News Archive for 2010 - April

A Head of His Time

Friday, 30th April 2010, saw a very special event in the life of Richard Challoner School. Staff, members of the governing body and friends of the school joined with former staff and students spanning the school’s 50 years for the launch of a collection of speeches and poems composed by the school’s first Headmaster, Mr Oswald T Jones.

During his 17 years as Head - from 1959 to 1977 - Oswald delivered 15 beautifully crafted reports at the school’s Annual Review, in which he charted the school’s development within the context of the rapid changes in both Church and society, and outlined a vision for the school and for Catholic education, which combined distilled wisdom, deep faith, and dry humour.

Mr Jones is now almost 93 and lives in a care home in Edinburgh. He was represented at the launch by his daughter Marolyn (left) and her husband Mike, along with other family and friends. Mr Jones himself addressed those present via a video message to the delight of all.

The speeches reveal his concern for the ‘whole person’ – body, mind, soul and spirit. While rejoicing in and encouraging both staff and students to strive for high academic standards he was consistently ‘counter-cultural’ in his speeches about seeing – and helping others to see – that there are more important things in life than simply examination success. One of his pithy phrases captures it brilliantly; “there is too much consciousness of examinations and not enough examinations of conscience.”

Father John O'Toole, formerly a teacher at the Challoner, provided
the book with its title and Introduction

Bishop Howard leads a prayer at the end of the launch

The poems, written for the most part after Oswald’s retirement for family occasions, contrast with the speeches from his working life but show the same insight into human nature and portray a softer side of his personality. ‘A Head of His Time’ can be purchased from the school, price £8 (+£2 pp). Contact Mr Doran, Director of Studies –


Clergy appointments and news

Fr Christopher Pritchard has resigned as Parish Priest of St Mary Magdalen's, Mortlake, due to poor health. Our gratitude to him for his service to the people of Mortlake for more than twelve years.

Fr Richard Whinder from St Joseph's, New Malden, has been appointed as Parish Administrator for St Mary Magdalen's, Mortlake.

Fr David Peck has resigned as Parish Priest of Our Lady and St Peter, Wimbledon Common, due to poor health. Our thanks to him for his generous ministry in the parish despite his affliction and also for his commitment as Dean of the Mortlake Deanery.

We keep both Fr Christopher and Fr David in our prayers.

Fr James Sweeney O.Carm. will leave the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Faversham, at the end of May and Fr Piet Wijngaard O.Carm. will take over as Parish Administrator. Our thanks to Fr James for his ministry as Parish Priest in Faversham - we wish him every blessing for the future.

Please also remember in your prayers those who are sick: Fr Kevin Pelham, Fr William Hogg, Fr Anthony Edwards and Deacon Maurice Williams.


Welcome home to Southwark, Archbishop Peter ...


On Friday, 30th April, 2010, the Holy Father appointed
Archbishop Peter Smith, Archbishop of Cardiff since 2001,
as our new Archbishop in succession to Archbishop Kevin.

Archbishop Peter's roots are in the Southwark diocese. He was born in Battersea on 21st October 1943 and educated at Clapham College. He was ordained for Southwark on 5th July 1972 and served as an assistant priest at St Francis, Stockwell, from 1972 - 1974. He was Professor of Canon Law at St John's Seminary, Wonersh, from 1977 - 1984 and Parish Administrator at St Andrew's, Thornton Heath, from 1984 - 1985 when he became Rector of St John's Seminary from 1985 - 1995.

He was appointed Bishop of East Anglia in 1995 and Archbishop of Cardiff in 2001.

Speaking of his appointment, Archbishop Peter said:

“I shall never forget the warmth and generosity of the people of Wales, not only the Catholic community but so many others, and their great sense of humour and cheerfulness.

“However, my sadness at leaving is tempered by the prospect of returning to my roots in South London and going home to the Archdiocese in which I was born and for which I was ordained a priest in 1972. I am very much looking forward to that and to serving the people, religious, deacons and priests of the Archdiocese of Southwark as their Bishop. It is good to be returning home, although I feel there is part of me which will always have a “second home” in Wales.”

Bishop John, Diocesan Administrator, has warmly welcomed his appointment saying: “The priests and people of Southwark are absolutely delighted about the news of the appointment of Archbishop Peter Smith to our Diocese. He is, of course, well known to so many of us and we can hardly believe our good fortune that he will back here leading us at this very significant phase of our Diocesan story.”

Archbishop Vincent Nichols has also welcomed the appointment: “I am delighted at the appointment of Archbishop Peter Smith as Archbishop of Southwark, while at the same time sympathising with the priests, religious and people of Cardiff. Archbishop Peter is an outstanding and experienced leader. He will be warmly welcomed back to his home diocese, just as he will be sorely missed in Cardiff. I can assure him of the prayers and good wishes of us all.”

Archbishop Peter’s installation as Archbishop of Southwark will be on Thursday, 10th June 2010. Bishop John remains Diocesan Administrator until the installation.

As we welcome Archbishop Peter as our new Archbishop, we continue to keep Archbishop Kevin in our prayers as he recovers well from his surgery, but faces an operation on his other hip in a couple of month's time.

Press release on the Catholic Church in England and Wales web site

Bookings now being taken for World Youth Day 2011

Preparations are well advanced for World Youth Day 2011, which will take place in Madrid, Spain.

The Southwark contingent is being  organised by the Southwark Catholic Youth Service (SCYS).

The dates have been confirmed and Southwark will travel out on 14th and return on 22nd August. The Holy Father will be welcomed by young people from around the world on 18th and will end his visit with Mass on 22nd August.

Initial details, provisional outline programme and booking forms are available on the WYD 2011 section of our web site.

Please click here or on the logo on the sidebar to visit Southwark's
WYD 2011 section.

WYD 2011 official web site


New focus on interreligious dialogue

On Friday, 23rd April 2010, Archbishop Kevin was involved with the launch of a new teaching document on interreligious dialogue published by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. He attended in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee for Relations with Other Religions, the committee responsible for preparing the document.

The document, 'Meeting God in Friend and Stranger: Fostering respect and mutual understanding between the religions', stresses that dialogue with other religions is not restricted to academics, but takes place where everyday life is shared in an atmosphere of respect and openness. Shared experiences of worship – where the worship takes the form not of coming to pray together, but of coming together to pray, –  is also a valuable aspect of dialogue, and one which meets appropriately the desire to share occasions of grief, joy and remembrance.

The document is dedicated to the memory of Bishop Charles Henderson and Mrs Ann Noonan.

Photo: Mazur/
Archbishop Kevin at the launch of 'Meeting God in Friend and Stranger'

The document is published by the Catholic Truth Society and is also available in .pdf format via the link on the press release on the Catholic Church in England and Wales web site.

Archbishop Kevin has written about the document in this week's Tablet - please click here to read his article.

from the Catholic Bishops
of England and Wales

The bishops of England and Wales, at their biannual meeting at Hinsley Hall, Leeds, have issued a joint statement on child abuse, which is to be made available in parishes throughout each diocese this weekend.

Their statement states that the 'criminal offences committed by some priests and religious are a profound scandal. They bring shame to the whole Church. But shame is not enough. The abuse of children is a grievous sin against God. Therefore we focus not on shame but on our sorrow for these sins.'

The bishops continue: 'We express our heartfelt apology and deep sorrow to those who have suffered abuse, those who have felt ignored, disbelieved or betrayed. We ask their pardon, and the pardon of God for these terrible deeds done in our midst. There can be no excuse.'

The failings of some bishops and religious leaders in handling these matters in the past, 'are aspects of this tragedy which we deeply regret and for which we apologise'. Procedures now in place should have been there in the past.

The bishops call for 'a time for deep prayer and atonement' and invite all Catholics to spend time before the Blessed Sacrament on the four Fridays of May, praying for those who have suffered abuse and 'for healing, forgiveness and renewed dedication'.

Read the full statement from the Bishops of England and Wales (.pdf)

(posted 22-04-10)


Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Derek Vidler

who was ordained Priest in 1962

and who died on 16th April 2010

May he rest in peace


Bene Merenti for couple's dedicated service

On Sunday, 11th April 2010, Bishop Paul presented Bene Merenti Medals to husband and wife, Margaret and Clayton Cook, for their dedicated service to the parish of St Elphege, Wallington. Clayton has looked after the Mass centre in Beddington and undertaken day-to-day maintenance in the parish and Margaret has looked after the altar linen. Their involvement in both parish and school activities has covered 60 years.


Deepest sympathy to the Polish people

Bishop John has expressed his deepest sympathy and that of the people of Southwark to Polish communities within the diocese and beyond.

The Holy Father meets President and Mrs Lech Kaczynski in
St Peter's Basilica in October 2009

The President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, his wife. Maria, and 95 government, military and church officials died when their plane crashed while coming in to land at Smolensk airbase on the morning of Saturday, 10th April 2010. The group was to attend a Service to commemorate the massacre of over 20,000 Polish officers and civilians by the Soviet Secret Police in Katyn Forest seventy years ago.

Among those killed in the crash were Canon Bronislaw Gostomski, the Parish Priest of St Andrew Bobola Polish Garrison Church in Hammersmith, and Bishop Tadeusz Płoski, Catholic Bishop of the Military Ordinariate of the Polish Army, Bishop Richard's opposite number.

The Holy Father has sent his 'most sincere condolences' to the families of the dead and assured them of his spiritual closeness. He entrusted all of the victims of the crash 'to the goodness of the merciful God' and prayed 'May He take them into his glory.'

We, too, keep those who have died, the bereaved and all Polish people in our thoughts and prayers at this sad time.

An Easter message from Bishop John ...

The Resurrection of Christ
Pietro Perugino - c 1499 - Vatican Museum


Making the journey of Holy Week brings us once again into close contact with the very core of our Christian Faith - Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave his life on the Cross for the salvation of all and whose Resurrection brings new life.

As I wish you every blessing, I pray that this Eastertide may bring you a renewed sense of purpose and fulfilment.

Bishop John Hine
Diocesan Administrator


... and from the Holy Father in Rome

After celebrating Mass in Saint Peter's Square on Easter Sunday morning, the Holy Father appeared on the balcony of Saint Peter's to give his Easter message and blessing to the city of Rome and the world (urbi et orbi). He gave his Easter greetings in 57 languages. In English he said:

May the grace and joy of the Risen Christ be with you all.

Read the text of the Holy Father's Easter message on the CCEW web site

Video of the Holy Father's Easter message and blessing from the Vatican Television Centre on YouTube