Are you new to the parish or ‘just visiting’?
If you are new to the parish or just dropping in for the once, we are very happy to see you.
Here are some of the questions you might have – and some answers:
Do I need to register?
No. If you live within the parish boundary (basically most of Staines) you are automatically a parishioner. If you are baptised, you are already registered as a member of the worldwide Church of which we are just a tiny part. If you start to worship here regularly, you are already becoming part of our parish community.
Do I need to pay?
No. The parish relies entirely on the support of its members. We don’t get anything from the diocese or the Vatican! So, whilst your financial support is needed and valued by us (see ‘supporting the parish’ post)– no one will go after you if you cannot or would rather not support us in this way!
Also, note that lack of funds is not a barrier to participating in any parish activity. Simply speak discretely to me (Fr. Philip) if there’s an activity you or your child wants to do but you cannot afford it.
Me/My child is not baptised, confirmed etc. What can I do?
Speak to me (Fr. Philip). We run regular courses for adults and children at different times of the year.
I’m after a place at a Catholic school – is it bad that I’m mainly going to church for this?
No, it’s not bad – but it does helps to be honest about it. It’s never wrong to want the best for your child – in fact it’s what you and God have in common – you both want the best for your children. Your desire for a Catholic education is one way that God is already drawing you close to her. So expect to be welcomed warmly yet challenged to reflect on your own faith.
I’m worried my child will play up – maybe I should leave them at home?
They may well play up – but this is quite natural. Certainly don’t let a bad experience put you off.
Try to arrive early and request to sit as near to the front as possible. People sometimes make a beeline for hall. This is a bad idea, as the wooden floor amplifies any noise. Others prefer a corner, out of the way – but why sit where your child cannot see? Up front they can see everything that happens – and if things go wrong, there is nothing to stop you popping out for a little walk and coming back in when they (or you) have cooled down!
You might want to bring a toy or book for very young children – but obviously avoid the noisiest, squeakiest toy they’ve got, even if it is exactly the one they want to bring!
We appreciate that every child is different and that bringing children to Mass is not always easy. If you are finding it particularly hard on any given occasion (or indeed every single week…), be assured that you are not alone.
How can I get to know other people?
Expect a friendly greeting at the door by our stewards. Parishioners are encouraged to acknowledge those sitting next to them, and to say hello to those they’ve never met before – and so are you! After Mass, stay for tea and coffee. If you don’t already know anyone, hang around in the vicinity of the patio/hall entrance or serving area and if no one talks to you, we failed that day. Parishioners are usually pretty friendly, but we can all get lazy and just chat to our friends – so keep coming back! Also, don’t forget to sign up for the next parish trip.