Calling All Young Singers


The Junior Choir is looking for children to join us (year 3 upwards). We sing together at the 9am Sunday Mass and also perform at other events during the year.

If you’d like to join, please see Francesca Sathan by the Sacristy after the 9am Mass on Sundays

Foundation Governor Recruitment

The vibrant Catholic Secondary School in Bishop’s Stortford that is St Mary’s is looking for practising Catholics who feel they have something to offer to this (x) year old institution to join the Board of Governors as a Foundation Governor.

It would be an advantage (but not essential) if you have skills in any of the following areas; facilities management, construction, communication or health & safety. The role is a 4 year tenure and requires attendance at 2 meetings per term plus occasional visits to school to meet with classes and subject teachers as well as attending training courses as required.

If you are interested in giving something back to this Outstanding School, please contact the Clerk to the Governors at

Interested in becoming a Street Pastor? Come along and find out more…

We are fortunate enough to have an active Street Pastor team in Bishop’s Stortford who go out on the streets most Fridays from 10pm – 2am and are supported in prayer back at the base by a Prayer Pastor. All those involved with this work believe passionately that it is a invaluable ministry to serve the community out on the streets at nights.

We are blessed to have:
• a team of 12 active (9 + 3 newly trained) passionate, committed Street Pastors from different churches in Bishop’s Stortford and Sawbridgeworth, who go out once a month, ranging in age from 26 to 87!
• 5 more resting Street Pastors eager to serve again when work and health will allow them,
• a passionate committed team of 3 prayer pastors praying once a month at base (10-12pm) and a wider group of Prayer Pastor supporters supporting this work by praying from home,
• a wonderfully appreciative limitless number of people on the streets who really value the work we do and marvel at why we do it. We enjoy the  endless thanks we receive and the occasional chance to have deeper discussions. They are always interested to hear why we serve in this way, to serve the night time community and God.

However, we would love to have more people interested in finding out about being a Street Pastor or Prayer Pastor as this would enable us to do more, including get back out to do a monthly patrol in Sawbridgeworth.

The Street Pastors’ will be  in the Windhill Churches Centre during the morning of Sunday 14th October to answer any questions about becoming a Street Pastor- please do come along after Mass to meet them.

Thank you !!

THANK YOU very much indeed for the very generous response to the SVP Kerala appeal last week. In total we are pleased to say that we raised a combined total of £1,846.11 (£1,469.15 from St Joseph’s, £250.86 from Holy Cross and £126.10 from Most Holy Redeemer).

We are still accepting donations, so if you missed out last week and would like to help to raise £153.89 to increase the total to a nice round £2k, please drop any donations to number 3.

Cheques can be made payable to’ SVP’.

Thank you very much.

‘Refugees: Where to Start? A Parish Response’ – Thursday 11th October

Join us for an evening of practical advice on understanding the nature and challenges of the refugee crisis and how parishes, groups and individuals can play their part in alleviating ‘the wounds of refugees’ (Pope Francis).

Bishop Paul McAleenan will be leading the event, and will be joined by other organisations including the Jesuit Refugee Service, Enfield Welcome Group, Notre Dame Refugee Service and the Haringey Migrant Support Centre, as well as many others.

The event will be held on Thursday 11th October, 7-9pm, at Vaughan House, 46 Francis Street, SW1P 1QN.

Tea and coffee will be available from 6.30pm. Please RSVP to, or call on 0207 798 9030.

Alternatively, you can register your attendance on Eventbrite, by searching for ‘A Parish Response to Refugees: Where to Start?’.

School Applications and the Certificate of Catholic Practice

ST MARY’S SCHOOL OPEN EVENING for prospective Year 7 students for 2019 takes place on Wednesday 26th September 2018 at 6pm – 8.30pm.An application for admission must be made by the parents / carers of a child in Year 6 to the Local Education Authority in which they live. Hertfordshire residents must use the form supplied by Hertfordshire County Council available at Essex residents must use the form supplied by Essex County Council .

The deadline for these applications is 31 October 2018. A Supplementary Information Form (SIF) should be completed and returned to the Admissions Officer, Mrs M Gravenor –by email or by post, no later than 31 October 2018.

ST JOSEPH’S PRIMARY SCHOOL RECEPTION APPLICATIONS will open on 5/11/2018 and close on 15/1/2019. We have been advised that a Certificate of Catholic Practice IS REQUIRED as part of the St Joseph’s reception application process. The process for Nursery applications will be advised in due course.

CERTIFICATE OF CATHOLIC PRACTICE– Applicants for St Joseph’s School for RECEPTION places in 2019 should collect a white ‘embossed’ application form for a certificate  from No 3 Windhill, the Sacristy or the Parish Office in person. Once completed it should then be posted through the letter box of No 3 Windhill marked for Fr Peter’s attention with a stamped addressed envelope please. The Certificate will then be posted to you. The School deadline is 15/1/2019

Deanery Pilgrimage to Krakow

Deanery Pilgrimage to Krakow 26th May–1st June 2019 with Fr Philip Miller and Northern Star Travel.

Price is £700- and further info is available with booking forms by the newsletters.

Deadline is 31st October for submitting booking forms and £200- deposit direct to Northern Star.

But please also ring Hoddesdon Presbytery (01992-440986) to let Fr Philip know that you are booking

Ecumenical Peace Vigil at Holy Cross

We will be holding the Ecumenical Peace Vigil again this year at Holy Cross/ St Andrews on Sunday 23rd September at 3pm.

It will be a chance for reflection and prayer led jointly by Fr Carlos and Reverend Steve.


Everyone is very welcome

Inter faith Network

Inter Faith Group for NW Essex


Discussion group, for people of faith & none (Christian & No religion, Muslim & Hindu, Sikh & Buddhist, Jewish & Other religions)

All welcome

Tuesday 2nd October 2018
6:30pm – 7:30/8pm
‘Our Lady of Compassion’ Parish Hall,
2 Castle Street, Saffron Walden.
(Meetings every first Tuesday).

‘Inter Faith Group for NW Essex’ (see Facebook)
Shawn 07902 213 503;;;;

2018 Mass Count

The Annual Mass count this year will take place on the last two weekends of September and the first two weekends of October


CAFOD speaker from Zambia Wednesday 19th Sept 2.30pm, Oakwood North London.

CAFOD will be hosting a supporter’s information afternoon with a special guest speaker, Sr Clara, who has first- hand experience of delivering our work in Zambia.

Listen to the inspiring Sr Clara explain, how CAFOD is helping communities, thanks to your support.

The meeting will take place from 2.30 – 4.30pm at CAFOD’s volunteer centre, 1st floor, Catholic Church of Christ the King, 29 Bramley Road, London N14 4HE

Bookings taken on 0208 449 6970 or e mail

Foundation Governor Vacancy


at St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary, Bishop’s Stortford

From September 2018 we have a Foundation Governor space on our Board that needs filling. The Board is made up of 9 Catholic Foundation Governors appointed by the Diocese; 2 Parent elected Governors; 2 staff members including our Headteacher; 1 Local Authority appointed Governor; and 2 Governors that we co-opt for their required skills. Every Governor appointment is for a period of four years but most of our Governors remain for more than one period of appointment.

Our Governing Body is hard working and everyone must attend the Full Meetings held on Monday evenings between 7.30 and 9.30pm every half term (6 per year). If you join the Finance and Premises Committee then they also meet every half term on a different Monday evening. We have other Committees that meet during the school day. There is a great deal of reading and documents are shared via the secure school e-mail system. Please look at the Governor section of the school website for more details.

Every Governor must have a clear Enhanced DBS check (formerly known as CRB) that we will undertake and every Governor must sign up to our Code of Conduct. The Code deals with how we must all behave and, importantly, confidentiality is crucial on many occasions.

Governors have a strategic role in the school: we are here to ensure clarity of vision and ethos; hold the Headteacher to account for educational and staff performance; oversee financial performance; and safeguarding. We are not here to get involved with the day to day running of the school.

As you may be aware, we have the great opportunity of having a new school built within the next 2 year period. If you have skills relating to law, then we would encourage you to put yourself forward.

If you are interested and would like to discuss the matter further, then you
can e-mail and I can arrange to call you at a convenient time.

Suzanne Fitzgerald, Chair of Governors

Help needed at the Food bank

The Food Bank is in need of volunteers.
HOURS 9-30-11.30 or 11.30-13.00 . Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday
If you can spare an hour or too contact Food Bank on 074327 85976 or email

Thank you

Beginning Experience

There is a healing weekend for men and women who find themselves single again following separation, divorce or the death of a partner at the Domus Mariae Centre, Chigwell, Essex from 5th to 7th October 2018.

For more details please contact Freda 01322-838415 or Sandra 01293-783965 or email

The weekend contains a carefully-structured programme which encourages the participants to acknowledge their grief and to recognise that their feelings are normal and shared by others. They may then choose to close the door gently on the past and so begin to face the future more positively.

Welcome back!!

Welcome back!! to our fabulous Refreshment Team Volunteers who generously give their time providing tea, coffee and friendship after Mass each week at St Josephs and to Father Carlos who returns from his holiday later this week – we’ve missed you!

Thank you also to Fr Stewart Foster who joins us this weekend from Brentwood Diocese.

Adoremus: London – For those unable to travel to Liverpool


A day with the Lord for those unable to travel to Liverpool
The Diocesan Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament
7:00AM Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
all day until 5:30pm
12:00PM Solemn Sung Mass
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
4:30PM Holy Hour
with devotions by Msgr Ronald Knox
5:30PM Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
6:00PM Vigil Mass of Sunday
Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, London, WC2E 7NB | 020 7836 4700

CAFOD Supporters Morning

CAFOD Supporters Morning – Saturday 8th Sept 10am-1pm, Lambeth North.

CAFOD will be hosting a supporter’s information morning with a guest speaker who has first- hand knowledge of our work in Uganda. Uganda is the country we are focusing on this Harvest Fast Day.

Come and hear how CAFOD is helping communities, thanks to your support.

Meeting will take place from 10am – 1.00pm at CAFOD’s Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7JB
Bookings taken on 0208 449 6970 or e mail

Pope Francis: Film – A Man Of His Word on Monday 24th September at 2pm & 7.30pm at the Rhodes Arts Complex

Pope Francis: A Man of His Word (12a)


Starring | Pope Francis, Joe Biden, Evo Morales.
A documentary film produced, co-written and directed by Wim Wenders, focusing on the life and goals of Pope Francis, the 266th and current Pope and sovereign of the Vatican City State. Pope Francis travels the world speaking to those in need and delivering a message of hope.

Tickets | £8, Concessions £6
Running time | 1h 36m
Book online |
Box Office | 01279 710200

Resonate Weekend Retreat

RESONATE WEEKEND RETREAT –organised by Westminster Youth Ministry-Looking to take a step back from the busy modern life and explore the ways your faith can energise your day to day? Why not join us for an 18-35 young adults weekend retreat to do just that? Situated in the picturesque and tranquil grounds of Waxwell Farm, Pinner, the retreat will focus on taking the profound theology of our faith and exploring how it can be practically lived out in our 21st century world. A healthy mix of talks, discussion and reflection time will enable you to really break open these topics and give time for you to discern what this looks like on a personal level. The price for the retreat is £100 with a £15 discount for those registering before the 7th September includes accommodation & food. Places are limited so don’t miss this fantastic opportunity! For more info see our web site or the link below


As you’ve probably seen in the media, terrible floods have been taking place in Kerala in southern India. Hundreds of people have been killed and many more are missing; countless homes have been washed away, and the monsoon season is set to continue until early September.

Kerala is the most Christian state in India – it has more Churches than any other region.

The leading Catholic volunteering charity, the St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP), is very active there and they are doing great work helping the victims of the flood in local communities. However, they desperately need funds.

Please contribute to the SVP’s Kerala appeal.

To donate visit telephone 020 7703 3030 or send cheques made out to ‘SVP’ (write ‘Kerala appeal’ on the back) to SVP, Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7JB or please drop through the door of number 3 Windhill and we will coordinate.

Next weekend 8/9th September we shall have a retiring collection for Kerala

Please remember our sisters and brothers in Kerala in your prayers

Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis to the People of God

Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis to the People of God

‘If one member suffers, all suffer together with it’ (1 Cor 12:26). These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons. Crimes that inflict deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, primarily among the victims, but also in their family members and in the larger community of believers and nonbelievers alike. Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated. The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults.

1. If one member suffers…

In recent days, a report was made public which detailed the experiences of at least a thousand survivors, victims of sexual abuse, the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests over a period of approximately seventy years. Even though it can be said that most of these cases belong to the past, nonetheless as time goes on we have come to know the pain of many of the victims. We have realized that these wounds never disappear and that they require us forcefully to condemn these atrocities and join forces in uprooting this culture of death; these wounds never go away. The heart-wrenching pain of these victims, which cries out to heaven, was long ignored, kept quiet or silenced. But their outcry was more powerful than all the measures meant to silence it, or sought even to resolve it by decisions that increased its gravity by falling into complicity. The Lord heard that cry and once again showed us on which side he stands. Mary’s song is not mistaken and continues quietly to echo throughout history. For the Lord remembers the promise he made to our fathers: ‘he has scattered the proud in their conceit; he has cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty’ (Lk 1:51-53). We feel shame when we realize that our style of life has denied, and continues to deny, the words we recite.

With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives. We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them. I make my own the words of the then Cardinal Ratzinger when, during the Way of the Cross composed for Good Friday 2005, he identified with the cry of pain of so many victims and exclaimed: ‘How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to [Christ]! How much pride, how much self-complacency! Christ’s betrayal by his disciples, their unworthy reception of his body and blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces his heart. We can only call to him from the depths of our hearts: Kyrie eleison – Lord, save us! (cf. Mt 8:25)’ (Ninth Station).

2. … all suffer together with it

The extent and the gravity of all that has happened requires coming to grips with this reality in a comprehensive and communal way. While it is important and necessary on every journey of conversion to acknowledge the truth of what has happened, in itself this is not enough. Today we are challenged as the People of God to take on the pain of our brothers and sisters wounded in their flesh and in their spirit. If, in the past, the response was one of omission, today we want solidarity, in the deepest and most challenging sense, to become our way of forging present and future history. And this in an environment where conflicts, tensions and above all the victims of every type of abuse can encounter an outstretched hand to protect them and rescue them from their pain (cf Evangelii Gaudium, 228). Such solidarity demands that we in turn condemn whatever endangers the integrity of any person. A solidarity that summons us to fight all forms of corruption, especially spiritual corruption. The latter is ‘a comfortable and self-satisfied form of blindness. Everything then appears acceptable: deception, slander, egotism and other subtle forms of self-centeredness, for “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14)’ (Gaudete et Exsultate, 165). Saint Paul’s exhortation to suffer with those who suffer is the best antidote against all our attempts to repeat the words of Cain: ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ (Gen 4:9).

I am conscious of the effort and work being carried out in various parts of the world to come up with the necessary means to ensure the safety and protection of the integrity of children and of vulnerable adults, as well as implementing zero tolerance and ways of making all those who perpetrate or cover up these crimes accountable. We have delayed in applying these actions and sanctions that are so necessary, yet I am confident that they will help to guarantee a greater culture of care in the present and future.

Together with those efforts, every one of the baptized should feel involved in the ecclesial and social change that we so greatly need. This change calls for a personal and communal conversion that makes us see things as the Lord does. For as Saint John Paul II liked to say: ‘If we have truly started out anew from the contemplation of Christ, we must learn to see him especially in the faces of those with whom he wished to be identified’ (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 49). To see things as the Lord does, to be where the Lord wants us to be, to experience a conversion of heart in his presence. To do so, prayer and penance will help. I invite the entire holy faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting, following the Lord’s command.[1] This can awaken our conscience and arouse our solidarity and commitment to a culture of care that says “never again” to every form of abuse.

It is impossible to think of a conversion of our activity as a Church that does not include the active participation of all the members of God’s People. Indeed, whenever we have tried to replace, or silence, or ignore, or reduce the People of God to small elites, we end up creating communities, projects, theological approaches, spiritualities and structures without roots, without memory, without faces, without bodies and ultimately, without lives.[2] This is clearly seen in a peculiar way of understanding the Church’s authority, one common in many communities where sexual abuse and the abuse of power and conscience have occurred. Such is the case with clericalism, an approach that ‘not only nullifies the character of Christians, but also tends to diminish and undervalue the baptismal grace that the Holy Spirit has placed in the heart of our people’.[3] Clericalism, whether fostered by priests themselves or by lay persons, leads to an excision in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today. To say ‘no’ to abuse is to say an emphatic ‘no’ to all forms of clericalism.

It is always helpful to remember that ‘in salvation history, the Lord saved one people. We are never completely ourselves unless we belong to a people. That is why no one is saved alone, as an isolated individual. Rather, God draws us to himself, taking into account the complex fabric of interpersonal relationships present in the human community. God wanted to enter into the life and history of a people’ (Gaudete et Exsultate, 6). Consequently, the only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God. This awareness of being part of a people and a shared history will enable us to acknowledge our past sins and mistakes with a penitential openness that can allow us to be renewed from within. Without the active participation of all the Church’s members, everything being done to uproot the culture of abuse in our communities will not be successful in generating the necessary dynamics for sound and realistic change. The penitential dimension of fasting and prayer will help us as God’s People to come before the Lord and our wounded brothers and sisters as sinners imploring forgiveness and the grace of shame and conversion. In this way, we will come up with actions that can generate resources attuned to the Gospel. For ‘whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 11).

It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable. Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others. An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion.

Likewise, penance and prayer will help us to open our eyes and our hearts to other people’s sufferings and to overcome the thirst for power and possessions that are so often the root of those evils. May fasting and prayer open our ears to the hushed pain felt by children, young people and the disabled. A fasting that can make us hunger and thirst for justice and impel us to walk in the truth, supporting all the judicial measures that may be necessary. A fasting that shakes us up and leads us to be committed in truth and charity with all men and women of good will, and with society in general, to combatting all forms of the abuse of power, sexual abuse and the abuse of conscience.

In this way, we can show clearly our calling to be ‘a sign and instrument of communion with God and of the unity of the entire human race’ (Lumen Gentium, 1).

‘If one member suffers, all suffer together with it’, said Saint Paul. By an attitude of prayer and penance, we will become attuned as individuals and as a community to this exhortation, so that we may grow in the gift of compassion, in justice, prevention and reparation. Mary chose to stand at the foot of her Son’s cross. She did so unhesitatingly, standing firmly by Jesus’ side. In this way, she reveals the way she lived her entire life. When we experience the desolation caused by these ecclesial wounds, we will do well, with Mary, ‘to insist more upon prayer’, seeking to grow all the more in love and fidelity to the Church (SAINT IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA, Spiritual Exercises, 319). She, the first of the disciples, teaches all of us as disciples how we are to halt before the sufferings of the innocent, without excuses or cowardice. To look to Mary is to discover the model of a true follower of Christ.

May the Holy Spirit grant us the grace of conversion and the interior anointing needed to express before these crimes of abuse our compunction and our resolve courageously to combat them.

Vatican City, 20 August 2018


August Letter from Cardinal Vincent Nichols

August 2018 Letter from the Cardinal



22 August 2018


Dear Father

As a priest and bishop, I have found the last few weeks both shocking and distressing. I am sure that you will have, too.

The plain and detailed disclosure of the extent of the abuse of children which has taken place in various parts of our Church, over so many years, has been so painful to follow and to take to heart. Yet to do so is absolutely necessary.

The initial response of Pope Francis was that of ‘sorrow and shame’. I fully share that response.

I am so sorry for the hurt that has been caused, primarily to those whose lives have been radically damaged by childhood abuse, to their families, and to those who know personally a deep sense of trust that has been betrayed.

I am utterly ashamed that this evil has, for so long, found a place in our house, our Church. This evil has particular abhorrence because not only is it a terrible abuse of power, but also because, in its evil, it both employs and destroys the very goodness of faith and trust in God. As a Father in this House, I bear this shame in a direct way, for it is the direct responsibility of a father to protect his household from harm, no matter how difficult and complex that might be.

On Monday, Pope Francis, our Holy Father, addressed a letter to all members of the Church. I am sure you will have read it. Please urge your people to read it, too. It is available in many places and, in its entirety, on the website of the Diocese of Westminster. The Pope’s Letter begins with a quotation from St Paul: ‘If one member suffers, all suffer together with it’ (1 Cor. 12.26). In doing so, he reflects on the ways in which we have paid insufficient attention to the suffering of those who have been abused, and on the ways in which we have to tackle this together, starting with the renewal of holiness which comes only with prayer and penitence.

Let us read this Letter over and over again. It has so much to give us.

I share these thoughts with you as they have been constantly on my mind in these last weeks and days. Please be sure of my prayers for you. Please do share this letter, or these thoughts, with your people in the way you think best.

Let us turn to the Lord in our sorrow and shame, remembering the words of the Prophet Isaiah from Tuesday’s Office of Readings: ‘If you do not stand by me, you will not stand at all’ (Is. 7.9).

And let us pray for the renewal of family life through the World Meeting of Families, this weekend, so that all family life may find strength and joy in standing with the Lord!

With my renewed prayers and best wishes,

Yours devotedly



+ Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster