On the afternoon of Tuesday, 28th January 2014, in the Cathedral Church of Saint Mary and Saint Boniface, Plymouth, Monsignor Mark O'Toole, a former private secretary of Cardinal Cormac and Rector of Allen Hall Seminary, was ordained to the episcopate and installed as the ninth Bishop of Plymouth.
Plymouth's outgoing bishop since 1986, Bishop Christopher Budd, presided at the Ordination and handed the pastoral staff to his successor.
Bishop Mark received the warmest of welcomes from the clergy and people of his diocese.
Archbishop Peter and Bishops Patrick and Paul were among the bishops present and laid hands on the head of the new bishop as part of the Ordination Rite.
Archbishop Peter wore the pallium as Metropolitan of the Southwark or 'Southern' Province which includes Plymouth as well as the Arundel and Brighton and Portsmouth dioceses.
'... and welcome, too, to the Southwark Province'
Two new Advisers have started at the CCF in Tooting Bec.
Dr Mark Nash (left) is the new Adviser for the Kent Area of the diocese.
Sebastian Morello (right) is the new Adviser for the South-West London Area; he is also the co-ordinator for the Rite of Election and the new Diocesan Diploma in Catechesis.
Marie Mann remains the Adviser for the South-East London Area and is also the Adviser on Disability issues.
Parishes, chaplaincies, deaneries and other organisations in the diocese should contact them at the Centre for advice and assistance in the areas of evangelization, catechesis and faith formation (see the link to the CCF on the right sidebar).
On Saturday, 25th January 2014, Archbishop Peter was welcomed
at the Church of Our Lady of the Angels, Erith, where he presided at
Mass and ordained Brother Martin Mikuskiewicz, OFMCap, to the
priesthood. It was a great day of celebration for the Capuchin Province
in Great Britain as well as the parish community.
Brother Martin’s family travelled from Poland and as far north as Dundee, and friends arrived from many places for the occasion, including a coach from the Institute of St Anselm in Cliftonville. It was a moment of great joy for Brother Martin and his family and friends.
He is very grateful for everyone’s support and prayers for him on that day and asks that we all keep him in our prayers as he embarks on his priestly ministry.
Archbishop Peter with Brother Martin and his parents and
Brother Paul Coleman, Provincial Minister
On the evening of Friday, 24th January 2014, the vigil of the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Cardinal-designate Vincent Nichols presided at a Mass of Thanksgiving with the Missionary Society of Saint Paul in Saint George's Cathedral.
The UK Mission of the Society started in 2000 and in that year Fr. Addison Okpeh joined the Archdiocese of Southwark. In 2002 Fr Eustace Durugbo (now the UK Mission Superior) and Fr Casmir Dike arrived to join Fr Addison in Southwark. Today the Society has nine priests in the diocese who have the care of six parishes: Beckenham Hill, Deptford, Gravesend, Norbiton, Nunhead and Stockwell.
On Saturday, 25th January 2013, Bishop Paul commissioned a further 103 Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion from 31 parishes throughout the diocese.
The day included a talk on the Eucharist by Bishop Paul and an explanation of the role of the Extaordinary Minister by Mgr Matthew Dickens.
Mgr Matthew presided at a period of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and gave Benediction.
Bishop Paul presided at Mass during which the Extraordinary Minsters were commissioned and received their certificates. Mgr Matthew and Mgr Gerry Ewing concelebrated at the Mass.
On the evening of Friday, 24th January 2014, Archbishop Peter was welcomed by Father Huebert Miranda MSFS, parish priest, and parishioners of Saint Michael's, Pollards Hill, where he dedicated the church and altar.
The church underwent extensive restoration last year which included the installation of a new permanent altar.
On Sunday, 26th January 2014, Mgr Canon James Cronin, National Director of Missio in England and Wales, presented Bernard McDermott with Missio's Certificate and Silver Medal in recognition and gratitude for 31 years service as parish organiser for the charity.
The presentation was made during Mass which Mgr Cronin concelebrated with Fr Luke Smith, parish priest of Ss Austin and Gregory with St Anne, Margate, assisted by Deacon Neville Gascoigne.
Bernard recalls being asked in 1983, by the parish priest at that time, if he would temporarily look after emptying and counting donations made by parishioners through the APF Red Boxes.
Mgr Cronin presents the certificate to Bernard
Mgr Cronin with Bernard
Bernard with Fr Luke, Mgr Cronin and Deacon Neville
The Society of St Vincent de Paul has been recognised by the Prime Minister for the help it gives to the poor and disadvantaged through visits and practical assistance.
David Cameron has named the SVP Society as a recipient of the Big Society Award, which recognises individuals or groups for outstanding work in the community.
Demand for SVP care has increased recently. Last year the Society, working through 1,000 groups across the country, made 500,000 visits to 90,000 people, including the elderly, homeless and refugees. Its services include debt advice, soup runs, and the distribution of 'Vinnie Packs' to help those who are sleeping rough with hats, gloves and thermal blankets.
The SVP Society has at its heart the focus of Pope Francis on those who are on the peripheries of society.
The Society is a lay organisation initially formed in Paris in 1833 by Blessed Frédéric Ozanam and his companions and active in England and Wales since 1844. Last year it celebrated the 200th Anniversary of Blessed Frédéric Ozanam's birth.
Bishop Richard, the Bishops' Conference liaison bishop for Mental Health issues has urged people to use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to raise the spirits of those who suffer from 'seasonal mental stress'.
Recognising that many people suffer from anxiety about debt and loneliness after Christmas, he suggests that 'A simple loving gesture can help to alleviate their immediate symptoms.'
Sunday, 19th January 2014
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins on Saturday, 18th January, and closes on the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul on Saturday, 25th January 2014.
We join our prayers with those of Pope Francis whose January prayer intention for evangelization is 'that Christians of diverse denominations may walk toward the unity desired by Christ'.
Resources for these eight days are available on the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland web site.
Announced January 2014
The Archbishop has made the following appointments:
Father Davis Thomas Vadakkumpadan, CMI, as Parish Priest of St Thomas a Becket, Wandsworth.
He succeeds Father Anto Chittilippilly CMI, who is returning to India to take up a new appointment.
Father Ponder Paulinus Ngilangwa, SDS, a Salvatorian Priest
from Tanzania, as the Assistant Priest at St. Patrick’s, Plumstead.
He succeeds Father Auson Kamugisha, SDS, who is to be Assistant Priest in Stevenage, Diocese of Westminster.
This Sunday, 19th January 2014, is the World Day of Prayer for Migrants and Refugees. It is also the Feast of Santo Niño de Cebú - The Holy Child of Cebú - which holds a special place in the hearts of the Filipino community. Bishop Patrick will join their celebration of the feast at a Mass in Saint George's Cathedral at 3:00 pm.
He will pray with them for families and especially children
who have been affected by typhoon Haiyan which struck the Philippines
with devastating consequences just two months ago.
In his homily, Bishop Patrick will also make this appeal:
'I appeal especially to Her Majesty’s Government who have responded financially to the plight of the two million refugees from the civil war in Syria to renew it’s efforts to bring about a peaceful solution in Syria but also in conjunction with other European Governments to find a way in which countries within the E.U. can receive at least some of these refugees.'
We continue to pray for those in the Philippines who are faced with rebuilding their lives and their homes, for peace in Syria - Sunday is also the World Day of Prayer for Peace, and for all migrants and refugees.
The full text of Bishop Patrick's homily will be published on Sunday.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of
Deacon Joseph Parsons
who died on 10th January 2014
His Funeral Mass will be held
on Thursday, 23rd January at 10:00 am
at St Aidan's Church, Coulsdon
May he rest in peace
Last night, 12th January 2014, at the close of Christmastime, some German children ('Sternsinger', literally star-singers) dressed as the Magi came to visit Archbishop Peter and give, in words and music, a traditional blessing of Archbishop’s House for the coming year.
Symbols are chalked onto the front door of the house: 20*C+M+B+14. This represents the words Christus Mansionem Benedicat (may Christ bless this house) between the numbers for the current year. The star represents the star that guided the Magi and the three crosses represent Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is also sometimes claimed that the letters stand for the supposed names of the Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar. These symbols are often to be found on the front doors of houses and churches in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
The Sternsinger will be visiting different households in the German-speaking Catholic community of London in the coming week. They request an offering at each house (including Archbishop’s House!) towards the outreach to refugee children undertaken by the Pontifical children’s relief organisation in Germany.
Pope Francis with Archbishop Vincent in April 2013
After the Angelus on Sunday, 12th January 2014, Pope Francis named 19 new cardinals who will receive 'the red hat' at a Consistory - an assembly of the cardinals and the pope - on 22nd February, The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter.
Among them is Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
Archbishop Peter has welcomed the announcement:
‘I was delighted to hear the news this morning that Archbishop Vincent Nichols, recently appointed by Pope Francis as a member of the Congregation of Bishops, will be created a Cardinal at the next Consistory in Rome on the 22nd February.
'On behalf of his brother Bishops and the Catholic community in England and Wales, I offer Archbishop Vincent our heartiest congratulations as the 11th Archbishop of Westminster to be made a Cardinal.
'We assure him of our prayers and ask for God’s blessing as he
generously takes on these new responsibilities in assisting the Holy
Father in the governance of the universal Church.’
Archbishop of Southwark
Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
12th January 2014
The Society of Jesus has been serving the parish of The Sacred Heart for 136 years - ever since Edith Arendrup came to live in Wimbledon in 1877 and invited the Jesuits from Manresa House, Roehampton - the Jesuit noviciate since 1861 - to establish a Mass Centre in her house.
Until then, the few Catholics in the area would attend Mass at
Manresa House. Her generosity led to the opening of the nave of The
Sacred Heart church in 1887: the church was completed during the next
fourteen years. Under the dedicated service of the Jesuit Fathers, the
parish has grown to one of the largest in the country.
It was therefore an historic evening on Friday, 10th January 2014, when Archbishop Peter presided at Mass in the church during which Father Dermot Preston, S.J., the Provincial of the British Province of Jesuits, formally handed the care of the parish into the hands of the diocese.
In his homily the Archbishop expressed his 'deep gratitude and that of the whole Archdiocese for the wonderful ministry the Society of Jesus has fulfilled over the last 136 years in building up and developing such a vibrant and faith filled community here at the Sacred Heart. I am particularly grateful for the way you have engaged the laity of the parish, encouraging a real sense of co-responsibility amongst the priests and people, men and women.'
He inducted the new parish priest, Monsignor Nicholas Hudson and welcomed the new assistant priest, Father Samuel Davey.
Among the concelebrants were Bishop Howard, Bishop John Arnold (Auxiliary in Westminster), Father Dermot Preston SJ, Father Keith McMillan SJ (former parish priest), former parish clergy and priest friends of Fathers Nick and Sam.
Archbishop Peter inducts Father Nick as parish priest
Father Dermot Preston SJ
(a portrait of Edith Arendrup before the pulpit)
In the Sacristy after Mass: Father Sam, Father Nick, Father Dermot Preston SJ, Archbishop Peter, Bishop John Arnold and Bishop Howard
After the Mass a reception was held in the hall, during which the parishioners gave gifts to the Jesuit priests who had served the parish and welcomed their new priests.
Full text of Archbishop Peter's homily (.pdf available)
Announced January 2014
Episcopal Vicar for Kent
In July last year Bishop John Hine celebrated his 75th birthday, and, in accordance with Canon Law, submitted his resignation from Office to the Holy Father. The resignation was accepted and will come into effect when a successor Bishop is announced. In the meantime Archbishop Peter has allowed Bishop John to relinquish his special responsibilities for the Kent and Medway Area of the diocese. Bishop John has kindly offered to look after a parish, and has been appointed to be parish priest of St Andrew, Tenterden.
It is anticipated that the Holy Father will appoint a new Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese, although this may not be for some time, and it is likely that this new Bishop would be given responsibility for Kent and Medway. Until such time as this happens Archbishop Peter has decided to appoint a priest as the “Episcopal Vicar for Kent”, to have a special oversight for the area. The Episcopal Vicar has executive powers in respect of the pastoral care of the clergy and faithful of the Diocese who live within the Kent Episcopal Area, with the same powers in the parishes of the Kent Deaneries entrusted to a Vicar General, in accordance with Canon 479 §1 and §2.
His Grace has appointed Father Paul Mason to this office. In accordance with Canon 137 §1 and Canon 884 §1, Archbishop Peter has granted Fr Paul the faculty to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation in the parishes of the Kent Episcopal Area.
Father Paul will reside at
Bishop's Flat, The Hermitage, More Park, West Malling, Kent ME19 6HN
Telephone: 01732 845486; Fax 01732 847888;
Announced January 2014
The Archbishop has made the following appointments:
Caritas Social Action Network is the social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
It has launched a survey in the Southwark diocese to document
all work that is being undertaken by parishes, schools and Catholic
communities in the service of others.
Announcing the launch of the survey, Helen O’Brien, Chief Executive of CSAN said: 'There are some fantastic and inspirational projects being undertaken across Southwark, working with children and families living in poverty, refugees, homeless people, people with disabilities, travellers and older people.
'This survey aims to chart the work taking place across the Archdiocese. We hope that this questionnaire will be a stepping stone to raise the profile of the work our charities do and a way of encouraging more Catholics to assist and become actively involved in these projects.'
In support of the project, Archbishop Peter said: 'This questionnaire is a timely opportunity to reflect on Pope Francis’ call to be a Church for the poor. I would encourage all Catholic schools, parishes, charities and projects to complete the survey.
'We hope that this survey will enable us to bring our projects
closer together so that as a Catholic community we can coordinate our
efforts in tackling the poverty and deprivation that exists on our
The Southwark diocese will also be holding a Caritas Social Action Roadshow on 19th June 2014 to bring together those working on social justice and social action projects.
Southwark Seminarians joined Bishop Patrick, Fr Stephen Langridge and the Vocations Team, together with clergy and parishioners of St Peter the Apostle in Woolwich on Saturday, 4th January 2014, for Mass and a post Christmas and New Year gathering.
It provided an opportunity for the seminarians from Wonersh and The Venerable English College to catch up with each other and to receive encouragement from Bishop Patrick who told them how each of them is valued for offering himself for formation for the priesthood in our Diocese.
Please continue to keep our seminarians in your prayers and pray to the Lord of the harvest to send more labourers into the vineyard of his Church.