Tuesday, December 2, 2014

We have been presenting prizes...

..at St Mary's school, Bishops Stortford, to young winners and runners-up in the Towards Advent Essay Project. There were several essays of a good standard: pupils were invited to write about St John Paul and/or St John XXIII, in this year when both have been canonised...and we wanted the essay to reveal an understanding of what a Pope is, and what the Scriptures teach us on this subject...

The Project was such a success that we may make it an annual event, linked to the Festival and open, as in 2014, to pupils at all London Catholic secondary schools. The 2014 Project was for schools in the Westminster diocese only, but it could usefully be extended to schools in Southwark, Brentford, and Arundel and Brighton dioceses...people from all of these areas come to the Festival and/or have stalls and displays there...

For further information on this year's project, scroll down...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


...of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham will be opening the 2014 TOWARDS ADVENT Festival at Westminster Cathedral Hall on sat November 22nd.

And he'll be blessing a specially-made portrait of St John Paul the Great, which will be carried on pilgrimage to Walsingham in 2015.

The hand-embroirdered picture will be displayed at TOWARDS ADVENT after the blessing, which will take place as parrt of the Opening Ceremony.

The pilgrimage is the John Paul II Walking Pilgrimage for the New Evangelisation, organised annually by the Dominican Sisters of St Joseph, and involving people from all ages from across Britain.  It starts with an open-air Mass at the ancient Abbey at Bury st Edmunds - where Magna Carta was first drawn up - and finishes three days later at the national shrine of Our Lady in Walsingham.

The pilgrimage began in 2005, the year that St John Paul went "to the house of his Father", and so 2015 is its 10th anniversary year. The pilgrimage starts on Aug 6th and finishes at 12 noon with Mass at the Shrine in Walsingham. Walkers covers approximately 20 miles a day, along the Norfolk fields and lanes.

The Blessing of the St John Paul picture will form part of the ceremonies at Towards Advent, which also include music from the choir of the John Fisher School, Purley. By tradition, the Opening Ceremony concludes with everyone singing "O Come O come Emmanuel".

Catholic groups and organisations of all sorts will be at the Festival - from the Knights of St Columba to EWTN, from the Ladies Orfdinariate Group to the Catenians. Entry to the Festival is free and the doors open at 10am. To find the Cathedral Hall, just walk down Ambrosden Avenue, along the side of the Cathedral. Nearest tube: VICTORIA.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

All welcome...

...no need to book - just turn up! Come at 10.30am for the GRAND OPENING CEREMONY...and come ready to sing, as the ceremony finishes with a massed singing of "O come O come Emmanuel..." the hall filled with glorious song...

Monday, September 29, 2014


A project for

Pupils at Catholic secondary schools in London

in association with the 2014 TOWARDS ADVENT Festival

Cash prize £50

for the best essay on Saint John Paul II or St John XXIII

These two great Popes were canonised this year in a remarkable ceremony in Rome. Write an essay (max 4 sides of A4, can be handwritten or produced on a computer), about one or both of these two men. Your essay should include an answer to the question “What is a Pope?”  and show evidence of reference to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The prize will be presented at the Towards Advent Festival, Sat Nov 22nd 2014, at Westminster Cathedral Hall. All pupils at RC secondary schools in the dioceses of WESTMINSTER and SOUTHWARK are eligible to enter. There will be a number of runner-up prizes.

Entries should be sent to: Towards Advent Festival Essay Project, 51 Ashley Gardens London SW1P 1QF  to arrive by November 20th 2014.

Each entry must be the pupil’s own unaided work. NOTE: we do not want material that has been simply downloaded from the Internet. We are seeking original and interesting essays. Each entry MUST carry the pupil’s FULL NAME (INCLUDING SURNAME) and the FULL name and POSTAL ADDRESS of the school. We are unable to accept entries by email.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Here's the programme...

...for the 2014 TOWARDS ADVENT Festival at Westminster Cathedral Hall on Saturday November 22nd 2014:

10.30 am Opening  Ceremony with Mgr Keith Newton of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham,  and the choir of the John Fisher School, Purley

WORKSHOPS during the day:

11.30 am Mgr Keith Newton: update on the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham: the way ahead for ecumenism

1pm Canon Luiz Ruscillo: Catholic Education

2.30pm MUSIC WORKSHOP: You too  can sing Gregorian chant! A practical workshop led by Joseph Estorninho

Admission to the Festival is FREE. Workshops £2 each, tickets from the Welcome Desk at the entrance.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


....the choir of the John Fisher School, Purley, will be singing at the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Towards Advent Festival, and Mgr Keith Newton of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham will be the special guest and will make the formal announcement that the Festival has begun.

It is worth getting the date into parish diaries NOW. Sat Nov 22nd, Westminster cathedral hall. Doors open 10 am, formal Opening Ceremony 10.30am.

Among the groups...

...that are coming to TOWARDS ADVENT (Sat Nov 22nd, Westminster Cathedral Hall)  and having stalls and displays are  Youth 2000,  the St Francis Leprosy Guild, Fisher Press,  Missio, Mothers' Prayers, Aid to the Church in Need, EWTN, the Faith Movement, the Sons of Divine Providence, the Catholic Herald, the Amar Jyoti Trust (which funds schools for blind and deaf children across India), the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham,  Our Lady's Books, the Catenians, OREMUS (magazine of Westminster Cathedral), the Knights of St Columba...and groups concerned with all sorts of things ranging from natural family planning to help for seafarers, the promotion of the Rosary in families, kindness to animals, and helping children to study the Scriptures...

Come and join in!

Saturday, June 14, 2014


...the annual TOWARDS ADVENT Festival of Catholic Culture is now a big part of the London Catholic scene. This year's Festival is on Saturday November 22nd 2014 at Westminster Cathedral Hall. As always, a magnificent range of Catholic groups and organisations will be there...and the hall is now full, we are unable to take any more bookings for stalls.

You can learn how to sing Gregorian chant, find out about new ways of evangelising, get an update on the new Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and hear about Catholic education and the way ahead.

TOWARDS ADVENT is the place to meet friends, and make new ones, catch up on Catholic activities, browse bookstalls, pick of Catholic news, swap ideas, and celebrate the Faith!

Make sure the date is in your diary now. Admission is free: come on your own, or with a parish group. Doors open 10 am. Big official welcoming ceremony 10.30am with glorious music.

Come and enjoy it all!

Monday, February 3, 2014


The 2014 TOWARDS ADVENT Festival of Catholic Culture will take place at Westminster Cathedral Hall  on


speakers: Mgr Keith Newton, of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham


Canon Luiz Ruscillo, Director of Education, diocese of Lancaster