Wednesday 28th Sept.


Festival of Our Lady of Walsingham Solemn High Mass and Procession.

This Saturday (1st Oct) at 11am

The  homily will be given by the Rt Revd Cuthbert Brogan, OSB,

Abbot of St Michael’s Abbey, Farnborough.

Music: Mozart’s Missa Brevis no 8 in D major, KV 149.

Refreshments will be served after mass.




When this blog had the option to’follow’ via email or WordPress account we suffered from hackers.

Perhaps it was one of those Spirit of Vatican II groups but generally they don’t know how to use a computer.

Anyway, I’ve put the option back on so please, if you haven’t done so, sign up for blog alerts.

Today’s article is written by Thomas, a member of the Men’s Group. According to his Facebook he is a fan of Michael Palin, the Society of Jesus and the Polish Folk and Dance Group Tatry. He occasionally, on his 16-25 student railcard, pops down to St Agatha’s to serve Mass.


My Roman holiday

I went to Rome this year, my first time in the eternal city and I loved the city. Here are some pictures of my time there.



The first picture is a great monument to the Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a united Italy, known as the altar of the fatherland. It is a   most fantastic and impressive building, in which is contained a art gallery, and is not unintentionally far from the Roman forum reflecting the ideal of ancient Rome on the modern Italian state.




After this one of the highlights was climbing the Spanish steps. Climbing them with my fellow pilgrims was an experience which I will never forget. It was great when you reached the top and there was Blessed Sacrament where our lord reminds in love for us. There was a priest for confession but alas he spoke only Italian.



One of my favourite churches that I visited was the Pantheon; it is an example of the early conversion of Rome. The Church started life as a pagan temple devoted to all the God’s of Rome, hence the name, Pantheon. It was at one point the largest concrete building in the world until the 20th century. It became a Church, showing the widespread acceptance of the state Christianity.  The Church is also complete with the tomb of Victor Emmanuel II himself, linking himself no doubt with the Roman past, with the saying “Padre Della Patria”, Father of the Fatherland, a link to Augustus, the first emperor of Rome.

There will be more to follow, so watch for the next instalment.


Thank you Tom for the article

Being a short distance I think I’ll pop to Waitrose for lunch. There’s actually a Facebook page that allows people to poke fun at the pretensions of Waitrose shoppers.

Here are some comments supposedly overheard in Waitrose stores:

“Don’t we already have a wine thermometer dear?”

“You know it’s Waitrose when chocolate brioche is considered essential…”

“Quentin, find a cake I can pass off as homemade for the village fête.”

“Daddy, does Lego have a silent T, like merlot?”

“Orlando, that is enough blueberries. I only need them to go on the top of the venison.”

Sometimes it’s difficult thinking of what to write on the blog.

In fact some days I like to just post photos of beautiful things for us to look at.

Here are some vestments I found online: enjoy




‘Now such was the raiment of the high priest, for both it and its parts have a meaning that must not be passed over in silence. For the whole vestment is in fact a representation and copy of the cosmos, and the parts are representations of its several portions.’

– Philo Judæus of Alexandria





A priest doesn’t vest to draw attention to himself, but to what he does. In vestments, priests become a little anonymous. The sacraments work ex opere operato, from the work done, not the merits of the person carrying it out. The ornate robes tell us what work the priest is prepared to do, just as oxygen tanks and helmets mark out firefighters.

The uniform of a first responder is functional and battered. But vestments should be superfluously beautiful. Yes, they are more than seems necessary, more than we would ask for ourselves. They are meant to remind us of grace.

These photos of the beautiful vestments were taken from the website

Pluri Arte:

‘We are a small family business, versatile and capable of adapting to our customers’ requests.

 To do this, our artisan work is made upon request, using noble materials and careful preparation at a very competitive price.

 With the hope of making this liturgical apostolate, we are proud to say that our products are in different destinations in Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.’

Tel: +34 630 471 246

Monday 26th Oct.


Paul, administrator of the Men’s Group, was recently surfing the internet and came across this photo of the St Agatha’s Lady Chapel. Father Maunder hadn’t seen it before and believes it dates from the 1920s. Usually photos of the Lady Chapel are rather dark but because of the good lighting in this shot, we are able to better see the stained glass. Note also the Christmas tree on the Gospel side.

Meanwhile Fr Bradley’s father has been flying over Portsmouth and took this photo of the grand basilica. Such an idyllic setting, reminiscent of Rome.



This Saturday (1st October) there will not be a Mass for the Guildford group. Instead the Guildford group will join us at St Agatha’s for the Festival of Our Lady of Walsingham, beginning at 11am. Visit our twitter @stagathaschurch or contact 07454 815968.

St Agatha’s Church,
Market Way,

Travelling by Car / Road:

For Sat-Nav’s Please use this postcode: PO1 4RN

All are most welcome. Thank you to Father Ed Tomlinson for placing a link to this site on his blog.

Below is a list of the October Mass times for St Agatha’s, Portsmouth:

Saturday          1st       Solemn High Mass for Our Lady of Walsingham

Sunday           2nd       Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity     (EH 711)

Monday           3rd        St Thomas of Hereford

Friday              7th        Our Lady of the Rosary

Saturday          8th        Our Lady’s Saturday

Sunday           9th        Twentieth Sunday after Trinity       (EH 712)

Monday           10th      St Paulinus of York

Friday              14th        Requiem

Saturday          15th      St Teresa of Avila

Sunday           16th      Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity   (EH 713)

Monday           17th      St Ignatius of Antioch

Friday              21st      Requiem

Saturday          22nd      St John-Paul II

Sunday           23rd      Twenty-Second Sunday after Trinity (EH 714)

Monday           24th      feria

Friday              28th      St Simon and St Jude, Apostles

Saturday          29th        Our Lady’s Saturday

Sunday           30th      Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity     (EH715   )

Mass in the Extraordinary Form                 15.00

Monday           31st      feria


EH715 etc refers to the English Hymnal where the Introits and other chants may be followed


Photos of Buckfast Abbey, Devon



Photos from the Corpus Christi devotion, 2016.

Recently I travelled to Devon for a short stay on the “English Riviera.” I looked up Mass times for the Ordinariate but this is where the trouble started.


There is an Ordinariate group at the Abbey. This photo shows Monsignor Keith Newton preaching at a Confirmation Mass in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. The group usually has Sunday Mass at 3pm which isn’t convenient for most families and will hamper growth.

I couldn’t attend as the Mass was too late in the day but there was option B- the Torbay group. Indeed they have purchased their own little church- a former Methodist chapel. However, their website doesn’t suggest that Sunday Mass is according to the Divine Worship missal.

The Portal magazine seems to suggest that the group only uses Divine Worship on Thursdays at 7pm.

Is St Agatha’s the only church in the Ordinariate that solely uses Divine Worship? It would seem that even the chief Ordinariate church in London uses the Divine Worship Missal sparingly. There ought to be a list of Ordinariate groups and a clear description of their liturgy e.g. Divine Worship/Novus Ordo, East/Westward facing, Said/Sung, High/Low etc.

Communication is a major issue for the Ordinariate in this country. If we can’t communicate the Mass times and liturgy effectively, how can we communicate the vision of the Ordinariate to outsiders? No wonder so many Catholics think the Ordinariate is a protestant sect.








The Private Chapel of Cardinal Burke


St John Bosco: Pray for us


Missa Puer natus est nobis at Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini in Rome


The Morning Mass
Henri Pierre Léon Pharamond Blanchard- 1828



Archbishop Farage speaks out!



The outgoing UKIP leader has said the Archbishop of Canterbury should go because he is not prepared to “stand up for Christian values”.

Speaking to Sky News as he prepared to give his last conference speech as leader of the party, he rounded on Justin Welby, who criticised him for giving legitimacy to racism during the EU referendum campaign.

Mr Farage accused the Archbishop of failing to do his job properly, claiming he had not adequately protected Christian values in the UK.

He said: “It’s a great shame that the head of our established church is not actually prepared to stand up and fight for our Christian culture in this country.

“He’s somebody else who should go too.”



Mysterious Comments about St Agatha’s…

From Father Hunwicke’s blog:

Francis said…

The main issue is the very disappointing response (an understatement) from Anglican Catholic-minded laity. Pope Benedict thought he was offering the best of all possible worlds: solid doctrine, (assuredly) valid orders, excellent inculturated liturgy and above all Englishness (never Fr. — or indeed Bishop — Fintan O’Shaughnessy’s strong point).

Enough Anglican clergy came across to the UK Ordinariate to man an entire English Catholic diocese. But if attachment to church buildings is such a deal-breaker for lay Anglicans, aren’t some English Catholic bishops right to be privately sceptical about the Ordinariate and its chances?

A few weeks ago I took my family to Portsmouth for the weekend and for a change we thought we would go to Mass at St. Agatha’s. We had never been to an Ordinariate Mass before and were interested in what it would be like. My 16 year old son was amazed. “That was the real deal” were his words as we left church. “Why can’t we have this everywhere? Our usual Mass is just like a lecture in comparison.” Quote, unquote.



A shorter version of the original text:

It is now three years since I became the Bishop of Portsmouth. Over this time, I’ve been getting to know the patch.

We have 140 priests and 40 deacons and I spent the first 18 months on ‘home’ visits to spend time with each of our priests, and then with our deacons and their wives.

We have 95 parishes from Oxford in the north, across Reading east to Maidenhead, Windsor and Aldershot, then down through Newbury and Winchester to Portsmouth, Southampton and Bournemouth in the south, and over to the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands. I always say to other bishops that Portsmouth is not only the best diocese in England and Wales but also the largest – that is, if you include the sea-bed out to the Channel Islands! So 95 parishes: I have been working my way around them on pastoral visitation one weekend per month, sometimes two.

We also have 43 religious communities, including 3 new religious communities: The Marian Franciscan Friars in Gosport, the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate in Bridgemary, and the Stella Matutina Sisters in Grayshott.

But over the last year or so – a great delight – I’ve been making brief visitations of our diocesan schools. We have 76 schools, of which 53 are academies or voluntary-aided, and 23 independents. I wanted to visit every school in order to get the flavour, but more importantly to support heads, staff, governors and chaplains in their work.

First, some general data:

  • the decline of Christianity: from 72% to 59% which, if it continues, means that by 2019 and the end of this decade, Christians will be in a minority;

• the growth of Islam: from 3% to 5%, making Islam the fastest growing religious group in England and Wales; and

• the exponential growth of ‘nones’ (people of no religious affiliation): up from 15% in 2001 to 25%. A quarter of the population now says it has ‘no religion.’



It is instructive to tabulate the trend for adult baptisms and receptions into the Church. In 2013, in the Diocese there were 180 receptions: i.e. about 2 persons per parish per year. It currently takes 200 parishioners to generate one new one.

Statistics are helpful, yet in faith-matters, there are limits. Evangelisation is not about numbers. The Lord never promised full churches; if anything He seemed to envisage the Christian community as a small band. Yet the Church is incarnate and so numbers do have some significance both for the Church’s internal functioning and for its external mission.

Christianity is not a religion of the book, be it the Bible, the Catechism or whatever. Nor is it based on doctrine, beliefs, the teachings of the Church. Nor is our faith based on a moral code of do’s and don’ts, practices and customs. Catholicism is first and foremost based on a Person, Jesus Christ, God the Son, on a personal relationship with Him in the communion of His Church, and on union through Him with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Here is the difference between the old evangelisation and new evangelisation (NE). The NE is not ecclesio-centric but Christo-centric. It’s not about ‘church’ but about Jesus Christ and making Him known and loved. It’s about the love of Jesus, a transforming encounter with Him.

Schools and parishes, alone or together, could undertake simple, mission-projects. Parishes and schools could leaflet a new housing development, operate a food-bank, serve the poor, establish a stall on a local market, visit retirement homes, make use of social media, hand commuters invitations to a parish event, hold a Theology on Tap session in a local pub, organise special prayers and devotions, talk with people at the school gates, and so on. Doing a Catholic form of street witness – a procession, music, leafleting shops, praying the Rosary – can be a fruitful mission-project. Some of our churches need to be made more user-friendly, tidy, comfortable, welcoming, with a good presence on the internet. Even the basic matter of keeping the church open for prayer is a hugely evangelistic activity. Schools too might have a role in this: hosting an Alpha session, twilight sessions for parents and carers on prayer and spirituality, short catechetical courses, Bible study, and so on. Again, breakfast and after-school clubs might offer evangelistic opportunities.




The Men’s Group

Driving through Hook and 1930’s Churches

On route to West Green House, the garden S. Agatha’s mens group visited on Wednesday, we drove through Hook which is some six miles east of the concrete jungle which is also known as Basingstoke. Hook is really to blame for Basingstoke’s expansion, for Hook was first considered to become a town for overspill housing but put up a protest.


Hook is on the A30 which was the main road to London before the M3 motorway was built.  Before that it was the stagecoach route from London to Exeter.  Hook was quite a small place until development in the 1980’s.  The older buildings were probably the coaching inns and the hamlets which grew around them.
To the east of the town lays a large business park-I can see why-for the M3 and train station are extremely close.
We were driving through the small town when a member of our party noticed the church, ‘Oh it looks terribly like a Lutyens church’ exclaimed the gentleman.
I was happy to have the chance to say it was a church by Edward Maufe.  He was the architect who designed Guildford Cathedral.
Maufe was comissioned to design Hook church in 1931.  It was shortly after in 1932 he entered and won the competition to design the new cathedral on Guildford’s Stag Hill.  The church website goes onto say ‘so it is not surprising that there are many similarities between S. Johns and Guildford Cathedral’.  In fact the buy a brick scheme was first utilised at Hook.


S. John the Evangelist was completed in 1938, only six months after the laying of the foundation stone.


The interior is quite serene, although I believe a rerdos by/in the style of Martin Travers would look simply glorious and add instant impact to the lofty east wall. What do you think?



If you look at the east window you will see a naval ship portrayed, for this window  is in memory of Frank George Matthews who was lost with HMS Cressey in 1914.
I then thought about Lutyens as a church designer (very few chuches are by Lutyens) and how he designed a Catholic cathedral for Liverpool.  In Iive been fortunate enough to see his crypt underneath ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’ which contains a exhibition and history of the Metropolitan Cathedral.
I also recalled us trying to see inside S. Jude’s, Hampstead Garden Suburb which was a church Lutyens designed.
High Mass at St Jude’s
The Evening Meal of the Men’s Group.