News Archive for 2010 - May

Awards to the Latin American community

On Friday, 28th May 2010, the Metropolitan Police Ibero-American Association held an award ceremony at New Scotland Yard to honour members of the Latin American Community who had made a significant contribution to help their community and promote their recognition and integration.

Entitled a Celebration of Engagement and Integration, eleven people were given awards to mark their contribution, among them were Gloria Gomez and Nancy Lizcano.

Gloria founded Latin Front in 2004 working with the Latin American Community to promote citizenship and defend their rights. She is also a governor of two primary schools in the diocese and actively works for the recognition of the Latin American community in South London. She is a member of the Advisory panel for the Bishops’ Conference Office for Migrantion Policy chaired by Bishop Patrick.

Nancy Lizcano founded Telefono de la Esperanza in London in 2004. As well as founding this help line, a life line for many Latin Americans, she has organised workshops, courses and seminars to facilitate people and act as a catalyst for their integration into living and settling in London.

Canon James Cronin with award winners at New Scotland Yard

(posted 03-06-10)


Priests and Deacons celebrate jubilees of ordination

On Tuesday, 25th May 2010, Bishop John was principal celebrant at a Mass in the Cathedral in celebration and thanksgiving for those priests and deacons who are marking significant jubilees of their ordinations this year.

Concelebrating with Bishop John were the priest jubilarians and they were joined by Archbishop Kevin, Bishop Patrick, Mgr Matthew Dickens and Canon James Cronin.

After the Mass, Bishop John hosted a lunch for the jubilarians and their guests in the dining-room of Archbishop's House.

Our congratulations and gratitude to our jubilarian priests and deacons for their many years of service.

A list of our jubilarians and more photos


Wonersh students at the English College, Rome

Mgr Nicholas Hudson with Fr Sean Finnegan and Wonersh students

On Wednesday, 19th May 2010, Fr Sean Finnegan and thirteen students from St John's Seminary, Wonersh, were welcomed at the Venerable English College in Rome by the Rector, Mgr Nicholas Hudson. The students come from various dioceses including Southwark. They are pictured in one of the libraries during their tour of the College.


Prayers for the Papal Nuncio

Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, the Papal Nuncio for Great Britain, suffered a mild stroke on Sunday, 16th May 2010.

Archbishop Faustino, 72, was born in Spain and was appointed Papal Nuncio to Great Britain in December 2004.

As the Pope's ambassador to Great Britain, he is due to welcome the Holy Father at the Nunciature when he visits London during his visit to Scotland and England in September. 

We pray for Archbishop Faustino's speedy and complete recovery.


Archbishop Kevin: the vision of inter-religious dialogue

In an extended interview with Faith Today, Archbishop Kevin discusses the vision which lies at the heart of 'Meeting God in Friend and Stranger', the document on inter-religious dialogue published by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales last month.

In summary, Faith Today comments:

'The word hope comes up a lot when meeting with Archbishop Kevin. For him simply to engage in dialogue is to enlarge our capacity for it. He says, 'God's purpose is for the unity of all  humanity in his Son Jesus Christ. God is working in mysterious ways in the Church, in other Christians and through the power of the Holy Spirit in other religions. There is one thing I know about inter-religious dialogue which I have learnt over the years and that is when we can't see how we can possibly get to a new situation the God can find a way.''

The interview with Archbishop Kevin is in the June edition of Faith Today, which is available in most parishes or by subscription from the publishers. Please click on the box below to visit the publisher's web site.

(posted 21-05-10)


New Catholics give thanks at Cathedral Mass

On Saturday, 15th May 2010, Bishop Paul was principal celebrant at a Mass in St George's Cathedral to welcome our new Catholics who were baptised or received into the Church during the Easter Vigil.

In his homily, Bishop Paul said: 'Today is an opportunity for us all to give thanks to God. I'm sure you would wish to thank him for having led you to this point in your Christian journey. We share your joy as we recognise that each of you brings something unique to share with your parish and with the whole Church.'

He reminded them of the value of their Christian vocation: 'Each of you has a unique calling. You have particular talents, you live in a particular place, you know particular people. There are things that you can do that no-one else can do - however talented other people may be and however ordinary you may feel at times. I want to encourage you to have confidence in that calling, that vocation, which God will help you to see and understand better, as you go through life day by day.'

Full text of Bishop Paul's homily (.pdf available)

'View from the pew' and more photos (extra photos added 22-05-10)


Bishop Richard's new mental health responsibility

The Bishop of the Forces, Bishop Richard, is to become the lead Bishop for the new mental health project of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Initiated by Day for Life funding, the Conference has recently appointed a Mental Health Worker and is set to launch a small grants programme to enable dioceses to apply for mental health project funding.

Introducing the project, Bishop Moth said: “All our parish communities are places where people with mental health difficulties seek support, pastoral care, and comfort. It will often be a place where people feel safe; a place where they feel at home, close to God. Many people will come to presbyteries and parish communities for pastoral care.

The deployment of troops in Afghanistan is bringing many people back who are physically and mentally scarred and in that context, it’s the case that some of those problems aren’t going to emerge for a good number of years – perhaps it will take as long as 10 or 15 years before somebody who has gone through that kind of experience is able to talk about it. It is vital that, at such times in their lives, our parish communities are places where they can be welcomed, understood and feel at home.

I think it’s really very good that the Conference is taking this opportunity to do some research; to support some projects around our dioceses, to see what is best practice across this country for the pastoral care we offer to people with mental health difficulties. That will enable us to provide resources that can be put in place for parishes, for deaneries, for schools and for dioceses so that they are better equipped to provide the care that people with mental health problems really need at this time.”

(Vimeo videos are not compatible with AOL browsers)

Full press release on the Catholic Church in England and Wales web site

(posted 14-05-10)


Statement on the new Government

From Archbishop Peter Smith, Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales:

"On behalf of the Catholic Community of England and Wales I would like to pledge an assurance of our prayers for the Prime Minister and the new coalition government as they begin their work in the service of the common good of our society.

In wishing the new government well, it is good for us all to recall that many of the deep seated problems of our society can only be addressed through a renewal of shared values. Change for the better cannot be left to politicians alone to bring about. It needs all of us.”


Building a Legacy of Peace

On Monday, 10th May 2010, at Westminster Cathedral, Archbishop Vincent Nichols and the Right Honourable and Right Reverend Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, presided at a Service dedicated to all the young victims of violent crime in London.

The occasion marked the second anniversary of the death of Jimmy Mizen, whose family are parishioners of the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, Lee.

The Service was held in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales. Also present were Bishop Patrick, Fr Edward Perera, parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes, Lee, and 10 staff and 43 students from Jimmy's school, St Thomas More Catholic Comprehesive School, Eltham.

Barry and Margaret Mizen, Jimmy's parents, made passionate appeals for all people to work together to bring an end to knife and gun crime in London.

Archbishop Vincent in his homily said:
'Building a legacy of peace involves change in all of us. Each one of us has to be a part of this legacy, each a contributor through the way we act and the way we live. Our daily lives have to be a commitment to peace. Our daily actions have to be the building bricks of a pattern of living which has peace at its heart. And the consequences of that are quite considerable.'

Catrina Hamilton, Deputy Head of St Thomas More School, said after the Service: 'We felt very privileged and proud to be part of such a significant and momentous event. Jimmy was a popular student who will always be remembered by our school community. The legacy of the peace initiative will no doubt be one that will not become forgotten and, as a school community, we will continue to work together with Barry and Margaret Mizen to spread the message that violence is never a solution to problems.
We wish the families of those who have suffered tragic losses our thoughts and prayers.'

Prince Charles and Barry Mizen after the Service

Photos: Mazur/

The Mizen family were joined by the families of other victims of gun and knife crime. They included the families of Bob Litambola, Westley Odger, Godwin Lawson, Martin Dinnegan, Paul Baker, Ben Kinsella, Rob Knox, Philip Lawrence, Kiyan Prince, Damilola Taylor, David Idowu, and Kojo Yenga.

We keep the victims and their families in our prayers.

Full report and text of Archbishop Vincent's homily on the Diocese of Westminster web site

The web site of The Jimmy Mizen Foundation



Deacons and their wives on retreat at Merville

The On-Going Formation Programme for permanent deacons in our diocese includes two annual retreats, one for deacons only at The Friars, Aylesford, and another for deacons and wives together at Merville, France.

The Merville Retreat, which took place this year from Friday 7th until Sunday 9th May, is now a well established event and those who try it once tend to keep going back. The distance is not vast and many participants find they can combine the retreat with a small holiday by extending their stay at the Maison d'Accueil in Merville before or after the weekend retreat. This year's retreat was led by Fr Vladimir Felzmann of Westminster Diocese.

One deacon there this year commented: "The surroundings are just so peaceful and ideal for a Retreat. This year's Retreat leader, Fr Vlad Felzmann's talks and insight kept us all waiting for the next moment when maybe just one word would switch the light in our heads back on! Not only do we have the spiritual formation we also take the opportunity, for those who wish, to socialise and enjoy the company of like minded deacons. And it really is not far to travel."

It is hoped that still more deacons with their wives will consider coming next year; the dates will be Friday 13th May to Sunday 15th May 2011.


Our seminarians in Rome ... the Fisher connection

Southwark Seminarians from the Beda and Venerable English Colleges seen here with Mgr Matthew Dickens, Diocesan Chancellor, and the Rector of the ‘Venerabile’, Mgr Nicholas Hudson, himself a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark. They are gathered in the Tribune of the English College Church. The church has strong links with the Archdiocese, it being the oldest church outside of England to be dedicated to St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. The church goes back to the early 15th century, having been built to serve the Pilgrims’ Hospice established there in 1362 by a Confraternity of Englishmen who placed themselves similarly under the patronage of St Thomas. Behind the group can be seen a fresco cycle depicting the martyrdom of students from the English College: in the first century of the College’s existence, forty-four of the students were martyred. It was for this reason that the College was given the unique title of ‘Venerable’.

Here they gather before a contemporary portrait of St John Fisher. Like Becket before him, Fisher too was a bishop in the Archdiocese, being Cardinal-Bishop of Rochester when he was martyred in 1535.

The recent refurbishment of the College church included the restoration of this fresco ‘lunette’ which shows the College Protomartyr, St Ralph Sherwin, preaching to St Charles Borromeo in Milan as the first group of students returned to the mission in England.

Cleaning of the fresco revealed a portrait on the back wall which is almost identical to the portrait of St John Fisher before which our current seminarians stand. The Director of the Christian Education Centre, Fr John O’Toole, helped the College make the link when, seeing the similarity, he said he thought it most likely that it was a portrait of Fisher since Borromeo was famous for his devotion to the recently martyred Fisher and had a portrait of him on the wall of his study.

We keep all our students for the priesthood at Wonersh and in Rome in our prayers.

Visit the web site of the Venerable English College

Visit the web site of the Pontifical Beda College