News  Archive for 2013 - March


An Easter Message from Archbishop Peter ...

The Resurrection (detail) - Passignano (1559 -1638)
Fresco in the Borgia apartments, Vatican

Hasn’t it been wonderful to have at least a few dry days and feel the occasional warmth of the sun after so many weeks of bitterly cold and gloomy days? This year there has been little to lighten the darkness and deadness of winter and we long for the Spring to come with its lighter and longer days and the signs of new life in our gardens and in the fields and hedgerows.

For us, Spring coincides with the celebration of Easter. This is the greatest Feast in the Church’s year when we recall and rejoice that following his suffering and death on Good Friday, Jesus Christ rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. For us that is the greatest event in history which fills us with a deep and abiding joy. Easter restores our hope and confidence in the ultimate triumph of good over evil, despite so many signs to the contrary that we see in the darkening world around us.

Christ is the light of the world, a light which we believe will never be extinguished, the light which leads us out of our selfishness to the new life of unconditional love and the readiness to forgive and reconcile. Through his suffering and death on the Cross, Jesus showed us what it means to love others unconditionally. And love like that leads to new and everlasting life. If only we could love each other like he loved us, what a marvellous place the world would be! So let’s ask for the grace and generosity to do just that and so bring the light, joy and peace of the risen Christ to the world in which we live.

May the presence of the risen Christ in your lives bring you happiness and renewed strength this Easter.

With my blessing and an assurance of my prayers,

Archbishop of Southwark


   Pope Francis: Easter Blessing 'Urbi et Orbi'

On Easter Sunday, Pope Francis gave his Easter Message and Blessing from the Loggia of St Peter's Basilica.

BBC coverage is available during this week on BBC iPlayer

English translation of this Easter Message on Vatican Radio's web site


Bishops offer Easter Day Masses in Prisons

On Easter Sunday Bishop Patrick offered Mass in HMP Brixton and Bishop Paul offered Mass in HMP Wandsworth.

In Southwark diocese there are fifteen prisons ranging from Young Offenders' Institutes to High Security Prisons.



On Wednesday, 27th March 2013, Archbishop Peter presided at the Chrism Mass in Saint George's Cathedral.

Archbishop Peter was joined by Bishops Patrick and Paul, Archbishop Emeritus Kevin and Bishop Emeritus Howard. Bishop John is presiding at the Holy Week Services at the English College in Valladolid, Spain

The procession of priests into the Cathedral

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.

The priests renew their commitment to their priestly ministry

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.

The Archbishop consecrates the Oil of Chrism

In his homily, Archbishop Peter said 'I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit is calling us to be a more deeply prayerful Church' and that 'we need to become much more familiar with the faith and be able to explain it'. This would give the laity greater confidence to present the Gospel message to society.

He added 'There is much for us to do but we must not be disheartened or discouraged. Under the leadership of our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, there are intimations of a new Spring for the Church.'

Deacons Michael Kennedy and James Sheahan fill the deanery oil stocks

Full text of Archbishop Peter's homily at the Chrism Mass (.pdf available)

Many more photos of the Chrism Mass on RCSouthwark's Flickr page



The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) has a long and close association with our diocese. Its new head office - Romero House - was opened in July 2010 in our Cathedral precincts after 28 years in Stockwell.

CAFOD is a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee, which is appealing for funds to alleviate the widespread suffering caused by two years of war in Syria - more than three million people have been made homeless - many are in urgent need of food, water and shelter.

CAFOD have produced this video:

Please visit CAFOD's web site to learn more about the appeal


Portuguese Mission's Vibrant Youth Day

On Saturday, 23rd March 2013, hundreds of young people attended a Youth Day which began at Hammersmith and toured the churches where there are regular Portuguese Masses. The day was organised by the Portuguese Catholic Mission in London whose Chaplain is Fr Pedro Rodrigues.

The theme of the Day was 'Come and See'.

Canon John O'Toole, Cathedral Dean, joined them in the evening to celebrate the first Mass of Palm Sunday in St Mary's Parish Hall, Clapham. Fr Pedro Rodrigues and Fr Francesco Buttazzo, CS, concelebrated the Mass.

Many more photos of the Youth Day on João Abreu's Facebook page 


Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father John McCormack
ho died on 25th March 2013

 A Vigil Mass will be offered
on Monday, 15th April, at 5:00 pm
at St Vincent, Mallard Close, Temple Hill, Dartford DA1 5HU
Telephone: 01322 279955

His Funeral Mass will be offered there
on Tuesday, 16th April, at 12 noon
with Bishop Howard Tripp presiding

The Committal will take place
on Friday, 19th April, at 2:00 pm
at Mortlake Crematorium
Kew Meadow Path, Townmead Road, Richmond TW9 4EN
Telephone: 020 8876 8056

May he rest in peace


'We are brothers'

A historic meeting between Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI took place at Castel Gandolfo on Saturday, 23rd March 2013. The meeting was described as a private moment of 'profound and elevated communion' between the past and present Pope.


'Born for This'

This Palm Sunday weekend the Southwark Catholic Youth Service and the Carmelite Order in partnership with young people from the diocese presented 'Born for This'. The young people from Catholic Schools and Colleges led congregations at Aylesford Priory on Saturday, 23rd, and St George's Cathedral on Sunday, 24th April, in a very moving and prayerful depiction of the Stations of the Cross.

'Born for This' combines reflections by Jude Martin and music by Joanne Boyce and Mike Stanley into a powerful drama.


Mass for the Inauguration of the Petrine Ministry
of Pope Francis

Tuesday, 19th March 2013, at 8:30 am (GMT)
The Solemnity of Saint Joseph

Text of the Inaugural Mass from the Vatican web site (.pdf format)

Watch the full coverage on BBC iPlayer  In this programme Archbishop Peter is a member of the panel commenting on the significance of the election of Pope Francis and Father Bill Agley gives the commentary to the Mass.

Centro Televisio Vaticano

Service starts at 0:37:05

Translation of the full text of Pope Francis' homily on CCEW News and Media web site


Why Francis?

Pope Francis explains


a short biography of Saint Francis of Assisi

Please click on the image for this linked page


Dedication of the Chapel at Beulah Hill

Bishop Paul incenses the altar

On Tuesday, 19th March 2013, the Solemnity of St Joseph, the chapel at St Joseph’s College, Beulah Hill, was dedicated, on the centenary of its opening.

Archbishop Peter was due to preside, but he had to fly to Rome for Pope Francis’ Inaugural Mass. Fortunately, Bishop Paul was visiting the school in the morning to say Mass for Year Nine, so he was able to officiate.

The chapel was dedicated and the altar was consecrated with Chrism and relics of St Philip Howard and St Justus of Canterbury were sealed in the altar. Twelve priests concelebrated, five of whom are among the eighteen surviving old boys who are now priests. Jacques Lambert and Paul Moynihan (two more old boys) acted as MCs.

Local head teachers and representatives from the Education Commission also attended along with governors, parents and staff. The students provided the readers, altar servers and music. Afterwards there was a reception in the refectory where food prepared by the GCSE Food Technology students was served.

The altar is anointed with Chrism

(posted 02-04-13)


Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father William Hogg
ho died on 17th March 2013

A Vigil Mass will be offered
on Wednesday, 10th April, at 4:30 pm
at St Thomas of Canterbury
14 Blenheim Road, Deal, Kent CT14 7DB
Telephone: 01304 367496

His Funeral Mass will be celebrated there by Archbishop Peter
on Thursday, 11th April at 12 noon.

Limited parking at the church - Sainsbury's car park opposite

May he rest in peace


Archbishop Peter: Pope Francis
'brings us new hope for the future of the Church'

“Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum; habemus Papam.” Like many people round the world I was watching the television waiting for these words on the evening of Wednesday 13th March, having seen the pictures of white smoke billowing out of the Sistine Chapel chimney. When the words came I like many others then spent some moments working out who had been chosen. The speculation of the TV pundits had missed the mark: the new Pope was Francis, who was until only shortly before the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina.

I am delighted that the conclave has chosen Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to be the 265th successor of Saint Peter. His election opens a new chapter in the life of the church, and brings us new hope for the future of the Church and her mission throughout the world. It also brings about some historic “firsts”: the first Pope from the Americas, the first non-European Pope in over 1000 years, the first Jesuit to be Pope and the first Pope to take the name Francis.

Among his first public requests as Pope was: “I ask you to pray to the Lord that he will bless me”. So as your Archbishop I encourage you to honour this request so that we keep him in the forefront of our prayers in the days and weeks ahead. He will be prayed for at every Mass, but I would also encourage you to remember him in your own prayers every day.

May God bless him in his task and keep him always in his love and care.

Archbishop of Southwark


Please click on the box for job description (.doc) 


Habemus Papam

Pope Francis

The Cardinal Electors took just over 24 hours to elect our new Pope. He is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has taken the name Francis.

The white smoke billowed from the chimney above the Sistine Chapel just after 6:00 pm (GMT) this evening and the bells of Saint Peter's began to peal. Thousands packed Saint Peter's Square and the Via della Conciliazione to await Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran's announcement of the name of the new Pope from the Loggia of St Peter's.

Pope Francis thanked the crowd. He prayed for his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and asked for the prayers of the people. Addressing the people of Rome he said:

'And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood. My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with help of my Cardinal Vicar, be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.'

Full text of Pope Francis' inaugural address

He gave his blessing 'Urbi et Orbi' - to the city of Rome and to the world.

Pope Francis is the first Jesuit Pope and the first Pope from the Americas - and the first to take the name Francis.

We pray for our new Pope:


Centro Televisio Vaticano - Wednesday, 13th March 2013

White smoke at 0:00:47
'Habemus Papam' at 1:06:55
Appearance of Pope Francis at 1:16:45

Photo: © Mazur/ - more photos on CCEW Flickr page

(posted 13-03-13; video added 14-03-13)



The Cardinals have decided that the Conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI will begin on Tuesday afternoon, 12th March 2013.

In the morning they will gather in Saint Peter's Basilica to offer Mass and in the afternoon they will process from the Pauline Chapel to the Sistine Chapel while singing 'Veni, Creator Spiritus'. One ballot will be held that day, after which there will be four ballots a day - two in the morning and two in the afternoon until a new Pope is elected.

The Cardinals embark on this sacred duty in a deep spirit of prayer: we join our prayers with theirs:

Veni, Creator Spiritus - Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come ...

Please click here for linked page with a Prayer for the Election of a Pope


Please click on the box for linked page


Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Tom Heneghan
Parish Priest of Corpus Christi, Brixton Hill

ho died on 6th March 2013

Vigil Mass: Sunday, 17th March, at 6:00 pm
Corpus Christi, Trent Road, Brixton Hill, SW2 5BJ
Celebrant: Bishop Patrick Lynch

Requiem Mass: Monday, 18th March, at 12 noon
 Corpus Christi, Trent Road, Brixton Hill, SW2 5BJ
Celebrant: Archbishop Peter Smith

Funeral Mass: Wednesday, 20th March.
Mayo Abbey Church, Co Mayo
Time to be advised

May he rest in peace


Mass of Thanksgiving
for the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI

On Saturday, 2nd March 2013, Archbishop Peter presided at Mass in the Cathedral in Thanksgiving for the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI and to ask God's blessing on the College of Cardinals gathering in Rome to elect his successor.

In his introduction to the Mass, the Archbishop said: 'We'll miss Benedict: a great teacher, a great pastor, a man of great integrity and holiness.'

In his homily, the Archbishop said: 'Benedict is no longer our Pope, but he left the church with a message of hope and encouragement, reflecting the way that he has carried out his office over the last eight years; years of considerable turbulence in the church throughout the world.' He added 'He always stressed his desire for the unity of the church, and to open dialogue with those of other religions. He worked quietly but very vigorously to that end.'

He urged the congregation to pray for 'wisdom, understanding and discernment' for the College of Cardinals as they prepare to elect the next Pope; he remarked that he did not envy them their task.

More photos of the Mass on RCSouthwark's Flickr page


Archbishop visits St Mary Magdalen's, Mortlake

On Sunday, 3rd March 2013, Archbishop Peter was welcomed by the parish priest, Father Richard Whinder, and parishioners of St Mary Magdalen, Mortlake, where he presided at the morning Masses.

2012 saw the 160th Anniversary of the opening of their church - an occasion which is still being celebrated.

More photos of the visit on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

Visit St Mary Magdalen's parish web site


Culmination of Pugin bi-centenary celebtations

Friday, 1st March 2013, marked the end of the year celebrating the bi-centenary of the birth of A W Pugin and the first anniversary of the establishment of his church of Saint Augustine in Ramsgate as a Shrine in honour of 'the apostle of the English'.

Abbot Cuthbert Brogan of Farnborough Abbey, presided at a special Mass in the church during which he placed a relic of Pope Saint Gregory the Great in the Pugin chapel. It was this pope who sent Augustine to evangelise England in AD 597.

After Mass, the Abbot carried out the opening ceremony of the church’s Cloister Garden which had been reset and restored after years of being overgrown and in a state of disrepair.

Pugin’s Great Great Grandson, Robert Pugin Purcell, read at the Mass.

Full report on the Shrine of St Augustine web site

Gallery of photos on Shrine of St Augustine web site

Visit the Friends of St Augustine's web site