News Archive for 2009 - May

Archbishop Kevin conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation
during Mass at St George's Cathedral on Pentecost Sunday,
31st May 2009.

More photos taken after the Mass

Aylesford celebration for married couples

On Saturday, 30th May 2009, Archbishop Kevin welcomed 256 married couples from the diocese to Aylesford Priory. They were all celebrating special anniversaries of their weddings this year and came with their families and friends to express their gratitude to God at a Mass in Celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage.

In his homily, Archbishop Kevin said 'The institution of marriage is precious: it's sanctioned by the teaching of Christ and by centuries of Christian tradition, and it is given such a special place in life and in the life of the Church for a reason. Marriage and family life is the basic unit of human society.' He committed to them 'a special task in bearing witness to the values of Christian marriage.'

Archbishop Kevin with Mr and Mrs Cheesbrough from the Isle of Sheppey, who were married in Sunbury, Middlesex, 67 years ago.

Read Archbishop Kevin's homily at the Mass

Short report and more photos


JPIC Annual Spring Assembly at Aylesford

Meanwhile - also at Aylesford on Saturday, 30th May - the annual Spring Assembly of the Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation was taking place in the New Barn. This year the theme was 'The Church's Social Teaching in these troubled times'. Dr Patrick Riordan SJ from Heythrop College was the guest speaker. Archbishop Kevin visited the Assembly during a break in discussions.

Archbishop Kevin with Dr Patrick Riordan SJ and Fr Michael Scanlon, Chairman of the diocesan JPIC Commission

Short Report and more photos of the Assembly

Southwark Vocation Handbook praised in Rome

His Excellency Monsignor Mauro Piacenza (left) wrote recently to convey the compliments of the Congregation for the Clergy, of which he is Secretary, for our new diocesan Handbook for Parish Vocation Teams.

The Congregation writes that the Handbook 'appears to have struck a healthy balance between the centrality of the universal vocation to holiness by virtue of our baptism and the indispensable vocations to priesthood and the consecrated life by which the Church worships God, proclaims the Gospel, and witnesses to the work of Grace in her members.'

It particularly commends the handbook as a useful means of promoting Eucharistic Adoration and prayer for priests during the forthcoming Year of Priesthood: 'Indeed, the volume might serve as a useful resource within the apostolate of Eucharistic Adoration, fostering an awareness of the responsibility of every member of Christ's faithful to pray for and encourage vocations to the priesthood, and to faithfully understand its nature and place within the Church, particularly in view of the Year of the Priesthood recently announced by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI'.

Bishop Patrick presided over the launch of the Handbook on 28th March 2009 at the Church of the Holy Ghost, Balham and copies have been sent to every parish in the diocese.

Archbishop Kevin celebrates with priest jubilarians

At Saint George's Cathedral on Tuesday, 26th May 2009, Archbishop Kevin presided at Mass for 21 of our priests who are celebrating jubilees of their ordinations this year. Between them, they have devoted 785 years to the priestly ministry.

Bishop Paul, who also celebrates the Silver Jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood this year, gave the homily.

After the Mass, Archbishop Kevin hosted a lunch for the jubilarians and their guests at Archbishop's House.

We congratulate our priest jubilarians and remember them in our grateful prayers.

More photos and list of priests who celebrate jubilees of their ordinations this year

This is National Family Week 2009

Bishop John, who is the Chairman of the Bishops' Conference Committee on Marriage and Family Life, has welcomed the launch of the first National Family Week (25th - 31st May) to celebrate family life. For the past three years the Catholic community has been doing just that: Celebrating Family: Blessed, Broken, Living Love.

In a message to promote the week, Bishop John writes: 'Families are at the very heart of both life and love. As such they are also very close to the heart of God. That’s certainly something to celebrate!'

To focus on the blessings of family life Home is a Holy Place is offering a number of resources which can be downloaded from the Catholic Church in England and Wales Web Site. Please click on the logo on the right to view the resource page.

Archbishop Kevin will offer Mass in Celebration of Marriage at Aylesford on Saturday, 30th May 2009, with couples from our diocese who are celebrating significant anniversaries of their marriages this year. Their families are warmly invited to attend.

Pope Benedict XVI: Bring the Gospel to the Internet

In his message on the occasion of the 43rd World Day of Communications, 24th May 2009, the Holy Father has encouraged young people especially to use the digital world to bring the 'Good News' to their contemporaries. He writes:

...Be sure to announce the Gospel to your contemporaries with enthusiasm. You know their fears and their hopes, their aspirations and their disappointments: the greatest gift you can give to them is to share with them the "Good News" of a God who became man, who suffered, died and rose again to save all people. Human hearts are yearning for a world where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. Our faith can respond to these expectations: may you become its heralds! The Pope accompanies you with his prayers and his blessing...

Full text of the Holy Father's World Day of Communications Message

To coincide with the World Day of Communications the Vatican is launching a brand new site - - to help Catholics, especially younger generations, use new technologies to create a culture of dialogue, respect and friendship. It links with iPhone and Facebook applications.

In preparation for the World Day of Communications, Fr Federico Lombardi SJ, Director of the Vatican Press Office, visited London on 18th May to give a lecture to an audience of media professionals.

encouraged communicators to meet the challenge of using the internet to engage positively to further the Gospel message of the Church.



Archbishop Vincent installed at Westminster

Archbishop Vincent Nichols was installed as the eleventh Archbishop of Westminster on Thursday, 21st May 2009 in Westminster Cathedral.

Archbishop Kevin, Archbishop Emeritus Michael, Bishops John, Patrick and Paul and Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Howard were among the fifty bishops who concelebrated at the Mass. A number of the priests and religious of our diocese had also been invited to concelebrate and joined over 2,000 people in Westminster Cathedral to witness the Installation.

Archbishop Kevin with Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff in the sacristy before the Mass

Archbishop Vincent Nichols gives his blessing in the Lady Chapel after Mass

Read the report on the Westminster Web Site -with links to the Order of Service and the text of Archbishop Vincent's homily

Listen to Archbishop Vincent's Homily on the Westminster Web Site

A page of photos taken before and after the Mass

Archbishop Kevin welcomes our new Catholics

On Saturday, 16th May 2009, Archbishop Kevin invited our new Catholics to join him for Mass at St George's Cathedral. Most of them will have been baptised or received into the Church during the Easter Vigil and will previously have visited the Cathedral for the Rite of Election.

A personal report and some more photos 


Congratulations to Monsignor Gerry Ewing

The Holy Father has appointed Fr Gerry Ewing as a Chaplain to His Holiness with the title Monsignor. Archbishop Kevin made the announcement at lunch during the meeting of the Council of Priests held at St Peter's Residence, Meadow Road, Vauxhall on Wednesday, 13th May 2009.

Monsignor Gerry is Parish Priest of St Thomas a Becket, Wandsworth and Director of the Ongoing Formation of Priests.

A few more photos of the occasion

Deacons and their wives on retreat at Merville

Our Permanent Deacons go on retreat at least every other year. They have the opportunity to make their retreat either at Aylesford in September or at the Maison Diocesaine d'Acceuil at Merville in France in May, when their wives are also invited.

The Merville retreat was held from Friday 8th until Sunday 10th May 2009 and was led by Fr Peter Burrows. Eight deacons and seven wives attended.

A few more photos taken during the retreat

Bexleyheath celebrates golden jubilee of church

Archbishop Kevin was welcomed by Father Michael Jones, Parish Priest of St John Vianney, Bexleyheath and the parishioners to celebrate Mass on the golden jubilee of the opening of their church by Bishop Cyril Cowderoy on 8th May 1959 (the birthday of St John Vianney).

In his homily, Archbishop Kevin expressed his joy at being with them for this occasion and reminded the people that 'It is important to remember that we are part of the communion of the Universal Church, the worldwide Catholic Church. And next year that will be expressed when I, together with all the other Bishops of England and Wales, go to Rome for our five-yearly visit to pray at the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, and to meet the successor of St Peter, Pope Benedict XVI.'

Brief parish history and more photos of the occasion

Saint John Vianney and 'The Year of the Priest'

2009 is the 150th anniversary of the death of St John Vianney, the Curé (Parish Priest) of Ars. He will be the Patron of a special year for priests. The Holy Father has declared that 'The Year of the Priest' will open on 19th June, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, when he will lead Vespers in the presence of a relic of St John Vianney and will continue until 19th June 2010, when there will be a world meeting of priests in St Peter's Square.

During the year the Holy Father will officially proclaim St John Vianney as 'patron saint of all the priests of the world'.

German visitors learn about pastoral care of migrants

Archbishop Kevin, Canon James Cronin and the group from Erfurt

On Friday, 8th May 2009, four deacons from the Seminary at Erfurt in Germany, together with their Rector Mgr Wolfgang Ipolt, visited St George's Cathedral to learn about initiatives for the pastoral care of migrants in the Catholic Church in England and Wales. They were welcomed by Canon James Cronin, the Cathedral Dean and Co-ordinator of Black and Ethnic Minority Chaplains in our diocese, who gave them a tour of the Cathedral. Archbishop Kevin welcomed them to the diocese and spent some time with them.

They had the opportunity of meeting some of the Ethnic Chaplains and joined in the celebration of Mass before lunch. In the afternoon Canon James had organised a visit to the Southwark's Anglican Cathedral where they met the Sub-dean, Rev Andrew Nunn, and heard about the pastoral care of migrants in the Anglican Church. After tea, they attended Choral Evensong.

The four deacons will be ordained to the priesthood on Pentecost Sunday, 30th May, in their home dioceses. The translator was Christiana Edel.


A Course in Jurisprudence

Gillis Centre, Edinburgh

Congratulations to Fr Peter Jenner (Southwark Metropolitan Tribunal) and Miss June Roberts (Interdiocesan Tribunal of Second Instance of Southwark) who successfully completed the Jurisprudential and Sentence Writing Course of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland. The course took place at the Gillis Centre in Edinburgh and lasted eight weeks, spread over two years.

The course is designed to increase familiarity with marriage and law jurisprudence to help judges or prospective judges become more familiar with the task of judging and sentence writing in marriage nullity cases.

The presentation of certificates took place on Thursday, May 7th 2009.

Preventing the spread of influenza

Concerns about the spread of influenza have been expressed by members of our local Catholic community. News that in Mexico churches have been closed on Sundays will inevitably raise questions about whether plans are being made by dioceses in our own country to combat the spread of the virus.

At present, thankfully, the symptoms are mild and the incidence of infection is not widespread. We are advised that, at the moment, the prudent course of action would be to take common-sense precautions not to spread the virus as indicated by the NHS: if you have 'flu symptoms, stay at home and contact your doctor or NHS Direct (0845 4647) - you can keep up-to-date by visiting the web sites linked below.

The Diocese of Lancaster has developed policies that may have to be followed should the situation become critical. In the event of an epidemic, such measures may need to be adopted nationally. Links to the Lancaster documents can be found on the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales web site.

Please read carefully the NHS pamphlet that is being distributed and take the precautions it suggests. Please click here for a .pdf copy of this pamphlet.

Up-to-date information from the following web sites:

NHS choices  -  Directgov

(Posted: 05-05-09)

Bishop Patrick pays tribute to migrant workers

Bishop Patrick with Southwark priests in Westminster Cathedral sacristy

On Monday, 4th May 2009, Mass was celebrated at Westminster Cathedral in support of London's migrant workers. It was organised by the dioceses that include the Greater London boroughs: Westminster, Southwark and Brentwood. This was the fourth annual Mass for migrant workers.

The Mass, in honour of St Joseph the Worker, was offered by Bishop Thomas McMahon, Bishop of Brentwood, Bishop Patrick Lynch, Auxiliary in Southwark and Bishop Bernard Longley, Auxiliary in Westminster, together with ethnic chaplains from the London area.


The Mass reflected the tremendous diversity of London's Catholic community, with people representing countries throughout the world. A number of civic dignitaries, including Mayors of London boroughs and Ambassadors from the European Union and other countries attended the Mass.

In his homily, Bishop Patrick affirmed the contribution that migrant workers have made to Britain especially in recent years. He said: 'You have contributed culturally and economically to the nation and you have  contributed spiritually and socially to the Church bringing with you your deep faith, your commitment to the family and your loyalty to the Church.'

Full text of Bishop Patrick's homily


The Cathedral piazza after the Mass

More photos taken before and after the Migrant Workers' Mass

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

The Vocations Sunday poster sent to parishes and schools

This Sunday, 3rd May 2009, we celebrate the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. The Holy Father has written a message for the day: the theme he has chosen is Faith in the divine initiative - the human response.

He calls for prayer: 'The exhortation of Jesus to his disciples: 'Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest' (Mt 9:38)  has a constant resonance in the Church. Pray! The urgent call of the Lord stresses that prayer for vocations should be continuous and trusting.'

He adds: 'The vocation to the priesthood and to the consecrated life constitutes a special gift of God which becomes part of the great plan of love and salvation that God has for every man and woman and for the whole of humanity.'

The full text of the Holy Father's message from the Vatican's Web Site

Archbishop Kevin has recently written: 'The nature of vocation is quite counter-cultural today. So much stress is put on personal 'choice' and this can obscure the fact that the Holy Spirit calls us to think beyond our personal preferences and to give ourselves freely and generously to what the Lord is asking of us.'

An increasing number of parishes in our diocese are praying regularly for vocations during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.


Latin American Pilgrimage to Aylesford

The Latin American community spent the day on pilgrimage at Aylesford Priory on Saturday, 2nd May 2009. It was organised by the Latin American Chaplaincy where Father Jesús Gabriel Pérez Recio is on the chaplaincy team.

The photo shows them praying the Rosary along Aylesford's Rosary Way.

More photos of the pilgrimage

May Procession from the Cathedral to Camberwell

For the third year running, the Legion of Mary at St George's Cathedral and the Sacred Heart, Camberwell, organised a Rosary Procession between the two churches. It was held this year on Saturday, 2nd May. About 350 people followed the statue of Our Lady of Fatima through the Elephant and Castle and along Walworth Road. The procession ended with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Deacons' On-Going Formation at New Malden

A day for the on-going formation of our Permanent Deacons was held at St Joseph's, New Malden on Saturday, 2nd May 2009. Bishop Paul was Principal Concelebrant at the Mass and conferred the ministries of lector and acolyte and admitted one man to candidacy. The deacons renewed their commitment.

A few more photos of the occasion

A date for your diary: Saturday, 27th June 2009

Archbishop Kevin has written to parish priests from his convalescence expressing his hope that large numbers of people from every parish will attend the Diocesan Celebration at Aylesford to commemorate the Year of Saint Paul on Saturday, 27th June 2009.

He writes: 'The Celebration for the Year of the Eucharist at Aylesford in 2005 was a great success. Let us make this Day of Celebration for the Year of Saint Paul an opportunity to come together with myself, bishops, priests, deacons, religious and all our people as the People of God united by our celebration of the Eucharist. We will also listen to and learn from the Word of God as proclaimed by St. Paul. We will pray together for the needs of the diocese and the Universal Church. Let us embrace this opportunity to come together as a diocese, drinking from the fount of living water which is Jesus Christ.'

The theme for the day will be 'Proclaim the Good News'.

Download the poster for this celebration (.pdf)

And from the Archive ...

Aylesford, September 2005: over 7,000 people gathered
to celebrate the Year of the Eucharist

Read the report of the 2005 celebration from our News Archive