website allows us to be in touch both with you, and with far larger numbers of people than our predecessors could ever have imagined, with an immediacy and reach that is astonishing. Whether this is your first visit, or you regularly come to this site, I hope that we are able to provide the information that you are seeking. This site also enables us to welcome virtual visitors from all over the world, who are unable to visit us in person; if this describes you, then I hope we shall see you here one day.

Why not read the Dean's full Welcome here
or visit the new St George's Cathedral website to look around for yourself.

Please pray for the Soul of Father Kenneth (Ken) Berry

A priest of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

who died on Thursday 28th November 2019

May he rest in peace

Funeral  Details
Thursday 19th December at 1 pm
Our Lady of Reparation RC Church (St Mary's)
Wellesley Road, Croydon CR0 2AR

The Mayor's Christmas Carol Service

Archbishop John Wilson gives the homily

A chilly Monday evening may not seem the obvious day to hold a festive celebraton, but on 16th December, Southwark Cathedral, located next to London Bridge, hosted the Mayor's Christmas Carol Service.

Approximately 300 VIPs were present, including ambassadors, high sheriffs, mayors from various boroughs and senior officers of the emergency services. In addition, many seniior clergy attended, iincluding the Very Reverend Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark, the Reverend Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark and the Most Reverend John Wilson, Archbishop of Southwark and Metropolitan.

A number of people who had made a special contribution to London society read during the service and the congregation enjoyed a rich programme of excellent music, provided by the London International Gospel Choir and Olasumbo Aigoro, a young student who received scholarship from the London Music Fund in 2018 (of which the Mayor is Patron) and subsequently receives violin lessons from Newham Music.

Archbishop John offered the homily, in which he spoke of the need to slow down at Christmas and enjoy
the present moment.

Canon Gillly Myers and The Mayor of London

At the beginning of the Order of Service, the Mayor of London wrote:

It is more important than ever that as we move
into 2020 we attempt to focus on what
unites us rather than what divides us.
This festive season must be a moment
when we reach out to one another
– with
open minds and open heart.

In resonance with this opening statement, Bishop Christopher Chessun led the congregation in a moving Faith and Community Declaration:

We pledge our determination as Londoners to ensure that this great city shall continue to be a place of welcome, generosity and equality, with respect for all.

We condemn and oppose prejudice and distrust and will work unceasingly for tolerance and the common good.

We abhor all examples of exclusion based on ethnic identity that mar relationships between neighbours of all ages, faiths and backgrounds.

We stand in solidarity with those in London who are mistreated or held in contempt because of who they are or where they have come from.

We affirm that our diversity is a source of strength and that we are committed to learning from one another.

We commit to living out this Declaration in our own lives, in our teaching and preaching and in our community engagement 

Finally, Sadiq Khan thanked all present for joining him in during his personal Christmas Message and the service was concluded with a rousing rendition of 'Hark the Herald Angel Sing.

The Dean of Southwark (Anglican) Cathedral, Leaders of the Emergency Services and friends

As a community, we pray that we will cherish our diversity; making room for all and creating space for understanding, dialogue and friendship. May the coming presence of God's Light inspire song and great celebration in each of our hearts this Christmas.

Bishop Christopher Chessun

Caring for Southwark's Sick and Retired Priests 

a Christmas update on the Clergy Support Fund Campaign

In recent weeks Cardinal Vincent Nichols urged Catholics to support elderly people within the Church community as he launched a report issued by the Church's Social Action Network called 'Care In Time'. Shortly afterwards, the Chief Executive of Caritas pointed out during an interview that

'Our Society is ageing and ageing Catholiics form an increasing share of practising Catholics in England and Wales',

It is apparent that supporting our aging population and meeting their needs is an issue of concern across the board, particularly for the Church..

In Southwark, we are equally cognisant of the needs of our much loved sick and retired clergy, who often continue to support the work of the Diocese in a variety of ways beyond active ministry. It is an encouraging sign that we are all living longer and healthier lives due to improved awareness and advances in our health service. In the Diocese of Southwark, that good news also come with the honour of sustaining and caring for our priests who have served us so well and now need our support. In the words of Cardinal Nichols, as he spoke of the elderly, they are 'a treasure to be nutured'.

Please take a moment to read our Clergy Support Fund Christmas Newsletter from Archbishop John, to learn more about how your generosity continues to help support the retired and sick clergy of Southwark. 

Page 1 of 4 of the CSF Christmas Newsletter

Please pray for the repose of the soul of
Fr Tomas Creagh-Fuller
who died on Tuesday 5th November 2019

May he rest in peace

Tuesday 17th December 2019
7pm Reception of the Body followed by a Requiem Mass
St Willliam of York RC Church
Forest Hill, London SE23 1PS

Wednesday 18th December 2019
12 Noon Funeral Mass
St Edmund of Canterbury RC Church
20 Village Way, Beckenham BR3 3NP

Purple Diocesan Vestments

The Third Sunday in Advent

As we travel toward the birth of Our Lord, it is good to take time aside from our busy schedule of shopping, cooking, decorating and wrapping to prepare our hearts and minds for the miracle of Christ's manifestation on earth. One way to do so might be to take a few moments each day to reflect on the meaning of Christmas and consider how that impacts our daily Christian journey.

The Southwark Spirituality Commission and Stewardship Team have kindly prepared a series of short daily reflections for the Advent and Christmas seasons, which everyone can sign up to receive in their email inbox.  

This particular weekend we celebrate 'Gaudete' Sunday, with the Latin word meaning 'Rejoice'.  Although Advent has a largely penitential theme - it was once known as the Lent of St Martin when people use to fast for 40 days before Christmas - we light the pink candle on the Advent Wreath this Sunday in joyous aniticipation of the nearness of our redemption through the birth of Jesus.  

Like John the Baptist in this Sunday's Gospel passage, we may also watch in hope as we witness the Light of God gently overcoming darkness through healing:

'Go back and tell John what you hear and see;
the blind see again and the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear,
and the dead are raised to life,

and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor;
and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.'

Matthew 11. 4-6

Gaudete is the first word of the introit at Mass this Sunday:

Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete.
Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est.
Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione et obsecratione cum gratiarum actione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum.
 Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.
Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand;
have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God.
Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob."
Philippians 4:4–6; Psalm 85 (84):1

We wish you a joyous Gaudete Sunday

Photograph by Seb Budner

Statement by Cardinal Vincent Nichols 

on the General Election


“This result offers a fresh start with some clarity, but it has to be fresh in more ways than politics. A lot of damage has been done over the past few years. It has been toxic, dominated by blame.

We have to put that behind us, look each other in the eye and see the good in the other.

As we approach Christmas it is the birth of Christ, the embodiment of God’s goodness, that we celebrate. It is that streak of goodness written in every person that we have to see and rediscover. Concentrating on the good in every person is the fresh start we should seek.”

Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster

Statement on the General Election from CBCEW

given by Archbishop John Wilson
29th November 2019

The Lord Jesus said:
‘I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.’
(John 10:10)

This General Election is profoundly important to the United Kingdom. Catholics cannot simply “watch from the balcony.”[1] Conscious of the common good of every person and our society as a whole, we ask everyone to engage with the election and vote.
Honest political activity depends upon integrity. We urge all in public life to recognise that telling the truth, not making vindictive and abusive comments or unattainable promises, are essential.[2]
The question of the United Kingdom’s place in Europe continues to dominate political discourse. In whatever way our future relationship with our closest neighbours develops, Britain must be committed to a positive engagement as a key international partner in promoting peace, security and responsible stewardship of the planet. As Pope Francis reminds us, “good politics is at the service of peace.”[3]
Citizens have a duty to emphasise and help shape a politics rooted in the service of human rights and peace. The test of any policy should be its impact upon human dignity, particularly for the most disadvantaged in our society. In making judgments about how to vote, please consider carefully the following and ask your candidates how they would uphold:

    • The innate dignity of every human being; defending both the child in     the womb, the good of the mother and an understanding of the            immeasurable good of a child not yet born?

    • The dignified care for those who are terminally ill and dying while         resisting the false compassion of assisted suicide or euthanasia?

    • The needs of those who are frequently neglected or discarded by         society such as people with disabilities, Travellers, older people, those     who are homeless, those in prison and those trapped in modern             slavery?

    • The process of integration of migrants and refugees who have made     their homes here[4], challenging the global rise of xenophobia and         racism that is so radically incompatible with our faith[5]?

    • The rights of those in our own communities and overseas who “can     see no end to the tunnel of extreme poverty,”[6] providing them         with assistance and confronting the structural injustices that                 compound their suffering?

    • Care for our common home and tackle the climate emergency which     threatens the future of our entire human family and is already having a     profound impact upon the world’s poorest people[7]?

    • Freedom of religion and belief, ensuring that everyone has the right     to exercise their conscience and practise their creed freely without         fear?

    • The cherishing of marriage, recognising the essential place of the         family in the service of life and of society?

    • The right of parents to educate their children in accordance with     their faith and support the work of Catholic schools in their                     contribution to society and their promotion of the common good?
Jesus tells us “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.” Informed by the work of our parishes, schools and charities, we should all approach this election as an opportunity to promote life, dignity and human flourishing for all.

We call on all Catholics to pray for the wellbeing of our society. May the Holy Spirit guide our choice as we seek together, and for all, “life to the full.”

 Copyright: CBCEW / M. Mazur
[1] Pope Francis: Address to the Community of Christian Life – Missionary Students’ League of Italy (30/4/15)
[2] Cf: "loving the truth means not only affirming it, but rather living it, bearing witness to it in your work.” Pope Francis:  Audience with National Council Order of Journalists (22/9/16)
[3] Pope Francis: Message for the 52nd World Day of Peace (1/1/19)
[4] Pope Francis: Message for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees (14/1/18)
[5] World Council of Churches and Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development: Message from the conference on Xenophobia, Racism and Populist Nationalism in the Context of Global Migration (20/9/18)
[6] Pope Francis: Message for the 3rd World Day of the Poor (17/11/19)
[7] Pope Francis: Address to meeting on the energy transition and care of our common home (14/6/19)

To listen to the full post-Plenary Conference at the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, please click here.

Alternatively watch the video below about the Plenary
(excluding the General Election):

What the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales discussed at their November 2019 meeting

St Fidelis Catholic Primary supports the Homeless at Christmas

Pupils gather to raise money and understand the reasons for homelessness

On Friday 29th November, the majority of the children who attend St Fidelis Catholic Primary School in Erith, Kent, went to their warm homes and beds.  However, fifty-nine Year 5 and 6 children returned to school to give up their time to raise money for London’s homeless, at the school’s annual ‘Homeless Sleepover’.

The evening started with discussions around the definition of the word ‘homeless’ and understanding that there are many types of situations that can lead to someone being without a home. Later on, the children were encouraged to make a shelter from cardboard for protection around their sleeping bag, but at the same time having to bear in mind that anti-homeless spikes might be on the pavement where they had chosen to settle or that at any time an angry shop owner (aka staff member) might move them on from the location they had chosen to sleep in!

The St Fidelis Soup Kitchen opened at 9:00pm, serving hot chocolate and biscuits and children had to be patient while they queued and waited for their turn. The next morning, the children wrote their own Christmas wish for the homeless on a silver star; the stars now hang on a Christmas tree in our main corridor.

All in all, a huge £740 was raised for St Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in London.  Congratulations to all involved in this magnificent school effort to help the homeless this Christmas.  

We would like to encourage all in the Diocese to remember those who have no place to stay or call home this Christmas, and support them in action if you are able. We invite you to say the prayer that was close to Mother Teresa's heart:

Fragrance Prayer
(by St John Henry Newmam, adopted by St Teresa of Calcutta)

Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
That my life may only be a radiance of Yours.

Shine through me, and be so in me
That every soul I come in contact with
May feel Your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus!

Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,
So to shine as to be a light to others;
The light, O Jesus will be all from You; none of it will be mine;
It will be you, shining on others through me.

Let me thus praise You the way You love best,
by shining on those around me.

Let me preach You without preaching, not by words but by my example,
By the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do,
The evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.


Admirabile Signum: The Importance of the Nativity

Many Catholics consider the presence of a crib scene as essential to celebrating the seasons of Advent and Christmas in their home.  In the past week Pope Francis has written an Apostolic Letter: Admirabile Signum, on the meaning and importance of the nativity scene, which continues to inpsire and amaze people of all ages.  
You can read his letter here.

Nativity Scene at St George's Cathedral in 2018

St George's Cathedral Carol Service & BBC Radio 4 Broadcast of Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve

Alll are welcome to attend this free Carol Service at St George's Cathedral on Thursday 12 December 2019 at 7.30 pm, at which Archbishop John will preside.  Our nation will be concerned with the General Election that day, but once voting has been undertaken we can't think of a better way to focus our minds away from the earthly matters, and towards the joy of Christmas.

BBC Radio 4 Broadcast of Midnight Mass
Midnight Mass will be broadcast on Christmas Eve this year from St George's Cathedral at 11.30 pm.  The service will be celebrated by Archbishop John Wilson and sung by the combined choirs of St George's Cathedral and the Cathedral Consort.  Alll are very welcome to attend.

Statement on the London Bridge Terror Attack

by Archbishop John Wilson
29th November 2019

I was deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the attack that took place on London Bridge on Friday evening, causing loss of life and injury. On behalf of the Catholic Community in the Archdiocese of Southwark I assure all those affected of our prayers, those who have died and those who suffered injuries, remembering also their families and loved ones.

We also offer our sincere gratitude to the emergency services for their decisive action and we thank members of the public who moved swiftly and courageously to protect others without thought for themselves.

London is home to people from so many different countries, cultures and religions. We must never allow incidents such as this to divide us. Violence never solves anything. In the wake of such an awful assault on human life and dignity, we remain committed to sustaining our common life together in respectful tolerance and peace, working always for the common good of every person and our society as a whole.

Young People Supporting the Homeless

As the evenings draw darker and chillier, many of us turn our attention to Christmas plans and festivities with family and friends.  At St Fidelis Catholic Primary School, in Erith, Kent, in amongst the preparations for Christmas, the children will once again be taking active steps to help improve the lives of others.  The school will once again host its “Reverse” Advent Calendar throughout December, when the children are encouraged to bring in items for the local Foodbank.  Last year more than 40 boxes of food and toiletries were collected and delivered to the Foodbank in Erith town centre, in time for Christmas.

In addition, a large number of children from Years 5 and 6 will go one step further, giving up their warm, comfy beds for the night to sleep on the floor of the school hall with nothing but cardboard and a sleeping bag.  During the evening, the children will be presented with newspaper articles to understand more about the different types of homelessness and the issues faced by those who find themselves in these situations. 

As a school that has achieved the Rights Respecting School Award at Gold level, we will consider how these particular issues relate to the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child and encourage the children to think about how they can use their voices to make a difference to others in the world who are perhaps not as fortunate as themselves.  This, the fourth homeless sleepover to be held at St Fidelis, has more children than ever signed up for the event, with the money raised from the event being donated to St Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.

Million Minutes


Over National Youth Sunday weekend nominees from previous ‘Celebrating Young People Awards’ gathered for a young adults alumni gathering in Central London, for a weekend of celebration, formation and networking. The event was powered by Million Minutes in partnership with the Columbans UK.

Anna Fraine, who was part of CAFOD’s delegation to COP24, the UN climate summit that took place this time in Katowice, Poland, and Martins Banjo, the 2016 Joseph Cardijn Award Recipient who identified solutions to social disadvantage caused by low awareness, were in attendance.

The event brought together young people aged 17-25 years, celebrating their achievements and commitment to social action. The young nominees included eco-champions, volunteer youth workers, a youth safety ambassador among others. The weekend involved hands on activities, periods of reflection and time to plan projects aimed to inspire them in their on-going activities to transform society.

Catholic social teaching principles - including promoting peace, building community and caring for creation – were at the heart of the weekend. These values came to life in two immersive experiences provided by Jesuit Refugee Service and Pax Christi UK. The young people experienced peace-making in the past, present and future with visits to the Edith Cavell Memorial and St Martin-in-the-Fields in Central London, in addition to partaking in a workshop that focused on building awareness of detention in this current climate. Immediate actions that the young adults took part in included creating a Peace banner in Leicester Square and writing Christmas cards to those who find themselves in detention centres, which for many will be the only Christmas card they receive over the festive period. The hope is that these actions and others will be built on over the coming year.

Million Minutes’ co-founder, Danny Curtin, said: We’ve celebrated 1,000 young people since launching the Celebrating Young People Awards and each and every one of them are inspiring. This weekend we’ve been heartened to see that young people continue to be committed to finding ways to put the values of our Catholic social teaching into practice, seeking a more just, peaceful and equal world.”

The weekend closed with Mass ahead of National Youth Sunday.

For more information about the Million Minutes Award click here.

Red Wednesday

On Wednesday 27th November 2019 Aid to the Church in Need ask us to stand in unity with persecuted Christians and other faith minorities who suffer unjustly for their peacefully-held beliefs. 
During the day churches, schools and other public buildings are encouraged to light up red in order to highlight the persecution of Christians and other faiths. During the evening Westminster Cathedral will be lighting up in red and holding an event at 6.30pm with guest speakers and live music. Entrance is free and all are welcome.

Throughout the day prayers will be offered for those who have died as well as those who are being persecuted for their faith at present. Southwark would like to add its own heartfelt prayer that those who are guilty of persecution will realise the gravity of their actions and seek a new way to resolve differences.  May we learn to tolerate matters on which we hold divergent beliefs and, as people of faith, understand that this calls us to discussion, understanding and harmony rather than oppression.

For some excellent resources offered by Aid too the Church in Need,
click here.

Southwark Advent Reflections

This year's Southwark Advent Reflections, provided by the Southwark Spirituality Commission and Stewardship Team, begin on Monday 25th November, and will focus on the readings for the Sundays of Advent.

Each day there will be a different reflection: Monday and Tuesday will focus on the first reading, Wednesday on the psalm, Thursday and Friday on the second reading and Saturday and Sunday on the gospel.

The reflections will draw us deeper into the Advent season and allow us to hear the readings anew, looking at where they resonate in our own lives and how they can draw us nearer to God. 

To sign up for daily Advent Reflections posted direct to your inbox visit: Advent Reflections

National Youth Sunday

“For him you have worth; you are not insignificant. You are important to him, for you are the work of his hands” (Christus Vivit, 115)

National Youth Sunday, which takes place this year on 24th November (the Feast of Christ the King) is an opportunity to recognise young people as a gift in the Church, enable the parish community to celebrate young people and affirm the contribution of young people and those who work with them

This year the theme is ‘Significance’, inspired by the Flame Youth Congress that took place earlier in the year at Wembley Arena, as well as the incredible Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit.

Resources are available online:

The Third World Day of the Poor

The theme for this year’s World Day of the Poor message is “The hope of the poor shall not perish forever”, taken from the Book of Psalms. Marking the 3rd World Day of the Poor on 17 November 2019, the Fratello Association, whose aim is to serve by meeting the poor and giving them their rightful place in the Church, has invited believers to spend four days in Lourdes with socially excluded people.

In a video-message to those gathered in Lourdes, the Pope explained that God loves and hears the prayers of those who suffer want and who are abandoned.

Pope Francis established the World Day of the Poor in his Apostolic Letter, Misericordia et Misera, to celebrate the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.

In his message, Pope Francis points out that there is “no one so poor that they have nothing to give”, going on to explain that God wants us to be the vessels through which love flows.  He concluded by asking all Christian communities to “to help ensure that this World Day of the Poor will encourage more and more people to cooperate effectively so that no one will feel deprived of closeness and solidarity.”

Read Pope Francis' letter for the Third World Day of the Poor

Giving thanks for Ministry

On Saturday 16th November 2019 at 12.30 pm in St George's Cathedral, the Diocese will be holding a special Mass in thanksgiving for the many years of devoted episcopal ministry given by Archbishop Peter Smith.  

In addition, Archbishop John will be celebrating a Memorial Mass on Friday 22nd November at 12.30pm in St George’s Cathedral for the repose of the soul of four diocesan priests whose funerals took place outside the diocese during 2019:
Father Alexander Fraser; Father Seamus Hetherton; Father Patrick (Paddy) Murtagh; Father James (Jim) Kirby.

All are very welcome to attend.

Friends of the Holy Land Tenth Anniversary

On Thursday 14th November 2019 Archbishop John attended a celebration for the Tenth Anniversary of The Friends of the Holy Land. The Friends were formed in 2009 as a means of offering help to Christians in the area, which account for less than 2% of the population today.  After a decade of colllaboration they have been able to successfully help hundreds of Christians and their families by providing medical and social care. This enables Christians in the West Bank, Gaza, Israel and Jordan to feel at home and part of a thriving community in the birthplace of Christianity.

Nearly 200 people gathered at the Temple Church in central London to celebrate the FHL 10th Anniversary. The key purpose for the celebration was to pray together for their mission whilst also launching a major campaign to raise awareness in UK of the plight of fellow Christians in the Holy Land.

Present at this ecumenical event were Archbishop John Wilson and Archbishop Suheil Dawani of the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem. Archbishop Dawani will now go on to lead further ecumenical services in Coventry and Glasgow on 15th and 16th November.

You can read Archbishop John's homily for this special event here.

To find out more about The Friends of the Holy Land, their mission and the 10th Anniversary Celebrations, click here.

To see more photographs of the event, click here.
With thanks to M.Mazur / CBCEW

Divine Chaplet Mercy Film

"Love and Mercy: Faustina”, is a docudrama on Divine Mercy and the mission of Sr. Faustina Kowalska. It reveals previously unknown facts and recently disclosed documents that shed new light on the truth of the Divine Mercy message.

As many will know, the Divine Mercy is a devotion to Jesus Christ associated with the apparitions of Jesus to Sr. Faustina in Poland in the 1930s. Jesus urged Sr. Faustina to paint an image according to the pattern that she had seen, and requested to have the image venerated, first in the sisters' chapel, and then throughout the world.

The film will be shown in a number of locations on 18th November, some of which are within Southwark.  If you are interested in seeing the film visit this link for details:

Memorial Mass in Shooters Hill for
Father Jim Kirby and the
39 Vietnamise victims of people trafficking

On Sunday 3rd November 2019 the Vietnamese Community in Shooters Hill parish held a Memorial Mass for the 39 victims of people trafficking who arrived in Essex on the 23rd October and the former parish priest, Father Jim Kirby who died on the 21st October

191103 Shooters Hill Memorial Mass

The Mass was celebrated in Vietnamese by Fr Paul Huynh Chanh, assisted by Fr Sabarmalai Sebanesaratnam, also present were Bishop Patrick Lynch  and Fr Mark Odion

191103 Shooters Hill Memorial Mass

Fr Mark (who works at the Santa Marta Group which was developed by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales) and Bishop Pat spoke about the misery of the trafficking of people and how we should all raise our awareness of this crime

191103 Shooters Hill Memorial Mass

"Human trafficking is a global crime that affects every country. It is a criminal activity that aims to dehumanise the human person. The Holy Father describes it as “a wound in the contemporary society”. The fight against the evil of trafficking is close to the heart of the Holy Father. Pope Francis highlighted that the Church intends to intervene in every phase of the trafficking of human beings because she wants to protect them from deception and solicitation, she wants to find them and free them when they are transported and reduced to slavery, she wants to assist them once they are freed.  In Vietnam, criminal Mafia exploits innocent people under the false promises of better jobs. One of the ways to fight this evil of trafficking is the constant awareness-raising in parishes, schools and social groups"

191103 Shooters Hill Memorial Mass191103 Shooters Hill Memorial Mass

A collection was taken for Father Jim’s mother who was a constant visitor to the parish

Eugene Iyoha, a local farm manager in Edo, feeds 2000 fish

GrowEdo is a project supported by the Catholic Bishops' Conference in England and Wales which has also been adopted by Southwark.  Its aim is to educate people in Edo State, where 90% of trafficking from Nigeria originates, about the dangers of modern slavery.  The project also serves to provide local skills and work opportunities, often in agriculture or in cottage industries, so that the lure offered by traffickers to 'find good jobs abroad' is significantly diminished.

The International Labour Organisation has estimated that 40 million people are victims of modern slavery and that, in one year alone, human trafficking may currently be generating profits in excess of £25 billion.

It is a cruel cycle, but one that each of us can help to put a stop to.
Find out more

Exploring our Catholic Culture

at the Centre for Catholic Formation, Tooting Bec

J.R.R. Tolkein

The Centre for Catholic Formation continues with their exciting Autumn / Winter programme. The scribes of our world are taking precedence at this time, with lectures on the work of Tolkein and the life of Saint John Henry Newman.  

On Tuesday 10th December the Director of the Centre for Catholic Formation, Dr Mark Nash, will be leading reflections on Advent and Christmas readings with associated art. This evening of seasonal catholic culture is one not to be missed. Visit the website to book tickets (link below)
Tolkien’s World and Evil
Monday 11th November 2019 (7pm for 7.30pm)
The second of two talks by diocesan formation adviser, Sebastian Morello (will be live-streamed on Facebook:

Advent with St John Henry Newman
5 December 2019 (7 pm for 7.30 pm)
An evening talk with Bernard Dive, author of John Henry Newman and the Imagination, published by Bloomsbury
Reflections on the Advent and Christmas Readings with Art
10 December 2019 (7 pm for 7.30 pm)
Art and scripture reflections with Mark Nash at the Centre for Catholic Formation. A later date in Kent will arranged, see for latest update.

Music Workshop Postponement

We regret to inform Southwark parishioners that the Music Committee have had to postpone their Workshop 'The God Who Speaks' due to be held on Saturday 23rd November. A refund of the fee is available upon request, or it will be held in credit for when this Workshop will be presented.  Email the organiser.

We will remember them

This Sunday morning people across the world will mark Remembrance Day, which offers us all a chance to pray for those who have fallen in conflict.

Catholic chaplains played a vital role in the two world wars. Many became soldiers or found themselves comforting the sick and dying in unimaginable and extreme circumstances. Without first-hand experience,
it is hard to comprehend the level of self-righteous belief that would choose to impose such harm on fellow human-beings. It is from those that do remember that we must continue to learn if our society is to evolve.

There were those, such as Frank Buchman who tried to morally and spiritually reinvigorate people and nations in a bid to avert WWII, but regrettably it was not to be: his efforts to bring reconciliation were only possible after significant loss of life at the end of six dark years of conflict.

In our contemporary society we can perhaps choose to honour the fallen by adopting a considered Christian response to discord and by learning how to constructively resolve everyday conflict through personal choices.

A Remembrance Service will commence outside St George's Cathedral at 10.50 am, followed by 11.30 am Mass in the Cathedral this Sunday, 10th November 2019.  All are very welcome to attend.  We offer our deep gratitude to those who have given their their lives fighting for peace, and pray for their eternal rest.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
we will remember them.

Archbishop Wilson Reflects

 at the City Hall Remembrance Service 2019

On Friday 8th November 2019, Archbishop John Wilson gave a short reflection at the City Hall Remembrance Service.

‘As I have loved you, so you must love each other. There is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends.’
Dear friends, whoever we are, these words of the Lord Jesus speak to every human heart. Love is both something given and something received. The gift of love, the power of love, the sacrifice of love, creates a bond between persons, an eternal bond. And sometimes love pays the ultimate price. It really does love to the very end.

So many of those who died in war carried with them photographs of those they loved, their families, their friends, their sweethearts. The devastating lists of fatalities from two World Wars, and from subsequent conflicts up to our present day, are all made up of unique individuals. Each one irreplaceable, each one loved.

Emily Chitticks, writing in 1917 to her fiancé Private William Martin, concludes her letter: ‘... Well darling I don't know much more to say now, so will close with fondest love and kisses from your loving little girl. Emily. P.S. Cheer up darling, and don't worry about me. I am quite alright, only anxious to get your letters. There is good news in the papers. Love from Mum and Dad.' Emily wrote on 28th March, not knowing that the day before Will had been killed in action. 

How could we not remember so many lives, so many loved ones, lost because of war? Our annual remembrance remains for some a daily struggle, their pain very much alive on the battleground of recovery.

To quote famous words, 'those who cannot remember the past, those who fail to learn from history, are condemned to repeat it.  How slow we have been, how slow we are, to remember and enact the commandment ‘you must love each other.’

This year we mark the seventy-fifth anniversaries of the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy, as well as the Battles of Imphal and Kohima in India. As we remember the bravery and sacrifice of every person who laid down their life to combat aggression, ours is an inclusive remembrance. We refuse to forget anyone. We will remember, we do remember, each and every victim of warfare.
But our acts of remembrance can never just be about the past. They compel us to ensure that our present activity safeguards our common future inheritance. Authentic peace is more than the absence of war. Authentic peace is more than a balance of power between enemies. Authentic peace can never be brought about by dictatorship. Authentic peace is ‘an enterprise of justice,’ where every person matters. 

‘As I have love you, so you must love each other.’ Justice demands this. Peace depends upon it.

Southwark Spirituality Commission: Your Word is Life

This Saturday in St John Fisher parish, Bexley, the Southwark Spirituality Commission will be holding a special day in which they will explore different ways of praying. No matter our age or how new or old we are to the Christian faith, all of us can benefit from dicovering new ways to refresh our prayer life.

All are very welcome from 10.30 am onwards.  

Please book in advance: details are listed in the poster below.

The Funeral of Archbishop Michael Bowen

at St George's Cathedral

During the late afternoon of Sunday 3rd November 2019 the body of the Late Archbishop Michael Bowen was received at St George's Cathedral. A Requiem Mass was said for him during the Cathedral Parish 6 pm service, celebrated by Archbishop Kevin McDonald, who was Archbishop Bowen's immediate successor.  During the homily he spoke of Archbishop Michael as a good man, a person devoid of any pride or self-importance and one who did as he was called to do. Read Archbishop McDonald's homily here.

Archbishop Bowen's funeral took place on Monday 4th November 2019 at 12.30 pm. Archbishop John Wilson was the Principal Celebrant and Archbishop Peter Smith conducted the Final Commendation and Committal.  

The service was also attended by the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Edward J. Adams, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, several senior clergy from around the UK as well as Southwark Clergy.

Among their number was the Right Reverend Richard Moth, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, who served as Archbishop Bowen's private secretary between 1992-2001 and gave the homily during the service.

Bishop Moth spoke fondly of Archbishop Bowen, remembering him as 'a second father' who held many responsibiilities and titles, and also navigated significant changes in the Church during his tenure as the Eighth Bishop of Southwark.  He went on to explain that Archbishop Bowen was a man of humility and simplicity and recalled that, on a personal level he greatly valued his family and was fond of a good practical joke!

You can watch the full sermon below.

Archbishop Bowen was a great supporter of the Diocesan Music Committee and for this reason the Diocesan Choir was very pleased to convene under the baton of Canon Alan McLean in order to lead singing during the service. There were many beautiful moments, but perhaps none more so than the full congregation singing Salve Regina unaccompanied whilst the sun streamed through the Cathedral windows.  

After the Committal, Archbishop Bowen's body was interred in the Crypt of the Cathedral.

Following the service, Archbishop John Wilson met with those that had come to pay their final respects.  In addition to Southwark parishioners who are local to London, many had travellled some distance to be present.  Refreshements were also made available in Amigo Hall.

The service was a fitting farewell to a much loved Archbishop of Southwark, who died peacefully at St Peter's Residence, Vauxhall on 17th October 2019. He will be very fondly remembered (as has been often cited by those that knew him well) as 'a gentle man and a gentleman'.

For more photographs visit the CBCEW website

with grateful thanks to Marcin Mazur

A full congregation in attendance at the Funeral of the Late Archbishop Michael Bowen.  May he rest in peace.

Archbishop Michael Bowen RIP

The Late Archbishop Michael Bowen
- May he rest in peace -

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that Archbishop Michael Bowen died at 12.30 am this morning, 17th October, at St Peter's Home, Vauxhall.  I saw Archbishop Michael on Tuesday evening in St Thomas' Hospital and although somewhat tired he was in good spirits.  He was a faithful servant of the Church and especially of the two dioceses of which he was the chief shepherd. Please do pray for him and his family.

I have asked all parishes in the diocese to arrange for a Mass to be celebrated for the repose of his soul as soon as is practical and that Archbishop Michael be remembered in the Prayers of the Faithful.
Funeral details are now in place and are listed below.
With prayers, yours sincerely in Christ,

The Most Reverend John Wilson

Funeral Arrangements

The Liturgies will take place at St George's Cathedral, Southwark, and are as follows:

Sunday 3rd November:
5 p.m: Reception into St George's Cathedral
6 p.m: Cathedral Mass: Archbishop Kevin McDonald to preside.
8 p.m: Vigil Service, after which the Cathedral will close.

Monday 4th November:
7 a.m: Cathedral opens
7.30 a.m: Cathedral Mass
12.30 p.m: Funeral Mass: Archbishop John Wilson to preside.
Burial in the Cathedral Crypt at the end of the Mass

All are welcome to join us for the respose of the soul of
Archbishop Bowen and to pray for his family.

May he rest in peace

Funeral Mass - Diocesan Choir

The Late Archbishop Michael Bowen was a great supporter of the Diocesan Music Committee, so it is a fitting tribute that the Diocesan Choir have been asked to support the Funeral Mass on Monday 4th November.

If you are able to sing with the Choir on Monday 4th November, AND attend the rehearsal at The Most Holy Trinity Church, Dockhead on Saturday 2nd. November (10.30 am start), then please respond as soon as possible by completing and returning this form.

Thank you for your support.

Remembering our loved ones

On 1st November we celebrate the Feast of Alll Saints, which is a Holy Day of Obligation. The celebration of All Saints' Day, and subsequently, All Souls on the following day (2nd November) arises from the belief that there is a spiritual link between those in heaven - the "Church triumphant" - and the living - the "Church militant".

All Saints' Day celebrates those who have reached Heaven, and these individuals are honoured throughout the Universal Church.  On All Souls' Day we pray for those still on ther journey to Heaven.

If you wish to attend Mass on All Saints' Day / All Souls' Day, please visit our Southwark Directory to find your nearest church and the service times.

Make your Spouse a Saint!

Archbishop Wilson speaks on Marriage in Scotland

Archbishop John travelled to the Diocese of St Andrew's and Edinburgh, at the invitation of Archbishop Leo Cushley, to give a talk last Saturday, 26th October, on the Pope’s encyclical, Amoris laetitia, and the Church’s vision for marriage and family.

He told the audience at the Gillis Centre:

"One of your principal vocations is to make your spouse a saint.

The Archbishop had several positive suggestions for married couples, in particular that if they did nothing else, they should pray for each other.  He also went on to quote Pope Francis:

"Pope Francis says that moments of family prayer and acts of devotion can be more powerful than any class or sermon."  Later he added "After the love that unites us to God, conjugal love - married love - is the greatest form of friendship that exists.

Archbishop John also referred to the challenges to traditional marriage in today's society, referring to individualism and increasing fragmentation alongside the abandonment of the traditional understanding of marriage and family.

The Archdiocese of St Andrew's and Edinburgh
have generously shared their video of the Archbishop's talk (see above), for which we offer our sincere thanks.

You can also read an interview with Archbishop John in the Scottish Catholic Observer.  Click here to view.

Archbishop John Wilson speaks on Marriage and Family

Gospel of Matthew Inspires Laity

A full church at St Boniface in Tooting

On Sunday 26th October 2019, a Day of Recollection was held for Readers and Eucharistic Ministers in South West Area of the Diocese at St Boniface Church in Tooting.

The day was led by Fr Adrian Graffy focusing on the Gospel of Matthew. In total, 372 ministers attended a full day of teaching, with the chance to relax and talk over a delicious lunch in the excellent amenities of the parish hall. The day was concluded with Mass celebrated by Bishop Paul Hendricks.

The Diocese would like to thank all who attended for their commitment to continued learning of our shared faith.

Fuel for learning: a delicious lunch was enjoyed by all.

Ongoing Formation of Priests - Aylesford

From Tuesday 22nd to Thursday 24th of October, as part of the Ongoing Formation of Priests' programme for newly ordained priests of the diocese, newly arrived priests from overseas, and for those taking up parish priest appointments for the first time, a number of priests met at Aylesford to learn more about the workings of the Diocesan Chancery

They met with the Diocesan Chancery eam who facilitated a series of presentations on some of the major areas of their work. 

The groups spent time together in prayer and celebrated Mass on each of the days. There was also an opportunity for questions and discussion

191022 CHANCERY OGFThere is also a course presented by the Finance Office, the Education Commission and the Safeguarding Office to help comprehend the Archdiocese as an organisation.


Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father James (Jim) Kirby

who died Monday 21st October 2019

May he rest in peace

Funeral details

Thursday 24th October 2019, 5 pm - 7 pm
Reposing at Thompson’s Funeral Home, Thomas Street 
followed by removal to St. Joseph’s Church, O’ Connell Avenue, Limerick

Friday 25th October 2019 at 11.30 am
Requiem Mass
Burial will take place afterwards in Mount St. Lawrence Cemetery.

Feast of St Jude

The Feast day of St Jude, which takes place on 28th October, is the high point of the calendar at the beautiful Carmelite Shrine in Faversham, Kent.
During the weekend of 26 - 28 October, hundreds of pilgrims will attend in devotion to the Apostle.  All are welcome to celebrate this special time in the company of the Carmelites. To find out more about their programme of celebrations  click here.

Commissioning of Extraordinary Ministers of
Holy Communion at the Cathedral

On Saturday 12th October 2019 Bishop Paul Hendricks commissioned 127 people as Extra Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion


Bishop Paul started the day with a talk on the Eucharist and this special Ministry


Monsignor Matthew Dickens presided at a period of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament


After lunch Monsignor Matthew spoke of the role of the Extraordinary Minister and the rubrics, including the service of administering Holy Communion to the Sick and the DBS checks that need to be taken before staring this ministry and so therefore bringing together all the training that had been given in every parish


Bishop Paul presided at the Commissioning Mass and was joined by Monsignor Matthew Dickens VG, Deacon Martin Smith and the Cathedral MC, Father Philip Andrews, along with Piotr Brys, who served the Mass. During which he commissioned the new Extraordinary Ministers and presented their certificates.  Bishop Paul also thanked all the new Extraordinary Minsters from their commitment in answering the call to serve


The Ministers came from 38 parishes around the Archdiocese - Abbey Wood, Ashford, Balham, Battersea Altenburg Gardens, Battersea West, Bermondsey Dockhead, Bermondsey Melior Street, Bexley, Bostal Park, Brixton, Brockley, Carshalton,Colliers Wood, Coulsdon, Croydon West, Dulwood Wood Park, Edenbridge, Folkestone, Forest Hill, Herne Hill, Italian Misson, Lee, Lewisham, Maidstone , Merton , Norbiton, Norbury, North Cheam, Norwood South, Norwood Upper, Peckham Rye, Plumstead, Purley, Richmond, Selsdon, Sidcup, Sydenham, Tooting Links Road, Walderslade, Wimbledon, Woolwich, two students from The John Fisher School, Purley, a member of staff from the Ursuline Preparatory School, Wimbledon and a member of the Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital Trust Chaplaincy



Freedom of Expression

Our Cathedral Director of Music, Jonathan Schranz, has worked with several  talented choirs over a number of years.  However, it came as something of a surprise to him that he found working musically with prisoners so rewarding.

As we journey through Prisons Week (13-20 October 2019), he talks about his experience on this website: please visit the left hand column of this home page: his article can be found under the Social Media headings.

Canonisation of Cardinal John Henry Newman

This Sunday, 13th October 2019, the much anticipated Canonisation of Blessed John Henry Newman will take place in Rome at 10 am local time
(9 am in the UK). Although there is nothing quite like being present in person, you can watch proceedings via a live stream.

You can also follow events running up to the service and watch via the Newman Canonisaton website, which also offers a range of interesting and informative materials about our new English Saint. 

For those that want to mark this occasion in a special way, why not come and visit St George's Cathedral, where a relic of Newman will be on display in the English Martyrs Chapel until 27th October 2019.

Newman died at the age of 89 in 1890. When his tomb was opened in 2008 with a view to moving his remains to the Birmingham Oratory (where he first resided as a Catholic Priest and also where he later died), there were no remains of his body except a tiny fragment of bone.  

The relic in St George's is a gift from this Oratory and consists of a piece of his hair, which was taken whilst he was still alive.

Justice and Peace Autumn Assembly

This Saturday, 12th October 2019, at the Hermitage in More Park, West Malling, the Jusitice and Peace in Creation Commission will hold their Autumn Assembly, which will focus on human trafficking and modern slavery. Registration starts at 10.30 am and there will be input from the Santa Marta Group (Bishop Pat Lynch and Fr Mark Odion), The Medaille Trust, The Jesuit Refugee Service and CAFOD.  

During the Assembly you will find out more about trafficking, which Pope Francis has called an 'open wound on the body of contemporary society', both in the UK and abroad.  You will also find out ways in which you can get involved and how you can help.

Light refreshments will be available but please bring your own packed lunch. The Assembly will conclude at 4 pm.  The day is free of charge and all are welcome.

Wifred McGreal O.Carm RIP

Please pray for Fr Wilfrid McGreal O.Carm, who served for many years at St Jude's Shrine in Faversham, Kent. His Requiem Mass will take place on Saturday 5th October 2019.  May he rest in peace.

CAFOD Harvest Fast Day: 4th October 2019

This Friday, 4th October 2019, is designated as CAFOD's Harvest Fast Day (some of us may know it as Family Fast Day!).  On this day we are encouraged to have a simple meal and donate the money saved to CAFOD so that people around the world can share in our abundance.  

To find our more about CAFOD's work to improve the lives of others and to donate your gift vist:

Remembering Blessed John Henry Newman

Between Sunday 6th and Sunday 27th October 2019, St George's Cathedral in Southwark will be displaying a relic of
Blessed John Henry Newman, who will be canonised in Rome on Sunday 13th October 2019.

In addition, a Mass will be celebrated in honour of Newman's canonisation by Archbishop John Wilson on Sunday 27th October at 11.30 am.  

All are very welcome to attend.

Pope Video

As promised, this month's video resonates with the Extraordinary Month of Mission.  We pray with Pope Francis that the breath of the Holy Spirit will engender a new missionary 'spring' in the Church.

Prayer proposed by Pope Francis for the 
Extraordinary Month of Mission in October

Heavenly Father,
when your only begotten Son Jesus Christ
rose from the dead,
he commissioned his followers
to “go and make disciples of all nations”
and you remind us that through our Baptism
we are made sharers in the mission of the Church.
Empower us by the gifts of the Holy Spirit
to be courageous and zealous
in bearing witness to the Gospel,
so that the mission entrusted to the Church,
which is still very far from completion,
may find new and efficacious expressions
that bring life and light to the world.  Amen.

Stella Maris Mass

This afternoon in St George's Cathedral, Archbishop John celebrated the Stella Maris Mass in thanksgiving for the work of the Apostleship of the Sea.

In his homily he described how, at various times, seafarers had turned in prayer to Our Lady, Star of the Sea (Stella Maris) so that they might be guided home safely by means of her luminous presence, He went on to say that Our Lady continues to light the way, for all of us, to her son and to our home in heaven.

Describing the vital work of the Apostleship of the Sea the Archbishop  went on to explain how Port Chaplains play an invaluable role in the practical and pastoral care of seafarers, and their families, whether helping to arrange hospital care, enabling regular communication or arranging counselling for those who have endured modern day piracy. Watch the full homily here:

A number of photographs from the service can be viewed here.

Avila Partnership Leads Catholic Formation Programme

The Avila Partnership welcomed twenty one Catholic Primary and Secondary Schools to the ‘What Makes Great Catholic Schools’ first seminar.

Beginning at ETC Venues in Pimlico on Thursday 19th November 2018, the programme entailed five seminars over the course of the last academic year. Guest speaker, Professor Tina Beattie from Roehampton University opened the series of seminars with a talk on Catholic Social Teaching, giving the delegates much to discuss. One delegate commented, “The speakers were all thought provoking, I really enjoyed listening to them and I felt inspired to continue”,

In the programme, senior management from Catholic schools across Southwark Diocese discussed the research and reading they had done in order to promote Catholic formation in their schools. Together they gathered ideas and arranged to observe and learn from each other over the course of this year. The overarching aim was to provide time for discussion and reflection whilst sharing good practice. This programme will lead to a publication about what makes great Catholic schools.

It is the hope of the Avila Partnerships this will contribute to the aims of the Diocese in providing great Catholic education. For further information about the programme, please email

Baptised and Sent

October 2019: The Extraordinary Month of Mission


During October Pope Francis has called the whole Church to observe an Extraordinary Month of Mission, asking us all to reflect upon bringing the Gospel to those who have not yet heard it and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.  

Missio, the Pope's charity for world mission, has a variety of resources available to helps us address this challenge. These include posters, prayers, intercessions, a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation, a children's calendar as well as holy hour ideas.  In particular there are some excellent primary and secondary school resources.  Visit the Missio website, where you can also find out how to engage with the EMM2019 Campaign on Social Media.

Centre for Catholic Formation

This month we are invited to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Pope Benedict XVʼs Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud on overseas mission. To mark this, the CCF will host an evening discussion with missionary priests. on Thursday 17 October 2019 (7 pm for 7.30 - 9 pm) This event will be live-streamed on Facebook:

World Mission Sunday
This takes place on 20th October 2019.  You can support the work of Missio through prayers, which are always welcome, and also via your parish collection on Sunday 20th October 2019.

The Worldwide Prayer Network
The WPN will be following the Extraordinary Month of Mission, alongside the Pope's Click-to-Pray app. The October Pope Video will also reflect the Extraordinary Month of Mission and we will post it on our social media and website when it is available. 

Apostleship of the Sea

A gentle reminder that Archbishop Wilson will celebrate Mass for seafarers and their families on Tuesday 1st October 2019 at 12.30 pm in St George's Cathedral.  

Please join him in praying for seafarers and the work that they do in providing us with much needed goods and supplies from around the world, often sacrificing their own comfort and spending significant periods of time away from their families.

Meet your University Chaplains

Going to University can be daunting, especially for those who are leaving home for the first time and especially if you are new to London.

Southwark is delighted to introduce to a number of university chaplains who are based within the Diocese. They are there to lend a ear if you want to talk and offer a friendly face in what may initially seem to be a sea of strangers.  

There are also lots of opportunities to get involved with the chaplaincy: whether it is coming together for Mass or sharing some pizza, all students are welcome!

World Day of Migrants and Refugees

This Sunday, 29th September 2019, marks the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees.  Pope Francis has issued a range of videos to highlight the importance of understanding the needs of people who are on the peripheries. They may includes migrants, refugees or even people on the edge of society such as vicitms of human trafficking or those who are displaced for any number of reasons.

On the 12th October the Justice and Peace Commission for the  Archdiocese will be holding the Autumn Assembly entitled Reducing the Risks of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery. The Santa Marta Group with the help of Bishop Pat and Fr Mark Odion, have initiated four different projects in the Archdiocese of Southwark aimed at raising awareness of the causes of human slavery, introducing authentic measures to preventing risks. Dowload a full-size poster here.

You can read Pope Francis letter to mark the World Day of Migrants and Refugees here, in which he warns us about indifference to others and our increasingly 'throw away' society. You can also learn more about the key work of the Vatican in this area by visiting the Migrants and Refugees website

Autumn Term at the CCF

The Centre for Catholic Formation has a new schedule for the Autumn term, with some exciting new events on offer.

Of particular interest is the Diocesan Day for Catechists on 28 September (details below); the continuing course for New Catholics entitled RISEN, which continues on 1st and 15th October, and the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Training course.

Also available will be an information evening offered by TeenSTAR UK, catechist meetings in Kent, talks on Tolkien and an evening discussion with missionary clergy for the Extraordinary Month of Mission on 17th October.  Why not take a closer look at the course and lecture that are on offer? Download a full-size brochure here.

Day for Catechists
This year, the Diocesan Day for Catechists will take place on Saturday 28 September 2019 at Amigo Hall (next to St George’s Cathedral), Southwark, SE1 6HR. This Day is for all the Catechists of the Diocese, including those involved in Children’s Liturgy of the Word and the RCIA process.  The programme will run from 10.30 am and end at 4 pm with a   Commissioning Mass, which will be celebrated by Archbishop John Wilson.
Along with the catered sandwich lunch, tea and coffee will also be provided and a Bookshop will be available. The cost is just £10 per person (to be paid for by the parish).  To book click here.

Father Valentine Erhahon is inducted as Managing Chaplain of Isis Prison

Congratulatiions to Fr Erhahon, who was recently inducted as Managing Chaplain of HM Prison and Young Offenders Institute in its Multifaith Chaplaincy. Bishop Pat Lynch presided at the service, which was attended by the prison's Governor, Emily Thomas, as well as a number of senior clergy, prison staff and guests. Many of the prisoners also attended, some of whom had kindly spent the previous week painting and decorating the Chaplaincy for the occasion.

Governor Emily spoke of the vital importance of the Chaplaincy Department in averting problems and assisting with rehabilitation on a pastoral basis. Bishop Lynch preached about the characteristics of a good shepherd, also commending the Chaplaincy Team for the excellent work they do in the prison to support the most vulnerable of men and to help them find renewed purpose and hope.

In addition to his other duties, Father Valentine will now manage the Family Care Pathway for the prison, which helps to reduce reoffending by assisting prisoners to maintain family ties whilst in prison. We wish him well as he assumes this important mantle.

National Catholic Safeguarding Commission Annual Report

Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Bishops’  Conference of England & Wales, welcomed the annual report of the work of safeguarding in the Catholic Church in England & Wales. This report has been published every year since 2002.  Cardinal Nichols offered the following statement
“Every year since 2002, an Annual Report of the work of Safeguarding in the Catholic Church in England and Wales has been published by NCSC or its predecessor. A glance at those Reports tells a story of progress made, difficulties encountered, effort expended and challenges that lie ahead.
Today I thank the NCSC for this 2018 Annual Report, which gives a clear picture of the work done in Safeguarding in the Catholic Church today. The clarity and detail contained in the Report is testimony to the hard work of many, many people, across our parishes and dioceses, mostly dedicated and trained volunteers. This is a story that needs to be heard.
At the same time the Report is totally without any sense of complacency. The challenge of our response to the presence of sexual abuse within the Church continues to be urgent and of vital importance: heeding the voice and experience of survivors and responding to them; responding promptly to the surfacing of allegations; cooperating fully with public authorities; strengthening programmes of education and awareness raising. The Report covers these and other aspects of this part of our mission and points to the challenges that lie ahead and will require our determined response.
For this reason I also welcome the steps that the NCSC has taken in establishing an independent review of the work and structure of this work.
Again, I thank all who work hard to ensure that the Church is, today, characterised by a culture of safeguarding. In particular I thank Mr Christopher Pearson for his leadership of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission.”

Being Faithful for 200 years

The Society of the Faithful Companions of Jesus celebrate the occasion of the start of their bicentenary year of celebrations

Hundreds of school students in the UK and across the globe will this month take part in a collective ‘Day of Kindness’ to launch the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the founding of a religious congregation, the Faithful Companions of Jesus. 

On September 20th pupils in schools founded by the Congregation will be invited to go out of their way to show kindness in their school and home. This will include tea parties for the elderly, random acts of kindness and a variety of charity work. FCJ schools in Britain are located in Liverpool, the Wirral, Middlesex and London. Students in schools in Jersey, Ireland, France, Australia, Canada and the United States of America will also be taking part in creating a wave of kindness encompassing the globe.

In addition, this historical anniversary will be marked by action targeting a very modern problem:  the climate crisis. Globally, the Congregation has made care of the environment a priority for mission, and in response to the climate emergency, 10 trees will be planted by each FCJ community group in their local areas. Individual sisters will make efforts to divest of single-use plastics and encourage their colleagues and friends to do so as well. The Congregation will also contribute financial support for an alternative energy project.

The Congregation of the Faithful Companions of Jesus was founded in France in 1820 and September 21st marks the birthday of the foundress, Marie Madeleine d’Houët. The bicentenary celebrations will run from the 21st September 2019 until the Feast of Christ the King in November 2020.

Image opposite: Foundress Marie Madeleine d'Houet

There will be a host of events to celebrate this Bicentenary Year, which will include:

  • A Day of Kindness to launch the Bicentenary Year of Celebration.
  • The staging of a theatre production based on the life of Marie     Madeleine and the expansion of the Society she founded; the play has been commissioned from RISE THEATRE and will be performed in the UK, Ireland and other English-speaking locations where FCJs and their Companions in Mission live and work.
  • Various internal celebrations in FCJ Schools and Spirituality Centres.
  • Local radio interviews and presentations in different parts of the world.
  • A commemorative painting is in preparation and will be published online.
  •  A new song will be composed for use in FCJ schools and in parishes where FCJs and their Companions in Mission live and work.
  • Liturgical and para-liturgical celebrations in the locations where FCJ sisters live or have ministered in the past.
  • Planting trees around the world. The sisters in Europe have committed to planting 10 trees for each community group in the bicentenary year.
  • New materials on the Foundress and the history of the Faithful Companions of Jesus have been made available.
  • Unpublished material from FCJ archives will be available online.

The General Superior of the FCJ Society, Sr Mary Claire Sykes fcJ wrote to sisters saying, “May the celebrations be a source of new life and strengthened hope.

To read more about the life and work of the FCJ Sisters (formerly in Broadstairs and more recently in New Cross), click here.

New Choir for St George's Cathedral

St George’s Cathedral has launched a brand-new choir for young people aged 13-18.
The Cathedral Consort rehearses on Wednesday afternoons and leads worship at the 10am Family Mass each week during term time.

Singing in the Cathedral Consort is a great opportunity to make new friends, develop musical skills and to have fun singing in an amazing building. We are currently recruiting singers of all voice types to enable this choir to flourish. For more information or to arrange an audition please contact the Director of Music, Jonathan Schranz, at

The Pope Video: Extended Version for September 2019

Christian Unity: exploring common ground

Walking Together on the Way: Learning to be the Church Local, Regional and Universal is the latest report from the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC).  It discusses the ways in which the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches live out their communion in Christ at local, regional international levels, and how much they have in common with one another.  This includes, for example, looking at the role of the laity and how decisions are made at each level.  There is a strong focus on how each tradition can learn from and with the other.

The aim of the event on Saturday 28th September is to open up this very significant report for disscussion with Christians at parish level.  If you would like to read it in advance, it can be purchased through bookshops or downloaded from the internet.  

The event will be led by Canon John O'Toole, the National Ecumenical Officer for the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales and Canon Dr Jeremy Worthen, Secretary for Ecumenical Relations and Theology at the Church of England's Council for Christian Unity.

All are welcome!  For further details contact Gwen Chiosso, the Christian Unity Commission Secretary, at

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Gerard (Gerry) O'Brien

who died Thursday 22nd August 2019

May he rest in peace

Burial in Ireland
Thursday 12th September from 17.00
Reposing at Griffin’s Funeral Home, John’s Gate
Removal to St. John’s Cathedral at 18.30

Friday 13th September
Funeral Mass 11.00 at St John’s Cathedral
Burial Mount St. Lawrence Cemetery

BBC Songs of Praise from Lourdes

In a special programme for Songs of Praise, Reverend Kate Bottley travels to Lourdes.  She first visited as a tourist at the age of 8, of which she has fond memories, and now returns to bring us this special programme from Sanctuary in the foothills of the Pyreenes.

In the programme Reverend Kate Bottley meets 71-year-old Kazik Stepan from Kent, who believes he was miraculously healed here in 1965 aged 18.
  Back then Kazik came as a sick pilgrim and wasn’t expected to survive the journey.  He was terminally ill with a tumour in his spinal cord which doctors said was inoperable. Kazik arrived in Lourdes and was taken to bathe in the holy water, after which he returned to the local hospital, where he was staying, and walked for the first time in months. The date of his cure, the 8th September, is significant as it is celebrated as the birthday of The Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Immaculate Conception.  Kazik says….

“That Wednesday is the Feast of Our Lady, it’s her birthday. On a birthday you always give presents to someone. In this case she gave me a present, she gave me the present of life.”

If they decide there’s enough evidence to prove his case, Kazik could become the first British person to be officially declared by the committee, to have experienced a miraculous healing.

The Reverend Kate also joins a group of pilgrims from the Leeds Diocese.  The 500 strong group is made up of teenagers from Catholic schools in the area and older, often sick parishioners.  The young people take care of the older pilgrims on their visit and together learn more about faith and what it means to be a Christian.  During her stay The Rev. Kate was keen to experience the baths in Lourdes for herself and so she accompanies Leeds parishioner Mary Matthews.  Together they bathe in the water, an experience that is very moving for both of them.

Join the BBC as they present Songs of Praise from the third most visited Christian pilgrimage site in the world.

Mass to celebrate the start of the New School Year with the Education Commission

Pupils and staff from a number of schools around the Diocese attended Mass to mark the New School Year with Southwark's Education Commission in Saint George's Cathedral on Tuesday 10th September 2019.  Our new Archbishop, the Most Reverend John Wilson, presided and preached.

During his sermon, the Archbishop explained that the Bible is God's love letter to all of us and said that the contents could be summarised in ten words that we can all remember: 'As I have loved you, you must love each other'.  

This annual service is always memorable for a joyful atmosphere and rousing singing and this year was no exception, as Bishop Thomas Grant School (Streatham) kindly provided excellent music for the Mass, including a moving solo from a talented young singer / pianist after Communion.

Groups of pupils posed for photographs with Archbishop John after the service and enjoyed some welcome refreshments in Amigo Hall.  

Thanks must go to the organisers at the Education Commission and both staff and pupils from the various schools for making the considerable effort to come together in celebration and thanksgiving at the beginning of the school year.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta: Inspiration Day

Last week we marked the anniversary of Saint Teresa of Calcutta and today we celebrate 'Inspiration Day' with the Missionaries of Charity (the Mother Teresa Sisters, Brothers and lay co-workers).

On September 10th, 1946, God surprised the Loreto sister during a train ride to Darjeeling with a call to 'quench his thirst for souls'.  He asked her to leave her convent, where she taught, in order to start a new religious order. Initially her Order of Sisters would care for the poorest of the poor living on the streets of Calcutta. They would demonstrate divine love to those who had been abandoned by the world through their care and in this way bring souls to Jesus.

Today, her Sisters, Brothers and lay co-workers bring Jesus to others on a daily basis all over the world, including here in Southwark, and continue to satiate Our Lord's thirst for souls, as expressed on the cross.

Catholic Truth Society launches a prayer book for prisoners at the National Roman Catholic Prison Chaplains Training Conference

The CTS are regularly asked by prisoners for materials that will help them to learn how to pray or discover more about their faith.

The organisation is delighted to have collaborated with Fr Paul Douthwaite, National Catholic Chaplain for Prisons, in order to publish A Simple Prayer Book for Prisoners, a special edition of their longest-standing and most popular title, the CTS ‘Simple Prayer Book’. It has been specially adapted for prisoners and those in Young Offender Institutions and has been distributed, free of charge, to chaplains around the UK thanks to a very generous donation.

“When someone asks the question 'how do I pray?' there is neither a quick nor a simple answer. The Prison Chaplain is often asked this question in the most extreme of situations, at times of crisis, and when the prisoner is looking for spiritual strength and guidance. This edition of A Simple Prayer Book for Prisoners gives the Prison Chaplain a collection of accessible prayers that can enable and guide those who seek to embark upon or deepen their relationship with God.   Fr Paul Douthwaite said of the book 'It is a resource we have been hoping for, for some time.”  

The lasting impact of prison ministry comes from the personal presence and care of the clerical, religious and lay chaplains who accompany and support those serving sentences. The prayer book is intended as a very practical and simple way to support the work of chaplains and the response from them so far has been tremendous.
To contribute to the mission of the CTS please go to

Catholic Association Pilgrimage to Lourdes

Southwark Diocese recently joined the Catholic Association Pilgrimage to Lourdes between Friday 23rd - Friday 30th August 2019. In this unique week of journeying closer to Our Lady, and ultimately to Christ, pilgrims from a number of dioceses around England undertook a full spiritual programme. Those who joined Southwark pilgrims were from the dioceses of Clifton, Northamption and East Anglia, as well as a group from Stonyhurst and the Glanfield group which works with disabled youngsters and those with special needs.

Each day the pilgrims came together for Mass, which often included a particular focus on the needs of the sick of or those helping them. For example, at the Opening Mass the hands of helpers were blessed and in a seperate service later in the week, the sick were anointed. There was also an opportunity to explore the theme of the pilgrimage 'Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours'. This lead us to reflect that poverty, whether in terms of wealth or well-being, can often lead us towards a richer relationship with Christ, as we turn to him to sustain us in our different needs.

The Anointing of the hands of helpers in Lourdes

There was also a chance to visit the baths or to drink and bathe at the water taps which link directly to the River Gave. The river itself was unearthed by Saint Bernadette under the guidance of Our Lady and its original source can be seen within the Grotto.  In the strong sunshine of the Pyrenees, drinking this cool and refreshing water became something of a welcome habit for many!

One assisted pilgrim, Linda from Clifton Diocese, remarked that going to the baths helped her to recharge her physical and spiritual batteries for the year ahead, leading to a sense of renewal which brought her closer to Christ. You can watch a short interview on our Facebook page with Linda.
Southwark Pilgrims also joined Bishop Paul Hendricks (Chairman of the Catholic Association) and Canon Edward Perera (Southwark Pilgrimage Director) in lighting a large dedicated candle in order to pray for the needs of Southwark Diocese and of its parishioners. During the week the Diocese also accepted online petitions for prayers, which were presented and prayed for during the Tuesday and Friday morning Masses.

Praying for the needs of our Diocese and its parishioners

Lourdes is a place where the sick are prioritised and every consideration is made towards their comfort and care.  The area is not only stunningly beautiful in the scenic sense, but also in experiencing a culture where demonstrating concern for each other is the standard expectation: here it is a privilege to be a helper and to work with, or for, the assisted pilgrims. This was particularly evident when speaking to those working or volunteering with the sick in the Accueil: a place of welcome and hospital standard care for assisted pilgrims which is located within the Sanctuary at Lourdes. One highlight of the week was seeing Margaret Fielding, a lady who had volunteered with the Accueil for 40 years, receive a Papal Award in recognition of her dedicated service.  View a short interview with Margaret here, in which she describes falling in love with Lourdes and why she continues to return each year.

Assisted Pilgrims are the priority in Lourdes

During the week one member of clergy remarked 'Lourdes perhaps offers an insight into the kind of society that the Lord meant us to form '.  For many who visit Lourdes and experience some of its peaceful beauty, both outwardly and inwardly, it may seem a long way from the demands of our hectic lives.  Whilst this might be viewed as idealistic, one cannot help wondering if it is possible to transport a little of the tranquility, harmony and selfless joy experienced in Lourdes back to every day life in the South-East corner of England.

Perhaps, if we are so busy working and 'doing' we might ask ourselves, as a concerned mother might; 'do I really need to do that extra task or send that last email today, or can it wait until tomorrow?'.  Occasionally, of course, it is necessary to get that final task done, but sometimes it may be acceptable to give a little time to contemplation and peace instead. Ultimately by considering and balancing our priorities and putting our relationship with Christ first, or a least a little nearer the top of that 'to-do' list, it may be possible to bring a little of the tranquil essence of Lourdes into our everyday lives.  When we give God a some of our time, he can transform us and bring positive change on both personal and societal levels.

A number of photographs and videos documenting this year's pilgrimage to Lourdes are now available online.  More images and video footage will folllow shortly.

Lourdes Sanctuary in the early morning sunshine




Building a Better Marriage

Marriage and Family Life

The Southwark Marriage and Family Life Team will be holding a day for married couples to help them explore their communication
and married vocation. It will take place on Saturday 28th September at
St Columba's RC Church, Selsdon.  

Booking in advance is essential: if you wish to attend please complete the attached form or contact the MFL Team via the details given on the poster below.

Archdiocese of Southwark

 Press Statement: Nora Quoirin RIP

This statement can be viewed here:

It is with great sadness that we received the news today of the discovery of the body of Nora Quoirin, who disappeared whilst on holiday with her family in Malaysia. 

Little can take away the desolation that is experienced at the loss of a loved one. However, at this most painful of times the Catholic community wishes to extend its prayerful support to Nora’s family in heartfelt love and compassion: we walk alongside them as they grieve her loss.

Mindful of their sadness, we also pray for the comfort of those who have been involved in the search for Nora, the parishioners of St Bede’s RC Church, Clapham Park, where the family attend Mass, as well as school friends and staff.

God is in all things and his grace is with us in all circumstances.  We commend Nora to God’s tender care, asking him also to pour out peace, consolation and healing on those that mourn her this day.

We respectfully ask that the family and friends of Nora are granted privacy at this time.

Further information
The Communications Team
Archdiocese of Southwark
150 St George’s Road

Tel 020 7202 8172

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Gregory Moore

who died on Tuesday 13th August 2019

May he rest in peace

Funeral Arrangements

Vigil Mass 7pm, Wednesday 11th September
St. Wilfrid’s Catholic Church,
97 Lorrimore Road, London, SE17 3LZ

Funeral Mass 12.30pm, Thursday 12th September
St George's Cathedral, Lambeth Road, SE1

Purple Diocesan Vestments

Augustine Camino

Saturday 24th August to Friday 30th August 2019
Guided Group Pilgrimage along the entire route of the Augustine Camino

Led by Augustine Camino Founder, Andrew Kelly who has years of experience guiding pilgrims along the Camino and around the many holy places en route.  Starting at Rochester Cathedral, highlights include Aylesford Priory, St Jude’s Shrine Faversham, Canterbury Cathedral, Minster Abbey and the Shrine of St Augustine in Ramsgate as well as many small parish churches with extraordinary art and history.

The plan is to stay in backpacker-style accommodation which will keep the overnight costs down to about £20 per person per night depending on availability. Additional costs are £35 per person per day for the guide and £15 per bag per leg for baggage transfers. Guidebook are available in which to collect pilgrim stamps.

Why not spend a week in the beautiful Kent countryside and enjoy not only the late summer sunshine but also a pilgrimage through the rich and fascinating history of the birthplace of Englilsh Christianity.

To find out more email:

Stella Maris Mass

Archbishop John Wilson will preside at a special Mass for seafarers and their families on Tuesday 1st October at 12.30 pm in St George's Cathedral, Southwark.

The Mass is organised by Catholic charity Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) and will be held at St. George’s Cathedral, Southwark at 12.30pm. All are invited to come along to pray for seafarers and the work they do in providing us with much needed goods, often sacrificing their own comfort and spending long periods of time away from home and family.

Please contact Roland Hayes for further information.
Email: or phone: 078 8789 3763

Stella Maris Charity optimistic that Gibraltar tanker release is hopeful news for Stena Impero seafarers

Following media reports of the Gibraltar court decision to drop charges against some of the Grace 1 tanker crew, it appears that the vessel is free to sail. Global seafarers’ charity, Stella Maris, hopes that this may lead to the release of the Stena Impero crew, detained in Iran for 27 days.

Whilst Iran has claimed the detention of the Grace 1 was not connected to the seizure of the Stena Impero, this has been widely questioned.  Stella Maris has been concerned that the crew of the Stena Impero, who had been going about their professional duties, have been detained against their will with little evidence against them.

John Green, Director of Development said ‘This has been a very stressful time for the crew of both ships and we hope that for these seafarers and their families this crisis can be resolved as soon as possible.’

Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea), is the largest charity in the world providing welfare support to seafarers in over 330 ports around the world as well as supporting seafarers’ families.
The charity continues to monitor the situation.

Further information

Pilgrimage of the Sick


Following the visit of Archbishop John Wilson to Aylesford Priory, where he was enrolled in the Carmelite Scapular, we’d like to offer you a gentle reminder that the Friars, in conjunction with the Society of Our Lady of Lourdes, will be holding a Pilgrimage for the Sick, Sunday 11th August.

Why not join them for Mass at 11.30 am, celebrated by Archbishop Kevin McDonald, which will include the Sacrament of the Sick.  Following lunch there will be a Rosary Procession with Benediction and the Blessing of the Sick.  All are very welcome to this beautiful Shrine and its grounds for a special day of prayer.

102nd Birthday of Oscar Romero

Join us in St George's Cathedral, Saturday 10th August, when Canon Alan McLean will be presiding as Principal Celebrant at a Mass to celebrate the 102nd Birthday of St Oscar Romero, Patron Saint of Christian Communicators and a priest who became a voice for the voiceless.  This seems particularly appropriate as many of you will know Canon Alan in his capacity as Director of the Diocesan Choir, which recently sang at Archbishop John Wilson's Installation Mass.

Catholic seafarers’ charity raises concern for crew as second tanker seized in the Gulf

Global seafarers’ charity, Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea), is calling for seafarers rights to be respected as a second tanker has been seized.

Iranian state TV reported that their forces had seized a second oil tanker in the Gulf that they alleged was smuggling fuel. The seven crew onboard have been detained.
John Green, Director of Development for the charity said ‘We are hugely concerned for the welfare of the crew of this ship and also the crew of the Stena Impero who are still detained. The effects of this latest seizure will not only be on this crew but also on their wives and children.

The charity recently published in its magazine for seafarers guidance on what to do when facing criminal charges or an investigation by the authorities.

Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea), is the largest charity in the world providing welfare support to seafarers in over 330 ports around the world as well as supporting seafarers’ families.
The charity continues to monitor the situation.

An energetic start!

Archbishop Wilson's First Week as the 11th Bishop of Southwark
It is just over one week since the Installation of Archbishop John Wilson as Eleventh Bishop of Southwark.  After a day of saying goodbye to family and friends following his Installation, he has since had a rather energetic week getting to know the people and places of the Diocese.

Sunday Mass, diocesan staff and retired clergy

On Sunday 28th July he celebrated his first Sunday Mass in St George's Cathedral, in particular taking time to meet and talk with parishioners afterwards.

Early the working week there was a chance to meet diocesan staff for the first time and to personally meet priests who have retired.  Some of these clergy were happily able to come to his Installation, but he particularly wanted to visit those who for whom it was not possible.

Signing an ACTA

Deacon Anthony Wentworth (Notary), Father Hyacinth Agbodo CSSp (Promoter of the Justice), Father Anthony Uche (Archbishop's Delegate), and Sister Carmel Eberius (Postulator), prepare additional proofs and testimonies for the Second Enquiry for the Cause of the Beatification of Mother Euphrasie Barbier.

Wednesday found Archbishop John signing an ACTA for the ongoing cause for the Beatification and Canonisation of Mother Euphrasie Barbier, since a further request for testimonies had been received from the Vatican in order to progress the petition. A great deal of additional information had been gathered by Sr Carmel of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions, who are based in Deal, Kent, where the Order was founded by Mother Euphrasie. Sister Carmel is also the Order's Archivist in Rome and Postulator for the Cause for Beatification.

Archbishop Wilson verifies the new information for the Second Enquiry  has been completed and that the ACTA can be forwarded from Southwark to the Congregation for the Cause of Saints in Rome.

For further information and to follow the cause on Mother Euphrasie click here (please scroll down the page).

Visiting Aylesford Priory and
Enrolling in the Confraternity of The
Carmelite Scapular

Archbishop John is enrolled in the Confraternity of the Carmelite Scapular in front of the reliquary of St Simon Stock at Aylesford Friary.

Thursday presented a special opportunity to visit the Carmelite Friars at Aylesford. The Archbishop was welcomed to Aylesford Priory for the first time by Fr Kevin Alban, Provincial Superior of the Carmelites in Britain, and Fr Francis Kelmsley, the Prior of Aylesford.  Whilst there he was enrolled in the Confraternity of the Carmelite Scapular.  As he visited the medieval buildings and Shrine he spoke warmly of the Carmelites he knew in his former Diocese of Leeds.

Fr Francis Kelmsley Archbishop John and Fr Kevin Alban.
The Scapular sits above Archbishop John's Pectoral Cross.

The history of Aylesford is unique and has long been associated with St Simon Stock.  In 1251 AD Our Lady appeared to St Simon in Aylesford and handed him a brown woollen scapular.  She explained to him 'This will be a privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone wearing this habit shall not die in the eternal fire'.  

In time, this generous privilege was opened up to all, whether clergy, religious or laity, who were willing to be enrolled in the Confraternity of the Scapular.  This item is known as 'Our Lady's Mantle' and the Scapular devotion is intended to lead the bearer closer to Mary, since wearing it each day tells her daily of our veneration, confidence and love.  Both St Pope John Paul II and St Oscar Romero also wore the scapular.

 In front of the Shrine to Our Lady at Aylesford Priory

The video of the Installation Mass of Archbishop John Wilson as the Eleventh Bishop of Southwark is now available.  Please scroll down the page or visit:

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Patrick (Paddy) Murtagh

who died on Tuesday 30th July 2019

May he rest in peace

Funeral Mass
Friday 2nd August at 12 noon
 Burial will take place afterwards in the Church grounds

Further details can be found at

Message from Archbishop John Wilson

The Most Reverend John Wilson, Archbishop-Elect of Southwark

Dear friends,

Today, Thursday 25th of July 2019, the Church keeps the Feast of the great Apostle St James. It is also the date of my formal Installation as the eleventh Archbishop of Southwark which will take place in St George’s Cathedral.

I begin my new ministry in the joy and hope that comes from faith in the Lord Jesus, once crucified and now forever risen from the dead. In the Gospel reading from St Matthew, which we shall hear during the Installation Mass, the Lord Jesus proclaims that he came ‘not to be served, but to serve.’ This is the pattern for all discipleship and mission in the Church. We are to be servants of each other in the strength of the love of Christ which has been poured into our hearts.

I very much look forward to getting to know the people of the Archdiocese, it parishes, schools, and religious communities. I have much to learn and I will need your support and collaboration as we work together to share our faith in word and action.

Please pray for me, and for the priests, deacons, religious and lay people of the Archdiocese. And please be sure of my prayers for you, in particular if you, or your loved ones, are sick or facing any kind of difficulty or suffering.

We are one body in Christ and we step forward together with trust in God’s living and loving presence in our lives.

With every blessing
Yours sincerely in  Christ

The Most Rev. John Wilson
Archbishop of Southwark


The Archbishop's Installation Mass is now available on YouTube

Read Archbishop Wilson's Installation Homily

Watch the Homily our Facebook Page

(15 minutes)

See photos from the Installation

Monsignor Matthew Dickens reads the Apostolic Mandate

His Excellency Edward Joseph Adams bestows the Pallium

Archbishop Wilson is seated in the Cathedra

Archbishop Peter passes the Diocesan Crozier to Archbishop John

Southwark's new Archbishop was recently interviewed by James Abbot of the Catholic Bishop's Conference.  In this podcast the Archbishop describes his journey from Leeds to Southwark via Westminster Diocese.  He also describes how is looking forward to meeting and working with the clergy and laity of Southwark.

The Catholic Trust of England and Wales seeks an Executive Director

An opportunity has arisen to work with the General Secretary to further develop the Bishops’ Conference Secretariat as a centre of knowledge and capability in support of the bishops of England and Wales. It is an opportunity which would suit someone with broad and deep knowledge and experience of working with the Catholic Church and able to demonstrate a sustained track record of representing the Church across a diverse range of people and organisations, including legislators and influencers in England and Wales.

Reporting to the General Secretary, the role will be based in the office of the Catholic Bishops' Conference, a short walk from Victoria Station in Central London.

Key Accountabilities will include:

  • To work with colleagues to develop professional excellence across all disciplines in support of the Bishops and their mission;
  • To develop individual, team and organisational knowledge and capability, and translate intocompelling policy and practice consistent with proclaiming the Kingdom of God across England andWales;
  • To support the work of the Secretariat in continuously improving knowledge of Church teaching acrossEngland and Wales, including for sacramental preparation;
  • To develop understanding of the Catholic heritage and culture of England and Wales as core toevangelisation;
  • To provide Bishops with knowledge and insight, enabling them to respond to emerging issues ofnational and international importance to the Church;
  • To communicate the Gospel message in the context of the lived experience of the people of Englandand Wales and develop and implement mechanisms for translating Church teaching into pastoral practice.

Salary: Subject to experience
Closing date for applications: 23rd August 2019

Interviews will be held on 18th September 2019 at 39 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1BX. Second interviews will be arranged on a mutually convenient date.

Click here for a job description and for further background information. Alternatively, please contact: or visit

Applicants must confirm their right to work in the UK and forward a full CV and covering letter demonstrating the skills, motivation and experience that equips them for this role to: or by post to:
Head of HR, 39 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1BX

Ordination to the Priesthood

Archbishop Peter Smith recently ordained three new diocesan priests on Saturday 20th July 2019 in St George's Cathedral.  

We offer our sincere congratulations to Father Thomasz Margol, Father Peter Littleton and Father Patrick Pullicino and ask you to keep them in your prayers as they enter this significant new chapter in their lives.  They will serve repsectively in St Bartholomew's, Norbury and St Anselm's. Tooting Bec.

To see photos of this special service visit:


Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Seamus Hetherton

who died on 11th July 2019

Funeral Details

Reception and Mass
Thursday 1st August at 7pm
Our Lady of Fatima Church
Higgins Lane
Birmingham B32 1LL

Please note that parking is limited at and around the church

Funeral Mass
Friday 2nd August at 12 noon
St Mary’s Church
Vivian Road
Birmingham B17 0DN

Followed by a buffet lunch.

For both Masses clergy are asked to bring alb and purple stole

Burial will be in Ireland

Reflection & Prayer at the Shrine of St Jude, Faversham

The Reflection and Prayer programme was a great success at the Shrine of St Jude last year and following on from that, they offering further events this year. Each reflection and prayer session is led by a Carmelite friar and includes Mass, a themed talk, and prayers.

The Reflections are taking place on Saturday 3 August; Saturday 7 September; and Saturday 16 November 2019. Each day starts at 11am and finishes at 1pm. All are very welcome.  

Download a PDF copy of the poster below

To find the Shrine visit:

Mass in Celebration of Marriage

On Saturday 13th July 2019 in St George's Cathedral, Archbishop Peter Smith and Southwark Clergy offered a Diocesan Mass in celebration of Marriage. Couples who are marking significant anniversaries this year, whether their 1st, 25th, 50th, 60th or beyond were invited to attend.

Many couples attend this celebratory service, at which they heard readings from the book of Tobit 8.4-8 and the first letter of John 4.7-12, which states that 'God is love'.  The Gospel reading was the well-known passage from Wedding of Cana. (John 2. 1-11)

During the bidding prayers the congregation prayed for married couples throughout the world, especially those in areas affected by conflict and experiencing poverty, those considering marriage, all separated and divorced, for young families and for those struggling with sickness.

During his homily, Archbishop Peter said '

True love gives rise to very practical demands and consequences... marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensable contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple' 

He went on to discuss Pope Francis' teaching on Marriage:
'Marriage is an adventure, a journey of faith. Those who get married are setting out, like Abraham, on a journey together. And that's what marriage is!  Setting out and walking together hand in hand, putting yourselves in the Lord's powerful hands.  Hand in hand, always and for the rest of your not pay attention to this makeshift culture, which can shatter our lives'.

He concluded the homily by asking all present to pray for those whose marriages have broken down, explaining that Pope Francis would want us to enfold them with love and compassion, not making any judgements but doing what we can to support them and bring healing.

Watch the full homily on You Tube

Following the homily, couples were invited to renew their vows.  At the end of the service the couples and their families received a blessing and were encouraged to 'be witnesses in the world to God's love'.

The Cathedral Choir, directed by Jonathan Schranz, added to the occasion with sublime singing of the Missa in honorem Sancti Josephi by Flor Peters and the Cathedral's Organist brought the service to a uplifting conclusion by playing the popular Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.

In a blaze of glorious sunshine at the end of the service, which lit up the beautiful wedding-style flowers in the Cathedral, Father Graham Preston, Episcopal Vicar for Marriage and Family Life in Southwark, thanked all those involved in bringing the occasion to fruition.  In particular, he expressed his thanks Archbishop Peter for his guidance and support over the years.

To see photographs of the service, click here

Additional images are
now available

After the service couples and their families enjoyed a reception with friends and family in Amigo Hall

Million Minutes Award 

Southwark's Inspiring Young Winners

A young volunteer ship visitor and a group of urban gardeners were just two of the incredible winners at this year’s Celebrating Young People Awards which have been announced at a glittering ceremony in Central London on 3 July.

The awards – now in their fourth year – were powered by Million Minutes. Hundreds of young people were nominated in six categories, each celebrating a different aspect of Catholic social teaching lived out in action. Danny Curtin, the CEO of Million Minutes said the judging panels were “very impressed by all the young people nominated”. 

Cardinal Vincent Nichols presented the Pope Francis Award to 24-year-old Hannah Forrest who is a volunteer ship visitor for Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) in Plymouth. Cardinal Nichols congratulated her, and the other young people present, telling them that he was so proud “to see and sense the vitality of the faith of our Church embodied in so many of the young people gathered tonight”. He added they “have so much generosity and verve for life.”

SJBC Young Gardeners

Our very own Priscilla Casey (22) from Bexleyheath and Carl Johnson (12), Shanai-Elizah Williams (13), Amandha Silveira (12) and Anna Clara Scodeler (11) from St John Bosco College Battersea who make up the schools Young Gardeners, were among those recognised and celebrated on the 3 July, when they won the The Barbara Ward Award, which  recognises young people who have conserved, enhanced or protected creation.

The College itself is in the midst of Battersea’s tower-block estates. A group of enthusiastic and hard-working year 7s established the very first school gardening club, meeting weekly after school. The young gardeners took a small otherwise ignored patch of playground, and with commitment, passion and a great deal of industry and imagination transformed it into a haven for plants and wildlife. They have also brought their work indoors, cultivating flower seeds and strawberry crowns in small pots, which they lovingly tend to daily.

Despite a lack of resources and funding, the group have welcomed donations of seeds and materials from generous friends and parents and have repaid the generosity with not just devotion to the gardening club but also persistence, determination and humour when faced with the familiar problems of slugs and squirrels. Rather than get disheartened, the students have sought innovative ways to protect their plants as well as seek advice from professionals and are enthusiastic when they see new shoots.

A member of the College staff said, “One of the notable features of the gardening club is the amount of pleasure and fun the students get from being members, which is reinforced by their regular attendance, come rain or shine and their fearlessness when it comes to getting their hands dirty or finding large worms in the ground. The group would relish being acknowledged as it would show their efforts are worthwhile and fulfilling”.

Danny Curtin explained “Young people all too often get a bad name, but their selfless and sometimes unseen actions can inspire all of us. Million Minutes is all about giving a voice to the young people that get overlooked. We’re delighted to have held these awards for the fourth year to recognise young people from across England and Wales. We want to celebrate all that they are and all that they give to our world.”

You can read about of the the inspiring Award Recipients and those recognised as ‘Highly commended’ such as Priscila Casey of Bexleyheath, who was Highly Commended for the Dorothy Day Award which recognises young people engaged with those around them, on the award website:

The Awards evening also announced the launch of a new campaign, Million Minutes of Change. Million Minutes will deliver a message to the young people of England and Wales, letting them know valuable and important they are to the Church. Together, they are being invited to creating a million minutes of social action to help change the world:

Sea Sunday 2019

Click the image above to watch the Sea Sunday video, in which a port chaplain visits a docked ship to offer support to the crew

Each year, Apostleship of the Sea, an agency of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of England and Wales, produces resources for parishes to help them understand and celebrate Sea Sunday, which will take place this year on the weekend of 13/14 July. The resources can also be downloaded online.

Please pray for seafarers, their families and all who support them, including Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) and if means allow, consider supporting your parish’s second collection for Apostleship of the Sea this weekend

Stella Maris provides seafarers with pastoral support, information and a listening ear. All funds raised will go towards their work.

For more information go to

Isis Prison Chaplaincy gets a New Managing Chaplain and inaugurates its First Isis Prison Staff Cricket Team

On Wednesday 10th July 2019, HMP/YOI Isis, based in the Thamesmead area of the Diocese, inaugurated the first Isis Prison Staff Cricket Team in commemoration of the Vatican Cricket Team's visit to the Prison in July 2018.

The Cricket Team made up of Prison Officers and Non-operational Staff is coordinated by Father Valentine Erhahon who was recently appointed the Managing Chaplain of the Prison to lead the Multi-faith Chaplaincy department in enabling faith in the prison, and offering pastoral support to all staff and prisoners. Father Valentine, who is now a member of the Senior Management Team of the Prison, co-ordinates a chaplaincy team of more than 10 different faith leaders, all committed to delivering the Prison’s young adult strategy as it prepares to become wholly young offenders from this Autumn.

On Monday 2nd September 2019, Bishop Patrick Lynch will conduct the induction service for Father Valentine as Isis Prison's Managing Chaplain, followed by refreshments for the chaplaincy team.

The Isis Prison Staff Cricket Team (Pictured with the Prison Governor: Emily Thomas) will travel to Rome in 2020 to play a return friendly cricket match with the Vatican’s Cricket Team.

To support the rehabilitation of prisoners, the staff team is to play regular cricket matches on Wednesdays with Isis Prisoners Cricket Team that was inaugurated same time last year.  

The Diocese would like to congratulate Fr Valentine and wishes him well in his new role.  We look forward to hearing more about the Staff Cricket Team and its work in supporting the rehabilitation of prisoners.

Bishop John Sherrington statement urges Catholics to contact MPs to save unborn lives

Last Friday, 5th July 2019, Bishop John Sherrington issued the following statement asking Catholics to contact their MP over proposed changes to law which would potentially legalise abortions in Northern Ireland and remove existing legal safeguards in England and Wales. He writes:

'Early next week Parliament will consider the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill, and we are expecting amendments to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland. This is the most serious threat to the life of the unborn child in modern times. I ask Catholics to contact their Member of Parliament requesting that they vote against this as a matter of urgency.
There are likely to be amendments to repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 which criminalise abortion. The effect of this in Northern Ireland would be to provide for abortion on demand up to 28 weeks. In England and Wales it would remove almost all of the existing legal safeguards surrounding abortion which limit abortion. Removing these is a step which I hope that legislators will not take.
Such a change would leave Northern Ireland with a significantly different abortion framework to the Republic of Ireland, where, following the recent referendum, there is a twelve week limit. It would also leave Northern Ireland, England and Wales with some of the most extreme abortion laws in the world, and more than twice the limit of most European countries.
A legal framework for the protection of unborn human life is an important statement about the respect due to each and every child and about the society in which we live.
Catholics, along with many others, have spoken consistently in favour of the intrinsic value of human life and both the good of the child in the womb and the good of the mother. We lament the loss of life due to abortion and seek a change of minds and hearts in favour of the inviolability of every life and the care of mothers who are pregnant. Recently Pope Francis reiterated this teaching and emphasised that every new life is a gift to be welcomed; it is fear that leads to the rejection of life'.

Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate

We are delighted to announce that Archbishop Peter ordained Martin Smith, Errol Jadoc, Arthur Champ and Roy Cavey as Permanent Deacons in St George's Cathedral on Saturday 6th July 2019. He was joined by Monsignor Keith Newton of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and many Southwark deacons and priests. Our new deacons will respectively serve in the Southwark parishes of Walderslade, Woolwich, Rainham and Pembury (Ordinariate).  

Many congratulations to all four gentlemen, who were supported by wives, wider family and friends today for what was a joyous service. We offer our prayers for them as they begin theiir new ministry.

To see photographs of the service click here.

Santa Marta Group welcomes launch of programme to raise awareness of human trafficking among worldwide community of nurses

Senior adviser to the Santa Marta Group, Kevin Hyland, today welcomed the launch of a programme to raise awareness of human trafficking among nurses across the world.

The aim of the programme is to raise awareness of human trafficking among the 20 million nurses across the world. Research in the UK and US has found that many trafficked victims engage with healthcare services during their period of exploitation.

The programme includes the launch of booklet at the International Council of Nurses’ Congress in Singapore, which was attended by more than 5,000 nurses representing the national nursing bodies of over 120 countries. Mr Hyland is one of the keynote speakers at the ICN Congress. The initiative is a partnership between the International Council of Nurses (ICN), the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), HSE and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).

To read more, click here

The Centre for Catholic Formation

Forthcoming Events
It has been a busy term so far at the Centre for Catholic Formation, with wide range of free lectures and Catholic educational opportunities.  There are a number of events coming up which may be of interest to parishioners:

Blessed Cardinal Newman Lecture Series

The first is the next lecture in the series on Blessed Cardinal Newman, which takes place on Thursday 4th July 2019 at 7.30 pm at the CCF. The talk will be given by Fr Guy Nicholls on the theme of Conscience.  With the recent declaration from the Vatican that Newman will be canonised on 13th October 2019, this is a good time to find out more about the cleric who will be first recognised English Saint for 300 years.  
It is also worth noting that Newman's family home is in Ham, based in Mortlake Deanery near Richmond. (within Southwark Diocese). You can read more about this in an article by Joanna Bogle in the July 2019 edition of The Pilgrim Newspaper.

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd 
Saturday 6 July 2019
10 am - 4 pm
The Centre for Catholic Formation

CGS is a profound method, based on Maria Montessori’s educational principles, which is proving to be extraordinarily fruitful in enabling young children, throughout the world, to interiorise the Word of God and enter more fully into the Mass. The Centre for Catholic Formation will be hosting an Open Day on Saturday 6 July for anyone who would like to know how CGS works, might be interested in training to be a CGS catechist or would like their children to attend sessions at the Centre from September.

Once an atrium established (a sacred environment prepared with beautiful hands-on materials), there will be opportunities for CGS catechists to observe children working, assist in the atrium to gain experience and invite others from their area for a tour of the atrium and a closer look at the materials. The CCF are also able to take orders for CGS books via its Bookshop.

The  hope is that the Good Shepherd room at the Centre will become a CGS resource hub where many will find inspiration and encouragement.

Training for Level 1 part 1 will take place during the next academic year.

For more information about the CGS course, please contact Christine Byrne or call 020 8672 7684  

To download poster, click here.

Day for Disability
A special day out for people with disabilities and carers, which will include a Memorial Mass for Jean Vanier, founder of L’arche, will be held on Sunday 7th July. 

Archbishop Peter will celebrate Mass at 12 noon in Aylesford Priory. The day will include music, an art workshop, mobile zoo animals and circus activities and will conclude at 5 pm.

All are welcome this very special service: please sign up here if you wish to attend and let the organisers know of any special requirements.

Aylesford Priory

Collection of the Archbishop's Pallium

Last Saturday, 29th June 2019, the Most Reverend John Wilson, Archbishop-Elect of Southwark, attended a service in St Peter's Basilica in Rome to collect his pallium from the Holy Father.  

Archbishop John Wilson in the Eternal City

'Pallium' is a latin world which translates as 'cloak' and it is the sign of a metropolitan archbishop. It is worn over the chasuble and bears six crosses, of which four bear a pin (known as a 'spinula', which translates as 'thorn'). 

Every year, on the feast of St Agnes, two lambs are brought from the site of St Paul’s martyrdom at Tre Fontane to the Basilica of St Agnes on the Via Nomentana in Rome.

After being blessed they are taken and presented to the Pope and will then remain in the care of the Sisters who reside at the Basilica of St Cecilia in Trastevere. The two lambs are shorn just before Easter and their wool is used to make the pallia for newly-appointed archbishops.

At one time the pallia were entirely handmade by the Sisters, but the the number of archbishops in need of pallia each year has made it impossible to continue with this practice and a chosen company now manufactures them. However, each pallium contains strands of the wool shorn from the two lambs. Before being presented to the newly-appointed Archbishops, the pallia rest overnight before the tomb of St Peter, which is located in the Crypt of St Peter's Basilica in Rome.

This year, 31 new archbishops received a pallium, of which Archbishop John was the most recent.  We wish him well as he prepares for his Installation at St George's Cathedral in Southwark on 25th July 2019. During the service he will formally receive the pallium from the Nuncio. The bestowal of this small item is as a sign that he is shepherd of his flock and links him to both Rome and St Peter.

Pallia rest on the tomb of St Peter

Canonisation of Cardinal Newman Announced

Pope Francis has announced that Blessed John Henry Newman will be canonised in Rome on Sunday 13th October 2019. This willl take place alongside four others: Giuseppina Vannini, Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan, Irmã Dulce Pontes and Marguerite Bays.  This will make Cardinal Newman the first English person who has lived since the 17th century officially recognised as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was ordained as a Church of England priest and soon became the leader of the Oxford Movement but converted to Catholicism in 1845. He founded the Oratory in England and was later made a cardinal. When he died at the age of 89, more than 15,000 people lined the streets of Birmingham for his funeral.

The cause for his sainthood was opened in 1958 and he was declared Venerable by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1991 after his life of ‘heroic virtue’ was recognised. Pope Benedict XVI declared him 'Blessed' in Cofton Park near Birmingham as part of his historic visit to Britain in 2010.
The canonisation was made possible by a second miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed John Henry Newman, consisting in the medically inexplicable healing of a pregnant woman with life-threatening complications due to her pregnancy. The cure took place in Chicago, USA, in May 2013. After an initial investigation carried out by the Archdiocese of Chicago, it was submitted to the Holy See in 2018, and approved by Pope Francis on 13 February 2019.  

During the ceremony for his beatification in 2010, Pope Benedict said that Newman “tells us that our divine Master has assigned a specific task to each one of us, a ‘definite service’, committed uniquely to every single person. “The definite service to which Blessed John Henry was called,” continued the Pope, “involved applying his keen intellect and his prolific pen to many of the most pressing ‘subjects of the day’. His insights into the relationship between faith and reason, into the vital place of revealed religion in civilised society, and into the need for a broadly-based and wide-ranging approach to education were not only of profound importance for Victorian England, but continue today to inspire and enlighten many all over the world.”

Fr Ignatius Harrison, Provost of the Birmingham Oratory which was founded by Newman in 1849, said that “Newman's lifelong success in bringing others to Christ shows us that the apostolate of Christian friendship achieves much more by attracting people to the Lord than by aggressive polemic. Newman's long and incremental spiritual pilgrimage shows us that God leads us to Himself step by step, in ways that He customises to our individual needs, and in His own good time.”

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, said “This is a moment of great pride. On Friday it was the feast of the Sacred Heart and we held a mass for the priests of England and Wales. Foremost in our minds was the declaration of a saint who was a priest here. John Henry Newman is known for many great qualities, but we remember him particularly for the kindness and compassion of his ministry to the people of Birmingham. At his death they turned out in their thousands to salute a much loved priest on his funeral procession from Birmingham to Rednal.”

Information about Cardinal Newman including details of his life, of the miracle and the process of canonisation, links to his writings as well as photos and videos available to media, can be found at

Appeal for Installation Singers

You will have heard the good news that Archbishop-Elect John Wilson has been appointed the next Archbishop of Southwark!

The Diocesan Music Committee have been asked to form a Choir to support our new Archbishop's Installation Mass, which will take place at 12 noon on Thursday 25th July 2019. The Choir will be under the musical direction of Canon Alan McLean.

We do not have much time to prepare for this great event, but if you are in good voice and available to sing on that day, come and be part of the history of the Archdiocese of Southwark by singing at the Installation service.

You will need to come to a full day rehearsal on Saturday 29th June in Amigo Hall from 10.30 am AND a refresher rehearsal on Saturday 20th July from 11 am in The Most Holy Trinity Church, Dockhead.  We regret no exceptions will be permitted in terms of reheasal attendance.

If you would like to be part of the Choir for this very special service, please fill in this form as soon as possible and send it to

Love Knows No Borders


In October 2018, almost 100 people, a third from the Pas-de-Calais area, attended a gathering in St Paul’s Church, Dover, organised by the Justice and Peace Commissions of the Southwark and Westminster, together with Kent-based Seeking Sanctuary and the Maria Skobstova House of Welcome in Calais. People shared experiences, efforts and hopes for those in need and tried to discern ways ahead and share ideas for action to confront the injustices that had been so clearly experienced by refugees.


Volunteers work hard for displaced people existing in an extremely hostile environment. Like the Good Samaritan who featured in Sunday's Gospel, they offer a welcome, food, clothing, shelter, dignity, and support. The aim is to avoid merely handing out essential aid to people in need, but rather to be there alongside the needy, providing support and friendship. The “Calais situation” has not gone away, as evidenced by the recent spate of perilous Channel crossings in small boats. There are probably over 2000 people sleeping rough near Calais and Dunkirk and dozens more near any port or harbour between Bilbao and Flushing and near their approach roads, not to mention hundreds eking out a precarious existence on the streets of Paris and Brussels.


A small Anglo-French group has continued to meet to plan action. One outcome was to simultaneously mark World Refugee Day on Thursday 20 June with prayers, visits and demonstrations simultaneously – for the first time – in Dover and Calais, calling for an end to inhumane and punishing conditions for exiles stranded in Northern France.

 Memorial Plaques

In Dover, the day began with a short service beside two memorials on the sea front dedicated to those who have died, attempting the Channel crossing. Fr Habte Neghasi, Chair of our Commission for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, and parish priest in Streatham Hill, led a litany of prayer for the dead and committent to their remembrance. This included reference to the Statement signed by Archbishop Peter and other bishops in Calais in September 2015, indicating “a resolve to work together to encourage residents to create a climate of welcome for strangers”.


A period of silent witness with banners followed at the busy roundabout at the port entrance. This attracted plenty of supportive hoots from passing vehicles. A visit to the Samphire Project followed: this is a small organisation founded to help ex-detainees after their release. This is now accompanied by a community engagement project, working with migrant and British communities to improve social cohesion, and inclusivity in and around Dover, and there is also an excellent schools' outreach programme.


The day concluded with an evening gathering at the 11th century Church in St-Margaret's-at-Cliffe, the village closest to the French coast. The Reverend Diane Fawcett read a passage from Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini, in which a father, watching his sleeping son on the eve of their journey, reflects upon the dangerous sea-crossing that lies before them. She also provided a sensitive homily rooted in her experience of supporting refugees in Calais and Lesvos during a sabbatical break from parish duties. Her parish has welcomed two families as part of the government resettlement programme. Phil Kerton from Seeking Sanctuary also gave a reflection.


A parallel evening event took place on the Calais beach as those in Kent made a lantern walk down to a green above Dover's famous White Cliffs and in sight of Calais and similar French cliffs, just 22 miles away. As the sun was setting, a 'Love Knows No Borders' banner was displayed and the new 'People Not Walls' Declaration of solidarity with all migrants was read, summed up by the words: "Stop investing in walls and start investing in people". That is to say, replace the current security-focused approach with a humanitarian alternative.

 Gathering at The Samphire Project

The Dover event was organised by the Southwark and Westminster Commissions for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, Seeking Sanctuary, the London Catholic Worker, and the Anglican diocese of Canterbury:  a new and effective inter-diocesan and ecumenical alliance.

Read the Declaration of 'People not Walls', which was issued last Thursday 20th June, World Refugee Day 2019.  Click here.


With thanks to Phil Kerton and Marie Bullard


Refugee Week

The Cabrini Shrine in St George's Cathedral, Southwark

Between 17-23 June we will be marking Refugee Week, when we are all invited to celebrate the contribution of refugees to our communities and society in general. The theme of Refugee Week 2019, ‘You, me and those who came before’, is an invitation to explore the lives of refugees and those who have welcomed them throughout the generations.

In the Archdiocese of Southwark, diversity and the influence of refugees and migrants in our parishes is something of which we are especially proud. In St George's Cathedral we havea shrine to Mother Cabrini, the Patron Saint of Migrants which is beautifully adorned with flowers on her Feast Day each November and when Southwark hosts the interdiocesan Mass for Migrants every third year. Why not drop by the Cathedral this week, visit the Shine and perhaps light a candle before saying a prayer for those seeking sanctuary, those undertaking a major journey to seek safety or refugees starting the new life in the UK.  Also, please do take a look at our Facebook page, as we explore our Diocesan Archives a little.

In the meantime, the Refugee website: has some excellent information with regard to this celebratory week, with a particularly good section entitled 'Simple Acts', which encourages everyone to stand alongside refugees and to make new connections in the local community. This might mean sharing your home cuisine or music with others.  Alternatively, you might like to share your story or write a poem. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll be joining a big national movement celebrating the ways refugees have enriched our culture and communities, for generations.

There are are a number of interesting resources online this week. These include the Catholic Bishop's Conference podcast about Samir and his family: refugees from the City of Homs.  Under the Community Sponsorship Scheme a parish in Manchester enabled them to start a new life. Two years on, Samir has achieved his dream of openng a restaurant, and he now offers the local community a taste for his passion of Middle Eastern cuisine. Click on the SoundCloud Icon below to listen to the CBCEW Podcast
In the meantime, why not join with others on the World Day for Refugees (Thursday 20th June 2019) when people will join together in Dover to stand in solidarity with refugees in Calais.  A full programme, which has been organisied by Southwark and Westminster Justice and Peace Commissions, Canterbury Anglican Diocese, Seeking Sanctuary and the Samphire Project, will take place from 12.30 pm onwards.  Please find the full details below.  

For enquiries contact Marie Bullard: 020 7928 9742.

A busy weekend in Southwark!

The weekend of  the 15th and 16th of June was a busy one in Southwark.  In particular, two significant events took place.  The first was at St George's Cathedral on Saturday 15th June, when Archbishop Peter welcomed the Permanent Deacons of the Diocese as they renewed their diaconal commitment.  At the same service two gentlemen were warmly welcomed as they will be commencing diaconal training next September.

For additional photographs of this event click here.

On Sunday 16th June a pilgrimage for the Knights of St. Columba (Southern Province) took place at Aylesford Priory, led by Mgr. Matthew Dickens, the Chancellor of the Diocese.  Monsignor Matthew is currently taking care of Kent while we await the announcement of an Auxiliary Bishop for this area of the Diocese.

Although the weather was a case of rain and shine, it was a day warm welcomes as a number new brothers were installed as a full Knights of the Council.  Our congratulations go to all concerned.

Pope Francis Appoints New Archbishop of Southwark

It was announced today, 10th June 2019, the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation from office of Archbishop Peter Smith and duly appointed Bishop John Wilson as his successor and Eleventh Archbishop of Southwark.

Upon reaching their 75th year, bishops are required to submit their resignation from office to the Holy Father. Archbishop Peter did this in 2018, and the process leading to a new appointment began soon after.

Archbishop-elect John WilsonArchbishop-Elect John Wilson had until his appointment been an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Westminster.

He was born in Sheffield on 4th July 1968. He studied at the University of Leeds before starting his formation for the priesthood in 1989 at the Venerable English College in Rome.
He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Leeds on 29th July 1995, and served as Assistant Priest at
St Joseph’s, Pontefract 1995-1998 and at St Joseph’s, Bradford 1998-1999. From 1999-2005, he was a lecturer in moral theology at St Cuthbert’s Seminary, Ushaw and served as Vice Rector. He was Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation in Leeds between 2005 and 2012. From June 2012 to November 2014 he was Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Leeds. Then he was Parish Priest of St Martin de Porres, Wakefield.  On 24th November 2015 he was appointed an Auxiliary Bishop in Westminster, and was ordained Bishop on 25th January 2016.

Speaking of his appointment Archbishop-Elect John said:

'To say I am deeply humbled by my appointment, while absolutely true, hardly seems adequate. It is an immense privilege and I will do my very best to serve joyfully after the example of the Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Aware of my unworthiness and limitations, and with more than a little trepidation, I am grateful to Pope Francis for entrusting me with this new mission in the service of the Lord and His people in the Archdiocese of Southwark. There is so much that is new to me and I know I have much to learn. I rely totally on the Holy Spirit to guide my new ministry of witnessing to the love of God for each person so that we might be evermore a Church of joyful missionary disciples, alive in Christ, our risen Saviour....

I have received a warm welcome from Archbishop Peter Smith for which I thank him sincerely. I know how much he and his ministry will be missed. I am so pleased that he will be retiring within the Archdiocese. His continued presence and counsel is a great reassurance.

We will continue to build on the important foundations he has put in placeIt is with faith-filled anticipation that I look forward to sharing the Church’s mission with Bishop Patrick Lynch and Bishop Paul Hendricks, and with the priests, deacons, religious and lay people of the Archdiocese. Together we step out into the future with confidence, trusting that the Lord is indeed with us'.

Read Archbishop-Elect John Wilson's full statement here

Archbishop Peter wamly welcomed the appointment, stating:

'It was with great delight that I received the splendid news that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop John Wilson as the next Archbishop of Southwark. It was nine years ago today that I was installed as the tenth Archbishop of this Diocese, and I am very pleased now to be able to pass on my responsibilities to such a capable successor. The Archdiocese of Southwark has a vibrant and multi-cultural Catholic population to which Bishop John will bring new energy and enthusiasm.  I wish him every blessing for his episcopal ministry in Southwark and assure him of my prayers and good wishes'.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, also expressed his support of the new appointment:

'On behalf of the people, priests and religious of Westminster I assure Archbishop-elect Wilson of our whole-hearted support and prayers as he moves to take up his role as Archbishop of Southwark. We thank him most warmly fort his service in Westminster both as an area bishop and a dedicated part of episcopal oversight of the Archdiocese, especially in education'.

Archbishop-Elect John’s Installation as Archbishop of Southwark will take place on Thursday 25th July 2019 at 12 noon. Archbishop Peter has been appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese until the installation.

Read the Catholic Bishop's Conference of England and Wales' Statement

Liturgical Adjustments

The Diocesan Liturgy Commission has produced a document with suggested Mass prayers and other prayers for use in the coming weeks.

Click Here for a PDF Verison of the document.
Click Here for a Word (.doc) Verison of the document.

The document includes a note on the "The Eucharistic Prayer" which is repeated here:
"Once the name of the new Archbishop has been announced he is not prayed for in the Eucharistic Prayer until he has taken possession of the Diocese and been installed in the Cathedral, on Thursday 25th July 2019."
Until that time we continue to name and pray for ‘… Peter, our Bishop’.

Archbishop Emeritus Peter Smith and Archbishop-Elect John Wilson
Monday 10th June 2019

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Gary Gill

who died on Saturday 25th May 2019

Funeral Mass

Monday 17th June 2019 - 12 noon

St Paul's Church 103 Maison Dieu Road Dover CT16 1RU

(Concelebrating Clergy are asked to bring White diocesan vestments)

May he rest in peace

Mass for New Catholics

Archbishop Peter Smith holds aloft the Book of the Elect
at the Rite of Election shortly before Easter

On Saturday 8th June at 12.30 pm, Archbishop Peter will celebrate a Mass for New Catholics in the Diocese of Southwark at St George's Cathedral.
All Catholics who have been received into the Church in Southwark are very welcome to attend with their Family and Friends. to celebrate this important step in their spiritual journey.

Matt Maher at St George's Cathedral, Southwark leading Praise, Worship and Adoration

On Friday 31st May Southwark Catholic Youth Service was delighted to welcome Matt Maher, international award winning singer and song writer, to St. George’s Cathedral for an evening of music, worship and prayer.

Matt Maher Worship , Praise & Adoration

Around 700 people enjoyed hearing Matt’s stories of his faith and music journey and joined him in praise and worship, culminating in a time of silence and adoration before the blessed sacrament.

Matt Maher Worship , Praise & Adoration

Highlights included ‘Your grace is enough,’ God’s ‘green thumbprint’ in his song ‘The Garden,’ and a reminder to live in the present moment with Jesus in ‘As good as it gets.’

Matt Maher Worship , Praise & Adoration
In 2013 Matt had a career highlight playing his hit ‘Lord I need you’ with Pope Francis and a crowd of 3 million people in Rio – if you’d like a taste of Matt’s music this song on on YouTube, which was played during Adoration, would be a great place to start:

Commissoning as Head of Chaplaincy 
at King's College Hospital

Congratulations to Alfred Banya, pictured here with Bishop Pat Lynch, who was commissioned and installed as Head of Chaplaincy at Kings College Hospital on Friday 31st May 2019.  It is thought that he is the first Catholic Permanent Deacon to hold this post in the history of this important London hospital.  

We hold him in our prayers and wish him a rewarding time in this special role, in which he and his team will be bringing the love and hope of God to those are coping with illness and challenging situations.

Communications Sunday 2019

Media in St George's Cathedral at the Chrism Mass

The Catholic Church celebrates World Communications Day on Sunday 2 June 2019 when we are asked to pray for those who work in the media.

It's a digital world and since the launch of the internet, the Church has always sought to promote its use in the service of the encounter between persons, and of solidarity among all.

While governments seek legal ways to regulate the digital world and to protect the original vision of a free, open and secure network, we all have the possibility and the responsibility to promote its positive use.

Statistics show that among young people one in four is involved in episodes of cyberbullying. To stem this phenomenon, an International Observatory for Cyberbullying Prevention will be established, with its headquarters in the Vatican.

Pope Francis invites us to reflect on our ‘being-in-relation’, and to rediscover, in the current communications context, the very human desire not to be left isolated or lonely.

On World Communications Day, we take up the command of Jesus to preach the Good News of the Gospel to the whole world. Vital to this is good communication - through our websites, publications and social media channels. The Bishops' Conference and Dioceses around the UK work hard to forge positive relationships with media outlets to communicate news relating to every aspect of the life of the Catholic Church and her people.

Support Catholic Communications in the UK

CATHOLIC VOICES invite you to apply for the


LONDON, Sep 2019

 Catholic Voices, originally created for the 2010 papal visit to the UK, is now a major project present in nearly 25 countries worldwide. Its model, training ‘ordinary’ Catholics to tell the Church’s story, has created a whole new generation of confident media and public speakers. It has also transformed the way Catholics are perceived in the media, winning the backing of bishops and broadcasters alike. Fired by the UK example, the project has spread abroad, with CV groups trained by the coordinators in Spain, Mexico, Ireland, Poland, Lithuania, Chile, USA, Australia and Venezuela.

In the UK since 2010, our trainings have meant that over 100 Catholic Voices speakers have made over 1,200 appearances on TV and radio programmes, commenting and debating the Church’s positions on a large range of topics. More recently since the official launch in 2017 of our ‘Public Speakers’ Programme’ we have delivered nearly 600 workshops or talks speaking to over 100,000 people in a variety of contexts including parishes, schools and universities.

The vision of CV is expanding in the UK, the heart of the project remains our ambition to create a growing number of trained Catholic Voices (CVs). The difference in recent years is this training is geared towards creating the next generation of Catholic Public Speakers who, together with the existing teams, make themselves available to speak in parishes, schools, chaplaincies and deliver workshops (some of whom may then go on to appear in the media). The ‘Public Speakers’ Programme’ aims to give world class training to ordinary Catholics so they have the skills to become public speakers (to find our more information about Catholic Voice visit our website,



  • This year, as in previous years, we are focusing exclusively on training people to give talks and presentations as well as workshops on how to more effectively tell the Church’s story. That means that the eighth National Speakers’ Training 2019 will have a new format, involving two Saturdays (21 Sep & 16 Nov) and seven Tuesday evenings (26 Sep, 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 Oct and 7 Nov ) in central London.
  • Thanks to generous donors, the training is free of charge, but we ask participants coming from outside London to pay for their travel and accommodation costs if they are able (if not, subsidies are available).
  • We welcome applications from practising, thoughtful, engaging, committed Catholics of all ages and states of life (married, single, lay, religious, etc.) who are willing to learn how to put the Church’s case in compelling ways.
  • To help you decide if this may be for you, we have a detailed ‘Notes for Applicants’ sheet which we will email to you. There is an application and interview process.
  • Bear in mind that, if this is for you, we need an up-front commitment to the MAJORITY of the training programme, which means being available at the very minimum on both the Saturday training days, as well at least five of the seven Thursday evenings. You will also need to be available for one of the interview dates.
  •  Interviews (held in central London): 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th September
  • If you think you might like to be a CV, please email for an application form and our ‘Notes for Applicants’ sheet. (Feel free also to contact us informally via the same email address).
  • Applications close 31 August 2019.

Solemnity of the Ascension: 30th May 2019

A Message from Archbishop Peter

This great Feast of the Ascension of the Lord comes forty days after the resurrection of Jesus, and celebrates the completion of his earthly ministry. At his incarnation, he who is the Son of God humbly took on our human form, and his Ascension into heaven elevated his human nature to the dignity and glory of Heaven. 

Jesus’ journey wasn’t a journey into outer space.  It was a journey to his Father in heaven. During his earthly ministry he could only be in one place at a time, but now, united with his Father in heaven, he’s present wherever God is present; and that means everywhere.

The first Christians understood that very well.  They knew that Jesus now lived in their hearts.  He was still with them, as he is with us, even though not in the same way as before. They believed he still shared their lives, and that death would mean being united with him in glory forever.  In the meanwhile, we recognise the presence of Jesus when we celebrate the Eucharist, as we’re doing now; present in the scriptures and in the breaking of bread.

His resurrection and ascension are the guarantee of eternal life for those who believe in him, and who are empowered by the Holy Spirit who Jesus sends into the hearts of all his believers to enable them to fulfil the two great commandments:  “You must love the Lord with your whole heart and strength. You must love your neighbour as yourself.”

And Jesus relied on his disciples to preach the Gospel and to live it out in our own lives. As Christians who believe in Jesus Christ, we are called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and bear witness to the Gospel, the Good news that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, and to proclaim our belief in him by the witness of our lives.

So today we thank God for the great gift he has given us, the gift of himself in our baptism and Confirmation, and in our celebration of the Eucharist and when we spend some time in personal prayer.  We look forward to celebrating the great feast of Pentecost, in just over a week, and celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit into our hearts and minds.

                                        Yours in Christ

Diocesan Medal Awarded in Barnes Parish

At St. Osmund’s RC Church in Barnes on Sunday 19 May, Fergus O’Kelly received the Diocesan Medal from Bishop Howard Tripp on behalf of the Archbishop and the Diocese.

Congratulations to Fergus O’Kelly who recently received the Award from the Archbishop for Service and Fidelity on behalf of the Diocese.

Bishop Tripp came to Barnes and celebrated Mass to honour Fergus, who has led the parish choir since 1981 and continues to do so. Previously he was a member of the choir under the former Director. During his time as Choir Director, Fergus has written motets, a Carol and a Mass setting for use by the choir. The Parish Choir frequently sing his setting of the Mass.
For the major Feasts Fergus rehearses the choir for many weeks and as an example of his dedication he leads the choir at three Masses at Christmas.

Fergus is well known outside Catholic circles and has made a great contribution to the Barnes community. In the late 1980s he founded the local drama society and now enjoys the title of Life President of Barnes Community Players. He also started another community choir called the Castelnau Chorale whose members perform as a number of charity events in Barnes, especially around Christmas time.

In his working life Fergus worked for the BBC producing radio programs for schools to encourage young people to participate in music and singing. He also presented schools programs. His greatest claim to fame is playing the laughing priest, Fr Barty Dunne in the television series, Father Ted.

Life Ascending Meeting

Life Ascending is an organisation which seeks to bring together men and women who are looking to enrich their later years through friendship and prayer. Most members are over 70 years, but young at heart and concerned for their world.  

There are a number of Life Ascending groups in Southwark and on Wednesday 29th May they will be embracing social issues through a Day of Recollection, which will be held at St George’ s Cathedral Southwark.

Damien Conrad of The Felix Project will tell how food waste is distributed to 300 charities creating 6,000,000 meals a year and Sr Patricia Byrne will reflect on Creation and The Live Simply campaign. Joanna Bogle will complete the day at 2.45pm with ‘Sharing our Catholic culture’.

The day starts at 10.30am and all are very welcome. If you are interested in generally finding out more about the Life Ascending Movement you are also very welcome to come and join us.

Cost is £10.  Please bring a packed lunch.

Matt Maher Concert


If your school, parish or family haven't yet secured tickets to take your young people to an excellent evening of music with Matt Maher on Friday 31st May in St George's Cathedral, now is the time to book!

Music was a key ingredient at the highly successful CMYFed FLAME event last March, which attracted over 9,000 young people, and it is evident that they respond to it with ease and great enthusiasm.  

Matt Maher has won a string of Gospel Music Association awards and been nominated on a number of occasions for Grammy Awards.  His career highlights include performing in front of Pope Francis and 3 million young people at World Youth Day. He's from Canada and lives in the USA but has agreed to come and perform at two of our UK Cathedrals this month.

Don't miss out on this unique event, which is being run by the Southwark Catholic Youth service in conjunction with the same agency in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

Tickets are just £10 and can be purchased from

Hear Matt Maher perform 'Just as I am', recently performed at the Steinway factory.  Click the 'PLAY' button below.



Team Secretary 

Marriage Tribunal

The Southwark Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal is responsible for managing applications for marriage annulment for the Diocese of Southwark.  The administration team prepares all of the applications prior to them going to judgment before the Judicial Vicar / Presiding Judge.  We are now looking for a new secretary to join this team.

Based at the Centre for Catholic Formation in Tooting Bec, this post will gather together all necessary documentation; interview relevant parties and prepare documentation to go before the Judicial Vicar / Presiding Judge.  The ideal candidate will have excellent secretarial/administrative experience and be very competent with IT (Microsoft Office).  He/she will have good communication skills, especially in client interviews when a sensitive and empathetic approach to clients is required. 

An ability to work on your own initiative and some knowledge of the workings of the Catholic Church is also essential.  0900 – 1700 Monday to Friday.  Salary range £23,000pa - £25,000pa depending on skills and experience.

To apply please email a copy of your CV to by 5th June 2019, interviews will be on 12th June 2019.

Divine Retreat Centre

Every year, Divine Retreat Centre UK holds a one-day convention on its anniversary. But this year is a special one:  Divine Retreat Centre celebrates five years in the UK.

 To mark this milestone of The Divine Retreat Centre’s ministry in the UK, a 5th Anniversary Convention will be held on June 1, 2019 from 9:00 am to   4: 30 pm at The Halley Academy in Blackheath, London.  The Bible Convention and Healing Service will bring together eminent international and national speakers from the Divine Ministry.  The Convention will be led by the Most Reverend Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark; Fr Augustine Vallooran VC, Director of Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor; and Frs George Panackal VC, Antony Parankimalil VC, Jose Palliyil VC and Joseph Edattu VC.  This one-day convention is a chance to reconnect with God and experience the life-changing love of Christ through scriptural talks, praise and worship, Eucharistic Adoration, and the Holy Mass.

 The Divine Retreat Centre in Potta, Kerala is the largest Catholic retreat centre in world, and the UK branch is the first of its kind in Europe. Over the last five years, thousands of people — irrespective of faith — from around the UK have come to The Divine Retreat Centre for retreats, through which they can re-establish their relationship with God. The retreats by Divine Retreat Centre give people the opportunity to comprehend God’s love through Christ’s teachings, and to be strengthened with the Holy Spirit to face life’s challenges.

Celebrating Southwark's Jubilarians

On Tuesday 21st May Archbishop Peter Smith welcomed a number of diocesan clergy to St George's Cathedral in order to celebrate their significant ordination anniversaries.  Each priest has been ordained between 25 and 50 years.

This immense service to the Church, and also to the people of Southwark, was marked by the celebration of Mass in the Cathedral and a special lunch afterwards in Archbishop's House.  The 19 Jubilarians were also joined by Bishop Paul Hendricks and Bishop Pat Lynch.

Please pray for our Jubliarians and all our priests, that they may be strengthened by the Holy Spirit daily in their work for God's Church and in bringing the love of Jesus to his people.  Please also continue to pray for vocations to the Priesthood.

Additonal photographs of today's celebration are available. Click here.

Diamond Jubilarians

Reverend David O'Regan
Reverend Leonard Taylor
Reverend Anthony Maggs CRE

Golden Jubilarians
Reverend Patrick Aikens
Reverend Jeff Cridland
Reverend Christopher Pritchard
Reverend Victor McClean
Reverend Patrick Zammit

Ruby Jubilarians
Reverend Monsignor Timothy Galligan
Reverend David Gummett
Reverend Christopher Basden

Silver Jubilarians
Reverend Robert Copsey SOLT
Reverend Deacon Michael Dale
Reverend Monsignor Matthew Dickens
Reverend Vincent Flynn
Reverend Deacon Paul Glock
Reverend Leszek Klos
Reverend Deacon Daniel Mulcahy
Reverend Uche Njoku

Vacancy at Wonersh Seminary 

St John’s Seminary are seeking to appoint
an Archivist/Records Manager

St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, Guildford, Surrey (GU5 0QX) – a house of formation for Catholic Priests since 1891 - is seeking to appoint an Archivist/Records Manager, initially on a 1 year fixed-term full-time contract (or
a 2 year fixed-term part-time contract).

The successful candidate will be suitably qualified to degree level, and will have proven experience in the Archives/Records fields. They will also have a working knowledge of current Data Protection Legislation, particularly the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the Data Protection Act 2018.

Salary: £27,000 pa.

Further details are available from Monsignor Gerald Ewing (Vice-Rector).  E-mail:

Letters of application, plus accompanying CVs to be received by email by 31 May 2019.
Interviews will take place the week beginning 10 June 2019.

Commissioning of Extraordinary Ministers of 
Holy Communion at the Friars - Aylesford

On Saturday 11th May 2019 Bishop Paul Hendricks, Auxiliary Bishop for the South West Area of the diocese, and Monsignor Matthew Dickens,
Vicar General, led the Commissioning Day at the Friars


Bishop Paul started the day with a talk on the Eucharist and this special Ministry



Monsignor Matthew Dickens presided at a period of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.


After lunch Monsignor Matthew spoke of the role of the Extraordinary Minister and the rubrics, including the service of administering Holy Communion to the Sick and the essential requirements that need to be in place before staring this ministry and so therefore bringing together all the training that had been given in every parish


Bishop Paul presided at the Mass assisted by Monsignor Matthew Dickens, during which he commissioned the new Extraordinary Ministers and presented their certificates


48 Ministers were commissioned from Aylesford, Canterbury, Charlton, Hayes, Merton, Mitcham, Norwood South, Sanderstead, Tonbridge, Welling, West Malling



A Special Service of Thanksgiving and Reflection

for those who have donated their bodies for medical education

The Dean of St George's Cathedral, The Bishop of London and assembled guests listen to Dr Paul Carter of St George's University Hospital, London.

On 10th May St George’s Cathedral hosted a service of thanksgiving to commemorate those who donated their bodies for the benefit of medical education in the last calendar year. 

This is organised by the London Anatomy Office and ushers and readers are provided by a teaching institution served by the London Anatomy Office on a rotational basis. This year they were provided by St George's, University of London.

The families and friends of those who had donated their bodies to medical science filled St George's Cathedral and the names of the donors were listed in the Cathedral. Some family members brought photographs which were placed at the front.
The service was led by Canon Richard Hearn, Dean of the Cathedral, and the address was given by the Rt. Rev & Rt. Hon. Dame Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London.  The Rev. Chris van D’Arque, head of chaplaincy at St. George’s University Hospital led the prayers and the Choir of King's College London led the singing.

To see photographs of this service, click here.


Statement from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales Spring 2019 Meeting

13th May 2019

At the end of our meeting in Valladolid, we thank Baroness Sheila Hollins and her team for their leadership of our days of safeguarding training. We thank especially the people who spoke to us of their experiences as victims and survivors of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

We have been strengthened greatly by the prayers of so many, including seven Carmelite Monasteries, we thank them too. These have been days which have touched every bishop very deeply. We have listened to the deep and lasting confusion, pain and despair, inflicted by the people who abused them. We have listened with horror to the ways in which precious gifts of our faith have been used to groom and dominate both children and vulnerable adults in crimes of abuse. We humbly ask forgiveness of all who carry this pain, for our slowness and defensiveness and for our neglect of both preventative and restorative actions.
For us bishops, these days are a watershed. Now we accept with renewed vigour the challenges that lie ahead. We welcome warmly the Motu Proprio Vos estis lux mundi” which Pope Francis has issued today, the last day of our conference, and its new provisions and requirements.
Statement from Baroness Sheila Hollins
Baroness Hollins, speaking on behalf of the training team, said that they had felt privileged to be part of the Church’s mission of healing and to witness such a ‘conversion of heart’.  

The majority of the team were victims/ survivors of abuse in the Church, and together with the professional members, they helped the Bishops to learn to listen more deeply to people who have been hurt. 'We wanted them to understand more clearly the importance of listening to and accompanying people who have been abused and those close to them, and to recognise the long-term effects of abuse'.  

A key part of the conference was to move from words to actions and to try to ensure the abuses of the past are never repeated, and that the Church becomes a safe place for all its members. A place where everyone belongs and will always feel that they belong. It was a profoundly validating experience for all of us. One survivor said: ‘I felt hugely encouraged by their sincere desire to bring about healing & their genuine sorrow at the harm inflicted by some of their brothers, on so many’.


Vocations Sunday 2019

Message for the Fourth Sunday of Easter: 12th May 2019

World Day of Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood
and Religious Life

My dear brothers and sisters,

Today is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood
and Religious Life.

Please particularly pray this week that those God our Father is calling
to ministry in the Church may have the listening ear to discern that call. This is the first step on a journey, but obviously not the last. Pope Francis has entitled his Vocations Day message this year “The courage to take a risk for God’s promise”, as responding to our ‘Vocational Call’ from God can be a risky venture; we must let go and trust in Him. That promise, the Gospel Good News, needs all Christian people to bear it to the world, but especially those in Holy Orders and the Religious Life.

This Diocese has been fortunate over the years to have been blessed with many priests from different backgrounds and cultures, although as I await the appointment of a successor, I pray the “Lord of the harvest to send labourers to the harvest”, as more priests would be a great help to the next Archbishop!

In the Gospel today we hear that Jesus says “The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice”. In a special way the priest both listens to that voice and also speaks with that voice. Without priests that voice can become muted or even unheard.

I would ask you to pray for your own Clergy and Religious, who dedicate their lives to the service of God and the Church. To pray for the inspiration to see where God is calling you in your life, and to pray for wisdom, to recognise those who need encouragement to consider Religious Life or Ordination.

                            With an assurance of my prayers,
The Most Reverend Peter Smith
Archbishop of Southwark


The Courage to take a Risk
Read Pope Francis' Vocations Day message here.


Interested in discerning your vocation?

The Southwark Vocations Team runs regular meetings known as Galilee Groups. At each monthly meeting there is a formation talk, followed by Mass and supper.  

The next groups take place on the following dates:

South West Area
Friday 7th June 2019 at 6 pm with Benediction, then from 6.30 pm onwards.
Venue: The Parish Centre, Holy Ghost RC Church, 27 Nightingale Square, Balham SW12 8QJ.

South East Area
Friday 7th June 2019 at 6.30 pm
Venue: The Priest's House, St Saviour's RC Church, 175 Lewisham High Street SE13 6AA.

Kent Area
Friday 14th June 2019 at 6.30 pm - 8.30 pm.
Venue: St Thomas of Canterbury RC Church, Canterbury 59 Burgate CT1 2HJ.

To attend one of these groups or for an informal discussion, please email:

Jean Vanier RIP

1928 - 2019
It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Jean Vanier today.

An man of vision and inspiration, Southwark's young people were very priviledged to hear a specially recorded interview with him at the recent CYMFed FLAME Congress, which focussed on making your life significant in the eyes of God.

He founded L'Arche (The Ark): a federation of communities now in many countries around the world, where people with developmental disabilities live with those who care for them.

He also co-founded Faith and Light, which works with those coping with developmental disabilities as well as their families and friends.

He received countless awards and honours for his work, had schools named after him and wrote 30 books on a variety of subjects, including tolerance, religion and disability.

His believed that each person has an intrinsic value and and that those with and without learning disabilities can learn from each other and develop in community.  His immense legacy will surely continue well into the future.

In his final statement, Jean Vanier said '"God is good and whatever happens it will be the best. I am happy and give thanks for everything. My deepest love to each one of you".

To love someone is to show to them their beauty,
their worth and their importance.”

― Jean Vanier

Centre for Catholic Formation

Summer Term 2019

The CCF, based in Tooting Bec, have released their new Summer Term brochure.  

The exciting schedule of events begins this evening with a brand-new short course for new Catholics called RISEN, which explores various aspects of the Catholic Faith, particularly the Sacraments, between now and October.  During each session there will be some teaching alongside informal discussion. Refreshments are provided and the course is free of charge.  All new Catholics are extremely welcome to attend the course, which willl run between 7-9 pm on the dates given on the poster below.

Please also note the Mass for new Catholics at 12.30 pm on Saturday 8th June 2019 in St George's Cathedral.

With his canonisation likely to be in Autumn this year (date unconfirmed) there is a key lecture series on Cardinal John Henry Newman.  In addition, there is a short Faith and Art Series, which explores culture and religion and much more.

There are a wealth of opportunities to learn and deepen knowledge of our Catholic faith available, so why not come and visit the CCF this summer.

To download this poster click here.

New Southwark Pilgrimage Page

With Summer fast approaching and hopefully better weather, many of us will be turning our minds towards the possibility of a holiday, and in some cases, the idea of spiritual refreshment through undertaking a pilgrimage.

There are many reasons that we might go on pilgrimage: as Catholics it is often to pray for ourselves and those we love or to find guidance and answers to spiritual questions or personal concerns.  It may also be that we have a special devotion to Our Lady, a particular Saint or some aspect that we find particularly inspirational, or it may be that we are simply looking for peace in our busy lives.

With a significant contemporary rise in popularity, we hope to inspire parishioners to embrace the idea of pilgrimage.  Somehow, making definite time, often in a completely different or new setting, and occasionally with people that may not be all that well known to us, can help us to find the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through both silence and in sharing.

Purley parishioners on Pilgrimage in the Holy Land

On our new Pilgrimages Page you will find details of a forthcoming Ecumenical visit to the Holy Land in 2020, with thoughts from Bishop Paul Hendricks on a journey made in Seminary days and looking forward to the joint pilgrimage with the Anglican Diocese of Southwark next year.  For those that have never been to the Holy Land or are new to pilgrimage, Canon John Weatherill, Parish Priest at Purley, reflects on his recent first-time visit the place where Jesus walked.

Walking on the Augustine Camino

There are details about the Augustine Camino: a pilgrimage to the birthplace of English Christianity which is based in Southwark Diocese and covers 70 miles of glorious walking routes between Rochester Cathedral and the Shrine of St Augustine in Ramsgate, Kent.  The founder of the Camino, Andrew Kelly, if offering a free one-day pilgrimage (we are happy to say that this one-day route is considerably less than 70 miles!) between Faversham and Canterbury on 8th June 2019. Places are limited so don't miss out!

There are also details online of how to find out more about the forthcoming annual Archdiocesan Pilgrimage to beautiful Lourdes in August 2019.

To explore this new page visit:

Bank Holiday Weekend in Southwark Diocese

Over the course of the forthcoming Bank Holiday weekend, there are a number of events and activities taking place.


The first to mention is the New Evangelisation Summit, which will take place between 2 pm - 9 pm on Saturday 4th May 2019 at the Centre for Catholic Formation in Tooting Bec, SW17.  The Summit focusses on equipping and forming Catholics to live out the Church's missionary identity. It will be streamed live from Canada and include a number of renowned speakers
The cost is £15, which includes a cooked meal and printed programme. Please contact the CCF in advance on 020 8672 7684 if possible: or click here to book.  You can also find out more about hosting future summits in your parish.

Also on Saturday, St George's Cathedral Choir will be holding a recruitment day for new choristers between 10 am - 4 pm in the Cathedral Song Room.

During the day there will be warm-ups, singing games, individual auditions, group rehearsals, social activities and participants may even get a brief chance to conduct the choir in rehearsal! There will be a final performance for friends and family in St.George's Cathedral at the end of the day.

A musical education of this kind is an incredible opportunity for a host of reasons. Visit the Cathedral website to find out more.

On 6th May, Bank Holiday Monday, the Guild of St Stephen's will be holding an Altar Servers' Rally at Aylesford Priory with Mass at 11.30 am, celebrated by Father Francis Kemsley O.Carm, Prior of Aylesford.  All are welcome this service.  To see a copy of the schedule for the full day, click here.

Finallly, the annual Mass for Migrants will take place on Monday 6th May 2019 from 10 am in Westminster Cathedral. This vibrant service, hosted jointly by the dioceses of Westminster, Brentwood and Southwark, celebrates the diversity of London, Kent, Essex, Middlesex and Hertfordshire.  Bishop Campbell will be the celebrant.

The banner procession from the Piazza into Westminster Cathedrall will take place at 10 am and Mass itself will take place at 10.30 am. If you plan to be present, please be seated in good time: this is a very popular occasion.

We wish all in Southwark a safe and pleasant Bank Holiday weekend.

The Migrants Mass in 2018

Photo courtesy of Marcin Mazur
For additional photos of last year's Mass for Migrants, click here

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Huebert Miranda

who died on Wednesday 3rd April 2019

Vigil Mass:
Tuesday 30th April at 7.30pm
at St Michael's Church, Pollards Hill, CR4 1LS

Funeral Mass:
Wednesday 1st May at 12noon
at St Boniface Church, Tooting, SW17 9PG
followed by Cremation at Lambeth Crematorium at 2pm.

May he rest in peace

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Alan Wright

who died on Sunday 17th March 2019

Vigil Mass:
Wednesday 1st May at 5.30pm
in the Chapel of St Peter's Home, Vauxhall, SW8 1QH

Funeral Mass:
Thursday 2nd May at 12.30pm
at St Anne's Church, Vauxhall, SE11 5QY

May he rest in peace

Feast of St George

This year the Feast of St George was transferred from 23rd April owing to the solemn celebration of Easter this year. The Cathedral honoured its Patronal Feast Day today, 30th April, by invting Friends and parishioners to join the Chapter Canons and Cathedral Clergy for Mass in the evening.

A relic of St  George was placed in the English Martyrs Chapel and this was venerated with reverence by both clergy and laity directly after the Mass. A lively and enjoyable reception followed afterwards in Amigo Hall. Thank you to our excellent caterer for a worthy feast of the culinary kind!

A number of photographs of this colourful service are on our Facebook page (link on the left hand bar) with more to follow on Flickr shortly.  

Happy Feast Day!

Mass for Migrants

in honour of St Joseph the Worker

On Monday 6th May, the Dioceses of Westminster, Brentwood and Southwark will come together for the Mass for Migrants, hosted this year by Westminster Cathedral.  This vibrant and colourful service celebrates the diversity of London, Kent, Middlesex, Hertfortshire and Essex

Bishop Michael Campbell will preside at the Mass, which takes place at 10.30 am (please be seated in plenty of time).  The banner procession will enter the Cathedral at 10 am.

Please join us for this special occasion.  All are very welcome.

Photo courtesy of Marcin Mazur / CBCEW

Message from Archbishop Peter Smith

Archbishop Peter at the Easter Vigil with the Paschal Candle
St George's Cathedral

In St George’s Cathedral there is a small but beautiful original AWN Pugin Chapel dedicated to the memory of Edward Petre, who is buried there.  Within the chapel there is an emblem writ high on the walls: ‘Sans Dieu rien’, which translates as ‘without God, nothing’.

In our contemporary world of instant media it can sometimes feel as if we only hear reports of bad news: Brexit, knife crime, terrorism, climate change and devastating hurricanes wrecking the lives of the poorest … the list goes on and can leave us feeling so overwhelmed by the negative that it is difficult to recognise the positive, find compassion for others or see God's plan for humankind.

Pope Francis recently said during a sermon in Casa Santa Marta ‘Sometimes we Christians can’t bear the journey. We prefer failure, that is to say desolation’. He lamented the fact that we often live in a state of complaining and criticising and warned that Christians are often ‘afraid of consolation, which is the perfect terrain for the devil to sow his seeds’. He went on to add that this this spirit of fatigue leads us to be dissatisfied and to forget the good things we have received.

During Holy Week we have re-lived the Passion of Jesus Christ through the services of the Easter Triduum, that is, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday through to Evening Prayer on Easter Day.  For Jesus’ apostles and disciples, his betrayal, humiliation and death must have seemed the most desolate experience; a point of no return and the triumph of darkness over light. It is little wonder that they ran away and hid!  God, in his wisdom, knew what our faulty human nature would achieve of its own accord. Yet it was through the worst of human behaviour that God was able to show the depth of his love and brilliance of his light in achieving the greatest gift of all. Through the ransom of his blameless and divine son, who freely gave his own life, mortal death was overcome and the gift of new and eternal life was won for all!  And so, we might look calmly on the emblem in the Petre Chapel and resonate with the saying ‘without God, nothing’, because it is true. 

At Easter, it is good to absorb the idea of a fresh start and transport ourselves to a better place by reflecting on the direction of our thoughts. Do we veer towards what is wrong with the world, blame other people and look only to our own solutions without consulting God; or do we remember to include God in our daily lives by counting our blessings, by experiencing gratitude for His bountiful gifts and by seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit?

I invite you reflect on the words ‘without God, nothing’ found in the Petre Chapel this Easter, to take a moment to consider how you can reflect the nature of the Divine through your own life by offering generosity of spirit to others, whether or not it seems to be deserved. You might also pray for the strength to resist desolation and the spirit of fatigue, which can get the better of us all at times. 

We Christians are the People of the Resurrection and with God we have everything.
Yours in Christ

The Easter Garden in St Patrick's Chapel, St George's Cathedral

To view photographs of the Easter Triduum at St George's Cathedral with Archbishop Peter, click here.



Watch the sharing of Light from the Paschal Candle among the Congregation at St George's Cathedral and listen to the Easter Proclamation being sung by the Sub-Dean

To view photographs's of the Easter Vigil at St George's Cathedral,
 click here.

Having witness the horrror, humiliation and agony of Christ on the Cross, the Apostles know today that there is no way back. Things as they were at at an end.

No doubt, they are numb with shock: they have lost their Master and friend. Their hearts are broken and they are afraid. How will they find the strength to continue?  All that is left to them now is to observe ritual and to bury Jesus' body.

It is at this point that God's greatest triumph comes into force as Jesus overcomes Hell.

The Easter Vigil is the high point of the Triduum and begins with the blessing of the Resurrection Fire and preparation of the Paschal Candle, which is lit from the fire.

The service commences in darkness but as each individual candle is lit amongst the congregation, which represents the growth and spread of the God's Lght, it gently illuminates the people and the building. We then hear the Easter Proclamation or Exultet, in which the whole of Heaven and Earth invited to rejoice.

At the Gloria, the lights of the church are switched on, bells are rung and the organ sounds once more: Jesus has triumphed over darkness and Risen from the dead to bring us new life!

Image courtesy of the Southwark Catholic Youth Service


To see photos of the Good Friday service at
St George's Cathedral in Southwark, click here.

Good Friday may, on the surface of things, not seem all that Good, after all, the shadow side of human nature has jealously consipired to put to death the most perfect being: Jesus, God own son.  

Between the flogging, scences of humilation and the betrayal of the Apostle Jesus may have considered closest to him, it seems there is not one form of darkness that Jesus did not have to suffer before finally being condemned to carry his cross to Calvary. Here he would undergo the agony of crucifixion, be given a crown of thorns and mocked by those who had nailed him to the cross to suffer a painful death.  All this when he had come as a man of peace.

In asking  his son to suffer all forms of darkness and the devil, two things spring to mind:  

Firstly, God in his compassion granted him the assistance of Simon of Cyrene in carrying his cross and also the attentiveness of Veronica, his Mother and the disciple, John.  Though many close to him betrayed him and hid, not all that loved him deserted him, showing the strength and testament of love which he had come to teach.

Secondly, in today's Gospel we hear Jesus, taunted by the authorities, explaining that his is a different path, a route which is not of human triumph:

'Mine is not a kingdom of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered..... but my kingdom is not of this kind.

later Jesus goes on to say

'You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above: that is why the one who handed me over to you has the greater guilt'.

Although we do not hear it in John's Gospel today, the other Evangelists record this memory:

And the people stood by, watching, but the leaders scoffed at him saying, 'He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of the God, his chosen one!'
cf Luke 23.35

From these passages it is clear that, what may be have been seen from an earthly perspective as abandonement by God, our Father's plans for His Son at this point were entirely different.  There was an unforeseen step beyond human understanding.

The 'Good' in Good Friday is derived from a time when this word meant 'Holy', so therefore it would have been more commonly understood to be 'Holy Friday'.  

Through Jesus's sacrifice today, we see earthly death and despair, but Jesus defeats the devil through the ultimate gift of his llife, in all its perfection. In overcoming death he attains mercy for us all and a way to reach God directly so that we may be with him in our eternal home.  

Let us ask God to help us see though his eyes and not to judge through our own perceptions. His Kingdom is perhaps not a place of earthly logic or achievement, although our gifts are God given and we should use them. Rather, it is where God's love for his sons and daughters overcomes all manner of wrongs, of sin and despair.

In his abundant mercy, love reigns.

The Altar in the Petre Chapel, St George's Cathedral


To see photographs of the 2019 Maundy Thursday service
at St George's Cathedral Click Here
The word ‘Maundy’ derives from the Latin ‘mandatum’ (and later the English version: mandate) which means ‘commandment’ This reflects Jesus’ instruction at the Passover held in the Upper Room, just prior to his crucifixion:

 ‘I give you a new commandment: that you love one another,
as I have loved you."

In the Gospel today, Jesus teaches through the action of washing the disciples' feet.  Simon Peter is aghast and refuses, but Jesus meets his concern by saying:

'if I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me'.

Peter goes on to ask Jesus to wash his hands and head as well, but Jesus tells him 'No-one who has taken a bath needs washing, he is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are'.  In this last sentence he refers to his forthcoming betrayal by Judas Iscariot.

Later, Jesus asks if the disciples understand the meaning of his actions:

'You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am.  If I then have washed your feet, you should wash each other's feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.'  

Essentially this is Jesus' command to the Apostles to serve others.

During Maundy Thursday we also see the Institution of the Eucharist at this Last Supper There are three slightly differing accounts in the Gospels of Matthew Mark and Luke, but today we hear St Paul's version in Corinthians 1.11, when he recounts Jesus' words:

In the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said
'This is my body, which is for you: do this as a memorial of me.'  

In the same way he took the cup after supper and said
'This cup is the new covenant in my blood.  Whenever you
drink it, do this as a memorial of me'.

Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread
and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.

Essentially this account, and those of the Evangelists, provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist. In the Old Testament, blood sacrifices were required for atonement and cleansing when the Law was broken. Through the sacrifice of his body and blood, Jesus seals the New Covenant, that is, the mercy of God and the forgiveness of sins so that we may receive our eternal inheritance.

The Easter Triduum

Today we enter into the Solemn Easter Triduum, which recalls the Passion, death, burial, and most importantly, the resurrection of Jesus. It is a period of three days, beginning with the evening liturgy of Maundy Thursday, emcompassing Good Friday and reaching its peak in the Easter Vigil.

The Triduum denotes something of a different phase liturgically, with vestments changing from purple to white. During the Gloria on Maundy or Holy Thursday, both church bells and the organ may be silenced until the same point on Holy Saturday, when bells may ring out, the organ be played and lights resume their illumination of the church to represent the return of the Light and new life through the Risen Christ. The Triduum closes with evening prayer on Easter Sunday.

New Extraordinary Minsters of Holy Communion

Newly Commissioned Extraordinary Ministers 
with Bishop Paul and Deacon Errol

On Wednesday 27th March, Bishop Paul Hendricks commissioned thirteen Year 12 Sixth Form students as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion in the School Chapel of Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls.

The Commissioning Mass was attended by family, friends and peers. The newly commissioned Extraordinary Ministers will assist the Chaplain, Reverend Errol Quagraine, with organising Masses and leading liturgies including Eucharistic Services within the school.

Some of the students have been trained to also serve in their own parishes with the approval of their parish priests.
Our thanks to our new ministers for their commitment.

Site Maintenance and Caretaker

We are looking for someone to join our site maintenance and caretaking team.  The Diocesan site comprises St. George’s Cathedral, Amigo Hall, Archbishop’s House, Cathedral House, the Finance and Safeguarding offices and includes residential and office accommodation, as well as public access spaces and a car park. The primary function of this role is to provide maintenance and caretaking services across the whole site, but in particular for the Cathedral and Amigo Hall. The job includes delivering on a schedule of planned maintenance; responding to emergencies such as broken locks or blocked drains; providing access to the Cathedral and hall, including setting up as required by users; clearing rubbish and security.

The successful applicant will have proven maintenance and caretaking skills preferably from a similar environment.  Ideally he/she will have some health and safety qualifications (or a good grounding) and be able to undertake painting/decorating and have experience of basic carpentry and minor building works. 

This job will come into contact with a wide variety of people so good communication skills are essential.  This job also requires a DBS disclosure.   A uniform (e.g. t-shirts / fleeces/boots) will be provided. 

Hours: 35 worked over a varying shift pattern to include some evenings and weekends.  Salary: £21,500pa - £23,000 depending on skills and experience.

To apply please email your CV to by 3rd May 2019.

Archdiocese of Southwark Chrism Mass

The Chrism Mass took place in St George's Cathedral, Southwark today.
Thank you to all who attended: the Cathedral was completely full and it was a truly meaningful and joyous occasion

To read Archbishop Peter's Homily click here.

To view photographs of the service, click here.

To read more about the Chrism Mass and see our Prayer for Priests, see the article below.

Chrism Mass

This Wednesday, 17th April 2019, the Diocesan Chrism Mass will take place in St George's Cathedral at 11.30 am.  

The diocesan family, that is clergy, religious and laity, are invited to gather for this unique annual service at which Southwark Priests will renew the commitment made on the day of their ordination and the people will be asked to pray for their priests in turn.

The Archbishop will also consecrate oils which will be used for anointing during the administration of sacraments - outward signs of inward grace - throughout the Diocese during the coming year.

There are three oils:

  • The Oil of the Sick (oleum infirmorum) 
  • The Oil of Catechumens (oleum catechumenorum / oleum sanctorum)
  • The Oil of Chrism, or Holy Chrism (sacrum chrisma)

The first two oiils will be used for anointing the sick and those receiving the Sacrament of Baptism this Easter (catechumens) and both are essentially plain olive oil which is blessed. The Oil of Chrism consists of olive oil mixed with balsam - an aromatic resin - which the Archbishop will breathe on to invoke the Holy Spirit and which will be duly consecrated using these words:

May this oil be the Chrism of Salvation
for those born of again of water and
the Holy Spirit

and may it make them partakers of eternal life
and sharers of heavenly glory.
Through Christ our Lord.

This special oil will be used in the anointing of those receiving the Sacraments of Confirmation or Ordination, including reception of episcopacy.
The Oil of the Sick will be carried to the Sanctuary by a member of the medical profession and the Oil of Catechumens will be brought forward by persons who will be baptised at Easter. The Oil of Chrism will be presented by individuals to be confirmed or ordained this year.

The olive tree itself grows abundantly in Galilee and its oil was used in a rich variety of ways during biblical times. It served in cooking, in providing fuel for lamps, for medicinal purposes, for anointing a guest as a sign
of welcome and in preparing a body for burial. This simple product was clearly important throughout daily life.

Even before the time of Jesus, anointing indicated a special calling from the Lord, with power granted to fulfil that vocation through the gift of the Holy Spirit. The essence was to dedicate a person or place as sacred in God's service. For example, Aaron and his sons (c.1250 BC) were consecrated as priests and anointed in the Tent of Meeting and the Ark of the Covenant. Blessed oil was also was used in the dedication of holy places and in the creation of kings such as Saul, David and Solomon.

'You love justice and hate wickedness; therefore, God your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellow kings.'
(Psalm 45.8)

Indeed, the name Christ, which is a greek derivation of the Hebrew word 'Messiah' means 'The Anointed One'.  At the start of his ministry, Jesus echoed the words of Isaiah:

'The spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore, He has anointed me”
(Lk 4:18)

The symbolism of blessed oil in sacred rites is therefore rich and varied, serving in healing, strengthening, dedication and consecration.
Together with the words and actions of a priest, sacraments flow into our lives, bringing healing, new life and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in pefecting us as we journey closer to God throughout our lives. This is a immense responsibility and particular joy for our priests, who are themselves anointed as sevants of God and of the people.  

We ask you to join in thanking God for the anointed hands that will administer the sacraments throughout Southwark this year and for each ordained person as they turn their hearts and minds to God in the renewal of their ordination commitment. We pray that they may be humble and generous servants of the Lord.

Prayer for Priests

Gracious Father,

We thank you for the gift of our priests, who are called to be your mediators and to bring us your presence in the sacraments.

Grant them the strength and to humbly fulfil their vocation: bringing the love of God to his people and your kingdom to life on earth.

Empower their calling with the gifts of wisdom and discernment and give them the words they need to spread your Word.

Help them to become instruments of your grace as they follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

Give them joy in their ministry and enable us to support their calling through our appreciation and prayers.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Eternal Priest. Amen.

Palm Sunday

Abp Peter gives the Homily on Palm Sunday at St George's Cathedral

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, in which we recall the life, death and resurrection of our Lord. Today mark's his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey (an animal which symbolises peace rather than war, as would be the case with a horse) as prophesied in Zechariah 9.9:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
    Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
    triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Jesus is hailed by the people as a spiritual leader and for many, the person who would help deliver them from Rome.

As he enters the city, disciples wave palms and city crowds join them in throwing these and their garments in Jesus’ path as a mark of honour,  shouting and singing ‘Hosanna’, which means ‘save now’ and ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord’. The palms themselves represent victory, triumph and goodness.

However, in the liturgy today we also hear the rumblings of disquiet that lead the dramatic events of the week ahead. The Pharisees are heard to say ‘teacher, rebuke your disciples’ to which he answers 'I telll you, if these were silent the very stones would cry out'.

Jesus himself knew aready that the tide would turn against him, having already wept with grief before entering the city in knowledge of Judas' betrayal, his own arrest, trial, scourging and crucifixion shortly to come.

See photograph's of today's Palm Sunday sevice, celebrated by Archbishop Peter at St George's Cathedral.

Watch an excerpt of the reading of the Passion at St George's Cathedral today.


Preparation for Easter 

The Sacrament of Reconciliation: 

We are One Body

This weekened we celebrate Palm Sunday and the start of Holy Week, and we immerse ourselves in the life, death and resurrection of Christ through his Passion.
If you haven't yet engaged with Lent it is not too late to turn your thoughts towards this season's three key pillars: prayer, fasting and almsgiving, and consider how you might be able focus putting your spiritual life in balance with the everyday world. For example, we may take food, entertainment or some other form of comfort for granted: forgetting that these are among the gifts given to us by God. Abstinence from food, for example, can give a keener sense of gratitude for something we may otherwise take for granted every day.  Every small act of love and appreciation is viewed by God and it is never too late to turn to him and to be grateful for his generosity.

It is also a particulary good time to consider receiving the Sacrament of Confession, in which you can unburden yourself of anything that you are carrying in your heart or mind which has damaged your relationship with God or caused separation with the body of Christ (other members of the community) with whom we are called to be one. The Sacrament of Reconciliation helps us to mend that separation so to that we can be individually and universally whole again.

This Sacrament is not 'all about guilt' but it helps us to recognise our need to turn away from actions which distance us from God, enabling us to make a fresh start with our Father, who is always ready and eager to forgive.  It can help us to know ourselves and on a regular basis, assists us in being aware of our weaknesses, enabling us to make better choices in the future.  In turn, God offers us healing, pardon and peace through absolution given by a priest (God's mediator on earth).

Why not consider attending a Reconciliation Service in your parish this week to prepare for the new life that Easter brings, or otherwise check the Confession times in your parish and consider receiving the sacrament during Holy Week.

Watch this short video to better understand the Sacrament of Reconciliation and why we go to Confession:


Calling New Choristers!

We are pleased to share the exciting news that the Cathedral Choir are hosting a recruitment day for new choristers.  This will take place on Saturday 4th May from 10 am - 4 pm in the Cathedral Song Room. 

During the day there will be warm-ups, singing games, individual auditions, group rehearsals, social activities and you may even get a brief chance to conduct the choir in rehearsal! There will be a final performance for friends and family in St George's at the end of the day.

Singing in a cathedral choir is a truly unique opportunity which offers an array of benefits.  In addition to a first-rate musical education they include learning to work as a professional team, building confidence, honing performance abilities and nuturing social skills. Furthermore, choristers are also likely to form friendships that will last for years to come.

Each young person will receive individual singing lessons and there will be opportunities to record CDs, sing at major church services in the Cathedral and engage in musical events with other choirs. In recent years St George's Cathedral Choir has also broadcast on both Radio and TV.

If this sounds like an appealing opportunity to develop musical abilities develope life-skills and make lots of new friends, why not find out more?  

Image: RH side at base: Marcin Mazur

Called to a Life of Prayer?

The Sisters of Minster Abbey, near Ramsgate, will be running a 'Come and See' weekend between 12th - 14th April 2019, for women who are interested in exploring the contemplative life.

During the weekend there will be a time to meet and talk with the Benedictine Sisters in a relaxed environment, to join them in their work and prayer, and to hear some of their vocation stories.

To find out more please visit the Minster Abbey website, where you can also download an application form: Alternatively please email

Standing Together to stop knife crime

Church leaders will stand alongside young people, families and communities affected by the scourge of violent crime at the Standing Together public rally against knife crime and youth violence this Saturday 6th April 2019. The rally is an ecumenical event and will be held from 2pm to 4pm at Trafalgar Square in central London.

Church leaders believe that this violence affecting young people must be challenged and so will stand shoulder to shoulder with those most affected, united in demanding action and encouraging communities to come together.
Bishop Pat Lynch has met with a number of school headteachers and parish priests in recent months to look at the factors conributing to knife crime and youth violence, particularly in South London, and to look at ways to tackle these issues.

A BBC report on Home Office figures in January indicated a 19% increase in violent crime recorded by police in England and Wales in 2018 compared to the previous year. Although there are several complex factors responsible for this surge, churches are deeply concerned that violent crime involving young people is a life and death issue that has not been given the due concern and attention it rightly deserves.

Organisers called on Catholics in parishes, communities and schools to take part in this cooperative effort. It was imperative for all to stand together with other Christians to speak against youth violence, support victims and help to find solutions to rebuild trust on our streets, in our parks, neighbourhoods and communities across the country.

For further information:

Lent Concert in St George's Cathedral

On Saturday 6th April The Purcell Singers will be giving an evening concert in St. George's Cathedral, Southwark..

The concert will feature sacred choral music on the themes of Lent and Holy Week, including Allegri’s Miserere and Barber’s Agnus Dei, and will be conducted by Jonathan Schranz, the Cathedral’s Director of Music.

The concert starts at 7.30pm.
Tickets are available on the door priced at £15 / £12 concession.

For information:

 Bishops welcome Post-Synodal Exhortation:

'Christ is Alive'

Pope Francis signs the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation whilst in Loreto


Pope Francis has released his Post-Synodal Exhortation 'Christus Vivit' (Christ is Alive) to Young People and to the entire People of God, following the Synod of Bishops in October 2018. The theme of the Synod was "Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment".

The Bishops' Conference of England & Wales took three delegates to the Synod of Bishops in October 2018: Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, Bishop Ralph Heskett, Bishop of Hallam and Bishop Mark O'Toole, Bishop of Plymouth.
Welcoming the publication of Christus Vivit, they said:
“What a joy it is to receive this Post-Synodal Exhortation 'Christ is Alive'. Reading it brings back all the best features of the Synod of Bishops we attended last October: the vitality of young people; their love for the Church and for us Bishops; their willingness to face the difficult challenges before us; their capacity for prayer and a living, loving relationship with Jesus. We thank Pope Francis so warmly for this remarkable document which will now be poured over by many young people and brought to bear on their lives.
“The closing words of this Exhortation will be so welcome: 'The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us' (299).
“Here is a great invitation from Pope Francis asking all of us to reflect on so many aspects of our world today, a world in which hunger, homelessness, violence, cruelty and exploitation touch and diminish the lives of so many young people. These and many other challenges face young people in particularly dramatic ways, including the rights and roles of women and our own past in the Church (42); the exploitation of the images of young people (79); the desires, hurts and feelings of young people, including their sexuality (81); the digital world (86); abuse of every kind (95).
“The Pope writes with great vigour of the message of the Living Christ and invites young people to 'make the most of these years of youth' (143), in friendship with Christ (150), in 'strong social friendships' (169) and always as 'courageous missionaries' (175).
“He also spells out the challenges for ministry in the Church and speaks about the task of true discernment.
“In 'Christ is Alive' we have received a great gift. Now we can open the wrapping and delve into the richness of what we have been given!”

The Southwark Catholic Youth Service will be holding an event for volunteer youth leaders later in 2019 in order to unpack some of the themes of the document in terms of engaging young people with Church.
Further details willl be available in due course.

To read a working summary of the of the
post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation click here
To download an English Version of 'Christus Vivit' visit :

Southwark Lent Reflections

The Southwark Spirituality Commission and Stewardship Team continue to offer their daily Lenten Reflections.  If you have not yet signed up to receive these seasonal thoughts, it is not too late to do so, thereby supporting your personal  journey throughout Lent.

Here is today's reflection:

The experience of defeat by the Babylonian Empire was utterly devastating for the Israelites. Jerusalem and the Temple had been destroyed, their king and the leaders of the nation taken into captivity.
All that they believed about their God was called into question.
Had he gone back on his promise?

Now, the Lord reassures them that the mighty deeds of the past are not simply ancient history, but in fact describe God’s very nature.
The Israelites can be confident that God will continue to act in the same powerful way for them.

Today take 10 minutes to read all of Chapter 43 as addressed to you. Let yourself experience God’s tender love for you as God’s beloved child.
For more Lenten Reflections sign up here:

Earth Hour: Saturday 30th March at 8.30 pm

This Saturday, 30th March 2018, we encourage alll Catholics to consider the value of creation by joining in Earth Hour at 8.30 pm, which is being promoted by the World Wildlife Fund.
Our connection to Earth and nature is undeniable: our planet's gain is everyone’s gain.

Nature not only provides us with all the things we need to live - from the air we breathe to the water we drink, and from the shelter we need to the economy we rely on - but also makes our lives better. However, its growing loss puts this all under threat.

This Earth Hour, join millions around the world to turn off the lights and speak up about why nature matters. #Connect2Earth

From this weekend onwards, the April edition of The Pilgrim, Southwark's Diocesan Newspaper, will be available in parishes.  You can hear from the Director of the Catholic Centre for Formation, Dr Mark Nash, on the continuing call to conversion and need for positive participation in our communities in order to transform society.

In addition, the new Director of Music at St George's Cathedral, Jonathan Schranz, explains some of the incredible benefits of a musical education as he seeks committed new choristers.

Derek Williams explores the Dowry of Our Lady and Walsingham, whilst our youngest writer who is an altar server in Battersea, Kacper Zdrada, offers his thoughts on the recent CYMFed FLAME event for young people at Wembley.

At only 50p, The Pilgrim is a great way to find out more about the life of our vibrant Diocese.

Golden Jubilee of Ordination

We would like to offer our warm congratulations to Father Pat Zammit on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee, which he celebrated with Archbishop Peter, fellow priests and his congregation in St Vincent's Catholic Church in Dartford on 22nd March 2019. We wish Fr Zammit many more happy years of priesthood.

Fr Zammit shares his Golden Jubilee with his parish in Dartford

We pray that, inspired by Fr Zammit's example of service and love, young people will be open to the call of Christ to serve in the Priesthood and Religous Life.

For more photos of the Jubilee Service see our Facebook Page

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Alexander Fraser

who died on Tuesday 26th February 2019

Funeral Mass

Wednesday 27th March 2019 at 11.30am
St John the Evangelist Church
3 Springfield Road, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 2PJ
concelebrating priests are asked to wear White vestments

Followed by burial at Clayton Wood Natural Cemetery
Brighton Road, Clayton, West Sussex, BN6 9PD

May he rest in peace
updated 20/3/19

New Deacon for Southwark Diocese

On the evening of 19th March 2019, Archbishop Peter celebrated the Diaconal Ordination of Patrick Pullicino in St Anselm's Roman Catholic Church, Tooting Bec.

Deacon Patrick discovered a valuable calling to Priesthood in later life, for which which he will continue to train over the following year.
His family proudly supported him on the day of ordination (see below)

We wish Deacon Patrick every blessing for his future ministry.

If you are interested in exploring whether you may have a vocation why not attend an informal Gaililee Group Meeting with our Southwark vocations team?

To find out more visit the vocations facebook page and send the team a message:
or send an email to

For additional photographs of the service click here.

Called to a Life of Prayer?

The Sisters of Minster Abbey, near Ramsgate, will be running a 'Come and See' weekend between 12th - 14th April 2019, for women who are interested in exploring the contemplative life.

During the weekend there will be a time to meet and talk with the Benedictine Sisters in a relaxed environment, to join them in their work and prayer, and to hear some of their vocation stories.

To find out more please visit the Minster Abbey website, where you can also download an application form: Alternatively please email

Statement on Assisted Dying

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has adopted a neutral position on assisted suicide following a survey of its UK fellows and members. Of three options that were proposed, 43.4% of respondents thought the RCP should be opposed to a change in the law on assisted dying/suicide. The percentage wanting the RCP to support a change in the law was 31.6% and 25% thought the RCP should be neutral.

Speaking on behalf of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, Bishop John Sherrington, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, said: “We are disappointed at the Royal College of Physicians dropping their opposition to assisted suicide and moving to a ‘neutral’ position on the topic, despite a majority voting to oppose any change in the law.  Parliament voted overwhelmingly to reject assisted dying, recognizing that it is important to protect persons who are vulnerable. Moreover, the British Medical Association continues to oppose assisted dying, saying their ‘focus remains on improving the standard of palliative care available for patients, through calling for greater investment and support to enable staff to deliver the highest quality end-of-life care’.  We support the BMA’s position and call for increased investment in good palliative care, which supports the dying persons in all dimensions of life for a good death, including the spiritual meaning of life.”

For further information about this matter:

Saint Oscar Romero: Blessing of the Diocesan Shrine

On Saturday 23 March at 12.30 pm a Mass and Blessing of the Diocesan Romero Shrine, with its new Shrine Gates (pictured above), took place in St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, in conjunction with the Romero Trust. Archbishop Peter Smith presided and was joined by the Vicar General, Monsignor Matthew Dickens and the Cathedral Dean, Canon Richard Hearn.

The new gates are unique in design, with the railing element taking the shape of the sword of St George.  Why not come and say a prayer at the Shrine dedicated to the Patron Saint of Christian Communicators and view the gates in person.

To see more photographs of this service visit our Diocesan Flickr page.

Mozart and the Requiem Mass

OnThursday 28th March Pierpaolo Finaldi from the Centre for Catholic Formation will give a talk on Mozart and the Requiem Mass.

The doors of the CCF will be open from 7 pm and the tallk will take place at 7.30 pm.  As we head towards the end of the working week, why not indulge in learning more about this sublime and masterful composition?

Light refreshments will be available and entry is free.

CAFOD Family Fast Day

Click on the image above to watch a short video about Family Fast Day

Today, Friday 15th March 2019, CAFOD, the overseas development agency for the Catholic Church, is asking whether we can all have a simple meal and donate the extra money we would usuallly spend, so that, for example, they can buy a bag of seeds to help a family provide for itself elsewhere in the world.

Many of us are blessed with rich resources compared to others in poorer countries.  Please consider giving today so that others can share in our health and wealth.
To visit the CAFOD page and to donate: click here.

The God who Speaks: A Year of the Word

Scripture, the Bible, is at the centre of everything the Church does.
The year 2020 will be the 10th anniversary of Verbum Domini; Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation on ‘The Word of the Lord’ and the 1,600th anniversary of St Jerome’s, who translated the Bible into Latin.

These events have inspired the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to make 2020 a year of focus on the Bible and 'The God Who Speaks'.

Throughout the year there will be a range of resources and activities for Southwark and beyond. As part of the preparations for the 2020 Initiative – The God who Speaks: The Year of the Word - The Bishop's Conference are conducting a very short survey about how we see and use the Bible.

We’d like to ask as many Southwark Catholics as possible for their help iin completing this short survey, so that we can get a snapshot of our current relationship with the Scriptures.  In this way we can all help to make 2020 a special celebration of this core aspect of our faith.

 Thank you for your help!

Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion

St George's Cathedral was fillled to capacity at the Rite of Election

The Diocese was delighted to welcome so 254 catechumens and 160 candidates, plus their godparents, sponsors and families to St George's Cathedral for the Rite on Election and Continuing Call to Conversion on Saturday 9th March 2019.  

Canon Richard Hearn, Dean of the Cathedral, warmly greeted the congregation, whilst Dr Mark Nash of the Centre for Catholic Formation stated that it was good to see so many people and encouraged catechumens and candidates to stay true to the path of communion and continuing conversation with the Church this Easter.  He went on to say that there are many opportunities to be involved in the life of the Church and that it is good to feed and nuture active participation and continue learning.

Bishop Paul Hendricks, Bishop Pat Lynch and Monsignor Matthew Dickens presented catechumens and candidates from across the Diocese to Archbishop Peter: each person rose from their seat as their name was called.

Archbishop Peter raises the Book of the Elect

Archbishop Peter advised the congregation to always keep in mind the two Great Commandments, to love God and also your neighbour.  He also asked all those supporting catechumens and candidates to continue praying for them as they moved towards Easter.

Finally the congregation in the Cathedral, which was filled with radiant sunlight, raised the roof with joyous singing, led by Canon Alan McLean and the Diocesan Choir. 

Please continue to pray for alll those who will enter the Church and receive Sacraments this Easter (see the Diocesan Prayer below).

To see photographs of the service click here.

Diocesan Prayer

God our Loving Father,
pour out on us afresh
the gifts of your Holy Spirit.
open our ears to hear your Word,
open our eyes to see your presence,
open our minds
to understand your Wisdom
and open our hearts
to be more available for your mission
so that strengthened by your grace
we can truly be a sign
and instruments of your presence
 in our world today.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Brother Raymund Hewlett

a long time Parish Priest at Erith and Dean for Bexley Deanery
who died on Thursday 7th March 2019

Funeral details

Tuesday 19th March at 17.00
Br Raymund’s body will be received into Our Lady of the Angels Church, Bexley Road, Erith 01322 402060

Wednesday 20th March at 10.00
Requiem Mass will be held at Our Lady of the Angels

Thursday 21st March at 12.00
Funeral Mass and burial at St. David’s Church, Pantasaph, Holywell

May he rest in peace

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Sister Dorothy Bell

who died on Wednesday 6th March 2019

Funeral details

Wednesday 20th March at 12 noon
Requiem Mass in the
Chapel of Digby Stuart College
Roehampton Lane
SW15 5PJ

Followed by a cremation
Please let Angela know if you are attending on 020 8878 8282

May she rest in peace

Southwark Archdiocesan Spirituality Commission 

Many of us struggle to find time for prayer everyday but if one of your Lenten promises is to make time, Southwark’s Spirituality Commission is on hand to help!

The Commission is producing a short online Lenten reflection for each day of this penitential season.

All you have to do is sign-up by email and they will send the reflection to your inbox every day.

Visit: Southwark Archdiocesan Spirituality Commission

Pastoral Letter in Preparation for Lent

Archbishop Peter has written a Pastoral Letter to be read on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday 2019, the Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time  - Sunday 3rd March 2019.
Every year, the season of Lent offers us the opportunity to stand back a little from our daily concerns, and reflect on our lives in the light of the Gospel. As the great philosopher, Socrates said so wisely, “The un-reflected life is not worth living.” Yet we all know from experience that in the hectic and frenetic world in which we live today, it’s quite difficult to make time to reflect - to reflect on our lives, its meaning and where it is heading. The Church gives us the season of Lent as a time to recall, and to reflect on the meaning of our baptism and the commitment which flows from it.

Lent is the season for each of us to enter into a closer union with the person of Christ and to reflect on how we deal with the temptations which afflict us all in different ways. To do that fruitfully we need to be serious about the three traditional helps towards that end, namely, prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

On Saturday 2nd March 2019 over 8000 young people took part in CYMFed's dynamid FLAME Congress in Wembley SSE Arena, the biggest bi-annual Catholic youth event in England and Wales.

Those gathered heard from an array of inspirational musicians, clergy and speakers, including Guvna B, who had the whole Arena raving, and his wife Emma, who is the co-founder of 'Gal Got Faith'. The powerful Dallas preacher, Robert Madu, also wowed the audience with his high occtane delivery of two key messages to 'stay in your lane' and 'keep your eyes on Jesus. Those gathered also heard from Archbishop Eamon Martin, Candice McKenzie, Southwark's Natalie Christian-John and the uplifting Gospel Youth Choir and Cardinal Vincent Nicholas amonst others.  

Throughout the day, young people were encouraged to to find their own significance by focussing on God's plan for their lives and by keeping their eyes firmly on Jesus. Serious teaching was followed by a great deal of singing, dancing and rejoicing.

The day ended with a moving piece of drama by RISE Theatre, depicting Christ reaching out to us through the Eucharist, offering healing and consolation.  Finally all gathered entered into a period of quiet Adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament, led by Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

To see photographs of the day click here.
To see footage of the event please visit our Facebook page

Study Day for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and Readers

The CCF will also be holding a Study Day for Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Eucharist and Readers at St Stephen’s Parish Welling between 10 am to 2.30 pm, with Fr Denis McBride on Saturday 9th March 2019.  Please book via this link to attend.

Marriage and Family Life

I want to make my home in you

Saturday 23rd February between 10.30 am - 3 pm, Sr Hyacinthe Defos du Rau and Margaret Wickware will hold an introductory day for a new First Holy Communion programme, 'I want to make my home in you' at the Centre for Catholic Formation in Tooting Bec.

Whether you or your parish are looking for a new resource, or would simply like to come along, share thoughts, gather information and take part in discussion on family catechesis, you are very welcome to attend.

Books will be available to purchase from the excellent CCF Library.  Please bring your own lunch.  To visit the CCF website, click here.

The Our Lady of Walsingham Statue:
Dowry Tour visit to St George's Cathedral

As  part of tour of English Catholic Cathedral's, the Our Lady of Walsingham statue, which ordinarily resides in the famous Walsingham Slipper Chapel, will visit St George's Cathedral between Thursday 21st - Saturday 23rd February 2019

Archbishop Peter will preside at the final Mass, which will take place at 12.30 pm on Saturday.  All are welcome to attend this attractive and informative exhibiton and spend time praying at Mary's Holy House (pictured above).

For full details of the schedule click here.

To view photos of the Dowry Tour Exhibition, click here.

Matt Maher 

                   International Christian Musician to visit                      St George's Cathedral in May

On Friday 31st May 2019 between 7 - 9 pm, St. George’s Cathedral, in association with the Southwark Cathollic Youth Service, will host international artist, Matt Maher, who will lead praise, worship and adoration 

Since his 2008 major label debut, Matt Maher has become a staple in the artistic and songwriting community. An eight time-GRAMMY nominee, he has garnered multiple radio successes writing and recording songs like “Lord, I Need You,” “Hold Us Together,” and “Christ Is Risen”.

In 2013, Matt had a career highlight performing at World Youth Day in Rio in front of Pope Francis and a crowd of 3 million people.  In addition he performed in 2015 in downtown Philadelphia as part of the World Meeting of Families with Aretha Franklin and The Fray, among others.

He has penned songs recorded by Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Third Day, Matt Redman, Hillsong, Casting Crowns, Jesus Culture and Bethel among others. Matt has written or co-written five No. 1 radio singles.

Places for this exciting event are limited and seats are sellling fast, so please book early to avoid disappointment. Tickets are priced £10 each (to cover event costs).

For further information on Matt Maher:

To view /listen to Matt's music:

Blessed John Henry Newman to be Canonised


On Tuesday 12 February 2019, Pope Francis cleared the way for the canonisation of the much-loved Cardinal, educationalist and literary figure,, Cardinal John Henry Newman.

The Pope received Cardinal Angelo Becciu, the Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorised him to promulgate two decrees on miracles for sainthood, a decree on martyrdom and five on heroic virtues.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has warmly welcomed the news that Cardinal Newman will be declared a saint.

Following the announcement, Cardinal Nichols offered the following comment:

"This is wonderful news which will be greeted with
thanks to God by people across the world. Newman’s
exploration of faith, depth of personal courage,
intellectual clarity and cultural sensitivity make him a deeply.
He brings together so many of the best of Catholic traditions shared well beyond the Catholic Church. His canonisation
wIll be welcomed especially in the Church of England and
the wider Anglican Communion.

For me the truly remarkable nature of this moment is
that this is an English parish priest being declared a saint.

During his life the people of Birmingham recognised his
holiness and lined the streets at the time of his burial. I
hope every parish priest in England will hold his head
high today knowing Cardinal Newman is declared a saint."

John Henry Newman was ordained Priest in the Church of England and was a theologian, poet and academic. As leader of the Oxford Movement he was a skilled speaker and was attracted to the idea of incorporating some Catholic beliefs and liturgical rituals from before the Reformation into the Church of England.  His interest eventually led him to leave teaching at Oxford University and the Anglican Communion, with ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood folllowing shortly after.

As an author, he penned works such as his autobiography Apologia Pro Vita Sua, Loss and Gain and the poem The Dream of Gerontius which was famously set to music in 1900 by Edward Elgar. Meanwhile, his interest in education continued as he helped to found the Catholic University of Ireland which later became University College, Dublin.

Newman was declared 'Blessed' by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on his historic state visit to the UK in September 2010 and he is Patron of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

For further news:

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Canon John Bailey

who died on Tuesday 12th February 2019

Funeral details:
Monday 11th March
4:00pm Reception of Body into St Bernadette’s Church
7:30pm Vigil Mass - St Bernadette’s Church
Fawkham Road, West Kingsdown, TN15 6JP
(White diocesan vestments)

Tuesday 12th March
12:00 noon Funeral Mass at St Thomas’ Church
12 Granville Road, Sevenoaks, TN13 1ER
(Purple diocesan vestments)
2:30pm  Interment at Horn’s Cross

May he rest in peace

On 8th February we celebrate the Feast Day of St Josephine Bakhita, Patron Saint of Human Trafficking Survivors.

The Pope's monthly Prayer Network video relates to those who have been trafficked, suffered from explotation or violence.
Click on the picture above to view the video

Human Trafficking

There are an estimated 40 million victims of modern slavery worldwide, which now ranks as the second most profitable worldwide criminal enterprise.  It is a serious crime in which people are coerced or deceived into a situation where they are exploited. This can take many forms including; forced labour, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, forced criminality and even organ harvesting. It is believed that modern slavery affects every country in the world in the UK some recent figures suggest there are in excess of 100,000 victims hidden in plain sight.

This year the particular focus is on those who are caught up in forced labour and labour exploitation both in the UK and beyond. Today we are asked to pray for those that have not only survived human trafficking but for all those affected by modern slavery and human trafficking, as well the people that volunteer and work to eradicate this crime.

To read more about Human Trafficking, please click here to transfer to the website of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of England and Wales

If you or your parish is interested in finding out how you can help raise awareness and prevent human trafficking, both in the UK and abroad, please email Bishop Pat Lynch

History of Josephine Bakhita

Born in Darfur (Sudan) in approximately 1869, Josephine Bakhita experienced a happy early life with a large, well respected family, where her uncle was the village chief.
In the early part of 1877, she was abducted by Arab slave traders and forced to walk almost 1000 km to El Obeid, being sold twice before reaching this destination.  During the next 12 years she was sold three more times and given away once; she was once beaten so badly for dropping a vase that she couldn’t move from her straw bed for a month.
Eventually her last owner, Augusto Michieli, acquired a large hotel near the Red Sea and decided to sell his property in Italy and to move his family to Sudan on a permanent basis. It took some time for transactions to be processed and his wife wanted to visit him in Sudan before everything was ready. Their family villa in Zianigo was already sold and therefore Bakhita and their daughter, Mimmina, needed a temporary place to stay. They were given to the care of the Canossian sisters in Venice.

Having previously been forced to convert to Islam, Bakhita encountered Christianity for the first time and she often recalled: "Those holy mothers instructed me with heroic patience and introduced me to that God who from childhood I had felt in my heart without knowing who He was."

When Mrs Michieli returned to retrieve her daughter and maid, Bakhita flatly refused to leave. A legal wrangle ensued but In 1889, an Italian Court ruled that it did not recognise slavery and therefore Bakhita had never lawfully been a slave.

Bakhita went on to be baptised in 1890 and entered the novitiate in 1893 with the Canossian Sisters. She took her vows in December 1896 and was noted for her gentleness, sanctity and ready smile!

She was canonised by Pope John Paul II in October 2000 and Pope Benedict XVI offered her life story as an outstanding illustration of Christian hope in his encyclical letter, Spe Salvi (In hope we were saved).

May we too, find our way to hope and freedom through Christ. We pray especially for those enduring the evil of human trafficking at this time, and for those endeavouring to eradicate this blight on our modern society.

St George's Cathedral: Cathedral Manager

St George's Cathedral has a vacancy for a Cathedral Manager to assist the Dean with the administration of the Cathedral and manage the diary bookings for the Cathedral and Amigo Halls.

The ideal candidate will posess good attention to detail, be of a friendly and professional disposition and have sympathy with the mission of the Catholic Church.

The post is part time: 28 hours per week.

Please direct enquiries to Sarah Wood on
Closing date: Tuesday 19th February 2019.

Safeguarding Office Administrator

The Archdiocese of Southwark is looking for an office administrator to join our Safeguarding team in SE1.  This is a full time job (0900 – 1700 Monday to Friday) and is offered initially on a 12 month fixed term contract. 

The key areas of work are administration of the DBS Disclosure application process, maintenance of national and local databases, administrative support to the Safeguarding training programmes and assistance in delivery of training as necessary, maintaining and updating of policy documents, forms and procedures and taking notes at safeguarding meetings. 

The ideal candidate will have a strong commitment to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults and will preferably have experience of working in this area.  Excellent IT and communication skills coupled with evidenced understanding of confidentiality are also essential.

Salary: £23,000pa - £25,000pa depending on skills and experience. 
If you would like to apply for this job please email your CV to by 22nd February 2019.

Commissioning of Extraordinary Ministers of 
Holy Communion at the Cathedral

On Saturday 2nd February 2019 Bishop Pat Lynch commissioned 64  people as Extra Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

190202 - EOMOHC

Bishop Pat started the day with a talk on the Eucharist and this special Ministry using the Emmaus story

190202 - EOMOHC

Monsignor Matthew Dickens presided at a period of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament concluding with Benediction

190202 - EOMOHC

After lunch Monsignor Matthew spoke of the role of the Extraordinary Minister and the rubrics, including the service of administering Holy Communion to the Sick and the DBS checks that need to be taken before staring this ministry and so therefore bringing together all the training that had been given in every parish

190202 - EOMOHC

Bishop Pat presided at the Commissioning Mass along with Monsignor Matthew Dickens VG, during which he commissioned the new Extraordinary Ministers and presented their certificates.  Bishop Pat also thanked all the new Extraordinary Minsters from their commitment in answering the call to serve

190202 - EOMOHC

The Ministers came from 20 parishes around the Archdiocese - Anerley, Ashford, Barnes, Battersea Altenburg Gardens, Bermondsey Dockhead, Bromley, Canterbury, Cathedral, Kidbrooke, Lewisham, Morden, Mortlake, Mottingham, Norbiton, North Cheam, Norwood South, Old Coulsdon, Selsdon, Wimbledon, Wimbledon Park and Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital Chaplaincy

190202 - EOMOHC

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Canon Francis Moran of Mortlake Parish

who died on Tuesday 29th January 2019

Funeral details:
Tuesday 19th February:
4 pm: reception of the body at St Mary Magdalen's Church, Mortlake.
7 pm: Vigil Mass at St Mary Magdalen's Church, Mortlake.

Wednesday 20th February:
12.30 pm: Funeral Mass at St George's Cathedral, Southwark.

Thursday 21st February:
7 pm: Vigil Mass at St Illtyd's Church, Dowlais, Wales.

Friday 22nd February:
12 noon: Funeral Mass at St Illtyd's Church, Dowlais, Wales;
followed by the burial service.

May he rest in peace

Independent Enquiry into Christian Persecution

Cardinal Nichols has actively welcomed the launch of the independent inquiry into Christian persecution around the world, ordered by the government, at a meeting this week in London with the Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the Bishop of Truro, Rt Rev Philip Mountstephen, who will be leading the investigation.
The inquiry, announced before Christmas and due to report back by Easter with its recommendations, was set up as Mr Hunt admitted the UK should be doing more to help Christians. The government estimates that 215 million Christians across the world face persecution on account of their belief. Last year, 3,000 were killed because of their faith.
Cardinal Nichols told the assembled audience that religious faith was becoming increasingly important across the world and pointed to the vitality of Christians as people of hope. He also made the point that being a Christian always involved giving a critique of power.
Mr Hunt said when setting up the inquiry that he would be taking an objective look at how the British government could better respond to the pressing plight of persecuted Christians around the world.


Focussing on Good Communication

The Marriage and Family Life Commission will be offering a day for couples focussing on the essential element of communication: something which it can be easy to take for granted in our busy day to day lives.

Booking is essential, so if you are interested please click here to download an application form.

Tackling Youth Crime and Violence

Bishop Pat Lynch, Fr Gerry Mulvihill and Fr Victor Darlington met with local headteachers to discuss Youth Violence and Crime

On 16th January, at the invitation of Father Victor Darlington, four headteachers, a student support officer, Bishop Patrick Lynch and Father Gerard Mulvihill held a meeting at Sacred Heart School, Camberwell, in order to look at how the Catholic Church and schools support each other in tackling youth violence and crime in the community.

The meeting was set up to focus on sharing effective approaches towards these concerns and how to address the prevailing culture of fear. In addition the meeting considered how it could effect positive change and improve behaviour support in our school environments, as well as looking at how the Catholic Church and schools support parents in raising children to resist violence through their faith.

Father Victor chaired the meeting at which the participants shared their concerns about knife crime, drugs, gangs and muggings as well as other  issues that impact these matters, such as poverty, homelessness and literacy. Practical suggestions for a coordinated approach to changing this destructive culture has now been put together.

To read more about the agreed outcomes of this important meeting,
click here.

The Mayor of London also recently launched the ‘London Needs You Alive’ campaign and with a range of resources.  Click here to learn more.

Statements from the Catholic Bishop's Conference of England and Wales

Opening Ceremony at the World Youth Day in Panama

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has issued several important statements recently.  These include:

  • A statement from the Pope to young people at World Youth Day in Panama: 25/01/19: 'The Church isn't cool, it's love'. - Click here

  • The Pope's Message for the World Day of Social Communications, which reflects on encountering social media communities in a positive framework, opening paths for communication and experiencing being part of the body of Christ in a meaningful way: 25/01/19 - Click here
  • Bishop Paul McAleenan's statement on the recent abolishment the 'Settled Status' application fee for EU Citizens living in the UK: 21/01/19 - Click here
  • The Holy Land Coordination: an annual pilgrimage by Bishops which seeks to support Christians in both Israel and Palestine and, through ongoing advocacy, to seek peace: 17/01/19 - Click here

There are also some excellent photographs from the Holy Land on the CBCEW Flickr website.  Click here to see more.

Mass in St Jerome’s Cave in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
© Mazur/

Celebrating Young People Awards 2019

'Celebrating Young People'
The Mizen Award is presented to Anna Chapman of Kent

Nominations are now open for the fourth Celebrating Young People Awards. The awards –powered by Catholic charity Million Minutes – honour the achievements of young people across the country who make our communities a better place. There are eight award categories, which take their names from Catholic social teaching and recognise the enormous, often unseen, social action of young people.  

Parishes, schools and individuals in Southwark Diocese are being invited to nominate young people. If you know an unsung hero or heroine or a group that have worked together to help their community put them forward for an award now at The award nominees will be invited to attend a special ceremony in London’s West End in July. Cardinal Vincent Nichols will be the guest of honour and present the Pope Francis Award to one lucky young person.

At the last awards 17-year-old Anna Chapman received the Jimmy Mizen Award. Anna from St Anselms Catholic School Canterbury Kent, Ashford was commended for her efforts as a Peer Mentor for year 7 students with behaviour issues and secondary school transitions. Her school chaplain said of Anna:

“She supports the younger students who have anger problems or just need someone to listen. She gives them strategies so when at home, or out, they can control their anger. She hates any violence or bullying. Anna likes to support people who may have issues or problems. She is a great listener and very conscientious she hates any violence anger or just bad behaviour.”

Danny Curtin, CEO of Million Minutes said, “Across the country young people are changing our world in quiet and unassuming ways-week in and week out. It is young people like Anna who inspire the rest of us to live out social action in our communities. Young people get an increasing amount of stick in the media and wider society, but their energy and commitment is so often inspirational. To our Adult & Young leaders reading, this is your call to action: nominate a young person or group you know for a Celebrating Young Peoples Award today.”

The 'Celebrating Young People Awards’ was launched in 2015, inviting nominations for six award categories based on Catholic Social Teaching. There is also an award for an inspiring youth minister and the main youth Award, the Pope Francis Award, selected and presented by Cardinal Vincent Nichols. Nominations for this year's awards close on 24 May 2019.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Friendship and Shared Purpose are Key




Auxiliary Bishop of the RC Archdiocese of Southwark, Rt Reverend Paul Hendricks

Methodist London District Chair, Rev Dr Jongikaya Zihle

United Reformed Church Moderator, Southern Synod, Rev Nicola Furley-Smith (Vice Chair, CTSL)

Churches Together in South London, Claire Crowley

Salvation Army, South London Divisional Commander, Major Valerie Mylechreest,

London Quakers, Eleri Pengelly

Apostolic Pastoral Congress, Deputy-Director & Greater London Regional Bishop, Rt Rev Moses Owusu-Sekyere

London Baptist Association London Regional Minister, Rev Carol Bostridge

On 18th January, at the invitation of Churches Together in South London (CTSL), Senior Church Leaders joined together at the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster in order to witness to friendship and the shared purpose of Christian Unity. 

Bishop Paul Hendricks, Auxiliary Bishop of the RC Diocese of Southwark, offered a reflection at the invitation of Bishop Karowei Dorgu, Chair of CTSL. Bishop Paul talked about some of the ideas raised in Richard Rohr’s book “Falling Upward”, and the leaders discussed their relevance to ecumenism today. Reverend Jongikaya Zihle raised themes from the resources for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. 

The theme of this year is ‘Justice and only justice, you shall pursue’: it is based around Deuteronomy 16:18-20. Churches Together in Britain and Ireland’s website explains in greater depth that this year, the material has originated from the churches of Indonesia, “where there is a strong emphasis upon the need for unity alongside the nation’s ethnic and religious diversity. The resources also highlight issues of economic injustice which have tangentally given rise to corruption and environmental problems. For more information: 

It was powerful witness to fellowship and discussioj between denominations in South London, and to see this large group of Christian leaders joining together to pray, reflect, discuss and eat together at a time when unity and partnership is crucial for our city and the world we share as a society.


Southwark Metropolitan Tribunal

The Southwark Metropolitan Tribunal are looking for a Team Secretary

The Tribunal is responsible for managing applications for marriage annulments for the Archdiocese of Southwark.  The administration team prepares all of the applications prior to them going to judgment before the Judicial Vicar / Presiding Judges and they are now looking for a new secretary to join this team.

Based at the Centre for Catholic Formation in Tooting Bec, this post will gather together all necessary documentation; interview relevant parties and prepare documentation to go before the Judicial Vicar / Presiding Judge.  The ideal candidate will have excellent secretarial/administrative experience and be very competent with IT (Microsoft Office).  He/she will have good communication skills, especially in client interviews when a sensitive and empathetic approach to clients is required.  An ability to work on your own initiative and some knowledge of the workings of the Catholic Church is also essential.  0900 – 1700 Monday to Friday.  Salary range £23,000pa - £25,000pa depending on skills and experience.

To apply please email a copy of your CV to by 8th February 2019

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity takes place between 18th - 25th January 2019, the octave of St. Peter and St. Paul. This year the theme is "Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue", inspired by Deuteronomy 16:18-20.

During a General Audience this week the Pope pointed out that "ecumenism is not something optional," and that it aims "to develop a common and consistent witness that promotes true justice and support for the weakest through responses that are concrete, appropriate and effective".

Pope Francis also pointed out that we are called to pray so that all Christians may once again be a single family, according to God’s will, so that "they may be one, that the world may believe" (John 17.21).

Each year, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland adapt resources for the week and Christians from Indonesia have contributed to their development this year.

Indonesia is the largest country in South East Asia, made up of more than 17,000 islands, 1,340 different ethnic groups and a significant number of languages. About 10% of Indonesians are Christian and all live by the principle of gotong royong which is to live in ‘solidarity and by collaboration’, regarding all Indonesians as brothers and sisters (86% of Indonesians are Muslim). However, this principal often sits ill-at-ease with the country's liberal economic outlook, which has inspired growth but also corruption. This is now negatively affecting affecting politics, business and the environment. For this reason the theme 'Justice and only justice you shall pursue' was chosen.

For more information visit the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland wesbite: click here.

If you are lookiing for a simple way to become involved in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, why not consider praying for this cause either at home or in your local church between 18-25 January.  It may also be possible to attend a joint service or event organised by a local Churches Together group (check your Newsletter) or attend a service in another Christian denomination during this period.

If you are technologically inclined, you can also show your support on social media.  Add the #wpcuwall hashtag to your Twitter post or find updates about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity by following the #wpcu2019 hashtag.

To learn more about the work of the Christian Unity Commission in Southwark, click here.

We pray that we may all be seek to be united in heart and cherish a spirit of unity, so that we may grow together towards Christ.

Volunteers Sought to help Calais Refugees

Today an estimated 1500 refugees live on the streets in the North of France around Calais and Dunkerque. They sleep rough, under bridges, in fields exposed to cold, rain and violence. Several times each week all tents and sleeping areas are cleared by the CRS (French Riot Police). However, on a daily basis volunteers distribute drinking water, food, clothes and sleeping bags and show their care for those who are displaced.

There are a lot of basic needs and hardship, but together the refugees and volunteers are able to experience moments of happiness as part of a community and find relief from difficult times.

Maria Skobtsova House and Caritas France (Calais) are part of the Church's response to the needs of refugees. They are currently seeking volunteers in good health between the ages of 18 - 99 years to help in a variety of roles. This could be anything from serving tea or helping in the Soup Kitchen to driving or offering IT skills. They are ideally looking for minimum committment of 1 month from volunteers, although those who can offer specific skills would be considered for a shorter period.

If you are interested, please access this page to find our more details or otherwise visit

National Display of Diocesan Treasures

The Archdiocese of Southwark is delighted to announce that two significant treasures with which it is associated are now available for the general public to view.
The British Library is currently exhibiting the Southwark Book of Hours, which is on display in the Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery (Additional manuscript 89309). This will item be available to view for a minimum of six-months and visitors will be able to compare interpretations of set religious texts through different books. The manuscript was formerly on long-term loan from the Archdiocese, along with 3 other books of hours, but has now been acquired by the British Library as part of their permanent collection.
Speaking of the Southwark Book of Hours, Monsignor Matthew Dickens, Vicar General of Southwark Diocese, commented:    
We are delighted that the British Library has been able to acquire for its permanent collection the Southwark Book of Hours. This is a particularly fine example of illuminated manuscripts of this period and it is right and proper that it should be held in a major national collection, to be enjoyed by the public and to be available for scholarly research. I should like to thank the British Library staff and donors who have made this acquisition possible.’

Written in French and Latin, the Southwark Book of Hours is thought to have been produced in Paris in approximately 1390 for a noblewoman, who appears to feature in two of the illuminations. A partial coat of arms within the book, which may have been trimmed when it was rebound in the 19th Century, may be that of the Berthelot family of Normandy.  The book is decorated with fine gilded illuminations which have been attributed to the highly accomplished artist known as the Ravenelle Master, who also worked for the avid collector of illuminated manuscripts, Duc Jean de Berry (1340-1416). It comes with a bookplate of St George’s Cathedral Library but the history of its journey to Southwark is not fully known. Many books of hours were made for noblewomen and there is evidence that they were sometimes given as a wedding present from a husband to his new wife.

Dr Kathleen Doyle, the British Library’s Lead Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts, said: ‘I am delighted that the Southwark Hours is joining the Library's remarkable collection of illuminated manuscripts, including treasures of French illumination and Books of Hours from across Europe.  The manuscript is an important witness of the Ravenelle Painter’s work, and one of only two that indicates that the he worked for aristocratic female patrons’.

At the same time, The National Gallery is displaying a painting by Cornelius Engebrechtsz entitled ‘The Lamentation with Donors and Saints which is on loan from the Archdiocese of Southwark for a period of 3 years. This painting was acquired by the 15th Duke of Norfolk in 1902 and passed on, by descent, to the 16th Duke of Norfolk, who gifted the painting in 1948 to the collection of the Office of the Archbishop of Southwark. The painting consists of oil on panel and it has been re-framed by the Gallery in a manner which reflects the period in which it was painted (circa 1510-1515).

The Gallery Director, Gabriele Finaldi, said, 'I am delighted we can show Engebrechtsz's beautiful Lamentation to the public in the context of our Netherlandish pictures here at the Gallery. He is a rare artist in British collections and this is a superb example of his work as demonstrated by the delicate execution, the elaborate draperies, the attractive landscape and the exquisitely expressed emotions of the figures surrounding the dead Christ'.

All are welcome to visit these unique treasures: admission to the British Library and National Gallery to see these items is free of charge.

Love Catholic Culture?
For those interested in Catholic Art and Culture, why not consider attending the Faith and Art series at the Centre for Catholic Formation in Tooting Bec.  Their latest series will feature Fr Lawrence Lew OP on photography (31 January 2019); Dr Victoria Seed on Literature and the Catholic Imagination (28 February 2019) and Pierpaolo Finaldi on Mozart (28 March 2019). The talks will take place at 7.30 pm on each occasion and will also be streamed live on Facebook ( Those who attend in person will be able to enjoy the hospitality of the CCF from 7 pm onwards..

United in Art:
Gabriele Finaldi (Director of the National Gallery) and brother Pierpaolo Finaldi (Formation Advisor for SE London at the CCF) meet at a CCF Staff Study Day led by Dr Mark Nash (Director of the CCF) at the National Gallery. The picture in the background is the 'Lamentation with Donors and Saints' by Cornelius Engebrechtsz, currently on loan from the Archdiocese of Southwark

Wonersh Seminarians

Southwark Seminarians at Wonersh shared fraternity by meeting up during their Christmas and New Year break from the seminary

Bishop Pat Lynch celebrated Mass at the Cathedral and afterwards they went for a meal to celebrate their common bond of being formed for future priesthood in the Archdiocese

The Southwark students are Michael Etuka, Allan MacDonald, Dcn Peter Sebastian, Dcn Tomasz Margol, Patrick Pullicino and John Howard.  Plesase keep them in your prayers

Centre for Catholic Formation: Spring Term

The Centre for Catholic Formation in Tooting Bec has an exciting programme of courses, events and lectures thiis Spring Term.  From the exciting Faith and Art Series looking at photography, literature and music to a thought-provoking series on Lent and the opportunity to learn Makaton (a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to communicate). There's something for everyone with an enquiring mind!

You can download the programme by visiting this link.

If you are interested in working for CCF, they are currently recruiting for Catechesis Advisor for Kent and two part-time Resource Advisors and an Ongoing Formation / Centre Secretary. Please view at the details listed below.

Adviser for Catechesis and Adult Formation

in Kent

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark is looking for an Adviser for Catechesis and Adult Formation covering Kent, to join the advisory team at the Centre for Catholic Formation.  The key function of the team is assisting parishes in the work of adult formation, the training of catechists and helping to spread the good news of Jesus Christ (evangelization).
Accountable to the Director, the job will involve planning and organising specific conferences/events and courses for Kent parish or deanery clergy, catechists and others involved in parish ministry; assisting in teaching/delivery of specific courses; working closely with local clergy to encourage the appointment and formation of local catechists and co-ordinators of particular areas of catechesis (eg RCIA); advising on materials and resources for RCIA, catechesis and adult formation; participating in and contributing to CCF Study and Prayer Days; building good relationships with other diocesan agencies and ecumenical and inter religious relationships.

The ideal candidate will be a practising Catholic with previous experience in catechesis and/or adult formation.  He/she will have previous experience in the design and delivery of educational materials and have outstanding communication skills at all levels.  A good working knowledge of Microsoft Office is essential.  This is a full time role which will include working some evenings and weekends.  Salary range - £30,000 to £35,000 pa depending on skills and experience.  If you would like to apply please email your CV together with a covering letter to Sarah Wood, HR Manager. Email:
Closing date Friday 1st February 2019.

If you would like an informal chat and a visit to the Centre for Catholic Formation, please contact the Director, Mark Nash, by email and a copy of the job description can be found at

Resource Assistants

Centre for Catholic Formation

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark is looking for 2 part-time Resource Assistants to the Centre for Catholic Formation in Tooting Bec.  The key function of the Centre is assisting parishes in the work of adult formation, the training of catechists and helping to spread the good news of Jesus Christ (evangelization).
Accountable to the Director, the Resource Assistants will seek to revitalise and run the bookshop as well as developing an online sales offering via the Centre website. They will also promote the resources on offer at the CCF both through print and social media.  In addition, they will help to organise and run events.

Although training will be provided, the ideal candidate will already have good IT skills especially in relation to presentations, social media and websites.  He/she will also have excellent communication skills and some experience of catechesis, children’s liturgy or educational work with adults and/or children and an informed understanding of Church teaching.

Hours of work per Assistant will be 15 per week in term time only and will include some evenings and weekends.  Salary range - £10.00 - £12.00 per hour depending on skills and experience. 
If you would like to apply please email your CV together with a covering letter to Sarah Wood, HR Manager. Email:
Closing date Friday 1st February 2019.

If you would like an informal chat and a visit to the Centre for Catholic Formation, please contact the Director, Mark Nash, by email and a copy of the job description can be found at

On Going Formation (OGF) Secretary
and Centre Secretary (CCF)

Location    Tooting Bec (SW17)
Hours        4 to 5 days per week with occasional weekends/evenings
Salary        Around £20,000pa depending on experience (pro rated if part time)

The CCF is an agency of the Archdiocese of Southwark, responsible for assisting parishes in the work of adult formation, the training of catechists and helping to spread the good news of Jesus Christ (evangelization) across South London and the county of Kent. The OGF arranges training and spiritual support of diocesan clergy both in active ministry and in retirement.

We are now looking for an experienced and capable secretary to serve both the Centre for Catholic Formation (3 days per week) and to support the work of the diocesan Ongoing Formation of Priests Committee (2 days per week). This job comprises two distinct roles and the applicant will need to be well organised and diligent.

Located at Tooting Bec and reporting to the Director of CCF/OGF, this role is a member of the CCF team and will be required to work collaboratively with colleagues.

The ideal candidate will have extensive secretarial in a professional environment with evidence of ability to work effectively under minimal supervision.  Up-to-date technology skills, including websites and social media is essential, as is a working knowledge of the Catholic Church.

Interested candidates should email their CV together with a covering letter to Sarah Wood, HR Manager. Email:  Closing date for applications is 18th January 2019.

If you would like an informal chat or a visit please contact the Director of the Centre for Catholic Formation and Ongoing Formation of Priests, Dr Mark Nash, by email

Joy to the World:
A Saviour has been born to us.

Christmas 2018
Cathedral Crib scene

We live in a demanding world which is often filled with concerns of achievement, gain and sometimes conflict.  In our striving it can be challenging to remember that we are precious in the sight of God and he loves us. He wishes to favour us with a unique set of gifts through the birth of his Son, namely peace, love and joy. These gentle offerings cannot be purchased, but can only be openly received from His hand. They are then to be lovingly nurtured in our daily lives, helping us to focus on all that is good with the help of the Holy Spirit, and simultaneously inspiring the wellbeing of our society.

Like the shepherds, may we be filled with wonder at the coming of our redeemer in the child-Jesus and with the choirs of angels, exult in this extraordinary moment of God’s infinite love for us throughout eternity, as we wait for the return of his Son. May we carry the hope and benevolence of this season in our hearts throughout the year and be ready to share His treasure with all those we encounter.

With an assurance of my prayers for Christmas and 2019,

Christmas Services in Southwark

Anyone wishing to attend services in their local Catholic Church during the Christmas season is welcome to find the contact details of the Parish by accessing parish information on the Southwark Parish Directory tab, which is located on the right hand side of the page or by clicking here.

We look forward to welcoming you.

The O Antiphons:

The O Antiphons are verses used at Vespers in the last seven days of Advent in Western Christian traditions and run from 17th- 23rd December in the Catholic Church.  Each antiphon reflects on Isaiah's prophecy and is a devotion to the various names of the Messiah.  

The O Antiphons are thought to have originated in the early, Church, particularly in monasteries, and were in formal liturgical in Rome by the 8th Century.
O EMMANUEL: God is with us
23rd December
Isaiah’s Prophecy
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

Antiphon Text:

O Emmanuel,
Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium,
et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.

English Translation:
O Emmanuel,
our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.

‘Immanuel’ is a Hebrew name, which later became ‘Emmanuel’ when translated into the Roman alphabet. In this final antiphon we hear of a great longing for the arrival of ‘Emmanuel’ who, it is recognised, will be a just and righteous leader, providing not only hope, but salvation to the people. 

Isaiah foretold of a young woman bearing a son whom she would name Immanuel (God is with us), which he predicted would be a sign of God’s protection for the House of David. In his Gospel, Matthew interpreted Jesus, whose ancestor was King David, as God’s fulfilment of this prophecy and the true Messiah.

O REX GENTIUM: O King of the Nations
22nd December

Isaiah’s Prophecy
"For a child has been born for us, a son given us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)

Antiphon Text:
O Rex Gentium,
et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis,
qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

English Translation:
O King of the nations,
and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay.

This Antiphon reflects the longing of man to understand what it may mean on to see God’s Kingdom realised on this earth.  Although we are ‘fashioned from clay’, it is as if our very earthly basis is only brought to life once infused by truly perceiving His wish for humankind. This new Kingdom or reality for our world may be an everyday existence of choosing peace, sharing what we have, bringing about harmony and ultimately realising the Divine’s love for mankind. 

O ORIENS: O Morning Star
21st December
Isaiah’s prophecy:
"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined." (Isaiah 9:2)

Antiphon: Text:
O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

English Translation:
O Morning Star,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death.

Literally translated, ‘O Oriens’ means ‘Rising Sun’, but in addition to
‘O Morning Star’ we also find it translated elsewhere as ‘O Dayspring’. All these meanings speak of a new Light, one that has come to share its warmth and radiance with the world. Perhaps most importantly, it is to bring illumination to those that have been in shadow and spiritual darkness. Having been set free by the Key of David, Jesus is our Messiah, the Rising Sun and the Light destined for our world.

O CLAVIS DAVID: O Key of David
20th December

Isaiah's Prophecy:
"I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open,  and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open." (Isaiah 22:22)

Jesus is described as being descended from David,
who first gained acknowledgment as a musician, then as  the slayer of Goliath. He anointed King on the death of Saul who was slain in battle with his son. The Antiphons states that the coming Messiah will be the salvation of people and lead us to the Light of God.

Antiphon Text:
O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

English Translation:
O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

O RADIX JESSE: O Root of Jesse
19th December
Isaiah's Prophecy:
"A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots."  (Isaiah 11:1)

Jesse was the father of King David, whom it had been foretold would be the root of Jesus' lineage.

Antiphon Text:
O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

English Translation:
O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will close their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

Remembering Migrants

Forty people braved the rain and wind on Dover Seafront during the afternoon of 15th December in order to attend the inauguration of a 
new memorial to over 200 migrants who have died in the last 20 years in attempts to reach and cross the Channel to seek sanctuary in the UK. The service was led by the Bishop of Dover, the Right Rev. Trevor Willmott, assisted by the Parish Priest of the Good Shepherd Parish in Dover, Fr Jeff Cridland.

Five Mayors from Dover and neighbouring towns were present to pay their respects.The tragic deaths of a number of those involved were recounted as the Mayor of Dover, The Right Worshipful Sue Jones, placed flowers in memory of the victims while the Mayor of Deal, the Worshipful Nick Tomaszewski, read a poignant poem dedicated to all the victims.

Anglican & Roman Catholic Clergy including the Dean of Dover, Fr Jeff Cridland, and Mayors from Dover and neighbouring towns congregated.

Speaking after the service, Ben Bano from 'Seeking Sanctuary' said: 'Our event today was not about the rights and wrongs of migration but an opportunity to remember all those who have died trying to seek sanctuary in these tragic circumstances. Many of those involved have no one for grieve for them, hence it is only right that we act as a proxy. I hope that the memorial will continue to remind us that, in the words of Pope Francis, 'every migrant has a name, a face and a story'.

Only hours earlier, eleven migrants had successfully completed the perilous journey, including four children. A number of the attendees were associated with local and national efforts to provide humanitarian aid, including the Refugee Council. The ceremony ended with remarks by a representative from one such group, Marisa Rickard of Canterbury-based 'Care4Humanity', who included a relevant quotation from the Muslim tradition, 'Use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, your hands for charity, your mind for truth and your heart for love'.

May those who have lost their lives whilst striving for hope and a new beginning, Rest in Peace.

O Adonai: O Majesty

18th December
Isaiah's Prophecy
...but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. Isaiah 11:4-5

Antiphon Text:
O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

English Translation:
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

Adonai is the plural form of ‘adon’, meaning ‘Lord’ or ‘Majesty’ and is regularly used to refer to the being of God in the Hebrew Bible.  This is perhaps a more personal title than the universal idea of ‘Wisdom’ (O Sapientia).  The Antiphon reflects the expectation and longing for Christ on earth, referring to the the event of the burning bush in the Old Testament, when God reveals to Moses that he wishes to send him to Pharoah in order to alleviate the suffering of the Israelites and bring them out of Egypt.

The O Antiphons

The O Antiphons are verses used at Vespers in the last seven days of Advent in Western Christian traditions and run from 17th- 23rd December in the Catholic Church.  Each antiphon reflects on Isaiah's prophecy and is a devotion to the various names of the Messiah.  

The O Antiphons are thought to have originated in the early, Church, particularly in monasteries, and were in formal liturgical in Rome by the 8th Century.

O Sapientia (O Wisdom) 17th December

Isaiah had prophesied the following:
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord." (Isaiah 11:2-3)

Antiphon Text:
O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

(English Translation)
O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Christmas Concert at St George's Cathedral

Following the successful Carol Service at St George's Cathedral on Thursday night, the Cathedral's talented Director of Music, who will be retiring at the end of this year, will offer a Christmas Organ Recital in the Cathedral on Saturday 15th December between 11 am and 12 noon.  This is an opportunity to hear Norman Harper play Olivier Messiaen's masterwork ''La Nativité du Seigneur'.  

Messiaen completed this work at the age of 27 years and it comprises of nine meditations on the birth of Christ, which collectively seek to convey God's joy in the birth of his Son. Theologically inspired, the composition undoubtedly drew on the composer's faith. However, the stained glass windows in medieval cathedrals near to his place of residence also inspired his writing. For that reason, it is perhaps the perfect piece of music for the beautiful stained-glass setting of St George's Cathedral at this time of year!

The concert is free and all are welcome to attend.

For more details about all of these events and more, visit the Cathedral's Facebook Page.

Southwark Schools' Music Festival

On Wednesday 12th of December, seven Catholic schools in South East London gathered at Sacred Heart Church in Camberwell for the 5th occasion of this musical celebration.

The schools were St Joseph's Infant and Junior Schools in Camberwell, St Francis' Primary School, Peckham, St Michael's Secondary School, Bermondsey, Virgo Fidelis Secondary School, Upper Norwood, St Thomas the Apostle Secondary School in Nunhead, and Sacred Heart Secondary School, Camberwell.

The parish priest, Fr Victor Darlington, welcomed all the schools and their headteachers, and emphasised the importance of the gathering as a means to express the true meaning of Christmas, namely the birthday of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, echoed in melodious songs in an atsmosphere of prayer.

The special guest of honour, Bishop Patrick Lynch, encouraged the congregation to truly live and proclaim the joyful message expressed in the songs,'tonight, this Christmas and always'. He stressed that as Christians we should always seek to follow the true Light of the World, whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas. He offered the final blessing and wished every one present a very happy Christmas.

To see more photographs from this event, click here.

Education Commission 

Christmas Card Competition 2018

Many congratulations to a Year 6 pupil at St Mary's Catholic Federation in Carshalton: the worthy winner for the Education Commission's recent Christmas Card Competiton.

Pupils within the diocesan family of schools, academies and colleges aged
5 to 14 years were invited to take part in the Commission's competition to design its official Christmas card on one of the following themes.

•    Jesus, hope of the world,
•    Mary shows us Jesus
•    Following the star

The Deputy Director of Religous Education and Spirituality, Sharon Doherty, said: 'This card was chosen because the judging panel felt it was a lovely interpretation of the Nativity and showed how joyously the invitation to  'Come to the manger' was accepted by those who had to travel far and wide.

Seventy-seven card submissions were received in total and staff at the Commission then voted on the winner and 11 runners up: the winner received a prize of Cineworld tickets. Congratulatations all those who entered and took part this year!

To see all the finalists' pictures, visit our Facebook page.


The Foundation Training Course – 1-day programme

Drawing and Talking is a safe, easy to learn method of working with children, teenagers and young adults, to help with underlying emotional difficulties that may be affecting their learning and behaviour.

The foundation course consists of a full day’s training. It is suitable for anyone who is working with vulnerable children and young people. No previous knowledge, training or experience is necessary. Head Teachers, Teachers, Teaching Assistants, Learning Mentors, SENCO’s, Pastoral Care, Family Support Teams or anyone working within the charitable sectors with children, teenagers and young adults are all welcome.

Date: 10th January 2019
Venue: The Education Commission, Orpington
Fee: £175 per delegate

This includes the cost of the Drawing and Talking training, resources and materials. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Further details about the course content can be found here.

Please contact for further information and to book your place now.

The Pope's Prayer Intentions

Each month, Pope Francis issues a video in which he asks us to join with him, via the Worldwide Prayer Network, in order to pray for specific needs within our Church.

In December, we are asked to pray for those involved in the transmission of faith.

To watch the short video, please click on the image below:

Prepare for the Light

Advent is a very special season in the year with different themes highlighted in each of its four weeks to enable us to prepare and to welcome Christ’s presence in our lives.

So often in our fast paced world we find ourselves run off our feet and exhausted by the frantic build up to Christmas and we completely lose this special time to take stock and renew our relationship with God and prepare for the coming of his Son at Christmas.

To help make some space and focus on the development of this most precious relationship, the Archdiocese of Southwark Spirituality Commission have once again produced a handy daily email to enable reflection.

The focus will be on the readings for each Sunday in Advent.  Every day there will be a different reflection; so each week, Monday and Tuesday will focus on the First reading, Wednesday on the Psalm, Thursday and Friday on the Second reading and Saturday and Sunday on the Gospel.  

These reflections are designed to draw us deeper into the mystery of the Advent season and allow us to hear the readings anew, looking at where the readings resonate in our own lives and how they can draw us closer to God.

The brief reflection will be sent directly to your inbox to make it as easy as possible to take a little time out each day. So wherever you are, and whatever time you can invest in your personal advent preparation – you will have the resources to hand!

To receive your daily reflection – simply sign up at

Catholic Children's Society Southwark Crisis Fund Advent Service

181204 - Good Shepherd - Crisis Fund

On Tuesday 4th December Archbishop Peter joined schools from around the Archdiocese of Southwark at their Advent Service in the Cathedral in aid of the Catholic Children's Society Southwark Crisis Fund

181204 - Good Shepherd - Crisis Fund

Dr Rosemary Keenan CEO of the Catholic Children's Society explained what the Crisis Fund means to families who are in need and thanked everyone for their support

181204 - Good Shepherd - Crisis Fund

After the children made their journey from The Annunciation the birth of Jesus

181204 - Good Shepherd - Crisis Fund

Archbishop Peter accepted gifts from the schools on behalf of the Crisis

181204 - Good Shepherd - Crisis Fund
181204 - Good Shepherd - Crisis Fund

181204 - Good Shepherd - Crisis Fund

Archbishop Peter has written a Pastoral Letter to be read at Masses on the First Sunday of Advent 2018 - Sunday 2nd December  2018. In it he reflects on the scandal of abuse in the Church.

"These crimes have caused a terrible wound in the hearts of the victims of that abuse, and in the community of the Church, the community of God’s people, the body of Christ on earth."

"The season of Advent which we begin today, is a season of hope, longing and joyful expectancy, but is also a penitential season. As we look forward to and prepare for the celebration of Christmas, we need to put our trust firmly in the risen Christ...

#Red Wednesday

Campaign for Faith and Freedom

On Wednesday 28th November Aid to the Church in Need and Christian Solidarity Worldwide asked us to stand in unity with persecuted Christians and other faith minorities who suffer unjustly for their peacefully-held beliefs.  

At St George's Cathedral in Southwark, the inside of the church was decorated with red flowers and church vestments. Archbishop Peter, along with the Cathedral Dean and a number of staff lent their personal support to the Campaign.

From the late afternoon onwards, churches and other public buildings lit up red to highlight the persecution of Christians and other faiths. A procession of the Cross by candlelight took place between Parliament Square and Westminster Cathedral in the evening.

The torrential rain had not dampened Spirits as a large crowd gathered outside Westminster Cathedral, Those present heard a moving family testimony via a live link from Aleppo whilst the National Director of ACN, Neville Kyrke-Smith, and Mervyn Thomas from Christian Solidarity Worldwide spoke alongside church leaders of various faiths of the need for peace.

Prayers were offered for those who have died as well as those who are being persecuted for their faith at present. In addition, heartfelt prayers were offered for persecutors; that they may come to a realisation of their actions and seek a new way to resolve differences.

For more photos of this event click here.

With thanks to M.Mazur / CBCEW for these images

National Youth Sunday

On Sunday 25th November 2018 (The Feast of Christ the King) the Church invites young people to be at the heart of the celebration of National Youth Sunday

In a world buzzing with social media and selfies, the Church wants young people to hear the message that there is ONE filter that helps us stay true to ourselves, that helps us all to measure our lives in the right ways and present ourselves to others as we are. This is the filter of God’s Love.

Some excellent resources for parishes and schools are available through the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales: click here to view the relevant website and information.  From this website it is also possible to access links to resources on the forthcoming World Youth Day in 2019, as well as a variety of information and recordings from the 2018 Synod last October. For further information on the Southwark Catholic Youth Service click here

The Cathedral Dean - Chaplain to the
Aldermanic Sheriff of the City of London 

Canon Richard Hearn, the Cathedral Dean has been appointed as Chaplain to the Aldermanic Sheriff of the City of London, Alderman Vincent Keaveny, who is a Catholic, for the year 2018-1019

Canon Hearn took part in this year’s Lord Mayor’s show and rode in the procession with the new Sheriff.  As Chaplain he will attend events in the City of London.

There are two sheriffs in the City of London who support the Lord Mayor during his year of office.

New Cathedral Choir CD for Christmas

Image courtesy of M. Mazur

We are delighted to announce the official release of a new CD by St George's Cathedral Choir in Southwark.

The CD, which has been exquisitely recorded by Regent Records, features a wealth of repertoire for the Christmas Season.  
In addition to traditional carols such as
'Silent Night'  (arranged by Norman Harper: the Cathedral's Director of Music) and Plainsong for Christmas Day, there are Christmas motets such as John Tavener's rousing' God is with us' and James MacMillan's mysterious 'In splendoribus sanctorum', whose trumpet solo proclaims the arrival of the Christ-child.

With great encouragement from Archbishop Peter Smith and senior clergy, this is the second disc recorded by the Cathedral Choir. Although its duties consist mainly of singing for Cathedral services, recording a disc is of great help in consolidating the Choir's work throughout the year.  For many of the girl and boy choristers, working with professional adult musicians is a unique opportunity which fosters their love of music and helps them to grow in faith as well as understanding of liturgy.  Many benefit from being part of a team who strive for excellence and discipline at the same time as having fun and forming friendships within the Church. These are important qualities and opportunities that every young person can take forward in life.

This disc booklet features texts and translations alongside beautiful Cathedral imagery.  It is an excellent present for music-lovers and those who cannot easily attend their parish at this time of year.

Many of the items on this disc will be performed during the Cathedral Carol Service on Thursday 13th December at 7.30 pm. Entry is free and all are very welcome to join the Clergy and Cathedral Choir in sing carols, listen to Christmas readings and enjoy inspiring choral music. 

The disc IS NOW ON SALE through the St George's Cathedral website.

Celebrating the Centenary of Armistice Day

At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, news came of the Armistice and the end of hostilities in the Great War. There was, as one would expect, great joy on the battlefield and much celebrating around the world.

After initial exultation came the need to piece life back together after four years of war. Sickness, disability, lack of employment, the return of women to 'ordinary domestic life' and financial challenges across the globe continued to cause upheaval.  The required change in mindset to accept peace was effectively a social shockwave, as noted by Cardinal Bourne, who was Archbishop of Southwark until 1903. Looking back, it is hard to imagine the enormity of recovering from such an experience.

It is right that we should mark such a momentous anniversary. St George's Cathedral recently hosted a school service of Remembrance, with poetry readings and music which encouraged those attending to take time to pray for the fallen and to strive for peace. Afterwards, young people left their written thoughts on the Cathedral railings, indicating how they can individually help to make the world a better place.  Jesus said “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18. 3-4)
Reading these tags of witness immediately explains this teaching: the cards show honesty, lack of complication and straightforward understanding of personal responsibility with regard to engendering a positive society.

In contemporary times Pope Francis has stated that 'the world is at war' , going on to point out the cost to innocent life because of conflicts of interest.  In Southwark, recent news of violence on South London streets has made us all too aware of how quickly and easily hostility can flare-up with tragic consequences. 

The Catholic Church and its chaplains played a vital role in the First World War. Many became soldiers or otherwise found themselves comforting the sick and dying in extreme circumstances.  In 1918, ordinary people were clinging desperately to the church for answers whilst others felt their beliefs had been smashed by devastating sights and experiences.  Perhaps only time, along with God's love and gentle call to forgiveness, can hope to bring about healing from such significant distress. However, in contemporary society we can choose to adopt a considered Christian response to everyday discord: it is perhaps these perceptions that older generations need to share with the young.

This Sunday morning churches throughout the world will mark Remembrance Day and the Centenary of the 1918 Armistice.  As Catholics we are encouraged to participate in local civic or ecumenical celebrations whilst parishes are encouraged to ring church bells (where they exist) at 12.30 pm.  A Remembrance Service will commence outside St George's Cathedral at 11 am and Archbishop Peter Smith will be celebrating Mass in the Cathedral at 11.30 am.  All are very welcome.

We offer deep and humble gratitude to those who have given their their lives fighting for peace.  We pray for their eternal rest and that their great gift will inspire future generations to learn how to foster harmony and resolve conflict.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
we will remember them.

For more photographs of the Centenary of Armistice Day at St George's Cathedral, click here

Thanksgiving for the Canonisation of Oscar Romero

On Saturday 3rd November a significant celebration took place at St George's Cathedral, Southwark when a National Mass was offered in thanksgiving for the canonisation of Oscar Romero.
Clergy and laity gathered in honour of one of the Catholic Church's newest and perhaps most anticipated saints.

Since his assassination in 1980, people around the world have waited for news of Romero's beatification, which was initially announced in Spring 2018.  Known to speak up on behalf of the oppressed and voiceless, he attracted enmity from the state for his broadcasts and other channels of communication, which often listed those who had 'disappeared' or been killed during a time of deep unrest and eventual revolution in El Salvador.

Archbishop Peter Smith was the Principal Celebrant and welcomed a full congregation, thanking them for coming to the Cathedral on this special and unique occasion. Southwark clergy were also delighted to welcome The Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham. Delivering the homily during the service, he explored what it means to be a saint:

Did Oscar Romero set out in life to become a saint?  I am quite sure that he never considered himself to be worthy or holy enough.... as Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI observes 'holiness is not a quest for perfection but a willingness to unite ourselves to Christ, so that we may become perfect.' That willingness to unite himself to Christ was at the heart of Archbishop Romero's vocation to Christian discipleship and it led him to treasure and embody integrity.

For the full sermon click here.

Archbishop Bernard Longley

Towards the end of the service, Archbishop Peter led the congregation in an Act of Affirmation at the Romero Cross, which houses relics of the saint and sits in the Romero Shrine, as decreed by Archbishop Peter Smith on 14th October 2018: the date of Saint Oscar Romero's canonisation.

Archbishop Peter leads the Act of Affirmation at the Romero Shrine

Let us affirm our commitment to follow in the steps of Saint Oscar Romero to:

  • Seek courage to follow his example in service to the marginalised;
  • Speak out for those who have no voice
  • Expose the abuse of power over those who are powerless;
  • Create community with all who feel isolated;
  • Name the signs of God's reign in a world which would remain silent;
  • Witness to the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the people of our time;
  • Be at one with the Church of God throughout the earth in proclaiming Good News to the poor, freedom to those who are in chains, vision for those who cannot see and dignity for all the oppressed.
  • This we seek to do in the name of the transfigured Christ.  Amen.
May we all find the courage in our hearts to follow the example of Saint Romero who, in his words from 'The Violence of Love' stated:

Peace is not the product of terror or fear.
Peace is not the silence of cemeteries.
Peace is not the silent result of violent repression.
Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all,

to the good of all.
Peace is dynamism.
Peace is generosity.
It is right and it is duty.

The service closed with a rousing version of Laudate, led by Canon Alan McClean, and an invitation to those gathered to visit the Romero Shrine.

With grateful thanks to M Mazur of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales for these images.  
For more phot
os click here.

Anniversary of the Dedication of
The Metropolitan Cathedral Church of St George

Although the Metropolitan Cathedral Church of St George opened in 1848 it was not dedicated until 7th November 1894 when all of the building debts had been repaid


This year Canon Alan McLean presided at the Mass that was attended by some of the Canons of the diocese and parishioners of The Metropolitan Cathedral Church of St George


On this day in 1989 the High Altar was consecrated by Archbishop Michael Bowen


Significant Celebrations in Southwark

Two parishes celebrate their 175th Anniversaries

During the last week of October 2018, two parishes celebrated their 175th Anniversary. The first was St Peter the Apostle in Woolwich, which has a rich history and was built by AWN Pugin.  

Leading the celebrations on 28th October were were Bishop Pat Lynch, Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark Diocese and Fr Michael Branch, Parish Priest of St Peter’s. Guests included the Mayor of Greenwich, Matthew Pennycock MP, Len Duvall from the London Assembly and local councillors.

During the 11.45 am Mass, which remembered the opening ceremony of 1843, Bidding Prayers were said in nine languages, whilst seven candle bearers represented the Seven Continents in order to reflect the diverse nature of the parish. The Air Cadet Corps Band played before and after the Mass, representing the church’s military connection.

Proud of diversity: bidding prayers were offered in 9 languages

The plot of land for this parish was granted by the Ordnance, who appointed Augustus Welby Pugin to design a parish church: now thought to be his first, although he had already built 3 Cathedrals by 1841.

Marking the passing of this significant milestone in the life of the parish, Fr Michael Branch offered the following comment:

“Here at St Peter’s, Woolwich we are all immensely proud to celebrate the Church’s 175th anniversary. It’s our history that helps us understand who we are today. Since it’s inception, migrants from Ireland and other European countries found a safe spiritual home to Worship God and to put their faith in action. Today the Church provides a home to a multicultural world wide Catholic Community, as it continues to inspire priests and people to live faith in action for the common good.

After the service a shared meal of various cuisines was enjoyed by the parishioners and guests in Pugin Place: an old school building which now serves as a community centre.

The current church building retains a number of original features, including stained glass by John Harding, ceramics by Henry Minton as well as a set of Stations of the Cross originally donated by St George’s Cathedral.  All are welcome to visit.

The second parish was on the very border of the Southwark Province (rather than within the Diocese), located in Penzance!  

With Bishop Mark O'Toole of Plymouth at the 2018 Synod in Rome, the parish of The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady invited Archbishop Peter Smith to join clergy from across Cornwall and Devon in to celebrate the 175th anniversary of  Penzance Catholic Church, and the completion of  a £250,000 restoration of this historic church.

Father Philip Dyson, parish priest, was appointed Honorary Canon for his work serving the mother church of Immaculate Conception of  Our Lady, Penzance.
Around 200 parishioners attended the Anniversary Mass, which also celebrated the completion of a major redevelopment project, providing much-needed modern facilities and including the installation of two stunning new stained-glass windows depicting the luminous mysteries of the Rosary, as promulgated by Pope John Paul 11. The works were paid for by parish fund-raising.

The second reading was from Corinthians 1: 3:9, in which St Paul says to his followers “You are God’s field. You are also God’s building”.
In his homily, Archbishop Peter Smith congratulated the parish on its achievements, and reminded the congregation of St Paul’s words:
“Of greater importance than simply the building are the many people who have worked throughout the years over its long history to develop the community it is today.”

All gathered enjoyed refreshments in the Church Hall after the service and spent time talk about their part in the history of the parish.

We wish both parishes well as they look forward to their next major milestones and the growth of their unique communities in Christ.


The Legacy of Adoremus

Inspired by the Adoremus Eucharistic Congress in Liverpool last September, Fr Innocent Abonyi has instigated the Guild of the Blessed Sacrament in his parish of St John the Evangelist, Gravesend.  

The Guild promotes greater reverence to Christ in the Eucharist, with members praying for an hour before the Blessed Sacrament and also taking turns to welcome others to the church during exposition.

Listen to this short interview with Fr Innocent, recorded by the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.

Click on the icon to listen to the interview

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Colin Murphy

who died on Wednesday 31st October 2018

May he rest in peace

Organ Scholarship at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark

January 2019 to July 2019 (two terms), with the possibility of extension for the academic year 2019-2020

The Archdiocese of Southwark is offering an Organ Scholarship at St George’s Cathedral to a music student or recent graduate. 

The Cathedral has both a boys and a girls’ choir, supported by professional lay clerks.  The scholarship is open to
an organist and conductor seeking to further his/her experience in the field of church music. 

The Scholarship will require a commitment of 6 hours per week to cover:

•    Both the 10am and 11.30 Sunday Masses in term time, with rehearsals, and other major festivals, for instance Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil (not a complete list). The first Sunday rehearsal is at 9am.
•    To be present for either the choir practice from 6 to 7.30 on Wednesday evenings or from 5.30 to 7.00 on Friday evenings, either accompanying or doing general administration.
•    To do miscellaneous administrative tasks and attend occasional meetings as required.

The successful applicant will have:
•    An organ playing standard including sight reading and transposition to at least Grade 8 (ABRSM)/ ARCO plus fluency in playing hymns.
•    Experience in conducting choirs and confidence in leading young people.
•    The ability to learn music quickly.
•    Access to a computer, with fluency in Microsoft Word and the internet.
•    A responsible approach to all commitments, including excellent preparation and punctuality.
•    An enhanced DBS disclosure will also be required.

For more information and to apply please email Sarah Wood at  Please ensure that your CV and any covering letter includes your organ playing and choral conducting experience, whether or not you have had any previous church appointments and your current occupation. 

The deadline for applications is Friday 16th November.
Auditions and Interviews will take place on Friday 30th November.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Brother Michael McMullen
who was a member of the Aylesford community for over sixty years

He died peacefully on Thursday 25th October

The reception of the body will on Friday 2nd November at 6.30pm

Funeral Mass will be at Aylesford Priory on Saturday 3rd November at 11.30 am with a burial in the community cemetery.

Installation of Parish Priest at Roehampton

On Sunday 21 October 2018 Bishop Paul Hendricks installed Fr Alberto Pelucchi of the Comboni Fathers as Parish Priest of St Joseph’s Parish in Roehampton. Among those present were the Dean of Mortlake, Mgr William Saunders and the Provincial of the Comboni Fathers.

Founded in 1867 by St. Daniel Comboni, the Comboni Missionaries are an international Catholic organization dedicated to ministering to the world’s poorest and most abandoned people, often working in unstable political climates and in the midst of extreme poverty.  They seek to protect the dignity of all people and to serve them.

The Comboni Missionaries have carried their mission across the world for 150 years, sharing the good news of Christ. There are currently 3,500 missionaries working in 42 countries.

Many congratulation Fr Pelucchi!


A concert in honour of those who have given their lives
for their friends

A concert will take place in St George’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Southwark, on 24th October 2018 at 7.30 pm in order to mark the World War I Centenary Armistice Day, the recent Canonisation of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the 400th Anniversary of the execution of Sir Walter Raleigh. 

Under the direction of Douglas Tang, soloists will combine forces with ArchiCantiores and The Museum Singers (from the Imperial War Museum) in order to offer a recital of poems and songs from the 1500’s to the present day via the Boer and First World Wars. 

The chapels and shrines of the Cathedral will help to inform the choice of repertoire as the musicians weave their way around the building. Compositions will include works by Palestrina, Samuel Barber, Benjamin Britten and Kurt Weil, which will be interspersed with words by Wilfred Owen, Oscar Romero, Dylan Thomas, Rupert Brooke and a newly commissioned poem entitled ‘Duet’ by Paul Munden, Director of the National Association of Writers in Education.  

Prior to the concert, a reception will be held in Amigo Hall, during which a talk will be given by Julian Pinnick. A gifted artist, Julian has created the ‘Southwark Triptych’ which depicts a contemporary setting of the Deposition from the Cross (also known as the Pieta). The Most Reverend Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark, will accept the Triptych on behalf of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark during the reception.

The painting features Borough Market (as seen on the concert poster) and Archbishop Peter Smith will confer the painting on the Church of the Most Precious Blood, which is located in Borough and is the nearest Catholic Church to London Bridge.  The Triptych will be available to view in the Lady Chapel at St George’s Cathedral for a limited period of time after the concert.

Doors open for the concert at 7 pm.
Concert tickets are £10 / £8 concessions, U18s Free.
Reception tickets: £15 / £10 concessions.
For further information:   
To book visit:

Proceeds from the concert (after expenses) will be donated to the St George’s Cathedral Lighting and Audio-visual project.

The centre panel of the Southwark Triptych

Archbishop Peter visits St Thomas' Catholic Primary School in Canterbury

Archbishop Peter blessed each classroom and spent time with the children

Archbishop Peter Smith visited St Thomas’ Catholic Primary School in Canterbury on Friday 5th October 2018, to celebrate the official opening of the school’s new classrooms.

The morning began with Mass in the school hall, where the Archbishop was joined by local clergy, governors, pupils and families, to celebrate the start of a new school year. During the Mass, children led on readings, offertory and altar serving, as well as joining in enthusiatically with the singing.

Before mass concluded, Miss Lisa D’Agostini (Headteacher) took to the lectern to talk about a special award being presented by the Archbishop to Mrs Marion Nash. Mrs Nash has devoted 30 years of service to St Thomas’ Catholic Primary School as a Governor – the last 20 years were served as Chair of Governors. During the summer, Mrs Nash decided it was time to step back from being a Governor and so the school, along with the Archdiocese, decided to mark her dedication and commitment to the school and parish life, with a special diocesan award.

After mass, parents and guests had the opportunity to meet the Archbishop over light refreshments. Once the children’s break time had finished, Archbishop Peter Smith visited each classroom to speak with the children and answer any questions they had.

Archbishop Peter Smith and Mrs Marion Nash officially opened the new classrooms by cutting a ribbon and a plaque was installed to mark the occasion. In attendance for this short ceremony were representatives of the many agencies involved, including the Education Commission for the Archdiocese of Southwark who secured the funding and Faithorn Farrell Timms who were the project’s Architect and Agent. Archbishop Peter Smith was given a tour of the new building and blessed the classrooms with holy water.

After several years of planning for replacement classrooms, building work was finally completed before the summer holidays and children moved into the new building this September.  Further works are expected to begin within the school over the next few weeks.

Archbishop Peter with the Headteacher, Miss D'Agostini, Mrs Marion Nash, Canon Anthony Charlton and staff from the School & Southwark Education Commission

Commissioning of Extraordinary Ministers of 
Holy Communion at the Cathedral

On Saturday 13th October 2018 Bishop Pat Lynch commissioned 125 people as Extra Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.


Bishop Pat started the day with a talk on the Eucharist and this special Ministry using the Emmaus story


Monsignor Matthew Dickens presided at a period of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament


After lunch Monsignor Matthew spoke of the role of the Extraordinary Minister and the rubrics, including the service of administering Holy Communion to the Sick and the DBS checks that need to be taken before staring this ministry and so therefore bringing together all the training that had been given in every parish


Bishop Pat presided at the Commissioning Mass along with Monsignor Matthew Dickens VG, during which he commissioned the new Extraordinary Ministers and presented their certificates.  Bishop Pat also thanked all the new Extraordinary Minsters from their commitment in answering the call to serve


The Ministers came from 38 parishes around the Archdiocese - Anerley, Balham, Battersea Park, Brixton, Brixton Hill, Brockley, Camberwell, Canterbury, Carshalton Beeches, Catford, Chatham, Chislehurst, Colliers Wood, Deal, Dover + Aylesham , Earlsfield, Eltham, Folkestone, Forest Hill, Gillingham, Greenwich, Hartley, Herne Hill, Mortlake, New Malden, North Cheam, Plumstead, Putney, Rochester, Selsdon, Streatham, Surbiton, Sydenham Kirkdale, Thornton Heath, Tooting Bec, Tunbridge Wells, Walworth, Wimbledon South and Woolwich


Bishop Pat and Monsignor Matthew greeted and thanked the new Ministers


New Diocesan Shrine to Oscar Romero

We are delighted to announce that Archbishop Peter has formally decreed the Romero Space in St George's Cathedral to be a Diocesan Shrine, as of Sunday 14th October 2018, the date of Oscar Romero's canonisation.

The Romero Cross within the Shrine area holds a reliquary containing a piece of cloth from the alb that Romero was wearing when he was assassinated and also his zuchetto (skull cap).  All are very welcome to visit the Shrine.

Please scroll down to read more about Romero.

Archbishop Oscar Romero

Canonisation and a new Diocesan Shrine for Southwark

This Sunday, 14th October 2018, Blessed Archbishop Oscar Romero will be canonised in Rome, alongside Pope Paul VI.  Archbishop Peter Smith will, on the same day, issue a decree officially designating the "Romero Space" in St George's Cathedral a Diocesan Shrine.

Oscar Romero y Galdámez was born on 15th August 1917 to Santos Romero and Guadalupe de Jesús Galdámeza and showed signs of seeking a religious life at an early age. He  became a priest in 1942, having waited a year for his ordination as he was a year below the required age of 25. He was appointed and installed as the fourth Archbishop of San Salvador in 1977.

He spoke passionately against injustice, corruption, poverty, torture and assassination, being greatly affected by the assassination of a close priest friend who worked extensvely with the poor, only weeks after his installation as Archbishop. In 1979, the revolutionary government Junta came to power, and with it a notable increase in human rights abuses. The increasingly violent behaviour would develop into the Salvadoran Civil War.

Romero stated to Pope John Paul II  that it was 'difficult to support the government in Salvador because it legitimized terror and assassinations' and he often used his radio broadcasts to list the names of those that had disappeared or been either tortured or murdered.  His diocesan newspaper offered the same information to its readership.

His outpoken behaviour and actions won much admiration across the world but also many enemies in the right-wing political leadership. On 23rd March 1980, he preached a sermon in which he called on Salvadoran soldiers, as Christians, to 'obey God's higher order and to stop carrying out the government's repression and violations of basic human rights'.

Romero was assassinated the next day on March 24th 1980 as he was celebrating Mass in the chapel of the Divine Providence cancer hospital in San Salvaodor.
The gunman has never been identified, but the State acknowledged their fault and responsibility in his murder.
       Reliquary within the Romero Cross

Romero's funeral took place on 30th March 1980 with over 250,000 mourners present from all over the world. His body is buried in the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Salvador.
On 23rd May 2015, Archbishop Oscar Romero was beatified in the Plaza El Salvador de Mundo, The service was presided over by Cardinal Angelo Arnato S.D.B. on behalf of Pope Francis.  He was granted patronage of Christian Communicators by the Universal Church. Arnato spoke of him as  "beloved, peacemaking man of God'', whilst Pope Francis said that Romero's voice was one that 'continued to resonate'.

The Romero Cross, which is situated in St George's Cathedral between chapels dedicated to St Joseph and St Patrick, was commissioned by The Archbishop Romero Trust in conjunction with the Cathedral. It houses a reliquary containing Archbishop Romero's zuchetto (skull-cap) and a piece of the alb that he was wearing when he was martyred on 24th March 1980.

The striking Cross was blessed on 19th September 2013 by Archbishop Peter Smith and dedicated to the late Bishop Michael Evans, former Bishop of East Anglia and a Southwark Priest who held Romero in great esteem and who died of cancer in 2011.

In order to mark the Canonisation, the Romero Trust have offered an A3 portrait poster of Saint Oscar Romero to all parishes and schools in Southwark, you are welcome to download the poster here.

To read more about the life and teachings of Archbishop Oscar Romero, please access the Romero Trust website:

Those wishing to mark Romero's Canonisation are welcome to attend a National Mass of Thanksgiving which will take place in St George's Cathedral on Saturday 3rd November at 12.30pm. Archbishop Peter Smith will be the Principal Celebrant.

All are welcome to visit the Shrine and attend the Mass.

Archbishop's Installation Live Stream

The Diocesan Chancery

Southwark's Diocesan Chancery has revised and added information to its page on this site.

The Chancery forms for Marriage, Reception into full communion with the Church and the Commissioning of Extra-ordinary Ministers of the Eucharist are now available for priests and deacons to download from this page.

Please click on the logo above to visit this page.


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