Our Mission: To provide the very best operational, spiritual and pastoral support, primarily for Catholic servicemen and women (and their families) and chaplains, wherever, whenever and in whatever form it is needed. Additionally, to respond to the needs of anyone of any creed or none, who turns to a Catholic chaplain for support.
Lenten Pastoral Letter 2021
from the Bishop of the Forces
RAF RC Community is available by clicking on the image above.
The Army RC Community Newsletter is available by clicking on the image above.
Many thanks to the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, who kindly invited me to visit HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in the Eastern Mediterranean last week. From RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus it took just over an hour by helicopter to reach the carrier. Upon arrival Commodore Steve Moorhouse had me and a few other invited guests stand by the ramp on the flight deck to watch the F35 jets take off. A truly awesome experience. I was then taken to the chapel where the Captain, Angus Essenhigh, greeted me and joined other members of the crew for Mass.
The experience of being on board an operational aircraft carrier is really quite unique and it gives some insight into the professionalism, dedication and enthusiasm of the young men and women of the Royal Navy. There is only one chaplain on the carrier and on this deployment it is an Anglican, Padre Ralph Barber, who facilitated Mass for me. Fr Robert Matau is on HMS Dragon which is part of the carrier group and providing much needed spiritual care.
Thanks to Cdre. Moorhouse and Capt. Essenhigh as well as Padre Ralph for their hospitality.
Do add our chaplains and our serving military personnel to your prayer lists. They do appreciate it.
Bishop Paul Mason
Welcome to the website of the Roman Catholic Bishopric of Her Majesty's Armed Forces. We are a Roman Catholic diocese whose boundaries are not geographical but take us wherever the British Military are serving. As you may imagine, that makes us a particularly large diocese.
Providing pastoral ministry to our Armed Forces is essential. It is a concrete example of the Church’s outreach in bearing witness to Christ which we endeavour to achieve in a military environment. Pope Francis tells us the Church should be like a Field Hospital. Well, in our case that can, of course, be taken literally. Our chaplains are to be found in the most challenging of times and places bringing prayer, sacraments, friendship and fellowship to those they serve.
As you browse the pages of this website you will discover much about life in the Bishopric and its work in the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force. You will meet our chaplains and gain some insight into life as a Catholic in the military. You can read about our pilgrimages, retreats, associations and groups, and perhaps find something you would like to join.
As Bishop of the Forces I witness on a daily basis the faith and selfless commitment of so many dedicated servicemen and women, whether at work on their home unit in the UK or while serving overseas. The personal sacrifices they make along with the selfless support of their loved ones means we can all be safe. Just as Christ came “not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” so our military can offer a powerful example of selfless service.
If you are seeking opportunities to live out your Catholic faith with others in the Forces community, I hope these pages will help you navigate the many and varied activities we provide. Even if you are a not a Catholic yourself our chaplains are there to be alongside and support you. If you are a deacon or priest interested in becoming a military Chaplain, or perhaps you are interested in becoming a Catholic, I warmly invite you to get in touch with any of the contacts you discover as you browse the various pages.
With every prayer & blessing,
For the sick:
Fr John Ryan, former Royal Navy Catholic Chaplain.
For those who have died:
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of Glasgow (13 January 2021)
Bishop Vincent Logan, Bishop Emeritus of Dunkeld (14 January 2021)
Archbishop Juan del Río Martín, Military Archbishopric of Spain (28 January 2021)
Stories & Features
Bishop Paul Mason and the RAF Principal Roman Catholic Chaplain, Deacon Dave Skillen will be accompanying those RAF personnel on EX CUTHBERT'S EAGLE 12-17 Sep 21. There are still places to take part in the EX during this week or the following week, 19-24 Sep. Contact for further info.
Congratulations to Fr Paschal Hanrahan PRCC(A) and Fr PJ O’Driscoll who completed a 145km cycle to raise funds for the Museum of Army Chaplaincy and awareness of the ministry and work of chaplains in the Army.
'Become A Chaplain' also features podcasts, individual forces links and general over view into life as a Military Forces Chaplain
For the latest RAF Chaplains' Branch Brochure, full of information for those interested in joining the RAF as a Chaplain, click HERE.
Welcome and congratulations to AB Tony Deans RN who was received into the Catholic Church and Confirmed by Bishop Paul on Easter Sunday at HMS Collingwood. Our picture shows from left to right Bishop Paul, Tony, and Fr David Conroy, Principal Roman Catholic Chaplain (Naval) .