Catholic Police Guild

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Logo of the Catholic Police Guild

The Catholic Police Guild (CPG) of England & Wales was founded in 1914 as the Metropolitan and City Catholic Police Guild. This was an association for Catholic Police men and women, and approved by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster, in response to representations made by Catholics serving in the Metropolitan and City of London Police Forces.

In 1974 the Guild became a national association with membership open to Police Officers serving in the Police Forces in the rest of England and Wales. More recently membership has been opened up to Police Staff & Police Community Support Officers. The CPG also has a Friends category of membership for other civilian supporters. The Guild has had a significant resurgence over the last couple of years. It is particularly experiencing growth in the North-West of England.[1]

Objectives of the Guild[edit]

  • To provide a fraternal organisation through which members may be encouraged and obtain a better understanding of their Catholic Faith and its relevance to the Police service vocation.
  • To help members to apply Christian principles in the performance of their duties by helping others, resisting temptations to injustice and disloyalty, demonstrating qualities of integrity, sincerity and truthfulness and performing other charitable good works.
  • All Members are expected to participate fully in the Guild’s charitable activities and spiritual and social events.[2]

Guild Prayer[edit]

Most merciful God, giver of all authority, by the merits of Thy Divine Son and through the intercession of His Holy Mother and our glorious patron St. Michael, grant that we may this day, and every day, overcome all temptations, especially to injustice and disloyalty, and with our minds inflamed by Thy Holy Spirit perform all our duties in such a manner as may be pleasing to Thy Divine Will, so that when called to report for the last time we may not be found wanting, and may be allowed to remain forever in Thy Presence. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN

Guild Patron[edit]

A 13th-century Byzantine icon of St Michael from Saint Catherine's Monastery

The Patron Saint of the Catholic Police Guild is Saint Michael, the Archangel. His feast day is 29 September.

The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers.

Holy Scripture describes St Michael as "one of the chief princes," and leader of the forces of Heaven in their triumph over the powers of Hell.

He has been especially honored and invoked as patron and protector by the Church from the time of the Apostles.

Although he is always called "the Archangel," the Greek Fathers and many others place him over all the angels – as Prince of the Seraphim.

St Michael is the patron of police, paratroopers, grocers, mariners and sickness.

Structure[edit]

The CPG has a Constitution and Rules approved by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

The CPG holds an Annual General Meeting that is open to all members of the Guild. The election of members to the National Executive Committee (NEC) takes place at this meeting.

The NEC is entrusted by members to run the Guild. The NEC meets throughout the year. The NEC will invite a Guild member to act as Chairman.

A member or person associated with the Police Service may also be invited by the NEC to act as President for a term of three years, which can be renewed. The CPG NEC has not appointed a President for many years. Previously this role was held by a senior Catholic cleric, often the Administrator of Westminster Cathedral.[2]

However, in June 2010 the NEC decided to appoint a president once again. They chose Patrick J Somerville QPM, a previous Chairman of the CPG on two occasions. He is the first Catholic layman to be appointed to this position in the history of the guild.[3]

Annual Events[edit]

Stewarding[edit]

A strong charism of the Catholic Police Guild is stewarding.

Catholic Police Guild members have a strong association with Westminster Cathedral. Members often help with stewarding duties throughout the year.

Every October Guild members carry the statue of Our Lady in procession from Westminster Cathedral to Brompton Oratory on behalf of the Rosary Crusade of Reparation.[5]

Papal visits to Britain[edit]

Both in 1982 with the visit of Pope John Paul II and in 2010 with the visit of Pope Benedict XVI, the Catholic Police Guild assisted with stewarding.

In 1982 the lead was taken by Michael Jeffers. At the time he was a Chief Superintendent in the Metropolitan Police as well as the Chairman of the Guild. In recognition of his efforts Cardinal Basil Hume made him a Knight of St Gregory.

In 2010 the Catholic Police Guild was asked to take the lead in organising the Stewarding for the Papal Mass held at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 18 September. The lead was taken by the current Guild President Patrick Sommervile.

Pilgrimages[edit]

The Guild undertakes bi-annual pilgrimages to various important holy places, including Rome, the Holy Land, Fátima, Portugal, Santiago de Compostella in Spain and Poland.[1]

In 1985 the Guild went on pilgrimage to Rome to celebrate its seventieth year of foundation. During this pilgrimage the Guild was addressed by Pope John Paul II on Friday, 12 April 1985:

Dear Friends,

I am indeed happy to welcome you all, representatives of the Catholic Police Officers of England and Wales, with members of your families, to this audience.

I am especially happy to renew my acquaintance with members of a category of public servants who played such a willing and generous part in facilitating my visit to your country in 1982.

This year you are celebrating the Seventieth Anniversary of the foundation of the Catholic Police Guild, established under the auspices of Cardinal Bourne in 1914. I wish to encourage you to persevere in the spirit and good works which inspired the intentions of the founding members.

Your visit to the holy places of Rome, especially to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, give a truly pilgrim character to your presence here. I pray that this religious dimension of your stay will serve to consolidate your Christian faith and help you to see your professional and family responsibilities in the light of the Gospel message of God’s love.

The high moral standards, the discipline, the self-sacrifice and the genuine concern for the common good which mark your public service are all ways of witnessing to the authenticity of your belief in the Paschal Mystery of the redeeming Death and Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Yours is a work of service and of brotherhood. As such it needs the support of a profound sense of the unique dignity of every human being. The special value of each person can only be fully understood where each one is accepted as an image of God himself and a brother or sister of Christ. I hope that your work, which sometimes brings you into contact with the darker side of human nature, will not deter you from enthusiastically serving the cause of civic harmony and well-being with sensitivity and Christian hope.

Through you I wish to send my Easter greetings to all the members of your Guild, and indeed to all the members of the police forces of England and Wales.

May the grace and peace of the Risen Christ accompany you always! And may your families and friends, here present and at home, be abundantly blessed with Christian strength and joy! Know that I am grateful to you and that you remain in my prayers! [6]

List of Chairmen[edit]

Chairman Tenure Force
Andrew Nattrass 2012 – present Norfolk
Chris Sloan 2010–2012 Metropolitan
Patrick Somerville 2008–2010 Metropolitan
John Daly 2006–2008 Metropolitan
Andrew Bayes 2003–2006 Metropolitan
Michael O'Brien Metropolitan
Bernard Luckhurst Metropolitan
Ted Keal Metropolitan

Catholic Police Guild of Scotland[edit]

A Catholic Police Guild used to exist in Scotland. In recent years the Guild in this country ceased to operate. However, negotiations are currently underway to revive the Catholic Police Guild in Scotland.

References[edit]

External links[edit]