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 michaeloboy@rcdow.org.uk 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 whitemw@talktalk.net. 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 mjoneill5@btinternet.com.
    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 www.comeandsee.org/lent

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 CardinalsLentenAppeal.org.uk 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. 

Amen.

 

 

 

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 stalbans@rcdow.org.uk.

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


Pastoral Letter for the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph - 26th and 27th December 2020

Please click here for a copy of the Pastoral Letter for the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph from from Cardinal Vincent Nicols, Archbishop of Westminster.

23rd December 2020


Christmas Masses

Last Christmas well over two thousand people attended our Christmas Masses. It is likely that not everyone will want to or be in a position to attend Mass on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and that numbers this year will be quite reduced. Nevertheless, even if we were to assume a halving in numbers, we would still be faced with the task of accommodating over a thousand people in a church with a current seating capacity of between 58 and 80 at the very most. This would mean our celebrating something like twelve Christmas Masses. We could draw on the support of supply priests to help celebrate these Masses. However, in addition to saying these additional Masses, we would also need to find the stewards to staff them and ensure that there was a sufficient gap between Masses to allow for sanitising and airing. Moreover, were we able to find sufficient volunteers, I am all too conscious of the tensions that allocating seating will inevitably create and that the task of refusing people entry would fall on the shoulders of our volunteer stewards. My fear is that our Masses on Christmas Day could become a recipe for disquiet rather than goodwill. In addition to the logistical challenges it is also worth noting that, apart from a small choir, the current restrictions do not allow for congregational singing. You would have to come to listen and not to sing. On Christmas Day I think that’s a challenge all of its own!

With the return to public worship, we have already received a number of enquiries about the arrangements for Christmas here at St Alban and St Stephen and a decision has to be made. I have consulted with the Parish Pastoral Council and the proposal is that, as it is not practicable to accommodate everyone who may wish to come to Mass in church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, we instead stream the following three Christmas Masses, at which a small choir and readers would be present:

  • 5pm on Christmas Eve,
  • 11pm on Christmas Eve, and
  • 9am on Christmas Morning.

Leaflets to accompany each service, and to facilitate your participation at home, will be available on the parish website.

In addition to these streamed Masses, the Church will be open for individuals and families to visit the crib as follows:

  • Between 6.30pm and 9.30pm on Christmas Eve, and
  • On Christmas Day between 10am and 1pm.

Masses during the week after Christmas will be as follows:

  • St Stephen’s Day, Saturday 26 December – morning Mass at 11am and a Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Holy Family at 6pm.
  • Sunday 27 December – three Masses at 9.30am, 11.30am and 7pm.
  • Monday 28 December through to Friday 1 January – 10am Mass each morning, with evening Masses at 7pm on Wednesday 30 December and Friday 1 January, New Year’s Day.

All these Masses occur during the Octave of Christmas and traditionally the Church treats each of these eight days as Christmas Day.

People are welcome on a first come first served basis for these masses and visits to the crib, except for those listed below where people are asked to reserve a place by contacting the parish office between now and 1pm on 23 December:

  • Saturday evening Mass on 26 December,
  • Sunday Masses on 27 December, and
  • Both morning and evening Masses on 1 January,

I appreciate that this Christmas will be altogether different and that it seems very odd not to have a public Mass on Christmas Day. Please trust me when I say that it has not been an easy decision to arrive at, but my feeling is that for our parish this is the best way to meet the likely levels of demand and be fair to everyone. My sincere hope is for a worthy and safe celebration of Christmas, during which many of you will take up the invitation, to join our streamed Masses, visit the crib on Christmas Day, and attend one of the public Masses celebrated in the Christmas Octave.

Fr Michael

4th December 2020


Parish Christmas Card Competition

These representations of the nativity were entered into our annual drawing competition by children in Years 5 and 6 of St Alban and St Stephen Primary School which is one of our two parish primary schools. This competition runs every year with each of our two parish primary schools competing on a biennial basis.

The Overall Winner this year was Francesca with Martha and Millie being First and Runner-Up in Year 5, and Mia and Esther being First and Runner-Up in Year 6. The winning design can be seen on the front of this year’s Parish Christmas Card. We thank all the children in Years 5 and 6 of St Alban and St Stephen Primary School who submitted entries.

The remaining picture was taken by Pat O’Brien and is of the Crib. This year, it is situated beneath the Main Altar so that it is visible to those reliant on streaming to participate.

8th December 2020


Fr Tom's Memorial Bench

Thanks to the generosity of the parish, the bench dedicated to the memory of Fr Tom Hewitt is now in place overlooking the cricket pitch in Clarence Park. The inscription reads “Fr Tom Hewitt MSC (1946–2018) Much loved Catholic priest and friend to many. He enjoyed watching cricket in this park”.

This bench has proved a positive aspect of the recent lockdown. Many parishioners have searched it out and used it as a meeting point. Certainly I have enjoyed sitting on it, taking in the view, and meeting parishioners as I do. I have heard much about Fr Tom and am sure he would have delighted in a bench that draws people together. When, in early 2019, parishioners made donations to fund a bench in Fr Tom’s memory, nearly £2,500 was raised. The new bench cost just under £500 leaving a surplus of nearly £2,000 and the question of what to do. The suggestion at a recent Parish Pastoral Council was to donate the remaining monies to a charity which Fr Tom would have supported. I suspect that Fr Tom will be remembered fondly for a good many years ahead so my intention is to retain £750 for a future refurbishment of the bench. However, Fr Tom was greatly involved with our parish SVP. Since we have had no collection for the SVP this year I propose to donate what remains to our SVP, specifically for the families they have traditionally supported at Christmas. If you made a donation towards Fr Tom’s bench and are not happy for the remaining funds to be used in this way please contact me. Fr Michael.

7th December 2020

Photos taken of Fr Tom’s bench Clarence Park 


Statements from the Bishops' Conference and the Cardinal

Following their autumn Plenary Meeting, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have issued a statement on safeguarding. Please click here for a copy of the statement and click here for a personal statement from Cardinal Vincent Nicols.


Resources added to our website

Please see the Liturgy Group section of our website for some new resources we have added to help and support parishioners during the current period.

These include:

  • A ‘Guide to Prayer’ containing practical hints that parishioners have found helpful.
  • A list of prayer and other resources that parishioners may find useful in supporting their daily prayer life as suggested in the recent parish questionnaire.
  • A weekly ‘Liturgy of the Word for Children’ information sheet for those families following mass online.

The members of the RCIA group pictured here being welcomed in to the Catholic Church

The members of the RCIA group, Camla, John, Richard, Dawn, Richard, Maria & Hugh, who began their course in September, 2019, were received as full members of the Catholic Church at the 11.30am Mass on Sunday, 6th September, 2020.

We wish them every blessing on their journey of faith.


Knit and Natter (in Lockdown)

Members and friends of Parish Friends knit and natter group have been knitting squares throughout lockdown to make blankets to take into Care Homes. At a recent garden tea party three knitters got together with Marion Burgess and Helen Bassill to celebrate their achievements. Between them the ladies had made 300 squares which were croquetted together by Marion to make 10 blankets.

If anyone is interested in knitting squares or baby hats while sitting at home please contact Helen via the Parish –  01727 853585 or email – stalbans@rcdow.org.uk

Shrine to The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

As a memorial to the service of the MSCs in our parish for over 120 years, a new shrine to The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus has been built in our church on the left side of the Sanctuary. The shrine is not yet quite finished, as a plaque will be added, but if you are unable to come to church at present, you will surely be pleased to see the photographs.

Photos taken of the Sacred Heart Shrine to commerorate the MSC’s 120 years service in St Albans 


Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Justice & Peace Group invited parishioners to attend a short prayer for peace at the Abbey’s Japanese Peace Obelisk situated on the corner of Sumpter Yard and Holywell Hill at 3 pm on Sunday 9th August, exactly 75 years since the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. (Hiroshima had been bombed three days previously.) Parishioners were also invited to visit the Abbey’s Black Lives Matter installation in the North Transept and then, weather permitting, adjourn to the park for a picnic lunch.


Happy 1st Anniversary, Fr Julian.

Fr Julian was ordained at Westminster Cathedral on 27th July 2019 and joined our parish as Assistant Priest in September.

Over the last 10 months or so, Fr Julian’s homilies in St Albans have drawn on his upbringing on the family hill farm in Wales, his academic studies in Modern History and his diverse experience in ministry among the poor and marginalised in Wales, the Midlands and the South.

Harking back to his roots, he has been quoted as saying that his work is very much like the farmer caring for his flock. Clearly one of his early duties in our parish, to lead the Service of  Blessing of our pets, was no daunting task for him!

We have all enjoyed getting to know Fr Julian over the year: his kindness, deep spirituality and extensive knowledge have inspired us, and his unfailing sense of humour continues to lift our spirits.

Happy anniversary Fr Julian.
We wish you much joy throughout your priesthood.

Photos taken at the service of the blessing of pets – October 2019

Fr Julian Davies

Fr Julian’s ordination on the 27th July 2019


Congratulations
Fr Michael on your 20th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood.

Fr Michael studied for the priesthood at Allen Hall and was ordained a priest on 24th June 2000. His first appointment was to Our Lady Help of Christians, Kentish Town. In 2002, he moved to Westminster Cathedral where he became Sub-Administrator and in 2003, Director of the Agency for Evangelisation, which launched the Small Christian Communities initiative.

As Parish Priest at St Aloysius, Somers Town, Fr Michael became responsible for diocesan youth provision and oversaw the rebuilding of the parish hall as the new diocesan Centre for Youth Ministry, which was completed in 2012. In 2013, he became Dean of Studies at Allen Hall, and subsquently Vice Rector.

In 2019, when the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart handed over the care of the parish of Ss Alban and Stephen to the Diocese of Westminster, to the great good fortune of the people of St Albans, Fr Michael was appointed our Parish Priest.

Ordained 2000 to2020& counting ...

Fr Michael O’Boy

Westminster Record June 2013

Memories of the day.


Church  re-open for private prayer. Temporarily suspended from 5th July

The church is open for private prayer on Mondays to Saturdays in the afternoons from 12noon- 1.00pm and in the evenings from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

Three volunteers are required for each session. If you are able to help, please see the bulletin for full details.

Click on this link to download to download July 5th Bulletin for more information.

Thank you to the volunteers who  are already helping  with the open sessions.

Useful Links

Click here for other useful links


Solemnity of the Sacred Heart on the 19th June

As we look towards the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart on Friday 19th June, we will be offering the customary novena to the Sacred Heart at the end of our streamed Masses beginning on Thursday 11th June.

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Devotion to the Sacred Heart, encouraged by mediaeval mystics and promoted by St Gertrude, St Margaret Mary Alacoque, St John Eudes, Fr Jules Chevalier (Founder of the MSCs) and others, represents a devotion to Jesus in his human nature, in particular referring to the heart as the seat of the emotions especially love.

Click on the button below to download the Novena

Novena Prayer to the Sacred Heart

Letter from Fr Michael on 5th June 2020

Dear Parishioners
As I write, we should have been looking forward to our planned for Parish Assembly, due to take place this weekend, and thereafter to the annual celebrations around the solemnities of the Sacred Heart and our patron St Alban. As it is, the celebrations both here and in the City will be somewhat different this year. Nonetheless, we shall continue with our traditional novena to the Sacred Heart, which will be recited at the end of the streamed Masses from Thursday 10th June. On Sunday 21st June we will celebrate the feast of St Alban. (As St Alban is one of our principal patrons and Sunday 21st June is what we call an ordinary Sunday, we are allowed to transfer the celebration of his feast to the Sunday.) The next day, Monday 22nd June, we will celebrate two of the other great English Martyrs, St Thomas More and St John Fisher.
I have a number of things on my desk at the moment, many in the pending tray. I am conscious that we are still to decide on dates for First Communions and Confirmations, as well as for the reception, baptism and confirmation of our RCIA candidates. Until it becomes clearer when Churches will be open for the public celebration of Mass and what restrictions will be involved there is little more we can do. That said, I can say that we have been asked to prepare for the time when the church can be open for individual prayer.
In order to open the churches we will need to ensure that we deliver as safe an environment as possible. To this end the Cardinal has asked that the churches are staffed by volunteers to help ensure that visitors observe the necessary precautions eg. keeping 2m apart, sanitising hands on entering and leaving the church and after lighting any candles. Needless to say the Church will look a little different; some but not all benches will be available to sit on, there will be markers on the floor to assist with social distancing and a one way system in operation around the church. Moreover, there will be no toilet facilities available as the Parish Centre will remain closed. Given the need for supervised opening it is not possible to re-instate our usual opening hours straight away. To start with we are aiming to open the church for approximately 1 hour each morning (11am to 12noon) and evening (6.30pm to 7.30pm), we will need 3 volunteers for each session. If you are not self-isolating or shielding and you feel you could volunteer to help re-open our church, please contact Melanie (details in the bulletin or via the Parish Office). If there are more volunteers we can look at extending the proposed opening times.

When the churches do eventually re-open for the public celebration of Masses and for some time afterwards, it is likely that there will be some limitation on the numbers who can attend. Moreover, its quite likely that some, particularly the vulnerable and those who have been shielding, will be anxious about large gatherings and will not want to come into church. This being so we will continue to stream a daily Mass and will search out a more permanent less obtrusive solution – at present, the camera rests on a stand situated immediately in front of the altar.

This coming week we are due to hold the usual monthly meeting of the Parish Council by Zoom. It’s interesting, thinking about this and other meetings, how the ‘virtual’ way of doing things can become so ordinary in such a short space of time. Yet for us as Christians the ‘virtual’ way of things must always be second best. At the heart of our faith stands the person of Christ, God incarnate, who gives us his flesh and blood. Take and eat he says at the Last Supper. Touch and see he says to Thomas at the resurrection. Christ was not born virtually, Salvation is not won virtually, and the Spirit does not come virtually. All these things take place concretely and really. It is in and through real things, concrete actions, that salvation comes to us and that we are drawn to God. The ‘virtual’ world will always be just that ‘virtual’. It can never be a substitute, still less a replacement, for the real thing. Certainly, as we spend longer apart from friends and family, unable to see them and to be close, the importance of the physicality of things – of being up close, so to speak – becomes more and more apparent.

With my prayers for you and yours
Kindest regards
Fr Michael


Letter from Fr Julian on Friday 24th April 2020

Dear Parishioners,

I am wondering whether or not you would consider joining me each day in saying the Rosary intentionally. If we do this, we could establish a powerful prayer chain connecting each of our households. We will be reinforcing our community together, praying into the issues which face us and interceding on behalf of those who are most vulnerable at this time.

How you pray the chaplet is up to yourself. You could do the five decades each day or just one decade daily. The important thing though is that we pray intentionally and meditatively for each of the prayer intentions listed below (click here) on each respective day.

Using the basic framework of the Rosary, saying the introductory and bridging prayers, we could say the chaplet with or without the mysteries. If with the mysteries, we could use either the Glorious Mysteries for each day or the conventional four mysteries. As an alternative chaplet you could use the chaplet of the Sacred Heart or Divine Mercy. As we pray let us bear in mind the following.

  1. We are praying also that our hearts would change and for our own responsible attitude
  2. We are praying consciously praising God in the midst of this as other crises
  3. We are praying in the knowledge of God’s love for us and for all
  4. We are praying for repentance, recognising that this like every disaster reminds us of our need to seek forgiveness. That we would repent: for being ungrateful for things which we so often take for granted (health, community, provisions, the natural world); for not recognising that so many in our world face worse crises than this most days; for prizing money and comfort over love of our neighbours; for failing to recognise the damage we have done to the planet; for not speaking out for those who die daily through abortion or euthanasia; for believing in our own self-sufficiency and our ability to protect ourselves
  5. We are praying for divine protection and not just personal protection equipment.
  6. We are praying as Easter people witnessing to the truth of the Resurrection


Yours sincerely
Fr Julian

Daily Prayer Intentions

SUNDAY
For all suffering from the virus. For those who have died and those mourning them
MONDAY
For all doctors, nurses and other health professionals working in hospitals
TUESDAY
For all working in hospices, care and nursing homes, social and domestic carers
WEDNESDAY
For all ambulance crews, paramedics, emergency services and those keeping routine postal, transport and civic services functioning
THURSDAY
For those facing domestic abuse or violence, lack of shelter or food, or loss of livelihood.
FRIDAY
For those keeping schools and shops open, and producing and delivering vital supplies
SATURDAY
For wisdom for scientists in seeking solutions and the government in their response