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

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

photo © Marcin Mazur


Step 3 Covid-19 Guidance on the Safe use of Places of Worship - May 2021

CBCEW Church position on vaccination

CBCEW Bishops' 
Guidance on the Coronavirus Vaccine

Government Guidance for the January / February 2021 National Lockdown

CBCEW Guidance for Churches - January / February 2021 Lockdown


Diocesan Social Media

Visit our Facebook page

us on Twitter

Visit our YouTube Channel

RC Southark Instagram

Year of the Word 2020

Click here to find out about events for the 2020 Year of the Word in Southwark

Please click on this picture for our diocesan prayer

Please click on the box
for the Liturgy Music Planner

Link to past issues of
"The Pilgrim"
the Diocesan Newspaper

Please click on the box
to visit Heaven's Road
web site

Please click on this logo for
the Vatican's YouTube channel


Visit the Southwark
2018 National Eucharistic 
Pilgrimage & Congress page.




Please click on this logo
for the Parish Directory


Click here to access information about the Safe Spaces national independant support service

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

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

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

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

Terms and Conditions of use 

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Terry Donnelly  CSSp

who died on the
7th September 2021
in Scotland

Funeral details to follow

May he Rest in Peace
and Rise in Glory

St Stephen's Guild Altar Servers Rally

Download a Rally Day Programme
The Guild of St Stephen will be enrolling new Altar Servers and come together for Mass, which will be celebrated by Monsignor John O'Toole at Aylesford Priory on Saturday 18th September.  The day commences at 10.15 am with registration and Mass will take place at 11.30 am on the main shrine. All are very welcome to attend.

New Diocesan Music Planner

The Diocesan Music Committee have kindly produced a new Music Planner for parishes, which will come into effect on 12th September 2021

Download the Music Planner here

Mass for COVID-19 Victims at Aylesford Priory

The Friars at Aylesford will be holding a Mass for Victims of COVID-19 on Saturday 11th September 2021 at 12 noon. They warmly invite all who have lost loved ones, whether a member of their family or a friend, to join them in prayer. 

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Christopher O'Brien

who died on the 22nd August 2021
in the Lady of the Vale Nursing home, Altrincham, Cheshire

Funeral details
St Vincent's RC Church

12.15 Monday 20th September 2021

Bishop Hendricks will preside

May he rest in Peace
and Rise in Glory

Be Part of the Miracle

Virtual Lourdes Pilgrimage

Join the Diocese of Southwark and the Catholic Associaton between 20th - 27th August 2021 for this year's Annual Virtual Pilgrimage to Lourdes.

It has not been possible to join together in Lourdes this year, but we are pleased to offer thiis virtual pilgrimage, alongside Stonyhurst, Clifton, East Anglia and Northampton Dioceses, to bring you a week of special services and reflections, and to bring the spirit of Lourdes to you, wherever you might be.

Of particular interest to those in Southwark will be the Gathering Mass, which will be celebrated at 12 noon on Saturday 21st August 2021 by Bishop Paul Hendricks,

For more information and to see the full schedule, visit:

Lourdes Sanctuary and the River Gave, France


Site Maintenance and Caretaker

We are looking for an experienced person to join our site maintenance and caretaking team.  Based in London SE1, the Diocesan site comprises St. George’s Cathedral, Amigo Hall, Archbishop’s House, Cathedral House, Bowen House and St Gabriel House. The site includes residential and office accommodation, as well as public access spaces and a car park. Reporting to the Facilities Manager and working across a shift pattern which includes evenings and weekends, the primary function of this role is to provide handyman / maintenance services across the whole estate and act as a caretaker for the site, in particular for the Cathedral and Amigo Hall.
The successful job holder must be empathetic to the fact that this is a Catholic site and will also be required to undertake a DBS disclosure.  Key responsibilities include planned maintenance, testing and dealing with emergencies; painting and decorating; CCTV monitoring; buildings security and opening  /closing; event preparation and dealing with members of the public.

The ideal candidate will have proven maintenance skills including painting and decorating, basic carpentry, plumbing and electrical. They will have experience of carrying out minor building works and working at height. Previous experience of historic and/or listed buildings is highly desirable. Good communications skills and the ability to work in a team is essential, as is some knowledge of health and safety. 

Basic hours are 35 per week in a shft pattern including evenings and weekends and could iinclude some overtime. We would consider part-time working for the right person.

Salary range £20,500 to £23,500 pa depending on experience, pro rata for part-time hours.

To apply or for more information, email  The closing date is 3rd September 2021.

Mass for the 104th Birthday of St Oscar Romero

On Saturday 14th August at 12 noon, St George's Cathedral will host a Mass in celebration of the 104th Birthday of St Oscar Romero, in collaboration with the Romero Trust.Bishop Nicholas Hudson, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, will be the Principal Celebrant.  

A diocesan shrine dedicated to this recently canonised saint is located in the Cathedral and will be open for all to visit on the day.

All are welcome to attend in person, or to view the service via live-stream on the Romero Trust website or via nd

Ordination Photographs

The Diocese is delighted to share some beautiful professional photographs of the ordination of Fathers David Hunter and Matthew Donnelly, captured by Marcin Mazur of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

View here

Ordination to the Priesthood

Southwark Dioceese is blessed to have two gentlemen offering their lives in the service to the Lord through the vocation of Priesthood this year. Please pray for Matthew Donnelly and David Hunter, who will be ordained by Archbishop John Wilson in St George's Cathedral at 12.30 pm on Saturday 17th July 2021.  May God bless their future ministries.

The Diocese is pleased to announce that the service will be livestreamed this Saturday via

Reflection on Priestly Ordination

by Deacon David Hunter

“Six years? That’s a long time” is the usual reaction when people ask how long it takes to become a Priest. Certainly it seems like a long time, and in many ways it is, but the more a person considers the privilege of Priesthood perhaps it suddenly seems too short! The Lord gives his Priests spectacular privileges, the celebration of Mass, hearing confessions, anointing the sick and being shepherd to His people amongst other things.

In some ways I still feel like I did when I first considered a priestly vocation, like Peter who said Lord leave me for I am a sinful man. However we often forget that the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves, after all He created and sustains us in being! The Lord calls those whom he desires and not necessarily those with the best natural qualities. This was true with His Apostles and remains true to this day. Becoming a Priest can be a little intimidating, but as the Lord tells St Paul, “my grace is sufficient for you”, and requires faith. I’m not confident in myself but in God’s grace.

I am also conscious I carry a legacy with me, namely being one of the final men in a 130 year line to be formed for the Priesthood exclusively at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, which closed back on July 3rd. Our patron Saint John leaned on the breast of Our Lord and listened to the beating of the Sacred Heart, then he took the Blessed Virgin Mary as his mother. These two things underline how I see my Priestly spirituality, closeness to Our Lord and devotion to Our Lady. This is turn will lead me to love and serve His people.

I put on my ordination card a quote from Ps113 “not to us Lord, not to us, but to your name give Glory”. This is because I am conscious all I have and am is because of God’s goodness and mercy, anything good that appears to come from me is really from Him. I commend myself to your prayers and in particular I ask you to pray for an increase in vocations to the Priesthood.


Our priests are called to serve by bringing people to God and God to his people and to share the peace, forgiveness and love of Jesus. As such, they are integral to the life of the Church.  

It costs Southwark Diocese £30,000 per annum to train and form each new priest over a period of six years.  If you would like to contribute to the ongoing life of the Church and support the ecclesiastical education of men who are willing to give their life to the Lord, the Diocese would greatly welcome your gift to the Southwark Priests Training Fund.

COVID-19 Step 4 Guidance on Worship

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has updated its  Covid-19 guidance as the country moves into Step 4 of the Government’s Covid-19 Response Roadmap. The document highlights the importance of continuing to create a safe environment in places of worship and taking steps to monitor the situation locally. The emphasis is now the collective endeavour of all involved in Church life to maintain the exemplary good practice which has been exhibited throughout the pandemic in our parishes.  Download here.

Read the Government's guidance on the safe use of places of Worship

In addition, the CBCEW has issued a statement outling that it is not possible at the present time for all of the faithful to attend Mass on a  Sunday  However, it is hoped that it will be possible for Catholics throughout England and Wales to fulfil the Sunday Obligation by the First Sunday in Advent 2021.  Download the statement.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Deacon John Newman

who died on the 8th July 2021
in Medway Maritime Hospital, Gillingham

May he Rest in Peace
and Rise in Glory

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Deacon Joseph Bennett

who died on the 6th July 2021
in Efia Nkwanta Hospital, Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana

May he Rest in Peace
and Rise in Glory

Sea Sunday 2021

Sea Sunday, which this year falls on 11th July in 2021, is a special time for Stella Maris (formerly called Apostleship of the Sea), the official maritime welfare agency of the Catholic Church. This is the day every year when the church celebrates and prays for all those who live and work at sea.

As a global maritime charity, Stella Maris has been playing a crucial role in supporting seafarers and fishers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is continuing to offer spiritual and practical help to those most in need.

It has been well-documented how India has been struggling with a devastating second wave of coronavirus. Thousands have been dying on the streets as hospitals there find themselves running out of oxygen.
Now, though, more than 1,000 Indian seafarers’ families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will benefit from support in the port of Cochin.
Through Stella Maris’s involvement, 10 oxygenators are being purchased.  This will prevent an estimated 60 lives a month being lost to the virus, amid a drastic shortage of oxygen tanks in hospitals.

With the support of the charity and its donors, 1,100 food parcels are also being purchased and distributed to seafarers’ families in Cochin devastated by COVID-19. Each parcel is sufficient to feed a family of five for one month.

In the meantime pandemic precautions in the United Kingdom have also led to the charity adopting different approaches to its work with seafarers and fishers around the UK.  For example, Stella Maris chaplains have delivered welfare packages to vessels’ gangways or via rope links to ships (see photo) to maintain social distancing protocols. These packages comprise essentials such as PPE equipment, clothing, toiletries and foodstuffs.

Seafarers have expressed their particular gratitude for being able to stay in touch with their families, through Stella Maris’ provision of internet access in ports thanks to Wi-Fi Units, and when this has not been possible, top-up cards for mobile phones have been provided to seafarers by the charity. These have been invaluable to seafarers, as Captain Flover Santos, the Master of a tanker, expressed when Stella Maris in Tees port provided top-up cards to the crew who were not allowed to leave their ship to go ashore at any of the ports at which they were calling.

“You help us to connect with our families. You guys are truly friends, and an instrument of God,” he said.

Seafarers need help now more than ever. A survey Stella Maris conducted found that 69% of seafarers suffered significant financial impact during the pandemic. Almost half said they support three or more people with their income, and their main prioity was feeding their families.
Financial worries like these and the stress that thousands face from having to spend more than a year on board due to extended contracts or, on the other hand, not having any work at all, has had a negative effect on their mental, emotional, and psychological wellbeing.

Adrian Gannon, Director of Development at Stella Maris, has appealed to Catholics throughout the United Kingdom to support Sea Sunday:

“On Sea Sunday this year, we will thank God for the seafarers and fishers who have kept food and medical supplies moving during the pandemic and for the sacrifices they have made over the last year to supply our provisions.

“We will pray to Our Lady, Star of the Sea, to protect them in harsh conditions at sea and from coronavirus.

“We respectfully appeal to readers to support our ministry with fishers and seafarers at this critical time by praying for them on Sea Sunday and kindly making a donation to support our work through our website:

The Future of Christianity in Lebanon

Fellowship and Aid to the Christians of the East (FACE), will be hosting a webinar on Thursday 8th July at 6 pm (BST) with His Beatitude Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï, O.M.M., Patriarch of Antioch, and head of the Maronite Church.

He will be joined by esteemed leaders, Archbishop Paul Nabil El-Sayah, Curial Bishop Emeritus of Antioch and His Eminence Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald, M.Afr., Patron of FACE.

Together They will discuss the future of Christianity in Lebanon and the wider region at this time of political and religious upheaval.

All are welcome to attend but places will be allocated on a first come, first served, basis. Please register in advance.

For further details about this event:

Preaching to the Hearts of Children

The Catholic Association of Preachers have organised a special webinar on preaching to children, which is open to priests, deacons, chaplains, and children’s catechists.

It takes place on Thursday 1st July 2021 between 2.-- 3.30 pm, and the speaker will be Dr. Ann Garrido, Author, Educator and  Associate Professor of Homiletics at the Aquinas Institute at St. Louis.

To book and receive the zoom link, please email:

KHS Investiture Mass in Birmingham

Eleven new Knights and Dames invested in
St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham


Following Archbishop John Wilson's investiture as Grand Prior of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchure of Jerusalem in May this year, St Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham was the venue for the annual Investiture Mass of the Order on 26th June 2021.  During the service two men, four ladies and five priests (who may join to fulfil a specfic role, such as Chaplain) joined the KHS Lieutenancy of England and Wales.

The Order itself evolved from the successful first Holy Crusade and establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1099 under Godfrey of Bouillon. The Pope is the sovereign of the Order and it is one of five chivalric confraternities that are supported and protected by the Holy See. 

The Lieutenancy of England and Wales is divided into eight sections which are aligned to groups of dioceses, with the Midlands Section covering Birmingham, Cardiff, Menevia, Nottingham and Wrexham.  Those invested as Knights and Dames in St Chad's Cathedral will join their brothers and sisters in supporting a Christian presence in the Holy Land through daily prayer, by attending events within their Section and contributing annually to funds which will be used to assist people in the Holy Land. The 600 strong members are also encouraged to attend Investiture services and, when possible, to embark on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Archbishop Wilson 
celebrated and preached at the Investiture Mass, whilst and Archbishop Bernard Longley, Prior of the Midlands Section, and Archbishop of Birmingham, preached at a vigil of prayer on Friday 25th June, and concelebrated the Mass with him. During his Homily, Archbishop John spoke powerfully, saying "Alongside our Christian witness at home, we take up the wider call to be missionary in relation to the Holy Land. We evangelise through partnership with the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, with the lay faithful, clergy, and religious".      

Read Archbishop John's full homily.

His Excellency Michael Byrne KGCHS (Knight Grand Cross of the Holy Sepulchre) the Lieutenant of EOHSJ in England & Wales, commented:

“The modern Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem was established by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1847 to support the newly established Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

The English Lieutenancy’s work concentrates on the humanitarian aid, education and pastoral care in all the parishes of the Holy Land, in Israel, the West Bank and Palestine and Jordan.  

Additionally we have a close working relationship with the Seminary of the Archdiocese of Jerusalem, in Bethlehem, and run a pastoral programme here in England most years for final year students.
Membership to the Order is recruited from committed Catholics able to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land and support the work of the Order in a practical way.” 

Find out more about the history of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and how you can support its contemporary work in the Holy Land, visit:

 View more photographs
With thanks to St Chad's Cathedral and the Archdiocese of Birmingham 

New Permanent Deacon for Southwark

On Saturday 19th June 2021 Reverend Sandeep Walter Misquitta was ordained to the permanent Diaconate by Bishop Paul Hendricks at St Edmund’s Church, Beckenham

Deacon Sandy has been appointed to serve as a deacon in the Bromley Deanery and has been assigned to the parish of St. Edmund, Beckenham. We wish him well as he enters this new chapter in his life and ministry.

Seeing in the Dark: Day Retreat

Christopher Chapman is leading a day retreat  on Saturday 26 June 2021, between 10 am - 4 pm, on meeting God in struggle and uncertainty.  Taking inspiration from several great writers,including Gerard Manley-Hopkins and George Herbert, attendees will learn how to travel into and through challenging times.  Cost £30 per person.  Email:

Hard Calls Save Lives

The Metropolitan Police is encouraging the public to contact and share information with them via Crimestoppers (Tel: 0800 555 111), particularly in relation to knife crime.  The Force wishes to convey to the public that knowing even small details can help prevent crime and even save a life.

As part of the Campaign, those who have stories about the sons they lost and the calls they had to make, are featured in deeply emotive videos. Their wish is to show what knife crime does to families, and ask people to help save other families from losing their son or daughter.

Find out more and view the short videos

Aylesford Summer Fayre: Cancellation

The Friars regret to announce that it has been necessary to cancel this Summer Fayre at the Priory this Sunday, 27th June 2021, due to government guidance. It is hoped that it may be possible to re-schedule in due course.


Summertime 2021

Tuesday  3 –  Friday 6 August

Southwark is pleased to announce that this annual activity for young people is back, and commend it to boy and girl altar servers aged 10 - 15 years within Southwark Diocese.

The Summertime 2021 Altar Servers' Summer break will take place at the Oratory School in Reading and will open with Mass celebrated by Archbishop John Wilson.  Activities will include talks, discussions, prayer, daily Mass, as well as sport, Thorpe Park and Swimming.

A coach will be provided from St Anselm’s, Dartford and the cost of £165 covers all board and lodging, a visit to Thorpe Park and swimming.

For more details please contact Fr Stephen Boyle, Chaplain to the Guild of St. Stephen.  Email:

Summertime 2021 Application Form

Grief to Grace

Administrative Assistant (Part-time)

  • Hours: Initially 17.5 hours per week.
  • 20 days annual leave plus statutory holidays.
  • Salary: pro rata £32K full-time (i.e. £16k).
  • Start Date: As soon as possible.

Grief to Grace ( is a small charity offering spiritual and psychological healing to those who have been traumatized by historical sexual abuse or other types of abuse.  They are seeking a person of sensitivity, flexibility and initiative for the post of administrator (part-time) based at their registered office in Wimbledon, London, SW19. You will join a team which includes clergy, mental healthcare professionals and volunteers. There is plenty of hope to balance the more challenging aspects of working in this field.

The successful candidate will provide administrative support in all areas of the Charity’s activity as they provide residential programmes, counselling services and support to survivors of abuse in their retreat centre. You must be committed to the highest standards of Safeguarding and confidentiality.  Good communication and people skills are essential, as is competence using Microsoft Office 365. The appointment is subject to references and an enhanced DBS check.

For a job description and application form email:

Closing date for applications: Wednesday 30th June 2021.

Building a Better Marriage

An online  ‘Building a Better Marriage’ event will be held on Saturday 10th July 2021 between 9 am -1 pm.   The course offered means that participants can attend from the comfort of their own home and there is no group sharing.

A recent Building a Better Marriage course received the following comments from married couples who logged on:

‘The topics were chosen well and we could really relate to them. The personal stories you shared were very insightful and helped us to reflect on our own relationships more deeply… It was relaxed and you put us at ease, being friendly and personable...’

‘We thoroughly enjoyed attending the course and have certainly been practicing a few of the things we learned already. It puts a smile on our faces when we do because we know that we are certainly richer from participating in the course.’

For further information contact Carole: Tel: 07983 524 727 or email:  

To register for the course, please complete and return this form.

To find more about this special day in whc

Prison Advice and Care Trust Vacancy

The Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) are currently seeking a Volunteering Manager.  Through the new Faith in Action programme ‘Just People’, they are seeking to provide opportunities for Catholics, Christians and whole parish communities to explore and deepen their faith and sense of lived discipleship by connecting people with opportunities to serve as volunteers.  Their aim is to provide practical support and accompaniment for people who are often marginalised and excluded. 

The charity are seeking a person of faith who has an understanding of the Church alongside a strong commitment to Catholic Social Teaching.  They should also be a good communicator with project planning and implementation experience. Working across a number of dioceses, the successful candidate will liaise closely with volunteering and management colleagues across the London and South East region, specifically in the dioceses of Westminster, Southwark and Arundel and Brighton.

Hours: 37.5 hours per week, Monday to Friday 
(weekend and evening work may be required occasionally)

Salary: £28,000 per annum

Closing date for applications: 17th June, 2021
Interview date: 29th  June 2021

Job description

Further information:

Aid to the Church in Need Holy Hour

Join Archbishop John Wilson and Aid to the Church in Need UK in praying for the restoration of religious freedom, healing and peace during Holy Hour, from St George's Cathedral, Southwark on Wednesday 2nd June 2021 at 3 pm.

Vocations Cafe

Have you ever considered religious life? If so why not join the sisters from Minster Abbey near Ramsgate for this online evening Vocations Cafe on 3rd June. All welcome. 

Email the sisters at for more information and to register.

Rosary Relay Rally

On Sunday 30th May 2021 we will celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, and the Rosary Stronghold organisers, based at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, will host a National Rosary Relay Rally for Faith, Life and Peace across the Dioceses of the British Isles.

Southwark's special allocated hour of prayer will take place between 3 pm - 4 pm and we are encouraged to pray for our family intentions as well as for the peace of Nations and the conversion to Christ of all peoples.  

In this Year of St Joseph we are also asked to pray for the special protection of the Holy Family upon our Church, families, communities, schools, nations and the global family.  Please also keep in 
mind those who have died, those who grieve and for all who care for the sick and the dying, most especially in this time of pandemic.

Find more information here:

Pastoral Letter for Pentecost

A pastoral letter for Pentecost has been prepared by a working group from The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. The Letter addresses importamt issues related to the Care of God's Creation and the impact that Climate Change has on the poorest in our world.

Pastoral Letter for Pentecost 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Solemnity of Pentecost reminds us that everything which exists, every person and the whole of creation, is a gift of “God the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.” God our loving Father creates and continues to give life to the world through His Word, Jesus Christ, in the power of His Holy Spirit. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church, which we celebrate at Pentecost, is not something separate from Creation. God’s revelation of himself in Creation is inseparable from the revelation of his love for us in Christ and in his desire to live in us through his Holy Spirit.
‘God’s Spirit is always and everywhere “the Lord, the Giver of Life”, and the voice of Pentecost is echoed in the voice of creation being transformed into the glorious liberty of God’s children.’  In this liberty, as God’s children, we call on the Spirit to ‘renew the face of the Earth’, and as his children, we are called, in turn, to use this liberty for the good of creation and for the good of all that brings life. Our world, God’s creation, is a precious gift to us. It is our common home entrusted to each generation. But how have we used that glorious liberty? How do we honour this precious gift? Are we really demonstrating love, care and respect for our common home?
As we celebrate Pentecost this year, we are acutely aware of the damage that continues to be inflicted on the Earth, and the repercussions for the well-being of our brothers and sisters, both here in our own countries and, more especially, in the poorest countries of our world. Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have both taught us that everything is interconnected and interdependent. The way we live our everyday lives has an impact on everyone and on the earth.
The urgency of the situation, and the enormity of the challenges we face, have spurred us to speak out together this Pentecost Sunday, as bishops of England, Wales and Scotland, about the role that the Catholic Church and our faith must play in our shared care for God’s gift to us.
For all too long we have either been ignorant of, or ignored, the systematic exploitation of our planet and the unsustainable consumption of its resources. While accepting the crucial need and demand for energy for the benefit of the poorest of our brothers and sisters, the provision of our energy must, nonetheless, be by means which radically reduce the use of carbon-based fuels.
In our political thinking, there must be a new global understanding of our world, where nations recognise our common responsibility for the dignity of all people and their rights to sustainable livelihoods, in authentic freedom. Pope Francis speaks of a global politics that looks beyond our own needs to the needs of all, most especially the poor and the marginalised.
But we cannot leave the healing of our common home and the wellbeing and care of our brothers and sisters merely to a response from industry and governments. Our own local concern and action is necessary and has far-reaching consequences. We all have a part to play, each and every one of us, in the routines, choices and decisions of our everyday lives and our aspirations for the future. The actions of parishes, families, schools, and individuals will have a significant impact on our efforts to restore our common home. There are now many resources, freely available, to advise us on our choice of food, saving of water and electricity, suggestions about travel, waste, and re-use. These are measures that everyone can employ, in some degree, with minimal inconvenience and change. They are effective ways in which we can each reaffirm our personal vocation to be stewards of creation.
This Pentecost comes at a time of remarkable challenge and opportunity. We are gradually emerging from the tragedies and restrictions of the pandemic. We have the ability to make changes. Our countries are also hosting two most important meetings this year, the G7 in June and COP26 in November. These meetings will gather together men and women who have the power to make defining choices and policies which will help us build back better, provide for our brothers and sisters, and take care of our common home.
In all our human endeavours, we need the presence of the Holy Spirit, “the Lord, the Giver of Life”, whose gift to the Church and the world we celebrate again at Pentecost. Let us keep this Feast with that enduring hope that we can begin to repair the damage we have done and provide a healthy home for future generations. Our hope will be strengthened by our prayer. May our constant request be that the Holy Spirit guide us, strengthen our resolve and ‘renew the face of the earth’.

 Rosary Stronghold National Day of Prayer for Schools & Young People

As part of the Rosary Stronghold Mission, a day of Intercession for our Young People and the Mission of our Catholic Schools will take place on Monday 24th May 2021.

The Rosary Stronghold organisers encourage all young people and schools to pray the Rosary on this day.  At the same time, they ask all clergy and parishioners to intercede for young people, for their intentions and for the mission of our Catholic Schools.

Communications Sunday

Sunday 16th May 2021 is designated as the 55th World Communications Day, the theme of which is 'Come and See - Communicating by Encountering People as they are'.

'Come and See'  were the words of the Apostle Philip as Nathaniel asked him 'Can anything good come out of Nazareth?' (John 1.46).  At the time, Jesus was calling both of them to follow him, and Philip was to explaining to Nathaniel that Jesus was the saviour that Moses and the prophets had written about: an essential fact in making a life-changing decision! 

'Come and See' is also an invitation to experience life and to encounter people where they are. It is perhaps in this way that the most authentic and meaningful communication can take place.

As Christians we are charged with spreading the Good News and we have seen how communicating is integral to humanity, perhaps most readily during the past year, when much of it has had to take place via digital means.

Read Pope Francis' Message for Communications Sunday 2021

Almighty and ever living Father,
the Great Story of your Son’s defeat of the Kingdom of Darkness
through his cruel death and glorious resurrection
is proclaimed from east to west and in every generation.
Hear now the prayers which we offer for those whom he has redeemed.
We ask this throug Christ our Lord.

Image: Marcin Mazur

Donate on World Communications Day
On World Communications Day, we take up the command of Jesus to preach the Good News of the Gospel to the whole world.

The Media Team at the Bishops' Conference in England and Wales lead the way with vital communications through their website, social media, mailings, videos and photographs. They aim to foster positive links with dioceses and press, helping to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and promote the Church in all areas of life.  During the pandemic they have continued to be an invaluable resource, as the Church has collectively embraced digital mission. 

Please consider supporting Communications at The Catholic Bsihop's Conference of England and Wales and pray for all engaged in communicating the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Laudato Si Week: 16th- 25th May 2021

Catholics around the world are invited to take part in celebrations to mark the Laudato Si’ 5th Anniversary Year this week.

The 10-day event, which will run between 16th - 25th May inclusive, is intended to celebrate the progress that the global Church has made in its ecological conversion journey during the past six years, as well as offer a path for the decade ahead.  In his recent Earth Day message, Pope Francis strongly highlighted that it is 'time to act' on the environment, calling for integrated global efforts towards protecting the planet and pointing out that the Earth may no longer continue to be disrespected without consequence.

The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, in association with the Global Catholic Climate Movement and a large number of partner organisations and charities, will deliver Laudato Si Week, centred around the theme 'For we know things can change'.

During the course of the celebration, there will be an opportunity to view a range of live broadcasts on environmental topics under the banner of Laudato Si Dialogue, which will highlight critical opportunities to create environmental change. The daily broadcasts will take place at 7 pm (BST), and in addition to exploring various topics, such as fossil fuels, there will also be an opportunity to take part in a Global Action Day for our Common Home, enjoy a cultural festival and engage in a prayer gathering.

Sign up to take part and read more.

In addition, the CBCEW are also pleased to share a significant amount of work on the environment, including details about:
  • The Environmental Advisory Group
  • How far Catholics have come on an environmental basis since the release of Laudato Si
  • Ways to make your parish green
  • Saving energy and recycling at home / at work
  • Making your school green (this page contains some very helpful links to a variety of organisations)
This and more can be found at:

Pentecost Novena on the Care for Creation
The God Who Speaks team has produced an excellent range of prayers and readings drawn from the Bible and Papal Teaching entitled 'The river does not divide us'.


Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Deacon Fintan Phelan

who died on Sunday 9th May 2021
 in St Peters Residence, Vauxhall,
in his 102nd year

May he Rest in Peace
and Rise in Glory

Cor et Lumen Christi Charisms Symposium

This online conference on Saturday 15th May 2021 marks five years since the release of Iuvenescit Ecclesia: a letter which explores the charisms and gifts of the Holy Spirit in relation to the mission of the Church. 

The symposium will be held between 10 am - 5.30 pm and Archbishop John Wilson will be contributing the first main session of the day at 10.45 am.  He will also be joined by eminent speakers Br. Reginald Cruz CFX, Professor Stephen Bullivant and Professor Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen as they explore Iuvenescit Ecclesia's treatment of the charisms in relation to ecclesiology, episcopal ministry, evangelization, religious life and new communities. Tickets are priced at £15 per person:
book here

Further enquiries:

Read 'Iuvenescit Ecclesia'

National Marriage Week

Monday 10th May 2021 marks the beginning of National Marriage week, which will be celebrated until 16th May 2021.

Our Marriage and Family Life team, who have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to continue delivering their services online to married and engaged couples, would like to draw your attention to their next ‘BUILD A BETTER MARRIAGE’ day on 10th July 2021. 

Starting at 9 am and finishing by 1 pm, all married couples are very welcome to attend: please email to find out more and to register.

In addition, the Southwark website offers wealth of resources to different topics related to marriage and family life, which are applicable both to couples already married as well as those in preparation. These include guidance on:

 • Active listening

 • Responsible parenthood

 • Inter-church marriages

 • Managing money

 • Your need for intimacy

 • How not to communicate

Discover more about Marriage and Family Life.

Finally, please pray for Father Liam Gallagher who has been  appointed as Episcopal Vicar for Marriage and Family in succession to Father Graham Preston who is retiring from this role. The Diocese wishes to express grateful thanks to Father Preston for his dedication and commitment to his work in this area over many years.

The Installation of Archbishop John Wilson as Grand Prior of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre

On Saturday 8th May 2021 at 11 am, Archbishop John Wilson was installed as the Grand Prior of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. The service was captured via livestream and can be seen below.


This Equestrian Catholic order of Knighthood is under the protection of the Holy See, with the Pope being sovereign of the Order. It’s origins date back to the 11th Century and the first crusade.

Today, it offers a lifeline to Christians in the Holy Land through financial support, offering £500k to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem in the past two years.

Learn more about the Order's history and find out how you can support its work in the present day:

View additional photos on
The Catholic Bishops' Conference Flickr Page

With thanks to Marcin Mazur

The Late Kevin Alban O'Carm

Prayers are requested across the Archdiocese of Southwark for the repose of the soul of The Very Reverend Kevin Alban, O.Carm., Prior Provincial of the Carmelites, who died peacefully on 4th May at Aylesford Priory.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Funeral Details
The Funeral Mass will take place on the Main Shrine at Aylesford Priory
on Monday 17th May at 11.30am,
followed by burial in the community cemetery. 

Clergy who wish to concelebrate are asked to email the Prior,
Fr Francis Kemsley O.Carm, at

Inspiring Vaccine Confidence

As the Covid vaccine programme rollout continues, public health bodies and local authorities recognise that the Church has a key role to play in sharing information about vaccines with the faithful. Accordingly, with the encouragement of these public health experts, parishioners in the Dioceses of Brentwood, Southwark and Westminster, with the cooperation of various local authorities, are offering a vaccine confidence webinar.  

The webinar has been organised to answer questions that parishioners might have and will take place on Saturday 15th May from 10am to 11.30am.  The event will feature a panel of eminent medical experts, including Professor Kevin Fenton, Regional Director of Public Health London.

All are welcome to attend and there will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions anonymously if preferred:

Webinar link:  Passcode: 546617

The recording of the previous webinar, held prior to Easter, is available to view at:

The 16th Annual Mass for Migrants

In the Year of St Joseph, and in honour of St Joseph the Worker, the London dioceses of Southwark, Westminster and Brentwood will celebrate the 16th Annual Mass for Migrants on Saturday 1st May 2021 at 11.20am.

This year the Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Paul McAleenan and live-streamed from St William of York Roman Catholic Church, Forest Hill. 

Although Southwark cannot welcome the faithful in person due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, this lively online service will still celebrate of the significant contribution made by migrants to life of our dioceses, and we encourage all to join the live-streamed service, which will be hosted by London Citizens.

Please join the Mass:


The Day of the Lord

The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have issued a reflection on post-pandemic recovery and the challenges faced by the Church in encouraging people back to the Church and her Sacraments.The Bishops met for their Spring plenary meeting from 19 – 22 April 2021.

n a reflection titled The Day of the Lord, the Bishops also praise families, parish communities and those who have worked tirelessly in hospitals, care homes, schools and prisons during these challenging times of ill-health, grief and isolation.The Bishops salute the leadership of our priests and also express gratitude for the ‘immense efforts’ of those who have provided food for those most in need: “The generosity shown in the distribution of so very many meals has given eloquent expression to the mercy, love and compassion which are at the very heart of God. Many have been touched by the joy of meeting Christ in the poor; and many of the poor by the joy of meetingand diverse methods of outreach during the pandemic – not least the live streaming of Mass – attention then turns to the post-pandemic world.

The Bishops recognise that it is impossible to predict the pace at which we will emerge from the pandemic but state “what is clear is the challenge we face of bringing our communities and the practice of the faith to a still greater expression and strength.”They identify the groups of people they are seeking to reach:

  • Those who have lost the habit of coming to church and who may be anxious about doing so.
  • Those who may not want to re-establish a pattern of Catholic worship – who may have seen a gap widen between the spiritual dimension of their lives and any communal expression of that spiritual quest.
  • The ‘Covid curious’ who may have encountered the Catholic Church for the first time during the pandemic.

The Bishops highlight the strengths, the “veritable treasures” of the Catholic Church as being the tools at their disposal to rise to these challenges. The greatest treasure is, of course, the sacramental life of the Church and at its heart, the Eucharist.

“It is the Eucharist, the celebration of the Mass, that makes the Church; and it is the Church, in the gift of the Holy Spirit, which makes the Eucharist. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the lifeblood of the Church. It requires our active participation and, to be fully celebrated, our physical presence.“

At this moment, then, we need to have in our sights the need to restore to its rightful centrality in our lives the Sunday Mass, encouraging each to take his or her place once again in the assembly of our brothers and sisters.“We face the task of seeking to nurture the sense of Sunday as ‘a weekly gift from God to his people’, and something we cannot do without; to see Sunday as the soul of the week, as giving light and meaning to all the responsibilities we live out each day; to see the Sunday Eucharist as food for the unique mission with which we have been endowed.”

Dowload 'The Day of the Lord'

Good Shepherd Sunday

Good Shepherd Sunday takes place on the Fourth Sunday of Easter and is also the International World day of Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life.
Pope Francis has written a message for Vocations Sunday 2021 entitled "St Joseph: the Dream of Vocation", in which he reflects on the special attributes of trust and fidelity that enabled  Jesus' earthly Father to achieve something extraordinary for God.

This year we are also encouraged to undertake three simple actions to support vocations in Southwark:

The Diocese asks for your prayers for all who have heard God’s invitation to ordained ministry and religious life, especially those who are currently in formation. Please also pray for all those who are discerning whether God is calling them, and for those who have yet to recognise His call, that the Lord will make his will clearly known.
Download a Vocations Prayer Card

Please enourage those considering consecrated life, that their love of Our Lord may grow and desire to serve him increase to the point of saying 'yes' to ordination or profession. Read: The Gentle Path of Discernment

The Diocese invests £30,000 per annum for each seminarian for a period of six years and we currently have seven men in formation for the priesthood. If you would like to help secure the ecclesiastical education of our future priiests in Southwark, please contribute to our Priests Training Fund either via an online donation or by downloading a giving form and returning this with your gift. Thank you for your generoisity.

This year, the Diocesan Vocations page contains information for those who would like to find out more
about exploring ordained ministry or religious life in Southwark, along with contact details for our Vocations Director and Promoters, Pleased do get in touch for an informal discussion. On the same page there is a video about life at Wonersh seminary and some recommeneded reading material.

Above: David Hunter, Matthew Donnelly (top), Frazer Bellfield & Stephen Trafford:
Four of our seven current seminarians at St John's in Wonersh

By way of offering some reflection and inspiration, some of our new clergy, who were ordained by Archbishop John Wilson during the pandemic in 2020, have written short testimonies about their experiences of priesthood in the early stages of ordained ministry.

The Diocese also has several students in formation at this time and four of them have written about their response to God's call.  

Further articles are also available to read in our attractive Good Shepherd Sunday Newletter.

St John's normally produces a beautiful annual magazine in time to share with parishes on Good Shepherd Sunday, but this year the Diocese is pleased to direct readers to the EVANGELIST 2021 BLOG, which features online articles, homilies, book reviews, photographs and vdeos produced by students and those associated with the Wonersh Seminary. 

The Solemnity of St George

Vestments bearing the St George's Cathedral Crest, overlooking a statue 
of St George in St George's Cathedral, Southwark

On Friday 23rd April the Church will mark the Solemnity of St George. Recognised as the Patron Saint of England and of our diocesan Cathedral, it is an important day for all people in Southwark to give thanks for the life of this significant martyr, and Archbishop John Wilson will duly offer Mass in the Cathedral at 12.30 pm that day.  

Also observing St George's Day will be several countiries and regions, including Ethiopia, Georgia, Catalonia and Aragon in Spain, and Moscow in Russia, who all claim this well-known saint as their patron and protector.

St George was born in 280 AD in Lod to Turkish and Palestinian parents. He went on to serve in the Roman Army under the Emperor Diocletian, but was sentenced to death by decapitation at Nicodemia's city walls in 303 AD for refusing to recant his faith in the pre-Constantinian persecutions.  He is revered as a military saint, often depicted in early art wearing amour, who has inspired many to covert to Christianity through his loyalty and steadfast commitment to Christ through torture and eventual loss of life.

In 1940 King George VI created the St George Cross for those who have acted with great courage in extreme danger. The medal bears the image of St George, as do many memorials built to honour those who lost their lives in World War 1.

In contemporary times, we pray for all those who are unwavering in their Christian faith in the face of persecution, in the knowledge that no earthly reward can outweigh the joy of being united with Our Lord.

Please also remember all those that live and work at St George's Cathedral, that they will be strengthened and inspired to serve the Lord through their continued ministry to the people of Southwark.

Relic of St George in St George's Cathedral, Southwark

Requiem Mass for the Late Duke of Edinburgh

Archbishop John Wilson will celebrate a Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at 11 am on Saturday 17th April 2021 in St George's Cathedral, Southwark.

All are welcome to attend in person, although numbers will be restricted in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines. The Requiem Mass will also be livestreamed via YouTube.

Southwark warmly invites everyone to join the Archbishop in praying for His Royal Highness, for the Queen and the Royal Family as they mourn his loss, and to give thanks for the late Duke's tireless service to this country and its people.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
and let the perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.

Christian Unity Commission

Zoom Discussion about the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was established in 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI to allow Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church whilst retaining much of their heritage and traditions. Ten years on, how should the implications of this project for the quest for Christian unity now be seen?

All are invited to join in a conversation, via Zoom, about this and other aspects of the Ordinariate between Bishop Paul Hendricks, Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Southwark, and Fr Christopher Pearson OLW, parish priest of the Church of the Most Precious Blood, O’Meara Street, London SE1, which is under the Ordinariate’s care.

There will be an opportunity for questions and discussion. All are welcome, whatever your tradition.

The event will take place from 7.00 pm to 8.30 pm on Wednesday 14 April 2021.

To register email:

Archdiocese of Southwark

Press Statement: Sunday 11th April 2021

A Joint Commitment to Healing and Collaboration 

Good Friday and Christ the King Polish Catholic Church, Balham

Healing and Collaboration at Christ the King Catholic Polish Church
Images: Marcin Mazur

On Good Friday, 2 April 2021, the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion at Christ the King Polish Catholic Church in Balham, South West London, was brought to an end by Officers of the Metropolitan Police Service. The Church is situated in the Archdiocese of Southwark. On Holy Saturday, 3 April 2021, the Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Reverend John Wilson, made a pastoral visit to the Parish. Together with the Metropolitan Police Service, a process of reflection has taken place resulting in the commitment of all parties to work together for healing through renewed collaboration and engagement in a spirit of friendship.
On the Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, 11 April 2021, Archbishop Wilson, together with Superintendent Roger Arditti and Detective Superintendent Andy Wadey of the Metropolitan Police Service visited the Polish Catholic Church of Christ the King.
At the end of the 10.45am Mass, Archbishop Wilson and Detective Superintendent Wadey each addressed the congregation. A message was also read on behalf of Mgr Stefan Wylężek, Vicar Delegate of the Polish Catholic Mission for England and Wales. The text of each of address is given below.

Address of the Most Reverend John Wilson

Archbishop of Southwark

Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ

Chrystus zmartwychwstał!

It is a great joy to be able to greet you with these words on this Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday. Christ is risen; He is risen indeed. In a special way we give thanks to God for the life and witness of St Maria Faustina Kowalska, the Apostle of Divine Mercy; and we thank St John Paul II who established this Feast of Divine Mercy throughout the whole Church. Thank you, Poland, for giving us these two remarkable saints. St Faustina and St John Paul, please pray for us.

The Gospel of St John recalls that, after the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the disciples were gathered in fear. But the risen Christ broke through the barriers of separation. He came and stood among them and said to them: ‘Peace be with you.’

Dear friends, we are all deeply saddened by the events that took place in this church on Good Friday afternoon. Since then, the genuine concerns of the Polish Catholic Mission, and Christ the King Parish community, have been heard directly by the Metropolitan Police Service. We all share the same desire to move forward in friendship, working together for the common good. We are committed to enabling freedom of worship for everyone, in safe and secure environments. We place our sorrow before the risen Lord who asks us to be instruments of his peace. 

Today, I am pleased to be accompanied by Superintendent Roger Arditti and Detective Superintendent Andy Wadey from the Metropolitan Police Service. We come at the invitation of the Rector of the Polish Catholic Mission in England and Wales, Mgr Stefan, and your Parish Priest, Mgr Władysław. I thank them for their kindness and the very fruitful conversations we have had together with the Police this past week. In a moment Detective Superintendent Wadey will address some words to each of you present here in the Church, and to every member of the Polish Catholic Community in Balham. Our presence with you is a sign of our commitment to work together for healing.

Immediately after this Mass, Superintendent Arditti and Dectective Superintendent Wadey will meet with me and your parish clergy and representatives to begin a conversation about how the Polish Catholic Community in Balham and the Metropolitan Police Service can work to enhance communication and engagement with each other.

On this beautiful Feast of Divine Mercy we remember some words of St Faustina: ‘The past does not belong to me; the future is not mine; with all my soul I try to make use of the present moment.’

My brothers and sisters, let us make use of this present moment, of every present moment, in the service of reconciliation. ‘Peace be with you,’ said the Risen Lord. Let us speak and hear these words to and from each other. 

I assure you of my prayers and blessing - to you, to your families, and to your loved ones.

Address of Detective Superintendent Andy Wadey, Metropolitan Police Service

Metropolitan Police Service - Frontline Policing
South West BCU Senior Leadership Team

Message to the Polish Catholic Parish of Christ the King, Balham

I would like to start by thanking you all for your invite to myself, Detective Supt Andy Wadey, and my colleague Supt Roger Arditti who is responsible for the local neighbourhood policing teams, to join you today, the Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday. It is really important for us to be here, and I thank you all for the hand of friendship that you have shown us, and the Metropolitan Police.

The last year has been terrifically difficult for everyone in London. The pandemic has caused significant challenges for us all, and we have all had to live our lives differently. The restrictions have been challenging for everyone, including faith communities, and also on occasions for the MPS as we seek to keep people safe. The MPS is a community based policing service, and we are proud to serve all the communities of London, including all of you here and the wider Catholic and Polish communities.

We are all aware of the events that happened here in the afternoon of Good Friday. The intention of the MPS is to protect and support communities in staying safe during the pandemic. We know, however, that many people were very upset by what happened on Good Friday and we deeply regret that.

Since then, there has been significant reflection and learning by myself and Roger; our colleagues who work with us locally, and also Senior Leaders at New Scotland Yard.

The Metropolitan Police truly wishes to serve and protect you in the best possible way. I truly hope that today marks the start of a renewed deep and lasting relationship, with the Parish of Christ the King, Balham and also the wider Polish communities.

Once again, thank you for inviting us to join you today.

Address of Mgr Stefan Wylężek

Vicar Delegate of the Polish Catholic Mission for England & Wales

(Read by the Chancellor of the Polish Catholic Mission, Canon Krzysztof Tyliszczak)

Dear Sisters and Brothers

Today’s liturgy, which we celebrate as Divine Mercy Sunday, marks the end of the octave of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus came to his disciples in the evening of the day when He rose from the dead, He gave them two gifts: the gift of peace and the power to forgive sins. He did not rebuke them for their little faith, nor did He lecture them about how they should have conducted themselves during His agony and passion. He embraced them with His love, shocked and bruised as they were following the events of Good Friday. He embraces us today with that same love. Just as the Apostles moved on from their grief, so should we rise above the heartache. We need to be healed. All of us need healing: we, the priests under the leadership of Archbishop John; we, the parishioners of the Polish Catholic Mission in England and Wales; and the officers of the Metropolitan Police. All of those have something to say on the path to healing. Let us listen attentively to what each one has to say and hear what is said. Jesus said to Saint Faustina ‘I wish for the Feast of Divine Mercy to be a refuge for all souls.’ It is important that we should all want this.

I am unable to be with you in person today, since I have a long-standing commitment to visit the Parish of Divine Mercy in Slough, but I am with you in word and in spirit. I thank the Archbishop, who is with us once again at this difficult time as our Bishop. Thank you, Archbishop John, for being with us as we open our hearts to the presence of the Risen Lord. I thank fathers Władysław, Aleksander and Teodor of this parish. I would also like to thank the representatives of the Metropolitan Police for their presence.

Jesus will not come here today to show us his wounds, but it is He, who through the work of the Holy Spirit, will open our ears and our closed doors, enabling us to accept that He lives and, that His merciful love precedes us on our journey through this life.

Response of Mgr Władysław Wyszowadzki 

Parish Priest of Christ the King Polish Catholic Church, Balham

The interruption of the Good Friday liturgy was very painful for our parish community, but in the spirit of the Gospel, we willingly extend our hand to the representatives of the Police authorities in order to further build a deep and lasting relationship between us, based on mutual respect and regard for the rights of worshippers to freely practice their faith.
We ask you, Excellency, to bless both our work and that of the Police, in this difficult time of the pandemic. We would like to thank everyone for coming.

Further Information:

Archdiocese of Southwark Press Officer – Miss Jo Driver

Archbishop's Private Secretary - Father Philip Andrews
Images: with thanks to Marcin Mazur / CBCEW

Additional Images  (royalty free)
Courtesy of Marcin Mazur / CBCEW

Divine Mercy Sunday

'My daughter, tell the whole world about my inconceivable mercy.  I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners.  On that day the very depths of my tender mercy are open.  I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of mercy' - Sister Faustina's Diary #699

Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter and centres around Jesus' gift to mankind of unfathomable divine mercy and forgvieness of sins.  

The Feast came into being through the mediation of Sister Faustine Kowalska; a humble cloistered nun, who at the end of her life was based in Krakow, Poland. She received visions and held conversations with Jesus, beginning on 22nd February 1931, which she noted in her diary throughout that decade in The Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in my Soul.  

During her initial conversation with Jesus He asked her to "paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature 'Jesus I trust in you'" .  As she had no experience of painting she commissioned the now famous Divine Mercy image from Eugene Kazimierowski in 1934, with the help of Fr Michael Sopocko, her Confessor. On Good Friday in 1935, she wrote that Jesus had asked for the Divine Mercy Image to be honoured and it was first displayed at Mass on the Second Sunday of Easter 1935. The first holy cards with the Divine Mercy image were printed in July 1937.

Before her death from tuberculosis in 1938, Sister Faustina had predicted 'a terrible, terrible war' (World War II).  The devotion consequently became a source of comfort and strength to many in Poland, and duly spread to other countries. After her death, Kowalska's biography was sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints along with excerpts from her diary.

In 1956, Pope Pius XII blessed an image of the Divine Mercy in Rome and in 1965, Archbishop Wojtyla began the informative process on the life of Sister Faustina.  He later became Pope John Paul II and canonised the humble Sister in April 2000: her official Feast Day takes place each year on 5th October. On the 100th Anniversary of of the birth of Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis added Sister Faustina's Feast Day into the General Roman Calendar as an optional memorial, allowing it to be celebrated at Mass around the world.

Divine Mercy Sunday marks, in a special way, the conclusion of the Divine Mercy Novena, which many of the faiithful will have commenced on Good Friday. The Novena consists of praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, attending both Confession within that period and receiving Holy Communion on the day itself.  Jesus' promise, through Sister Kowalska, was that the soul who undertakes this will receive total expiation from all sin and punishment, and will go straight to heaven.

Archbishop John Wilson offers prayers for The Duke of Edinburgh

On behalf of the Catholic Community of the Archdiocese of Southwark, I wish to express my profound sorrow at the news of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

In union with the entire nation, we mourn the loss of not only an esteemed and respected member of the Royal Family, but also a man who exemplified the very best qualities of courage, fortitude and loyalty. Although born into a very different world, his example and witness leave us, here in this present age, with a lasting and enduring legacy of the timeless paradigm of duty and service. 

In this season of Eastertide, when we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and his victory over death, we pray that His Royal Highness will rest in peace and rise in glory. We also remember in our prayers Her Majesty the Queen and all members of the Royal Family at this sad time, offering to them our sincerest condolences.

+John Wilson
Archbishop of Southwark

Easter Sunday



As we celebrate together the fulfillment of God's promise, that mankind might be saved from death and darkness through the gift of eternal life, Archbishop John Wilson invites all to join him on Easter morning for the 10 am Family Mass, which will be livestreamed from St George's Cathedral

The Archdiocese of Southwark wishes its clergy, religious and laity a joyful and peaceful Easter.

View photographs from the Easter Family Mass at St George's Cathedral

Holy Week 2021

Archbishop John Wilson will celebrate a number of services for Holy Week at St George's Cathedral this year.  Those who wish to participate in person are welcome to do so, but seats must be reserved in advance for certain services in order to ensure a COVID-safe space for all in attendance.  

Click here to
view services times and to book tickets in advance.

We hope that many parishioners will be able to attend at least one service in person at their local church during Holy Week.  However, all are warmly invited to join in prayer with Archbishop John and the whole Diocese via the following services, which will be live-streamed: 

Wednesday 31st March 2021
11.30 am  Chrism Mass 
Please note that this service may only be attended online

MAUNDY THURSDAY - 1st April 2021
7.30 pm  Mass of the Lord's Supper

GOOD FRIDAY - 2nd April 2021
3 pm  Solemn Liturgy of the Passion

HOLY SATURDAY - 3rd April 2021
8.30 pm  - Easter Vigil

10 am - Family Mass

We look forward to welcoming the faithful of Southwark, and those beyond our geographical boundaries, for the celebration of the Sacred Triduum.


HOLY SATURDAY - The Easter Vigil

Archbishop John Wilson warmly invites everyone to join him at 8.30 pm when he will celebrate the Easter Vigil in St George's Cathedral, Southwark.  For those unable to attend in person (places must be booked in advance in order to adhere to COVID-19 regulations) it is possible to take part remotely via the  livestream above (  All are welcome and an Order of Service can be downloaded in advance.


Journeying forwards from the agony and fear of Christ’s Passion, Holy Saturday is a day of waiting, Jesus’ disciples are hiding in the Upper Room, paralyzed by fear. They are unaware of the spiritual battle that has just been won.

Through the witness of the Gospels we see a series of events unfolding between Jesus' passing on Good Friday to his resurrection.

Following his death, the first surprising event is the unexpected action of Joseph of Arimathea, who was a member of the Sanhedrin. We know from Matthew that ‘he had become a disciple of Jesus and refusing to accept the death of his dream for the New Kingdom, was moved to ask Pilate for the body of Jesus. In spite of the anger of his fellow elders, Joseph, along with Nicodemus, took Jesus’ body and bound it in linen cloths, Here we see the first sign that there is a change in direction taking place.  Here is a secret disciple, boldly coming forward at the risk of losing everything, to honour Jesus.

A range of sightings of the risen Jesus then take place, first to Mary Magdalen and then to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. On each occasion it is reported with amazement and joy, but the collective mindset of mourning amongst the believers prevents the majority from trusting these reports.

It is not until Jesus appears to eleven of the disciples together that they finally accept he has risen. In Luke’s Gospel Jesus addresses them with the greeting ‘Peace be with you’, in doing so identifying himself, whilst in Mark’s Gospel Jesus admonishes his disciples for their lack of faith. Either way, ready to forgive and to start afresh, Jesus goes on to commission them to proclaim the Good News to all nations, that ‘the one who believes and is baptised will be saved’. 

In his letter to the Romans, St Paul offers this clarification:
'Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him'.

At this point, the disciples have to accept that there is no turning back.  The only way is forward and the road ahead is clear. One part of their journey with Jesus has come to an end, and a new one, full of unimaginable possibilities, has begun. 

The Easter Vigil is the high point of the Triduum and commences in darkness. However, as the light is shared from the Resurrection Fire to the Paschal Candle, and then to each candle held by the congregation, the Light of Christ gently illuminates all present, bringing with it the hope of the Good News. This is confirmed through the Easter Proclamation, or Exsultet, in which the whole of Heaven and Earth invited to rejoice.

At the Gloria, the lights of the church are switched on, bells are rung and the organ sounds once more, announcing that Jesus is risen and has triumphed over darkness to bring new life to all who believe in him.


On the face of the situation, some might argue that Good Friday has been wrongly labelled.  How can this particular day in Holy Week, when the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, is put to death on the Cross, possibly be good? 

It is 'good' because on this day, the most solemn of the Church's year, we remember that Christ's' love for mankind, and willing sacrifice, transmuted sin and death into forgiveness, redemption and new life for all who believe in him. His death was not the end, but a beginning through the mediation of the New Covenant, so that we might be with him in Heaven!

Join Archbishop John Wilson at 3 pm via livestream from St George's Cathedral on this most holy of days, as we bear witness to the transforming power of Jesus' love for the world.

Image: with thanks to Marcin Mazur and CBCEW


Maundy Thursday marks the initiation of the Sacred Paschal Triduum, when Christians remember the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord.

The word 'Maundy' itself derives from the Latin 'mandatum', that is 'to command', which refers to the command issued by Jesus Christ to his disciples during the Passover Feast:

'Love one another just as I have loved you'.
(Jn 13.34)

It is not possible to encompass the ceremony of foot-washing (pedilavium) this year at services due to COVID safety regulations, but this act was intended as a physical sign of the humility and love that the Apostles were urged to embrace, and which we too are encouraged to imitate. 

During this meal, which was to be Jesus' Last Supper, he also instituted the Eucharist. Christ, the Lamb of God, was to be sacrificed so that, through a New Covenant with God, mankind might experience the forgiveness of sins and be redeemed. To achieve this he would suffer and offer his life on the Cross before rising from the dead and obtaining the promise of new life.

If you are not attending a service in your parish church this evening, or simply wish to bring your prayers to God this Maundy Thursday, please join Southwark at 7.30 pm via the livestream above, as we celebrate the day when the Passion of Jesus Christ commences.  


The celebration of Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum may take place in the presence of the faithful this year.  Southwark welcomes this positive news since public acts of worship were suspended last Easter due to the pandemic. In recognition of the fact that those in the Church are also part of the wider community, services will be tempered this year in order to reduce potential transmission of the coronavirus.

For full details visit the website of the Cathollic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales

Mass for Palm Sunday 2021

Celebrated by Archbishop John Wilson
live from St George's Cathedral

Archbishop Wilson invited all in Southwark Diocese to join him for Palm Sunday Mass, live from St George's Cathedral on 28th March at 12 noon. A recording of the Mass can be viewed above and his homily viewed here.

Order of Service

Join the livestream from YouTube


Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week and the Passion Death and Resurrection of Christ. This Sunday we witness Jesus' triumpant entry into Jerusalem as he is lauded by the crowds, who scatter palms in his path.

This year the Church is permitted to celebrate Mass in person as well as broadcast services online. However, palms will be blessed during the celebration of the liturgy and distributed to the faithful as they leave the church after Mass.

Final Installment of the Southwark Online Lent Retreat

Week 6: Entering Jerusalem [Mark 11:1-10]

The theme in the final week of the Southwark Lent Online Retreat is 'Offering'.  The Southwark Spirituality Commission ask us to journey in union with the Lord Jesus, in his dying and his rising.

In this video, Archbishop John Wilson, Chris Chapman and Sr Anouska Robinson-Biggin FcJ explore how we can give ourselves afresh to God to the degree we are each able to do so, and we are invited to become aware of what God offers us.

The Commission has also compiled a some short questions for participants to consider:

 - How am I invited to share in the Paschal mystery?
 - How do the events of Holy Week speak to my own journey in the footsteps of Jesus?

During the video, further suggestions for prayerfully contemplating the events of Holy Week will be offered.


The Diocese hopes that parishioiners have enjoyed the 'Follow Me' Retreat.  If you have watched the videos and / or participated further by joining an online Lent Reflection Group, why not offer some feedback.

Mass for St Oscar Romero and the Installation of Diocesan Romero Shrine Guardians

The Metropolitan Cathedral of St George in Southwark is home to the Diocesan Shrine of St Oscar Romeo, situated in the Romero Chapel, between the older chapels of St Joseph and St Patrick.  It is a place of special pilgrimage and devotion for the entire Metropolitan Province and beyond. The centrepiece of the Shrine is the three-dimensional Romero Cross, whose faces were designed and painted by the Salvadoran artist, Fernando Llort.

The Cross contains a reliquary holding a precious fragment of the blood-stained alb that had formed part of Archbishop Romero’s martyrdom clothing as he celebrated Mass on 24 March in 1980 (now his Feast Day). This is the heart of the Shrine. Displayed alongside is a zucchetto: one of St Oscar Romero’s episcopal skullcaps. The Cross is overlooked by a bust of Archbishop Romero by the artist, Lado Goudjabidze.

The Shrine was inaugurated at an ecumenical service in 2013 and was formally designated a Diocesan Shrine with a decree issued by Archbishop Peter Smith on 14 October 2018, the day of Oscar Romero’s canonisation in Rome. In December 2019 Archbishop John Wilson issued statutes for the Shrine and appointed Canon Richard Hearn as Shrine Rector, together with four Guardians of the Shrine:  Mgr. Canon John O’Toole, Canon Alan McLean, Ms Katheen O’Brien and Mr Julian Filochowski. The four Guardians will be formally installed at this Mass, the process having been delayed due to Covid-19.

Limited places will be available in the Cathedral but all are welcome to join this special service via livestream from St George's Cathedral at 12.30 pm on Saturday 27th March 2021.

Holy Week Lent Retreat 

To find out more information visit the Kairos Centre
To book email mailto:

National Day of Reflection on COVID-19

Archbishop Wilson blesses the Archdiocese of Southwark on the
Feast of Corpus Christi in 2020

As we approach the 1st Anniversary of the first national lockdown on 23rd March 2021, Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP have issued a statement and are inviting Catholics to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament.  They jointly encourage the faithful to make the National Day of Reflection on COVID-19 a day of not only reflection but also of prayer.

The Archbishops point out that prayer is an essential part of this reflection and remembrance:

“For all who live by faith in God, reflection and prayer always go hand in hand. Prayer completes reflection. Reflection informs prayer. Prayer opens our life to its true horizon.

Read the full statement here.

Fr Stephen Wang has been appointed as the new Rector of the Venerable English College 

Father Stephen Wang will replace Monsignor Philip Whitmore, who has been Rector of the VEC since 2013. The VEC was founded in 1579 and since then has prepared priests to serve mainly in England and Wales, as well as being a home to priests undertaking further studies in Rome. There are currently 27 seminarians in formation for the priesthood and five priests engaged in further studies.  Most study at either the Gregorian University or the Angelicum.  As well as seminarians from England and Wales, there are seven from the Nordic countries, two from Ireland and one from Canada.  

Fr Stephen Wang, who studied at the VEC as part of his formation, will start his new ministry as Rector at the start of the new academic year in September. He said:
“I’ve been incredibly happy as a university chaplain in London, and it will be very hard to leave Newman House chaplaincy centre and say goodbye to students and staff across the universities. But I’m delighted to be starting at the Venerable English College in Rome. I have a great love for the seminary and for the city, and a love for the priesthood and the work of formation. I’m really looking forward to getting to know the seminarians and staff, and to building on the wonderful work that Mgr Whitmore has been doing as Rector. And yes, I’m also looking forward to savouring an authentic Roman pizza again and the finest ice cream in the world.”

Mgr Philip Whitmore, the current Rector, welcomed the appointment.
“I am delighted by the news of Fr Stephen Wang’s appointment as Rector of the Venerable English College and I thank the Lord for the eight truly blessed years I have been privileged to spend in this role.  The recent health crisis has made us more aware than ever of our need for priests and it is both a responsibility and a joy to be charged with the formation of priests to serve the next generation. We assure Fr Stephen of our prayers as he prepares for his new ministry.”

Cardinal Vincent Nichols said:
“I welcome most warmly the appointment of Fr Stephen Wang as the new Rector of the Venerable English College, Rome. Fr Stephen will bring to the College all his experience as a university Chaplain as well as his passion for proclaiming the Gospel in contemporary ways, a gift so much in keeping with the great traditions of the College. I thank Mgr Philip Whitmore whole-heartedly for his years of tireless service to the College and I look forward to welcoming him back to his Diocese in due course.”

For more information about the VEC go to Venerable English College visit

'Follow Me': Southwark Lent Online Retreat

 Led by Archbishop John Wilson
with Sister Anouska Robinson-Biggin FcJ
Week 4: ‘God so loved the world’ [John 3:14-21]

In week four of Southwark's Online Lent Retreat we explore the subject of 'discerning': God's love is shown in the gift of the Lord Jesus to the world. In this video we ask what gets in the way of trusting God’s invitation, what our personal image of Him might be and ultimately, how God is active within difficulties we may face.

This Retreat video also features an introduction to the Examen: a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us.

To find out more information, register for prayer resources or join an online Lent reflection group visit:

Diocesan Survey

The diocesan Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis has partnered with other dioceses to produce to survey which aims to find out about the experiences of Catholics during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey will help the Diocese to understand what has been happening whilst churches have been closed, or opened only for limited periods of time, and Catholics have had to practice their faith 'at a distance'.

Please consider contributing to ths survey, selecting the 'Archdiocese of Southwark' from the drop-down menu, so that we can hear about what God has been doiing and what he wants to say to us about the future of the Church in this part of England and Wales.

The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete and the deadline for submission is 4th July 2021.  

Complete the survey

Head of Communications

The Archdiocese of Southwark is looking to recruit a Head of Communications, initially on a 2 year fixed contract, to develop and implement a communications strategy for our current times.  Based in central London the job holder will be responsible for an audit of all our current communications, tools and approaches, as well as ensuring all ongoing communications operations meet the highest standards possible.
The ideal candidate will have thorough knowledge of the Catholic church as well as 10 years plus experience in a senior communications role in a not for profit organisation.  He/she will have exemplary written and verbal communication skills and proven experience in both proactive and reactive (crisis) communications through all media.  
This is a full time role with a starting salary range of £55,000 - £60,000 per annum depending upon skills and experience.  We may consider part time for the right candidate.
For more information and to apply please contact by the closing date of 6th April 2021

First Anniversary of The Late Archbishop Peter Smith

Above: Listen to the Homily given by Archbishop John Wilson at the Funeral of the late Archbishop Peter Smith

Saturday 6th March 2021 marks the first anniversary of our beloved former Archbishop, Peter Smith, who died suddenly before the pandemic came into force last year.

As a clergyman who preferred a 'no fuss' approach, it may be that he would have welcomed the splendid simplicity of his funeral in St George's Cathedral, whilst as a nation we adhered to guidance to stay at home. However, there are many in Southwark who wish to give thanks for his life.

Although it is not possible to assign a date at this time, the Diocese hope to arrange a Mass later this year to celebrate his ministry, as well as an occasion to remember the lives of all Southwark clergy who have died in the past year. Please continue to pray for the peaceful repose of their souls.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Richard Diala
former Parish Priest of Peckham

who died on Friday 19th February 2021
in Nigeria

May he rest in peace and rise in glory

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Deacon William Boyd

who died on Monday 25th January 2021

May he rest in peace and rise in glory

Funeral details to follow

Preaching in a Time of Turmoil

The Catholic Association of Preachers is hosting a webinar which will be led by Archbishop John Wilson. The theme will be Preaching in a Time of Turmoil and will take place on 11 March 2021 between 3 pm - 4.30 pm.

All are welcome to attend: please register by emailing

Follow Me - Online Lent Retreat

The Southwark Online Lent Retreat continues with the release of this week's excellent video at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 2nd March. Archbishop John Wilson and Christ Chapman explore the Cleansing of the Temple: John 2.13-25, which will be the Gospel Reading for the 3rd Sunday of Lent.

The Lord Jesus speaks of himself as the Temple to be destroyed and raised again in three days. In Christ, we too are God’s dwelling place, cooperating with God as our own ‘temple’ is cleansed. How is God’s Spirit stirring in my spirit? Is there something God desires to free me from? Is there something God desires to free me for? 

This video offers and introduction to Imaginative Contemplation.

To register for prayer resources / join an online Lent reflection group visit:

CAFOD Family Fast Day

This Family Fast Day CAFOD are encouraging us all to raise awareness and funds for those who who struggle to access water. This life-giving commodity is something that many of us take for granted, but those in remote areas often have to walk for miles to ensure that there is enough water for themselves and their families, whether it is for drinking, cooking or cleaning.

The Diocese would like to thank all parishioners who are already undertaiking CAFOD's Walk for Water Campaign, as well as all those offering sponsorship. For those who have yet to consider alms-giving this Lent, Southwark encourages engagement with CAFOD's Family Fast Day this Friday, 26th February 2021.

By consuming a smaller meal and donating the money saved to CAFOD, the charity can help turn around the lives of the poorest by providing bore-holes and solar powered water pumps to remote communities, helping to bring water, health and sanitisation.

For those currently attending Mass in person, there will be an opportunity to give via a Family Fast Day envelope in your parish. If this is not feasible at present it is also possible to donate online.

To find out more, donate and access resources, includinng Fast Day soup recipes, visit the Family Fast Day page on the CAFOD website.

Vacancy at the Catholic Bishop's Conference of England and Wales: Mission Adviser

This role will work with dioceses to develop and deep understanding of key teaching documents of the Church and translating them into action.
Working to recognise our common heritage with ecumenical partners and closer dialogue with other faiths.  The role will contribute toward the proclamation of love for Jesus Christ, being the golden thread which motivates the work of the Secretariat and permeates every aspect of the work of supporting the Bishops' mission.

For more information or to apply please email  
The deadline for the post is 12th March 2021.  

Access a job description.

Pathways to Christ's Passion

Father Victor Vella, Parish Priest at Holy Innocents’ Church Orpington, has organised a series of webinars on the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ, in order to prepare his parish for Holy Week. The opportunity to participate is now open to anyone who wishes to attend, especially Southwark parishioners, through the joy of modern technology.  

The webinars will take place on three consecutive Wednesdays in March and be led by the renowned biblical scholar, Father Henry Wansbrough, a Benedictine monk from Ampleforth Abbey:

  • The Passion & Death of Jesus according to the Synoptic Gospels   
    Wednesday 10 March 2021 at 7.45 - 9.15 pm   

  • The Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus according to John
    Wednesday 17 March 2021 at 7.45 - 9.15 pm  

  • The Death and Resurrection of Jesus according to the writings of Paul
    Wednesday 24 March 2021 at 7.45 - 9.15 pm

These free webinars offer an opportunity to increase personal insights into the historical context and theology expressed in the different accounts, with a view to understanding what the Resurrection means for the mission of the Church and for our spirituality.  After each lecture there will be an opportunity for those attending to ask the speaker questions. 

Father Henry Wansbrough has written over twenty books. He edited the New Jerusalem Bible (1985) and recently single-handedly the Revised New Jerusalem Bible (2019). He has lectured in Africa, Australia and North America. He was for twelve years Master of St Benet’s Hall in Oxford also Chair of the Oxford University Faculty of Theology and more recently Professor of Biblical Studies at Liverpool Hope University. He has served on several Vatican Commissions, including the Pontifical Biblical Commission and the Anglican Roman Catholic international Commission.

Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, described Father Henry Wansbrough as “one of the most erudite, well known Scripture scholars in the world”. 

In order to bring these events to fruition, Holy Innocents parish is working together with the Archdiocese of Southwark through the Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis. Dr Mark Nash, the Director of the agency said,
"Archbishop John Wilson has called on us all to help make Southwark become a ‘missionary diocese’. This is made possible with each person playing their part and where good work already undertaken, like the Holy Innocents’ webinar series, is highlighted and shared. The role of the Agency, therefore, is to help and encourage all parishes to greater fruitfulness.”

To register and obtain confirmation each webinar needs to be booked individually.  A separate link will be sent to registered email addresses in good time to access the webinars.  Visit Eventbrite.

For any queries, please contact the Holy Innocents' parish office by email:

Mass on Ash Wednesday

Archbishop John Wilson will be celebrating Mass with the Imposition of Ashes on Wednesday 17th February at 12.30 pm in St George's Cathedral.  For those unable to atttend in person, the service will also be streamed online.


View pictures of the Ash Wednesday Service at St George's Cathedral.
With thanks to Marcin Mazur/CBCEW

'Follow Me'

Archbishop John Wilson and the Southwark Spirituality Commission present an online Lent Retreat

Archbishop John Wilson and the Southwark Spirituality Commission are offering an online Retreat for people and parishes during Lent this year.

Beginning on the First Sunday of Lent, Archbishop Wilson will offer a video introduction, which will be followed by the Sunday Gospel. Afterwards, a brief talk exploring the
weekly themes connected with the Gospel will be given. The content can be viewed at any time and the talk will be accompanied by suggestions for prayer and reflection throughout the week.

The Commission is also pleased to provide comprehensive guidelines for their 'Follow me' Lent Retreat for Parishes, as well as Instructions for group work. As many people need to continue to shield at this time, the Commission has also produced an excellent resource for parishioners who might wish to undertake the retreat on an individual basis at home. Plesse see the resouces list below

Retreat Resources:

Register to take part

Learn More

Ready Steady Flip

Get Flipping for Missio on Shrove Tuesday


Missio is hoping to raise lots of smilles and a few pounds during these difficult times by encouraging families, households, church groups and communities to fundraise during lockdown.

Usually at this time of year, school supporters from across England and Wales would get ready to hold fundraisers for Missio through Mission Together, in the form of pancake races and flipping contests.

Sadly, in these unusual times, many of these events can’t take place, and without schools fundraising together, Missio can’t reach all the families around the world who really need both their help and hope.

Therefore, Missio are encouraging families, student groups, chaplaincy, community and friends, from the littlest sibling to great-grandparents to get flipping for them this Lent. Join in their online Flipping Fantastic Fundraiser, and help them bridge the fundraising gap!

How to get involved:

1) Download the sponsor form here and collect some sponsors

2) Make your pancake, and get filmed flipping it as many times as you can! Don’t forget to share it with us on Social Media, using the hashtag #MissioPancakes

You can do your flip any time up to and including Shrove Tuesday (16th February);  it doesn’t have to happen on the day.

3) Collect your sponsorship money and send it to Missio!

Cheques can be sent to:

23 Eccleston Square

You can also donate online or by telephone: 020 7821 9755

Text donations can be sent to 70085:

MTOG 5 to give £5
MTOG 10 to give £10
MTOG 20 to give £20

Please note that in addition to the gift, donors will incur the cost of a standard rate message.

Thank you for lending your support and don't forget to enjoy eating your pancake!

The 29th World Day of the Sick 2021 on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

To mark the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes and the 29th World Day of the Sick on 11th February 2021, the Catholic Association have organised a special Mass and online Rosary, in which all are most welcome to take part.

7 pm  Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes
In conjunction with the Catholic Association, Fr Liam Slattery at St Peter’s in Gloucester will celebrate a Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the 29th World Day of the Sick.
All are welcome to attend and a particular invitation is extended to parishioners from dioceses who participate in the Catholic Association Pilgrimage, including Southwark, Clifton, East Anglia and Northampton, along with the Glanfield and Stonyhurst groups.

7:45pm, the Rosary on Zoom
After Mass, click the link below to join the Zoom call for an online Rosary hosted by the Catholic Association, led by Fr Nick King SJ.

  • Join here
  • Zoom Meeting ID: 954 6948 2981
  • Zoom Passcode: 458890

View Southwark Lourdes Pilgrimage videos
(includes a 1 hour Blessed Sacrament Procession
to the St Pius X Basilica)

View Photographs from the 2019 Southwark Lourdes Pilgrimage

The Statue of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Domaine.
The flowers  in the railings represent thanks for prayers answered and promises from pilgrims to return.

 Reflection on The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes is celebrated on the 11th of February.  This is day is also known as the World Day of the Sick.  Saint John Paul II inaugurated this day, and since 1993 each year this day is set aside in a special way as a day of prayer for the sick and the suffering, and our ministry and service in caring for them through our medical profession and loving service.

This year for the 29th World Day of the Sick, Pope Francis has taken the theme, “You have but one teacher and you are all brothers” (Mt.23:8) – calling for “a trust-based relationship in our care for the sick”.

The Pope reminds us that “sickness always has more than one face: it has the face of all the sick, but also those who feel ignored, excluded and prey to social injustices that deny their fundamental rights” (cf. Fratelli Tutti, 22).  In this great list we also acknowledge those who suffer silently, not having anyone to share their pain.  Illness, whatever form it takes reminds us of our human vulnerability and it is in this place of our utter vulnerability God meets us with the invitation to “come to him”.

Pope Francis says that “A society is all the more human to the degree that it cares effectively for its frail and suffering members, in a spirit of fraternal love”, and invites “to empathise with those who suffer”. He urges us to strive to achieve this goal.

It is almost a year since, as a nation, we experienced the first lockdown due to the present Coronavirus pandemic, and almost a year worldwide. During this year our medical professionals, family members and many other – both young and old – have ministered faithfully and lovingly for the sick, the vulnerable and the forgotten, and continue to do so making many sacrifices.  We recognised and acknowledged their unselfish loving service when as a nation we gathered to “clap for them” at 8.00pm each evening during the first lockdown. We continue to remember those who serve and minister to the sick and the vulnerable and we salute them, and pray for God’s blessings and strength so that all of us will be able to continue to serve each other with love and care in Jesus.

The Pope refers to the Biblical figure of Job in his message for this year.  Job laments the harshness of life he has to endure.  Like Job, for our sick and the suffering their lives may seem an unbearable burden laid upon them.  We pray that through our loving care and service we may be able to support them and comfort them, helping them to know the healing hands of the good Lord are upon them.  Like Job we turn to God in trust knowing fully well that God is with us in all our sufferings.  We turn to our teacher, the Lord himself, so that we can learn from him, just as he served without any boundaries, how to serve one another.  We pray that our love be genuine, our service sincere and our faith in God strong in spite of our weakness.

Our Lady of Lourdes – Pray for us.
St. Bernadette – Pray for us.

Bishop Paul Hendricks              Canon Edward Perera
Chairman                                    Directior
      The Catholic Association           Southwark Lourdes Pilgrimage

Bishop Paul Hendricks and Canon Edward Perera light the Southwark Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage Candle

An Evangelising Catechesis

Masterclass Webinar

The Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis are pleased to offer a series of webinars  by leaders in their respective fields.  The first webinar, entitled 'An Evangelising Catechesis' will take place on Thursday 11th February at 7 pm, when the speaker will be Dr James Pauley.

Dr Pauley is Professor of Theology and Catechesis at Francisan University, where he has taught since 2002.  He is the author of two books on renewing catechesis today.

More information and to register

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Paul Sanders

who died on Friday 29th January 2021

May he rest in peace and rise in glory

Funeral details to follow

The Agency for Evanglisation and Catechesis

Archbishop John Wilson's homily from his Installation in 2019 encouraged Southwark to become a 'missionary Archdiocese'.

The Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis was established to help make this a reality in collaboration with the priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful in the Diocese.

We're delighted to share the Agency's vision and plans in this brand new video: A Defimite Service.

Read more about 'Some Definite Service'.

Visit the website of the Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis

The Path to a Better Future

A free webinar with Austin Ivereigh, UK Welcomes Refugees and
the Southwark JPIC Commission
Monday 8 February 2021 at 7pm - 8.30 pm.

Almost four years ago a deanery group answered the call of Pope Francis for every parish to welcome a refugee family.  After a year-long application process a young Syrian refugee family were received in May 2018, with the approval and blessing of the Archdiocese of Southwark. 

Join this free webinar to reflect with Austen Ivereigh, and panel of faith leaders, as they discuss what Pope Francis' book 'Let us Dream'  teaches us about building a better future for refugees.  Participants will also be able to meet and hear about the two very different journeys of a young mother, her family and the Southwark sponsoring group.

Register to join the webinar

First International Day for Human Fraternity

'Commit to fraternity every day of the year'.
- Pope Francis

On Thursday 4th February 2021 the Church will celebrate the First International Day for Human Fraternity.  The aim of the day is to encourage all people to break down barriers and work together across various faiths towards a culture of peace and inclusion.  

The World Day was estiablished by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in December 2020 following the signing by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, of a documemt on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.

The Holy Father will mark this important day by joining a virtual event, hosted by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, at which the Grand Imam will also be present. During this online meeting, which will be broadcast by Vatican Media at 1.30 pm (GMT), the Zayed Award for Human Fraternty will be presented.  

Cardinal Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot MCCJ, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, commented on today's meeting: 'This meeting is a way to achieve true sociial friendship, as the Holy Father asks of us'.

More information on this issue and important Day can be found at the Vatican's new Human Fraternity Website.


Join Vatican Media

Read the Holy Father's Encyclical on Human Fraternity: Fratelli Tutti

View the Pope Video for Human Fraternity

Annual World Day for Consecrated Life

In 1997 St John Paul II instituted an Annual  Day of Prayer for Women and Men in Consecrated Life. He chose 2nd February to coincide with the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple - Candlemas Day - the day on which candles are blessed symbolising Christ who is the Light of the World.  We are all called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to the world, but women and men in Religious Congregations and those in other forms of Consecrated Life do this by means of their commitment to the community life and the charisms of their specific Founders and Foundresses.

This year Archbishop Wilson had hoped to make it an even more special day when he would deliver conferences in the Amigo Hall to the assembled Religious - with lunch  - and a Mass to conclude the day.  Sadly our present lockdown restrictions have meant that this cannot take place. 

However, the Archbishop has very kindly agreed to offer Mass online in the Cathedral on Tuesday 2nd February at 2.30pm to celebrate the Feast  and to mark the Annual Day for Consecrated Life.  He wishes to use this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the Religious Communities who live and work in the Archdiocese for all they have done, are doing and will continue to do to build up the Kingdom of God in our world. 

On Tuesday 2nd February at 5.00pm [Rome Time] Pope Francis will celebrate the same occasion with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica with a small representative group of Religious living in the City of Rome present.

This Mass for Religious, to be celebrated by Archbishop John Wilson from St George's Cathedral, will be streamed at 2.30 pm on Tuesday 2nd February 2020 at

Download an Order of Service

Racial Justice Sunday

 - A Time to Act -

Last February marked the 25th anniversary of Racial Justice Sunday.  Only a few months later, in May 2020, the world witnessed the tragic and unjust death of George Floyd in America, which sparked a wave of protest across the globe. 

In the Holy Father's most recent Encyclical, Fratelli Tutti he speaks of the need to actively oppose racism and pursue racial justice with renewed vigour, while Bishop Paul McAleenan, the Lead Bishop for Racial Justice at the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, recently highlighted the fact that Racism is 'a sin and violation of human dignity'.  In a recent letter he went on to explore how we might recognise the dignity of each brother and sister by valuing diversity and looking for new ways to support different sections of the community.

In the Archdiocese of Southwark, Archbishop John Wilson responded to this year's theme: 'A Time to Act', by creating a new diocesan Commission for Promoting Racial and Cultural Inclusion, which will be chaired by Fr Victor Darlington, Parish Priest of Camberwell. The 10-strong Commission team, which also includes Bishop Pat Lynch, Deacon Alfred Banya and Canon Jim Cronin among others, was formally inaugurated on Friday 29th January 2021.  Looking ahead, it will seek to identify, address and speak out against the evil of racism where it exists, and also explore ways to listen, accompany and support victims of racism, with a view to eliminating this infringement on human dignity.

Speaking of the new Comission and Racial Justice Sunday, Fr Darlington said: The road map of the Commission is to work with parishes, groups, associations and schools to promote racial equality and inclusion in our Archdiocese over the coming months and years. We all have a role to play to put an end to racism, and I call on everyone on this Racial Justice Sunday, to celebrate the beauty of our diversity as a Archdiocese, where everyone is welcomed, appreciated, cherished and loved.

Please pray for the members of the new Southwark Commission for Promoting Racial and Cultural Inclusion, that their work will ensure peoples of all nations are valued.


The Catholic Bishop's Conference of England and Wales has prepared number of resources to help us all explore Racial Justice Sunday, including a reflection based on the Gospel for the Day, prayers and the video reflection below by a Zimbabwean Catholic Youth group. 

Vacancy: Kent Workplace Mission

Team Support Co-ordinator

Kent Workplace Mission are looking for a Team Support Coordinator to support the Trustees and Chaplains in continuing the work of Kent Workplace Mission across Kent, Bexley and Bromley.

This administrative post is part-time (15 hours per week) based at  and is currently based at Larkfield and East Malling Methodist Church.  The organisation are open to this being a Kent or SE London home-based role.
For an application pack or more details please contact Jacky Trice, the current Team Support Coordinator, by email:

The closing date for applications is Friday 19th February

About Kent Workplace Mission

Kent Workplace Mission is a Christian Charity, a Local Ecumenical Partner of Churches Together in Kent focussing on Mission.
We are convinced that God's love for the world includes where we do our daily work and those with whom we work.
We offer chaplaincy support to businesses across Kent, Bexley
and Bromley, including Bluewater, Port of Dover, Dungeness Power Station, care homes and a number of town centres. The majority of the chaplains are volunteers.

Spiritual and Mental Wellbeing for Children during the Pandemic

We have alll faced an unexoected range of challenges during the pandemic, which may have led to a sense of disquiet or anxiety about not only our health, but also security and the need to adapt, at pace, to ever-changing circumstances.

Our children have also had to adjust their daily routines and with this has come signigicant disruption to study, the inability to meet with friends on a regular basis, uncertainty about the future and more time spent indoors with family.

Jesus regularly took himself away to a quiet place in order to find peace and rest in the healing presence of the Father. It is with this in mind that the Education Commission and Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis have created a resource entitled ' Meditation, contemplation and well-being.  The resource is intended to serve the spiritual and mental health needs of our children, mainly in this time of pandemic, but also to carry into the future.  

Thie resource consists of a range of opportunities for young people to discover imaginative, contemplative and scriptural prayer through Christian meditation, Ignation Spirituality and the Lectio Divina.  Sources include The Children's Society, the Mark 10 Mission and for older teens, the Hallow app.

In addition, catechists, parishes, schools and colleges can access support to enhance the spiritual devlopment and wellbeing of young people in their care.

Download the Meditation, contemplation and well-being resource

Visit the website of the Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis 

Southwark Art and Architecture Committee

The Southwark Art and Architecture Committee is continuing to consider applications this year despite not being able to meet in person.  Any parish wishing to put forward an application in 2021 may wish to bear the following virtual meeting dates in mind:
  • 25th February
  • 27th May
  • 9th September
  • 25th November

Please submit your written proposal with as much detail as possiible and, where applicable, plans and photos to both the Chair of the Art & Architecture Committee (Canon John Weatherill, Parish Priest, Purley) and the Property Office.

Sunday of the Word of God

On 30th September 2919, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter, Aperuit illis, established that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time would be devoted to the celebration, study and sharing of the Word of God. It is intended to reawaken an awareness of the importance of Sacred Scripture ln our lives.
Cardinal Sarah has also described the day as also being a good opportunity to read some ecclesial documents, especially the Praenotanda of the Ordo Lectionum Missae, which speaks of all areas relating to the proclamation of the Gospel. This document indicates the need for due responsibility and reverence for all aspects of the proclamation of the Word, from care of the Ambo to personal interior preparation and familiarity with the text, as well as encouragement to pray the Psalms and Canticles of the Office, and the need for meditative silence so that people can inwardly receive the Word of God.

The ‘God Who Speaks’ (CBCEW) project has produced some excellent resources to help mark Sunday of the Word of God. Amongst other items they include ‘Echoes of God’: an exciting invitation to attend a 7-week online course journeying through the Bible, a Bible Blessing and some liturgical / pastoral resources from the Pontifical Council for promoting the New Evangelisation.

The Bible, which many of us identify solely as the Word of God, can challenge but also encourage and nourish us throughout our lives, particularly offering sustenance and hope when life is overwhelming.  It is perhaps helpful to remember that God continues to speak to us through prayer, other people and a variety situations, so we should be open and ready to hear His Word at all times.

Read Aperuit Illis

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally observed on an annual basis between 18th to the 25th January: the octave of St. Peter and St. Paul.  

This year online resources have been prepared by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland. The chosen theme is, “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit”, which is based on John 15:1-17 and expresses Grandchamp Community’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the Church and the human family.

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland are featuring these resources on their website: they range from posters and themed pamphlets to powerpoint presentations and a short service which can be held at home or online with the parish community.  Download resources here.

In addition, Bishop Paul Hendricks, Chairman of the Southwark Christian Unity Commission, will be offering a special message on their new website  and short prayer service will take place on YouTube this Friday, 22nd January 2021 at 7.30 pm, led by Commission members.  Please visit the new Southwark CUC website for full details.

Finally, Southwark Christian Unity Commission  is now on Twitter, which  offers a highly accessible opportunity to find out more about their work. Please visit them at @SouthwarkCUC during Christian Unity Week to view  their greetings to a wide variety of other Christian denominations and take a moment to welcome them to this social media platform.

“Abide in me and you shall bear much fruit” 

(based on John 15. 1-17)

Peace Sunday 2021

Sunday 17th January

On Sunday 17th January the Church will celebrate Peace Sunday, when we are asked to explore the theme chosen by Pope Francis:  'A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace'.  

Read Pope Francis' message for the 54th World Peace Day

The Catholic Bishops Conference and Pax Christi have kindly prepared  number of resources, with ideas for schools, parishes and individuals.
In addition, all are invited to join Pax Christi on Zoom betweeen 6 - 7 pm on Saturday 16th January to unpack Pope Francis' message and explore what this practically entails for Christians as people of peace.

To download resources and sign up for the Pax Christi Peace event:  

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Deacon Jim Hayes

who died on Friday 8th January 2021

May he rest in peace

Funeral details to follow

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Michael Boland

who died peacefully on Monday 4th January 2021

May he rest in peace

Funeral details to follow

Please pray for the repose of the sould of

Father George Webster

who died peacefully on Tuesday 29th December 2020

May he rest in peace

Funeral details to follow

Epiphany Resources

On 6th January the Church celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany, or as we might think of it in England, 'Twelfth Night'. The Feast commemorates the visit of the wise men, or Maji, Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, to the new-born Jesus, guided by a star to the place of his birth in Bethlehem. 

In many cultures, especially in Europe and South America, this day is celebrated as a glorious Church Feast which also includes sharing Christmas gifts and treats.  In Southwark we are blessed with significant cultural diversity and 2017 this Feast was restored in full by the Catholic Bishops' Conference in order to reflect the universality that Catholics share in marking the same feasts around the world. As such, if you are in good health, please consider attending Mass in your parish on this Holy Day of Obligation, as Southwark churches continue to maintain a COVID secure environment, or make time to attend and participate in a live-streamed Mass.

This year a number of recources have been produced and we are pleased to share some below:

The Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis:
Epiphany Resources for parishes

Readings for the Feast of the Epiphany

Thought provoking resources for young people based on Oscar Romero, with a range of activities.  We particularly like the 'Jar of Hope' project which encourages the young mind to stay positive at this challenging time.

Catholic Icing
An creative website for the young Catholic, with instructions for baking crown shaped treats to celebrate the Three Kings, making stars and instructions on how to complete a door blessing.

New National Lockdown in 2021

A new lockdown covering England will come into force on at 00.01 on Wednesday 6th January 2021.  We are generally encouraged to stay at home, but in recognition of the importance of faiith the goverment are alllowing churches to remain open for communal worship, with necessary santisation and social distancing guidelines in place. 

Speaking of the new Lockdown, Cardinal Vincent Nichols stated:

“The regular practice of our faith in God is a well-established source of both personal resilience and dedicated service to those in need. Such resilience and enduring service are vital in these difficult circumstances.

“I am glad that no measures have been introduced that would obstruct or curtail this essential source of energy for the common good. Catholic parishes will continue to serve the needs of their local community.

“In one parish, for example, the provision of food for the needy has increased by 400% since March last year.”

The Guidance for Places of Worship published at this time states:

  • You can leave home to attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral or event related to a death, a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony.
  • You should follow the guidance on the safe use of places of worship and must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble when attending a place of worship.
  • Weddings, funerals and religious, belief-based or commemorative events linked to someone’s death are all subject to limits on the numbers that can attend, and weddings and civil ceremonies may only take place in exceptional circumstances.
  • You must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble if you do attend a service.

No defined date for the end of  Lockdown has been given, but it is likely to last until mid-February and will be subject to review.
Download guidance for churches on the new National Lockdown from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales

Download UK Government advice on rules for 2021 Lockdown

Pastoral Letter for 

The Solemnity of the Holy Family

27th December 2020

Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ

After a celebration of Christmas Day in restricted circumstances, due to Covid 19, we come to this beautiful Feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth. The home life of the Lord Jesus, of His mother, the Virgin Mary, and of His foster father, St Joseph, teaches us the importance of ‘compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.’  We want to love as they love, to sit in the classroom of the Gospel and learn from Christ, inspired by the fidelity of Mary and Joseph. These qualities are the sure coordinates to guide us forward.

The images we sometimes see of the Holy Family make everything look so perfect, as if there were never any problems, or moments of anxiety, and not that much joy and laughter either. How can any family flourish without joy? How can any family blossom without laughter? No, the Holy Family was a real family. ‘Tears and smiles, like us,’ they knew, each in their own way. All our experiences of family, and of our relationships within them, form a school where our understanding of holiness can deepen, where, modelled on Christ, we are trained how to love evermore generously.

Of course, we know family life is not always easy. Every family needs help, especially when its members face difficulties and struggles. Above all, each of us, no matter what our age or circumstances, needs to know that we are loved and that we belong. This is why the Church matters, as a family for everyone, a place to find and know God’s love, a place to discover our true home in Christ and with each other.

St Luke retells an important event in the life of the Holy Family. Forty days after His birth, the Christ Child was presented by His parents in the Temple in Jerusalem, in accordance with the Law of Moses. This humble couple accepted the precious vocation God gave them as parents. This call from God is alive today. Parents are to protect and nurture new life. They are ‘the first teachers’ of their children ‘in the ways of faith.’ They are also to be ‘the best of teachers, bearing witness to the faith by what they say and do.’  This is both a gracious invitation and an awesome responsibility. As they prepare for the baptism of their child, every mother and father should be given a copy of the Gospel with the words: ‘Receive the Gospel of Christ whose teacher you now are. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.’  The family remains the primary place for living, teaching, and sharing the Gospel. Daily evangelisation is part of every home centred on Christ. The need for witness to our Catholic faith about, and within, the family is as great as it ever was. 

I want to thank every Christian family in our parish and school communities for your faithfulness to Christ. Thank you to wives and husbands who encourage each other to live the Gospel, ‘for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer.’ Thank you to mums and dads, to grandparents, aunts and uncles, for passing on the faith to your children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces. Thank you to older brothers and sisters for the good example of faith you give to your younger sisters and brothers. They look up to you and need you. Thank you to clergy and religious, and to parish catechists and school staff, who support families in handing the faith to new generations. Please make sure that our communities are welcoming and supportive to all families, not least those new to our country or area, those going through brokenness or separation, and those facing poverty and hardship.

The home of the Holy Family of Nazareth was a loving space where the Lord Jesus grew to maturity, filled with wisdom. May our families, and the family of the Church, enable the message of Christ, in all its richness, to dwell within us so that we always speak and act with love.

I assure each one of you, your families, and your loved ones, of my prayers as 2021 opens before us. Whatever this New Year brings, let us step out with ‘compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,’ united as members of one body.   May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts and in our world.

With every blessing

Yours devotedly in Christ

Metropolitan Archbishop of Southwark

Image of the Holy Family from St John's Seminary, Wonersh

'They all ate and were satisfied'

Matthew 14.20

Offering pastoral support, food & toiletries to lorry drivers stranded in Kent

On Christmas Eve a special food delivery was made to lorry drivers at Manston Airport and those on the M20 who found themselves stranded in Kent over the Christmas Period. Approximately 4500-5000 people were given freshly baked bread, buns, donuts as the Polish Community in the UK remembered the season of goodwill by offering sustenance and pastoral support to others.

The mission to Kent was led by Fr Bartosz Rajewski, a Polish priest in charge of the local Polish Catholic Mission at South Kensington (Little Brompton Oratory) and Fr Dawid Jasiński, who is in charge of the local Polish Mission in Lewisham.  Describing a moment of realisation at the plight of the lorry drivers, Fr Bartosz explained:

‘I was deliberating on the significance of the issue and contacted the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, asking for assistance to make it possible for the drivers at Manston Airport to receive pastoral ministry. It was necessary to establish contact with the local and national authorities and this could only be achieved by the Embassy’.

At this point Fr Jasiński agreed to join a delegation to Manston Airport, pending permission: “we had to give the drivers the possibility of Confession at Christmas and opportunity to talk with a priest. In Poland, Christmas is an extremely family-orientated occasion. Being away from home during these holy days is very hard to bear”.

The Embassy’s application was successful and on Thursday 24th December 2020 a group, led by Fathers Bartosz, Father Dawid were able to travel to Manston. Many people who belong to the Polish Catholic Community assisted in preparations, with groups making sandwiches, arranging toiletries and organising groceries.  A number of individual donors, shops and bakeries were also involved in the venture and overnight from Wednesday 23rd to Thursday 24th December both The Polish Bakery and Polish Village Bakery undertook to provide fresh bread as well as over two thousand cakes and doughnuts, in readiness for distribution. This was all coordinated by the Polish journalist Artur Kieruzal, who is based in London, whilst transport was provided by Polish transport companies and taxi drivers. 

On arrival, the priests offered pastoral support to everyone they encountered with Christmas Blessings, prayers and also the chance to receive Opłatek (the blessed Christmas wafer) which is traditionally shared with loved ones in Poland at the Christmas Eve meal. At the same time a group of helpers distributed festive bread, pastries and much needed practical items to drivers. Marcin Mazur who is a member of the Catholic Polish Community in London and joined the delegation as the photographer for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, spoke of the traditions of the Polish people at Christmas: ‘There is tradition in Poland at that dinner we keep one empty space on the table for someone who might join us, and we always should welcome that person. In Dover, the Polish community brought food to those that needed it, as such, filling that empty space at the dinner table.’

Since Christmas Eve the backlog of lorries and trucks at Manston Airport has been cleared and the situation on the M20 is now being managed. Although the aim of the mission to Kent was largely to help the Polish community, those involved in the mission also encountered Spaniards, Italians, Romanians, Slovakians, Ukrainians and people from across all of Europe.  Asked what memory will stay with him Fr Bartosz recounts a particular incident where one particular van had run out of goods and they had nothing to offer the Polish driver that approached them: 

‘a Ukrainian driver overheard our conversation. and shared the contents of his bag equally with the Polish driver. The moment had particular significance as he broke the bread in half.  This was the true spirit of Christmas’.

In a situation which resonates with the Gospel story of the Feeding of the 5000, four vanloads of food remained after the journey to Kent, which has since been offered to the needy and homeless. Fr Dawid remarked

“the gospel words have been fulfilled ‘They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over’. This is a lesson for us all: we cannot be indifferent in such circumstances, preoccupied solely with ourselves. We must act and go out to people.”

We pray for the ongoing safety and welfare of drivers that have missed celebrating with family due to the unforeseen circumstances in Kent, and give thanks todays for the generosity of the Polish people in London towards our stranded brothers and sisters. We also thank parishes in Southwark that have quietly assisted in bringing pastoral and practical help to drivers in different ways during this unforeseen crisis.

Offering Christmas Blessings to drivers at Manston Airport

A Message for Christmas 2020 from the Archbishop of Southwark

Dear friends

I wonder what might be your overriding sense of 2020? It has been a year unlike any other we have known in peacetime. Locally, nationally and globally, we are marked by the impact of Covid 19 and the measures imposed to try and curtail the pandemic.

For some, 2020 has been devastating, with loss of life, loss of loved ones, loss of livelihoods, and even loss of hope. Yet, through uncertainty and sadness, we have also witnessed the triumph of kindness, in great and little things alike. Our NHS and caring professions, our emergency services, our food and utility providers, to name just some, have ensured support in essential ways. To all those who have sustained the life of our communities, we extend an enormous ‘thank you.’

Despite the challenges, the past year has brought forth so many remarkable examples of the very best in our humanity, and not least from within our Catholic community. Our parishes and schools have served with distinction, something we can rightly be proud of.

Even in restricted circumstances, Christmas 2020 recalls again the great kindness God has shown humanity in Christ. A Saviour is born for us, for you and me. God’s loving kindness placed a foot on our planet in person, through the tiny imprint of the baby of Bethlehem. Forevermore, we share news of great joy, a joy of God’s love for every person, and for the whole world. God is with us. We are never alone.

May the Christmas gift of God’s kindly love fill your heart as we step forward with hope in Christ. May God bless you, and those you love, this festive season and throughout the coming New Year.


+ John Wilson
Archbishop of Southwark


Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Canon Frank O'Sullivan

who died peacefully on Tuesday 22nd December 2020

Funeral details to follow

May he rest in peace

 Christmas Masses at St George's Cathedral

Parishes in Southwark are generally open over the Christmas period: please check your parish website for details. A number will also be offering live-streams given the present COVID-19 situation in the South East of England and St George's Cathedral will be live-streamng two Masses this Christmas.

The first service will be the 10 pm Vigil Mass of the Nativity of Our Lord on Thursday 24th December 2020. The service will be celebrated by Archbishop John Wilson with the Cathedral Clergy and Choir present.

Join the Christmas Eve Vigil Mass live-stream here:

On the morning of Christmas Day Archbishop John will also celebrate the Family Mass at 10 am. This uplifting service is ideal for all those with young people at home who want to participate in giving thanks for the arrival of Jesus.

To join the Family Mass live-stream on Christmas Day with Archbishop John:

Should you wish to seach for other parishes in Southwark that are offering live-steams. you can do so here.  Please remember to check individual parish details over the Christmas period, since they may differ from the usual schedule.

Two New Deacons for Southwark

Southwark Diocese requests the prayers of clergy and parishioners on Saturday 19th December 2020 for David Hunter and Matthew Donnelly, two Southwark seminarians who will be ordained as Deacons by Bishop Richard Moth at St John's Seminary in Wonersh.

The Diocese gives thanks for their calling and wishes them every blessing as they embark on this important step towards priesthood in 2021.

Matthew Donnelly and David Hunter

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Michael Gwinnell

who died Sunday 13th December 2020

May he rest in peace

Funeral details:

Tuesday 12th January at 12 noon
in St Joseph’s RC Church, New Malden
 celebrated by The Most Reverend Kevin McDonald


Please note that there will be a restriction on numbers due
to the present situation with COVID-19

Sea Sunday

This Sunday, 20th December, is Sea Sunday, when the Church prays for all those who live and work at Sea. Seafarers and fishers are among the heroes of the pandemic, working to ensuring that food, medicine and other essential supplies continue to reach us

Please consider supporting Stella Maria (Apostleship of the Sea) during the second collection after Mass this weekend. In doing so you can help the Church's official maritime welfare agency to continue its work in supporting seafarers on both a spiritual and pratical basis. Alternatively you can donate by visiting or text SEA to 70460 to give £5.  

Find out more about the work of Stella Maris


A Christmas Meditation of Music and Word

Archbishop John Wilson and the Choir of St George's Cathedral, Southwark invite everyone to join them for a Christmas Meditation of Music and Word at 7.30 pm on Thursday 17th December.  

This service replaces the regular Cathedral Carol Service and is intended to be an opportunity to reflect in preparation for the coming of Christ.  All are very welcome to join us, either in person at the Cathedral, or online. 

Online link:

Vocation Video Series

The National Office for Vocation has recently produced a video series on different states of life. Over a number of weeks during Advent it explores the single and consecrated / religious life as well as marriage and ordination. Each interviewee speaks openly about their their journey and personal experiences.

In the third week of Advent, Fr Joe Owusu-Ansah, who currently serves as a priest at Birchington and Westgate parish in Thanet, Kent, speaks about his motivation to be ordained, the fulfillment he experiences in witnessing transformation in people and the joy of sharing our common Christian calling to holiness.  He ecnourages anyone considering a vocation to the priesthood to share their thoughts with someone trusted, and to be bold in exploring the possibility.

To read more about vocations in the Archdiocese of Southwark, or to speak to someone about exploring the possibility of ordained life, visit:

Southwark Education Commission Christmas Card Competition

This year's winner of the Education Commission Christmas Card Competition is Ashira Perrera from St Thomas More Catholic Comprehensive. The competition was held earlier in the Autumn Term. The Education Commission had many entries on three themes:

  • A Child is born for us
  • The Word was made flesh and lived among us
  • I sing a new song to the Lord
View the winning entry below
Entries from runners-up can be seen here.

Letter to Religious

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Tuesday 8th December 2020

On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception Archbishop John Wilson has sent a letter to the Religious of Southwark Diocese, in which he reminds them of the immense diffference they make by their consecration to Christ, as a beacon for God's Kingdom.

Read Archbishop Wilson's letter to the Religious of Southwark Diocese

Advent Reconciliation Services

On Saturdays 5th and 12th December 2020, Archbishop John Wilson will lead Advent Services of Reconciliation at 3 pm in St George's Cathedral, Southwark.

During the service he will offer a reflection and lead the congregation in praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, after which there will be several members of the clergy available to hear confessions.  The service will end at approximately 4.15 pm and all are very welcome to attend as part of their Advent preparations.

Reflecting on Vocations in Advent

Homily for the Second Sunday of Advent
Matthew Donnelly, Deacon Elect

This Advent, Southwark is delighted to collaborate with the final year students of St John's Seminary in Wonersh in order to offer weekly video homilies for each of the Sundays in this season of prepartion. Visitors to the Serminary's YouTube Channel can see new uploads each Sunday or visiit Southwark diocesan Facebook page.

The seminarians are also producing an online version ofThe Evangelist, their annual magazine, which is normally printed and dissemiated to parishes every summer.  Current content includes:

•    the charities the seminarians are supporting this year and how to buy their Christmas Cards
•    Fr Kevin Dring, their Pastoral Director, writes about the search for the "New Normal"
•    an interview with Canon Tony Churchill about his many years of ministry.

Please keep all those on their vocation journey in your prayers as they grow clloser to the Light of Christ, most especially our seminarians who arepreparing to be ordained as deacons during Advent.

Homily for the First Sundat in Advent
Stephen O'Brien: Deacon Elect


If you would like to find out more about vocational discernment or consider giving a gift towards the ecclestiastical education of our seminarians please visit

The Retirement of Bishop Patrick Lynch SS.CC

Following Bishop Patrick Lynch’s submission of his resignation to our Holy Father, Pope Francis, we have received news from Rome that this has now been accepted, allowing Bishop Pat to retire.

We are grateful to the Holy Father for granting this request and for the support of Archbishop Gugerotti, the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain. We thank the Religious Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary for the gift of Bishop Pat to the Archdiocese of Southwark, first as a priest and then as a Bishop. As he now steps back from the formal office of Auxiliary Bishop, we are delighted that he will be retiring in the Archdiocese where he has made his home and has so many friends.

Bishop Pat has served the Archdiocese with distinction and generosity as a true shepherd to clergy, religious, and laity alike. His pastoral mission here for the past twenty-two years, the last fourteen of those as an Auxiliary Bishop, has been marked by passion for the Gospel, deep sensitivity, and a special care for migrants and ethnic chaplaincies and communities. Along with pastoral responsibility for the parishes of South East London, Bishop Pat has also exercised oversight of Catholic education, working faithfully with four Archbishops. Added to this has been his important collaboration with the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and the Holy See, in working to combat human slavery and trafficking.

Bishop Pat’s joy as a disciple and a pastor, always quick to encourage and affirm, has been such a blessing to so many people. We extend to him our immense gratitude for all he has given to our Archdiocese and the Church in England and Wales. As soon as it is practically possible, we will arrange for the celebration of Mass in St George’s Cathedral to mark Bishop Pat’s retirement.

On hearing the news from Rome, Bishop Pat wrote: “For the last twenty-two years I have been privileged to have served the Lord here in the Archdiocese of Southwark – in the parishes of Nunhead and South Norwood, as Vicar for Religious and as Auxiliary Bishop.  Unfortunately, however, the after effect of surgery nine years ago is now limiting my ability to carry out some pastoral responsibilities.  I am, therefore, grateful to our Holy Father and to Archbishop John for their understanding and for accepting my wish to retire from active ministry as an Auxiliary Bishop. As I begin the transition to retirement I give thanks for the many ways the Lord has blessed me over those years: through the kindness and wisdom of Archbishops Michael, Kevin, Peter and John; through the support and dedication of the priests, deacons and religious of the Archdiocese; and through the prayers and witness of so many lay people. Do remember me in your prayers in the weeks and months to come. I extend to you every good wish and blessing.”

We offer Bishop Pat our sincere thanks and love as he moves into a new expression and pace of ministry. We very much look forward to him continuing to be part of the life of the Archdiocese and assure him of our heartfelt prayers and support.

+ John Wilson
Archbishop of Southwark
28 November 2020

Awaiting the Return: #28 Days

As we come within sight of the end of a second period of national lockdwn, the photographer of the Catholic Bishops' Conference has been visiting parishes in London throughout this period and the result is a unique photographic project called Awaiting the Return: #28Days, which conveys the celebration of Mass in closed churches.

These striking daily black and white photos, which will doubtless become a valuable historic record in the years ahead, demonstrate the emptiness of our parishes without the people - the body of Christ - present to join in collective worship.

The images also show us the faithfulness of our priests in continuing to celebrate Mass each day during this period. Although parishioners have not been able to attend services, they have been continually held in prayer, and our clergy have strived to bring God’s Light into the world through the celebration of Mass at all times.

View the photographic project: Awaiting the return: #28Days

With thanks to Marcin Mazur of @CBCEW

Live-streamed Services and Homilies

The First Sunday of Advent 2020

Throughout the Autumn 2020 lockdown, Archbishop John Wilson has been concelebrating Mass with the Clergy of St George's Cathedral. Recordings of each Mass and a variety of homilies, as well as messages to various sections of our diocesan community, can be found here, including his latest homily for the First Sunday of Advent.


The First Sunday of Advent

Archbishop John Wilson will celebrate 10 am Mass via livestream from St George's Cathedral, Southwark, for the 1st Sunday of Advent (29th November 2020).  Join the service via

An Order of Service can also be downloaded in advance.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Deacon Alan Boxall

who died Thursday 12th November 2020

Funeral Mass 8th December at 10.00

May he rest in peace

Southwark Spirituality Commission

Advent Reflections

We are beginning an Advent season like no other, leading up to a Christmas celebration that may be quite different from previous years. To help everyone focus on daily prayer the Southwark Spirituality Commission is offering a brief reflection each day during Advent. The reflection will look at one of the readings of the day and be delivered by email for use at a time to suit.
At the end of this challenging time of year the weeks may feel even darker than usual. However, this presents an opportunity to discover Advent in a new and deeper way: waiting for a light to grow in the darkness, longing for the coming of our Lord, and of God’s Kingdom. It is a time to embrace the darkness and loneliness and allow them to open us up to a deeper longing . 

To receive Southwark's Advent Reflections, sign up here or visit, where you can find additional seasonal resources.

Government Consultation on Faith Engagement

Officials of the MHCLG have asked for individual Catholics to respond to this open consultation on the way that the Government engages with faith communities.  The link to the online submission can be found here.

#Red Wednesday

On 25th November 2020 Aid to the Church in Need will be hosting an online version of their well-known #Red Wednesday event, which seeks to stand in solidarity with Christians who are persecuted for the peaceful practice of their faith.

All are invited to join ACN as they launch an important report entitled 'Set Your Captives Free', which explores the issue of Christians who are unjustly detained. This live-streamed event will take 4.30 pm and be chaired by Rehman Chishti MP. Guest speakers will include Archbishop Kaigama of Abuja, Nigeria, former MP Rob Flello and Maira Shahbaz, whose case of abduction and terror is explored in the report.  If you wish to join the event, please register in advance via this link:

Following the live-streamed report, Farm Street Church will be broadcasting Mass, celebrated by Fr Dominic Robinson SJ, at 6 pm.  During the Mass the online congregation will be led in prayer for Christians who have been kidnapped, attacked or killed, as well as those who face discrimination or abuse on different levels because of their faith.
Please register here in advance if you wish to attend the Mass

Read more about the work of Aid to the Church in Need, including the #RedWednesday Campaign.

The Solemnity of Christ the King

All are welcome to join Archbishop John Wilson for the celebration of Mass on the Solemnity of Christ the King at 10 am on Sunday 22nd  November 2020.  The service will be live-streamed from St George's Cathedral from the Diocesan YouTube account.  

Live-stream / watch again:
Order of Service:

Read Archbishop John Wilson's homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King.

Safeguarding Statement & Independent Review

Following the Plenary Meeting of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales between 16th -19th November 2020, a Statement on Safeguarding has been issued.  Read / download a copy.

At the same time an independent review of the Catholic Church’s safeguarding structures and arrangements in England and Wales.  Ian Elliott was the Independent Chair of the Review and the resulting report was published on 20 November 2020.  Mr Elliott is an experienced safeguarding professional who has worked across the world in the safeguarding field.

Friends of the Holy Land

Many people in England are currently concerned as to what form their  Christmas celebrations might take, with many of us apprehensive as to whether we will get to spend time with loved ones or join in a meaningful Church service. It is a disconcerting time and we can only put our hope and trust in God that better days are ahead.

Regrettably, our Christian brothers and sisters in Bethlehem are also facing a Christmas season like no other.  In ordinary circumstances the Holy Land would be looking forward to welcoming approximately 1 million pilgrims, many of whom would normally be seeking to visit the Church of the Nativity in the approach to the birth of Our Lord.  However, this year the hotels are largely empty, and with 80% of people in the area relying on tourism, be they hoteliers, shop keepers, tour guides or taxi drivers to name a few, the present worldwide health situation has proved devastating.  There is no furlough scheme in the West Bank, so many workers have lost their jobs or had their hours seriously reduced. Some have been fortunate to find other work, but the pandemic has left many struggling to cope with the basic everyday costs of life.

Therefore, Southwark is asking parishoners to consider whether they could lend their support to the Friends of the Holy Land through a gift within their means, so that as fellow Christians we can offer hope and comfort to those in a vulnerable position in Bethlehem at Christmas.  This may be the only lifeline that Christians in Bethlehem receive until life returns to normal.

If you would like to offer your support there are number of different ways in which you can help.  Visit: to find out more. You can also donate directly here  Thank you for your support.


Listen to the recording below of Archbishop John Wilson (courtesy of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales). The Archbishop is the newly-appointed Grand Prior of the Lieutenancy of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre in England and Wales, This charitable religious organisation seeks to support the Christians of the Holy Land.  

In this short recording Archbishop Wilson encourages us all to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land also informs us how we can help on a pracitcal level.

CYMFed: Come ‘Together’ For Youth Funday and National Youth Sunday

After a year when so many of us have been separated from loved ones, the theme “Together” has been chosen as schools are invited to the first-ever National Youth Funday on Friday 20th November 2020.

Youth ministry teams from across England and Wales will host this exciting live-streamed event, leading young people in prayer and fun activities throughout the day.  Cardinal Vincent Nichols will start the event in prayer and music will be led by Joe Wells of One Hope Project.

National Youth Funday is part of the build-up to National Youth Sunday, which this year is on Sunday November 22, the feast of Christ the King. This annual celebration is an opportunity to explicitly recognise young people’s important contribution to the life of the local and universal Church.

CYMFed, the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation of England and Wales, is behind both celebrations and has produced resources for this NYS on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

“The way we live, work, study, play and pray have all been changed by the pandemic,” says CYMFed project officer Dominque Finn. 

“The most significant change has been not being able to do many of those things together. This year's theme recognises what it means to be together, with ourselves, with others and with God. 

Pope Francis expresses this beautifully. ‘To come out of this crisis better than before, we have to do so together; together, not alone. Together. Alone no, because it cannot be done. Either it is done together, or it is not done. We must do it together, all of us, in solidarity’. 

With imposed distance from others, we may have felt an increasing distance between ourselves and God. However, amid all these trials and hardships, God calls us to new opportunities and a life of hope. We look forward to a time where we can freely get together with family and friends.”

National Youth Funday starts at 9.45 am and ends with a closing liturgy at 2.10p m. It will be live-streamed on CYMFed’s YouTube Channel,  Those who wish to take part should register at

Downloadable resources for this weekend are available at

Follow @NationalYouthSunday on social media for more details.

Mass for the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Archbishop John Wilson will celebrate Mass for the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time at 10 am, live from St George's Cathedral.  All parishioners and those beyond the Diocese are most welcome to join him this Sunday (15th November)  for this live-stream on YouTube:   A list of readings and an Act of Spiritual Communion can also be found below.

For those who find themselves unable to join Archbishop Wilson at 10 am, a variety of Masses will be taking place around Southwark during the day: full details of the times of services and stream links can be accessed here

Interreligous Greetings for Deepavali

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has today offered its greetings on the occasion of Deepavali (Diwali), which is observed on 14 November and marks a 5-day period of celebration.

Known widely as the Festival of Lights, it is iintended to dispel fear and worry with the light of friendship, respect, peace and love, clearing out the dust of the past to make room for purity and new beginnings.

The Pontifical Council is charged with promoting interreligious dialogue and interfaith cooperation.  In their 25th annual message the Council seek to maintain and cherish the positive things present in both religious traditions, thereby promoting Hindu-Christian dialogue and harmony at a variety of levels.

To read the full message from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, click here.

St John's Seminary Christmas Cards


St John's Seminary Christmas Card

Each year the seminary student body at St John's Seminary in Wonersh choses a number of charities to pray for and raise money towards. The student team that coordinates this is called the One World Group. This year the Group have chosen to support the following:

  • Mary's Meals - A charity that provides meals for children in situations of deprivation.
  • The Good Counsel Network - A charity that supports women in pregnancy to give birth to their children, and also campaigns against the practice of abortion.

As St John's Seminary will be closing at the end of this academic year and our seminarians joining with those at Allen Hall (Westminster Diocese) to complete their training and formation, this will be the last opportunity to purchase St John's Seminary Christmas cards.

The cards are offered in packs of
10 and the text inside the card reads: 'May you be richly
blessed with the peace and joy of Christmas
'. The cost is just £6 per pack plus postage.

Please send your request for these unique Christmas cards to and support two excellent causes  
in the process.            

                                                 Nativity Christmas Card

Chief Operating Officer for Birmingham Diocese

The Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham's mission is to serve the people living within the Archdiocese, supporting parish priests and the people in parish and school communities, to worship and live according to Gospel values and to evangelise within their local communities through the witness of their lives.

The Diocese is home to five million people and  serves a Catholic population of approximately 450,000 through a network of 217 parishes and some 240 schools.  While some congregations are shrinking, others are seeing significant growth. Ensuring the Archdiocese manages its resources to enable it to deliver its Mission is vital, and this is the responsibility of our Chief Operating Officer (“COO”).

Working closely with the Archbishop, Area Bishops and the Vicar General, the COO is responsible for the lay workforce, and the financial and property resources of the Diocese. He or she will play a lead role in developing and implementing the Diocesan Plan, modelling principle of Co-Responsibility in the Archdiocese’s leadership between the clergy and laity.

Key details:

Job title:   Chief Operating Officer – Archdiocese of Birmingham
Location:   Birmingham
Contract tenure:   Permanent, Full-time
Salary:   £80,000 to £90,000 p.a.

If you are interested in finding out further details relating to this position please click here.

Statement from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales on the Publication of the IICSA Report

The Catholic Church in England and Wales welcomes the Report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse relating to the institutional response of the Church in its duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation.  We thank the IICSA Panel for their work.  The Report will now inform the ongoing reform and improvement of safeguarding in all aspects of the Church’s life.
An important aspect of the Inquiry’s work was the voice given to victims and survivors of abuse, including the accounts which they gave of their subsequent engagement with the Church.  Listening attentively to their witness testimony has brought into sharp relief the extent of the damage this sexual abuse has had on their lives.  We apologise to all victims and survivors who have not been properly listened to, or properly supported by us.  By listening with humility to those who have suffered, we can contribute to the healing of the wounds of abuse, as well as learn from those most directly affected how we must improve the Church’s safeguarding standards, policies and procedures.
This is an ongoing task and one to which we are wholly committed. Child sexual abuse is a crime. It is a crime that requires committed vigilance and strict procedures to ensure reporting to the statutory authorities. This is the Church’s policy.  It is also why our safeguarding work needs to be continually reviewed and improved.  Where there have been failings and inconsistency in the application of our safeguarding procedures, we acknowledge these and commit to actions which will bring about improvement.
Abuse is an evil act against the most vulnerable; it must never be excused or covered up.  Abuse committed against children and the consequent damage to people’s lives cannot be undone.  For this, we apologise without reservation, and we are committed to listen attentively to the voices of those who have been abused.
This report is an important moment in our safeguarding journey in the Catholic Church in our countries.  It will now be considered in detail by us, the Bishops, at our Plenary Assembly beginning next week so we can explore how to integrate the findings of this important Inquiry into the life and work of the Church in order to consistently safeguard children and the vulnerable.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols      
Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP

A copy of the IICSA report can viewed and downloaded here


Press Enquiries should be directed to Alexander Desforges (Director of News for the Bishops’ Conference) email:

National Catholic Safeguarding Commission Reporting Policy
If you are concerned about the welfare of a child or adult at risk, do not delay in contacting the police, using 999 if a child or adult is believed to be in immediate danger.
It is the policy of the Catholic Church in England and Wales to report all allegations of abuse to statutory authorities, regardless of whether the abuse occurred recently or in the past, or whether the accused person is living or deceased.
If you are in any role within the Catholic Church in England and Wales, you must refer allegations directly to the safeguarding office for your diocese or religious congregation, or directly to the Police. The Southwark Safeguarding Office can be reached at
If you are a member of the public, please refer allegations directly to the police and also to the safeguarding office in your diocese; (the details of other diocesan safeguarding offices can be located using the interactive map on the links page of the CSAS website – - contact details will be shown when you click on the relevant area of the map). You can also contact CSAS by telephoning 07855 123398 or via email at

CAFOD: Faith into Action

 Building a better world after the pandemic
How can we build a better world after the pandemic: one where we respond to Pope Francis’s call and ensure plans for recovering from the crisis tackle issues of poverty, inequality and the climate emergency?  This is just one of the questions that CAFOD will be asking on 14th November 2020 between 11 am - 4 pm, when they invite everyone to join them for a day of online discussion and workshops led by practical theologian, Sam Ewell, alongside climate campaigners from around the world.

CAFOD will look at how we can turn Pope Francis’s most recent call to action into a reality, learning about his new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti.
Participants will also hear from CAFOD’s Director of Advocacy, Neil Thorns, on the crucial global talks the UK is hosting next year and discuss the practical steps we need to take to rebuild our common home.

This event is open to everyone who is interested in campaigning with CAFOD, whether new or experienced.

To book your place at

Southwark Priests' Training Fund

How you can help to support vocations
As we make our way through a second lockdown it is regrettable that we cannot attend Mass in Church. However, it is still possible to enter our churches for private prayer.

Lockdown has been challenging for many of us, and during this second phase our clergy will be continuing to meet our needs through prayer, phone calls, e-newsletters, live-streaming and parish zoom groups so that we can continue to stay together as a spiritual family.

Southwark is fortunate to have a number of men in training for the priesthood and is very aware of the need to support their formation so that the Archdiocese can continue to meet our spiritual needs and provide excellent diocesan priests into the future.

If you are interested in finding out more about the ecclesiastical education and formation of our Southwark serminarians, you can read about the inspiring calling of one recently ordained young priest and his journey to Ordination.  In addition, we are pleased to offer information about how you can support other men who are yet to complete their training.

Image: with thanks to Marcin Mazur.

Remembrance Sunday Live-stream & Homily

At 10 am on Sunday 8th November, Archbishop John Wilson offered a live-streamed Requiem Mass for those who have died in conflict, and conducted an moving online Act of Remembrance in St George's Cathedral.
Although it is regrettable not to be able to share a Mass in person due to the pandemic and government guidelines, it is possible to watch the service by acccessing the Diocesan YouTube account or by clicking here,

Whilst the service is beautiful and features some truly stunning plainchant sung by St George's Cathedral Choir, it is over 1 hour in length. For this reason Southwark is delighted to share the Archbsihop's Homily for Remembrance Sunday below, which is approximately 10 minutes in length. In his homily he outlines the fact that as Christians we always have hope and he quotes Pope Francis:

Violence is not answered with violence.
Death is not answered with the language of death.
In the silence of the Cross, the uproar of weapons cease
and the language of reconciliation, forgiveness,
dialogue and peace is spoken.

- Pope Francis

The full text for his homily can be found here.

Visit of the new Apostolic Nuncio

The new Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, paid a courtesy call upon Archbishop John on 29th October 2020

Archbishop John welcomed Archbishop Claudio warmly to the Archdiocese of Southwark.

COVID-19 National Autumn Lockdown

The Prime Minister has indicated that churches will be required to forgo public worship between Thursday 5th November - Wednesday 2nd December 2020 with the exception of Remembrance Sunday, when services can take place in the open air (only) and with social distancing and in place.

Churches may also open for private prayer during the Autumn lockdown period.

For full details regarding the national autumn lockdown and worship visit the CBCEW website or to find out more about the wider situation with regard to the pandemic in England visit GOV.UK

Letters by Archbishop John Wilson

Archbishop John Wilson has written two letters to the Clergy of the Archdiocese of Southwark as the Church celebrates the Communion of Saints.  

The first is a Letter to Clergy on the Feast of All Saints, which is being shared publicly as a source of comfort to all in these uncertain times. Archbishop John seeks to offer reassurance and guidance by encouraging us all to fix ours hearts and minds on our unchanging God in these turbulent tiimes.

The second, published below, concerns the proposed closure of churches for public worship as England faces a second national lockdown.  This is a communication for every Catholic to reflect and act upon in terms of asking our Government to be accountable and consider the wider spiritual well-being of its citizens.


Dear Father, Dear Deacon

The President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Cardinal Nichols, and the Vice-President, Archbishop McMahon, released a Statement responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement of further widespread restrictions in England beginning on Thursday 5 November. In that televised statement, there had been no formal announcement concerning Places of Worship; however, the guidance later published on the Government’s own website stated that places of worship will be required to end all acts of collective worship from that date, with the exception of funerals.

As has been made clear in the Bishops’ Statement, Faith communities have played, and continue to play, a vital role in offering support in diverse and essential ways to hundreds of thousands of people in all sections of the community, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised; and that this “critical service towards the common good of all is created and sustained by communal worship and prayer”.

For Catholics, loving our neighbour and loving God are realised perfectly in our celebration of the Eucharist, through which the Lord Jesus shares himself in his risen life. This is the loving mystery which we, as disciples of the Lord Jesus, take out in service to the world.

In order that we might do as the Lord has commanded, Catholics have acted with great care and responsibility in the way churches have reopened, thus enabling the essential worship of God to be celebrated in a safe and organised way.

As the President and Vice-President make clear in their statement, the Government has a profound responsibility to show why it has taken this particular decision to prohibit the public celebration of the Liturgy; to do otherwise, would risk losing the good-will and unity needed at this difficult time.

The draft legislation is due to be brought before Parliament on Monday 2 November. In this short timeframe I would urge all priests and deacons to encourage the faithful to raise this matter with their constituency MPs, asking that questions be raised in the House regarding the publication of the data which has driven this regrettable decision to cease public common worship.

With every blessing

Yours sincerely in Christ

Most Rev John Wilson
Archbishop of Southwark

Ordination of David Daly

Many congratulations to David Daly, who was ordained as a Permanent Deacon for Southwark in St George's Cathedral on Saturday 31st October 2020.  We wish him every joy and many blessiings in his ministry at St John Fisher parish in Kidbrooke, where he will serve.

A full set of photographs from the Ordination Service can be found here:

Rosary Whirlwind Relay Rally and Mission

for more information visit

The Feasts of All Saints and All Souls

Painted by Fra Angelico (public domain)

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

In the early 8th Century Pope Gregory III  transferred the Feast of All Saints from its former day of May 13th to November 1st. This was to conincide with a new chapel in St Peter's Basilica which he dedicated to all the saints in heaven, both known and unknown. The Feast celebrates those who have reached Heaven, and these individuals are honoured throughout the Universal Church, whilst on All Souls' Day we pray for those still on their journey to Heaven (the Church Suffering). If you wish to attend Mass on All Saints' Day or All Souls' Day, please visit our Southwark Directory to find your nearest church and their service times.

Some Catholics may be uncertain about the relation of Hallloween, which falls on 31st October and is known more traditionally as 'All Hallows Eve', to this special time of remembrance in the Church's year. To offer some context, it was customary in historic Catholic Europe to hold pious celebrations the day before a solemnity. This comes from a time when people’s lives generally moved in tandem with the liturgical calendar. All Hallows Eve would have been kept as a vigil the evening before All Saints Day and the current secular interpretation of Halloween is not in resonance with its true origin. This three-day period of All Hallows Eve, the Solemnity of All Saints and the Feast of All Souls is essentially intended to be a beautiful celebration of the Communion of Saints.

For those who are seeking some creative alternatives for children on All Hallows Eve, Southwark recommends Colour and Shape on Facebook. Ideas for Children include painting or dressing up as a favourite Saint, or holding your own vigil and going for a lantern-lit family walk.

Remembering loved ones at home and online

Although it is always preferable to attend Mass in person if you are able and well enough to do so, those that cannot attend may interested to know of two opportunities to remember loved ones online through two Southwark based charities.

Jesuit Refuge Service UK: A Prayer Vigil of Witness and Solidarity
Monday 2nd November at 5 pm 
On the Feast of All Souls why not take some time to join with others in an online community in order to to remember loved ones?  In particular, JRS UK will be remembering the lives of those who died in the English Channel this week whiilst seeking safety and refuge.

Join the charity in lighting a candle and sharing in prayers and readings from wherever you are. The vigil will be held on Zoom and broadcast live on the JRS UK Facebook page.  Please register for the Zoom meeting here.

CAFOD Mass on

Monday 2nd November at 6 pm
Join the CAFOD Mass with music, readings and prayers from staff and supporters. The Mass will be streamed live on the CAFOD website:

If you wish to add a name to the CAFOD Book of Remembrance visit:

The Christian Heritage Centre: online event 

31st October 2020 at 4 pm

“Newman 101: Why Newman Matters”
– an online colloquium celebrating the 10th anniversary of beatification and 1st of canonisation. Leading Newman scholars will present short papers on different themes from Newman’s legacy. This event will take place  at 4pm on Saturday 31st October.
Visit for more information and registration.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father John O'Callaghan
who died on Friday 16th October 2020 

His Funeral Mass was celebrated on Sunday 18th October 2020 at
St John the Baptist Carriganimma
followed by burial at St Colman's Cemetery, Macroom, Co. Cork

May he rest in peace


World Mission Sunday

Sunday 18th October 2020

World Mission Sunday is the one day in the year when the global Church comes together in support of Mission, this year with the theme 'Here I am, send me'.  This special day is celebrated in every Catholic Community in the world, it is a moment of grace to express solidarity with others in our community who are living in situations of poverty, violence and oppression  

As Catholics we are called to support overseas mission through prayer and financially through Missio.  On World Wission Sunday 2020, we are asked to honour the brave and selfless women and men already making a huge difference around the world.

In his message for World Mission Sunday he says 'The Church continues the mission of Jesus and send us everywhere so that through our witness and the procalmation of the Gospel, God may continue to manifest his love and transform hearts, societies and cultures'.

This World Mission Sunday please join Missio in helping missionaries assist vulnerable communities so that we can bring the light of God in situations of darkness.

As it is not possible to collect with red Missio boxes this year, the charity has  made it possible to donate online.

You can find out more about World Mission Sunday here and access the Pope's message for World Mission Sunday here.

Fr Nick King SJ: Talk on Discipleship

A gentle reminder that all are invited to attend the second of three online talks by Fr Nick King on Wednesday 14th October between 7.30 pm and 9.15 pm. This week's talk is on Discipleship and numbers already indicate that it will be very popular.

If you would like to join Orpington Parish and the Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis for this event please register in advance at  Please sign up by Tuesday evening if possible so that the organisers can send you the handouts prepared by Fr Nick in advance.

October is traditionally the month dedicated to the Holy Rosary and the organisers of Rosary on the Coast wish to extend an invitation to Catholics to join them in an intensive Rosary Whirlwind Mission for the spiritual well-being of the British Isles and for its preservation from degeneration, sickness and war.

Rosary Whirlwind is intended to invoke the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary, inviting a whirlwind of Heavenly Grace to blow where it will across our nations.

The events will  take place from wherever you are

1.      Every Night: An invitation to a nightly online Rosary at 8 pm led from a different Marian Shrine, Cathedral or Parish

2.      On Tuesday October 13th: All are asked to remember of Our Lady of Fatima (read about the Miracle of the Sun) You are invited to undertake the Rosary Whirlwind from wherever you are. If you wish to do so you can siign-up your location on the Map at 

Please remember to follow all local and government guidelines in respect of COVID-19 at this time if you decide to meet as a group.

For further information:

Beatification of Carlo Acutis

'The more Eucharist we receive, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven"
- Carlo Acutis

Carlo Acutis was born in London in 1991 to Italian parents, who moved to Milan shortly after his birth. He had a deep faith from an early age with a special love for Our Lady, frequently praying the rosary. He also had a great devotion to the Eucharist and a routine of weekly confession. After celebrating his First Holy Communion, at the age of seven, he rarely missed an opportunity to receive the Eucharist at daily Mass.

He was highly gifted with computers and put his talents to good use by creating a website which catalogued Eucharistic Miracles. Having developed leukemia, he offered his suffering for Pope Benedict XVI and the Church, saying to his doctor when asked if he was in pain "there are people who suffer much more than me".  His Eucharistic Miracles project was completed just months before his death in 2006.

In 2013 a miracle took place involving a young boy from Brazil who suffered from a rare pancreatic disease.  The miracle was attributed to the intercession of Carlo Acutis. The Holy Father confirmed this miracle in a decree on 21 February 2020, enabling the beatification of Carlo, which will take place this Saturday 10th October 2020 at 4 pm (3pm BST) in the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi.


With grateful thanks to CYMFed

CAFOD Harvest

As many families face chronic food shortages, malnutrition and poverty as the result of coronavirus, particularly in poorer countries around the world, CAFOD are launching a series of online events around Family Fast Day between 8-11 October so that people can join together online and help to those who are most in need. Highlights will include:

Friday 9th October at 11 am: Fast Day Talk Live

Register here
Find out how CAFOD and the international Catholic Church community are responding to the crisis and how can we all help others survive, rebuild and heal.

Friday 9th October at 6 pm: Fast Day Mass
Celebrated by the Rt Rev. Peter Brignall, Bishop of Wrexham, from St Mary’s Cathedral. Register to attend here.

Saturday 10th October at 12 noon: Global Family Food Event

Register here
Try some delicious food from around the world (for example, Malawian Chocolate Slab or Sri Lankan Cashew Curry) and raise funds to transform the lives of people overseas. Share recipes, have fun and hear about CAFOD's work in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic around the world.

Saturday 10th October at 7 pm: 'Harvest like no other' quiz
Register here
Join CAFOD's 'Harvest Like No Other' Quiz: get competitive and help to transform the lives of people in poverty.

Sunday 11th October at 10 am: Children's Liturgy
Reigster here
Join CAFOD on Sunday morning for a virtual Children's Liturgy of the Word, when they will be sharing a Bible reading, song, reflection and prayer.

Sunday 11th October at 7 pm: Prayer and Reflection
Reigster here
Bishop John Arnold, Chair of CAFOD’s Board of Trustees, will reflect on the lessons of Pope Francis’ new catechesis, Healing the World, and consider the significance of the new encyclical, Fratelli tutti..

For Prayer Cards, posters and other information visit:

Evangelisation, Discipleship and Fellowship

Three online talks with Fr Nick King SJ

Orpington Parish have organised three talks with the esteemed speaker, Fr Nick King SJ, throughout this October. These were originally intended to be parish or deanery based, but with the present pandemic to be considered, increased awareness of digital technology and with support from the new Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis, it has been possible to transfer all of the talks online.  

The theme of the talks, which will take place between 7.30 pm - 9.15 pm, will be as follows:

7th October: Evangelisation
14th October: Discipleship
21st October: Fellowship

Each session will include a talk of approximately one our with a question and answer period of 30 minutes afterwards.  Handouts, which have kindly been prepared by Fr Nick, will also be available in advance. 

Should you wish to attend one or all three of the webinars please register by emailing 

Download a poster here (see below)

Fratelli Tutti

Pope Francis signs his new Encyclical 'Fratelli tutti' in Assisi

On Sunday 4th October 2020, the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, the Vatican released 'Tutti Fratelli',  Pope Francis' latest Encyclical which centres on social friendship.  It is through fraternity that the Holy Father encourages us all to form a new vision for society in order to create a more just and peaceful world, where war and indifference no longer have a place.

The title, offered in Italian rather than Latin, may be translated as 'Brothers and Sisters All' since it is written in a universal manner, and takes its inspiration from St Francis' Admonitions:

'Let us all, brothers, consider the Good Shepherd who to save His sheep bore the suffering of the Cross.”

In recent weeks, we have considered the extensive needs of the environment, creating a sustainable ecology and healing the Earth of the various imbalances that humanity has sadly created. Thie new Encyclical is, in many ways an extension of that healing to humanity through love and fraternity.  Pope Francis asks us to consider how we might do more than  heal our common home, post-pandemic. He encourages us through this global letter to imagine a more congruent world where we we can live in harmonious relationship with the earth, with each other and with our Creator.

A Prayer to the Creator

Lord, Father of our human famiily,
you created all human beings equal of dignity:
pour forth into our hearts a fraternal spirit
and inspire in us a dream of renewed encounter
dialogue, justice and peace.
Move us to create healthier societies
and a more dignified world,
a world without hunger, poverty, violence and war.

May our hearts be open
to all the people and nations of the earth.
May we recognise the goodness and beauty
that you have sown in each of us,
and thus forge bonds of unity, common projects,
and shared dreams. Amen.

- Pope Francis
Fratelli tutti

Stella Maris Centenary Mass

This year Catholic charity Stella Maris (formerly known as Apostleship of the Sea) is celebrating 100 years of its support to seafarers, fishers, and their families. To mark the beginning of their centenary year they will be holding a live-streamed Mass direct from Glasgow.

Please join Stella Maris online to share in this very special celebration on Sunday 4th October 4th at 3pm. The Mass will be streamed live at

Ten years ago...
Visit of Pope Benedict to the UK
2010: 16 - 19 September

Ten years ago, Pope Benedict the XVI visited the United Kingdom from the 16th September to 19th September. Starting in Scotland and then travelling to England the four-day event was a memorable occasion, not only for Catholics but also for many others in our country.

The Visit was much in the news at the time and one decade on it is possible to reminisce on the events of those four days. The Bishops’ Conference have a special Papal Visit website: and our website too has the pages that has were created at the time:

During the Visit Pope Benedict visited the diocese, on day three, when he went to St Peter’s Home, Vauxhall, the care home run by the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Later that day he travelled to Hyde Park, where Archbishop Peter Smith greeted him on behalf of the thousands of people gathered to join him in Prayer.

A series of Flickr Albums of visit are available online - Click here to visit.
Also the Bishops' Conference Flickr site will over the next few days be loading an album of photos of the visit: Click here for details.

Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis
Vacancies: Evangelisation and Outreach Advisor & Local Leadership Resource Co-ordinator

The new diocesan Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis is looking to appoint an Evangelisation and Outreach Advisor to join its team. Together with the advisors for Catechesis and adult Formation, they will support the parishes of the Archdiocese through the development of resources and the recruitment and training a broad team of volunteers.

The post holder will have had significant experience in evangelisation and an informed understanding of Church teaching. They will need to be proficient in putting such teaching across in an intelligible and accessible manner and guiding people in practical terms.

The post holder will be required to travel throughout the diocese and occasionally work evenings and weekends. A DBS check will be required for this post.

This is a full-time, home-based role, 35 hours per week including evenings and weekends, though job share is a possibility. Salary £34,000-38,000 depending on experience. Click here for PDF of Job description.

The Agency is also seeking to recruit a Local Leadership Resource Co-ordinator whose responsibilities will include the support and development of the volunteer network, the management of data held by the Agency and working with the advisory team to develop resources for parish support.

The candidate must have outstanding skills in data management and presentation of information for various audiences, all informed by a sense of responsibility as a person working in a professional capacity for the Church.

This full-time role will be based at either Bowen House (London) or
St Edwards House (Orpington) and may require limited travel around the diocese. A DBS check is required for this post. Salary £25,000-28,000 depending on skills and experience. Click here for PDF of Job description.

For more information and the full job descriptions please email or to apply please send your CV and covering letter to
Closing date for applications to both posts:
Wednesday 23rd September 2020

Agency for Catechesis and Evangelisation

St Gregory and St Augustine

Today (3rd September) is the Feast of Pope St Gregory the Great, whose work in the spreading of the Good News of Jesus Christ included sending Augustine and his monks as missionaries to England in 596 AD. The mission of spreading the Good News continues today continues through the people, parishes and schools of our Diocese.  Therefore, it is wholly appropriate that today the Archdiocese announces the establishment of the new diocesan Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis.

The new Agency, which succeeds the Centre for Catholic Formation, will feature an advisory team based around the three areas of evangelisation, catechesis and formation. The team will work in an ongoing pattern of consultation and collaboration with individual parishes and explore new patterns of work in the coming months.  The Agency’s primary focus will be on deepening working relationships with parishes and the many apostolates in existence in the Archdiocese to better support, extend and improve the works of evangelisation, catechesis and formation already taking place.

Some of the key routes forward will be to enhance online delivery and the development of a broad team of lay volunteers.  If you are interested in contributing your gifts to the Diocese on this basis, please get in touch with the Agency Director by email:

Additionally, two new roles will be advertised shortly; Evangelisation and Outreach Advisor and Local Leadership Coordinator. The latter role is designed to support the volunteer network mentioned above.
A PDF version of this statement can be downloaded here.

World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Today, 1st September, is the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Pope Francis inviites us to prayer for our world which Gid has placed into our care as stewards. In his Angelus address on Sunday Pope Francis spoke of this World Day of Prayer and said "...from this date [1/9],  until 4 October, we will celebrate, along with our fellow Christians of different Churches and traditions, the 'Jubilee for the Earth'." This month is a time of eccumenical partnership referred to as the Season of Creation.

"The Season of Creation is a time to renew our relationship with our Creator and all creation through repenting, repairing, and rejoicing together. During the Season of Creation, we join our sisters and brothers in the ecumenical family in prayer and action for our common home."

Visit our Season of Creation webpage for more information and resources.

Papal Prayer Intention for September:
"Respect for the Planet’s Resources"
We pray that the planet’s resources will not be plundered,
but shared in a just and respectful manner.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Canon John McNamara
who died on Monday 31st August 2020

Funeral arrangements to follow.

May he rest in peace

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Charles Briggs
who died on Tuesday 25th August 2020

Funeral arrangements to follow.

May he rest in peace

Lourdes 2020

At this time of the year the Archdiocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes would be taking place.  Southwark joins the annual Catholic Association Lourdes Pilgrimage together with several other dioceses and other groups travelling on the penultimate Friday of August and returning a week later.

With the regulations, restrictions and quarantine requirements that the COVID-19 pandemic have led to, the decision was made not to travel. However, a "virtual pilgrimage" has been organised...

CA Virtual Pilgrimage to Lourdes


"For all who love Lourdes — particularly when coming with people who are elderly, sick or who have disabilities — the pilgrimage is a very personal and spiritual experience. As many of you already know, in lieu of being able to be altogether in France this year, The Catholic Association, along with relevant participating groups and dioceses, including Southwark, will help to bring Lourdes directly to you."

"With a selection of Masses, prayer-time and reflections available online throughout the week, it will be as if we’re right there in the Domain, as usual, between the 21st – 28th August 2020."

"The online pilgrimage will include adapted versions of many of our usual Masses and devotions, along with reflections from a number of pilgrims, young and old, sharing their experiences of Lourdes over the years. You can see the full schedule and take part online by visiting"

Bishop Paul in Lourdes"The first event will be an opening address at 7.30 pm on Friday 21st August by the Chair of the CA Pilgrimage, Bishop Paul Hendricks, who is also the Auxiliary Bishop for the South West Area of Southwark."

"We particularly hope that you will join with people from all of the Dioceses of the Catholic Association, on Monday 24th August at 7:30pm for a Live Gathering on Zoom. This will be a chance to hear highlights from previous trips together and enjoy some music too.  We would love for you to bring your own Miracle Moment to the Gathering –  a memory of a past pilgrimage –  to share with the group. You can either share your Miracle Moment live in the online Gathering, or download and fill in the E-postcard below, sharing with the CA Virtual Pilgrimage Team on social media (Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, using the hashtag #BePartOfTheMiracle) or sending to"

Postcard link:

"We will also be posting some mementos of last year's pilgrimage throughout the week on Southwark social media, to remind us of a very happy week last year in Lourdes in 2019.
If you or a friend are unable to access the schedule online or would like some guidance on how to access the virtual pilgrimage, please do get in touch and somebody will gladly assist or send a schedule.
We want everybody to be able to get involved so please don’t hesitate!"
Email: or

Enjoy the Pilgrimage!

Livestream Mass: St Oscar Romero
Saturday 15th August

A 12.30pm Mass will be livestreamed from St George's Cathedral on Saturday 15th August to mark the 103rd anniversary of the birth of Saint Oscar Romero. Join Mgr Canon John O'Toole, the celebrant for the Mass, via YouTube


Archbishop John Wilson
Archbishop John celebrated his silver jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood on the 29th July a few days after the first anniversary of his installation as Archbishop of Southwark. Although he was unable to mark his jubilee with a public Mass he streamed a Mass from the Cathedral. The Mass is available to rewatch on Youtube:
Part one - & Part two -

Four Newly Ordained Priests
During July Archbishop John ordained four men to the priesthood. Due to the current restrictions they were ordained at separte Masses over two weekends and only a limited number of guests could attend. The Diocese welcomes to the Presbyterate of Southwark:
Father Giovanni Prandini, ordained 17th July
Father John Howard, ordained 18th July
Father Peter Sebastian, ordained 25th July
Father Dermott O’Gorman, ordained 26th July

Archbishop John was delighted to be able to ordain these men for the Archdiocese, and they were the first priests he had ever ordained.
The homilies Archbishop John gave at the Masses are available online at his site "The Hope Within You", click here to visit. Marcin Mazur, the photographer from the Bishops' Conference, was able to attend three of the ordinations and a selection of photographs are online - a professional photograher and member of Father John Howard's family was able to take photos for him. Links to the other albums are here: Fr Giovanni, Fr Peter, and Fr Dermott.

The newly ordained will take up their first priestly pastoral appointments after the summer. Please pray for them as they begin this next stage of their faith journey:
Father Giovanni Prandini, appointed to Balham Parish
Father John Howard, appointed to Canterbury Parish
Father Peter Sebastian, appointed to Croydon West Parish
Father Dermott O’Gorman, appointed to the Cathedral Parish

Monsignor Canon John O'Toole
Many congratulations to Canon John O’Toole, the former Dean of
St George’s Cathedral, and now Episcopal Vicar for Kent, who has been given the honoury appointment as a 'Chaplain to His Holiness' by
Pope Francis, and so may use the title ‘Monsignor’. This appointment is in recognition of his work in the service of Dialogue and Unity at the Bishops’ Conference.

Vacancy: Safeguarding Officer

The Archdiocese is seeking to appoint a Safeguarding Officer on a fixed term contract, to join our team supporting the operation of our safeguarding provision across the diverse area that the Archdiocese supports. The post will be based in Southwark, but will require travel across the region. As part of the Safeguarding Team the sucessful applicant will be responsible to the Head of Safeguarding in responding to concerns or complaints affecting the safety and welfare of young people and Adults at Risk. The role is primarily responsibile for progressing safeguarding plans, completing risk assessments, case reviews and data input.  The successful candidate will be degree educated with a professional qualification in safeguarding/child protection and broad ranging safeguarding experience including advising on a range of safeguarding issues and making referrals to statutory agencies. Outstanding communication skills are also essential.  The post holder will be required to travel throughout the Diocese and occasionally work evenings and/or weekends/be on call.

This is initially a 6 month fixed term contract.  35 hours per week including evenings and weekends.  Salary c. £33,000 depending on experience.

For more information please email or to apply please send CV and covering letter to
Closing date: 20st August 2020

Archbishop John Wilson to celebrate Mass marking his Silver Jubilee of priestly ordination

On Wednesday 29 July Archbishop John Wilson celebrates the twenty fifth anniversary of his ordination as a priest, his Silver Jubilee. In the evening of the 29th he will be celebrating Mass in St George's Cathedral at 7pm. The Mass will be livestreamed via the Diocesan YouTube Channel, and will be accessible via the following link:

Due to restrictions it is not possible for Archbishop John to celebrate his Jubilee in person with family, friends, former parishioners and people from the different dioceses that he has served in. He hopes that the livestream Mass will enable many people to join him in thanking God for the gift of priesthood and the many other gifts that the Almighty has given to him.
Ad Multos Annos.

Livestream Mass for the Sick and their Families, NHS Front-Line workers
and those working in Social Care

The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales have organised a series of Masses broadcast on the internet on Thursday evenings over the past several weeks. The next Mass, Thursday 2nd July, will be celebrated by Archbishop John at 7pm from St George's Cathedral. It will be broadcast via YouTube. Visit the Diocesan YouTube Channel by Clicking here.
The direct link to the Livestream is:
Please Subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Livestream Mass
for Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

Archbishop John celebrated Mass at 10am on Sunday 28th June, marking the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. Mass was live streamed from
St George's Cathedral, Southwark.
The Mass is on YouTube via this link:

Message from
the Catholic Archbishops' of England

In light of the recent announcement (23rd June) of the next phase of the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions by the Government the four Archbishops of England have issued a joint message. Click here to read the message in full and click here to download a PDF copy.
"On Tuesday we heard the announcement that, from the 4th July this year, places of worship will be able to reopen for prayer and services. We welcome this news with great joy... Now, in our churches, and with our people, we can look forward again to celebrating the central mysteries of our faith in the Holy Eucharist."

"We want to thank everyone within the Catholic community for sustaining the life of faith in such creative ways, not least in the family home..."

"With the easing of restrictions on worship with congregations, we tread carefully along the path that lies ahead... We must now rebuild what it means to be Eucharistic communities..."

"It is important to reaffirm that, at present, the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended. A significant number of churches may remain closed as they are unable to meet the requirements for opening for individual prayer. Fulfilling these
requirements is a precondition for any church opening after the 4th July for the celebration of Mass with a congregation."

"We ask every Catholic to think carefully about how and when they will return to Mass... Given there is no Sunday obligation, we ask you to consider the possibility of attending Mass on a weekday. This will ease the pressure of numbers for Sunday celebrations and allow a gradual return to the Eucharist for more people."

"As we prepare to gather again to worship, let us, respectful of each other, come together in thanksgiving to God for the immense gift of the Holy Eucharist.

Yours devotedly in Christ
✠ Vincent Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
✠ Malcolm McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool
✠ Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham
✠ John Wilson, Archbishop of Southwark"

Livestream Mass
for 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Archbishop John will be celebrating Mass at 10am on Sunday 21st June which will be live streamed from St George's Cathedral, Southwark.
The Mass will be on YouTube via this link:, an order of service is available by clicking here.

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel

"No Place for Racism"
A Message from your Bishops to the Young People
Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Southwark

Archbishop John, Bishop Pat Lynch, Bishop Paul Hendricks and Canon John O'Toole, have prepared a message addressed particularly to the young people. Below are two extracts from the message:
"Racism is incompatible with the Catholic Faith. Whether expressed by the attitudes or behaviour of an individual, or the behaviour of a group, or through unjust structures in society that exclude and discriminate, there is no place for racism at any time or in any place. We say this again: there is no place for racism."

"Dear young friends, we want you to use your passion for justice to make a difference to your schools and parishes, your neighbourhoods and communities. Make them places where the gifts and skills, the experience and heritage, of all people, of every background, are honoured, valued, cherished and celebrated. There is no place for racism. Let us work side by side to make it part of our history, not part of our present or of our future together."
Click here to read the full text of the message. A the orignianl PDF version can be downloaded from here.

Challenging the evil of racism

Early in June a statement was issued on behalf of the Catholic  Bishops' of England and Wales "We stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the USA as they challenge the evil of racism and the brutal killing of George Floyd." (click here to read the full statement).

At the request of Archbishop John, Fr Victor Darlington, Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Parish, Camberwell, recorded a pastoral response reflecting on the evil and injustice of racism. The video is below and also on our YouTube Channel - clcik here to view in YouTube.

Solemnity of Corpus Christi

Archbishop John, continuing his live stream broadcast of Masses, on Sunday 14th June celebrated a 10am Mass for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi from St George’s Cathedral, Southwark. The Mass is available to watch again via YouTube with this link:
An order of service can be downloaded by clicking here and the text of the homily is available online Here on Archbishop John's 'The Hope Within You' site.

At the end of Mass Archbishop John processed with the Blessed Sacrament to the balcony over the West Door of the Cathedral and gave a blessing to the diocese. A short video of this blessing can be viewed by Clicking Here:

Corpus Christi Live Stream Mass

Blessing after Mass from the entrance door balcony.

Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel

Pastoral Letter
Concerning the Reopening of Catholic Churches
for Individual Prayer

Archbishop John issued a Pastoral Letter, dated 11th June, in advance of the forthcoming first stage of the easing of lockdown restrictions placed on Places of Worship: click here to read the full message.
Click Here to download a PDF copy of the letter.
In his letter he writes:
"...As we know, places of worship, including Catholic churches, were closed by the Government to control the spread of the Coronavirus infection and save lives. As the restrictions have begun to be relaxed, we are very grateful that permission has now been given for places of worship to reopen for individual prayer from Monday 15 June. This can only happen, however, if all the necessary hygiene and social distancing measures have been put in place. We welcome this first step towards the restoration, in due course, of public liturgical celebrations with a congregation..."

"...For any church to open from 15 June, strict requirements must be put in place which have been communicated to every parish in the Archdiocese. To be allowed to open their church, each parish will need to satisfy all the necessary conditions outlined. This means that not every church will open immediately, and some churches may remained closed for the time being. The days and times which churches can open will also vary..."

"...We all look forward to being able to gather again in our churches, especially for the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist. Until this is possible, as best we can, we will open our churches for individual prayer."

Mass with the Knights of St Columba

On Tuesday the 9th June, Archbishop John celebrated a livestream Mass in the Cathedral on the Memoria of St Columba, the patron of the Knights of St Columba. Having been contacted in May by Mr Bertie Grogan, the current Supreme Knight, Archbishop John was pleased to be able to say Mass for them. The Mass is available on YouTube - Click here to watch.
A copy of the text of the homily is online - click here to visit the page on Archbishop John's "The Hope Within You" website.

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

The first Sunday in Ordinary Time after Easter is always a celebration of the Most Holy Trinity. Archbishop John will be celebrating Mass in the Cathedral at 10am, 7th June, on this Solemnity. This Mass will be live streamed on YouTube at the this link:
An order of service is available to download by clicking here.

Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel

Video Message to Catechumens and Candidates

Archbishop John recorded a special message to all the Catechumens and Candidates, people who had been preparing for the Sacraments of Initialion or to be received in to the Church during the Easter season. During the Pentecost Sunday Mass Homily he spoke particularly to them, but also made this video:

Letter to Prime Minister
from Archbishop John Wilson

Archbishop John wrote to the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, this week expressing his understanding of "a growing sense of dissatisfaction" particularly as our churches are not yet permitted to open where a growing number of retail outlet will soon open their doors.

"Religious faith can help support people, both directly and indirectly, with respect to their wellbeing. Access to places of worship is integral to this."
Archbishop John also wrote to all MP's with constituancies in the Diocese.

A copy of his letter to to the Prime Minister can be read by clicking here.

Pentecost Sunday

Archbishop John will livestream his 10am Mass from the Cathedral on YouTube, via the following link:
An order of service is available via this link:

Text of Archbishop John's homily available by clicking here.

National Rosary Rally 9am to 9pm
(3pm: Southwark's allocated hour)

Pope Francis is encouraging Catholics to pray the Rosary in their homes during the month of May, especially when the Pandemic is making us aware of the value of our families and making it possible for us to pray together in lockdown at home. He encourages simple Rosaries and joining online Rosary initiatives to pray to Our Lady for deliverance from Covid-19 and he has composed two prayers for this intention. We are invited to join in an initiative that follows on the Pope’s request, the Pentecost Sunday National Rosary Rally, from 9.00am to 9.00pm across Scotland England and Wales.  Our Diocese has been asked to pray a Rosary Hour at 3pm and Archbishop John warmly invites us to take part.

Timetable for the Dioceses
09.00am    Arundel & Brighton, Northampton and HM Forces
10.00am    Birmingham, Nottingham & Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy
11.00am    Brentwood & Plymouth
12 Noon    Cardiff, Portsmouth & Dunkeld
1.00pm    Clifton, Salford & St. Andrews & Edinburgh
2.00pm    East Anglia, Shrewsbury, Aberdeen
3.00pm    Hallam, Southwark
4.00pm    Hexham & Newcastle, Wrexham, Ordinariate OLW, Galloway
5.00pm    Lancaster, Westminster, Argyll & the Isles
6.00pm    Leeds, Polish Catholic Mission & Glasgow
7.00pm    Liverpool, Middlesbrough & Motherwell
8.00pm    Menevia, Paisley & Syro Malabar Eparchy
9.00pm    Rosary Rally will end with a final online Rosary & Blessing
                from Bishop John Keenan at St. Mirin’s Cathedral in Paisely.
(It does not matter what time during the specified hour
that the Rosary is prayed.)

Come Holy Spirit & Renew the Face of the Earth
Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Francis Hartley

who died on Thursday 28th May 2020

Due to the suspension of public worship, a private liturgy will take place. In due course an In Memoriam Mass will be arranged.

May he rest in peace

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Edmund (Ed) Hartley

who died on Tuesday 26th May 2020

Due to the suspension of public worship, a private liturgy will take place. In due course an In Memoriam Mass will be arranged.

May he rest in peace

May - the month of Mary

Archbishop John invites everyone in the Diocese to join him for a special online gathering on Wednesday 27th May. He will be leading a live streamed May Devotions, including a Scriptual Rosary at 7pm from the Catherdral. At this time when we are asked to be more isolated than usual it is an opportunity to "spiritually gather" together.

May Devotions
Click image for larger version.

The Live stream link is
An order of service is available.
Click here for a PDF versonClick here for a Word '.doc' version

Seventh Sunday of Easter

Archbishop John celebrated a live streamed Mass for the Seventh Sunday of Easter in the Cathedral on Sunday 24th May. The recording, divided into two parts can be watched on YouTube via the following links: then
Archbishop John has made the text of his homily available online.
Click here to visit the homily page.

The Ascension of the Lord

21st May 2020: Today is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, when the Church marks Jesus Christ's physical return to the Father 40 days after His resurrection.
Archbishop John will be celebrating a live streamed Mass for the Solemnity  from St George's Cathedral at 7pm. The Mass will be broadcast via YouTube, accessible via this link:
an order of service has been prepared and is available as a PDF using this link: - the text of the homily can be read online by clicking here.

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Archbishop John celebrated a livestream Mass in the Cathedral for the Sixth Sunday of Easter. A recording of the Stream can be accessed on YouTube by clicking here or viewed below.

Updated: Mass for Ascension Thursday will also be live streamed at 7pm from the Cathedral - use this link to set a reminder on YouTube: - Please also subscribe to our YouTube channel "RC Southwark"

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Archbishop John celebrated Mass in St George's Cathedral for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, which was live streamed on YouTube. The recording of the Mass is available below or via by clicking here.

Next Sunday, 17th May, the Mass Archbishop John will celebrate at 10am will also be live streamed via YouTube.
This link: will take you to the scheduled live stream page where a reminder can be set.
Please subscribe to our Diocesan YouTube Channel: RC Southwark.

Vocations Sunday

2020 Voactions Poster

The Fourth Sunday of the Easter Season, known as Good Shepherd Sunday, is the international World day of Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life. Although we remain in lockdown, we are encouraged to pray for Vocations. We pray for all who have heard God’s invitation to ordained ministry and religious life, most especially those who are on their formation journey to ordination or solemn profession. We also pray for all those who are discerning if God is calling them or who have yet to recognise His call.

Pope Francis has written a message for Vocations Sunday, entitled "Words of Vocation" - click here for the full text in English.
He reflects on the "the remarkable experience of Jesus and Peter during a stormy night on the Sea of Galilee" from St Matthew's Gospel (14:22-33), using the image of the disciples crossing the lake to evoke our own life’s journey. 

The "Diocesan Vocations" page on the website has some information on ordained ministry in Southwark, along with contact information for those seeking more information.

One of our recently ordained priests, Fr Francis Murphy, has written a short reflection on his journey to priesthood: Click here to read more.
The Diocese has several students in formation for the priesthood. Four of these students have written about their response to God's call.
Click here to read more.
The Diocesan Seminary, St John's Seminary in Wonersh, annually produces a Seminary magazine. The 2019 edition has been made available to the Diocese. It can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking here (205mb file)

2020 Vocations Prayer
Click here to visit our Diocesan Vocations Page

Third Sunday of Easter
Cathedral Mass Livestream

Archbishop John will celebrated a Live Streamed Mass from the St George's Cathedral for the Third Sunday of Easter, 26th April.
A this Mass is available to watch by clicking this YouTube link: Please subscribe to our YouTube channel.

At the end of the Mass Archbishop John informed those watching that he would celebrate a 10am Mass livestreamed from the Cathedral on the following Sunday, 3rd May.

A message of Joy

The Staff of Stella Maris Catholic Primary School, Folkestone, have worked together to send a series of messages to the children of their school, joined together in a video.

Although directed at the local children, Archbishop John when he saw it wrote: "It’s very uplifting and should be shared". Click here, or on the picture below, to visit the website of the Stella Maris School to watch.

Stella Maris Rainbow

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Gerry Flood 

who died on Sunday 19th April 2020

at the Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough.

Due to the suspension of public worship, a private liturgy will take place. In due course an In Memoriam Mass will be arranged.

May he rest in peace

Second Sunday of Easter
Divine Mercy Sunday

Archbishop John celebrated a Live Streamed Mass from the St George's Cathedral on Sunday 19th April, the Second Sunday of Easter. A recording of this Mass can be viewed by clicking this YouTube link: .

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord
Christus Resurrexit! Christ is Risen!

Following the Easter Vigil Mass in the Cathedral, Archbishop John recorded an Easter Message for the people of the Archdiocese. The video is above and a PDF version of the text is available by Clicking Here

2020 Pascal Candle
During the Vigil Archbishop John blessed and lit the new Pascal Candle.

Archbishop John Wilson

Good Friday

Archbishop John has recorded a short video for Good Friday particularly for young people, especially for all those who will be at School on this day and for the staff who are helping them.

Holy Week 2020

The Wednesday of Holy Week is the day when 'normally' the Archdiocese of Southwark would gather to celebrate the Chrism Mass. During this Mass the Archbishop would bless the Holy Oils and the priests would renew the promises they made at the Ordination. 2020 is, sadly, an exception to the norm, due to the restrictions in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Chrism Mass has been postponed, not cancelled, and will hopefully take place later in the year.

Archbishop John has written a letter to the priests in the Archdiocese, including a reflection on the readings which would have been heard at the Chrism Mass. He has asked that this letter be made available on the website - Click Here for PDF copy of the letter. He includes with the letter a "Personal Renewal of Priestly Commitment" which he invites all priests to prayerfully say before the Blessed Sacrament.

Archbishop John will be celebrating the liturgies of the Sacred Triduum and Easter in the Cathedral. We are all invited to pray at home with our Parish communities during this most holy of weeks. Where possible look up the times of liturgies for the next few days on you Parish website and spiritually join the priest in the celebrations. Several of the Parishes will be live-streaming their services: visit our Streaming page HERE for details of churches were the Diocese has been told this is happening.

Although the Cathedral is unable to live-stream the closed liturgies that Archbishop John will be celebrating and parishioners are unable to attend, the times are:
Maundy Thursday - Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper - 7.00 pm
Good Friday - The Celebration of the Passion of the Lord - 3.00 pm
Holy Saturday - The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night - 8.30 pm
Easter Day - Mass during the Day of the Resurrection - 10.00 am

Little Retreat for Holy Week
Day three - conclusion

Archbishop John has prepared a series of three short meditations to form "A Little Retreat for Holy Week". The third and final of these videos is now available (see below). Below the video are links to all three videos.

Join Archbishop John for the final day of a
A Little Retreat for Holy Week

Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel

Click here for the first video in the series
Click here for the second video in the series
Click here for the final video in the series

Palm Sunday 2020

Archbishop John celebrated the Palm Sunday Mass in the Cathedral today. He has recorded a reflection video of his homily for the Mass:

Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel

Following the instructions for Cathedrals in the Vatican Decree,
Archbishop John blessed the Palms at the start of the Mass. These will be made available to the Cathedral Parish when the restrictions are lifted.

Blessing Palms
Blessing Palms

Archbishop John walks to the Sanctuary
Archbishop John walks to the Sanctuary through the empty Cathedral

Prayers at teh Altar
Prayers at the Altar

Archbishop John will be celebrating Mass in the Cathedral during the Triduum. Please pray with him from your homes. The Masses, in the closed Cathedral, will be:
Maunday Thursday - Mass of the Lord's Supper - 7.00pm
Good Friday - The Passion of the Lord - 3.00 pm
The Easter Vigil - Saturday night - 8.30 pm
Easter Sunday Mass - 10.00 am

Live Streaming

A number of Parishes are providing Live Streaming (or close recordings) of Mass online. Click here to visit a list of those Parishes that the Diocese have been told are using this useful tool.

Day of Prayer for Survivors of Abuse

Friday 3rd April 2020 is set aside as a Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Abuse. The Bishops of England and Wales have chosen the Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent to annually be especially marked for this day of prayer.
Person lighting a candle in prayer
A Prayer for Healing & Reconciliation
Praise to you Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
the source of all consolation and hope.
Be the refuge and guardian of all
who suffer from abuse and violence.

Comfort them and send healing
for their wounds of the body, soul and spirit.
Help us all and make us one with you
in your love for justice
as we deepen our respect for the dignity of every human life.

Giver of peace, make us one in celebrating
your praise, both now and forever.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Prepared by Northampton Diocese

Burial Liturgy for
Archbishop Peter Smith RIP

Burial of Archbishop Peter Smith RIP

The Burial of the Most Reverend Peter Smith, Archbishop emeritus of Southwark, took place on Monday 30th March. Due to the restrictions in place to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the liturgy had to be carried out in private. In keeping with diocesan custom the coffin of Archbishop Peter was buried in the Cathedral Crypt.

Burial of Archbishop Peter Smith RIP
Archbishop John places a Mitre on the Coffin of Archbishop Peter Smith

Archbishop John Wilson preached during the liturgy and a copy of his text (in PDF format) can be downloaded by clicking here.
A recording of the homily, accompanied by some photographs, is available on YouTube:

Burial of Archbishop Peter Smith RIP A collage of items relating to Archbishop Peter, his life, faith & ministry

A small number of other photos are on the Diocesan Flickr page.
Click here to view.

Re-dedication of England as Dowry of Mary

Join Archbishop John in this YouTube video as, joining Bishops and others all over the country, he re-dedicates England as the Dowry of Mary:

Extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing
by Pope Francis

The Vatican have announce that Pope Francis will lead a special prayer service from the Vatican, to be broadcast around the world on Friday 
27th March. This service will include the Urbi et Orbi blessing - to the city and the world. This blessing, in recent years, is usually only given at Easter and Christmas, and is a special outreach by the Holy Father at this time when the world is suffering the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Pope Francis says: “I invite everyone to participate spiritually through the means of communication” Writing earlier he wrote that "We want to respond to the virus pandemic with the universality of prayer, compassion and tenderness. Let us stay united."

Rededication of England
as the Dowry of Mary

Archbishop John speaks about the invitation to join in the Rededication of England as the Dowry of Mary. This moment of prayer is planned for 12noon on Sunday 29th March. For more information visit:

UK Government COVID-19 Directive

Statement from Archbishop John Wilson
To the Catholic Church in
the Archdiocese of Southwark
following the Prime Minister’s Address to the Nation concerning the Coronavirus

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,

In his Address to the Nation the Prime Minister outlined the necessary steps that we must now take to combat the spread of the Coronavirus. The Government has mandated the ‘closure of all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores, and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship.’

This means that, until further notice, and with immediate effect, all the churches and chapels within the Archdiocese of Southwark, together with their associated halls, must now close their doors to the public. This policy must be implemented without exception. It is imperative that we, the clergy, consecrated religious, and laity of the Archdiocese of Southwark, comply fully with these directives. This is an essential component of our contribution to fighting the Coronavirus and living out the Lord Jesus’ commandment to ‘love our neighbour.’ (Mk 12:31)

Given that our priests live adjacent to their churches, there will still be the private celebration of Mass each day, but there must be no additional people present other than the priest himself. The doors to all our churches and chapels must remain permanently locked until these restrictions are lifted.

The Prime Minster also stated that all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals, must cease. The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have already put in place restrictive measures in relation to baptisms, marriages and funerals which must continue to be followed.

Although we are socially isolated from each other, we are not isolated from Christ. Now is a time to strengthen our spiritual bonds of connection
through personal prayer and the intensification of our inner relationship
with Christ. We will continue to use social media to sustain our communal
online presence, with the live-streaming of Mass and devotions from
different churches within our Archdiocese and beyond. For the time being, our buildings must close; but our hearts must open wider, expanding with love for Christ and others.

Dear friends, the yearning in our hearts for the Eucharist and for fellowship
with one another must sustain us until we come, once more, to gather at the altar to offer together the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We take inspiration from the Apostle St Paul writing to the first Christians in Rome: ‘…hardship develops perseverance, perseverance develops character, character produces hope and hope does not disappoint, since the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us.’ (Rom 5:3-5) We are people of profound hope. We will remain firm in faith and generous in charity, through Christ the 'hope of glory,’ alive within us.
(cf. Col 1:27)

Let us pray for all those working to overcome the effects of the Coronavirus and all those affected by it. Please also be sure of my prayers for you, for your families and for your loved ones. And, please, pray for me and all your bishops, priests, and deacons, who hold you in their hearts and prayers.
With every blessing
Yours devotedly in Christ
The Most Reverend John Wilson
Archbishop of Southwark

Given at Archbishop’s House, Southwark, 23 March 2020

Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Lent

Recorded in the Lady Chapel of St George's Cathedral, Southwark
Archbishop John gives a refelection on the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (John 9:1-41) and sends his prayers to all mothers.

Message for those involved in Catholic Education in the Archdiocese

Resources for Catholics

Recorded in the Archbishop's Private Chapel on the Feast of St Joseph
As we face together the unusual situation in England and Wales of not being able to attend public worship due to the present health crisis, we would like to offer parishioners in Southwark and beyond a number of helpful resources to continue their prayer life and connect to the Catholic community.

Live-streamed Mass & Spiritual Communion

Link to Southwark parishes that live-stream Mass

Several Parishes within the Archdiocese live-stream Mass each weekend. We have compiled a list of those that currently do so, along with links to each stream.  Please check the times of services since these may change from the normal advertised routine in the present circumstances.

Spiritual Communion
During this time we are encouraged by Pope Francis to make a spiritual communion.  An excellent prayer sheet has been produced by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, including a prayer for spiritual communion.  Click here to view / download.

The Catholic Centre for Formation have also produced the following graphic of suitable prayers. we may say these, and make a spiritual communion at any point.  Please download here.  

CAFOD Children's Liturgy

Young people are perhaps most comfortable with the internet and social media.  Whilst we cannot gather together physically, we are still able to come together as a community in prayer. To this end we are pleased to share that CAFOD are holding a Children's Liturgy of the Word, via a webinar, each Sunday between 10 - 10.15 am

Please sign up here for the CAFOD webinar

Dowload Children's Prayer Resources

Our Southwark Catholic Youth Service are currently working on a project to be revealed shortly, but they have some encouragement and positive advice for young people.  Why not visit their Instagram page?

Stations of the Cross

In these difficult times it is often helpful to turn to time-honoured practices of prayer in the Catholic tradition.  For centuries Catholiics have united their sufferings with the Passion of Christ through praying the Stations of the Cross.  Our Vicar General, Monsignor Matthew Dickens, wrote these meditations in 2009 and they were subsequently published by the Carmelite Press in 2012. Monsignor Dickens has kindly offered them as a source of comfort and reassurance in the weeks and months ahead.  Download here.

Social Media

We willl be sharing daily readings, Gospel passages and reflections on the Diocesan Facebook page and highlighting various resources, opportunities and news about life in the Diocese on Twitter and Instagram.  You may also like to visit our You Tube page to revisit some homilies from various services throughout the past year.

And finally...

Whilst we are all required to practice social distancing during the current health crisis, we are not on our own and are still a family and community of faith. Please speak to your priest by telephone if you are facing difficulties (please see the Southwark Directory above).

Please also remember that many parishes will endeavour to be open at specific times so that those who wish to do so can pray before the Blessed Sacrament.  

Update on Funeral Liturgies for Archbishop Emeritus Peter Smith

With great sadness the Archdiocese of Southwark must announce that the Funeral Liturgies of the late Archbishop Emeritus Peter Smith, which are due to take place on 29th and 30th March, will no longer be open to the public due to current public health concerns.

It is hoped that it will be possible to hold a Mass In Memoriam later this year. Please continue to pray for the repose of the soul of our much loved Archbishop Emeritus: may he rest in peace.

Please note that Diocesan Choir rehearsals for the Funeral Liturgies and other forthcoming diocesan services have, by neccessity, been cancelled.

We ask parishioners and the general public to check the status of planned meetings and events in Southwark before endeavouring to attend.

Concerning Measures to be put in place regarding Public Worship and the Celebration of the Sacrament in relation to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic.


Pastoral Letter from Archbishop John Wilson
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

'Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth'

I wanted to write to you personally as we face the threats posed locally, nationally and internationally by the COVID-19 Coronavirus.  For so many people, including those in our parish and school communities, this situation brings uncertainty and fear.  It has the capacity to bring out both the best and worst of our human nature. Working together, in the strength of God's grace, we must seek to ensure that the very best of our common humanity triumphs, especially for the health and well-being of the weakest, the poorest and the most vulnerable.

The Lord Jesus commanded us to love one another and to serve after his example (Jn 13:12-15; 13:34). Now is the time for our love to be displayed more deeply and our service to find heightened expression.  
Our calling as disciples is to be salt and light to the world (Mt 5:13-16) in witness to the Gospel of Christ.

Few of us will have witnessed circumstances such as those we are presently experiencing. It is crucial that we take the necessary measures to maximise the welfare of every person and follow the guidance and requirements of our Government and Statutory Agencies.

The Bishops of England and Wales have implemented changes in how we are to practise our faith as we move forward. Details of this can be found below and on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.  I ask every member of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Southwark to abide by these measures until they are amended or withdrawn. They will be kept under review in the light of expert health and hygiene advice.

To continue reading Archbishop John's Pastoral Letter, click here.


Information and Guidelines

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, many aspects of our lives must change. This includes the ways in which we publicly express our faith.  It is very clear that, following official advice and in order to keep each other safe, save lives and support the NHS, at this time we must not gather for acts of public worship in our churches. This will begin from Friday evening, 20th March 2020, until further notice.

Please find attached the full statement from the President and Vice-President on behalf of alll at the Bishop's Conference. Click here.

When Mass cannot be celebrated publicly (2 pages)
Including guidance on making a spiritual communion

Link to South
wark Churches that currently broadcast Mass.  Please check the inidividual times of parish Masses. Please note that this list may change in the weeks ahead.

Further Details

Link to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales website

The Romero Mass: Cancellation

Saturday 21st March 2020

We regret to announce that due to public health concerns the Archdiocese of Southwark, in conjunction with The Romero Trust, have decided to cancel the 40th Anniversary Mass which was due to take place at 12.30 pm in St George's Cathedral this Saturday.  

Should it be possible to hold a service or event later this year, we willl circulate details in due course.

The Late Archbishop Emeritus Peter Smith

Most Rev Peter Smith RIP

Funeral Liturgies

Updated following suspension of public Worship in  England and Wales
Following the death of Archbishop Emeritus Peter Smith, funeral arrangements have been organised as follows:

The Reception of the Body and Committal will take place at St George's Cathedral, Southwark, but will now be a private service.

Monday 30th March:
The Burial in the Cathedral Crypt will take place during the day while the Cathedral is closed. Please especially pray for Archbishop Peter on Monday 30th March either in your own home or privately in your local Church.


Please pray for for the repose of the soul of Archbishop Peter Smith and pray for his family and friends.

May he rest in peace.

Funeral Mass - Diocesan Choir

Updated following suspension of public worship in England and Wales
Archbishop John thanks the Diocesan Choir for the offer of supporting the Funeral Liturgy of Archbishop Emeritus Peter Smith. He looks forward to an opportunity later in the year for the Diocese to come together for a In Memoria Mass.

Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales - Photographic Tribute

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales have compiled a moving photographic tribute to the life and work of the late Archbishop Emeritus Peter Smith as 10th Bishop of Southwark.

Please click here to view these beautiful images:

The Most Reverend Peter Smith RIP
Emeritus Archbishop of Southwark

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that Archbishop Peter Smith, our beloved Archbishop Emeritus, died peacefully just before midnight yesterday, Friday 6 March 2020, at the Royal Marsden Hospital, Chelsea.

Archbishop Peter had received the sacraments and prayers of the Church, and his former secretary, Fr Philip Glandfield, was with him when he died. I was able to visit him earlier that evening, together with the Vicar General, Mgr Matthew Dickens, and the Hospital Chaplain, Fr Joseph McCullough. Mr John Toryusen, the Director of the Archdiocese of Southwark Youth Service, accompanied Archbishop Peter during his illness and his time in hospital. Archbishop Peter was visited in hospital by family and friends, and by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster.

Archbishop Peter’s illness progressed very quickly following his diagnosis of cancer just a few weeks ago. He was a much loved brother, uncle, and friend; a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark, Rector of St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, Bishop of East Anglia, Archbishop of Cardiff and Archbishop of Southwark until his retirement in July 2019. While Archbishop of Southwark, he also served from 2014-2015 as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. So many good wishes have been passed to him in the past few weeks, and prayers and Masses offered. Thank you for all of these.

Our gift to Archbishop Peter now is to pray for the repose of his soul, and to remember prayerfully his family, friends and loved ones at their time of loss.

Please pray for Archbishop Peter in your parish intercessions at the Masses this weekend and also offer Mass for him as soon as possible. I would be grateful if you could let any religious in your parish know of Archbishop Peter’s death, and also ask the prayers of your parish and school communities.

In a ministry that spanned almost fifty years, Archbishop Peter made an outstanding contribution to the Catholic Church across three dioceses, and nationally through his service on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Most importantly, he was a disciple who witnessed to Christ with straightforward, splendid faith and radiant joy. Together with the other dioceses in which Archbishop Peter served, we mourn him with enormous affection and deep gratitude for all he gave so willingly and selflessly to so many people.

We are grateful for the care Archbishop Peter received from the staff at the Royal Marsden Hospital.

We now entrust our friend and brother to the Lord whom he served with such faithfulness, generosity and gentleness. May Archbishop Peter rest in peace and rise in glory.

More information about the funeral arrangements for Archbishop Peter will be forthcoming, along with more comprehensive appreciations of Archbishop Peter’s life of service.

May the saints and angels welcome him to paradise.
Yours devotedly in Christ

+ John
Most Rev John Wilson
Archbishop of Southwark

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

The Most Reverend Peter Smith,
Emeritus Archbishop of Southwark

who died on Friday 6th March 2020

in The Royal Marsden Hospital, Chelsea

May he rest in peace

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Henry Reynolds

who died on Friday 6th March 2020

in St Peter's, Vauxhall

Due to the suspension of public worship, a private liturgy will take place. In due course an In Memoriam Mass will be arranged.

May he rest in peace

Rite of Election & Continuing Call to Conversion

Archbishop John welcomes members of the congregation

The annual service of the Rite of Election and Continuing Call to Conversion took place in St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, on Saturday 29th February 2020.  During this service the Church acknowledges the readiness of Catechumens who, over a period of time, have received instruction and preparation for the Sacraments of Initiation, that is, Baptism, Holy Communion and Confirmation.

Archbishop John Wilson presided, assisted by Bishop Pat Lynch, Canon John O’Toole, Canon Richard Hearn and Deacon Giovanni Prandini, who will be ordained as a Priest later this year.

The Book of the Elect is brought forward

The Archbishop requested that the Book of the Elect to be brought forward, in which 198 Catechumens had earlier expressed their written desire to receive these sacraments.

Canon John O'Toole, Episcopal Vicar for Kent, reads out the names of
the Elect

Bishop Pat, Canon O’Toole and Canon Hearn duly presented the catechumens, with each name being read out by parish.

Canon Richard Hearn, Dean of St George's Cathedral, reads out names of the Elect.

The Elect rose to stand with their Godparents as they were affirmed as being ready to take part at the next major celebration of these sacraments, which will take place at Easter.

In this combined service, 167 Candidates also had their names read out during the Rite of the Call to Continuing Conversion.  Between now and Easter they will continue their preparation to come into full communion with the Catholic Church and to receive the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation.

Bishop Pat Lynch, Auxiliary Bishop for the South East Area of Southwark  Diocese, reads out the names of Candidates

Archbishop John thanked those responsible for enabling the service to take place, including the Director of the Centre for Catholic Formation, Dr Mark Nash and his team, the Cathedral Dean, Canon Richard Hearn and all the Cathedral clergy.

Archbishop John and Peter Morrissey, the Deaf Service Coordinator, spell out 'Deaf Service' in British Sign Language

He also thanked Peter Morrissey, Coordinator of the Southwark Deaf Service who provided British Sign Language throughout the occasion, the excellent Diocesan Choir, led by Canon Alan McLean and the altar servers who, this year, were seminarians from St John’s Seminary in Wonersh.

Seminarians from St John's Seminary in Wonersh

At the end of this special service Archbishop John shared that his greatest joy was the fact that he was in the presence of so many disciples of Jesus Christ, some new and some not so new.  He also gave us all a challenge - as disciples of Jesus we should come back next year to the Rite of Election and bring somebody new with us - that neighbour who asks us where we go on a Sunday morning, that family member who has become distant from the Church, that work colleague who asks us why we are a Christian, bring them along.

'Bring somebody new'

The service was a pertinent reminder that all of us are called to conversion and renewal, not just those seeking initiation.  The Diocese would like to congratulate the newly Elect and Candidates as they enter their final period of preparation to receive sacraments this Easter. It also wishes to extend grateful thanks to Godparents, Sponsors, family and friends for their personal support.

Archbishop John meets the newly Elect and Candidtates after the service

More photographs of the service are now available from on the diocesan Flickr page.  Click here for access.

Archbishop Peter Smith

Request for Prayers

Archbishop John writes: may have heard, Archbishop Peter has recently received a diagnosis of cancer and is currently in hospital. This has come at short notice and is obviously a source of great sadness. We await the results of further medical investigation to gain a sense of what the future holds. Archbishop Peter is conscious, but very tired. Please keep him in your prayers, along with his family and friends…
Archbishop Peter is very dear to all of us, as a former priest and Archbishop of Southwark, and as a much loved friend. We ask the Lord to bring him comfort, strength and healing.

Archbishop John has since written an update:
Very sadly, the medical team have advised that, given Archbishop Peter’s diagnosis of cancer, there are no treatment options available. They will, however, ensure that he is kept comfortable through palliative care. I was able to administer the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick to Archbishop Peter on Monday and I have assured him of our love and prayers.

Please keep Archbishop Peter, and his family and friends, in your prayers at this time. Please also sustain the prayers in your parishes and ask members of your community to pray for him. In himself, Archbishop Peter is completely at peace and very grateful for all the messages of prayer and support.

+ John
Most Rev John Wilson
Archbishop of Southwark

CAFOD: Family Fast Day

Friday 6th March 2020 is Family Fast Day, when we are asked by CAFOD whether, by having a simple meal or giving up a treat, we could save the money and donate this to help support and train their amazing global family of local experts, such as Sr Consilia: a former malaria sufferer who trained as a pharmacist and now treats others with the same condition.

For example, just £6 (a couple of coffees or a bottle of wine) could train a health worker to check babies for malnutrition. Your small sacrifice could positively impact a child's wellbeing, not just now, but also going forwards into their teen years and adulthood.

For to donate and for ideas of how to make a difference through CAFOD this Family Fast Day:

To explore other ways to make a difference this Lent:


Marriage Tribunal Administrator

The Southwark Metropolitan Tribunal is responsible for managing applications for marriage annulment for the Archdiocese of Southwark.

The administrative team prepares all of the applications prior to them going to judgment before the Judicial Vicar / Presiding Judge.  We are now looking for an Administrator to manage this team.  Reporting to the Judicial Vicar, the Administrator is responsible for managing the administrative team to ensure the efficient preparation and conclusion of cases.  The Administrator of the Tribunal is automatically a notary for the Tribunal, to see that acts of the tribunal are properly drawn up and sent, according to the mandate of judge and Judicial Vicar, and are preserved in the archive. This role will not only allocate cases to each court but also act as the PA for the Judicial Vicar.

Based at the Centre for Catholic Formation in Tooting Bec, 21 Tooting Bec Road, SW17 8BS, this role will provide regular feedback to the Judicial Vicar on the progress of cases, identifying obstacles to completing cases and proposing solutions.  The ideal candidate will have broad ranging administrative/office management experience and be a competent people manager. 

Excellent communication and IT skills and thorough knowledge of the workings of the Catholic Church are essential. Hours of work 0900 – 1700 Monday to Friday.  Salary range £27,500pa - £30,000pa depending on skills and experience.

To apply please email a copy of your CV to by the closing date of 16th March 2020.

Ecumenical Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Between 3rd and 10th March the Anglican and Roman Catholic Dioceses of Southwark will be embarking on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Directing the pilgrimage will be Bishop Paul Hendricks, Auxiliary Bishop of the South West Area of the RC Diocese of Southwark and Bishop Christopher Chessun, the Anglican Bishop of Southwark.  In addition, the Deans of Southwark and St George's Cathedrals will be assisting in leading the journey.  

The aim of this unique voyage is to travel in the footsteps of St Francis. In 1219 Francis travelled to the Holy Land and met the ruler, Sultan Malek al-Kamil.  The result of that meeting was that the Franciscans became the custodians of the Holy Places associated with Jesus.

During this week those taking part will be sharing the pilgrimage entirely in common, apart from Holy Communion, which remains the goal of the wider ecumenical journey.  Participants willl, nonetheless, be willl be praying together in some of the most sacred places in the Holy Land.

Southwark Anglican Diocese will providing a 'virtual  pilgrimage' experience and you can follow this special ecumencal journey by visiting their website:

SVP B-Attitude Mass

On Tuesday, 3 March the SVP Young Vincentians team will welcome hundreds of young people from schools and parishes across the country for their first Youth SVP and B-Attitude Mass in St George's Cathedral.

The Mass will recognise the hard work young members, aged 11-18, do to help in their local communities and beyond. The Mass will be celebrated by the Most Reverend Archbishop John Wilson and concelebrated by Fr Ged Walsh, as well as other clergy.

All are invited to attend! To find out more about the Mass or to RVSP, please email:

Coronavirus Guidelines UPDATE

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

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

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

Download Guidelines

Version 2 - A summary of Guidance for the Church specifically for Parish and Worship and events

Please note this guidance clearly has three stages to it
1. Current - no cases in the parish - VERY few in the UK - where we are now
2. A number of cases in local communities or parish community
3. Many cases in local parishes

Download poster

The Vatican has released Pope Francis’ Message for Lent 2020, in which the Holy Father invites the faithful to embrace the paschal mystery, that is Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection, as the basis for conversion.

To read the full message please click here

Ash Wednesday

Those who wish to attend Mass on Ash Wednesday and receive the imposition of ashes are welcome to explore our Southwark Parish Directory in order check times of services via parish websites. Direct access to parishes by area name can be found here.

Archbishop John Wilson will preside at the 6 pm Mass in St George's Cathedral on Wednesday 26th February 2020.  All are most welcome to attend.

Please note that photographs will be taken during this service: please inform a member of clergy if you do not wish to appear in these photographs, which may be published online or in print. Thank you.

Lent 2020 Reflections

The Southwark Spirituality Commission and Stewardship Team have prepared daily reflections for the seasons of Lent and Easter, beginning today, 24th February 2020.  

Sign up to receive receive these short reflections in your email inbox:
(please scroll down to the base of the Home Page)


Safeguarding Office Administrator

Based in Westminster Bridge Road, London, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark is currently looking for an administrator to join their Safeguarding team.  This is initially a fixed term contract of 6-9 months, with the possibility to extend or make permanent.  It is a varied role covering the following key areas of work:

•    Administration of the DBS disclosure application process.
•    Maintenance of national and local database records and manual files.
•    Administrative support to the Safeguarding training programmes and       assistance in delivery of training as necessary (some occasional travel       within the UK maybe required)
•    Maintaining and updating of policy documents, forms and procedures       in relation to safeguarding policies.
•    Administration of safeguarding meetings and secretarial support.

The ideal candidate will be committed to the safeguarding of children and adults at risk and will have previous experience of administering DBS disclosures and/or experience of working in a safeguarding environment.

Good administrative skills and experience of email, Word, Excel and Access are also required, as is a methodical and detail-oriented approach.  Previous experience of training administration and/or delivery would also be very useful. 

Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential.
The hours are 35 per week over 5 days.
Salary £23,000pa – £25,000pa depending on experience.

To apply please email a copy of your CV to
Application deadline: 9 am, Monday 9th March 2020

Ecumenical Commemoration for Modern Martyrs

A number of ecumenical dignitaries gathered on Saturday 22nd February  in St George's Cathedral, Southwark, in order to commemorate modern martyrs who have given their life for their faith.

Among those joining Archbishop John Wilson and the Cathedral Clergy were His Eminence, Archbishop Angaelos, Archbishop of London in the Coptic Orthodox Church, who gave the homily in which he reminded the congregation that is God, and not people, who are in charge.

Also present were Bishop Christopher Chessun, the Anglican Bishop of Southwark and Archbishop Emeritus Archbishop Kevin McDonald.

Staff and pupils from local Anglican and Roman Catholic schools read out the names of martyrs from different geographical areas. They had also designed and constructed some magnificent commemorative crosses in order to represent those who have given their lives from the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceania and Europe.

Thank you to all who generously collaborated in order to help bring this service about, which is the first of its kind in Southwark, and which we hope to continue to share with our ecumenical friends in future years.

For additional photographs click here.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father John Castelli

who died on Thursday 20th February 2020

in Peru

May he rest in peace

His funeral Mass will be on Saturday 22nd February 2020
Guadeloupe City, Peru

Statement from Bishop Pat Lynch on Immigration System Changes

“Through the work of the Santa Marta Group, we know that one of the most serious challenges concerning modern slavery in England and Wales is the exploitation experienced by seasonal agricultural workers.
“The government’s planned immigration changes leave many unanswered questions about how these workers will be protected under the new system and what steps will be taken to prevent traffickers exploiting any labour shortages that arise.
“We urgently need to see more details, particularly around processes for inspecting recruiters, working practices and living conditions.
“Traffickers will seek every opportunity to abuse new immigration policies, so the government has a responsibility to ensure that the proper safeguards are in place.
“I also urge the Catholic community to continue helping identify modern slavery in the agricultural sector, support the Church’s initiatives to tackle this grievous crime, and report any concerns to the police.”
Rt Rev Patrick Lynch SSCC
Bishop for Migrants, Catholic Bishops’ Conference

Behold 2020: Re-dedication of England

Many parishioners in Southwark will have read recently about the Re-dedication of England as the Dowry of Mary and in particular, visited the Dowry Tour in St George's Cathedral, Southwark during 2019.

As part of this country-wide Re-dedication, we are all invited on Friday 21st February 2020 to take part in a 33-day act of consecration to Jesus through Mary by following the example of St Louis De Montfort: a method which has been updated for our contemporary times by Fr Michael Gaitley MIC.

If you wish to take part in this act of consecration, please visit to complete a brief online form which will enable you to receive the 33-days to Morning Glory prayers. The prayers may be said individually or communally, but please do sign up as soon as possible, as it may not be feasible after 21st February.  A plenary indulgence is offered to those that choose to take part in the Re-dedication: please click here for further details.

Please do also take a few minutes to visit the Behold 2020 website for more details about the Re-dedication, which is intended to be a personal promise by the people of England and a renewal of the entrustment vows made by King Richard II during a period of political turmoil in 1381.

The Re-dedicaton itself will take place on 29th March 2020 and will be fulfilled by an act of commmunal prayer across the country through the Angelus Promise and Act of Entrustment. Southwark parishioners are also most welcome to join Archbishop John Wilson and the Cathedral Clergy for Mass in St George's Cathedral at 11.30 am that day.

For those that were unable to visit the Dowry Tour in 2019, having visited all Cathedrals in England, it will make its final visit to Westminster Cathedral between 19th-22nd March 2020. The Slipper Chapel in Walsingham will remain the home of the Our Lady of Walsingham Statue.

ACN Mass for Persecuted Christians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Archbishop John Wilson appointed as Vice President of PACT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lent Talks at Aylesford Priory

Behold: Rededication of England


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

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

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

St John's Day at Wonersh Seminary

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

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

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

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

Vietnamese New Year
Tet Festival

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

200203-Vietnamese New Year in Shooters Hill

200203-Vietnamese New Year in Shooters Hill

The celebration continued in the parish hall

200203-Vietnamese New Year in Shooters Hill

Million Minutes siLENT Campaign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mass for the Feast of St Oscar Romero

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

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

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

Read an abridged version of the statutes

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

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

Commissioning of Extraordinary Ministers of
Holy Communion at the Cathedral

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

2020-02-01 14.23.46

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

2020-02-01 10.55.31-1

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

2020-02-01 11.44.43

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

2020-02-01 13.18.21

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

2020-02-01 14.53.37

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

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

2020-02-01 15.39.54

2020-02-01 15.41.11

Coronavirus Guidelines

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

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

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

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

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

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

Service for Peace

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

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

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

Faith leaders join together in Streatham to pledge peace and unity

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

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

Feast Day of St Josephine Bakhita

Patron Saint of Human Trafficking Survivors

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

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

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

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

Download the  GrowEdo newsletter

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

St Josephine Bakhita

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day of Prayer for Unity and Peace

Peace service to be led by Archbishop John Wilson in Streatham

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

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

All are most welcome to attend.

Directions to English Martyrs RC Church

Nearest Train Station: Streatham (Greater London)

Terror Attack in Streatham

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

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

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

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

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

The Most Reverend John Wilson
Archbishop of Southwark

Consecration of a new Church

St Joseph's RC Church, Borough Green

Celebrating Mass in the new Church

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

Placing the relic in the altar

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

Anointing the new altar

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

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

Anointing the walls of the new church 

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

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

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

For more photographs of this special occasion, click here.

Many Congratulations Bishop Tripp!

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

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

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

BishopTripp in Lourdes during the 2011 Catholic Association Pilgrimage

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

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

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

Ad Multos Annos Bishop Howard.

Mayor's Event to Support London EU Citizens

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

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

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

Tilling the Soil

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday of the Word of God

26th January 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

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

who died on Monday 8th January 2020

peacefully in the Whittington Hospital

May he rest in peace

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

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

Burial in Birmingham

Notice for all Liturgists

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

Episcopal Vicar for Kent

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

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

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

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

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

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

Peace Sunday 2020

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Central London Talks on Mary

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

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

Light refreshments willl be provided.

Holy Land Coordination 2020

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

Overlooking Jerusalem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

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

Diocesan Fundraising Volunteers Required

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

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

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

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

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

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

St Thomas More Parish, West Malling

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

Letter of Clarification 11.01.20

Letter to parishioners of St Thomas More, West Malling 20.12.19

Promoting dialogue and peace in the Holy Land

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catch Up on Christmas

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

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

Pastoral Letter
for the Feast of the Holy Family 2019

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

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

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

A Christmas Message from Archbishop John 

Image of Archbishop John Wilson courtesy of M. Mazur 

Dear friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+ John Wilson
Archbishop of Southwark

Listen to the Gospel & Homily at Midnight Mass

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

BBC Radio 4 Broadcast of Midnight Mass

Christmas Eve from St George's Cathedral, Southwark

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

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

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

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

New Website for St George's Cathedral

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

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

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

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

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

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

A priest of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

who died on Thursday 28th November 2019

May he rest in peace

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

The Mayor's Christmas Carol Service

Archbishop John Wilson gives the homily

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

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

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

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

Canon Gillly Myers and The Mayor of London

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bishop Christopher Chessun

Caring for Southwark's Sick and Retired Priests 

a Christmas update on the Clergy Support Fund Campaign

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

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

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

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

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

Page 1 of 4 of the CSF Christmas Newsletter

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

May he rest in peace

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

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

Purple Diocesan Vestments

The Third Sunday in Advent

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 11. 4-6

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

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

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

We wish you a joyous Gaudete Sunday

Photograph by Seb Budner

Statement by Cardinal Vincent Nichols 

on the General Election


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

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

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

Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster

Statement on the General Election from CBCEW

given by Archbishop John Wilson
29th November 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

St Fidelis Catholic Primary supports the Homeless at Christmas

Pupils gather to raise money and understand the reasons for homelessness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Admirabile Signum: The Importance of the Nativity

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

Nativity Scene at St George's Cathedral in 2018

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

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

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

Statement on the London Bridge Terror Attack

by Archbishop John Wilson
29th November 2019

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

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

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

Young People Supporting the Homeless

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

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

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

Million Minutes


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

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

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

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

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

The weekend closed with Mass ahead of National Youth Sunday.

For more information about the Million Minutes Award click here.

Red Wednesday

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

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

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

Southwark Advent Reflections

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

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

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

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

National Youth Sunday

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

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

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

Resources are available online:

The Third World Day of the Poor

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

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

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

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

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

Giving thanks for Ministry

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

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

All are very welcome to attend.

Friends of the Holy Land Tenth Anniversary

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

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

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

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

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

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

Divine Chaplet Mercy Film

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

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

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

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

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

191103 Shooters Hill Memorial Mass

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

191103 Shooters Hill Memorial Mass

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

191103 Shooters Hill Memorial Mass

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

191103 Shooters Hill Memorial Mass191103 Shooters Hill Memorial Mass

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

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

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

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

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

Exploring our Catholic Culture

at the Centre for Catholic Formation, Tooting Bec

J.R.R. Tolkein

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

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

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

Music Workshop Postponement

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

We will remember them

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

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

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

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

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

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

Archbishop Wilson Reflects

 at the City Hall Remembrance Service 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southwark Spirituality Commission: Your Word is Life

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

All are very welcome from 10.30 am onwards.  

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

The Funeral of Archbishop Michael Bowen

at St George's Cathedral

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

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

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

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

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

You can watch the full sermon below.

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

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

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

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

For more photographs visit the CBCEW website

with grateful thanks to Marcin Mazur

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

Archbishop Michael Bowen RIP

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

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

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

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

The Most Reverend John Wilson

Funeral Arrangements

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

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

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

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

May he rest in peace

Funeral Mass - Diocesan Choir

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

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

Thank you for your support.

Remembering our loved ones

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

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

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


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.


For news prior to this entry please visit the
News Archive


Reporting abuse

If you are concerned about the welfare of a child or adult at risk, do not delay in contacting the police, using 999 if a child or adult is believed to be in immediate danger.

It is the policy of the Catholic Church in England and Wales to report all allegations of abuse to statutory authorities, regardless of whether the abuse occurred recently or in the past, or whether the accused person is living or deceased.

If you are in any role within the Catholic Church in England and Wales, you must refer allegations directly to the safeguarding office for your diocese or religious congregation, or directly to the Police.

If you are a member of the public, please refer allegations directly to the police and also to the Safeguarding Office in your diocese. You can also contact the Archdiocese of Southwark Safeguarding Office by telephoning 020 7261 1606 or via email at

The Safeguarding page of this website gives details of the Safeguarding Team, a list of the members of the Safeguarding Commission and some links to other websites. Click here to visit the Safeguarding page.

Elsewhere on this site: