News Archive for 2011 - March

Archbishop blesses new hall at the Holy Cross School

On Thursday, 31st March 2011, Archbishop Peter visited the Holy Cross Preparatary School in Kingston Hill to officially open and bless the new Coombe Ridge Performing Arts and Sports Hall.

The school has described the occasion as the 'Big Blessing'.

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

Holy Cross Preparatory School web site


'My soul glorifies the Lord ...'

Abbot Emeritus Laurence O’Keeffe OSB gave a thought-provoking In-Service Training Day for the clergy on the Canticles of the Breviary at Aylesford on Wednesday, 30th March 2011.

The Abbot opened up the richness of the Scriptural origins of the daily Canticles – the Benedictus, the Magnificat, the Nunc Dimittis. He also highlighted the significance of the Old Testament Canticles used at Morning Prayer.

The day certainly helped to revitalize parts of the Breviary that could well have suffered as a result of over-familiarity. It also provided an excellent opportunity for clergy to get together - always a good thing.


Extraordinary Ministers commissioned at Ursuline High

On Wednesday, 30th March 2011, Bishop Paul, during a special Mass at the Ursuline High School, Wimbledon, commissioned nine people (six pupils and three members of staff) as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. The Mass was followed with refreshments in the 6th Form common room, during which their certificates were presented.

Visit the Ursuline High School web site


Group from John Fisher School on a Lenten Retreat

A happy group of Year 7 boys from the John Fisher School, Purley, on a Lenten retreat at Wintershall Estate, near Guildford, with their School Chaplain, Father James Clark.


The Chrism Mass

The Chrism Mass this year will be celebrated on Wednesday, 20th April, at 11:15 am at Saint George's Cathedral.

During the Mass the oil of the sick and the oil of catechumens will be blessed and the oil of Chrism will be consecrated.

It is also the occasion when our priests express their unity with their bishop and renew their commitment to priestly service.


Walsingham's 950th Anniversary: celebrations begin

In 1061, a noblewoman, Richeldis de Faverches, was asked by Our Lady to build a replica of the Holy House of Nazareth at Walsingham in honour of the Annunciation and so the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham was established.

To mark the beginning of the 950th Anniversary celebrations, Archbishop Vincent presided at Mass at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, 26th March 2011. The celebrations will continue for six months until the Feast of our Lady of Walsingham on Saturday, 24th September.

© Mazur/

Among the bishops and priests who celebrated the Mass were Cardinal Cormac and Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Papal Nuncio; from our own diocese, Archbishop Peter, who from 1995 until 2001 was Bishop of East Anglia in which diocese Walsingham is situated, and Bishop Paul; and Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, who had encouraged members of the Ordinariate to attend.

© Mazur/

© Mazur/

The Mass was a truly ecumenical celebration with the guardians of both Catholic and Anglcan Walsingham Shrines accomanying the Slipper Chapel Statue of Our Lady of Walsingham in procession to its place before the sanctuary.

© Mazur/

Brief history of the Walsingham Shrine

Web site of the Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham

More photos of the occasion from the CCEW Flick'r pages


Ursuline High wins Church School Award

Congratulations to the Ursuline High School in Wimbledon for winning the London Regional Secondary section of the Church School Awards.

Prizes to the winning schools were presented  by Lord Hill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, on the afternoon of Thursday, 24th March 2011, at Westminster Cathedral Hall.

The gala event, hosted by Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere, was a celebration of the best examples of local community work and global citizenship in schools across England and Wales.

© Ursuline High School

News of the award on the Ursuline High School web site

Ursuline High School's case study on Church School Awards web site


Archbishop Peter
reflects on
World Youth Day 2011

'Look at and study the person of Jesus Christ ...'

The Southwark Catholic Youth Service has produced several short videos in preparation for World Youth Day in Madrid this August.

Please click here for the SCYS vimeo page and select from the videos on the sidebar.

Visit our World Youth Day section (or click on the logo on the sidebar) 


New facility for our Online Directory

Our Online Directory now has links to two Google maps - one for South London and one for Kent - which chart the locations of every church in our diocese.

Each map is interactive with the facility to zoom in to a church's location. There is also the opportunity to click on the link to view the parish entry in the Online Directory.

To view the maps, please click either on the box above or the logo on the sidebar. 


Clergy appointments and news



Archbishop Peter has made the following appointments:


Father Jack Dillon from Kenya
as Parish Priest of Saint James the Great, Peckham Rye

Father Liam Gallagher from Paddock Wood
as Parish Priest of The English Martyrs, Streatham

Father Behruz Raf'at from Sevenoaks
as Parish Priest of Saint Justus, Paddock Wood

Father Gerard Mulvihill MPS from Streatham
as Parish Priest of Saint Thomas More, Dulwich (East)

Father Thomas McElhone from sabbatical
as Parish Administrator of Corpus Christi, Tonbridge

Father Kevin Fitzgerald
as Parish Administrator of The Sacred Heart, Sittingbourne

Father Adolphus Ezeakor from Peckham Rye
as Assistant Priest at The Sacred Heart, Camberwell

Father Gregory Ackron from Camberwell
as Assistant Priest at Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Sevenoaks

Father Richard Hearn
as full-time Chaplain to HMP Elmley on the Isle of Sheppey

Father Vincent Flynn
as President of the Interdiocesan Tribunal of Second Instance

Deacons Tom Kavanagh, Michael Knight and Peter Rennie
as Assistant Directors for the Diocesan Permanent Diaconate Formation Programme

Congratulations and welcome to Father Roy Tablizo and Father Eddie Higgins, who were both incardinated into the diocese in January

Congratulations to Father Steven Fisher who was clothed as a Benedictine novice at St Augustine's Abbey, Ramsgate, on 2nd February 2011. He was given the name Brother Theodore.

Welcome to the diocese:

Father Georgees Mampillil Devasia of the Missionary Society of St Thomas the Apostle (Kerala), who is working for one year as Assistant Priest at St Anselm, Tooting Bec

Father Anthony Cassidy, CSsR,
as Assistant Priest at St Augustine, Tunbridge Wells

Father Brendan Carmody, SJ,
to the South London University Chaplaincy

Father Carlos Abajos, OAR,
as Chaplain to the Hispanic Community

Father Junki Lim, of Andong Diocese,
as Chaplain to the Korean Community

Father Francesco Buttazzo, CS,
who has joined the Scalabrini Fathers Community in Brixton

Father Winfred Pauly, CSsR, and Father Frederick Osamor, CSsR,
who have joined the Redemptorist Community in Clapham

Father James Conway, SJ,
who has joined the Jesuit Community at Clapham as acting Superior

Father Francis Rodrigues, SJ,
who has joined the Jesuit Community in Wimbledon as Assistant Priest

Father Ugenio Phiri, SJ,
who has joined the Jesuit Community in Wimbledon while studying

Deacon Michal Maslowski, SJ,
who has joined the Jesuit Community in Clapham while studying

Father Pawel Sierotko, OFM Cap,
who has joined the Franciscan Community at Erith as Assistant Priest at Our Lady of the Angels, Erith

Gratitude to:

Father John O'Connor
for his long service to the people and parish of Dulwich,
wishing him a long and happy retirement

The Chemin Neuf Community for their ministry in the diocese, especially for their pastoral support to university students: Father Alberto Vico, Father Jesus Dicto Suarnaba and Father Lucio Bula, who have moved from the Scalabrini Fathers Community in Brixton; and Father Jesus Recio, OAR, for his ministry to the Hispanic Community.


Archbishop Peter visits the John Fisher School, Purley

On Thursday, 17th March 2011, the staff, students and governors of the John Fisher School in Purley welcomed Archbishop Peter to their celebration of Founder's Day.

The Archbishop spoke to the Sixth Form in the chapel about his own vocation story and described the parallels between Saint John Fisher's time and today.

He inducted Father James Clark (an old boy of the school) as the new school Chaplain and Deacon Tony Flavin as the Spiritual Life Coordinator.

The Archbishop blessed and renamed the music centre as The Fawssett Centre in memory of Father Richard Fawssett who had been on the school staff for 55 years and who died in June 2009.

The Archbishop then celebrated Mass for all those in Years 7 - 11.

Cardinal Cormac reflects on the Priesthood

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor led an
In-Service Training Day at The Friars, Aylesford, on Wednesday,16th March 2011, for some 40 or so clergy of the diocese of Southwark.

He reflected on priesthood today in the light of his own life and ministry – as a priest, as a bishop and as a cardinal.

The theme on which the cardinal focused was 'How can I sing the song of the Lord on an alien soil?' He applied this question of the psalmist to the world, to the church and to the priest himself.

The cardinal’s reflection and anecdotes proved a most enjoyable and uplifting day for all those present.



Ordinariate Groups contribute to record number of  Candidiates

Archbishop Peter presided at the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion at St George's Cathedral on Saturday, 12th March 2011.

He welcomed the 265 Catechumens and 252 Candidates who came from 86 of the diocesan parishes and the 167 Candidates (including eight former Anglican priests) who are entering into full communion with the Catholic Church within the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. This gives a total of 684 Catechumens and Candidates who look forward to being baptised or received into the Church during Holy Week.

The congregation of more than 1200 packed the Cathedral. It included the God-parents and Sponsors of the Catechumens and Candidates who came from diocesan parishes.

The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion is considered as a highlight of the Church's year and so this joyful celebration was attended by all our auxiliary bishops, Bishops John, Parick and Paul, and by Monsignor Matthew Dickens, Diocesan Vicar General and Chancellor.

The ceremony took place under the watchful eye of Fr John O’Toole, his team and their helpers. Music was directed by Fr Alan McLean, supported by Maggs Sheppard and the Diocesan Choir. 

Ordinariate Candidates gather in the Lady Chapel
after the ceremony

We keep the our Catechumens and Candidates in our prayers especially during Lent.

Full text of Archbishop Peter's homily

A page of photos of the occasion

Statistics for 2011 (revised 15-03-11)

Statistics: Comparative Table 2000 - 2011 (.pdf)

More about RCIA and the Journey of Faith


Archbishop Peter has written a Pastoral Letter to be read
or made available in parishes on the First Sunday of Lent.

In it he reminds us of the value of the traditional Lenten exercises of prayer, fasting and almsgiving and he continues to say:

'Lent is essentially an opportunity to be reborn and grow still more in the life of the Spirit. It is a task which requires courage and effort. We are asked to open our hearts each day to receive once again the gift of God’s love and mercy, and allow him to renew our lives in the image of Jesus his Son. It is a time for each of us to learn to appreciate once again, especially in our prayer and our reflection on the Scriptures, the unconditional love and compassion which God our Father offers us every day of our lives, particularly the gift of the forgiveness of our sins and reconciliation. And in experiencing that love and forgiveness, God asks us in gratitude to share that gift with others.'

Full text of the Archbishop's Pastoral Letter (.pdf available)


Arrangements for Canon John Devane's
Requiem Mass and Burial

From the Archbishop
Friday, 11th March 2011

Friday, 18th March
Canon Devane’s body will be taken to St Peter’s Residence, Vauxhall at 3.00 p.m. and will remain there over the weekend in their Chapel of Repose

Monday, 21st March
Mass at St Peter’s Residence at 4.00 p.m.

Tuesday, 22nd March
Requiem Mass at St George’s Cathedral at 12 noon

After Mass, the body will be transferred to St Matthew’s Church, West Norwood for Mass at 7.30 p.m. and will remain overnight at St Matthew’s Church

Wednesday, 23rd March
Mass at St Matthew’s Church, West Norwood at 9.30 a.m. followed by burial at West Norwood Cemetery at 11.00 a.m

Ash Wednesday Mass at St George's Cathedral

Monsignor Matthew Dickens, Canon James Cronin, Archbishop Peter
and Father Keith Newton in the Cathedral sacristy before Mass

Archbishop Peter presided at the 12:30 pm Mass in the Cathedral on Ash Wednesday. He welcomed Father Keith Newton, one of the three former Anglican bishops who were ordained to the Catholic priesthood at Westminster Cathedral on the day that the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was established on 15th January this year. And on that day it was announced that the Holy Father had appointed Fr Keith as the first Ordinary of the Ordinariate.

Fr Keith concelebrated at the Mass as did Monsignor Matthew Dickens, the Vicar General and Chancellor of the diocese, and Canon James Cronin, the Cathedral Dean.

More photos of the Mass (selected from the CCEW Flick'r page)


Ordinariate Groups are welcomed in our churches

Ash Wednesday is a very significant day for those joining the Ordinariate. Today, an estimated 600 Anglicans with at least 20 members of their clergy throughout England and Wales formally join the newly established Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and are welcomed in Catholic churches. They look forward to entering into full communion with the Catholic Church during Holy Week.

The largest number of those entering the Ordinariate come from South-East England. In the Southwark diocese six groups have joined.

We welcome them warmly, understanding the heart-searching that many of them will have gone through as they continue their journey of faith.

We keep in our prayers:

  • the Beckenham & Bromley Ordinariate Group: Rev Simon Heans and a group from St Barnabas’, Beckenham
  • the Folkestone Ordinariate Group: Rev Stephen Bould and a group from St Peter's, Folkestone
  • the East Kent Ordinariate Group: Rev Christopher Lindlar and a group from St Andrew’s, Deal
  • the London South Ordinariate Group: a group from St Agnes', Kennington Park
  • the Sevenoaks Ordinariate Group: Rev Ivan Aquilina, Deacon James Bradley and a group from St John the Baptist’s, Sevenoaks
  • the Tunbridge Wells Ordinariate Group: Rev Edward Tomlinson and a group from St Barnabas', Tunbridge Wells.

Archbishop Peter is expected to ordain seven former Anglican clergy to the Diaconate during Eastertide and six of these to the Priesthood by Pentecost.

Visit the Ordinariate Portal web site

Read 'The Portal' Ordinariate magazine


Canon John Devane

From the Archbishop
Monday, 7th March 2011

I am very sorry to have to let you know that Canon John Devane died this morning during an operation at St Thomas' Hospital.

He was one of the great characters of the diocese, a great example of commitment and service to the Church during his 56 years of priestly ministry. He will be much missed.

Please remember him in your prayers and Masses, and please remember too his sister Mary, who lives in the diocese, and the other members of his family who will be grieving his loss.

Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. 


Another successful Vocations Retreat at the Seminary

Twenty three young men gathered at St John's Seminary, Wonersh, on Friday, 4th March, for a weekend Vocations Retreat. Seminarians with cars met the participants as they arrived at Guildford Station and ferried them back to the college in time for supper which was followed by a welcome from the Rector, some introductions and the celebration of Mass followed by a time of prayer ending with sung Compline.

Those attending the Retreat were able to join the students for Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours and to meet them informally and for meals. Fr Stephen Langridge, the Diocesan Vocations Director, preached the retreat which focused on themes of prayer, conversion and commitment. Fr Gerard Bradley, the Spiritual Director at Wonersh, was available for Confessions.

As in previous years the Retreat was open also to men from Arundel and Brighton and Portsmouth Dioceses and over the weekend each participant was given the opportunity to talk personally with Fr Stephen, Fr Paul Turner (A&B) or Fr Mark Hogan (Portsmouth).

Many of the students currently at Wonersh attended Vocations Retreats as they discerned whether to make a formal application and testify to how it had helped them. Once again this year many of the participants have written to say how helpful they found it. The following comment is typical: "Just having space to spend time with God without the usual pressures of every day life to distract one was hugely therapeutic and helped me to focus clearly on all that may lie ahead. The meditations each day were also very beneficial and excellent focus points for prayer".

Anyone considering a vocation to the priesthood is encouraged to contact Fr Stephen:


Nuncio presents Letter of Credence to HM The Queen

On Wednesday, 2nd March 2011, the new Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini travelled by horse-drawn carriage from Archbishop's House, Westminster, to Buckingham Palace to present his Letter of Credence to HM The Queen. The letter confirmed his appointment as Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain at the Court of St James.


Photos: © Mazur/

Archbishop Mennini, 63, was born in Rome and has been engaged in the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See for thirty years. He was formerly Apostolic Nuncio to the Russian Federation and to Uzbekistan. He succeeds Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, who resigned last December due to ill-health.

Press release from the CCEW web site

More photos on the CCEW Flick'r page