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St Alban’s Catholic Church

North Finchley N12 7NN


In the time available we decided to insert a notice in our Parish Newsletter (available online and in paper form) directing parishioners to the Parish website and a document Share your Thoughts, with  shortened text, but using the themes and questions provided by RCDOW in a document of the same name.  In the event only 3 submissions were returned.

In addition to the above, 3 parishioners attended and contributed to the 3rd Synodal Conversation hosted at Farm Street on 10th February, 2024.

Parishioners replies to Share your Thoughts:


  1.  How do we witness as a Parish and proclaim our faith
  • To those who have never heard of Christ:

“We should start with ourselves as an inclusive, welcoming parish looking outwards to its local community and inwards to its own structures and liturgies, making these meaningful, relevant and practical expressions of the living Christ in today’s world, to ‘be’ Church.  Where these features are present, when the community expresses its faith both reverently and embracing the lived experience of the wider community, the Catholic community is strong. There are problems with the current hierarchical structures, with the attitude of the church to women and other groups.  Some Catholics will not return without change but we should do what we can locally.”

“We need to be fully inclusive to all in ways that are non-judgemental and loving in the 21st century.  We can do this by working at the margins in more radical ways whilst staying true to the traditions of the Church, especially Catholic social teaching.  Our church must be supportive and address current issues – mental health, cost of living, inequality, prejudice (race and gender).  The liturgy and Mass is important but community must see us in action outside as well as inside the church.”

Some ideas:

Organise outreach programs such as community events, social services, or educational initiatives to introduce people to the teachings of Christ in a welcoming and

non-threatening environment.

● Offer evangelistic courses or workshops where individuals can learn about Christianity in a structured setting.

● Support missionaries or partner with organisations involved in international missions to spread the Gospel in areas where Christ is not known.

Christian Peer Support Groups for Mental Health & Bereavement: The parish establishes peer support groups for individuals struggling with mental health challenges. These groups provide a safe and supportive environment where participants can share their experiences, receive encouragement, and learn coping strategies from others who have similar lived experiences. Trained facilitators, who may include mental health professionals or individuals with personal experience in mental health recovery, oversee the sessions. (Biblical Reflections, Prayer and Meditation, Community Support – pray for one another).

  • To those who have ceased walking with Christ

Some ideas:

Provide pastoral care and support for individuals who have drifted away from their faith, offering opportunities for reconciliation and spiritual renewal.

● Offer small group settings for discussions and reflection, where individuals can explore their doubts, struggles, and questions in a supportive community.

● Organise events or retreats focused on rediscovering the joy and meaning of a relationship with Christ, emphasizing God’s love, forgiveness, and grace.

Q&A sessions for people who either don’t know about Catholicism, or have contradictory thoughts or prejudices about the Catholic Church, for Christians of other denominations who are curious about the Catholic Faith and teachings, and for Catholics who need extra support to have a firmer faith in the Catholic doctrine.

  • To those with whom we worship Christ; to those who go to Church

Some ideas:

Encourage active participation in parish ministries and outreach activities, fostering a sense of community and belonging among church members. Providing courses and training members of the congregation who are willing to take up new ministries in mental health support and bereavement.

● Provide opportunities for spiritual growth and discipleship through Bible studies, prayer groups, or discipleship programs.

● Emphasize the importance of living out one’s faith in daily life, encouraging church members to be authentic witnesses of Christ’s love and compassion in their workplaces, schools, and neighbourhoods.

Praise and Worship Ministry: encourage choir participation in either live or remote sessions for those who are bed-bound, open a children choir, encourage more participation of individuals in the congregation who can do cantoring at mass.

● A Family and Spouses Ministry within a Catholic church serves as a vital support system for congregation members, recognizing the significance of the family unit as the cornerstone of society and the domestic church. This ministry provides a nurturing environment where families and spouses can strengthen their relationships, deepen their faith, and navigate the challenges of modern life in accordance with Catholic teachings. By offering a range of resources, workshops, and events tailored to the needs of families, this ministry fosters a sense of community and belonging, promoting the values of love, mutual respect, and solidarity within the family unit. Moreover, it serves as a beacon of hope and guidance for parents grappling with the complexities of raising children in an increasingly secular society, offering spiritual counsel, practical advice, and opportunities for fellowship. Through this ministry, families are empowered to live out their vocation with renewed vigour and purpose, embracing their role as witnesses to the Gospel and builders of God’s kingdom here on earth.

2. How should we organise ourselves as a Parish to do this more effectively?

“We need to reflect on what is needed for parishioners to become co-responsible , not in the sense of doing jobs, but daring to imagine, embracing the feeling that one’s whole person is properly ‘present’ to the parish, not just the ‘religious’ part.  A core group of parishioners might think about things strategic for the parish.  And we should have greater connections with neighbouring parishes.  Collaboration would be a good thing, not least because of falling numbers of priests, as a parallel to Deanery/Diocesan structures.  Some parishes could become ‘system leaders’.  I have had to alert committed and active friends in different parishes to the Diocesan Faith Sharing groups and the Synodal process.”

“As a teacher, I believe our work with young people and children is most important.  How can our church be a place for teenagers to develop socially, emotionally and spiritually.  Many young people feel lost, lacking loving communities/relationships and spend too much time online.”

“Encourage people to join up with emphasis on sharing what we have rather than perfection on all ministries such as music, reading, alter servers & helping out or just being present at social events.  A spirit of unconditional welcome as we are with a sense of loving humility & gratitude.”

Some ideas:

Establish Clear Goals and Objectives: Begin by defining specific objectives for outreach and evangelisation efforts, tailored to the needs of the parish community and the broader context in which it operates. Set measurable goals to track progress and evaluate the effectiveness of different initiatives.

● Form Ministry Teams: Create dedicated ministry teams or committees focused on different aspects of evangelisation, such as outreach to non-believers,

re-engagement of inactive Catholics, and nurturing the faith of active parishioners. Each team should have clear roles, responsibilities, and leadership structures.

Training and Formation: Provide ongoing training and formation opportunities for parishioners involved in evangelisation efforts, equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to share their faith effectively. Offer workshops, seminars, and retreats on evangelisation, catechesis, and pastoral ministry.

● Utilise Technology and Communication: Leverage modern technology and communication channels to reach out to individuals both within and outside the parish community. Maintain an engaging and informative parish website, utilise social media platforms, and utilise email newsletters to share information about upcoming events, resources, and opportunities for involvement.

● Foster a Culture of Hospitality and Inclusion: Create a welcoming and inclusive environment within the parish, where individuals from all backgrounds feel valued, accepted, and supported on their spiritual journey. Encourage hospitality at parish events, prioritise active listening and empathy, and celebrate the diversity of gifts and

experiences within the community.

Collaborate with Other Parishes and Organisations: Forge partnerships with neighbouring parishes, diocesan offices, and Catholic organisations to pool resources, share best practices, and coordinate outreach efforts. Collaborate on joint initiatives, such as evangelisation workshops, community service projects, or ecumenical gatherings, to amplify the impact of collective efforts.

Evaluate and Adapt: Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of parish evangelisation efforts through feedback mechanisms, surveys, and assessments. Identify areas of strength and areas for improvement, and be willing to adapt strategies and approaches based on changing circumstances and emerging needs.

Prayer and Discernment: Ground all parish activities in prayer and discernment, seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit in discerning God’s will for the community’s mission and ministry. Foster a culture of prayer within the parish, with regular opportunities for communal prayer, adoration, and reflection on Scripture.


  1. What concrete steps/formation opportunities would help us to begin to witness and proclaim our faith more effectively?

“I wonder if parishioners are aware of what ‘formation’ is.  Co-responsibility and formation were highlighted by the Bishops as relevant for consideration by participants in the Synodal discussions.  We need a core group of parishioners to begin to reflect on this.  It might need facilitation.”

“More accredited (and where possible funded) involvement of lay people in genuine ways/roles to facilitate different aspects in the church and actively in the community – outreach.”

“Maybe explore how we can expand the RCIA model to educate us about our faith, especially for cradle Catholics.

Possibly a book club even online to explore spiritual classics and wisdom from the mystics.

Maybe a questionnaire to discover what people are seeking alongside a shared team commitment so that no one gets burned out or excluded.”

2. What structures may need to change?  How might we need to develop the way we are organised currently?

“I think we need to move towards establishing a parish pastoral council.  Such a group would not duplicate the Finance Committee.”

“A shared integrated approach between clergy and laity.  Maybe spend time exploring The Acts of the Apostles and model our ways from that premise.  I sense we are in an exciting dynamic place now where we are being purged as a church to give more space for God’s grace to unite and strengthen.  Linked to the Vine and branches. 

Maybe a parish retreat, week of accompanied prayer and/or a simple pilgrimage to ignite us with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.”

“Using the church building more effectively and openly for the local community.  More effective and strategic well-being, pastoral and spiritual support for young people.  Allowing women, young people and those married to hold more prominent liturgical positions.  More intercultural and interfaith dialogue and practice at a local level.”

“It is high time priests be allowed to marry or have relationships.  The church needs to be open about it and not continue to be guided by century old ‘traditions’ that don’t work.”

“Income and expenditure account year end 31st December 2023”

The report shows a welcome surplus from previous years. This is due to our parishioners responding generously to our ‘planned giving’ appeal in summer 2022, and sustaining that generosity since then. It has also helped that our regular numbers attending this church has increased considerably over the last 18 months. This is a testimony to a vibrant faithful and welcoming faith community. It is important that our finances are in a healthy state. Like all households, rising costs affect all of us. You may notice how our gas and electricity use last year was more than double the previous year’s for example. Like all of you, we need also to save for capital projects that need doing and for the inevitable unexpected emergency.

It is evident also that the ‘tax refunds’ we receive from ‘Gift Aid’ is significant (£16k). However, we know this can be increased significantly if everybody who donates to our parish and qualifies to gift aid their offerings, did so. This is at no extra cost to the donor, an extra 25p in every pound could be claimed by the parish. If you think you can Gift Aid your offering please contact the parish office.

For those who are currently Gift Aiding, please let us know if your circumstances have changed since you started, such that you no longer pay tax on your income or savings. The parish can no longer claim tax refunds if you are no longer paying tax.

Ultimately though, the parish is about proclaiming the Glory of God. To that end, all the regular work of catechesis and teaching goes on; as does the work of prayer and visiting the sick and housebound, (Eucharistic Ministers) consoling the bereaved (Bethany Group) enlivening the liturgy (Music and lector ministries) Social gatherings (social committee) and faith sharing and welcoming. This weekend we begin our outreach to the homeless in Barnet with our Sunday night shelter. A huge response of over 40 volunteers will assist over the next two months to offer food, shelter and befriending to people in need of support. All of this, and more, speaks of a faith community alive and active. As we progress towards Easter, may the Risen Lord shower us with his Love and support.

Please find the link below to view or download the report, and a hard copy can be viewed in the church porch.

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

Women and the laity, diaconate, ministry and magisterium, peace and the climate, the poor and migrants, ecumenism and identity, new languages and renewed structures, old and new missions (including the “digital” mission), listening to all and probing everything more deeply, even the most ‘controversial’ issues. In the Synthesis Report approved and published today by the 16th General Assembly of the Synod on Synodality, there is a renewed look at the world and the Church and their demands. After four weeks of work, which began on 4 October in the Paul VI Hall, the General Assembly concluded its first session today in the Vatican.

The document of some forty pages is the result of the work of the assembly that 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” (Foreword).

To this challenge and many others, the universal Church has tried to offer a response in the Small Circles and in the interventions. Everything came together in the Synthesis Report, which is divided into a preface and three parts, and which traces the path for the work to be done in the second session in 2024.

Synthesis Report

XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops adopted the following Synthesis Report


Homes for Ukraine Matching Service

Caritas Social Action Network, in partnership with St John of God Hospitaller Services, an international Catholic Charity with many services for the vulnerable in the UK and Ireland, are matching Ukraine people displaced by the brutal war with people in the Catholic community willing to host them in their homes for six months. If you have a room in your home and in your heart to consider welcoming a stranger displaced by war, then we’d love to hear from you.

Please visit http://sjog-homesforukraine.uk/ for more information.


Sunday 9.30 am mass is live streamed. Special events, such as funerals, will also be live streamed on request.

Access via our You Tube channel – visit our channel here

Then click the video marked ‘LIVE NOW‘, usually at the top of the page

Please also visit the channel for recordings of services


Permission to stream music in our live stream services obtained from One License A735471


26th May 2024


Click here for the archive of old newsletters


The Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS) provides parish catechists with knowledge and understanding of theology and the Catholic faith. You can learn the course in person, by distance learning or online – details below:

Centers (in person learning)

Life-Light Home Study Courses (distance learning)
01844 351 514

CCRS Online (online learning)
0151 291 3055


The Children’s Liturgy of the Word is at the 9.30 Family Mass on Sunday.


Would you like to know more about the Catholic Church and its
Teachings? Perhaps you might be thinking of becoming a Catholic and want to
know how?

Or could YOU invite someone you know to BECOME a CATHOLIC? Please think about whether you have any friends, neighbours, relatives or work colleagues you could ask to join our parish – or maybe just to find out more about the Scriptures and the Catholic Church’s teachings? Invite them along to a group for adults which meets each Wednesday at 7.30pm in the Presbytery. In the meantime, why not ask them to come to Mass with you and introduce them to Fr Dermot? Or else email the Parish Secretary finchleynorth@rcdow.org.uk so someone can phone them to answer their questions.

You will be made very welcome.

This parish of St. Albans is able to continue to open its doors and conduct essential works and repairs thanks to the generosity and foresight of benefactors who chose to leave a gift in their will. This is an enduring way to express what the parish means to you or someone close to you. Gifts of every size make a difference and are gratefully received.

A gift in your will, left to a registered charity such as the St. Albans parish, is exempt from inheritance tax. Legacies may be left either for general purposes or for a specific use. A legacy for general purposes means that we are able to use your gift wherever it is most needed. But if there is an area of the parishes work which you would particularly like to support, you may of course request that it is used in this way.

Please visit the Donate to our Parish page if you are in a position to support the church financially at this time.

There is also a contactless device situated in the church porch which enables those who wish to donate in this fashion.


Every 4th Sunday of the month.

Please email Carole O’Reilly coreilly396@btinternet.com for more information as to how to join.

2024 Centering Prayer Flyer



Our postal address is 51 Nether Street, Finchley, N12 7NN. It is located 200 yards from Tally Ho Corner.

You can contact us on 020 8446 0224.

Our email address is finchleynorth@rcdow.org.uk

We’re keen to hear from you, so please feel free to contact us.