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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.

17th Sunday of the Year: 26th July

Feeding 5000

 

Jesus said to them, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.’ So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. John Chapter 6

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Canon Paul writes: For the next few Sundays, the Gospel reading will be taken from St. John Chapter 6. Once every three years we are given this opportunity to listen to this part of St. John’s Gospel, where he reflects on Jesus who is the ‘Bread of life’. Today, as Jesus and his disciples watch the crowds coming towards him, we are reminded that they are coming to be nourished by the gift which Jesus offers. That gift is the truth and light of his Word and the nourishment of his own Body and Blood which draws us deeper and deeper into his Body which is the Church. The people flock to him today and they represent humanity which is created to be united to Christ, to be nourished by his life, to abide in him and to give thanks with him to his Father.

So, in the Gospel today Jesus gives thanks to his Father. We join him in this thanksgiving each time we celebrate the Eucharist. In fact, thanksgiving is the meaning of the word Eucharist. Being members of his Body and giving joyful thanks with him to his Father is the reason for our existence both in this life and the next and is why the Eucharist on Sunday is a serious obligation for us all.

The Gospel this Sunday is entirely appropriate as we celebrate, with the rest of our diocese, the ordination of Philip Carroll. Let us pray that many will be blessed through Philip’s ministry and that he will be a loyal and faithful member of the diocesan presbyterium as he celebrates the Eucharist for the people. There will be an opportunity to congratulate Phil when he comes to celebrate the 10.30am Mass next Sunday, 2nd August.

Phil’s ordination is a reminder to us all that we need more priests like him. Let us pray that there will be more people like Phil offering themselves for the priesthood and having the courage to enter into the discernment process.

I would like to say a personal word of thanks to all those who have sent me messages and cards following my recent surgery. I am recovering well and am gently easing back into the normal routine. This gives me an opportunity to say that I received the Sacrament of the Sick before my operation and give thanks for it and for the whole medical process and the work of the health professionals. Please remember that anyone having surgery may be anointed and should approach one of the priests or make an appointment with the parish office. PJT

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MASS AT ST JAMES CEMETERY ON JULY 18TH

 

Mass at St James cemetery 1

Monsignor Tom and Fr Alberto celebrated Mass in St James’ Cemetery at the weekend,  attended by parishioners.  A picnic followed.

Blessing the graves

Blessing the grave of Bishop John Henry King

Photos courtesy of John Thornhill

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Evening Prayer and Benediction has now ceased for the summer break.

Eucharistic Adoration has now ceased for the summer break. It re-commences on Tuesday 8th September.

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16th Sunday of the Year: 19th July

Jesus preaches on Galilee

 

So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length. Mark Chapter 6

picture of Christ preaching at Galilee by Jan Brueghel from the Rijksmuseum

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Canon Paul writes: The readings today present us with two images of shepherds. The prophet Jeremiah speaks of shepherds who fail their sheep and do not care for them while our psalm speaks of a good shepherd who leads the sheep to good and pleasant pastures. The role of shepherd is essentially given to us as the Lord’s disciples. Like those who returned in the Gospel today, we are those sent out to help gather the Lord’s flock together so that all people may appreciate the love that God has for us all and how he sends Jesus to bring life to the full. This shepherding task is the mission of the Church and we call it evangelisation.

Last week, in his visit to Paraguay, Pope Francis spoke specifically about our mission to proclaim the message of Jesus and, as part of that, to have special regard for the poor, as Jesus himself did. I would like to mention two highly significant aspects of his message.

Pope Francis appealed to world leaders to seek a new economic model. This is a theme which he develops extensively in his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’. In Paraguay, Pope Francis appealed to world leaders to help the poor and shun policies that sacrifice human lives on the altar of money and profit.

Also, in Paraguay last Sunday, Pope Francis spoke about the mission of the Church which we know as evangelisation. His words have particular significance as we follow Bishops Philip’s request to develop strategies for mission. Pope Francis said this: “How often do we see mission in terms of plans and programmes? How many times do we see evangelisation as involving any number of strategies, tactics, manoeuvres, techniques as if we could convert people on the basis of our own arguments? Today the Lord says to us quite clearly: in the mentality of the Gospel, you do not convince people with arguments, strategies or tactics. You convince them by learning how to welcome them. The Church is a mother with an open heart. She knows how to welcome and accept. …. the Church is the home of hospitality.”

Thanks: I would like to say how much I appreciate the prayer and concern of so many following my recent surgery. Thanks so much for all the cards and good wishes that I have received. I am glad to say that I am well on the way to recovery following an operation to repair my hernia. I look forward to returning to the normal routine at the end of this week. PJT

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VERY IMPORTANT:  Rev Phil Carroll’s ordination –

Minibus travel details

Anyone who has signed up for the minibuses needs to be at St Peter’s church by 9.15am Saturday 25th. There are three buses going and it will be about an hour’s drive. The buses will be going on to the reception afterwards and will then return to St Peter’s so be prepared for a full day out. Please note parking at the church will be very limited. Long term parking at Tower Street is the better option for most.

and please note also:

Saturday 25th July – 9.00am Mass in St. Peter’s is cancelled because of  Phil Carroll’s ordination in Aldershot, and there will be no Confessions that morning.

Sunday 2nd August10.30am Mass in St Peter’s will be celebrated by Father Phil Carroll.

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MASS AT ST JAMES CEMETERY ON JULY 18TH

 

Mass at St James cemetery 1

Monsignor Tom and Fr Alberto celebrated Mass in St James’ Cemetery at the weekend,  attended by parishioners.  A picnic followed.

Blessing the graves

Blessing the grave of Bishop John Henry King

Photos courtesy of John Thornhill

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Evening Prayer and Benediction has now ceased for the summer break.

Eucharistic Adoration has now ceased for the summer break. It re-commences on Tuesday 8th September.

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15th Sunday of the Year: 12th July

Send forth apostles Walters

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Do not take a spare tunic.’ Mark Chapter 6

The picture, the Sending Forth of the 12 Apostles,  is from a 17th Century Egyptian manuscript, courtesy of the Walters Museum Baltimore.

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Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, said to Amos, ‘Go away, seer;’ get back to the land of Judah; earn your bread there, do your prophesying there. We want no more prophesying in Bethel; this is the royal sanctuary, the national temple.’ ‘I was no prophet, neither did I belong to any of the brotherhoods of prophets,’ Amos replied to Amaziah ‘I was a shepherd, and looked after sycamores: but it was the Lord who took me from herding the flock, and the Lord who said, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”’ Amos Chapter 7

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Canon Paul writes:  The Prophet Amos, who lived during the 8th century BC, makes a rare and appropriate appearance in our readings this weekend. We see him today in the Northern Kingdom of Israel at the shrine of Bethel. Probably Amos had a role in the sanctuary as the resident prophet, but sadly he was asked to leave by Amaziah the Priest. No doubt he was being too outspoken about the corruption in the sanctuary which combined with the royal court of the King, Jeroboam II. Undaunted, Amos wrote his message down so that Jeroboam would see it anyway.

Amos is remembered for his ministry of the word and his ministry of social justice, which we would describe as the ‘Ministry of Charity’. As it would appear from today’s reading, he also had a ministry in the sanctuary. Within our own tradition, those three ministries of word, altar (sanctuary) and charity are combined in the ordained ministry of the deacon. We are fortunate in our diocese to have around 50 Permanent Deacons. Sadly one of them died this week; that was Deacon David Morgan who worked in Yateley with Fr. Simon Thompson. May he rest in peace.

We are fortunate in this parish to have benefitted from the devoted ministry of a number of Permanent Deacons. This week, I am pleased to announce that Martin McElroy has been accepted as a candidate for ordination to the Permanent Diaconate. Please keep Martin and his family in your prayer.

Please also remember in your prayer, Deacon Phil Carroll, who will be ordained priest on the 25th July. My hope is that we will soon have a vocation to the priesthood from this parish.

I would like to include this quotation from the prayer of ordination of deacons: “May they excel in every virtue: in love that is sincere, in concern for the sick and the poor, in unassuming authority, in self-discipline and in holiness of life.”

Also: A big thank you to everyone at the Treatment Centre in the RHCH for looking after me so well last Thursday. I was really touched by the welcome they gave me. I had a successful operation and, as a result, will be out of action for the next two weeks.  PJT

 

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VERY IMPORTANT:  Rev Phil Carroll’s ordination –

Minibus travel details

Anyone who has signed up for the minibuses needs to be at St Peter’s church by 9.15am Saturday 25th. There are three buses going and it will be about an hour’s drive. The buses will be going on to the reception afterwards and will then return to St Peter’s so be prepared for a full day out. Please note parking at the church will be very limited. Long term parking at Tower Street is the better option for most.

 

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Saint of the Week: St Swithun

Feast Day July 15th

 

St Swithun

 

Swithun, also spelled Swithin, was born in Wessex, England and was educated at the old monastery, Winchester, where he was ordained. He became chaplain to King Egbert of the West Saxons, who appointed him tutor of his son, Ethelwulf, and was one of the King’s counselors. Swithun was named bishop of Winchester in 852 when Ethelwulf succeeded his father as king. Swithun built several churches and was known for his humility and his aid to the poor and needy. The life of St Swithun is rich in legend. A century after his death in 863, he was chosen as patron saint for the Cathedral’s Benedictine monastery.

A long-held superstition declares it will rain for forty days if it rains on his feast day, but the reason for and origin of this belief are unknown. For more about the saint, click here Saint Swithun or visit our Saints page.

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The South East England Faiths Forum is organising a conference at Winchester University on September 3rd on the subject of The Place of Faith in British Schools.

Click for more details of the Faith conference

Faith conference

 

Portsmouth Diocese has  organized a conference on Migrant Slavery on Saturday 26th September in Basingstoke

–early booking essential.

More details here  Migrant Slavery Conference

Migrant Slavery Conference

 

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You can read the Pope’s encyclical about climate change by clicking below:

Laudato Si

 

 

 

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14th Sunday of the Year: 5th July

Jesus in the Syngagogue

He began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joses and Jude and Simon? Mark Chapter 6

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Canon Paul writes: As Jesus returns to Nazareth today, the people seem to be impressed by the wisdom of his teaching. The evidence would have supported his words because he had been healing people in the neighbouring districts. They even mention his miracles. Somehow however, because they knew him and his background, they could not accept him or his teaching. St. Mark tells us that Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith. This resistance to Jesus is an early indication of the rejection that would eventually take him to the Cross.

This rejection by the people of Nazareth and their lack of faith in Jesus, stands as a reminder to us all that our relationship with Jesus and our faith in him is crucial and the most important aspect of our discipleship. It is not about keeping Jesus at a distance but about allowing him to be with us in all the experiences of life. It is about engaging with him in generous prayer each day. It is also worth remembering that just as we connect with Jesus in trust and prayer, so we are called to connect with each other in such a way that our relationships reflect the relationship Jesus has with us. PJT

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PIE CLUB

The next meeting of the social group is this coming Thursday, 9th July,  in the Pastoral Centre next to St Peter’s, from 12.45 till around 2.30. As ever, there will be a 2-course home-cooked meal, including a pudding with custard, and a talk about the local Grail Community – one of their members is going to tell us the whole fascinating story….

All are welcome.

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You can find details of

the new Evangelisation Strategy Group

and of

the Pope’s encyclical on climate change

by either scrolling down to the previous entry or clicking here.

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Feast of SS Peter and Paul: 28th June

StPeter at Winch Cath Tim

After Jesus had shown himself to his disciples and eaten with them, he said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’

John 21

St Peter stained glass window in Winchester Cathedral: photo by Tim Redmond

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Canon Paul writes

This weekend we honour the memory of the Apostle Martyrs  Peter and Paul.  Their feast presents us with the two key    aspects which we must always hold together as followers of Jesus.  St. Peter is described as “foremost in confessing the faith”.  We are called to do the same by respecting in     gratitude the precious gift of the scriptures and the teaching of the Church, both of which nourish our lives of faith and our mission.  St. Paul is described as a “fearless preacher” which reminds us of the second aspect.  Like St. Paul we are to be evangelists proclaiming the love and message of Jesus by the manner of our living and the words we speak. PJT

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A MESSAGE FROM CANON PAUL – A NEW INITIATIVE IN THE HAMPSHIRE DOWNS PARISH

I would like to let you know about an initiative which goes to the heart of what we are, and what we do, in the Parish.   

How will we take evangelisation forward in the Parish?  I have formed a group called the Evangelisation Strategy Group (ESG) to produce strategies for the Parish, the worshipping communities and Parish Groups, and to support them in our common goal of evangelization.  The members of the ESG have been chosen to cover the broad spectrum of the worshipping communities at the four churches of Hampshire Downs as well as Parish Groups.  Thus members of the ESG bring to the Group knowledge and experience of those worshipping communities and Parish Groups, but they do not represent them.  While the ESG takes the initiative in devising such strategies, the members of the Group will consult with, and listen to, the worshipping communities and Parish Groups, from whom ideas are sought. 

To read Canon Paul’s explanation in full see this week’s newsletter or click here

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Saints of the Week: Saint Peter and Saint Paul

 

Peter and Paul are giants of the Church. Both are apostles.

St. Peter and St. Paul are two of the most well known saints, and are often spoken of as the two men most responsible for spreading the Christian message in the days of the early church.

As to why they are celebrated on the same day, legend has it that they were executed on the same day under the command of the Emperor Nero and buried in Rome. (Although historical accounts cite Peter being martyred in 64 AD and Paul in 67 AD.)

Because of his Roman citizenship, St. Paul was beheaded. St. Peter was reportedly crucified upside down because he said he was not worthy to be sacrificed in the same manner as Christ.

On June 29 the Church celebrates the feast day of both men, and as early as 258 AD, there is evidence of an already-lengthy tradition that both St. Peter and St. Paul were celebrated on the same day.

SS Peter and Paul

 

For more information, click here Saint Peter and Saint Paul or go to the Saints page on the website.

Picture of SS Peter & Paul by El Greco from the Hermitage in St Petersburg.

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You can read the Pope’s encyclical about climate change by clicking below:

Laudato si’

It’s a long and complex document – you may find it helpful to read this article summarizing the encyclical. It is  by Fr James Martin SJ, and appeared on the website of ‘America: The National Catholic Review’ on Thursday.

Top Ten Takeaways from ‘Laudato Si”

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12th Sunday of the Year: 21st June

Jesus Storm delacroix WaltersThen it began to blow a gale and the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped. But he was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep. They woke him and said to him, ‘Master, do you not care? We are going down!’ And he woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet now! Be calm!’ And the wind dropped, and all was calm again. Mark Chapter 4

The image, from the Walters Art Museum, is Christ on the Sea of Galilee by Eugene Delacroix.

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Canon Paul writes: Pope Francis has published his Encyclical ‘Laudato Si’’ on care for our common home. He reminds us that creation, with its balance and beauty, is an expression of God’s infinite love and care for us. We too therefore are called to live in love and respect for everything that God has created. That love and respect is our motivation for caring for our earthly home and must guide the ay we use the resources of creation which are always God’s gift to us. Laudato Si has been well received in many quarters and even in non-religious ones. Pope Francis models the way of Evangelisation because he manages to connect the concerns of the Gospel with the lives of all people regardless of their faith or religious traditions. We would do well to follow his example.

Our reading from the Book of Job today, gives us a very timely question “Who pent up the sea behind closed doors?” and in the Gospel, Jesus demonstrates the power he has over the forces of nature. There are two ethical implications for us. One is to trust that God’s power for our good and wellbeing is greater than our own. The second is that our lives in creation, and supported by it, must be guided by Christ’s law of love. PJT

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You can read the Pope’s encyclical in full by clicking below:

Laudato si’

It’s a long and complex document – you may find it helpful to read this article summarizing the encyclical. It is  by Fr James Martin SJ, and appeared on the website of ‘America: The National Catholic Review’ on Thursday.

Top Ten Takeaways from ‘Laudato Si”

 

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Saint of the Week

St Thomas More – Feast Day June 22nd

 

St Thomas More

St. Thomas More was born in London in 1478. After a thorough grounding in religion and the classics, he entered Oxford to study law. Upon leaving the university he embarked on a legal career which took him to Parliament. In 1505, he married his beloved Jane Colt who bore him four children, and when she died at a young age, he married a widow, Alice Middleton, to be a mother for his young children. A wit and a reformer, this learned man numbered Bishops and scholars among his friends, and by 1516 wrote his world-famous book “Utopia”. He attracted the attention of Henry VIII who appointed him to a succession of high posts and missions, and finally made him Lord Chancellor in 1529. However, he resigned in 1532, at the height of his career and reputation, when Henry persisted in holding his own opinions regarding marriage and the supremacy of the Pope. The rest of his life was spent in writing mostly in defence of the Church. In 1534, with his close friend, St. John Fisher, he refused to render allegiance to the King as the Head of the Church of England and was confined to the Tower. Fifteen months later, and nine days after St. John Fisher’s execution, he was tried and convicted of treason. He told the court that he could not go against his conscience and wished his judges that “we may yet hereafter in heaven merrily all meet together to everlasting salvation.” And on the scaffold, he told the crowd of spectators that he was dying as “the King’s good servant-but God’s first.” He was beheaded on July 6, 1535.

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THIS WEEK

Thursday 25th JuneMass of SS. Peter and Paul at St. Peter’s School at 9.15am followed by Sports Day and Family Picnic.

Saturday 27th JuneJunior Youthcat. The next session is from 10.00 to 11.15pm in the Pastoral Centre. This is a programme of introduction to our faith for children in years R, 1 and 2; Bible stories, the basics of our faith, craft activities and doughnuts. It is a good way for your child to start making friends and becoming familiar with the church before the First Holy Communion programme in year 3.

Sunday 28th June – St. Peter’s Youth Choir Coffee Concert is in the Pastoral Centre after the 10.30am Mass. Please stay for Coffee and Cakes and enjoy the programme of singing that our Youth Choir has been working hard to prepare. They are singing so well, please come and listen! Collection during the concert in support of the Covenant With the Poor.

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