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Welcome to the Parish of Hampshire Downs

– combining the churches of St Peter and St Stephen in Winchester, St Gregory in Alresford, and St Thomas More in Stockbridge

We hope that members of the Parish can use the site to get information and updates about the life of the community, and that visitors can learn about us. Please explore the wepages using the tabs above,

We are part of the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth and unite four worshipping communities – St Gregory the Great, Alresford; St Thomas More, Stockbridge; and St Peter’s and St Stephen’s, both in Winchester. Do come and join us, or please contact us if you need further information or if we can help or support you in any way.

Palm Sunday 29th March

Palm Sunday Walters

And those who went in front and those who followed were all shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessings on the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heavens!’ Mark Chapter 11

Image of a late 15th century altarpiece by Bernhard Strigel, Walters Art Museum Baltimore.

You can just see a picture of the Last Supper in the top right-hand corner.

Palm Sunday

Canon Paul writes:

Our Mass today begins with the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem to celebrate his Passover and our ‘passing over’ into eternal life. We then process with him singing “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” waving our palm branches.

The celebration of Palm Sunday begins Holy Week during which we celebrate Christ’s ‘Passover’ or, as the liturgy describes it, the ‘Paschal Mystery’. The Paschal Mystery is the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus which is at the heart of our worship and prayer and which is truly present to us in the celebration of the Mass.

We celebrate the Paschal Mystery as a single act of worship in the Sacred Paschal Triduum which is the highpoint of the Church’s year. This begins on Holy Thursday at 7.30pm with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. It continues into the fasting and abstinence of Good Friday and the celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3.00pm. The silence and prayer of Good Friday evening and Holy Saturday bring the Triduum to its glorious completion as Jesus is proclaimed the light of the world and the risen one at the Easter Vigil. Only then do we renew our baptismal commitment and welcome those who will be received into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church and those to be confirmed. Please do all you can to come together for the whole celebration of the Sacred Triduum.


Don’t forget the PENITENTIAL LITURGY  on  

Monday  30th March at 7.30pm in St. Peter’s

All the Holy Week services are listed below – click on the image to enlarge it.


Holy week liturgies 15


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Saint of the Week – St Teresa of Avila

500th Anniversary of her birth Saturday 28th March

Teresa lived in an age of exploration as well as political, social and religious upheaval. It was the 16th century, a time of turmoil and reform. She was born before the Protestant Reformation and died almost 20 years after the closing of the Council of Trent.

The gift of God to Teresa in and through which she became holy and left her mark on the Church and the world is threefold: She was a woman; she was a contemplative; she was an active reformer.

St Teresa of Avila 2

As a woman, Teresa stood on her own two feet, even in the man’s world of her time. She was “her own woman,” entering the Carmelites despite strong opposition from her father. She is a person wrapped not so much in silence as in mystery. Beautiful, talented, outgoing, adaptable, affectionate, courageous, enthusiastic, she was totally human. Like Jesus, she was a mystery of paradoxes: wise, yet practical; intelligent, yet much in tune with her experience; a mystic, yet an energetic reformer.

Her ongoing conversion was an arduous lifelong struggle, involving ongoing suffering. She was misunderstood, misjudged, opposed in her efforts at reform. And in the midst of all this she clung to God in life and in prayer. Her writings on prayer and contemplation are drawn from her experience: powerful, practical and graceful.

Though a contemplative, she spent much of her time and energy seeking to reform herself and the Carmelites, to lead them back to the full observance of the primitive Rule. She travelled, wrote, fought—always to renew, to reform. In her self, in her prayer, in her life, in her efforts to reform, in all the people she touched, she was a woman for others, a woman who inspired and gave life.

Her writings, especially the Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle, have helped generations of believers. Teresa knew well the continued presence and value of suffering (physical illness, opposition to reform, difficulties in prayer), but she grew to be able to embrace suffering, even desire it: “Lord, either to suffer or to die.” Toward the end of her life she exclaimed: “Oh, my Lord! How true it is that whoever works for you is paid in troubles! And what a precious price to those who love you if we understand its value.”

In 1970, the Church gave her the title: Doctor of the Church. She and St. Catherine of Siena were the first women so honoured.


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Part of the feedback from last year’s planned giving campaign was that Parishioners wanted to know more about Parish finance. So the details of the 2014 annual accounts are available in church on paper, and here on the website, along with an explanatory letter from Canon Paul.


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5th Sunday of Lent: 22nd March

Parable of sowerNow the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you, most solemnly, unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest. JOHN chapter 12

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Canon Paul writes:

This weekend we reach a significant moment in our journey, and I mean our Lenten journey and life’s journey. As Jesus says to us today “Now the hour has come”. In other words the crucial moment has arrived. Crucial and significant because the event we are preparing to enter and celebrate is right at the heart of creation. As physicists talk of the ‘Big Bang’ and the vast amount of ‘Dark Matter’ those mysteries pale into insignificance compared with what Jesus is talking about.

Today we begin our spiritual preparation for the death and resurrection of Jesus. As we shall discover in the next weeks, with the resurrection of Jesus, who is divine and human, every fragment of creation is transformed and made new. As Jesus rises into the life of God he completes God’s work of creation giving all of us the promise of a share in the life of God.

All this is brought into the reality of our lives as we celebrate the Easter Triduum. Beginning on Holy Thursday evening, continuing through the fast and celebration of Good Friday and coming to completion at the Vigil and First Mass of Easter, we enter into the Lord’s ‘hour’ in a way that is real, true and of absolute and limitless significance for creation and for humanity. Please make the Easter Triduum your highest priority.




All the penitential liturgies and the Holy Week services are listed here.

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Saint of the Week: St Joseph, husband of Mary

Feast day March 19thSt Joseph

Saint Joseph with the Infant Jesus by Guido Reni, c 1635 The Hermitage St Petersburg


St. Joseph has two feast days in the liturgical calendar. The first is March 19—Joseph, the Husband of Mary. The second is May 1—Joseph, the Worker.

“Saint Joseph is a man of great spirit. He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God,” Pope John Paul II

There is very little about the life of Joseph in Scripture but we know that he was the husband of Mary, the foster father of Jesus. He was a carpenter and although not wealthy, probably worked in the building of Roman settlements in Galilee. We also know that he came from the royal lineage of King David. We can see from his actions in scripture that Joseph was a compassionate man, and obedient to the will of God. He also loved Mary and Jesus and wanted to protect and provide for them. Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus’ public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph had probably died before Jesus entered public ministry.

Joseph is the patron of the universal Church, fathers, the dying and social justice. St. Joseph’s Day is a big Feast for Italians because in the Middle Ages, God, through St. Joseph’s intercessions, saved the Sicilians from a very serious drought. So in his honour, the custom is for all to wear red, in the same way that green is worn on St. Patrick’s Day.


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THE DIOCESE OF PORTSMOUTH has issued an update on the LIVING OUR FAITH programme -

you can read it in full here.



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4th Sunday of Lent: 15th March


Light of the world 1


And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, for fear his actions should be exposed; but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light, so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.’  John Chapter 3

Photograph of the lamp in St Peter’s Church by Joe Low


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All the penitential liturgies and the Holy Week services are listed here.

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St Patrick 2

Saint of the week: St Patrick

Feast day 17th March


Much of what is known about Saint Patrick comes from the Declaration (Confession), which was allegedly written by Patrick himself. It is believed that he was born in Roman Britain in the fifth century, into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. According to the Confession, at the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Gaelic Ireland. Patrick writes in The Confession that the time he spent in captivity was critical to his spiritual development. He explains that the Lord had mercy on his youth and ignorance, and afforded him the opportunity to be forgiven of his sins and converted to Christianity. While in captivity, Saint Patrick worked as a shepherd and became fluent in the Irish language and culture. The Confession says that God told Patrick to flee to the coast, where a ship would be waiting to take him home. After making his way home, Patrick went on to become a priest.

Patrick returned to Ireland at Slane to convert the pagan and Druid Irish to Christianity. The Confession says that he spent forty years evangelising in Ireland, initially in the north and west, and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Tradition holds that he died on 17 March and was buried at Downpatrick. By the seventh century he had already come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

Saint Patrick’s feast day was already being celebrated by the Irish in Europe in the ninth and tenth centuries. In later times, he became more and more widely known as the patron of Ireland. Saint Patrick’s feast day was finally placed on the universal liturgical calendar in the Catholic Church due to the influence of Waterford-born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding in the early 1600s. Saint Patrick’s Day thus became a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics in Ireland. It is also a feast day in the Church of Ireland.


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Monthly Ecumenical Prayer Group for the Middle East –  March 19th 6.00 to 6.45pm

The next meeting  of our group is on Thursday March 19th when the focus will be on prayers for Lebanon, particularly for the large numbers of refugees who have sought shelter in that country from conflicts in Syria and Iraq.  As previously, we will meet in the Lady Chapel of St Peter’s Church from 6.00 to 6.45 pm with candles and images of this area of the Middle East as a key point on the altar to focus our prayer.

Please show solidarity for this initiative at a time when Middle Eastern Christians are appealing urgently for our support and solidarity.

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Bishops’ Letter on the General Election

The Bishops have released a letter addressed to Catholics across England and Wales about this year’s General Election. Over 500,000 copies of the letter have been sent to the parishes. The letter can be read in full here.



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3rd Sunday of Lent: 8th March




Moneychagers Temple


Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and in the Temple he found people selling cattle and sheep and pigeons, and the money changers sitting at their counters there. Making a whip out of some cord, he drove them all out of the Temple, cattle and sheep as well, scattered the money changers’ coins, knocked their tables over and said to the pigeon-sellers, ‘Take all this out of here and stop turning my Father’s house into a market.’ John Chapter 2

The picture is an early 18th century oil painting by Giuseppe Passeri, from the Walters Art Museum


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All the penitential liturgies and the Holy Week services are listed here.

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Pie Club

The next Pie Club will be held on THURSDAY 12TH FEBRUARY

We meet at 12.30 for 12.45 at the St Peter’s Pastoral Centre (next to the church) in Jewry St Winchester. The idea for the Pie Club is that it provides another opportunity for people to meet regularly (approximately monthly) to get to know each other and share interests and, of course, food. There is a two-course home-cooked lunch (featuring a pie, and pudding, and custard!) and then a talk, discussion or activity, with plenty of time for socializing too.

All are welcome. If you have any special food requirements it would help if you let us know in advance so we can make sure we cater for you.

For more info, contact   Marion, Moira and Sue via the Parish Office.

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2nd Sunday of Lent: 1st March






There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Mark Chapter 9

Image courtesy of the Walters Art Museum.


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Saint of the Week: St David

Feast Day: 1st March


St David

David was born towards the end of the 5th century. He founded a Celtic monastic community at Glyn Rhosyn on the western headland of Pembrokeshire. He was known as a teacher, and legend says that he was influential in the setting up of a number of monasteries in Wales, Brittany and possibly Ireland. He is associated with Glastonbury, although likely to be connected to the rededication of and extension to the abbey rather than the founding of it. He was Bishop of one of the ancient Welsh dioceses. He died at his monastery at Menevia around AD 589 and he was beatified by Pope Callistus II in 1120.

He is the patron saint of Wales and 1st March has been celebrated as the national day of Wales since the 12th century. For more information, click here.


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Encounter Youth Sessions for Lent

We are excited to be able to offer this great opportunity for our young people in Year 6 to Year 9 this Lent in the Parish Centre. Each week we’ll show a DVD with Mark Hart including sketches, stories and quizzes. A great faith encounter. Don’t miss out!!

Sunday afternoons 3.45-6.00pm on Sundays 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th March. £10 voluntary contribution for all materials. (Please let us know as soon as possible as we have to order books from USA). Contact  us via the website  or the Parish Office  to book.

Encounter poster image
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school logo

The Governors of St Peter’s Catholic School are seeking to appoint an outstanding Headteacher for September.  As a highly effective school of 394 pupils, we recognise the challenges success brings and wish to sustain the performance of the school, nurture and grow the spiritual and academic achievement and strengthen the school community.

For an application pack please email: eps-recruitment@hants.gov.uk

Closing Date for Applications 19th March 2015   Interview Dates: 20 – 21 April 2015

For more details click here.

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PRAYERS FOR THE MIDDLE EAST  are held in St Peter’s Church Winchester on the third Thursday of each month at 6.00pm. You can see the most recent prayer leaflet here and on the Prayer page.

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1st Sunday of Lent: 22nd February

temptation (2)


The Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness and he remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild beasts, and the angels looked after him.

Mark Chapter 1

The picture of the temptation of Christ is from the Missal of Eberhard von Greiffenklau, a masterpiece of Dutch manuscript painting from the mid 15th-century. Image from the Walters Art Museum, used with their kind permission.

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Canon Paul writes: Lent is a time to choose to enter that space where we encounter God and where he encounters us in a new way. It could be in works of charity, it could be in prayer and it could be in fasting and self-denial.

One such ‘space’ is the celebration of the Mass, which is why I have decided to continue the 6.30am Mass on Wednesdays during Lent in St. Peter’s. This celebration is offered so that as many people as possible can come to an extra Mass each week especially if they have commitments during the day. The Mass will be followed by coffee and croissants in the Pastoral Centre. If it is possible for you please consider making the Mass one of your Lenten priorities.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation: Opportunities for the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation are available throughout Lent. A priest is available for individual confession each Saturday at St. Peter’s between 11.30am and 12.30pm and between 4.30 and 5.00pm. Fr. Tom and I are also available for appointments outside these times. On Saturday 28th March, individual confession will be available in St. Peter’s from 9.30am until 12.30pm with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament throughout that time at the main Altar. The Family Penitential Liturgy will be on the same Saturday at 3.00pm with confession, and on Monday 30th March the Parish Penitential Liturgy will be celebrated at 7.30pm in St. Peter’s with individual confession. I have invited all the priests of the district to this liturgy.



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The Teen Timeline

If you are Y10-sixth form take a little time out in Lent to engage your mind, body and spirit.

Discuss what really matters in your life. We will be looking at what the Bible has to say and discussing questions like: What do you think God’s hope is for you? Do you believe there is a truth about life and about God that is bigger than your personal opinions? Do you trust God? and much more. Each week there is a DVD presentation by Mark Hart from the States ,who has worked with young people for many years. His style is easy, quite fast-paced, sometimes funny and relevant to you.

We start on Sunday 22nd February at 4.15 to 6pm at the Parish Centre. Please sign up for 8 weeks or let us know if you want to come to the first session to try it out. Or just turn up this Sunday.


Bible study poster


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The ‘Called and Gifted’ programme

is coming to Hampshire Downs 27th and 28th February. This is an exciting opportunity for personal discernment,  a  process of discovering your spiritual gifts for the church. The trained diocesan team will lead the workshop on living out our Christian life for the benefit of all through our gifts of the Holy Spirit. Please pray and reflect on whether you are being urged to do this. This could be a good reflection to start your Lenten journey.

For more details, scroll down, see here, or click to see leaflet.


Called and Gifted

Contact Liza Nahajski via Parish Office for more details or to book.


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