News Archive for September 2015

Apostleship of the Sea Mass for seafarers

A Mass to pray for seafarers and for the ministry of Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) was celebrated in the Cathedral on September 24th 2015

Mass for Our Lady, Star of the Sea

The Mass was also held to commemorate the feast of Stella Maris, Our Lady Star of the Sea, AoS’ patron saint.

Main celebrant Bishop Tom Burns SM, who is AoS’ Bishop Promoter, said in his homily that the work of AoS is to encourage seafarers to grow stronger in their faith, and to live fully human lives.

He said seafarers are called by God to be truly themselves and have to be strong in what they believe and in whom they believe.

Mass for Our Lady, Star of the Sea

Bishop Tom added, “The ensuing drama of life helps the seafarer to learn how to notice the movement of God in all that happens and to respond to it, and to Him, with wholehearted generosity. AoS is there to help him find God in the events of daily life: the joys and the sorrows, the successes and the failures, the pleasures and the hardships, the kindnesses and the cruelties.”

Mass for Our Lady, Star of the Sea

Bishop Tom said what God is asking of the seafarer every day is that he becomes holy wherever he is. This means knowing God is present, which leads on to respecting other human beings, because God resides in them too.

Mass for Our Lady, Star of the Sea

Likewise AoS port chaplains, ship visitors, volunteers and staff also need to acknowledge God is present, and to respect other human beings.

“He or she is to be an example of God’s love, expressing it and sharing it. It is the AoS worker’s role to experience and to share with others the gift of God’s boundless love, compassion, and mercy in everything that happens,” said Bishop Tom.

Mass for Our Lady, Star of the Sea

Mass was followed by a lunch at Amigo Hall.

Permanent Deacons

10 of our Permanent Deacons went to Emmaus Retreat Centre for the weekend of 18-20th September for their Annual Retreat, which was led this year by Father Victor Darlington

The main theme was 'Eucharist and The Year of Mercy'

Southwark Catholic Youth Service

On Saturday 19th September Monsignor Matthew commissioned this year's Southwark Catholic Youth Service's Youth Ministry Team.

150919 - SCYS Commissioning of new team 2015-16

150919 - SCYS Commissioning of new team 2015-16

Please keep Ben, Isaac, Martha, Bethan and Hannah in your prayers as they serve the young people of the diocese this year

150919 - SCYS Commissioning of new team 2015-16

150919 - SCYS Commissioning of new team 2015-16

The staff and team were joined for Mass and dinner by members of the Southwark Catholic Youth Service’s Management Group

A Village Celebration in Kent

On the 13th September a bit of history was made in the village of Pembury in Kent on Sunday with the opening of the new Hine Room at St Anselm's Church.
Bishop John Hine, who grew up in the village, came to unveil a plaque and formally open the new church hall, which from now on will bear his name. The hall adjoins the church, and its completion marks the climax of a major renewal project for St Anselm's. Fr Ed Tomlinson of the Ordinariate arrived at the parish four years ago and all the parishioners – Ordinariate members and longstanding parishioners alike – have worked together to transform the small church into a place of beauty for worship, and to create a new hall for Sunday School, church activities and local groups.
The project has included acquiring a pulpit, pews and fixed altar for the church – formerly the altar was a temporary one which had to removed when the room was used as a community hall on weekdays. With the building of the Hine Room, the church has come into its own – it is now a permanent place of worship, where the sanctuary lamp glows day and night and with an adjoining side-chapel and sacristy.
Bishop Hine concelebrated Mass in a packed church with Father Hartley, who served the church for many years and with Father Ed and assistant priest Father Nicholas Leveseur. Afterwards, parishioners and guests enjoyed a buffet lunch, at which gifts were presented to the architect and builders. The church and hall together are approached by a path that leads through a new garden area – formerly darkened by overgrown trees but now with a lawn and hedges,  – and a lych-gate will shortly be added. An outdoor Calvary stands alongside.
“This whole project seemed like a David-and-Goliath challenge at first” said Fr Ed in his sermon “But God always chooses the small and unimportant for his tasks, so that he can show that it is he who is really in charge. So, with everything apparently difficult – finding funds, getting the necessary permissions, overcoming all sorts of problems – God worked his way, and the project has been achieved.”

60th anniversary of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Primary School - Wimbledon Common

Archbishop Peter joined the Headteacher, Angela Pitcher, pupils, staff, Governors, past pupils, local clergy, and friends of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Primary School, Wimbledon, for celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the opening of the school.  

150904 - 60th anniversary of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Primary School Wimbledon Common

Archbishop Peter celebrated a Mass in the packed church of Our Lady and Saint Peter (just across the road from the school) with Fr Philip de Freitas and the other priests connected with the school.

150904 - 60th anniversary of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Primary School Wimbledon Common

At the end of the Mass the Archbishop blessed prayer cards which were then distributed to all the children of the school. The celebration continued in the school hall with refreshments, allowing guests to look at the displays the school had created.

150904 - 60th anniversary of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Primary School Wimbledon Common

'Refugee Welcome'
Day of Action at the 'Jungle' refugee camp in Calais

Archbishop Peter Smith and Fr Paul Mason, Episcopal Vicar for Kent, travelled to Calais on Saturday 19th September to participate in the Day of Action, a sign of support and solidarity with those living in the 'Jungle' refugee camp. They met with Ben Bano of Seeking Sanctuary, a Kent based group working with 'Secours Catholique' to provide support to those in the Calais camps who are in need.

150919 - Refugee Welcome Day of Action at the 'Jungle' in CalaisArchbishop Peter Smith (centre),
with Ben Bano (right) of Seeking Sanctuary, and Dominique Debelle (left) volunteer with 'Secours Catholique', in the scratch built Eritrean Church in the Calais Jungle

The day for action drew many people to the camp to express their support for refugees and their concern at the lack of compassion shown to those literally on the margins of society in Calais.

150919 - Refugee Welcome Day of Action at the 'Jungle' in Calais        150919 - Refugee Welcome Day of Action at the 'Jungle' in Calais
         Outside the Eritrean Church         Walking through the camp

A march of several hundred people, those from the camp and visitors, set off on a march to the gates of the Port of Calais.
150919 - Refugee Welcome Day of Action at the 'Jungle' in Calais
At the Port of Calais Archbishop Peter met with Bishop Jean-Paul Jaeger, of the Catholic Diocese of Arras, in which Calalis is situated (third from right), and the Anglican Bishop of Dover, Rt Rev Trevor Wilmott (righ of picture). As a sign of solidarity with the refugees the three Bishops signed a join statement:

We leaders of churches alongside the English Channel have joined in solidarity with this Day of Action in Calais and repeat our calls for people to respond to the growing crisis by showing generosity to those who are exiled from their homeland. These vulnerable men, women and children share in our common humanity and everyone can help them to live in dignity and contribute to civil society.
150919 - Refugee Welcome Day of Action at the 'Jungle' in Calais
People of all faiths and none can assist by providing financial and material support, time and skills, shelter and accommodation. Above all, we can pray and gather information to support pleas for better treatment in our nations and across the European Union. We wish to counter the myths that lead to prejudice and fear and urge politicians to envisage new policies that go beyond merely closing frontiers and employing increased numbers of security staff.

We resolve to work together to encourage residents to create a climate of welcome for strangers and we trust that we will be joined in this by all who gather in places of worship along the frontiers of European nations.

PDF Copy of the of the statement in English and French
A scanned PDF copy of the signed statement

150919 - Refugee Welcome Day of Action at the 'Jungle' in Calais
Part of the protest; in the background the security fence,
with a graffiti wall added in front which some of the refugees had made their mark

More pictures on the Diocesan Flickr Page
News item on "Independent Catholic News"
Further ICN item on "English and French Church leaders issue statement on Calais refugees"

We are humbled by the generous response of our Catholic family in Southwark Diocese who have helped the Clergy Support Fund Campaign to reach £1,027,311 in gifts and pledges this summer. 

This is an exciting milestone which means we are now almost quarter of the way to our final goal of just over £4.5 million. Thank you.

Grateful thanks must also go to our hardworking Deanery Lay-leaders and 
Parish Representatives in all areas of the Diocese, who have helped to explain the needs of our sick and retired clergy to fellow parishioners. 

Finally, I would like to extend sincere gratitude to our parish clergy for kindly supporting the initiative despite busy parish diaries: we couldn’t have done it without you!

To find out more about the Clergy Support Fund Campaign please

RC Archdiocese of Southwark Archives 

Our Diocesan Archivist, Jenny Delves, has added to the Archives' blog

About half of the enquiries received by the Archive are from family history researchers. The Archive doesn’t actually hold any parish registers – these are held by local parish churches – so many of these enquiries are sent to the relevant parish

Parish contact details can be found:
However, for those interested in finding out about a family member who was a priest, or indeed those doing research on priests for other reasons, the Archive can be a great source of information.

The Southwark Catholic Directory is published annually (since 1929) and lists all the priests in the Diocese alphabetically and gives their address. The address helps to identify the parish that a priest served in (parishes are also listed alphabetically with a list of their priests). In this way a priest can be traced from ordination to retirement and beyond.

To find out more please visit our archive blog:

Saint Peter Chanel Primary School – Sidcup

On Friday 11th September Bishop Patrick Lynch visited Saint Peter Chanel Primary School in Sidcup.

During the visit he celebrated Mass and blessed the new Prayer Garden

1st September: World Day of Prayer for Creation

Early in August, on the Feast of the Transfiguration, Pope Francis established 'in the Catholic Church, the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” which, beginning this year, will be celebrated on the 1st of September, as the Orthodox Church has done for some time now'

We pray for all of God's creation, and particularly that humanity may recognise not simlply the gift it has been given, but also the responsibility it has as steward of that gift.

In the letter creating this new day the Holy Father wrote:
The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.

(Click here for Link to the Papal letter).