Mass the neophytes, that is those who have recently become Catholics,
come together to give thanks to God and to meet the Archbishop, who is
the chief pastor of the diocese.
Archbishop Peter Smith blesses new
Sheerness seafarers’ centre
Archbishop of Southwark, The Most Reverend Peter Smith has launched and
blessed a newly-refurbished centre for seafarers at the port of
Sheerness in Kent.
The facility, operated by Catholic seafarers’ charity Apostleship of
the Sea (AoS), is a sanctuary where visiting seafarers can spend quiet
time in prayer, use the WiFi service to contact their families back
home or relax with a game of pool.
Archbishop Smith said, “The centre is a great service to seafarers who
are all welcomed here. It is a service the church provides and it has
been blessed over the years by God’s grace. We ask God’s blessing for
the future work of this centre.”
Archbishop Smith who is also Vice President of the Catholic Bishops'
Conference of England and Wales said his grandfather on his father’s
side was a shipwright in Bristol, so the sea ran in his family’s genes.
“The ministry of AoS is great work and it’s done quietly,” he added at
the opening ceremony held yesterday.
The restoration of the seafarers centre was made possible by a £4,130
grant by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB). Each year about 5,000
ships visit ports in the Medway, which includes Sheerness Docks, with
about 80,000 seafarers on board.
MNWB chairman Bob Jones who was also present at the launch said, “We
are delighted to support Stella Maris (AoS) in the work you do for
seafarers’ welfare both in UK and around the world.” AoS’ port chaplain
for Kent and Medway, Deacon Paul Glock said, “The Apostleship of the
Sea is about not taking seafarers for granted, but making them feel
welcome and appreciated and this is their little home.”
Paul and his team of ship visiting volunteers go on board ships
to visit seafarers in Chatham, Dover Port, Gillingham Pier, Rochester,
Sheerness Docks and Whitstable Harbour. These ports are all in
Many of the seafarers arriving at Sheerness and those other ports are
Catholic, originating from countries such as Philippines, Poland and
the centre, AoS is able to provide them with pastoral and practical
care. It is equipped with faith resources like scripture booklets and
prayer cards. The centre offers them a space to speak to Deacon Paul,
who provides a listening ear.
On rare occasions when ships are in port long enough the centre is also
used as a meeting point for seafarers who wish to be taken to Mass.
It also offers amenities for them to communicate with family by
internet or phone and space to relax before moving on to their next
port of call.
Commissioning of Extraordinary Ministers
Holy Communion at
The Friars, Aylesford
On Saturday 2nd May 2015
Father Paul Mason, Episcopal Vicar for Kent, and Monsignor Matthew
Dickens, Vicar General, led the Commissioning Day.
Father Paul Mason -
Episcopal Vicar for Kent, started the day with a talk on the Eucharist
and this special Ministry by using a powerpoint presentation of
different works or art
Dickens presided at a period of adoration before the
After lunch Monsignor
Matthew spoke of the role of the Extraordinary
Minister and the rubrics, including the service of administering Holy
Communion to the Sick and the checks that need to be taken before
staring this ministry and so therefore bringing together all the
training that had been given in every parish
Father Paul presided at
the Mass along with the other concelebrants Monsignor Matthew Dickens,
Fathers Christopher Lindlar and Josephat Ezeanolue CSSp (who was
celebrating his birthday) and Deacon Malcolm Turner, during which he
commissioned the new Extraordinary Ministers and presented their
21 Extraordinary Ministers
of Holy Communion were commissioned from Beckenham Hill and Bellingham,
Catford, Charlton, Folkestone West,
Forest Hill, Hartley, Kidbrooke, Mongeham and Sandwich, Rochester,
Sevenoaks,Tenterden,Tolworth, West Malling, Westerham and 1 from St
Mary's Primary School, Beckenham
Migrants Mass on Feast of St Joseph the Worker
On Monday 4th May 2015
over 1,500 people came to the Metropolitan Cathedral Church of St
George in Southwark for the annual Mass for Migrants, organised by
London's three Catholic dioceses: Brentwood, Southwark and Westminster,
with the ethnic chaplaincies and Justice and Peace Commission, and the
year the Tablet, which celebrates its 175th anniversary.
The chief celebrant was the Archbishop of Southwark, Most Reverend
Peter Smith. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster,
Bishop Alan Williams of Brentwood and many priests concelebrated.
The Mass was attended by ambassadors from Libya, Ethiopia and
Lithuania, Justice Minister, Lib Dem Simon Hughes, who has served as MP
for Southwark and Bermondsey for many years, Lib Dem Sarah Teather who
led a campaign to stop the detention of child refugees, borough mayors
and councillors, from around the capital.
Music throughout the service, led by Francis Novillo, included hymns
and songs from Cameroon, the USA, Australia, Slovakia, China and Uganda.
The Bidding Prayers were led by pupils from Notre Dame RC Girls' School
in seven languages, including Tamil, Tagalog and Yoruba
Welcoming the congregation, Archbishop Peter Smith described the Mass
as "a joint venture of prayerful support for migrants in our city." In
his homily, Archbishop Peter reflected on the day's Gospel in which
Jesus is rejected by the people of his hometown of Nazareth. He
described how the Holy Family were refugees - forced to flee Bethlehem
when Herod began killing new born baby boys: "We have few details but
we assume they lived in peace until they returned to their homeland,
settling, as St Matthew's Gospel tells us, in a town called Nazareth.
Jesus would have been very small when they left but I'm sure Mary and
Joseph would have told him the story as he got older. The irony of his
rejection by the people he lived with I'm sure would have been in his
mind when he began his public ministry. Rejected by the people he lived
with but in the years previous to that accepted in a foreign land."
Archbishop Peter pointed out that Jesus' public ministry it has its
core focus compassion, loving kindness and mercy - care towards the
oppressed, the exploited, the poor. He said Pope Francis has repeatedly
called for countries to adopt a more "generous openness" to migrants,
saying: "I am a pastor of a Church with no borders."
Archbishop Peter quoted Pope Francis who had rebuked those with "blood
on their hands" who tolerate, even passively, human trafficking.
Archbishop Peter had particular criticism of the UK's detention centres
for migrants, saying these were "stripping them of their human dignity"
and he expressed alarm at the crisis of boat refugees in the
Archbishop Peter went on to call for prayers for politicians. "We must
pray for them" he said. "They have a very difficult job."
He concluded with an upbeat story of British Olympic runner Mo Farrah
who came from Somalia as a refugee at the age of eight. Asked whether
he would prefer to run for Somalia rather than Britain, Mo said: " Look
mate - this is my country. When I put on my GB vest I feel proud."
After the Mass there was a large reception and spread of international
food organised by the ethnic chaplaincies and the Tablet.
The Mass for Migrants has been celebrated in London every May Bank
Holiday since 2006 when it was introduced by the then Archbishop of
Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor.
Words - Jo Siedlecka
Photos by Marcin Mazur
Vocation Sunday in West Croydon
As part of the year of Consecrated Life the parish of West Croydon
celebrated Vocations Sunday with life size images of Pope Francis and
Pope Benedict on the sanctuary to encourage parishioners to pray for
vocations to Priesthood and all other vocations
There was also a two
week display of a life size nun and brother where
people could put their own face through the head to remind people of
the variety of vocations
The parishioners also made banner and there was a choice of literature
The whole undertaking was
very successful and a lot interest was shown