The Parish celebrates the Feast day of St. Stephen, the patron Saint of Altar Servers. Congratulations to James on receiving his silver medal for 10 years' service, to Joseph, Elizabeth and Anna for receiving certificates of merit, and many congratulations to Carlo, who was enrolled to the Guild of St. Stephen.
In this month of November when we remember all the Holy Souls a Bereavement Liturgy was held at St. Mary's. It was a lovely service taken by Deacon Ian and the parishioners who attended were able to remember their loved ones and light a candle on the altar for the repose of their souls..
On a Sunday in November, 30 adult Enquirers at Mass were welcomed by Fr Roy, introduced to the congregation and prayed for. They had been meeting weekly since September and are preparing for Baptism and/or Confirmation at the Easter Vigil. One of the stages in their faith journey will be the Rite of Election at the beginning of Lent, when with others from the diocese they will meet Bishop Richard at Arundel Cathedral.
Their preparation consists of teaching, discussion and prayer. We have a Team of eight Catechists. Please keep the group in your prayers.
According to the Prophet Jonah, Nineveh took three days to cross. This fact came to mind when looking at the vast area Stoke Municipal Cemetery covers. Not to be dismayed, your three priests, with a goodly accompaniment of parishioners (last year about six, this year nearer sixty) blessed the graves of loved ones over much of the cemetery area. Appropriate footwear was donned and clerical cloaks flung round expecting wind and rain. However, it turned out to be a very pleasant and sunny afternoon.
Joining Bishop Richard are 114 Assisted Pilgrims, 99 Pilgrims, 186 Helpers and Leaders, 56 Redshirts and Leaders, 33 Nurses, Registered Mental Health Nurses and Health Care Assistants, 7 Doctors, 24 Chaplains, 10 Assistant Chaplains and 33 Support Team members. Please keep them all in your prayers.
Writing in this year's Pilgrimage Handbook, Bishop Richard says: "The theme in Lourdes this year 'Go and tell the priests to build a chapel here' speaks to me not only of the Basilica of Lourdes and the blessings that flow in Lourdes, but also of the 'living stones, building a spiritual house' (1 Pt. 2:5). We are the Church, the Body of Christ, each living stone with the gifts and talents that we have received from the Lord. When the time comes for us to return home, may we return as 'living stones' firm in faith, growing in hope with the love that will enable is to truly build the Kingdom of God."
In the picture, which shows the Blessed Sacrament Procession starting to form-up, our own Deacon Eddie is on the right-hand side of the Altar.
If you would like to follow the Pilgrimage click for The pilgrims Handbook.. The Livestream Camera for `Key events can be found HERE
The highlight of the parish's youth calendar, ROOTED Weekend Away, was held from the 7th to the 9th of July 2023 with 85 young people across the parish. Our theme for the weekend was "learning how to see". On Friday night, Aseel delivered a talk that focused on learning to see God's creation and our place in it - setting the scene for the Weekend. Saturday was packed with small group time, games, outdoor activities, workshops led by Sr Oneng and Fr Tristan, prayer, worship, adoration, and reconciliation. The weekend culminated in Mass on Sunday morning. It was such a blessed weekend, and the young people were engaged, respectful and great company all weekend.
A big thank you goes out to our volunteer team, who gave so much time to help make this weekend a success (half of whom were once young people at Rooted themselves!). We also thank all the supporters of Rooted, whether offering financial support or prayers – again, we couldn't do this without you.
We can't wait until next year. Bring on Rooted 2024!
Parents came together at St Joseph's Hall for a session on the Eucharist, the final meeting of the First Holy Communion preparation programme. Days before, they had joined their children at a Taught Mass. We look forward to the Masses across the parish on the 10th, 17th and 24th June when about 140 children will be receiving Holy Communion for the first time.
Thanks to a team of parents, Children's Liturgy is being offered every Sunday (during term-time) at the churches of St Joseph's, St Mary's and St Pius X. The group aims to provide the children with an adapted Liturgy of the Word in a context which encourages them to listen, pray and respond to the word of God within a safe place. We are happy to see a growing number of families joining us each week.
For more information, please click here.
The young people at Focus (for school years 10-13 that meets every Friday @ St Joseph's, 7-9pm) have set the agenda for this term. We asked them to share their burning questions about life or faith. We have then been able to categorise them into session titles. Pope Francis' new documentary where he talks to 10 young people from across the globe with their own questions are helping us in our conversations too. We really do have wonderfully engaged young people in this parish!
Over 80 of us, over three sessions (Tuesday morning, Tuesday evening on Zoom and Wednesday evening) we have been exploring how we can build a greater sense of belonging in our parishes, inspired by our Celtic heritage. If you'd like to find out more visit www.cpg.church/belongbelieve
HCPT Group 2 sends heartfelt thanks to all those who have supported us through prayer and fundraising to take three children to Lourdes this Easter. Our pilgrimage, or “holiday with Mary”, has been blessed with sunshine, joy and sharing in God's love.
You can find out more about the work of HCPT here:
If you, or anyone you know, might want to join us next Easter, please contact our Group Leader, JP, via: email@example.com
This year we offered the Way of the Cross for families across all four churches in the parish. Around 70 families joined us for Families Way of the Cross at St Joseph's. It was led and acted out by some of our wonderful young people (aged 10-17) from our three youth groups, Fearless, Fusion and Focus. Children are given a stations sheet that they complete as they travel around the live stations. We then all enjoyed some hot cross buns afterwards.