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REQUIESCAT IN PACE

By | News

ARCHBISHOP MICHAEL GEORGE BOWEN (R.I.P.)

Emeritus Archbishop of Southwark

The Most Reverend Michael G. Bowen, S.T.L., Ph.L., former Archbishop of Southwark died in the early hours of Thursday 17 October 2019. He was 89 years-old.

Archbishop Bowen was born in Gibraltar, where his maternal grandparents lived, on 23 April 1930 – the feast day of St George, patron saint of England.

His home until 1959 was in Wimbledon, London. He was the son of Major John Bowen (Irish Guards, killed in action in World War II, Norway 1940) and Mary, née Pedley, who married Sir Paul Makins, Bt, in 1945.

Archbishop Bowen was educated at Downside School before gaining a place at Trinity College, Cambridge.

He was a wine merchant, working for Saccone and Speed Ltd, before entering into formation for the Catholic priesthood at the Venerable English College, Rome, in 1952. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Southwark on 6 July 1958.

Twelve years later, he was Ordained the second Bishop of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton on 14 March 1971.

That same year, he was elected with Cardinal Heenan to represent the Bishops of England and Wales at the Rome Synod on “The Priesthood” and on “Justice and Peace in the World”.

In March 1977, he succeeded Cyril Conrad Cowderoy as the eighth Archbishop of Southwark. Archbishop Bowen welcomed then-Pope John Paul II to St George’s Cathedral in 1982.

He was well known to Gibraltar. He co-consecrated Bishop Edward Rapallo in 1973 and presided at his funeral in Gibraltar in 1984. 

 

 

 

 

He installed Bishop Bernard Devlin, who had been consecrated in Rome by Pope St. John Paul II in 1985, as Bishop of Gibraltar.

 

 

He co-consecrated Bishop Caruana in 1998.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, he returned to the Rock in 2010 to consecrate Bishop Ralph Heskett C.Ss.R.

 

 

 

 

 

Archbishop Bowen was a member of the Standing Committee of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and Chairman of it from 1999 to 2001. He also served the Bishops’ Conference as Chair of the Department of Christian Life and Worship (1983-99) and Chair of the Committee for Marriage and Family Life (1983-86).

ROSARY ROUND THE ROCK

By | News

THANK YOU

to all who attended the ROSARY ROUND THE ROCK

or joined us in spirit!

Our Lady of Europe has been on the side of Gibraltar, throughout all our history. Especially, through the closing and opening of the frontier and all during our difficult times. Yesterday we gathered to ask her again to intercede for us:

  • For our children and the trials, they are or will face in their life’s.
  • For our Christian identity and way of life.
  • For protection of the weakest and sick members of our Community.
  • For current state of living, that it may be preserved.
  • For the upcoming Election and all the politicians.
  • For Brexit, may it have a good and blessed solution to all sides.

The Diocesan Youth Ministry organised a “Rosary Round the Rock” yesterday, Monday the 7th October, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. at 5.00pm along 35 posts encircling the entire Gibraltar.

Quite a number assembled at each post from the various parishes and Diocesan movements. Many more who could not be with us, because they are housebound, in hospital or for other reasons not able to make it to one of the posts, prayed the Rosary at 5 pm too.

THANK YOU to all who attended, or were not able to be with us, but joined us in spirit at that time.

Thank you also to all who organised the event and made our time of prayer possible.

Our Lady of Europe, pray for us!

CHARISMATIC RENEWAL

By | News

THANK YOU!

Last weekend, the Gibraltar Charismatic Renewal held a retreat at the Community Centre.

It was a wonderful time of celebration, song, prayer, adoration and fellowship, led by Inmaculada Moreno from Madrid and Padre Ricardo from the Archdiocese of Toledo.

Thank you Inmaculada and Padre Ricardo and also to all those who made the weekend possible.

APPOINTMENT OF MONSIGNOR MARK MILES

By | News

Press Release From the Bishop’s Office

Monsignor Mark Miles, who is a Priest of the Diocese of Gibraltar and currently serving at the Vatican Secretariat of State, has been appointed by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, as Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Organization of American States. The aim of this Organization is to build an order of peace and justice on the American continent, promote solidarity, development and cooperation among the States of the region, support democracy and protect human rights.

On hearing of the good news, Bishop Zammit said: “We congratulate Mgr. Miles on such a prestigious appointment. All the priests and faithful of the Diocese join me in praying for Mgr. Mark, commending him and his new ministry to the intercession of Our Lady of Europe”.

Thanking his Lordship who congratulated him on behalf of all the Diocese, Mgr. Miles replied: “It’s an honour to have been asked to represent the Holy See as Permanent Observer to the Organization of American States and I thank the Holy Father for the trust placed in me. I look forward to taking on this challenge at the service of the Church in the family of nations in the Americas and I ask the prayers of all in my home diocese of Gibraltar”.

What do we mean by ‘ORDINARY TIME’?

By | Churches, Liturgy, News

With the end of Eastertide, the Church returns to her so-called Ordinary Time. This is a fitting way to remind us that the entire reason why God was born, became one like us —in everything but sin— was to show us the way back to the Father, which we had lost through the sin of Adam and Eve. This is at the heart of the mystery of our Redemption as revealed by God.

The Baptism of Jesus therefore signals the dawn of our hope: that being baptized in Him, we will die with Him, to rise with Him (c.f. St. Paul Rom 6:3-5; 1 Cor 10:11-12; Col 2:12).

The basis of our re-birth in Christ, is our new life in the Sacred Trinity: to live in an ineffable communion of love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit; in an eternal embrace of joy! That relationship begins now, through Baptism.

Jesus became truly man so that He could illumine the way for us, by following Him along our life-long road of conversion: turning away from sin and living a new life in God. Baptism is the gateway which Christ opens for us, to make possible our entry into Paradise —if we so desire— and live with Him forever.

The ‘Ordinary Time’ of the Church’s Liturgical Year in 2019 began on Monday 14th January. This means that we resume the 3-year cycle of readings from Sacred Scriptures which are proclaimed at Holy Mass each Sunday and during the weekdays.

Also, the ‘Divine Office’ or ‘Liturgy of the Hours’ which all religious, bishops, priests and deacons are obliged to recite in the name of the Church, ‘resets’ back to its starting point for the new liturgical year after the Feast of Christ the King, or more accurately, beginning from the First Sunday of Advent.

Since the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, an astonishing number of lay people, associations of Apostolic Life and groups have joined in this ‘Universal Prayer of the Church’. This is a tremendous blessing for the world, whereby from East to West, “from the rising of the sun to its setting, a pure sacrifice may be made offered to your name” [Eucharistic Prayer 3].

As with the Eucharistic Prayer which the Priest offers In Persona Christi —that is, in the Person of Christ— is Christ’s perfect prayer of praise and thanksgiving, which He offers continually to the Father, similarly the ‘Divine Office’ is His intercession for His Body, the Church.

In this official Prayer of the Church, we can feel the presence of our brothers and sisters —the Church in Heaven and the Church in Purgatory— praying in unison with the ‘pilgrimage Church’ on Earth. This is the nature and reality of the Catholic Church, which finds her origins and mission in the one Sacrifice of Christ, offered once and for all, to the Father on Calvary and made actual —in our time— through the Sacred Sacrifice of the Mass.

This Mystery is truly awesome! It generates in our hearts a sublime desire to worship the Triune God. It is the humbling feeling that our infinite God loves us. Without God, we are meaningless and finite; of little lasting worth! This sentiment of true devotion invites us to bend our knees and bow low, with deep reverence, as we behold and adore the Body and Blood of Christ at the elevation at Holy Mass. As we do so, God’s light of hope touches our hearts and makes us new: the grace of God, so freely given, transforms us into a new creation in Christ. That is why our Baptism unfolds and reveals throughout our life, who God destined us to be. It spells the unique mission we all have: to creatively reflect something of our ‘image and likeness’ of God, back to the Father who created us out of nothing.

The Church encourages all her Faithful to pray the Divine Office and also, to be renwed each day at Holy Mass. If we do so and listen to God’s Word attentively, which is at the heart —like a scaffold— of all our liturgies, we will have virtually gone through the entire Bible in 3 years! What a wonderful way to make a home in our hearts for Jesus, the Word-made-flesh!

In this year 2019, the programme of readings from Sacred Scripture for the Divine Office and for Holy Mass are as follows:

  • For Holy Mass:
    • Sunday readings = Year C.
    • Weekday readings = Cycle I.
  • The colour for the Liturgical vestments is green, symbolizing hope and fresh, new growth (as in God’s creation all around us) in our relationship with Christ.

CHANGES TO MASS TIMES AT CATHEDRAL & SACRED HEART

By | Churches, Liturgy, News

CHANGES TO MASS TIMES

 

CATHEDRAL

As from Monday, the 24th June 2019, due to the fact that priests in the Cathedral are or will be away or convalescing, apart from the fact that we have also lost Fr Mario Tong, we need to suspend temporarily one of the Masses celebrated in the Cathedral.

Therefore, the 7.30 morning Mass will be suspended for the time being.

This decision was not taken lightly, but under the extraordinary and unexpected circumstances we are in, we are sure that you will understand.

During the summer months commencing on Saturday 29th June, the weekend AND weekday evening Masses will be at 7.15 pm.

__________________________

 

SACRED HEART

 

For the time being during the summer months, in order to ensure we have a Priest available, the Mass schedule will be as follows as from Saturday 22nd June :

 

Friday 28th:         Feast of the Sacred Heart, followed by the traditional Parish celebration. Mass will be at 7 p.m.

 

All Saturdays & Holy Days of Obligation:       8:00 p.m.

                                                   All Sundays:        9:30 a.m.

VOS ESTIS LUX MUNDI

By | News, Vatican

YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

POPE PROMULGATES NEW LAW ON SAFEGUARDING FOR THE CHURCH

The Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis, promulgated new norms for the Church’s handling of abuse on May 9th through a motu proprio (‘on his own initiative), titled, Vos estis lux mundi (“You are the light of the world”). He approved its promulgation on an experimental basis for a period of three years. It will enter in effect June 1, 2019.

The Pope wrote: “The crimes of sexual abuse offend Our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful”. The Bishop has the primary responsibility of ensuring that all issues concerning the Safeguarding of children and vulnerable persons, including the processing of any allegations, is handled efficiently with a ‘zero tolerance’ standard or practice.

Nevertheless, it is also the responsibility of everyone to ensure an environment of safeguarding is maintained and that there is vigilance to report abuses when they occur. It is clear through these norms, that there can be no ‘cover-up’. “Therefore, [the Pope wrote] it is good that procedures be universally adopted to prevent and combat these crimes that betray the trust of the faithful”.

The norms regard what are called, in canon law, “delicts against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue,” consisting of:

-sexual acts with a minor or vulnerable person;

-forcing someone to perform or submit to sexual acts through violence, threat, or abuse of authority;

-and the production or possession of child pornography.

The new law also sanctions any actions intended to cover-up a civil or canonical investigation into accusations of child pornography use, sexual abuse of minors, or sexual coercion through abuse of power. It also emphasizes that “the person under investigation enjoys the presumption of innocence”.

Furthermore, it requires that the Church authorities be committed to ensuring “that those who state that they have been harmed, together with their families, are to be treated with dignity and respect,” be welcomed, listened to, and supported, offered spiritual assistance, and medical and psychological assistance.

A crucial aspect of the new legislation for the entire Church is that it introduces obligatory reporting, requiring that every cleric or religious man or woman who has become aware of an accusation of abuse or cover-up report it “promptly” to the proper Church authority.

The motu proprio also states that every diocese in the world is required to create a stable mechanism or system through which people may submit reports of abuse or its cover-up. The exact form of the system, which could also be an entire office, will be left to the discretion of the individual diocese, but must be established by June 2020.

In Gibraltar, a Diocesan Safeguarding Commission was set up in 2018, on the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels.

A diocesan Policy was also established and appropriate Safeguarding training, beginning with our clergy, is being offered to all the groups and persons helping in any way in our parishes.

As Pope Francis wrote: “In order that these phenomena, in all their forms, never happen again, a continuous and profound conversion of hearts is needed, attested by concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church…. This becomes possible only with the grace of the Holy Spirit poured into our hearts, as we must always keep in mind the words of Jesus: ‘Apart from me you can do nothing’ (Jn 15:5). Even if so much has already been accomplished, we must continue to learn from the bitter lessons of the past, looking with hope towards the future’”.

If you wish to learn more about Safeguarding in our Diocese, please visit the pages specifically dedicated to this on our website.

To contact our diocesan Safeguarding Officer or relevant agencies for any concerns you may have, please visit the contact details page.

If you believe that a child or vulnerable adult has suffered or is in immediate risk of suffering significant harm, for example, physical or sexual assault or theft of their property, then you should contact the Police / the Care Agency (Social Services) Department immediately.

DOING NOTHING IS NOT AN OPTION!

In all cases where such a situation arises within a church or church-related context, then the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer should be contacted too.

BISHOP ZAMMIT’S EASTER MESSAGE

By | News, Seasons

From Death to Life.

 

Alleluia!

The Lord is Risen!

This is the Christian proclamation that resounds throughout the Churches around the world that profess the Christian faith on Easter Sunday.

Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead.   His followers saw him executed through being crucified, being laid in the tomb, and then they met him unexpectedly as one who has risen from the dead.

As such we don’t really know what exactly happened at the resurrection, what we know is that Christ was dead and then he rose from the dead.

The resurrection is always and everywhere.

Easter is right at the heart of our life. When we look at life with Easter eyes, then we experience that forgiveness comes beyond grievance, that peace comes beyond conflict, that joy comes beyond sorrow, freedom comes beyond all different kinds of imprisonment, and that love triumphs over fear. In such instances we have the resurrection. Once again the stone is rolled away and Jesus rises from the dead and we rise with him.

The New Testament says that Jesus wasn’t the only one to rise from the dead. He is the first born of many brothers and sisters, us, and therefore where he has gone, from death into an unimaginable life, we are called to follow. We do so as we celebrate Easter, celebrating the resurrection which in reality is happening all around us.

Easter is a call to come out of our tombs. There are so many of us who unfortunately are more prone to remain in our tombs. We continue to remain in our tombs when we lose the perspective of hope in our life. Very often, in facing problems and in dealing with our trials and difficulties, we begin to wonder: is Jesus really alive? That is why many of us allow sadness and grief to continue to hold on to us, and that is why we cannot see the bright light, the joy of Easter.

During Easter we are called to focus on those who have encountered the risen Lord. We realise that the Apostles, who encountered the risen Lord, experienced a change in their life. From a life of pessimism to one of joy, one of courage and hope.

That is what we need to learn from the Apostles. In our daily lives, are we ready to release all hurts, injustices, the anger, the resentment, and learn to heal ourselves and others, and become transforming agents?

This is what we need to enter into the Easter experience, of encountering the Risen Lord, so that our lives will be changed and transformed.

Have a wonderful and blessed Easter celebration.

+Carmel Zammit

Bishop of Gibraltar

GOOD FRIDAY COLLECTION FOR THE HOLY PLACES

By | News

On Good Friday, during the 3 p.m. afternoon service in all churches throughout the world, the Special Collection for the Holy Places in Jerusalem, our Mother Church, will take place.

Cardinal Sandri, Head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Eastern Churches, in his letter sent to all Bishops states  “even today the Middle East is witnessing a process that has torn apart the relations between the peoples of the region” and, quoting Pope St. Paul VI in his  Exhortation Nobis in Animo  reminds us that “it is necessary for Christians from all over the world to show their generosity, bringing to the Church of Jerusalem the charity of their prayers, the warmth of their understanding and the tangible sign of their solidarity”.

Cardinal Sandri conveys Pope Francis’ deep gratitude to the Faithful who strive for the success of the Collection.

The task of collecting the donations for the Holy Places is entrusted by the Holy See to the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. Gibraltar is blessed to have men and women who commit themselves to support Jerusalem and the Holy places in various ways. their work of charity is truly impressive, including the many schools and hospitals that depend on donations from abroad due to their poverty and challenging situation. For more information visit their website where you can learn more about their charitable activity.