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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

READ THE PARISH NEWSLETTER HERE

We are looking to cut parish costs by reducing the number of newsletters printed on paper each week. The newsletter is always available online (from the Friday before each Sunday), and each one stays online for several months for archive purposes.

Would you be interested in having a link to the newsletter emailed to you each week? You would receive it late afternoon each Friday, find out what’s going on nice and early, and you won’t need to take a paper copy at Massthough there will always be paper copies for those who want them.

Please let us know what you think about these ideas, and tell us how the newsletter shows up on your device. Contact us here.

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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.

Read about the EVANGELISATION STRATEGY GROUP here.

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The Parish Accounts for 2015 have just been prepared: you can look at them here:

Parish Annual Accounts for 2015

6th Sunday of Easter: 1st May

Revelation St John

 

In the spirit, the angel took me to the top of an enormous high mountain and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down from God out of heaven. It had all the radiant glory of God and glittered like some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond. The walls of it were of a great height, and had twelve gates; at each of the twelve gates there was an angel, and over the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel; on the east there were three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. The city walls stood on twelve foundation stones, each one of which bore the name of one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Book of the Apocalypse, Chapter 21

Picture of the Revelation of St John is 18th Century Venetian, and comes from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Used with their kind permission.

 

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Canon Paul writes: Next Sunday we shall celebrate the Ascension of Jesus or, as he describes it to Mary of Magdala, his return or ascension to his Father.  As we reflect upon this departure of Jesus, he invites us a number of times in St. John’s  Gospel to “remain in his love”.               Perhaps he repeats it because of its importance.  Unless we remain in the love of Jesus, we cannot be true to our mission which is to bring his love, in a tangible and recognisable form, to those with whom we share our lives. So how are we to remain in his love?

Remaining in his love is certainly to be found in regular and generous daily prayer and the challenge is constantly to review and to develop our practice and style of prayer.

Remaining in his love is assured by our weekly celebration of Sunday Mass.  The Liturgy of the Word gives us an opportunity to hear Jesus speak to our hearts and the Liturgy of the Eucharist is the sacred moment when we join Jesus in his eternal act of praise and thanks to the Father, his eternal act of sacrifice in fact.  It is also the time when Jesus could not be closer to us as we eat and drink his body and blood.  Pope Francis says in Amoris Laetitia “The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak”.  (Paragraph 304)

Remaining in his love is to rejoice in being chosen “to bear much fruit, fruit that will last”.  Jesus tells us that we bear fruit by being part of the vine. That is why it is so important to live the kind of love that Jesus has for us and to allow that love to be shown in our own relationships with our fellow Catholics.  We are called to build up the Body of Christ and we do that through love.  Keep the dates of the Parish Mission free between the 25th June and 10th July so that we can come together and be renewed in our efforts to build up the Church, which is the Body of Christ, in our part of the world.   PJT

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Today

Aid to the Church in Need appeal:  At a time when the very existence of Christianity in the Middle East is under threat from ISIS and other terrorist groups, Nicholas Fogg, Diocesan           Secretary of this Papal Charity, and Peter McManus, Chairman of the Winchester Refugee core group, will speak at Masses over this weekend about the work of ACN in response to this            heart-rending humanitarian crisis, which is widely considered to rank as genocide.

Flowers at St Gregory’s have been donated by Mary Talbot in memory of her daughters Valda and Alison O’Boyle.

Cake Sale at St. Gregory’s after Mass today.  Please be generous in your support.

This Week

Monday 2nd May is a Bank Holiday.  Mass in St. Peter’s is at 10.00am.

Monday 2nd May – The Monday Mover’s Session has been cancelled.

Wednesday 4th May – Senior Citizens Lunch Club has unfortunately been cancelled.

Thursday 5th May – There will be a Mass in German at 10.30am in St. Peter’s.  All parishioners are welcome.

Thursday 5th for another 5 weeks – SYCAMORE.  This Thursday we continue with an evening on the theme ‘Does God Exist?’  You are welcome to join us starting with a meal at 7.00pm.

Friday 6th May – Mass at Weeke has been cancelled.

Friday 6th May – CAFOD Soup Lunch at 12.15pm in the Pastoral Centre.  Please do support.

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Praying the Rosary during the month of May

You are most welcome to join in Praying the Rosary during the month of May.  In the coming week the Rosary will be held in a number of parishioners’ homes.  If you want more details contact Sr. Jiji on sisterjiji11@gmail.com , or make contact via the website.

 

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Job Vacancies in Hampshire Downs

Parish Finance and Administration Manager part time,  25 hours per week, £25,000 pro rata, closing date 9th May.  See details here (or scroll down to find them).

Youth Ministry Development Worker full time (or part time by negotiation), £22,000, closing date 23rd May.

We want a person who can both deliver youth ministry activities and recruit/support volunteers for this ministry in the parish. You will need to be able to work with young people of secondary school age and above, devise young leaders’ programmes and support adult volunteers.

More details here Advert Youth Ministry March 2016 and here Job description – youth ministry.

Application form for both posts here.

Details of both these permanent jobs are available on the Diocesan website.

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Bishop Philip has written a pastoral letter about the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia

you can read it here.

Scroll down or click here to see a video of Bishop Peter Doyle talking about the document, and to find links to the full text and a summary of Amoris Laetitia.

 

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One Minute Guide to the Death Penalty

—The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has produced a document with this name, and is calling for us to write to our MPs, in line with the  Pope’s call for global abolition of the death penalty in the year of Divine Mercy.

See the excellent, short infographic here. (It really does take only a minute to read.)

 

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Fifth Sunday of Easter: 24th April

Christ the King Lew smalller (2)

 

 

Jesus said ‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified, and in him God has been glorified. If God has been glorified in him, God will in turn glorify him in himself, and will glorify him very soon.

‘My little children, I shall not be with you much longer. I give you a new commandment: love one another; just as I have loved you, you also must love one another. By this love you have for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples.’ John chapter 13

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Canon Paul writes: In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks of his return to the Father which we will soon celebrate and honour as his Ascension into heaven.  We know that his return to the Father does not leave us alone because we have received the Holy Spirit.  So Jesus says those words written on the hearts of all his followers that others will know we are disciples because of the love we have for one  another.

It is that mutual love and respect which must guide everything we do and are and it is why I would like to mention two particular projects that are underway.  The first is the Parish  Mission which will begin on the 25th June and end on the 10th July.  We had a  meeting this week of all the volunteers and their enthusiasm and energy indicated to me that the Mission will be a great opportunity for this parish in terms of renewal and realignment to our fundamental mission which Jesus describes in today’s Gospel from St. John.  Anyone who would like to contribute to the organisation of the Mission, including young people, should contact me at  canonpaul@stpeterswinchester.org.uk  or via the website.

The Parish Mission connects with the other initiative which is also well underway.  This one is longer term and is called the Neighbourhood Groups Project.  It is being coordinated by  Sandra Drower and aims at identifying and supporting the local groups of Catholics who live in the many different parts of this parish.  My hope is that local groups of  Catholics will be recognisable by mutual love and respect and will be willing and able to extend a hand of welcome and friendship to others in their district.  This would  include Catholics who are new to the area, those who are searching for membership of the Church, those in need and those who perhaps have fallen away from regular and  committed practice of the faith.

I would like to thank everyone who is involved in these projects and in all the various  initiatives that grace the life of this Parish of Hampshire Downs and its four churches.   PJT

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Job Vacancies in Hampshire Downs

Parish Finance and Administration Manager part time,  25 hours per week, £25,000 pro rata, closing date 9th May.  See details here (or scroll down to find them).

Youth Ministry Development Worker full time (or part time by negotiation), £22,000, closing date 23rd May.

We want a person who can both deliver youth ministry activities and recruit/support volunteers for this ministry in the parish. You will need to be able to work with young people of secondary school age and above, devise young leaders’ programmes and support adult volunteers.

More details here Advert Youth Ministry March 2016 and here Job description – youth ministry.

Application form for both posts here.

Details of both these permanent jobs are available on the Diocesan website.

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Today 

There will be a retiring collection at all Masses today for the Ukraine.  This is an Apostolic Initiative.

There will be a talk to promote the Catholic Association Pilgrimage to Lourdes at all Masses in St. Peter’s and at the 9.15am Mass in St. Stephen’s today.

The Lord’s Flock Charismatic Community are holding a prayer meeting from 2.00-4.00pm today in the Pastoral Centre.  More information call Liza Franco 07462 341917.

This Week 

Thursday 28th April  for another 6 weeks –   SYCAMORE.  This Thursday we continue with an evening on the theme ‘Does God Exist?’  You are welcome to join us starting with a meal at 7.00pm.

Saturday 30th April  – A day of enrichment for  experienced Roman Catholic Pastoral visitors will be held in the Discovery Centre, Portsmouth Cathedral from 9.00am to 1.00pm.  This is suitable for those visiting/ taking Holy communion to people in hospital, nursing and residential homes and in their own homes.  Contact: Sr. Mary Frances.

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Bishop Philip has written a pastoral letter about the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia

you can read it here.

Scroll down or click here to see a video of Bishop Peter Doyle talking about the document, and to find links to the full text and a summary of Amoris Laetitia.

 

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One Minute Guide to the Death Penalty

—The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has produced a document with this name, and is calling for us to write to our MPs, in line with the  Pope’s call for global abolition of the death penalty in the year of Divine Mercy.

See the excellent, short infographic here. (It really does take only a minute to read.)

 

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Fourth Sunday of Easter: 17th April

Good shepherd walters

 

Jesus said: ‘The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice;  I know them and they follow me.  I give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from me. The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone, and no one can steal from the Father.  The Father and I are one.’  John Chapter 10

picture of a carving of  the Good Shepherd courtesy of the Walter’s Art Museum Baltimore.

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Canon Paul writes:     This Sunday, the 17th April, is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.  On this day 1.3 billion Catholics throughout the world will be praying for the same thing, “Lord, send us more priests, sisters and brothers”. Since 1963, the Holy Father has set aside the Fourth Sunday of Easter, when the Gospel is about Jesus the Good Shepherd, as a day of intercession for  vocations.  As we pray that men and women will hear the Lord’s call we must do all we can in our communities and families to engender a  positive approach to encouraging them to offer themselves for the appropriate ministry.  The Church in this country is in urgent need of more men and women  religious and deacons and priests.

On a personal note, I can testify to the fact that being a priest, which I have been for 32 years, is a fulfilling and happy life.  It is  totally engaging and provides plenty of   evidence that the Lord really is the ‘Good Shepherd’ guiding each of us gently and courteously on life’s journey.  As I have said so often before, I do hope that this parish will produce candidates for the  diocesan priesthood.  Should anyone wish to speak to one of us priests about our vocation, we would be delighted to oblige.  At the moment we have 12 candidates for ordination for this Diocese and two are attending the selection conference this year.  Let us hope that someone from this parish will apply soon.

The retiring collection today will form our contribution to the Clergy Training Fund for this diocese.  Each student for the priesthood costs in the region of £25,000.  Let us all find time today to pray that many will respond to the Lord’s call.  Here is the prayer that we recommend:
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 young 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 the sacraments. We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

PJT

 

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JOB OPPORTUNITY IN THE PARISH

Parish Finance and Administration Manager

Part time position – 25 hours (reduced hours subject to negotiation), Salary £25,000 pa pro rata

Do you have the gifts and commitment to lead a busy parish office and manage a large parish budget?

We want a person who can provide an efficient and effective finance and administrative operation at the same time as playing a major part in supporting the parish in its Mission with a welcoming and friendly service.

You will need to

  • Manage office staff and continue to develop the office into an outward facing service that supports parish Mission
  • develop and maintain financial systems, including income, expenditure, control, and procurement
  • produce different styles of reports for the Finance and Property Committee, the Parish Priest, the Diocese, and the parish
  • Support volunteers and manage secure cash handling
  • work collaboratively with the Facilities Manager and other parish staff and volunteers as well as on your own initiative
  • problem solve issues that arise with new projects and work to fixed deadlines
  • Manage tenants queries, letting agents and associated certification procedures
  • Comply with Gift Aid and other HMRC regulatory frameworks

Based at St Peter’s Pastoral Centre with occasional weekend and evening meetings.

You will have extensive experience of financial systems and processes (income and expenditure) and be comfortable with procurement budgets of above £100,000 and turnover of above £500,000. Sage certification and experience is essential as is good levels of operation of MS Office applications. Experience of staff supervision is also essential. Previous experience of customer care/public service and production of outward facing public reports is desirable.

For more info see detailed role description here. Application form is here – to be returned to Canon Paul Townsend.

Closing Date: 9th May 2016    Interviews 20th May 2016

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This Week

Monday 18th April – The Ascent Group meet from 2.15 to 3.30pm in St. Gregory Room in the Pastoral Centre.

Thursday 21st April  & for another 7 weeks – SYCAMORE.  We had a good start last Thursday with the first evening together.   This Thursday we continue with an evening on the theme ‘Does God Exist?’  You are welcome to join us starting with a meal at 7.00pm.

Thursday 21st April – Catholic Women’s League   members meet from 4.30 to 6.30pm in the Pastoral Centre. A speaker from Women’s Refuge will speak at approximately 5.30pm.  A welcome to all ladies.

Friday 22nd April – Charity Soup Lunch organised by the Catholic Women’s League in the Pastoral Centre from 12.30pm.  Please do come and support.

Next Weekend Sunday 24th April – The Lord’s Flock Charismatic Community are holding a prayer meeting from 2.004.00pm in the Pastoral Centre.  For more information call Liza Franco 07462 341917.  (There will be a meeting every last Sunday of the month)

Hampshire Downs Charity Appeals Group.  Do help yourself to a copy of their report on Charitable Giving from Advent 2015 to Easter 2016 which can be found at the back of all churches.

 

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Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia

For details of this document  – including a link to the full text and a video of Bishop Peter Doyle talking about it – either scroll down the page, or click here.

 

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THE PARISH  MISSION

JUNE 25TH – JULY 10TH 2016

Mission logo small

The prayer team has composed a beautiful mission prayer.  Please say our prayer daily for the success of the mission:

Father we praise you for your great love and compassion. Send your Holy Spirit to renew our hearts so that by your grace we may be filled with love for you and for our neighbours. Show us the path of life and the fullness of joy in your presence. Unite us in our faith in our knowledge of your Son and in works of service, so that together we may build up the Body of Christ. Glory be to You from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever.

Amen

Our Lady, Help of Christians: Pray for us!

St. Peter: Pray for us!

St Stephen: Pray for us!

St Gregory: Pray for us!

St Thomas More: Pray for us!

We appreciate the many people who have volunteered to assist in the mission. If you would like to volunteer or would like further information, please contact either Wini Meikle, wameikle@yahoo.co.uk or Imelda Weingart-West ,  imelda.weingart@europe.com, or contact via website.

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Amoris Laetitia

Amoris Laetitia

‘The Joy of Love’ is the 2016 post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation “on Love in the Family”. It brings together the results of the two Synods on the family convoked by Pope Francis in 2014 and 2015.

Bishop Peter Doyle – well known to us here, formerly Parish Priest at St Peter’s, now Bishop of Northampton – was one of the UK delegates to the Synod. In the clip above, he gives a most helpful, informative and illuminating summary of Amoris Laetitia. Canon Paul strongly recommends that we should all listen to his words.

There is much more information on the document on the Catholic Bishops’ website, and see also the item below in Sunday’s post.

And here are important links:

Amoris Laetitia: The Joy of Love – the document in full

Summary: Amoris Laetitia

Q & A: Amoris Laetitia

 

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Wednesday 13th April- Catholicism: A Vast Company of Witnesses.

The story of the Church is told in the examples of those men and women who dedicated their lives to knowing and serving Jesus Christ. Robert Barron considers some great examples: Katharine Drexel, Therese of Lisieux, Edith Stein and Mother Theresa

7.30-9.30 Parish Centre

contact parishstudies@gmail.com if you want to know more.

You are welcome to come and drop in to any of these sessions.

We hope to see you then!

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Third Sunday of Easter: 10th April

Christ appears at lake tiberias WAM

Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.

It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.

As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead. John 21

Picture from the Walters Art Museum, used with their kind permission. This page from Walters manuscript W.106 depicts Christ Appears at Lake Tiberias. Walters manuscript W.106 is an exquisite volume comprising twenty-four leaves of Bible Pictures by W. de Brailes, an English artist active in Oxford in the middle of the 13th century.

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Canon Paul writes:

As Simon Peter steps ashore after the miraculous catch of fish, which St. John describes in today’s Gospel, I imagine that he would have been the first to spot the charcoal fire with fish cooking on it.  Perhaps it was the smell of cooking fish blowing out to sea that made him feel ready for some breakfast and brought the fire to his attention, but for Peter, there would have been a greater significance.

The fire would have reminded Peter of another charcoal fire in Jerusalem at the palace of Caiaphas where Jesus was being questioned the night before he died. The servants, the guards and Peter were warming themselves as it was a cold night. When asked by a servant if he was a disciple of Jesus, he denied it and the cock crew, as Jesus said it would.

Now Peter emerges from complete denial to an act of faith in Jesus as his risen Lord. In the journey from Jerusalem to Galilee and his experience of the death and resurrection of Jesus he has repented and can now enter into a relationship of love with Jesus which, as evidenced by the miraculous catch, will bring his weak and puny efforts to abundance and glory. As he confesses his love for Jesus his life is brought to the possibility of fulfilment and he is commissioned to continue the Lord’s work.

Today’s Gospel invites us all to continue our own journey into a deeper and deeper love for Jesus. Our own denial of him in sinfulness will give way, through repentance, to an experience of his love which will bring peace and an abundance of goodness which we cannot achieve by our own efforts.   PJT

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Today – Sunday 10th April

Monthly Mass in the Extraordinary Form will be at 12:15, in St Peter’s Winchester. Afterwards, all Clergy, Parish Staff and Parishioners are invited to Afternoon Tea at the nearby Winchester Royal Hotel, Lounge Area.

This Week

Monday 11th April – Fr. Tom will be holding an open follow-up meeting at 7.00pm to reflect on the Holy Week ceremonies at St. Gregory’s Pastoral Hall.

Wednesday 13th AprilCatholicism: A Vast Company of Witnesses.  The story of the Church is told in the examples of those men and women who dedicated their lives to knowing and serving Jesus Christ. Robert Barron considers some great examples:  Katharine Drexel, Therese of Lisieux, Edith Stein and Mother Theresa. 7.30-9.30pm in the Pastoral Centre.  Contact:    parishstudies@gmail.com if you want to know more.

Wednesday, 13th AprilCalling all parish singers and musicians – All parish singers and musicians who would like to be involved in the music for the Parish  Mission will meet in St. Peter’s Church at 7.30pm.  All singers and musicians welcome.

Thursday, 14th AprilPie Club will be happening in the Pastoral Centre from 12.45 – 2.30ish.  Two course home-cooked meal – a pie, and then proper pudding with custard, with vegetarian and GF options. Great food, great company & conversation, and a talk afterwards.  This is a drop-in event – all are welcome. Come along and see what we get up to….  Contact Moira moirar@msn.com with any questions or special requests.

Thursday, 14th April Ecumenical Prayer for Christians and other minorities in the Middle East – Monthly Prayers for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, with a particular focus on the sufferings of Christians and other minorities. April’s theme will be Israel/Palestine. Resources for reflection and prayer will be available. Prayer will be in the Lady Chapel in St Peter’s from 6.00 to 6.45pm. All are very welcome to join in solidarity with those suffering in these continuing conflicts – it is always very encouraging to welcome new people! Our Reflections and Prayers for the previous year are still available in booklet form. We ask for donations for this to go to a Charity such as ‘Aid to the Church in Need’ or ‘Embrace the Middle East’.

Thursday 14th April for 8 weeks – SYCAMORE How can I find true happiness? What is the meaning of life? Does God exist? Who is Jesus Christ? Come join us on an 8 week course using videos dealing with topics such as the Holy Spirit, the Church, the Bible, the Christian Tradition, faith, prayer, love, vocation, and the purpose of life. In the Pastoral Centre commencing with a meal at  7.00pm and will be finished by 9.00pm. Share your own ideas and questions without fear of being judged. If you haven’t been to church for a while, or want to find out more, please do come along.

Saturday 16th April: All Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are invited to attend a morning with Fr. Tom in the Pastoral Centre . The morning will begin after 9.00am Mass and will conclude by lunchtime. There will be ample time for tea/coffee  during the morning. Please let Gillian Barry know by Monday April 11th if you are able to attend. Contact us

Sunday 17th April  – Breakfast and Elevenses – Take the opportunity to meet your fellow Mass-goers with Bacon Butties after the 8.00am Mass and butties, buns & cake after the 10.30am Mass (when there will also be a cake sale). Suggested donation is only £1.00. This is being organised jointly between the Evangelisation Strategy Group and The Catholic Women’s League.

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 London Marathon 2016

Parishioner Laura Pellegrini writes: Alongside my studies, I enjoy working in jobs where I can put principles of my faith into practice by working to help and support people. One of these jobs is working for a charity called SOVA who help rehabilitate offenders and get them back on the straight and narrow, as well as making communities safer. This year, I have chosen to run the London Marathon 2016 for them in order to help them with their much needed fundraising. Please support Laura and SOVA by donating towards the cause.

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Amoris Laetitia – The Joy of Love

Bishop Peter Doyle of Nottingham praised Pope Francis’ realism about peoples’ situations and “his emphasis on inclusion rather than exclusion” in his just-released post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the family, ‘Amoris Laetitia’. Bishop Doyle was one of two British prelates representing England and Wales at the 2015 Synod on the Family in the Vatican.  He is also the chair of the Marriage and Family Life Committee for the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales. Listen to the interview with Bishop Peter Doyle of Nottingham on Vatican Radio.

Read the full document and a helpful summary of Amoris Laetitia on the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales website.

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Divine Mercy Sunday – Second Sunday of Easter: 3rd April

Doubting Thomas NGA

In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.

‘As the Father sent me,

so am I sending you.’

After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit.

For those whose sins you forgive,

they are forgiven;

for those whose sins you retain,

they are retained.’

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’

Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him:

‘You believe because you can see me.

Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’

John 20

The picture is a woodcut of Doubting Thomas, by Albrecht Dürer, courtesy of the NGA in Washington.
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Canon Paul writes:

As we celebrate the ‘Divine Mercy’ today, we are offered that vision of the early Christian community filled with the Holy Spirit.  In the words of St. John in the second reading, the Spirit possessed them.  The gift of the Spirit, following the resurrection of Jesus, was not a private possession to be kept secret. The Holy Spirit is a gift to the Church which is the Body of the risen Lord. And that is why, in the Acts of the Apostles, “many signs and wonders were worked among the people”.  Those signs and wonders were works of healing. They made present and recognizable the peace and healing which is Jesus’s Easter gift and which we hear described in today’s Gospel from St. John.

The peace which Jesus gives twice and so lavishly is far more than freedom from war. It includes that but goes much further and deeper. The peace of Christ is about well being and flourishing at every level of human life.  It means peace in mind, heart and body. It means growing in the image of Christ.  It means becoming what God created us to become. It means pouring the love of the risen Lord into our own relationships no matter how challenging they may be. It means being radically generous and respectful to the poor, to refugees and exiles, to those with additional needs and to the gift of creation  itself. The peace of Christ our risen Lord challenges us to become a community of disciples known for our unity, our forgiveness and our ability to create harmony and collaboration out of the variety of our separate giftedness and personal difference.

To receive the mercy of God, which we celebrate today, commits us to becoming visible and tangible instruments of that mercy in our world. PJT

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This Week

Monday 4th AprilWinchester Catholic History Group.  Dr. Stephen Morgan, St. Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford, will be talking on ’A monk at Vatican II – Christopher Butler’s Letters and Diaries’. 7.30pm in the Pastoral Centre.

Wednesday 6th April –  Senior Citizens Lunch Club – meet for 12.15pm Mass and then afterwards for lunch in the Pastoral Centre.

Thursday 7th April Justice & Peace Group meet at 7.45pm in the Pastoral Centre following evening Mass.  All parishioners are welcome.

Friday 8th AprilCAFOD Soup Lunch at 12.15pm in the Pastoral  Centre.  Do please support.

Sat 9th AprilYouthCat – 10.00am-12.00 noon in the Pastoral Centre.  Children in Yrs 4, 5 & 6 are welcome to join the fun activities at this month’s YouthCat session with the focus on The Mass.  YouthCat children who are now in Yr7 are very welcome to come along as Young Leaders or to get involved in their own discussion group. For more information head to youthstuff@hotmail.co.uk

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Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible –
a Jeff Cavins course

A special one day course ‘Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible’ is being held in Winchester. This DVD series presents a very simple way to access the narrative story of the Bible and place all the other books in relation to this narrative. All the books are un-jumbled and the story emerges. Jeff Cavins is a wonderful teacher with great insights. (He also has a great sense of humour!)

A young couple were so inspired by these Ascension Press Bible Study courses they bought them all. ‘Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible’ sets the scene for the other courses which could be borrowed for further study.

We hope you will join us for this race through the course in a day and that you might take this study or others to your parish. We look forward to welcoming you on Saturday 7th May at the Pastoral Centre next to St Peter’s Church, Jewry Street, Winchester from 9.00am-4.30pm. Please e-mail to book a place and for more details.

More information about the courses can be found on the Formation for Mission page of the Portsmouth Diocesan website.

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Basingstoke Choral Society, Dvořák Stabat Mater

Saturday, 16th April in Winchester Cathedral

One of the most moving versions in the repertoire, this heart-stopping and sensuous Stabat Mater will feature a choir of 230 singers in the impressive setting of Winchester Cathedral. With four professional soloists and the New London Sinfonia conducted by Musical Director David Gibson, this will be a concert of ravishing music in a sublime setting. Tickets: call 01962 857275 or www.tickets.winchester-cathedral.org.uk

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Feast of Divine Mercy

Today, together with millions of Catholics throughout the world, we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. The Feast of Divine Mercy was established by Pope John Paul II in 2000 during the canonisation of St. Faustina in Rome. By this declaration, Pope John Paul II fulfilled Our Lord’s request that the Sunday after Easter should be known as Divine  Mercy Sunday. The image of The Divine Mercy shows Our Lord as He appeared to Sister Faustina in 1932. Jesus asked that His image should be solemnly blessed and venerated and that everyone should have access to it. Today, at 3.00pm, Canon Paul will lead us in honour of the Feast of Divine Mercy.

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