Parish events that took place during the year

June 28th – – – –

St. Thomas More group, who were confirmed on the 28th June 2013

St. Thomas More group, who were confirmed on the 28th June 2013

July 28th – – – –
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Aug 4th – – – – –
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Sept 7th – – – – –
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Dec 21st – – – – –
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January: There was a Charity Dinner in the Church Hall and Churches Together in Seaford held a week of prayer for Christian Unity 2008. Monthly St Anthony’s Fund lunches commenced.
After a short stay in the parish, Fr. Ian Vane left for the Holy Land to take up a four month course of studies.

February
: We welcomed Fr. Paul Turner, Diocesan Vocations Director.
When it became necessary to close our SVP Conference it was agreed that the work carried out in the Parish would continue as part of the Pastoral Care Group. This activity is now being continued by the Parish Ozanam Group, named after Blessed Frederick Ozanam, whose work with the poor in Paris inspired the foundation of the SVP.
On Sun 24th Feb. there was an Ecumenical Service in St Thomas More for Fairtrade fortnight.

March: There was a Live Music Evening in the Church Hall in aid of Seahaven Lionesses.

April
: We welcomed Fr David Russell and Fr Douglas Perkins who said Mass while Fr Niven was on holiday.
The Annual Parish Meeting was held in the hall and a St. George’s Night party took place there this month.

May: Parish children made their First Holy Communion and Christian Aid Week was held this month.

June saw the start of The Year of St. Paul to celebrate the 2000th anniversary of his birth.
There was a Parish Social and a Parish Information Weekend.
The sad news broke on Monday 30th June that Fr Christopher Bedford, who had assisted for many years in our parish, had finally succumbed to his long battle with cancer aged just 61. Only four days later, on Friday 4 July at 1pm in the church of The Immaculate Conception at Peacehaven, hundreds gathered to bid him farewell.
Obituary for Fr Christopher Bedford

July: The annual Annecy School Fayre raised £2200.
We welcomed Sr. Daphne Norden from the Medical Missions this month and Fr Paul Turner, Diocesan Vocations Director, made a return visit.
There was a parish Fundraising Supper for the school in Bosangoa.
Four of our young parishioners, Fliss, Olly, Luke and Josh, travelled to Sydney, Australia for World Youth Day 2008 which took place from Tuesday 15th to Sunday 20th July. For their report and full details of the event, click here.
This month also saw the Arundel & Brighton Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes.

August
: Sadly Sister Agnes, who was a great part of our parish for many years, passed away.
Fr. Geoff de Putron visited the parish during August
Aaron Spinelli was ordained and celebrated his first Mass at Our Lady of Ransom Church, Eastbourne.

September: On Tues 9th Sept the Requiem Mass of Sr. Agnes R.I.P was celebrated and all parishioners and friends were invited to join the Sisters in the hall afterwards.
“We would ask all parishioners and friends to pray for Sr. Agnes. We have so many happy memories of this wonderful sister who made a Wednesday afternoon so enjoyable for so many people. As founder of the Happy Club, together with her blood sister Rose, she touched so many peoples hearts in so many ways. She will be missed by the many people who knew her. May she rest in peace.” The Happy Club
In September, a French and bistro style candlelight evening was held in the hall.

October: World Mission month (Pope John Paul 11, 26 June 1980).
The annual pilgrimage to Walsingham took place and Sister Mary said farewell as she returned to Madagascar.
“I am going back to Madagascar again to run the health centre in Belamoty as before. This really pleases me. I had been asked to let the younger nuns take over, but they want me back for at least another year. I leave on Tuesday. Pray for this work and for me. With love to all.” Sr. Mary.

November: There was a meeting to discuss the redesign of the Garden of Remembrance.
There was a good turnout at the annual Annecy School Christmas Fayre and £1800 was raised.

December: A Christingle Service, followed by a children’s party, was held in the church.
The Ashdown Singers presented a Christmas Concert in aid of Lewes District Churches Homelink and £559.00 was taken for Homelink Rent Deposit Scheme.
At another event, £1080 was raised for Bosangoa.
It was lovely to hear the sound of the Church bells after the Church bell was repaired and once again rung before each Mass.

For a list of the Requiem Masses in St Thomas More Church during 2008, click here.



Sr Bruno’s birthday 2008 Fr Niven & Deacon Michael with the sisters

January: Fr Tony gave a talk in the Parish Hall illustrated with video and slides, about his recent visit to Nigeria.
Fr Murray Watson led “A Day With St Luke”.

February: The Parish welcomed Father Douglas Perkins who celebrated the Masses while Fr Tony spent a few days in Rome to celebrate his 60th birthday with a Sung Mass in the Basilica of S.Nicola in Carcere, and he was present at a special Mass in St Peter’s for religious. He stayed at the Czech College with Father Roman Titze and was joined by, amongst others, Aaron Spinelli from Eastbourne. Aaron was to be ordained a deacon in summer 2007 and to be ordained a priest in Eastbourne in the summer of 2008.
The Parish joined Fr Tony in the hall to celebrated his 60th birthday during the following weekend.
The Parish supported Seaford’s Fair Trade fortnight with several fund raising events.

March
: We received the sad news of the death of Sister Brigid in France. She had been a very active member of this community for many years, in different capacities, and was a woman of great integrity and courage. Fr Tony travelled to France for the Requiem Mass and there was a special Mass for her in St Thomas More church.
Click here to read the Homily for Sister Brigid’s Requiem Mass including the funeral text and thanks from the Sisters of Providence.
There was a very real threat to our Catholic schools from proposals by East Sussex County Council to cut the provision of free transport to denominational schools. Parishioners were encouraged to lodge objections with their MPs and make their views known. Mainly due to this united action, the proposals weren’t implemented.

April: Christopher McOustra led the Easter Pilgrimage to Rouen and Domremy in honour of St Joan of Arc.
By invitation from the parish, St Bartholomew’s Polyphony Choir from Norbury sang at a 10.30 Sunday Mass.
Fr Murray Watson revisited our Parish.

May: St Anne’s Day Centre for Homeless and Lonely People in Hove was the target of an arson attack. The damage to the building was substantial, though not disastrous. Volunteers worked very hard to get the Centre up and running again.
Father Tony was invited by the Bishop of Siedice in Poland to give lectures about the Church in England to the priests of the Diocese of Siedlce.

June: The children made their First Holy Communion and the annual “Corpus Christie” procession took place.
A number of parishioners took part in a walk through London in the footsteps of the English Martyrs. The walk was organised by the “Continuity Movement” which is led by the young people of “Miles Jesu”.

July: We received some surprising news at the beginning of the month. Father Tony was asked by the Bishop to go to Bognor Regis as Parish Priest to replace Mgr Benny O’Shea who was moving to Esher. For more details regarding Fr Tony’s departure and Fr Niven Richardson’s appointment as new Parish Priest at St Thomas More, click here.
The Annecy Primary School Summer Fayre took place.
The Trustees regretfully announced the closure of Annecy Nursery in Southdown Road. This was due to the expiry of the lease with no prospect of renewal.
Fr Tony joined several priests from the Diocese on a trip to Rome for the ordination of four new deacons by Bishop Kieran Conry. One of the students being ordained was Aaron Spinelli from Eastbourne.
Fr Tony and eight parishioners joined Bishop Kieran and a group of more than 800 people from all over the Diocese for the annual Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes.
Father Joseph who has a formal parish in the Gambia, visited us at the end of a busy and demanding year of study in Ireland to look after the parish during Fr Tony’s summer absences.

August: Fr. Tony visited Slovakia with Father Roman and celebrated Mass with the Bishop of Nitra. The Diocese of Nitra was established by Pope John VIII in 880. It is the oldest diocese in Central Europe.

September: The annual pilgrimage to Walsingham took place.
Fr Tony’s last Mass as parish priest of St Thomas More Church, where he had served since1999, took place on Sunday 23rd September. The parish choir and the Youth band helped to make this a memorable occasion. Fr Tony thanked the parishioners for their support during the eight years he had been in Seaford.
Click here for the text from the homily of that Mass.
The Mass was followed by a farewell party in the parish hall. Parish Chairman Sheila Robinson thanked Fr Tony on behalf of the parishioners for his work in the parish and expressed their blessings for the future in his new parish of Bognor Regis.

October: We welcomed the arrival of our new Parish Priest, Father Niven Richardson

November: The annual Christmas Fair took place at Annecy Primary school

December: Fr Tony’s induction as Parish Priest at Bognor Regis took place on 8th December and Father Niven celebrated his induction Mass in St Thomas More Church on 10th December.
There was a Carol Concert by the Ashdown Singers in St Thomas More Church in aid of Homelink.



Fr Niven & Deacon Michael with the children

In January, Bishop Kieran made the first of two visits to us this year and celebrated Mass followed by a party in the hall afterwards. Later in the month, the Bishop visited Peacehaven to celebrate Mass and bless their new hall.

In March, Father Emanuel Okeiyi from Nigeria joined us for three months. Father Michael returned to Enugu Diocese, Nigeria to work there as a Judicial Vicar. This month also saw a Parish in Council meeting, a theatre trip to see “A Man for all Seasons” and a Fairtrade fortnight which included our “Fairtrade Fiesta”. There was a Big Breakfast/Brunch in aid of Cancer Research.

In April, Father Tony led a Parish Pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi. There was a Pastoral Letter from Bishop Kieran Conry.

In May, a Parish Information Weekend was held in the hall after each Mass to promote the many parish activities. Ann Harvey became the new parish secretary replacing Maria McKenna. While Father Tony was on holiday in Italy, Father Emanuel was responsible for Mass and the Sacraments. As Episcopal Vicar for Mission and Unity, Father Tony represented Bishop Kieran in Swanwick for the Annual Meeting of Churches Together in England.

June, always a very busy month, saw the First Holy Communion of 18 children and the Corpus Christi procession. The induction of Miss Fiona McGonigle as the new head teacher of Annecy school took place. Bishop Kieran joined us for the second time this year on the eve of the Patronal feast of St. Thomas More, for a joint celebration of the 70th anniversary of the opening of our church by Bishop Peter Amigo on 12th March 1936 and the Silver Jubilee of the Ordination of Father William Janes. A special Mass was con-celebrated, and followed by a parish party.

Father Tony’s homily 21st June 2006

Parishioners were requested to write to their Peers and ask them to vote against Lord Joffe’s bill, “Assisted dying for the terminally ill”. Overall, 103,000 names were collected for the petition opposing the bill. The Catenian Association Seaford Circle celebrated their Presidential Mass.

Father Tony’s homily 24th June 2006.

A press release on 20th July 2006 gave a statement by Cardinal Cormac-Murphy-O’Connor, regarding Holydays of Obligation. A day of Prayer and Pilgrimage to Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight offered up prayers for seafarers and the Apostleship of the Sea. It was by chance that the Summer Spree to Chelsea, where 30 parishioners travelled to honour St Thomas More and his Lady Alice, was on the same day. The annual Arundel & Brighton Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes occurred this month and the Annecy School Summer Fair and Car Boot also took place. A garden party held to raise funds for Street Child Africa & Crossroads Kids – together with other events – raised £1,700.

In August, Father Tony travelled to Poland for the wedding of two parishioners and Father Stuart Wilson stayed with us while he was away.

September was again a very busy month. Father Guiliu Bontas from Romania, a married priest in the Greek Catholic Church, stayed with us for 10 days. He joined Father Tony and parishioners on the annual pilgrimage to Walsingham; and Father David Sutcliffe from Uckfield celebrated Mass in Father Tony’s absence. This month saw the celebration of the Silver Jubilee and Renewal of Vows of Sister Clotilde with Mass and a reception in the hall afterwards.

Father Tony’s homily 10th September 2006

A Ploughman’s Lunch was held to raise school funds for Sister Clotilde’s return to Bossangoa. There was a parish trip to Medjigore and Sister Phili returned to Madagascar. A Fairtrade fashion show was held in Annecy School Hall and the Macmillan Charity Day event in the church hall. At the end of the month, Canon Daniel Cronin came to live in the presbytery for three months in his sabbatical year.

In October, there was a Lourdes Sponsored Walk to raise funds for those joining the Diocesan Pilgrimage in July 2007.

In November, Father Tony visited Father Michael in Enugu Nigeria where he met Bishop Anthony Bugi Bishop of Enugu. He presented a fascinating video and slide show of his trip in the hall in January 2007.

The annual Remembrance Day Civic Ecumenical Service took place this year in St Thomas More Church on the 12th November, following the ceremony at the War Memorial and Father Tony delivered the homily.

Annecy School held their Christmas Fair this month and their Carol Concert in the church in December.

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A presentation given by Geoffrey Hagger and Oliver Purchase at all Masses on October 8th – 9th 2005

Geoffrey – Introduction: We would first like to thank you for your support in our fund raising activities which made it possible for us to go to Cologne, and also to thank you for the support of your prayers. It was a vast event with 164 nations represented. 1.2 million came to Cologne, including 38,000 priests and 800 bishops.

The things we most remember were the Welcome and Fellowship:

The fellowship of Christians I experienced at the Flava Festival in Holland. The welcome of the Dutch families. The welcome of Cologne. The new friendships made. The welcome and hospitality of the local people as we walked in pilgrimage to the Marienfeld. Their offer of food and drink along the way, including ‘Papal pizza!’

My lasting memory is of the Mass at the Cathedral in Holland. This had more impact on me than any other Mass I have ever been to. My visit to Cologne has strengthened my faith, knowing there are others like me.

Oliver:
We went to many liturgies during our week in Cologne. But there are two that stand out in our mind. The Mass at the Football Stadium in Cologne. The contrast of the atmosphere of friendship to the sometimes hostile atmosphere of a football match held there. The echoing round of the words of the liturgy.

The Vigil and Mass at Marienfeld with the Pope. The excitement at the arrival of the Pope. The joy of the Pope. The sanctuary, illuminated on the hill built of soils from all the countries present. The bringing in of the same cross which we had prayed with at Cardinal Newman a year before. The candlelight. Some of us stayed up all night, and some slept!

Oliver:
Walking with flags and music – the singing and dancing. Sleeping in the open, and stepping over thousands of bodies to move around. The energy and enthusiasm of everybody.

Geoffrey: We were left with many impressions of Cologne:

The rucksacks which were instant recognition as pilgrims. The cathedral in Cologne and the tomb of the Three Kings. Young people praying in all the churches we visited. The nuns, monks, priests and leaders – their joyful participation.

My lasting memory is of Pope Benedict with his arms outstretched to us all, silhouetted against the setting sun. And overall, the whole event, all the different strands coming together. Finally, we went to Cologne as representatives of our parish, and there we heard a message. We bring this message back to you. It is an excerpt from the Papal Homily at Closing Mass of World Youth Day:

‘Let us go forward with Christ’
Dear Friends!
Anyone who has discovered Christ must lead others to him. A great joy cannot be kept to oneself. It has to be passed on.
In vast areas of the world today there is a strange forgetfulness of God. It seems as if everything would be just the same even without him. But at the same time there is a feeling of frustration, a sense of dissatisfaction with everyone and everything.
People tend to exclaim: “This cannot be what life is about!” Indeed not. And so, together with forgetfulness of God there is a kind of new explosion of religion.
I have no wish to discredit all of this. There may be sincere joy in the discovery. Yet if it is pushed too far, this religion becomes almost a consumer product. People choose what they like, and some are even able to make a profit from it. But religion constructed on a “do-it-yourself” basis cannot ultimately help us. It may be comfortable, but at times of crisis we are left to ourselves.
Help people to discover the true star which points out the way to us: Jesus Christ!

Let us seek to know him better and better, so as to be able to guide others to him with conviction…

Let us go forward with Christ and let us live our lives as true worshippers of God! Amen.

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At the end of March, on Easter Thursday, Christopher McOustra led a group of pilgrims to Domremy in France, in honour of St Joan of Arc, where they were given a wonderful welcome. It was, by all accounts, a wonderful spiritual and gastronomic occasion. It was intended to focus on Saint Joan as a “teenage” saint. The group included several young people.

Pope John Paul II was rushed to hospital on February 2nd, and after two spells in hospital, it was clear that he could not go on for much longer. His health took a final turn for the worse on Thursday March 31st, and he died on Saturday evening April 2nd. The news of the death of the Holy Father was announced by Father Tony at the end of a concert arranged by Tom Hagger to raise money to send four of our teenage parishioners to the World Youth Day in Cologne, due to take place in August 2005. World Youth Day had been started by Pope John Paul, and the concert became a tribute from the young people to a much loved Pope.

On Sunday April 3rd, The Feast of Divine Mercy, Father Tony unveiled and blessed a new icon of the Risen Christ over the altar in the Lady Chapel. It was commissioned for our Church, and painted by a Romanian artist George Barais-Windsor, who assisted at the ceremony. It seemed very fitting that this icon of the “Divine Mercy” should be blessed on the morning after the death of Pope John Paul who had created the Feast just a few years earlier.

On Thursday April 7th the church was filled for a Requiem Mass for the Pope on the eve of his Funeral in Rome. There were clergy from other churches present, and the Baptist minister, The Rev Gary Woodall, paid a very moving tribute to the Holy Father at the end of the Mass.

On April 19th we learnt that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had been elected as the new Pope, and had chosen to be called Pope Benedict XVI. There was a special Mass to mark the occasion on the day of his inaugural Mass in Rome on Sunday April 23rd.

In May, Bishop Kieran appointed Father Tony as Episcopal Vicar for Mission and Unity for the Diocese. Father Tony led a Parish pilgrimage to Compostella and Fatima in this month. The group was in Fatima for the celebrations on May 13th to mark the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima on May 13th 1917. During the Mass, attended by 30000 people, the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon announced that Pope Benedict XVI has given permission for the process for the canonisation of Pope John Paul II to begin. It was little more than a month since the death of Pope John Paul, and it was an unprecedented decision to allow the enquiries to begin so soon after his death.
During a visit to the home of the visionaries, the pilgrims met a niece of Sister Lucia. Lucia was the last of the visionaries to die. She had been a Carmelite nun in a convent near Fatima, and had died only in February 2005.

The annual pilgrimages to Walsingham and Aylesford took place during the summer. In July Margaret Slattery retired as Head Teacher at Annecy school. In August four young people attended the World Youth Day in Cologne, two of them, Geoffrey Hagger and Oliver Purchase, spoke about their experience at each Mass one weekend in October.

The young people of the Parish led the Liturgy on Youth Sunday, the Solemnity of Christ the King. They gave an inspiring and challenging presentation of the Gospel demand for justice and for care for the poor and the needy. They inspired heart-searching and discussion on the part of many people

In the summer both Sister Odile and Sister Agnes celebrated jubilees, 70 years for Sister Agnes and 50 for Sister Odile. Again there was a celebration in France and a Parish Celebration in September followed by a parish party in the hall and garden. Both Sisters received a blessing from Pope Benedict.

2005 saw the Parish Hall re-decorated and the Kitchen re-designed. The Hall is in almost constant use by the various groups existing in the parish. This year the parish became a “Free Trade Parish”.

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In 1996 the sanctuary of the church was re-ordered, and the church was finally consecrated by Bishop Cormac Murphy-O’Connor June 22nd 1996.

Seaford was originally part of the large Diocese of Southwark, established in 1850 when the English Catholic Hierarchy was restored by Pope Pius IX. Southwark covered the whole of South London along with the counties of Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
In 1965 Pope Paul VI established a new Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, comprising East and West Sussex and rural Surrey. Bishop Murphy-O’Connor was the third Bishop of Arundel and Brighton. In February 2000 Bishop Cormac was appointed by Pope John Paul II as Archbishop of Westminster in succession to Cardinal Basil Hume, and in May 2001 the Pope appointed Monsignor Kieran Conry as the 4th Bishop of Arundel and Brighton.

Father Chris Benyon was keen to encourage a variety of musical styles in the Liturgy, and in addition to the Parish Choir which had been in existence for many years, came the Folk Group and, later the Youth Band. Fr. Chris was keen to promote a greater involvement of the laity in the life of the parish. It was during his time that a system of Co-ordinators responsible for different aspects of parish life was introduced. At the same time a periodic open meeting for the whole parish, known as the “Parish in Council” was set up to enable everyone to contribute their ideas to the future planning of parish life.

In 1999 Father Chris was appointed to St. Leonards on Sea, and Father Anthony Churchill became the fifth Parish Priest of Seaford.

In September 2000 a group of 25 parishioners went with Father Tony on pilgrimage to Rome to mark the Jubilee year. Two more Rome pilgrimages took place in 2001 and 2003, and also in 2003 a pilgrim group went to Poland. Each year the parish is heavily involved in the Raphael Pilgrimage to Lourdes which has been a feature of parish life for many years. More recently parishioners have been involved in the annual Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes.

Shortly after Father Tony arrived Father Christopher Bedford became a regular supply priest at Seaford. He had been an Anglican priest, and had recently been ordained for the Archdiocese of Westminster. As well as Father Christopher the parish has also got to know another former Anglican priest, Father Douglas Perkins who has become a regular visitor.

The parish has had the benefit of several priests who have stayed in the Presbytery and have helped in the parish. For most of the year 2000 Archbishop Maurice Couve de Murville, Archbishop-emeritus of Birmingham was with us. In 2003 Father Michael Chime from Enugu in Nigeria became a familiar figure in the parish. He was in England to study at the University of Sussex, but also helped out in the parish. In 2004, Father Stephen Hardaker lived here for several months whilst looking after the parish of Peacehaven, which had been without a parish priest since the tragic death of Father Patrick Emanuel in a fire at Easter 2002.

In 2004 Sister Brigid celebrated 70 years of religious life and Sister Bruno 60 years. Sister Bruno has been Parish Sister since 1985. She came to Seaford in 1949 and has been here for 56 years, 35 years as a teacher at Annecy.

Father Tony went to France for the principal celebration at the Mother House of the Sisters of Providence, near Rouen. Deacon John Truman and his wife Tessa were also there, representing the Parish, as were Margaret and Brian Slattery, representing the school. There was a Parish Mass and party in September attended by many of the former pupils from the school. Both sisters received a Papal Blessing from Pope John Paul II.

The year 2004 saw the celebrations to mark the centenary of the arrival of the Sisters of Providence, and the completion of the new school buildings. The children moved into the school in February 2004 when Father Tony blessed the new buildings. In July Bishop Kieran celebrated a Mass in the school grounds and solemnly dedicated the school. This Mass was attended by over 500 people.

To view Debbie Berridge’s complete photo album and slideshow of “Centenary” click here.

The church was redecorated in 2004, and plans are in hand to re-build the kitchen in the Parish Hall and to redecorate the hall in the summer of 2005.

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During the Second World War Mass attendance rose and fell with the ebb and flow of the war and, during this period, the church and presbytery were damaged, but no lives were lost. In thanksgiving, subscriptions provided the beautiful stained glass window over Our Lady’s altar depicting the five glorious mysteries of the Rosary. The window was blessed on 8th September, 1946.

In 1961 the Silver Jubilee of the Church was celebrated and a 4.30pm Mass was introduced to cater for parishioners working unsociable hours. Soon afterwards Fr. Webb died after 35 years as parish priest and Fr. William Guinane, who hailed from County Limerick, became parish priest He set about completing the church by lengthening the south side aisle and adding the north aisle and tower in 1969/70.

In response to the guidance of Vatican II, the church was altered, an altar of Connemara marble facing the people, and a font of the same marble was placed in the sanctuary. At the same time, the lady chapel was rearranged and the confessional took the present form of confessional and reconciliation room. A marble stand for the paschal candle by the font was added in memory of Fr. Guinane.

Fr. Guinane died in 1981. For the last year of his life he was seriously ill and Fr. Kenneth McCarthy was appointed parish priest in 1980. During the next four years he gave great encouragement to fund raising and It was decided to build a parish hall and a small car park on the remaining land. The hall was opened in 1984 by Bishop Cormac and is now in daily use. Prior to this, a large wooden building had been donated by the Dutton family and was used for all activities.

In 1990, because of ill health, Fr. McCarthy was transferred to Hailsham by Bishop Cormac and the next parish priest, Fr. Chris Benyon, arrived from Merrow, near Guildford.

In response to a request from the Parish in Council in October 1990, a consultation was held at all Masses as a result of which the 4.30pm Sunday Mass was moved to 6pm on Saturday.

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At the turn of the century, Seaford was a rural part of England and as the church records tell us there were less than six Catholics in Seaford. It must have seemed an answer to their prayers when Bishop Francis Bourne, of the Diocese of Southwark, built a holiday home which he named Annecy after the home of his patron St.Francis de Sales. A Chapel was added shortly afterwards, dedicated to St.Francis. When the Bishop was transferred to Westminster, the Sisters of Providence bought the house and in 1903 established a Convent, and there the seed was sown for future generations of Catholics in Seaford.

To begin with, the French Augustinian fathers of Newhaven became chaplains to the sisters and offered daily Mass in the Chapel. Mass was also celebrated, at the time of the First World War, in another part of Seaford where the Seven Sisters pub is now. A wooden hut stood on this site which was used by off duty soldiers from the camps established in Seaford as a type of social club. On Sundays part of the hut was cordoned off and Mass was celebrated. Many of the troops were Canadian and during their stay in Seaford there was a flu epidemic and as a result many of them died. There is a large memorial cross and there are many war graves at Seaford cemetery. It is quite sad when you read how young some of them were so far from their homeland.

In 1927 Fr. Berchmans, who came by train from Newhaven each day, died suddenly in Seaford and is buried in Seaford cemetery near the Annecy sisters’ community grave. The Bishop appointed as first parish priest of Seaford Fr. Reginald Webb who had been a curate at Brighton. By now the Catholic population was about 100 and becoming too big for the Convent Chapel, so it was necessary to transfer to the larger hall at Annecy School which the sisters had established. This was another historical event in our parish history, and, in time, proved invaluable.

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Up to 1939
At the turn of the century, Seaford was a rural part of England and as the church records tell us there were less than six Catholics in Seaford. It must have seemed an answer to their prayers when Bishop Francis Bourne, of the Diocese of Southwark, built a holiday home which he named Annecy after the home of his patron St.Francis de Sales. A Chapel was added shortly afterwards, dedicated to St.Francis. When the Bishop was transferred to Westminster, the Sisters of Providence bought the house and in 1903 established a Convent, and there the seed was sown for future generations of Catholics in Seaford.

Read more…

1939 – 1990
During the Second World War Mass attendance rose and fell with the ebb and flow of the war and, during this period, the church and presbytery were damaged, but no lives were lost. In thanksgiving, subscriptions provided the beautiful stained glass window over Our Lady’s altar depicting the five glorious mysteries of the Rosary. The window was blessed on 8th September, 1946.

Read more…

1990 – 2004
In 1996 the sanctuary of the church was re-ordered, and the church was finally consecrated by Bishop Cormac Murphy-O’Connor June 22nd 1996.

Seaford was originally part of the large Diocese of Southwark, established in 1850 when the English Catholic Hierarchy was restored by Pope Pius IX. Southwark covered the whole of South London along with the counties of Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
In 1965 Pope Paul VI established a new Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, comprising East and West Sussex and rural Surrey. Bishop Murphy-O’Connor was the third Bishop of Arundel and Brighton. In February 2000 Bishop Cormac was appointed by Pope John Paul II as Archbishop of Westminster in succession to Cardinal Basil Hume, and in May 2001 the Pope appointed Monsignor Kieran Conry as the 4th Bishop of Arundel and Brighton.

Read more…

2005
At the end of March, on Easter Thursday, Christopher McOustra led a group of pilgrims to Domremy in France, in honour of St Joan of Arc, where they were given a wonderful welcome. It was, by all accounts, a wonderful spiritual and gastronomic occasion. It was intended to focus on Saint Joan as a “teenage” saint. The group included several young people.

Read more…

WORLD YOUTH DAY COLOGNE AUGUST 2005
A presentation given by Geoffrey Hagger and Oliver Purchase at all Masses on October 8th – 9th 2005

Geoffrey – Introduction: We would first like to thank you for your support in our fund raising activities which made it possible for us to go to Cologne, and also to thank you for the support of your prayers. It was a vast event with 164 nations represented. 1.2 million came to Cologne, including 38,000 priests and 800 bishops.

Read more…

2006
In January, Bishop Kieran made the first of two visits to us this year and celebrated Mass followed by a party in the hall afterwards. Later in the month, the Bishop visited Peacehaven to celebrate Mass and bless their new hall.

Read more…

2007
January: Fr Tony gave a talk in the Parish Hall illustrated with video and slides, about his recent visit to Nigeria.
Fr Murray Watson led “A Day With St Luke”.

Read more…

2008
January: There was a Charity Dinner in the Church Hall and Churches Together in Seaford held a week of prayer for Christian Unity 2008. Monthly St Anthony’s Fund lunches commenced.
After a short stay in the parish, Fr. Ian Vane left for the Holy Land to take up a four month course of studies.
Read more…