News Archive for 2013 - February

First 'Year of Faith' Clergy Gathering at Merville

Please click on the photo to view a larger version

Archbishop Peter has invited the clergy of the diocese to join him at one of three gatherings at the Maison Diocesaine D'Accueil in Merville, France.

The reason for the gatherings was prompted by the Year of Faith. It is a time for the clergy to pray together, to think about how to maintain and grow a living faith in our parishes as well as a time to socialise and enjoy some quality time together.

The first of these gatherings was held from Monday, 25th February, until Friday, 1st March. Sixty Southwark clergy attended - most went by Eurostar and were picked up by a coach at Lille, while a small number travelled by car. Merville is about an hour's drive from Calais.

The first full day, Tuesday, was a day of recollection led by Canon John Rafferty of the Shrewsbury Diocese. This was followed by a day and a half looking at Catholic Stewardship for those parishes that might be interested in taking it up. It was led by the Portsmouth Pastoral Team who have facilitated the introduction of Stewardship into a number of parishes in that diocese. Wednesday afternoon was free time to venture further afield with some taking the opportunity to visit Belgium and in the evening there was dinner at a nearby restaurant in Morbecque which served a first-class meal. On the final day the clergy received a brief address from the Archbishop who then led a Question and Answer session.

The feedback for the week was very positive and gave much food for thought, soul and, of course, body.

The next gathering will be on 10th - 14th June. For more information please contact Fr Paul Mason at the Ongoing Formation Office.


Dover Deanery visit Tyburn to venerate local martyr

Pilgrims from the Dover Deanery visited Tyburn Convent to venerate their local martyr who was born in Sandwich. Blessed Roger Filcock was executed at Tyburn on 27th February 1601. It was on the anniversary of his martyrdom that Father Samuel Medley, SOLT, directed the 2013 pilgrimage to the convent in Marble Arch, very close to the site of the Tyburn Tree. He was joined by Father Christopher Lindlair and Deacon Gerald Watkins. Sister Mary Katherine of the Benedictine Sisters at Tyburn was the pilgrim guide.

Blessed Roger Filcock was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22nd  November 1987.

Venerating the relic of Blessed Roger Filcock


Pope Benedict XVI lays down his Petrine Ministry


Please click on the box for the linked page

At his final General Audience in Saint Peter's Square on Wednesday, 27th February 2013, Pope Benedict XVI, speaking in English and summarising his address, said:

'I offer a warm and affectionate greeting to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors who have joined me for this, my last General Audience. Like Saint Paul, whose words we heard earlier, my heart is filled with thanksgiving to God who ever watches over his Church and her growth in faith and love, and I embrace all of you with joy and gratitude. During this Year of Faith, we have been called to renew our joyful trust in the Lord’s presence in our lives and in the life of the Church.

I am personally grateful for his unfailing love and guidance in the eight years since I accepted his call to serve as the Successor of Peter. I am also deeply grateful for the understanding, support and prayers of so many of you, not only here in Rome, but also throughout the world. The decision I have made, after much prayer, is the fruit of a serene trust in God’s will and a deep love of Christ’s Church. I will continue to accompany the Church with my prayers, and I ask each of you to pray for me and for the new Pope.

In union with Mary and all the saints, let us entrust ourselves in faith and hope to God, who continues to watch over our lives and to guide the journey of the Church and our world along the paths of history. I commend all of you, with great affection, to his loving care, asking him to strengthen you in the hope which opens our hearts to the fullness of life that he alone can give. To you and your families, I impart my blessing. Thank you!'

© Mazur/

More photos of the Holy Father's final audience on the CCEW Flickr page

Full text of the Holy Father's address on the CCEW News and Media page

Archbishop Vincent Nichols has written to the Holy Father on behalf of the Church in England and Wales: 'We promise you our prayers for the years ahead. May God bless you with peace and the gift of consoling prayer. We know that you will continue, faithfully, your life-long vocation of love of God and His Church and of prayer for us all. Full text

Archbishop Angelo Becciu, replying on the Holy Father's behalf, writes: 'His Holiness promises to pray for all of you and for the people entrusted to your pastoral care, and he willingly imparts his Apostolic Blessing.'
Full text

Thank you, Holy Father ... we will keep you in our grateful prayers.

(posted 28-02-13)


Woolwich - a welcome and a farewell

Father Michael Branch is inducted as Parish Priest ...

On Saturday, 23rd February 2013, Bishop Patrick inducted Father Michael Branch as Parish Priest of Saint Peter the Apostle, Woolwich.

Father Michael was ordained to the priesthood on 31st May 1997 and served as assistant priest in the parishes of St Joseph's, Roehampton, and St Saviour's, Lewisham, before being appointed as Parish Priest of St Patrick's, Plumstead, in February 2006.

He succeeds Father Michael Scanlon, who is appointed to St Mary's, West Croydon.

Father Michael with Bishop Patrick

Father Michael signs the rescript of appointment

Bishop Patrick leads Father Michael to the presidential chair

More photos of Father Michael's Induction on RCSouthwark's Flickr page


  ... and Father Michael Scanlon is honoured
at a Civic Reception




On the previous evening of Friday, 22nd February, the Mayor of the Royal London Borough of Greenwich, Councillor David Grant, and the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Angela Cornforth, held a  civic reception in appreciation for Father Michael's services to the Royal London Borough of Greenwich, including his work as Ecumenical Borough Dean.

Father Michael with Monsignor William Saunders

Dr Michael Ipgrave, the Anglican Bishop of Woolwich, (left)
and Provost Emeritus Joseph Collins (right)

Father Michael Branch, Deacon Michael Kennedy and Archbishop Kevin

More photos of the reception on RCSouthwark's Flickr page


Kingston Deanery Lenten Service of Reconciliation

On Friday, 22nd February 2013, Archbishop Peter presided at the Year of Faith Lenten Service of Reconciliation for the Kingston Deanery at Our Lady Immaculate, Tolworth.

More photos of the Service on RCSouthwark's Flickr page


Thanet Deanery Lenten Service of Reconciliation

Bishop John led the Year of Faith Lenten Service of Reconciliation for the Thanet Deanery at Our Lady Star of the Sea, Broadstairs, on Friday evening, 22nd February, 2013.

Pictured with him above are the clergy of the Thanet Deanery: Deacon Neville Gascoigne, Fr Paul Connelly (Holy Family, Birchington & Westgate-on-Sea), Fr Godfrey Holdstock (Assistant priest at Broadstairs and at St Anne's, Cliftonville), Fr Luke Smith, Dean, (Ss Austin & Gregory with St Anne, Margate), Fr Philip Seed (Our Lady Star of the Sea, Broadstairs) and Fr Marcus Holden (Ss Ethelebert and Gertrude, Ramsgate & Minster).


Archbishop visits Our Lady of the Assumption, Tooting

Father Francis Reid, parish priest, and parishioners of Our Lady of the Assumption, Tooting (Links Road) welcomed Archbishop Peter to their parish on Sunday, 17th February 2013, where he presided at Mass.

More photos of the Archbishop's visit on RCSouthwark's Flickr page


The March edition of the Pilgrim has a special focus on Pope Benedict XVI following his resignation from office, as well as other news and articles.



New Web Site for the Centre for Catholic Formation

The Centre for Catholic Formation has a new web site. Please visit and bookmark this site. The web address is unchanged - 




A joyful step on the journey of faith

Monsignor Matthew Dickens, Vicar General. Bishop Paul, Bishop John,
Archbishop Peter, Bishop Patrick, Deacon James Sheahan
and Father Philip Glandfield in the sacristy before the Rite

On Saturday, 16th February 2013, Archbishop Peter presided at the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion at Saint George's Cathedral.

The Cathedral was full as the 236 Catechumens, who will be baptised and the 221 Candidates, who will be received into full communion with the Catholic Church in their parishes at the Easter Vigil gathered with their god-parents, sponsors and families for this joyful occasion. They came from 79 parishes throughout the diocese.

Procession with the Book of the Elect

The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion is a highlight of the Church's year and the Archbishop was joined by our Auxiliary Bishops and his Vicar General for the service. The music was led by Canon Alan McLean and the diocesan choir and the altar servers were from the parish of Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus, Morden.

In his homily, Archbishop Peter said: 'During this season of Lent, the Church encourages you who are to be baptised, and you who are to be received into full communion, to deepen your relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. This is a special “window of opportunity”, so to speak, on your journey of faith. It is a time of grace, a favourable time, when God asks you, and indeed all of us, to open our hearts and minds to his presence and power in our lives. It is a graced opportunity to allow him to mould us more and more into the image and likeness of his beloved Son who is for us the example of what it means to be truly human and a child of God.'

The bishops read the names of the parishes from which the
Catechumens and Candidates have come

Full text of Archbishop Peter's homily (.pdf available)

Many more photos on RCSouthwark's Flickr page


Guild of Saint Stephen at Tolworth

On Sunday, 17th February 2013, Canon Tony Charlton, parish priest at Our Lady Immaculate, Tolworth,  enrolled sixteen altar servers into the Guild of St Stephen. He reminded them that 'a good server is the one who not only knows what to do, but also understands why it is being done'.

The picture shows the new members with Jacques Lambert , the parish Master of Ceremonies.


New Lourdes Pilgrimage Director is appointed ...

On Monday, 11th February 2013, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Archbishop Peter appointed a new Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage Director. He is Father Edward Perera, parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes, Lee. Father Edward will organise the Southwark pilgrimage this year which will take place from 23rd until 30th August, in conjunction with the Catholic Association.

The Pilgrimage Director of the Catholic Association, Monsignor William Saunders, was in Lourdes on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and took this photo of pilgrims visiting the Grotto undaunted by a snow storm.

Archbishop Peter has thanked Deacon Michael Kennedy for organising the Diocesan Pilgrimages to Lourdes since 2009.

Please return to our site where details of this year's pilgrimage will soon be published.

... and a new Dean for the Greenwich Deanery

Archbishop Peter has appointed Father Richard Plunkett as the new Dean of the Greenwich Deanery in succession to Father Michael Scanlon.


The Liturgy Office of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has published resources with prayers and guidelines for liturgies for Pope Benedict XVI and the Election of his Successor.

The Gift of a Shepherd: General Instructions for the Celebration of Mass

The Gift of a Shepherd: Prayers for Pope Benedict and the Election of his Successor (.pdf) 

These prayers may be used by individuals or as part of prayers and devotions such as a Holy Hour or a Service of the Word. Scripture readings may be added from the pages in the Lectionary given in the Instructions for the Celebration of Mass.

Further information and formats on the Liturgy Office web site

Report on the CCEW News and Media web site


Pope Benedict XVI announces his resignation

On Monday, 11th February 2013, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, which will take place at the end the month.

During a Consistory in the Vatican, the Holy Father, speaking in Latin, spoke of his intention to resign on 28th February at 7:00 pm (GMT) due to age and ill-health.

Here is the full text of his announcement: 

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013


Vatican Television Centre

Statement from Archbishop Vincent Nichols

President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference
of England and Wales

Pope Benedict’s announcement today has shocked and surprised everyone. Yet, on reflection, I am sure that many will recognise it to be a decision of great courage and characteristic clarity of mind and action.

The Holy Father recognises the challenges facing the Church and that “strength of mind and body are necessary” for his tasks of governing the Church and proclaiming the Gospel.

I salute his courage and his decision.

I ask people of faith to keep Pope Benedict in their prayers. We Catholics will do so, with great affection and the highest esteem for his ministry as our Holy Father remembering with joy his Visit to the United Kingdom in 2010. Pray, too, for the Church and all the steps that must take place in the next weeks. We entrust ourselves to the loving Providence of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

11 February 2013

News Release on CCEW News and Media web site

Letter of gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI from Archbishop Vincent Nichols
on behalf of the Catholics of England and Wales


Archbishop Peter has written a Pastoral Letter for the Season of Lent to be read on Sunday, 10th February 2013.

In it he writes: 'Lent is a 'favourable time' for me to ask myself some pertinent questions about where I stand with God, and how I am responding to the commission he has given us. I cannot do that fruitfully unless I become more attentive to the word of God in the scriptures and through spending some time each day in quiet prayer. I cannot, from my own resources, produce the fruit that will last, unless I allow the living word of God to nurture my faith and trust in God who loves me unconditionally and with a steadfast love, and who looks on me in my weakness with great mercy and compassion.'

Full text of the Pastoral Letter (.pdf available)


Archbishop Peter visits St Catherine of Siena's,
Chessington and Hook

On Sunday, 3rd February 2013, Archbishop Peter visited the parish of Saint Catherine of Siena, Chessington and Hook, where he presided at Mass.

More photos of the visit on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

(posted 08-02-13)


New Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

Bishop John speaks to the new Exraordinary Ministers in the Amigo Hall

On Saturday, 2nd February 2013, Bishop John and Monsignor Matthew Dickens, Vicar General, led a day for new Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion from 38 parishes in the diocese. The day included input about the role of Extraordinary Ministers, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Mass, at which Bishop John presided and commissioned 124 new ministers. The talks took place in the Amigo Hall and the liturgies in St George's Cathedral.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

Monsignor Matthew's input in the Amigo Hall

Congregation in the Cathedral for the Mass

Deacon Michael Kennedy reads the Gospel

Bishop John commissions the new ministers

Bisnop John presents the certificates

Bishop John with the clergy and people of the Sacred Heart,
Battersea (West), the parish which provided the altar servers for Mass

More photos of the Day for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion on RCSouthwark's Flickr page



In this Year of Faith, we seek to recognise Catholic women who work to pass on the Faith to the next generation: in the family, the school, the parish, and the wider community.

We invite nominations for the 2013 Catholic Women of the Year. All that is needed is a short letter explaining why this particular Catholic woman should be honoured: it should mention her activities, involvement with parish or other groups, and the special qualities that she brings.

Nominations can be from anyone and should be sent to:
CWOY 22 Milton Road WARE SG12 0PZ.
Email: to arrive by 30th April 2013.

Visit the Catholic Women of the Year web site


Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking

Friday, 8th February 2013 - Feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita

'The Day of Prayer for the Victims of Trafficking is an opportunity to remember and pray for the thousands and thousands of victims of trafficking throughout the world,' said the Lead Bishop for Migration, Bishop Patrick Lynch.

'It is especially appropriate that the day itself coincides with the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita who despite the suffering she experienced as a slave was a wonderful witness of how to live a life rooted in faith, inspired by hope and characterized by love. I would, therefore, encourage all people - young and old - to make a special effort to join in this Day of Prayer.'

Bishop Patrick launched the Day of Prayer at the Catholic Bishops' Conference Secretariat in Eccleston Square on Wednesday, 30th January 2013.

© Mazur/

More photos of the launch on CCEW's Flickr page

Saint Josephine Bakhita is the Sudanese saint who, at the age of nine, was kidnapped and sold into slavery. At the age of 35, she was brought to Italy and entrusted to the care of the Canossian Sisters in Venice. She became a Catholic and joined the order. She died in 1947 and was canonised in October 2000. 

Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking
O God, who led Saint Josephine Bakhita
from abject slavery to the dignity of being your daughter and a bride of Christ,
grant, we pray, that by her example
we may show constant love for the Lord Jesus crucified, remaining steadfast in charity and prompt to show compassion.
Through Christ our Lord.

Press release on the CCEW News and Media web site

Short YouTube video about St Josephine Bakhita