Father Stephen Boyle, the Diocesan Director of the Guild of Saint Stephen, led the Altar Servers' Annual Visit to Rome during the October half-term. Eleven servers and four parents attended the pilgrimage. The parishes represented were Tonbridge, Dartford, Surrey Docks, Blackfen, Meopham and Purley.
The trip included attendance at the Pope Francis' General Audience, Mass at the tomb of Blessed John Paul II, visits to the catacombs, the Scala Sancta and other historical sites in Rome.
Pope Francis has called an Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme:
'Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the context of evangelization'.
The Synod Fathers will meet in Rome in October 2014. The Pope has asked for a wide and immediate consultation throughout the world's dioceses to provide the meeting with input from the universal Church.
A Preparatory Document has been prepared which outlines the questions proposed for consideration.
In Southwark, Archbishop Peter has asked Deans to hold meetings of the deanery clergy to produce a synthesis of their responses to the questions raised in the Preparatory Document.
He will also ask Religious Congregations and lay organisations
to take part in the consultation. Individuals or groups of laity
who wish to forward their responses are welcome to do so.
However, the schedule is tight and responses must be sent by 30th November. Lisette Blanchet Ball, Marriage and Family Life Co-ordinator for Kent, will collate the replies from the diocese and produce a synthesis for the Bishops' Conference.
Details of how to submit your views by way of an online survey are on the CCEW web site.
More information is available on the Catholic Church in England and Wales web site.
Synod Fathers in the Paul VI Aula
On Sunday, 27th October 2013, Bishop Patrick presided at a Mass at St Peter the Apostle, Woolwich, during which Bene Merenti medals were awarded to two parishioners for their invaluable service to the Church.
Dora Turner's dedication to St Peter's, where she was married over sixty years ago, has included her role as Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion for twenty-three years. She has been a hospital and care home visitor for twenty-seven years, currently visiting fourteen people each week.
Joseph D'Souza was born in Kenya and has worked quietly in churches in Goa, East Africa and England. He moved to Charlton in 1977 and was an active and valued parishioner at Saint Catherine Labouré, Woolwich, until the church was closed in 2012 when he continued his service at St Peter's. He, too, is an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and visits the sick.
Dora with Bishop Patrick and Father Michael Branch, parish priest
Joseph with Bishop Patrick, Father Michael Branch and clergy
Dora with the Cathedral Dean, Canon John O'Toole
We congratulate Dora and Joseph on their awards and thank them for their faithful witness.
The relics of Saint Anthony of Padua are to visit Saint George's Cathedral this Friday towards the end of a pilgrimage tour of Ireland and Great Britain. The visit marks the 750th anniversary of the discovery of St Anthony's relics by Saint Bonaventure in 1263.
The relics are reported to consist of a fragment of bone and a piece of the saint's skin enclosed in a glass lantern.
Saint Anthony was born in Lisbon in 1195 and died, aged 36, in 1231. He was canonised the following year. He was a disciple of Saint Francis of Assisi and renowned as a most gifted preacher and worker of miracles. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1946.
Even today, nearly eight centuries after his death, he is still one of the Church's most popular saints.
On Sunday, 27th October 2013, Canon John Kavanagh, parish priest, and parishioners of The Good Shepherd, Downham, welcomed Archbishop Peter to preside at a Mass of Thanksgiving to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the first Mass offered in their church in 1963.
This church replaced a temporary building which had served the parish since 1928.
The cluster of flags before the altar represents the rich
diversity of cultures which form the parish community.
On Saturday, 19th October 2013, Father Wilfrid McGreal, O.Carm., Prior Provincial of the British Province of Carmelites, presided at Mass at The Friars, Aylesford, during which Brother Paul Jenkins, O.Carm. made his Solemn Profession of Vows as a Carmelite Friar.
The Mass was attended by fellow Carmelites (friars and other members of the Carmelite Family) and Paul's relatives and friends, some of whom had travelled from his native Tyneside.
A good number of parishioners from the English Martyrs, Walworth, where Paul had served, were also present.
Paul, 49, joined the Carmelites in 2008, having previously spent time as a missionary in Africa and as a social worker. He is currently studying for a Masters Degree in Theology at Heythrop College in London.
We congratulate Brother Paul on his Solemn Profession and keep him in our prayers.
Archbishop Peter is welcomed at the Church of the Precious Blood, Borough
On Saturday, 19th October 2013, Archbishop Peter ordained to the priesthood two former Anglican clergymen - the Revd Scott Anderson and the Revd Anthony Watkins - for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
The Ordination Mass was held in the Church of the Precious Blood, Borough, which is in the care of the Ordinariate, and Father Christopher Pearson, Priest in Charge, welcomed Archbishop Peter and Monsignor Keith Newton, who preached the homily. Ordinariate priests from across Britain concelebrated.
Father Christopher drew the congregation's attention to 'the Ordinariate’s new Bishop' – a pipe organ made by Bishop and Son in 1881, which has been restored and installed in the church and made its debut at the Ordination Mass.
We congratulate Father Scott and Father Anthony and wish them every blessing and happiness in their ministry.
On Tuesday, 22nd October 2013, Archbishop Peter presided at the Awards Evening for graduates of the CCRS programme, which took place at the Centre for Catholic Formation.
The CCRS is a course for teachers in Catholic schools, catechists and others, to give them an understanding of the basic teachings of the Church.
Announced October 2013
The Archbishop has made the following appointments:
Father Habteghiorghis Ukbay Negasi as Parish Priest of SS Simon and Jude, Streatham Hill.
He has been formally incardinated into the Diocese as of 22nd October 2013.
Father Peter Norris as Parish Priest of St Dunstan, Hersden, in
succession to the late Father Kevin Fitzgerald. His appointment is
from 1st November 2013.
Father Ugochukwu Nnaji MSP as Parish Priest of St Francis de Sales and St Gertrude, Stockwell, in succession to Father Peter Gee. His appointment is from the 3rd November 2013.
Father Peter Gee is now resident at St Anselm’s, Tooting Bec.
Father Romeo Velos y Babiera, CS, a Filipino priest and member
of the Scalabrini Fathers, has been appointed to the community in
He will have special responsibility for the Filipino Community.
He is expected to arrive in November.
The Basilica of the Holy Child in Cebu City
Missio has asked for prayers for the people of the Philippines, devastated when an earthquake and typhoon hit the country on Tuesday, 15th October 2013. 110 people lost their lives and some of their ancient churches were reduced to rubble.
The the 7.2 magnitude quake brought down the bell-tower of the Basilica of Santo Niño (the Holy Child) at Cebu, a National Shrine in the Philippines.
Fr Socrates Mesiona, MSP, National Director of Missio in the Philippines, has emailed Mgr Canon James Cronin asking for our prayers for those who have lost members of their families or whose homes and farms have been damaged or destroyed.
We join our prayers with the Filipino Community in our diocese and beyond. They have regularly celebrated the Feast of Santo Niño - the devotion dates back 450 years - at Saint George's Cathedral in January.
The Santo Niño celebrations in January 2012 when Archbishop Peter and Bishop Patrick offered the Feast Day Mass in St George's Cathedral
Father Peter Soper led the newly appointed parish priests’ course at Aylesford last week for the Ongoing Formation Office. Here he is pictured (centre) with Fathers Justin Daanaah (Rainham), Fhilip Pak (Brockley), Uche Njoku CSsP (Charlton) and Arbo Lekule (Kidbrooke).
Please pray for the repose of the soul of
Deacon Michael Choppen
who died on Tuesday, 8th October 2013
at St Mary's Home for the Elderly
Tooting Bec Gardens
His Funeral Mass will be offered
at the Church of the English Martyrs
2, Mitcham Lane, Streatham SW16 6NN
020 8769 6268 - firstname.lastname@example.org
on Tuesday, 22nd October, at 11:00 am
Archbishop Peter will preside
May he rest in peace
Sunday, 20th October 2013, is World Mission Sunday - a day of prayer for the evangelization of the world and an opportunity to support missionary activity especially in the young and emerging Churches.
Archbishop Peter and Bishop Patrick hosted the third and final Year of Faith clergy gathering at the Maison Diocesaine D'Accueil in Merville, France, from Monday, 7th, until Friday, 11th October 2013. Priests and Deacons were mainly from the South-East Area.
Organised by the Ongoing Formation Office, the gatherings gave the opportunity 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 providing a time to socialise and enjoy some quality time together.
Speaking on behalf of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, Bishop Patrick, the Bishop for Migrants, has expressed concern about the Immigration Bill that was introduced on Thursday, 10th October 2013.
He focussed on the detrimental effect on vulnerable migrants particularly in the area of accommodation and access to healthcare services.
He warns that that some migrant families could now face destitution as private landlords would be expected to conduct immigration status checks. And the proposal to charge migrants for healthcare 'would increase inequalities among members of society and will have a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable migrants particularly women and children'.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of
Father Kevin Fitzgerald
who died on Sunday, 29th September 2013
in his parish of Hersden
His Funeral Mass will be offered
at The Church of Our Lady, Help of Christians,
Guildhall Street, Folkestone, Kent CT20 1EF
on Thursday, 24th October, at 12 noon
May he rest in peace
The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation is promoting a Marian Day this Sunday, 13th October.
This will be one of
the major celebrations for the Year of Faith in St Peter’s, Rome,
at which, in the presence of the Statue of Our Lady of the Rosary
from the Capelinha (Little
Chapel of the Apparitions) from Fatima (left), Pope Francis will
consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
As Mary Immaculate is one of the Principal Patrons of this Diocese, Archbishop Peter invites us to join with the Holy Father in praying this prayer on Sunday.
Our bishops have each offered an afternoon of catechesis with young people as part of the diocesan Year of Faith programme. Bishop Patrick led the last of these for the young people of the South-East Area at the Church of St Saviour at Lewisham on Sunday, 6th October 2013.
A good number of young people attended the afternoon which included a period of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, music and the opportunity to ask the bishop questions.
On Saturday, 5th October 2013, Bishop Paul and Monsignor Matthew Dickens, VG, led the Commissioning Day for our new Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion at Saint George's Cathedral and in the Amigo Hall.
In the morning, Bishop Paul gave a talk on the Eucharist and Mgr Matthew presided at a period of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.
After lunch, Mgr Matthew spoke of the role of the Extraordinary Minister and explained the rubrics and the service of Communion to the Sick.
Bishop Paul presided at the Mass, during which he commissioned the new Extraordinary Ministers and presented their certificates.
In all, 152 Extraordinary Ministers were commissioned. They came from 38 parishes around the diocese and from St Thomas the Apostle College, Nunhead.
Father Arbogast Lekule, parish priest, and the people of Saint John Fisher invited Archbishop Peter to preside at a Mass of Thanksgiving for the ministry of Father Eric Nimmo, their retired parish priest.
The Mass was celebrated on the evening of Tuesday, 1st October 2013, and was followed by a reception.
The Sign of Peace
Kidbrooke's parish priests - present and past
Fr Eric with Fr Richard Plunkett, Dean of Greenwich
Bishop Patrick and Mgr Canon James Cronin returned on Tuesday, 1st October 2013, from their visit to Nigeria. They had been invited by the Nigerian Bishops' Conference to see projects sponsored by Missio.
During the trip they offered congratulations on behalf of the diocese to Father Victor Onwukeme, MSP, on his election as Superior General of the Missionaries of St Paul.
They stayed in the General House and offered Mass in the MSP parish in Kanu, Abuja. They also stayed as guests of Father Sixtus Njoku CM, Provincial Superior, at the Vincentian House in Enugu.
Other links to the diocese were a visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor to their home in Enugu where they were greeted by Sr Philomena and the Community and a visit to Mother General and the Council of the Daughters of Divine Love.
Missio sponsors three seminaries in Nigeria. Bigard Memorial Seminary is the largest Seminary in the world with over 1000 students in formation. Missio England and Wales also sponsors the Good Shepherd Seminary Kaduna and the MSP Seminary in Abuja.
Deep gratitude was expressed to all who support the work of Missio with their contributions especially through the red boxes.