News Archive for 2011 - December


Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Monsignor John Elliott KCHS

who died on 25th December 2011

His body will be received at St James Church, Petts Wood,
on Thursday, 19th January 2012 at 5:30 pm.

His Funeral Mass will be held there
on Friday, 20th January at 12 noon.

May he rest in peace


Archbishop Peter's Christmas Message

Fra Filippo Lippi - Adoration of the Child - c. 1455
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence


As we celebrate the great solemnity of Christmas, we remember that Jesus took on our wounded humanity to be our brother, our closest friend and our companion on the road. He came to us as a man to share our lives intimately; to show us how to carry our burdens and to share the difficulties of life with us. He came to address our deepest longings and desires, to give us a new hope and a new vision of what it means to be truly human. He came to meet us where we are, and immersed himself in our confused and messy world, asking us to open our hearts to receive him, so that through the gift of the Holy Spirit he could transform us and lead us from our self-centredness to a new way of life centred on our love for God and love for our neighbour.

May our Incarnate Lord fill your hearts with his peace and joy this Christmas and bring you, your families and all whom you love every blessing and happiness throughout 2012.

With an assurance of my prayers,

Archbishop of Southwark


On the morning of Christmas Day, Archbishop Peter presided at the Family Mass in the Cathedral at 10:00 am, after which he gave each child a Christmas gift in imitation of Saint Nicholas.

More photos of the Christmas Family Mass on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

The Cathedral Sanctuary decorated for the Christmas Solemnity

More photos of the Cathedral's decorations on RCSouthwark's Flickr page



Archbishop Peter presided at the Christmas Midnight Mass at the Cathedral, which this year was televised by BBCone. Monsignor Matthew Dickens, Vicar General, Canon John O'Toole, Cathedral Dean, and the Cathedral clergy, Father John Diver and Father Chukwuemeka Nnaji, concelebrated and the Cathedral Deacon James Sheahan was joined by the two deacons who were ordained just a week ago, Deacon Oladele Craig and Deacon Kurt Barragan.

Canon John places the bambino in the crib and blesses it

The Christmas Proclamation

Deacon Kurt proclaims the Gospel

The Archbishop gives the homily

The Archbishop concluded his homily with the words:

' ... the good news that we celebrate tonight is simple yet profound: that no matter how deep or oppressive the darkness in our world or in our own hearts, the light of God's love and compassion is always brighter, stronger and more enduring. That is the good news we celebrate tonight.'

The Bidding Prayers

The Bidding Prayers expressed the rich cultural diversity in the Cathedral parish, as indeed in the diocese, with intercessions offered in Yoruba, Spanish, Tagalog, Hindi, Polish and English.

The Final Blessing

The Recessional

These photos are screen captures from the BBC television broadcast.

The service marked the broadcast premiere of Missa Sancti Nicolai by composer Nicholas O'Neill who served as the Cathedral's organist for ten years until 2010. Also broadcast for the first time was James MacMillan's motet In splendoribus.

Full text of the Archbishop's homily (.pdf available)

Before Midnight Mass, Canon John O'Toole led a short vigil of lessons and carols.

Download a copy of the service from the Cathedral web site

More photos of Christmas Midnight Mass on RCSouthwark's Flickr page


Bishops offer Christmas Day Mass in prison

Recognising that Christmas is a particularly difficult time for those in prison and wanting to share with them something of the joy and hope of the Incarnation, our bishops offered Mass on Christmas Day in prisons: Bishop John at both HMP Stanford Hill and HMP Swaleside, Bishop Patrick at
HMP Belmarsh and Bishop Paul at HMP Wandsworth.

We pray for those in prison and for all who are away from their families and friends this Christmas.


Friday, 23rd December

Emmanuel, you are our king and judge, the one whom the peoples await and their Saviour. O come and save us, Lord, our God.

Emmanuel: 'God-is-with-us'

Brief explanation


Two Southwark students ordained Deacon

Archbishop Peter with Deacon Oladele Craig and Deacon Kurt Barragan before the Shrine of Our Lady in the Ambulacrum at Wonersh

On Saturday, 17th December 2011, Archbishop Peter ordained to the Diaconate two Southwark students who are training for the priesthood at Saint John's Seminary, Wonersh. The Ordination Mass was celebrated in the Seminary Chapel.

Archbishop Peter with Ola and Kurt in the sacristy before Mass

Ola with his family

Kurt with his family

We congratulate Deacons Ola and Kurt on their ordination to the diaconate and keep them in our prayers. They hope to be ordained to the priesthood next year.

More photos of the Ordination on RCSouthwark's Flickr page 


Advent Reception for Diocesan Agencies

On Thursday, 15th December 2011, Archbishop Peter hosted an Advent reception at Archbishop's House for the staff of the Diocesan Agencies.

The Archbishop thanks the Diocesan Agencies for their work

More photos of the reception on RCSouthwark's Flickr page


Father Gregory - Graduate in Canon Law

Father Gregory Verissimo is a priest from the Ijebu-Ode Diocese in South-Western Nigeria, who is working as an assistant priest in St John the Baptist Parish, Purley.

He has graduated in Canon Law from Heythrop College, London.

He described the studies as 'challenging' and his dissertation was based on the rights of the laity in the Church.


Fr Gregory is pictured below with Dr Helen Costigane, SHCJ, a religious sister and Canon Law lecturer at the College.



St Paul's Academy - New Chapel and Peace Garden

On Tuesday, 13th December 2011, Archbishop Peter visited St Paul's Academy, Abbey Wood.

During his visit, he blessed the new Chapel and the Peace Garden in the Academy's grounds.

He also had the opportunity to chat with groups of students from Years 7,8 and 9 and Years 10 and 11.

Archbishop Peter unveils the commemorative plaque with Mr Patrick Winston, Principal, and two of the senior students

The Archbishop blesses the Peace Garden ...

... and relaxes on the bench bearing a commemorative plaque

The Archbishop meeting a group from Years 7,8 and 9 ...

... and a group from Years 10 and 11

More photos of the visit on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

Visit St Paul's Academy web site


Confirmation at Holy Cross, Carshalton

Father Paul Sanders, parish priest, and parishioners of Holy Cross, Carshalton, welcomed Archbishop Peter to their parish on Sunday, 11th December 2011, where he presided at Mass and conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Photos from RCSouthwark's Flickr page


Blessing of Conway Hall

On Saturday, 10th December 2011, Archbishop Peter visited Conway Hall, the new London residence for students of the London Undergraduate Program of the University of Notre Dame (USA).

During his visit, the Archbishop celebrated Mass and blessed the building, which is in Waterloo Road, SE1.

Archbishop Peter is pictured with Professor Greg Kucich, Undergraduate Program Director, and Fr John Dickson SDB, Chaplain to Conway Hall, in front of a picture of Mr and Mrs Conway, benefactors of the University.

A few more photos of the occasion on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

(posted 17-12-11) 


Papal honour conferred on Dr Dilys Wadman

Dr Dilys Wadman, who retired as Southwark's Director of Education in the summer, has been honoured as a Dame of St Gregory.

Archbishop Peter presented her with the insignia and certificate of the Order in the library of Archbishop's House on Wednesday, 7th December.

Pictured at the presentation are Mgr Canon Martin Lee (Diocesan Finance Secretary), Mgr Matthew Dickens (Vicar General), Bishop Paul, Dr Dilys Wadman DSG, Archbishop Peter, Bishop John and Bishop Patrick.

A few more photos of the presentation on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

(posted 17-12-11)


Southwark's Catholic Directory for 2012

The 2012 edition of the Southwark Catholic Directory has been published and is available in most parishes throughout the diocese.

The Directory gives details of the Diocesan Curia and Offices and of all parishes, religious houses and schools in the diocese.

It includes a Liturgical Calendar for 2012.

In the Foreword, Archbishop Peter writes:

'God calls us to holiness and to a mission. He calls us to be holy by building a personal relationaship with him in prayer. He gives us the mission to proclaim the Gospel with confidence, and to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom. We do that by serving and witnesssing to the whole community, especially by supporting the poor, the marginalised and the vulnerable. That call and that mission applies to all of us - laity, religious and clergy. In today's society and world we need to be "confidently Catholic", ready and willing to work together in proclaiming the Gospel to our society which is in such need of that good news.'

With standard binding: £3:00;
with spiral binding: £3:50.


Congratulations to Monsignor James Cronin

Canon James Cronin has been appointed a Papal Chaplain with the title of Monsignor.

The appointment is in recognition of his many years of dedicated service in the Southwark diocese and in the light of his national role as Director of Missio, which he undertook in the summer.

Canon Cronin ministered as Cathedral Dean from 1996 and a farewell Mass in thanksgiving for his ministry was celebrated at St George's Cathedral early in July.

Visit Missio's web site


New Diocesan Newspaper is launched

Archbishop Peter has written to parishes announcing the launch of our new diocesan newspaper - The Pilgrim. The first edition will be available in parishes this weekend, 10th - 11th December 2011. It will then be published monthly from February 2012.

The Archbishop writes:

'This weekend the first edition of the new monthly Diocesan Newspaper will be available after every Mass.

I am asking you to support this new venture in the Archdiocese which I hope will help to improve communications within and between parishes. It will also in time be a means of developing catechesis so that we all become more knowledgeable about our Catholic faith and the teaching of the Church.

I hope that every family in the parish will buy a copy, and then perhaps pass it on to others who do not come regularly to church. The price is 50p, which I think even in these days of austerity should not take too much out of the monthly family budget, so I do urge you to support this new venture.'


Bishop John Jukes' body was received into the Cathedral on
Sunday, 4th December 2011, at 5:45 pm before the 6:00 pm
Parish Mass at which Archbishop Peter was principal celebrant and
Bishop Tom Burns of Menevia concelebrated.

Archbishop Peter with Bishop Tom Burns and Deacon Michael Kennedy

On Tuesday, 5th December, Franciscan Vespers was celebrated
at 7:00 pm. Fr. James McCurry OFM Conv, Provincial, presided at the service.

Fr Jude Winkler, OFM Conv, Assistant Minister General, Bishop Howard, Bishop Alan Hopes (Westminster), Fr. James McCurry OFM Conv,
Provincial, Archbishop Peter, Bishop John Sherrington (Westminster),
and Bishop Patrick

The Franciscan Friars, the Poor Clares of Arundel and the congregation await in silence the beginning of Vespers

Fr Jude Winkler, OFM Conv, Assistant Minister General, gave the homily

Bishop John Jukes' Funeral Mass was celebrated on Tuesday, 6th December, at 12 noon. Archbishop Peter was the principal celebrant and concelebrants included the the archbishops emeriti, auxiliary bishops and priests of the diocese, Franciscan priests, Cardinal Cormac, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Apostolic Nuncio, and bishops and priests from England, Wales and Scotland.

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Bishop Howard gave the homily

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Bishop John Jukes was buried in the crypt below the Cathedral sanctuary.

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May he rest in Peace

Obituary for Bishop John Jukes OFM Conv

Text of Bishop Howard's homily at the Funeral Mass (.pdf format)

More photos on the RCSouthwark Flickr page

More photos on the CCEW Flickr page


Blessing of Tenterden's new Parish Centre

Archbishop Peter with Mgr Edward Hill (parish priest) and the professional team who helped the Parish with the planning and building of the Centre

On Sunday, 4th December 2011, Archbishop Peter was welcomed by Monsignor Edward Hill (parish priest) and parishioners of St Andrew, Tenterden, where he celebrated Mass and blessed the new Parish Centre.

The people gather for the the blessing of the new Centre

The Blessing of the new Centre

Archbishop Peter with Mgr Edward Hill

More photos of the occasion on RCSouthwark's Flickr page


First Religious Profession of Sister Shainy Sebastian

On Saturday, 3rd December 2011, Bishop Patrick celebrated the Mass of Religious Profession of Sr Shainy Sebastian at Virgo Fidelis, Upper Norwood.

Sr Shainy joins the Convent of Our Lady of Fidelity as the fifth newly professed sister since 2008. Bishop Patrick was joined by Monsignor Matthew Dickens VG, Provost Joseph Collins, Canon Michael O’Dea, Fr. Joy Alappat CMI (chaplain), Fr. Jim Nolan, Fr. Cornelius Boyle and Fr. Joseph Matthew CMI who concelebrated. Present also were Sr Heidi Koller, Superior General and Sr Shelia Maloney, Vicar for Religious.

Bishop Patrick in his homily spoke of the call, the response and the challenge of the religious life in the world of today and how it was as relevant as in the 19th Century when the Congregation was founded.

Sr Shainy hails from Kerala and joins the growing community of fourteen. The choir of Virgo Fidelis Senior School provided the music and members of the parish were actively involved in the celebrations.

Visit the web site of Our Lady of Fidelity (Upper Norwood)


The Teresian Association celebrates 100 years

The Teresian Association is an international Catholic lay association of men and women called together to make Jesus present in today's world through living out the gospel values in everyday life.

It was conceived by St Pedro Poveda in Covadonga, Spain, in 1911, and today is present in 30 countries on four continents.

To celebrate their centenary, the members and friends were joined by Archbishop Peter, Bishop Howard, Mgr Brian Udaigwe (representing the Apostolic Nuncio) and priest and deacon friends for Mass in the chapel of Wimbledon College on Saturday, 3rd December 2011.

Br Thomas More OFM Cap (of Greyfriars, Oxford) gave the homily

Archbishop Peter, Bishop Howard and Mgr Brian Udaigwe
with members of the Teresian Association UK

More photos of the occasion on RCSouthwark's Flickr page

Visit the Teresian Association UK web site


Seminar on Human Trafficking

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On Thursday, 1st December 2011, a seminar was held in the Amigo Hall on human trafficking, organised by the Office for Migration Policy of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, whose chairman is Bishop Patrick.

Its aim was to raise awareness of the impact of human trafficking in the UK and the rest of the world. Human trafficking now ranks as the second most profitable worldwide criminal enterprise after the illegal arms trade.
It is estimated that 2.4 million people are trafficked globally and that annual profits generated from trafficking in human beings are as high as $32 billion.

Speakers included Bishop Patrick; Detective Chief Inspector Nick Sumner and Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland from the Metropolitan Police; Sr Eugenia Bonetti MC (Italian Union of Major Superiors), ‘Counter-Trafficking Office’ in Rome; Mrs Mariela Neagu, Child Rights Expert from the Children’s High Level Group Association and Baroness Scotland of Asthal.

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Bishop Patrick

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Sr Eugenia Bonetti MC and Baroness Scotland of Asthal

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Bishop Patrick, Sr Eugenia Bonetti MC, Baroness Scotland of Asthal, Detective Chief Inspector Nick Sumner and Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal and Bishop Patrick

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Sr Eugenia Bonetti MC with Bishop Patrick

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Mass in the Cathedral with Fr Michael Scanlon, Chairman of Southwark's
Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, as principal celebrant

Report of the Seminar on the CCEW News web site

More photos of the Seminar on the CCEW Flickr page

Bishop Patrick's address (.pdf)

Sister Eugenia's address (.pdf)


Bishops' Conference launches two new web sites

The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has recently authorised the launch of two new web sites.

A news and media site ...

... and a site for those enquiring about the Catholic faith.

The sections on this site provide a first contact with the Catholic faith and describe how the Church gives meaning to life. Links include the way to find a local parish church, contacts to help answer questions on Baptism, Marriage and becoming a Catholic, guidance for further reading and details of courses and retreat centres.

To check out these sites, please click on the images above or on the links on the right sidebar.