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5 posts from March 2005

March 31, 2005

Newsletter Easter 2005


March 16, 2005

Newsletter 13 March 2005


Holy Week 2005




Cardinal hosts six talks by leading figures in faith and politics on the theme of Faith in Europe

What is faith to Europe – and what is Europe to faith?

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, has invited  six leading men and women in religion and politics to explore these questions in Wednesday evening lectures in April and May.

Three of the lectures will be given by major figures in modern European public life: the Irish President, Mary McAleese of Ireland, the singer and activist Sir Bob Geldof, and Christopher Lord Patten of Barnes, the chancellor of Oxford University.

The others will be given by three outstanding figures in the Catholic Church: Jean Vanier, the founder of the L’Arche and Faith and Light communities; Fr Timothy Radcliffe, the former master-general of the Dominicans; and Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster. 

The talks at Westminster Cathedral , under the banner title of  “Faith in Europe?”, will bring some of the big themes of Christian faith to bear on questions facing Europe.

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor had the idea for the series after he read Pope John Paul II’s exhortation on Europe, Ecclesia in Europa. The 2003 document contained the conclusions of a meeting in 1999 in Rome of Catholic bishops from across the continent.

The Pope writes of the precious unity underpinning European nations, the loss of Europe’s Christian memory, the break-up of society and the weakening of solidarity.

“Be yourself,” he exhorted Europeans in Ecclesia in Europa. “Rediscover your origins. Relive your roots.”

The six talks at Westminster Cathedral aim to do just that.

They will explore themes such as hope, solidarity, and faith; how human relationships can best flourish; and how Europe can serve the wider interests of the world.

Jean Vanier, founder of prophetic communities throughout Europe in which people with and without disabilities live together, will ask how Europe can become a place of human flourishing.

Mary McAleese, the President of Ireland, will ask if Europeans have “grown up” enough as citizens to meet the expectations of the next generation.

The former Master General of the Dominicans, Fr Timothy Radcliffe, will show how the European project has been shaped by the Christian vision of humanity.

Sir Bob Geldof, who serves on the Government’s Commission for Africa, will ask if Europe has become a club which exists for the satisfaction of its members rather than one fulfilling its vocation to solidarity with the world’s poorest. 

Lord Patten of Barnes, the former European Commissioner for External affairs,  will address Europe’s international role. Can Europe help to build peace and security outside its borders - especially in the Middle East and Africa?

The series will end with Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor’s vision of the changing shape of the Church in Europe, and what the future holds.

The lectures promise to be uplifting as well as challenging. Some will be published in newspapers and magazines. They will later be published as a book by Darton, Longman & Todd.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor writes in the leaflet advertising the lectures:

“We are living in an enlarged and enlarging Europe and it seems to me that we need to be more aware of the importance of Christianity in our European heritage, and, more importantly, in the Europe we wish to build in future.

Where are the seeds of hope to be found in our increasingly secularised and material culture? What are the expectations of a new generation of European citizens? Is solidarity among European nations an end in itself  - or is there a wider vision? What role does peace in Europe have in building peace in other parts of the world? How can the Catholic Church respond to the challenges of our day?

I hope you will join me in seeking some answers to these questions in a series of talks in which leading politicians, thinkers and campaigners share their vision.”

The lectures are on Wednesdays at 7.00 p.m. in Westminster Cathedral as follows: 

13 April - 

Jean Vanier (Founder of L’Arche), “Hope in Europe

20 April - 

Mary McAleese (President of Ireland),  “Growing up in Europe

27 April –

Fr  Timothy Radcliffe OP (former Master-General of the Dominicans), “The Christian contribution to Europe”,

4 May - 

Sir Bob Geldof  (former rock star and activist), “Europe in Solidarity”

18 May  -

Lord Patten of Barnes (Chancellor of Oxford University),“Europe in the wider world”.

25 May  -

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor (Archbishop of Westminster),“The Church in Europe


  1. The lectures have been in the planning for two years. Any coincidence of timing with the general election campaign or European constitution referendum is accidental. 
  2. Lectures start at 7.00 p.m. All are welcome: admission is free but by ticket only. For tickets email  lectures2005@rcdow.org.uk or telephone Celia Blackden at the Faith in Europe? Office on 020 7798 9180.
  3. Tickets are being reserved for press. Please contact Celia Blackden to let her know how many you would like.
  4. Written copies of the lectures may be obtainable from Austen Ivereigh close to the night they are being given.
  5. The Cardinal is grateful to the individuals and organisations sponsoring the talks: Allied Irish Bank (GB); Bank of Ireland; PJKI Limited; Prof. D & Dr M. Moloney and Rev. T. O’Neill; and The Tablet.
  6. The post-synodal apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Europa (“the Church in Europe”) is available online at www.vatican./va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_exhortations/documents/


Press Secretary to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor;

Director of Communications, Diocese of Westminster

Tel. 020 7798 9045

Mobile 07905 224860

Fax. 020 7931 6051

Public Affairs Office, Archbishop's House, Ambrosden Avenue, Westminster, London SW1P  1QJ

email austenivereigh@rcdow.org.uk

March 01, 2005

Getting Married?


Who must we notify, and how long in advance?

Whether you are planning to get married in your local parish, or in another part of the country, or abroad, you must get in touch with the Parish Priest of the Parish in which you live at least six months before the proposed date of your wedding. If you are unsure, contact the Parish Priest of the Church where you attend Mass regularly.

This period of notice may seem long to you, but you will not be the only couple getting married, and the Church needs enough time to ensure that all the paperwork is done correctly and that a Marriage Preparation course has been attended. This is particularly important if you intend to get married abroad, or if you have been married before and received an annulment.

What documentation do we need?

The documentation you require will vary according to circumstances. In every case you will need to provide documentation demonstrating your freedom to marry in the Catholic Church.

Roman Catholics must provide a Certificate of Baptism issued approximately six months before the proposed date of the marriage. Other Christians must produce a Baptism Certificate, but it does not have to be recently issued. You may also be asked to provide a ‘Letter of Freedom to marry’ or to produce an affidavit signed by a Commissioner for Oaths, according to your circumstances.

Can Catholics get married in the church of another denomination?

Canon Law states that all Roman Catholics must marry according to the form of the Roman Catholic Church, if the marriage is to be valid. In certain limited cases a dispensation may be granted ‘for good canonical reasons’. A request to marry in another church ‘because we want to’, or ‘because we like the church’ or ‘because it is near the place we are holding the reception’ would not be considered a sufficient ‘canonical reason’. The Priest will be happy to discuss this with you.

Must we do a Marriage Course?

Normally, yes. At present we do not have the resources to run such a course within the parish, so the facility is provided by ‘Marriage Care’. The courses are run by married people and usually take place on Saturdays. To book a course phone 020 7792 2199 or email


to book a place.

Do we also have to contact the Civil Registrar?

Yes. In order to be married in any Catholic church, civil law requires that both parties must produce a ‘Certificate for Marriage’ from the Registrar for Marriages. It is against the law for a marriage to be solemnised unless these certificates have been given to the Priest in advance of the wedding.

If you live in the London Borough of Richmond you should apply to the Registrar’s Office at 1, Spring Terrace, Paradise Road, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1LW. Tel 020 8940 2853. It is advisable to check the opening hours before going there.

If you live outside the Borough of Richmond, you must apply to the Registrar for the district in which you live.

To give notice to the Registrar you will need to have a form of identity such as a birth certificate or passport. Ask the office and they will advise.

What about Fees.

Please consult the Priest and the Registry Office regarding current fees.