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News and Events

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Young man signing in formal book18th February - At the Rite of Election at the Cathedral, those seeking to join the Catholic Church at Easter were welcomed, with their sponsors, by Bishop Peter and their names were inscribed in the Book of the Elect. 

New colonnaded building under tress

9th February - The Cathedral Development Campaign received a boost recently with the news that work could begin as soon as July this year! Canon Mark Floody, Dean of the Cathedral, announced the news at Mass last weekend. Having raised a magnificent £2.4 million, our diocese is confident to authorise the beginning of this building project. To see Fr Mark's presentation, click here and click on the recordings tab navigating to the homily of the Sunday Mass on 4th February recording ; or to donate and/or find out more, email Angela here .(From the Diocesan e-news bulletin sent out this day.) 

5th February - Changes at CCRS

The Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies has been successfully educating teachers and interested parishioners in our diocese for many years. Warren Edwards has steered the course over the last five years during which we have reached record numbers of students and record numbers graduating from the 16 month course. CCRS is currently running in four centres across the diocese, with one cohort nearing completion, two others in full flow and a new group just beginning in Bedford. With Warren’s retirement from managing CCRS, Steve O’Brien has now taken up the role of coordinating the course for Northampton diocese. If you are interested in finding out more about CCRS or wish to enrol on a future course, please contact Steve at the education office in Luton. You can email him at obrien@nores.org.uk or ring during office hours on 01582 723312. New students are always welcome and will be directed towards the next study opportunity.

1st February - congratulations to Canon John Beirne and Canon Dr Brendan Killeen, newly appointed to the Cathedral Chapter. 

20th January 2018 - At the annual Deacons and Wives' day at Thornton College, a farewell presentation was made to Joanna HaleJoanna Hale, holding picture-frame,  with Bishop, who has been an invaluable part of the Diaconal Formation Team for some sixteen years, and has thus influenced the training of most of the Permanent Deacons currently active in the Diocese (and many beyond it, thanks to her participation at national planning level, including teaching at the Wonersh seminary). Bishop Peter and Fr Francis Higgins presented her with gifts including an illuminated manuscript and flowers. 

Maria Collins speaking before screenThe meeting also heard from Maria Collins, a parishioner of Holy Family and St Johns in Luton, who is a passionate expert on dementia care and is dedicated to making our churches more friendly places for those with this disease, who are to be treated as persons with dignity rather than "dementia sufferers". Maria has brought long NHS experience to bear on running a home-care company and an award-winning dementia-friendly cafe at St Johns in Luton.  She is willing to come and talk to parishes and Pastoral Areas - contact her on maria.collins@homeinstead.co.uk 

Deacon David Smith7th January 2018 - Deacon David Smith assisted with his last Mass at Daventry on this date. He is in the process of moving, with his wife, Anna, to Northumberland to administer St Aidan’s parish, Seahouses, and work in HMP Northumberland. David was ordained in June 2010 and also served as one of the Trustees of the Diocese in the last few years. We all wish him well in his new role.

Deacon Peter GriffinAnother Deacon is moving "internally" - This from the Wellingborough newsletter before Christmas - "Bishop Peter has recently asked Deacon Peter Griffin to leave us in order to serve in the Parish of Olney, where Sr. Rita has just retired. Fr Malcolm Bull, who is based some distance away in Bedford, and is also hospital chaplain there, is delighted at the prospect of having Peter’s support. We hope Peter will continue to stay on as Chair of Governors at our school and continue his work with the Scouts. Deacon Peter has served this parish (12 years with Fr Ed) since his ordination some 15 years ago and many will be sad to see him go." There was a Thanksgiving Mass at Our Lady’s, Wellingborough,  on 5th January. Peter begins his ministry at Olney on 1st February.  

Olivia Rzadkewiecz3rd January 2018 - and a new face at NYMO ! Olivia Rzadkiewic has joined their Luton office as Communications and Events Coordinator.  Prior to this, Olivia worked as a journalist and in charity communications.  Olivia’s faith became her own at the age of twelve, when she got involved with the Youth SVP at her home church of St Joseph’s in Gerrards Cross.  She went on to become president of her group before helping out with a Soul Food group and more generally with youth work in her parish.  In recent years, Olivia has become involved in interdenominational projects and groups with local churches, including helping to set up a 24/7 prayer room in Chalfont St Peter.  Olivia loves singing, painting, comedy, and walking in the countryside (she is trying to become enthused about fitness with the help of her Fitbit!)  Contact her on Olivia@nymo.org. 

Rick Netherwood at microphone31st December - A  Catholic Youth Worker for Corby. Canon Michael Harrison from Our Lady's published in their newsletter this day: "I am delighted to announce that following interviews, Mr Rick Netherwood was appointed. Rick has thirteen years of experience in Catholic Youth ministry currently working in Soli House, the Residential Youth Centre of the Archdiocese of Birmingham; he will begin his ministry among us around Easter time, encouraging our young Catholics in their faith, involving them more in the life of their parish." Rick’s salary is being funded for two years by a  grant received from the Sisters of the Holy Cross, who worked in Corby for many decades from their convent in Rutherglen Road and recently sold their school in Gerrards Cross for a princely sum. From the proceeds they are funding projects such as this. Canon Michael adds "We are extremely grateful to the Sisters for their generosity".

9th November - Further to the press statement issued 4th April 2017 ; On 8th November 2017 Father David Clark was acquitted at Basildon Crown Court of two charges of fraud by false representation arising from his time serving in the Diocese of Brentwood. 

Prior to charges being made against him, it had been agreed that Father Clark, a priest of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon in the United States, would complete his term of office as priest in charge of St. Aidan’s, Northampton on 30th April 2017 and then return to his home Archdiocese. 

Issued by: Father Paul Hardy, Diocesan Communications Officer

Date: 09 November 2017 

Tel: 01908 504771 E-mail: vine01@btopenworld.com

Canon Michael Griffiths

2nd November - RIP Canon Michael Griffiths, who died peacefully at Swansea this day aged 69. Canon Michael was ordained on 2nd June 1979 and served as s curate at St Patrick's Corby 1979-82, and was then Chaplain at Our Lady and Pope John School 1982-84: he then assisted at St Joseph's, Bedford before becoming Parish Priest at St Clare's, Aylesbury, from 1989-92, followed by Towcester 1992-95, Great Missenden 95-96, Bourne End 96-99, Flitwick 1999, Wellingborough 1999-2003, Our Lady's Luton 2003-08, a brief spell in the South Atlantic, then Biggleswade 2008-11, and Our Lady's at Corby until retirement in 2014. He was made an Honorary Canon in 2007. 

Bishop Peter celebrated the Funeral Mass at 10.30am in St Benedict's Church, Llythrid Avenue, Sketty, Swansea, SA2 0JJ on Wednesday, 22 November followed by cremation at 12.30pm in Swansea Crematorium.  

26th October - Chris Toller, who many clergy and parish/school staff will remember as a surveyor who frequently worked for the Diocese. died at Northampton on this date aged 74. His funeral was at St Aidan's, Northampton. on 15th November, 11am. May he rest in peace. 

Canon Floody, arm pointing, with Mayor of Northampton20th October - The Mayor of Northampton, Gareth Eales, visited the Cathedral and grounds to get a first-hand idea of the plans for the Cathedral Centre and its potential contribution to community life in Northampton. He was shown round by the Dean, Canon Mark Floody (pictured) and Angela Madge, the Campaign Co-ordinator, and met with Bishop Peter 

The Mayor said "I think this new Cathedral Centre is a very exciting project, and when completed it will be of huge benefit to not only the Diocese, but for the whole town, particularly the immediate area. I would like to congratulate everyone involved with this development campaign for creating a plan for what will be a vibrant community hub, which is also very aesthetically pleasing. I look forward to seeing the building work commence.

Aerial view of Cathedral from SW17th October - An angel's viewpoint . Your webmaster just thought you'd like to know, in case you didn't, that Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes have recently been added to the Google Maps 3D facility whereby buildings in a city or town are shown in full 3D, so that you can "fly" around them as if you were a drone camera. This photo of the cathedral is computer-generated, not taken from a plane, balloon or drone. Many other cities and towns in the UK are now featured in this way - see list here

Top view of children in school uniforms processing with banners13th October - The annual Diocesan Schools Mass took place at St Mary's, Dunstable. Parties of pupils with their school banners arrived from all over the Diocese to take part in a colourful mass celebrated by Bishop Peter with Mgr Kevin McGinnell and other priests and deacons. The theme was "Chosen and Called". Bishop Peter issued a Pastoral Letter to mark Education Sunday. 

Fatima statue being enthroned at Northampton Cathedral, purple banner30th Sept - 1st Oct. Visit to Northampton Cathedral (and St Mary Magdalene, Stony Stratford) of the Fatima National Pilgrim Virgin Statue, together with relics of Saints Francisco and Jacinta for veneration. This was part of a national tour, which began in February, when Cardinal Nichols received, blessed and crowned the Statue in Westminster Cathedral. So many people came, that the doors had to be closed. Since then the dioceses of Cardiff, Southwark, Shrewsbury, Menevia, Nottingham, Plymouth, Arundel & Brighton, Birmingham, Hallam, Portsmouth and Leeds have received the Statue, and the Visitations will continue until mid-October. 

On the weekend of Sat 30th September and  Sun 1st October 2017 the Statue and Relics visited our Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate & St Thomas of Canterbury, and the highlight of the weekend was Holy Mass at 12:00 on Saturday, with a post-communion Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Mass was preceded by the enthronement & crowning of the National Fatima Statue, and followed by veneration of the Relics of Saints Jacinta & Francisco, and enrolment & investiture of the Brown Scapular. The video-recorded mass may be viewed here. There were also Fatima Talks and devotions over the weekend, including the Rosary. A poster with the programme is downloadable here.  On the Sunday afternoon the Statue travelled to St Mary Magdalene, Stony Stratford, where there was another full programme of events and devotions until 7:30pm - details here

Michelle Moran preaching     

20th September - Live Streaming of Cathedral masses. With equipment now installed and systems tested, we have begun live-streaming of Masses and major events at the Cathedral. The first such event was Mgr Peter Hocken's memorial Mass on Monday 25th at 12 noon. Click here for live transmission or recordings. A Flickr collection of photos is here.
A schedule of streamed Masses and services will be published soon, now that the Cathedral team has returned from pilgrimage. 

Pictures above (by Neil Roseman) show Archbishop Kevin McDonald arriving, Michelle Moran, Dr Richard Harvey from the Messianic Jewish community, and Archbishop Patrick Kelly giving their reminiscences of Mgr Hocken.  The congregation heard of Mgr Hocken's wide-reaching and important work in Charismatic Renewal, ecumenism, Pentecostal and Messianic-Jewish relations, and of the impact he had at Oscott. One speaker said "We shall not see his like again". 

Fr Gerard Byrne receiving award from policewoman20th September - At a ceremony at The Cube, Corby, Fr Gerard Byrne of St Brendan's and St Patrick's was one of the recipients of the Spirit of Corby awards.  He won the Community Spirit Award (sponsored by Northamptonshire Police) recognising his cycling initiatives. Corby Council said "Fr Gerard has cycled the length of Britain and Ireland on his time off from the day job (Lands End to John O’Groats the Coastline of Ireland) and last year he cycled from Canterbury to Rome over the Alps all to raise thousands of pounds for Corby’s Lakelands Hospice and the Air Ambulance. As well as being a very well thought-of priest, Gerard has also given up his time to set up a cycling club so others can get involved, he is a fundraising inspiration and a good mentor to those who wish to take on various cycling challenges both locally and long distance.". Congratulations Fr Gerard !  Photo (c) Northants Telegraph, used with permission 

14th September - The Diocese has released the following statement for Parish newsletters 

Aylesbury Satellite School: As Trustee of St Michael’s Catholic School, High Wycombe, the Diocese of Northampton is very glad to announce formally that a satellite of the school, for 11-19 year old students, will open in Aylesbury in September 2018. Initially it will admit only Year 7 students, allowing the school to grow organically. We are very grateful to the Governors and Head Teacher of St Michael’s for all they have done to promote this project and to Buckinghamshire County Council and their officers for their generous support and co-operation. The final decision of the Council Cabinet member for Education was confirmed this week. Details of the development of the school will be announced shortly.

(The site for the proposed School is that of the former Quarrendon School. in the NW quadrant of Aylesbury.)

6th September - Father Paul Clarke, a Religious priest of the Order of the Friars Minor Conventual, has appeared today at Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court, having been charged with seven non-recent Indecent Assault offences relating to a minor. The case has now been committed to be heard at Northampton Crown Court. 

Father Paul Clarke is not a priest of the Northampton Diocese, although he had served in the Diocese in the 1970s, as a member of the Friars Minor Conventual. Father Paul Clarke has no involvement in any active ministry. 

 The Right Reverend Peter Doyle, Bishop of Northampton, affirmed that the Diocese has co-operated fully with the police investigation as the safeguarding of vulnerable people is of paramount importance to the Catholic Church. He assured all involved of his prayers and concern. 

 In the event of any concerns arising from this case, please contact either your local parish safeguarding representative, the Clergy Advisor for Safeguarding, Canon Michael Harrison, or the Diocesan Safeguarding Co-ordinator, Danielle Dixon. At present, it would not be appropriate to make any further comment. 

Issued by: Father Paul Hardy Bishop’s Press Officer Date: 6th September 2017 Tel: 01908 504771 E-mail: vine01@btopenworld.com

6th September - A number of new Head Teachers are taking up their positions from this new term - we wish them all blessing

Niamh Rolphe as Head of St Gregory’s Northampton

Caroline Lovegrove as Head of St Joseph’s, Gerrards Cross

Paul Kassapian as Head of St Bernard’s Grammar, Slough

Fraser Donald as Head of St Thomas More, Kettering

Debbie Rainer as Acting Head of St Anthony’s, Slough

Elsie Gribble as Deputy Head at Our Lady’s, Wellingborough

Andrew Tunn as Deputy Head at St Thomas More, Kettering

Dates of their Induction ceremonies are available from NORES

St Joseph's Lower School and St Gregory's Middle School in Bedford merged from the start of this term and now constitute St Joseph's and St Gregory's Primary School (on adjoining sites) as part of the Bedford Catholic Schools Trust - see their new website. Lisa Sumpter is Head teacher, Alison Symonds is Senior Assistant Head Teacher. 

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor1st September - RIP Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. Bishop Peter writes: "Following the sad news of the death of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor this afternoon, I invite you to join with me in commending him to the Lord in the sure hope of the resurrection.When I began training for the priesthood in 1962, Cardinal Cormac was the Vocations Director and, after I was ordained in 1968, we were fellow priests in the Diocese of Portsmouth until he became Bishop of Arundel and Brighton.Cardinal Cormac ordained me as Bishop of Northampton in 2005, and has always offered me his warm friendship and wise counsel. May he rest in peace."  Photo (c) Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk

14th Sept update - Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s funeral  took place on Wednesday 13 September at Westminster Cathedral. Bishop Peter returned early from his holiday so as to be able to attend the funeral. The cardinal’s body was received into the cathedral at 10am on Tuesday 12 September with a short service before lying in state throughout the day. At 5pm, Cardinal Vincent Nichols celebrated Solemn Vespers of the Dead. At noon the following day, Cardinal Nichols celebrated the Requiem Mass and burial, attended by numerous bishops and clergy, and ecumenical and political guests. A report is here.

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