News Archive for 2013 - July

Father Valentine's First Mass

The Opening Prayer

The homily

Father Valentine Erhahon, one of the five deacons ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Peter at Saint George's Cathedral on 20th July, celebrated his First Mass at Saint Elizabeth's Church in Richmond the following day.

Father Stephen Langridge, our Diocesan Vocation Director, gave the homily.

After the Mass, Father Valentine gave his first blessing - including to a young parishioner (picture left).

Father Valentine's first appointment is as Assistant Priest at the parish of St Saviour and Ss John the Baptist and Evangelist, Lewisham.

The Eucharistic Prayer

Father Valentine with his relatives

The Schola from Oxford Colleges was led by Charlie Warren and the Organ Scholar was from Merton College, Oxford.

The photographer was Marco Eastwood.
More photos of the occasion on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

(posted 08-08-13)


Clergy Appointments and News

The July 2013 list of appointments has been sent to the clergy in a recent Ad Clerum.

Some of these appointments have already taken place, others are due to take place during August or September.

Please consult our Clergy Appointments and News page for this list.


Pope sends personal message
to world's Muslims for ‘Id al-Fitr

Pope Francis has sent a personal message to the world's Muslims as they celebrate 'Id al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan.

Archbishop Kevin McDonald, Chair of the Bishops' Conference Office for Interreligious Dialogue, has pointed out that the Holy Father sent this greeting in his own name - a clear signal of how important relations with the Muslim community are in the context of his own ministry.

The message is an appeal for mutual respect between the religions.

Pope Francis calls for 'an attitude of kindness towards people for whom we have consideration and esteem.' There can be no defamation or unfair criticism. Rather relations must be characterised by respect which is mutual. 'In this way, sincere and lasting friendship can grow.'

News release on CCEW News and Media site with link to the full message


Please click on the box for details (.doc)


Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Brother Thomas Johnston O Carm

a member of the Walworth Community

ho died 27th July 2013

May he rest in peace


World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro and at Aylesford

At the time Pope Francis was celebrating Mass on Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Archbishop Peter presided at Mass at The Friars, Aylesford, with over 900 young pilgrims not only from England and Wales, but also from Zamora in Spain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The WYD@HOME Brightlights Festival reflected the joyful faith which was expressed in Brazil, as the participants joined in liturgies, prayer (with an all-night vigil of adoration and reconciliation), workshops and seminars and enjoyed the live entertainment and fellowship.

A deep sense of unity with Pope Francis was felt - though about 5800 miles to the North-East of Rio.

The Festival started on Friday evening, 26th July, and ended at noon on Monday, 29th July.

Photo: Fr Brendan Grady OCarm
Archbishop Peter welcomes the young pilgrims on Friday evening

Photo: Fr Brendan Grady OCarm
Stations of the Cross

Archbishop Peter presides at Mass on Sunday ...

Photo: Fr Brendan Grady OCarm
... with a live video link to Pope Francis in Rio de Janeiro

A Seminar in progress

© Mazur/
The Rio Carnival

Before departure on Monday, Archbishop Vincent Nichols presided at Mass with Bishop John concelebrating.

© Mazur/

Grateful thanks to the Carmelite Friars at Aylesford for hosting the event with their customary great hospitality.

Many more photos ...

- on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

- on CCEW Flickr page and

- on Fr Brendan Grady OCarm's Dropbox page


Deacon Kevin Dunne celebrates his Silver Jubilee

Deacon Kevin Dunne celebrated the Silver Jubilee of his Ordination to the Diaconate on Tuesday, 23rd July 2013.

On Wednesday, 24th July, Bishop John presided at a special Mass at St Augustine's, Tunbridge Wells, to celebrate Deacon Kevin's jubilee. Many priests concelebrated and over twenty deacons from the diocese were present.

Deacon Kevin reads the Gospel

During the Mass, Bishop John presented Kevin’s wife, Jean, with Pope Francis’ Benemerenti Medal for her service to the Church and parish of over 40 years.

Bishop John presents Jean with the Benemerenti

The Mass was followed by a buffet reception for 300 parishioners and friends.

We congratulate both Deacon Kevin and his wife, Jean.

Ad multos annos ...

More photos of the occasion on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

(posted 02-08-13)


Edenbridge bids farewell to the Sisters of St Andrew

On Sunday, 21st July 2013, Archbishop Peter presided at Mass at the Church of St Lawrence, Edenbridge, and  conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation. Father Christopher Keen, the parish priest, concelebrated at the Mass.

The Sisters of Saint Andrew have been in the parish at Eden Hall for seventy years where they have provided a Centre for their ministry of hospitality. They are now to leave the parish and so the Mass was an opportunity to thank them for their decades of witness and service in the area. Happily we are not losing them to the diocese, as they hope to relocate to Lewisham in the autumn.

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

(posted 01-08-13)


Father Richard Plunkett celebrates 40 years

On Friday, 19th July 2013, Archbishop Peter presided at a Mass at the Church of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More, Eltham Well Hall, in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the ordination of Father Richard Plunkett, the parish priest.

The Mass was followed by a reception in the church grounds.

Ad multos annos ...

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

(posted 01-08-13)


Confirmation at Norbiton

On Sunday, 7th July 2013, Father John Eze MSP and the parishioners of Saint Pius X Church, Norbiton, welcomed Archbishop Peter to their parish where he presided at Mass and conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation.

A few more photos of the Mass on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

(posted 01-08-13)


Blessing of New Building at St Elizabeth's, Richmond

On Friday, 5th July 2013, Archbishop Peter offered Mass in the hall of Saint Elizabeth's Primary School, Richmond, and blessed the new building. The building is called 'The Philip Mathias Wing', in recognition of Father Philip Mathias' close association with the school both as parish priest of Saint Elizabeth's, Richmond, and for many years as the Chairman of the Board of Governors.

The Archbishop blesses The Philip Mathias Wing

Archbishop Peter with Father Philip Mathias
and Headteacher Christine Brett

And a week later...

... on Friday, 12th July, Christine Brett attended Mass at St Elizabeth's Church, Richmond, to celebrate her twenty-five years as headteacher of St Elizabeth's School.

Bishop Paul presided and was assisted by Deacon Valentine Erhahon who was ordained to the priesthood the following week.

After the Mass a reception was held in the school hall. Bishop Paul thanked Christine for her dedicated service and congratulated her on her anniversary.

More photos of the Blessing of the New Building on RCSouthwark's  Flickr page

(posted 31-07-13)


St Mary's Primary School, Deal, celebrates 100 years


On Tuesday, 2nd July 2013, Archbishop Peter visited Saint Mary's Catholic Primary School, Deal, to preside at an outdoor Mass in celebration of the school's centenary.

The Mass was followed by a family picnic and a fun afternoon.

More photos of the Mass on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

(posted 31-07-13)



Sunday is the Day of Prayer for Human Life

This Sunday, 28th July 2013, is the Day of Prayer for Human Life - the day in the Church’s year dedicated to celebrating the dignity of life from conception to natural death.

The focus this year is 'Caring for Life', in particular:

- Care for unborn children and their mothers

- Care for people who are elderly

- Care for those who are suicidal and their families

It will emphasise how we all have a role to play in working together for the culture of life.

A message from Pope Francis has been sent to the Catholics of Britain and Ireland:

'Calling to mind the teaching of Saint Irenaeus that the glory of God is seen in a living human being, the Holy Father encourages all of you to let the light of that glory shine so brightly that everyone may come to recognise the inestimable value of all human life.

'Even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live for ever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.

'His Holiness prays that the Day for Life will help to ensure that human life always receives the protection that is its due, so that 'everything that breathes may praise the Lord' (Psalm 150:6).'

Archbishop Peter, Archbishop for the Day for Life,  has written to priests throughout England and Wales promoting the Day for Life and enclosing homily and liturgy resources and a suggested newsletter insert.

Read Archbishop Peter's letter and the resources

Visit the Day for Life web site

Day for Life 2013 Prayer


Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Theodore Davey CP

ho died on 20th July 2013

He will be buried at the Passionist Retreat of Minsteracres
on Friday, 26th July.

May he rest in peace


Prayers and Best Wishes
on the Birth of the Prince of Cambridge

The President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Wales, on behalf of the Conference, has extended his congratulations, prayers and best wishes to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their son:

'On behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, I would like to congratulate Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their son, His Royal Highness, the Prince of Cambridge.

'The birth of the new Prince will be a source of joy not only for the Royal Family but for the peoples of the United Kingdom and beyond. I assure Their Royal Highnesses of the prayers and best wishes of the Catholic Church in England and Wales for their new family.

'May Our Lord Jesus Christ bless and protect them, and may the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Joseph intercede for them.'

Archbishop Vincent Nichols
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Archbishop of Westminster


Dover Deanery's web site online

Please click on the image to visit Dover Deanery's web site

Dover Deanery has announced that its deanery web site is online. It is both colourful and informative and  includes directories for parishes and schools. The deanery covers quite a large geographical area and the website will be used to advertise forthcoming events and, in time, to share the news of its parishes and schools.

To our knowledge, this is the fifth deanery web site in the diocese - the others are Croydon, Lewisham, Merton and Thanet.


Joy at the Ordination of Five Southwark Priests

© Mazur/
Archbishop Peter with Fathers Valentine, Leonard, Samuel,
Thomas and Stephen

Saturday, 20th July 2013, was a very special day for the diocese. At Saint George's Cathedral, Archbishop Peter ordained five deacons to the priesthood:

Father Samuel Davey, from the Good Shepherd Parish, New Addington, was trained at St John's Seminary, Wonersh, where he spent his Pastoral Diaconate

Father Valentine Erhahon, from the Holy Ghost Parish, Balham, (originally from Benin City) was trained at St John's Seminary, Wonersh, and spent his Pastoral Diaconate at St Saviour's Parish, Lewisham

Father Stephen Haines from the Cathedral Parish, a former Anglican clergyman, was trained at Allen Hall and spent his Pastoral Diaconate at the Cathedral

Father Thomas Lynch from St Bede's Parish, Clapham Park, was trained at St John's Seminary, Wonersh, where he spent his Pastoral Diaconate

Father Leonard Tatt from Christ Church Parish, Eltham, was trained at the Pontifical Beda College in Rome, where he spent his Pastoral Diaconate.

© Mazur/
Promise of Obedience

© Mazur/
Prostration during the Litany

© Mazur/
Laying on of hands

© Mazur/
Anointing of hands

© Mazur/
Presentation of Gifts

© Mazur/
The Eucharistic Prayer

© Mazur/
First Blessing

Music for the Ordination Mass was provided by the Exeter College Chapel Schola, Oxford, led by George De Voil, Exeter College Organ Scholar.

These ordinations bring to a total of seven the number of men ordained for the diocese this year, the other two being Father Stuart Meyer and Father Nicolas von Malaise

Father Stephen Langridge, the diocesan Vocations Director, comments:
'It is great to have so many newly ordained priests for the diocese this year, but we need many more. Anyone considering a priestly vocation is encouraged to contact the Vocation Centre:'

Our congratulations and grateful prayers to all who have been ordained to the priesthood for our diocese this year.

Many more photos of the Ordination on the CCEW Flickr page


Interview with Archbishop Peter

Please click on the image to hear the 45 minute interview

Archbishop Peter has recorded an interview for Premier Christian Radio. In it he talks about his life, his ministry, the evangelization of young people and the Brightlights (WYD@HOME) Festival taking place at Aylesford Priory from 26th until 29th July, which he will attend.

During the interview, the Archbishop said that the Church needs to be aware of the culture of our time – particularly where young people are concerned. 'We’ve got to find a new language,' he said. 'not in any way to give a false impression of the Gospel – we must keep to the Gospel truth – but to use language which is perhaps more easy for youngsters and, indeed, adults to understand.'

He stressed that the Christian message is a vital component to the health of society in general. 'I believe that as a Christian, the Christian message is there to help build that good, mature society – a society where the most vulnerable people are cared for. That’s the sign of a healthy society.'


Marriage Act - 'heralds a profound social change'

Wednesday, 17th July 2013

On 17th July 2013, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill received Royal Assent meaning that same-sex couples in England and Wales will be able to marry once the Act is brought into force, which is expected to be in mid-2014.

In a statement on behalf or the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, the Conference President, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, and Vice-President, Archbishop Peter Smith, warned that the Act ‘marks a watershed in English law and heralds a profound social change’.

The statement appeals to the traditional understanding of marriage: 'Marriage has, over the centuries, been publicly recognised as a stable institution which establishes a legal framework for the committed relationship between a man and a woman and for the upbringing and care of their children. It has, for this reason, rightly been recognised as unique and worthy of legal protection.'

The statement explains that the Bishops' Conference is 'opposed to this legislation on principle’ as it 'breaks the existing legal links between the institution of marriage and sexual complementarity' and that ‘with this new legislation, marriage has now become an institution in which openness to children, and with it the responsibility on fathers and mothers to remain together to care for children born into their family unit, are no longer central'.

They again voice their concerns about 'the deficiencies in the process by which this legislation came to Parliament, and the speed with which it has been rushed through', but express gratitude to those in Parliament who sought to get amendments added to provide 'more effective protection for religious freedom'. However, 'other amendments to safeguard freedom of speech and the rights of civil registrars to conscientious objection were not passed'. 

Full text of the Statement on CCEW News and Media web site


At home and abroad during the Summer months ...

In the first overseas trip of his papacy, Pope Francis will travel to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for World Youth Day.

Understanding that the cost of travel from our country would be prohibitive for many young people, a celebration has been organised at The Friars, Aylesford, to coincide with WYD. It takes place from tea time on Friday, 26th July, until lunch on Monday, 29th July. This is planned for young adults (16 - 30 years) to experience the spirit of WYD without leaving the country.

WYD@Home will be linking into what is happening in Rio, but also has a great programme of its own with its mix of liturgy, music, catechesis, and drama. The highlights will include a night vigil of prayer and reconciliation and daily Mass celebrated by our bishops and priests.

For more information and booking please visit the Brightlights web site


Bookings are also being taken for our annual diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes which takes place from Friday, 23rd until Friday, 30th August. Bishop John will be leading the Pilgrimage this year and warmly invites you to join him.

Please visit the Lourdes 2013 section of our web site for more information and booking form and contact Father Edward Perera, our Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage Director:
Telephone: 020 8857 5006


Apostolic Nuncio honours Saint Mildred

On Sunday, 14th July 2013, His Excellency Archbishop Antonio Mennini, Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, presided and preached at the annual Thanet Deanery Mass in honour of Saint Mildred.

The Mass was offered in the beautiful Anglican Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Minster, thought to be the site of the original monastic foundation. The relic of St Mildred was venerated and the day ended with tea at the Abbey in the grounds of Parkminster.

Archbishop Mennini gives the homily

Archbishop Mennini with the Thanet deanery clergy

Archbishop Mennini with the Prioress, Mother Nikola Proksch OSB

More photos of the occasion on Thanet Deanery's web site

Visit St Mildred's Priory, Minster Abbey, web site


Tuesday, 11th July 2013, is the second anniversary of the death of Bishop Michael Evans, a Southwark priest who became the Bishop of East Anglia.

To coincide with this anniversary it was announced that a huge Romero Cross and Memorial to be erected in Metropolitan Cathedral Church of St George - Southwark, which will honour the martyred Archbishop Romero, will also be dedicated to Bishop Michael Evans.

During this coming September the Memorial in the form of a three-dimensional painted Salvadoran Cross (4 metres high), and containing a fragment of Archbishop Romero’s blood-stained alb and his zucchetto, will be installed in the Cathedral.

Commissioned by the Archbishop Romero Trust especially for St George’s, the faces of the Cross were designed by the renowned Salvadoran artist, Fernando Llort. Completed in Llort’s workshop in the village of La Palma, the Cross was dispatched to Britain by international courier last month.

Alongside a bust of Oscar Romero, the Cross will stand inside the Cathedral between the St Joseph and the St Patrick chapels. It will create a special ‘Romero Space’ for prayer in honour of the revered modern martyr - who was assassinated in San Salvador thirty three years ago in the middle of celebrating Mass.

The decision to create the Romero Space in St George’s brought great joy to the late Bishop Michael Evans in his last months. He had a special devotion to Archbishop Romero as a great witness to Christian faith and the model of a bishop who inspired his own episcopal ministry.

The Romero Space celebrates the life and death of Archbishop Romero but the Cross also provides a very fitting memorial to Bishop Michael, to whom it will be dedicated.

There will be an ecumenical Service of Prayer, including the blessing and dedication of the Cross, which will inaugurate the ‘Space’ on Thursday September 19th 2013 at 6.00pm.

Archbishop Peter Smith will preside. Very Rev John Hall, Dean of Westminster Abbey will take part. Msgr Ricardo Urioste, the 88 year-old former Secretary and Vicar General to Archbishop Romero, plans to travel from San Salvador and will give the homily.

Photoshop projections of what the cross will look like

View a larger copy of the projected face of the cross (.pdf)

View a larger copy of the projected reverse of the cross (.pdf)


Confirmations at Plumstead Common

On Saturday, 6th July 2013, Bishop Patrick was welcomed by Father Steven Fisher, parish priest, and parishioners of The Holy Cross, Plumstead Common, where he presided at the evening Mass and confirmed twelve young parishioners.


Bishops call for prayer and aid for Syria

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and Bishop Declan Lang, chair of the international affairs committee for the Conference, today called on all Catholics to offer prayers, and to offer practical support wherever possible, for all those affected by the conflict in Syria.

In the statement the Bishops said:
'Please pray for those involved in humanitarian aid, that access will be granted so that help can reach those most in need. Please pray for political leaders and their advisors, that the postponed Geneva 2 summit on Syria will take place very soon. The urgent challenge facing the parties will be in creating conditions for a ceasefire and eventually a settlement that respects the dignity, fundamental freedoms and rights of all Syrians.

The suffering that Syrians endure is growing not only through violence but also the economic hardships faced by increasing numbers in that country. The summer heat will bring further extreme hardship to those living in refugee camps. Please support practically those people exiled or internally displaced by contributing to the relief effort and the work of organisations such as Missio, Cafod and Aid to the Church in Need.'

Mass will be offered for the Syrian community and all those suffering the effects of the civil war in Syria this Friday, 12th July 2013, at 5:30 pm in Westminster Cathedral.

News release and full statement on the CCEW News and Media page

CAFOD - Aid to the Church in Need - Missio


Sharing in the Gifts of People of All Abilities

The great weather matched the sunny atmosphere at the annual Day Sharing in the Gifts of People of All Abilities which was held at The Friars, Aylesford, on Sunday, 7th July 2013.

Bishop Paul presided and gave the homily at the Mass.

The Offertory Procession

The Eucharistic Prayer


Thanet Deanery's Study Day on
the Catechism of the Catholic Church

On Saturday, 6th July 2013, the Thanet Deanery held a Study Day on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This was the second of a course of four days which are part of the deanery's Year of Faith programme and focussed on Life in Christ - Christian Morals.

The day was held at Ss Ethelbert and Gertrude Church, Ramsgate. Father Marcus Holden (parish priest) gave the first talk 'Life in Christ - The Catechism and Christian Moral Teaching'; the second and third talks 'Christian Ethics Today: Human Sexuality and Human Life' and
'Christian Ethics Today: Defending Marriage and Family: Creating a Culture of Life' were given by the guest speaker, Edmund Adamus, Director of Pastoral Affairs for the Archdiocese of Westminster.

Edmund Adamus and Father Marcus Holden


Ministries conferred at Palazzola ...

Bishop John has spent the week at Palazzola, the Venerable English College's Summer Villa overlooking Lake Albano, 18 miles south of Rome.

On Sunday, 30th June 2013, he conferred the ministry of Lector on ten VEC students and on Thursday, 4th July 2013, he conferred the ministry of Acolyte on four students, two of whom were from Southwark

The seminary year will end with Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, ordaining six men as Deacons on Sunday, 14th July 2013.

These numbers reflect the significant rise in numbers in the years Monsignor Hudson has been Rector - the College having seen an increase from 21 seminarians in 2004 to 43 at the start of this academic year.

Photos from Fr Tony Milner's Flickr page, with thanks


... and at St John's Seminary, Wonersh

Three Southwark students received ministries at Wonersh on Friday, 28th June 2013, at the end of the academic year: the ministry of Lector was conferred on Peter Littleton and Louie Kitt and the ministry of Acolyte on Mark Wharton.

We congratulate these new ministers from the Venerable English College and Wonersh and keep them in our prayers as they continue on the path to Priesthood. 


Pope Francis publishes his first encyclical

On Friday, 5th July 2013, Pope Francis published the first encyclical letter of his pontificate - 'Lumen Fidei' (The Light of Faith).

Published to coincide with the Year of Faith, the text is a re-working of a draft started by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, so Pope Francis has described it as 'the work of four hands'.

The document completes the trilogy of papal teachings on the three theological virtues, begun by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who issued his encyclicals 'Deus Caritas Est' on Charity in 2005 and 'Spe Salvi' on Hope in 2007.

Press release on the CCEW web site with a translation of the full text available in .pdf format (the link is on the top right of the page)


Port Chaplain welcomes the UN Maritime Director

© Mazur/

On Thursday, 4th July 2013, Southwark Deacon Paul Glock, Apostleship of the Sea Chaplain to Tilbury Port, welcomed the International Maritime Organisation's Secretary-General, Mr Koji Sekimizu, to Tilbury to see first hand the lives of seafarers and the ministry of the Apostleship of the Sea.

© Mazur/

More photos of the visit on CCEW Flickr page

Visit the Apostleship of the Sea web site