Parish News 2021

Archive listing

Guidance for Churches - December 2021

Following the statement by the Prime Minister on Wednesday 9th December, there has been a Government directive that further restrictions to mitigate against viral transmission, especially in the light of the new Omicron variant, will be imposed.

Summarising the Government directives:

• From Friday 10 December, face coverings will be required by law in most indoor settings.
• From Monday 13 December office workers who can work from home should do so.
• From Wednesday 15 December, certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption.

The requirements for NHS Covid passes will not apply to places of worship and the acts of worship associated with them. However, any social gatherings linked to events in churches will need to comply with new requirements but only when 500 or more people are involved.

HM Government has made the wearing of face covering mandatory in Places of Worship from Friday 10th December 2021. However, there will be exemptions for those leading worship, public proclamation of scriptural readings or prayers, and those who are unable to wear face coverings and are exempt.

HM Government guidance states that “There is a reasonable excuse for someone to remove a face covering when it is reasonably necessary for them to sing, for example, if they are singing as part of a choir, or during a service, rehearsal or for a performance.” The current Church guidance states that congregational singing should take place with face coverings in place and choirs and soloists may sing without such coverings. As the Church moves towards Christmas celebrations which often involves carol services and other singing events, it is strongly recommended that congregational singing within church buildings continues with the applied face coverings.

Please follow this link for the full text of  the CBCEW Guidance.

13th December 2021

St Albans Live Nativity Trail -18 December

On the 18 December between noon and 3pm, you can journey through St Albans, meeting and hearing from the nativity characters, who will be there to greet you throughout the day.. At each stop on the trail you will get a stamp. Bring your fully stamped trail to the Cathedral to see the nativity scene brought to life like never before.

Trails can be collected for free on the day only from the Cathedral, St Peter’s Church or any of the stops along the trail (St Albans Museum and Gallery, the Beech House, St Peter’s Church, Marlborough Road Methodist Church and Dagnall Street Baptist Church).

Please follow this link for a downloadable trail map.

9th December 2021

Have a Merry, Sustainable Christmas!

The bishops of England and Wales, following the Pope’s lead, are encouraging us to change our lifestyles so as to help reverse climate change. Here are some tips for Christmas. Remember the 3 R’s – refuse, re-use, recycle. For instance, you can reduce plastic use in toiletries by buying bars of soap and bars of shampoo, instead of bottles of hand wash and shampoo. You will find a wide range of green toiletries (plastic free/ethically sourced/organic/vegan) on offer online, and some high street shops sell shampoo bars, for instance Lush and Superdrug.

PRESENTS Don’t buy unnecessary presents. Each year the UK spends about £700 million on unwanted presents. Find out what people need before you buy. Offer home-baked treats. Arrange a spending limit with family and friends. Check that the items you buy are green and ethical –workers properly paid, not tested on animals, sustainably sourced, local if possible. Lists of ethical companies can be found by looking online. Best of all, make reciprocal arrangements with family and friends to not buy each other presents. They may be relieved!

WRAPPING PAPER Half of the paper America consumes each year is used to wrap and decorate consumer products! In Britain every Christmas we throw away 226,800 miles of wrapping paper. There is no need to throw it away. It can be re-used many times. And you can buy wrapping paper made from hemp, or from recycled paper. How about using attractive and re-usable cloth material instead of paper? Use ribbon instead of tape for sealing, so that the paper can be more easily re-used or re-cycled. The ribbon can be re-used as well, as can the bows.

CARDS Do you need to buy cards for people you see regularly? If you decide not to, explain that you are trying to reduce consumerism. Home-made cards are a great idea – people like the thought and effort that goes into them. You can use up leftover resources – cards, calendars, things around the house etc… A much better idea is to send a Happy Christmas email. If you receive cards, recycle don’t bin them. It’s estimated that each year we bin 1 billion cards instead of recycling them.

From the Westminster Justice and Peace E-bulletin – December 2021

9th December 2021

Witness in action: Centre 33 supporting  homeless and disadvantaged people

St Albans may seem a prosperous and inclusive city, but the reality is that there are a wide range of people living at the margins and needing practical support. Centre 33 is one of the organisations providing such help over more than 40 years and it has been actively supported by parishioners and indeed by the parish itself.

Centre 33 helps people who are rough sleeping or sofa surfing, who are in insecure or inadequate accommodation, or who have had these experiences and still value our support and friendship. Our aim is to provide somewhere warm and welcoming, where visitors can get hot meals and drinks, a shower and second-hand clothes; in essence, we aim to be somewhere where they might feel they belong.

Centre 33 is run entirely by volunteers and over the years many parishioners have supported Centre 33 as volunteers (cooking and serving food etc) and as trustees. The parish has provided practical support such as collecting food and clothes. And for five years, Centre 33 was a chosen charity for the parish and received financial support.

The people who use Centre 33 need support and also they need to see that people in St Albans care for them. For parishioners, Centre 33 offers the chance to provide practical support for people struggling with their lives and the opportunity to work with like-minded people of other faiths and none to that end.  More information is available on the website.

Covid has restricted our service; currently we are only able to provide a take-away meal service. We strongly hope we will be able to return to our broader service before too long.

Please pray for those we serve and those who do the serving.


9th December 2021

Parish Christmas Card Competition 2021

Pupils from Year 6 of St John Fisher School, Marshalswick (one of our two parish primary schools) have designed many varied and colourful for our illustrating Christmas competition. Here are just a selection. As usual, the choice to decide a winner was very difficult. However, the picture of the Holy Family reflecting the loving care of Mary and Joseph was finally selected to feature on the Parish leaflet and poster for 2021.

A Novena of Prayer - On the Road to Bethlehem with Saint Joseph

The Agency for Evangelisation has produced a short set of reflections drawing from scripture and the Holy Father’s Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde (with a Father’s Heart),  to coincide with the official close of the Year of Saint Joseph on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 8th December 2021. Please click this link to access the Novena.


3rd December 2021

Mater Ecclesiae College Colloquium on Synodality - 11 December 2021

As the Catholic Church embarks in the Synodal path process, four members of the Faculty of Mater Ecclesiae College will engage in a discussion on the theme of Synodality. This discussion will take place on Saturday 11 December 2021, 10am-3pm, in the Waldegrave Suite, St Mary’s University.

Dr Javier Ruiz-Ortiz will reflect on the biblical evidence of synodality, Dr Michael Lang will provide an historical overview, Dr Jacob Philips will lead a theological reflection, while Dr Helen Costigan will give a canonical assessment of the process.

To book, please follow this link.


3rd December 2021

Dies Domini – Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy

Advent is a season of peace and reconciliation in which we prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas. The Bishops have spoken recently about the importance of our Sunday encounter with Christ through the Eucharist at Mass. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our spiritual and pastoral life.

We recognise that the causes and effects of the pandemic are still present to such a degree that the absolute duty for all to attend the Sunday Eucharistic Celebration cannot yet be fulfilled. However, the Bishops have asked that all Catholics now reflect on the centrality of the Eucharist to our life of faith and take into consideration their personal circumstances and the reasons as to whether they can now attend the Sunday Eucharistic Celebration.

To encourage this process of reflection and to promote the vital, indispensable and irreplaceable place of the Eucharist in our lives, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has produced a series of discussions for Advent called ‘Dies Domini – Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy’. Their inspiration comes from Pope Saint John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter of the same name from 1998.

For more details, please follow this link.


3rd December 2021

Healing Mass - Saturday 27 November at 11.30am

Whether it is our departure from the EU or negotiating the challenges occasioned by Covid and our pathway through it, the last couple of years have been marked by upheaval, an upheaval that has run deep in our society, our families, our parish. That upheaval that has touched on so many aspects of our daily life and where there is upheaval or dislocation there is plenty of scope for disagreement and division, within families, between friends, among colleagues.

Differences can rumble on and last a long time. They can be unsettling, and those living through them left in anguish and pain. Alongside the pain and anguish occasioned by division and disagreement there is also the pain and anguish that comes with bereavement and loss; the loss of loved ones taken from us suddenly without warning and well before their time, the loss of jobs that we thought secure, the loss of future hopes and expectations.

Advent is a time of preparation, we look forward to the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour, a time therefore that should be full of much joy and celebration; but where there is hurt and division, where these things are allowed to fester, it can be difficult to enter into that joy.

Indeed its often said that when we hold a grudge, when we continue to be upset or to hold on to a pain which others may not even be aware of, a pain which is not always physical, then that can prevent us from enjoying life to the full, from having what God wants for us. Here, healing is needed.

To help us prepare for the Advent season a Mass of healing will be held on Saturday 27th November at 11.30 am. The invitation is simple. To hand over to the Lord those things that cause us pain; to ask for healing in our bodies, in our minds, in our souls, that we might live in peace, and be able to look forward with joy to Christmas.

For those whose health has noticeably deteriorated there will be an opportunity to be anointed, for others who aren’t seriously ill, with general aches and pains or other non-life threatening conditions, there will be a prayer of blessing, and for all, once Mass has ended, there will be a team of prayer ministers who can pray with and over you, calling down the power of the Holy Spirit to come to your aid, whatever your need, or the needs of those close to you.

Come, ask for healing, for yourself, for our community, and be made ready to celebrate once again the birth of the baby Jesus. Later in the Advent season there will also be an opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation and rejoice in the healing and grace that comes from that understanding of being a loved and forgiven child of God.

Deacon Brendan Day

21st November 2021

Statement from the Bishops' Conference - 'Honouring Sunday'

Please click this link for the statement from the Bishops’ Conference entitled Honouring Sunday. The statement emphasises the importance of Sunday as The Day of the Lord and the celebration of Mass gathered as the Body of Christ on that day. It also speaks of the difficulty that some will have in fulfilling the Sunday Obligation at this time. It invites reflection on the practice of Sunday Worship.


Copies of the statement are also available in the church porch.


21st November 2021

World Youth Sunday 21 November 2021

National Youth Sunday is now World Youth Sunday and it is a unique opportunity to celebrate the role and significance of young people in the Catholic Church in England and Wales along with the global Church. The theme this year is  “Stand Up! I appoint you as a witness of what you have seen!” (Acts 26:16). CYMFed has produced resources for schools, parishes, families and individuals available at  Please join us in prayers on that day.

More information can be found via this link.

10th November 2021

Inter Faith Week 14 November 2021

This is a special Week which highlights the contribution of faith groups to society; encourages greater inter faith understanding and cooperation and also dialogue between those of religious and non-religious beliefs.  It is timed to begin each year on Remembrance Sunday to encourage remembering together of the service of those of different faiths and beliefs from the UK and the Commonwealth.

The Week is open to all and thousands of people of different backgrounds and ages take part directly, with millions encountering its positive messages through social media.  Recent years have seen ever more types of organisations taking part, from faith, belief and inter faith organisations, to others such as schools, sports clubs, hospitals and hospices, police, and youth organisations.

Hundreds of bodies have already registered activities for this year’s Week. Coming just after COP26, quite a number of these are focused on environmental issues and how faith communities can help tackle climate change. A sampler of activities can be found here.

Activities for Inter Faith Week this year range from exhibitions and art and photography competitions, dialogues and debates, to wellness sessions, faith trails and place of worship open days, school classroom activities, sports activities, environmental projects and cooking activities. A calendar list of this year’s activities can be found on the Inter Faith Week website.  Activities can also be viewed on an interactive map.

10th November 2021

Welcome! Peace be with you!

London welcomed Little Amal……she visited the market; the Opera House and St. Paul’s Cathedral. She celebrated her 10th birthday at the V&A with children from all over London. There was a special service at Westminster Cathedral before she left for Oxford and the rest of her journey reaching Manchester on 3rd November for a spectacular finale. It has been a wonderful venture to bring awareness to the refugee problem which is worldwide.

If you would like to learn how Hertfordshire welcomes refugees, come to our very own cultural event on Sunday 21st November at 7.30pm in Lourdes Hall. Tickets are £10 per person and all proceeds to go to Herts Welcomes Refugees.

For more information & tickets please phone Margaret Cox 01582 713727 or follow this link for more information.

10th November 2021

Open Door Winter Beds Project 2021

This winter the St Albans Winter Beds project will once again provide 4 extra beds for people rough sleeping in St Albans during the winter months. The Open Door night shelter on Bricket Road can accommodate 12 people all year round, but for the fifth winter running the charity will provide extra beds throughout the coldest season. This year the charity will be partnering with Emmaus and St Albans Council to provide the project.

The Winter Beds Project provides people who would otherwise be rough sleeping with self contained sleeper cabins. Each cabins provides secure, Covid safe accommodation with heating, electricity and en-suite facilities. Guests of the project are supported to find secure accommodation to move on to by the rough sleeper outreach team. Last year due to Covid the project ran from January through to the beginning of April and accommodated 17 people, 11 of which moved on to secure accommodation.

This year the Winter Beds Project will run from December to March and all volunteers are given full training. The project based at Emmaus St Albans is looking for volunteers to help run the project this winter. Volunteers are needed to help welcome guests and book them into cabins when they arrive in the evening, and to wake guests and clear cabins in the morning.

Please see here for more information.

10th November 2021

Individual Synodal Survey

Everyone is invited and encouraged to respond to the Pope’s call to pray and participate in the world-wide Synod Process by devoting a small amount of time to write a response to the parish survey.

Ways to access the survey:

  1. Hard copy: Please pick up from Church porch, coffee bar in the Sacred Heart Centre or Marshalswick Mass Centre. Please post replies through presbytery door by 16th November.
  2. Online: Available on website via Synod button on front page and by clicking here for electronic invitation
  3. E-Mail: Download invitation from website or request survey from Parish office. If returning by e-mail, please include Synod Survey in subject line
  4. St Alban and St Stephen Facebook page (

Deadline for individual replies – Tuesday 16th November

4th November 2021

Synod Youth Ministry Listening Event - 2 November 2021, 6:30pm - 8:00pm

Join the Diocese of Westminster’s Youth Ministry for an evening with Cardinal Vincent to share your thoughts and hear those of other young adults from across the diocese.

Sign up here.


29th October 2021

Group Synodal Conversations

Groups within the Parish are invited to respond to the Pope’s call to pray and participate in the world-wide Synod Process by devoting some time at their gatherings to hold a group conversation.

It will greatly help the parish response to be forwarded to the Diocese if each group consider the same key questions that individuals within the Parish will also be asked to respond to. Please follow this link for details of the questions to be considered.

Both the Pope and the Cardinal have been very clear that in this ‘Listening Phase’ at parish level it is not solely about gathering opinions but about listening to the Holy Spirt and also through drawing others into the process. Therefore to fully embrace the listening phase, it is suggested that after an introduction of the process at one gathering each individual hold separate conversations with others. Then by having listened to other opinions, later group discussion will be enriched through articulation of not only personal feelings but also the views of others from a broader experience.

28th October 2021

Westminster Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust Annual Report & Accounts 2020

The financial statements for the Diocese of Westminster for the year ended 31 December 2020 are now available to view and download on the Diocesan website and can be accessed by clicking here.

Our Parish Accounts and Report for 2020 can be found on the ‘Donating to our Parish’ page of our website and can be accessed or downloaded here. Copies will also be available in the Church porch.

28th October 2021

November - Month of the Holy Souls

November is the month of the Holy Souls and we will hold our annual Novena of Masses for the Holy Souls from 2-10 November, praying the Novena Prayer at all masses. Please note that the mass for all those who have died in the past twelve months will be offered on Friday 5 November at 7pm. If you would like to add the name of somebody who has died in the last twelve months, please email their name to the parish office.

Several of the Holy Souls masses offered during the novena will be offered for a particular intention.


Wednesday 3 November 10.00am

Deceased Brothers and Sisters

Sunday 7 November 11.30am

Those who have died in War

Thursday 4 November 10.00am

Deceased Victims of Violence

Monday 8 November 7.00pm

Deceased Spouses

Friday 5 November 7.00pm

Those all who have died in the past year

Tuesday 9 November 10.00am

Deceased Children / Sons & Daughters

 Saturday 6 November 6.00pm

Deceased Parents and Grandparents

Wednesday 10 November 7.00pm

Deceased Priests, Deacons and Religious


Holy Souls Lists

If you would like to include people in the Holy Souls List, to be placed near the altar, please use one of the leaflets and envelopes available in the porch and return it to the Presbytery. Any offering you wish to make towards the masses offered for the Holy Souls can be included in these envelopes or in a plain envelope marked ‘Holy Souls’ and posted through the Presbytery door.

The Novena Prayer and the Holy Souls leaflet can be found on the parish website, but please feel free to email your Holy Souls list to

27th October 2021

For a Synodal Church

Pope Francis has launched what some describe as the most ambitious attempt at Catholic reform for 60 years.

A two-year process to consult every Catholic parish throughout the world on the future direction of the Church began at the Vatican on the 10th October and will be launched in all parishes on the weekend of 16/17th October.

As he launched the process at Mass in St Peter’s Basilica Pope Francis urged Catholics not to “remain barricaded in our certainties” but to “listen to one another”. “Are we prepared for the adventure of this journey? Or are we fearful of the unknown, preferring to take refuge in the usual excuses: ‘It’s useless’ or ‘We’ve always done it this way’?” he asked.

(Please click link to news article)

Discussing his hopes for the Synod, Pope Francis warned against the process becoming an intellectual exercise that failed to address the real-world issues faced by Catholics and the “temptation to complacency” when it comes to considering change.

(Please click link to news article)

The consultation process, called “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”, will work in three stages:

  • In the “listening phase”, people in parishes and dioceses will be able to discuss a wide range of issues. Pope Francis has said that it is important to hear from those who were often on the fringes of local Church life such as women, pastoral workers and members of consultative bodies, as well as to people and the world outside of the Church
  • The “continental phase” will see bishops gather to discuss and formalise their findings.
  • The “universal phase” will see a month-long gathering of the bishops at the Vatican in October 2023
  • The Pope is expected then to write an apostolic exhortation or letter giving his views and decisions on the issues discussed.



15th October 2021

CAFOD homemade soup and bread lunch and film.

On Saturday 9th October the parish Justice and Peace Group held their Harvest fast day lunch event. It’s been 18 months since the last fast day lunch and this time the group thought it would be wonderful to recognise the hardship so many parishioners had experienced during the pandemic by offering the lunch for free. We did have some concerns as we would have no idea how many, if any, would decide to join us; in the end we were amazed to find some 70 people joining us and having a choice of three delicious soups – all made with locally sourced vegetables – and freshly made and still warm bread. It was especially marvellous to welcome people from 5 to over 90 years of age. Our film, Up, was well received judging by the laughter in the hall. Speaking with our guests it was evident that for many, this was their first social engagement in a long while and it was a great privilege for us that this event was so well supported. As always, people were very generous with their support for CAFOD, donating £420 during the afternoon. We would like to thank anyone who helped make the day such a success; it is much appreciated.

13th October 2021

Synodal Pathway

In his pastoral letter last weekend, the Cardinal highlighted Pope Francis’ invitation issued to each and every one of us to contribute to the meeting or Synod of Bishops to be held in Rome. In creating this opportunity for listening and dialogue at the local level, Pope Francis is calling the Church to humbly learn together how God is calling us to be as the Church in the third millennium. Synod means quite literally ‘journeying together’. At the heart of our journeying together is our listening – listening to one another, yes, but listening first and foremost to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us through the scripture, through the Tradition of the church, and through each other.

I do want to stress that this invitation is for everyone. In a preparatory document for the Synod, the point is well made. ‘In a synodal Church the whole community, in the free and rich diversity of its members, is called together to pray, listen, analyse, dialogue, discern and offer advice on making pastoral decisions which correspond as closely as possible to God’s will’. To this end, Pope Francis has asked every bishop throughout the world to listen to the local church that he has been called to shepherd. In turn, Cardinal Vincent has asked that each parish facilitate this listening.

Not long after the first lockdown had ended, we, as a parish, conducted a parish survey the principal aim of which was to listen to and learn from people’s experience of that first lock down. Again, the recent Parish Assembly was, I trust, an exercise in listening and journeying together. I hope therefore that we are well placed to respond to the Pope’s invitation and to engage in a discernment that relates to the life and mission of the church as a whole, not simply as it is lived here in St Albans or indeed the Diocese of Westminster. In the coming weeks and months, we will pray for the forthcoming Synod and, in particular, the success of these preparatory stages taking place across the world. More importantly, there will be opportunities for us to do what the Cardinal and Holy Father have asked us to do – to listen to one another: to share our experiences of life and faith, its joys and sorrows, its comforts and challenges so as to understand more fully what it is that God is calling us to.

Fr Michael

12th October 2021

Churches Together in St Albans Autumn Forum: COP26 Vigil - Wednesay 20th October 8pm

At COP26, World leaders meet to decide what to do about climate change.

Current global commitments will fail to prevent uncontrollable, irreversible and catastrophic climate change.

“We are on the verge of the abyss.” – UN Secretary General (2021)

It’s time to pray and fast.

“Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly…and cry out to the Lord” Joel 1:14

Join with Christians from different churches on Wednesday 20th October as we

  • Fast for a day from meat, dairy and fish
  • Join together at 8pm on Zoom to pray.

“This is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” 1 Jn 5:14

More details can be found here.

4th October 2021

Paella Supper Al Fresco

Parishioners attending 7pm Mass on Friday, 1st October were greeted with freshly cooked paella and a glass of wine as they left church. A couple of fire pits ensured everyone kept warm as they ate and chatted: a welcoming scene for passers-by. Thank you to everyone involved in preparing the lovely surprise!

4th October 2021

CTSA Autumn Prayer Walk 2021

Sixteen people and a dog braved the weather to join the annual pilgrimage, stopping to pray for the people of our city at various churches in St Albans. Fr Michael launched the walk with a prayer at our church before we headed off on our journey, which finished with prayers at the shrine of St Alban. It was lovely to catch up with old friends again.

30th September 2021

Friday Coffee and Cake

Please come along and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, a cake and a chat with us next to the Rose Garden every Friday morning, whatever the weather!

30th September 2021

Pastoral Letter for the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time 2-3 October 2021 

Please follow this link for the full text of the latest pastoral letter from Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster.

30th September 2021

Fr Julian's Farewell Mass and Party 

The parish had the opportunity to say farewell to Fr Julian at the 7pm mass on Sunday 29 August at 7pm and to thank him for his ministry here in St Albans.

Please see below for a selection of photos from the evening.

Fr Julian has now taken up his new appointment as Parish Priest of Hoddesdon and we wish him all the very best in his new role.

9th September 2021

Pro-Life Pilgrimage to Walsingham 

This year’s pilgrimage to Walsingham is on Saturday 23rd October 2021 and will be led by Bishop Mark Davies.

A coach will leave Harpenden at 7.30am and St Bartholomew’s at 7.50am. Tickets cost £17.50 (adult) £8 (child) which includes Priory entrance.

Please contact Geraldine Ward on 07971028415 if you would like to go. Further details can be found here.

9th September 2021

Men's' Breakfasts to restart on 2nd October 

As we continue to return to a more normal pattern of life, we have decided to re-start the Men’s breakfasts on Saturday 2 October. We will meet in the parish centre from 8.15am for coffee, croissants and banter.  At about 9am we will watch the first episode in a new series on the Nicene Creed, narrated by Bishop Robert Barron, and we will aim to finish at 10am.  This is a great opportunity to learn more about this prayer which is central to the Sunday mass and to the key parts of our catholic beliefs. Please contact Richard & Brendan on email ( if you have any questions or would like more information.

9th September 2021

Parish Friends Knit and Natter Group News 

The Parish Friends Knit and Natter Group is resuming from 2-4pm on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month commencing 14 September. Everyone welcome. For queries contact Helen on 07860 830340.

9th September 2021

Players and Manager wanted - St Albans Romans FC  

The parish football club, St Albans Romans FC, has two 11-a- side men’s teams playing locally in the Herts Christian Football League on Saturday mornings, with training on Tuesday evenings.  We are looking for someone to manage the 2nd team and also keen for more players to join the club.  If you are interested please contact us via our website, or ring Richard on 07976 252309.

9th September 2021

The Newman Association 

Members of the Newman Association meet together in local Circles to listen to talks and to discuss and develop their understanding of the Christian faith. The link with St John Henry (Cardinal) Newman is his wish for “a laity who know their religion, who enter into it, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it”

The Hertfordshire Circle of the Newman Association is one of the most active circles in the country. We arrange regular meetings during the period from September to June each year in a programme of talks and discussions around topical Catholic matters such as the recent exhortations by Pope Francis and various theological and historical issues. Most of the meetings are in parishes in or around St Albans, including St Barts, but we also have joint events with St Albans Cathedral Study Centre and the University of Hertfordshire. We also have an active social calendar with pub lunches, a musical evening and a garden party. All are welcome to attend our meetings.

In current circumstances The Hertfordshire Circle has now moved its Book Club and its talks to Zoom, although we hope to resume in person events as soon as it seems appropriate.

Nationally the Newman Association organises conferences and events, and produces a regular journal: The Newman and has a website. Periodically a group of members goes on a “pilgrimage”, which combines spiritual, cultural and social dimensions. The latest (2021) is to Ravenna, the timing dependent on Covid restrictions.

If you would like to know more please contact Mary Harber on 07976 277 059 or email at

26th August 2021

CAFOD Harvest Fast Day Film and Soup Event - Saturday 9th October 

Please come and enjoy lunch at 12 noon followed by a film.

This year, and to acknowledge the pressure and isolation so many of us have been under, the Parish Justice and Peace group are providing our Soup and Film event FREE OF CHARGE. We hope that many parishioners will want to join us in the Hall to meet, chat and share a homemade bread and soup lunch before relaxing to watch a nice film [title to be confirmed – but suitable for all ages].

If you would like to help on the day, please contact Maureen or Stan on or 765549.

25th August 2021

Farewell to Fr Julian

As announced several months ago Fr Julian will be leaving us at the end of August to become parish priest of Hoddesdon. The Cardinal has appointed Fr Jonathan Stogdon in place of Fr Julian. Fr Jonathan is currently assistant priest in Wood Green and will be joining us in mid-September.

There will be a farewell Mass for Fr Julian on Sunday 29th August at 7pm.  A retiring collection was held after each Mass this weekend to thank Fr Julian for his ministry among us. If you would like to contribute to that collection, and were not able to so at the weekend, you can always post an envelope through the presbytery door and mark it ‘Fr Julian’s Farewell’.

After the Mass on Sunday 29th  there will be a simple reception. Hopefully the weather and light will be good enough for us to gather outside. If you would like to help with the reception – serving drinks etc – please could you email the parish office at

23rd August 2021

Parish Assembly June / July 2021

Just before the summer we held our long awaited Parish Assembly. A summary of the proceedings and outcomes can be found here.

The summary will give you a clear outline of  our next steps while the vision underpinning them and the pastoral priorities they seek to serve can be found on the resources section of our  Parish Assembly page.

23rd August 2021

CAFOD - Response to World Emergencies

CAFOD is responding to significant crises across the world this week.

We are working with local Church organisations in Haiti to deliver emergency aid to people affected by the catastrophic earthquake and tropical storm.

In the tragic situation in Afghanistan, we are working to ensure the safety of our local partners and their communities.

We are supporting local aid workers to deliver urgent food and water supplies to hundreds of thousands of people facing extreme hunger in Tigray in Ethiopia, South Sudan and north-east Nigeria.

You can read more about how we can all express solidarity with our sisters and brothers affected by these emergencies on the CAFOD website.

Your compassion, generosity and prayers have helped us to stand together and enable us to continue to support communities in these difficult times. Thank you.

Loving Lord,

For those who have died, give them eternal rest. For those who are bereaved, comfort and console them. For those who are hurt, heal and strengthen them.

Lord God, enable us to help our suffering brothers and sisters in whatever way we can.

Heavenly Father, be with us now and always.


23rd August 2021

Thinking Lunches - Marlborough Road Methodist Church 2021/22

All are invited to attend any of the talks in this series. Meetings take place on the first Thursday of the month from 12.30pm to 1.30pm, with a half hour talk followed by discussion.

Tea, coffee and squash are provided but please bring your own sandwiches.

Donations are gratefully received to cover expenses, with profits being given to the speaker for a charity of their choice.

Please see the attached flyer for details of individual talks between September 2021 and May 2022.


11th August 2021

Brendan Day's Recent Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate

Please follow the link here to read an article about Brendan’s recent ordination to the permanent diaconate on the Diocese of Westminster website.

Please click here to see a selection of photos of the event.

10th August 2021

March for Life UK - 4th September 2021

This year’s March for Life UK will take in London on Saturday 4 September 4. In the morning the Life Fest will take place from 10.00 – 13.00 in the Emmanuel Centre, Marsham St, London, SW1P 3D. Pro-Life organisations from around the country showcasing their work, inspiring speakers, moving testimonies, live music, pro-life merchandise, pro-life tots, kids and teens’ activities, selfie stands and much more!

The March to Parliament Square will take place from 13.30 – 16.00.

Please follow this link to view a poster from the event or visit the March for Life UK website for more information.


10th August 2021

Brendan Day's Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate

Congratulations to Brendan Day on his ordination to the Permanent Diaconate in Westminster Cathedral on 24th July. A happy parish celebration followed Brendan’s first mass as our new deacon on Sunday, 25th July.

27th July 2021

Churches Together in St Albans Autumn Prayer Walk

19 September – 2pm to 6pm

Join Christians for a relaxed but prayerful walk around St Albans. We will follow our usual walk, keeping our distance, and pray or hear a reading outside each church. Walkers may want to bring their own refreshments to eat and drink in Verulamium Park on the way.


  • 2.00pm St Alban & St Stephen RC Church, Beaconsfield Rd
  • 2.05pm Trinity URC
  • 2.15pm Marlborough Rd Methodist Church
  • 2.30pm The Salvation Army
  • 3.00pm St Peter’s Church
  • 3.30pm Dagnall Street Baptist Church
  • 4.15pm St Michael’s Church
  • 4.30pm Short break in Verulamium Park
  • 5.30pm St Alban’s Cathedral – the Shrine of St Alban
  • 6.00 pm Choral Evensong at The Cathedral

Please click here for an event poster.

29th June 2021

The Feast of St Alban - 20th June

St Alban is widely regarded as the first British martyr. The life of St Alban before his conversion is not known. Legends say that he was a Roman soldier at Verulamium; he may have been a Romano-Briton. Scholars have suggested that Verulamium, which is now St Albans in Hertfordshire, was part of an enclave in Britain which resisted Roman rule.

Alban, a pagan, is said to have sheltered a priest who was fleeing persecution. We are told that the priest was called Amphibalus. Alban had been so moved by the priest’s faith that he asked to be told more about Christianity- at that time a forbidden religion. Alban took the priest’s cloak and allowed him to escape. Roman soldiers arrested Alban. He was brought before the town’s magistrate. Alban refused to sacrifice to the Roman gods, and declared: ‘I am Alban and I worship and adore the true and living God, who created all things’. The magistrate ordered that Alban should therefore receive the punishment due to the priest. He was brought out of the town and up a hill to the site of execution where he was beheaded. Legend has it that Alban’s head rolled down the hill and where it came to rest a fountain sprang up. Alban’s grave became a place of pilgrimage and remains so today. Bede dates the event to the reign of Diocletian (c. 305); modern scholars redate it to the reign of Septimius Severus (c. 209) or Decius. Gildas, in the VI Century, relates the story of Alban’s martyrdom, and Bede details the story and discusses a church dedicated to the martyr. The traditional site of Alban’s death, Holmhurst Hill, became the site of St Alban Abbey, founded by King Offa in the VIII Century. During a Danish invasion, Alban’s relics are said to have been transported to Ely; St Canute’s in Odense claims to have relics of Alban, which Canute stole in his 1075 raid on York. What remained of Alban’s relics were scattered in the time of the Dissolution.

Alban is a saint for all Christians. His hospitality and kindness to a persecuted stranger reflect the courage and compassion we are called upon to show today to those less fortunate in our society. Alban is the patron saint of converts, refugees and torture victims.

Prayer to St Alban

O generous St Alban, you took in and kept safe a holy priest who was fleeing persecution and you were martyred for your faith.

Look kindly upon all who are fleeing persecution or are seeking refuge for any reason. Ask the Lord to protect them and keep them safe from harm.

Pray for them, dear St Alban, that they have the strength, courage and assistance to live faithfully each day in unfamiliar places far from their homes.

Pray that the Lord blesses them with all the help and assistance they need to adjust to new environments and cultures and with hope for a better future.

Oh holy martyr, may we too who celebrate this feast be helped continually by your prayers to assist those in need. Amen

15th June 2021

Day for Life

Bishop John Sherrington, the Lead Bishop for Life Issues for the Church in England and Wales, has written to his brother bishops about this year’s Day for Life.


We celebrate Day for Life on Sunday 20 June 2021. This day, inaugurated by Saint John Paul II, presents an opportunity to pray for the gift of life from conception to natural death, to raise awareness of the precious gift of life, and to support the work of protecting life in its most vulnerable stages through the annual collection. This assists pro-life organisations who raise awareness, engage in parliamentary work and pastoral outreach.

Global Pandemic

The fragility of life and the reality of death has been brought into sharp focus during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the UK alone, more than 126,000 people have died from Covid-19. Yet in the face of such suffering and death, we have also witnessed the extraordinary dedication of healthcare professionals and their loving care for the sick and dying. We too have each made sacrifices for the greater good during this pandemic. These acts of heroic love are a powerful testimony to the fundamental dignity of the human person and to the respect owed to each life, particularly through proper care and love in the last moments of life.

Assisted Dying

Against this backdrop of loving care, we are now faced with the very real threat of the legalisation of ‘assisted suicide’ in our country. It is not a question of ‘if’ this challenge will come, it is now a question of ‘when?’ There is now a Private Members Bill in the House of Lords on so-called ‘Assisted Dying’ and it is only a matter of time before the issue is back in the House of Commons.

This year’s theme for Day for Life focuses on assisted suicide and the respect owed to life. The online resources are produced to inform Catholics about this threat to life and to share with people our response to such a threat: a true compassion as the just response to the immense value of the human person.


Day for Life adds an authenticity to our witness to the dignity of life and this is enabled by the generosity of people in the pews supporting our work.

In 2020, we were unable to hold our annual ‘Day for Life’ collection due to the pandemic, our funds are very much depleted and the threats to life have never been greater.

Day for Life is a simple, practical response which pushes back against ‘the use and throwaway logic’ often at the heart of a culture which seeks to abandon its elderly, sick and dying when ‘they no longer serve our interests.’

If you feel you can offer financial support no matter how small, please visit our Donate page.


This message has been reproduced from the Day for life website.

11th June 2021

Fratelli Tutti

On 4 October 2020, the feast of St Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis released the third encyclical of his papacy.  This letter, sent directly from our Holy Father in Rome to Catholics all over the world, is entitled, ‘Fratelli Tutti,’ meaning “all brothers and sisters,” and, according to the Vatican News website, it ‘aims to promote a universal aspiration toward fraternity and social friendship.’

The full text of the encyclical can be found here. A study guide, produced by the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns and offering key points and quotes from each chapter of Fratelli Tutti, together with reflection questions, can be found here.

The Spring 2021 edition of the Columban Missionaries magazine, ‘Vocations for Justice,’ also includes an editorial and further reflection on Pope Francis’s encyclical  ‘Vocation for Justice’ is a 12-page magazine sent out three times a year and is viewable online. Work for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) is at the heart of mission in all of the countries where Columban missionaries are based. The magazine features various articles concerning the four Columban JPIC priorities of Environmental Justice, Migration, Economic Justice and Peace.

11th June 2021

English Archbishop appointed Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship

On Tuesday 25 May, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Arthur Roche as the new Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops’ Conference, expressed his joy on hearing the news: “I am delighted at the news. Archbishop Roche has brought great gifts to his present role in guiding the Church’s Liturgy and will now bring those same gifts to his role as Prefect of the Congregation. The Church in England and Wales is proud of him and we assure him of our constant prayers and support.”

1 June 2021

The Feast of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

On 29 May, we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.  Fr Jules Chevalier promised Our Lady that if his dream of forming a missionary congregation became a reality, he would teach the faithful to love her in a special way. Soon after praying a Novena, an anonymous donation enabled him to establish the community of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.

In 1857, in fulfilment of his promise, Fr Jules honoured Mary with the title “Our Lady of the Sacred Heart”.  He visualised an image whereby the boy Jesus touches his heart with the left hand and with his right he points to his mother, sending the message that through Mary the faithful can reach the heart of Jesus. You can see this on the statue on our own Marian Altar, a legacy from the MSCs.

On this Feast Day, please join members of the Chevalier Family throughout the world in praying the Memorare to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.

Also between 3 and 11 June (the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) you are invited to pray the Novena to the Sacred Heart.

Memorare to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Remember, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, the great things the Lord has done for you;
He chose you for His mother,
He wanted you close to His cross,
He gives you a share in His glory.
He listens to your prayer.
Offer Him our prayers of praise and thanksgiving.
Present our petitions to Him.
Share your petitions silently with Our Lady.
Let us live like you in the love of your Son that His Kingdom may come.
Lead all people to the source of living water that flows from His Heart,
Spreading over the world hope and salvation, justice, and peace.
See our trust in you; answer our prayer.
Show yourself always, our Mother.


Novena Prayer to the Sacred Heart

O Divine Jesus, who said, “Ask and you shall receive”, I kneel at your feet.
From whom shall I ask if not from you, whose heart is the source of all blessings.
With a lively faith in you, I come to ask…
Share your petitions silently with the Sacred Heart.
I admit I am most unworthy of your favours, Jesus,
But this is not a reason for me to be discouraged.
You are the God of mercies and you will not refuse a contrite heart.
Look with pity on me, I beg you, and your compassionate Heart
Will find in my weakness a motive for granting my request.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me.

Be part of Susfest21!

The parish is participating in the annual St Albans Sustainability festival again this year.

For 2021 we have arranged a walk from the Church to St John Fisher RC School. Our theme is “Live Simply”. The walk is a 2.5-mile linear walk and will have “Live Simply” posters tied to trees and lamp posts along the way: each poster will have a message encouraging us to think about living more simply – for the benefit of ourselves, our community and the earth – and to engage children in helping to spot them.

Our walk can be completed in either direction and at any time between 1 and 6 June. It is, of course, possible to complete parts of the walk. You are also encouraged to stop for a picnic in Clarence Park, the Wick or in the Sherwood Avenue recreation ground. If you would like to walk it, please follow the link here or pick up a copy of the map from the church porch.

This walk has been arranged by the parish Justice & Peace Group.

17th May 2021

Parish Assembly - Dates for your Diary!

Our Parish Assembly is scheduled to be held virtually via Zoom on Saturday 12 June from 11am.

Depending on pandemic restrictions, it may also be possible to hold the Assembly as a physical meeting on Saturday 3 July from 11am in the Parish Centre.

We would be grateful if you could keep both dates in your diary at present.

Detailed arrangements will be confirmed nearer the time, as Government regulations evolve.

To view a copy of Fr Michael’s proposed Vision Statement, please follow this link.

17th May 2021

Thy Kingdom Come: Lighting up the world in prayer - 13 to 23 May

Once again, alongside other Catholic dioceses, the Diocese of Westminster pleased to be participating in this timely ecumenical initiative to help us reflect more deeply on our journey with Christ and personal call to discipleship. A variety of rich Catholic resources are available for use in our parish communities, which can enable us to prepare more fully to celebrate the great Feast of Pentecost. Please click here for a link to the website. In a year that has been beset by many personal challenges and worries, we hope that these resources may provide a useful source of spiritual nourishment and reflection.

We would like to highlight the following key resources:

  •  Pentecost Novena: A beautiful way to prepare ourselves for the joy of Pentecost, This resource is available as a download, booklet, or podcast.
  •  Journey with Mary: This special playlist has been created for us to journey with Mary from the Ascension to Pentecost. What would we say, or share with Mary?
  •  Praying for 5: During the novena which 5 friends, family, neighbours, who may be away from the Church, or have yet to discover the love offered them by Jesus would you pray for. Simply do so throughout the day and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit for them. A simple Prayer Journal has been produced to support our personal prayer during the novena.
  •  For Families: There are some delightful resources to help families, particularly those with young children praying Thy Kingdom Come. To explore what is on offer please click

Please click here for more information on related events in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire including an ecumenical online service of prayer on 19 May with prayers led by Bishop Paul. To register and receive a zoom invitation to this service, please click here.

Churches Together in St Albans are also taking part with our annual 24 hour prayer marathon – can you help? Visit and book a slot to add your prayer time in, and/or join one of the zoom prayer events. There is so much to pray for!  Thank you!

7th May 2021

Reflection Issued on Post-Pandemic Recovery by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales

The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have issued a reflection on post-pandemic recovery and the challenges faced by the Church in encouraging people back to the Church and her sacraments.

In a reflection entitled The Day of the Lord, the Bishops also praise families, parish communities and those who have worked tirelessly in hospitals, care homes, schools and prisons during these challenging times of ill-health, grief and isolation.

The Bishops salute the leadership of our priests and also express gratitude for the ‘immense efforts’ of those who have provided food for those most in need:

‘The generosity shown in the distribution of so very many meals has given eloquent expression to the mercy, love and compassion which are at the very heart of God. Many have been touched by the joy of meeting Christ in the poor; and many of the poor by the joy of meeting Christ in selfless parishioners.’

Whilst acknowledging the creative and diverse methods of outreach during the pandemic, not least the live streaming of Mass, attention then turns to the post-pandemic world.

The Bishops recognise that it is impossible to predict the pace at which we will emerge from the pandemic but state ‘what is clear is the challenge we face of bringing our communities and the practice of the faith to a still greater expression and strength’.

They identify the groups of people they are seeking to reach:

  • Those who have lost the habit of coming to church and who may be anxious about doing so
  • Those who may not want to re-establish a pattern of Catholic worship, who may have seen a gap widen between the spiritual dimension of their lives and any communal expression of that spiritual quest.
  • The ‘Covid curious’ who may have encountered the Catholic Church for the first time during the pandemic

The Bishops highlight the strengths, the ‘veritable treasures’ of the Catholic Church as being the tools at their disposal to rise to these challenges. The greatest treasure is, of course, the sacramental life of the Church and, at its heart, the Eucharist.

This article is taken from the Diocese of Westminster website and the full article and and the Bishops’ Reflection can be read here. The reflection can also be downloaded here. 

29th April 2021

Vaccination Confidence Webinar - 15 May 2021

A Covid-19 vaccine confidence webinar has been organized for the of Dioceses of Brentwood, Southwark and Westminster, with the cooperation of Hertfordshire County Council and Hammersmith & Fulham Council, and other local authorities.

It will take place on Saturday 15th May 2021 from 10am to 11.30am and will feature a panel of eminent medical experts led by Prof Kevin Fenton, Regional Director of Public Health London. The panel will share the latest information on COVID-19 vaccination.  There will be an opportunity for participants to ask questions anonymously.

To join the webinar: Passcode: 546617

29th April 2021

Bethlehem to Nazareth Pilgrimage - Supporting vulnerable children in the Holy Land

A huge number of Christian families across the Holy Land who relied on tourism have been plunged into unemployment and poverty during the last year, with no government support. If their children are to continue attending Christian schools, they need help to pay the (small) school fees. A group of parishioners will walk 84-miles following a virtual pilgrimage route from Bethlehem to Nazareth before Pentecost Sunday, to raise funds for the Friends of the Holy Land appeal to keep vulnerable children at the schools they love.

Please support us by donating to our Parish Team fundraising site using this link or by posting a donation in an envelope through the presbytery door, marked ‘FHL Virtual Pilgrimage’.

If you would like to join the pilgrimage team and help raise funds, please click on the link above and follow the guide. You will be able to walk at your own pace and you will be most welcome.


Thank you,

Anne Myles, David Myles, Helen Bassill, Melanie O’Neill, Mike White, Richard O’Neill, Sylvia White.

14th April 2021

Requiem Mass for Prince Philip

As the Nation mourns with the Royal family, Cardinal Vincent Nichols celebrated a Requiem Mass at Westminster Cathedral on 10th April for Prince Phillip recalling his tireless, generous sense of duty and service. He went on to say that “as we mourn his death, we pray for him, and for every member of that family, but especially for Her Majesty the Queen …may our prayers contribute to her comfort and support.”

For the full text of the homily, please click here.

12th April 2021

What would you like to see in place in our parish in three years' time?

Fr Michael has proposed a Vision for our parish under the theme ‘Welcome, Worship and Witness’ which highlights some aspects that we might pay particular attention to over the next few years, and which will be a focus for our Parish Assembly in June. In order to give everyone an opportunity to provide feedback, in addition to requesting feedback from individual parishioners, we are arranging a series of discussions for the various parish groups. The meetings will be via Zoom and the times and details for joining are below. Some parishioners are in several parish groups and they need join just one meeting. Any parishioner who is available to join a discussion at a time below is welcome to do so. The Vision document is available on the parish website home page and hard copies are available in the porch.

  • Meeting for Eucharistic Ministers: 7.30pm Thursday 15 April. Meeting ID: 990 8080 3286; Passcode: 473714. Click here for link.
  • Meeting for Ministers of the Word: 7.30pm Monday 19 April. Meeting ID: 947 4797 6763; Passcode: 750220. Click here for link.
  • Meeting for Stewards: 7.30pm Monday 26 April. Meeting ID: 974 7409 2158; Passcode: 809050. Click here for link.
  • Meeting for Marshalswick Centre Parishioners: 7.00pm Thursday 29 April. Meeting ID: 849 3267 8288; Passcode: 354158. Click here for link.
  • Meeting for Fire Wardens: 7.30pm Thursday 29 April. Meeting ID: 952 6314 0702; Passcode: 389696. Click here for link.
  • Meeting for Parish Friends: 8.00pm Wednesday 5th May. Meeting ID: 927 1602 6314; Passcode: 797686. Click here for link.

9th April 2021

News from the Knit and Natter Group

The Parish Knit and Natter Group have received a lovely email from Sr Sally and the staff, children and volunteers at the Holy Family Care Centre in Limpopo Province, South Africa.

“A big thank you again to the ‘St Albans and Stephen Knit and Natter Group’ for your generous work and donation of more knitted jumpers.

We are very appreciative of the love and support you show to our beautiful children at Holy Family Care Centre. So, with heartfelt gratitude we thank you for your ongoing support. The weather will begin to get cold next month so the timing is perfect. The children will be all snuggle and warm in their new soft jumpers.

Last year due to the Covid pandemic we home-schooled all the children and this year we have continued. In the last 6 weeks we have admitted 9 children. We now have 52 children being home schooled here, 14 toddlers in creche and 8 babies in the nursery.

We have 10 local tutors teaching our children from grade R to 10. The tutors and children have been amazing once again adapting to the home-schooling program. We are calling ourselves for fun ‘Holy Family Care Centre Academy!’

We continue to practice all health safety protocols and remain in lockdown here at our little home in South Africa to protect our children and staff.

We hope and pray that you and your families are safe and remain well during this global pandemic.

May God bless you all.”

This parcel was one of three sent in March 2020 so it has taken a whole year to arrive but Sr Sally was delighted to receive it and hopes that most of the children will now be able to have a new jumper at Easter.

Thanks to all those who have helped with the work being done by this parish group. Please contact the parish office if you have wool you can donate or if you would like to be involved in some other way.

31st March 2021

Easter Garden

Conscious that so many of us have lost loved ones to coronavirus and other causes in the last year, the parish is commemorating them in a special way in our Easter Garden. We have been planting bamboo flower shapes with the names of our deceased loved ones written on them around the rose garden in front of the presbytery. These are close to the three crosses and will be a symbol of the new life with Christ promised by the resurrection.

If you would like to remember your loved ones in this way, please send their names into the office clearly marked ‘Easter Garden’ either by emailing the parish office or by posting the details through the presbytery door.

30th March 2021

Parish Easter Card

Please click here to view a copy of the Parish Easter card for 2021.

19 March 2021

National Day of Reflection for COVID-19 Tuesday 23rd March 2021

The Presidency of the Bishops’ Conference has issued a statement to welcome the designation of Tuesday 23rd March as a National Day of Reflection to mark the anniversary of the first national lockdown with a minute’s silence at midday and doorstep vigils of light at 8pm. The Cardinal has also asked that we make this not only a Day of Reflection but also a Day of Prayer.

Please click here for a full copy of the statement.

17 March 2021

CAFOD's "Big Walk for Water" Lenten Campaign

CAFOD’s “Big walk for Water” Lenten campaign aims to raise much needed funds to supply clean water and other vital support to communities who have no choice but to spend hours every day walking to collect water from a safe source. These villages routinely face drought and illness; with a local water source it becomes possible to have more confidence in growing crops, raising livestock or in having time to educate their children or even begin a small local business.

Maureen and Stan are attempting to walk with these people in their own small way to show solidarity with the poor and to raise awareness and money so that CAFOD can help some of the most vulnerable.

During Lent 2021 we have committed to walk 5 miles for forty days – 200 miles each in total. It is tiring enough walking 5 miles in the relatively mild environment of St Albans. The worst we have to put up with is the odd shower, occasional frosty morning and sometimes muddy paths. We have the glory of spring bursting out around us. It takes us about 2 hours. Many of the people we are walking with suffer extreme heat, dried desert landscapes, difficult and dangerous terrain and perhaps up to 10 hours travel each and every day – not just for the 40 days of Lent.

These people are reliant upon our continued generosity, but they – like us – want to be able to stand on their own two feet. It is possible to help them by donating to CAFOD. You might consider doing this either by supporting Maureen and Stan’s Lenten walk via their JustGiving page, through the CAFOD website or by texting LENT to 70460 to give £10. Alternatively, you can drop an envelope marked ‘CAFOD Challenge’ into the presbytery, with a cheque made payable to CAFOD.

24th February 2021

Stations of the Cross

This year’s Stations of the Cross will be live-streamed from the Church at 10am on Saturday mornings during Lent via our YouTube channel. People will be able to pray and reflect on a different theme each week as prepared by groups in the parish.

The text of the service each week can be viewed online via a link on the home page of our website. It can also be downloaded in pdf form using the download buttons on the Stations of the Cross webpage.

The Stations for Week 1 will focus on ‘Reflecting on a Pandemic.’

The Stations for Week 2 have been prepared by the Mission Group and will focus on “Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again.”

Stations for forthcoming weeks during Lent will focus on the following themes:

  • Week 3 – ‘Care and Community’
  • Week 4 – ‘Mary’s Way of the Cross’
  • Week 5 – ‘Penitential Service’
  • Week 6 – ‘Justice and Peace’

22 February 2021

Towards a Vision Statement

In this week’s bulletin, Fr Michael shares his initial thoughts on a vison for the future for our parish. Please follow this link for a fuller version of his ‘Towards a Vision Statement.’

Fr Michael would welcome feedback from parishioners on this. If you would like to offer your comments or reflections, please email him directly at with the subject, ‘Vision.’

19 February 2021

Resources for Lent

I would like to highlight the following opportunities to deepen your faith and would encourage you to think about participating in one of them:

    1. Join a Faith Sharing Group which will meet virtually and journey through the weeks of Lent using Holy Week Voices from the Holy Land a resource for individual or group reflection. If you would like to find out more please contact Mike & Sylvia at Hard and digital copies of the resource can be ordered using this link and are priced at £7.99.
    2. Participate in a four session CaFE course called Strength to Strength looking at the practical benefits of daily prayer. The course offers practical help to anyone wishing to pray more in their daily lives. It is hoped to run the course as a parish group via Zoom on Monday evenings at 8pm during Lent beginning on 22 February. Each session lasts approximately 40 mins with mid-point group discussion. If you would like to join please email Melanie at
    3. Journey with us on the Lenten Bible Series, led by Mauro Iannicelli from Come and See evangelisation ministry. Mauro will walk you through the forthcoming Sunday Gospel with in-depth teaching and stimulating questions. You will experience Sunday Mass in a new way! Starting on Wednesday 10 February with a talk on ‘Prayer – with a rule of life’ and followed by six weekly sessions breaking open each Lenten Sunday Gospel. All talks online from 7pm – 8.30pm. To register and for further details, visit

Fr Michael 

 17 February 2021

Cardinal's Lenten Appeal 2021

Cardinal Nichols thanks you for your generous support for the Cardinal’s Lenten Appeal, especially throughout 2020 and the unprecedented events of the year. Your donations help fund initiatives in parishes, schools and charities in four mission areas that are more critically needed than ever, as the Church supports those in need through the pandemic: 

  • Marriage and Family Life: enriching and supporting marriages, the essential building block of society and the Church. This service has given additional counselling and support to couples facing challenges of sharing home and work-life space with each other and their children, and also gave guidance to engaged couples whose marriage plans were thwarted.  
  • Youth and Evangelisation: supporting young people, the future of the Church, as they grow in their relationship with God and deepen their Catholic faith. As we emerge from the pandemic these services will be looking for more ways to engage our young people who have missed opportunities to engage in their faith and in the life of the Church.  
  • Caritas Westminster: putting our faith into action by serving poor, lonely and marginalised people. 
  • Education Service: supporting schools as they play an increasingly vital role in society.  

Over the past year, many of our schools have become true community hubs, witnessing to God’s love for all. This year, the Cardinal is asking us to think about families who are struggling to put food on the table. Sadly, poverty is deepening across our Diocese and as people have lost their jobs and livelihoods, the need for foodbanks and supermarket vouchers has accelerated. The number of foodbanks throughout the Diocese quadrupled in 2021! Through your generosity we’re continuing to provide food for those people most in need, and finding ways to meet their basic needs. Please visit or make your donation online here. Thank you for your generosity. 

17 February 2021

Pastoral Letter for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Please click here for a copy of the recent Pastoral Letter from Cardinal Vincent Nicols, Archbishop of Westminster.

12 February 2021

Congratulations to Brendan Day on his recent admission to Acolyte!

I am now halfway through my third year. With many of those in full or part time education my studies and formation continue amidst the current lockdown. On-line lectures resumed on 16th January and there is an essay to complete and submit before the end of this month. The formation program has had to be juggled a bit with additional on-line sessions replacing the usual residential weekends. Like those in training with me, I miss the gathering and sharing that happens when we are allowed to meet, but like so many we are adapting and trying to look for the positives: fewer car journeys / less pollution and so on.

On 6th December, at a small service held in St Edward the Confessor Church in Golders Green, North London, myself and another candidate for the permanent diaconate were instituted as Acolytes. This is the final minor ministry before ordination. If you want to find out more , please follow this link.  Acolyte is a ministry to which a person is specially appointed by the Church. The main role of the ‘Acolyte’ is to assist the deacon and the priest at the altar in the celebration of the Mass. An acolyte may also distribute Holy Communion during the Mass and to the sick. Acolytes are also entrusted with publicly exposing the Blessed Sacrament for adoration but cannot give the benediction.

Clearly in the current circumstances I’m not able to fulfil these duties, but hopefully as the vaccine is rolled out, lockdown is no more, and we are all able to fully participate in the Mass, you’ll see me more regularly on the sanctuary serving at our celebration of the liturgy and assisting Fr Michael, Fr Julian and Deacon Steve.

I’m also delighted to report that St Mary’s University emailed me on the 15th January to confirm my grade for the foundation degree course I’ve completed; I have been awarded a “pass with merit” and to say I’m pleased is an understatement. Please keep me and those training with me in your prayers, Brendan.

1st February 2021

Brendan Day with fellow Acolyte and Bishop Paul McAleenan at St Edward the Confessor Church – 6th December 2020

You Can Be Santa - 2020

The response from our parishioners for donations of vouchers to the 2020 ‘You can be Santa’ scheme was tremendous and many also gave us cash donations as an alternative to vouchers.

We were able to provide £20 worth of vouchers to 165 children. Many of these are known to us from our parish schools, the SVP, the Life House and through individual parishioners. We also supported children from the St. Albans Refuge, families known to Home Start and the Intensive Family Support team.  All the vouchers were delivered with a lovely Christmas card from the Parish which the children could colour in.  In addition we gave vouchers to the single adults living in the Refuge and 13 adults with learning disabilities.

Our volunteer visitors did a great job, as usual, in ensuring that the vouchers were safely delivered to each family on our list or passed onto those organisations who distributed them on our behalf.  As always, when we needed extra or last minute help with the scheme it was there for us. 2020 was  a very difficult year for everyone and it has been uplifting to see that the generosity and thoughtfulness that always characterises the ‘You can be Santa’ scheme was not in any way diminished by the current crisis.

‘Thank you for your ongoing kindness’ said one mother. ‘God richly bless you for everything you’ve done. I cannot thank you enough….’ from another. The Intensive Family Support team told us, ‘ I just want to say a big thank you for the vouchers your parishioners generously donated. The families really appreciated them and the children were very excited about spending them.’

So a heartfelt thanks to everyone for all their support and to everyone who gave their time, commitment, and donations.

15th January 2021

Pope Francis proclaims, "Year of St Joseph"

With his Apostolic Letter, Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis recalls the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To mark the occasion, the Holy Father has proclaimed a special Year of Saint Joseph, commencing on 8th December 2020 and reaching its climax on 8th December this year.

The Year has a special resonance for the Westminster diocese. On 10 December 1898, at the request of Cardinal Vaughan, Saint Joseph was added as a patron of the diocese.  The diocese today has eight parishes and thirteen schools who claim Saint Joseph as their principal patron, seven parishes and two schools for whom he is co-patron, and the two parishes (and Cathedral of the Ukrainian Catholic Church) and two schools dedicated to the Holy Family. In addition, it includes the St Joseph’s Pastoral Centre in Hendon, St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, and Caritas Bakhita House, under the patronage of St Josephine Bakhita. She is “Joseph” too.

Please click here for a copy of the Holy Father’s Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde.

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil. 





13th January 2021     

Thinking Evening - 'A Revolution in Nuclear Power - Hope in the Climate Crisis'

All are invited to attend this event on Tuesday 2 February, 7.30 for 7.45pm by Zoom. There will be a half hour presentation by Simon Johnson, a former reactor physicist, followed by questions. Please click here for a flyer containing more details. This is one of a series of “Thinking Evenings” hosted by Marlborough Road Methodist Church.

13th January 2021

Statement from Bishop John Sherrington, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster

Please click here for a copy of the statement from Bishop John Sherrington on the current position and role of our churches in this phase of the pandemic.

8th January 2021

Lockdown Information

Contacting the Parish Office

In line with current government advice, our parish administrator is working mainly from home. This means that the phone may not always be manned during parish office hours (9am–1pm, weekday mornings) and you may not get a response to a voicemail immediately. The best way for parishioners to contact the parish office is by emailing

Weekly Bulletin

During this lockdown period, the weekly bulletin will only be available electronically. Parishioners on the newsletter distribution list or parish database will continue to receive an electronic copy of the bulletin each week. It is also available on our website and can be accessed here.

If you would like to receive an electronic copy of the bulletin by email each Friday, please email the parish office and ask to be added to the distribution list. Alternatively you can find a copy on our website.

We would ask that, if you know someone who is unable to access the electronic version of the bulletin, you share relevant parish news with them on a regular basis or print them a copy if you can do so in a COVID-19 secure way.

Mass Intentions

To limit the spread of infection, parishioners will not be able to book mass intentions in person at the presbytery until further notice. If you would like to a book a Mass intention please contact the parish office via email. Alternatively you can post an envelope through the presbytery door with the details of the Mass intention (who it is for and why) as well as your name, a contact phone number or email address and your donation. We will then contact you with a suggested mass date. The diocesan suggested Mass offering is £10.

Keeping in Touch

The parish website will continue to be updated with latest news and information. If you have something you would like to be added to the bulletin or the news section of the website, please contact the parish office.

All of our masses are livestreamed via our YouTube channel which can be accessed via our website or by clicking here.

You can also find support and useful resources on the Liturgy Group section of our website by clicking here.

The parish also has a Facebook group which provides support and updates and currently has over 370 members. You can join this group by clicking here or by searching Facebook for SS Alban and Stephen Catholic Church.

6th January 2021

Message from Fr Michael about public masses during the current lockdown

Following the announcement of a new national lockdown I met with the planning group which has assisted me in reaching decisions about how we are to respond to the current pandemic and ensure, as best we can, the safety of those who live, work, volunteer and worship here at St Alban and St Stephen. The current lockdown does not prohibit public worship, but with the institution of a new lockdown and a growing consciousness of just how easily the new strain of the coronavirus can be transmitted, we are clearly in a very different situation to that of March and November of last year.

As you will know our ability to open for public worship is dependent on having stewards to marshal those who attend and sanitise the church afterwards. I am conscious that in the past week several stewards have had to self-isolate at short notice. I am also conscious that volunteering to steward under the current circumstances is a different ask to stewarding under earlier ones and fully understand the decision made by a number to step back from stewarding under the current circumstances.

Under the current lockdown, as throughout this whole pandemic, the obligation to attend Mass remains suspended. Mindful of this, and of the challenge of effectively stewarding public Masses, it seems clear to me and the advisory group, that the most sensible course of action for us as a parish would be to make full use of the streaming capability so recently installed, to urge anyone who is in any way vulnerable to participate in the Mass in this way, and to limit the number of public Masses. I would also ask those who wish to attend a public Mass in these times to limit their attendance to one Mass a week.

There is no need to book for these Masses, but please note that attendance will be on a first come first served basis. We would encourage people to use the NHS Track and Trace App to record their presence in the church, but if this is not possible please will you write your name and email address or telephone number on a piece of paper and give this in at the door. The reason for this change is to reduce the need for conversation and the amount of time people are at the reception desk.

The details and ongoing pattern for Masses from Thursday 7th January will be as follows:

  • Thursday 7th January –     10am Mass – Public & Streamed

      • Friday 8th January – 10am Mass – Streamed Only
      • Friday 8th January –   7pm Mass – Streamed Only
      • Saturday 9th January – 10am – Exposition Streamed Only
      • Saturday 9th January – 6pm Mass – Streamed Only
      • Sunday 10th January – 9.30am Mass – Streamed Only
      • Sunday 10th January – 11.30am Mass – Streamed Only
      • Sunday 10th January – 7pm Mass – Streamed Only
      • Monday 11th January – 10am Mass – Streamed Only
  • Monday 11th January –         7pm Mass – Public & Streamed

  • Tuesday 12th Tuesday –     10am Mass – Public & Streamed


      • Wednesday 13th January – 10am Mass – Streamed Only
  • Wednesday 13th January – 7pm Mass – Public & Streamed

These are extraordinary times and I find myself reaching previously unthinkable decisions. I realise that for some there will be disappointment, but I hope you will understand that they are determined by the practicalities of the current situation and a thoroughgoing concern for the well-being of all.

6th January 2021