Friday, August 22, 2014

40 Years of Permanent Diaconate in Arundel & Brighton Diocese

Bishop Kieran, Deacons, Family and Friends at Arundel Cathedral
On Sunday 10th August, the Feast of St Laurence, Deacon and Martyr, the deacons of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton with family and friends gathered at Arundel Cathedral with Bishop Kieran for Evening Prayer followed by a celebration in the nearby Cathedral Hall. It was the occasion to give thanks for 40 years of the Diaconate in the diocese, restored during the Second Vatican Council 10 years before.

Eric Kilminster was the first man to be ordained for the restored permanent diaconate in Arundel & Brighton Diocese on 11th August 1974 by Bishop Michael Bowen, though his initial ministry was in the Gulf state of Bahrain. He was the first deacon for Arundel & Brighton and second ever in England and Wales. Although Eric has since died his widow is still living in retirement in the West Country.

The diaconate formation process in the diocese did not, however, begin in earnest until 1981 when four men began training of which three were to eventually be ordained. Hilary Parson, one of these three, is still alive, living in retirement in Portsmouth Diocese. He celebrated his 30 years as a deacon this year on 29th June, the Feast of SS Peter and Paul. This was recognised on the day when he was presented by Bishop Kieran with an icon of Christ washing the feet of the disciples during the Diocesan Festival in Crawley on that day.

Deacon Hilary with Icon

Since Eric’s ordination the place and role of the diaconate has grown and deepened in the diocese. At the time of the silver jubilee of the diocese in 1990 there were 10 deacons. As we approach the golden jubilee of the diocese in 2015 there are four times that number. Currently there are 38 active deacons in the diocese with 9 retired deacons and 5 men in training.

Bishop Kieran gave thanks during Evening Prayer for all that deacons had given to the Church in this diocese over the 40 years, but challenged the deacons present to reach out to those on the edge of the Church and draw them in more fully into the life of the Church through gentleness and mercy.

The 40th Anniversary of the Diaconate in Arundel & Brighton Diocese will continue to be celebrated during the year especially as it coincides with 50th Anniversary of the Vatican II document on the Church, Lumen Gentium which at paragraph 29 speaks about a restored permanent diaconate.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Supporting the People of Iraq - Catholic Church in England and Wales Acts

Christians and Yezidis collect aid from CAFOD partners CRS and Caritas Iraq
CAFOD, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development is at work through its partners in Iraq helping those who are vulnerable and in need. It says:

How is CAFOD responding?
Since late 2012, we have supported a massive humanitarian programme in response to the crisis in Syria, providing aid to people in urgent need in Syria itself, as well as refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and northern Iraq. Our Church partners in Lebanon and Jordan are now doing everything they can do to support Iraqi Christians as they flee their country.

We have also committed £25,000 to our Church partners in Iraq so that they can respond to the urgent needs of families forced from their homes in this latest emergency. Our partners have already provided humanitarian relief to 3,500 displaced families in Ninewa and plan to respond to the needs of 30,000 families over the next six months.

Is CAFOD only supporting Christians in Iraq?
No. Our partners in Iraq are providing aid to people in need, regardless of their faith or political allegiance.

What does CAFOD think about the current crisis in Iraq?
We wholeheartedly support the recent statement by Cardinal Vincent Nichols:

“I have followed with deep sadness the unfolding disaster in Mosul, in Sinjar and Qaragosh, and in other towns and villages across northern Iraq. This is a persecution of immense proportions in which Christian, Yezidi and other communities have been targeted by ISIS and forced to flee their ancestral homes in the Nineveh Plains in search of temporary safety. All they are doing is trying to escape certain death.

“Today, I add my voice to those of the Church leaders in Iraq as well as all the Bishops of Oriental Churches who met in Beirut yesterday alongside the Apostolic Nuncio. (They have since met in Erbil with the refugees). Along with Christian and Muslim leaders in Wales and many others we appeal for help and protection for these persecuted communities facing a threat to their very existence in their biblical homelands. It is imperative that the international community ensure the physical protection of all communities in Iraq, their human rights including the right to religious freedom. I urge Her Majesty’s Government to lead the efforts in the face of such a human calamity in order to help restore these shattered communities, provide them with urgent humanitarian aid and work with others to ensure their long term security in the land of their birth.

“I encourage our own Catholic community to continue to give generously to our agencies working to support the people of Iraq. Above all I invite all people of faith to turn to God in prayer and seek for our world the change of heart and the gift of grace that alone can bring us peace.”

We need to both pray and assist all those in need in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East through CAFOD and Aid to the Church in Need.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

As Four Men Start at St John's Seminary - Diocese is Praying for Vocations -

Four men are about to start training for the priesthood at St John's Seminary, Wonersh near Guildford for Arundel & Brighton Diocese. We need many more men to come forward to the priesthood and prayer is at the heart of promoting such vocations.

It is good to know that the brothers of the Catenian Association celebrate a Mass for Vocations somewhere in the world each day of the year. In Sussex (Province 18), they recently celebrated a Sunday parish mass for Vocations to the religious life at the prestigious Worth Abbey. It was both spiritually and organisationally a great success and if God hears the pleading, many more young men and women will respond by devoting themselves to service in the Church.

Some 80 Catenians and ladies of the Province were in attendance and those who missed the Mass missed a really rewarding celebration.

The mass was concelebrated by the many of the community of Worth Abbey led by the Rev. Dom. Philip Gaisford and they were joined by Fr. Terry Martin, Diocesan Director for Vocations, 10 priest in all. Fr. Terry has been greatly encouraged by the Province’s support for his work financially and spiritually (£1000 was raised last year).

Ten priests concelebrated the Worth Abbey Mass for Vacations

The words of encouragement to the congregation to pray for vocations and the very well-crafted homily, which included reference to the subject while fully exploring the readings of the day, was exceptional. The whole mass was spirit filled and an entire prayer in itself.

To contact Fr Terry Martin about vocations see the website.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Opening of Woodland Walk Sculpture Trail

Bishop Kieran next to the deer sculpture
Earlier this year the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, Kieran Conry accompanied by members of Cranleigh DFAS (Decorative Fine Arts Society) to visit St Joseph’s Specialist School and College to join staff and learners for the official opening of the Woodland Walk Sculpture Trail. DFAS provided sponsorship for the deer sculpture, created by Alison Catchlove, a local artist. Work began on the metal sculpture during Arts week in Autumn 2013; when learners from St Joseph’s Specialist School & College were taught how to beat and shape the metal panels used to make the deer, they also chose it’s name - Spartacus Uhu, (Uhu is Farsi for deer).

A Green Man can also be found along the route of the woodland walk. Principal, Mary Fawcett told guests: “The Green Man was only installed last week, so we are delighted that already a bird is making it its home and building a nest. It is our intention that the trail will continue to be added to over the coming months and years, to provide a multisensory experience for all our learners to enjoy.”

The refurbishment of the Woodland Walk and Nature Trail has been made possible by help during Grounds Days from staff, learners and their families and other volunteers. Bishop Kieran said “The finished pieces are fantastic and a real delight to see.”

Monday, August 11, 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Gaza disaster prompts Friends of the Holy Land to launch first Emergency ‘Family Support’ Appeal

Friends of the Holy Land (FHL), a UK-based charity committed to supporting Christian people and communities in the Holy Land, has launched an Emergency ‘Family Support’ Appeal to include remaining Christians in Gaza. Conditions in the Gaza Strip have become exceptionally difficult as a result of the destruction of homes and infrastructure, and FHL is increasingly concerned for the welfare of remaining Christians. The Appeal will concentrate on providing funds for the needs of individual families, whether medical treatment, house refurbishment, education or to ensure day to day survival.

‘The Christian population of Gaza has been small in number for some years, and we now believe it’s no more than 300 families, some 1,300 people’ said Peter Rand FHL’s Vice Chairman. ‘For this small minority, conditions have always been difficult, but as we all know from recent media coverage, Gaza's citizens are now living in conditions few people have experienced in the last sixty years. FHL’s role is to support and help Christians in the Holy Land, to ensure a Christian presence remains there. In the long term this requires sustainable employment and housing projects, but there’s a huge immediate need to address the day-to-day challenges of Gaza’s broken economy and infrastructure.’

'When I visited Gaza earlier this year I was very impressed with the work of Christian institutions there and the resilience of the population. Howeve

'We also ask all Christians to remember them in their prayers, to be as generous as they can, and to ask their parish and community to support our Appeal.’

FHL is a non-political, ecumenical, registered charity. Online donations to the appeal can be made via www.friendsoftheholyland.org.uk, or directly to FHL at 2 Station Rd, Kenilworth, CV8 1JJ.
r, the impact of the current disaster in Gaza is being felt in the West Bank too, creating concern and uncertainty for the future and a deterioration of the economic situation with increased unemployment and shortages of basic medications and other resources. While the situation is truly horrific for those in Gaza, FHL Emergency Family Support Appeal will deliver help to the most needy families identified by clergy on the ground and FHL's other partners across the West Bank and Gaza. We only deliver funds where we know that the most needy in the Christian community will receive them, and with our limited resources it is important that they are targeted as accurately as is possible in the circumstances.'