News Archive for2011 - October

Confirmation at St Mary's, Croydon

Archbishop Peter visited the parish of Our Lady of Reparation ('St Mary's') in West Croydon on Sunday, 30th October 2011, to offer an afternnoon Mass and confer the Sacrament of Confirmation.

The priests of the parish - Provost Joseph Collins, Father Andrew Fernandes and Father Antony Megalan Sellam - concelebrated the Mass and Deacon Vincent Morrison assisted as deacon.

More photos of the Mass on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

Visit St Mary's parish web site


Archbishop Peter celebrates Mass for the CWL

The Catholic Women's League held their National Conference and Annual General Meeting from 28th until 30th October 2011 at the Assembly Rooms in Worthing.

Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton, the League's Episcopal Adviser, was present throughout the weekend and Archbishop Peter was principal celebrant at the AGM Mass on Saturday, 29th.

More photos of the Mass on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

Visit the CWL web site


Journey of Prayer through Advent and Christmastide

The Advent and Christmastide edition of 'Walk with Me', with the theme 'Receiving the Word', has been published and is available in most parishes.

The Southwark edition includes a Foreword by Archbishop Peter in which he writes:

'We need to become more and more a Church of prayer, sinking down our spiritual roots and coming closer and closer to the person of Jesus Christ, the living Word of God. We cannot hope to be changed, to be transformed into more faithful disciples and witnesses to the Gospel, unless we keep alert to the opportunities of grace which God offers us day by day.'


Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Father Eric Mead

who died on 1st November 2011

His body will be received at St Anne's Church, Cliftonville,
on Thursday, 17th November, at 4:30 pm
followed by Evening Prayer.

His Funeral Mass will take place there
on Friday, 18th November, at 12 noon.

May he rest in peace


Aylesford's Peace Garden

© British Province of Carmelites / Johan Bergström-Allen

A project that has been under consideration for several years is now being brought to fruition. Along the historic driveway to Aylesford Priory's Gatehouse, established in 1242, a Peace Garden is being established.

The Peace Garden is part of the Carmelites' commitment to nurture God's gift of the environment. It is arranged in four sections which take their inspiration from the traditional 'elements' of fire, water, wind and earth and will include an area set aside for seating.

The entrance to the Peace Garden is paved with ceramic tiles, made by the pottery located at The Friars. Each one bears the word 'Peace' inscribed in a different language.

Earlier this year, the Prior of Aylesford, Fr Brendan Grady OCarm, wrote: 'The Peace Garden will provide yet more facilities at Aylesford for visitors to experience a sense of connectedness with creation, as well as celebrating the richness of peoples that inhabit planet Earth'.

© British Province of Carmelites / Johan Bergström-Allen

Among the volunteers working in the Peace Garden were the four
novice friars who are living at Aylesford Priory during their introductory year in the life of a Carmelite brother.

© British Province of Carmelites / Johan Bergström-Allen

Fr Joseph Chalmers OCarm, Director of Initial Formation for the novices,
views their handiwork and the ceramic 'peace' tiles at the entrance.

© British Province of Carmelites / Johan Bergström-Allen

Yet one further attraction at The Friars, which draws a quarter of a million pilgrims and other visitors every year.

Full report on the British Province of Carmelites web site

More photos on the British Province of Carmelites Flickr page


Over 1,000 honour Saint Jude at Faversham

On Friday, 28th October 2011, the Feast of St Jude was celebrated at the National Shrine of St Jude in Faversham served by the Carmelite Friars.

On that day and the two following days over 1,000 people visited the Shrine. Pilgrims came largely from London and South-West England, but some from far further afield.

The number of pilgrims coming to the Masses over the weekend were so considerable that the parish Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was not large enough to hold all of them; fortunately the St Jude Welcome Centre, opened in recent years, made it possible to hold liturgies in two locations at once.

Fr Wilfrid McGreal OCarm preached about the legacy of the Apostles and the recent meeting in Assisi of the Pope and other religious leaders, which he described as a sign of hope in the modern world.

© British Province of Carmelites / Johan Bergström-Allen

During the celebration of Mass, oil was blessed with a relic of St Jude. Pilgrims had the opportunity to be anointed with the oil, whilst a prayer of blessing for each pilgrim was said.

© British Province of Carmelites / Johan Bergström-Allen

Fr Richard Copsey OCarm and four novice brothers, who recently begun their introduction to Carmelite life at Aylesford Priory, joined the Faversham community for the celebration.

© British Province of Carmelites / Johan Bergström-Allen

Full report on the British Province of Carmelites web site

More photos on the British Province of Carmelites Flickr page


 'Big Society? - Fair Society? - Just Society?'

Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation: Autumn Assembly

Our Commission for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation Autumn Assembly was held in the Amigo Hall of Saturday, 22nd October 2011, with over fifty attending. We were particularly pleased to welcome Bishop Patrick and Bishop Howard.

The day started with table discussions which gave everyone the opportunity to discuss matters of interest and each table then gave feedback to the whole room.

Daniel Hale

The first speaker was Daniel Hale from Progressio, accompanied by one of their young volunteers. They gave us a world view speaking on ‘working the Really Big Society’.

Barbara Kentish

Their presentation was followed by Barbara Kentish from Westminster J&P who gave the Southwark launch of ‘100 Days of Peace’, an initiative to involve all schools and parishes in creating a legacy of peace during and after the Olympics. Leaflets are available of request from our JPIC office.

Bishop Patrick with Francis Davis

At lunchtime, we were pleased to host a book launch. ‘Catholic Social Conscience: Reflection and Action on Catholic Social Teaching’ sets out, in a collection of essays, to explore the possibilities for a renewed Catholic social conscience in these times of change.

Alison Gelder

In the afternoon we listened to two excellent speakers on the topic of ‘Big Society? – Fair Society? - Just Society’. Francis Davis, who is one of the editors of the book which was launched at the meeting, is a fellow of Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University, and a director of the Las Casas Institute on Ethics, Human Rights and Social Justice. Alison Gelder is Director of Housing Justice and a member of our JPIC committee.

The day concluded with a question and answer session with a panel comprised of Bishop Patrick and all the day’s speakers.

A full report on the day will be available from our JPIC office. If you would like to receive a copy or have any questions about the day please e-mail

Visit Southwark's Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation web site


Archbishop visits Thomas More School, Purley

On Thursday, October 20th 2011, Archbishop Peter visited the Thomas More School, Purley, where he offered Mass and blessed the newly refurbished ‘Mary Conlan Sixth Form Centre’.

Mary Conlan was the first Headteacher of the Thomas More School and the Centre has been named in appreciation of her many years of service.

The school started its post-16 provision in September 2005 with five students and it now boasts over 100, studying a variety of AS/A Levels and BTEC courses; it enjoyed a 99% pass rate at A Level in 2011.

The Governors were delighted that Archbishop Peter was able to concelebrate Mass in the Main Hall with Canon Jim Pannett and Father Philip Glandfield in recognition of the school’s success over the past fifty years.

Mary Conlan, who started the school in 1962, was guest of honour for the day and reminisced about former times with colleagues and students.

Members of the Governing Body, all 6th Formers and students from Years 7 – 11 took part by serving at Mass, singing in the choir or representing their Tutor groups. The Steel Pan Band which recently played at Westminster Cathedral rang out the final hymn, ‘We Shall go out with Joy’; and indeed it was a joyous day. 

Archbishop Peter and Canon James Pannett (Parish Priest of Purley)

Mary Conlan is presented with flowers by Mr McFall, Chair of Governors, with Archbishop Peter

Archbishop Peter with Ms Mulchrone (Headteacher) and Mr McFall

More photos of the occasion on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

Visit the Thomas More School web site


Inaugural Recital on Wimbledon's restored organ

On Friday, 21st October 2011. David Briggs, internationally renowned organist, gave the inaugural recital on the newly-restored organ of the Sacred Heart Church, Wimbledon.

The programme included works by Bonnet, JS Bach, Haydn, Frank, Elgar and Widor and an improvisation by the organist hiimself.

Archbishop Peter blessed the restored 1912 Walker organ during Mass in July this year.

Next year marks the centenary of this historic organ and Olivier Latry of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris, has been invited to give the Celebrity Centenary Concert.

Visit the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, web site


Assisi: Religions jouneying towards Justice and Peace

Pope John Paul II with religious leaders at Assisi in October 1986

On Thursday, 27th October 2011, the Pope will hold a Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world. He will travel to Assisi to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the historic meeting, called by Pope John Paul II, which gathered representatives of Christian communities and world religions for a Day of Prayer for Peace.

The day will take as its theme: Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace. Every human being is ultimately a pilgrim in search of truth and goodness. To the extent that the pilgrimage of truth is authentically lived it opens the path to dialogue with others, excludes no one and commits everyone to be a builder of peace.

For this reason, as well as representatives of Christian communities and of the other principal religious traditions, some figures from the world of culture and science, men and women of good will, are also being invited to walk along the path of dialogue.

A simple lunch, shared by the delegates will be followed by a period of silence for individual reflection and prayer. In the afternoon all present will make their way towards the Basilica of St Francis and, in the shadow of the Basilica, the day will conclude with a solemn renewal of the joint commitment to peace.

Basilica of Saint Francis, Assisi

On the previous evening the Holy Father will preside over a Prayer Vigil at St Peter’s and Archbishop Peter has asked that the Catholic faithful in Southwark join him in praying at this time for the many around the world who do not know peace.

It would seem appropriate for mention of this event to be made at our Masses this weekend. A suggested bidding prayer is:

'We pray that the gathering with the Holy Father in Assisi this Thursday will open a path of dialogue for peoples of all faiths and none to work together for the common good and especially for peace and justice throughout the world.'

The prayer of St Francis could also be said:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Press release on the CCEW web site

Read Archbishop Kevin's article in The Tablet


Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies Awards

On Wednesday, 19th October 2011, graduates of the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS) celebrated the completion of their course at the Centre for Catholic Formation.

Marie Mann, Adult Formation Adviser and Coordinator of the CCRS in Southwark welcomed Bishop Patrick who presided at the liturgy and presented the certificates to the students. Nine of the thirteen people who finished the two year programme attended with family, friends and CCRS tutors to celebrate their achievement.

Father David Gibbons, Director of the Centre for Catholic Formation

Marie Mann and Graham Wallis, Centre Administrator

Dr Frank Keen, CCRS Course Secretary, leads the Bidding Prayers


Focus on the Acts of the Apostles

The OnGoing Formation of Priests Team organised a study day at The Friars, Aylesford on Wednesday, 19th October 2011, which focused on the Acts of the Apostles. The day was given by Abbot Laurence O’Keeffe OSB LSS , Abbot Emeritus of Ramsgate.


St Francis Leprosy Guild Mass for Benefactors

On Tuesday evening, 18th October 2011, Archbishop Peter was the principal celebrant at a Mass for the benefactors of Saint Francis Leprosy Guild at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street.

After Mass there was a reception and presentation on leprosy work in Liberia.

Archbishop Peter with the Most Rev Everarde Pinto, Archbishop of Karachi, and Canon James Cronin (National Director of Missio)

More photos on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

Visit St Francis Leprosy Guild web site


Archbishop visits Saint Elizabeth's, Richmond

On Sunday, 16th October 2011, Archbishop Peter visited the parish of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal in Richmond to celebrate Mass and to commission 15 new Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.

In the Sacristy before Mass: Mgr Matthew Dickens (Vicar General), Fr Eddie Higgins (Parish Priest), Archbishop Peter and Fr Tony Logan (a local retired priest)

More photos on RCSouthwark's Flickr page


Dedication of Cray Valley's new Church

On Friday evening, 14th October 2011, Arcbishop Peter was welcomed by Father William Agley, parish priest, and parishioners of Our Lady of the Crays, Cray Valley, when he visited the parish for the Dedication of their new church.

Archbishop Peter with Deacon Roger Evans (left of picture) and
Deacon Liam Bradley (right) carrying the Relics to be placed in the altar

Archbishop Peter giving the homily. Seated are Bishop Richard Moth (Bishop of the Forces) and Fr William Agley (Parish Priest)

Deacon Liam Bradley leads the congregation in the singing of the
Litany of the Saints

Archbishop Peter anoints the altar

Fr William Agley speaks at the end of the Mass, thanking those
involved in the building of the church and the preparation of the Mass

A reception was held in the new parish hall after Mass

More photos of the occasion on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

Visit Cray Valley's parish web site


'Acquaint Day' at the Diocesan Offices

Priests, newly-ordained and new to the diocese, were invited to the Diocesan Offices on Wednesday, 12th October 2011, to meet some of the staff and gain an insight into their work.

In the Chancery Office

Priests concelebrate with Canon John O'Toole at the 12:30 pm
Cathedral Mass in the Lady Chapel

More photos on RCSouthwark's Flickr page 


Archbishop Peter visits Saint Columba's School

On Tuesday, 11th October 2011, Archbishop Peter visited Saint Columba's Catholic Boys' School, Bexleyheath.

He celebrated Mass with Year 7 pupils and blessed the new Year 11 section of the school.

St Columba's is a specialist Visual and Performing Arts College. Its motto is 'Tenui Nec Dimittam' - 'I have taken hold (of the faith) and will not let go'.

Archbishop Peter with the Headteacher, Mr Nigel Fisher

Former pupils Fr Michael Branch and Fr Philip Glandfield, Archbishop Peter, Mr Nigel Fisher and a local parish priest, Fr John O'Donoghue

More photos on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

Visit St Columba's School web site


Bishop John presents 'Family Life' Degrees

Volunteers and employees from four dioceses were awarded Master’s degrees in Family Ministry and Faith Formation on Saturday, 8th October 2011, in a ceremony at Archbishop’s House, Southwark. They have been studying as part of the Celebrating Family diocesan projects investment by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

Philip Butcher (Brentwood), Breda Theakston (Leeds), Jillian Wilce (Plymouth) and Pauline Stanway (Wrexham), have been studying online at Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois, since 2008. The students also flew out twice to Chicago for classes and attended a summer school at Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology in Cambridge.

Bishop John, Chair of the Bishops’ Committee for Marriage and Family Life, presented the degrees.

Elizabeth Davies, Des Robertson, Phil Butcher, Bishop John,
Breda Theakston, Jillian Wilce and Pauline Stanway

Bishop John also awarded three Certificates in Leadership for Family Ministry and Faith Formation to Des Robertson (Cardiff), Helen Bassirat (Shrewsbury) and Lisette Blanchet Ball (Southwark). Course leaders from Chicago took part by video-link.

Press release on the CCEW web site


Wimbledon Common celebrates its Golden Jubilee

Fr Nicholas Leviseur, Fr Michael Boland, Fr Philip de Freitas (parish priest),
Fr Ambrose McLoughlin, Archbishop Peter, Mgr Bill Saunders (Area Dean), Rev Heinz Toller (local Anglican Vicar) and Canon John Naughton

On Saturday, 8th October 2011, Archbishop Peter joined the priests and people who had gathered at Our Lady and St Peter, Wimbledon Common, to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the parish and the 25th anniversary of the Consecration of the church.

Among the concelebrants was Fr Ambrose McLoughlin, the first parish priest of Our Lady and St Peter who is now 92 years old.

After the Mass a reception was held in the St John Bosco College hall.

Fr Ambrose McLoughlin speaks at the reception

More photos on RCSouthwark's Flickr page


Extraordinary Ministers commissioned at Cathedral

On Saturday, 8th October 2011, 128 people from 36 parishes around the diocese were commissioned as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion by Bishop Paul at the Cathedral.

In the morning, Bishop Paul gave a talk on the Eucharist in the Amigo Hall and there was a period of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the Cathedral.

After lunch, Mgr Matthew Dickens gave a talk on the role of the extraordinary minister and spoke about giving Holy Communion to the sick.

The day ended with Mass at which Bishop Paul was the principal celebrant. During the Mass he commissioned the new extraordinary ministers and presented them with their certificates.

More photos on RCSouthwark's Flickr page


Catholic schools plan Peace Legacy for the Olympics

On Friday, 7th October 2011, Archbishop Vincent was principal celebrant at a Mass in Westminster Cathedral attended by student representatives from 485 schools in the dioceses of Westminster, Southwark and Brentwood. Archbishop Peter concelebrated at the Mass.

Attending the Mass with his parents, Barry and Margaret, was 12 year-old George Mizen, brother of Jimmy Mizen, who was murdered in London in 2008. The Mizen family are parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes in Lee. George said 'I think it is important for people to try and become friends with each other and I hope the 100 Days of Peace will do that. I also hope that the 2012 Olympics will be remembered for peace as well as sport'.

The tradition of a 'truce' was established in the 9th century BC to enable competitors and spectators to travel safely to and from the Olympic Games through ancient Greece's warring city-states. The International Olympic Committee decided to revive the ancient concept of the Olympic Truce to protect the interests of the athletes and to encourage the search for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the conflicts around the world.

The '100 Days of Peace' is the joint initiative of the Justice and Peace commissions of Westminster, Southwark and Brentwood and other groups. The 200,000 pupils from the Catholic schools in these dioceses are already preparing to ensure that a lasting peace legacy is established.

Visit the '100 Days of Peace' web site

Download 'Release Peace' resource booklet (.pdf) ...

... or read the booklet here


Parishes encouraged to care for the mentally ill

Monday, 10th October 2011, is Mental Health Day and Bishop Richard, the  representative of the Bishops' Conference for mental health, has asked parishioners to play a part in caring for those with mental ill-health and for their families.

As part of a short reflection for Mental Health Day, Bishop Richard said:

'On this World Mental Health Day, I am pleased to take this moment to encourage you to reflect and pray for those in our communities whose lives are affected by difficulties in mental health. It is a day too when we consider the ways in which we can offer help and support to all who carry this burden; those affected by ill-health themselves and their families and loved ones. We remember too the healthcare professionals who work so hard in our hospitals and communities to enable people to make the journey towards recovery.

I believe very strongly that our parish communities have a part to play. While it would be neither possible, nor appropriate for our parishes to attempt to become places of primary mental health care, we must all have a care for mental health. There will be those in our parish communities who will be experiencing difficulties in mental health, especially at a time when the demands on so many have become so great. It is incumbent on the community to be aware of their needs, only then will our parishes be places of welcome, prayer and support for all.'

Please click on the logo to listen to Bishop Richard's full reflection for Mental Health Day

Visit the CCEW Mental Health Page


Southwark Headteachers' Conference

The headteachers of our diocesan schools gathered at the Ashford International Hotel on 6th - 7th October 2011 for their annual conference. The conference theme was Links in a Chain (inspired by words of Blessed John Henry Newman).

Dr Anne Bamford, the new Diocesan Director of Education, spoke on the first day about her background - particularly about the research work she had carried out in her career. She was able to share some of the insights she has gained from meeting teachers and pupils from many different countries in the course of her research after having worked with both primary and secondary school pupils in her native Australia.

The second session of the first day was entitled 'Inspirational Leadership' and was given by Phyllida Hancock, from the organisation ‘Contender Charlie’. This group uses the power of storytelling and mythology to enhance and inspire the creative learning of young people as well as their teachers and school leaders. Phyllida Hancock used Shakespeare’s ‘Henry V’ as a basis for her presentation on leadership skills.

Phyllida Hancock during the session on 'Inspirational Leadership' 

The afternoon concluded with Archbishop Peter presiding at a Votive Mass of Blessed John Henry Newman, with Bishop Patrick, Bishop Paul,
Mgr Matthew Dickens, Fr David Gibbons and Fr Philip Glandfield among the concelebrants. The choir of the Fisher School, Purley, greatly assisted the headteachers and clergy by providing the music for the Mass.

The John Fisher School choir

Bishop John was present for the afternoon, but could not stay for the Mass. Many other clergy were present, mainly the Deans who are always invited to the conference.

Archbishop Peter with Dr Anne Bamford at the conference dinner

The first presentation of the second day was given by Father Paul Turner, a renowned Liturgist from the US, focusing on the new translation of the Roman Missal. This was followed by a talk by Sr Camilla Burns, Director of the Hope Institute of Pastoral Theology, and then by James Parker speaking about the ‘100 Days of Peace’ and the Olympic games.

More photos of the conference on RCSouthwark's Flickr page


Another Formation Day for Priests

The latest Formation Day for priests who have been ordained recently and for those who are new to the diocese was held at The Friars, Aylesford, from 4th until 5th October 2011. The theme on this occasion focused on  the pastoral ministry of priests (other sessions cover the spiritual, human and  intellectual aspects of priestly life).

These 24-hour residential courses are held quarterly as are Formation Days for those who have been appointed as parish priests for the first time. The priests also have an opportunity to reflect, socialise and relax and to learn about the further support that is available to them.

The courses are organised by the Ongoing Formation of Priests team.



Induction of new Headteacher at La Retraite

On Sunday, 2nd October 2011, blessed by the unseasonal sunshine, staff, students, family and friends of La Retraite Catholic Girls’ School, Clapham, gathered to celebrate at a Mass marking the Induction of the school’s new Headteacher, Mr John Conway.

Bishop, Patrick, who presided at the ceremony, remarked that John’s twenty years working in the school should stand him in very good stead. In accepting his role as Headteacher, Mr Conway said 'We see too many examples in our local neighbourhood of young people behaving in a manner bereft of values, never more evident than during the riots this summer. Never have our Catholic schools been more important. Never have the values we promote been so desired by our community.'

His words were echoed by the Bishop when he said that our schools must be places where '... each pupil can develop knowledge and skills for life as a Christian.'

It was an occasion when the community was reminded of the importance of family, parish and school all working together. Fr Christopher Basden, whose parish of St Bede includes the school, commented that he was certain Mr Conway would continue to build on the school’s excellent academic results and caring Catholic community ethos.

La Retraite School web site


Saint Dominic's, Waddon, celebrates 50 years

On Saturday, 1st October 2011, Archbishop Peter was welcomed by Father Paddy Cannon, parish priest, and the people of Saint Dominic's, Waddon, as he joined them to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the opening of their church.

At the end of the Mass, Father Paddy gave a history of the parish, whose church first opened its doors on the 21st August 1961. He thanked all who had been involved in the celebration, including those who had helped with the redecoration of the church.

More photos on RCSouthwark's Flickr page


Walk of Witness: Christ is present in London

On Saturday, 1st October 2011, nearly a thousand people, following the processional cross, accompanied the Blessed Sacrament in procession from Westminster Cathedral to St George's Cathedral, Southwark.

The Blessed Sacrament Procession marked the first anniversary of the beatification of Blessed John Henry Newman and the Holy Father's visit to Britain. It was a walk to witness to the reality of the presence of Christ in London.

Biishop Alan Hopes, Auxiliary Bishop in Westminster, carried the Blessed Sacrament and gave Benediction at St George's Cathedral.

Photo: londonse1 community website

During the procession pilgrims sang hymns and prayed the Rosary

It took nearly fifteen minutes for the procession to enter the Cathedral

These two cathedrals are thought to be the closest Catholic cathedrals in the world. They are just 1.31 miles apart as the crow flies. And, strangely, although the Southwark diocese is south of the Thames and the Westminster diocese is north of the Thames, St George's Cathedral is further north than Westminster Cathedral due to a bend in the river.

More photos on the RCSouthwark Flickr page