News Archive for 2009 - March and April

Three new Canons are installed at the Chapter Mass

Bishops John and Paul with the Cathedral Chapter and the three priests due to be installed as Chapter Canons

Every year on 23rd April, the Feast of Saint George, the Chapter Mass is celebrated in our Cathedral which is dedicated to Saint George. This year Bishop John was Principal Concelebrant and Bishop Paul concelebrated in the presence of the Canons of the diocese.

At the Chrism Mass on Maundy Thursday, Archbishop Kevin announced the appointment of three new Chapter Canons and these were installed during the Mass.

The new Canons with the Provost of the Chapter. From left to right:
Canon Tony Charlton, Parish Priest of Our Lady Immaculate, Tolworth, Canon Michael O'Dea, Parish Priest of The Faithful Virgin, Upper Norwood, Provost Joseph Collins, Parish Priest of St Mary's, Croydon (West), and Canon John Clark, Parish Priest of St Francis, Maidstone.

More photos of the occasion


Celebrating St Anselm's Anniversary at Pembury

On the evening of Tuesday, 21st April, 2009, the 900th Anniversary of the death of Saint Anselm, Bishop John joined Father Liam Gallagher, Parish Priest of St Justus, Paddock Wood, and parishioners for Mass in the Chapel of St Anselm, Pembury.

During his homily Bishop John said: '... as a Bishop, Anselm demonstrated that the only true authority that we follow is not of monarchy or government but of Christ. Today we see that sometimes we have to speak out against government law that may not reflect true Christian teaching and values.’

At the end of the Mass, Father Liam announced that the celebrations are continuing throughout this special year with a parish pilgrimage in June to Canterbury Cathedral where they have received permission to celebrate Mass.

The evening ended with a generous spread of food provided by the parishioners.


St Anselm's School - Mass in Canterbury Cathedral

Tuesday, 21st April 2009, was the 900th Anniversary of the death of Saint Anselm, the philosopher-saint who was Archbishop of Canterbury (1093 - 1109). St Anselm's Catholic School, Canterbury, celebrated this occasion on its Patron's Feast Day with Mass in Canterbury Cathedral. Bishop John was the Principal Celebrant and was joined by Canon Michael Bunce, Parish Priest of St Thomas' Parish, Canterbury, and Chairman of the Governors and priests and religious associated with the school.

All the Governors, about 1,000 students and 80 staff were present. Local dignitaries who attended included His Honour Judge Michael O'Sullivan and the Sheriff of Canterbury, Charlotte MacCaul.

Fiona Quilty, Headteacher, said: 'To hold such a meaningful service in such a prestigious heritage site was a humbling experience. To be able to share this event ecumenically meant a great deal to the Governors, staff, parents and students of the school. Our faith and learning community was strengthened by this uplifting experience and we hope to develop an even stronger partnership with the Cathedral in this Anniversary year.'

Bishop John and concelebrants in the Entry Procession

Reception on the fourth anniversary of Pope's election

Archbishop Kevin with Father Gerald O'Collins SJ

Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, the Apostolic Nuncio, held a reception in the Throne Room of Archbishop's House, Westminster, on Monday, 20th April 2009 to mark the fourth anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

More photos taken at the reception


Bishops' Conference publishes monthly Newsletter

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales is publishing a monthly Newsletter, which can be downloaded from its site. It offers to send the newsletter by email each month to those who request it.

Please visit the Catholic Church in England and Wales website to download the three newsletters already published and use the link on that page to join the mailing list for future editions.

Newsletters page of the Catholic Church in England and Wales website


The Resurrection
from the Stations of the Cross on the Lourdes Prairie
Please click here to see all the Stations


Bishops offer Easter Masses in prisons

Traditionally, our bishops visit prisons on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday. Today, Bishop John celebrated the Easter Mass at HMP Elmley (Sheppey),  Bishop Patrick at HMP Brixton and Bishop Paul at HMP Wandsworth.

We pray with our bishops that God will reawaken the joy of the Resurrection in the hearts of all who are in prison in our diocese.

As we celebrate this great Feast, the ultimate source of our hope, we remember in our prayers all who are in need of consolation.

At Saint George's Cathedral ...

Canon James Cronin distributed Easter eggs to the children after the Family Mass in the Cathedral.

And in Rome ...

Pope Benedict XVI gave his Easter blessing from the balcony of Saint Peter's Basilica following Mass in the piazza. His blessing is 'to the City (of Rome) and to the World' - Urbi et Orbi. Before the blessing he expressed his Easter greetings in 63 languages. In English he said:
May the grace and joy of the Risen Christ be with you all.

Coverage of Holy Week at the Vatican from the Vatican's website

Read his Easter greetings in various languages 

at Saint George's Cathedral

Blessing the Easter fire

Canon James Cronin, Cathedral Dean, confirms a newly-baptised parishioner

More pictures of Holy Week at the Cathedral


at Saint George's Cathedral

More pictures of Holy Week at the Cathedral

on Maundy Thursday at Saint George's Cathedral

Archbishop Kevin presided at the Chrism Mass which was celebrated on Maundy Thursday morning, 9th April 2009. He preached the homily, received the renewal of priestly promises and blessed the Holy Oils. Bishop John was the principal celebrant at the Mass; the bishops and priests of the diocese concelebrated with him. Two people from every parish had also been invited so that the whole diocese would be represented.

The altar servers came from the parish of the Sacred Heart, Battersea West.

In his homily, Archbishop Kevin spoke of the need of faith and the need for priests.

He said, “The celebration of the Chrism Mass is one of the highpoints of the liturgical calendar. It is very much a diocesan event; a joyful, public celebration from which we move on to celebrate the Holy Week Triduum in our parishes. So a public celebration - but one which is also very personal, and personal in a particular way for priests who renew their commitment today and who will be the principal user of the oils that are blessed today.”

He said at the end, ”All faith, all hope finds its true object in Christ and the life of a priest reflects and embodies all this: a priest meets so many people, all at different stages on the path towards faith, or on the path of faith itself. He is open to everyone."

He concluded, “May today be a day of renewal for all of us, and a real preparation for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, his crucifixion, death and resurrection. This is our faith and we are proud to profess it in Christ Jesus, Our Lord. Amen.”

Read Archbishop Kevin's homily at the Chrism Mass in full

A brief explanation of the Chrism Mass

A prayer for our priests

More pictures of Holy Week at the Cathedral

Three new Canons appointed to the Chapter

At the end of the Chrism Mass, Archbishop Kevin said:

“Before the final blessing there is something else I want to say. In my ministry as Archbishop I’m greatly assisted by the various bodies and agencies in the diocese and I want to express my appreciation of them and indeed of all of you who are here today. I also want to mention the day of the diocese at Aylesford on Saturday, 27th June to celebrate the Year St. Paul. Our last diocesan gathering at Aylesford was for the Year of the Eucharist in 2005.

One important body is the chapter of canons, and it so happens that at the moment there are four vacancies in the chapter and after consulting with the remaining chapter canons I want to appoint at this stage three new canons who will be installed on St. George’s Day and I thought that I would announce them today. So I invite the following priests to come forward: Fr. Tony Charlton, Fr. John Clark, and Fr. Michael O’Dea.”

Canons Tony Charlton, Parish Priest of Our Lady Immaculate, Tolworth, Michael O'Dea, Parish Priest of The Faithful Virgin, Upper Norwood and John Clark, Parish Priest of Saint Francis, Maidstone with Archbishop Kevin.

at Saint George's Cathedral

More pictures of Holy Week at the Cathedral

New Archbishop of Westminster

Congratulations and an assurance of prayers go to Archbishop Vincent Nichols whom the Holy Father has appointed to succeed Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor as Archbishop of Westminster. Archbishop Vincent has been the Archbishop of Birmingham since March 2000.

Archbishop Kevin expressed his delight at the appointment of Archbishop Nichols to Westminster. He said, “I am confident that this appointment is very good news for the Catholic Church in this country. I know that everyone will be praying for Archbishop Nichols and giving him their full support.”

Vincent Nichols was born in Liverpool in 1945 and ordained to the priesthood in 1969. Cardinal Basil Hume ordained him as bishop in 1992 and appointed him as Auxiliary Bishop in North London, where he remained until he was installed as Archbishop of Birmingham in 2000.

Before his appointment as an Auxiliary Bishop to Cardinal Hume, he was General Secretary of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

In addition to his pastoral oversight of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, Archbishop Nichols is Chairman of the Department for Catholic Education and Formation of the Bishops' Conference and Chairman of the Catholic Education Service.

Archbishop Vincent will be installed at Westminster Cathedral on Thursday, 21st May 2009.

Photos taken at the Press Conference on Friday, 3rd April 2009


New Regional Superior for Daughters of Divine Love

On Saturday, 28th March 2009 Bishop Patrick offered Mass with the Daughters of Divine Love at their convent in Norbury. The occasion was the handover from Sister Eunice to Sister Basilia as the new Regional Superior of the Daughters of Divine Love in England.

Read about the apostolate of the Daughters of Divine Love
on their website

New Vocation Handbook launched

On Saturday, 28th March 2009 Bishop Patrick presided over the launch of a new diocesan ‘Handbook for Parish Vocation Teams’. The event, which was hosted by the Catenians, took place at Balham in the Holy Ghost Parish. In his presentation of the Handbook, Fr Stephen Langridge, the diocesan Vocations Director, spoke of the need to foster a culture of vocation at every level of our life in the Church and of his hope that the new Handbook would enable parishes to celebrate, as well as to promote, the different Christian vocations. The event was attended by representatives from many different parishes and religious communities across the diocese. A number of permanent deacons were also present.

Two copies of the Handbook are currently being sent to every parish priest in the hope that a large number of parishes will take up the invitation to establish Parish Vocation Teams.

Catholic Underground comes to London

“Catholic Underground” began in New York as an interface between Catholicism and the music and artistic expression of contemporary youth culture. Since then it has spread to a number of American cities. On Saturday, 28th March 2009 it finally came to the UK with the first ever ‘Catholic Underground – London’ event taking place at the Holy Ghost parish in Balham.

The evening began with a Holy Hour in the Church, including sung vespers led by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Afterwards over a hundred and fifty young people gathered in the school hall for an evening’s musical entertainment. Daniel Driver, a promising young singer-song-writer, opened the evening with a number of inspirational songs. He was followed by ‘The New Jerusalem Project’ a contemporary group combining a mixture of styles. The evening closed with Ejiro – a young Christian rap artist. One way of monitoring the success of youth events is to see the comments left on Facebook: “Catholic Underground changed my life” was a particularly memorable one on Sunday morning!

Franciscans celebrate their eighth centenary

Detail of one of the frescoes by Giotto in the Basilica of St Francis, Assisi

This year Franciscans throughout the world are celebrating the eighth centenary of their origins. On 16th April 1209, Saint Francis and his companions received the approval of Pope Innocent III for their rule of life.

The Franciscan family of friars and sisters are very much in evidence in our Southwark diocese: the Friars have charge of the parishes at Erith, Waterloo and Bromley Common and a house in Brockley, they run the Franciscan International Study Centre at Canterbury and the Sisters have eight convents throughout the diocese.

Their celebrations will run from 23rd April 2009 and culminate with a concelebrated Mass at Westminster Cathedral on 25th March 2010. Some of the events are being held at Canterbury and Erith.

Press release for the Centenary Year (.pdf)

Schedule of events for the Centenary Year (.pdf)


KSC's generous donation to the Seminary Fund

Mgr Richard Moth, on behalf of Archbishop Kevin, received a cheque for £2,000 for the Seminary Fund from the Knights of Saint Columba on Friday, 27th March 2009 at Archbishop’s House. The Provincial Grand Knight, Henry Brand, assisted by the Deputy Grand Knight, Ken Smith, presented the cheque which was the largest single donation from an organisation in the diocese as well as being the third largest donation from the deaneries in the diocese.

The Seminary Fund Director is Canon James Pannett, Parish Priest of Saint John the Baptist, Purley.