News Archive for May 2016

Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Paul Mason

160531 Bishop Paul Mason

Archbishop Peter Smith presdided at the Episcopal Ordination of the Right Reverend Paul Mason on Tuesday 31st May 2016, the Feast of the Visitation, at St George's Cathedral

Episcopal Ordination Fr Paul Mason as Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark

The Archbishop was joined by twenty eight bishops, many priests and deacons, family and friends of Bishop Paul, and people from the diocese and beyond to celebrate the ordination

Episcopal Ordination Fr Paul Mason as Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark

In a wonderful celebration Fr Paul, having been formally been presented to the Archbishop, was consecrated and anointed as an Auxiliary Bishop for Southwark, and the Holy Father appointed him as the Titular Bishop of Skalholt

Episcopal Ordination Fr Paul Mason as Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark

After Mass the congregation met Bishop Paul in a reception in the marquee in the Cathedral grounds.

160531 +Paul Mason Ordination - Southwark

160531 Bishop Paul Mason

Further Pictures on Flickr: Bishops Conference Pages

More photos on the RCSouthwark Diocesan Flickr page - Photographic Services

Archbishop Peter's homily

Blessing of the Sea in Ramsgate

The Mayors of Ramsgate, Broadstairs, and Margate, along with other dignitaries,and community groups attended the first ever ceremony of the Blessing of the Sea to be held in Ramsgate on Bank Holiday Monday at the end of May.
The ceremony was led by Fr Marcus Holden, Rector of St Augustine’s Shrine in Ramsgate. The ceremony was held during the annual St Augustine Week festival, which celebrates the legacy of Augustine of Canterbury who landed on Ramsgate’s shores in AD 597.
About a hundred people came out on a windy and cloudy day to witness the Blessing, taking place in Ramsgate for the first time. Scouts attended, and a Salvation Army trumpeter provided music. The choir of St Ethelbert’s Church, Ramsgate, sang.

Photo - Marie Muscat-King
The service began at the Obelisk in Ramsgate Royal Harbour with the National Anthem and prayers. Ramsgate’s Town Sergeant led the mayors and dignitaries, and the Cross led the ministers and people along the promenade to the beach. Fr Marcus Holden led prayers asking God’s blessing on those who work on the sea, and his protection for them, and the sea was sprinkled with holy water. Then a girl threw a bouquet of flowers into the sea. The procession made its way back to the Obelisk, where there was a final prayer.
The Blessing of the Sea in Ramsgate is especially connected with St Augustine of Canterbury, whose Shrine is the Augustus Pugin church in the town, because of St Augustine’s connection with the sea. He arrived by boat on the shores near Ramsgate in AD 597, and many of the medieval miracle stories about him are about rescuing sailors in the English Channel.

Wonersh seminarians learn about the
Church’s ministry to seafarers

It was a pastoral care lesson of a very different kind for a group of seminarians from St John's Seminary, Wonersh as they heard first-hand how the Church ministers to seafarers and fishers.
The men learnt about the work Catholic seafarers' charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) does in ports around the world and on cruise ships.
AoS development director John Green and AoS London officer Roland Hayes presented talks on 2nd June to the seminarians who came from Southwark, Portsmouth, Aberdeen, and as far away as Fairbanks, Alaska.
John and Roland were invited to speak to the group by Pastoral Director Fr Teyrnon Williams, who himself was an AoS port chaplain in Swansea for many years.

The presentations were part of the seminary's pastoral studies course looking at pastoral care in prisons, hospitals and ports.
John said, "They were surprised at the scale of shipping and the work the Church does to support seafarers, fishers and crew members of cruise ships.
“Seafarers play a vital role in our everyday lives bringing us the goods and services we need. AoS is the Catholic Church's maritime agency entrusted to look after their pastoral, spiritual and welfare needs."
On Sea Sunday on 10th July, churches around Great Britain and across the world will pray for and remember seafarers. Please support your parish's Sea Sunday appeal.

Canon Frank O’Sullivan
95 Years Old - 60 Years a Priest

Canon Frank O'Sullivan is a retired priest living in the parish of Purley celebrated his 95th birthday and also 60 years of priesthood.

Fr Peter Murphy (Tonbridge), Canon Francis Moran (Thornton Heath), Fr James Nolan (retired), Fr Joseph O'Connor (Addiscombe), Fr Denis Paul (retired), Fr Pat Maloney (retired), Mgr Matthew Dickens (Vicar General), from l to r (bottom row): Fr Michael Gwinnel (retired), Canon Joseph Collins (retired), Canon James Pannett (Purley), Canon Francis O'Sullivan (retired), Bishop John Hine (Tenterden), Fr Paddy Cannon (Waddon), Fr John Bliss (Old Coulsdon), Deacon Tony Flavin (Assistant Chaplain, The John Fisher School, Purley), Fr Matthew O'Gorman (Purley)

To commemorate these two milestones he celebrated Mass in the parish for parishioners and guests and preached about his years of ministry and dependence on the Lord. Before the final blessing he reminded us of the words of St Paul from Ephesians 3: "glory be to Him who can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine."

The celebrations continued in the parish hall where guests enjoyed food and drink as well as music and cake! In proposing a toast Fr Matthew O'Gorman said that in his short experience of life in Purley and his short acquaintance with Canon Frank two words came to mind; kindness and encouragement.

The parish of John the Baptist expressed that they felt very lucky to have Canon Frank in their midst and we're truly grateful for his years of service and long may they continue!

Confirmation at Purley


On the 21st of May Archbishop Peter conferred the sacrament of Confirmation on 41 young people in the parish of St John the Baptist Catholic Church - Purley


The candidates received instruction for the past ten weeks in small groups
but came together for their retreat and the Sacrament of Confirmation


90th Anniversary of Southwark Province of
The Knights of St Colomba

The Southwark Province had their celebration on Sunday 22nd May 2016 beginning with a Mass.  Archbishop Peter Smith, concelebrated with Father Innocent Abonyi, the Southwark Provinces', Provincial Chaplain, in Our Lady and All Angels, Erith

160522 - 90th Anniversary of Southwark Province

During the Mass his Grace thanked the Knights for their support given to the Cathedral and to the clergy over the last 90 years, and for the tremendous work done the Knights have done to support the Church and the Diocese in that time.

160522 - 90th Anniversary of Southwark Province

Knights of St Columba was formed in Southwark, on 22nd May 1926 and was formally named  Southwark Province.   It was the 12th Province in the country to be erected, after the Order received Papal approval and Blessing. The Province covers the whole of the Southwark Diocese, and has many Bishops, Priests and Deacons as Members of Honour

160522 - 90th Anniversary of Southwark Province

The celebrations continued at the Marriot Hotel,l Bexleyheath, for a double celebration the 90th Anniversary and Brother Albert Lynch’s 99th Birthday.   Albert served 35 years as a Provincial Officer.  After the meal Archbishop Peter was presented with a cheque for £3,000 for the seminary fund.  In his acceptance speech Archbishop Peter acknowledged that each year the Knights of Southwark come to him with a cheque for the furtherance of our future clergy and thanked the Knights for looking to the future and for the prayers for vocations
160522 - 90th Anniversary of Southwark Province

Two Priest in the Archdiocese of Southwark
on the Guardian website

The Guardian has published a very interesting set of interviews with people who have followed various vocations

Photograph: Andy Hall for the Guardian

One of these interviews is with two priests in Southwark,  Father Wilfrid McGreal, O.Carm, Prior in Faversham and Father Leonard Tatt,  St Boniface, Tooting

60 Years of CHAS

On 19th May 2016 Archbishop Peter joined the Catholic Housing Aid Society celebrating their Diamond Jubilee in the Metropolitan Cathedral Church of St George


The Archbishop was joined by Father Richard Hearn, the Cathedral Dean and The Bishop of Rochester, The Right Rev James Langstaff

160519 - 60 Years of CHAS

Two women set up CHAS to make available deposits for families living in slums to be able to afford a decent home

160519 - 60 Years of CHAS

In 2003 CHAS merged with Churches National Housing Coalition and Housing Justice was born  Their work today is very much about encouraging churches to develop services for homeless people, as well as supporting them in upholding standards of excellence

Confirmation in the Cathedral

On the feast of Pentecost, when we recall the coming of the Holy Spirit, Archbishop Peter confirmed 36 young people from the Cathedral parish

160515 - Confirmation in the Cathedral


Concelebrating with the Archbishop was the Cathedral Clergy, Father Richard Hearn, Father Oladele Craig and Father Thomas Bakulumpagi


The Cathedral Girl's Choir led the singing


Mass for New Catholics

The annual Mass for New Catholics took place on Saturday 14th May 2016 at the Metropolitan Cathedral Church of St George. The Archbishop was the Principal Celebrant and preacher. He was joined by Fathers David Gibbon and Michael Lovell and was assisted Deacon John Greenwood 


This Mass - which is organised by the diocesan Centre for Catholic Formation - is the culmination of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process, and ends the third and final period of the RCIA, which is called the ‘Period of Postbaptismal Catechesis or Mystagogy’.

160514 - Mass for New Catholics

After Mass all were invited to a Question and Answer session with Archbishop Peter in Amigo Hall where refreshments were served


More photos on the RCSouthwark Diocesan Flickr page


Between the 9th and 13th of May 2016 a hotel venue in West Sussex played host to what has been described as, “one of the most important and seminal events for the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom”. The comment comes from Fr Victor Vella, Parish Priest of Holy Innocents' parish, Orpington in Southwark diocese and organizer of the ‘Life in the Spirit Retreat for a New Pentecost’. Co-sponsored by Redemptorist Publications and Hayes & Finch, the Copthorne Hotel staged a week long pre-Pentecost priests’ retreat and welcomed the inspirational Fr Raniero Cantalamessa (Preacher of the Papal Household) as its lead speaker. With nearly a hundred priests in attendance the event was unprecedented in both its size and importance.

Reflecting on the event, delegates have described it as, ‘absolutely amazing’ and ‘sure to bear fruit in the life of the Church in this country’. A wonderful example of what can happen when the talents of the laity are harnessed, the event was organised and served by a team of volunteers who are members of the parish evangelisation cells in Fr Victor's parish. 

One attending priest said of the event that for those few days "the hotel became a monastery", with the hotel banqueting hall turned into a chapel and a conference suite into a sacred space for the talks. True to the ethos behind the event, priests came from a wide range of backgrounds - young and old, from established circles and from the New Movements. The event was a truly diverse one, with a number of African missionaries in attendance, alongside diocesan priests from Portsmouth, Southwark, Westminster and Scotland.

Although the aim of the event was to bring the priests into a deeper awareness of the power of the Holy Spirit, it was not an event organised by the Charismatic Renewal but held under the auspices of the Southwark diocese, where the gifts of the Holy Spirit were put at the service of the wider Church. The retreat was opened by Bishop Richard Moth and the closing Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Peter Smith.

Bene Merenti for a parishioner of
St. George’s Church, South Darenth, Dartford

On Sunday 8th May 2016,  Mrs Mary Sheppard, a parishioner of St. George’s Church, which comes under the pastoral and sacramental care of the main parish Church, St. Anselm, Dartford was awarded a Bene Merenti medal for the many duties she has undertaking for the Community of St George during the past fifty years
160508 - Bene Merenti Medal - St. George - South Darenth - Dartford

The Archbishop Peter was joined by Father Stephen Boyle, parish priest of St. Anselm, Dartford and Father Philip Glandfield who had been an Altar Server at St. Anselm during the time of Mrs Sheppard’s training
160508 - Bene Merenti Medal - St. George - South Darenth - Dartford

On the 23rd March 2011, Mrs Sheppard was awarded the Dartfordian Award for services to both the Church and Community.  This is a local Civic Award and a fitting acknowledgment of her extraordinary dedication, which included many years of service to the Scout Association and voluntary help to the local Catholic primary school

More photos on the RCSouthwark Diocesan Flickr page

Renovated Chapel at
St Thomas More Catholic School Purley

On Thursday 5th May 2016 Bishop Paul Hendricks blessed the renovated Chapel at St Thomas More Catholic School, Purley

what the chapel looks like today

He was assisted by Father Mathew O 'Gorman, the Chaplain and served by St Thomas More students

Margaret Mulchrone (Headteacher), Bishop Paul Hendricks,

More photos on the RCSouthwark Diocesan Flickr page

HCPT 60th Anniversary Mass

On Monday 2nd May 2015 Archbishop Peter
concelebrated Mass with many other clergy to mark the Diamond Jubilee it’s founding in 1956 of the HCPT


The Jubilee was marked by a series of Masses on Monday 2nd May throughout the UK and beyond. They featured a similar liturgy to that being celebrated by HCPT Groups in Lourdes in 2016 and were also  held at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral; Swansea Cathedral; St Mel’s Cathedral, Longford (Ireland) and Carfin Shrine, Scotland. 
Further international Jubilee Masses are being planned for Jamaica, Poland, and the USA


Appropriately the theme for this year’s HCPT pilgrimages is ‘Thanks be to God’, with a focus on thanking Him for His love. Also for His inspiring HCPT to have used that love for the benefit of the tens of thousands of people who have enjoyed its life changing pilgrimages over the last 60 years.


HCPT will also join the Church in giving thanks for the Year of Mercy, a year in which Pope Francis calls on us all to reflect on the greatness of God’s mercy and love.


More photos on the RCSouthwark Diocesan Flickr page

St. John Fisher - Kidbrooke


The Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, and the relics of Jacinta and Francisco were processed from Kidbrook Green to St John Fisher's Church, at 4:30pm on Saturday 7th May 2016 with an all-night vigil ending at 8pm on Sunday 8th May 2016 where pilgrims were given the opportunity to venerate the relics.  The night also consisted of talks and a film show.



After the Sunday evening Mass pilgrims were given the final chance to venerate the relics.  after a short service the Statue and relics were processed out of the church before departing for its next stop leaving behind many blessings and uplifted pilgrims.


More photos on the RCSouthwark Diocesan Flickr page

St Peter's Catholic Primary School

Pupils from St Peter's Catholic Primary School in West Ridge, Sittingbourne, Kent recently learnt about how Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) port chaplains live out the seven Corporal Works of Mercy in their ministry supporting seafarers.

AoS London Officer Roland Hayes gave an assembly at the school using AoS’ new Year of Mercy Schools Resource, produced with the help of The Pilgrim editor Greg Watts

The resource provides real-life and specific examples of how the charity’s chaplains live out the Catholic faith by providing spiritual and practical support to seafarers in need.
Seafarers are responsible for bringing up to 95% of the goods consumed in Great Britain, from mobile phones to bananas and cars to fridges.

In one example under the ‘Clothing the naked’ section in the resource, AoS Director of Development John Green says, “A number of Catholic parishes around the country support our work by providing seafarers with woolly hats, socks and other clothing.  These items might seem unimportant, but if you are at sea in freezing weather, they can really make a difference.”

The Year of Mercy Schools Resource can be found here