Parish News Archive Section


Parish Groups and Events

Coffee and Tea After Mass

Coffee and tea are available in the Parish Centre coffee bar after 9.30am Sunday Mass during school term time, after 11.30am Mass on the first Sunday of the month and after 6pm Saturday evening Mass. Coffee and tea is also available in the Parish Centre coffee bar after 10am Mass each Monday. All welcome.

Family Mass

This takes places on the last Sunday of the month at 9am at Marshalswick and at 9.30am in the church from Sunday. There will be no Children’s Liturgy but the children will be invited forward at the beginning of the Mass which will be geared towards their participation. After the 9.30am mass there is a social in the Parish Centre for families with refreshments available.Little Lights
This children’s liturgy group for the under fives takes place during 9.30am mass each week during term times.

Monthly Youth Mass
On the first Sunday of the month at 6pm. All young people year 7 to year 12 who would like to participate in any capacity (musicians, singers,  readers, collecting, welcoming, offertory) are very welcome to do so.

Children’s Liturgy 9.30am Sunday mass  during term times.
All children 5+ (up to 7-8 years old) can participate in this Liturgy of the Word aimed specifically at their age group. This liturgy begins in church and the children are led out and will return for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Parents are not required to accompany their children.

Faith and Family Group
The ‘Faith & Family Group’ meets in the parish hall on the first Tuesday of each month at 10.45am. Activities for under 5s. All welcome.

Toddlers’ Playgroup – Monday 10.30am – midday
For pre-school age children and their carers, term time only. Join us in the hall for toys, books, games, singing, drinks & snacks. To help, please contact David Markham on 07543 400650.

Knit and Natter Group
The parish Knit and Natter Group meets in the Parish Centre coffee bar from 2.15pm to 4pm on Tuesday afternoons, every two weeks. Everyone is welcome. Contact Helen Bassill on 07860 830340.

Catholic Women’s League
This group meets in the Parish Centre from 1pm to 4pm on the first Thursday of each month. All are welcome.

Men’s Breakfast
This group meets on Saturday mornings at 8.15am in the Parish Centre once a month for coffee, croissants and conversation.

Church Cleaning Group
A couple of parishioners have begun a Friday Cleaning Group, meeting in Church between at 8.30am and 10.00am, and readying the church for the weekend Masses. If you would like to join them, sparing whatever time you can, you would be welcome to do so.

Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation Group (JPIC)
JPIC meets in the Parish Centre from 7.30pm to 9.30pm on the third Thursday of each month.

Mothers Prayers Group
This group meets in room 2 of the Parish Centre on the second Monday of each month at 8pm.
Anyone wishing to pray for children is welcome

Parish Bingo by the Knights of St Columba
The Knights of St Columba host a monthly bingo session in the parish hall from 7.30pm to 10.30 pm on the second Friday of each month. Everyone is welcome to join us.

Parish Prayer Groups
There are a number of parish prayers groups meeting each week. Please contact the parish office if you are interested in joining a group.More details of parish groups and events can also be found in the parish weekly newsletter.Please contact the parish office if you would like to include details of your parish group in this list.

15 March 2023

Latest Pastoral Letter from the Archbishop of Westminster, September 2023

Please follow this link to read a copy of the latest Pastoral Letter from Cardinal Vincent Nicols, Archbishop of Westminster.

An audio recording of the Pastoral Letter will be made available on the diocesan website after 3pm on 16th September.

12 September 2023


Live Simply: Migrants' Meals

On Tuesday 22 August the parish hosted a group of seven local migrants who cooked and prepared a meal for themselves and for parish volunteers. This was a really lovely occasion which everyone enjoyed. It gave the migrants a chance to experience food as a source of happy memories and of creating new memories and friendships. It also gave several attendees a chance to talk about their experiences, and their hopes, in a safe environment. It introduced them to the church as a place of friendship. As a result at least one person has joined the Knit and Natter group and further outreach and friendship is being offered to individuals who were able to ask for what they need and tell us about what they would like to contribute to life in St Albans.

One attendee said afterwards: ‘Thank you so much, all of you. Yesterday I felt I met with angels. Yesterday was an amazing and memorable day. I will remember this day in my whole life. Again, thank you so much for all of you, you arrange that for us’.

We are hoping to repeat the exercise once a month on a Thursday. If you wish to be involved please contact Mary on 07976277. You do not need to be able to cook – the guests will do the cooking.

 

4 September 2023


CAFOD’s Fix the Food System Campaign

CAFOD have been running a campaign to support small scale farmers around the world. They have produced a letter addressed to the World Bank, asking the World Bank to provide funding for small farmers and not to distort markets by channeling funds to large farmers and corporations. The issue of seed production and access to resources for small farmers is one which Pope Francis specifically mentions in his encyclical Laudato Si.

Details of the CAFOD campaign can be seen at https://cafod.org.uk/campaign/fix-the-food-system where you will find an email letter which can easily be sent to the World Bank, up to 17th September.

CAFOD have also produced a briefing on the issues at https://shop.cafod.org.uk/collections/fix-the-food-system/products/fix-the-food-system-briefing.

The issues are considered in more detail in the CAFOD report which can be found at www.Cafod.org.uk/sowingtheseeds.

The letter writing campaign will end on 17th September 2023.

As a result of the efforts of several parishioners we have obtained a phenomenal 908 signatures for this campaign. In addition many parishioners will have sent the email letter which CAFOD provides on their website.

The signatures were made up as follows:

–          Parish – 378

–          Loreto College – 403

–          Alban and Stephen Primary School – 44

–          St Adrian’s Primary School – 83.

We have received a couple of thank you messages from CAFOD including the following from Liam Finn who spoke to us in July:

‘Just to add our thanks for this – 908 signatures is incredible! We’ve seen so much support for Salina’s letter, it’s been wonderful. We’ve had almost 500 parishes sign a letter and many have reported an extremely high level of people taking part in their parish’.

Many thanks to everyone who supported this campaign.

If you wish to be kept informed about Live Simply please contact Mary on 07976277059 and provide your email address so that you can be added to the circulation list.

 

4 September 2023


Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes - July 2023

At 5am last Friday, Fr Andrew and a group of 34 parishioners from St Alban and St Stephen parish set off for for a week in Lourdes. The group was part of the Diocesan Pilgrimage 2023, led By Cardinal Vincent Nicols.

Everyone had a wonderful week in Lourdes and all arrived home safely on Friday evening.

Please see below for some photos from the Pilgrimage. More photos of the pilgrimage can be found on the Diocesan Flickr page.

31 July 2023


First Holy Communion and Confirmation Programmes 2023/24

There will be open meetings, for those who could not attend this last week’s meetings, at 7.30pm on Tuesday 12 September in the hall for the parents of children starting years 2 & 3 this coming September and at 7.30pm on Wednesday 13 September in the parish centre for parents of children starting year 9 & 10 this coming September.  These meetings will outline those proposed changes to the FHC and Confirmation programmes, as highlighted in last’s week’s bulletin and weekend masses, and shared in parent meetings this week, and to answer further questions you may have. 

Please see the First Holy Communion and Confirmation pages of our website for more information or email Joan Egenes, our Catechetical Coordinator.

23 July 2023


CELEBRATE SUMMER - Family Activity Pack

Download the brand new CELEBRATE online family activity pack for summer! Packed full of activities to do, pray, read and watch, this online resource will give you ideas on how to connect with God, your family and others. Why not try the CELEBRATE Summer Psalm walk in this pack at your local park or on holiday?

Use this link to download the CELEBRATE SUMMER pack for free today!

26 July 2023


Enquiry

If you are an adult who has never been baptised, have been baptised in another Christian tradition but would like to find out more about Catholicism, or you were baptised Catholic and were never confirmed, then Enquiry could be the group for you. Beginning in September the group will meet on a weekly basis to reflect on the Sunday Scripture and explore the Catholic Faith. If you would like to find out more please speak with Fr Michael or contact him at michaeloboy@rcdow.org.uk.

20 July 2023


CAFOD Fix The Food System Campaign

Thanks to the 291 parishioners who signed CAFOD’s Letter/petition. We will also be receiving signed letters from local schools. CAFOD will continue to run the campaign until the end of September so if you missed the letter please click here where you will find information and a pre-printed letter which you can easily email to the Head of the World Bank. If you wish to be kept informed about developments on Live Simply issues and are not yet on our mailing list please email marytharber@gmail.com.

21 July 2023


Catholicism Course Part 2 – October 2023

In October our Parish will host part 2 of the acclaimed three-part CATHOLICISM Series Study Program. (Please note you can join the programme from the commencement of any part and then cycle through the three parts)

Bishop Robert Barron is an author, theologian and podcasting priest from Chicago, and the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.  He created this ground breaking program, based on his 10-episode film CATHOLICISM, as a thematic presentation of what Catholics believe and why, so that all adults can come to a deeper understanding of the Catholic Faith. Not simply a video lecture, Church history or scripture study, this engaging and interesting formational program uses the art, architecture, literature, music and all the treasures of the Catholic tradition to illuminate the timeless teachings of the Church.

Filmed in 50 locations throughout 15 countries, the Catholicism Series and Study Program is on-location and in the streets illustrating the global Church. The Study Program expands and reinforces the content of the film with extensive commentary and questions for understanding and application.

It is hoped that anyone seeking to understand or deepen their faith as adults or anyone who wants to be able to confidently answer questions posed to them about our faith, will come and journey around the world and go deeper into the Catholic faith, supported by fellow parishioners.

Starting: Wednesday 4 October 2023 at 10.45am or Thursday 5 October 2023 at 7.45pm with break for half term. Light refreshments provided – Wednesdays: biscuits and cakes; Thursdays: soup and a roll

Commitment: 6 weekly sessions in the Church Hall, each 90 minutes (plus 30 min preparation time at home in advance of the weekly sessions).  Participant bring and share dinner 22 November 2023 at 7.45pm

Cost: £10 including study guide for new registrations

New Registrations by: Monday 24 July 2023. Please email the parish office on stalbans@rcdow.org.uk to register.  Payment upon registration, please:

  1. Drop a marked envelope through the presbytery door with your name and cash or a cheque made payable to ‘WRCDT – St Albans’
  2. Make a bank transfer, using the reference ‘AFF/<NAME>’ so that we can identify the payments.

Our bank details are: Bank: HSBC-69 Pall Mall, Account name: WRCDT St Albans, Sort Code: 40-05-20, Account No: 21094696.

20 June 2023


Heart to Heart Newsletter

The latest Heart to Heart Newsletter is now available in the porch as or can be viewed online at www.hearttoheartstalbans.org. This issue gives news from the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, their Lay Associates here in St Albans and how their Spirituality of the Heart is reflected in our parish’s Live Simply initiative.

12 June 2023


Parish Coronation Party

Our parish coronation event went very well. About 100 parishioners, neighbours and some of the Trinity URC congregation enjoyed what was a lovely warm and sunny afternoon. The prosecco flowed, people brought a fantastic array of food and cakes to share. There was a lovely family feel, with children of 4 or 5 years old upwards playing while their parents and other parishioners chatted and laughed with each other. We were regaled with music from King Charles’ playlist – beginning with The Beatles’ “Come Together” – very apt, indeed.

 

Many thanks to all who helped in any way, and who brought and shared such lovely food, and who spent time making the afternoon such a wonderful time to remember for so many people. God save the King!

10 May 2023


Parish Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation Group

The Pax Christi Administration and Finance Manager, Fausta Valentine (third from left), recently spent an evening with our parish Justice & Peace Group talking about their work. Fausta expressed her thanks to the group for the invitation and their interest in Pax Christi. The photo shows the group getting ready for a Mass for Migrants.

 

10 May 2023


The Letter - Laudato Si'

This film, based on Pope Francis’ encyclical, will be shown in the Church Hall on Saturday 10 June. Everyone is invited to this free event which helps us to see how everything is connected and how we treat our home planet is a reflection of how we treat each other. Refreshments from 11am, film at 11.15 and some time for discussion at the end, if you wish to stay. Arranged by the parish Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation group.

 

10 May 2023


Live Simply - Next Step

CAFOD speakers Tony Sheen and Liam Finn will meet us on respectively Saturday 3 June at 11am and, for those who can’t come on the Saturday, Wednesday 14 June at 7.30pm in the Parish Centre, to help us plan for the next step in the Live Simply project. Please come to discuss your ideas or to listen. Bring a packed lunch on 3 June so that we can continue the discussion over lunch. For more details contact Mary 07976 277 059.

 

10 May 2023


Easter Garden

We are commemorating our deceased loved ones in a special way in our Easter Garden again this year by writing their names on bamboo flower shapes and planting them around the rose garden in front of the presbytery. These are close to the three crosses and are a symbol of the new life with Christ promised by the resurrection. Please follow this link to see the names of those who have been remembered in our Easter Garden.

6 April 2023


Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

At the General Audience on Wednesday, the Holy Father made the following statement about the Solemnity of the Annunciation this Saturday

The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord will be celebrated on Saturday and our thoughts turn to March 25 of last year, when, in union with all the Bishops of the world, the Church and humanity were consecrated, especially Russia and the Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Let us never tire of entrusting the cause of peace to the Queen of Peace. I therefore wish to invite each believer and community, especially prayer groups, to renew the act of consecration to Our Lady every March 25, so that she, who is a Mother, may keep us all in unity and peace.

And let us not forget, in these days, battered Ukraine, which is suffering so much.

Bishop John Sherrington

Please follow this link to view the full text of the Act of Consecration.

24 March 2023


Holy Week 2023

Please follow this link for our Easter 2023 Services leaflet detailing mass and service times during Holy Week and confession times during Lent.

20 March 2023


Migrants and Refugees - A Catholic Response

The document, ‘Love the Stranger – A Catholic Response to Migrants and Refugees’ from the Department for International Affairs of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales was published on 14 March 2023.

The publication has been endorsed by Father Fabio Baggio, the Undersecretary of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Father Manuel Barrios Prieto, the Secretary General of the Commission of Catholic Episcopal Conferences of the European Union (COMECE),

A digital version can be accessed here.

Bishop Paul McAleenan, Lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees

16 March 2023


CAFOD Live Simply Award

This weekend members of the parish Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation Group (JPIC) spoke after all masses to ask parishioners whether the parish should seek to register for a CAFOD Live Simply award. The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have said: ‘We must respond as Christians to the cry of creation and think hard about how we live our lives so that we are good stewards of our fragile planet and live in solidarity with the world’s poorest communities.’ Is this something we want to do as a parish? Is the CAFOD scheme a way to do it?

Questionnaires were handed out and can be accessed here. Responses can be submitted either online or by posting them through the presbytery door until 19th March.

The text of Live Simply Parish Address can be accessed here and the JPIC Group page also contains more information about the award.

15 March 2023


Easter Cards

Easter cards for 2023 are available this weekend, please take a few home to give to your friends and family. They will also be distributed at our market stall on 29 March. Please note that, although there is no Penitential Service this year, there are many other opportunities for confessions during the weeks leading up to Easter.

Volunteers are asked to commit 30 minutes of your time on Wednesday 29 March to distribute parish Easter greetings in the market. Please call Mary on 07976 277 059 or email marytharber@gmail.com or give your name to us at mass if you can spare some time for this welcoming activity. Also, if you can help collect names of volunteers after masses on 18/19 & 25/26 March please call Mary.

13 March 2023


Annual Mass of Thanksgiving for the Sacrament of Matrimony - Westminster Cathedral, Saturday 13 May at 2:30pm

The Cardinal invites 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 2023.  If you are celebrating an anniversary, please give your parish clergy the following details: husband and wife’s names, wedding date, full postal address, email and telephone number.

6 March 2023


Easter Garden

We will be commemorating our deceased loved ones in a special way in our Easter Garden again this year by writing 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 stalbans@rcdow.org.uk or by posting the details through the presbytery door.

13 March 2023


Dates for your diary!

A number of additional opportunities for deepening our faith are planned  for our parish in the early part of 2023.  You may like to make a note of these in your diary. More information will follow in due course and all are welcome:

  • Sharing the Light: Church, 7pm Thursday, 2 March
  • Parish Day of Reflection: Niland Centre, Bushey, Saturday, 4 March,
  • Lent Talks: Parish Hall 7.45pm with refreshments from 7.30pm:
  • Pope St John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter ‘Salvici Dolores’: Thursday 16 March
  • The Cross: Thursday 23 March
  • Ignatian Prayer Course: Parish Hall 7.30pm: Thursdays, 20 and 27 April; 11, 18 and 25 May

1 March 2023


Diocesan Diary Dates

  • Lourdes Quarterly Reunion Mass on 7 March 6:30pm in the Cathedral Crypt, followed by a social.
  • Annual Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes: 21- 28 July.
  • Annual Pilgrimage to Walsingham: 23 September.
  • Annual Pilgrimage to the Holy Land 19-27 November.

Please consider fundraising and sponsoring to raise £1,000 for your Parish Priest or a less able pilgrim or a nominated volunteer in your parish to take part in next year’s Westminster Diocese Pilgrimage to Lourdes. Contact the Pilgrimage Office if you want to volunteer as a helper with the Diocese of Westminster in Lourdes. Committed to a culture of Safeguarding. See here for details.

1 March 2023


You Can Be Santa 2022

The YCBS team recently met to review the 2022 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, 16 adults with either special needs or living in a refuge, along with residents of the Catholic Workers’ Farm also received a Christmas voucher.  In total, over £5,000 worth of vouchers were donated throughout our community.

Thank you everyone for your tremendous generosity and support in making the YCBS scheme such a success.  Your donations really make such an important difference:

“We have had the best Christmas ever, my daughter was so excited to see Santa had been and he had known what was on her Christmas list.  I cried when I saw her face, thank you to everyone for thinking of us.”

“This is the first Christmas I have been able to wake up knowing the day was going to be happy, we thank god for the kindness of people.”

 “If I could hug everyone for my presents I would, Christmas has been perfect.”

 Last year we were 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 in 2023.

As a result of the unfailing generosity of our parishioners, the YCBS scheme has been running for over 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.  It’s also lovely to hear from families whose circumstances have changed:

“I would like to thank you all at St Albans and St Stephens Church for all the years you have helped me and my children since 2015, we will not be taking part in you can be Santa anymore. You have helped us for so many years now and we feel there is a family out there in more need than us.”

Thank you once again for everything you do to make the scheme such a success.  We will look forward to launching the 2023 YCBS scheme later in the year.

The Santa Team

25 January 2023


Parish Day of Reflection - Saturday 4th March 2023

On Saturday 4th March there will be a Parish Day of Reflection at the Niland Centre in Bushey, open to everyone 18+. This will be an opportunity to stop and reflect on Lent and our journey to Holy Week and Easter. With Covid there have been relatively few opportunities like this, but spaces are limited. So, if you want to do something positive about Lent, if you want to ‘live’ Lent rather than its happening to you, why not block out the day and sign up for our Day of Recollection?

We will be asking people to make their own way to the Niland Centre (there is ample parking) and to bring a packed lunch. I do not want cost to be an obstacle so we will be asking people for donations rather than making a specific charge.

Fr Michael

24 January 2023


Clothing Collection for Migrants

Many thanks to all who helped in any way with last week’s clothing collection for migrants who are being housed locally. We received nearly everything which we had been asked to supply and delivered 50 bags. The local charity StAR (St Albans for Refugees) were very surprised at the speed with which the parish had addressed this need and have said: ‘Wow! What you have done in such a short period is truly wonderful.  Please let your parishioners know how grateful we at StAR are for the kindness they have shown for the  people in the … Hotel’.

The sorting team were grateful that donors had largely supplied only what was on the lists as that is all that we could deliver. Pictures can be seen below. StAR say that they would welcome volunteers NB: to assist with sorting which they do on a Thursday afternoon; they can be contacted at volunteering@stalbansforrefugees.org.

24 January 2023


Parish Knit and Natter Group

The knit and natter group will be meeting from 2.15- 4pm on 31 January and 14 and 28 February.  Everyone welcome. For more details please contact Helen Bassill 07860 830340.

The knit and natter group are currently making bright orange baby hats for new born babies who require special attention, vests for babies in Africa and also blankets of varying sizes. Four of our blankets are going to babies of refugees in St Albans.

24 January 2023


Synod 2021-24

 The Synod Working Document Summary prepared by the Agency for Evangelization is now available to download. A summary of the Working Document for the Continental Stage (DCS), which came from the Synod Office in the Vatican, can also be downloaded  This summary is a third of the length of the original!

The Diocesan Discernment Group will now hold a series of meetings in which they will discern the 2–3 page response that Bishops are asked to make to the Working Document for the Continental Stage.  This group –made up of lay men and women, religious, a deacon, two priests and a bishop – discerned the Diocesan Synthesis that was presented in the Cathedral last February and forwarded by our Bishops as the Diocese’s contribution to the National Synthesis. The Working Document for the Continental Stage is a Global Synthesis gleaned from 112 such National Syntheses.

18 January 2023


World Day of the Sick - Message of Pope Francis 2023

The 31st World Day of the Sick will be celebrated on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Saturday 11th February.

Please follow this link to read a message from Pope Francis.

16 January 2023


Heart to Heart Newsletter

The latest newsletter from the MSC Lay Associates of St Albans is now available  in the porch and online. This includes news of some of the former MSC priests from St Alban & St Stephen. They continue their mission to make God’s love known wherever and whenever it is needed most.

If you want to learn more about the Spirituality of the Heart and the Chevalier family check out our online resources on www.hearttoheartstalbans.org.

16 January 2023


Tinsel and Turkey Lunch

Parish Friends would like to thank all those who helped to make the lunch last Sunday such a wonderful success. A huge thank you to Joanna Roche our cook, and also to those who worked tirelessly in the kitchen alongside her, preparing the food, serving and washing up. We really appreciated all the vegetables and delicious deserts that parishioners brought along. The five Confirmation candidates who came to help did a magnificent job helping to serve food and drinks as well as chatting to our guests.

We were grateful for the brilliant band “Saints Aloud” providing us with such enjoyable entertainment. They even had us doing the twist and performing a conga around the tables!! About 55 guests enjoyed a tasty lunch but in total Joanna fed around 80 of us. A great day all round.

16 January 2023


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 marytharber@gmail.com 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 wdlpyouth@rcdow.org.uk.

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 https://nbs.herts.sch.uk/about-nicholas-breakspear-catholic-school/admissions/ are invited, and should be submitted for the attention of the Student Transition Coordinator either by email at westerdalea@nbs.herts.sch.uk 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: https://youtu.be/Vgxvakd-8Ug

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 winterbedsproject@opendoorstalbans.org or Colin Hull at cchandco@btconnect.com 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 www.opendoorstalbans.org

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 cbcstalbans@rcdow.org.uk 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 stalbansycbs@rcdow.org.uk 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 d4dstalbans@gmail.com

 

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 cantonmassea@gmail.com  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 admissions@stcolumbascollege.org  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


LORETO COLLEGE Hatfield Road, St Albans, Herts, AL1 3RQOPEN EVENING (SECONDARY TRANSFER 2023)

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 https://worth.co.uk/retreats/retreat-progamme-2022/.

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 hertscommunitykitchen@gmail.com

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.

VENERATION OF THE RELICS

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 www.stbernadette.org.uk.

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 stalbans@rcdow.org.uk 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 mrsmaggiedodd@gmail.com

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 mjsinnott@btinternet.com 07967727063
Dennis Cooper / denniscooper4@outlook.com 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.

Commitment

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

 When

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.

Cost

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

Registration

Please register by Monday 18 July 2022 by either emailing the parish office at stalbans@rcdow.org.uk 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. www.ctstalbans.org.uk. If you are hosting or involved in some other way, please email Peter Berners-Lee peter@ctstalbans.org.uk.  – 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, grabecki@hotmail.com.

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 (stalbans@rcdow.org.uk).

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 gilldotelliott@googlemail.com.

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 grabecki@hotmail.com. 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 stalbans@rcdow.org.uk  or by posting the details through the presbytery door.

16th March 2022


Help for Refugees

Please check the CTSA web page,  ctstalbans.org.uk/refugees 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 clarkefamily2004@yahoo.co.uk

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 mjsinnott@btinternet.com

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 mcconachie.e@stcolumbascollege.org.

 

 

 

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 albanstephen.org. If you would like to follow the text of the service, this can be found on the parish website. Visit our home page at albanstephen.org 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