Parish News 2022

Archive listing

Support for the Ukrainian Refugees Project

Over the past six months, English language classes for Ukrainian adults who have come to live in St Albans have been held in our parish centre twice a week. These classes are organised by members of the local Ukrainian community and are run by volunteers. They have been very popular and much appreciated by the people who have taken part in them.

For Christmas, the group baked a beautiful honey cake decorated in the Ukrainian colours to thank Fr Michael, Fr Andrew and the parish team for continuing to support the Ukrainian refugee community. Please continue to pray for them and for their families still in Ukraine.”

Helping others at Christmas - Thank you for your Generosity

A huge thank you to all those who have made gifts to the Foodbank collection on 10 & 11 December at the church or the mass centre. Your generosity filled the church porch and two large car loads of groceries were delivered to our friends at the Salvation Army. These groceries have now been consolidated into Christmas food parcels for over 150 families across St Albans and will help them to experience the love of God in a very practical way this Christmas. This is in addition to the strong support that you have already shown with the “You can be Santa” scheme so doubly appreciated.

13 December 2022

Christmas Services Leaflet and 'Illustrating Christmas' Competition

Please follow this link for details of our Christmas Services for 2022. Christmas Services leaflets are also available in the Church porch.

Pupils from Years 5 & 6 of St Alban & St Stephen Primary School, one of our two parish primary schools, designed many varied and colourful entries for our ‘Illustrating Christmas’ competition.

The three winning designs have been included on the front of this year’s Christmas Services leaflets.

Thank you to all those who entered the competition this year. A selection of entries received can be seen below.

30 November 2022

Christmas Day Takeaway Lunch

If you would like to receive a takeaway Christmas Day lunch  please contact the parish office, giving your name and address and how many meals are needed.

We hope to provide a takeaway lunch on Christmas Day for anyone in the parish who is in need. We already have a volunteer cook, but we need volunteer drivers to deliver the meals and people to help clear away after cooking at approx. 12.30pm to 1.15pm If you can help deliver the meals or clear away after cooking on Christmas Day please contact the parish office.

24 November 2022

Advent Talks

During Advent we ponder again the mystery of the incarnation when our Lord humbled Himself, taking on our humanity, and entered our time and space to scatter the darkness of evil and show us the way of righteousness.

You are warmly invited and encouraged to attend two Advent talks being delivered by Father Andrew on Thursday 8 December at 7pm: The new Adam and Thursday 15 December at 7pm: The new Eve.

Tea and coffee will be served from 7pm in the parish hall.  The talk will start promptly at 7.15pm and with questions should be approximately an hour. This talk is suitable for everyone but those who have just completed the Catholicism programme are especially encouraged to attend, as these topics complement and expand some of the discussions had.

24 November 2022

Live Simply

Thanks to everyone who came to share ideas about Living Simply on Saturday 18 November. We had a very good launch to parish planning. We will contact everyone who asked to be kept informed. If anyone would like to volunteer now for our communications team or be added to the contact list, please contact Mary at heading your email ‘Live Simply’.

24 November 2022

Lourdes 2023

The next Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes will run from Friday 21 – Friday 28 July 2023. If you are interested in making the pilgrimage as part of a parish group from St Alban and St Stephen please contact the parish office, providing your name, a contact email address, and phone number. At this stage we are simply trying to gauge the level of interest and contacting the parish office does not represent a formal commitment.

There are however a number of ways to get involved in the pilgrimage. In particular, the organisers are looking for doctors, nurses and helpers (aged 18+) to work in the St Frai, the pilgrims’ hospital. They are also looking for younger volunteers or Redcaps (aged 15-20) to assist with more able pilgrims. For information on the pilgrimage and volunteering contact Katrina Lavery

24 November 2022

Nicholas Breakspear School - Proposed changes to Admissions Arrangements for 2024/2025

Nicholas Breakspear School are consulting on proposed changes to their admissions arrangements for 2024/2025. Among the proposed changes is the requirement of a Certificate of Catholic Practice. Responses to the revised arrangements, the detail of which can be found at are invited, and should be submitted for the attention of the Student Transition Coordinator either by email at or by post to the school address Nicholas Breakspear Catholic School, Student Transition Coordinator, Colney Heath Lane, St Albans, AL4 0TT by Friday 6th January 2023.

24 November 2022

Caritas Westminster

If you would like to see a brief film about the work of Caritas Westminster, please follow this link:

24 November 2022

Synod of Bishops Extended

IPope Francis has announced that the Synod on Synodality will be extended to 2024. The two sessions of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will take place from 4 to 29 October 2023, and in October 2024, bringing together bishops from across the world to discuss and prepare a document to counsel the Pope. Pope Francis explained that he made the decision “in order to have a more relaxed period of discernment.”

24 November 2022

The Open Door Charity's Winter Beds Project (WBP)

For the past 5 years Open Door has provided safe, warm beds for people who would otherwise be rough sleeping in St Albans over winter. The Open Door night shelter on Bricket Road accommodates 12 people experiencing homelessness all year round, but over the bitter winter months extra bed spaces are needed to ensure no one has to sleep on the streets in St Albans. The WBP works to prevent people dying on the streets when the temperatures plummet by providing them with self-contained accommodation and access to support services that address their housing and support needs.

Last year the project provided accommodation every night from December through to April and accommodated 17 people who would otherwise have slept rough.

The WBP is run entirely by a team of volunteers overseen by the Project Coordinator. Last year 77 volunteers helped run the service, by welcoming guests in the evening, checking them out in the morning or organising supplies and laundry. Guests have praised the “friendliness of all the volunteers and the kindness encountered”.

This year the WBP will run from December to March and all volunteers are given full training and ongoing support. We are looking for more volunteers, if you would like to be involved or find out more about the project please contact Lucy Gaygusuz (Project Coordinator) at or Colin Hull at to hear his experience of volunteering with the WBP (and see poster at the back of the Church).

For more information about Open Door visit

9 November 2022

Caritas Advent Giving Calendar

The Caritas Food Collective Advent Giving Calendar reminds us that Advent is a time of preparation, spiritually and materially for Christmas. We are encouraged to think of those for whom Christmas is going to be tough this year – and to support the food projects who are providing support. The Advent Giving Calendar suggests an item to donate to your local food bank or other outreach project each day in December. Download the calendar here.

10 November 2022

Live Simply so that others may simply live: Should we as a parish commit to Living Simply?

What would Living Simply look like for us as individuals and as a parish? We need your ideas. Come and explore this with speaker Ellen Teague in the parish hall 11 am Saturday 19 November.

You are invited (but not required) to bring a plate to share while we stay and discuss the possibilities.

14 October 2022

Children’s Rosary Campaign

Mindful of Our Lady of Fatima’s words that the childlike and trusting prayer of the Rosary can truly change the world and bring peace, Aid to the Church in Need are encouraging families to pray the rosary on 18 October.

The children’s Rosary campaign was initiated in 2005 in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. While a number of children were praying the rosary at a wayside shrine, several of those present were minded of St Padre Pio’s saying that ‘when one million children pray the rosary, the world will change’. The campaign quickly spread across the world.

You can register on ACN’s interactive map and unite in prayer with children around the world.

14 October 2022

Carols By Candlelight

Singers, musicians and readers are invited to join us for this popular service. Practices will take place on the following dates:

  • 26 November 2-4pm (singers)
  • 3 & 10 December 2-3.30pm (singers), 4-5.30pm (musicians)
  • 17 December 2-5.30pm (singers and musicians)
  • Dress rehearsal including readers 22 December 7.30pm

Please register at or by texting or calling 07934 092327

14 October 2022

You Can Be Santa Voucher Scheme

As always, the aim of YCBS is to help children/families who may not otherwise enjoy the full spirit of Christmas.  We are now appealing for voucher donations (in £5, £10 & £20 denominations please, this will really help when we allocate the vouchers) from the following outlets: Sainsbury’s, Argos, Amazon & One4All.

If you would like to contribute to the YCBS scheme this year, please post your voucher/s through the Presbytery door in a clearly marked envelope (YCBS Voucher).  If you are unable to obtain a voucher but would still like to contribute, any monetary donation would be gratefully received, and vouchers will be purchased by the YCBS team on your behalf.  Vouchers can also be purchased online and sent to the YCBS email address below.

If you are aware of families within the Parish who may appreciate being a part of the scheme, please ask them to contact us at with their full contact details.  All contact details will be kept in confidence and in accordance with data protection requirements.

14 October 2022

Queen Elizabeth II Requiescat in Pace

Buckingham Palace has announced that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has died.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, paid tribute to The Queen:

“On 21 April 1947, on her twenty-first birthday, Princess Elizabeth said, ‘I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service.’

“Now, seventy-five years later, we are heartbroken in our loss at her death, and so full of admiration for the unfailing way in which she fulfilled that declaration.

“Even in my sorrow, shared with so many around the world, I am filled with an immense sense of gratitude for the gift to the world that has been the life of Queen Elizabeth II.

“At this time, we pray for the repose of the soul of Her Majesty. We do so with confidence, because the Christian faith marked every day of her life and activity.

“In her Millennium Christmas message, she said, ‘To many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ’s words and example.’

“This faith, so often and so eloquently proclaimed in her public messages, has been an inspiration to me, and I am sure to many. The wisdom, stability and service which she consistently embodied, often in circumstances of extreme difficulty, are a shining legacy and testament to her faith.

“Our prayer is that she is now received into the merciful presence of God, there to be reunited with her beloved Prince Philip. This is the promise of our faith, and our deep consolation.

“Queen Elizabeth II will remain, always, a shining light in our history. May she now rest in peace. We pray for His Majesty the King, as he assumes his new office even as he mourns his mother. God save the King.”

Prayer for the Queen

Almighty God, You are the author and sustainer of all human life; grant that your servant, Elizabeth our Queen, whom you granted a long and happy reign as Monarch of these lands may be forgiven her sins and rewarded with that eternal life promised to all those born again in the water of baptism and power of your Spirit. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit God, forever and ever, Amen.

Prayer for the King

O God, to whom every human power is subject, Grant to your servant His Majesty the King wisdom in the exercise of his high office, so that, always revering to you and striving to please you, he may constantly secure and preserve for the people entrusted to his care the freedom that comes from unity and peace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit God, forever and ever, Amen

8 September 2022

Primary, Secondary and Nursery School Certificates of Catholic Practice

For those parents and guardians who need to obtain a certificate of Catholic Practice to accompany their child’s application for a school or nursery place,  Fr Michael will be available at the presbytery at the following times to sign school forms.

  • Monday 10 October and Tuesday 25 October 7.30pm – 9.00pm
  • Monday 21 November and Tuesday 13 December 30pm – 6.00pm
  • Wednesday 11 January and Friday 3 February 7.30pm – 9pm

Please be conscious that upwards of 100 families could be looking for school forms and you endeavouring to make one of the following times would be much appreciated. No appointment is necessary and children need not attend.

14 September 2022

CTSA Autumn Prayer Walk Sunday 18 September

Come and join other local Christians for all or any part of this relaxed walk around St Albans.

Starting at 2pm at our own church, we will walk around St Albans, pausing at a number of churches for a short reading, hymn or prayer, for the people of St Albans.  St Michael’s church is once again kindly hosting us for a short break with tea and cakes before we complete our pilgrimage with prayers at the shrines of St Alban and St Amphibalus at the Cathedral.

See the poster on the church porch noticeboard for the route and timings.

14 September 2022

Herts Circle of The Newman Association - Talk 15 October

We will be hosting a talk about Walsingham: its history and mission today, to be given by the author Edmund Matyjeszek in the parish hall on Saturday 15 October at 11am.

The talk is free; donations welcomed.

14 September 2022

CAFOD bread, soup and film Harvest event 8 October, 12 to 3pm

All are invited to our free lunch and film afternoon. Lunch is at noon and The Railway Children [U, 1970] will be shown at 1pm.

Donations to CAFOD’s fast day will be taken at the event. Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation group.


14 September 2022

Men's Breakfast Saturday 1 October

We are starting the Men’s Breakfasts this autumn by looking at some of the most influential Catholic saints, starting with St Francis who gave up a wealthy family background to follow a life of poverty with the calling to “rebuild my church”.

We will meet in the Parish Centre from 8.15 for coffee, croissants and conversation, followed by a video on St Francis and discussion on the themes emerging.

If you would like more details please email


14 September 2022

Mass in Cantonese

Mass in Cantonese will be held once a month at Our Lady of Lourdes in Sawston, Cambridge, CB22 3HJ. The next mass will be celebrated on Saturday 15 October at 2pm, with refreshments afterwards. All are warmly invited. Please email  for details or see the flyer at the back of the church.

14 September 2022

St Columba’s College Open Morning - Saturday 24 September 2022

St Columba’s College and Preparatory School is an independent Catholic day school for pupils aged 4 – 18 in St Albans, Hertfordshire. In 2021 girls joined the Lower Prep School (Reception, Year 1, and Year 2) and the Lower Sixth Form, and from this September, girls will join Form 1/Year 7. This will be followed by a phased transition, which will eventually see St Columba’s offering its unique, high-quality Catholic education to both boys and girls from ages 4-18.

Prospective families are warmly invited to St Columba’s Whole School Open Morning on Saturday 24 September from 9:00am – 12:30pm. During this event, there will be an opportunity to take tours of the school and hear from the Headmaster Mr David Shannon-Little, as well as other members of staff, and students.

Families can register for this event by contacting  or going to the ‘Visit Us’ page on our website, clicking on the ‘Whole School Open Morning’ event and completing the online registration form.

14 September 2022


The Open Evening for prospective pupils applying to Loreto College for September 2022 will take place on TUESDAY 27th SEPTEMBER 2022 from 6.00pm to 9.00pm.

Please use the entrance in Upper Lattimore Road.

Guided tours will be organised from 6pm to 7.45pm.

Mrs Máire Lynch, Headteacher, will address parents at 6.15pm, 7.15pm, and 8.15pm.

The school achieved Grade 1 (Outstanding) in it’s most recent Ofsted Inspection.

Tours during the school day will take place between 3rd – 14th October (by appointment only).

Appointments can be made from 28th September onwards by calling 01727 856206.

Please note that there are no parking facilities available at the school, and that parking locally is restricted. Public car parks are located nearby at the Civic Centre (Upper Marlborough Road) and at The Maltings (Victoria Street)

14 September 2022

LIVING WITH LOSS – a retreat at Worth Abbey for those who have been bereaved:  14-17 November

Aimed at people who have suffered a bereavement, both recent and not so recent, the retreat is designed to give retreatants space to understand and process their loss within a safe Christian framework. The idea is to explore grief and to find helpful ways to manage and process it.

The mornings will contain a framework for this, and the afternoon will provide individual space for reflection. Individual counselling will not be offered as such, but there will be an opportunity to talk to someone. The retreat will be led by Fr Peter Williams OSB and Simon Holland-Brown a professional bereavement counsellor.

Cost includes all meals:  £330 per person, single occupancy or £315 per person, sharing. To book go to

Once booked, it may be possible to coordinate lifts. If you would be happy to offer a lift or you would appreciate one, please contact the parish office.

14 September 2022

Herts Community Kitchen - Older People's Cooking Club

From 21st September, an Older People’s Cooking Club will be running in the hall at St Alban & St Stephen, open to any residents in St Albans over the age of 65 who live alone. We will prepare a two course meal to eat together and there will be enough for everyone to take a portion home. It is entirely free – if you would like to register, please contact Charlotte on 07890 038722 or

14 September 2022

Visit of the Relics of St Bernadette to Westminster CathedralSaturday 3 September to Monday 5 September

The life and legacy of St Bernadette has touched the lives of people across the world.  In September and October this year, the relics of St Bernadette will journey on pilgrimage to England, Scotland, and Wales for the very first time.  This very special once in a lifetime event will provide an opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to experience the special gifts and charisms of Lourdes, in a church or cathedral near you.

Westminster Cathedral is blessed to welcome the relics from 3-5 September.  All are welcome to join us for this special event to enrich and renew ourselves spiritually.


Saturday 3 September 1pm – Monday 5 September 6am  (No need for advance booking, just please join the queue on the Piazza for entry via the West Doors. Be advised that at peak times, especially before or after liturgies, we expect long queues. Wheelchair access will be available at all times without the need for queuing.)

We hope and pray that through the intercession of St Bernadette many graces will be given to all who come and venerate her relics, including healing, conversion and the wonderful discovery of vocation.  Come and experience the miracle of Lourdes with us!

To plan your visit, please follow this link for the most up-to-date information on the Westminster Cathedral website.  

You can also find out more about the tour of the Relics at

There are a limited number of tickets available, bookable through the parish office, for the service of the Anointing of the Sick on Saturday 3rd September at 2.30pm. This is the only service at the Cathedral that is a ticketed event. Places are restricted in number and are either for those who are wheelchair users or for those who are either ambulant and require anointing or those who may be accompanying the sick who require assistance on the day, and who do not require anointing themselves. if you would like a ticket for this service, please contact the parish office on or by phoning 01727 853585 between 9am and 1pm and we will try and book a ticket for you, subject to remaining availability.

10th August 2022

Holiday at Home - August 18th/19th and 22nd/23rd

Older members of our parish are invited to join in the August  Holiday at Home at Hatfield Road Methodist Church. Time to enjoy crafts, board games, puzzles, music or simply chat and relax. Sessions are on 18 and 19 August from 1.30 until 5pm and on 23 and 24 August from 10am until 2.30pm. A donation of £5 per session is requested to cover costs. If you would like to attend or volunteer to help, please contact Maggie Dodd on 07462 586773 or

Please follow this link for more information or for a downloadable booking form.

13 July 2022

Catenian Association (Luton Circle)

The Catenians are an association of like-minded Catholic men who meet socially for fellowship and encourage families to gather together for friendship and enjoyment.

Catenian membership offers deep and lasting friendship and support to Catholics at all stages of their adult lives. We share the Gospel values as transmitted and developed through Catholic Social Teaching, and through our association, belong to a universal network of like-minded people.

Our meetings provide a time for relaxed social enjoyment among loyal and faithful friends where we find support and encouragement and can openly discuss and develop our understanding of our faith, assist one another whenever needed, care for the sick and the bereaved, strengthen our family life and work for the mission of the Catholic Church, both individually and collectively, in a multitude of ways.

There are circles (groups) across the UK, Ireland, Australia, Malta, India, Goa and Zimbabwe, and Catenians are encouraged to meet with fellow Catenians elsewhere in the Diocese across the country and internationally.

Our Chaplin is the Right Rev John Arnold, Bishop of Salford.

Click here to find out more about the work of this group

Meetings: Meeting and dinner once a month, currently held at Harpenden Golf Club, Redbourn Lane, Harpenden.

Who can get involved? The Catenians Association is open to Catholic men, generally drawn from a professional or business background. Their families come together at social events. Membership is by invitation and potential members are encouraged to attend meetings and social events before making a commitment.

Contact: Mike Sinnott 07967727063
Dennis Cooper / 07973313605

4 July 2022

Letter to parents, guardians and carers of year 2 children

Please follow this link to read a copy of the letter from Fr Michael about next year’s First Holy Communion Programme to the parents, guardians and carers of those children currently in year 2

1 July 2022

Social to thank our Volunteers!

An enjoyable evening in the parish hall on 18th June celebrated and thanked our volunteers for all the time they give and the talents they share with our parish. Volunteers enrich our  parish and their support has been essential over the last two years. It was lovely to gather and catch up again.

23rd  June 2022

CATHOLICISM Series Study Programme. (Part 1) - Course beginning September 2022

So much of parish life is given over to our sacramental programmes and to the preparation of young people for First Communion and Confirmation, and for many people, public exams apart, the preparation for First Communion and Confirmation can be the last time they undertook any systematic or significant reflection on what we believe. In other words, while we readily acknowledge the need to refresh and enrich our understanding when it comes to our professional lives, often times when it comes to the understanding and exploration of our faith we behave as if what we learnt as children will do for the whole of our lives – that what we learnt as children will address all the questions we face as adults. But this cannot be – surely. So, I am pleased and excited to announce that in September our Parish will host Part 1 of the acclaimed CATHOLICISM Series Study Programme.

Bishop Robert Barron is an author, theologian and podcaster. From Chicago, Bishop Barron founded Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and has recently been appointed Bishop of Winona-Rochester, Southern Minnesota. He created this ground-breaking programme, which is based on his 10-episode film CATHOLICISM, as a thematic presentation of what Catholics believe and why. Its aim is to help adults come to a deeper understanding of their Catholic Faith.

More than a video lecture, course in Church history or scripture study, this engaging and interesting faith formation programme was filmed in 50 locations across 15 countries. It uses art, architecture, literature, music and all the treasures of the Catholic tradition to illuminate the timeless teachings of the Church, and reinforces the content with extensive commentary and questions for understanding and application.

I hope anyone seeking to understand or deepen their faith as adults, or anyone who wants answer questions about our faith with greater confidence, will take up this invitation to journey around the world in the company of fellow parishioners desiring to go deeper into our Catholic faith.


8 weekly sessions in the Parish Centre, each 90 minutes (plus 30 min preparation time at home in advance of the weekly sessions).


Starting Wednesday 21 September 2022 at 10.45am or Thursday 22 September 2022 at 7.45pm (breaking for the half-term holiday). Light refreshments provided; biscuits and cakes on Wednesdays, soup and a roll on Thursdays.


£10 – This includes a study guide and is payable on registration.


Please register by Monday 18 July 2022 by either emailing the parish office at or phoning on 01727 853585 during office hours (9am – 1pm Monday to Friday). Details of how to pay will be given on registration.

Fr Michael

17th June 2022

CTSA Autumn Prayer Walk, 2022: date for your diary

Churches Together in St Albans Autumn Prayer Walk – Sunday, 18 September 2 – 6pm.

Come and join other local Christians for all or any part of this relaxed walk around St Albans. As usual, we will pause at number of churches for a short prayer for the people of St Albans.

Details to follow.

17th June 2022

CTSA Information Exchange Forum 27 June

Churches Together in  St Albans are running an Information Exchange  concerning refugees and asylum seekers.  This forum comes at a time when a number of people are hosting refugees or asylum seekers and there are hundreds of asylum seekers in The Noke and other hotels in the area.  Our hope is to help by providing a forum where hosts, refugees, asylum seekers and others who would like to help in some way can share information, experiences and expertise.

Rather than having a main speaker, we hope to have a more open forum and hear briefly from many people.   We hope that people will network and that together we can find the best ways to help at this time.  All who are interested in helping in any way are welcome – Hosts, Refugees, Asylum Seekers and others, sharing experience and expertise.

The forum will take place on Monday June 27 June at 8pm, at Marshalswick Baptist Free Church, Sherwood Avenue AL4 9QL ALL WELCOME. Churches Together in St Albans. If you are hosting or involved in some other way, please email Peter Berners-Lee  – he’d love to hear from you.

17th June 2022

Parish Men's Group - Summer events

Before the summer holidays start we have a couple of events planned for the Men’s Group in the parish.

Firstly on Thursday 30 June we are planning pub night at the Great Northern on London Road. We will be there from 7pm to 10pm so why not pop in at some point in the evening. They also do food so you can eat there as well if you wish.

Secondly on Saturday 2 July we have a Men’s Breakfast with a difference. We are going to start at 8.30am with the Morning Office of the Church – which should take about 20 minutes and then follow that with a discussion over coffee and pastries, which will start on the theme of Prayer may may well diverge on to other topics. We will finish by about 9.45am

17th June 2022

Toddlers' Playgroup restarting on 20th June

The Toddler playgroup to restart on Monday, 20 June, 10:30am After over two years away due to Covid, we are pleased to announce the return of our playgroup.

For pre-school age children and their carers. Join us in the upstairs hall, for toys, books, games and singing plus drinks and snacks.

If able to help, please email David Markham or call 07543 400650.

17th June 2022

Faith in Action - Your Parish Needs You!

Have you ever wondered who arranges the flowers, cleans the silver or washes the altar cloths? Have you ever enjoyed a celebration and come away feeling uplifted by the music, been grateful that a member of the family has been able to join in via YouTube, or appreciated the tea or coffee afterwards? Has your son, daughter or grandchild been prepared for First Holy Communion and Confirmation by volunteer catechists or have you ever thought it would be good to have altar servers back? Both here in the main church, and at the Mass Centre at St John Fisher, these things and much else besides rely on volunteers giving of their time and talent. We are blessed with the volunteers that we do have, but as we move out of lockdown, there is a need for others to come forward and volunteer.   

As a volunteer you can make a significant contribution to the life and mission of the parish, but volunteering in and of itself can bring with it its own rewards, not least new friendships and a sense of connectedness and belonging to the parish. ‘It is in giving’ as St Francis reminds us, ‘that we receive’. As well as making a difference to the lives of others, volunteering is an opportunity to become part of something greater than oneself. Because it is so rewarding, volunteers tend to continue working in the parish for years – even decades!

At our Masses we need readers, musicians, welcomers and collectors. We also need help with preparing the altar for Mass, with the children’s liturgy and altar serving. Indeed, in the near future, as we make this return from lockdown, we hope to re-establish teams of altar servers and to offer a series of training sessions. We also need help with teas and coffees after Mass and are short of volunteer catechists on our First Holy Communion programme.

During the pandemic parishioners helped to bring us Mass on-line and then when the church opened again volunteered as stewards and welcomers, helping to keep us safe at Mass.

Next weekend, following the Saturday evening mass (18th June), there will be a parish social, the aim of which is to thank our volunteers. If you are a parishioner or a visitor to our parish, consider yourself invited. Come along, to say thank you. If you are a volunteer, or have volunteered in the past, consider yourself invited. Come along to this celebration of you and the generosity that makes parish possible.

Moreover, as we give thanks for our volunteers please consider how you could help. Perhaps you could offer something completely new. Remember your parish needs you too!

Fr Michael

12th June 2022

Mass of Thanksgiving for Matrimony - Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Cathedral welcomed over 430 couples for the annual Mass in thanksgiving for the Sacrament of Matrimony on Saturday 14th May, celebrated by Cardinal Vincent Nichols. The couples came from 144 parishes, representing all 22 deaneries. Together they celebrate over 5,000 years of marriage.

During the Mass the couples renewed their marriage vows and were blessed by the Cardinal. Thirty-five couples were celebrating at least 60 years of marriage, with a further 74 celebrating 50 years together.

Please see the following link for more details of the event on the Diocese of Westminster website and follow this link for some photos from the Diocesan Flickr page.

18th May 2022

Faith and Family Group 7 June

A new “Faith & Family group’ will be meeting in the parish hall on the first Tuesday of each month starting on Tuesday June 7 at 10.45am.  The topic for discussion will be ‘Passing on the Faith from an Early Age.’  Activities for under 5s. All welcome.

18th May 2022

Loreto College (St Albans) Centenary Garden Party Sunday 10 July 12-6pm

Admission £5.00 per person (FREE entry for children aged 5 and under) There will be live music by the popular local band Soulfish, BBQ, afternoon tea, bar, traditional games/stalls and much more including our Centenary Raffle. A link to the ticket page and more information can be found here.

18th May 2022

Parish Knit and Natter Group News

The Parish Knit and Natter Group meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month from 2.30 – 4.00pm in the Parish Centre. Their next meeting is on Tuesday 10th May. Everyone is welcome to come along for coffee or tea and a chat.

Please see the photos below, showing some of the sixty vests made so far for babies in Africa.

5th May 2022

For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission - Bishops' Report - April 2022

The Bishops’ Synodal Pathway Report, capturing the many voices heard across the Diocese during the Synodal Pathway, has now been sent to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and published on the Diocesan website.

This report is based on the responses to the diocesan synodal pathway, including our parishioners young and old, our priests and deacons and religious, our school and university students, and our committed faithful.

It has been submitted to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to contribute to a national report finalised in June and sent to the Synod Office in the Vatican in July. The reports from this global exercise will then form the basis of preparatory documents for the Synod of Bishops in October 2023.

Please follow this link for a pdf version of the report. Copies of the report are also available at the back of the church for those who are unable to access the electronic version.

22nd April 2022

St Albans Sustainability Festival - Breadmaking Workshop - 21 May

Our parish has supported this event for a number of years. This year we are running a bread-making workshop in the Hall on Saturday 21 May, from 10.00am to 1pm. If you would like to attend, please book a ticket via Eventbrite here and bring a mixing bowl, small metal bread tin and apron on the day; ingredients supplied.

There are 16 places – the size of the oven in the hall, so booking is essential. More details from Stan on 765549,

The event is free and is part of the parish Justice and Peace group’s outreach to our local community.

Please walk to the event or park in Loreto car park (Beaconsfield Road entrance, about 100m north of the Church). There is NO PARKING at the church during that day as it’s needed for a wedding.

22nd April 2022

Friends of the Holy Land (FHL) Pentecost Challenge 2022Nazareth to Bethlehem Virtual Pilgrimage

FHL’s mission is to secure a resilient and enduring Christian community in the West Bank, Gaza, Israel and Jordan – the part of the world we know as the Holy Land. This year, FHL’s Pentecost Challenge is to raise funds by walking, running, cycling or swimming the 100 mile virtual route from Nazareth to Bethlehem, reversing last year’s route, between Easter and Pentecost Sunday, 5th June. Last year, a group of parishioners joined the challenge and raised over £2600 for FHL, covering the cost of a year’s schooling for 2 disadvantaged children at Bethlehem’s School of Joy.

The challenge need not be too arduous: it can be achieved by walking say 2.5 miles a day over 40 days, or, if you’re a keen cyclist, you may prefer to cycle 20 miles a day over 5 days!  If you would like to join the 2022 challenge and contribute to our parish fundraising for FHL, please email the parish office (

22nd April 2022

A Day with John Bell, Iona Community - 7th May

Our friends across Beaconsfield Road at Trinity URC Church are part of a group which is organising a day with John Bell, of the Iona Community, at Wigmore Hall, Luton on Saturday 7th May from 10am until 4pm. John is a lecturer, author and hymn writer, but best known to many as a regular contributor to Radio 4’s “Thought for the Day”.

The day is split into two parts with a seminar on “The imagination as a source for Faith” in the morning and workshop on “Singing the Gospel in 12st century” in the afternoon.

Tickets can be purchased separately for the morning or afternoon at a cost of £10, or £15 for both sessions. They are selling quickly but there are still some available. Please contact Gill Elliott for more details by emailing

22nd April 2022

Traidcraft Goods for Sale - 1st and 8th May

Traidcraft goods will be available after all Masses at church over the weekend of 30th April/1st May and at John Fisher Mass Centre on 8th May. Fair trade ethics allow people to support themselves and their families without fear of being ripped off. It helps generate a more sustainable income and allows poorer people to access many of the things we take for granted in the UK. If you have time, please come and look at the stall and support it if you feel able. More details, or to place an order, contact Maureen on 765549 or The Traidcraft stall is part of the Justice & Peace outreach undertaken by the Parish.

22nd April 2022

Act of Consecration of Russia and Ukraine - 25 March 2022

This Friday, 25 March 2022, Pope Francis will lead an Act of Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is to take place at 4pm, London time. It is his intention to invite each Bishop to join in this act of Consecration, together with his priests.

In our Diocese, the Act of Consecration will be made at 4pm in the Ukrainian Cathedral. Then, at 5.30pm, the Cardinal will celebrate Mass in Westminster Cathedral, at the end of which he will recite the Act of Consecration.

The Cardinal warmly invites us all to unite with the Holy Father’s prayer by praying the Act of Consecration in our own parish. Please follow this link for the full text of the Act of Consecration.

The attached note from the Bishops’ Conference gives some detail on this prayer, as well as moments of prayer for Ukraine on Good Friday, and within the Triduum.

23rd March 2022

St Patrick's Day Tea Party - 13 March

Parish Friends would like to thank all those who made the recent St Patrick’s Tea Party such a success. Over 70 people attended and enjoyed the wonderful entertainment provided by Peter Fahy. Unfortunately Damian was unable to perform due to covid and we wish him a speedy recovery. Thanks to the many parishioners who made delicious cakes, those who offered transport and the magnificent band of helpers preparing the hall, serving food and washing up. A wonderful long awaited afternoon enjoyed by all who attended!

22nd March 2022

CAFOD bread and soup lunch for the Lenten family fast day - 12 March

Many thanks to all who joined us for this event. A total of £400 was raised, which will go towards helping prevent malnutrition amongst the poorest families in the developing world. Further donations can be given here. This event was arranged by the parish Justice & Peace Group.

22nd March 2022

Easter Garden

We will be commemorating our deceased loved ones in a special way in our Easter Garden again this year. We will write their names on bamboo flower shapes and plant them around the rose garden in front of the presbytery. These will be 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 deceased family or friends in this way, please send their names into the office clearly marked ‘Easter Garden’ either by emailing the parish office at  or by posting the details through the presbytery door.

16th March 2022

Help for Refugees

Please check the CTSA web page, for details on how you can help refugees.  This page marshals information from the key agencies.  In particular check out about Noke Bikes: there are 120 refugees living at the Noke Hotel, Chiswell Green. They can’t afford bus fares, but would love to ride bikes. We are sourcing 10 second hand bikes, hi-vis jackets, helmets and locks with keys. Can you support us by maintaining the bikes or teaching safe cycling? Or do you have spare bikes or equipment that we could use? Please contact Teresa Clarke, 01727 855026 or

16th March 2022

Catenian Catholic Schools 6th Form Public Speaking Challenge – Success

Catholic Schools from our Catenian provincial area entered students to compete in this year’s provincial final, recently held at the University of Hertfordshire. In a highly contested competition, the judges, chaired by Bishop Paul McAleenan, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, awarded first place to Cynthia Nassali from St Mary’s Catholic School, Bishop Stortford who spoke on ‘Black, British and African American figures who made a difference to the world’. Raphael Monteiro, ‘Confronting our past to shape our future’ from Nicholas Breakspear School, St Albans took second place and third prize was awarded to Sofia Giraldo Henao, ‘What the world says about women’ from St Thomas More, School Wood Green, London. Cynthia will now go on to represent the province at the national final to be held in Manchester in September. This year’s event attracted eleven Catholic Schools, as it continues to grow into the premier 6th Form public speaking event in the region. For more information about this event or how to become a Catenian please email

14th March 2022

St Colmcille’s Gaelic Football Club in St Albans - Gaelic4Girls

The club is participating in a programme called Gaelic4Girls, which aims to get more girls playing sports in general but specifically Gaelic Football.  The programme consists of 8 weekly sessions starting 16th March and each Wednesday after that (other than a 2 week break for Easter holidays ) at the Irish Centre in Cotslandswick AL2 1DW from 5.30-6.30. There is a one off registration cost of £12 which is used to pay for the jersey each girl will receive upon completing the course. While it would be ideal for the girls to attend every session this is not a requirement, but to get the most out of the programme they should attend the majority of them.

Please see this link for more information and contact details.

16th March 2022

Holy Week and Easter Card

Please follow this link to see a copy of the Parish Holy Week and Easter Card.

14th March 2022

Retiring Collection to support the Ukraine Emergency Appeal - weekend of 5/6 March 2022

The invasion of Ukraine continues and the suffering of the Ukrainian people is immense and heart breaking. At the end of our masses this weekend we will distribute a leaflet indicating how you can help and donate. We will also take up a retiring collection. If you are not able to donate this weekend but wish to, please put your donation in an envelope marked ‘Ukraine’ and put it through the presbytery door.

Please follow this link for a copy of the leaflet that will be distributed at all masses this weekend.

4th March 2022

St Columba's College - Collection for Ukraine - Wednesday 9 March 2022

Please see the message below from St Columba’s College:

One of our St Columba’s College families has arranged for a lorry to come to school to collect donations. The lorry will then travel to Romania where the goods will be transferred to minibuses which will then move onto Ukraine with humanitarian support.  The lorry is a large 22ton HGV and will be parked in the Westminster Lodge car park by the St Columba’s College school gates AL1 2DL.

If you would like to donate, we are asking for hygiene products: shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash and deodorant, ladies personal hygiene. Foldable beds, mattresses, sleeping bags, blankets, bath robes, towels. Many refugees are sleeping on floors in churches and schools, so these items are particularly in need as the weather is turning bitterly cold.  Also, baby food (not in glass jars) nappies and baby wipes are urgently needed.

To donate any of these items please bring them to Westminster Lodge car park (the last car park nearest the park) on Wednesday 9th March between 8am and 2pm.

If you have any questions about this, please contact Ellie McConachie, PA to the Head of Prep, St Columba’s College, King Harry Lane, St Albans Al3 4AW on 01727 862616 or




4th March 2022

Pastoral Letter for the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time - 26/27 February 2022

Please follow this link to read the recent pastoral letter from Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster.

25th February 2022

Stations of the Cross for Lent

During Lent we will travel the Stations or Way of the Cross in church every Saturday morning at 9.30am. This will be followed by the 10am mass as normal.  Each week will have a particular emphasis, with the Way of the Cross being travelled on Saturday 5 March having as its emphasis ‘times of difficulty’.  If you cannot make it to church, you can always join in this prayerful journey through our Lord’s passion and death via stream by visiting the home page of our website or YouTube channel at If you would like to follow the text of the service, this can be found on the parish website. Visit our home page at and click on the Lent banner/tab.

25th February 2022

Annual Mass of Thanksgiving for the Sacrament of Matrimony

Westminster Cathedral, Saturday 14th May 2022 at 3pm

The Cardinal is  inviting to this mass all couples in the Diocese who are celebrating their 5th, 10th, 25th, 30th, 40th, 50th and 60th (and every year over 60) Wedding Anniversary of Catholic Marriage in 2022. If you are celebrating an anniversary, please give the parish office the following details: husband and wife’s names, wedding date, full postal address, and email (or telephone number, if no email).

11th February 2022

You Can Be Santa 2021

The YCBS team recently met to review the 2021 scheme.  It was another hugely successful initiative; over 200 children enjoyed the gift of a Christmas voucher this year.  The children are all known to us through our Parish schools, the SVP, the Life House and individual parishioners.  We also supported children from the St Albans Refuge, Home Start and the Intensive Family Support Team.   In addition 17 adults with either special needs or living in a refuge, along with residents of the Catholic Workers’ Farm also received a Christmas voucher.

Thank you everyone for your tremendous generosity and support in making the YCBS scheme such a success.  Your donations really make a difference, as the feedback we have received shows:

‘Just received gift vouchers, thank you so much, after an awful year and being furloughed and trying to pay bills.’

 ‘Having support such as yours does truly make such a difference.’

 ‘Thank you for making the children’s Christmas a memorable one.’

 ‘It’s so kind of you to do this for me and the children every year.’

Last year we were yet again able to extend the YCBS scheme to Easter when we kept in touch with our families and delivered a small voucher for an Easter Egg to all the children involved in the scheme.  We are delighted that we have enough funds left over from Christmas to be able to do this again.

As a result of the unfailing generosity of our parishioners, the YCBS scheme has been running for nearly 10 years now, helping to support our local community at Christmas.  Many families have been with us since the scheme began and new families are invited to be a part of the scheme every year.

Thank you once again for everything you do to make the scheme such a success.  We will look forward to launching the 2022 YCBS scheme later in the year.

The Santa Team

9th February 2022

Synod Listening Phase Parish Feedback

Thank you to everyone who participated in any way to the parish synod process – either through prayer, individual replies, participating in, or organising, a group or parish meeting. The response was indeed heartening. A feedback document for the parish has now been compiled, hard copies are included with this weekend’s Newsletter, are available at the back of church and have been e-mailed to all parishioners on the database. The Diocese is ensuring that all parish replies remain anonymous, therefore, to maintain confidentiality, this document will not be placed on the website. However, if you are unable to source a copy, please do contact the parish office.

7th February 2022

World Day of the Sick - Friday 11th February 2022

Bishop Paul writes…

On Friday 11th February 2022 we will celebrate the World Day of the Sick. The Holy Father’s message for the day is attached.

Choosing as a theme, “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” Pope Francis writes, ‘ Mercy is God’s name par excellence;  mercy, understood not as an occasional sentimental feeling but as an ever-present and active force’. Pope Francis’s message contains rich and profound thoughts which will benefit everyone. It is Cardinal Vincent’s hope that we will all read it in preparation for the World Day of the Sick and share it as widely as possible.

In paragraph 2 of the letter we are reminded how bodily affliction also effects our spirit, ‘hearts become heavy, fear spreads, uncertainties multiply …..’ and then In paragraph 3 Pope Francis addresses healthcare workers directly, ‘your service alongside the sick, carried out with love and competence, transcends the bounds of your profession and becomes a mission’.

As we know there are many in our congregations who work in healthcare and in healthcare institutions. They will be greatly encouraged by the words of the Holy Father following their experiences of Covid-19 and as they live out their everyday occupation.

The Mass for the Sick will be celebrated in the Cathedral on Saturday 12th February at 2pm, though Anointing of the Sick will not be administered this year.

Bishop Paul McAleenan | Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster




4th February 2022

Racial Justice Sunday 2022: In the Image and Likeness of God

This year Racial Justice Sunday is on 13th  February.

This year’s theme In the Image and Likeness of God celebrates presentations of the Holy Family from different cultures. This was inspired by conversations around last year’s Racial Justice Sunday about the importance of everyone being able to see themselves, their race, their culture, and their history in the Church’s life.

To mark the day,  a series of posters has been produced, which highlight the rich diversity of our Catholic community and encourage reflection upon how all peoples are made in the image of God. To see the posters and more follow this link. 

27th January 2022

'Preparing for Lent with the Psalms' - A Quiet Day

Since February 2014 there has been a Circuit Quiet Day, organised by the Methodist Church, Bedfordshire, Essex and Hertfordshire District, on the Saturday before Lent, a chance for people to pause and reflect.  This year this is being held on Saturday 26th February 2022.

As we approach Lent we take this opportunity to ‘step aside’ and listen to God as we reflect upon some of the Psalms. There will be extended periods of silence, the opportunity (if the weather is kind) to spend time outside, poems and pictures to help our reflection.

The event will be led by Rev Dr Megan Daffern. Megan is a Tutor and Bye-Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge University, and teaches Hebrew and Old Testament also for the Eastern Region Ministry Course; she balances her pastoral and teaching commitments with her own research in the Psalms and Hebrew Bible. Formerly Director of Ordinands and Vocations, she relished developing ministries in all shapes and sizes across the Diocese of Ely, after spending ten years as Chaplain of Jesus College in Oxford, during which time she completed her doctorate “The Psalms: Prayers for Remembering”. She was fully professed as a member of the Third Order of the Society of St. Francis in 2016. Her book “Songs of the Spirit: A Psalm a Day for Lent and Easter” was published as one of SPCK’s Lent Books 2018.

Please follow this link for full details about the event.

27th January 2022