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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.

22nd Sunday of the Year: 30th August

 

Holy Family Presentation at the Temple

He called the people to him again and said, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that goes into a man from outside can make him unclean; it is the things that come out of a man that make him unclean. For it is from within, from men’s hearts, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a man unclean.’  Mark Chapter 7

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Canon Paul writes:  Congratulations to our local Society of St. Vincent de Paul               Conference as it celebrates its 92nd anniversary in this   parish.  I commend the display in St. Peter’s to everyone’s attention and I take the opportunity now of thanking our local SVP Conference for all the work they do.  I cannot stress too strongly the importance of the SVP and   particularly our local Conference.  Its work is a vital presence because it puts into specific and concrete action our parish’s  commitment to justice and peace.  The presence of the SVP also stands as a reminder to us all of our responsibility to find personal growth and development in social action.

Pope Francis quotes Paul VI in ‘Laudato Si’ when he says, “In order to make society more human, more worthy of the human person, love in social life – political economic and cultural – must be given renewed value, becoming the constant and highest norm for all activity. (Laudato Si 231).  Thomas Merton put it another way ‘People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall’. PJT

If you would like to find out more about the SVP please contact Audrey Atter via the website.

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 CWL Visit to the Carmel at Boar Hill

trip to Carmel

A group from the Hampshire Downs CWL group recently spent a ‘day aside’ at the Carmel at Boar Hill near Newbury. One of the ladies, Ros Whiteman, wrote an absolutely fascinating account of the day, and of the saints the group heard about, and we are delighted to be able to feature it in full on the website – please click here to read it.

The website editors are very grateful to Ros (a great friend to this website…) for taking the time to write up the visit.

We are always delighted to receive descriptions and photographs of Parish events, and would love to feature more of them here.

Don’t be  modest, or think that your fellow-parishioners won’t be interested….

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TWO JOB VACANCIES IN HAMPSHIRE DOWNS

Volunteers and Ministry Groups Development Worker

Hampshire Downs Parish (Winchester, Alresford Stockbridge)

Full time position (reduced hours subject to negotiation)

Salary $22,000 pa or pro rata

We want a person who can support volunteers in the parish and help them flourish in their ministries. You will need to be able to work with all the parish ministry groups and work with them to develop their volunteers and have particular responsibility for the ongoing work of the neighbourhood groups project.

You will need to

  • work with other ministry groups in the parish as well as on your own initiative
  • develop and support neighbourhood groups for the parish
  • design and evaluate programmes of support and formation for volunteers
  • support ministry group leaders in their tasks and create sustainable mechanisms for ongoing support and formation for them and their volunteers
  • problem solve the issues that arise with new projects
  • have previous experience of running groups and developing volunteers

The links below take you to the Diocesan website and further details:

Closing Date: 29th September 2015

 

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Catechesis and Formation Coordinator/Adviser

Hampshire Downs Parish (Winchester, Alresford Stockbridge)

Full time position 35 hours  (reduced hours subject to negotiation)

Salary £22,000pa or pro rata

Do you have the gifts and commitment to set up a new project for the parish?

We want a person who can advise and ensure the provision of catechesis across all age groups within the parish. You will work with volunteers and existing catechesis programmes and develop resources to fill gaps as well as encourage further development of existing programmes.

You will need to

  • work with other ministry groups in the parish as well as on your own initiative
  • Develop links with the primary school and assist with staff development programmes
  • problem solve the issues that arise with new projects
  • have a qualification in Adult Education or teaching and experience of teaching Catholic theology

The links below take you to the Diocesan website and further details:

Closing Date: 29th September 2015

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21st Sunday of the year: 23 August

Simon PeterThen Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.’

The print, Simon Peter, was engraved by Sebald Beham, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art

Canon Paul writes: All of us are given the choice either to accept Jesus and follow him or to reject him and follow an alternative path.  To listen to his word is to hear the message of eternal life and to follow him as “the way, the truth and the life”.  Each day brings an opportunity to examine the ways we have responded to God’s word and presence in our lives.  All we need do is pass before our minds everything that happens and ask ourselves in prayer what it might be that God is saying to us.  The method of prayer is known by Ignatius of Loyola as the prayer of examen.  PJT

 

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Feast of Our Lady of Czestochowa: Feast day August 26

Black Madonna of CzestochowaThe Black Madonna is a painting of the Madonna and Christ Child which legend states was painted by St. Luke the Evangelist. St. Luke is believed to have used a tabletop from a table built by the carpenter Jesus. It was while Luke was painting Mary that she told him about the events in the life of Jesus that he eventually used in his gospel. To read more about the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, click here

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SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION OF OUR LADY: 16th AUGUST

The Assumption of the Virgin

Pope Francis says this: “Carried up into heaven, she is the Mother and Queen of all creation.  In her glorified body, together with the risen Christ, part of creation has reached the fullness of its beauty.”

The picture, The Assumption of the Virgin, was painted by Michel Sittaw, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art

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Canon Paul writes: We believe, as the Preface declares, that Mary did not experience the corruption of the tomb.  Her dying brought her whole and entire into the glory of God through the power of the Resurrection.  For this reason, Mary has a special place in the hearts of the Lord’s disciples. She believed and trusted completely in the love of God and consciously and freely welcomed the Word of God into her life, becoming as she did, his mother.  She experienced no resistance to her faith and trust and treasured the entire life of Jesus in her heart. It was that life that embraced her in death so that she becomes a sign of hope to us all.

In her glory as Queen of Heaven, Mary is concerned for each of us and looks forward to welcoming us into the life of resurrection.  That is why prayer to her is so much part of our tradition.  As our mother, Mary listens to us and so often shows her concern as she listens to us.

Today’s feast provides me with an opportunity to ask everyone to consider saying the Rosary each day.  Based on the words of St. Elizabeth in today’s Gospel, the Rosary engages our minds as we reflect on the mysteries of the Lord’s life.  It engages our bodies as we enter into its rhythm and pass the beads through our fingers.  And because it embraces us totally it is a way of praying that we can use in any situation: in a hospital bed; on a bus or train; while walking; while kneeling and sitting in church; while waiting at the bed of a seriously sick person.  Rosaries are always available in the Parish Centre and I have a stock that I bring back from the Holy Land which are available free of charge. (PJT)

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For more information about the history of the Feast of the Assumption scroll down or click here

Listen to or download The Holy Rosary (mp3) from The Portsmouth Catholic Diocese website

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19th Sunday of the Year: 9th August

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 ‘They will all be taught by God, and to hear the teaching of the Father and learn from it is to come to me’

John Chapter 6

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Canon Paul writes: This teaching, which is the only way to life, has its heart and foundation in the ‘Liturgy of the Word’ at Mass.  The Church teaches that when the scriptures are proclaimed at Mass, the Lord is truly present and is speaking to us.

Our response to the Liturgy of the Word is to treasure the message that comes to us and to allow it to shape our thoughts and actions.  A further response is to treasure all the scriptures and a way to do this is to use them for prayer.

A very fruitful way of praying, taught by St. Ignatius of Loyola, is to take some time in silence and solitude to reflect on a passage from the Gospel.  It could be twenty minutes or more.  Find a comfortable sitting position, with light and ventilation and read a passage.  For the newcomer to this way of praying, it is good to find a passage from the Gospel which involves a story or scene which can be visualised and imagined.  The Annunciation is one of my favourites.  Simply read the passage and allow the imagination to explore what is happening, either by being a character in the scene or, Jesus himself, or one of the crowd, and allow the mind to follow the direction that it wants.  Try being Mary at the foot of the Cross.  At the end of the time which was allotted, ask the question “What was the Lord saying to me in that experience of prayer?”  Then close by saying the Lord’s Prayer.

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Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Feast day August 15

The Feast of the Assumption commemorates the death of Mary and her bodily assumption into Heaven, before her body could begin to decay–a foretaste of our own bodily resurrection at the end of time. It is the most important of all Marian feasts and a Holy Day of Obligation.

The Feast of the Assumption is a very old feast of the Church, celebrated universally by the sixth century. The feast was originally celebrated in the East, where it is known as the Feast of the Dormition, a word which means “the falling asleep.” The earliest printed reference to the belief that Mary’s body was assumed into Heaven dates from the fourth century, in a document entitled “The Falling Asleep of the Holy Mother of God.” The document is written in the voice of the Apostle John, to whom Christ on the Cross had entrusted the care of His mother, and recounts the death, laying in the tomb, and assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Tradition variously places Mary’s death at Jerusalem or at Ephesus, where John was living.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life is a defined dogma of the Catholic Church. On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII, exercising papal infallibility, declared in Munificentissimus Deus that it is a dogma of the Church “that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” As a dogma, the Assumption is a required belief of all Catholics.

Dormition

Icon of Dormition of the Theotokos, Dormition Abbey, Mt. Zion, Jerusalem Icon

Please note that the Assumption will not be kept on the 15th August this year.

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 The Promised Land – 27th to 31st August:

Portsmouth Diocese Catholic Youth are planning a coach from our diocese to Walsingham for Youth 2000’s summer prayer festival. If you want to be on it, email youth@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk

What: A 5 day Prayer Festival, packed with dynamic talks, live-band worship, powerful       prayer times, fun social activities, creative workshops, in-depth  discussions, evening entertainment and loads more. With top speakers from the USA and all over the UK!  Where: The Roman Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady, Walsingham, Norfolk, NR22 6AL. In this ancient and holy place we come with our Big Top and tents to create a great festival atmosphere.  Who’s it for: Youth 2000 events are primarily for 16-35 year olds.  If you are in this age range and looking for answers to the big questions in life, then this retreat is for you. For more info, see: www.youth2000.org

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18th Sunday of the Year: 2nd August

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‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst.’

John Chapter 6

 

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Next Thursday,  6th August, is the Feast of the Transfiguration. Please note that there will be Mass in St. Peter’s next Thursday at 7.30am in the Lady Chapel and also at 7.00pm.

 

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Pastoral Centre Volunteers

We have some places available on our rota for reception duties at the pastoral centre starting in September. A great group of volunteers has been beavering away for three years now and could do with some more new people to join them. We are keen to expand the group and bring in people from different backgrounds. You will need to be interested in helping people and answering the telephone. It is a child friendly environment so parents with young children are very welcome and it can fit round school runs. This is a good way to get to know a bit more about how the parish works, to meet others and to help keep our pastoral centre  a welcoming place for all who visit.

Half day commitment once a week or once every two weeks. Training provided plus you will work in a pair for support.

Names and any questions to Sean Reidy at the Pastoral Centre, or contact us here.

 

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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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Churches Together Winchester (CTW)

is currently recruiting a part time Communications Co-ordinator.  CTW says: ‘This person will play a key role in our restructuring and development by helping us communicate more effectively through online & printed media.  The role is for 4 hours per week, and might particularly suit someone already working part time that could add in the extra hours.   The job description – here – contains more information and details on how to apply.  The closing date is 11 September.’

 

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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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