Friday, 23 October 2020

Fiftieth Anniversary of the canonization of the English Martyrs

I first became aware of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales when I was at the Jesuit run Seminary of Campion House, Osterley, in London. There had been a great devotion to the Martyrs there especially since Fr Clement Tiger (always known as Clem Tiger) had been the Rector from 1936-66. He initiated "Campion Day" when all the students would go to Tyburn Convent on the feast of Edmund Campion to celebrate Mass close to the spot of the Tyburn Gallows. He had thousands of copies of the famous painting above printed and wrote extensively about them. When he finally left Osterley he worked on the cause of the 40 Martyrs in the Office of the Vice-Postulation at the Jesuit church of the Immaculate Conception at Farm Street in London.

That tradition of a love of the Martyrs stayed with me and many others over the years. On this fiftieth anniversary of them being raised to the altar, we will thank God for their witness and honour their memory at Masses this weekend. It is, perhaps, an incongruity that the Mass they gave their lives to be able to celebrate has been so curtailed in this Covid year. May they intercede for that Mass to once again flourish in our nation and bring all peoples to God's salvation.

“The expense is reckoned; 

The enterprise is begun. 

It is of God. It cannot be withstood. 

So the Faith was planted, so it must be restored”.

St Edmund Campion

There is some information on each one of them here:

We have the normal full week of Masses and services this week and Sunday Mass at

8.30am and 10am.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

A roller coaster Synod


The Synod 2020 here in the Archdiocese of Liverpool should have taken place last weekend. The Covid 19 crisis put paid to that and it is now postponed to next June. However, the process marches on, or perhaps meanders on. We now have sight of the Proposals under the four Synod themes. You can read them through the links at the bottom of the following page:

I'm afraid that I'm rather disappointed. 

It's a bit self-referential and closed in on iself. There is no reference to any teaching or document outside itself, except these: "Laudato Si"; Live simply communities, (a CAFOD initiative) and the Anglican Diocese of Liverpool's programme of spiritual direction. A little thin on drawing on the centuries of humankind's wisdom.

You might say that it is a Synod for our times, a Synod for our day, and like the daily newspaper, it's ephemeral. For there are no references to the rich history and tradition of the Church (except one to Catholic Social Teaching - which understood in a properly Catholic context is to be welcomed), nothing quoted or referenced from any papal teaching (apart from "Laudato Si"), nothing from the writings of the Saints or the Scriptures.

For myself, I find that the proposals are rather wordy and generalized - enabling each person to interpret them by their own lights. In my own humble opinion, this is not terribly helpful and rather dangerous, as it could mean you think, “Ah yes, that’s a good idea” but to someone else it means something totally different, which you may not agree with at all. Politicians - even ecclesiastical ones - work in mysterious ways, their wonders to perform! There is a vision behind it but it's not one that I really want to be forming my faith.

It's also interesting and rather worrying that although there are many words and phrases that you might find in any government or corporate company mission statement I can’t find any of the following in any of it's eleven pages: 

Our Lord, Salvation, Heaven, Hell, Priesthood, Religious Life, Blessed Sacrament, Saints, Martyrs, Our Lady, sacrifice, hierarchy, devotion, authority, convert, eternity, God the Father, the Holy Spirit, divine, redemption, supernatural, grace, Tradition, Bible, Scripture, Gospel, Body of Christ (referring to either the Church or the Eucharist).

Though “Jesus” does appear at twice!

It seems to my mind that it's a very horizontal Synod, we're looking around but not upwards. Like Oscar Wilde, I think we should be looking at the stars - that is to say, up to Heaven - to get us out of the mess we're in. It appears to be all community and no divinity. Jesus gets a quick look in as social guru but it does seem a bit of a gap that God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are AWOL.

Surely, we cannot fix our broken Church with the flimsy models of secular coproratism and political spin? And at a human level our Church is broken (the Covid restrictions are hacking away at what's left). Which is why we can't look to the merely human to rescue us. More of the same medicine that's been killing us off is hardly likely to help. It feels like a Synod for today, literally, this day and no other, with no reference outside itself, no reference to Tradition and nothing solid on which to build hope for the future. It's bang on trend to fit in with the fashion of the moment. But, as we know, nothing ages more quickly than the fashion of the day.

We need a great engineering endeavor like the steam trains of the nineteenth century, cutting through mountains and forging mighty rivers. A thrilling project that will take us somewhere and open up our horizons. What we seem to have is a roller-coaster ride, which can only provide a few cheap thrills and then it's all over. 

And you end up back where you started.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Open for business!


Thursday is the feast day of Pope St John Paul II

Despite the Lancashire area going into tier 3 of Covid 19 regulations, places of worship are not affected. Like shops and businesses, we have Covid 19 precautions in place and ask that you note them and take care. So, while you cannot visit the pub or visit the homes of your relatives this Sunday, you can come to Mass (with the caveat of those in special situations who are sheltering for particular reasons).

Sunday 8.30am Mass (said in English)

Sunday 10am Mass with Latin chant

Monday 9.30am Mass

Tuesday 12 noon EF Mass

Wednesday 9.30am Mass

Thursday 7pm Novena to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and Benediction

Friday 9.30am Mass

Saturday 11.30-11.50 Confessions

Saturday 12 noon EF Mass

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Sunday 10th October: "All people are born as originals but many die as photocopies."

 Pope Francis declares Carlo Acutis Blessed today in Assisi. 

 "All people are born as originals but many die as photocopies." 

You can read about his short but extraordinary life here:

Here at St Catherine's, our Masses and Services are as usual this week, apart from our temporarily suspended 11.30am Mass on Sunday.

Sunday 8.30am Mass (said in English)

Sunday 10am Mass with Latin chant

Monday 9.30am Mass

Tuesday 12 noon EF Mass

Wednesday 9.30am Mass

Thursday 7pm Novena to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and Benediction

Friday 9.30am Mass

Saturday 11.30-11.50 Confessions

Saturday 12 noon EF Mass

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Come Back to me!

 The Feast day of Saint John Henry Newman falls this Friday.

“We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe.”

Our Masses and Services are as usual this week, apart from our temporarily suspended 11.30am Mass on Sunday.

Sunday 8.30am Mass (said in English)

Sunday 10am Mass with Latin chant

Monday 9.30am Mass

Tuesday 12 noon EF Mass

Wednesday 9.30am Mass

Thursday 7pm Novena to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and Benediction

Friday 9.30am Mass

Saturday 11.30-11.50 Confessions

Saturday 12 noon EF Mass


I was heartened to read Bishop Philip Egan's Pastoral letter on returning to Mass. 

You can read it and watch it on video on the Portmouth website:

but I thought it worth reproducing here as well. 



Dear Friends, 

I am writing to everyone in our Diocese of Portsmouth, to every baptised Catholic, to all the clergy, religious and lay faithful, and to all members of our parishes, schools and communities. I write too to everyone of good will, to those ‘with ears to hear’, to anyone searching for God, and to all who wish to meet His Son, Jesus Christ and to know more about His Gospel. I say to you all: Come back! Come back to Mass! Come back to church for private prayer! Come back to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament! You are truly welcome - we have missed you! 

These last months have been extraordinary. The pandemic has caused great harm, physical, mental, emotional and financial. Sadly, many have fallen sick and some have lost their lives. At the same time, medical staff and key workers have responded with remarkable generosity and courage. Across our Diocese, parishes and schools, clergy and faithful have been highly creative. Priests have done all they can to serve their parishioners: live-streaming Masses, hearing Confessions in gardens, keeping in touch by email, phone and Zoom meetings. Parishioners have generously continued their financial support. Hospital chaplains have selflessly served the dying, ensuring they receive the Last Sacraments, Absolution and the Apostolic Pardon. 

Schools have sent out food parcels to the housebound. Our diocesan Caritas has adapted their projects to continue supporting the needy.. Now that schools and many others are returning to work, let us keep up this good work. Let us keep safe. And let us ask the Lord for an end to the pandemic, the invention of a vaccine and the restoration of ordinary life. 

In inviting you back to Mass, I am aware that in some places and for some of you - those self-shielding, the sick, the vulnerable – this will not yet be possible. Moreover, we are aware too that the infection-rate is varying, and we might even face a local lockdown. Indeed, for everyone it will require care, prudence and adjustments. It might mean attending Mass on a weekday instead of a Sunday. But as we enter the autumn and our schools return, rather than focusing on what we cannot do, let us focus on what we can, so that the great mission of our Diocese of Portsmouth can go forward: Bringing People Closer to Jesus Christ through His Church. 

Most of our churches are now open, with very stringent safety procedures in place. I thank our clergy and parishioners for their massive efforts. If you can, please do volunteer your time, help and support so we can keep up this good work. The pandemic has shown us how fragile modern life is. It has caused us to review our priorities. It has made us face our mortality and the question of God. For weeks, by government mandate, our churches were closed and the public celebration of the Liturgy suspended. I know that many felt hurt by this. As human beings we have not only bodily needs but spiritual needs too. Moreover, it is in our churches that the Lord sanctifies, teaches and guides us, uniting us together, giving us the Sacraments of eternal life, and sending us out on mission and service. Many followed Mass online and spoke of their hunger and thirst for God. Online has its place and we thank God for all the work done to enable this. But online is not the same as ‘inline’ and being there. It’s not the same as actually receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. It’s not the same as participating in the presence of the eucharistic community. 

This is why I say: Come back to the Lord to be nourished by His Word and His Sacraments! True, the canonical obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days is still suspended. But what about the Lord Who calls to us in our hearts: “The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice: I know them and they follow me” (John 10: 27)? What about His promise: “Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I in him” (John 6: 56)? What about His invitation: “Come follow me” (Mark 1: 17)? His offer: “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10: 10)? Surely, we do not follow Jesus our Lord and Master simply out of habit or duty? No, we follow Him because we love Him. We follow Him because He has called us. We follow Him because He is our Saviour: He has laid down His life for us. May our diocesan patrons Mary Immaculate, St. Edmund and Bl. Pier Giorgio, pray for you and protect you. May they obtain for you freedom from fear. May they inspire in you a generous response to the Lord’s call. 

Thank you for listening – and please be assured of my prayers. 

In Corde Iesu, 

+Philip Bishop of Portsmouth

Friday, 25 September 2020

Sunday 27th September


Dear Friends,

Just a reminder of our Masses this Sunday and for the rest of the week.

26th Sunday. Year A. 27th Sept         8.30am  

Mon. 28th Sept: St Wenceslaus            9.30am  

Tues 29th Sept: 
Ss Michael the Archangel                 EF     12 noon  

Wed 30th Sept: St Jerome                     9.30am   

Thur 1st Oct: St Therese of the Child Jesus 7pm   

Fri 2nd Oct: Guardian Angels             9.30am   

Sat 3rd Oct: St Therese                         
11.30-11.50  CONFESSIONS
                                                             EF   12 noon   

27th Sunday. Year A. 4th October

Friday, 18 September 2020

Sunday 20th September. Masses this week

The workers in the vineyard

Masses this Sunday and this week are more or less back to normal.
Please note that there is still no 11.30am EF Mass this Sunday, as the numbers attending were so small as to make this unviable for the moment. 
At the Sunday Masses so far, only about half the usual number of people have been attending. 
Please remember to bring your mask!

25th Sunday. Year A. 20th Sept Masses 8.30am and 10am

Mon. 21st Sept: St Matthew, Apostle Mass at 9.30am

Tues 22nd Sept: St Thomas of Villanova. Traditional Form Mass at 12 noon

Wed 23rd Sept: St Pio of Pietrelcina  Mass at 9.30am

Thur 24th Sept: Our Lady of Walsingham NOVENA & BENEDICTION at 7pm

Fri 25th Sept: Feria Mass at 9.30am

Sat 26th Sept: 11.30-11.50 Confessions
Ember Day. Traditional Form Mass at 12 noon