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


Guidance for Churches - December 2021

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

Summarising the Government directives:

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

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

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

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

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

13th December 2021


St Albans Live Nativity Trail -18 December

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

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

Please follow this link for a downloadable trail map.

9th December 2021


Have a Merry, Sustainable Christmas!

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

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

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

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

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

9th December 2021


Witness in action: Centre 33 supporting  homeless and disadvantaged people

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

9th December 2021


Parish Christmas Card Competition 2021

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


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

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

 

3rd December 2021


Mater Ecclesiae College Colloquium on Synodality - 11 December 2021

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

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

To book, please follow this link.

 

3rd December 2021


Dies Domini – Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy

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

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

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

For more details, please follow this link.

 

3rd December 2021


Healing Mass - Saturday 27 November at 11.30am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deacon Brendan Day

21st November 2021


Statement from the Bishops' Conference - 'Honouring Sunday'

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

 

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

 

21st November 2021


World Youth Sunday 21 November 2021

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

More information can be found via this link.

10th November 2021


Inter Faith Week 14 November 2021

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

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

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

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

10th November 2021


Welcome! Peace be with you!

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

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

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

10th November 2021


Open Door Winter Beds Project 2021

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

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

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

Please see here for more information.

10th November 2021


Individual Synodal Survey

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

Ways to access the survey:

  1. Hard copy: Please pick up from Church porch, coffee bar in the Sacred Heart Centre or Marshalswick Mass Centre. Please post replies through presbytery door by 16th November.
  2. Online: Available on website via Synod button on front page and by clicking here for electronic invitation
  3. E-Mail: Download invitation from website or request survey from Parish office. If returning by e-mail, please include Synod Survey in subject line
  4. St Alban and St Stephen Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/131568531866/)

Deadline for individual replies – Tuesday 16th November

4th November 2021


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

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

Sign up here.

 

29th October 2021


Group Synodal Conversations

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

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

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

28th October 2021


Westminster Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust Annual Report & Accounts 2020

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

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

28th October 2021


November - Month of the Holy Souls

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

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

 

Wednesday 3 November 10.00am

Deceased Brothers and Sisters

Sunday 7 November 11.30am

Those who have died in War

Thursday 4 November 10.00am

Deceased Victims of Violence

Monday 8 November 7.00pm

Deceased Spouses

Friday 5 November 7.00pm

Those all who have died in the past year

Tuesday 9 November 10.00am

Deceased Children / Sons & Daughters

 Saturday 6 November 6.00pm

Deceased Parents and Grandparents

Wednesday 10 November 7.00pm

Deceased Priests, Deacons and Religious

 

Holy Souls Lists

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

The Novena Prayer and the Holy Souls leaflet can be found on the parish website, but please feel free to email your Holy Souls list to stalbans@rcdow.org.uk

27th October 2021


For a Synodal Church

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

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

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

(Please click link to news article)

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

(Please click link to news article)

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

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

 

 

15th October 2021


CAFOD homemade soup and bread lunch and film.

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

13th October 2021


Synodal Pathway

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

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

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

Fr Michael

12th October 2021


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

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

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

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

It’s time to pray and fast.

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

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

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

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

More details can be found here.

4th October 2021


Paella Supper Al Fresco

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

4th October 2021


CTSA Autumn Prayer Walk 2021

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

30th September 2021


Friday Coffee and Cake

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

30th September 2021


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

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

30th September 2021


Fr Julian's Farewell Mass and Party 

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

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

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

9th September 2021

Pro-Life Pilgrimage to Walsingham 

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

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

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

9th September 2021


Men's' Breakfasts to restart on 2nd October 

As we continue to return to a more normal pattern of life, we have decided to re-start the Men’s breakfasts on Saturday 2 October. We will meet in the parish centre from 8.15am for coffee, croissants and banter.  At about 9am we will watch the first episode in a new series on the Nicene Creed, narrated by Bishop Robert Barron, and we will aim to finish at 10am.  This is a great opportunity to learn more about this prayer which is central to the Sunday mass and to the key parts of our catholic beliefs. Please contact Richard & Brendan on email (d4dstalbans@gmail.com) if you have any questions or would like more information.

9th September 2021


Parish Friends Knit and Natter Group News 

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

9th September 2021


Players and Manager wanted - St Albans Romans FC  

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

9th September 2021


The Newman Association 

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

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

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

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

If you would like to know more please contact Mary Harber on 07976 277 059 or email at marytharber@gmail.com

26th August 2021


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

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

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

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

25th August 2021


Farewell to Fr Julian

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

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

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

23rd August 2021


Parish Assembly June / July 2021

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

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

23rd August 2021


CAFOD - Response to World Emergencies

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loving Lord,

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

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

Heavenly Father, be with us now and always.

Amen.

23rd August 2021


Thinking Lunches - Marlborough Road Methodist Church 2021/22

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

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

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

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

 

11th August 2021


Brendan Day's Recent Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate

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

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

10th August 2021


March for Life UK - 4th September 2021

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

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

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

 

10th August 2021


Brendan Day's Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate

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

27th July 2021


Churches Together in St Albans Autumn Prayer Walk

19 September – 2pm to 6pm

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

Itinerary:

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

Please click here for an event poster.

29th June 2021


The Feast of St Alban - 20th June

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

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

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

Prayer to St Alban

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

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

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

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

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

15th June 2021


Day for Life

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

Message

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

Global Pandemic

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

Assisted Dying

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

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

Donate

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

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

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

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

 

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

11th June 2021


Fratelli Tutti

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

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

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

11th June 2021


English Archbishop appointed Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship

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

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

1 June 2021


The Feast of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

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

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

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

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

Memorare to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

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

 

Novena Prayer to the Sacred Heart

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


Be part of Susfest21!

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

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

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

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

17th May 2021


Parish Assembly - Dates for your Diary!

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

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

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

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

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

17th May 2021


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

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

We would like to highlight the following key resources:

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

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

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

7th May 2021


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29th April 2021


Vaccination Confidence Webinar - 15 May 2021

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

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

To join the webinar: https://zoom.us/j/99627319556 Passcode: 546617

29th April 2021


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

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

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

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

 

Thank you,

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

14th April 2021


Requiem Mass for Prince Philip

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

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

12th April 2021


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

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

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

9th April 2021


News from the Knit and Natter Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May God bless you all.”

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

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

31st March 2021


Easter Garden

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

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

30th March 2021


Parish Easter Card

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

19 March 2021


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

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

Please click here for a full copy of the statement.

17 March 2021


CAFOD's "Big Walk for Water" Lenten Campaign

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

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

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

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

24th February 2021


Stations of the Cross

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

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

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

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

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

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

22 February 2021


Towards a Vision Statement

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

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