On Thursday, 6th June 2013, Holy Ghost School and Parish, Balham, hosted an evening to launch a new CTS book, Faith in the Family: A Handbook for Parents.
Summarising key aspects of the faith in a question and answer format, this book came out of a course run for parents at the Holy Ghost School.
At the launch the authors explained the genesis of the book and its possible uses. They said: 'In this Year of Faith, we hope this book will help parents communicate the riches of that faith to their children and perhaps find answers to questions they ask too.'
The authors, Anne Burke-Gaffney and Fr Marcus Holden; 11 young illustrators and the General Secretary of the CTS, Mr Fergal Martin
The stars of the night were the children of Holy Ghost Primary School, whose fantastic drawings were used to illustrate the volume. The general secretary of the CTS, Mr Fergal Martin presented a copy of the text to each of the children whose art features in it. He said: 'It was a challenge to pick just 11 pictures out of the many fantastic ones we received. We were so pleased when the idea of turning what was a successful course into a book was presented to us. We hope that it will be a great tool for people to know their faith.'
On Sunday, 30th June 2013, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the Bexley and Greenwich deaneries held their annual Procession of the Blessed Sacrament in the ruins of Lesnes Abbey.
Children who had recently received their first Holy Communion were especially welcome and altar servers and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion were also given special places in the procession.
Lesnes Abbey is situated in the parish of St Benet, Abbey Wood. The abbey was founded in 1178 by Richard de Lucy, who, in 1170, had been complicit with Henry II in the murder of St Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. He built the abbey within the boundaries of his Manor in reparation and, having assumed the religious habit, ended his days there and was buried in the Chapter House.
The abbey was a foundation of the Augustinian Canons within the Diocese of Rochester. It was closed in 1524 by Cardinal Wolsey to raise revenue to found a college in Oxford, but at Wolsey's fall in 1530 the site became the property of the King.
Some of the First Communicants
On Thursday, 6th June 2013, Year 6 students from the six Primary Schools in the Lambeth Deanery gathered for Mass at Saint George's Cathedral. The Mass was celebrated by Canon John O’Toole and Father Chukwuemeka Nnaji.
The schools felt that joining with each other for Mass would strengthen their sense of belonging to the Lambeth Deanery and to the Archdiocese of Southwark.
Canon John O'Toole welcomes students from St Mary's Primary, Clapham ...
... and draws their attention to the statues of St John Fisher
and St Thomas More that flank the Cathedral's entrance
On Sunday, 23rd June 2013, Archbishop Peter joined the parish priest, Father Walter Walsh, and parishioners of St Thomas Aquinas, Ham, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of their parish.
After the Mass a reception was held on Ham Common.
The annual Day for Catechists, organised by the Centre for Catholic Formation, was held on Saturday, 22nd June 2013, at St George’s Cathedral.
A talk was given by Fr Brian Coyle (former Director of the Centre) on ‘The Vocation of the Catechist’. After Lunch and a tour of the Cathedral by the Dean, Canon John O’Toole, various sessions were held in the Amigo Hall, on subjects as diverse as ‘What is Catechesis?’, ‘Adult Formation in parishes’, ‘Preparing adults and children for Confession’, and ‘Prayer in Catechesis’. The Day ended with Mass, at which the Archbishop sent out the catechists to catechize in the various parishes and chaplaincies on his behalf.
Next year’s Day for Catechists will be held on Saturday, 28th June 2014.
Pope Francis will make an apostolic trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 22nd until 29th July of this year on the occasion of the 28th World Youth Day. Over two million young people from around the world are expected to attend.
Young people (16 - 30) who are unable to travel to Brazil are invited to experience some of the spirit of World Youth Day at the Brightlights Festival at The Friars, Aylesford, from Friday, 26th, until Monday, 29th July.
With large screen link-up with World Youth Day in Rio, live bands, catechesis, guest speakers and more, this carnival atmosphere will be the next best thing to being in Rio this summer.
Download the poster (A4 .pdf)
Visit the Brightlights web site (booking form available)
On Saint Columba’s Feast Day, Sunday, 9th June 2013, Bishop John offered Mass at The Friars, Aylesford, during the annual pilgrimage to the shrine of the Knights of Saint Columba, when brother knights gathered from all over the South of England to pray together.
Following the Mass, Bishop John presided at the full knighthood ceremony where 22 knights, having completed a year in the order, were elevated by Brother Will Gallagher from Wandsworth Council in Southwark Province 12, and Brother Bertie Grogan from Westminster Province 10.
On Thursday, 20th June 2013, World Refugee Day, Bishop Patrick, the Bishop for Migrants, called on the Coalition Government to always put the interests of children before immigration control.
He said: 'The UK, as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, should uphold the rights of unaccompanied migrant children and always provide the protection and support that they need.'
He endorsed the the recommendations of the ‘Joint Committee on Human Rights of Unaccompanied Children and Young People in the UK’, which focus primarily on the best interests of the children - by protecting, upholding and supporting the rights of unaccompanied migrant children.
The Congregation for Divine Worship has announced that Saint Joseph will be remembered in the Eucharistic Prayers.
It is understood that this decision was prompted by requests from around the world. It has been confirmed by Pope Francis and had received the approval of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, was welcomed by Archbishop Kevin, Chairman of the Office for Interreligious Relations of the Bishops' Conference, when he arrived in England for a four-day visit last week.
The Cardinal's schedule included visits to the temples of other religions - a Hindu mandir, a Jain derasar and a Sikh gudwara. The focus of the visit was a prayer gathering, 'Together in Prayer for Peace', held in at Westminster Cathedral Hall on Thursday, 13th June 2013, during which nine religions offered prayers and reflections on their own traditions.
Archbishop Kevin with Cardinal Tauran and representatives of other religions
The gathering was inspired by Pope John Paul II's Day of Prayer for Peace at Assisi in 1986. Cardinal Tauran praised the Office of Interreligious Relations and in particular its Chairman, Archbishop Kevin, for arranging this 'beautiful' occasion.
Full press report on CCEW News and Media web site including a video of Cardinal Tauran's address
On Saturday, 15th June 2013, Archbishop Peter presided at the Annual Mass in Celebration of Marriage at Saint George's Cathedral.
After his homily, the Archbishop led the couples in the renewal of their marriage vows.
In the brochure produced for the Mass, Archbishop Peter wrote:
'I give thanks with you for the many blessings we receive from God, especially in his gift of the Sacrament of Matrimony. Your love and fidelity are a wonderful witness to God's generosity and love for his creation, a witness that is needed so much in our world today, where commitment and self-giving are, sadly, so often lacking.
I share in your great happiness today, as you celebrate the years spent together in married love and thank Almighty God for sustaining you in your married lives.
I pray that your love may deepen and grow as the years go by.'
The Archbishop's homily
The Archbishop leads the couples in the renewal of their vows
321 couples attended (642 celebrating) and together they were accompanied by 266 family members - a total of 908.
The breakdown of couples according to anniversary is:
60th anniversary + - 22 couples; 50th - 79; 40th - 60; 25th - 64; 10th - 63; First - 28. There were some unknown anniversaries.
Congratulations to them all, but especially to Mr and Mrs McQuiggan from Bromley who have been married for 63 years.
Ninety-five parishes throughout the diocese were represented and of these Our Lady of the Angels, Erith, was the parish with the largest number of couples - 13.
On Sunday, 16th June 2013, Father Luke Marappillil, parish priest, Father Francis Xavier Tran Cuong Dung Ba and parishioners of St Osmund's parish, Barnes, welcomed Archbishop Peter to their parish where he presided at Mass and conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Father Anthony Logan, a former parish priest, also concelebrated at the Mass.
At the Vigil Mass on Saturday, 15th June 2013, Father Jim Kirby, parish priest of St Joseph's Parish, Shooter's Hill, celebrated the fortieth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
Priest friends concelebrated and the congregation was joined by Fr Jim's brother, Brian.
Fr Jim was presented with the Apostolic Blessing from Pope Francis to mark the occasion.
The Mass was followed by a reception.
Ad multos annos ...
Father Michael Jones speaks in appreciation of Fr Jim
The clergy, mainly from the Kent area, joined Archbishop Peter and Bishop John at the Maison Diocesaine D'Accueil in Merville, France, from 10th - 14th June 2013 for the second of three opportunities for the bishops and 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 initiative has been inspired by the Year of Faith. Sixty priests and deacons attended the February gathering and over fifty were at the June gathering.
The final gathering will be from 7th until 11th October. For more information please contact Fr Paul Mason at the Ongoing Formation Office.
On Friday, 7th June 2013, staff and students from the schools of the Lewisham Deanery gathered at St George's Cathedral for Mass in celebration of the Year of Faith.
Archbishop Peter presided and gave the homily.
On Sunday, 2nd June 2013, Bishop Patrick continued his pastoral visitation of The Annunciation and St Augustine, Beckenham Hill and Bellingham.
Bishop Patrick with the young choir and altar servers
It was the Solemnity of Corpus Christi and the Bishop joined the parish for the Blessed Sacrament procession around the local area, during which Father Mark Odion MSP (parish priest) and Deacon Jeffrey Singleton carried the monstrance in turn.
Bishop Patrick in discussion with parishioners
Last November, Fr Dermot Preston, Provincial of the Society of Jesus, wrote to the parishioners of the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, to inform them that after 135 years the Jesuits would be handing the parish into the care of the diocese.
This weekend parishioners learnt that Archbishop Peter will appoint Monsignor Nicholas Hudson as their new parish priest. He is expected to take up his new post later this year.
Mgr Nicholas is no stranger to the Sacred Heart: he was baptised, confirmed and ordained to the Priesthood in the church.
He spent his formative years in Wimbledon where the family lived and received all his education in the schools of the parish, leaving Wimbledon College in 1977. After reading History at Jesus College, Cambridge, he studied for the priesthood at the Venerable English College in Rome, where he gained degrees in Philosophy and Theology and a Licence in Fundamental Theology from the Gregorian University. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1986.
His first appointment was as assistant priest at St Thomas of Canterbury, Canterbury. He was appointed as Director of the Christian Education Centre (now the Centre for Catholic Formation) in 1991 - a post he held until 2000. He then returned to his alma mater at the Venerable English College as Vice-Rector until 2004 and since then as Rector.
Of his new appointment, he says: 'I feel enormously privileged to be asked now to be pastor of my home parish after thirteen years’ ministry at the Venerable English College. Preparing men for parish life I have found to be deeply affirming of my own priesthood. I will always be grateful for the experience of leading such a house of formation: I found the seminarians there to be of the highest calibre.
When we celebrated last year the 650th Anniversary of the English and Welsh Hospice and were received in private audience by Pope Benedict, I told the Holy Father that these men give me great hope for the future of the Church.
I marvel that I should be sent back to the parish where I first felt called as they do - to try, in my inevitably inadequate way, to be a priest for the people of Wimbledon. It was my parents and brothers, the priests and parishioners of the Sacred Heart Parish together who gave me the Faith which led me to offer myself to train for the priesthood. I was Baptised, Confirmed and Ordained in this church; and made my First Confession and First Holy Communion in the schools alongside it.
After eleven years’ Jesuit schooling in Wimbledon, I enjoyed six more years of fine Jesuit education at the Gregorian University in Rome. I have a huge respect for the Jesuits’ parochial and educational apostolate. I will seek with the people of the Sacred Heart parish to build on all that the Jesuits have achieved in Wimbledon these last 135 years.'
It has also been announced that the new Rector of the Venerable English College will be Mgr Philip Whitmore (Archdiocese of Westminster), currently working in the Secretariat of State at the Vatican.
We wish them both every blessing and happiness in their new posts.
The Parish of Our Lady of Gillingham processed through the streets of Gillingham on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.
Two hundred and thirty parishioners prayed the Rosary, sang Eucharistic Hymns and followed in procession as the Blessed Sacrament was carried into the heart of Gillingham. Knights of Saint Columba and parishioners ensured the people's safety as they crossed roads and answered questions from those who wondered what the Catholic community were doing in such great numbers.
The Procession returned to the Church for Benediction.
Father Victor Darlington, parish priest, and the clergy and parishioners of the Sacred Heart, Camberwell, accompanied the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of Camberwell on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.
The Eucharistic Service started at St Peter's Church, Westgate-on-Sea, with a short Liturgy of the Word, with two of this year's First Communion children reading, and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The Monstrance was then carried by the Dean, Fr Luke Smith, in procession along the main highway to the Convent Chapel at the Ursuline College where the Benediction took place.
Refreshments were then served in the college grounds. Fr Marcus Holden organised the event and Fr Paul Connelly, Fr Philip Seed and Fr Godfrey Holdstock together with Deacon Neville Gascoigne took part.
Archbishop Peter writes:
I would encourage all parishes to join Pope Francis in a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament on the afternoon of Sunday 2nd June, in England and Wales, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
The Holy Father will begin this period of prayer at 5 pm in the Vatican Basilica, Rome, and in this Year of Faith it as been asked that at the same time (that is 4 pm here in Southwark) the Church joins together simultaneously for a Holy Hour.
Considering that we in the UK are blessed with a relatively convenient time, I would hope that many of you will be able to join in this time of prayer.
Archbishop Peter will be presiding at the Holy Hour at St George's Cathedral from 4:00 pm until 5:00 pm.
As a prelude to the Caritas Social Action Network Conference at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, on the 12th and 13th June 2013, Archbishop Peter has given a short interview to Vatican Radio on the poverty experienced by families in the United Kingdom.