Vacancy for Part-time Premises Officer

13 Oct

St Mary’s is looking to employ a part-time premises officer to work at the Parish for two weekday mornings each week. The responsibilities of the post will be varied and will include:

  • day-to-day cleaning and tidiness of the parish hall;
  • supervision of the volunteer church cleaners;
  • minor maintenance within the buildings associated with the Parish;
  • monitoring the serviceability of the security, fire and smoke alarms;
  • routine health and safety recording, checking and reporting within the Parish;
  • general security of the entire site; general property administration of the premises;
  • and other related duties that are appropriate to the role of a premises officer.  

Induction and other relevant training for the post will be provided.

Click here to view/download the job specification

Click here to download an application form

For any enquiries, please call 01509 262123 or email The closing date for applications is Friday 27th October 2023.

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World Day for Grandparents & the Elderly

19 Jul

Pope’s Message for the Third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, Sunday 23 July 2023

“His mercy is from age to age” (Luke 1:50)

Dear brothers and sisters!

This is the theme of the Third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, and it takes us back to the joyful meeting between the young Mary and her elderly relative Elizabeth (cf. Lk 1:39-56). Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth addressed the Mother of God with words that, millennia later, continue to echo in our daily prayer: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (v. 42).

The Holy Spirit, who had earlier descended upon Mary, prompted her to respond with the Magnificat, in which she proclaimed that the Lord’s mercy is from generation to generation. That same Spirit blesses and accompanies every fruitful encounter between different generations: between grandparents and grandchildren, between young and old. God wants young people to bring joy to the hearts of the elderly, as Mary did to Elizabeth, and gain wisdom from their experiences. Yet, above all, the Lord wants us not to abandon the elderly or to push them to the margins of life, as tragically happens all too often in our time.

This year, the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly takes place close to World Youth Day. Both celebrations remind us of the “haste” (cf. v. 39) with which Mary set out to visit Elizabeth. In this way, they invite us to reflect on the bond that unites young and old. The Lord trusts that young people, through their relationships with the elderly, will realize that they are called to cultivate memory and recognize the beauty of being part of a much larger history.

Friendship with an older person can help the young to see life not only in terms of the present and realize that not everything depends on them and their abilities. For the elderly, the presence of a young person in their lives can give them hope that their experience will not be lost and that their dreams can find fulfilment.

Mary’s visit to Elizabeth and their shared awareness that the Lord’s mercy is from generation to generation remind us that, alone, we cannot move forward, much less save ourselves, and that God’s presence and activity are always part of something greater, the history of a people. Mary herself said this in the Magnificat, as she rejoiced in God, who, in fidelity to the promise he had made to Abraham, had worked new and unexpected wonders (cf. vv. 51-55).

To better appreciate God’s way of acting, let us remember that our life is meant to be lived to the full, and that our greatest hopes and dreams are not achieved instantly but through a process of growth and maturation, in dialogue and in relationship with others. Those who focus only on the here and now, on money and possessions, on “having it all now”, are blind to the way God works.

His loving plan spans past, present and future; it embraces and connects the generations. It is
greater than we are, yet includes each of us and calls us at every moment to keep pressing
forward. For the young, this means being ready to break free from the fleeting present in which
virtual reality can entrap us, preventing us from doing something productive.

For the elderly, it means not dwelling on the loss of physical strength and thinking with regret about missed opportunities. Let us all look ahead! And allow ourselves to be shaped by God’s grace, which from generation to generation frees us from inertia and from dwelling on the past!

In the meeting between Mary and Elizabeth, between young and old, God points us towards the future that he is opening up before us. Indeed, Mary’s visit and Elizabeth’s greeting open our eyes to the dawn of salvation: in their embrace, God’s mercy quietly breaks into human history amid abundant joy. I encourage everyone to reflect on that meeting, to picture, like a snapshot, that embrace between the young Mother of God and the elderly mother of Saint John the Baptist, and to frame it in their minds and hearts as a radiant icon.

Next, I would invite you to make a concrete gesture that would include grandparents and the
elderly. Let us not abandon them. Their presence in families and communities is a precious one,
for it reminds us that we share the same heritage and are part of a people committed to preserving its roots. From the elderly we received the gift of belonging to God’s holy people. The Church, as well as society, needs them, for they entrust to the present the past that is needed to build the future. Let us honour them, neither depriving ourselves of their company nor depriving them of ours. May we never allow the elderly to be cast aside!

The World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly is meant to be a small but precious sign of hope for them and for the whole Church. I renew my invitation to everyone – dioceses, parishes, associations and communities – to celebrate this Day and to make it the occasion of a joyful and renewed encounter between young and old.

To you, the young who are preparing to meet in Lisbon or to celebrate World Youth Day in your own countries, I would ask: before you set out on your journey, visit your grandparents or an elderly person who lives alone! Their prayers will protect you and you will carry in your heart the blessing of that encounter. I ask you, the elderly among us, to accompany by your prayers the young people about to celebrate World Youth Day. Those young people are God’s answer to your prayers, the fruits of all that you have sown, the sign that God does not abandon his people, but always rejuvenates them with the creativity of the Holy Spirit.

Dear grandparents, dear elderly brothers and sisters, may the blessing of the embrace between
Mary and Elizabeth come upon you and fill your hearts with peace. With great affection, I give you my blessing. And I ask you, please, to pray for me.

 Rome, Saint John Lateran

31 May 2023, Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary


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A Letter for Safeguarding Sunday from Bishop Patrick

12 May

The Diocese has designated Sunday 14th May as Safeguarding Sunday, an opportunity, writes Bishop Patrick,  to reflect a little on our ongoing journey as a diocese to build a safer environment for every person. 

To read the letter, click HERE 

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Pope Benedict XVI Requiescat in Pace

4 Jan

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who served as Supreme Pontiff from April 2005 to February 2013, has died aged 95, the Vatican has confirmed.

A short statement from Matteo Bruni, Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, said: “With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34am in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican.”

Bishop Patrick McKinney, on learning of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, writes:

An abiding memory I will have of Pope Benedict is how his quiet humility, warm charm, gentle eloquence, and love of Christ won over the hearts of the British people during his visit to the UK in 2010. May he rest forever in God’s merciful love.

On behalf of the Catholic Diocese of Nottingham, I wish to express our sadness at hearing of the death of Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI. May Christ Jesus, whom he served so generously, give him rest after his labours. Prayers and Masses will be offered for his happy repose in God’s eternal and merciful love.

Statement and Obituary

from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales:

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops’ Conference, said: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Pope Benedict. He will be remembered as one of the great theologians of the 20th century.

“I remember with particular affection the remarkable Papal Visit to these lands in 2010. We saw his courtesy, his gentleness, the perceptiveness of his mind and the openness of his welcome to everybody that he met.”

“He was through and through a gentleman, through and through a scholar, through and through a pastor, through and through a man of God – close to the Lord and always his humble servant.”

“Pope Benedict is very much in my heart and in my prayers. I give thanks to God for his ministry and leadership.”

The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales will celebrate Requiem Masses for the repose of the soul of the late Pope Emeritus in their cathedrals.

Prayer cards have been distributed to Catholic parishes throughout the two countries.


Benedict XVI was Pope for less than eight years – 19 April 2005 to 28 February 2013 – and became generally known in Britain as the second pope in history to visit the UK in 2010. The first such visit had been by Pope John Paul II to England, Wales and Scotland, in 1982.

Papal Visit in 2010

There were plenty of gloomy predictions for Pope Benedict’s visit: hostile demonstrations were expected, apologists for a new atheism resurrected a nickname for him as “God’s rottweiler”. But he was cordially welcomed by the Queen in Edinburgh and cheered by the crowds.

The turning-point that sealed the visit as a national success came on the second day: the Pope’s address to representatives of society, including parliamentarians, under the ancient beams of Westminster Hall. He spoke about “the legitimate role of religion in the public square” and he was listened to. He pressed the idea that “the Church and the public authorities can work together for the good of citizens” and he was applauded by David Cameron, the then-Prime Minister, and his predecessors Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, John Major and Margaret Thatcher. The Pope received a standing ovation as he walked down the great length of the hall.

The central purpose of the visit was to beatify – declare Blessed – the great 19th century English theologian Cardinal John Henry Newman. Some 55,000 people stood for hours in a grassy field at Cofton Park, Birmingham, in intermittent drizzle, for the Mass of Beatification. They sang Newman’s Praise to the Holiest in the Height and the liturgy to the music of James MacMillan. In his homily, the Pope mentioned that the day happened to be the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. “For me as one who lived and suffered through the dark days of the Nazi regime in Germany, it is deeply moving to be here with you on this occasion, and to recall how many of your fellow citizens sacrificed their lives, courageously resisting the forces of that evil ideology.”

As for Newman, the Pope singled out his “gentle scholarship, deep human wisdom and profound love for the Lord.” As he had recalled in 1990, he was inspired by Newman’s teaching on conscience as a seminarian at Freising after the War.

One other detail from that visit struck many television viewers: the evening prayer vigil, the night before the beatification, attended by the Pope in Hyde Park. It was not so much what was said, as the sight of 80,000 people silent for a good spell as they prayed before the Blessed Sacrament in a public place.

There is a website dedicated to Benedict XVI’s visit to the UK in 2010.

Early Years

This Pope who had won over British hearts was baptised Joseph Ratzinger on the day of his birth 16 April 1927 ‒ Holy Saturday ‒ at Marktl am Inn, in Bavaria, near the Austrian border. His mother had worked as a cook; his father was a policeman whose criticisms of the Nazis led to the family moving from one small town to another.

In 1943 Joseph was conscripted into anti-aircraft duties and later began training in the infantry. On 29 June 1951, he and his brother Georg were ordained priests.

Ratzinger’s thesis for his doctorate in theology from the University of Munich was on St Augustine’s idea of the People of God. His post-doctoral thesis in 1957 was on St Bonaventure, and this, to his alarm, he had to revise to satisfy the objections of one of the examiners, who saw in its approach to revelation a ‘dangerous modernism’, Ratzinger recalled.

Ratzinger taught theology at Freising and then in Bonn. From 1963 to 1966 he taught at Münster, and from 1966 to 1969 in Tübingen, where in 1968 he observed ‘a very violent explosion of Marxist theology’.

In 1969 he took up a professorship at the University of Regensburg.

In 1962, aged 35, he had accompanied Cardinal Josef Frings of Cologne as a peritus, or theological adviser, to the Second Vatican Council, attending all four sessions. Ratzinger’s insights into divine revelation as the source of Scripture and tradition, which had caused trouble in his post-doctoral thesis, found a place in the Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum.

In 1972, Ratinger joined Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henry De Lubac and others in founding the theological journal Communio.

Archbishop and Cardinal

In 1977, came a change in direction for his life, up to then directed towards theology. Pope Paul VI named him Archbishop of Munich and later that year he was made a cardinal.

Three years into his pontificate, in 1981, Pope John Paul appointed Cardinal Ratzinger as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the department of the curia responsible for promoting and defending the Catholic faith.

In that role, as during his years as pope, his position as a respected theologian proved invaluable. That was his métier and – in the professional life behind his hierarchical offices – his vocation.

In 1984, Ratzinger issued an instruction drawing attention to ‘certain forms of liberation theology which use, in an insufficiently critical manner, concepts borrowed from various currents of Marxist thought’. This was followed up two years later by a more positive instruction on ‘the Christian doctrine on freedom and liberation’ which lies ‘at the heart of the Gospel message’.

In the six years leading up to its publication in 1992, Cardinal Ratzinger headed the committee that drew up the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a project which had come out of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in 1985, encouraged by Pope John Paul II. It aimed at being an organic synthesis of the essentials of Catholic doctrine, as regards both faith and morals, in the light of the Second Vatican Council.

Ratzinger visited England in 1988 to give the annual Fisher lecture at the Catholic chaplaincy at Cambridge on ‘Consumer Materialism and Christian Hope’. When the chaplaincy was raising funds for a new chapel in 2005, Ratzinger, by then Pope, sent a donation of £2,000 from his own pocket.

At the funeral of Pope John Paul in 2005, as Dean of the College of Cardinals. he preached a homily, as he did at the Mass for those assembled to elect a new pope, when he said: “An ‘adult’ faith is not a faith that follows the trends of fashion and the latest novelty; a mature adult faith is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ.”

Elected Pope

On 19 April 2005, Cardinal Ratzinger, aged 78, was elected the 265th Pope, and chose the name Benedict. Commenting on this choice, he made reference to Pope Benedict XV (1914-22) as an apostle of peace, and to the monastic founder St Benedict of Nursia (480-547) ‘whose life evokes the Christian roots of Europe’. He was the first German pope in almost 1,000 years.

As a theologian, Ratzinger had long emphasised the role of Judaism in revelation and salvation history. As Pope, Benedict visited Auschwitz in 2006. He said of the Nazis: “By destroying Israel, they ultimately wanted to tear up the tap root of the Christian faith.”

The year after his election, Pope Benedict was caught up in a controversy regarding Islam. Invited to give a lecture at the Regensburg University, where he had spent happy years as a professor, he referred in passing to a dialogue in 1391 between a Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Palaeologus, and a Persian, in which the emperor had said: “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new and there you will find things only bad and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

This quotation was not intended to reflect the Pope’s own attitude, but critics thought he should have seen the potential for offence. Despite initial alarm, the lecture was followed by an open letter signed by 38 respected Muslim leaders declaring that they accepted the Pope’s “assurance that the controversial quote did not reflect his personal opinion”. A year later, 138 Muslim scholars published an open letter ‘A Common Word Between Us and You’, emphasising that Muslims and Christians worship the same God and should live in peace.

Encyclical Letters

Pope Benedict wrote three encyclicals. Deus caritas est (God is Love, 2005) discussed the positive value of two Greek words for love, eros and agape, and of the word for friendship, philia. The encyclical incorporated some work left unfinished by Pope John Paul II. In Spe Salvi (Saved by Hope, 2007) he explored the relationship between the virtue of hope and Christian redemption. Caritas in veritate (Love in Truth, 2009) covered aspects of social justice, global development and respect for the environment. Another encyclical, Lumen fidei (The Light of Faith) was finished by his successor, Pope Francis.

An unconventional aspect of Benedict’s pontificate was the publication of three devotional books on the life of Jesus written under his own name, Joseph Ratzinger, not intended to be part of his teaching as Pope.

Pope Benedict’s attitude to the liturgy was no unthinking reversion to ways of the past. In his youth he had been enthused by the reforming liturgical movement in Germany. Like his successor, Pope Francis, Pope Benedict was an admirer of Romano Guardini (1885-1968), who had encouraged lay participation in the Mass, with use of the vernacular, long before the Second Vatican Council.

Tridentine Rite

Benedict did not want to cut off Catholics who loved the older version of the Latin Mass, and in 2009 he issued an Apostolic Letter, Summorum Pontificum, which made it much easier for most priests to say Mass according to the version of 1962, the revised Tridentine Missal promulgated by Pope John XXIII, the instigator of the Second Vatican Council. In England and Wales an indult already existed that had made it possible for priests to use the older form. This remained the case until July 2021 when Pope Francis published the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes.


An exercise in ecumenism came in 2009 with the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. This made provision for personal ordinariates (a little like bishoprics of the armed forces) in which people from an Anglican background could retain some of their ‘heritage’ while being fully part of the Catholic Church. England proved to be the first place it was tried, with the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham being set up in January 2011.

St Hildegard of Bingen

In 2012, Pope Benedict canonised St Hildegard of Bingen, the 12th-century theologian, natural scientist and composer, and declared her a doctor of the Church. She was one of the few prominent woman in the medieval church and joined the ranks of Saints Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Sienna and Therese of Lisieux – just four women of the 35 saints – to be declared Doctors of the Church.

Evil of Abuse

Benedict felt personal pain in contemplating the evil of sexual abuse within the Church. From 2001 he had put the-then Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith at the service of the campaign to prevent further abuse. During the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday 2005, days before his election, he had exclaimed: “How much filth there is in the Church.” In 2010, writing to victims of sexual abuse in Ireland he said: “I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel.” He could only look to the example of Christ: “Like you, he still bears the wounds of his own unjust suffering.”

Praying for the Church

Pope Benedict was shy in manner. He did not wow vast crowds like John Paul II. He travelled nevertheless, taking trouble to be there for World Youth Day in Cologne (2005), Sydney (2008) and Madrid (2011). Like his brother Georg, a choirmaster, he appreciated church music and enjoyed playing the piano. Benedict was pleasantly taken by the music at Westminster Abbey, when he visited England, as he was by the outstanding choir of Westminster Cathedral.

He had a feeling for traditional clerical dress. Perhaps because he felt the cold he resumed the use of a fur-trimmed mozzetta in winter, but he showed an insight into the mystical significance of the ancient wool-scarf called the pallium that he donned when he became pope: “The lamb’s wool is meant to represent the lost, sick or weak sheep which the shepherd places on his shoulders and carries to the waters of life.”

Pope Benedict’s idea of a holiday was not mountaineering, like his predecessor, but spending a few days in a theological colloquium. He loved cats. His brother Georg remembered one that used to follow him to lectures at Tubingen.

Nothing in his pontificate took the world by more surprise than his announcing briefly, in Latin, on 11 February 2013 that his abdication would take effect at the end of the month. He would, at 85 years and 318 days, be the fourth oldest person ever to be Pope. He had long hoped for peace to study and write, but had repeatedly agreed to new duties laid upon him.

In 1997, at the age of 70, he had hoped that he might retire and devote himself to research in the Vatican archive. It was not to be. But in 2013 he saw, with brave realism, his increasing weakness in the face of the physical and mental demands of the papacy.

Benedict was to be known as Pope Emeritus, and he continued to wear a white cassock, but without the mozzetta and red shoes. The Ring of the Fisherman that he had used for his pontificate was formally destroyed.

He lived in a house in the grounds of the Vatican. He sometimes met Pope Francis, but he never meddled. He did what he said he would: he prayed for the Church.

Click here to read the Deed For Pope Benedict XVI

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Parish Census

20 May

As it is over 10 years since we carried out the last Parish Census, our parishioner database now needs updating. We are therefore inviting all households to complete the Parish Census Form issued by the Diocese, copies of which can be collected from the back of the church. You can also download and print the form by clicking the link below. Even if you have provided the information requested on the form in the past, we would ask you to do so again so that we can check that the details we hold for you are correct.

Please return your completed form to the presbytery as soon as possible and no later than 31st July 2022. If we have not heard from you by that date, any information you have previously provided will be removed from the database.

To download and print the census form (pdf file), please click here

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