Monday, November 16, 2015

Diocese Holds Successful Year of Mercy Preparation Day

Jeff Cavins on Year of Mercy
The Diocese of Arundel & Brighton kicked off its preparations for the Year of Mercy with a successful day of reflection led by Jeff Cavins on Saturday, November 14th at St Teresa’s School Effingham.

The day entitled 'Christ Looks at us with Mercy …And Calls Us to Discipleship'reflected on how in this Jubilee Year of Mercy we are called to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and to become his followers and disciples, and come off from the sidelines.

Jeff Cavins who is a former Protestant Pastor before he returned to the Catholic Church is well known for his presentations on the Bible for Catholics, helping them to discover afresh the great story of God's love revealed in the Scriptures. Many parishes in Arundel & Brighton Diocese have taken part in his Quick Journey Through the Bible 8 week course and are now tackling his longer Journey Through the Bible 24 week course.

The topics included in the day of reflection were:

God’s Amazing Plan for you - Jeff demonstrated the awesome power of God by looking at creation first from the macro level and then at the micro level. By observing God’s amazing creation, you will grow in awe and respond in praise. With God’s creation as a backdrop, Jeff introduced the astonishing truth that human beings are his most amazing creation and that to top it off, God wants a relationship with us.

The Call to Discipleship- Building on his first talk, Jeff continued to explain God’s desire to walk with us as he introduced the first-century relationship between a rabbi and his disciple as the metaphor for God’s relationship with us. Jeff described the life of a disciple two thousand years ago and then painted a picture of how that can become a reality for people today. This was a very practical talk about walking with God in a modern world.

Mary, Mercy and Mission - At the centre of Israel’s worship was the Ark of the Covenant, which housed the presence of God. This most precious of temple furnishings played a central role, both as the source of God’s presence but also his mercy. Jeff showed that the Ark, once hidden in a cave in the Old Testament, is discovered in the New Testament in a cave in Bethlehem. Mary, the new Ark of the Covenant, is the person that God used to introduce his mercy to the world.

Disciplines of a Disciple - In this talk, Jeff introduced some practical disciplines in the life of a modern-day disciple. You explained how to talk to Jesus on a daily basis by utilizing the ancient practice of Lectio Divina (divine reading). This practice of talking to God in Scripture and hearing his daily direction will transform your walk with Christ and enable you to meet problems with real direction and comfort. In addition, Jeff will share some of his personal practices that lead to a more fruitful relationship with Jesus.

You can see pictures of the day see the Diocesan Flickr site.

For further details of Jeff Cavins and his materials see

Friday, November 13, 2015

Bishop Richard Moth urges people to support 'Mental Health Equality’ campaign

Bishop Richard Moth in Arundel Cathedral
The Bishop of Arundel & Brighton and the Bishop with reponsibility for Mental Health, the Right Reverend Richard Moth, commented on the campaign:

"The campaign which is being launched today to treat mental health equally with physical health and ensure that those in need receive proper access to treatment and help is extremely important.

"I’ve become acutely aware just from our work on the Mental Health Project for the Bishops' Conference these past few years how prevalent is the need, and how often that need goes unmet.

"On behalf of our Bishops' Conference in England and Wales, and together with other churches and faith groups, I'm very glad to be supporting this vital cause, and I urge people to join this campaign for more resources for mental health by contacting their member of parliament."

Find out more information on the 'Mental Health Equality' campaign at

Friday, October 30, 2015

Guy Consolmagno on Science and Religion: Both Kirk and Spock

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Brother Guy Consolmagno is a planetary scientist who directs the Vatican Observatory and curates the Vatican meteorite collection, one of the largest in the world. He holds a degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he did post-doctorate work (in addition to the Harvard College Observatory). At the age of 29, he joined the Peace Corps and lived in Kenya. He became a Jesuit Brother in 1992, and was honored in 2000 by the International Astronomical Union for his contributions to the study of meteorites and asteroids.

In this TEDTalk, Consolmagno admits to being “a fanatic about his science and a nerd about his religion” and relates the conversation he had about both fields with William Shatner of Star Trek fame.

Consolmagno says we shouldn’t divide the universe into “the purely rational and the purely emotional” and explains that both science and religion start with observations and often have to move forward with “inadequate data” in order to help us get to the truth.

“At the end of the day, we only do science or we only have a religion as an act of worship, because both science and religion worship the same God, who is the God of truth.”

Monday, October 12, 2015

Cardinal Vincent on how a Vatican Synod of Bishops does its work

Thanks to Catholic Communications Network for providing this update. You can find more information on the Synod on their website.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Family Synod Update from Cardinal Nichols

Thanks to Catholic Communications Network for providing this update. You can find more information on the Synod on their website.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Pope's Homily for Opening Family Synod Mass

Pope Francis prays before an Icon of the Holy Family have the full text of the Pope's homily at the opening Mass for the Synod. You can read this below:

"If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us” (1 Jn 4:12).

This Sunday’s Scripture readings seem to have been chosen precisely for this moment of grace which the Church is experiencing: the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the family, which begins with this Eucharistic celebration.

The readings centre on three themes: solitude, love between man and woman, and the family.

Adam, as we heard in the first reading, was living in the Garden of Eden. He named all the other creatures as a sign of his dominion, his clear and undisputed power, over all of them. Nonetheless, he felt alone, because "there was not found a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:20). He was lonely.

The drama of solitude is experienced by countless men and women in our own day. I think of the elderly, abandoned even by their loved ones and children; widows and widowers; the many men and women left by their spouses; all those who feel alone, misunderstood and unheard; migrants and refugees fleeing from war and persecution; and those many young people who are victims of the culture of consumerism, the culture of waste, the throwaway culture.

Today we experience the paradox of a globalized world filled with luxurious mansions and skyscrapers, but a lessening of the warmth of homes and families; many ambitious plans and projects, but little time to enjoy them; many sophisticated means of entertainment, but a deep and growing interior emptiness; many pleasures, but few loves; many liberties, but little freedom… The number of people who feel lonely keeps growing, as does the number of those who are caught up in selfishness, gloominess, destructive violence and slavery to pleasure and money.

Our experience today is, in some way, like that of Adam: so much power and at the same time so much loneliness and vulnerability. The image of this is the family. People are less and less serious about building a solid and fruitful relationship of love: in sickness and in health, for better and for worse, in good times and in bad. Love which is lasting, faithful, conscientious, stable and fruitful is increasingly looked down upon, viewed as a quaint relic of the past. It would seem that the most advanced societies are the very ones which have the lowest birth-rates and the highest percentages of abortion, divorce, suicide, and social and environmental pollution.

Love between man and woman
In the first reading we also hear that God was pained by Adam’s loneliness. He said: "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:18). These words show that nothing makes man’s heart as happy as another heart like his own, a heart which loves him and takes away his sense of being alone. These words also show that God did not create us to live in sorrow or to be alone. He made men and women for happiness, to share their journey with someone who complements them, to live the wondrous experience of love: to love and to be loved, and to see their love bear fruit in children, as the Psalm proclaimed today says (cf. Ps 128).

This is God’s dream for his beloved creation: to see it fulfilled in the loving union between a man and a woman, rejoicing in their shared journey, fruitful in their mutual gift of self. It is the same plan which Jesus presents in today’s Gospel: "From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female’. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh” (Mk 10:6-8; cf. Gen 1:27; 2:24).

To a rhetorical question – probably asked as a trap to make him unpopular with the crowd, which practiced divorce as an established and inviolable fact – Jesus responds in a straightforward and unexpected way. He brings everything back to the beginning, to the beginning of creation, to teach us that God blesses human love, that it is he who joins the hearts of two people who love one another, he who joins them in unity and indissolubility. This shows us that the goal of conjugal life is not simply to live together for life, but to love one another for life! In this way Jesus re-establishes the order which was present from the beginning.

"What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mk 10:9). This is an exhortation to believers to overcome every form of individualism and legalism which conceals a narrow self-centredness and a fear of accepting the true meaning of the couple and of human sexuality in God’s plan.

Indeed, only in the light of the folly of the gratuitousness of Jesus’ paschal love will the folly of the gratuitousness of an exclusive and life-long conjugal love make sense.

For God, marriage is not some adolescent utopia, but a dream without which his creatures will be doomed to solitude! Indeed, being afraid to accept this plan paralyzes the human heart.

Paradoxically, people today – who often ridicule this plan – continue to be attracted and fascinated by every authentic love, by every steadfast love, by every fruitful love, by every faithful and enduring love. We see people chase after fleeting loves while dreaming of true love; they chase after carnal pleasures but desire total self-giving.

"Now that we have fully tasted the promises of unlimited freedom, we begin to appreciate once again the old phrase: "world-weariness”. Forbidden pleasures lost their attraction at the very moment they stopped being forbidden. Even if they are pushed to the extreme and endlessly renewed, they prove dull, for they are finite realities, whereas we thirst for the infinite” (Joseph Ratzinger, Auf Christus schauen. Einübung in Glaube, Hoffnung, Liebe, Freiburg, 1989, p. 73).

In this extremely difficult social and marital context, the Church is called to carry out her mission in fidelity, truth and love.

To carry out her mission in fidelity to her Master as a voice crying out in the desert, in defending faithful love and encouraging the many families which live married life as an experience which reveals of God’s love; in defending the sacredness of life, of every life; in defending the unity and indissolubility of the conjugal bond as a sign of God’s grace and of the human person’s ability to love seriously.

The Church is called to carry out her mission in truth, which is not changed by passing fads or popular opinions. The truth which protects individuals and humanity as a whole from the temptation of self-centredness and from turning fruitful love into sterile selfishness, faithful union into temporary bonds. "Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love” (Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 3).

And the Church is called to carry out her mission in charity, not pointing a finger in judgment of others, but – faithful to her nature as a mother – conscious of her duty to seek out and care for hurting couples with the balm of acceptance and mercy; to be a "field hospital” with doors wide open to whoever knocks in search of help and support; even more, to reach out to others with true love, to walk with our fellow men and women who suffer, to include them and guide them to the wellspring of salvation.

A Church which teaches and defends fundamental values, while not forgetting that "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mk 2:27); and that Jesus also said: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mk 2:17). A Church which teaches authentic love, which is capable of taking loneliness away, without neglecting her mission to be a good Samaritan to wounded humanity.

I remember when Saint John Paul II said: "Error and evil must always be condemned and opposed; but the man who falls or who errs must be understood and loved… we must love our time and help the man of our time” (John Paul II, Address to the Members of Italian Catholic Action, 30 December 1978). The Church must search out these persons, welcome and accompany them, for a Church with closed doors betrays herself and her mission, and, instead of being a bridge, becomes a roadblock: "For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb 2:11).

In this spirit we ask the Lord to accompany us during the Synod and to guide his Church, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Bishop Richard Moth Issues 2nd Pastoral Letter on Refugee Crisis

Bishop Richard has responded to the Refugee Crisis alongside other bishops of England and Wales and the requests from parishes in the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton as to what parishes might do to respond.

This Pastoral Letter is to be read in all parishes the weekend of 12/13 September. He says:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Having heard the Holy Father’s invitation to parishes and religious houses in Europe to respond to the growing refugee crisis, and after discussion with Deans, the following arrangements are to be put in place in this Diocese.

Parish Priests are asked to request information from those who are able and willing to assist in the following ways:

1. With emergency short term placement accommodation; short term accommodation for those who are unable to pay; self-contained long term property for those granted refugee status (who are able to pay rent);
2. With skills and time – including language skills; the teaching of English; legal assistance; knowledge of the local community and the facilities that may be available;
3. Financial support. 

This information is to be sent directly to either Aidan Cantwell at DABCEC or to Mary-Jane Burkett at St. Cuthman’s. Mary-Jane will welcome information especially from Brighton & Hove. Aidan and Mary-Jane will act as our contacts with local councils and information from the Bishops’ Conference will also be passed to them.

It is of the utmost importance that we work through these channels to ensure that the best possible support and aid can be directed in the most effective way.

In terms of schools, Local Authorities will be looking to place an increased number of refugee children through their ‘Fair Access’ protocols. I encourage our Catholic school communities to be as open to this as possible.

We can all be attentive to those who may be newly arrived in our parishes and communities. A warm welcome is, in itself, a gift. Your continuing support and prayers for those refugee families who are already living within the Diocese is greatly appreciated and I am sure our response to the present deepening crisis will prove effective.

With every blessing,


Bishop of Arundel & Brighton

You can also listen to a Podcast from Bishop Richard about the Refugee Crisis here.