News Archive for 2011 - April

Archbishop Peter ordains four Jesuits to the Diaconate

In his first visit to Corpus Christi Church, Brixton Hill, on Saturday,
30th April 2011, Archbishop Peter presided at Mass during which he ordained four members of the Society of Jesus to the diaconate.

Our congratulations to - and our prayers for - Deacons Bart Beckers SJ, Matthew Malone SJ, Elil Rajan Rajendram SJ and Godfrey Veerasammy SJ.

The Candidates affirm their commitment to diaconal ministry

The Archbishop and all present pray for the candidates in the Litany
of the Saints, while the candidates lie prostrate

Archbishop Peter with the four newly ordained Deacons (left to right): Deacon Matthew Malone SJ, Deacon Bart Beckers SJ, Deacon Elil Rajan Rajendram SJ and Deacon Godfrey Veerasammy SJ

More photos of the occasion on RCSouthwark's Flick'r page 


Swale Catenians support Apostleship of the Sea

Pictured from left to right: Chris Newman, President Jim Bunce,
Deacon Daniel Mulcahy and John Rutland

During Swale Catenian Circle’s April meeting, President Jim Bunce presented a cheque for £900 to Deacon Daniel Mulcahy, Port Chaplin and representative of the Apostleship of the Sea.

The Apostleship of the Sea provides practical and pastoral care to seafarers who visit British shores and have been the chosen charity for President Jim Bunce during his term in office.

Visit the web site of the Apostleship of the Sea 


Beatification of Pope John Paul II - video coverage

The schedule for the Beatification of Pope John Paul II together with links to the web sites that will be covering the ceremonies live are listed on a linked page.

There are three ceremonies:

30th April: Prayer Vigil
at the Circus Maximus
7:00 - 9:30 pm (BST)
1st May: Beatification
in St Peter's Square
9:00 am (Preparation from 8:00 am) (BST)
2nd May: Mass of Thanksgiving
in St Peter's Square
9:30 am (BST)

Please click here for details of the schedule and video coverage

Issued by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales


Congratulations to Canon John O'Toole

Archbishop Peter has appointed Fr John to the Chapter of Canons

He will formally be installed by Provost Joseph Collins at the Chapter Mass on the 6th May 2011.

Canon John has been the Director of the Christian Education Centre since 2004 and early in June will succeed Canon James Cronin as Dean of Saint George's Cathedral.

Canon John paid tribute to the CEC team:
'I look back with gratitude to the fine team of people I have worked with during my time here at the CEC and also to past teams who have run previous laps of the race. In particular I look back with gratitude to Fr Brian Coyle, my immediate predecessor, who passed on the baton to me.

It is with confidence that I now hand on the same baton to Fr David Gibbons. May he and the team run the new lap with zest and energy and enjoy the race as much as I have.'


Clergy Appointments and News



Archbishop Peter has made the following appointments:

Father Avelino Bermundo, SOLT,
as Parish Priest of The Virgin Mother of Good Counsel, Hythe

Father Samuel Medley, SOLT,
as Assistant Priest at The Virgin Mother of Good Counsel, Hythe

Father Deodat Msahala
as Assistant Priest at St Bartholomew's, Norbury

Father Joseph Udoh, MSP,
as Assistant Priest at Our Lady of the Assumption, Deptford

Father Julius Otoaye, MSP
as Assistant Priest at St John the Evangelist, Gravesend

Father Francis Moran
as the Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator

Gratitude to:

Fr Fred Alexander, SOLT, for his work in the diocese

Canon John Kavanagh for his work as Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator and member of the Safeguarding Commission


Fr John Boyle has been given leave to remain in the Diocese of Marquette, USA, for a further two years. He is to take up the position of parochial administrator of the parish of St Anthony, Gwinn, Michegan, in July.

Giovanni Bellini
The Resurrection of Christ (detail) 1475-79
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

A happy and blessed Easter


Holy Father's Easter message and blessing

After presiding at the Easter Sunday Mass in Saint Peter's Square, the Holy Father gave his Easter message and blessing from the Loggia - the central balcony - of Saint Peter's Basilica.

Before giving his blessing 'Urbi et Orbi' - to the city (of Rome) and the world - the Holy Father gave his Easter greetings in 65 languages. In English he said:

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

Read the Holy Father's Easter message on Zenit

View BBC One coverage on iPlayer (34 minutes)


Easter Mass for the Tunbridge Wells Ordinariate Group

On Easter Sunday, Bishop John presided at Mass at Saint Anselm's, Pembury, for members of the Tunbridge Wells group of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. He is pictured above with Father Behruz Ra'fat, the parish priest, and a few members of the large group who were received at Saint Augustine's, Tunbridge Wells, on the Tuesday of Holy Week.


Bishops offer Easter Masses in prisons

On Easter Sunday morning

Bishop Patrick
offered Mass at HMP Belmarsh and

Bishop Paul
offered two Masses at HMP Wandsworth - on the main wing and on the secure wing.



Saint George's Cathedral: East Window (detail)

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you,
because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world


More Ordinariate Receptions ...

Photos are coming through of more of the groups who were received into full communion with the Catholic Church as members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham during Holy Week.

We welcome and keep in our prayers:

Members of the Sevenoaks Ordinariate Group

Members of the Beckenham and Bromley Ordinariate Group

Members of the Deal Ordinariate Group

Members of the Folkestone Ordinariate Group


Archbishop Peter presided at the Chrism Mass at Saint George's Cathedral on Wednesday, 20th April 2011.

In the sacristy before Mass: Archbishop Peter with
Archbishops Emeriti Michael and Kevin,
Bishops John, Patrick and Paul and Bishop Emeritus Howard

© Mazur/

Of all liturgical gatherings, the Chrism Mass most eloquently expresses the unity of the whole diocese - lay people and religious, bishops, priests and deacons - with the Archbishop.

During the Mass, over two hundred priests from diocesan parishes and religious communities renewed their commitment to priestly service.

© Mazur/

Archbishop Peter consecrated the Oil of Chrism and blessed the Oil of Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick - oils which will be received in each parish in the diocese during the Mass of the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday. They symbolise the pastoral and sacramental care which is at the heart of the Church's ministry. They will be used in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders and in the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

© Mazur/

In his homily, Archbishop Peter reminded the congregation of their vocation: 'By virtue of baptism we are pre-eminently a priestly people, sharing in the one priesthood of Christ, the one and eternal High Priest anointed by God with the Holy Spirit.' He stressed that each has a unique part to play: 'Carrying out and fulfilling the mission of the Church needs the collaborative effort of every member of the Church, each according to the gifts he or she has been given by the Holy Spirit. Or to put it in the words of Pope Benedict, we have a 'co-responsibility' in carrying out that mission and a responsibility for the well-being of each other.'

After the Mass, the Archbishop hosted lunch for the clergy in the Amigo Hall.

Deacon Michael Kennedy checks that all is ready for the filling
and collection of the deanery oil stocks

Full text of Archbishop Peter's homily (.pdf available)

More photos on RCSouthwark's Flick'r page ...

and on the CCEW Flick'r page


Bishop Michael Evans reflects on 'living with dying'

On 20th April 2011, Bishop Michael Evans, Bishop of East Anglia, was interviewed by Stewart White on BBC Look East.

Bishop Michael, formerly a Southwark priest, has defied his doctors' expectations last December that he had only weeks to live. He said that one of the 'milestones' he had set himself was to celebrate the Chrism Mass with his priests and people - and this he has done.

He hopes that his terminal illness will remind people that death is not the end: 'Death and resurrection play no part in people's thinking at all, and yet at the very heart of our Christian faith is the whole idea of dying and rising, of moving through things to something even better.'

We continue to keep Bishop Michael in our prayers.

Listen to the interview on BBC iPlayer


Tunbridge Wells Ordinariate Group reception

On Tuesday, 19th April 2011, about seventy members of the Tunbridge Wells Ordinariate Group were received into full communion with the Catholic Church as members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

The reception took place during Mass at Saint Augustine's Church at which Father Peter Stodart presided.

We keep them in our prayers.

© Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

© Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

More photos of the reception on the Ordinariate's Flick'r page


New Archbishop for Cardiff

Pope Benedict has appointed Bishop George Stack as the new Archbishop of Cardiff in succession to Archbishop Peter.

He was ordained to the priesthood in 1972 and has been an Auxiliary Bishop in Westminster since 2001.

Bishop Stack said that, although sad to be leaving the Archdiocese of Westminster,
'I look forward to serving the people and clergy of the Church in Cardiff with love and faithfulness in the years that lie ahead.
I am aware of the long and noble history of Christianity in Wales and the special gifts the Celtic people bring to the Universal Church. I hope to share in this rich tradition of faith.'

Archbishop Peter welcomed the appointment:
'I was delighted to hear the news this morning that Bishop George Stack has been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as Archbishop of Cardiff. He will bring to the Archdiocese ten years’ experience as an Auxiliary Bishop in Westminster and I’m sure he will tackle this new and important task with his customary enthusiasm and zeal. I am so pleased for the priests and people of Cardiff and Herefordshire.'

Bishop George Stack succeeds Archbishop Peter as the ninth ordinary of the Cardiff Archdiocese.

Press release on the CCEW web site

(posted 19-04-11)


First Ordinariate Receptions at St George's Cathedral

© Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

During this Holy Week, members of the Ordinariate are being received into full communion with the Catholic Church.

On Monday, 18th April 2011, Monsignor Keith Newton presided at a Mass in St George's Cathedral where he received about forty members from the London (South) Group from the Kennington area into the Church as members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

© Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

© Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

We keep all who are to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church in our prayers.

More photos of the occasion

Visit the web site of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham


Monsignor Michael Smith

It was with great sadness that we heard
on Sunday evening of the unexpected death
 of Monsignor Michael Smith,
parish priest of Corpus Christi parish, Tonbridge.
Our hearts go out to his mother and family,
and the parishioners of Corpus Christi parish
whom Mgr Smith served for the past 19 years.
Please pray for the repose of his soul,
and for his family and the parishioners
of Corpus Christi parish.

May he rest in peace


At the Cathedral

In the sacristy before Mass: Deacon Jim Sheahan, Fr Chuk Nnaji,
Archbishop Peter, Canon James Cronin and Fr John Diver

The Blessing of Palms in the Cathedral courtyard


A prayer of blessing


Jesuit Superior General is welcomed at Wimbledon

Father Michael Holman SJ, Archbishop Peter and Father Adolfo Nicolás SJ

On Friday, 15th April 2011, Archbishop Peter joined the Jesuit Community and parishioners from the Sacred Heart Parish, Wimbledon, together with Jesuits from further afield, to welcome the Jesuit Superior General, Father Adolfo Nicolás SJ.

Fr Nicolás is here to visit the Jesuit Communities in Great Britain. He also  officially opened the Hurtado Jesuit Centre, which will provide a new home for the Jesuit Refugee Service, as well as a base for various other apostolic works of the province. (The centre is named after St Alberto Hurtado, a Chilean Jesuit who worked tirelessly for the poor, especially among children.)

Archbishop Peter presided at the Mass and Fr Nicolás gave the homily.

Among the concelebrants was Fr Michael Holman, the Jesuit Provincial. Fr Holman will soon come to the end of his term as Provincial and will take up his new position as Principal of Heythrop College. He is well known in Wimbledon as he was headmaster of Wimbledon College from 1995 until 2004. He is to be succeeded as Provincial by Fr Dermot Preston SJ, who has spent the past five years in Guyana.

More photos of the Mass on RCSouthwark's Flick'r page

Photos of Father Adolfo Nicolás' meeting with the Apostolic Nuncio on
the CCEW Flick'r page


Young pilgrims visit Rome

Father James Clark led an annual youth pilgrimage to Rome from 12th until 15th April 2011 in preparation for Holy Week. Sixth formers from St John's Comprehensive School in Gravesend and students from St John Fisher School in Chatham joined together for four days in the eternal city.

The highlight was seeing Pope Benedict at his Wednesday morning audience, followed by a tour of the Scavi beneath St Peter's Basilica, an early cemetery where there is evidence that Saint Peter was buried.


Archbishop Peter receives Angelicum Award

Archbishop Peter studied Canon Law at the Angelicum in Rome from 1974, gaining his Doctorate (JCD) in 1977. He returned to the University on Sunday, 10th April 2011, to receive the Angelicum Alumni Achievement Award.

This is the University’s most prestigious award reserved for former students who have distinguished themselves by serving the Church's mission in exceptional ways.

Archbishop Peter was delighted - and surprised - to be nominated for this award. He remembers fondly the family atmosphere he experienced during his studies at the Angelicum.

The evening began with sung Vespers, at which Archbishop Peter presided, in the Church of Saints Dominic and Sixtus, the College Chapel, and continued with dinner and the presentation of the award.

Also at the celebration were: Canon Michael O'Dea and Father Martin Edwards, both alumni of the Angelicum, Mgr Nicholas Hudson, Rector of the Venerable English College, and the five Southwark seminarians presently studying in Rome (David Howell, Matthew O'Gorman and Philip Andrews from the English College and Leonard Tatt and Alan Burgess from the Beda College).


This is only the second time that the award has been granted. The first recipient was Cardinal John Foley.

The Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (known as the Angelicum) has its roots in the medieval 'studium generale' established by the Dominicans in 1222, which St Thomas Aquinas was appointed to lead in 1265. In 1577, it became the College of St Thomas and was raised to the rank of a Pontifical University by Pope John XXIII in 1963.

Its most illustrious student was Father Karol Wojtyla, who enrolled in the Faculty of Theology of the Angelicum in 1946. In 1948, he defended his doctorate thesis on The Doctrine of Faith in St John of the Cross. The University preserves, as a great treasure, his documents, especially his typewritten thesis. He became Pope John Paul II (1978 - 2005) and is due to be beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday, 1st May 2011.

More photos on the RCSouthwark's Flick'r page

Visit the Angelicum University web site

Many more photos on the Angelicum Picasa page (added 15-04-11)


From Balham to Malawi - with love ...

Parishioners from the Holy Ghost in Balham have been ardently assembling backpacks to send to children in impoverished countries.

This project, called the Backpack Project, is an initiative of Mary's Meals and was organised and led by a group of young people in the parish. Many parishioners and families took part and the parish were delighted to send over a hundred backpacks to children in overseas countries including Malawi, Kenya and the Philippines.

These backpacks will enable children to go to school and include not only the basic equipment which will help them in their learning, but also items such as clothing, toothbrush and soap.

Visit Mary's Meals web site


Altar Servers gather at Selsdon

On Sunday, 10th April 2011, thirty-eight altar servers attended an afternoon gathering at Selsdon organised by Fr Stephen Boyle.

Tom Caluori from Virgo Fidelis parish, Upper Norwood, started the meeting with superb ice breaking games. Fr Behruz Raf'at gave the spiritual input which centred on the processional cross. There was an opportunity for Confession during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The day ended with the evening Mass. The programme also included the compulsory requirement of a football match.

Many thanks to Fr Barry Hughes and the parish of St Columba's for hosting the day and to the altar servers of the home parish who turned out in impressive numbers. Altar servers meet for these days every term.


Monsignor Matthew with the Sevenoaks Ordinariate

On Sunday, 10th April 2011, Mgr Matthew Dickens, the Vicar General and Chancellor of the diocese, joined Mgr John Broadhurst to offer Mass at
St Thomas of Canterbury, Sevenoaks, and to meet members of the Sevenoaks Ordinariate.

Photo: Sevenoaks Ordinariate

Monsignor Matthew welcomed the members of the ordinariate and promised them a warm welcome and the prayers of the diocese.

Photo: Sevenoaks Ordinariate

Monsignor John gave the catechesis on the theology of the Church.

Monsignor John is one of the three former Anglican bishops who were ordained to the Catholic priesthood in Westminster Cathedral in January this year. He was named a Prelate of Honour by the Holy Father in March.

The Sevenoaks Ordinariate Group has expressed its gratitude to Father Richard Harvey, Father Behruz Raf'at and the parishioners of
St Thomas of Canterbury for the warm welcome they have received.

We keep them in our prayers as they look forward to their Reception into the Catholic Church as members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham on Maundy Thursday, 21st April 2011.

Frassati Society's North Downs Walk

On Saturday, 9th April 2011, 20 young adults from the Frassati Society, embarked on a 12 mile hike across the North Downs in Surrey.

Based at Holy Ghost, Balham, young adults from the parish began their journey at Guildford stopping in Gomshall for a leisurely pub lunch before continuing for the final 5 miles to Dorking. The day was enjoyed by all and the glorious weather made it all the more perfect!

More about the Frassati Society


Aylesford Priests' Courses

For Recently Ordained/Arrived Priests: 5th - 6th April 2011
For First Parish Priests: 6th - 7th April 2011

These quarterly 24 hour residentials are offered to support priests at times of transition and change, and the Archbishop invites the priests to four residentials in the first year of their new situation. As it is a rolling programme, there are always new faces each time, and those taking part represent a range of nationalities, cultures and backgrounds – as well as a range of ages and lengths of service as priests.

Members of the Ongoing Formation Committee introduce participants to the support available to them in the diocese to assist them in their life and ministry – and also ensure the smooth running of the residentials, which always include time for rest, relaxation, prayer and socialising.

Each time there is a focus on one of the aspects of priestly life and ministry outlined in Pastores Dabo Vobis – human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral. This time the focus was on the Human – and very thought-provoking and helpful sessions were led by Fr Michael Leach (Parish Priest – Charlton) and Deacon John Roberts (Aylesford Centre for Spiritual and Personal Development).


An article by Archbishop Peter 'Living the Gospel Here and Now -
A Call to Deeper Social Engagement' is published in the May
edition. Please see the Alive Publishing web site.


Building a New Culture of Social Responsibility

A Conference on Catholic Social Action, organised by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, was held on Wednesday, 6th April 2011, at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in Westminster.

© Mazur/

The conference was held as a response to the Holy Father's call for the Church to take its full part in a profound and on-going dialogue between secular society and the world of faith. He said that 'The prophetic voice of Christians has an important role in highlighting the needs of the poor and disadvantaged, who can so easily be overlooked in the allocation of limited resources.'

© Mazur/

Meetings were held in February this year in Liverpool and London to discuss how the Church could best respond to the Holy Father's call and how Catholic Social Teaching would guide the Church's involvement.

'Building a New Culture of Social Responsibility' aimed to take the results of these meetings to a wider audience at national level, including Government, Parliamentarians, Civil Servants, Catholic agencies, commentators, academics and bishops.

The conference marked the beginning of a new level and new determination in the Church’s involvement with the social needs of our country. The issues identified – whether as challenges or opportunities – will need to be addressed in detail by the Church working in partnership with Government and other agencies. A detailed agenda for further action will be released in due course.

Baroness Warsi, Cabinet Member and Chairman of the Conservative Party, addressed the conference. She said: 'It is a great honour to be here today, to be a part of something very special: A conference on “social responsibility”. In line with your tradition, you have listened and considered together. You have taken time to identify and explore the emerging needs, challenges and opportunities for social engagement of the Church in the coming years.'

She concluded that the Catholic Church has 'the power, the creativity, and the experience to tackle some of the most pressing social challenges we face.'
© Mazur/

Archbishop Peter, Chairman of the Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship of the Bishops' Conference, has been deeply involved in the process of implementing the Holy Father's call for the Church to play a constructive role ih partnership with secular society.

© Mazur/

Listen to or download Baroness Warsi's address from the CCEW web site

Brief background to 'Building a New Culture of Social Responsibility' 

More photos of the conference on the CCEW Flick'r site


Joint meeting of Catholic and Anglican bishops

© Mazur/

Archbishop Peter hosted a joint meeting between the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales and the House of Bishops of the Church of England at the Amigo Hall on Monday, 4th April 2011.

© Mazur/

This was the first plenary session of Catholic and Anglican bishops since they met with the Holy Father at Lambeth Palace, the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, on Friday, 17th September 2010.

© Mazur/

After the meeting, Archbishop Peter presided at Ecumenical Vespers
in St George's Cathedral.

Canon James Cronin, Bishop Michael Langrish (Bishop of Exeter), Bishop Christopher Budd (Plymouth), Archbishop Peter, Archbishop Rowan Williams, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Canon Andrew Nunn (Acting Dean
of Southwark Anglican Cathedral)

Selection of photos

More photos of the meeting on the CCEW's Flick'r site

More photos of Ecumenical Vespers on RCSouthwark's Flick'r site


Laetare Sunday: Lenten Oasis at the Beda College

Mgr Nicholas Hudson, David Howell, Mark Wharton, Leonard Tatt
and Alan Burgess

Each year on Laetare Sunday, Mgr Roderick Strange, Rector of the Pontifical Beda College, hosts the Lenten Oasis luncheon to which the Venerable English, the Scots, and the Irish Colleges are invited. It is a mid-Lenten celebration which began some years ago when the Venerable English College had to close for essential works and the VEC students were accommodated in the other English-speaking colleges.

This year, as the temperature in Rome reached 25 degrees, over 130 guests were entertained to a wonderful four-course meal. Southwark seminarian Mark Wharton (Wonersh, Balham) could not have timed his visit to Rome better and was able to participate in the Mass and lunch with other Southwark men: Mgr Nicholas Hudson (Rector of the VEC), David Howell (VEC, Surbiton), Leonard Tatt (Beda, Eltham), and Alan Burgess (Beda, Cathedral parish). Unfortunately, Matthew O’Gorman (Wallington) and Philip Andrews (New Malden) were unable to attend.


New performing arts centre at Coloma

Archbishop Peter blessed and opened the new Winton House Performing Arts Centre at Coloma Convent Girls' School in Croydon on Friday, 1st April 2011.

To mark the occasion, the Daughters of Mary and Joseph presented the school with a crucifix.


Canon Michael O'Dea (Dean), Miss Lauren Byrne (Head Girl),
Fr Joe O'Connor (Parish Priest), Mrs Maureen Martin (Headteacher),
Archbishop Peter, Sr Shelia and Sr Margaret

The entrance to the new Performing Arts Centre

More photos of the occasion on RCSouthwark's Flick'r Photostream

Visit Coloma Convent Girls' School web site


Passion Play at the English Martyrs, Walworth

Nine members of a theatre group from the Slavic community who meet in Melior Street, Bermondsey, performed a Passion Play at the English Martyrs Church in Walworth on Friday, 1st April, 2011.