News Archive for 2010 - November

New resource to promote Catholic Social Teaching

Christine Allen, Executive Director of Progressio, and Bishop John

A new website to promote Catholic Social Teaching was launched at Heythrop College on Monday, 29th November 2010. The site will go live in December and is the initiative of LiveSimply in association with Progressio.

Bishop John represented the Archbishops and Bishops of England and Wales at the launch. In his address he stressed that the gift of the Holy Spirit was fundamental to our search for justice:

'The most dramatic example given to us of people who received the Holy Spirit were the Apostles at Pentecost. And the immediate effect on them was that they saw everything in a different light – particularly they saw the need that the ordinary people in the streets had for the Good News. And they did something about it, and continued to do so even though at the danger of losing their lives. Scripture shows clearly the connection between the gift of the Holy Spirit and justice. A prophecy in Isaiah
(42:1-3) about Jesus declares “I have endowed him with my spirit that he may bring true justice to the nations".

If our calling is to become more like Christ, we will see things through His eyes - the injustices and inequalities of society will be seen as intolerable, we will see what we are doing to our world and have a true Christ-like concern for the children of the future.'

The launch was also addressed by former Labour MP John Battle and international author Megan McKenna.

The website will be a valuable tool for schools, parishes and beyond. Once described as the Church’s best kept secret, the social teachings offer a blueprint for those working for justice both inside and outside of the Church.

Please click on the logo
to visit Progressio's website

Press release

Update (08-12-10): the Catholic Social Teaching site is now online at


Vigil for all Nascent Human Life

The Holy Father is to preside at a Vigil for all Nascent Human Life in St Peter's Basilica this evening, 27th November 2010.  

The intention is to “thank the Lord for his total self-giving to the world and for his Incarnation which gave every human life its real worth and dignity,” and to “invoke the Lord's protection over every human being called into existence.” The Holy Father has invited bishops throughout the world to lead similar celebrations in their dioceses.

Archbishop Peter will lead the Vigil with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in St George's Cathedral for this intention from 5:00 pm to 5:45 pm this evening after which he will preside at the 6:00 pm Mass. 

He has suggested that the evening Mass on 27th November might be a good time to offer prayers for this intention in parishes.

Further news about the Vigil
on the Bishops' Conference web site


Holiness - the fruit of unconditional love and prayer

In his first Pastoral Letter to the Southwark diocese to be read on the First Sunday of Advent, Archbishop Peter focuses on some of the themes which the Holy Father stressed during his recent visit to the United Kingdom.

Archbishop Peter describes Advent as 'a season of hope and promise, a season for personal and communal renewal as God's family, as we prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas.'

He brings together the Holy Father's call for us to search the depths of our hearts and to respond to God with unconditional love and prayer in our growth in holiness.

Read Archbishop Peter's Advent Pastoral (.pdf available)


Southwark seminarian admitted as Candidate

From left to right: Matthew O'Gorman, Alan Burgess, Cardinal Law and
David Howell (Matthew and David are Southwark seminarians at the Venerable English College in Rome)

On Wednesday, 24th November 2010, Southwark seminarian Alan Burgess (Cathedral parish) was admitted to Candidacy for Holy Orders in the chapel of the Pontifical Beda College in Rome by His Eminence Cardinal Bernard Law, Archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. During the ceremony, Alan expressed publically his intention to receive ordination as a deacon and later as a priest.

Admission to Candidacy required Alan to write to Archbishop Peter declaring that he is committing himself to formation for the service of God and the Church. Subsequently, Archbishop Peter accepted him as a Candidate for Holy Orders.

Alan is in the third of four years of formation at the Beda College. Ordination to the Diaconate takes place, usually in the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, when Beda seminarians have completed their third year of formation. It is scheduled for 17th June 2011.

We keep Alan and all our seminarians in our prayers


'Light of the World' - interview with the Holy Father

The first book-length interview with a Pope  is to be published today, Wednesday, 24rd November 2010. It is the fruit of interviews during which German journalist Peter Seewald asked Pope Benedict XVI about his Papacy, the Church and society.

In 'Light of the World', the Holy Father speaks with great humanity and compassion on a wide range of topics. His reflections are both personal and deeply pastoral.

A spokesman for the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has commented on the publication. Please click here for this comment.

'Light of the World' is published by the Catholic Truth Society.


 Southwark Jubilarians Visit the Pontifical Beda College

From left to right: Fr Kevin St Aubyn, Fr Michael Gibbons, Leonard Tatt,
Fr John Lavery, Fr Michael Bateman and Alan Burgess

On Thursday, 18th November 2010, Mgr Roderick Strange, Rector of the Pontifical Beda College in Rome, welcomed 36 Jubilarians to the College for afternoon tea following their visit to the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls.

Four Southwark priests - Fathers Kevin St Aubyn, Michael Bateman , Michael Gibbons, and John Lavery - were entertained by Southwark seminarians Alan Burgess (3rd year, Cathedral parish) and Leonard Tatt (2nd year, Christchurch, Eltham). Frs Kevin and John celebrated their Golden anniversaries and Frs Michael Bateman and Michael Gibbons their Ruby anniversaries this year


From the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop Peter and Bishop Alan Hopes
at the press conference following the Bishops' Conference meeting
© Mazur/

The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales met at Hinsley Hall in Leeds from Monday, 15th untiil Thursday, 18th November 2010. It meets twice a year.

At the press conference on Friday, 19th November the Conference issued various statements, which can be read on the Catholic Church in England and Wales site.

Response to the Visit of the Holy Father to the UK

Implementation of Anglicanorum Coetibus

Statement on Iraq

A Call to Deeper Social Engagement

Promoting Dialogue

Statement on Higher Education and Initial Teacher Training

Statement on Academies


Resignation of the Apostolic Nuncio

In an address to the Bishops' Conference during the meeting, the Apostolic Nuncio,  Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, confirmed his resignation.

Archbishop Faustino has been Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain since December 2004. Serious illness has necessitated his resignation and he will be returning to his native Spain to continue his treatment early in December.

We keep him in our grateful prayers.

Nuncio's Address to the Bishops



Walk with Me - Meditations for Advent and Christmas

The Southwark edition of Walk with Me - A Journey of Prayer for Advent and Christmastide - is now available in our parishes.

The daily meditations are guided by the words of Pope Benedict XVI:
'This is the real commitment of Advent: to bring joy to others. Joy is the true gift of Christmas, not expensive presents that demand time and money.'

In his introduction to the booklet, Archbishop Peter writes:
'During Advent the Church asks us to reflect on the truth that Jesus Christ came into the world to reveal the love of God for each and every one of us; who came to show us what it means to be truly human; to help us face the difficulties and sufferings of life with courage and patience, and with profound hope.'


Pope blessed picture and candle for every parish

During his visit to Hyde Park, the Holy Father blessed 3,000 pictures and candles as gifts to each parish. The picture is of 'The Light of the World' by the pre-Raphaelite painter Holman Hunt, which is displayed in St Paul's Cathedral.

During his Address of Welcome to the Holy Father, Archbishop Peter echoed the message of the picture when he said 'With you this evening we witness to the joy of being a follower of Jesus Christ the light of the world, who stands at the door of every heart patiently waiting to be let in.'

Holman Hunt painted three such pictures. Coincidentally, an earlier version hangs in the chapel at Keble College, Oxford. The College was established in 1870 and named after John Keble (1792-1866) who was a former friend of Blessed John Henry Newman and co-founder with him and others of the Oxford Movement, which aimed at recovering the Catholic heritage of the Church of England.

Further details and link to a prayer resource on the Papal Visit web site


Plant Hope - Harvest Peace

The parish of St John the Baptist, Purley, has adopted OliveAid as one of its charities. Canon Jim Pannett, the parish priest, has long been associated with the Holy Land as a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

Olive trees are part of the culture and economy of Palestine, but many have been destroyed during recent conflicts. The charity
aims to replant the olive groves and so provide families with a sustainable income from olives and olive based products.

St John the Baptist parish has so far sponsored an entire field of olive trees near Bethlehem - planting hope in order to harvest peace.

OliveAid web site

Article by Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of Pax Christi


UCM - Sixty years in Lewisham

On Tuesday, 9th November 2010, Bishop Patrick joined the Union of Catholic Mothers at St Savious's in Lewisham for Mass to celebrate sixty years since their foundation in the parish.


Confirmation at the English Martyrs, Walworth

On Saturday, 6th November 2010, Bishop Paul confirmed 33 parishioners at the English Martyrs Church, Walworth.


A Centenary in the Southwark Diocese

In October 1910, Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini brought her Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to Honor Oak where they established a school, now known as the St Francesca Cabrini School which is in the Forest Hill parish.

Mother Cabrini was canonised by Pope Pius XII in 1946 and is the Patron Saint of Migrants. Her sisters continue their work in the school and also minister to the Portuguese and Spanish speaking communities in London.

In November 2009 the National Shrine to St Frances Xavier Cabrini was opened in St George's Cathedral and dedicated and blessed by Archbishop Kevin.

St Frances Xavier Cabrini's Feast Day is on 13th November. Celebrating their Centenary in our diocese, the Cabrini Sisters invite you to join them in a novena of prayer from 4th - 12th November leading up to her Feast Day. The novena is for the needs of migrants worldwide as well as for your own intentions.

Leaflet containing the Novena Prayer (.pdf)

The Novena Prayer