Featured post

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.

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King: 23rd November

Christ the King Lew smalller (2)

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. Matthew 25

Image courtesy of Lawrence Lew OP

divider line

ADVENT LITURGY – 29th/30th November 2014

Advent starts next weekend. We would like to invite/encourage everyone to take some time out from their really busy schedules and to spend it in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Next weekend after the 6.00pm Mass on Saturday through to 8.00am Mass on Sunday, the Blessed Sacrament will be present in the Lady Chapel at St Peter’s. A number of groups have agreed to take the lead at different times throughout the evening/morning. But, we really would like to invite as many people to come and share in this beautiful start to Advent. Please be assured of prayers from the Clergy of Hampshire Downs, and please remember them also in your prayers. If you have any queries please contact Deacon Gerard.

divider line

During Advent,  we are particularly encouraged to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance.

The Sacrament is available at the usual times on Saturdays, between 11.30am and 12.30pm and between 4.30 and 5.00pm, both at St. Peter’s. There will be two special penitential liturgies with the individual celebration of the Sacrament included. The first will be especially for families and young people on Saturday 20th December at 3.00pm and the second on Monday 22nd December at 7.30pm. Both of these will be at St. Peter’s.

divider line

For other recent Parish news, scroll down or click here.

divider line

Solemnity of St Edmund of Abingdon: 16th November

St Edmund of Abingdon 2 St Edmund of Abingdon

St Edmund of Abingdon is the Diocesan Co-Patron

St Edmund was a 13th century Archbishop of Canterbury. He was born in Abingdon Oxfordshire in about 1175 of a merchant family and may have been educated at the monastic school in Abingdon. He completed his education in Paris and Oxford and became a teacher of Mathematics and Dialectics. He helped to introduce the study of Aristotle. He was regarded as a somewhat eccentric character within the university, spending long hours at night in prayer and then less attentive in lectures. He is associated with a mediaeval academic hall which eventually became the current St Edmund Hall Oxford.

His mother influenced the development of his faith and spirituality, and he was eventually ordained in 1210. He was known as a theology lecturer and preacher and at the same time was treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral. In 1234 he was consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury after several other candidates had not been confirmed by Pope Gregory IX. He was regarded as a compromise appointment and had not wanted to accept the office. He became known by the people for his teaching, preaching, his study and his prayer but his uncompromising  high standards of governance and discipline in both civil and church government brought him into conflict with King Henry III, with several monasteries and with clerics in Canterbury Cathedral.

As part of a long running dispute with King Henry III, he travelled to Rome and on his way a second time in 2040 he became ill while staying at the Cistercian Pontigny Abbey in France and died nearby. His body was never returned to Canterbury because of opposition from the Benedictine community at Canterbury and his main relics remain at Pontigny Abbey.He is remembered for a life of self sacrifice, of generosity and of asceticism, including much prayer and meditation. He was canonised six years after his death.

divider line

Blessing of Graves

Today – Sunday 16th – we will gather at Morn Hill Cemetery for the blessing of graves and pray for the deceased buried there. We shall begin at 3.00pm. There will be no Evening Prayer and Benediction.

divider line

New This Week -

Thursday 20th November – ‘The Pie Club’

New lunch and activity group in the Pastoral Centre. Come along for a two course home-cooked meal and a talk about Hampshire Wildlife Trust. Pies will feature in the meal and pudding and custard too! 12.30 for 12.45pm meal, followed by the talk. Finish by 2.30pm.

The Pie Club will meet once amonth and aims to provide good food, stimulating company and activities  All welcome. Contact us if you have any questions.

Saturday 22nd November  Junior YouthCat

In the Pastoral Centre, 10-11.15 am,  for all children in Y1 and Y2.  This is a great way to help your child prepare for sacraments in Y3/4 and to become familiar with bible stories, prayer and liturgy and their faith. We have a mixture of teaching, craft activities and fun; doughnuts or fruit too. All children are welcome, particularly those not at a catholic primary school. Your child will be comfortable in familiar surroundings and with children they know by the time they start the First Holy Communion Programme.

divider line

For more recent news, and a reminder of your LAST CHANCEto buy wooden goods from the Holy Land, scroll down or click here.

divider line

Dedication of the Lateran Basilica: 9th November

Lateran Basilica best

The Lateran Basilica of St John in Rome

The normal readings and prayers for this Sunday are replaced today by those for the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. This church is important enough to have a feast on a Sunday for a number of reasons. It is the oldest church in the Latin Church as it was founded by Constantine around the year 324, though we cannot know the exact year. It is the Pope’s own Cathedral Church (not St. Peter’s) and it is known as the ‘mother and head of all the churches in the City of Rome and all the world’. This feast is celebrated throughout the world as a sign of our unity and love. PJT

Picture  by Tango7174  Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons

divider line

Issa from the Bethlehem Co-operative will be with us for the next two Sundays selling his products from the Holy Land. Canon Paul is encouraging us to be generous in supporting the Co-operative: ‘it does a great deal of good in providing work and income for the people of Bethlehem which, because of the partition wall, does not have free recourse to work or the normal workings of a market economy.’

Unlike previous years, there is no stall at the Christmas Market, and Issa is only with us for two weeks, so make sure to seize the chance to buy the goods – here’s a reminder of last year’s collection:

Advent olivewood smaller

photo by John Thornhill

divider line

This month of November is a special time for prayers for the dead. As is our custom there will be prayers for the dead and the blessing of graves in St. James’s Cemetery in Romsey Road at 3.00pm today (9th November) and in the graveyard at St. John’s, Alresford. On Sunday 16th November at 3.00pm the blessing of graves will take place at Morn Hill Cemetery on Alresford Road. Please note that there will be no Evening Prayer and Benediction on these days.

divider line

Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family

The Extraordinary Synod of Bishops has released a report – a ‘relatio’ – on their deliberations at the Assembly to discuss Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization. It is on the Vatican website, and you can find it here.

divider line

Advent 2014 – A Date for your Diary

In previous years we have tried to bring the whole parish together for an Advent Liturgy which has been celebrated around the parish in our respective communities. This year we are planning to have an all night vigil of Eucharistic Adoration which will commence after the 6.00pm Mass on Saturday 29th November and will end before 8.00am Mass on Sunday 30th November. The desire is to reach out to a number of groups across the parish to take the lead for one hour sessions throughout the night. Please watch this space for more details in the coming weeks. Any queries contact Deacon Gerard.

divider line

For more news and a reminder of Pie Club and Junior YouthCat, both starting soon, scroll down or click here.

divider line

Feast of All Souls: 2nd November

All Saints Walters 2


‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’  Matthew Chapter 11

divider line


All Souls better

This weekend we celebrate the feasts of All Saints (Saturday 1st November) and All Souls (Sunday 2nd November). Scroll down for more information about the feasts.

divider line

Thursday 20th November – ‘The Pie Club’

New lunch and activity group in the Pastoral Centre.

Come along for a two course home-cooked meal and a talk about Hampshire Wildlife Trust.

Pies will feature in the meal and custard too!

12.30 for 12.45pm meal, followed by the talk. Finish by 2.30pm.

The Pie Club will meet once a month and aims to provide good food, stimulating company and some activities in between meetings. All welcome. Contact us via website  if you have any questions.

divider line

Junior YouthCat

Calling all children in YR Y1 and Y2. Junior YouthCat starts again on Sat 22nd Nov 10.00 to 11.15, St Peters Church Pastoral Centre. We hold two sessions a term and this is a great way to help your child prepare for sacraments in Y3/4 and to become familiar with bible stories, prayer and liturgy and their faith. We have a mixture of teaching, craft activities and fun. Doughnuts or fruit are also highlights. All children are very welcome and particularly those not at a catholic primary school. Your child will be comfortable in familiar surroundings and with children they know by the time they start First Holy Communion Programme.

divider line

All Souls Day

“The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed”.

Feast Day November 2nd

In the early days of the Church, the names of the faithful departed were posted in Church so that the community would remember them in prayer. St. Odilo, the Abbot of Cluny (d. 1048), decreed for all of the Cluniac monasteries that special prayers be offered and the Office of the Dead sung for all of the souls in Purgatory on Nov. 2, the day after All Saints. The Benedictines and Carthusians adopted that same devotion, and soon Nov. 2 was adopted as the Feast of All Souls for the whole Church.

The Church devotes the month of November to prayer for the faithful departed; we celebrate their sacred memory and remember them both as the faithful departed and the faithful returned to God. Our faith calls on us not only to lament our loss but to celebrate their gain. And to pray for their eternal peace.

Numerous ancient customs associated with All Saints and All Souls have come down through the centuries and are still observed in many countries. Some are of a strictly religious nature, such as the custom of decorating the graves and praying in the cemeteries. This practice is general in all Catholic countries both in Europe and America. On the afternoon of All Saints” Day or in the morning of All Souls the faithful visit each individual grave of relatives and friends. Sometimes the congregation, led by the priest, walks in procession to the cemetery. There they pray for all the holy souls in front of the cemetery chapel, then the priest recites the liturgical prayers for the dead and blesses the graves with holy water.  -READ MORE BY CLICKING HERE.

Feast of All Saints: 1st November

All Saints Day

Feast Day November 1st

All Saints’ Day, also known as All Hallows, Solemnity of All Saints or Feast of All Saints is a solemnity and celebrated on 1 November by the Catholic Church, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, in honour of all the saints, known and unknown.

The earliest certain observance of a feast in honour of all the saints is an early fourth-century commemoration of “all the martyrs.” In the early seventh century, after successive waves of invaders plundered the catacombs, Pope Boniface IV gathered up some 28 wagonloads of bones and reinterred them beneath the Pantheon.

St Paul in his letters to the Christian communities in Ephesus Corinth and Rome, refers to the living, those who have committed themselves to following the way of Christ, as saints. Catholics celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual communion between those living and dead. As Fr Denis McBride C.Ss.R writes; ‘The kingdom is peopled by those who have gone before us and those among us who live Gospel lives. We belong to a community that has a history of goodness and fidelity to the Gospel. We are related to those who went before us, those who linked their belief to those who went before them. We are part of that chain of holiness’.

All saints Lawrence Lew


“After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands…. [One of the elders] said to me, ‘These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’” (Revelation 7:9,14).

The picture is of the ceiling of a chapel in the basilica of Santa Sabina, Rome, and is used with the kind permission of Fr Lawrence Lew OP

30th Sunday of the year: 26th October

Agape image (2) ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.’  Matthew 22

divider line

Welcome back to the Parish pilgrims who have been in the Holy Land for the past 10 days.  You can see pictures from their trip by scrolling down or clicking here.

divider line


for years 7-9 is this Sunday, 26th October, 4-6 at the Parish Centre. Scroll down or click here for more details – all welcome – bring a friend.

divider line

News This Week

The Catholic Union of Great Britain has sent us this message about gendercide:

This link leads to  a campaign resource for a forthcoming Bill in the House of Commons on 4th November to ban abortion on the grounds of gender, particularly when the baby is a girl.
Please circulate this widely to churches, those who respect women’s rights and any other potential supporters. Please urge your MP to act on this Bill and encourage others to do so.

More news: Scroll down or click here for:

News from the Neighbourhood Groups Project

Information about the Saint of the week, St Teresa of Avila

A report from the CWL visit to Douai Abbey by Ros Whiteman

divider line