Parish Groups and Events

Coffee and Tea After Mass

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

Family Mass

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 March 2023

Clarence Park walk & picnic – Saturday 18 May

UNFORTUNTELY THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO AN INCLEMENT WEATHER FORECAST FOR SATURDAY.

Everyone is invited to meet by the bandstand and join the friendly group walk from noon, ‘Bring Your Own’ picnic at 1pm and finish around 2pm. Leave picnic, chairs etc with our group; walk as much or as little as you like or see if you can find Fr Tom’s bench by the cricket field. Please check the Parish  News page of the website on the evening of Friday 17 to see if the walk has been called off due to bad weather. All ages welcome and please supervise your own children. Suggested £5 per family donation to CAFOD on the day.

22 April 2024


SVP Long Service Award presentation to John Moule

On Saturday 27 April, following the 6pm mass, members of the parish SVP were delighted to present John Moule with a long standing service award, in recognition of 47 years’ service to the SVP. John joined the St Albans Conference in 1977 and was the president of the SS Alban and Stephen, St Albans Conference from 2020 to 2024. He has been a very popular and inspirational leader and the SVP group was very pleased to be able to recognise his service in this way. The long service presentation was made by the President of the Westminster Central Council, Brendan Timlin. 

 The St Vincent de Paul Society (England & Wales) is part of an international Christian voluntary network dedicated to tackling poverty in all its forms by providing practical assistance to people in need. Founded in Britain in 1844, it fosters diverse and inclusive connections, as a Society that is welcoming of people of all faiths and none. It joyfully extends a hand in the care and personal service of individuals and families who need support. Its 10,000 members, motivated by faith, visit vulnerable or isolated people across England and Wales and offer them friendship and practical support. The essence of its work is person-to-person contact and spending time with people is its greatest gift.

 The SS Alban and Stephen, St Albans Conference celebrated its centenary in 2023, commemorating 100 years of giving help and support to the needy of our parish. Need can be anything from poverty to loneliness, and the call today is as great as it has ever been.  But we need more hands to reach out to that call.  It may be work that would interest people who have a bit more free time on their hands.  If you feel this could be of interest to you, please contact the parish office or visit www.svp.org.uk   We meet on the first and third Friday of the month at 7.30pm in the presbytery.  Perhaps you could be part of the next 100 years?

 

2 May 2024


World Children’s Day

The Catholic Church’s first World Children’s Day takes place over the weekend of 25 – 26 May 2024. Children from around the globe, including those from areas of conflict and children of different faiths, are invited to join together as sisters and brothers. Pope Francis calls on Catholics around the globe to celebrate this event. “World Children’s Day is an occasion to put children, who are the present and the future of humanity, back at the centre of the world’s attention… It offers children the possibility to become protagonists through moments of prayer, friendship, and formation.” To help schools celebrate World Children’s Day, Mission Together has produced several free resources. These include an introductory assembly, Celebration of the Word, Activities, Celebrating our Cultures ideas sheet, Virtual map Explorer Worksheets, and more.

1 May 2024


We Dare To Say

Cardinal Vincent Nichols writes: At every moment of every day, somewhere in the world, Christians are praying the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples. When said in liturgy or in devotional prayer, together or privately, the Lord’s Prayer is a like a gentle, multilingual hum of heartfelt praise and petition. Pope Francis has asked us, as part of our preparation for the Holy Year in 2025, to make this year into a time for refreshing our prayer, and especially our appreciation and use of the Our Father. I am pleased, then, to commend to you We Dare To Say, a five-week faith sharing resource on the familiar and powerful words of the Our Father. May you come to a deeper appreciation of what the Lord Jesus himself has given us in response to the disciples’ request ‘Lord, teach us to pray’.

22 April 2024


Men's Breakfast Saturday 11 May

The first Men’s Breakfast after Easter will be on Saturday 11th May. The theme this year is how science supports our Christian faith, rather than undermines it.  We will be watching a talk given by Professor Francis Collins, who led the Human Genome Project which led the decoding of DNA. Professor Collins began his path to becoming a Christian after talking to a hospital patient. We will meet in the Parish Centre from 8.15am for coffee, croissants and conversation, followed by the video on Francis Collins followed by an opportunity to conclude with a short discussion on the themes emerging. If you would like more details please just turn up on the Saturday morning or email d4dstalbans@gmail.com.

22 April 2024


Marian Lecture - Guild of Our Lady of Ransom 7.30pm Friday 17 May St Patricks’ Catholic Church, Soho

Fr Patrick van der Vorst, a recently ordained priest of the Archdiocese of Westminster, former Director of Sotheby’s Europe, and founder of the evangelistic initiative www.Christian.Art, will deliver our Marian Lecture on How Beauty Draws us Closer to God. Fr. Patrick will explore how beauty elevates us to encounter the Divine, how the Church has historically sought to create art that facilitates this meeting, and how this can happen in our visually overstimulated world.

22 April 2024


Christian Aid Week Events - 11 to 18 May

Concert for Christian Aid 7.30pm Saturday 11 May – Marshalswick Baptist Free Church, Sherwood Avenue, St Albans, An evening of diverse entertainment with a retiring collection for the work of Christian Aid.

Christian Aid Week Market Saturday 18 May 10am -1.30pm St Mary’s Church Sherwood Avenue – Refreshments, Lunch, Live Music, Book, Plants, Cakes, Children’s Activities, Fairtrade Raffle.

22 April 2024


Easter Garden

We are commemorating our deceased loved ones in a special way in our Easter Garden again this year by writing their names on bamboo flower shapes and planting them around the rose garden in front of the presbytery. These are close to the three empty crosses, a symbol of the new life Christ won for us in his resurrection.

Please follow this link to see a list of those names included in our Easter Garden.

28 March 2024


Pope asks for prayers

Pope Francis has expressed his relief over the freeing of a teacher and four of six religious following their kidnapping in Haiti. Two remain in captivity, and the Pope appealed for their release as soon as possible, as well as for all those still held in the “beloved country, so fraught with violence.”  The six religious, members of the Congregation of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart who also serve St Columba’s College, were kidnapped a month ago. Pope Francis also asked everyone to continue praying for the war-torn populations of Ukraine, Palestine and Israel, and South Sudan. And he recalled the people of Syria, asking that we not forget their plight as the nation there “has suffered greatly for a long time because of war.”

18 March 2024


20th Anniversary of MSC Founder

Fr Jules Chevalier, founder of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, was born 200 years ago in 15 March. He wanted to spread the compassionate love of Christ , what we now call “Heart Spirituality” through ordinary people, as well as priests and sisters. Members of the Chevalier family in our parish invite you to join them after 6pm Mass on 16th March, in the cafe area. Please bring something to share.

Please follow this link for an article about Jules Chevalier and the MSCs

1 March 2024


Volunteer Church Cleaners

Every Friday morning from 8am onwards a small group of volunteers gather together to clean the church. They spend up to an hour and a half cleaning and aim to finish by 9.30am.

We need more helpers. It might be once a month or twice a month or every week. Whatever you can contribute would be appreciated. Simply come along from 8am/8.15am on a Friday morning.

Thanks to our current volunteers and to Fr John who went along to lend a hand this morning.

23 February 2024


Parish Knit and Natter Group

The Parish Friends Knit and Natter Group have their next meeting in the Parish Centre on Tuesday 27 February 2.15 – 4pm. All are welcome to come along and join them. At the moment the group are knitting blankets for those in local care homes and this week Fr Michael was delighted to lend a helping hand.

For further details contact Helen Bassill 07860 830340.

14 February 2024


Annual Mass of Thanksgiving for the Sacrament of Matrimony - Westminster Cathedral Sunday 25 May at 2.30pm

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 2024.  If you are celebrating an anniversary, please phone or email the parish office by 12 April with the following details: husband and wife’s names, wedding date, full postal address and email (or telephone number, if no email).

14 February 2024


The Community Kitchen in Wheathampstead

This is held on the last Tuesday of the month at the Chapel Halls, (behind the Chapel Gym in Brewhouse Hill). We prepare a freshly cooked 3 course meal, (always with choices including vegetarian and vegan) and it is open to everyone of any age, so we have individuals, families, everyone, as no one is excluded. We do this on an anonymous pay what you can basis.

The doors open at 5.30pm with a view to eating at 6pm. People are also welcome to come and join us in the cooking and laying up beforehand if they would like to have a go at the kitchen. We cook with fresh ingredients, some are donated, bought locally and whenever possible saved from being thrown because they are not perfect. We cook with what is available.

We are here to combat loneliness and food poverty which is rife in everywhere, regardless of this being a wealthy area generally.

14 February 2024


The Alban Pilgrimage Sunday 22 June 2024

Join us for this spectacular celebration of Britain’s first saint!

With 12ft puppets and pilgrims re-enacting Alban’s life and martyrdom through the streets of St Albans, all are welcome to join us on this very special occasion. Visiting groups from across the country and Diocese, and of all denominations are especially welcome. 10.45am | Procession starting at St Peter’s Church, along St Peter’s St, Chequer St, High St, George St, Romeland and finishing at the West End of the Cathedral.

12noon | Pilgrimage Eucharist (with children’s worship and activities).

12noon | Festival on the Orchard with all age activities, running until 4pm.

2pm | Orthodox Service and Veneration at the Shrine of St Alban.

3pm | Anointing for Healing

4pm | Pilgrimage Evensong. This service ends with a procession to the shrine of St Alban, where red roses are placed on the shrine in an act of celebration.

groups from across the country and Diocese, and of all denominations are especially welcome.

14 February 2024


Building Fund Appeal

Please see the parish website for more information, including:

  • Details of the three phases of work and their rationale
  • Architectural plans and visuals of the enlarged Church Porch and refurbished forecourt
  • 360 degree visualisations of the lobby & forecourt areas
  • A frequently asked questions section, including the answers to questions raised about parking
  • Details of how you can support the project, including bank details and a standing order / gift aid form.

11 February 2024


Family in Faith (FiF) update

Our first Saturday session of the year focussed on Baptism and Original Sin. Baptism restores our relationship with God and through the Holy Spirit we try to live our lives without sinning. The families explored through art, Jesus’s free choice for baptism and the links with John the Baptist, the Israelites and the promised land. This symbolism shows the links between the Old and New Testaments and Jesus as the awaited Messiah.

For the last five weeks, FiF Youth have been journeying on Youth Alpha.  We have been learning about the meaning of life, who is Jesus and why did he die, how can we have faith and prayer.  The small group discussions have been a growth experience for the youth, as sharing in this manner is new and some of the questions are quite deep.  As leaders and helpers, we are often humbled by their honesty and openness to learning.  As a community, we request your prayers for them that they may continue to open their hearts to learning, sharing and inviting Jesus into their lives.

11 February 2024


2025 A Year of Jubilee

The Holy Father has decided that 2025 will be a year of Jubilee, something which happens every 25 years. The theme is “Pilgrims of Hope”, and it will be a year of hope for a world suffering the impacts of war, the ongoing effects of COVID-19 pandemic, and a climate crisis.   Preparations for the 2025 Year of Jubilee began in Advent 2023, which marked the start of a year of prayer.

The Bishops’ Conference are producing resources for the preparatory year of prayer, focusing on the Our Father, as well as resources about Jubilee in the Catholic Church, please see  https://www.cbcew.org.uk/jubilee-2025/ for more information. These resources will help guide us as we ready yourself for this most vital year in the Church’s life.

29 January 2024


Lenten Prayer Course: The Mass

‘One of the most basic truths about the Mass is that it is an encounter with Jesus Christ. Christianity is not a philosophy or a set of ideas, but rather a relationship with the person of Christ. In the Mass, in a privileged way, we meet him, listen to him, respond to him, commune with him.’ (Bishop Barron).

How many of us actually think/believe this when we come to church on Sunday? Everyone – regular attender or not – is invited during lent, to view six 25 minute episodes that will be shown between the 9.30am and 11.30am masses in Room 1 and 2 from 10.45am.   Dates: 18 and 25 February, 3, 10, 17 and 24 March.

Walk through the Liturgy of the Mass with Bishop Barron and be transformed by his insights on this most privileged and intimate encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ this side of heaven. The Mass will help you understand how to fully, consciously, and actively participate in the source and summit of the Christian life.

24 January 2024


St Albans Market Stall - Christmas Card Distribution

Many thanks to the approximately 30 volunteers who came to the Market to distribute the Parish Christmas cards to shoppers.

We gave out over 600 cards as invitations to the Christmas celebrations, and we had several nice chats with shoppers and market stall holders.

Many thanks also to everyone who helped with the preparation including production of the cards and the sharing ideas about presentation. See you all again at Easter 2024.

21 December 2023


Christmas Services Leaflet and 'Illustrating Christmas' Competition

Please follow this link for details of our Christmas Services for 2023. Christmas Services leaflets are also available in the Church porch.

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

The  winning design has been included on the front of this year’s Christmas Services leaflet.

Thank you to all those who entered the competition this year. The winning design and the designs from the five runners up can be seen below.

08 December 2023


Pope prays Bethlehem song can inspire solidarity, reconciliation and peace in the Holy Land this Christmas

There will be no Christmas tree or traditional festivities in the place of Jesus Christ’s birth this year in response to the thousands killed in the conflict in the Holy Land. Instead, the focus in the Church of the Nativity and Manger Square in Bethlehem will be on praying for peace.

Hear Angels Cry

Amidst the rubble and ruins, a poignant voice rises to declare that the light of hope will persist in the small West Bank town where the Christmas story unfolded.

Youstina Safar, a resident of Bethlehem and a student at Bethlehem University, has collaborated with the London-based band Ooberfuse to deliver a powerful message through their Christmas song, Hear Angels Cry. The song resonates with the belief that hope for a better future, born in the hearts of humanity.

Papal support

The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has not only heard about the song, but has sent a message to Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops’ Conference, commending it for drawing attention to “the sublime significance of the city where Jesus Christ was born.”

Communicated by the Holy See’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis’ message holds up the Holy Land as the place that was home to Jesus, the Prince of Peace, and called to be a place of encounter, dialogue and hope for all. The Pope wrote that his hope was that the song “will inspire many people this Christmas to pray for a new flourishing of fraternal solidarity, reconciliation and peace in the Holy Land.”

Please follow this link to read more and to watch the song on YouTube.

12 December 2023


Knit and Natter Knitted Angels

Seventy knitted angels have been made by the ladies in our knitting group for residents in care homes. Lots of knitting groups and schools are making angels and they will be distributed with a Christmas card by Maggie Dodds (Anna Chaplaincy) to every resident in every care home in St Albans.

08 December 2023


You Can Be Santa 2023

Thank you everyone for your tremendous generosity and support in making the YCBS 2023 scheme such a success once again.  The Santa Team is currently delivering gift vouchers to over 150 children.  The children are all known to us through our Parish schools, the SVP, the Life House and individual parishioners.  We are also supporting children from the St Albans Refuge, Home Start, the Intensive Family Support Team and local Ukrainian refugees. In addition, several adults with either special needs or living in a refuge will also receive a Christmas voucher.

Thank you once again, your donations really make a difference, as this message from one of our families demonstrates:

‘Just wanted to say a huge thank you to you …..The children have always known that it’s the church that have given them this gift and whilst its lovely and exciting for them to be able to spend their gift voucher, I think the biggest benefit for the children is that it is a symbol that they are part of a loving, caring community who have thought about them …’

08 December 2023


CAFOD Israeli-Palestinian Crisis Appeal

Donate to CAFOD’s Israeli-Palestinian Crisis Appeal at cafod.org.uk/ipc or call 0303 303 3030 to support those affected and get funds to local trusted experts in Gaza and southern Israel who have been working alongside communities helping those most in need.  Your donation will help support aid workers providing urgent humanitarian aid including food, water and emergency shelter to those in need. Thank you for your prayers.

08 November 2023


Synod Report: A Church that involves everyone and is close to world’s wounds

The Synthesis Report at the conclusion of the 16th General Assembly of the Synod on Synodality has been published. Looking ahead to the second session in 2024, the text offers reflections and proposals on topics such as the role of women and the laity, the ministry of bishops, priesthood and the diaconate, the importance of the poor and migrants, digital mission, ecumenism, and abuse. The document acknowledges that the assembly took place “while wars both old and new have raged in the world, with dramatic consequences that are impacting upon countless victims.” The report continues, “The cry of the poor resounded among us, of those forced to migrate and of those suffering violence and the devastating consequences of climate change. We heard their cry not only through the media, but also through the voices of many present, who were personally involved in these tragic events whether through their families or their people”.

To this challenge and many others, the universal Church has tried to offer a response in the Synthesis Report, which traces the path for the work to be done in the second session in 2024. For more information click here. Copies of the summary are also available in the Church porch or by clicking here.

06 November 2023


Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) Meeting - September 2023

The Parish Pastoral Council met during the week. In the first part of our meeting Joan Egenes, our catechetical co-ordinator, shared with us an update on Family in Faith, our revised approach to Sacramental Preparation, which begins over this weekend. Please keep the families participating in Family in Faith in your prayers, as well as the young people participating in Family in Faith Youth who will be discerning, with the support of their families and catechists, whether to go forward for Confirmation.

The PPC also reflected on the launch of the Building Fund Appeal and in particular the plans for the extended church porch and refurbished forecourt. (These are displayed in the Church Porch.) The PPC felt it would be helpful to emphasise two points. First, a significant amount of the work to be undertaken is being done to address existing issues. For example, the brickwork on the front wall is blown in a number of places, while the lighting of the church forecourt and steps is poor. Indeed, parts of the flat roofing over the presbytery have failed and are letting in water, while the glazing in many of the presbytery windows has failed. Secondly, the PPC felt it important to stress that the Building Fund Appeal is not subject to any diocesan levy and that all the money given to the Building Fund Appeal will be used to fund the development of the parish complex.

30 September 2023


Fr Andrew's Farewell Mass and Celebration

Thank you to all those parishioners who came along last Friday evening to Fr Andrew’s Farewell Mass and the the party afterwards in the Parish Centre. Despite the inclement weather, the mass and social afterwards were extremely well attended and a great many people came to say thank you to Fr Andrew for his ministry with us and to wish him well for the future. It was lovely to see so many staying on to socialise and enjoy drinks and a very well stocked buffet.

Thank you to all who helped to plan the event, set up the hall, serve food and drinks, provide savouries and cakes and clear away afterwards. It was a lovely evening and a great opportunity for the parish community to come together to celebrate and give thanks.

Please see below for some photos of the event.

27 September 2023


Latest Pastoral Letter from the Archbishop of Westminster, September 2023

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

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

12 September 2023


Live Simply: Migrants' Meals

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

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

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

 

4 September 2023


CAFOD’s Fix the Food System Campaign

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

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

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

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

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

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

The signatures were made up as follows:

–          Parish – 378

–          Loreto College – 403

–          Alban and Stephen Primary School – 44

–          St Adrian’s Primary School – 83.

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

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

Many thanks to everyone who supported this campaign.

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

 

4 September 2023


Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes - July 2023

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

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

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

31 July 2023


First Holy Communion and Confirmation Programmes 2023/24

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

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

23 July 2023


CELEBRATE SUMMER - Family Activity Pack

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

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

26 July 2023


Enquiry

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

20 July 2023


CAFOD Fix The Food System Campaign

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

21 July 2023


Catholicism Course Part 2 – October 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cost: £10 including study guide for new registrations

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

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

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

20 June 2023


Heart to Heart Newsletter

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

12 June 2023


Parish Coronation Party

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

 

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

10 May 2023


Parish Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation Group

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

 

10 May 2023


The Letter - Laudato Si'

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

 

10 May 2023


Live Simply - Next Step

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

 

10 May 2023


Easter Garden

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

6 April 2023


Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

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

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

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

Bishop John Sherrington

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

24 March 2023


Holy Week 2023

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

20 March 2023


Migrants and Refugees - A Catholic Response

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

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

A digital version can be accessed here.

Bishop Paul McAleenan, Lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees

16 March 2023


CAFOD Live Simply Award

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

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

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

15 March 2023


Easter Cards

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

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

13 March 2023


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

The Cardinal invites all couples in the Diocese, who are celebrating their 5th 10th, 25th, 30th, 40th, 50th and 60th (and every year over 60) wedding anniversary of Catholic marriage in 2023.  If you are celebrating an anniversary, please give your parish clergy the following details: husband and wife’s names, wedding date, full postal address, email and telephone number.

6 March 2023


Easter Garden

We will be commemorating our deceased loved ones in a special way in our Easter Garden again this year by writing their names on bamboo flower shapes and plant them around the rose garden in front of the presbytery. These will be close to the three crosses and will be a symbol of the new life with Christ promised by the resurrection. If you would like to remember your deceased family or friends in this way, please send their names into the office clearly marked ‘Easter Garden’ either by emailing the parish office at stalbans@rcdow.org.uk or by posting the details through the presbytery door.

13 March 2023


Dates for your diary!

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

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

1 March 2023


Diocesan Diary Dates

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

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

1 March 2023


You Can Be Santa 2022

The YCBS team recently met to review the 2022 scheme.  It was another hugely successful initiative; over 200 children enjoyed the gift of a Christmas voucher this year.  The children are all known to us through our Parish schools, the SVP, the Life House and individual parishioners.  We also supported children from the St Albans Refuge, Home Start and the Intensive Family Support Team.   In addition, 16 adults with either special needs or living in a refuge, along with residents of the Catholic Workers’ Farm also received a Christmas voucher.  In total, over £5,000 worth of vouchers were donated throughout our community.

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

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

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

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

 Last year we were able to extend the YCBS scheme to Easter when we kept in touch with our families and delivered a small voucher for an Easter Egg to all the children involved in the scheme.  We are delighted that we have enough funds left over from Christmas to be able to do this again in 2023.

As a result of the unfailing generosity of our parishioners, the YCBS scheme has been running for over 10 years now, helping to support our local community at Christmas.  Many families have been with us since the scheme began and new families are invited to be a part of the scheme every year.  It’s also lovely to hear from families whose circumstances have changed:

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

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

The Santa Team

25 January 2023


Parish Day of Reflection - Saturday 4th March 2023

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

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

Fr Michael

24 January 2023


Clothing Collection for Migrants

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

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

24 January 2023


Parish Knit and Natter Group

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

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

24 January 2023


Synod 2021-24

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

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

18 January 2023


World Day of the Sick - Message of Pope Francis 2023

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

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

16 January 2023


Heart to Heart Newsletter

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

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

16 January 2023


Tinsel and Turkey Lunch

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

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

16 January 2023