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 1st 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

Sunday, November 24, 2013

GLORIOUS SINGING, an inspiring opening welcome from the Archbishop...

...and a day of busy activity...The 2013 TOWARDS ADVENT Festival was splendid and had a flavour of its own. The  choir of St Philomena's was a spectacular success, and a great crowd of mums and dads had come along to listen, and  this gave the hall a warm, well-filled, family feeling right from the start. The Refreshments team were, as always, kept very active all day.  Delicious cakes, bikkies, sandwiches, tea...also home-made jam and much cheery talk on offer.    Knights of St Columba in splendid blue ribboned collars,  lots of  people stocking up on Christmas cards, good speakers tackling the challenge of evangelisation in modern Britain, some authors signing books, a student pro-life group offering a message of hope,   Ordinariate ladies selling some stunning hand-made scarves, exquisite gifts etc...oh, and more, and more...

The Cathedral Hall has fine acoustics - the choir gallery is large and the St Philomena's choir is some 60-strong and all looked very demure in long dark skirts and white blouses, arms held steady at their sides, faces all looking at the the lovely sound of Panis Angelicus filled the hall, there was a sense of pure delight.

In welcoming us, the Archbishop spoke inspiringly, lifting our thoughts to God and doing so with a warm and light touch, just perfect for the day. It is something to stand in a  hall glowing with a sense of prayer and music and goodwill, on a November day in modern London...and the goodwill was still there as people, though tired, carefully cleared things and helped with tidying as the day ended...