Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Mass for Cardinal Cormac at Arundel Cathedral - 60 Years of Priesthood

L-R: Bishop Richard Moth, Cardinal Cormac, Archbishop Peter Smith
Rt Rev Richard Moth, Bishop of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton welcomed Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and former Bishop of Arundel & Brighton to Arundel Cathedral on Sunday 27 November to celebrate 60 years of priesthood.

Cardinal Cormac was ordained a priest on 28 October 1956 in Rome before returning to the Diocese of Portsmouth to work. In 1971 he was appointed Rector of the English College in Rome from where he was called to become Bishop of Arundel & Brighton on 17 November 1977. He was Bishop of Arundel & Brighton for nearly 23 years. On 15 November 2000, he was as installed as tenth Archbishop of Westminster and made a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II on 21 February 2001. He now lives a busy retirement.

Cardinal Cormac is remembered in the Diocese with immense affection from his 23 years as Bishop, reflected in the full Cathedral that was there to celebrate Mass with him on Sunday 27 November and then join him, at the kind invitation of Edward, Duke of Norfolk for refreshments in Arundel Castle.

Bishop Richard said, in welcoming the Cardinal back to his old Diocese, that in saving his final Diamond Jubilee celebration for Arundel & Brighton Diocese, the Cardinal “had saved the best wine till last!”

At the end of Mass Bishop Richard again thanked Cardinal Cormac for his presence here which was echoed in long and warm applause from the congregation.

You can see photographs of the event on the Diocesan Flickr site.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Bishop Richard Reflects on the Jubilee of Mercy as Year Ends

Bishop Richard at Closing of Holy Door at Arundel Cathedral on 13 November
In July last year in A&B News Bishop Richard shared his aspirations for the Jubilee of Mercy. Now, with the year concluding, he reflects on what actually happened and how, individually, we should never close the Door of Mercy.

Where and when did it all begin?

The Opening of the Holy Door on 13th December 2015 saw a Cathedral filled with people, fine music and a real sense of celebration and anticipation at the beginning of the Jubilee of Mercy.  The beautiful celebration and real sense of joy that the Jubilee had begun gave new meaning to Gaudete Sunday.  We were joined by Bishop Martin Warner of Chichester, together with the Dean of Chichester Cathedral – a wonderful gesture of openness to the message of Pope Francis that Christians must adopt the way of Mercy as a lifestyle. 

The other Holy Doors across the Diocese – at Christ the King, Weybridge, Mayfield School and at the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation – together with the Cathedral have seen very significant numbers of pilgrims.  Of particular note has been the Diocesan Pilgrimage to West Grinstead, where over 400 people gathered for a day of prayer, reflection and the celebration of Mass.  Later in the year, a more reflective day at Mayfield School brought people together for Mass and the opportunity to explore the practice of Lectio Divina.  School Pilgrimages have brought young people from all over the Diocese to the Cathedral, making their way through the Door of Mercy and rejoicing in the gifts of the Jubilee Year. 

The Shrine at West Grinstead has welcomes a greater number of pilgrimages during this Jubilee Year than in past years and thanks go to Fr. David Goddard and his family for the wonderful hospitality they have given to all who have found their way to the Shrine.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff and students at Mayfield School, for the historic chapel there has welcomed children from the schools of East Sussex during the course of the Jubilee.

What benefit did pilgrims get in this unique Year of Mercy?

All who have taken pilgrim journeys through these Holy Doors have benefited from the Holy Year Indulgence – a particular outpouring of the Father’s Mercy to those who seek Him with a sincere heart.  The Indulgence is intimately linked to the Sacrament of Penance and the numbers availing themselves of this Sacrament, during the ’24 Hours for the Lord’ in particular, have been tremendous.  This alone has been a testimony to the timeliness of this Jubilee Year and I am sure the experience of ’24 Hours for the Lord’ will continue in the years ahead.

Pope Francis has called the Church to be open to popular piety and early in 2016, the copy of the Image of Our Lady of Consolation began its travels around the Diocese.  This very simple process proved to be a very helpful focus for parishes, schools and prisons and I do believe it drew everyone in our Diocesan family together in prayer.  With all those who wished being able to take home a stand-up Prayer Card, brought this prayer to Mary, the Mother of Consolation, into the heart of our families.  They have been welcomed in prison cells, too, where Pope Francis has told inmates that, for them, the door of the cell is the Door of Mercy.

Now that we are at the end of the Jubilee Year, is this the end for us all?

The Jubilee Year will, I firmly believe, leave the Diocese with some important legacies. Not least of these is our continuing response to the Refugee Crisis.  Although this began before the opening of the Holy Door, the very fact that the work has taken off as it has is, surely, an outpouring of Mercy by so many across the Diocese.  In thanking everyone for the wonderful response, this work must continue, firmly rooted in our recognition of the dignity of the human person that is so much a part of the lifestyle of Mercy.

A further legacy of the Jubilee Year will be the renewed interest in the practice of Lectio Divina.  The events for the younger people of the Diocese brought over 350 together to reflect on the Scriptures.  Such evenings have already been arranged for next year – this time four of them in order to better accommodate people.  Thanks go to Jack Regan and the many catechists across our parishes who have worked together to make these events possible.

A team of Redshirts, following their experience in Lourdes and wishing to offer some service to parishes have initiated ‘RedTour’.  Started in a small way, this will be another fruit of the Jubilee Year, enabling our young people to become yet further engaged in the life of our Diocesan Family. 


As I write these few words, the ‘closure’ of the Holy Door approaches.  Even though the Jubilee Year is drawing to a close it must, surely, never be possible to ‘close’ the Door of Mercy.  The new ways in which so many have engaged with God’s Mercy during this year will continue to bear fruit.  The Holy Door provides us with a way of reflecting on the Door of our Minds and Hearts and that Door must never close.  Our minds and hearts must remain open to the gift of Mercy that the Lord seeks to give us and, having received His Mercy, we must open our hearts to others. If, as I believe to be true, the family that is our Diocese has found afresh the wonder of Mercy, then we must, as Pope Francis has called us to be, people for whom Mercy is a lifestyle. 

Article by Peter Burholt

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Papal Award for Mrs Mary Reynolds - Former A&B Director of Education

Cardinal Cormac presenting the Certificate of her appointment to Mrs Mary Reynold
Last year, Bishop Richard recommended Mrs Mary Reynolds, former Director of the Catholic Schools Service, to the Vatican for a papal award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to Catholic education, both in the diocese and nationally, for over 40 years. At the request of the Bishop, the news that Pope Francis had appointed her a Dame of the Order of St Gregory the Great was shared with Mary and her husband, Philip, by Monsignor John Hull at a private luncheon he hosted for them during the summer.

Cardinal Cormac, who appointed Mary as Director in 2000, made the formal presentation of the award during Mass on Sunday, 9 October, at St Edward’s, her parish church in Windsor. The parish priest, Canon David Hopgood, organised the Mass very much as a parish celebration of the Pope’s recognition of Mary’s work in Catholic education. Appropriately, there were many young families among the packed congregation. With them were Mary’s father, husband, members of their families, friends and representatives of her former colleagues, both diocesan and national. Concelebrating Mass with the Cardinal were Canon David Hopgood, Dom Stephen Ortiger, OSB, Fr James Hanvey, SJ, and Fr Alan Neville, MSC, a family friend who is based in Cork. Canon Bill Davern joined the celebrations later.

In making the presentation, Cardinal Cormac reminded everyone that, following her work as a head teacher in three Catholic primary schools and as the primary religious education adviser in the diocese, Mary’s initial task as Director was to bring together the two branches of the Schools Service (legal and religious education) with one base at the Christian Education Centre in Crawley. This was done so successfully that most have now forgotten there was once an education office at Bishop’s House in Hove.

The Cardinal paid tribute in particular to how Mary, in responding to the many changes in education, had always looked for the most effective way of preserving the Catholic character of the schools in the diocese. As the then Bishop, he had very much relied on her support in this, as had the priests in the diocese who welcomed her work to strengthen the links between schools and parishes. Cardinal Cormac noted, too, that many teachers and head teachers had valued Mary’s pastoral leadership, her real care and concern for them if they had personal problems, her readiness to go the extra mile, literally, to support them. He thanked Philip Reynolds for his generous support of Mary’s work, especially in helping to organise and run the pilgrimages to Rome which were so much appreciated by the head teachers who participated.


Following Mass, the parish gave a reception for everyone in the church hall. Mary and Philip’s personal guests then went on to enjoy a celebratory lunch, meet up with friends and colleagues, and share their reminiscences of Dame Mary’s remarkable contribution to Catholic education.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Bishop Richard Moth Pastoral Letter at the End of Holy Year of Mercy

Bishop Richard Moth
Bishop Richard Moth as Bishop of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton has issued a final Pastoral Letter for the Year of Mercy calling on members of the Diocese for deepening of their spiritual lives so they can share it with others. The Pastoral Letter is to be read in all churches the weekend, 12th and 13th November 2016. He will also close the Holy Door opened for the Year of Mercy at Arundel Cathedral on Sunday 13th November with Mass at 5pm.

In his first Pastoral Letter for the Year of Mercy in Lent he asked people through the traditional ways of prayer, fasting and giving to the poor to be open to ‘the way of Mercy’. In this letter, he focusses on the Mission as the Church to call others, in Mercy, to life with Christ through the Spiritual Works of Mercy which are to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear wrongs patiently, pray for the living and the dead.

He says: “The Spiritual Works of Mercy are ways in which, as instruments of Christ Himself, we reach out to our brothers and sisters. When we truly live out this call to be merciful we are transformed as individuals and the Church becomes ever more perfectly the Body of Christ.”

The other Holy Doors in the Diocese at Weybridge, West Grinstead and Mayfield will also close on the same day. The Year of Mercy itself will end on Sunday 20th November when Pope Francis closes the Holy Door at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Yet the closing of the Jubilee Year of Mercy is not the end of the life of Mercy for the Diocese. As Bishop Richard insists: “Although the Jubilee Year draws to a close, the work of Mercy never ends. The doors of our minds and hearts must be always open to the Mercy of the Father and the needs of our brothers and sisters.”

He believes that as this Jubilee Year of Mercy ends that we must re-dedicate ourselves “to this great work to which the Lord has called us and may the blessings of this Jubilee Year continue to bear fruit in all that lies ahead.”

You can read the letter in full on the Diocesan Website.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Art of Dying Well - A New Resource



The Ars Moriendi or “Art of Dying" was a very popular fifteenth century manuscript designed to bring Christian comfort and practical guidance to a dying person and his/her family. The original Latin texts and illustrations offered advice on the protocols and procedures for a good death. Key content included deathbed etiquette and prayers, as well as the five temptations that a dying person might face and the prescribed antidotes. The Ars Moriendi illustrated some fairly turbulent scenes, such as the devil trying to snare the soul of a dying man and battles raging between the angels and the demons at the deathbed. These works were popular and visceral because death was daily on the doorstep.

The Catholic Church has 2000 years’ worth of experience of helping people to die in peace and a treasury of resources and reflections on death, dying and eternity that the Bishops of England and Wales would like to open up to everyone. Inspired by the comfort provided by this popular work, they have produced an innovative new digital space on the subject of ‘Dying Well’.

The Art of Dying Well is a new website that offers a helping hand to those grappling with issues around death and dying. Based in the Catholic tradition but open to all, it features real-life stories about the highs and lows of dealing with the final journey. Professionals in palliative care, ethics, chaplaincy and history have informed the site content.

The month of November in the Catholic Church is dedicated to praying for the dead and is the traditional time to visit the graves of loved ones. It is commonly known as the Month of the Dead. We are invited most particularly during this month to remember and pray for our friends and family who have died and for those who have no one to remember them.

The Art of Dying Well Instagram account will host a ‘Remember Them’ virtual memorial wall – inviting people to post pictures and memories of a loved one who has died or is dying. By tagging @artofdyingwell on Instagram, these names and photos will then be shared with five convents and abbeys who will remember and carry in prayer those whose memory is kept alive in these snapshots. The religious sisters and brothers will also pray for those who have no one to remember or pray for them.

As a Catholic approaches death, there are a series of comforting rituals that can help him or her to prepare spiritually for the final journey. In www.artofdyingwell.org these rites and special Prayers for the Dying are illustrated in an animation which features the fictional story of the Ferguson family narrated by the English actress Vanessa Redgrave.

The poet W.H. Auden said that death is “like the distant roll of thunder at a picnic”. That sums up how many of us think about death. We know it is coming eventually, but we are rather more focused on the here and now. The Art of Dying Well aims to help people keep death in mind, so as to fully embrace life now.

Jim, 51, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in October 2012 and spent four months in hospital. He suffered two infections and almost died. He was treated with four cycles of intensive chemotherapy which left him with moderate brain damage that affects his memory and a susceptibility to colds and flu. Yet, he has taken up weight lifting and power lifting and considers himself fitter than he has ever been. He says the illness “pressed the reset button” on his life.

Everyone will have a different experience of dying and of what dying well means – it is part of what makes us unique.

Sister Anne Donockley, an Augustinian nun from Cumbria, who died of a heart condition in April 2016 said: “On a coffin there are two dates; the date of your birth, the date of your death and there is a little dash in between the two – the hyphen. The most important of those three things on the coffin is actually the hyphen, representing your life between birth and death.”

According to Dr Kathryn Mannix, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, death shouldn’t have to be seen as a depressing thing to face. She says, “I knew from my hospice work that most dying people are not depressed, and in my clinic many people have lived to enjoy the last weeks and months of their lives. It’s wonderful to see them regain their enjoyment of life again, when they simply expected to remain miserable until they died.”

The Art of Dying Well was launched on All Saints Day - 1 November - with a Mass in Westminster Cathedral celebrated by Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

St Peter’s Annual Theology Lecture a Great Success!

Picture:  Dr Towey speaking to sixth form student in St Cecilia’s
Dr Anthony Towey from StMary’s University gave St Peter's Catholic Secondary School in Guildford, annual Theology Lecture on the Bible as a source of authority.  We were particularly pleased that Dr Towey agreed to give the lecture as he was directly involved in the recent changes to the A-level specifications. Over 100 people attended, a mixture of A-level Religious Studies students from St Peter’s as well as from other local schools, parents and staff. 

Dr Towey’s lecture was particularly relevant to those taking Religious Studies A-level.  He outlined how the Bible is misunderstood when it is read literally. He went on to explain that there is confusion around the status of the Bible; on one side there is divine inspiration and on the other side the human dimension, which creates a tension around how scripture can be interpreted.  Dr Towey explored this tension, concluding that Catholics cannot be literalists and how theology is a ‘live’ activity; the task of interpreting the Bible continues. The stimulating lecture ended with a flurry of questions from students on a range of points raised in the lecture.

Dr Towey is currently Director of the Aquinas Centre for Theological Literacy at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. He lectured in Rome, Durham and Birmingham before leading the RE department at Loreto College, Moss Side. He is an Ofqual subject specialist and has assisted in the shaping of the religious education reforms at A-Level and in particular by developing new specifications and resources at GCSE with AQA and Eduqas.  His recent publications include: ‘An Introduction to Christian Theology’ (2013) published by Bloomsbury, as well as co-author of ‘The New GCSE Religious Studies Course for Catholic Schools’ (2016) published by Redemptoris.

Mr Dell, Head of RE, said “Dr Towey provoked students to think differently about the Bible and it resulted in some very stimulating questions.”

A-level Religious Studies is a popular choice at St Peter’s sixth form and a number of our students go on to study Theology, Religious Studies or Philosophy at University.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

A Special Year of Mercy Pilgrimage with Bishop Richard

L'Arche Community Shares the Word of God at Pilgrimage Mass
We were blessed to have a sunny day for our Pilgrimage. Groups for people with learning difficulties from all over the Diocese gathered in the Cathedral Centre on Sunday 23rd October for a shared picnic lunch. There was a great sense of excitement and anticipation. Groups had brought their banners and we distributed sticks with streamers to use on the pilgrimage walk.

Bishop Richard, Mgr. Tony Barry, and all the altar servers ably assisted by Graham Monet who was the MC, joined us in the Cathedral Centre for the Introductory Rite. We then walked as pilgrims with Bishop Richard to the Cathedral singing “We are walking in the light of God”. We gathered outside the Holy Door and Bishop Richard helped us to understand its importance. The first reading was powerfully proclaimed by the L’Arche group using a colourful banner they had made.

The Stars of Mary wrote and lead the Prayers of the Faithful and members of the Sense of Prayer Group brought up the Gifts. Richard from Hand In Hand carried the bowl of incense to the foot of the altar as a sign of our prayers rising to God. Throughout the Mass Lauren ‘signed’ to help everyone understand and access the liturgy, including learners from St Joseph’s Specialist School & College.

The Hand In Hand Group helped us to reflect after Holy Communion with the most beautiful and prayerful liturgical dance to the hymn “Bread of Life”. The music throughout the Mass and pilgrimage was joyful, prayerful and enabled everyone to take part. David Purcell (Head of R.E at St Joseph’s Specialist School & College) led the music and was our animator. Catherine Christmas (keyboard), Anne Ward (ukulele) and Cora Gillies (flute) provided music that was vibrant, joyful and prayerful.

After Mass it was time to go home - as we left the Cathedral Bishop Richard gave everyone a wrapped cupcake with the message “Thank you for walking with me on the Year of Mercy Pilgrimage. Have a safe journey home. Bishop Richard.” There was much hugging and waving as each group went on their way with everyone saying “Can we do it again next year?”