Following the visit of the Holy Father to Great Britain last September, the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has published a programme for 2011 to focus on the legacy of his time with us.
It is called 'Some Definite Purpose' and reflects the content of his speeches, homilies and addresses. Now is the time for us to respond so that the Papal Visit may bear practical and long-lasting fruits in our communities and families. We are asked during this year:
Under each heading we are invited to consider one way - small or large - that we can contribute throughout this year to the mission of the Church
in England and Wales.
On Sunday, 23rd January 2011, in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Archbishop Peter was the guest preacher during the Choral Eucharist at Southwark Anglican Cathedral.
He welcomed the appointment of Bishop Christopher Chessun as the new Bishop of Southwark: 'I know that he is fully committed to our ecumenical journey and very much look forward to working with him here in Southwark.'
The Archbishop spoke about Christian Unity. He said that 'enormous progress has been made towards that unity especially in recent years and in our own country in the last 40 years.' He added: 'The ecumenical journey is undoubtedly difficult and demanding and of course we will take with us the sad heritage of the past knowing in our hearts that there's still a very long way to go. We should be encouraged by the hope of being led by the one who is the Light of World.'
Archbishop Peter, who met Christopher Chessun for the first time during the recent Papal Visit, recalled the remarks of both the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury on the day of their meeting at Lambeth Palace.
Christopher Chessun will be enthroned as Bishop of Southwark at Southwark Cathedral on Sunday, 6th March, in the presence of Archbishop Peter and other local church leaders.
On Thursday, 20th January 2011, Archbishop Peter presided at the annual Mass in celebration of the legacy of Father Werenfried van Straaten, the founder of Aid to the Church in Need. The Mass took place at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Sutton, the parish in which the ACN UK office is situated.
Father James McGillicuddy, the parish priest, welcomed the people at the beginning of Mass. The parish regularly raises funds for ACN and supports a twinned parish in Malawi.
In his homily to the packed congregation, Archbishop Peter paid tribute to Father Werenfried and described how his vision quickly spread to providing support for Christians in Eastern Europe under communism before expanding to continents throughout the world.
He said: 'Father Werenfried was inspired by the love of Christ for each and every one of us. Aid to the Church in Need continues to be inspired by that same love today.'
The Archbishop referred to the plight of Christians in key parts of the world: 'Today we are being asked to focus on the Middle East: many Christians are leaving that land where Christ himself exercised his ministry. We must have communion with those Christians through our prayer. We must give what we can to assist their material wants and needs.'
The new translation of the Roman Missal has now been completed and has received the 'recognitio' (approval) of the Holy See.
Before leaving England the Holy Father asked the Bishops of England and Wales to prepare for the introcuction of the new translation. The bishops have decided that it will be used in our parishes from September this year.
It is the Holy Father's wish that there should be an ‘in-depth catechesis on the Eucharist and renewed devotion in the manner of its celebration’. The catechesis will be undertaken from September until December.
Resources for this catechesis are being prepared, the first of which - an interactive DVD 'Become One Body One Spirit in Christ' - is already available.
Bishop Arthur Roche, Bishop of Leeds and Chairman of the Department for Christian Life and Worship, said: 'The new translation is a great gift to the Church. The Mass is at the heart of what the Church is, it is where we deepen our faith in Christ and are nourished by him so that we can glorify the Lord by our lives. In the new translation we find a text that is more faithful to the Latin text and therefore a text which is richer in its theological content and allusions to the scriptures but also a translation which, I believe, will move people’s hearts and minds in prayer.'
Resources from the Liturgy
Office of England and Wales
(this page includes a link to the Text of the People's Part in the new translation)
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity runs from Tuesday, 18th, until Tuesday, 25th January, the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. The theme this year is 'All Things in Common'.
Christian Unity has been a major focus of Pope Benedict XVI throughout his pontificate. Indeed, he has been called 'the Pope of Christian Unity'.
While he was in Great Britain, the Holy Father visited Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, at Lambeth Palace and joined him at Evening Prayer at Westminster Abbey. Towards the end of this service, the Holy Father and the Archbishop of Canterbury prayed together for Christian Unity at the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor (see the picture above).
This is the text of the Holy Father's prayer on that occasion, which you may wish to use during this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity:
Lord, hear the prayers of your people, and bring the hearts of believers together in your praise and in common sorrow for their sins. Heal the divisions among Christians; that we may rejoice in the perfect unity of your Church, and move together as one to eternal life in your kingdom. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
More information on the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland web site with a link to their resources page
On Sunday, 16th January 2011, Bishop Patrick joined Filipino communities from the diocese and beyond who gathered at the Cathedral to honour Santo Niño, a statue of the Child Jesus which has been venerated in the Philippines since 1521.
The Feast was organized by the Sacalabrini Fathers and the Filipino communities of St Peter's (Woolwich), Our Lady of Sorrows (Peckham), St Joseph's (Roehampton), Italian Mission - Holy Redeemer (Brixton), Lord of Pardon Prayer Group, Santo Niño Prayer Group and the Ifugao Association.
After the Mass, celebrations continued in the Amigo Hall.
The first ordinariate for groups of Anglicans who wish to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church was established for England and Wales on Saturday, 15th January 2010. It will be known as the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and placed under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman.
A letter from Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, also gave news that the Holy Father had appointed Father Keith Newton as the first Ordinary of this Personal Ordinariate.
Father Keith is one of three former Anglican bishops who were ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Vincent Nichols in Westminster Cathedral on 15th January.
The Ordinariate is the first fruit of the Apostolic Constitution 'Anglicanorum Coetibus' of Pope Benedict XVI (November 2009), that allows former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of their distinctive Anglican patrimony. Unlike dioceses, the Ordinariate is not defined by geographical boundaries. It is a special structure to encompass all those throughout England and Wales who have been received into the Catholic Church according to the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution.
We pray for the new Ordinariate and for its present and future members.
Full coverage on the Catholic Church in England and Wales web site:
Father Keith Newton - New Ordinary
Photo: © Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk
Pope John Paul II with Archbishop Michael
outside St George's Cathedral on 28th May 1982
The Vatican has announced today, 14th January 2011, that Pope Benedict XVI will beatify Pope John Paul II on 1st May 2011, Divine Mercy Sunday.
This Sunday the dioceses of England and Wales are marking the World Day of Prayer for Peace, transferred from 1st January. The Holy Father has chosen 'Religious Freedom, the Path to Peace' as the theme this year.
It is also the World Day for Migrants and Refugees. The Holy Father has chosen the theme 'One human family' for 2011.
Bishop Patrick, Chairman of the Office for Migration Policy of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has reflected on the issues raised by the Holy Father in his message. He says that the Holy Father 'reminds us that because of globalization and migration we are becoming increasingly inter-connected and more conscious than ever that all of us belong to one human family. An important aspect of the mission of the Church in the world today is, therefore, to be a sign and instrument of union with God and of the unity of the whole human race.'
Mass was offered in St George's Cathedral on the evening of Thursday, 13th January 2011, to mark the inauguration of a new circle of the Catenian Association. Canon James Cronin (Cathedral Dean) presided and Fr Francis Kemsley OCarm (English Martyrs, Walworth) and Fr Thomas Udie (Immaculate Conception, Surrey Docks) concelebrated.
Fr Graham Preston (St Peter and the Guardian Angels, Rotherhithe) and Canon Michael Cooley (Our Lady of La Salette, Bermondsey: Melior Street) also expressed their support for the new group by attending the inaugural meeting, during which five new members were enrolled, and the dinner.
Catenians support the strengthening of family life through friendship and faith. The new group will meet on the second Thursday of the month in the Parish Club of St Peter and the Guardian Angels, Rotherhithe.
The new 'Southwark Group no. 920' and associated development committee with Vernon DeCruz, Catenian Association Grand President
John Rayer, Director, Terry Grange, new Chairman Southwark 920,
Grand President Vernon DeCruz and Canon James Cronin
Further information: John Owen 01795 422055
On Saturday, 8th January 2011, Bishop Patrick presided at Mass during a gathering of the Association of Nigerian Priests and Religious at St Gertrude's, South Bermondsey. Between sixty and seventy members attended.
Bishop Michael Evans, Bishop of East Anglia, has written to the people of his diocese informing them that the cancer from which he has been suffering for over five years is now in its final stages.
In his letter, with the title 'Waiting in joyful hope ...', he writes: 'In the last few weeks, the cancer has rather quickly taken control. My oncology and palliative care consultants informed me openly and honestly just before Christmas that I now probably have only weeks to live, and I am as prepared for that as I can be, accepting it with faith as a gift of God’s grace.'
'Rather than resign, I would like to continue among you as your bishop and the father of our diocesan family until this stage of my life ends.'
'As I live now under the shadow of death, my prayer is very much that of St Paul that I may know something of the power of Christ’s resurrection and a share in his sufferings, trusting that the Lord is with me. I pray that even now I can joyfully witness something of the good news we are all called to proclaim.'
Bishhop Michael was born in South London in 1951 and when he was five his family moved to Whitstable in Kent. He trained for the priesthood at St John's Seminary and was ordained for the Southwark diocese in 1975. His first appointment was an assistant priest at St Elizabeth's, Richmond.
From 1977-1979 he studied for a Master of Theology degree at Heythrop College, University of London, and then returned to St John's Seminary as lecturer in Christian Doctrine. From 1985-1987 he was Vice-Rector at the seminary, with the then Monsignor Peter Smith as Rector.
From 1987-1993, he was a university chaplain at the South London Universities Chaplaincy, returning to the seminary from 1993-1995, once again as lecturer and Vice-Rector. He was one of the two assisting priests at Mgr Peter Smith's ordination as Bishop of East Anglia in May 1995.
From 1995 until 2003, Canon Michael Evans was parish priest of St Augustine's in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
He was ordained bishop and installed as Bishop of East Anglia in March 2003. Cardinal Cormac was the Principal Consecrator and Archbishops Michael and Peter were Principal Co-consecrators.
We thank him for all his years of faithful ministry in our diocese and for his courageous and persevering witness. We accompany him with our prayers as he 'waits in joyful hope ...'
Saint Augustine's Abbey, Ramsgate
The Benedictines of St Augustine's Abbey, Ramsgate, are to move to the Franciscan Friary in Chilworth, Surrey, in the spring. The community of eleven monks decided in October 2009 to leave their Ramsgate monastery, which has been their home for 149 years, and to relocate to smaller premises. Early in 2010, the Order of Friars Minor made a similar decision: they were to leave their Victorian Friary at Chilworth on the outskirts of Guildford.
The Friary at Chilworth soon to become a Benedictine Abbey
Although sad that the Benedictines are leaving Southwark, we are pleased that they have found such suitable premises for their Abbey. We are grateful for their presence and ministry in our diocese during 150 years and will keep them in our prayers. Read more ...