News Archive 2009 - December


Archbishop Kevin was the principal celebrant at the Christmas Midnight Mass offered at St George's Cathedral.

In his homily, the Archbishop spoke of the birth of Jesus as enhancing our humanity and bringing the gift of new life which flows through the liturgy and the sacraments - a new life available to us as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour.

He said, 'The grace of God is received in faith; if we live in it, we will be raised up to live a new life. It will be different - it should loosen the hold of obsessions and addictions, and create a new situation, a new way of being. The gift has been given: it is for us to receive.'

He ended his homily with the words, 'May you, your families and friends, all be richly blessed this Christmas Season and may the New Year be a time of grace for you all.'

Full text of Archbishop Kevin's homily at Midnight Mass


Bishops offer Christmas Day Masses in prisons

On Christmas Day our bishops offered Mass in prisons within our diocese. Bishop John at HMP Swaleside, Bishop Patrick at HMP Belmarsh and Bishop Paul at HMP Wandsworth.

We pray for those in prison and for all who are away from their families and friends.


A Christmas message from Bishop John

The Nativity - Federico Barocci - 1597 - Museo del Prado, Madrid

For so many people today Christmas is a frantically busy time, often involving a lot of travel. In the midst of all this, I hope and pray that the mystery of God’s love made manifest in the Incarnation will touch our hearts again. May we respond with love for those around us.

I wish you and those who are dear to you every blessing and happiness this Christmas and throughout 2010.

+John Hine
Diocesan Administrator


Wednesday, 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

On the path to Sainthood ...

On Saturday, 19th December 2009, Pope Benedict XVI declared two of his predecessors ‘Venerable’: Pope Pius XII, who reigned 1939 - 1958, and Pope John Paul II, who reigned 1978 -2005.

This is the first step on the path to canonisation and recognises the ‘heroic virtues’ of these Popes.

Also declared 'Venerable' was an English religious sister,
Sister Mary Ward (1585 - 1645).

Sister Mary Ward lived at a time of great conflict
for the Church in this country. She founded the
Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto Sisters)
and the Congregation of Jesus.
2009 marks the 400th Anniversary of their foundation.


Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Deacon Roger Chandler-Honnor

who was ordained Deacon in 1980

and who died on 15th December 2009

May he rest in peace


Brazilian bishop visits London migrants

Fr Jose-Mario Ribeiro, Bishop Alessandro Ruffinoni, Bishop Patrick and
Canon James Cronin

On Saturday, 12th December 2009, Bishop Patrick welcomed Bishop Alessandro Ruffinoni, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Porto Alegre in Brazil, to London and to our diocese. Bishop Alessandro met Bishop Patrick and Canon James Cronin in Rome last month at the Congress for the Care of Migrants and Refugees.

Bishop Alessandro is the bishop responsible for Brazilian migrants on behalf of the Brazilian Conference of Bishops. He has recently visited Paris and Geneva, which, like London, have large Brazilian communities,

While in London, Bishop Alessandro celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation with the Brazilian communities at St Margaret Clitherow's, Dulwich Wood Park, and Our Lady of the Rosary, Brixton. Both churches host Masses for the Brazilian community in Portuguese every Sunday, regularly offered by Fr Jose-Mario Ribeiro, pictured above.


A message from Bishop John Hine

The diocesan College of Consultors elected me as Diocesan Administrator following Archbishop Kevin’s resignation. Please keep me in your prayers that I may serve you and our diocese as well as possible until a new appointment is made.

I take this opportunity to thank Archbishop Kevin for the generous way he has led our diocese despite the severe health problems that have afflicted him over such a long period. His perseverance has been admirable. I am confident that our prayers and best wishes are with him as he faces further surgery in the coming year. There will be an opportunity in due course for us to express our gratitude to him.

Meanwhile, we hope to further the diocesan process initiated by Archbishop Kevin so that it is available in due course for his successor.

(posted 07-12-09)

Pope Benedict accepts the resignation
of Archbishop Kevin McDonald

At 11:00 am (GMT) on Friday, 4th December 2009, The Holy Father accepted the resignation of Archbishop Kevin McDonald of Southwark in accordance with Canon 401 §2.

The Archbishop submitted his resignation to the Holy Father having taken account of medical advice.


The Archbishop has had a triple heart bypass and also suffers from severe osteoarthritis. This has already necessitated surgery and the Archbishop envisages further surgery in 2010.


Archbishop Kevin said:

“I feel great sadness at having to relinquish my post as Archbishop of Southwark. Although I have had to contend with illness over the last three years, this appointment has been a great grace. It has been a privilege to lead this great Diocese and I have received a wonderful response to everything I have tried to do. I have also been very appreciative of the prayers of so many people while I have been ill. The Diocese will continue to be very much in my thoughts and prayers in the time ahead.”

A Diocesan Administrator will be appointed soon and he will be in charge of the Diocese, until a new Archbishop takes possession of the Diocese.

Archbishop Kevin's letter to the people of the diocese (.pdf)

Press release from the Catholic Church in England and Wales


Southwark Catholic Directory for 2010 is published

The 2010 edition of the Southwark Catholic Directory has been published and will be available in most parishes throughout the diocese.

The Directory gives details of the Diocesan Curia and Offices and of all parishes, religious houses and schools in the diocese.

It includes a Liturgical Calendar for the year.



With standard binding: £3:00;
with spiral binding: £3:50