News Archive for 2011 - September

Walsingham hosts Shrine Directors' Conference

©Graham.Howard 2011/

From 27th until 30th September 2011, the Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham hosted a conference of the directors of the major European shrines.

Archbishop Kevin represented the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales at the meeting and Bishop Jacques Perrier, Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, was Chairman.

The European Marian Network (formed in 2003) links twenty sanctuaries and meets annually to come to a deeper understanding of the needs of the millions of pilgrims who visit these shrines.

Father Alan Williams, Walsingham's Shrine Director, said: 'England hosts this gathering once every twenty years and to receive our distinguished guests, at what’s described as England’s Nazareth, is a fitting way to end our 950th anniversary year.'

Press release from the CCEW web site

A few more photos on the CCEW Flickr page


Archbishop marks opening of Saint John Bosco College

At the end of the Summer term the two Catholic Secondary Schools in the Wandsworth Borough closed in preparation to merge in to a new school for the young people of the borough. The Salesian College in Battersea and the John Paul II School, Wimbledon Common, have jointly become the Saint John Bosco College, which opened on 1st September 2011.

The new Saint John Bosco College has opened on the site of the former John Paul II school, which has been renovated to cope with increased numbers. It was hoped that building work on a new campus in Battersea would have begun this autumn at the former Salesian College site. This work, however, has been delayed, but it is anticipated that the move to the Battersea site will take place within the next two or three years.

On Thursday, 29th September 2011, Archbishop Peter was principal celebrant at a Mass in the adjoining church of Our Lady and St Peter to mark the opening of the new College. During the Mass Mr Simon Uttley was commissioned by the Archbishop as the new school's first Headmaster.

A reception followed the Mass.

More photos of the Mass and Reception on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

Visit the St John Bosco College web site


The Christian Education Centre (CEC) is to be renamed.

Archbishop Peter has agreed that, as from 1st January 2012, it should be known as the Centre for Catholic Formation (CCF) to more accurately describe its mission of evangelization and catechesis in the diocese.

The CCF's premises at Tooting Bec is also the home for Education for Parish Service (EPS) and the Ongoing Formation of Priests office (OGF).

Father David Gibbons is the Director of the Centre for Catholic Formation.


Southwark welcomes its new Seminarians

We ask you to keep in your prayers those who are starting their seminary formation this year.

These include: Jonathan Eyre, Nicolas Von Malaisé, and Stuart Meyer, and also Louie Kitt, who transfers to Wonersh from Valladolid, and Luke de Pulford who returns to the English College in Rome after a year working in London.


Southwark Schools Vocations Project

The diocesan Vocations Office has written to all primary schools in the Archdiocese inviting them to take part in a Vocations Project for Year 6 pupils. The idea is that each class invites a priest and a religious sister to be interviewed by the children who then write about the person they have met. They could also visit a parish or a convent to meet the priests and sisters. Alternatively they could write about Blessed John Paul II or Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta.

The project is designed to help children explore what it means to be at the service of the Church and God's people as a priest or religious sister and also to help them understand that some people have a special calling from God in this way.

Entries should be no more than four A4 pages and can be either handwritten or typed. The project is open to all our Catholic schools and we ask teachers to ensure we receive entries by December 15th 2011.

There are prizes of £300, £150 and £50 for the schools providing the best entries as well as personal prizes and certificates for the pupils. Every child participating will receive small religious medal.


Southwark celebrates Missio's Red Box Anniversary

During this 75th Anniversary year of the introduction of the APF Red Box, a Mass of Thanksgiving is being offered in every cathedral in England and Wales. On Sunday, 25th September 2011, it was Southwark's turn to host the Mass.

Archbishop Peter was principal celebrant and gave the homily and Canon James Cronin returned to St George's Cathedral in his capacity as the new National Director of Missio.

More photos on RCSouthwark's Flickr page


Challoner Day celebrated at the Cathedral

On Friday, 23rd September 2011, staff and students (over 1,000 boys) of the Richard Challoner School, New Malden, travelled to St George's Cathedral to celebrate Mass in honour of their patron, Bishop Richard Challoner, who was Vicar Apostolic of the London District from 1758.

The student body has outgrown the capacity of Our Lady lmmaculate Church in Tolworth, which had previously been used for the Challoner Day celebration. It was also thought fitting to have the celebration at the Cathedral this year as the present Headteacher, Mr Tom Cahill, marks his 25th year at the school.

The school celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009 with a Mass at Westminster Cathedral, where Richard Challoner is buried.

Mgr William Saunders (a former teacher at Richard Challoner) was the principal celebrant and gave the homily. Concelebrating were Bishop Howard (who has a long association with the school), Canon Anthony Charlton (parish priest of Our Lady Immaculate, Tolworth), Fr Kevan Hayden (parish priest of St Matthias, Worcester Park – the parish in which the school is situated), Canon John O’Toole (Cathedral Dean and also a former teacher at Richard Challoner) and  Fr John Diver (Assistant Priest at the Cathedral and former assistant priest at Our Lady Immaculate), who co-ordinated the arrangements for the Mass with Mr Neil D’Aguiar (Co-ordinator of the chaplaincy at the school).

Fr Eddie Higgins (parish priest of St Elizabeth’s, Richmond, and the school chaplain) also attended  but was delayed because of Mass in his parish.

The school provided the music and the singers and had composed a special setting of the Beatitudes for the celebration.

The boys were smartly dressed and impeccably behaved and Mgr Bill rightly described the celebration as ‘magnificent'. 

Mr Tom Cahill, Headteacher. next to a picture of Richard Challoner

Visit the Richard Challoner School web site

More photos of the occasion on the Richard Challoner Flickr page
(Charlie Newhouse) and here (Miguel Balagtas)


New Diocesan Director of Education is commissioned

On Tuesday, 20th September 2011, Archbishop Peter was the principal celebrant at the annual Mass for Headteachers of diocesan schools at the Cathedral.

During the Mass he commissioned Dr Anne Bamford as the new Director of Education for the Southwark diocese. She succeeds Dr Dilys Wadman, who retired as Director of Education at the end of the academic year.

In a letter to the Headteachers of the diocese in May, Archbishop Peter wrote: 'I welcome the appointment of Professor Anne Bamford to this very important post in the Archdiocese and wish her every blessing in the years ahead. I am sure that under her leadership the Diocesan Commission will continue its vital work in supporting and promoting all that you do in providing excellent education for our children and young people in the schools and Colleges of the Archdiocese.'

Short biography of Dr Anne Bamford (.pdf)

More photos of the occasion on the RCSouthwark Flickr site


Archbishop visits Our Lady of Sorrows, Peckham

On Sunday, 18th September 2011, Archbishop Peter made his first visit to Our Lady of Sorrows in Peckham to celebrate the parish's patronal feast. He was principal celebrant and gave the homily at the
10:30 am Family Mass.

He was welcomed by Father Anthony Plummer, parish priest, and the parishioners.

The celebrations continued with a bring-and-share multicultural meal after which there was music and dancing with prizes for chidren who came in national costume. 

More photos on RCSouthwark's Flickr page


Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Cyril Baxter O. Carm.

who died on 17th September 2011

His body will be received in the Choir Chapel
of Aylesford Priory
on Wednesday, 28th September, at 6.30pm
with a service of Evening Prayer.
His Funeral Mass will offered there
on Thursday, 29th September, at 11:30 am.

May he rest in peace


Celebrating the first anniversary of the papal visit

© Mazur/

A Mass of Thanksgiving to commemorate the first anniversary of the visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom was held at Westminster Cathedral on Sunday, 18th September 2011. Archbishop Vincent was the principal celebrant and bishops from England, Scotland and Wales were among the concelebrants. These included Cardinal Cormac, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Apostolic Nuncio; and from Southwark, Archbishop Peter and Bishops John and Howard.

© Mazur/

In his homily, Archbishop Vincent called for all Catholics to take up the Pope’s call to strive for holiness in their lives at the service of others.

Read the full text of Archbishop Vincent's homily (.pdf)

After the Beatification Mass for the Blessed John Henry Newman on the final day of the Holy Father's visit to the United Kingdom, he met with the bishops and with seminarians at Oscott College. Seminarians were also in evidence at the Mass of Thanksgiving. They had met in the Westminster Cathedral Hall for lunch with the bishops before the Mass.

© Mazur/

More photos of the Mass of Thanksgiving on the CCEW Flickr page

The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has issued a message to mark the anniversary in which they write:

'We believe that the ‘beauty of holiness’, the ‘splendour of truth’ and the ‘joy and freedom born of a living relationship with Christ’ can still speak powerfully to the hearts of the people of our country. This is the inspiration for our work ahead.'

Read the full text of the message from the Bishops' Conference (.pdf)

Further news about the anniversary can be found on the CCEW web site


Wallington Scouts celebrate Sixty Years

The 11th Wallington Scout Group celebrated its Diamond Jubilee with Mass on Saturday, 17th September 2011, at Coombe Farm Campsite, Croydon.

Archbishop Peter was the principal celebrant and was joined by Bishop Richard Moth (Bishop for Scouting), Bishop Howard Tripp (former Bishop for Scouting), Fr Douglas Bull, Fr Paul Sanders and Fr John Seddon (National RC Scouting Chaplain).


Four Carmelite Novices clothed at Aylesford

Brothers Roy, Kurt, Severin and Jacek

During Evening Prayer on Friday, 16th September 2011, in the Choir Chapel of Aylesford Priory, four young men were received as novices into the Carmelite Order and clothed in the Carmelite habit by representatives of their home provinces of Britain, Malta, Poland, and Upper Germany. With Father Wilfrid, the Prior Provincial, away, Father Damian Cassidy OCarm presided at the ceremony.

Concluding his homily Father Damien said: The growing knowledge of God, of yourself and of your neighbour is a lifelong journey and it will lead you to a deeper love of God, of yourselves and your brothers. Finally, I would like to quote Cardinal Basil Hume. Basil Hume was a Benedictine monk and abbot of his community in Ampleforth before becoming Archbishop of Westminster. When clothing some new novices for his community he concluded with these words: 'Don’t take yourselves too seriously. Take life seriously, take God seriously, but don’t, please don’t, take yourselves too seriously!'

The clothing took place after the homily and the new novices prayed: Lord, grant that I may put on the garments of kindness, compassion, meekness, patience, forgiveness and, above all, love; for love binds us as one and completes the clothing. May I do all things in the name of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, giving thanks and praise to the Father through him.

Then after giving a sign of peace to all the friars present, the new novices took their place in choir.

This intake of new brothers is the second international novitiate to be based at Aylesford in recent times. Brothers Torsten Rolfes and Tiago Casaleiro will shortly finish their novitiate there and return to their home provinces to make Simple Profession.

We keep the novices in our prayers as they embark on their Carmelite vocation.

Read the full text of Father Damien's homily at the Clothing


Friday Abstinence: again part of our Catholic identity

The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has restored the ancient tradition that Catholics in these countries should abstain from meat on Fridays. This will come into effect on Friday, 16th September 2011.

In 1985, while insisting that penance was part of the life of every Christian and the intention to do penance on Friday was of obligation, the Conference made the form of Friday penance a matter of personal choice.

In restoring abstinence from meat on Fridays as the norm, the bishops are asking us to make this united act of penance an expression of our united Catholic identity and witness.

Penance has been seen from the earliest Christian times as a necessary aspect of Christian discipleship and Fridays (and Lent) have been adopted  as its most appropriate focus in grateful commemoration of the suffering and death of the Lord. This has been confirmed in the universal law of the Church.

Our bishops suggest that our abstinence may be offered as a prayer for life and in reparation for sins against life.

Press release from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales

Fasting and Abstinence - the Church's law


Dowry of Mary Pilgrimage to Walsingham

On Sunday, 11th September 2011, Archbishop Peter was again in his former diocese of East Anglia to lead the Dowry of Mary Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham.

At 11:30 am there was the procession and reception of flags and banners.

Mass, at which Archbishop Peter was principal celebrant and gave the homily, was at 12 noon.

At 2:15 pm there was a procession to the Priory for Benediction and Prayers at the original site of the Shrine.

Pilgrims from Brazil

More photos on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

Brief history of Walsingham and the 'Dowry of Mary'


International Mass at South Bermondsey

On Saturday, 10th September 2011, Father Addison Okpeh, MSP, parish priest, and the parishioners welcomed Archbishop Peter to Saint Gertrude's, South Bermondsey, where he presided at the Parish International Mass.

More photos on RCSouthwark's Flickr pate


Celebration at Quidenham Carmel

On Wednesday, 7th September 2011, Archbishop Peter returned to one of his former dioceses, East Anglia, to take part in the Jubilee celebrations held at the Carmelite Monastery in Quidenham, Norfolk.

More photos on RCSouthwark Flickr page

Visit the Carmel at Quidenham web site


On Tuesday, 6th September 2011, Archbishop Vincent met with Canon James Cronin, new Missio National Director, Monsignor John Dale, outgoing Missio National Director, Fr Anthony Chantry MHM, the General Superior of the Mill Hill Missionaries and Fr Bernard Phelan MHM, Regional Superior. This meeting was held to mark the 75th anniversary of the Red Box and the continuing collaboration between the Association for the Propagation of the Faith and the Mill Hill Missionaries.

© Mazur/

Archbishop Vincent said on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference: 'All the Bishops of England and Wales recall with pride the decision made by our predecessors 75 years ago to unite the parish-based activities of the APF and Mill Hill Missionaries. The Bishops warmly endorse the contribution made to the life of the local Church by these two societies through their constant and forthright proclamation of Christ’s universal mission to teach the Good News to all peoples and to serve the poor. This steady and diligent work on the part of APF and Mill Hill enables Catholics to live out their own missionary vocation and to take an active part in the universal mission of the Church.'

© Mazur/

Canon Cronin pointed out that 'In St John’s Gospel some Greeks came to St Philip with a simple request, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus’. There are many across the world who still say, ‘We wish to see Jesus’. I have recently had the opportunity of visiting places where the Church is very young and still growing - where Red Box help is vital in building the visible and tangible presence of the Church. It has been a great joy to see that in those places the faith is strong and Church members such lively witnesses.'

Today the iconic Red Box, unique to England and Wales, is present in more than 200,000 homes. Thanks to the generosity of so many people, in 2010 the Catholics of England and Wales contributed more than £3 million to 39 dioceses in countries such as Pakistan, South Africa and Zimbabwe and to Mill Hill’s work with the poor in 27 countries.

In our diocese, the Mass of Thanksgiving to mark the anniversary will be offered in St George's Cathedral on Sunday, 25th September 2011, at 11:30 am.

Visit the Missio web site

Visit the Mill Hill Missionaries web site

More photos of the occasion on the CCEW Flick'r page


Welcoming the new translation of the Mass

This weekend will see the introduction of the new translation of the Mass in our parishes.

This translation will be used throughout the English-speaking world and is the fruit of years of collaboration to produce the approved text.

At the end of his visit to Great Britain last September, the Holy Father thanked the bishops for the contribution they had made to the production of the translation 'with such painstaking care' and expressed the hope that its use would inspire a renewed devotion to the Eucharist.

Texts for the people's parts of the Mass are available on the Liturgy Office web site, where they can be downloaded in .pdf format.

The cross pictured above is being used on the front cover of the altar missal and on other books containing the new translation. IC is the first and last letter of the Greek for Jesus; XC is the first and last letter of the Greek for Christ; NIKA is the Greek for 'conquers': so 'Jesus Christ conquers' or 'Jesus Christ is victorious'.