News Archive for 2011 - February

Fr Wilfrid re-elected as Carmelite Prior Provincial

On Wednesday, 23rd February 2011, at Aylesford Priory, the 15th Provincial Chapter of the British Province of Carmelites re-elected Father Wilfrid McGreal, O.Carm. as Prior Provincial.

Father Wilfrid was elected as Prior Provincial in 2008 and so embarks on his second term of office, which will be formally confirmed by the Prior General of the Order during Easter Week.

On the following day, the Chapter elected the following members to serve on the Provincial Council:

First Councillor: Father Joseph Chalmers, O.Carm.
Second Councillor: Father Brendan Grady, O.Carm.
Third Councillor: Father Kevin Melody, O.Carm.
Fourth Councillor: Father Damian Cassidy, O.Carm.

Visit the web site of the British Province of Carmelites 


Canon James Cronin to be Missio's National Director

Last weekend, 19th/20th February 2011, it was announced in the Cathedral that Canon James Cronin, Cathedral Dean since 1996, has been appointed by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples as the next National Director of Missio, part of the world-wide network of Pontifical Missionary Societies, supporting the Church in countries where it is young or poor.

He will succeed Monsignor John Dale, who has served in the post since 2003. Monsignor Dale has overseen the allocation of more than £25 million donated by the Catholics of England and Wales towards the support of 1,069 mission dioceses. These donations have included the contents of APF/Missio's iconic 'red boxes' which are in more than 200,000 homes in England and Wales, contributing more than £3 million each year. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the red boxes.

Canon Cronin in Ghana in November 2007

Canon Cronin's time at the Cathedral has included the visit of the Dalai Lama in 1999, a visit from the Princess Royal, and the recent refurbishment of the Amigo Hall. He has served as an elected governor of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and in May 2008 he and the Cathedral staff were presented with a special award by the Southwark Civic Association.

As the Diocesan Co-ordinator of Black and Ethnic Minority Chaplains, Canon Cronin has wide experience of welcoming Catholics from overseas to our diocese and has long been supportive of the Church's missionary activity.

It was also announced that the Archbishop plans to appoint Father John O'Toole as the new Cathedral Dean.

Father John has been Director of the Christian Education Centre at Tooting Bec since 2004. He had previously been parish priest of St Andrew's, Thornton Heath and St Paul's, Thamesmead. He has also served in the parishes of Lewisham and Merton.

He is known by many in the Cathedral parish who have worked with him in organising the Rite of Election each year.

The Archbishop intends to appoint Father David Gibbons as the new Director of the Christian Education Centre.

Father David is currently parish priest at the Sacred Heart, Camberwell.

The three priests are likely to take up their new positions sometime during the summer.

We keep Canon James Cronin, Father John O'Toole and Father David Gibbons in our prayers as they prepare to undertake new responsibilities.

Visit the Missio web site


Walk with Me - A Lenten Journey of Prayer

Many have valued previous editions of the 'Walk with Me' booklets of  meditations for Advent and Lent.

The Southwark edition for Lent 2011 is now available in our parishes. These meditations are centred on the homily that the Holy Father gave in Westminster Cathedral during his visit to Great Britain.

In his Introduction, Archbishop Peter reminds us that 'Lent is an opportunity to be reborn and grow in faith and in the life of the Spirit'.

He writes of the traditional Lenten exercises: 'Prayer, personal and liturgical, places us firmly in the hands of God. Fasting teaches us to exercise self-control and helps us to grow in compassion for the suffering of our world.

Both of these lead us be generous with the gifts God has lavished upon us and give of our bounty to those who struggle each day with poverty and need.'

Full text of the Holy Father's homily at Westminster Cathedral (.pdf)


The Legacy of the Papal Visit

The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter
22nd February 2011

Throughout 2011, the Church in England, Wales and Scotland will be consideriing  how the historic visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Great Britain last September can be built into a lasting legacy to the benefit of the Church and the wider community.

Today, on the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, which symbolises the gift of the Petrine Ministry, we pray with gratitude for the Holy Father and take the opportunity to revisit the events of last September. Please use the links on the left sidebar.

A new section has been added to our web site to focus on the Legacy of the Papal Visit.

Please click here to visit our 'Legacy' page


Pugin Masterpiece to be restored

Major repairs are due to commence at Saint Augustine's Abbey Church in Ramsgate thanks to a generous grant of £110,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage.

The church, a Grade I listed building, was designed by Augustus Welby Pugin and is widely considered to be an architectural masterpiece. Built in the nineteenth century, it is a major symbol of the Catholic Church's revival in England and Wales and close to the place where St Augustine landed in AD 597.

Essential work to the leaking roof and the guttering are scheduled for this first phase of repair.

The Benedictine Community is moving to Chilworth Friary and the diocese has amalgamated the church with the parish of Saint Ethelbert and Gertrude, Ramsgate and Minster.

Father Marcus Holden, the Parish Priest, and the parishioners are enthusiastic about the future of St Augustine's and are planning to establish a Friends group to raise funding to cover further repairs. Father Marcus said: 'I want to see St Augustine's becoming a place of modern pilgrimage. St Augustine landed nearby bringing with him a new message of faith and hope. His message resonates today.'

Press release on the CCEW web site


Saint John's Seminary celebrates its Patron

Staff and students at Saint John's Seminary at Wonersh welcomed their guests to celebrate Saint John's Day with Mass and a meal on Tuesday, 15th February 2011.

Archbishop Peter presided at the Mass and was joined by Archbishop Bernard Longley, Bishops Declan Lang, Tom Burns, Richard Moth, Paul Hendricks, Francis Walmsley and Howard Tripp.

Many priests were also present, including Provost Joseph Collins and Father Edmund Hartley, both of whom celebrate their Golden Jubilees this year.

Archbishop Peter asked for prayers for Bishop Michael Evans of East Anglia, who is seriously ill. Bishop Michael was himself a student at Wonersh and was Vice-Rector at the seminary from 1985-1987, when the then Monsignor Peter Smith was Rector. 

After the Mass the 2011 edition of 'The Evangelist' was launched.

This annual magazine contains news, articles and photos, which give an insight into lives of the seminarians and the training they receive.

This issue has a special focus on the impact of the Papal Visit.

The magazine will soon be available in our parishes free of charge.

A few more photos of the occasion


A time for rejoicing ...

The Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood have recently celebrated a very important week!

On Sunday 7th February 2011, the Congregation accepted a new Postulant, Lorna Diesta, to their Clapham community. Exactly one week later, on Sunday 13th February, Sr Hazel Buckley celebrated her Golden Jubilee of Religious Profession.

Sr Philomena Hynes, Regional Leader, Sr Hazel Buckley, Golden Jubilarian, and Lorna Diesta, our week-old Postulant

Sr Hazel grew up in a warm, deeply-committed Anglican family, but became a Catholic at the age of 19. Four years later, in 1956, she entered the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood at Ladywell Convent, the Congregation’s Motherhouse in Godalming, Surrey. Sr Hazel took her first vows on 13th February 1961 and made her Final Profession five years later in New York State, where she was missioned as a teacher to a small parish school. After Final Profession she became Novice Mistress before going out, first to Australia and then to New Zealand. Nowadays, the Golden Jubilarian spends much of her time in Spiritual Direction. She is also the one whom the Congregation has appointed to walk with Lorna during the coming months of her Postulancy, an important time of discernment for both Lorna and the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood.

The Golden Jubilee celebrations took place at Mass in Holy Ghost parish in Balham where, at the end of the Liturgy, the parish priest, Fr Stephen Langridge, presented Sr Hazel with a framed Papal blessing, acknowledging the many years dedicated to the Lord.


Mass for Catholic Scouting at Saint George's Cathedral

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On Sunday, 13th February 2011, Archbishop Peter presided at an afternoon Mass for Catholic Scouting at Saint George's Cathedral. Among the concelebrants were Bishop Edwin Regan of Wrexham, Bishop Richard, Bishop Howard and Fr John Seddon, the National Catholic Scout Chaplain.

After seven years as the link bishop for the National Catholic Scout Fellowship, Bishop Edwin handed over his scouting responsibilities to Bishop Richard at this farewell Mass.

In his final homily, Bishop Edwin reminded the packed scouting congregation that by keeping the Scout Promise and Law, they follow a path of holiness: 'If we keep the Scout Promise and Law, we are well on the way to becoming saints!'

He thanked the Scout Leaders and promissed to keep the scouting movement in his prayers.

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More photos of the Mass for Scouting on the CCEW Flick'r page

Press release from the CCEW web site (including the full text of Bishop Edwin's homily)


Pilgrimage Directors offer Mass at the Lourdes Grotto

This morning, 11th February 2011, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Monsignor William Saunders, Pilgrimage Director of the Catholic Association, and Deacon Michael Kennedy, Southwark's Lourdes Pilgrimage Director, were among those offering Mass at the Lourdes Grotto.

Mgr William and Deacon Michael have been in Lourdes this week making the final preparations for the pilgrimage which will take place from 19th - 26th August. The Southwark Pilgrimage will be led this year by Archbishop Peter.

The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes falls on the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady to Saint Bernadette at the Rock of Massabielle - 153 years ago. Pope John Paul II declared that this day should also be the World Day of Prayer for the Sick.

The photo above is a screen-capture from the Lourdes Grotto webcam

Visit the Lourdes 2011 section of our site

A page of photos taken during the Conference of Pilgrimage Directors

Press release on World Day of the Sick from the CCEW web site (with a link to the full text of the Holy Father's message)


Frassati Society for Young Adults launched at Balham

The Frassati Society has been launched at the Holy Ghost Church, Balham. Twenty-five young adults met for the inaugural meeting last month which included Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Mass and dinner. Between the courses at the meal, Father Agustin Conesa invited the young people  to enter more deeply into the scriptures and spoke of the teaching of Jesus in the Beatirudes (Matthew 5:3-12).

Pope John Paul II beatified Pier Giorgio Frassati in 1990 and named him 'the man of the Beatitudes' - a model for young Christian living.

The Frassati Society will meet each month for Mass and prayer, fellowship, food and formation, exploring the richness and beauty of the Beatitudes. Their commitment will usually include some regular service to the poor. Many are planning to help the Missionaries of Charity serve meals to the homeless on Sunday afternoons. Their patron, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, will be their model and example in living the spirit of the Beatitudes more profoundly.

More information and contact details


Commissioning of Eucharistic Ministers at Marymount

Bishop Paul , Fr Michael Hayes, Chaplain, and the new Eucharistic Ministers

On Sunday, 6th February 2011, Bishop Paul celebrated Mass at Marymount International School, Kingston, during which he commissioned five students as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.


Preparing to welcome the new translation ...

Christian Education Centre in conjunction with
the Diocesan Liturgy Commission

Marie Mann, Adult Advisor for South London at the CEC, writes:

On Thursday, 3rd February 2011, the first of three sessions on the new translation of the Roman Missal took place. We started on the first week by focusing on ‘Exploring the Context’, and will follow this week by ‘Examining the Content’ and on the final week by ‘Experiencing the Celebration’.

The three sessions have drawn a great crowd causing us to move from the Christian Education Centre to the hall kindly offered by St Anselm’s School next door; over 170 people booked in to join the sessions.

We began by asking what people had read and heard about the new translation and how they were viewing the changes in the Missal; the responses varied from great enthusiasm to genuine concern. One enthusiastic person stated that she had come so that she would be well informed, and that she wanted to be the first in her parish to know what was changing and why!

New section on the 'New Translation'  including more photos and a Personal Reflection and Evaluation of the February course
(posted 07-03-11)


Mental Health Bishop distributes Day for Life grants

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Bishop Richard, Bishop of the Forces, is the Bishop with special responsibility for Mental Health issues. On Thursday, 3rd February 2011, he hosted a reception at the Amigo Hall to distribute grants totalling £70,000 to eleven organisations which promote mental health.

People throughout England and Wales contributed to this fund on the Days for Life in 2008 and 2009, which focused on mental health. The funded projects offer help and support to a wide range of ages across the Catholic community - from school children to dementia sufferers.

In his address, Bishop Richard said:
'This project is timely. We live at a time when there are many stresses and strains on people at every level in our society. Our young people face the stresses and strains of examinations, which place huge pressures on some. Our elderly live at a time when services are often stretched. The present economic climate – to name one factor – has brought challenges to many and, for some, these challenges will bring stress and difficulty. The number of people seeking refuge in substance abuse shows no sign of decline. When a loved one lives with mental stress, those who care for them find themselves sharing a burden that is often a heavy one.'

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Read the full press release on the Bishops' Conference web site
(including a link to the full text of Bishop Richard's address)

Photos of the reception on Flick'r


Peace initiative to capture the Olympic spirit

Archbishop Peter has joined Archbishop Vincent of Westminster and Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood in promoting One Hundred Days of Peace to develop a peace legacy for the London Olympic Games in 2012.

The initiative springs from a collaboration among the Justice and Peace Offices of the dioceses of Westminster, Southwark and Brentwood together with Pax Christi, CAFOD, and the Jimmy Mizen Foundation.

The tradition of a 'truce' was established in the 9th century BC to enable competitors and spectators to travel safely to and from the Olympic Games through ancient Greece's warring city-states. The International Olympic Committee decided to revive the ancient concept of the Olympic Truce with the view to protecting, as far as possible, the interests of the athletes and sport in general, and to encourage the search for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the conflicts around the world.

It is in this spirit that One Hundred Days of Peace has been established, with the hope that parishes, schools and groups in Westminster, Southwark and Brentwood will organise their own programmes of prayer and activity in the cause of peace.

Download the brochure 'One Hundred Days of Peace' (.pdf)

Visit the 'One Hundred Days of Peace' web site