The parish community is called to live the Gospel of Christ, and minister the love and compassion of Christ to all peoples. This is an important part of its mission, and often the most effective way of bearing witness to our Faith.

It is through the sacraments that we become members of the Church, the Body of Christ, and by which we are enabled to remain alive in Christ and minister in his name.

The love and compassion of Christ is ministered within the community, individual to individual, family to family. Such ministry is a regular part of how we live as community and it takes on an especial importance at times of particular need – for example at times of sickness and bereavement.

At times of greatest need the pastoral care of those in need will include the sacramental ministry of the Church.

Sacraments

 

Life in the Church

Christians are called to live a life radiant with the holiness of God, to live as ministers of and witnesses to God’s love and mercy. Frequently we fail: our love is partial and sometimes we cause hurt and harm to others, and behave in ways which are offensive to God. In the Sacrament of Penance – also known as Reconciliation or Confession – we are able to confess our sins and failings and once more encounter the healing and encouraging love and mercy of God. Heartened by God’s forgiveness of our sins we are helped to turn from them and turn back to the life for which we have been created and for which we have been redeemed by Christ’s saving death and resurrection. Regular times for the celebration of the Sacrament are Saturday 9.30 to 10am and 5.15 to 5.45pm. You are also warmly invited to contact Fr Allen to arrange another time, if these times are not convenient to you.
Through the sacrament of marriage God blesses the love of husband and wife and enriches it making this love a manifestation of Christ, an effective sign of his presence. The sacrament is a source of strength and encouragement for them in their love for each other. It also is an invitation for them to be ministers of love for others, especially as a couple and in their home - as parents and as hosts to friends and strangers alike. If you are thinking of getting married in our parish, please do get in touch with one of the parish team. It is nearly always necessary to give six months' notice to allow enough time for the paperwork and preparation to take place. Similarly, please contact us if would like to discuss the possibility of being prepared for marriage here if you live in the parish but are planning to get married elsewhere. Documents available to download A guide to marriage paperwork Pro-forma for Statutory Declaration of Freedom A guide to marriage preparation Readings for your wedding Guidelines for preparing a booklet for your Wedding Service Guidelines for preparing a booklet for your Wedding Service with Nuptial Mass Bishops' Consultation on Family Life, in preparation for the 2014 Synod You might find it helpful to read the recent letter from the Catholic Bishop's Conference on the distinctive Catholic understanding of marriage, available here.
Our parish rejoices in the number and diversity of its families. A wide range of support is available through the various groups in the parish, for example the Parents and Toddlers group; the Union of Catholic Mothers; Glad to be Dads and a range of social events. For more details see here and our parish newsletter. A booklet can be downloaded from here which provides a reminder of Catholic teaching about the dignity and importance of family life. An extract from that booklet can be downloaded here which offers guidance and support to families bringing young children to Mass. This year (2015) there is a Synod in Rome on the Family. The Bishops of England and Waleshave circulated a paper, The Call, the Journey and the Mission, to help engage the local church in a time of spiritual discernment for the Synod. Archbishop VIncent has invited the Church in Westminster to take part and to share our reflections with him. If you do so, please consider also sharing them with Fr Allen so they can form part of our parish refelction as we plan to further develop the support offered to families. You can make your response on-line here.

The Sick and the Dying

Fr Allen and a team of parishioners regularly visit the sick and housebound. It is generally possible to arrange Holy Communion to be taken weekly to those who are prevented from coming to Mass at church, because of illness or immobility. Fr Allen will also visit those who wish to make their Confession or receive the Sacrament of the Sick. In the Sacrament of Penance – also known as Reconciliation or Confession – we are able to confess our sins and failings and once more encounter the healing and encouraging love and mercy of God. Heartened by God’s forgiveness of our sins we are helped to turn from them and turn back to the life for which we have been created and for which we have been redeemed by Christ’s saving death and resurrection. Regular times for the celebration of the Sacrament are Saturday 9.30 to 10am and 5.15 to 5.45pm. You are also warmly invited to contact Fr Allen to arrange another time, if these times are not convenient to you.
When they experience serious illness Catholics are able to be assisted by their reception of the sacrament for the sick, the anointing of the sick. This sacrament is a ministering of God’s healing and encourages faith and hope in his saving love. In our infirmity God offers himself again and again as our rock, our security: in him we take fresh heart. In the Sacrament of the Sick, prayers for the sick person are accompanied by the priest laying hands on the sick person, and anointing him or her with the Oil of the Sick, blessed by the bishop at the Chrism Mass in Holy Week. In the past, this sacrament was usually administered at the end of someone's life - this is why it acquired the unofficial name by which many people still call it, 'The Last Rites'. This is not a good name for the sacrament because, although it still has its place during the final hours, it is nowadays used much more widely - possibly before a serious operation, or if an unwelcome diagnosis has been made, or for those who are seriously weakened by illness, but not in imminent and immediate danger of death. If you or a relative or friend feel that you would benefit from receiving this sacrament, then please do ask one of the priests who will do all he can to assist you.
Roman Catholic Chaplains are available at all of the local hospitals. Their details can be downloaded here (PDF). Patients, and relatives of patients, are urged to make sure that they are registered as Roman Catholic on admission to hospital and that they ask to see the Chaplain. Data protection legislation means that unless this is done your details will not be passed to the Chaplain. If you wish to be visited by Fr Allen as well as the hospital chaplain then do please make contact with him to request a visit.