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

Archbishop Peter Smith

Our Archbishop is
Archbishop Peter Smith
who was installed
at Saint George's Cathedral on 10th June 2010

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

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The content of blogs should be considered as personal opinion which may differ from diocesan policy. 

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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.

Ad Limina Apostolorum

24th - 29th September 2018

Last week, Archbishop Peter flew to Rome in order to join fellow senior clergy for a quinquennial (5-yearly) ad Limina, otherwise know as an Ad Limina Apostolorum , which translates as 'on the threshold [or tombs] of the Apostles'. Essentially, bishops meet to pray at the tombs and have an opportunity to offer a report on the state of their dioceses to the Pope.

Bishops of England and Wales meet with Pope Francis

Each Catholic bishop is obliged to undertake this trip every five years. The quinquennial pilgrimages are sometimes delayed but the last made by the Bishops of England and Wales took place in 2010, when they met with Pope Benedict.

In previous ad Limina gatherings, the Pope would offer a speech to the assembled bishops.  However, Pope Francis has changed the procedure and sat with the bishops in a collegiate manner. This allowed for less ceremony and encouraged easy discourse, as well as enabling questions to which the Pontiff was able offer spontaneous replies.

There was an opportunity for clergy to meet and speak freely with various dicasteries in order to share concerns and receive advice, in addition to visiting to the Pontifical Commission for Communication, whose Prefect, Dr Paolo Ruffini, is a layman.

In the past, ad Limina addresses by the Pope were used to deliver public messages about the priorities of the church. This year, the bishops asked Pope Francis for a message to send back to their clergy and laity, to which he offered the following advice:

'We are to live the gift of our faith with joy. Joy was his great emphasis. He explained that this joy is rooted firmly in our relationship with Jesus. It is a joy of knowing that he is with us; of knowing the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives, drawing and guiding us towards the will of God; a joy of knowing our Heavenly Father is waiting for us, longing to hold us in his embrace of loving mercy. This is the joy of the faith by which we are to live. He added that this joy is the source of lasting peace in our hearts and lives, no matter our circumstances.'

If you would like to read the initial ad Limina statement, given by the Bishops of England and Wales, which focuses on concern in the church with regard to protecting children and vulnerable adults. click here.

For the final statement, offering an overall refection on this year's ad Limina meeting, click here.

Synod 2018

The 2018 Synod, which will centre around the theme of Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment has now begun in Rome. You can find out more details on the Synod website and watch the opening Mass here.

This Synod represents a journey through prayer, consultation and by listening to the joys and concerns of young people. As the meeting progresses, please pray for Pope Francis, our Church leaders and young people, that they may be guided by the Holy Spirit.

Early in 2019 SCYS will be running a day for leaders based on the Synod themes. They will explore together how they might best support and engage with our young people and share the Gospel message with them. More details to follow.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father John Mulligan

who died on Thursday 6th September 2018

May he rest in peace

Funeral arrangements:

Vigil Mass: 7pm, Monday 1st October,
Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus
250 Bishopsford Road, Morden, SM4 6BZ

Funeral Mass: 12noon, Tuesday 2nd October,
Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus
250 Bishopsford Road, Morden, SM4 6BZ

Clergy are asked to bring White Diocesan Vestments

Cause for Beatification of Euphrasie Barbier

The Cause for Beatification of Mother Euphrasie Barbier, who founded the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions in Deal, Kent, has now been taken forward under the direction of Monsignor Canon James Cronin, Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Southwark and Episcopal Delegate for the Cause.

Monsignor Cronin signs the Acta as Episcopal Delegate for the Cause

Sister Carmel Eberius, who is the Archivist for the Order in Rome and also Postulator of the Cause for Beatification, reflected on her recent completion on many years of preparation:

‘Mother Barbier was a very persistent person: she faced many obstacles in her desire to become a missionary, but never gave up.  Although she never served in the missions herself, by setting up the Order, she was able to train many to serve around the world and fulfilled her purpose and passion in this way.  She is a wonderful example, particularly to young people, to follow your dreams hand in hand with God.’

The Acta is blessed

Monsignor Cronin, the Episcopal Delegate for the Cause commented '
the first enquiry finished in 1957 under Archbishop Cowderoy, so it is approximately 60 years since we have prepared documents to go forward to Rome for the Cause of Canonisation'.

The Acta, which is essentially a record of the enquiry along with documentary testimonies and proofs relating to the devotion of Mother Euphrasie Barbier, has now been blessed, signed and sealed, and has recently been taken to the Dicastery responsible for the Causes and Canonisation of Saints.  

...and finally sealed with wax, bearing an imprint of the Diocesan Crest

Thanks must go to Monsignor Canon James Cronin (Episcopal Delegate), Father Jim Hurley (Promoter of Justice), Deacon Michael Kennedy (Notary), Sr Carmel Eberius RNDM and diocesan staff who have been involved with bringing this stage of the Cause to completion.

The blessed and sealed Acta, ready for transmission to Rome
Left: Sr Carmel Eberius   Right: Mgr Canon James Cronin

For more photographs of this rare event, click here.

Southwark Catholic Youth Service

seeks to make two appointments

Programme Leader
St Vincent's Residential Retreat Centre, Whitstable
An exciting opportunity to be part of our community &Youth Ministry Team.

Do you have experience working with young people? Could you share your faith and accompany young people as they journey and encounter Christ?  Can you inspire and encourage young people to live out their faith and build a better society?

The Programme Leader will work alongside the St Vincent's Team to deliver residential and day retreats for young people. The post holder will be required to reside at the Centre during work time and will have shared responsibility for supporting the residential community and ensuring the safety and security of the team, young people and centre premises. Off-site accommodation for a single person is provided.

Salary range £16,500 - £18,500, depending on experience.

Young Leadership Coordinator
In a new development for the Diocese we seek to employ an experienced youth worker to support our parishes and schools in developing young leadership. The role will build on current practice and respond to the need for young people to develop their skills, confidence and experience, enabling them to take responsibility and play a key and active role in the life of the Church and society.

The Young Leadership Co-ordinator will visit schools and parishes around the Diocese, presenting to and facilitating groups for adult leaders and young people.  We required a creative person who can enthuse, communicate, support and inspire young people and those supporting them.  Work has already begun on the programme and priorities have been identified.

This post is currently a fixed term of 22 months.  
Salary circa £22k - £24K, depending on experience.

For further information and an application pack, please contact Jean Harnedy, specifying which post is of interest.

Tel: 01227 272 900

The deadline for both vacancies is Thursday 4th October 2018.
Interviews will be held on Tuesday 9th October 2018 at St Vincent's, Whitstable.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of 

Father Peter Lessiter

who died on Saturday 8th September 2018

May he rest in peace

Funeral arrangements

Thursday 20th September 2018 at 12.00pm

Mount Carmel
Lodge Lane
EX13 5RT

To be followed by burial in Axminster Cemetery

Concelebrating Clergy are asked to bring purple diocesan vestments

Bishop Paul Mason: Bishop of the Forces

Congratulations to Bishop Paul Mason, who was installed as Bishop of the Forces in the Cathedral Church of Saint Michael and St George in Aldershot on Wednesday 12th September 2018.

The Bishopric of the Forces stands apart from other dioceses in that it is not bound by geographical limitations but comprises of anywhere in the world that United Kingdom military personnel are present.

Its aim is to provide operational, spiritual and pastoral support, primarily for Catholic servicemen and women, but also to their families and anyone who turns to them for support. It is intended to be a source of hope, comfort and solace, as well as offering pastoral and sacramental ministry. 

Following the appointment of Bishop Richard Moth to the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, the Forces have greatly looked forward to the appointment for a new Bishop for over 3 years and a large gathering of Clergy of many denominations, as well as Forces personnel, joined to celebrate the Installation Mass of Bishop Paul last Wednesday, which began with reading of the Mandate from the Holy See.  Click here to view.

Bishop Paul Mason receives his Crosier as Bishop of the Forces

During the Mass, Archbishop Peter invited Bishop Paul to be seated in the Cathedra (Bishop's Seat) in the Cathedral Church of the Forces and he was duly handed his Crosier (staff), symbolising his authority to lead his flock as a Good Shepherd of Christ. The Crosier features the Arms of the first Military Bishop, Bishop William Keatinge, who was appointed in 1917.

The Cathedral of Ss Michael and George has some unique features such as the Cross above the altar, which stands out against the traditional stone and mosaic walls. It was fashioned from metal scraps of aeroplanes in which RAF personnel lost their lives. The building is also unusual in that it is believed to be the only one for which Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone and the trowel that she used is built into the foyer of the church.

During his sermon, Bishop Paul recalled that whilst undertaking service as a Hospital Chaplain, many of the patients he visited had explained that their illness was the best thing that had happened to them.  He went on to elucidate that many felt it was a moment of reckoning which had finally allowed them to wake up out of their comfort zone.. an issue which any of us, in any walk of life can face, whether in work, in a marriage or even in the spiritual life. 'A chaplain can help piece things together', he advised, with spiritual and practical assistance helping to bring about a sense of peace. He went on to clarify that sometimes we need explosions in our life and to feel that burning need for change, and that Jesus comes not to bring peace at these times, but division! When it is revealed to us that we have become complacent in our lives, it is often not welcome, but it is needed in order to find our passion and zeal.

Bishop Paul summed up his sermon by saying that Jesus can makes us enmities with our comfort zones and a mediocre way of life, but this is the way to find our place in life and to be called to what and who we are supposed to be.

Many gathered for Bishop Paul Mason's Installation as Bishop of the Forces.

As the service concluded Bishop Paul thanked all those gathered, which included Dignitaries, the Forces, Archbishop Peter, the children's choir that had travelled from Kent and Fr Michael Fava, who was appointed as Administrator of the Forces by the College of Consultors whilst awaiting the appointment of a Bishop.

Archbishop Peter stated during the service that Southwark's loss is the Forces' gain'. Whilst it is true that we will miss his dynamic leadership, inspiring sermons, his support of the faithful and many organisations in Kent, not to mention his sporting ways, we wish Bishop Paul much happiness and great fulfillment in his new role as Bishop of the Forces.


The Eucharistic Congress and Pilgrimage to Liverpool

As we approached the Congress, we received the sad news of the death of our much-loved parish priest and Co-ordinator, Fr John Mulligan. To have lost him on the eve of his great opus of work in preparing us all to attend Adoremus seemed hard to comprehend.  He was a dynamic leader and great inspiration to us all, always in a good mood and dedicated to keeping everyone buoyant and informed.  As Southwark Delegates, we instinctively knew that the best way to honour his life and work was, as he would have said, to 'Get on with it', because we all knew that he believed the Congress would be the seed which would bear much fruit.

 To view the tribute paid to Fr John Mulligan at Adoremus,
click here.

Bishop McMahon welcomes everyone in Echo Arena to the Congress

There was so much on offer in Liverpool from day one. A warm welcome to the Echo Arena from Archbishop Malcolm McMahon started the proceedings, leading to a lead to a full programme of talks, workshops, prayer, worship, a dynamic youth congress and a complementary parallel programme of events which took place all around the City.  

It is hard to pick out any one element, but on the Symposium Day, Bishop Paul Mason and Fr Paul Douthwaite from CBCEW offered a talk on Sacraments for those who are serving time in prison or an extended period in hospital, and how they are are united with the worshipping church.  Click here to download information on this talk.

Bishop Robert Barron

Bishop Robert Barron inspired us all on Saturday with his two keynote speeches which helped the Congress to see the mystery and wonderment of the Mass.  To Listen to his talks, visit here.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Nichols spoke to the young people about the use of their mobile phones for good and Katie Prejean's humour ('I took a selfie with Pope Francis') and passion set hearts on fire at the Youth Congress as she told them 'God does not need you... he wants you!'.

Meanwhile, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow from Mary's Meals offered a thought provoking address and his words 'things can change when people spend time in front of the Eucharist' very much came to rest in minds of delegates during the course of the weekend. 

Key speeches can be heard on the CBCEW website

Katie Prejean set hearts alight with her passionate talk
and ready humour at
the Adoremus Youth Congress

Adoration took place at the end of the programme on Saturday, during which the atmosphere was electric: in an arena of several thousand people it would have been possible to hear a pin drop.

Adoration on Saturday afternoon at the end of the Congress Day

A wide range of evening events took place in the city from a Gospel Concert to Nightfever, Messy Church, a sing-along of famous Liverpool songs, a talk on the immigration history of the North West, a display on Eucharistic Miracles and the showing of an episode of the Bafta award- winning Northern drama, 'Broken', followed by an interview with its writer, Jimmy McGovern.

A carpet of flowers was donated to the Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool by Arundel and Brighton Diocese, in celebration of Adoremus

On the final day, Mass was offered at the stunning Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool.  A key feature of this contemporary building is stained glass, from which the radiant light helps to create an other-worldly atmosphere of transcendence, perhaps most especially when the accomplished Cathedral Choir sings.

Following two morning Masses, celebrated respectively by Archbishop McMahon and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, a procession of the Blessed Sacrament took place through the streets of Liverpool. Regrettably, the heavens opened and a downpour of rain followed, but this proved to be no deterrent to the faithful as people in houses and shops came out to see and hear an extraordinary witness of faith.

By the time the procession of thousands of combined clergy and delegates had returned to the steps of the Cathedral, spirits had not been dampened and the sun gradually came out to greet the pilgrims!  It was an extraordinary day and moreover, an inspirational event for Catholics of all ages.

Canon Alan McLean will now take forward the work begun by Fr John Mulligan in Southwark and we look forward to continuing the journey together.

Our thanks must go to all clergy and delegates from Southwark for the tremendous effort made over many months to prepare for the Congress and for the work you will now go on to do.

Finally our thanks must go to Liverpool Archdiocese for generously hosting Adoremus and to the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales for this exceptional occasion on which we can now build a legacy in our local parishes, schools and the wider community.

For more pictures of the Congress, visit here.

Southwark Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal

The Southwark Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal is looking to recruit a new administrator to join their team.  This is a full time position which will be involved in all aspects of administration for the First Instance tribunal. 

Excellent administrative, organisational and IT skills are essential as is the ability to work in a team.  

Some knowledge of the work of the tribunal would be advantageous but not essential as full training will be given. 

You must have good attention to detail and empathetic communication skills. 

First interviews will be held in week commencing 17th September.

If you would like more information or to apply please email

Adoremus.'s almost time!

Over 200 pastorally committed Southwark delegates will be attending the Liverpool based Adoremus Congress between 7 - 9 September 2018. Meanwhile, the hardworking Southwark Centre for Catholic Formation has vended an additional 80 tickets beyond the designated diocesan allocation for the Friday Symposium Day programme. Thank you to all priests, religious and laity for your tremendous support of this national Eucharistic Congress. Particular thanks must go to Fr John Mulligan, who as Congress Coordinator for Southwark has prepared us all so well.

For those who cannot travel to Liverpool, you can take part by attending Adoration, Benediction, Confession or a wide range of services that many Southwark parishes will be offering between now and next Sunday. For a list please click here and select the 'Getting Involved' tab.

Furthermore, there will be a live stream of the events in Liverpool on Shalom TV and the Catholic Bishops Conference news website. The Centre for Catholic Formation also hopes to stream the event.

Please take a moment pray for the success and future legacy of the Congress, which we hope will bear much spiritual and pastoral fruit in our parishes and the wider community.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of 

Father Donald Minchew

who died on Thursday 16th August 2018

May he rest in peace

Funeral arrangements
Saturday 1st September 2018 at 12.00pm

The Faithful Virgin
143, Central Hill, Upper Norwood  SE19 1RT

Clergy who wish to attend are invited to sit in choir,
cotta and black stole if they wish to receive Holy Communion

Adoremus Update

Don't forget to check our Southwark Adoremus website for details of services and activities at Deanery, Parish and Community level.  Please press the 'Getting Involved' tab to scroll down for information.

Dover will be holding a Deanery service to pray for the success of the Congress between 4 - 5pm on Saturday 2nd September at St Paul's Church, Dover, whilst various parishes will hold Adoration during the course of this week, leading into the Adoremus weekend on 7 - 9 September. Please explore what your local church may be offering at this time, either on the website or in your newsletter.

Archdiocese Pilgrimage with the Catholic Association Lourdes 2018

The Lourdes Basilica and Sanctuary

On Friday 24th August 2018 Archbishop Peter led the Southwark diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes.

Fr Ed with banner

Canon Edward Perera (Pilgrimage Director) and Charlotte McCaugherty (one of the team of the SCYS) with the Southwark Banner 
prior to a torchlight procession

They travelled with The Catholic Association which has organised pilgrimages to Lourdes for over a hundred years. While preserving the diocesan identity, Southwark Pilgrims will be part of a larger group and have the opportunity to meet people from Clifton, Northampton and East Anglia dioceses, schools, and organisations throughout the country.

Grotto Mass
Pilgrims make their way to the Grotto for Mass with Archbishop Peter

We journey to Lourdes in response to an invitation of Our Blessed Lady to go there in Procession, to give praise to God Our Father, to meet him in the Eucharist and to make known his Kingdom here on earth. Mary invites us to go to Lourdes to pray, to contemplate the mysteries of the Rosary, which Pope Paul VI called 'a synthesis of the whole Gospel'

Bishop Paul and Archbishop Peter Grotto Mass
Archbishop Peter celebrates Mass at the Grotto, where Our Lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous (St Bernadette) in 1858

The Pilgrims remember the whole Diocese in their prayers and worship and ask the whole Diocese of pray for them in return

Grotto Mass2

With thanks to the Southwark Catholic Youth Service for these images

Listen here to Archbishop Peter's thoughts on Lourdes
(with thanks Clifton Diocese)


Adoration in Deaneries, Parishes and the Wider Community

In two weeks, Archbishop Peter Smith and a delegation of several hundred clergy and laity from Southwark Diocese will attend Adoremus, the Eucharistic Congress and Pilgrimage, which will take place in Liverpool.

A number of Southwark parishes have indicated that they wish to join with the Congress on a local basis and will therefore offer Adoration and Benediction, whilst others will hold a Holy Hour and Confessions mainly (but not exclusively) between 7th - 9th September 2018.

In our hectic lives and amid busy schedules, this is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to spend a little time praying and listening peacefully to Our Lord in the the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

Find out where you can attend Adoration in Southwark Diocese by visiting the Adoremus Website and accessing the 'Getting Involved' tab. The list is growing daily, so please do check back for regular updates.


Information regarding the forthcoming National Eucharistic Congress has been posted in the Southwark Diocese Adoremus site.  Details include tickets and access, workshops, information packs, dress code and future meeting dates after the Liverpool Pilgrimage.

Please ensure that you view this information if you are attending personally or are sending delegates from your parish. Thank you.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of 

Father Philip Mathias

who died on Friday 3rd August 2018

May he rest in peace

Funeral arrangements

Requiem Mass
Tuesday 4th September 2018 at 12.00pm
St. Elizabeth of Portugal
The Vineyard, Richmond, TW10 6AQ

Concelebrating clergy are asked to bring Purple Diocesan vestments

Pilgrimage of the Sick at Aylesford Priory

The annual Pilgrimage of the Sick, with the 
Society of Our Lady of Lourdes, took place at Aylesford on Sunday 12th August.  The Pilgrimage was led by Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, Nuncio to Britain. 

The Sacrament of the Sick took place during the Mass and the traditional Lourdes-style blessing of the sick was offered in the afternoon. 

The Mass celebrated the transferred Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady which the Aylesford Shrine is also dedicated.

Aylesford has permission to use blue vestments on major feast days of Our Lady and the vestments seen in these photographs were commissioned this year.

During the afternoon, Archbishop Edward spoke of Our Lady being a great support and comfort to the sick and elderly.

A Rosary Procession and Benediction took place during the afternoon, during which the Eucharist was displayed to all gathered in and around the Shrine.

The Carmelite Friars were also very much in evidence during the day in their distinctive habit. Their history at Aylesford dating back to the Thirteenth Century.

Speaking to the pilgrims after the service, many expressed their contentment at having experienced a very spiritually uplifting day and, feeling happy and blessed, were ready to make the journey home. 

Howzat for a game of cricket?

On Sunday 8th July 2018 an extraordinary cricket match took place between St Peter's Cricket Team, which consists of Catholic Priests, Deacons and Seminarians normally based in Rome, supported by the Pontifical Council for Culture and Sport, and a team of Officers, Prisoners and Non-operational staff from HMP and Young Offenders Institution Isis.  

The match was won by the St Peter's Cricket Team by 15 runs, but in an extraordinary turn of events, not to mention a wonderful display of generosity, the Captain of the Vatican Team, Deacon Kapila, gifted the trophy to the Isis Team, explaining: 'In all the matches we have played, we have found playing with the Isis Team most rewarding and humbling and we are going to treasure this experience for the rest of our lives'.

As well as the match itself, the teams shared Mass and a buffet. Approximately 160 people attended the event, which demonstrated how faith and sport play a vital role in the rehabilitation of prisoners and can help reduce re-offending. The day enabled the teams to share their faith, and passion for cricket.  It also allowed many prisoners to engage with their rehabilitation by taking up roles of leadership and responsibility in organising the event.  

Staff and prisoners worked together to ensure the smooth running of the day, which also allowed them to share their own particular skill. From the Quay Orderlies who prepared the buffet and cricket cake to those who designed and made the Trophies in Upcycling (see photograph below),all had a gift to share.

We congratulate both teams on their cricket and specifically the staff and Prisoners of Isis for organising a very successful day of faith and sport.

Ongoing Formation of Priests - Aylesford

From Tuesday 24th to Thursday 26th of July, 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 Team 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

There is also a course presented by the Finance Office, the Education Commission and the Safeguarding Office to help comprehend the Diocese as an organisation.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of 

Monsignor Leo White

who died on Tuesday 31st July 2018

May he rest in peace

Funeral arrangements

Requiem Mass
Monday 20th August at 18.30
St. Bede's Church
58, Thornton Road, Clapham Park, SW12 0LF

His body will then be flown back to Malta for burial in the family vault

Concelebrating clergy are asked to bring Purple Diocesan vestments


The closing date for submitting applications to the CCF in order to attend the National Eucharistic Congress has passed, but parishioners can still apply online via

The closing date is Tuesday 31st July 2018, so please try to complete and submit your form and payment this weekend.

Human Trafficking Awareness & Livelihood Projects

Following a recent update from the CBCEW Santa Marta Group, we are very pleased to say that there has been a great deal of successful activity with regard to combatting human trafficking in Edo State, from where 90% of those trafficked from Nigeria to the UK originate.

Looking after crops

The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who are working within the Archdiocese of Benin on a Human Awareness Programme, have continued to spread word of the pitfalls and dangers of trafficking by delivering presentations at schools and parishes. Since last Spring they have reached almost 2,000 people, the majority of whom are Roman Catholic. The Catholic Church is well established in Nigeria and is therefore in a good position to provide support on the ground.

Tanks at the newly established sustainable fish farm

Furthermore, significant progress has been made in Edo State with the Human Livelihood Programme, which seeks to provide employment on a local basis so that the promise of work abroad offered by traffickers is less appealing. This often includes offering training local people in work skills.  
A sustainable fish farm now complements the other cottage industries in baking, weaving, crop farming and sewing that have already been established.

We wish all in Edo well for these new endeavours and ask Southwark parishioners to pray for the essential work that Santa Marta are undertaking in order to drive out modern slavery.  

If your parish would like to find out more about how it can help combat human trafficking, or to arrange a parish talk, please contact Bishop Pat Lynch via these contact details.

A recently acquired vehicle, purchased in order to transport goods

Planning the day's work

With grateful thanks to Fr Mark Odion of CBCEW Santa Marta Group
for these images.

Ordination to the Priesthood

Last Saturday 21st July 2018, Archbishop Peter ordained two seminarians to the Priesthood in St George’s Cathedral, Southwark. The day was blessed by radiant weather, which matched the joyful anticipation of the congregation.

Both family and friends of Louie Kitt and Francis Murphy filled the Cathedral, alongside a significant number of priests, many of whom have played an important role in their formation and study.  Included in this number were The Rev. Monsignor Philip Whitmore, Rector of the Venerable English College in Rome and Canon Brian Coyle, Rector of St John’s Seminary in Wonersh. 

During the Liturgy of the Word, the congregation listened to a passage from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, which exhorted all gathered to ‘lead a life worthy of your vocation… and do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit’. 

The Gospel passage for the service was
John 21.15-17, in which Jesus asks Peter whether he loves him, to which he replies ‘Lord you know everything, you know that I love you.’ Peter is then lovingly exhorted by Jesus: ‘Feed my sheep’.

Archbishop Peter delivers the Homily

In his homily, Archbishop Peter directly addressed the candidates.  He reminded them that it is always God who takes the initiative: ‘You did not choose me, no, I chose you’, and encouraged them not to worry as to why God may have made that choice, or to be afraid of weakness, as experienced by the Apostles when they fled from Jesus in his greatest hour of need, but rather to be ‘dependent on that personal encounter with God in prayer ‘ and to have a continuing conversion of heart, as urged by Pope Francis.

The Rite of Ordination followed directly after, during which the candidates were presented and duly examined by the Archbishop through a series of questions.  A promise of obedience was then given.

The ordinands prostrate themselves as the Litany of Saints is sung

At this point, the ordinands prostrated themselves in front of the altar whilst the Litany of Saints was sung by a cantor, thereby imploring heaven to pour out its gifts and requesting all holy men, women and Saints of God to ‘bless these chosen men, make them holy and consecrate them for their sacred duties’.

The Sacrament of Holy Orders was conferred by the laying on of hands by the Archbishop and other clergy assembled, followed by a solemn prayer of consecration. The new priests are were duly presented with a stole and chasuble and their hands anointed. The Cathedral Choir sang ‘Veni Creator Spiritus in Mode VIII which commences:

Veni Creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia,
quae tu creasti, pectora.

Come Holy Ghost, Creator, come,
from thy bright heav'nly throne;
come, take possession of 
our souls,
and make them all thine 

The Robing of  the new priests

Family members of Fr Kitt and Fr Murphy presented the Eucharistic Gifts and the Archbishop led the clergy in offering a kiss of peace to the two new priests.  Among their number was Fr Paul Kyne, who was ordained in the Cathedral the previous year.

Fr Paul Kyne welcomes Fr Francis Murphy to the Priesthood

A luminous moment took place in the Liturgy of the Eucharist when, as the new priests and fellow clergy consecrated the gifts, a shaft of sunlight pierced through a high window in the Cathedral, beaming directly down onto the Altar.  It was a moment of transcendent beauty in the Cathedral.

A shaft of light illuminated the Sanctuary during the Consecration

Archbishop Peter lifts the consecrated host

Following a word of grateful thanks from the Archbishop to all responsible for bringing this service of ordination to fruition, a solemn blessing and dismissal was proclaimed and Father Kitt and Father Louie proceeded to give their first blessings in the side chapels of the Cathedral, 

Please remember Fr Louie Kitt and Fr Francis Murphy as begin their new life as priests of the Diocese of Southwark.

Left to Right: Mgr Philip Whitmore, Fr Francis Murphy, Abp Peter Smith,
Fr Louie Kitt, Canon Brian Coyle

For  additional photos of this Ordination service, please visit the CBCEW Flickr Site here

With grateful thanks to Marcin Mazur for these images

Please pray for the repose of the soul of 

Deacon David Pease

who died on Tuesday 17th July 2018
May he rest in peace

Funeral arrangements

Reception of Body
Wednesday 8th August at 16.00
St. Patrick's Church
Hector Street, Plumstead, SE18 1AQ
020 3722 7573

Funeral Mass
Thursday 9th August at 11.30
St. Patrick's, Hector Street

Concelebrating clergy are asked to bring White Diocesan vestments

Southwark Catholic Youth Services

2018-07-21 17.31.49

On Saturday 21st July 2018 Monsignor Matthew Dickens joined the community of St Vincent's in Whitstable, the retreat centre of the Southwark Catholic Youth Service, along with some of the Friars from Aylesford and the youth services' management committee to celebrate a Mass in thanksgiving for another very successful year.
The team at St Vincent’s receive gifts as a token of thanks for all the hard work they had put into this year.
2018-07-21 18.12.52

John Toryusen, director of the youth service was also thanked by Monsignor Mathew on behalf of the Archbishop and Trustees for all the commitment he has shown during a very demanding time


The celebration continued with a buffet party in the centre

More photos on the RCSouthwark Diocesan Flickr page

Mass of Thanksgiving for the 60th Anniversary of the Re-opening of St George's Cathedral

 On Saturday 14th July 2018, a special Mass  was offered at St George’s Cathedral in  thanksgiving for the 60th Anniversary of the  re-opening of the church after it sustained  significant bomb damage in World War II.

 Welcoming the congregation, Canon Richard  Hearn, Dean of the Cathedral, offered some  insight:

 “On the night of 14th April 1941 an incendiary  bomb landed on the roof St George’s Cathedral  and it started a fire. By morning the mother church of the diocese was a smouldering shell. On 4th July 1958 this rebuilt cathedral was opened and once more St George’s was at the heart of the diocese.

We gather today to give thanks to God for those who made that possible 60 years ago and to give thanks for the part that the cathedral, and those who have ministered here, has played the life & mission of the Church”

Archbishop Peter was joined by many concelebrants who had served at the Cathedral, including Fr Gerry Flood, who was at the original procession into the newly restored church in 1958 and still continues to serve as a parish priest in Southwark Diocese. Also present were two former Deans, Canon Jim Pannett and Canon John O’Toole, the latter of whom offered the homily at the invitation of the present Dean.

Following the Gospel Reading of Matthew 16. 13-19, Canon O’Toole spoke of the need to find balance between the physical building and spiritual life of the church.

He then went on to describe Cathedral ‘heroes’,  from the architect of the original church, A.W.N. Pugin, to Provost Thomas Doyle, who commissioned it.

Others mentioned were the architect who restored the Cathedral, Mr Romilly Craze, as well as Archbishops Amigo and Cowderoy, who had oversight of its rebuilding. 
In particular, Canon O'Toole referred to Archbishop Cowderoy's words at the re-opening of St George's Cathedral:

'But while we recall the past to be our inspiration and to teach us its lessons, we must emphasise the past has gone.  We are not here as a sort of medieval survival, but as part of the living Church of the living God... It is as members of that Church, chosen and living stones, that we rejoice today.'

Later in the service, the full Cathedral Choir sang Locus Iste by Anton Bruckner.  The text, which is written in Latin, is traditionally sung at the celebration of a church's dedication:

Locus iste a Deo factus est, inaestimabile sacramentum,
irreprehensibilis est.

This place was made by God, a priceless sacrament,
it is without reproach.

At the end of the service, Archbishop Peter thanked all assembled for attending the Mass and encouraged the congregation to join in singing the final hymn ‘The Church’s One Foundation’ before the final blessing.


A memorable occasion came to a fitting conclusion as all clergy gathered in the Sacristy.  In particular, the present Dean and two former Deans, who who, in their own way, have lived part of the Cathedral's rich and varied history.


Canons John O'Toole, Richard Hearn (present Dean) and Jim Pannett
Deans of St George's Cathedral, Southwark

For additional photos click here

Bishop Paul Mason appointed Bishop of the Forces

It has been announced today (Monday 9th July) that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Paul Mason as the next Bishop of the Forces. Bishop Paul was ordained as a Bishop in May 2016, and appointed to be an Auxiliary Bishop in the diocese.

Episcopal Ordination Fr Paul Mason as Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark
Bishop Paul Mason with Archbishop Peter

On his new appointment, Bishop Paul commented:
‘Although sad to be leaving my adoptive diocese, the new role the Holy Father has asked me to take on as Bishop of the Forces is one I accept with much enthusiasm. Supporting the men and women of the British Armed Forces, and their families, is a very important apostolate in the life of the Church and one which I will be doing my best to pass muster’

On hearing the news Archbishop Peter said:
“I was delighted to hear that after a gap of three years without a Bishop of the Forces, Bishop Paul Mason has been appointed to that office by Pope Francis. As the Archbishop of Southwark, however, I was sad to learn that the Diocese will have to lose the valuable and very effective ministry of Bishop Paul. The men and women of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces will gain the blessing of a truly committed and dedicated bishop. Their gain is our loss, a loss that will be greatly felt in the Diocese, especially by the Catholics in Kent. I pray that Bishop Paul’s ministry in the Bishopric will be as fruitful as it has been in Southwark.”

Assuring Bishop Paul of the wholehearted support and prayers of the chaplains and faithful of the forces, the Apostolic Administrator of the Bishopric of the Forces, Fr Michael Fava expressed his joy and thanksgiving for the appointment of Bishop Paul following a 3 year period of sede vacante and stated ‘Together we look forward to furthering the Church’s mission of new evangelisation as we strive to work in the cause of peace

Bishop Mason will take up the official duties of the Bishop of the Forces in the autumn of 2018 following his installation in the Cathedral Church of the Bishopric, St Michael & St George’s Cathedral, Aldershot and all at Southwark Diocese wish him well for this new chapter in his ministry.

Ordination of Deacons in Southwark Diocese

On Saturday 7th July 2018 at St George's Cathedral, Archbishop Peter Smith Ordained six men into the Permanent Diaconate.  Our warmest congratulations go our to Oluwole Alayo, Anthony Wentworth, Carlos Lozano, Garrett Cullen, Antonio Almeida and Paul Said.

Despite being an exceptionally hot day, families and friends filled the Cathedral.  Its coolness meant that congregation could relax and fully appreciate the service. It was clear from the smiles of the new deacons that this was a most joyful occasion.

We continue to pray that our new deacons will be richly blessed in their ministry as they undertake God's work with their fellow clergy, religious and laity throughout Southwark.

Civic Honour Medal Presentation

Fr Michael Scanlon with the Mayor of Greenwich, Christine May (left) and Deputy Mayor, Cllr Mick Hayes (right)

On Thursday 28th June 2018, Fr Michael Scanlon, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Reparation and Dean of Croydon, was presented with a medal which was created in acknowledgement of receiving the Freedom of the Royal Borough of Greenwich in 2013.  The medal shows the Borough's Coat of Arms and the date on which it was received.  Others who received the same honour that day in 2013 include Prince Philip as well as Doreen and Neville Lawrence.

The original honour was awarded for work in the community whilst serving as Parish Priest at St Peter's RC Church in Woolwich for 18 years. During this time Fr Scanlon was involved as Ecumenical Borough Dean and worked closely with the Town Hall on regeneration of the area.

Many congratulations Fr Michael!

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Sean Hearty

who died on Saturday 2nd June 2018

May he rest in peace

Funeral arrangements

Reception of Body
Wednesday 4th July at 17.30
Good Shepherd
Dunley Drive
New Addington

Vigil Mass
Wednesday 4th July at 19.30
Good Shepherd
New Addington

Funeral Mass
Thursday 5th July at 12 noon
Good Shepherd
New Addington

followed by burial at West Norwood Cemetery

Concelebrating clergy are asked to bring White Diocesan vestments

Appointment of Director of Music 

at Saint George's Cathedral

We are delighted to announce that Jonathan Schranz has been appointed as the new Director of Music for St George's Cathedral, Southwark. 

Jonathan is a graduate of Churchill College, Cambridge and of the prestigious Royal Academy Choral Conducting course.  He currently enjoys a diverse conducting career and is an Associate Conductor for the National Youth Choirs of
Great Britain.

The Dean of St George's said of the appointment "Jonathan will bring a great deal to the role and I am confident that he will build upon the great work that his predecessor Norman Harper has done both in developing the choir and enhancing the music tradition at St George's Cathedral".

Jonathan will commence his role in January 2019 and we look forward to welcoming him.

Mass in Celebration of Marriage

'The Courage to be Happy'

Last Saturday, 16th June 2018, 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 or beyond were invited to attend.

Couples, many of whom were specially attired for this celebratory service, heard readings from the book of Tobit, the first letter of John and 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'. He went on to quote Pope Francis:
'I am asking you to rebel against the culture
that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately
believes you are incapable of true love...
so have courage to swim against the tide...
and also the courage to be happy'.

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.

Following the homily, couples were invited to renew their vows, saying the following words:

I renew with all my heart
the vows that I have made:
that you are my lawful wedded wife / husband,
to have and to hold
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish
till death do us part.

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's Director of Music brought the service to a joyous conclusion by playing the popular Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.

Archbishop Peter met with couples outside St George's Cathedral 
after the Mass

Many couples and their families were specially dressed for the occasion

Several couples asked for their wedding rings to be blessed...

and brought family of all ages with them in order to join in
the celebration

Our grateful thanks go to Marcin Mazur from the CBCEW
for these images. To see more click here.

For further information:

Southwark Marriage and Family Life
Fr Graham Preston (Episcopal Vicar)
72 Paradise Street, London SE16 4QD
Tel: 020 7237 2969

World Meeting of Families
On August 21-26 the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) will take place in Dublin. Its highlight is a visit by Pope Francis. During the WMOF, an important and joyful international gathering, there will be a wide-ranging programme of talks and workshop. That’s in addition to exhibitions, cultural events and musical performances.
For more information visit the website:

Centre for Catholic Formation: Golden Jubilee Lectures

On 19 June 1968, Archbishop Cyril Cowderoy opened the Centre for Catholic Formation with the aim of providing Catholic formation and training to the people of Southwark.
Consequently the CCF will be celebrating their 50th anniversary.  The next lecture will take place on Friday 8th June, when Dr Caroline Farey will explore 'The Catechetical Journey'.  This will be followed on Thursday 14th June with a talk on GK Chesterton, delivered by Canon John Udris, who is the priest appointed to look after the cause for Chesterton's Canonisation.

Doors will open at 7 pm for a 7.30 pm start and refreshments will be available. All are welcome and admission is free.

Please click here to find out additional Golden Jubilee talks this June.

A Jubilee Mass of thanksgiving will be celebrated on Saturday 23rd June at 3.30 pm in St Anselm's  RC Church, Tooting Bec. Archbishop Peter Smith will be the Principal Celebrant.                                                         

Knights of St. Columba
Southern Provinces Pilgrimage to Aylesford


Archbishop Peter Smith led the Knights of St. Columba, Southern Provinces Pilgrimage, to Aylesford.  The Knights came from five different Dioceses to their 52nd Pilgrimage to Aylesford. 


At the end of the Mass the Archbishop blessed the newly restored ceramics of the angels in the shrine.  The ceramics were originally made by Adam Kossowski and were restored by the local potters Billy Byles and Alan Parris from Aylesford Pottery. 

180610 - KSC Pilgrimage Aylesford

The Carmelite community are in the process of undertaking a major restoration of the Shrine, beginning with the roofs and the overflows.  Recently the Shrine, which was built by Adrian Gilbert Scott in the late 1950s/early 1960s, was granted Grade 2* listing.

More photos on the RCSouthwark Diocesan Flickr page

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Archbishop Peter has written a Pastoral Letter to be read at all Masses in the Diocese on the solemnity of Corpus Christi, the 3rd June 2018.
A PDF version of this letter is available by Clicking Here.
In his letter the Archbishop reminds us that the "Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ is perpetuated and remembered pre-eminently in the Eucharist".

He reflects also on the forthcoming Eucharistic Pilgrimage and Congress "Adoremus". This national gathering will take place in Liverpool later this year, 7th - 9th September. It is hoped that all Parishes in the Diocese will be represented at the Eucharistic Congress; recognising that not everyone can attend, only representatives, Archbishop Peter writes:

I invite and encourage every parish, every school and every community in the Archdiocese to engage with and explore the Congress themes because they all lead us into a deeper encounter with Jesus of Nazareth. I hope that as many parishes, schools and communities as possible will devote some time to prayer and Adoration in the coming months and especially during the Adoremus weekend in Liverpool, so that our deliberations in Liverpool and our reflections here at home are united together in prayer.

Click here and visit the Diocesan "Adoremus" page for details and for information about preparations here in Southwark. 

"Click here" to visit the National news, information and resources page of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

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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