(Fr) Daniel was born in Hampshire but later moved to Tunbridge Wells, where he attended St Gregory’s Catholic Comprehensive School and was a parishioner of St. Augustine’s Church. From an early age his passion was music and during his time at school developed an ambition to become a professional violinist.
With encouragement and support from his family and school he was delighted to win a place at the Royal College of Music in London and between 1993 and 1997 he studied violin with John Ludlow and piano with Yonty Solomon. Looking back he describes his experience there as ‘intense, competitive and highly stimulating’ and loved being immersed in a constant stream of high-level music-making.
In 1999, he was invited to take up a teaching post at the newly-formed National Conservatory of Music in Palestine, which was founded to offer musical education in all its aspects to Palestinian children living in the Occupied Territories. Daniel taught violin at the Conservatory at its branches in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem and regards his happy time in the Holy Land as being a turning-point in his life.
Upon his return to England, happily busy as a freelance performer and teacher, the sense of a calling to priesthood began to grow and, after several years of thinking about it he contacted the Vocations Director for Southwark Diocese and applied to be accepted for priestly formation. He spent his first ‘propaedutic’ year in Valladolid, Spain, at the Royal English College of St. Alban – which opened in 1589 as a safe place for English Catholics to train for the priesthood away from the persecution in England – and then continued his formation at St. John’s Seminary in Wonersh, near Guildford. He is very grateful for the richly blessed time he spent at both seminaries.
Daniel was ordained Deacon at St. John’s Seminary in December 2015 and Priest on 16th July 2016 – the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel – at St. George’s Cathedral, Southwark, by Archbishop Peter Smith. He is delighted to have been sent to serve the Parish and Faithful of St. Thomas of Canterbury and is deeply grateful for the warm welcome he has received from parishioners and clergy alike.
We are very blessed in this Parish to have several relics of St Thomas Becket in the martyrs chapel of our church and at the end of next month, another relic of St Thomas a Becket that is kept in Esztergom, Hungary’s old capital, will be coming to the UK. and will be in Canterbury for the weekend of 28th and 29th May. What is St Thomas’ connection with Hungary? While studying in Paris, Thomas became friends with Lukas Banfi who later became Archbishop of Esztergom. After Thomas’ martyrdom, Archbishop Lukas founded a church and provostship on the hill named after St Thomas a Becket and dedicated it to the memory of the martyr. It is widely recognised that Margaret of France, Queen of England and later of Hungary, who had know Thomas Becket in the court of her husband, Henry II, was instrumental in bringing his relics to Hungary.
On Monday 23rd May at 5.30pm there will be a Mass at Westminster Cathedral and veneration of the relic. We have been asked to bring our own relic to be part of the veneration. The Hungarian relic will then be processed to Westminster Abbey. On Friday 27th it will be at Rochester Cathedral for evensong. On Saturday 28th the relic will arrive at St Michael’s Church, Harbledown around 3pm. From there will be a procession with the relic into the city and to the Cathedral where there will be a welcome service around 4pm. On Sunday 29th there will be Mass in the crypt of the Cathedral, celebrated by Fr Valentine Erhahon with Bishop Laszlo Kiss-Rigorous, Bishop of Szaged in attendance.
We don’t say that relics have any magical power but they are a material tangible connection with the Saint. In the fourth century the great biblical scholar, Jerome, declared, “We do not worship, we do not adore, for fear that we should bow down to the creature rather than to the creator, but we venerate the relics of the martyrs in order the better to adore God.” Relics remind us of the holiness of a saint and his cooperation in God’s work. At the same time, relics inspire us to ask for the prayers of that saint and to beg the grace of God to live the same kind of faith-filled life.
I will be in Lourdes that weekend with a group from the parish so, sadly, I won’t be able to attend. I do encourage as many as can to meet at St Michaels on the Saturday and walk in with the relic or join the procession at Westgate. We are also looking for about 6 volunteers to help steward the processions
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A group of 120 people from St. Thomas’s Catholic Church, Canterbury was recently led on a pilgrimage to Rome by Fr. Valentine Erhahon. The objective was to enable a group of young people currently preparing for Confirmation and those having been confirmed in the last five years now on the Young Mentors Award Programme for Confirmation to meet our Holy Father Pope Francis to present two gifts to him and also experience living in a seminary so as to encourage vocations to the Priesthood and to the religious life and be inspired by this Holy Year of Mercy. 57 families accompanied their young members on the journey to Rome.
The core of the Pilgrimage was from 5th-7th April and included attending the General Audience with Pope Francis, a private Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and going through the Holy Door of Mercy. In addition, after a Football Match between the Parish Team and the Seminary Team, a formal dinner was organised with exchange of gifts with the seminary Rector, Staff and seminarians of the Pontifical International College Mary Mother of the Church.
In preparation for the Pilgrimage, Fr Valentine created two gifts for the Holy Father, a painting and a drawing book of letters written by the parish children. The painting depicts the Pope watering a garden made up of the signatures of many people including 300 children and young people, individuals from the parish, seminarians, priests, Muslims and non-Catholics. From the signatures grows the Canterbury Parish Family Mercy Tree, producing the 14 corporal and spiritual works of mercy shown as fruits of the tree. On the painting, there is a poem that recounts our salvation history and mission. The artist, Mrs. Charlotte Galt, painted the painting for the Holy Father. In addition Mrs. Nieves Castro organised over 70 children and young people to make drawings and letters for the Pope in anticipation of his birthday later this year.
Attending the General Audience on Wednesday, the group was seated in St. Peter’s Square. Clever positioning meant that many people came very close to the Pope during his perambulation in the Pope-Mobile. During his ride, the Holy Father stopped to bless the Icon of St. Thomas of Canterbury. This Icon blessed by Pope Francis is now housed at the Martyrs chapel in St. Thomas’s Church.
Father Valentine, representing the group from Canterbury met the Holy Father for a private audience were he was able to present the painting and the book personally to Pope Francis and told him about what the painting and book was all about.
The Holy Father was greatly interested in the gifts presented to him and spent time reading the poem and observing the painting and drawings. He asked Fr. Valentine to send his warmest thanks to all those who signed the painting and to all the children who made special drawings for him. Later that evening, the Pilgrims challenged the Seminarians to a football match. The Canterbury side captained by Joe Murphy, who scored the team’s only goal, suffered a catastrophic defeat against a polished and coherent seminary side. However there was plenty of amusement in the game and all took it in good part. During the ensuing formal dinner, Joe handed the trophy over to the Captain of the Seminary Team. At the dinner, the Seminary Rector Fr. Oscar Turrión, presented special gifts for the year of mercy to all the young people and memorabilia to all the families on the pilgrimage. The young people preparing to receive confirmation on Pentecost Sunday this year presented the seminary community with an Icon of St. Thomas of Canterbury and the leader of the Young mentors programme, Robert Emejuru lead the speeches to give thanks to the seminary community and to all the pilgrims for their prayers and support.
It was not serious for the whole time. The pilgrimage also contained a measure of fun. The 120 members from Canterbury stayed in guest accommodation at the Seminary and were able to enjoy each other’s company in the spacious grounds, at prayers and at mealtimes. The group rose early for morning prayers at 6am. They were able to enjoy beautiful walks around the grounds. It was a time for families to pray and play with their children and for them to make new friends. The pilgrims also had time to go in little groups to the Opera, visit the Colosseum and many other beautiful sights around Rome.
It was a very happy and joyous occasion for the parish community in Canterbury and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.
Later in July, Canon Anthony Charlton will lead a group of young people from St. Thomas’s Canterbury to the World youth Day in Poland to meet with the Holy Father.
Press Release by Helen NATTRASS
Syro Malabar rite is one of the oriental churches within the Catholic Communion and traces its origin back to St Thomas the Apostle. This is the 2nd largest oriental church within the Catholic church and this community is mainly from Kerala, one of the south India states. There are around 45 families within the parish of St Thomas’. They celebrate Syro-Malabar rite Mass in the parish every 4th Sunday of the month at 2.30pm. And Catechetical formation is conducted for the children of this community on the 2nd Saturday and 4th Sunday of every month. The contact person is: Mr Noby Mathew Tel: 07454 812983
31st October – 1st November 2015
Are you 18-40, do you want to deepen your knowledge of the Catholic faith, learn its devotions and meet like minded people? Young Catholic Adults are organising a weekend at Aylesford in Kent (just south of London), where you’ll be able to:- hear cate-chetical talks (including from Fr. Gregory Pearson O.P., and noted author Donel Foley), learn how to sing Gregorian Chant, say the Rosary and socialise with like minded adults. For further info: www.youngcatholicadults.co.uk/events.htm or see poster
Thank you to all who completed the forms. The survey is now closed and we have received over 170 re-sponses so far – which is excellent!
The next few weeks will see the results recorded and analysed.
Feedback will be given in a Newsletter item at the beginning of November.
This post is for the pictures of Confirmation 2015.
Please click the link below to access the photos via Google Drive.
If you want to download all of them, then highlight all of the pictures and right click on of them and click download.
Please contact me of you are experiencing any trouble, I will get to all the answers as soon as possible:
Thank you to all who have expressed their interest to go on the pilgrimage to Rome. We have received a great number of over 34 families, making a total number of 145 people from the parish so far.
Unfortunately, this good news now presents its own challenges as we have exceeded our expectation and requirements. I am sorry we may now have to postpone the pilgrimage to 2016. The good news is: we have a year to plan, prepare and organise it. In addition, next year, Pope Francis is expected to release his Post-Synodal Exhortation on the family around the time we hope to re-arrange a meeting with him. And so, It will be a memorable family pilgrimage made from our parish in Canterbury to the Holy Father, at a time when the focus is on the family.
When we get to Rome in 2016 for our Parish Family Pilgrimage, I would like us to present a gift to Pope Francis. This gift will be created by the children/young people of the parish.
If you are age 1-18, on an A4 sheet of paper, with your full name and school written on it:
please make a drawing or painting or get mum or dad to put your palm on colour to make a print on paper, or write a poem or anything creative you think about that expresses the team: OUR PARISH FAMILY
Send your work to the Presbytery, 59 Burgate, CT1 2HJ. I’ll collate all the work together to create a Book called: Our Parish Family’s Gift to Pope Francis – From the children/young people of St. Thomas of Canterbury Parish, Canterbury. I believe the Holy Father will be delighted to see how creative you are and what you have made for him. So do not wait, get started. This is going to be exciting.