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Westminster Record

December 2017/ January 2018 | 20p

Christmas Refections

Holy Land Pilgrimage

From Vladivostok to Staines

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Pages 12 & 13

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Emmanuel: God-with-us

by Cardinal Vincent Nichols The journey of the Magi to Bethlehem was not easy. As TS Eliot wrote: ‘A cold coming we had of it, just the worst time of the year for a journey, and such a long journey: the way’s deep and the weather sharp, the very dead of winter.’ The shepherds, too, in their journey to the crib had a mountain to climb, the mountain of social exclusion, for they were the lowest of the low, not welcomed anywhere. Yet both shepherds and

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scholars found their way to the manger and to the person of Jesus whose coming remains the hinge of human history. Many aspects of our society today are distanced from this saving truth of Jesus of Nazareth. We live in a culture that wants to push religious belief out of sight, into the margins. Now we have a long journey to make, finding our way through these barriers, through this thickening forest,

to the true source of our joy and stability, Jesus, the one alone who is the truth of God fully expressed in our flesh. It is his coming which we celebrate in the holy season. We can do so with a profound and lasting confidence that he who conquered death itself can also penetrate our darkness. His coming tells us that such is his deepest desire: to be Emmanuel, God-with-us, no matter how far we may have wandered. He

summoned the shepherds, in their place of work, with music and brightness; he called the wise men through their scholarship and desire to know. He calls each one of us, if we have the sensitivity to recognise that summons! We read that the wise men returned to their ‘old dispensation’, no longer feeling at home there. In the presence of this Christ-child they discovered something that

remained in their hearts, an enduring peace and joy which they could no longer push to one side. We believe that they went home as men more wise, as men more peaceful in themselves, as men more poised in their lives. The shepherds, too, we know, went home full of song and gladness for what their eyes had seen. This is the invitation offered to us this Christmas. And its fruits can be the same for us too!


Editorial

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Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

Saying ‘yes’

Editor Mgr Mark Langham Archbishop’s House, Ambrosden Avenue SW1P 1QJ Managing Editor Marie Saba 020 7798 9031 Inhouse writers Martha Behan 020 7798 9030, Sharon Pinto 020 7798 9178 Photos Mazur/Catholicnews.org.uk Design Julian Game To order copies contact Andrea Black 0161 908 5327 or email andrea.black@thecatholicuniverse.com Print management and distribution by The Universe Media Group Ltd.

February publication dates Editorial deadline: 15th January 2018 Listings email: communications@rcdow.org.uk News and stories call 020 7798 9030 Email: communications@rcdow.org.uk Advertising deadline: 19th January 2018 To advertise contact Carol Malpass 0161 908 5301 or email carol.malpass@thecatholicuniverse.com Produced by the Communications Office of the Diocese of Westminster. News and articles published in the Westminster Record do not necessarily represent the views of the Diocese of Westminster, unless specifically stated otherwise.

the Police or Fire Brigade. Those who work with the vulnerable speak Christ’s ‘Yes’ through their care; we have reports on St Joseph’s Hospice, and from Vatican Conferences on the dignity of the child, and the centrality of the person to the European project. Our young people speak their ‘Yes’ to God both within their schools and their outreach work in communities and the environment. Their example must spur us to protect our proud Catholic educational tradition, and to answer the Bishops’ call to petition the Government to allow us to educate all our Catholic children in our schools. It is one of the greatest battles we face as a community.

Red Wednesday shines a light on Christian persecution

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At Christmas, we celebrate the great ‘Yes’ that God spoke to us in his Word; the affirmation of our humanity through the birth of Jesus Christ. This month, we meet some of those who have themselves responded with a ‘Yes’ to God through their lives. Among the most radical ways of saying ‘Yes’ to God is to answer his call to vocation.

Sr Petronia Williams is well known for her work in the diocese. While on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, on her Golden Jubilee she affirmed her ‘Yes’ by renewing her vows in the Grotto of the Annunciation. The ‘Yes’ given by a priest is a moving affirmation of God’s will. Canon Louis Thomas devoted his life to his calling, and, as we mark his death, we pray that he will experience that undying life that is the reward of all who love as Christ has loved. That radical ‘Yes’ is not only given by priests of our time: Cardinal Vincent this month reflects on the life and sacrifice of St Cuthbert Mayne, one of our earliest priest martyrs from the sixteenth century. Others respond to God in diverse ways: from altar servers, to those who serve in

Buildings across the world were lit up red on Wednesday 22nd November to highlight the persecution of Christians, particularly in the Middle East. In London, Aid to the Church in Need, who spearhead the #RedWednesday campaign, invited faith leaders, politicians, and people of all faiths and none to come to Page 2

Westminster Cathedral to watch it be lit up red. The crowd gathered outside the cathedral heard witness testimonies, music, and speeches by Coptic Orthodox Bishop Angaelos, Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need (UK) and Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity

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Worldwide. Bishop Nicholas Hudson welcomed participants to the vigil, and joined in prayers for all those who have died for their faith, and for a greater awareness of the persecution of Christians. Down the road the Houses of Parliament were also lit up red, as were a number of cathedrals and places of worship around the UK. Follow us on Twitter at: twitter.com/RCWestminster


Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

Catholics are being asked to show their concern about the future of Catholic education by petitioning the Education Secretary to ask for the Government to fulfil its manifesto promise to remove the cap which currently limits the number of Catholic students to be admitted to some new Catholic schools to 50% of total admissions. The cap was placed by the Coalition Government in 2010 on faith admissions in new schools, which has meant that only 50% of places could be allocated to pupils on the grounds of their faith if the school was oversubscribed. This means that many Catholic pupils would be denied a place. By forcing Catholic schools to turn away Catholic school children on the basis of their faith, the very principle of a Catholic parent’s right to choose a Catholic education is under threat. In a letter to priests of the diocese, Bishop John Wilson explains: ‘The Government has acknowledged that this policy discriminates against Catholics and it is vital that the Catholic community makes its voice heard on this issue.’ He pointed out that in 2016 ‘the Prime Minister reiterated her belief that the cap should be removed, and the 2017 Conservative Party manifesto promised to do so. However, the Secretary of State for Education is now reviewing this decision and there is no guarantee this promise will be kept. If the cap is not withdrawn, it will remove the right of parents to give their children a Catholic education and also remove the right of children to receive a Catholic education.’ Catholics are therefore asked to petition the Secretary of State about this ‘deeply concerning and important issue to the Catholic community’. The petition can be found on the Bishops’ Conference website: http://catholicnews.o rg.uk/education-cap

Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy Celebration

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The Annual Meeting of Eastern Catholic Bishops of Europe was held in London and Hertfordshire this year from 26th to 29th October, at the invitation of Bishop Hlib Lonchyna of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family. As the bishops explain, these days of intense meetings and conferences were ‘above all days of brotherhood and prayer’. The general theme of the meeting was the proclamation, the knowledge, and the life of faith in Christ. It was also a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Ukrainian Eparchy of the Holy Family of London. It was an ‘opportunity to remember with gratitude the pastoral attention of the Holy See in meeting the pastoral needs of the Eastern Catholic faithful scattered throughout Western Europe’. It was also an opportunity to celebrate the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom at Westminster Cathedral on 28th October. Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, presided over the

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liturgy that was concelebrated by the Eastern Catholic bishops, as well as the Apostolic Nuncio and a number of bishops from around England and Wales in the presence of Cardinal Vincent. Also present at the celebration were representatives from Anglican and Orthodox Churches, ‘a testimony to the good ecumenical climate in this country’. The cathedral was resplendent with the sights and sounds of the Eastern Catholic liturgy. Cardinal Vincent preached the homily, welcoming the Eastern Catholic Bishops. Speaking of the 60th anniversary of the Eparchy of the Holy Family as a ‘significant anniversary,’ he said ‘one we would do well to celebrate’. Acknowledging the changes in Eastern Europe which have brought ‘great hope after years of darkness’, he noted that ‘great challenges face the Church’ in these lands. He spoke of liturgical catechesis which is ‘something of a priority’ to the life of Eastern Catholic churches.

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‘The reverence we show for the things of God is a barometer of our reverence for God himself; those who see the love and care we put into our liturgical celebrations are, we pray, the more likely themselves to grow in knowledge and love of him towards whom our praise is ordered,’ he said. ‘More than that,’ he added, ‘liturgy gives what it teaches, drawing those who live and experience it deeper into the life of grace, in word and gesture, in symbol and sacrament.’ At the end of the liturgy, Cardinal Vincent, Archbishop Shevchuk and the Apostolic Nuncio paused to pray at the tomb of Cardinal Cormac. The Eastern Catholic Churches are Churches which are in full communion with the Church of Rome but distinguished from the Latin Catholic Church by their different forms of liturgical worship and popular devotion, sacramental (administration of the sacraments) and canonical (juridical norms) disciplines, terminology and theological traditions.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilus III, visited London from 31st October to 3rd November. While here he met with Cardinal Vincent, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and British politicians. Cardinal Vincent, who backed the Patriarch’s campaign to preserve the current place of Christians in the Holy Land, said: ‘Jerusalem’s Status Quo should be respected. It is a city holy to three faiths and Christians are an important and integral part of this community. The continuing presence of Christians as bridge builders across the Holy Land is essential for all who wish to live in peace.’

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Standing up for Catholic Education

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Westminster Record | December 2017/ January 2018

Balfour Declaration 100 years on

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South Africa. Bishop Chessun is an active member of this delegation and will also be participating next year. The Holy Land Coordination, mandated by the Holy See, meets every January in the lands of Christ’s birth, ministry, Passion and Resurrection. It aims to promote justice and peace, acting in solidarity with the Christian communities there and share in the pastoral life as it experiences extreme political and socio-economic pressure. The text of the letter sent by UK foreign secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild that came to be known as the action is greater than ever. Balfour Declaration was later ‘Israel’s security and accepted by the League of development are inseparable Nations in 1922 and embodied from the fulfilment of in the mandate that gave the UK Palestinian aspirations to statehood. We renew our call on temporary administrative control of Palestine. It laid the the UK government, to foundations to the creation of recognise the right of the Palestinian people to belong to a the State of Israel in 1948. It stated: ‘His Majesty’s state on their own lands, next to Government view with favour the state of Israel. Only justice for both peoples will lead to the the establishment in Palestine of reconciliation for which we pray a national home for the Jewish with the Christian Church in the people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the Holy Land.’ achievement of this object, it Both bishops are regular being clearly understood that visitors to the Holy Land and nothing shall be done which are dedicated to promoting justice and peace for all in Israel may prejudice the civil and and Palestine. In January Bishop religious rights of existing nonJewish communities in Lang will once again lead the Palestine, or the rights and Holy Land Coordination, a political status enjoyed by Jews delegation of bishops from in any other country.’ Europe, North America and

To mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration on 31st October, religious and state leaders gathered in Methodist Central Hall Westminster, where Catholic and Anglican bishops called for justice and reconciliation in the Holy Land. Bishop Declan Lang, Catholic Bishop of Clifton and Bishop Christopher Chessun, Anglican Bishop of Southwark together stated that: ‘On the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, we commend the work of the Balfour Project to encourage justice and reconciliation in the Holy Land, acknowledging Britain’s past and future responsibilities to the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. Today the need for prayer, awareness and

Continuing the fight against modern slavery The Evening Standard has announced that its round table on modern slavery has been invited to present its findings to the annual Santa Marta Conference, which will be held in February in the Vatican and will be addressed by Pope Francis. The round table, which began to meet earlier this year, is made up of leading figures from business, law, philanthropy and the media. Cardinal Vincent, who has chaired these round table sessions, said: ‘I have been happy to chair this round table on modern slavery. ‘I look forward to presenting our recommendations at the Vatican in February. Pope Francis takes a special interest in combating this evil crime, which strips victims of their innate humanity by taking away their freedom. It has no place in today’s world.’ He added: ‘Through the work of the Santa Marta Group, the Catholic Church has taken a lead in developing partnerships with police forces to ensure the safety and well-being of every victim of human trafficking, the breaking up of criminal networks and the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of this terrible crime.’

Invited to join the round table for their knowledge and commitment to ending modern slavery were Kevin Hyland, the independent anti-slavery commissioner; newsreader and TV presenter Julie Etchingham; Monique Villa, chief executive of the Thomson Reuters Foundation; Jean Baderschneider of the Global Fund to End Slavery; Yasmin Waljee from law firm Hogan Lovells; Unilever chief executive Paul Polman; Sir Matt Baggott, former chief constable of Northern Ireland, and John Studzinski, vice-chairman of investment firm Blackstone. Cardinal Vincent continues to act on the words of Pope Francis, working alongside the government and media in the UK to raise awareness of the crime of modern slavery and human trafficking and work towards its elimination. He will be instrumental in bringing the work of the Evening Standard’s roundtable to the Santa Marta Conference and sharing any knowledge or insight gained with the wider Catholic Church. For more information about the Evening Standard round table and campaign against modern slavery, visit https://www.standard.co.uk/ topic/modern-slavery

Calling for dignified treatment for all

Bishop Paul McAleenan has spoken out against proposed charges to be levied on nonUK residents for NHS treatment. Speaking ahead of the House of Lords debate in November on the charges, he said: ‘The level of concern expressed by medical professionals and charities, including several Catholic organisations, reflects how catastrophic the consequences of these new regulations are likely to be. ‘Our society can be measured by how we treat the Page 4

most vulnerable. Deterring people from seeking healthcare or denying them treatment is undignified and unjust. ‘Furthermore those working on the frontline have indicated that these measures are actually likely to place greater burdens on NHS staff and increase pressure on an already struggling system. ‘I hope that at the very least these changes will be suspended so that a proper assessment of their impact can be undertaken. It is also imperative the charges are not further extended to encompass GP or emergency care.’ Follow us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/diocese.westminster

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Westminster Record | December 2017/ January 2018

Europe: Keeping the Human Calais: Speaking up for young migrants at the Centre Following a visit to Calais in ‘We urge the authorities to Bishop Nicholas Hudson led a delegation from England and Wales to the Congress ‘Rethinking Europe: Christian contributions to the future of the European project’ in the Vatican which was organised by the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (Comece) from 27-29 October. The Congress was made up of political, academic, civil society and Church representatives from all European Union countries. Commenting on the proceedings of the conference, Bishop Nicholas said: ‘The Congress has been fascinating, bringing together politicians, academics, representatives of civil society and the Church. It has brought home how much the Church in England and Wales needs to remain a part of the continuing dialogue between the Church in Europe and the European Union. As the Prime Minister said recently in Florence we may be leaving the European Union but we remain part of Europe and so many of our concerns are shared.

‘The constructive dialogue of the past few days focused on the Christian values which underpin the European project and the need to ensure these values are promoted whatever the changing political structures. Placing the human at the heart of our communities across Europe was central to the Pope’s address to the Congress. ‘Our solidarity with the poor, weak and vulnerable is an essential part of the Christian call to protect and nurture life. This was graphically illustrated when we were hosted in the middle of the Congress by the community of Sant’ Egidio who give prophetic witness to this calling by placing people with learning disabilities at the heart of all they do. ‘I came away from Rome with a profound sense that whatever happens in current negotiations, we will have a continuing part to play in shaping the way forward for our continent. Our future is tied to our brothers and sisters in Europe as we too seek to put the human at the centre of all we do.’

November, Bishop Paul McAleenan, Lead Bishop for Asylum and Migration for England and Wales, and Bishop William Nolan, President of Justice and Peace Scotland, issued a joint statement drawing attention to the plight of the hundreds of young migrants still living there and calling for more help: ‘Over a year since the dismantling of “the jungle”, the situation in Calais may have disappeared from public consciousness and headlines, however, whilst the camp has closed young migrants remain. ‘Their situation is now much worse. These young people are forced to sleep rough, which at this time of year as temperatures fall is of great concern. Their presence is discouraged by the authorities; police tactics include interrupting sleep and confiscating tents and sleeping bags. Aid agencies report that the policies of the British government have resulted in young people turning to people smugglers in attempts to reach the UK.

recognise that these are our fellow human beings, regardless of their status, and that their intrinsic dignity must be upheld. Of particular concern are unaccompanied minors whose rights as children must be recognised by both French and UK authorities. ‘We appreciate the work of Secours Catholique, other aid associations, and their volunteers who are accompanying these young people and providing for the basic needs of food and clothing. ‘We call upon the UK government to embrace the true spirit of the Dubs Amendment, and extend this provision beyond the original timeframe of March 2016; to streamline the implementation of the Dublin III Regulations, which allow children to be reunited with their families in the UK; to establish facilities that will allow migrants to raise their asylum claims from Europe, creating safe legal channels,

‘We ask both UK and French governments to develop infrastructures to enable dignified living in Calais. ‘As the season of Advent begins, we are reminded again that the Holy Family were themselves refugees forced to flee their home seeking sanctuary in a foreign land.’ The bishops also asked that Catholics in the UK and France continue to support the work of Secours Catholique and the Maria Skobtsova House to provide practical support to these young migrants.

Child Dignity in the Digital Age In early October a world congress on Child Dignity in the Digital Age was held in Rome to address the impact of the internet on children. The Declaration of Rome, issued at the congress, emphasised that ‘in this era of the internet the world faces unprecedented challenges if it is to preserve the rights and dignity of children and protect them from abuse and exploitation’. The declaration acknowledged that technology’s ‘exponential advance and integration into our everyday lives is not only changing what we do and how we do it, but who we are’. While much of the impact of these changes, such as benefits and opportunities of social inclusion and educational attainment, has been ‘very positive’, there is also a ‘dark side’ which is ‘enabling a host of social ills that are harming the most vulnerable members of society’.

The declaration recognised that ‘challenges are enormous, but our response must not be gloom and dismay’. Instead, ‘we must ensure that all children have safe access to the internet to enhance their education, communications and connections’. It called upon secular and religious leaders, governments, technology companies, law enforcement agencies, and medical institutions to play their part to ‘preserve the rights and dignity of children and protect them from abuse and exploitation’. Over the course of the threeday event attendees heard from Cardinal John Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi, and Cardinal Luis Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, about safeguarding in the developing world, as well as from experts from the fields of law enforcement, legislation and victim support, including Baroness Sheila Hollins and

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Baroness Joanne Shields. Bishop John Sherrington, who attended on behalf of the Bishops of England and Wales, commended the Holy See for hosting this conference. He commented that ‘children use the internet extensively and therefore there are many dangers which other can exploit. We challenge internet providers to take account of their responsibility and to invest in ways to limit the deeply damaging ways in which the internet is used.’ The congress was organised by the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, supported by WEprotect Global Alliance, a charity committed to ending child sexual exploitation online and Telephono Azzuro an organisation that runs a telephone listening service for young people and works to protect children from abuse and violence.

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‘Life of a Swiss Guard’ visits London

Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

The photographs were accompanied by reflections by the Swiss Guards on their work and experience, offering a deeper understanding of the life and vocation of these men whose task is to protect the life of the Holy Father.

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Westminster Cathedral was host to an unique exhibition, the ‘Life of a Swiss Guard: A Private View’. Opened by Archbishop Edward Adams, Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, on 14th November, along with Colonel Christoph Graf, current Commander of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, and Dr Romina Cometti, Vatican art historian and curator of the exhibition, it was on view until 13th December in the Chapels of St Andrew and St Patrick. The exhibition included photographs by Fabio Mantegna chronicling the daily life of the Swiss Guards as it is lived away from the public eye: at military training, Italian language lessons, preparing for the Solemn Oath which is celebrated annually on 6th May.

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The exhibition also featured artefacts such as the colourful uniform (designed by Commander Jules Repond in the early 20th century and based on Renaissance fashion), swords, a halberd (combination of spear and battleaxe), and a morion (metal helmet), all borrowed from the armoury of the Pontifical Swiss Guard. The exhibition was unveiled in the Vatican Museums in April 2016 and has toured the United States with stops in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington and Minneapolis. Westminster Cathedral is the only venue in Europe where it is being hosted. The exhibition aroused the curiosity of visitors to the cathedral, with visitors asking if photographer Fabio Mantegna was on hand at the cathedral and whether they could expect to see a Swiss Guard paying a visit to the cathedral anytime soon.

The Annual National Mass for Altar Servers took place on 21st October at Westminster Cathedral. Altar servers from around the country joined Cardinal Vincent, patron of the Guild of St Stephen for the Mass. Page 6

On Monday 4th November the annual London Fire Brigade Christmas carol service took place at Westminster Cathedral. Joining firefighters, staff, retirees and their families was HRH Prince Harry, who met some of the men and women of the LFB after the service to thank them for their heroic service. London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton paid tribute to the exceptional courage and professionalism of the firefighters at during ‘what has

been one of the most challenging years for London Fire Brigade’. She said: ‘In 2017 our firefighters, control officers, fire safety and support staff have all been tested like never before, dealing with acts of terrorism and the tragic Grenfell Tower fire, the biggest loss of life in London since the Second World War.’ A vintage fire engine in the piazza greeted guests as they arrived, while the Salvation Army Band played.

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This year’s Festival of St Ceceila, organised by Help Musicans UK, was held at Westminster Cathedral on 22nd November. Since 1946 this annual event has brought together the choirs of Westminster Cathedral, St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.

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Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

Requiem for deceased Catholic Police Guild members

Praying for Deceased Clergy

On 10th November, priests from the diocese gathered at Westminster Cathedral to celebrate a Mass commemorating deceased clergy. Cardinal Vincent was the principal celebrant, along with Bishops John Sherrington, Paul McAleenan, John Wilson, the Chapter of Canons and priests, both active and retired. In his homily, Cardinal Vincent remembered each of the priests who have died this past year by name, acknowledging ‘each of those for whom we pray this evening was uniquely gifted’, explaining that ‘we can be more clear-eyed in appreciating these gifts when we look at the way ‘justice’. The Mass is held every in which our brothers died’. On Thursday 9th November in Westminster Cathedral the year during November for all The Cardinal reflected on Catholic Police Guild held their deceased Police Officers and their deaths, and the peace, Annual Solemn Requiem Mass. staff. During the Mass two humility and prayerfulness The Mass was celebrated by police helmets are carried up to with which they approached Bishop Tom Burns, Bishop of the altar and placed on the their final days. Remembering Menevia. During his homily he sanctuary along with a wreath Cardinal Cormac’s ‘ready praised the work of police as a reminder of those who humour and great warmth’, he forces across the country, he have died. Bishop Burns noted too that the ‘simplicity mentioned especially those staff thanked the Guild for inviting and humility of his heart’ in the and officers who made the him, saying what a privilege it last days of his life. ultimate sacrifice of their life for was to be asked. ‘What rich testimony we are given by those for whom we pray,’ he added. ‘Let us not be reticent to act on their example and depend on their fraternity, On the 50th anniversary of the abortion’, they have ‘spoken even now, for they are a great UK Abortion Act, a vigil took consistently of the respect due support for us all.’ place in Westminster Cathedral to every human life’. Referring to the Gospel to commemorate the date. He said: ‘Both St John Paul reading of the journey to Bishop John Sherrington, II and Pope Francis recognise Emmaus, the Cardinal noted accompanied by Cardinal the burden of guilt that often that the Lord journeys with the Vincent, led a Holy Hour of accompanies the decision to disciples, ‘shows them his heart, Adoration, praying for destroy a human life in the opening their hearts to a new reparation of the deaths of womb. They speak insistently nearly nine million killed of the unfailing and abundant since the Act came into effect mercy of God for all who turn and for all who have been to him in repentance and with affected by abortion. a desire for forgiveness’. Bishop John was the ‘The promise of God’s principal celebrant at the Mass mercy is also an invitation to which took place prior to the men who have treated their Holy Hour. wives, girlfriends and women In his homily, he said: ‘While they have met in casual it is right to grieve, lament and relationships with less than cry out, it is even more utmost respect and love, or necessary to pray for a change who have failed to take of mind and heart by all people seriously their responsibilities so that the lives of mothers and to unborn children,’ he their children can be better added. protected and pregnant mothers Calling for a change of helped and supported more minds and hearts, he said: ‘We effectively.’ are called to cherish life with He explained that while tenderness and warmth and the Bishops of England, Wales expand our hearts so that they and Scotland recognised that are always concerned for the ‘there’s always a complexity good of others, especially the about the decision to have an tiniest and most vulnerable.’

Mourning Abortion Victims

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realisation of the as-yet hidden truth of redemption’. In a similar way, the Cardinal explained, priests ‘walk with those entrusted to our care, even when they are heading away’. ‘This is the discernment that lies at the heart of our ministry,’ he added, ‘a ministry that has as its horizon the gateway of heaven, knowing that the journey can only be made step by step, seeing what it is that the Lord is asking of each person, knowing full well the limitations

of their freedom as well as the deepest desires of their hearts.’ He prayed ‘that our brethren have already entered those heavenly gates, welcomed by the Lord, in his mercy and goodness’, as he encouraged the clergy to ‘live as we wish to die, as emptyhanded as we can, trusting in the Lord, caring for each other and finding the joy in his presence that will carry us through even to our last hour’.

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Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

London pupils visit the Eternal City During this term, pupils from St Thomas More Catholic School, Wood Green, along with pupils from sister schools St George’s, Maida Vale and Bishop Douglass, East Finchley, had the opportunity to visit the city of Rome. The Religious Education Department organise what has become an annual trip, which enables pupils to support their learning and understanding of worship, history and culture. Within Rome’s bursting city, pupils saw what was once the heart of the extensive Roman Empire. The city offers an abundance of learning opportunities for pupils, as well as the chance to explore some of the world’s most famous ancient sites.

Pupils were able to retrace the footsteps of gladiators around the Colosseum, take in the beauty of the Sistine Chapel and delve into the rich history of the Pantheon. Pupils were also blessed with the opportunity to have a Papal audience and attend mass in front of St Peter’s Basilica, later being given a tour of the Basilica. Toward the end of the trip, pupils visited the beautiful Borghese Gardens and walked to the Spanish Steps after visiting the the Pantheon. It was an extremely busy week for both the pupils and staff, with many miles of walking, and a rich experience of travel, faith and history.

Acrylic Art for Remembrance Day at St Paul’s Sunbury The students and staff of St Paul’s Catholic College in Sunbury wanted to mark Remembrance Day in a unique manner this year. Inspired by the wonderful display created at the Tower of London a couple of years ago, Tom Collett, Head of Design and Technology, gave students a special DT project of creating poppies for placing in the gardens of the school as a mark of respect for the fallen. Along with the students, the staff had an opportunity create their own poppy for the project.

St Anthony’s School for Girls Celebrates National Parliament Week

St Anthony’s School for Girls marked National UK Parliament Week with a range of explorative and educational The poppies were made activities. with aluminium stalks, laserPupils explored the election cut acrylic leaves, hand-cut process by holding their own acrylic petals and a 3D printed student council election to vote button. Students and staff in a student councillor for each could laser cut onto the leaf class. Candidates running for the name of someone close to the positions prepared and them whom they would like to delivered their campaign remember on this day. Once speech to the student body and they were completed, the the children then voted for students placed their poppies who they believed would best represent each year group. in the gardens of St Paul’s, where the Remembrance Parade started on Sunday 12th November. The display contains around 500 poppies in all.

Children from the school were also given the opportunity to meet their local MP, Mike Freer, during a visit to the Houses of Parliament. Head teacher Laura Flannery comments: ‘It has been inspiring to see the girls engaging in activities surrounding UK Parliament Week. At St Anthony’s we recognise the importance of educating our pupils for the future, and understanding democracy is an important part of this’

Apostleship of the Sea London Officer Roland Hayes spoke to pupils at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Cadogan Street on 30th October in a special assembly to give them an insight into the Church’s support for seafarers. The pupils wrote Christmas cards for the seafarers as a token of appreciation for their hard work and dedication. Page 8

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Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

Jubilant JFK on Golden Jubilee

‘Our Lady’s Got Talent’ On 17th November, Our Lady’s High School, Hackney hosted a talent Show to raise money for Children in Need. The show showcased 20 different acts ranging from spoken word poetry to contemporary dance. It involved Years 7 to 11 and the Sixth Form with members of the School Council as judges. Teachers and students

On 20th October John F Kennedy Catholic School hosted the annual Herts GAA Secondary Schools Gaelic Football competition. Nine teams from five different schools throughout Hertfordshire entered the

tournament. This year the JFK U13 squad were entered into a Group against the likes of Saint Joan of Arc (Rickmansworth), Saint Michaels (Watford), Saint Marys Mr Neves, Headteacher of

JFK School, also stated ‘It’s fantastic to have a number of Catholic schools gathered competing at such a high standard, a big thank you must go to the teachers and schools for allowing them to participate’.

New St Benedict’s Junior School Opened Professor Francis Campbell, Vice-Chancellor of St Mary’s University, Twickenham, officially opened the new Junior School at St Benedict’s, Ealing, west London on Tuesday 21st November. Professor Campbell, formerly the British ambassador to the Holy See, told pupils that they should always remember the three elements of people, place and prospect at St Benedict’s. People, he said, create the school’s ethos, ‘which hits you as soon as you walk through the door,’ adding that ‘the Benedictine education of the whole person and faith formation is immediately apparent here.’ Secondly, the school’s location beside Ealing Abbey is a constant reminder that it is part of the 1,500-year-old Benedictine tradition, and that Catholic education is ‘the

largest provider of education world-wide’. Professor Campbell said: ‘There is nothing insular about Catholic education – it opens doors, it doesn’t shut them.’ Finally, he encouraged pupils to feel excited about their prospects; to ‘take

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inspiration from former pupils who have walked here before you, and who are now successful in all walks of life, doing the things they love’. Abbot Martin Shipperlee blessed the new building and Professor Campbell unveiled a commemorative stone.

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donated to buy tickets for the show and over 260 were sold. Our Lady’s managed to raise almost £500 in conjunction with a bake sale. The stars of the show, as decided by the judges, were the dance group TNG (The Next Generation), who were awarded four cinema tickets donated by Cineworld for their performance.

Picture: (Left to right) School Captain and sixth former Jenna Colaco, Precious Ndembe-Maku, Uluoma Iwuoha, Elizabeth Utulu, Uchechi Iwuoha and Deputy Head Mr Feely.

Cardinal Vincent and Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark officially opened the new Elizabeth building at St Richard Reynolds College in Twickenham with Mass on 1st November. Page 9


Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

Our greatest need is forgiveness by Bishop John Wilson That Mary gave birth to an infant king, not in any palace, but in the cattle shed of Bethlehem, was a sign that a new kind of kingdom was inaugurated. This kingdom brought the life of heaven down to earth. Membership of this kingdom doesn’t dependent on wealth or status, but trust in God’s word. The most magnificent monarch and the lowliest beggar are equals in this kingdom: a Kingdom of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love and peace. In this Kingdom the sovereign Lord has a special name, the name Jesus; the name which means ‘God saves.’ It’s probably true to say that very many people today would not admit to needing a saviour: from what exactly do we need to be saved? But this isn’t true for everyone. Do you desire to find a deeper meaning in your life, a purpose to live for, a hope for eternity? Do you long to be loved and healed, at the core of your being, to be able to find forgiveness and peace of mind and heart? Do you want

© Mazur/Catholicnews.org

to turn away from selfishness, from injustice, from indifference, and embrace a more loving way of life? I certainly do. In the person and Gospel of Jesus there is the truth that saves; there is the spiritual strength that offers rescue from futility, from isolation, and from selfobsession.

Thinking about the coming of God’s Son into the world, an anonymous author once wrote: ‘If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator; if our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist; if our greatest need had been money, God would have sent

us an economist; if our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer. But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Saviour.’ May we be saved and

rescued from everything that prevents us honouring each person as a fellow citizen of God’s Kingdom. And may God bless you and your loved ones this Christmastime and throughout 2018.

Longing for Peace by Bishop John Sherrington

In the stillness and darkness of the night, the Word became flesh. Christ was born into the poverty of the stable at Bethlehem and laid in a manger, the feeding trough for animals. The angels sang of the message of peace, ‘Glory to God in the highest and peace to all people of good will’. This song echoes across the ages as we gather to celebrate Christmas again this year. Speaking to young people on his recent visit to Bangladesh, Pope Francis said that there are many young men and women who are ’growing up in a fragile world that cries out for wisdom’. Many circumstances add to making this world a fragile place: the missiles of North Korea, tweets fired off that create tensions between peoples, Brexit (what Page 10

does it mean?), and many economic uncertainties. Many people long to hear again the message of peace and find hope. Christ is the answer to this search for Wisdom and he invites us to listen to his voice and follow him who is the bread of life. This feast invites us to trust in the Christ-Child and pray for the time when swords will be beaten into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks, when nation shall not lift up sword against nation and war will be no more. We dream of this day and seek to catch glimpses of his kingdom. On the recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, we stood and prayed for peace at the wall of separation in Bethlehem. We look forward to the day when walls will be replaced by

bridges built on justice and bringing forth God’s peace. On Christmas Day in the little town of Bethlehem, elderly, isolated widows are brought together at St Martha’s House to sing, dance and share food together. There we see a sign of the hope of which we sing this Christmas. Bishop John led this year’s diocesan pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The pilgrims visited St Martha’s House, a day centre for elderly widows, while they were in Bethlehem.

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Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

Award for Cardinal Partnership in education Vaughan The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School has won two awards in The Sunday Times Schools Guide 2018: The Sunday Times Comprehensive School of the Year and London State Secondary School of the Year. Alastair McCall, the editor of the Parent Power supplement, said: ‘ ‘The combination of academic excellence, the school’s Catholic tradition and outstanding extracurricular

opportunities make Cardinal Vaughan one of the most sought after schools in the capital – with good reason.’ The Vaughan’s Headmaster, Paul Stubbings, said: ‘Such recognition is obviously a fine thing and I am so grateful to the staff, pupils, parents and Directors – and to the wider Vaughan community: they all play such an enormous part in this wonderful school’s success.’

Christmas gifts with a conscience

It is estimated that £2.6 billion is spent each year on unwanted Christmas presents: books that have never leave the bookshelf, toys that never leave their plastic boxes, vouchers that are never spent. For the last 12 years CAFOD has been providing Christmas shoppers with an alternative: gifts in line with a desire to care for creation and stand in solidarity with the poor. As well as gifts for friends and family, World Gifts also make a great focal point for parishes and schools wanting to fundraise. St Christina’s school in St John’s Wood decided to raise money this year by putting on a production of ‘The Three Piggies Ballet’. This was inspired by an assembly given

by CAFOD school volunteer Judy Dixie, who used the story of the three little pigs to speak to students about the recovery efforts in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan. The ballet was completely the idea of the Y6 girls and everyone had their part to play, from dancers, to script writers, to musicians. They performed the production to the whole school, who were dressed in pig colours for the occasion, and raised £400, meaning they’ll have enough to raise over six pigs, each of which cost £65. Anna, who danced in the show, said: ‘We wanted to entertain people and have fun, but we also wanted to make sure it wasn’t just from our hearts to the people in front of

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Cardinal Vincent and two leading Muslim imams have launched a new Muslim Certificate in Religious Studies at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. The new certificate aims to support the religious literacy of teachers and enhance the contribution that religion can make to the formation of British values. It is aimed at those teaching religious education in Muslim schools and will support a cohesive approach to teaching in line with the National Curriculum and contemporary teaching practices. Shia Imam Sayed Razawi, a Shia Imam and one of the four clerics who accompanied the Cardinal to Rome for an audience with Pope Francis, said: ‘We are extremely happy that St Mary’s has taken up our call. We are walking shoulder to shoulder, working together. Today here at St Mary’s, there is no longer the other; there is an us. ‘This certificate is a partnership, a first and truly authentic as it is ratified by four senior imams. When we talk about integration this is a wonderful way of doing this through education.’ Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, a Sunni Imam who also joined the Cardinal for the papal audience, said: ‘Those of us involved in interfaith dialogue are often challenged about outcomes. To see the fruits of

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this dialogue is wonderful and shows what can be done. Thank you to the Cardinal for his leadership which has led to this Muslim certificate which will help understanding of Islam in this country from the perspective of believers for the benefit of all in society.’ Cardinal Vincent thanked the imams ‘for deepening this dialogue. Living as a religious minority in this country, as

Catholics, we know the importance of education in helping us to understand ourselves and in our aim to serve society as a whole.’ On the site of the keynote address given by Pope Benedict XVI at St Mary’s in September 2010, on interreligious dialogue and relations, the faith leaders also opened a new interfaith prayer room.

us, but to the whole world.’ World Gifts are responsible presents with a conscience. From chirpy chickens and a vegetable garden, to a solar lamp, there’s a huge diversity in the gifts on offer. Once the gift is chosen, the recipient will receive a card, via email or post, which explains the gift that has been bought in their name. Each present will help transform the lives of poor communities and families in developing countries. To find out more visit cafod.org.uk/worldgifts

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Page 11


Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

Holy Land Pilgrimage

Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

Holy Land Pilgrimage

Sr Petronia: Saying ‘Yes’ with Mary in the Holy Land by Sr Petronia Williams OSM

Sr Petronia with Fr Paul McDermott

Thursday 2nd November All Souls Day. Today we began our journey with a visit to Cana, the town of the wedding. This is one of my favourite Gospel stories because there seems to be some tension between Mary and Jesus. He thinks the lack of wine is none of their business; she is showing compassion for the couple whose wedding it is. Compassion wins out; Mary is teaching Jesus something. Around the well in the church garden the married couples renewed their marriage vows in a short but moving liturgy followed by a kiss and much clapping. We then went on to Nazareth and the Church of the Annunciation. Bishop John and I sneaked away from the group and went down to the Grotto of the Annunciation where, as a Servant of Mary, I said my fiat again, ‘Be it done unto me according to your word’, to celebrate my Golden Jubilee and received a special blessing from him. I could not think of a more fitting place to have quietly responded again to God’s call than in that place. I felt it was a very intimate moment of grace. Grotto of the Annunciation We then went up to St Joseph’s Church for the Mass of the Annunciation and my renewal of vows in public as a religious Sister. Hail Mary, full of grace…I renew my vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the Congregation and Order

of the Servants of Mary. Poverty: in which I own nothing and you, Lord, have given me everything. Chastity: in which I have no husband or children to shower my love upon and you have given me the whole of your creation as a wonder-filled gift. Obedience: in which I am led who-knowswhere and what an amazing journey it has been and is. So my giving has been more of a receiving and my loving has been more of a having-beenloved. For all this, I thank you, Lord, and all those both living and dead who have journeyed with me. Amen. We were reminded by Fr John that St Joseph seemed to get all his guidance from God when he was asleep, a good excuse for a lie in if you ask me! Then we went to Mount Tabor where we exchanged the coach for minibuses as the coaches can’t manage the hairpin bends. It is such a climb, even in a vehicle, so I can’t think why Jesus took them all the way up there to be transfigured. I can’t see St Peter taking too kindly to a strenuous climb that would have taken all day in the searing heat. On to Bethlehem in the dark. Friday 3rd November Bethlehem now is nothing like the Christmas cards: no sheep, no shepherds, no donkeys, but cars hooting, tourists wandering by and people going about their daily business. It is a town of narrow streets and steep hills.

Tuesday 31st October At the airport: Sixty-nine years ago on this day I was baptised, and I have felt like a pilgrim all my life. Today’s journey is something new and different. Is it a new call, a new adventure into the heart of God? Wednesday 1st November All Saints Day This morning I woke up and looked out onto the Sea of Galilee, the sea of the storm, the shore of the Easter meeting with Peter when he gave his confession of love. Was this the institution of the Sacrament of Reconciliation? It seems like it to me. At the mountain of the Beatitudes the birds sang all through Mass, joining with us in thanksgiving to God. At the beautiful Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves, the banquet was for the poor, those hungry for an assurance that God loves them, not despite their poverty but because of it. Within the sight of rich, Roman Tiberius across the Sea of Galilee, Jesus chose to give his message to the dispossessed and the outcasts. At Capernaum, the home of Peter, Andrew, James and John, lie the ruins of their village. Perhaps this was one of the first house churches, that of Peter, covered with glass. The reflection of the tourists looking down at it sent me the message that we continue what began here. Finally, we went for the trip in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. The sea was calm today, no storms, but soothing and serene with the sun beginning to set behind the hills. Renewing vows: Be it done unto me according to thy word. Page 12

Dancing with the widows at St Martha’s House

Today we went to the Shepherds’ Field. Not much of a field really but it enabled me to see the reality of life for the Palestinians: the fence of division, the illegal settlements and the vulnerability of those on the West Bank. The angels’ message of peace on earth to the shepherds is far from being realised in the area where Jesus was born. Some Palestinian Christian children (lambs of another kind) were visiting the cave where the shepherds herded their flocks at night and I took the opportunity to get a picture with some of the small boys thanks to the Sister that was with them. Despite the Shepherds’ Field and all the stories in Scripture about shepherds and sheep, I haven’t, up to this point, seen either: not one sheep or goat or shepherd. On leaving the enclosure, those in the party who had heard me bemoaning the lack of sheep, found a young boy holding a lamb for the tourists’ photo shoot, so how could I resist! Ee set off for the desert and saw the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St Catherine built into the rock. In the distance, sliding down a rock face and creating a mini dust storm, there was a flock of sheep, at last! The desert isn’t so much sand but barren rock and sheer

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cliff faces, dry and arid. From there we went down to Jericho, a fertile valley after the bareness of the desert. Our next stop should have been the River Jordan to renew our Baptism vows, but the authorities had blocked off any access so we had to turn back. On to ‘The Tent’ for dinner, not really a tent but the inside of the restaurant that resembled a Bedouin tent. Laila, who owned the travel company, spirited Fr Alex and me away to another room and dressed us in traditional costumes, long flowing robes and Arab head gear, and we were led in to the beat of a drum and Arabic music, dancing and clapping. Someone said we looked like Mary and Joseph, but my reply to that was that we were more like Zachary and Elizabeth! Some of the party got up to dance and there was much laughter and good humour. Fr John asked me if my novice mistress got fired after letting me through! Saturday 4th November First, a visit to the Milk Grotto; it is a tranquil little place that reminds me of how vulnerable and dependent God made himself. Then we went to St Catherine’s for Mass. The coach took us to visit the day centre for elderly women run by Laila. They are mostly widows whose husbands and Follow us on Twitter at: twitter.com/RCWestminster

children have either died or left for better prospects elsewhere. They are often left lonely and isolated with no means of support. They come to the centre where they can have a meal, medical attention and a bit of pampering not to mention some company. They were all there dressed in their best, determined to tell us how pleased they were to see us. We were given a cup of coffee and music started and many of them stood up to dance with us. It was such a small thing that brought so much joy to all of us. A change of plan made it impossible to go to the Church of the Nativity and we went instead to see the wall of separation covered in graffiti, a sad testament to the tension and oppression. The only thing I could think of was ‘Jesus wept’. There was a small herb garden with rubber bullet cases turned into wind chimes, hand grenades hanging as decoration and an olive tree, the symbol of peace. I managed to get a picture of a dove with a bullet proof vest with an olive branch in its mouth. We travelled to Jerusalem and went to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to see the empty tomb of Jesus. We queued for over an hour to get in; only a few at a time were allowed to enter. Walking through the narrow streets gave a sense of the hustle and bustle of Jesus’ time. Sunday 5th November I woke up in Jerusalem and the psalm came to mind, ‘we shall go up with joy to the

house of the Lord’. We trundled through Jerusalem back to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and up to the place of the Crucifixion. While I was queuing I thought of all those parents who have had to watch their children die or hold their dead children in their arms through sickness, violence, wars, drugs or natural disasters and felt a heavy heart and Mary’s grief. At the Catholic chapel for Mass, the first hymn brought out my grief in tears until the reading told us of the Resurrection, that the tomb was empty, there was nothing in it. Grief was replaced by bewilderment, searching, people running and a fast beating of the heart. An empty tomb speaks of a different vision. An empty tomb speaks of the sting of grief being overcome: ‘I will turn your sorrow into joy’. The postcard aspects of Jerusalem are easy to get from a variety of viewpoints, but the sounds and smells, the invasion of the senses, cannot be captured on a postcard. The distinct characteristics of each quarter occupied by the various groups are visible through the shops and direction signs, but to reach the thoughts and experiences of those who live there is not so easy. The money changers are still there as they were in the days of the Temple, but how do those in each section of Jerusalem meet each other? The Via Dolorosa: How has this trip helped me to come closer to the Lord? There are

Our Lady: A constant presence on the journey

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On the shores of the Sea of Galilee

two ways of looking at it. Do I go back in time and place myself in the situation of 2000 years ago? Do I try to imagine his way of the Cross and his death on Calvary, the crowds enjoying the spectacle, others bewildered at it and their loss of hope in what they thought might have been? The Pharisees, Sadducees and Sanhedrin, the Romans and Samaritans and Gentiles of Jesus’ time are the Armenians, Greeks and Catholics, the Jews, Muslims and Israelis of today. So the alternative is to place myself in the here and now. Is the Via Dolorosa the visit to the different quarters of Jerusalem that has no integration or exchange? Who is Jesus on the road to Calvary today? Who is being crucified today? Who are those enjoying the spectacle and who are those bewildered in their loss of hope in what they thought might have been? What about the journey to Calvary that takes place at home for those we meet from day to day? What do we do to build bridges and reach out to help carry their crosses? Does it begin with a smile or a gesture of connection? To go back to the question at the beginning, how has this trip helped me to come closer to the Lord? The honest answer is I don’t know yet. What I do know is that Jesus is on his road to Calvary in all the hopes and dreams that are dashed with broken promises. He is on his

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the Passion story, the view of Jerusalem when Jesus wept and is still weeping over the Jerusalem of today. The next visit was up to Mount Zion and the Church of the Dormition. There is the statue of Mary in repose, as if asleep, and the controversy over whether she died or just fell asleep and was assumed into heaven arose. The Church has left it open. We then went to the Upper Room and the place where Jesus was imprisoned and Peter wept after hearing the cock crow. way to Calvary when we forget Finally, in the dark, we went about compassion, when we to the Western Wall: ‘for the refuse to put ourselves in the peace of Jerusalem pray’ were shoes of others and he dies on the words that came to mind. Calvary when we ignore or are At the end of the day it seemed indifferent or even enjoy the to be one of confusion, spectacle. disappointment, anger, panic Monday 6th November and regret surrounding the Today we went up to the whole Passion story. Mount of Olives, first to Pater Tuesday 7th November Noster Church, where the Our The last day, and we went to Father is displayed all around visit the Crusader Church, in the different languages of the thought to be Emmaus, for the world and everyone is keen to final Mass of the pilgrimage. The find their own language. It Convent of the Ark, with the reminded me of Pentecost portrayal of Mary as the Ark of when all the nations the Covenant was the final understood God’s message. image of the experience. The garden of Gethsemane Many people told me I would is still a garden and a visit to see Jesus in a different light the church there, where the rock during this journey, but I think I where Jesus prayed that have had a more profound evening before his death is understanding of Mary. She has venerated. After a big meal of played a big part for me during food and drink at the Last this pilgrimage. I have felt her Supper it is understandable that presence there in the the Apostles fell asleep; they background all the time, which I still hadn’t taken in the was never expecting. The Mary importance of the evening. of the Gospels seemed to be We walked down the there teaching, supporting, narrow road, the road of Palm conversing, ministering and Sunday, across the Kedron encouraging not just Jesus’ valley, a place so familiar from friends, but Jesus too.

Praying in the Garden of Gesthemene Page 13


Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

Holy Land Pilgrimage

Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

Holy Land Pilgrimage

Sr Petronia: Saying ‘Yes’ with Mary in the Holy Land by Sr Petronia Williams OSM

Sr Petronia with Fr Paul McDermott

Thursday 2nd November All Souls Day. Today we began our journey with a visit to Cana, the town of the wedding. This is one of my favourite Gospel stories because there seems to be some tension between Mary and Jesus. He thinks the lack of wine is none of their business; she is showing compassion for the couple whose wedding it is. Compassion wins out; Mary is teaching Jesus something. Around the well in the church garden the married couples renewed their marriage vows in a short but moving liturgy followed by a kiss and much clapping. We then went on to Nazareth and the Church of the Annunciation. Bishop John and I sneaked away from the group and went down to the Grotto of the Annunciation where, as a Servant of Mary, I said my fiat again, ‘Be it done unto me according to your word’, to celebrate my Golden Jubilee and received a special blessing from him. I could not think of a more fitting place to have quietly responded again to God’s call than in that place. I felt it was a very intimate moment of grace. Grotto of the Annunciation We then went up to St Joseph’s Church for the Mass of the Annunciation and my renewal of vows in public as a religious Sister. Hail Mary, full of grace…I renew my vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the Congregation and Order

of the Servants of Mary. Poverty: in which I own nothing and you, Lord, have given me everything. Chastity: in which I have no husband or children to shower my love upon and you have given me the whole of your creation as a wonder-filled gift. Obedience: in which I am led who-knowswhere and what an amazing journey it has been and is. So my giving has been more of a receiving and my loving has been more of a having-beenloved. For all this, I thank you, Lord, and all those both living and dead who have journeyed with me. Amen. We were reminded by Fr John that St Joseph seemed to get all his guidance from God when he was asleep, a good excuse for a lie in if you ask me! Then we went to Mount Tabor where we exchanged the coach for minibuses as the coaches can’t manage the hairpin bends. It is such a climb, even in a vehicle, so I can’t think why Jesus took them all the way up there to be transfigured. I can’t see St Peter taking too kindly to a strenuous climb that would have taken all day in the searing heat. On to Bethlehem in the dark. Friday 3rd November Bethlehem now is nothing like the Christmas cards: no sheep, no shepherds, no donkeys, but cars hooting, tourists wandering by and people going about their daily business. It is a town of narrow streets and steep hills.

Tuesday 31st October At the airport: Sixty-nine years ago on this day I was baptised, and I have felt like a pilgrim all my life. Today’s journey is something new and different. Is it a new call, a new adventure into the heart of God? Wednesday 1st November All Saints Day This morning I woke up and looked out onto the Sea of Galilee, the sea of the storm, the shore of the Easter meeting with Peter when he gave his confession of love. Was this the institution of the Sacrament of Reconciliation? It seems like it to me. At the mountain of the Beatitudes the birds sang all through Mass, joining with us in thanksgiving to God. At the beautiful Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves, the banquet was for the poor, those hungry for an assurance that God loves them, not despite their poverty but because of it. Within the sight of rich, Roman Tiberius across the Sea of Galilee, Jesus chose to give his message to the dispossessed and the outcasts. At Capernaum, the home of Peter, Andrew, James and John, lie the ruins of their village. Perhaps this was one of the first house churches, that of Peter, covered with glass. The reflection of the tourists looking down at it sent me the message that we continue what began here. Finally, we went for the trip in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. The sea was calm today, no storms, but soothing and serene with the sun beginning to set behind the hills. Renewing vows: Be it done unto me according to thy word. Page 12

Dancing with the widows at St Martha’s House

Today we went to the Shepherds’ Field. Not much of a field really but it enabled me to see the reality of life for the Palestinians: the fence of division, the illegal settlements and the vulnerability of those on the West Bank. The angels’ message of peace on earth to the shepherds is far from being realised in the area where Jesus was born. Some Palestinian Christian children (lambs of another kind) were visiting the cave where the shepherds herded their flocks at night and I took the opportunity to get a picture with some of the small boys thanks to the Sister that was with them. Despite the Shepherds’ Field and all the stories in Scripture about shepherds and sheep, I haven’t, up to this point, seen either: not one sheep or goat or shepherd. On leaving the enclosure, those in the party who had heard me bemoaning the lack of sheep, found a young boy holding a lamb for the tourists’ photo shoot, so how could I resist! Ee set off for the desert and saw the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St Catherine built into the rock. In the distance, sliding down a rock face and creating a mini dust storm, there was a flock of sheep, at last! The desert isn’t so much sand but barren rock and sheer

Follow us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/diocese.westminster

cliff faces, dry and arid. From there we went down to Jericho, a fertile valley after the bareness of the desert. Our next stop should have been the River Jordan to renew our Baptism vows, but the authorities had blocked off any access so we had to turn back. On to ‘The Tent’ for dinner, not really a tent but the inside of the restaurant that resembled a Bedouin tent. Laila, who owned the travel company, spirited Fr Alex and me away to another room and dressed us in traditional costumes, long flowing robes and Arab head gear, and we were led in to the beat of a drum and Arabic music, dancing and clapping. Someone said we looked like Mary and Joseph, but my reply to that was that we were more like Zachary and Elizabeth! Some of the party got up to dance and there was much laughter and good humour. Fr John asked me if my novice mistress got fired after letting me through! Saturday 4th November First, a visit to the Milk Grotto; it is a tranquil little place that reminds me of how vulnerable and dependent God made himself. Then we went to St Catherine’s for Mass. The coach took us to visit the day centre for elderly women run by Laila. They are mostly widows whose husbands and Follow us on Twitter at: twitter.com/RCWestminster

children have either died or left for better prospects elsewhere. They are often left lonely and isolated with no means of support. They come to the centre where they can have a meal, medical attention and a bit of pampering not to mention some company. They were all there dressed in their best, determined to tell us how pleased they were to see us. We were given a cup of coffee and music started and many of them stood up to dance with us. It was such a small thing that brought so much joy to all of us. A change of plan made it impossible to go to the Church of the Nativity and we went instead to see the wall of separation covered in graffiti, a sad testament to the tension and oppression. The only thing I could think of was ‘Jesus wept’. There was a small herb garden with rubber bullet cases turned into wind chimes, hand grenades hanging as decoration and an olive tree, the symbol of peace. I managed to get a picture of a dove with a bullet proof vest with an olive branch in its mouth. We travelled to Jerusalem and went to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to see the empty tomb of Jesus. We queued for over an hour to get in; only a few at a time were allowed to enter. Walking through the narrow streets gave a sense of the hustle and bustle of Jesus’ time. Sunday 5th November I woke up in Jerusalem and the psalm came to mind, ‘we shall go up with joy to the

house of the Lord’. We trundled through Jerusalem back to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and up to the place of the Crucifixion. While I was queuing I thought of all those parents who have had to watch their children die or hold their dead children in their arms through sickness, violence, wars, drugs or natural disasters and felt a heavy heart and Mary’s grief. At the Catholic chapel for Mass, the first hymn brought out my grief in tears until the reading told us of the Resurrection, that the tomb was empty, there was nothing in it. Grief was replaced by bewilderment, searching, people running and a fast beating of the heart. An empty tomb speaks of a different vision. An empty tomb speaks of the sting of grief being overcome: ‘I will turn your sorrow into joy’. The postcard aspects of Jerusalem are easy to get from a variety of viewpoints, but the sounds and smells, the invasion of the senses, cannot be captured on a postcard. The distinct characteristics of each quarter occupied by the various groups are visible through the shops and direction signs, but to reach the thoughts and experiences of those who live there is not so easy. The money changers are still there as they were in the days of the Temple, but how do those in each section of Jerusalem meet each other? The Via Dolorosa: How has this trip helped me to come closer to the Lord? There are

Our Lady: A constant presence on the journey

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On the shores of the Sea of Galilee

two ways of looking at it. Do I go back in time and place myself in the situation of 2000 years ago? Do I try to imagine his way of the Cross and his death on Calvary, the crowds enjoying the spectacle, others bewildered at it and their loss of hope in what they thought might have been? The Pharisees, Sadducees and Sanhedrin, the Romans and Samaritans and Gentiles of Jesus’ time are the Armenians, Greeks and Catholics, the Jews, Muslims and Israelis of today. So the alternative is to place myself in the here and now. Is the Via Dolorosa the visit to the different quarters of Jerusalem that has no integration or exchange? Who is Jesus on the road to Calvary today? Who is being crucified today? Who are those enjoying the spectacle and who are those bewildered in their loss of hope in what they thought might have been? What about the journey to Calvary that takes place at home for those we meet from day to day? What do we do to build bridges and reach out to help carry their crosses? Does it begin with a smile or a gesture of connection? To go back to the question at the beginning, how has this trip helped me to come closer to the Lord? The honest answer is I don’t know yet. What I do know is that Jesus is on his road to Calvary in all the hopes and dreams that are dashed with broken promises. He is on his

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the Passion story, the view of Jerusalem when Jesus wept and is still weeping over the Jerusalem of today. The next visit was up to Mount Zion and the Church of the Dormition. There is the statue of Mary in repose, as if asleep, and the controversy over whether she died or just fell asleep and was assumed into heaven arose. The Church has left it open. We then went to the Upper Room and the place where Jesus was imprisoned and Peter wept after hearing the cock crow. way to Calvary when we forget Finally, in the dark, we went about compassion, when we to the Western Wall: ‘for the refuse to put ourselves in the peace of Jerusalem pray’ were shoes of others and he dies on the words that came to mind. Calvary when we ignore or are At the end of the day it seemed indifferent or even enjoy the to be one of confusion, spectacle. disappointment, anger, panic Monday 6th November and regret surrounding the Today we went up to the whole Passion story. Mount of Olives, first to Pater Tuesday 7th November Noster Church, where the Our The last day, and we went to Father is displayed all around visit the Crusader Church, in the different languages of the thought to be Emmaus, for the world and everyone is keen to final Mass of the pilgrimage. The find their own language. It Convent of the Ark, with the reminded me of Pentecost portrayal of Mary as the Ark of when all the nations the Covenant was the final understood God’s message. image of the experience. The garden of Gethsemane Many people told me I would is still a garden and a visit to see Jesus in a different light the church there, where the rock during this journey, but I think I where Jesus prayed that have had a more profound evening before his death is understanding of Mary. She has venerated. After a big meal of played a big part for me during food and drink at the Last this pilgrimage. I have felt her Supper it is understandable that presence there in the the Apostles fell asleep; they background all the time, which I still hadn’t taken in the was never expecting. The Mary importance of the evening. of the Gospels seemed to be We walked down the there teaching, supporting, narrow road, the road of Palm conversing, ministering and Sunday, across the Kedron encouraging not just Jesus’ valley, a place so familiar from friends, but Jesus too.

Praying in the Garden of Gesthemene Page 13


Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

Making a Journey with God As I reflect on my recent journey to the Holy Land during which I joined the Diocese of Westminster pilgrimage I know that words cannot do it justice. As a priest for 41 years a visit to the Holy Land never seemed a priority; now I say for every priest it is a must. My visit was at the conclusion of a short sabbatical from the Diocese of Dublin and, unlike the rest of the pilgrimage group, I stayed three weeks. As I began my journey I reflected on the words of the hymn from Morning Prayer of the Divine Office written by a fellow Irishman St Columba, who too was a traveller having been born in Gartan, Co. Donegal in 521 and died on the Island of Iona off Scotland in 597, which begins, Alone with none but thee my God, I journey on my way, what need I fear when thou art near O King of night and day.

The good Lord and his blessed Mother were indeed with me every step of the way. For all a visit to the Holy Land is in its own way like the journey of the children of Israel when God said ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain, break camp and advance’ (Deut 1:7). This is

what we did as we moved from place to place making a journey both with and to our God. Like every journey there were times we needed rest, a rest that allowed our soul to catch up with our body. Times of rest however were short as each day was an early start bringing a new joy. To me the places we visited reflected one sentiment: ‘Yes’, the yes of both Mary and Jesus that we as followers of his are called to imitate. At the Grotto of the Annunciation in Nazareth Mary despite her first questioning of the angel said yes to God: ‘Be it done unto me according to thy word’ (Lk 1:38). In the Manger Grotto in Bethlehem Mary’s yes became a human being at the birth of Jesus. Not far away we visited the Shepherds’ Field where the lowly shepherds answered their yes to the message of the angels and went to see the new born infant. As we journeyed from place to place we heard beautiful reflections and commentaries from our spiritual guide Fr John Farrell OP and Bishop John Sherrington. The historical significance of so much was given by our guide and together with the reflections made the Bible, the word of God, come alive making true

Fr Paul McDermott, Bishop John Sherrington, Fr John Farrell OP, Fr Alex Conlan Page 14

© Mazur/catholicnews.org

by Fr Alex Conlan

On the Via Dolorosa

the words of Hebrews 4:12 ‘For the word of God is alive and active’. Our journey of ‘yes’ continued in our visit to the Garden of Gethsemane. Here on the night before his death Christ prayed his yes when in his agony he prayed, ‘Not my will but thine be done’ (Lk 22:42). Our Way of the Cross brought us on the journey Christ made before his suffering and death when on the Cross he again submitted to the Father’s will: ‘Father into your hands I commit my spirit’ (Lk 23:46). The promise of Christ that he would rise again was fulfilled for each of us and we had the emotional opportunity to visit and reverence the place of his death on Golgotha and of his Resurrection from the tomb. Our journeys from place to place were well directed by our shepherd Fr Paul McDermott who watched over us and at times had to find the odd ‘lost sheep’. Time and again on our journey the words of Peter to Jesus on the Mount at the Transfiguration rang in my ears: ‘Lord it is good that we are here’ (Mt 17:4). As I look back in reflection I say thanks to all who were part of our pilgrimage for

their welcome and to our spiritual leaders for their inclusion in our Masses. This short reflection could not cover all the wonderful places

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and experiences we had. To the Good Lord for these graces and favours I say thanks and look forward to a return visit.

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Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

Sister Marissa’s commitment to a life of love and service On October 29th at Nazareth House East Finchley, Bishop John Sherrington presided at the Solemn Mass of Final Vows, of Sister Marissa Barona CSN. Present for this special day were Sr Marissa’s family from the Philippines, America and Paris and they were joined by Sr Mary Anne Monaghan the Superior General, Sr Anna Maria Doolan the Regional Superior and many friends. At the beginning of Mass, Sr Mary gave an address of welcome to all present. She took the opportunity on behalf of the Sisters of Nazareth to thank Sr Marissa’s parents and family for supporting and encouraging Sr Marissa on her journey. Sr Mary traced the journey of the newest sister and spoke of the joy that her final vows bring will bring to the congregation. Sr Mary

mentioned four things that the Sister of Nazereth will experience in her life as part of the Congregation: ‘you will have good days, you will have challenging days, you will always have the love and support of us your Sisters, and there is a great crown waiting for you by being faithful to your commitment until the day you die, know that we your Sisters are walking with you every step of the way’. In his homily Bishop John spoke of God’s abiding presence in Sr Marissa’s life and his protection over her from the very beginning. He added, ‘it is a great joy that you have given yourself to this community, who also recognise that this is where God wishes you to be, to live out your vocation of love and service’. He finished by giving thanks to God for the gift of Sr Marissa’s vocation.

This message struck a note not only with Sr Marissa and the nine novices present, but with the many Sisters of Nazareth who were present from the various communities throughout the UK.

Sr Marissa celebrates

by Fr Peter Michael Scott

On the fourth day of Christmas, please pray for the ‘community team’ who work from the fourth floor of our main building. This extraordinary team reach out to the sick and dying in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham. On the fifth day of Christmas please reflect on our five gold rings: the Core Values of the hospice. These are the five principles which govern the hospice’s care of patients, staff and volunteers. They are quality, respect, justice, compassion and advocacy. On the sixth day of Christmas, please pray for the repose of the souls of those original Irish Religious Sisters of Charity who established the hospice in 1905. The address of the first hospice building in Mare Street was 6 Cambridge Lodge.

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Bidding Farewell to Fr Francesco by Fr Antonio Ritaccio

Inside the Hospice: The Twelve Days of Christmas On the first day of Christmas, please pray for Nigel Harding our Hospice Chief Executive. As the proverbial ‘partridge at the top of the tree’ he is responsible to patients, staff the local community, the trustees and the governing Sisters of St Josephs to see that excellent care is delivered in the hospice. On the second day of Christmas, please pray to our patrons, St Joseph, and the Venerable Mary Aikenhead. St Joseph sheltered and raised Jesus and is patron of the dying. Mary Aikenhead is the foundress of the Religious Sisters of Charity who established and still govern the hospice. On the third day of Christmas, please pray for all those who are patients or staff in our three wards: Lourdes, St Michael’s and St Anne’s.

© Lorenzo Lees

On the seventh day of Christmas, please pray for all those visiting loved ones in the hospice. We are open seven days a week and visitors are served by a friendly reception staff eager to help those coming into St Joseph’s. On the eighth day of Christmas, please pray for those who have died in the hospice over the festive period. The eighth day after the seventh of creation is the new day of resurrection. On the ninth day of Christmas please for our precious volunteers; we have nine associated with Chaplaincy, but the hospice is supported by 500. On the tenth day of Christmas please pray for our benefactors. Every donation, no matter the amount is welcome and valuable. The

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On Monday 30th October at Westminster Cathedral Cardinal Vincent presided over a Mass of thanksgiving, for the contributions that Fr Francesco Donega has made to the diocese over the past 23 years, most recently as Rector of Redemptoris Mater House of Formation in London. On loan from the Diocese of Rome since 1994, Fr Francesco had now completed his time in London and was due to return to his home diocese. During his homily, the Cardinal thanked Fr Francesco for the significant role he has played in the formation of the 15 diocesan priests whose vocations were fostered in the Neocatechumenal Way. He also praised him for the crucial role he has played in helping the Neocatechumenal Way to flower both in the Diocese of Westminster and in the life of the Church in England and Wales.

At the end of Mass Fr Francesco affectionately greeted the Cardinal and those who had come to show their support, explaining that he was returning to Italy earlier than expected because of poor health. Present at the Mass were also Bishop John Sherrington, as well as Bishop Paul Hendricks from the Diocese of Southwark, staff and students of Allen Hall and over 40 priests. Fr Francesco has now taken up a new role as the Vice-Rector of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Rome. We wish him every blessing in this new chapter of his life. Fr Antonio Ritaccio is Parish Priest at Five Precious Wounds, Stonebridge and was the first priest ordained from the Redemptoris Mater in 1999.

hospice is running a fund raising campaign called Be a Regular Joe and one suggestion is taking out a standing order to donate £10 a month … but every contribution is greatly appreciated. On the eleventh day of Christmas, pray for all connected to St Joseph’s Hospice, past and present. Since 1905, when the hospice opened, Mare Street, Hackney, has provided eleven decades of care to the people of the East End. On the twelfth day of Christmas, revisit the other eleven intentions and start again, because the work done in the hospice is supported and nurtured by your prayers, and we are very grateful. Page 15


Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

Being Missionary Disciples by Cardinal Vincent Nichols Evangelisation is not an optional extra for any Christian person; it is integral to the living out of our faith. All of us are facing the same challenge: Woe to us all if we do not preach the Gospel! And that, of course, poses an obvious question. How? How can I bring others to know and love Our Lord Jesus Christ? How can I do this in a culture that is so closed to many things about our faith, seeing faith simply as a problem to be solved and not as a great resource to be discovered afresh?  There are many ways to answer that question! Pope Francis is so helpful when he calls us to that task. He presents it as a positive challenge reminding us first of all of its joy before addressing the problems to be overcome. He writes: ‘The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew’ (Evangelii Gaudium 1). It is on this basis that he gives us our positive self-definition, the phrase by which we are to be known.  His title for each one of us is that we are to be ‘missionary disciples’. This is his development for our own times of the vision of the Church as the ‘People of God’. This is the way in which he unfolds that earlier definition, bringing something dynamic and outward-going to our very selfunderstanding. He is also reassuring, if we immediately feel inadequate to the task. If we worry that our knowledge of the faith is too patchy to be of much use in bringing others to Christ, he says, ‘anyone who has experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love’ (EG120).  So if we are to be missionary disciples, an experience of the love of God is an essential prerequisite. Our love of God Page 16

© Diocese of Plymouth

cannot flourish if we do not pray. Prayer, the raising of the mind and heart to God, is central to our encounter with him. As we spend time in prayer, we open our hearts to his presence, and our minds to what he asks of us. Personal prayer, built into the fabric of the day, keeps us constantly alive to the reality that Jesus accompanies us always, through good times and bad. Prayer together reminds us that, in baptism, we are bound together in this new identity, into the Body of Christ, and called to holiness in union with Jesus and each other. So public prayer nourishes the Church, nurturing us in this new calling. Indeed, through its beauty and evocative silence, the prayer of the Church can itself become a means of spreading the Good News, especially when there is a thoughtful welcome offered to the visitor. Prayer opens us to the reality that missionary disciples are agents of God in their work: it is God who begins the good work, and brings it to fulfilment.  Talk of ‘agents’ might take us back to earlier times when Catholics were agents in more senses than one, to the days

when holding fast to the faith was a clandestine and risky business. Today’s celebration is a service of Vespers of St Cuthbert Mayne. Though he lived long before the phrase became well-known, he was the embodiment of the missionary disciple. Indeed, he was the first priest who was trained at the seminary that Cardinal William Allen had founded at Douai in France in 1568, to suffer and die for the faith on the English mission. He was executed on 30 November 1577, 440 years ago. He is rightly remembered for the courage and fidelity he showed and the witness he gave. For St Cuthbert Mayne, and for all martyrs, their faith was not something they had as an accident of birth; nor was it a cultural or social phenomenon. It was simply a relationship, a friendship, with Christ. In St Cuthbert Mayne’s case, it led him to let go of the esteem and security of a fellowship at Oxford University, and to embrace instead a path that he knew well could lead to social ignominy and a horrible death. He could not, and would not, have done this without such a deep and special friendship with Jesus Christ, cultivated and sustained in prayer. 

For St Cuthbert Mayne, prayer and action were inseparable, even to the moment of his execution. For us, as missionary disciples, it is so important that prayer does not exist in a bubble. We should constantly guard against being ‘functional atheists’, our friendship with God playing no part in our daily lives and choices beyond the hour a week we spend at Mass. As we seek to avoid this sort of mindset, as we struggle with the calling to be missionary disciples, we do well to remember three qualities that, traditionally, have helped many to know God better. These are truth, beauty, and goodness. Our search for truth will, inevitably, lead us to a desire to become more familiar with the truths of our faith: ‘we want to have better training, a deepening love, and a clearer witness to the Gospel’ (EG121). This pathway of truth is also becoming more urgent in our society, in which we now sense a vacuum of shared meaning, the absence of any common narrative by which we make sense and give shape to our lives. We are becoming weary of a shallow consensus that tells us just to do our own thing, especially as we see how

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intolerant such a stance has become when challenged by reasoned disagreement or alternative conviction. The pathway of beauty has an increasingly powerful role to play in opening our hearts, and those of our neighbour, to the reality of the transcendent, that ultimate horizon which we sense, and against which we play out our lives. This is the reason why we should take great care about the beauty and holiness of our public worship. We know well how a great work of art or piece of music can take us out of ourselves, and lift us beyond our daily preoccupations. Our worship must aim to do that too, if it is to be effective in fostering our relationship with the Lord.  As for goodness, I am told that nearly 100,000 volunteer hours are offered by parishioners across this diocese each year, in areas such as visiting the sick, helping the elderly, and caring for the church. Such dedication is strong evidence of missionary discipleship. No doubt there is more to be done. But this is an ancient and powerful witness and one which is still very eloquent today: an argument and an invitation beyond words, yet, I trust, containing within it a ready explanation for the hope which lies at its heart. Indeed, a lived faith is a living faith.  This evening, as we praise God for the gift of our faith in his Son and for the enduring example of so many, especially St Cuthbert Mayne, I offer some more words of Pope Francis, characteristically direct and challenging. Speaking of the need for us to be missionary disciples, he says ‘So what are we waiting for?’ (EG120). What indeed? Go out to the whole world, and proclaim the Good News!  This is an abridged version of the homily preached by Cardinal Vincent at the Solemn Vespers commemorating the 440th anniversary of the martyrdom of St Cuthbert Mayne in the Diocese of Plymouth.

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Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

Director’s Spotlight

Phil Ross, Youth Ministry Director All good things do come to an end and, sadly, this is my last piece for Westminster Record as retirement beckons. I can’t understand where the last five and a half years have gone but they have certainly flown by. I know very well that I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to lead the youth service and it’s been a blast. Throughout my term of office I’ve met hundreds of amazing people and have made lots of new friends and seen the incredible work undertaken across our diocese to give our young the best possible start. Our schools and parishes are generous collaborators and their staff and volunteer networks, often unsung, are helping build tomorrow’s society and I’m sure that young people today will realise in years to come quite how much effort was directed their way. Please help where you can; parishes, in particular, have an on-going desperate need for volunteers to help with their youth provision and trust me, you don’t need any qualifications: just a warm heart and a desire to help guide our next generation. Having started a youth group in Ponders End several years ago I know personally how fulfilling it is and how little actual knowledge you need. Right now, the youth service have a team dedicated to help you with parish youth work so why not speak with your parish priest and then call the youth service. It could be the start of something very special for the young of your parish. To support the young people across our diocese is why I joined the youth service; and in retiring, I’ll revert back to supporting young people at a parish level.Why not join me!

Chaplain’s Corner

This year’s Celebrating Young People Awards ceremony took place on 23rd November in Central London. The awards are organised by Million Minutes in partnership with St Mary’s University, Twickenham. Hundreds of young people from around England and Wales were nominated in six categories, each celebrating a different aspect of Catholic social teaching.  Pupils from St Gregory’s Catholic Science College in Kenton were nominated in two out of eight categories and were awarded winners in both categories. St Gregory’s Year 10 Eco Committee pupils were honoured for the outstanding contribution they have made to caring for the environment. Their work, which has made a lasting impact in their local community, has also earned the school its third consecutive Eco Schools Green Flag and earned the pupils a personal invitation from the head of Eco Schools England to participate in the first ever National Eco Schools Debate.

St Gregory’s’ Sixth Form pupils received the Dorothy Day Ward for their community work with Ealing Soup Fr Mark Walker, Youth Kitchen, where they support Chaplain 150 guests on Sunday afternoons. The pupils have Advent is the season of joyful committed hundreds of hours, hope and expectation, volunteering their time to help founded on the truth that those who are vulnerable and Jesus Christ took on our flesh in need of fundamental and united it with his divine assistance. life in the Incarnation, which Douay Martyrs Catholic we will shortly celebrate at School in Ickenham, Christmas. This truth meanwhile, received the reassures us that no matter Cardinal Hume Award for how much darkness ‘Living out the option for the encroaches into our lives and poor’, for their work with into our world, Christ’s love, refugees and the homeless, as expressed in his solidarity well as fundraising campaigns with us in the Incarnation, conquers the darkness and is for victims of the Grenfell victorious. We can always Tower disaster, CAFOD, and therefore look forward to next the Catholic Children’s Society. The school is also very year and to the future with confidence and with joyful active in the community, expectancy for Christ to return working with the local and complete his work of foodbanks, providing meals for bereaved families, creating salvation. In the youth service, we are Christmas hampers for also entering into the Advent families in need, working with spirit of looking forward with the mental health teams, hope and confidence! This supporting local hospitals and December we say farewell to visiting residential homes.

St Gregory’s students excel in caring for the environment.

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Phil Ross as our Director of Youth Ministry. Since taking on the role, Phil has worked tirelessly to reinvigorate the Diocesan Youth Service and place it on a secure footing for the future as we continue to implement the Cardinal’s vision for youth ministry in the diocese. I, together with my predecessor as Diocesan Youth Chaplain, Fr David Reilly, thank Phil for his dedication, good humour, forbearance and friendship and wish him well as he retires from the youth service and puts his energy into his other passion of horticulture! We also welcome Andrzej Wdowiak to the team as the interim Director of Youth Ministry while we work towards a permanent replacement for Phil. Andrzej is familiar to the diocese from his work in Caritas and we look forward to working with him over the coming year. Blessed John Henry Newman famously said that ‘to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.’ We therefore look forward to the changes in personnel in the youth service as a new opportunity to see how we can continue to support the young people of the diocese and be faithful to our mission, always looking forward with the Advent spirit of joyful hope for the future and trusting in Christ’s faithfulness to us, as shown in the Christmas mystery. May you all have a blessed Advent season.

Douay Martyrs pupils ‘living out the option for the poor’

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Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

St Thomas More’s hall of fame Reaching out in Westminster

On 19th November Cardinal Vincent visited St Thomas More Church, Swiss Cottage to celebrate Mass in thanksgiving for the 50th anniversary of the church and to bless the new parish hall. Opened in 1938, St Thomas More Church was consecrated in 1977 by Cardinal Basil Hume. Mass was concelebrated by Parish Priest Fr Stefan Hnylycia, Assistant Priest Fr Paul Diaper, Monsignor Nicholas Morrish, Regional Vicar of Opus Dei, previous Parish Priest Fr Gerard Sheehan, and Fr Alexander Master. The joyful occasion was attended by over 400 parishioners past and present, as well as local MP Tulip Siddiq. Reflecting on the parable of the talents in the Gospel reading, the Cardinal said: ‘If we don’t use our abilities we lose them. It’s in using our abilities that we flourish… Whatever the talent, we must use it for the benefit of others in our community’. He paid tribute to the Parish Priest,

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architects, builders and all those who had contributed to the construction of the new church hall. After Mass, Cardinal Vincent blessed the new church hall and a portrait of St Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei. (The parish was entrusted to the pastoral care of Opus Dei in 2005

by Cardinal Cormac MurphyO’Connor.) Following the blessing, everyone proceeded to the larger hall of South Hampstead Girls’ School across the road that was able to accommodate all who were present. On the same day, the Cardinal paid a visit to members of the South Hampstead Synagogue who were observing Mitzvah Day, a day when Jews are particularly encouraged to undertake a work of charity, which this year coincided with the first World Day for the Poor. The Cardinal was met by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and the Anglican Bishop of Kensington. He was also delighted to meet a group of young Jewish women as they worked to raise funds and sort donations for the poor.

by Dennis Cooper

Imam Ajmal Masroor was the guest at the recent meeting of the City of Westminster Circle of the Catenian Association at their annual Clergy Night dinner. In a voluble speech expressing his faith and the certainty that we all pray to the same God, he strongly condemned Islamic terrorists, adding that they plainly do not speak for Islam. In a challenge to the audience he asked how many had read any authoritative book on Islam. Imam Ajmal also expressed the wish that Christians were more supportive of their own churches and encouraged Circle Brothers to engage with local Imams and to visit their mosques. The President of Westminster Circle, Andrew Watt, applauded the Iman for his forthright expression of his faith and his thought provoking comments especially the need

for Christians to become better informed about Islam. Imam Ajmal came from Bangladesh as a boy and now leads Friday prayers at four London mosques. He was introduced by a Muslim friend to Andrew Watt, who is now in his second term as President of the City of Westminster Circle. In his first two-year term Andrew twice invited Imam Yunus Dudhwala, then a chaplain in Belmarsh prison, who made a huge impression on the Circle. Other past speakers have included Ann Widdicombe who visited the circle twice, the first time debating assisted dying with Lord Glasgow. Inviting Imam Ajmal this year and Rabbi Dame Julia Neuberger last year was part of a successfully developing theme. In February 2018 Bishop John Arnold will be the guest speaker

Left to right, Father Anthony Nye SJ (Farm St), Iman Ajmal Masroor, Fr James Caulfield the Principal Roman Catholic Chaplain (RAF), President of Westminster Circle, Andrew Watt.

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Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

Love in word and in deed

‘As well as speaking out we also have to act,’ says Fr James Hanvey SJ At an event, organised jointly by Caritas Westminster and the Agency for Evangelisation to prepare for the first World Day of the Poor, Fr James Hanvey SJ said that ‘one of the greatest tragedies of our day is the breakdown of political discourse’ explaining that we need Catholic social teaching (CST) to ‘uphold the deep dignity of the person’. During his talk, titled ‘Say it with Your Life’ he addressed what he feels to be some of the important points of CST, telling listeners that it is not ‘abstract thinking or theological reflection’ but about ‘the issues of the day’. He asked the audience to think about the idea that CST is actually ‘the life and witness of the Spirit

and is therefore deeply embedded in the mission of the Church and every Christian life’. He explained that although it is easy for individuals feel overwhelmed when faced with a society that believes ‘the market will save us’ we have to start with small steps, helped by the guidance of CST. The audience also heard from Tom O’Connor from Providence Row and Ellen Teague about practical ways of bringing CST to life. Director of Evangelisation Fr Chris Vipers closed the event by reminding people that we are called to show love with our life. The first World Day of the Poor was announced by Pope Francis in 2016 and will take place on Sunday 19th November. The theme of this year is ‘love not in word, but in deed’.

On the day itself many parishes around the diocese held special foodbank collections and collections of toiletries for the homeless. In Perivale the SVP invited people to join them for a few hours and put together Vinnie Packs with winter essentials to be distributed to the homeless. Cardinal Vincent joined the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mervis and Jewish community in Swiss Cottage on World Day of the Poor, as they were also celebrating Mitzvah Day, a day were volunteering and local outreach is encouraged and many Jews spend the day working on projects for the poor and marginalised. While there he met and spoke to volunteers about their Mitzvah Day work.

New Ways To Engage New People Our parishes and church communities are full of exciting projects, turning ideas of creative people into reality. It might be a catechist’s new idea of how to involve parents in their children’s First Holy Communion, or a proposal to start a prayer group to rediscover hidden treasures in our tradition. Perhaps someone wants the parish to support a local social outreach project or communities overseas. Or maybe it is just a simple, but brilliant, fundraising initiative that a parishioner is convinced will capture the imagination. All of these ideas, and many others like them, need to be celebrated and given every possible chance to succeed.

However, consider how common is it for us to hear ‘we tried it, but no one came’ or ‘it was just the usual people that turned up’. Despite all the inspiring ideas that we have, all too often we fail to engage people to take part. We need new ways to engage new people. In the last two years several projects, including Caritas Westminster, have been piloting a specific method of engagement to work in our Catholic communities. It works with any project, from catechesis to social action, from youth programmes to renewing existing parish groups (it’s about ‘new ways to engage’, not necessarily new projects to engage with).

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As one of the pioneers of this method in Catholic communities, the charity Million Minutes is hosting the ‘Under the Fig Tree’ conference, with the support of Caritas Westminster. It is an opportunity for anyone interested in exploring ways to increase participation in any activity or group. The day will share a tried and tested method and will be full of practical ideas and inspirational speakers. Book now for this free conference on either the Wednesday 24th January or Saturday 27th January 2018, at St Mary Moorfields EC2M 7LS www.millionminutes.org/underthe figtree

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Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

A truly rich harvest in New Zealand

Welcome Home

by Deacon Adrian Cullen Evangelisation Coordinator

Advent and Christmas are times of the year when many people step into our churches perhaps for the first time, or for the first time in a long while. It is a brave step for many. Maybe they have been planning for some time to take this step; perhaps there has been an ongoing issue or problem which they are a seeking an answer to; and now they turn to the Church for guidance and help. For others it is a spare-of-the-moment decision to satisfy their curiosity; they see people going each week into the church building and coming out full of spirit; it is something to be investigated. Through the open doors, the lights and music make them even more curious; so they step across the threshold to discover something new, or perhaps something familiar but which has long since been forgotten. We do not have to wait for strangers to come to the church door to discover that for many people there is a longing for something more than what this world has to offer. Reaching out to neighbours in the street or colleagues in the workplace we will discover many who are longing to hear the good news of the Gospel, to be offered ways through the challenges in life, to be given hope and light in a world which can often, particularly in these winter months, be so full of darkness. We need to be prepared, to have information ready to hand, about who we are as a parish, and what we offer to those who are searching; to have parishioners in the church porch with a welcoming smile

Page 20

and a word of greeting, putting the stranger at ease. Let us respond to the courage of those who step across the threshold, by being courageous, stepping forward to welcome them, introducing them to Jesus born in the poverty of the stable, who offers an everlasting life of joy. As we prepare to welcome people to our church it is worth looking at what we have to offer. Is there a greeting sign? Is the porch entrance bright and cheerful and are the greeters too? Is there information to hand out to visitors? Some parishes already have welcome leaflets to give visitors, telling them a little about the parish and its activities. For those attending a baptism, funeral or wedding there may be perhaps a few words of encouragement and explanation of how they contribute to the occasion. There may also be a list of ways a new parishioner might be more involved in the parish. The opportunity for evangelisation, for spreading the Good News and leading people to Jesus, is right on our doorstep. Let us make the most of those moments when reaching out can make so much of a difference in the lives of strangers. Our greeting is an invitation to join us on our journey of faith, to come closer to God through Jesus Christ, to receive the love and joy that he has to offer. And an invitation to become more involved in that community of faith which is the parish. Whatever we do, let us be sure to give the one message to the stranger, the visitor and the one who is returning: ‘Welcome Home!’

by Bishop Nicholas Hudson

‘From being 12 at Proclaim Broken Bay we became 170 in Christchurch!’ That was how one parishioner put it at the dinner to close the ‘Ablaze’ conference which I attended last month in Christchurch, New Zealand.  I had visited Broken Bay Diocese, adjacent to Sydney, in Australia a year ago to speak at their Proclaim conference. Christchurch had sent a dozen lay people to Broken Bay to see what they could learn about the New Evangelization. They were so enthused by the experience that they persuaded their Diocesan Administrator that Christchurch should have its own conference, which they called ‘Ablaze’.  Christchurch has been without a bishop for two years.  It still bears the very open scars of the earthquake which brought down so many of its buildings seven years ago.  I was staying in a presbytery right alongside the ruined cathedral. Yet, Christchurch is rising from the ashes.  There are many new buildings.  The decision to host a conference reflects the courageous spirit with which the people of Christchurch are raising up their city anew.  That the 12 who came to Broken Bay multiplied their number by more than 14 times is a testimony to that.  No surprise that conference participants were taken by St John Paul II’s encapsulation of the New Evangelization as ‘new in ardour, new in method, new in expression’, because it captures the spirit of the city too. ‘Vision without strategy is simply hallucination!’  That saying also struck a chord.  It comes from Fr James Mallon whom we recently hosted at a ‘Divine Renovation’ conference in this diocese. It resonated with conference participants in Christchurch who are hungry for strategy.  I was pleased to lead two workshops in which I opened up for them the wealth of resources which are available on our own national Proclaim website: resources to help evangelize young people, to evangelize the unchurched, to evangelize non-churchgoing Catholics, prayer resources, vision and strategy resources, testimony resources and so

many more. The particular focus of my workshop was on the formation of Parish Evangelization Teams: the key, I believe, to strategic planning. I had the pleasure of sharing these ideas earlier that week in the North Island for clergy and laity of the Diocese of Hamilton. In Rotorua and Hamilton, they came in large numbers to hear and discuss how better to realise the vision of Evangelii Gaudium.  I found they were particularly taken by the powerful simplicity of the kerygma; and Blessed Paul VI’s conviction reiterated by Pope Francis that ‘there is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, are not proclaimed’ (Evangelii Nuntiandi 22).   Concelebrating with Bishop Stephen Lowe a confirmation in Whakatane, a young people’s Mass in Hamilton Cathedral and

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then, most poignantly, a Maori Mass in Rotorua brought home to me how the kerygma preached so faithfully by the first disciples had traversed the globe; and I rejoiced to be part of a discussion as to how Christians can continue to amplify in New Zealand the core proclamation so often proclaimed by Pope Francis: that ‘Jesus loves you; his selfemptying death on the cross saves you from selfishness and sin; now he walks with you every day (Evangelii Gaudium 164). As I bade farewell to Christchurch a week later, my prayer was that the 170 who came to ‘Ablaze’ and the countless faithful I met in Hamilton would multiply and increase to yield a truly rich harvest from the New Evangelization which is clearly taking root in the Land of the Long White Cloud!

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Westminster Record | Decemeber 2017/January 2018

Pope’s Prayer Intention: For the Elderly by Fr David Stewart SJ December’s a full month. There’s Advent, Christmas and New Year’s Eve and so much else in both the Church’s calendar and in the so-called secular world. It’s cold and dark in our northern hemisphere. Our cities and towns try to counter the seasonal gloom by means of the lights, decorations and consumerism of the commercial season; this year in London the earliest municipal lights were strewn across some main streets in the first week of October! Followers of Christ typically lament how little of Christ there is in Christmas any more, while some in authority make it their business to eradicate what little is left, referring to the ‘holidays’ rather than Christmas and deleting references to the nativity story wherever they can. The power of what you can spend is replacing the wisdom of our forefathers and foremothers in faith. The Pope’s December prayer intention invites us to consider a different source of wisdom. Pope Francis asks the people of God to pray with him ‘that the elderly, sustained by families and Christian communities, may apply their wisdom and experience to spreading the faith and forming the new generations’. Many, probably most, cultures in human history have deferred to the elders and their wise experience. In our time, we might be the first to devalue the elderly to the point that serious consideration is given to ending a human life when an older person is no longer deemed to be productive. Ours is, at times, a culture of youth and of the scrapheap – for older humans! But every single one of us can, with a little thought, bring to mind immediately a life-lesson that we have learned from our elders. Without that lesson, born of experience and probably learned in turn from their elders, our lives would be poorer in some respect. So, a first step in praying with the

Pope this month can be to take time to ponder what that lesson is in your own life. Then you will begin to notice others, too. It’s also about the context: the Pope makes it clear that families and Christian communities should be sustaining their elderly and, through that support network, providing them with the opportunity to apply all their wisdom. That can’t happen without quite a lot of effort; it’s no longer automatic. Our Pope’s Prayer Network monthly booklet, Living Prayer (2018 copies available) suggests that ‘grandparents add depth and foundation to the experience of family’ adding that ‘older people’s life experience allows belief and faith to be shared in the most natural manner. Going to Mass for young children with Granddad or Nan ... is part of sharing life’. This is sometimes called ‘intergenerational solidarity’ and is really very important in the fragmented and polarised contexts in which many of us live in our time. This means that one dimension of praying with the Pope this month means readiness to examine our own consciences about how we respect our elderly: sustaining them or shunning them?

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We can also think about and pray about the ways in which we pass on what we have learned, in forming the new generations. You don’t need to have achieved a great age to do this, but it usually helps! Another action-point, therefore, can be to think about that: how have I, or how might I, use my own experience and wisdom to form the next generations. Do that, and you begin to see that it’s a human duty, a mission, especially for the follower of Christ. Prayer Moment: Ask the Spirit of God to lead you to a place of interior stillness; try to find a few moments and an exterior place where you can be peaceful and prayerful, even if only for a few minutes, away from phones, desktops and potential distractions. Finding time and space like this is often difficult but not impossible; let God’s Spirit lead you there. Let the gaze of the Trinity fall on you and become conscious of God looking at you, now. Rest in God’s gaze for a few moments. Then hear the words of this month’s Intention addressed to you and your community: the parish, the chaplaincy, or your friendship-circle or family. How does it touch you? Do you sustain the elderly in your life?

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Bring one or more of them into your prayer. Ask the Spirit to show you, inwardly, the gifts that they bring, that they are. Challenges to action in the month: Think of a life-lesson learned from an older person that has influenced how you are leading your own life better. Something will definitely come to mind if you take a few moments to think about it. Whether or not you have acted on that advice, it’s there and, once you’ve started to think about it a bit, others will come to mind too. Let them, especially those you should have followed but didn’t. You might also recall less than helpful advice you received! Resolve to try again, starting now. No matter what age you are or what stage of the life-cycle you’ve reached, there will be opportunities to form new generations in the faith. Bearing in mind the strong warnings of Jesus in the Gospel about being a scandal to the young, you could resolve this month to share lifegiving, good experiences with someone younger. You could also take careful note of when someone has been a bad example to you, resolving not to repeat that error. Even think of times when you’ve not been a good example to someone younger.

Let’s examine our consciences to discern when we have not done as much as we could, or should, to foster intergenerational solidarity, or accommodated too much to prevailing trends to dismiss the elderly as well as many other groups of people that our society deems less worthwhile. What can I, what can my family or community do, to change that for the better? The Pope’s Prayer Network offers our Daily Prayer Pathway that incorporates the traditional Morning Offering to the Heart of Christ, united with the Holy Father’s intention. We’ve our new App, Click-to-Pray (www.clicktopray.org), that gives you a new set of brief prayers every day; together, we can make each day different! And we have our Living Prayer 2018 booklet, with a tear-off page for each month for your missal or diary, and our wall calendar. The 2018 editions carry lovely pictures of churches around the world dedicated to the Heart of Jesus. Limited special-price multipacks containing a calendar, a booklet and several prayer-cards are available for delivery now at £3 plus P&P (£2, UK only). To order, prayernetwork@jesuit.org.uk or 020 8442 5232.

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Westminster Record | December 2017 /January 2018

Canon Louis Russell Thomas RIP

Canon Louis was born in London on 9th July 1917. After completing his education, he worked for the Oxford University Press for a couple of years before being accepted as a student to the priesthood at St Edmund’s College in Ware. He spent his summer holidays doing farm work, ‘useful public service’, as seminarians were exempt from military service. He was ordained to the priesthood in Westminster Cathedral by Bishop Myers on 19 June 1943. He was appointed to St Agnes, Cricklewood as Assistant Priest until 1945 when he went to Holy Redeemer, Chelsea. He then went to St Mary’s, Cadogan Street, Chelsea. His next appointment was to St Mary Moorfields. In 1960 he was appointed to St Mary and St Joseph, Poplar as Assistant Priest, followed by his appointment as Parish Priest at St Philip the Apostle, Finchley where he served from 1964 until his retirement in 1993. In 1987 Cardinal Hume appointed Fr Louis to the Metropolitan Chapter, making him a Canon. He was a zealous pastor and a committed ecumenist, seeing the good in other traditions. He trusted people and his gentle manner helped to make people feel welcomed and valued, with their part to play in the life and work of the Church. His pastoral concern was manifested by regular and extensive home visiting and care for people who were bereaved, sick or disabled. He participated on courses concerned with the liturgical renewal called for by the Second Vatican Council, and he shared his knowledge generously. He enjoyed organising and participating in parish pilgrimages, with Banneux being his favourite Page 22

shrine. With humour, he spoke of ‘the theology of the coach outing’! Alongside parish ministry Canon Louis served as chaplain to several hospitals. He served on the Council of Priests and was invited by Cardinal Hume to join a group to plan the organisation of the Diocese, based on Pastoral Areas. The plan was published as ‘Planning for the Spirit’, with an introduction written by Canon Louis and signed by the Cardinal. His gentle manner and warmth made him accessible and popular among priests and parishioners alike. He was also humble, preferring the title ‘Father’ to ‘Canon’ (‘don’t call me Canon because cannons go off with a bang!’). In retirement he took on the chaplaincy at the North London Hospice for ten years, and he continued to attend the meetings of Churches Together in Finchley. Canon Louis maintained a strong ‘priestly persona’, marked by cheerfulness and gratitude, faithfulness to prayer and to the Church. He loved the diocese and the clergy, religious and lay people that he had met and had yet to meet. When asked what was the most special day of his long life, he answered with enthusiasm, ‘the day I became a priest’. He served as a priest for 74 years. Canon Louis died peacefully at Nazareth House, East Finchley on 20th November 2017.

May he rest in peace.

Fr John Leahy RIP Fr John Leahy of the Congregation of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary died peacefully on 28th November at his sister’s residence in Limerick, Ireland. Fr John served as the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes, Acton since 2008 until earlier this year when he retired.

May he rest in peace.

Monsignor George Tutto RIP Monsignor George Tutto, a priest of the Diocese of Nottingham who was resident in the Diocese of Westminster for several years, died peacefully at Maryville Care Home in Brentford on 14th November. He was formerly Chaplain to Hungarian Catholics in London until he retired in 2007.  Before moving to Maryville he lived in Gunnersbury and assisted in the parish.

May he rest in peace.

Fr Patrick Cope RIP Fr Patrick Cope, a priest of the Diocese of Middlesbrough working in London for the Prison Service, and living at Tyburn Convent in West London where he was Chaplain died peacefully on 21st October.

May he rest in peace.

In Memoriam: December

January

3 4

1 Cardinal Francis Bourne (1935) Fr Brendan Soane (2000) 2 Fr Sidney Dommersen (1970) Fr Alexander Wells (1970) Fr Cyril Wilson (1988) 3 Fr Donald Campbell (1985) Fr Denis Cantwell (1995) 4 Fr Bernard Canham (1990) Fr William Brown (2001) 6 Fr Thomas Anderson (1974) Fr Thomas McNamara (1976) Mgr Graham Leonard (2010) Mgr Ralph Brown (2014) 7 Fr John T Carberry (1988) 8 Fr John Kearsey (2004) 10 Mgr Ernest T Bassett (1990) Fr William Kahle (1993) Fr Patrick Nolan (2014) 11 Mgr Eustace Bernard (1972) Fr Mark Coningsby (2014) 12 Fr Arthur P Mintern (1993) 14 Cardinal Henry Manning (1892) Fr Peter Lyons (1998) 15 Canon James Hathway (1976) Fr Anthony Busuttil (2013) 16 Fr Edward Hinsley (1976) Canon Frederick Smyth (2007) 17 Fr Edward Dering Leicester (1977) Fr George O’Connor (1989) 18 Fr Gerry Ennis (2000) Fr Robin Whitney (2012) 19 Fr Oldrich Trnka (2003) 20 Mgr George Leonard (1993) Fr Thomas Gardner (1995) Fr Stephen Bartlett (2012) 21 Preb Ronald Pilkington (1975) 22 Cardinal William Godfrey (1963) 23 Fr Derek Jennings (1995) 25 Fr Bernard Fisher (1990) 26 Bishop Patrick Casey (1999) 29 Fr Frederick Vincent (1973) 30 Fr Joseph Fehrenbach (1985) Fr Patrick Howard (2000) Fr Philip Dayer (2005)

6 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 19

21 23 24 25 26 27 28

29 30 31

Fr Harold Purney (1983) Fr John Simcox (1972) Fr Peter Allen (1978) Mgr Wilfrid Purney (1987) Fr Benedict Westbrook (1989) Fr John Harper-Hill (1998) Mgr Alexander Groves (1998) Fr Dalton Haughey (1991) Fr Laurence Kingseller (1975) Fr Jeremiah Daly (1974) Deacon Michael Bykar (2008) Fr Francis Donovan (1983) Mgr George Tancred (2002) Fr John Donlan (2006) Canon Bernard George (1980) Canon John Shaw (1981) Fr Edward Gwilliams (1981) Fr Edward Scanlan (1992) Fr William Campling (1996) Canon John McDonald (2016) Fr Clive Godwin (1974) Fr Ian Dickie (2012) Fr Manoel Gomes (1989) Deacon Ron Saunders (2007) Canon Charles Acton (2016) Fr Alan O’Connor (1992) Fr Bernard Lavin (1999) Fr Andrew Morley (1993) Mgr Canon Joseph Collings (1978) Fr Gerard Mulvaney (1996) Fr Robert Bradley (1976) Canon Alexander Stewart (1976) Fr Wilfrid Trotman (1976) Fr Stephen Rigby (1978) Fr George Swanton (1979) Fr Dennis Skelly (1996) Fr Michael Ware (1998)

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REGULAR EVENTS

Liturgical Calendar – December/January

Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

If you have an event, please email: communications@rcdow.org.uk

Prayer Groups SUNDAYS

Taizé at St James, Piccadilly W1J 9LL every third Sunday 5pm. Call 020 7503 5128 for details. Tyburn Benedictines Monastic afternoon Every first Sunday 2-5pm Martyrs’ Crypt, Tyburn Convent, 8 Hyde Park Place W2 2LJ. Westminster Cathedral Young Adults meet socially after the 7pm Mass on Sundays and then at the nearby Windsor Castle pub. For further details please contact: westminsteryoungadults@gmail.com

MONDAYS

Mothers’ Prayers at St Dominic’s Priory, Haverstock Hill NW5 4LB Mondays 2.30-3.30pm in the Lourdes Chapel. All are welcome.

TUESDAYS

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament Tuesdays 6-9pm concluding with Benediction at Newman House, 111 Gower Street WC1E 6AR. Details 020 7387 6370.

Prayers for London at the Shrine of Our Lady of Willesden Tuesdays 7.30pm. Organised by the Guild of Our Lady of Willesden, Nicoll Road NW10 9AX. Our Lady of Walsingham Prayer Group First Tuesday of the month 2.30pm to 4.15pm in the Chapel of St George and the English Martyrs in Westminster Cathedral. Details: antonia@walsingham.org.uk

Vocations Prayer Group Second Tuesday of the month 8pm at 47C Gaisford Street NW5 2EB. Taizé at St James’, Spanish Place, W1U 3UY every first Tuesday of the month at 7pm. Email: penny28hb@aol.com or just come along.

WEDNESDAYS

Wednesdays on the Wall (WOTW) Every first Wednesday of the month. 6pm at All Hallows on the Wall, 83 London Wall EC2M 5ND. A short service of prayer and reflection at 6pm, coffee at 6.45pm followed by discussion. Corpus Christi Contemplative Prayer Group for Young Adults Wednesdays from 7pm at Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane WC2E 7NB. For further details please contact corpuschristipg@yahoogroups. co.uk.

Our Lady, Untier of Knots, Prayer Group of Intercession meets every third Wednesday at St Anselm & St Cecilia, Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Parish Mass at 6pm followed by Prayer Group until 8.45pm. Rosary, Adoration, Silent prayer and Divine Mercy Chaplet. Email: Antonia antonia4161@gmail.com.

THURSDAYS JCFL

Jesus Christ the Fullness of Life (JCFL) provides a space for Christians of different traditions to join together in prayer and friendship. For further details please visit www.jcfl.org.uk.

NFG Prayer Group meet weekly at 8pm for praise and worship followed by a social. Monthly a DVD is watched followed by a time of sharing. Held in St Mark’s Room, Christ the King Church N14 4HE. Contact Fr Christophe: christophe.brunet@chemin-neuf.org. Soul Food A Catholic charismatic prayer group for young adults meets Thursdays 7-9pm at St Charles Borromeo, Ogle Street W1W 6HS. Details at www.soulfoodgroup.org.

St John Paul II Prayer Group Every second Thursday of the month 7-8pm, Mass, Adoration and Prayer at Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane WC2E 7NB.

FRIDAYS

Divine Mercy Prayers and Mass Every first Friday 2.30-4.30pm at Our Lady, Mother of the Church, 2 Windsor Road W5 5PD.

Westminster Cathedral Charismatic Prayer Group meet every Friday 7.30pm Prayer, Praise and Teaching. First Friday is a healing Mass. For details, please call 020 8748 2632.

1 Fri

Advent feria; Friday Abstinence

2 Sat

Advent feria

3 Sun

+ 1st SUNDAY OF ADVENT

4 Mon

Advent feria or St John Damascene, Priest & Doctor

5 Tue

Advent feria

6 Wed

Advent feria or St Nicholas, Bishop

7 Thu

St Ambrose, Bishop & Doctor

8 Fri

THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, Patron of the Diocese

9 Sat 10 Sun 11 Mon 12 Tue

Advent feria or St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin + 2nd SUNDAY OF ADVENT Advent feria or St Damasus 1, Pope Advent feria or Our Lady of Guadalupe

13 Wed

St Lucy, Virgin & Martyr

14 Thu

St John of the Cross, Priest & Doctor

15 Fri 16 Sat

Advent feria; Friday Abstinence

17 Sun

+3rd SUNDAY OF ADVENT

18 Mon 19 Tue 20 Wed 21 Thu

Advent feria Advent feria Advent feria Advent feria (St Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor)

22 Fri

Advent feria; Friday Abstinence

23 Sat

Advent feria (St John of Kanty, Priest); Friday abstinence

24 Sun

+4th SUNDAY OF ADVENT

25 Mon

+ THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD (CHRISTMAS)

Advent feria

26 Tue

ST STEPHEN, The First Martyr

27 Wed

ST JOHN, Apostle & Evangelist

28 Thu

THE HOLY INNOCENTS, Martyrs

29 Fri

ST THOMAS BECKET, Bishop & Martyr, Patron of the Parish Clergy

30 Sat

+6th DAY IN THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS

31 Sun

+THE HOLY FAMILY OF JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH

1 Mon

SOLEMNITY OF MARY, THE HOLY MOTHER OF GOD

2 Tue

Ss Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops & Doctors

3 Wed

Christmas feria or The Most Holy Name of Jesus

4 Thu

Christmas feria

5 Fri

Christmas feria; Friday Abstinence

SATURDAYS

6 Sat

Christmas feria

Love heals Body, Mind & Spirit team holds one day retreat, last Saturday every month (except December) at Church of Our Lady of Assumption & St Gregory, Warwick Street, Piccadilly W1F 9JR. For details contact Eileen on 0208 542 24767.15pm. Call 020 7437 9363.

Queen of Peace Prayer Group at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Acton. Every Friday evening after 7pm Mass. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a homily, recitation of the Holy Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. All welcome Taizé at Notre Dame de France 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX at

Pope’s Intentions for December That the elderly, sustained by families and Christian communities, may apply their wisdom and experience to spreading the faith and forming the new generations Pope’s Intentions for January That Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practise their faith in full freedom

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7 Sun

+ THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

8 Mon

THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

9 Tue

Feria, First Week of Year 2

10 Wed

Feria

11 Thu

Feria

12 Fri

Feria or St Aelred of Rievaulx; Friday Abstinence

13 Sat

Feria or St Hilary, Bishop & Doctor

14 Sun

+ 2nd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

15 Mon

Feria

16 Tue

Feria

17 Wed

St Anthony, Abbot

18 Thu

Feria

19 Fri

Feria or St Wulstan, Bishop; Friday Abstinence

20 Sat

Feria or St Fabian, Pope & Martyr, or St Sebastian, Martyr

21 Sun

+ 3rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

22 Mon

Feria or St Vincent, Deacon & Martyr

23 Tue

Feria

24 Wed

St Francis de Sales, Bishop & Doctor

25 Thu

THE CONVERSION OF ST PAUL THE APOSTLE

26 Fri

Ss Timothy and Titus, Bishops; Friday Abstinence

27 Sat

Feria or St Angela Merici, Virgin

28 Sun

+ 4th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

29 Mon

Feria, Fourth Week of Year 2

30 Tue

Feria

31 Wed

St John Bosco, Priest

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Other regular Masses Deaf Community Mass First Sunday of the month 4.30pm at Westminster Cathedral Hall, Ambrosden Avenue SW1P 1QW. Young Adults Mass with an Ignatian twist

Every Sunday at 7pm. Church of the Immaculate Conception, 114 Mount Street W1K 3AH. Contact: yam@mountstreet.info or visit www.pathwaystogood.org Mass at Canary Wharf Held on Tuesdays at 12.30pm at 2 Churchill Place E14 5RB. Organised by Mgr Vladimir Felzmann, Chaplain to Canary Wharf Communities. Details www.cwcc.org.uk.

St Albans Abbey Fridays at 12 noon. Mass in the Lady Chapel of St Albans Abbey AL1 1BY. Members of the Westminster LGBT Catholic Community are specially welcomed at the following Sunday Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, and invited to our parish hall afterwards for tea/coffee, when there is also an opportunity to learn of pastoral help available: 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month, 5.30pm. EXTRAORDINARY FORM MASSES

Sundays: Low Mass 9.30am, St James Spanish Place W1U 3QY. Low Mass 9am, The Oratory, Brompton Road SW7 2RP. Low Mass 5pm, St Bartholomew, St Albans AL1 2PE. Low Mass 5.30pm, Shrine of Our Lady of Willesden, NW10 9AX.

Mondays: Low Mass 8am The Oratory, Brompton Road SW7 2RP Mass 6.30pm Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane WC2E 7NB. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays: Low Mass, 8am The Oratory, Brompton Road SW7 2RP. Fridays:

Low Mass 8am The Oratory, Brompton Road SW7 2RP. Low Mass 6pm St Etheldreda, Ely Place EC1N 6RY. First Friday only. Low Mass 6pm St John the Baptist Church, King Edward's Road E9 7SF. First Friday only. Low Mass 6.30pm Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane WC2E 7NB. Second Friday only. Saturdays: Low Mass 12.15pm, St Wilfrid’s Chapel, The Oratory, Brompton Road SW7 2RP. Low Mass 4pm, Side Chapel, Westminster Cathedral SW1P 1QW. Second Saturday only. Page 23


Westminster Record | December 2017/January 2018

From Vladivostok to Staines by Fr Philip Dyer-Perry

Paul Theroux, in his book The Old Patagonian Express, wrote ‘Ever since childhood, when I lived within earshot of the Boston and Maine, I have seldom heard a train go by and not wished I was on it’. Here at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Staines, with the rail station opposite, and frequent trains to Reading and Windsor a constant rumble, I feel the same. The sound of a train horn during the Liturgy of the Word, the passing of a steam excursion during Thursday Exposition, or the clatter of an approaching freight train breaking the silence at the Altar of Repose: these sounds punctuate parish life, and transport my imagination to faraway places, and lately to Vladivostok. The journey from Vladivostok to Staines actually began in Tokyo. An Aeroflot flight via Moscow deposited us at Narita airport for nine days of exploring most of the southern part of Japan, before taking a fast hydrofoil (a kind of fast bumpy speedboat with a refreshment trolley) to Busan, in South Korea. Arrival corresponded with mounting tension between the United States and North Korea, and, as I lay in my hotel bed in Seoul over the following nights, I couldn’t help but wonder what a North Korea missile would sound like. A day trip to the border with North Korea didn’t help matters, and so it was with some relief we continued, via a short flight, to Beijing. Beijing was a curious place, with a large and rather clumsy metro system, some gigantic

Page 24

shopping centres, and various old parts absolutely rammed with tourists. The highlight was Sunday Mass at the ‘South Cathedral’, where the French/English Mass attracted a massive crowd. Finally, after a visit to the Great Wall by rail (with, it seemed, most of the population of Beijing), I set out on my own on a night flight eastwards to Vladivostok. Vladivostok is in the Russian Far East. It is located on the Sea of Japan, with North Korea to the south and China to the west. However, the population, culture, and climate are all decidedly Russian. The city is best described as the ‘Kings Lynn of the Pacific’, as, to be quite honest, there’s not much in the way of shopping or leisure opportunities. Instead, the centre bustles with sailors from the Pacific Fleet, plus a few lostlooking tourists off the ferry from Japan. There’s free Wi-Fi in the Sea Terminal, plus some rather hard cakes in the café overlooking the railway tracks. It was with some relief therefore that I boarded train ‘007’, which would be my home for three days as it headed west to Irkutsk. Train 007 was exactly the kind of train you’d expect to find James Bond on. However I ended up sharing my four-berth Coupe compartment with assorted grandmothers, a young Russian woman who mysteriously produced chicken legs on Day 2, and some Russian men: every night it was someone different. Train 007 only does part of the Trans-Siberian route,

and is not exactly Russian Railways flagship. However, it was clean, comfortable, and punctual. On each of each of the three nights I ate in the buffet car, and had breakfast there in the morning. During the day, I read books on my kindle, drank tea from the samovar (there is free hot water in each coach; just bring a mug and tea bags), and watched the changing scenery while listening to the sound of the train. Every now and then, one of the buffet staff would appear with cold drinks, fresh pastries, or chicken legs. Each day the train stopped two or three times for 15 to 30 minutes, and the entire trainload got out to smoke, chat, or buy skeletal fish from old ladies. It was a great chance to stretch your legs and to take a good look at the other passengers. Facilities on the train were basic but comfortable. The loos

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were done out in steel, though not of the stainless variety. They were kept clean and wellstocked by the provodnitsa (carriage attendant), a woman you would not like to cross. She would also mop your compartment each morning, whether you were in bed or not, and lock the loo doors if she thought you might be planning to go. There was no Wi-Fi on board, so the scarcity of electrical sockets was academic, but there was air-con and heating, the latter coal-fired, which is curious since the entire route is electrified. The scenery was not as boring as I expected. There were plenty of endless silver birch forests, but also wooded and balding hillsides, wide river valleys, and finally the amazing sight of Lake Baikal, where I enjoyed a one night break, and a much-needed shower. The next stage of the journey, from Irkutsk to Moscow, also took three nights, and was pretty much the same kind of thing: tea from the samovar, things that go bump in the night, Russian grandmothers with endless bags of food, and this time, as the carriages originated in Ulan Bator, a trainload of Mongolians. As we headed west, we passed through the city of Yekaterinburg. This is where the Tsar and his family were killed in the Russian Revolution. It is also famous for the U2 Affair, when an American spy plane was shot down. This is tactfully portrayed in one of the murals in

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the station’s waiting room. After Yekaterinburg, we crossed the Ural Mountains and thus passed from Asia into Europe. This is marked by a stone obelisk next to the line. I was very excited to cross the Urals, but in reality they make Hyde Park look like the Himalayas, as they are just a series of low hills. When I was at school, it was said that if you looked east from the school’s rather exposed playing fields the first high ground you’d encounter would be the Urals. Apparently, in the Urals they say that if you look west, the first bit of high ground you encounter are the playing fields of Uppingham School... The journey then continued through the attractive city of Perm, over the River Volga, and after a locomotive change at Vladimir, we arrived in Moscow, a city which felt like a welcoming and comfortable home after so many days on the road. Of course the journey back to Staines was not yet complete. Still to come would be third class in an open dormitory carriage on the night train to Kiev, and then via Slovakia, Poland, and Germany back to the Hook of Holland, from where a combination of night ferry, boat train, and London Underground would bring me to Waterloo for the final leg of the journey to the greatest place of all, the beautiful town of Staines. This article originally appeared in Oremus.

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Westminster Record December 2017/January 2018  
Westminster Record December 2017/January 2018