..... that was read at all Masses on the Solemnity of the Holy Family is now available to download and read from here.
I wonder what might be your overriding sense of 2020? It has been a year unlike any other we have known in peacetime. Locally, nationally and globally, we are marked by the impact of Covid 19 and the measures imposed to try and curtail the pandemic.
For some, 2020 has been devastating, with loss of life, loss of loved ones, loss of livelihoods, and even loss of hope. Yet, through uncertainty and sadness, we have also witnessed the triumph of kindness, in great and little things alike. Our NHS and caring professions, our emergency services, our food and utility providers, to name just some, have ensured support in essential ways. To all those who have sustained the life of our communities, we extend an enormous ‘thank you.’
Despite the challenges, the past year has brought forth so many remarkable examples of the very best in our humanity, and not least from within our Catholic community. Our parishes and schools have served with distinction, something we can rightly be proud of.
Even in restricted circumstances, Christmas 2020 recalls again the great kindness God has shown humanity in Christ. A Saviour is born for us, for you and me. God’s loving kindness placed a foot on our planet in person, through the tiny imprint of the baby of Bethlehem. Forevermore, we share news of great joy, a joy of God’s love for every person, and for the whole world. God is with us. We are never alone.
May the Christmas gift of God’s kindly love fill your heart as we step forward with hope in Christ. May God bless you, and those you love, this festive season and throughout the coming New Year.
+ John Wilson
Archbishop of Southwark
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales reports on Pope Francis' proclamation of a Year of St. Joseph.
Archbishop John writes:
Following Bishop Patrick Lynch’s submission of his resignation to our Holy Father, Pope Francis, we have received news from Rome that this has now been accepted, allowing Bishop Pat to retire.
We are grateful to the Holy Father for granting this request and for the support of Archbishop Gugerotti, the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain. We thank the Religious Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary for the gift of Bishop Pat to the Archdiocese of Southwark, first as a priest and then as a Bishop. As he now steps back from the formal office of Auxiliary Bishop, we are delighted that he will be retiring in the Archdiocese where he has made his home and has so many friends.
Bishop Pat has served the Archdiocese with distinction and generosity as a true shepherd to clergy, religious, and laity alike. His pastoral mission here for the past twenty-two years, the last fourteen of those as an Auxiliary Bishop, has been marked by passion for the Gospel, deep sensitivity, and a special care for migrants and ethnic chaplaincies and communities. Along with pastoral responsibility for the parishes of South East London, Bishop Pat has also exercised oversight of Catholic education, working faithfully with four Archbishops. Added to this has been his important collaboration with the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and the Holy See, in working to combat human slavery and trafficking.
Bishop Pat’s joy as a disciple and a pastor, always quick to encourage and affirm, has been such a blessing to so many people. We extend to him our immense gratitude for all he has given to our Archdiocese and the Church in England and Wales. As soon as it is practically possible, we will arrange for the celebration of Mass in St George’s Cathedral to mark Bishop Pat’s retirement.
On hearing the news from Rome, Bishop Pat wrote: “For the last twenty-two years I have been privileged to have served the Lord here in the Archdiocese of Southwark – in the parishes of Nunhead and South Norwood, as Vicar for Religious and as Auxiliary Bishop. Unfortunately, however, the after effect of surgery nine years ago is now limiting my ability to carry out some pastoral responsibilities. I am, therefore, grateful to our Holy Father and to Archbishop John for their understanding and for accepting my wish to retire from active ministry as an Auxiliary Bishop. As I begin the transition to retirement I give thanks for the many ways the Lord has blessed me over those years: through the kindness and wisdom of Archbishops Michael, Kevin, Peter and John; through the support and dedication of the priests, deacons and religious of the Archdiocese; and through the prayers and witness of so many lay people. Do remember me in your prayers in the weeks and months to come. I extend to you every good wish and blessing.”
We offer Bishop Pat our sincere thanks and love as he moves into a new expression and pace of ministry. We very much look forward to him continuing to be part of the life of the Archdiocese and assure him of our heartfelt prayers and support.
+ John Wilson
Archbishop of Southwark
28 November 2020
We have now entered lockdown which, despite the strongest of representations from our bishops, means that public worship is now prohibited up to and including Wednesday 2 December 2020, which is the planned date for lockdown to come to an end. We earnestly hope to reopen for 10:00 Mass on Thursday 3 December 2020.
Commencing Monday 9 November 2020, the church will be open for private prayer only from 09:30 to 11:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. This is dependent upon the continued availability of stewards, without whom we shall be unable to open. Please note that you will need to complete a Track and Trace form when attending for private prayer.
If you would like to volunteer to be a steward, and if are able to help sanitise the church after each use, please contact the parish office. You must be aged 18 or over and not have symptoms of COVID, whether actual or suspected.
At least two Masses will be said each day, without a congregation present.
Confessions have also been cancelled until further notice.
The Parish Office is now closed until advised otherwise. However, Contact Forms, emails and voicemails will be accessed remotely, on an intermittent basis. All are kindly asked to wait patiently for a reply, where required. Please do not call at the presbytery without first contacting us, unless your need is urgent.
Please refer to our Home page for any future updates/changes.
Letter from Archbishop John concerning the proposed closure of churches for public worship as England faces a second national lockdown
The letter, published below, concerns the proposed closure of churches for public worship as England faces a second national lockdown. This is a communication for every Catholic to reflect and act upon in terms of asking our Government to be accountable and consider the wider spiritual well-being of its citizens.
Dear Father, Dear Deacon
The President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Cardinal Nichols, and the Vice-President, Archbishop McMahon, released a Statement responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement of further widespread restrictions in England beginning on Thursday 5 November. In that televised statement, there had been no formal announcement concerning Places of Worship; however, the guidance later published on the Government’s own website stated that places of worship will be required to end all acts of collective worship from that date, with the exception of funerals.
As has been made clear in the Bishops’ Statement, Faith communities have played, and continue to play, a vital role in offering support in diverse and essential ways to hundreds of thousands of people in all sections of the community, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised; and that this “critical service towards the common good of all is created and sustained by communal worship and prayer”.
For Catholics, loving our neighbour and loving God are realised perfectly in our celebration of the Eucharist, through which the Lord Jesus shares himself in his risen life. This is the loving mystery which we, as disciples of the Lord Jesus, take out in service to the world.
In order that we might do as the Lord has commanded, Catholics have acted with great care and responsibility in the way churches have reopened, thus enabling the essential worship of God to be celebrated in a safe and organised way.
As the President and Vice-President make clear in their statement, the Government has a profound responsibility to show why it has taken this particular decision to prohibit the public celebration of the Liturgy; to do otherwise, would risk losing the good-will and unity needed at this difficult time.
The draft legislation is due to be brought before Parliament on Monday 2 November. In this short timeframe I would urge all priests and deacons to encourage the faithful to raise this matter with their constituency MPs, asking that questions be raised in the House regarding the publication of the data which has driven this regrettable decision to cease public common worship.
With every blessing
Yours sincerely in Christ
Most Rev John Wilson
Archbishop of Southwark
Archbishop John Wilson has written a letter to the Clergy of Southwark for the Solemnity of All Saints, which he also wishes to share with the parishioners of the Diocese.
The Church’s senior tribunal, which handles all matter of the internal forum and indulgences, the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary, issued a decree on 22 October 2020 concerning the annual opportunity to gain indulgences for the souls in Purgatory in time of COVID.
It is summarised as follows:
We are happy to announce that the next course will run on Saturdays 14 & 21 November 2020 at 14:30 in the Retro Chapel.
Due to COVID restrictions, the course will be limited to four families, on a first come, first served basis.
Courses will then resume in January 2021, God willing. Please contact the Parish Office if you would like to join this two-session course.
The 12:00 Mass on Sunday 25 October is no longer a First Holy Communion Mass, and is open to all parishioners.
The 11:30 Mass on Sunday 1 November, the Solemnity of All Saints, is open to all parishioners.
The 12:00 Masses on Sundays 8, 15 & 22 November is closed to parishioners whilst our Confirmation Masses take place.
The 11:30 Mass will resume as normal on Sunday 29 November, the First Sunday of Advent.
The obligation to attend Mass on Sundays remains suspended.
World Mission Sunday takes place on the weekend of 17/18 October 2020.
In the absence of envelopes, you are kindly asked to make your donation via the MISSIO web site: https://missio.org.uk/donate/?donation=4
We have a proud record of raising funds for MISSIO, though we understand that during COVID, all charities have been severely affected, and this may not be possible. Please give what you can. You may also Gift Aid your donations online.
To all MISSIO Boxholders and Promoters, we advise that COVID has also affected the collection, emptying and return of boxes. We trust that next year this will not be repeated. In the meantime, if you are able, you may donate online via the MISSIO web site: https://missio.org.uk/donate/.
You may also Gift Aid your online donations. Bank transfers and cheques may also be used. The Parish Reference for St Bartholomew’s is: SOU 103. Our collection for 2019 came to £5137.40. Thank you so much for your great generosity. In the meantime, magazines have been distributed to you all. Please see the back page of your magazines for more information on how to donate.
This week our parish is marking CAFOD’s Family Fast Day to help people facing the worst of the coronavirus crisis. We’ve all felt the impact of this terrible disease – let’s come together to help the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world survive, rebuild and heal. Please pray for all those affected and donate online at cafod.org.uk/give or by using one of the envelopes. You can also give easily via text. Text CAFOD to 70085 to donate £10.
Harvest Fast Day Appeal
We all watched in trepidation as Covid-19 spread like a wave towards us. None of us knew what to expect and we inevitably became introspective, seeking to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our friends. The daily news only seemed to talk about Covid-19; we bought up toilet paper, pasta and flour.
What we have forgotten is that other people around the world have other worries as well as the fear of the global contagion.
These are only two areas of the world that need your help
It is no exaggeration that Every Penny Counts. Please give what you can. Thank you so very much.
Please note that First Holy Communion Masses will be held as below, and parishioners are respectfully requested not to attend. These Masses will be for First Communicants and their families only. This means that the 11:30 Mass on Sundays is cancelled until further notice and will be reinstated later in the year.
Please also bear in mind that the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays remains suspended.
Commencing this Saturday 4 October and Sunday 5 October, First Holy Communion Masses will take place at 12 Noon on both days. They will continue each weekend on the same basis up to and including Sunday 25th October.
Please await news regarding Confirmations.
Explore three wonderful high-resolution images, taken at a Marriage celebrated at St. Bartholomew's in October 1957, that have been added to our Church History page.