29th March - Chesterton Conference. Bishop Peter Doyle joined over seventy participants for a one-day conference in Borlase Hall, St Teresa’s Parish Centre. Following the suggestion that a procedure for Beaconsfield resident Chesterton’s possible canonisation be initiated, the Conference concentrated on Chesterton’s personal virtues and spirituality, as well as his large corpus of journalism, popular novels, articles, biographies and poetry. Keynote speakers were: Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society and writer of a long running series on Chesterton for a US TV channel; Martine Thompson, who has just completed her doctoral thesis on Chesterton’s ‘religion of little things’; Dr Marco Semrini, President of the Italian Chesterton Society, and Dr Dermot Quinn on Chesterton’s ‘wholeness and holiness’. Canon John Udris, spiritual director of Oscott Seminary, and a former parish priest of St Teresa’s has been appointed by Bishop Peter to do the preliminary investigation of Chesterton’s suitability for eventual canonisation. He gave a fascinating account of Chesterton’s favourite saints and used them as a pointer to the sanctity that was in essence part of Chesterton. Part of the preliminary investigation involves looking at any possible dubious aspects of the candidate’s life, and questions were discussed as to whether or not there were any traces of anti-Semitism in Chesterton’s writings. Dale Ahlquist used Chesterton’s writings and personal history to demonstrate that this rumour was untrue. Canon Udris later commented "There was a lovely atmosphere. Might we say G K was there? Chuckling away!". (Report by Dcn Michael Phelan)
17th March - A statement from the Bishop's Conference about musical settings in Mass was published on this day. Looking back at the introduction of the new Missal texts in 2011, the Bishops say "The Bishops’ Conference recognised that it would take some time for settings to become available and for some parishes, schools and communities to find musical settings suitable to their capabilities and resources. It is now three years since the permission to begin celebrating with musical settings of the Roman Missal, 3rd edition was given. The Bishops’ Conference has decided that from Pentecost Sunday, 8 June 2014 only settings of the Ordinary of the Mass using the new translation are permitted to be sung at Mass.. Settings using the previous translation or paraphrased texts may no longer be used in our parishes, schools and communities." The full text is here.
15th March - Fr Francis Calnan SCJ, RIP.Bishop Peter writes: "It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that Father Frank Calnan, a Sacred Heart Father, died earlier today aged 82. May he rest in peace. A founding father of Sacred Heart Parish, Weston Favell, Father Frank always said that he wanted to die there "with his boots on". I am very grateful to the Dean and Clergy of the Northampton North and East Pastoral Area and to the priests of the Ordinariate for their support during the time that Frank has been poorly. Very much a priest of the people and a priests' priest, we commend him to the Lord in the sure hope of the resurrection."
Your webmaster adds: Fr Frank had been working in the east of Northampton for five years even before the establishment of Sacred Heart parish in 1974; he was the priest who had served longest in one place in our Diocese.
His body was received into Sacred Heart church on Tuesday 8th April , at 7pm. The Requiem Mass took place, in a packed church with many priests from the Diocese and the Sacred Heart Fathers, on Wednesday 9th April at 11.00am. The Bishop's homily is here.
8th February. Bishop Peter offered a Mass in Celebration of Marriage at St Teresa's, Beaconsfield, on this day. The church was packed with many standing along the walls. Eighteen Golden Weddings being celebrated this year had been notified - too many to present certificates individually ! - so this was confined to the few Diamond Wedding couples who were present. Other Special Anniversaries were able to collect certificates. Afterwards, there was much congenial chat over tea and coffee in the splendid facilities of the new Borlase Hall.
6th February - New Catholic Internet Radio Station “Heavens Road” write to tell us that this week, they have started live broadcasts of Daily Mass. Each week over 230 services are broadcast for the housebound, and those unable to attend Mass, from over 16 different parishes here and in Ireland.Not only can you hear the Mass but you can watch it too! [ so long as you know how to use the internet and have a good broadband connection - Ed. ] This must be a first, a RADIO station that broadcasts live pictures as well. You can join in the prayers, responses and even sing along with the hymns. The Holy Father has said “The internet offers immense possibilities … this is something truly good - a gift from God”. If you know someone who has not been to church for quite some time, why not invite them around and listen and watch Mass together. .
Based at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, near Guildford, the station team are also heavily involved in promoting the artistic development of Catholic Musicians, Songwriters, Poets, Artists, Writers, Playwrights and Film Makers, They will also be involved in publishing Books and CDs, organising concert tours, nationwide Art Exhibitions, (including likely the biggest mobile catholic Art Exhibition in Europe). For further details or to arrange interviews. or if you know anyone interested on helping them out from home, please call Gerry Coates 07906 073376 or Jillie on 07802 211767. Find the station at http://www.heavensroadfm.com/
16th January . Fr Joseph Williams RIP. Bishop Peter wrote: "It is with much sadness that I write to let you know that Father Joseph Williams died suddenly while out shopping on Friday, 27th December. Although there has to be a post-mortem, it would seem that he died of natural causes.
Aged 42, Joe was ordained priest on 1st July 2000. He served as an assistant priest in Burnham and Kettering before moving to Biggleswade as Parish Administrator in 2006. From 2008 to 2011 he was Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes, Milton Keynes and then Parish Priest of St.Martin de Porres, Luton.
Please pray for the repose of Joe's soul, for his family and for his parish. May he rest in peace."
The reception of his body into the Church of St Martin de Porres, Luton was at 7.00pm on Wednesday, 15th January. Bishop Peter celebrated the Funeral Mass on Thursday, 16th January in St Martin de Porres, Luton at 1.30pm ; the body will to be buried at Buckfast Abbey. Bishop Peter's homily is here.