Parish Newsletter

Our Lady Help of Christians
4 Lady Margaret Road, Kentish Town
London NW5 2XT
9th August 2020 – 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Please also read the other important announcements
Fr John writes  and Fr John’s reflections

Letter Saturday 01 August 2020:

Dear Parishioners,

It is the custom in many parishes that August is a quiet month and all but essential parish  activities take a break. In some respects it appears that we have been taking a break since March, but for many of us these months have been quite tiring, especially emotionally, as we have had to come to terms with a new way of living with a new way of living our lives and the tension of not knowing from week to week what new impositions might be put upon us.

Just before writing this letter I heard that the government now require us to wear masks at church beginning next weekend.   If you are coming to church please bring your masks with you as you would do if you were going out to use public transport, go shopping etc. We will continue to use the ‘two metre  rule’ in the church and in the immediate vicinity of the building.   Please observe this, particularly when leaving the church.

The church will continue to open twenty minutes before Mass begins. Please come in good time so that everyone is in their place for the beginning of Mass.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our teams of stewards who have not only come early each week to ensure that we do all the necessary things to have a safe environment, but who stay on after to clean the church so that as best we can we keep it free from the coronavirus.   Thank you for your commitment over these weeks. Without you the church would not be open at all, and we are very grateful to you.

I wish you all a pleasant weekend.

Fr John

Mass intentions this week

All booked Masses will be honoured as near as possible, either
before or after the date for which they were originally booked.

Saturday 8th August

10:00am Mass of Sunday

6:00pm – Ron Sole

Sunday 9th August – 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time

9:00am – For the parish

11:00am – Kwasi Anim Boadu

On Saturday and Sunday Masses are open to all on a first come basis.
Accommodation is severely limited.

Monday  10th August

Church closed

Tuesday 11th August – Holy Souls

  Church closed

Wednesday 12th August

10:00am – Mass cancelled today to accommodate Funeral Mass
of Catherine Freeman, only mourners admitted by law.

Thursday 13th August – Holy Souls

Church closed

Friday 14th August – Holy Souls

Church closed

Saturday 15th August

10:00am – Mass of Sunday

6:00pm – Vigil Mass of Sunday,  Ron Sole

Sunday 16th August

    9:00am – For the Parish

 11:00am – Agnes Fernandes RIP

On Saturday and Sunday Masses are open to all on a first come basis.
Accommodation is severely limited.

Online Masses

See the Online Mass Schedule for churches in the diocese that are live streaming Mass and can be visited online at any time.

Sean Cranitch
c/o St Patrick’s School
Holmes RoadLondon NW5 3AH
July 16th 2020

Dear Parishioners,

I am retiring as Head of the parish school, St Patrick’s and I want to put on record my thanks for all the support that you have given the school and me in the course of my headship.

Many of you have had children at the school. Some of you have been children in the school. The life of the school and the parish are closely interwoven.

I am grateful to all those parishioners who have welcomed us to masses in the church and to all of you who contributed so generously some years ago, to buy more bibles for the children here.

I think of the wonderful celebrations we have had of important anniversaries for the school and for the church. And I think too of the Nativity plays that we have staged in the church and of the Epiphany Masses where children from the school have contributed to leading the worship, dressed up as the Kings or in national costume and wished the community Happy Christmas in lots of different languages. I will miss all that and am grateful for the warmth of the welcome that we always received from parishioners.

Most of all, I am grateful for your prayers. I know that we have featured regularly in those prayers, and though we are not next door to the church, I know this school is close to the hearts of so many parishioners.

I should put on record my heartfelt thanks to Father Tom Forde for his commitment to our school, as a governor and a chaplain. His warmth and dedication to the children was always in evidence. The many services and masses that he led here were notable for the strong sense that the children gained that they were precious to us and of course to God. He attended our weekly Parents Prayer Group and discussed the gospel with us too!

Father John Deehan has drawn on his deep knowledge of scripture to enlighten and enliven our discussions at the Friday group. This expert knowledge has also been in evidence at the staff meetings he has led for us. In masses at the school and in church, he has communicated the truths of the faith to the children in a serious, reassuring, good humoured way. Staff, governors and children really appreciate his contributions to school life.

And so farewell. Thank you very much for all you have done for us and for me.

God bless all of you always.

Sean Cranitch

Letter Wednesday 15 July 2020:

Dear Parishioners,

I am pleased to be able to tell you that since opening the church for Mass numbers of people attending are growing, but we still have capacity. Last week a total of 113 people came to our 4 weekend Masses, which represents about a third of our normal Mass count.

As numbers grow we have the possibility of opening the upper gallery but only if we have sufficient volunteers to be stewards and to help with cleaning after each Mass. As many of those who have volunteered in the past are now over seventy, we are appealing to those in the 20-60 year groups to come forward. Please contact me if you can help. I am normally at ‘front of house’ before Mass but not after, as I have responsibilities in the sacristy which must be attended to.

This weekend we are introducing Test and Trace. We will ask each individual, and one member of each household to write their name in our register and give their phone number when entering the church each time they come to Mass.

In the event of someone who has been present at Mass contracting Covid 19, the register will help the NHS contact anyone who is likely to be infected.

I must remind you that no one is obliged to give this information. If you do, and the NHS wish to contact you, they will phone or send a text and ask you to sign into their website.  They will call from 0300 013 5000 and the website is NHS Test and Trace.

Envelopes for the Offertory are now available, though we still ask you to consider standing orders if possible. This can be done on the parish website or we can give you a form. Thank you to all who have been contributing regularly or who have caught up recently.

With best wishes

Fr John

Letter Friday 10 July 2020:

Dear Parishioners, 

Welcome Back!

It was good to be able to welcome back a number of our parishioners to Sunday Mass last weekend. Though our capacity was severely reduced. We can accommodate 33 individuals + Ministers and Stewards (another 10)   but more if people come in household groups). Last weekend the Saturday evening Mass and the 11am Sunday Mass filled about half the allocated places so if you did not come you should find room at these Masses. At the 9am Mass we had almost a full house. We also had about half the church capacity at the 10am Mass on Wednesday.

Expanding our room

As time goes on and our congregation grows we have the possibility of expanding the number of places by using the upper gallery. However we can only do so if we can attract some new volunteers who will help to steward that area and do some cleaning after. Volunteers should be under 70 and not suffering from any underlying health conditions that would lay them open to infection or a severe reaction to the coronavirus.

If you would like to volunteer your time please phone me on 0207 485 4023 or better still email me at leaving your name, contact details and the Mass you would prefer to attend. I will get back in touch when enough people volunteer and provide a briefing session.  In the meantime many thanks to all those who have been acting as stewards and cleaners since the church has opened for private prayer.

Times of Masses

The church will continue to be open for Sunday Mass at the following times:

Saturday morning at 10am, Saturday evening at 6pm.

Sunday morning at 9am and 11am.

There will also be Mass on Wednesday morning at 10am.

If you can come to Mass during the week and so leave place for those who can only come at the weekend, please do so.

When we reach the stage of not having enough capacity we will put a ticketing system into operation.

Churches have now been asked to take part in the NHS Test and Trace programme.    Information on this will be available from next week.

For those who have not returned but may be thinking of coming this weekend, I include part of the letter I wrote last week.

The front door of the church will open about 20 minutes before Mass begins, when our volunteer stewards have arrived and made preparations. You will be admitted, one individual (or family group, etc) at a time and asked to clean your hands with sanitiser. Before you do that a basket will be available to leave your collection offering, as there will be no collection during Mass. We would like to handle as little cash as possible, so please consider making a standing order or donating online.

A steward will then take you to your seat, filling up the church in order from the front. If you wish to light a candle, ask the steward and they will arrange it for you.  No missalettes will be available for the time being. You may bring a Missal with you if you wish but please make sure you do not leave it behind.

The part of the Mass where you will notice most difference is the distribution of Holy Communion. The Priest will say, The Body of Christ, The Blood of Christ, and the congregation will reply both times, Amen.  After a time of silence he will say the Final Prayer and give the blessing, and you will receive Holy Communion as you leave the Church.

It is important at this stage that we do not crowd up on one another.  So you will be asked to wait until you are invited to leave, row by row. If you are not receiving Holy Communion you may leave by the centre doors. Please keep silence until you have left the porch and have moved away from the church entrance. Everyone must leave at this time so that the church can be cleaned by our volunteers.

Of course it is impossible to know how many people will wish to come next week. If unfortunately you cannot get in because the church is full, we will offer you a voucher so that you can jump the queue next week at the same Mass. We also regret that we cannot provide toilet facilities in the church for the time being.



If you wish to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation please get in touch with me to make an appointment.

First Communions

Congratulations to the young people who will finish their course of preparation this weekend and to the catechists who have continued to hold sessions by Zoom over the past weeks.

Parents should contact me for an appointment to come and see me to fix a date for First Reconciliation and Communion.     On account of the limited capacity of the church the number of guests we can accommodate is severely restricted.

Baptism and Confirmation

Unfortunately it is still not possible to perform all the rites associated with Baptism. We expect guidance from the Bishops’ Conference in the not too distant future. The same is true of Confirmation.

Keeping in touch

I am still happy to make contact with those who are self-isolating or unable to get out. If you know someone in this position please remind me to call them and let me have their number if I don’t have it.

New envelopes

New envelopes are being prepared and should be available in the next couple of weeks.    May I remind you that if at all possible please donate online to keep the risk of contamination to a minimum.

And finally, thank you to those who have kept in touch and called me to see how I was. Much appreciated! And  thanks as well to all who have continued to support the Parish financially  through Standing Orders, online donations or cash donations given at the church or presbytery.

As we enter this new and crucial stage of our management of the coronavirus may I wish you all the best.

Fr John

The Chair of the Finance Committee

Dear Parishioners, my name is Mark Holdsworth. I am a parishioner and also the Chair of our Church’s Finance Committee. I hope you are all as well as can be and staying safe in these trying and unprecedented times. The Finance Committee understands many of our parishioners may be experiencing immediate financial hardship and have concerns for their future due to the impact of the virus pandemic lockdown. We are therefore especially grateful to those of you who are still able to contribute to our offertory which goes to support our Church’s normal expenditure and maintenance.

Some of you have asked how they can continue to give in the offertory now that the church itself is closed. Due to Covid19 and the need for social distancing, we are unable currently to accept any cash donations, or envelopes containing such, to the church or presbytery. We kindly ask those that are able and willing to sign up to a standing order which means we get a further 25p from the government for every £1 you on the basis that you are UK tax payer. Or please simply make any or weekly one-off donations online and these will then go directly to our church.

Both standing orders and one-off donations can be done via this link which has easy-to-follow instructions

Yours faithfully, Mark Holdsworth, Chair of Finance Committee

Please also read the other important announcements
Fr John writes  and Fr John’s reflections