News Archive for 2010 - January and February

CYMFed's inspiring Congress for Youth Leaders

Southwark was well represented when over 1,000 youth leaders, chaplains, teachers, priests and religious gathered in London on Saturday, 27th February 2010. for the first national Congress for youth leaders spearheaded by the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation (CYMFed). The theme was 'We have set our hope on the living God'.

John Toryusen, Director of the Southwary Catholic Youth Service, is a member of the CYMFed Board which organised the Congress. He is the Board's Treasurer.

Headline speakers included Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP, Abbot Christopher Jamison OSB and Bob and Maggie McCarty (a husband and wife team working in youth ministry in America for many years at a senior level). Archbishop Vincent Nichols gave the closing exhortation within the final liturgy.

In his address on the theme of hope, Fr Timothy Radcliffe said:
'My hope is that you will be bearers of hope. The future may look bleak. We may wonder where on earth we are headed. Each of us will live through moments of crisis when the future seems unsure. But every Eucharist we remember the moment when there seemed to be no future except the cross, when it all seemed over, and then Jesus made this extraordinary act of generosity and hope. And so we need never be afraid. We can share our hope with each other.'

One Southwark participant described the Congress as 'an inspiring and motivating event'.

Please click on the logo on the left to visit the web site of the Catholic Youth Federation and click here for more photos of the Congress

Press release from the Bishops' Conference in England and Wales web site


Dean of St John's Seminary ordained to the Diaconate

On Thursday, 25th February 2010, Bishop Patrick ordained Philip Smith to the Diaconate at St John's Seminary, Wonersh.

Philip is the Dean (senior student) at the Seminary this year. He looks forward to recieving the call to Priesthood in the near future.

Philip’s family was present and the bishop made a point of thanking them during the ceremony for the gift of their son.

We keep Philip and all our students for the priesthood and diaconate in our prayers.

Father Shaju Varkey congratulates Deacon Philip during the reception
in the Seminary's ambulacrum after the Ordination


Consecration of Church of SS Ethelbert and Gertrude

Bishop John anoints the altar

Father Steven Fisher with Deacons Robin Carter and Peter Brown and the parishioners of SS Ethelbert and Gertrude, Ramsgate and Minster, welcomed Bishop John to their parish on Thursday, 25th February 2010, the Feast of St Ethelbert, for the consecration of their church.

Among those taking part in the ceremony were the Benedictine nuns from Minster Abbey.

The church was built in 1902 and so has waited over a hundred years to be consecrated.


The Rite of Election - a joyful celebration

Bishop John presided at the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion at St George's Cathedral on Saturday, 20th February 2010.

254 catechumens and 263 candidates - from 89 parishes in the diocese -  with their godparents, sponsors and families filled the Cathedral for this joyful celebration. The catechumens will be baptised and the candidates will be received into the Church in their own parishes at the Easter Vigil. They will also be confirmed and receive Holy Communion for the first time.

We keep them all in our prayers as they continue their journey of faith.

Such is the importance of this ceremony in the liturgical calendar that it is customary for all Southwark's bishops to be present. Bishop Patrick and Bishop Howard attended as did the Chancellor, Father Matthew Dickens. Bishop Paul was in Ireland for the funeral of Mgr Patrick Keaveny.

Father John O'Toole, Director of the Christian Education Centre, described the celebration as 'a very memorable occasion'. He added: 'Of particular note is the fact that catechumens (unbaptised) now nearly equal candidates (already baptised). In 2005, for example, there were 160 catechumens and 249 candidates. It seems likely that in the next few years the number of catechumens will exceed the number of candidates – no doubt reflecting the fact that there are a large number of adults who were never baptised as children.'

Read Bishop John's homily (.pdf version available)

More photos of the Rite of Election

More about RCIA and the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion

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

Journeys of Faith on the life4seekers web site


Diocesan staff thank Archbishop Kevin

On Friday, 19th February 2010, diocesan staff based in SE1 gathered to wish Archbishop Kevin their best as he prepared to enter hospital for the first of his two hip replacement operations.

The Archbishop made a short speech thanking all who had supported him in his stewardship of the diocese over the time he had been the bishop. His gratitude was directed particularly to all those who work in the different diocesan agencies, many of whom are based in different parts of the diocese.

More photos of the occasion


Archbishop Kevin to undergo a further operation

Archbishop Kevin is due to return to hospital on Monday, 22nd February 2010, for a further operation.

This will be a hip operation - the result of his severe osteo-arthritis, which has already necessitated two knee replacements.

We keep him in our thoughts and prayers.

(posted 19-02-10)


Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Monsignor Patrick Keaveny

who was ordained Priest in 1965

and who died on 16th February 2010

May he rest in peace


New Marriage and Family Life web section

Our diocesan Marriage and Family Life Team now has its own section on our web site.

This section includes the dates of Marriage Preparation Courses as well as information about the team's other initiatives.


Please click on the logo above or the one on the side-bar

'Walk with Me' - daily meditations for Lent

The Southwark edition of 'Walk with Me', a booklet containing meditations and prayers for each day during Lent, is now available in most parishes in our diocese.

The theme of these meditiations is 'justice' - the topic chosen by the Holy Father for his Lenten Message this year.

In his introduction to 'Walk with Me', Bishop John, the Administrator of our diocese during the sede vacante, writes: 'I welcome the Walk with Me Lenten booklet. Here is a programme laid out for us, here is a practical daily journey. If we follow it faithfully, Easter will find us changed, possibly a little more Christ-like.'

Read full text of the Holy Father's Lenten Message (.pdf format)


Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Deacon John Tuggey

who was ordained Deacon in 2009

and who died on 3rd February 2010

May he rest in peace


Bishops John, Patrick and Paul meet the Holy Father

At the Vatican on Monday, 1st February 2010

Photo: L'Osservatore Romano

Photo: L'Osservatore Romano

Please click on each of the photos above to view a larger version


Holy Father looks forward to his visit to Britain

Photo: L'Osservatore Romano

In his address to the bishops of England and Wales, gathered in Rome for their ad limina visit, the Holy Father said

'Even amid the pressures of a secular age, there are many signs of living faith and devotion among the Catholics of England and Wales. I am thinking for example of the enthusiasm generated by the visit of the relics of St Thérèse, the interest aroused by the prospect of Cardinal Newman’s beatification and the eagerness of young people to take part in pilgrimages and World Youth Days.

On the occasion of my forthcoming Apostolic Visit to Great Britain, I shall be able to witness that faith for myself and as Successor of Peter, to strengthen and confirm it.

During the months of preparation that lie ahead, be sure to encourage the Catholics of England and Wales in their devotion and assure them that the Pope constantly remembers them in his prayers and holds them in his heart.'

The audience took place on Monday, 1st February 2010, in the Sala del Concistoro of the Apostolic Palace.

Photo: L'Osservatore Romano

Read the full text of the Holy Father's Address (.pdf)

Earlier in the day, Bishop John, the Administrator of our diocese, together with Bishops Patrick and Paul, were received in private audience by the Holy Father.

Photo: Mazur/

Please click on the photo above for a slideshow of the bishops on
their ad limina visit

Our bishops at the English College in Rome ...

Bishops Patrick, John and Paul with Monsignor Nicholas Hudson,
Rector of the English College

During the ad limina vist, our bishops are enjoying the hospitality of the Venerable English College in Rome. The ad limina visit started on Monday, 25th January and will continue until Thursday, 4th February 2010.

The bishops of England and Wales, in the spirit of pilgrimage 'to the threshold of the apostles', offered Mass in the crypt of Saint Peter's Basilica on Monday morning, 25th, at an altar near the apostle's remains.

Meetings with the Holy Father and with various Roman Congregations continue. The Holy Father will also receive all the bishops as a group before they return to England and Wales. 

Monsignor Hudson shows the bishops an aspect of the recent
restoration of the College Church

Southwark in Rome - our bishops with Monsignor Hudson and two of our students for the priesthood, David Howell and Matthew O'Gorman 

... and at the Pontifical Beda College

On Wednesday, 27th, Bishops John, Patrick and Paul, along with Bishop of the Forces Richard Moth concelebrated, with the bishops of England and Wales and the inhouse formation staff of the Pontifical Beda College, a sung Mass for the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls.

Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham presided and preached to a congregation which consisted principally of the FMDM sisters and the seminarians from the Beda College, which is located across the street from the basilica. The basilica, one of the four major basilicas in Rome, was still splendidly decorated with flowers from papal vespers, the culminating event for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, that were sung on Saturday.

Bishops of England and Wales offering Mass
in the Basilica of St Paul Outside The Walls

Following the Mass, the four archbishops, 29 bishops, and special guest, Abbot Edmund Power of St Paul’s, dined at the Beda College as guests of the Rector, Mgr Roderick Strange. Bishops John, Patrick, Paul and Richard were seated with the Southwark seminarians Alan Burgess (Cathedral parish and St Joseph’s, New Malden) and Leonard Tatt (Christ Church, Eltham). Alan is in his second year of a four-year study programme, Leonard in his first.

Both Mgr Strange and Archbishop Vincent Nichols spoke after dinner about priestly formation provided by the college to the international group (17 nationalities) of seminarians currently studying at the Beda College. 


Ad limina apostolorum

Our bishops, together with the bishops from all the dioceses in England and Wales, have travelled to Rome for their 'ad limina' visit to the Vatican.

The 'ad limina apostolorum' (to the threshold of the apostles) takes place every five years and is a pilgrimage to the tombs of the apostles - Saint Peter, buried beneath the high altar of St Peter's Basilica, and Saint Paul, beneath the high altar of the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls.

It is also a demonstration that our bishops are in communion with the Bishop of Rome and so expresses the unity of our Church.

During their visit, the bishops will have the opportunity to discuss the state of their dioceses with the Holy Father and with some of the Vatican's dicasteries (departments of the Roman Curia).

We pray for our bishops. May the 'ad limina' be an occasion of grace for them all and may they receive encouragement as they  continue to serve our Church.

(posted 25-01-10) 

Haiti - the focus of our prayers ...


The sad news of the devastating earthquake in Haiti has filled hearts throughout the world with compassion and concern. This predominantly Catholic country is among the poorest in the western world and is in deep need of our prayers - for those who have died, for the bereaved, the injured, the homeless, for those without food, water, shelter or health care  ... 

The Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot, is reported to be among the estimated 50,000 people who have lost their lives in this disaster. His cathedral lies in ruins.

American Red Cross/AP

May the Holy Spirit bring them consolation and healing and inspire all who are affected by this tragedy to have the courage to rebuild their lives.


If you wish to contribute to help alleviate their suffering, please visit the CAFOD site. CAFOD is a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee.

CAFOD (Catholic Fund for Overseas Development)

Read the article by Sister Janet Fearns FMDM in the Times Online
(Sister Janet is a member of the FMDM Community at Archbishop's House)

Migrants' dignity is given by God

Bishop Patrick has marked the 96th World Day of Migrants and Refugees on Sunday, 17th January 2010, by insisting that
'A human being's worth is defined and determined by their God given dignity, not by the papers they do or do not carry.'

The bishop, who is responsible for the Office of Migration and Refugee Policy of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, echoes the focus of the Holy Father's message for the day - the plight of underage migrants and refugees.

Bishop Patrick said: ‘the care for migrant families especially women with children in detention was both a pastoral and policy challenge’.

He said that raising the plight of families in detention especially women with children by disseminating information on their human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as providing pastoral support was one way of trying to ensure their protection.

‘At the heart of Catholic Social Teaching is the principle that every human being is created in the image of God and redeemed by Jesus Christ and is therefore invaluable and worthy of respect as a member of the human family. This fundamental principle shapes our ministry with migrants – forced or unforced, documented or undocumented. A migrant’s legal status is quite separate from his or her human dignity. A human being's worth is defined and determined by their God given dignity not by the papers they do or do not carry.'

He added that every effort should be made to end child detention while their families await decisions on their claim for sanctuary in the UK.

Read the text of the Holy Father's message (.pdf)

Read Bishop Patrick's Address to the National Justice and Peace Conference - Juiy 2009 (.pdf available)

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