Our Diocesan Newsletter 02 May 2020

Vocations Sunday

This weekend we will be celebrating the Fourth Week of Easter, also known as Good Shepherd Sunday; it is also the “World Day of Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life” – Vocations Sunday. In the Gospel passage this year, Jesus emphasises the fact the good shepherd knows his sheep and they know him. There is a mutual bond of care that speaks of effort freely given beyond that of the ‘hired help’.

Pray, discern and serve: experience the life of a seminarian at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh.

Prayer for Vocations

God our Father
You made each of us to use our gifts in the Body of Christ.

We ask that you inspire your people
whom you call to priesthood and consecrated life,
to courageously follow Your will.

Send workers into Your great harvest
so that the Gospel is preached,
the poor are served with love,
the suffering are comforted,
and your people are strengthened by Your gifts.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Diocesan Vocations Director (Fr John Diver): vocations@rcaos.org.uk
Vocations website which will feature testimonials, guidance, a video and current vocations contact information can be found here: www.rcsouthwark.co.uk/vocations.htm

Supporting our Seminarians

At this time we are also asking if parishes would consider supporting the Diocesan Priests Training Fund

The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve – Matthew 20:28 –

Responding to God’s Call to serve as a Priest is the beginning of a significant journey of discernment, formation and study prior to ordination. In the Archdiocese of Southwark we currently blessed to have 12 seminarians preparing for the Priesthood, choosing to dedicate their lives to Christ and to serve his people in many different ways. Please pray for vocations, especially this weekend, and encourage anyone who may be considering the priesthood or religious life.

We have received a number of enquiries from parishioners about the possibility of supporting our seminarians; if you would like to offer a donation this Vocations Sunday, Southwark Diocese would be most grateful for your gift to the Southwark Priests Training Fund, which can be made via www.justgiving.com/campaign/PTF

For those who may wish to give but cannot do so due to current circumstances, please know that the Diocese is grateful for your prayers.

Mass for Migrants In honour of St Joseph the Worker

Every year the migrant communities of Brentwood, Southwark and Westminster gather for a truly joyful Mass that is full of song, dancing, colour and diversity. The theme for 2020 is: ‘You are clapping for us, now pray with us’.

We value the immense contribution of migrants to so many services that are now being recognised and honoured as essential, with many of them amongst “frontline staff” in the NHS and Social Services.

This is a moment to support them in prayer and at this time we are also asked to remember our Catholic Social Teaching, which recognises everyone as “our brothers and sisters”, and calls us to tear down borders that divide and exclude.

Celebration of Mass via Live-stream (02/05/20 10:25am)

This year, Brentwood Diocese are due to host the service but sadly it is not possible for us all to be present in person due to lockdown restrictions. Brentwood Youth Service have remained undeterred and will be live-streaming this celebration on Instagram Live and YouTube. Please spread the word to your parishioners so that they can join in praying for those who enrich our parishes and local communities through their skills, knowledge and diversity. They are aiming to offer an energetic service, with intercessions in a variety of languages (translated on screen) and a range of songs recorded by a local school.

A copy of the Order of Service can be accessed via this link:

Domestic Abuse

The Domestic Abuse Group of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has issued guidance on how Catholic parishes can support victims of domestic abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the UK-wide COVID-19 lockdown began on 23 March, there has been a 49% increase in calls and online requests for help relating to domestic abuse.

The guidance includes information about how parishes can raise awareness of the issue, including a list of helplines and information about how to safely get help. It also includes a step-by-step starter guide for how parishes can work to support their local domestic abuse services with donations. Read more here.

Ministry to the Sick

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have issued Interim guidance for engaging in ministry to the sick during the COVID-19 pandemic. A principle during the COVID-19 pandemic is to provide as much pastoral care by telephone as possible, or other non-face-to-face means, to reduce the spread of the virus. For detailed guidance please visit their website.

Psychological Care for Religious and Clergy

With the Coronavirus inevitably affecting all of our routines, there have inevitably been significant day-to-day changes for religious and clergy. The CBCEW now has a web-page dedicated to the psychological care of those who are ordained or in consecrated life during the pandemic, which can be accessed here.

Healthcare and Prayer Resources at the time of COVID-19

You can download a series of healthcare resources produced by the ‘Catholics in Healthcare’ project here.

In addition, the CBCEW have recently released, as part of the Dying Well project, a series of prayers for the dying, including prayers for a loved one when it is not possible to be by their side.

Masses for front line workers and their families

Our front-line workers in hospitals and in care homes all over our lands are giving exceptional service to those who are vulnerable and in need of treatment at this time.

In order to show a spiritual solidarity with front-line workers each week, a Catholic Bishop will celebrate Mass in their Cathedral which will be live-streamed for people to join. Cardinal Vincent NIchols and Bishop Richard Moth have both celebrated streamed Masses during the last two Thursday evenings. We are encouraged to join in praying on subsequent Thursdays at 7pm. The schedule for the next 4 weeks will be as follows:

7 May
Bishop Marcus Stock
St Anne’s Cathedral, Leeds
YouTube Channel

14 May
Bishop Robert Byrne CO
St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle
YouTube Channel

21 May
Bishop Mark Davies
Our Lady Help of Christians and Saint Peter of Alcantara, Shrewsbury

28 May
Bishop Terence Drainey
St Mary’s Cathedral, Middlesbrough
YouTube Channel

NHS Prayer Buddies

A prayer buddy ministry is in the process of being set up by the Southwark Diocesan Head of Hospital Chaplains. It is intended to support those working on the front-line that are dealing directly with the current pandemic.

Every hospital chaplaincy within Southwark is invited to ask NHS staff to add their first name and job title to a list, which will be held by the hospital chaplain. We also need parishioners that are prepared to be committed prayer buddies, holding a member of NHS staff and their intentions in prayer on a daily basis.

Parishioners will receive the first name, job title and general hospital location of an NHS Worker, whilst the NHS worker will receive your first name, parish name and parish area. It is intended that we also support all our Hospital Chaplains in prayer at this challenging time.

Rebekah O’Keeffe, a catechist who works within the Diocese, will pair people up as prayer buddies placing each one by name into God’s care. If you would like to accompany an NHS worker in prayer at this time, please email: rebekah.okeeffe@gmail.com with your name and parish details (name and area only) No email addresses will be passed on at any point.
Hospital Chaplains are warmly invited to speak to Rebekah about this opportunity.

Christ is Alive

Southwark Catholic Youth Service has worked with some 6th form students on a mini-series ‘Christ is Alive’. This is an invitation for young people to focus on staying spiritually healthy and to ponder some of the big questions about life, through journaling and prayer. This may be particularly relevant during this difficult time of lockdown. Please take a look: www.youtube.com/southwarkcatholicyouthservice

Southwark Spirituality Commission

The Commission are currently producing a weekly video each Sunday as a ‘Talking Heads’ series of reflections on the Easter Sunday gospel readings. Two videos have already been released, featuring Fr Doug Bull and Judy Kilcullen respectively and the remaining four will be published this Sunday and during the next 3 subsequent weekends. Parishioners are welcome to sign up in order to receive these Easter Reflections by registering here. The videos will also be shared on the RC Southwark Twitter account and Facebook page each Sunday afternoon.

Centre for Catholic Formation: online events

Evangelisation in Lockdown

Date: Thursday 7th May
Time: 11 am – 12 noon
To register in advance: click here

Jesus encouraged us to ‘put out into the deep’ when communicating the richness and transformative blessing of faith in Him. Perhaps we see this as a time of mending our boats before putting out to fish; perhaps you have already made efforts to evangelise in lockdown.

In this one-hour webinar, Dr Mark Nash from the Centre for Catholic Formation will introduce small group discussions about how parishes have responded to the pandemic in creative ways.

The Catechetical Institute

The Centre for Catholic Formation is working with the Catechetical Institute to offer online programming from Franciscan University. This will feature training for catechists and workshops for parents.

Email to register your interest to learnonline@rcaos.org.uk

Friends of the Holy Land Appeal

Bishop Declan Lang, CBCEW Chair of the Holy Land Coordination has urged Catholics to support people in the Holy Land affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in order to prevent a major human catastrophe.

Not only is this a major healthcare crisis, but necessary closures at this time of pilgrimage are also having a devastating impact on the local economy. Regrettably, the healthcare system has collapsed under the strain of Coronavirus and people are also suffering from extremely overcrowded conditions. We are therefore asked to stand in solidarity with the people of the Holy Land through our prayers and, where possible, through donations to the Friends of the Holy Land Appeal, which is now almost half-way towards its target of £148K.

The God Who Speaks

Here are the latest resources to share:

Ascension and Pentecost

A visual journey through Ascension and Pentecost.
Make your own dove to hang in your window alongside your NHS rainbow.

Home Alone with St Jerome

What can the saints teach us about self-isolation? We asked a few to give us their wisdom via WhatsApp.

New mini video from our God who Speaks artist Pete on his artwork.

Watch our 3 minute video of Pete in his studio talking about his artwork and creating it in action.

The Word at Home

Check out our new Top Ten ideas for in the home.

For Young People


Aid to the Church in Need children’s Bible stories’ project


This dynamic theatre group has a wealth of excellent resources and are providing an ‘at home’ Sunday liturgy aimed at young people. The group can be found at www.tentenresources.co.uk and on Twitter.

Catholic Mum

A packed website full of interesting articles, gospel reflections, culture and fun for the family.

YouTube Kids

This app has a wealth of fun teaching videos for children and is worth exploring. An example might be this video about David and Goliath. It can be downloaded on any Apple device and is also available on Google Play. It features a number of security settings for safer browsing. Click here for more information.