News Archive 2008 - October and November

New resource to promote disability awareness

A new disability awareness resource has just been launched on CDrom. Free copies are being sent to every Catholic Secondary School in England and Wales.

It is the fruit of a partnership between Cristina Gangemi and John McKorkell of the Christian Education Centre in Southwark, Richard McKenzie from The John Fisher School, Purley and Bishop Bernard Longley from 'Day for Life'.

Images of Perfection is a scheme of work for 11-14 year olds that uses the medium of art to get young people to reflect upon disability.

It encourages pupils to see our equality in the eyes of God and builds upon the existing good work being done in the area of disability awareness within schools.

It is supported by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.


Youth SVP celebrates 10 years

The Saint Vincent de Paul Society is active in many parishes in our diocese as it is in 132 countries throughout the world.

Youth SVP was launched in 1999 and is preparing to celebrate its tenth anniversary. It has fast become the largest Catholic youth organisation in England and Wales with over 12,000 young people having registered as members.

To mark the anniversary, Youth SVP has launched a DVD to reflect the diversity of its members and focus on the main areas of its work: working with children, supporting homeless people, visiting the elderly and helping people with learning disabilities.

Featured on the DVD are Young Vincentians from Saint Francis Xavier Sixth Form College in our diocese.

Read the press release from Youth SVP

Visit the Youth SVP website


Altar Servers' Day at New Addington

On Saturday, 22nd November 2008, The Good Shepherd, New Addington, hosted a day for altar servers led by Fathers Stephen and John Boyle and Matthew Charlesworth.

Sixty servers from the Croydon Deanery and representatives from other parishes attended as well as a group from St Ignatius, Stamford Hill.

It was an opportunity for a reunion of those who had attended the Altar Servers' Rome trip in October and 'Summertime 2008'.


 English ARC visits Mayday Hospital Chaplaincy

On Friday, 21st November 2008, seventeen members of the joint Anglican-Roman Catholic Committee (English ARC) paid a pastoral visit to the chaplaincy team at the Mayday University Hospital in Croydon.

As a body which seeks to foster ecumenism, it is the custom of English ARC during one of its twice-yearly meetings to visit a local area to see how ecumenism works in practice at the local level.

Catholic representatives at the meeting included Bishop Paul, Father John O'Toole (RC Co-Secretary of English ARC) and Sister Sheila Moloney DMJ and Father Cornelius Boyle, members of the hospital chaplaincy team.

Full report from Father John O'Toole


Bishop Paul attends Sikh anniversary

Bishop Paul writes:

'On 20th November I attended a Sikh celebration at the House of Commons, to mark the 300th anniversary of the inauguration of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs.'


Read Bishop Paul's report in full


Bishops - Catholic and Anglican - hold joint meeting

Lambeth Palace

Our auxiliary bishops, Bishops John and Paul, were among over fifty bishops of the Catholic and Anglican Churches at a joint meeting held at Lambeth Palace on Monday, 17th November 2008.

Cardinal Cormac and Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, chaired the meeting which took the form of a spiritual retreat, reflecting on the office and ministry of bishops as Christ’s disciples. The day was based on prayer, discussion and a desire for further development of our Churches’ shared Christian witness. Scripture readings and addresses by the Archbishop and the Cardinal guided the bishops’ reflections.  


'Acquaint Day' held at Archbishop's House

On Tuesday, 11th November 2008, fifteen of our priests, some recently ordained or newly arrived in our diocese, met at Archbishop's House for a day to become better acquainted with the work of the Diocesan Curial Offices and to meet the staff.

In a series of informal seminars they had the opportunity to learn more about the Finance Office, the Secretariat, the Child Protection Office, the Marriage Tribunal and the Chancery and were given details about the facilities available to them from the On-Going Formation of Priests programme.

More photos of the 'Acquaint Day'

'Discovering Priesthood Day' at Wonersh

On Saturday, 8th November 2008, fourteen young men gathered at St John's Seminary, Wonersh, for a 'Discovering Priesthood Day'.

The day began at 10.00am with introductions and an opportunity to listen to the vocation story of some of the students at Wonersh. After a guided tour of the college, they celebrated a very prayerful Mass in the college Chapel and then joined the seminarians for lunch.

Heavy rain meant they had to cancel their game of football but instead they retired to the 'Dive' where they put the snooker and table-tennis tables to good use. In the afternoon they shared more vocations stories and heard about the application process before returning to the Chapel for a time of prayer concluding with Benediction.

Please keep the lads who attended in your prayers.

Visit our Priesthood and Diaconate section


Inauguration of new Ghanaian Chaplain

Father Joseph Akono was inaugurated as Chaplain to the Ghanaian Community at Mass on All Saints' Day, 2nd November 2008, at the Sacred Heart Church, Camberwell. The Principal Concelebrant was Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster, who is responsible nationally for Ethnic Chaplains.

More photos and a short report in Our Ethnic Communities section


Archbishop Kevin commends a booklet of readings and reflections for Advent and Christmastide

In his introduction to the Southwark edition of Walk with Me, Archbishop Kevin welcomes this journey of prayer for Advent and Christmastide as 'a wonderful way of nourishing our inner lives and enabling us to celebrate more fully these great seasons of the Church's year'.

Returning to the theme that he emphasised in his October pastoral, the Archbishop describes hope as 'a basic dimension of Christian life'. Advent 'points us to the coming of the Lord in which alone we can place all our hope and confidence'.

Copies are now available in most parishes.


Our new Lourdes Pilgrimage Director

Archbishop Kevin has appointed Deacon Michael Kennedy to succeed Father David Hutton as the Lourdes Pilgrimage Director for our diocese. Many thanks to Father David for his excellent work as Director during the past ten years.

Deacon Michael is a member of the clergy team at The Sacred Heart parish in Battersea and is the Chancery Administrator at Archbishop's House. He is a seasoned Lourdes pilgrim and looks forward to directing the 2009 pilgrimage from 21st until 28th August which will be led by Bishop Patrick.

Deacon Michael joined Mgr William Saunders (Director of The Catholic Association) in Lourdes from 27th until 30th October for a meeting of the Pilgrimage Directors from Great Britain.

Bishop Jacques Perrier, the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, was principal celebrant at a Mass offered at the Chapel of the Sacred Heart in the Accueil Saint Frai after which he gave a talk to the pilgrimage directors based on reflections on the Jubilee year and the theme for 2009 -
St Bernadette

The group also celebrated Mass at the Grotto where the homily was given by Father Martin Moran OMI, the English Language Co-ordinator for the Shrine. Monsieur Geoffrey Monnery, Secretary General of the Shrine, spoke to the Conference as well as the Assistant Mayor of Lourdes who invited the directors to the Town Hall for a discussion.


World Youth Day instils a deeper sense of vocation

The Conference of Directors of Vocations met at Ushaw College, Durham, the seminary for the Northern Province, from 27th until 30th October 2008.

Those attending the meeting acknowledged that the World Youth Day experience had not just fuelled an interest in vocations for the priesthood, but had been a vehicle for young people to recognise that all are called to holiness and to consider their own vocation as an integral part of their faith journey.

Father Stephen Langridge, Southwark's Director of Vocations, said: 'The World Youth Day was such a significant experience in the lives of our young people that, in response to their requests to continue sharing their faith, we have established Quo Vadis, a new Vocations Group for teenagers in our diocese. It attracted twenty people to its first meeting.'

More information about Quo Vadis


Altar servers' pilgrimage to Rome

Fr Stephen Boyle and Fr James Clark led the annual pilgrimage to Rome from 28th - 30th October 2008 for 20 servers and 6 adults from various parishes in the Southwark diocese. They made a whistle stop tour of the main sites, saw the Holy Father very close up and were mentioned at the audience. In this year of St Paul the first Mass was celebrated at the Basilica of St Paul outside the Walls. The final Mass was celebrated in the Polish chapel of St Peters, near the tomb of St Peter. There was a fantastic atmosphere throughout their time in Rome, helped by the consummation of proper Italian pizzas, pasta, dolces and ice cream. There will be a reunion in a few weeks time.

A few more photos of the pilgrimage


Catenians Centenary Mass at Rochester Cathedral

On Saturday, 25th October 2008, Province 7 of the Catenian Association celebrated its Centenary with Mass at Rochester Cathedral. Bishop John was the principal celebrant and gave the homily.

The Mass was followed by a banquet at the Corn Exchange.

Bishop John gives the homily

Bishop John shakes hands with Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, Anglican Bishop of Rochester, with Brother David Taylor, Grand President of the Catenian Association (left) and Brother John Ellery, Provincial President, Province 7

A few more photos of the occasion

Visit the Catenian Association website


Bishop Patrick in Philippines for Migration Conference

Bishop Patrick and Canon James Cronin are in the Philippines from Tuesday, 21st October until Thursday, 30th October 2008. They have travelled there for the Global Forum on Migration and Development, held in Manila, and will also be visiting orphanages and other projects sponsored by NASSA (National Secretariat for Social Action), a CAFOD partner.

Bishop Patrick is the bishop with pastoral responsibility for migrants on behalf of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and Canon Cronin is the Co-ordinator of Black and Ethnic Minority Chaplains in our diocese.

More photos of the visit


Our true security lies in Jesus Christ

Archbishop Kevin has written a pastoral letter to be read or made available on either 19rh or 26th October 2008.

At a time of financial insecurity, he reminds us that our true security lies in Jesus Christ, the Lord of Creation, and that Mary provides us with a complete picture of what it means to be a Christian.

The text of Archbishop Kevin's Pastoral Letter


CAFOD's  “Clean Gold “ Campaign visits Wallington

Over the weekend of the 18th/19th October 2008, St. Elphege’s parish, Wallington, hosted CAFOD’s “Clean Gold” photographic exhibition. More than 150 people took the opportunity to visit the exhibition which featured gold mining in Honduras, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Philippines. The photographs illustrated  the exploitation of the indigenous peoples by the mining companies. 

Among the visitors were Bishop Paul, the Mayor of Sutton and the local MP. 

The “Clean Gold” campaign is part of CAFOD’s “Unearth Justice” campaign which is trying to ensure that people have a say in and benefit from the resources in their local areas. At present, in most places, the resources of the poor world are exploited solely for the benefit of the rich world and its multi-national companies. For example the Democratic Republic of Congo has one of the highest levels of poverty even though below ground it is one of the richest in mineral resources.

Nuncio at the Cathedral for the Latin American Mass

The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, with the Superior of the Augustinian Recollects and Simon Hughes MP

Each Sunday, Mass is offered in Spanish at Saint George's Cathedral for the Latin American Community. On Sunday, 12th October 2008, the principal celebrant was the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz. The Superior of the Augustinian Recollects, who lives in Madrid, was among the concelebrants.

The Augustinian Recollects run the Latin American Chaplaincy and reside at Vauxhall.

More photos of the occasion

Prayer at the heart of the Catholic school

The Headteachers of our diocesan schools held their annual Conference at Ashford International Hotel on the 9th and 10th October 2008.

They were joined by Archbishop Kevin, Bishops John, Patrick and Paul and the Deans.

The Archbishop presided at the Mass and during his homily he stressed the importance of prayer:

'When we turn to God in prayer, we go into a dimension of life and experience that is quite different from all other activities and relationships in life and that I suppose is one way of understanding what is distinctive about a Catholic school.'

A short report and more photos

Bishop John joins 10,000 at end child poverty rally

On Saturday, 4th October 2008, Bishop John joined other faith leaders and the 120 organisations that make up the End Child Poverty coalition in an event organised to remind the Government of its pledge to halve child poverty by 2010 and end it by 2020.

The event started with an ecumenical service at St Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey, followed by a short march to Trafalgar Square for the afternoon rally.

Bishop John said that the global economic situation makes the campaign message even more pertinent:

'It may seem inopportune, in the middle of a financial crisis, to raise the issue of child poverty. But in fact it becomes more important than ever. If managing family income is going to be more difficult for the average family home, how impossible is it going to become for those who, in terms of income, are at the bottom of the pile? We may have to tighten our belts for a time, but we must give priority to children whose homes have absolutely no belt-tightening potential.'

Bishop John is the Chairman of the Catholic Bishops' Committee for Marriage and Family Life in England and Wales.

Press release from the Catholic Communications Network - more photos


Archbishop Kevin visits St Joseph's School, Northfleet

On Thursday, 2nd October 2008, Archbishop Kevin was welcomed to Saint Joseph's Primary School, Northfleet, by the Headteacher, Miss Maureen Jackson, the Acting Chair of Governors, the Parish Priest, Father Matthew Dickens, and the staff and pupils of the school.

During his visit to the school, Archbishop Kevin officially opened and blessed the new building which includes three new classrooms.

More photos of the Archbishop's visit to Saint Joseph's

Affectionate farewell to Ann Noonan

Ann Noonan was secretary to the Committee for Other Faiths of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. She died on 18th September 2008 after a long illness.

Archbishop Kevin, Chairman of the Department of Dialogue and Unity, presided at her Funeral Mass on Wednesday, 1st October 2008, at the church of Our Lady of the Angels in Erith, her home parish.

In his homily, Archbishop Kevin said: 'Her death leaves a void in her family, in the Church, and in the whole community. Many will feel her loss keenly because of her person, her unique gifts and her role in the Church. We entrust her good and gracious soul to God confident that she will know new life, eternal life in Christ.'

May she rest in peace.

Read Archbishop Kevin's homily at Ann's Funeral Mass