Liturgy

Prayer and liturgy is at the heart of all we do at St Joseph’s. The celebration of the Eucharistic – Holy Mass – is our preeminent liturgy. Mass is celebrated in our church every day: typically at 10.00am on weekdays, 10.30am and 5.30pm on Sundays, with a vigil Mass at 5.30pm on Saturdays (please check the latest newsletter for any changes).

The second Vatican Council reminds us that Mass is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life’. Participating in Mass deepens our relationship with Jesus, binds our parish community together and empowers us to go out into the world and show God’s love to all we encounter.

Our parish statement of aspirations includes a desire for all to ‘participate in spiritually enriching liturgies’. We do not want people in our congregation to be passive observers but faithful participants in the Lord’s Supper. All our liturgies aim to engage everyone and help them enter into an ever-closer relationship with God. Over time, we are looking at widening the range of liturgies we offer and their style, although maintaining their quality will always be our first priority.

There are many ways to get more involved in the liturgical life of our parish. We are always seeking new welcomers, readers, servers, eucharistic ministers, musicians, singers and flower arrangers. All of these roles make a unique and valued contribution to our liturgies. We are committed to developing these ministries and strive to support all those undertaking them.

The Season of Easter

The Resurrection of Christ is the foundation of our faith and hope. The abundance of Paschal joy overflows so that the fifty days from Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection to Pentecost Sunday are celebrated in exultation as one feast day, as one ‘great Sunday’. These are the days above all others in which the Alleluia is sung. The first eight days of Easter Time constitute the Octave of Easter and are celebrated as Solemnities of the Lord.

The Paschal candle remains in place either by the ambo or by the altar, and is lit for all liturgical celebrations of the season until Pentecost Sunday. In Easter Time, the first reading at Mass is taken from the Acts of the Apostles, rather than from the Old Testament.

You can read this month’s resource or download and print the booklet on the Diocesan website here.

Music

Singing and music often play an important part in liturgies at St Joseph’s. The letters of St Paul make it clear that singing formed an integral part of Christian worship from the earliest days of the Church and the ancient proverb reminds us that ‘One who sings well prays twice’.

A variety of musicians, cantors and choirs help to enhance the liturgy and we are always looking out for new recruits. The best way to get involved is simply to talk to the musicians after Mass, especially if you enjoy the style of music they use.

Psalms for May

The Easter Season continues for the first half of May, ending with the feast of Pentecost. This is the first of three Sunday feast days, including The Most Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi (at the beginning of June)..

Sixth Sunday of Easter (psalm 97) – Sunday 5th May

Today’s psalm is also the one for Christmas Day; both occasions call for rejoicing and praise of God. Psalm 97 acknowledges the salvific nature of what God has done for all of us, leading to an outpouring of joyful music and song. The response is: The Lord has shown his salvation to the nations, to the nations.

The Ascension of the Lord (psalm 46) – Thursday 9th May

The response to this psalm – God goes up with shouts of joy; the Lord goes up with trumpet blast – is an obvious link with the events of the Ascension. Psalm 46 celebrates God’s reign over all peoples, with Jesus taking his place on the heavenly throne. The Lord ascends with ‘trumpet blast’; chapter 24 of St Matthew’s Gospel tells us that the Son of Man will also return to the sound of angelic trumpets.

Seventh Sunday of Easter (psalm 102) – Sunday 12th May

The final Sunday of Easter gives us a last opportunity to express our praise and gratitude to God with another appropriate psalm. Interestingly, psalm 102 is the most commonly occurring in the lectionary for Sundays and major feast days. The response is: The Lord has set his sway in heaven.

Pentecost (psalm 103) – Sunday 19th May

It is not hard to see why psalm 103 is chosen for Pentecost. It includes a clear invocation to God to send his Spirit to us, just as it was sent to the disciples on the first Pentecost. Their response led to the creation of the Church. The Pastoral Plan and on-going Synod on Synodality remind us of our duty to participate in the on-going renewal of the Church. The response is: Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

The Most Holy Trinity (psalm 32) – Sunday 26th May

Psalm 32 references the Trinitarian nature of God. The Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is subtly woven into the psalm’s imagery. The Son is included as the ‘Word of the Lord’ (as in the opening of St John’s Gospel) and the Spirit in evoked in phrases such as ‘the breath of his mouth’. The Father’s power and role as Creator feature throughout the psalm; for example: ‘He commanded; they sprang into being’. The response is: Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

The psalm settings used here are composed by Chris Donovan, with Terry Donohoe as cantor. You can find settings of the psalms for every Sunday and major feast day by clicking here. Psalm texts are from The Psalms: A New Translation © 1963 The Grail (England), published by HarperCollins.

Children’s Liturgy of the Word

Every Sunday during school term we offer a special liturgy for children aged 3 to 6 at the 10.30am Mass.

Parents drop their children off on arrival at the Westlake Room (adjacent to the main hall). Children re-join their families during the offertory.

Typically, the liturgy includes song, prayer, Gospel reading and an interactive reflection. It aims at fostering children’s awareness of God in a way that is appropriate to their faith development.

Children’s Liturgy is not a class as such. Our aim is to gently lead younger members of the congregation into the worshipping community.

Flower Arranging

The flower arranging team are a dedicated group who endeavour to make our place of worship an attractive and thoughtful setting for meaningful prayer.

We work on a rota system during those periods during the liturgical year when floral decorations are permitted. At Christmas and Easter we work closely together ahead of the most important celebrations in the church year.

Below you can see some photos of our preparations for this Christmas (see also our Facebook page). We also used this opportunity to provide training for some of our new members. If you would like to get involved please contact the parish office and someone will get in touch with you.

Formation

Please check here regularly for details of formation courses being run by the Parish or Diocese.

Bereavement

The death of a loved one, or other kinds of loss, can be a bewildering and devastating experience and may bring about very strong emotions. People grieve in different ways. Some seem to cope well initially, but find it more difficult later. Some have more difficulties at the beginning.

Be gentle with yourself whatever feelings and reactions you are experiencing. Grief is a very personal experience and there is no right or wrong way to feel. We are all different and deal with things in different ways. It is important to allow yourself time to grieve in a way that feels right for you. It is normal to feel angry, or guilty or very alone. Life may feel as if it has no purpose.

Take things one day at a time!

DO

Keep in touch with family and friends by phone, text, email or letter.

Get rest, fresh air, sunlight and exercise when possible.

Keep a regular routine.

Accept practical help from others.

Talk about your feelings and the loss you have experienced.

Do allow Jesus to comfort you.

If you need to access bereavement support, we have volunteers who are trained in consolation support within the Parish. Please contact the Parish office if you would like to speak to a member of the Ministry of Consoltation team.

BEREAVEMENT CAFE

Bereavement grief comes in all different aspects and we are never sure when or where it will strike. At this time we can feel very alone and that we are the only one going through this. This is not the case. Please come along and join us on the last Monday in the month. We meet in the Fr. Chatterton room at 10-30 a.m. after morning Mass. We offer a warm, inviting space where you can share a cup of coffee, a listening ear, and friendship. Please feel free to bring a family member or friend with you.

Prayer – communication with our Heavenly Father

These resources are here to inspire you to spend some time with our Lord whether alone or with a group. Keep checking back for updates and new prayers. Either stay here awhile and talk to our Lord or use the links below to guide you through the stations of the cross or pray the rosary.

Pope Francis has declared that 2024 should be a Year of Prayer ahead of the 2025 Jubilee. He has called on the faithful ‘to intensify prayer to prepare us to live well this event of grace and to experience the power of God’s hope.’ The Holy Father explained that the Year of Prayer is dedicated ‘to rediscovering the great value and absolute need for prayer, prayer in personal life, in the life of the Church, prayer in the world.’

The Pilgrims of Prayer booklet

The Jesuits have produced a ‘Pilgrims of Prayer’ booklet, which you can find here. It introduces exercises that you may find useful in your own prayer life.

There are many exercises for improving our physical health and wellbeing. Ignatius of Loyola wrote what he called the Spiritual Exercises, a variety of ways of praying to develop our spiritual health and wellbeing, our relationship with God and the world.

Just like physical exercise, if we talk about it but don’t actually engage in any exercise, our endeavour will not be very fruitful! The Pilgrims of Prayer booklet introduces exercises that you may find it useful to practise, with short chapters on the Morning Offering, the act of the presence of God, the four anchor points of prayer, Lectio Divina, imaginative contemplation, the Examen, and praying with art.

Prayer to say while we cannot attend Mass in person

My Jesus,
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.

St Alphonsus Maria de’Liguori

Prayer for our Diocese

Lord, the Word who is Life.
May all the people of our Diocese
grow in openness
to the power of the Holy Spirit,
so that through a growth in understanding and courage,
and truly open to your call,
we may bear powerful witness
to all around us,
for you are Lord for ever and ever.
Amen.

Prayer for the Synod

We stand before You, Holy Spirit,
as we gather together in Your name.
With You alone to guide us,
make Yourself at home in our hearts;
teach us the way we must go
and how we are to pursue it.
We are weak and sinful;
do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path,
nor partiality influence our actions.
Let us find in You our unity
so that we may journey together to eternal life
and not stray from the way of truth
and what is right.
All this we ask of You,
who are at work in every place and time,
in the communion of the Father and the Son,
forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer for the Jubilee Year 2025

Father in heaven,
may the faith you have given us
in your son, Jesus Christ, our brother,
and the flame of charity enkindled
in our hearts by the Holy Spirit,
reawaken in us the blessed hope
for the coming of your Kingdom.

May your grace transform us
into tireless cultivators of the seeds of the Gospel.
May those seeds transform from within both humanity
and the whole cosmos
in the sure expectation
of a new heaven and a new earth,
when, with the powers of Evil vanquished,
your glory will shine eternally.

May the grace of the Jubilee
reawaken in us, Pilgrims of Hope,
a yearning for the treasures of heaven.
May that same grace spread
the joy and peace of our Redeemer
throughout the earth.
To you our God, eternally blessed,
be glory and praise for ever.
Amen

Other Prayers

Common Catholic Prayers (link to external site)

Prayers resources from Cafod (link to external site)

Pray the Rosary (link to external site, where you can choose to recite an individual Rosary or join in a worldwide devotion)