Update from Bishop Philip 15/05/2021
In two weeks’ time, we have the great feast of Pentecost and I have prepared a Message to all the candidates who on that day are going to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. It will be read at the Liturgy. Please pray for all our candidates. Confirmation is always a wonderful moment in the life of a young person and also a wonderful moment in the life of the Diocese. Last year, we had to postpone the usual arrangements for Confirmation and this year, things are still a bit different.
Instead of inviting candidates here to the Cathedral, I have delegated all our parish priests across the Diocese to confer the Sacrament – in a Mass or non-Eucharistic liturgy – at 3pm on Pentecost Sunday. This will be simultaneously with me as the Bishop here in the Cathedral conferring the Sacrament on candidates from the Cathedral parish and Portsmouth Pastoral Area. I hope and pray we can return to a more normal situation next year, but for now, please say a special prayer for all those preparing and the catechists, family, sponsors and clergy supporting them.
One of the great joys in recent years have been the weekend gatherings in the Cathedral during Eastertide for the Sacrament of Confirmation, with youngsters from across the Pastoral Areas and parishes of the Diocese.
Unfortunately, this year the COVID-situation makes it look unlikely we’ll be able to gather for the time being for large-scale liturgies.
So I have been consulting the clergy about how best this year to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Taking their advice into account, I have decided that for this year only, to delegate all parish priests from across the Diocese to confer this Sacrament at 3 pm in their parish church on Pentecost Sunday (23rd May) during a Mass or non-Eucharistic Liturgy, with the Bishop simultaneously conferring the Sacrament in the Cathedral.
I will send out a short homily from the Bishop to be read at the Liturgy. Obviously, a careful preparation of candidates is needed, and I’ve asked our Educational Chaplaincies Department to send some notes and guidelines about safety online etc.
I hope we can send these out to parishes, priests and catechists next week.