As we gather in Rome for our visit ‘ad Limina Apostolorum’, we have spent time together reflecting again on the impact of the recent reports containing stark revelations of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, including in England and Wales, and of evident failures of local leadership. We have also reflected on the practical steps we must take.
We do so in the light of all that has been achieved since the Report of Lord Nolan in 2001. We have endeavored to build a culture of safeguarding within the Church’s parishes and religious communities in England and Wales, thereby providing a safe environment for all. In every parish, there is a Parish Safeguarding Representative. In every Diocese, there is a Safeguarding Coordinator and a Diocesan Safeguarding Commission, composed of experts in the main disciplines needed for effective safeguarding. We have established the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC), with a strong majority membership of experts, independent of the authority structures of the Catholic Church. Much has been achieved. Much is to be learned.
Today, 24 September, 2018, we have decided to ask the NCSC to commission an entirely independent and comprehensive review of the safeguarding structures that currently operate within the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Importantly, we will seek to ensure that the voices of the victims and survivors of abuse, through the Survivors Advisory Panel established by the NCSC, fully inform the review and its recommendation.
Each bishop has decided that he will take steps to set aside time for the purpose of meeting with victims and survivors of clerical abuse who live in his diocese.
May God guide us during this week and in this work, that the voice of Christ, crying out in those who have suffered, may be heard with compassion and discernment.
Copies of the full statement are at the back of the Church.
It was only few days before my ordination when I found out that the Cardinal had assigned me to Our Lady of Victories. The Vicar General rung my phone as I was coming back to the presbytery of Our Lady and St Catherine, the parish where I was appointed for my diaconate. “I am happy to tell you, Daniel” – he said – “that the cardinal has appointed you to Our Lady of Victories”. I was indeed very happy and a little surprised too.
Since in writing I don’t have an accent that will give me away I will start confessing that I was born in Burgos, a small city in the north of Spain. I spent most of my teenage years studying hard to get to university to study civil engineering. However, God had a different plan for me. By the time I started A levels I felt very strongly that God was calling me to the priesthood. I struggled with my vocation for a long time but finally I decided to join the seminary and in 2007 I was sent to the Redemptoris Mater House of Formation in London.
I could hardly speak any English then, so I spent the first two years learning it. After that, I was ready to start my philosophical studies at Allen Hall Seminary in Chelsea. In 2011 I left for the Holy Land, where I had a wonderful experience for 10 months, working hard but also visiting the holy places, getting to know many of the places that are connected to the Bible and above all looking to have a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.
After my time in Israel, where I felt that God was confirming my vocation to the priesthood, I was sent for two years to have an experience of mission in Madagascar. Again, I found myself in a completely new place where I could hardly communicate. However, I experienced an incredible joy, the one that comes from announcing the Gospel to the most vulnerable and to see its amazing power to change people’s lives. In June 2014 the time came for me to resume my studies so I came back to London.
I was ordained deacon in 2017 and about a year later, the 30th of June 2018, I was ordained priest. Now, I hope, and I pray, that in these years ahead the Lord will give me the grace to be able to announce the Gospel with faith, especially to those that are most in need, and to serve you with all my heart and strength.
Please, remember me in your prayers.
Fr Daniel Herrero Peña.
Following a wonderful summer here in London, which not even the English can moan about, the autumn beckons us with a mixture of beginnings and endings.
September is a month of freshness– a time of new challenges, renewed vigour, and
an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature, as the bright colours of summer give way to the subdued shades of the Fall. For all of this, we give thanks to God, for the beautiful creation He has bestowed upon us, and for the opportunity of loving and serving him, wherever he calls us to be.
On a personal note, I feel fortunate to have been at Our Lady of Victories over the past three years. Thanks also to my fellow clergy and all parishioners for your love, friendship and patience. It has been good to be here, and I am grateful for the many blessings received - the greatest of which is simply to have shared with you in the work of the Gospel.
With my love and prayers,
Loving Father, during this time of rest and relaxation, please repair in me whatever is broken, and revive my drooping spirit.
Let this vacation be a graced time of recollection and rejuvenation, of deeper self-awareness and eager self-giving. May it be an occasion of refreshment and reinvigoration - a time to reclaim my friendship with Jesus Christ, who is our Lord now and for ever. Amen
Blood of Jesus, inebriate me!
O Jesus, my Beloved Saviour,
ever present in the Tabernacle,
to be the strength,
the joy and the food of souls,
I come to consecrate myself to Thy Precious Blood,
and to pledge Thee my sincere love and fidelity.
Pierced with sorrow at the remembrance of Thy sufferings,
the contemplation of the Cross,
and the thought of the outrages
and contempt lavished by ungrateful souls
upon Thy dear Blood,
I long, O my Jesus,
to bring joy to Thy Heart,
and to make Thee forget my sins,
and those of the whole world,
by consecrating my body and soul to Thy service.
I desire, my Jesus, to live henceforth,
only by Thy Blood and for Thy Blood.
I now choose It as my greatest treasure
and the dearest object of my love.
O Precious Blood,
be my strength amid the trials and struggles of exile.
Grant that at the hour of death
I may be able to bless Thee
for having been the comfort
and the sanctification of my soul,
before becoming, in Heaven,
the everlasting object of my love and praise.
JULY IS THE MONTH OF THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD OF JESUS
St John Southworth has a very special place in our history and in our hearts. A Lancashire man, he had been ordained a priest in 1619 at the English College in Douai, in northern France, at a time when it was impossible to prepare men for the Catholic priesthood in this country. This year, Douai College is celebrating its 450th anniversary. We are all included in this celebration, for the College is a crucial part of Catholic survival and heritage, succeeded first by St Edmund's College in Ware, Hertfordshire, and then by Allen Hall, our own Diocesan seminary.
Today I ask you to pray for all our priests. Pray particularly for the six new priests and the priest(s) serving in your parish. Our lives may not be as dramatic nor as full of public conflict as the life of St John Southworth. Yet we priests strive to express in our daily ministry exactly the same dedication to the mission of Jesus Our Lord as he did. Like him, we depend on the support and love of faithful people.
In the months ahead, remembering Douai College and so many martyr priests, we will be striving to renew our priestly mission and purpose. As priests, we will try to encourage each other more steadfastly. This time of renewal will come to a key moment next year, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a day set aside by Pope Francis for prayer and renewal for all priests throughout the world. On that day, 28 June 2019, all Diocesan priests in England and Wales will be invited to come to Westminster Cathedral to celebrate together a Mass of thanksgiving and renewal.
Day for Life is the day in the Church’s year dedicated to raising awareness about the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition. The Church teaches that life is to be nurtured from conception to natural death.
On this Day for Life 2018, let us pray for victims of human trafficking and victims of crime, and for the traumatised, the sick and the dying. We remember the most marginalised and all vulnerable people in our society, the unborn, the homeless and the lonely.
‘As human beings each of us has a common responsibility that upholds the worth of every human life, especially that of the most vulnerable. This common responsibility involves different specific responsibilities at different levels: international, national, local and individual.’ (From ‘Cherishing Life’ – The Bishops of England and Wales – 2004)
With you is the fountain of life. In your light, we see light. (Psalm 39 v 6).
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
The Mass contains everything we need for Salvation. It is the summit and source of our Christian life.
This weekend we will be speaking at all Masses about how we express our reverence and the manner in which we receive Holy Communion. From time to time it is important that we examine our attitude to The presence of Christ truly present in the Holy Eucharist.
How do I approach this great mystery?
Do I approach Holy communion with a sense of awe, gratitude and devotion?.
The Church asks as to receive the host on our tongue or by creating a throne for the Lord with our hands and then consuming the host. This should be done immediately.
If we are carrying a child it is more dignified to receive Communion on the tongue rather than struggle to receive it in one hand.
The Bishops of England and Wales have stated that before we receive Holy Communion we should make a bow of the head. No one is obliged to genuflect or kneel.
If Angels could be jealous of us, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion. (St Maximilian Kolbe)
This weekend we welcome Fr Tony Chantry MHM, who will take the opportunity to thank the Parish for their support of prayers and donations to the 1069 World Missions.
Please note that there will be NO cash collection , the thank you and appeal is to inform you of the work carried out by APF-Mill Hill and to ask for continuing prayers and financial support, which can be given through their “ Red Boxes”
“Truly nothing is more beautiful than to know Christ and to make him known to others.” Pope Benedict XVI
This Sunday’s Gospel reading contains a rich variety of responses to the Resurrection of the Lord: alarm and fright, agitation, joy, disbelief and amazement. Can we put ourselves into the situation and imagine what those days must have been like for the apostles and their companions? They thought the end had come – the end of their hopes and expectations. Instead, Jesus, risen from the dead – flesh and bone - stands before them and eats a piece of grilled fish. This is an exhilarating scene which St Luke records in such wonderful detail. We can be sure that his sources were primary – those who saw the Lord and touched him and heard him speak and saw him eat did as they were told – they acted as witnesses. We thank God for their fidelity.
Is this the end of the story – a happy ending? Not at all. The point of the Resurrection is that it, far from being the happy ending, it is instead a new beginning. Clothed with the glorious, loving power of the Risen One we, like the apostles, are charged to go out and proclaim the forgiveness of sins, the promise of eternal life.
Rise heart; thy Lord is risen.
Sing his praise without delays,
Who takes thee by the hand,
that thou likewise with him mayst rise.
(From ‘Easter’ by George Herbert)