News Archive 2008 - December

Archbishop Kevin's Christmas Message

Adoration of the Child with Saint George and Saint Vincent Ferrer
Fra Filippo Lippi (1406 - 1469) - Civic Museum, Prato

It is a simple fact of experience that some things change and some things stay the same. At one level Christmas always remains the same: its meaning is perennial. Jesus Christ, the Son of God became man for our sake. He is our saviour and our annual celebration of his birth takes us to the heart of the meaning of Christmas. And yet Christmas is always different because the context in which we celebrate it and the vantage point from which we remember it are always changing.

This year we celebrate Christmas during a world financial crisis which is a source of fear and anxiety for us all. The cycle of human suffering is a constant in life but the focus of that suffering can shift and change. This year once again we grieve for the suffering in the Middle East and not least in the land of Christ’s birth. We think too of the continent of Africa, so beset by poverty, sickness, and violence. And we have the threat of environmental disaster which threatens all life on our planet. In the diocese we have also been deeply affected by the violence that tragically has become part of the life of London.

What is crucial is that these concerns do not distract us from our focus on the child born in the manger. Only in contemplation of the Christ child can we find perspective and hope. There is nowhere else to look. As we visit the crib this Christmas and as we celebrate Christmas Mass let us bring in our hearts both our own troubles and the troubles of the world in which we live. Let us ask for the grace to be able to join with the angels in singing with joy and conviction “Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth.”

I pray that you, your families and those whom you love will receive every blessing and happiness this Christmas and throughout 2009.

Archbishop of Southwark

Nearly 700 people chose to see in the New Year at Midnight Mass celebrated by Bishop Patrick Lynch at the Cathedral.

Against a background of fireworks exploding on the Thames and the roar of the crowds, the congregation sang ‘O come all ye Faithful’ as Big Ben struck midnight ushering in 2009.

In his homily Fr Mark Odion MSP reminded those present to give thanks to God for all the blessings they had received during 2008 and to ask God’s blessing on 2009. Concelebrating with Bishop Patrick were Canon James Cronin, the Cathedral Dean, Fr Mark Odion, Fr John Eze and Fr Edwin, a visiting priest studying in Ottawa.

Canon Cronin said that this was the third New Year’s Midnight Mass at the Cathedral and demonstrated a powerful tradition which many migrants have brought with them from their homeland.

More photos of the New Year's Mass

The Christmas Crib at Saint George's Cathedral

Civic dignitaries - including Simon Hughes, MP for Southwark North and Bermondsey, Councillor Eliza Mann, Mayor of Southwark, and Councillor Hilary Wines, former Mayor of Southwark - at the Cathedral after Midnight Mass to offer their Christmas greetings to the Catholic community.

Bishops offer Christmas Day Mass in prisons

Recognising that Christmas is a particularly difficult time for those in prison and wanting to share with them something of the joy and hope of the Incarnation, each of our auxiliary bishops offered Mass on Christmas Day in a prison in his area.

Bishop John Hine at HMP Swaleside,
Bishop Paul Hendricks at HMP Wandsworth and Bishop Patrick Lynch at HMP Belmarsh.



Tuesday, 23rd December

Emmanuel, you are our king and judge, the one whom the peoples await and their Saviour. O come and save us, Lord, our God.

Emmanuel: 'God-is-with-us'

Brief explanation


Sister Magdalene celebrates her 25th Anniversary

On Saturday, 6th December 2008, Bishops Paul and Howard attended the 25th Anniversary of the Profession of Sister Magdalene Ubogu, a member of the the Daughters of Divine Love Congregation.

The Mass was offered at the English Martyrs Church, Walworth.

The Daughters of Divine Love have houses in our diocese at Walworth and Norbury.

Bishop Paul's report and a couple more photos


Tolworth Parish ends its Church's Golden Jubilee Year

Deacons Bob Beresford and Al Callan, Bishop Paul, Father John Diver, Canon Frank O'Sullivan, Father Tony Charlton and Deacon John Sampson

On Saturday, 6th December 2008, the parish of Our Lady Immaculate, Tolworth, brought to an end its year of special events and activities which marked the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the church.

Bishop Paul was the principal celebrant at the Mass and gave the homily.

Andrew MacKinlay MP with Bishop Paul

Present at the Mass was Andrew MacKinlay, MP for Thurrock, who served the first Mass celebrated in the church on 25th March 1958, the Feast of the Annunciation.

Some more photos and brief historical notes


 Mass in the Extraordinary Rite at the Cathedral

On Saturday, 6th December 2008, Mass was offered in the Extraordinary Rite at St George's Cathedral. Father Andrew Southwell OSB was the Celebrant and he was assisted by Fathers Peter Gee and Christopher Basden. Canon James Cronin gave the homily.

The St George's Cathedral Choir was directed by Mr Nicholas Gale.

More photos taken before the Mass