A rather humbling moment on the long journey to ordination as a permanent deacon, for John Andrews last weekend. Together with four others, he was accepted as a candidate by our Bishop (represented by Canon Liam Slattery) during a short service within Mass at St John the Evangelist in Bath. This marks the start of the final phase of preparation for ordination, and now more than ever John, his fellow candidates, and those responsible for their training need our prayers as the process of discernment and formation come towards their end.

Sad news from Monze

We received the terrible news that my dear friend Jennipher had been killed in a car accident. Some parishioners will remember meeting Jennipher when she visited in 2014. She did a lot to support people living with HIV/AIDs and will be greatly missed by many. Please remember her and her children in your prayers. May she rest in peace.

More news from Chris Barrell

Synod – Further Consultation

Please click on the Synod logo below - there is a further stage of consultation providing an opportunity to engage in the process before the continental synod response goes on to Rome.

Synod 2021-23 poster

Newman Association Talk 6th December 14:30

Reflections on a Career in Intelligence

Newman Association:  There will be a talk on Tuesday 6 December at 2.30pm, in the lounge of Sacred Hearts' Hall, Moorend Road, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, GL53 9AU.

Tony Comer OBE worked at GCHQ for 37 years, in a variety of operational roles, mainly involved in supporting the UK and allied military.  He will speak to us on:

Reflections on a Career in Intelligence

All are welcome.                                                      Admission: £3 (members & students free)

Enquires to Stephanie Jamison, tel: 01242 539810.

The Letter – A film with Pope Francis – November 30th 18:00

Review of our Viewing of The Letter

I’m told 41 chairs were put out and 40 people came! It felt like just enough, and certainly there was a good buzz. A lot of people had a hand in making it a success. I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone. John, for the seamless presentation. Sue for the monster envelope. Roger, for printing, pens, post-its – and for agreeing to collate responses. Caroline and Sue for tea/coffee, and biscuits. Anita for flowers and washing up. Stephanie for taxiing to Station. Jenny, Lois and friends for stall. Eleanor for collecting names. Everyone for coming. Oh, and the Laudato Si' Movement for the stimulating FILM!

Before the film, we had a moment of silence, and the prayer for the Earth from Laudato Si’ (#246). Afterwards, we heard from Elizabeth Shingler about her A level environment project: if you would like to help her with that by filling in the questionnaire she’s prepared, her email is

To close, John led us in a short reflection adapted from the Office of Readings for St Francis of Assisi, and a prayer: ‘Lord God, you made Saint Francis of Assisi Christ-like in his poverty and humility. Help us so to walk in his ways that, with joy and love, we may follow Christ your Son, and be united to you.’ is the film's website. From that you can watch the film in full, and sign up to get help in arranging your own screening. I found this easy to do for our group, but you should register in order to gain the benefit of the assistance available. I'm so pleased that other Cheltenham churches are showing interest in putting it on. NB No cost is involved save publicity.

Please reply to the Google group if you want to make any observations about the evening, positive or negative.

Though I think Eleanor did a good job with the attendance sheet, we failed to get many email addresses: let me know if you know those for people with blanks on the attached list please. Also, any errors or omissions.

I’ll be in touch again as soon as Roger has had time to go through the responses made by those present, collected in the great envelope! Meanwhile, make a note of the evening of 11th January for our follow up meeting, to discuss how we might take things forward locally.

Martin Davies

Screening of "The Letter" in the Old Priory, November 30th at 18:00

"The Letter" is a film which tells the story about the Pope’s call to care for our planet.  In 2015, Pope Francis wrote Laudato Si’ (The Letter); an encyclical letter about the environmental crisis to every single person in the world. A few years later, four voices that have gone unheard in global conversations have been invited to an unprecedented dialogue with the Pope. Hailing from Senegal, the Amazon, India, and Hawai’i, they bring perspective and solutions from the poor, the indigenous, the youth, and wildlife into a conversation with Pope Francis himself. This documentary follows their journey to Rome and the extraordinary experiences that took place there, and is packed with powerfully moving personal stories alongside the latest information about the planetary crisis and the toll it’s taking on nature and people. Because, in the words of the Laudato Si’ Movement chair Lorna Gold, “once you know, you CANNOT look away.” #LaudatoSiFilm 

More news from Monze

14th October

Greetings from Monze

I have been here now for three weeks and I am preparing for my return home – time passes very quickly here.

Things are getting back to near normal after COVID. Fortunately the vaccines are now readily available in Zambia and most people that I have met have had a couple of doses. I had to show proof of vaccination before I could travel and when I entered the Country. Fortunately I managed

to squeeze in a fourth dose before I left the UK – along with a flu jab!

The other day I was given a grand tour of the new Cathedral built since my last visit, including the sacristy and other rooms at the back and upstairs. The cathedral is built in the shape of a dove and is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Interestingly the Cathedral was able to be built thanks to funds from the Aid to the Church in Need, which is another cause supported by St. Gregory's church.

After the tour I met Bishop Raphael - our former link priest at Our Lady of the Wayside - who greeted me with a big hug. It was great to meet him again in his new role.

Chris Barrell

The Catholic School System – Is it worth it?

Newman Association

There will be a talk on Tuesday 1 November at 2.30pm, in the lounge of Sacred Hearts' Hall, Moorend Road, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, GL53 9AU.

Ann Fowler acts as a consultant to the Diocese and is part of the team producing the new Religious Curriculum Directory for Catholic Schools in England & Wales and she will talk to us on The Catholic School System - is it worth it?

All are welcome.

Admission: £3 (members & students free)

Enquires to Stephanie Jamison, tel: 01242 539810.

News from Monze

Greetings from Monze.

It seems so long since my last visit and of course in many ways our world is very different to that which we inhabited 3 years ago. As you can see from the posters in the Old Priory some good friends are no longer with us. I also have to let you know of the sad and tragic death of Fr. Kenan who visited St. Gregory's in 2007.

On a happier note Fr. Raphael, a priest who served at Our Lady of the Wayside and was a great friend to St. Gregory's was consecrated as the new Bishop of Monze earlier this year – an event at which the President of Zambia was present.

Our Lady of the Wayside has had huge challenges with the pandemic including a reduction in income. It has therefore been even more important to develop projects which help them to provide the funds necessary to function. This has included fish farming which St Gregory's parishioners helped to establish.

I am very much looking forward to seeing the projects, but most of all I am looking forward to meeting the many friends that I have made over the years.

Since our link established 15 years ago with help from Fr. Kenan, we have had a opportunity to discover a little more about a community in Sub-Saharan Africa and for them to learn a little more about us. Special links have been established between the children of the parishes. We have also made other connections – including between members of the Legion of Mary in Monze and in Cheltenham. I am very privileged to have the opportunity to spend time in Zambia - nearly 4 years in total. I gain so much on each visit and learn a little mre about a very different way of life. I hope that our parishioners also feel that they have a special connection with Our Lady of the Wayside and want to learn more.

I would like to welcome everyone to join me on my visit. I write a blog almost daily while I am in Monze, recording my meetings with friends and other happenings. You can follow me at or contact me at

More details can be found on the noticeboard in the Old Priory.

Chris Barrell

The Letter to the Hebrews

Fr Richard Ounsworth OP, specialises in scripture and New Testament Greek. His academic life is still Oxford based, although he is working in a Leicester City Centre Parish; he is also a peripatetic retreat-giver and preacher and will
talk to us on How does the Letter to the Hebrews read the Old Testament? All are welcome. Admission: £3 (members and students free). Enquiries to Stephanie Jamison on 01242 539810.