News from the Diocese of Portsmouth!

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October is the month of the Rosary and the Holy Father has invited us this year to pray the Rosary every day during this entire Marian month. He wants us to join in communion and in penitence, as the people of God, in asking the Holy Mother of God and Saint Michael Archangel to protect the Church from the devil, who always seeks to separate us from God and from each other. He asks us to conclude the recitation of the Rosary with the ancient invocation Sub Tuum Praesidium. The Russian mystics and the great saints of all the traditions advised, in moments of spiritual turbulence, to shelter beneath the mantle of the Holy Mother of God pronouncing this invocation. May the Holy Mother of God place the Church beneath her protective mantle. Pope Francis has also asked us after the Rosary to add the prayer to Saint Michael Archangel that he protect and help us in the struggle against evil (cf. Rev 12, 7-12). This latter prayer, written by Pope Leo XIII, is, Pope Francis, says the weapon against the Great Accuser who “goes around the world seeking to accuse”.


Just started reading this challenging new book by Roy Peachey.

It begins by making a great point: that secularism has not only obscured faith in God but a clear understanding of what it means to be human.

This is why people no longer agree what education is about.

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force on the 25th May 2018 and will impact every organisation which holds or processes personal data.

The diocese in conjunction with parishes and curial offices are now in the process of revising processes to ensure that we are compliant.

The diocese is committed to ensuring high standards of information security, privacy and transparency.


Bishop Philip writes: I have gradually, through prayer and reflection, begun to develop a vision of where I believe the Lord wants to lead us over the next decade or so.  Here are the main points. I believe we have four priorities:

1. Mission to all

That we enable immeasurably more people to hear the Gospel afresh and to come to know, serve and love Jesus Christ in the saving communion of His Catholic Church so that, persevering in faith, hope and charity, they may one day reach the happiness of Heaven.


2. Conversion of Catholics

That we assist all Catholics, especially those who are not yet practising, to reach a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, to be more intentional disciples and, discerning their charisms, to become more actively engaged in the Church's mission.


3. Dependence on the Holy Spirit

That shifting from maintenance to mission, we trust more completely in God through prayer, imploring the Holy Spirit to inspire our clergy and our laity with constant joy and creativity to develop and realise new, innovative ministries and ways of Christian living.


4. Outward-looking service

That we help our parish and school communities to become outward-facing service-centres, brighter beacons of mission, dialogue and service to people around, especially to the poor, the homeless, those in need.

These four priorities lead to three specific focuses or areas of attention:


5. Focus on youth

That we do all we can to teach and hand on the gift of Faith through the Church’s Scripture and Tradition to young men and women, young couples and young families, converting, forming and equipping them as joyful missionary-disciples of Christ.


6. Promoting vocations

That we earnestly pray for, foster and support vocations to all states of life and ministry in the Church, including new movements and new communities, but especially to the sacred priesthood.


7. Prioritising our resources

That managing wisely our property and our resources, we use our God-given patrimony more flexibly and more determinately in the service of mission and the new evangelisation.


The most basic need is that Portsmouth Catholics become holy:

8. Holiness through communion in diversity

That we seek holiness of life in imitation of Jesus, obedient (ob-audire) to God and legitimate authority, loving and respecting one another, and filled with the Holy Spirit, that we foster a joyful, positive, 'can-do' attitude.

This Vision Statement underpins the Four Diocesan Priorities:

that each person, each parish community, each Pastoral Area and Deanery, each school and every ministry within the Diocese is called:

  to seek out and draw in the un-churched and the unbelieving;

  to [help Catholics] develop life-long discipleship, spiritual growth and a living relationship with Jesus Christ, above all, in the Holy Eucharist;

to discern the gifts, charisms and vocations
God has given;

  to form and support existing and new ‘creative apostolates’




Holydays of Obligation


With effect from the 1st Sunday of Advent 2017, two holydays of obligation are being reinstated.

This decision was made by the Bishops of England and Wales, and has been confirmed by the Holy See.

The days are:

The Epiphany of the Lord                                   6 January

(transferred to the adjacent Sunday when it falls on Saturday or Monday)

The Ascension of the Lord       Thursday after 6th Sunday of Easter


The Holydays of Obligation for England and Wales are therefore:

Every Sunday

Nativity of the Lord                                           25 December

Epiphany of the Lord                                        6 January*

Ascension of the Lord                     Thursday after 6th Sunday of Easter

St Peter & St Paul                                            29 June*

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary           15 August*

All Saints                                                          1 November*

*According to a decision of the Bishops’ Conference (1984) Holydays which fall on Saturday or Monday are transferred to the Sunday. The Bishops decided to retain the decision made in 2006 for the Body and Blood of the Lord to be transferred to Sunday as it allowed for Eucharistic Processions and other devotional practices to be celebrated.

(Liturgy Office England & Wales)