Our Parish is blessed..
with a number of active and welcoming prayer and ministry groups as well as other activities that regularly take place. We encourage you to come and take part in any of the following;
Contact Pat Chesterton for more information
Every second Monday of each month at St Clare’s Catholic Church
Mass 19:30 and followed by meeting at 20:00.
Contact Pauline Gilbert for more information
Tuesdays 19.15 – 21.00 at St. Clare’s Church.
This is a charismatic prayer group. The meeting has 5 phases;
- PRAYER, PRAISE and THANKSGIVING to God, in word and song.
- WORSHIP of God
- LISTENING to God in silence
- SHARING what God has revealed to us
- PETITION and INTERCESSORY prayer
There is an opportunity at the end of the meeting for individual prayer..
Prayer Group – To our Lady of Perpetual Succour.
Mondays at 19:15 -19:45
St Joseph’s Catholic Church, High Street, Aylesbury
Contact Kevin Gavin for more information
Third Monday of every month 19:30 – 21:30.
St. Joseph’s Parish Hall, High St, Aylesbury.
Contact John Fry for further information
This group meet fortnightly on Wednesdays at 19:00hrs
St. Joseph’s Parish Hall, High St, Aylesbury.
Contact Geraldine White for further information
This group meets every Tuesday at 19:00h – 20:30h.
at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, High Street, Aylesbury.
The meeting is warm, welcoming and prayerful.
The spirituality is Marian centred with an emphasis on learning from Mary
the First Disciple of Jesus.
Daily Prayer and Visitation of families is at the heart of the Mission.
Close bonds are formed between members.
Children’s Liturgy takes place every Sunday during the 09:30h Mass at St Joseph’s Church.
At St Clare’s, Children’s Liturgy hopefully will recommence post Easter 2019.
A mobile class room is being purchased to facilitate this and will be situated there.
Presently volunteers are being sought to minister in this area.
Deanery Clergy Report from Meeting of 25th February 2020
1 The clergy of the deanery of St John Fisher convened at the home of Deacon John Sillitoe, Whitchurch at 11:30h on Tuesday 25th February with the following present.
Frs J Beirne, JB, Iroh JI, L Wisniewski LW, J Fleming JF, Fr Lijo Payikkattu LP, Fr J White JW, Dcn J Sillitoe JS.
1 The Meeting opened at 1145h with the Lenten prayer of St Josephs and St Clare’s being recited by all present and a reflection on the Gospel of the Day.
Deacon Sean Duffy PR.
3 The Report from Deanery meeting of September 2019
This was accepted as accurate.
4 The Deanery of St John Fisher.
All clergy present responded to the question, what do we expect from our deanery?
- A growth in our awareness as disciples of Christ
- A sense of togetherness
- Establish structures of communication
- A forum of sharing
- An atmosphere of friendliness
- An opportunity to share
- Mutual respect for each other’s position without any coercion
- An awareness of what is doable and what is not.
- Mutual support.
- An opportunity to share
- A sense of togetherness
- Opportunities to cooperate
- Mutual support
- Encouragement for each other.
- An atmosphere of friendship.
- Opportunity for communication
- Sharing resources
- Opportunities for sharing
4 The question then was posed, what has been achieved in the deanery so far?
- We are learning to work together.
- There are some innate difficulties i.e. location, distance, age of community, travel.
- Two members had been provided from his two churches for the pastoral council.
- Growth in fraternity
- Getting to know others from different parishes.
- Information being shared.
- Opportunities to meet through pastoral meetings
- Opportunities to work together.
- Opportunities to cooperate
- Opportunity to hear what each other is doing.
- Homeless Outreach Programme at St Josephs – an example of deanery sharing.
5 Thornton Day March 28th A Deanery Pastoral Area Plan?
- Listening to the voice of the Laity especially in the year of the Word.
- Planning is necessary
- Communication needs to be addressed presently.
- Communications pillar needs reactivation
- A Deanery Pastoral Plan needs careful unpacking for some of the following reasons.
- It must be doable, applicable and practical.
- Core duties of the priest must continually be kept in mind.
- Taking on too much can unbalance and even be detrimental to our ministry
- Parishes are at different places.
- There are different needs in our deanery
- There is wide diversity.
- Location and age group of parishioners’ also shape response.
- Careful thought must be given to our pastoral approach, danger of individualism
- Perhaps no one size fits all.
- Planning is essential if we are to achieve goals.
- This was done previously in the last ten years i.e. communication Homeless Outreach at St Josephs.
- Fitting together clergy deanery activities and Laity planning will be the challenge.
- A deanery pastoral plan may not be the best way of describing life in parishes.
- Parishes are much more composed of activities varying from parish to parish
- There is also similarity between parishes in their activities
- Sharing these activities with other parishes by way of communication can be valuable.
- The deanery is probably best considered a federation of parishes.
- It is a relationship of sister parishes, all equal and diverse.
- There was widespread agreement for this self-understanding.
- Each parish is a series of activities with their own ebb and flow.
- The constant factor is the need for a clear channel of communication between these sister parishes.
- If there is to be any form of deanery plan, it might start with communication.
- The previous pillar of communication chaired by the late Dr Brian Gardner could serve as a template to build upon.
6 Guardian Angels
- JB asked JF to give an update on the current situation at GA.
- JF spoke of the sadness in his community upon receiving a letter from Bishop Peter in November of 2019 effectively serving notice on the eventual closure of the parish.
- He assured the group that their community wished to remain together and not split up.
- The community reacted with grief as they felt they had not input in such a decision.
- Representation was made to Bishop Peter conveying these strong feelings after an open meeting of parishioners in late November 2019 attended by JF and JB.
- Bishop Peter, by way of response, agreed to meet the parishioner on January 18th, 2020 at GA accompanied by Mgr Sean Healy and Neil Roseman. JB was not present as he was abroad.
- Bishop Peter, upon sensing the mood of the people at this meeting and their sense of grievance at not being consulted, agreed to a further consideration of his decision.
- JB then took up the story thanking JF for his summary of the situation.
- JB was then approached by Bishop Peter in late January 2020 for guidance as to a way forward there.
- JB suggested that consultation with the people on the ground at GA was now necessary.
- He suggested a model that had been used in St Joseph’s Church, Aylesbury when it was threatened with closure in 2005.
- This involved the formation of a response team, composed of six senior figures from the parish to begin a process of consultation with parishioners there.
- This team would work with Mgr Sean Healy and Fr John Beirne undertaking a continuous review of this process on a monthly basis. This has now commenced.
- Finally, the results of this process would be presented to Bishop David when it was complete.
- The final decision would be taken by Bishop David.
- JB reminded the deanery that for 3 years the matter of GA had been on the agenda with 3 visits from Bishop Peter to tease out the situation.
- The continuous concern of the deanery was the wellbeing of that community and their need to remain together as a community wherever that should be.
- Various avenues were explored especially with the Bishop of Buckingham regarding the church of the Good Shepherd being available to the GA community.
- Here there were positive results.
- The deanery was also realistic and aware of the complexity of the situation as outlined by Bishop Peter regarding GA.
- No priest available for GA after JFs retirement. (2013 statement)
- Buildings at GA not fit for purpose. (Diocesan assessment)
- Diocesan money not available for any type of rebuild at GA. (£3000 currently in parish account)
- With the above in mind, the deanery advised Bishop Peter of a menu of options which could ensure that the community at GA could stay together as a community but on a different site.
- JB assured the meeting that the deanery had addressed the GA situation with clear sightedness and realism, advising Bishop Peter of the various options.
- JB always saw the essential role of the deanery as advisory to Bishop Peter and his successor – and only that.
- The community at GA will now benefit from the efforts of our deanery over that 3-year period as it examines it’s options in selecting one that best suits its needs.
- JF reminded the group that the agenda had not been fully covered.
- He also expressed sadness that there was no Confirmation in 2020 in Aylesbury.
- Also, that the pillar of Communication did not appear to be functioning.
- JB acknowledged the above points reminding the group that enough candidates had not been forthcoming to warrant a programme. Provision had been made for one.
- He fully agreed with JF regarding communication
- Regarding the agenda not being fully covered, he noted that the meeting lost 15 minutes in commencing.
- To fully cover the number of items on agenda, it seems that an afternoon session could be necessary.
- This however would have to be agreed by the meeting.
8 Date of Next Meeting.
16th June 2020 for 1130h at St Joseph Presbytery.
A very enjoyable lunch was served by Jan and John washed down with an excellent full-bodied red wine. Again, it is in the sharing of the words and the table that brings us together, giving it all meaning.
Minutes of Aylesbury Forum Meeting 11 Sept. 2019
Present Canon John Beirne, Father John Fleming, Rev. John Sillitoe,
Rosemary Gowers, Sr. Bernadette
We discussed the Deanery Pastoral Council which is being set up and will require two representatives from each parish.
The steering group which is being set up feel that the schools need to be part of the Pastoral Council and suggest a representative from each school.
The Deanery Pastoral Council will look at :-
-What we do well in our parish
-What else could we possibly do
There will be a day to reflect on these issues on 12th Oct. 2019 9.30- 4.00
Ten people from each parish will be allocated for the day.
There is a new programme for the RCIA, Baptism, First Reconciliation and Communion in St. Joseph’s and St. Clare’s church
Jim Cargin has taken over chairing this pillar
Fr. Fleming described the giant Ecumenical service in the park.
Leaders from different churches in the Aylesbury vale network were present.
Mathew Travers and Tom Rawlings are going into Secondary schools and setting up a network representing Youth for Christ. They hope to form units of young Christians.
There will be a commissioning of the Director of Youth for Christ in the Holy Trinity Church.Clergy who want to work with Youth for Christ will have the opportunity
An effort is being made to follow up the Confirmandi. The youth need to be fed by wider streams. Tom to be asked to come and speak to the young people
An effort is being made to reach out to sleeping Catholics.
DVD’s will be shown for 4 weeks beginning Thursday Sept. 19th
It is felt that something needs to be done to help single people to feel they belong to the parish community Those in their 20’s 30’s and 40’s
Have a pizza evening and soft drinks
Prepare something for the following get together.
e.g. talk about how they feel.
Rose filled us in about the situation in school. The new headmistress Catherine Majin is settling in
There are 60 reception children
Our Lady of Lourdes
The parish is preparing to celebrate its Golden Jubilee
Extraordinary year of Mission
Pope Francis wants us to focus on this during the month of October.
The next meeting will be on Wed. 11th Dec.
Meeting of Heads and Clergy Report.
St Joseph’s Presbytery.
11st February 2020
Present: Canon John Beirne, Rev Dcn J Sillitoe, Catherine Machin, (St Louis), Adam Palmer, (St Michaels) Suzette Harris (St Edwards)
1 The meeting opened with the deanery prayer at 1620h.
Apologies Rev John Fleming and Ann Taylor.
2 The report from the meeting of October 2019 was accepted.
3 ‘St Edwards School’. Suzette Harris
- An inter monitoring visit had taken place which covered Module 1 of Catholic Basics
- This was very valuable especially for non-Catholic teachers.
- The Year of the Word is really taking off with enthusiasm.
- Each class now has its own prayer bag.
- Each school day begins and ends with prayer
- Masses at Our Lady of Lourdes are attended when possible
- Refurbishment is taking place in an area of the school
- The forest school is looking very good.
- The Christmas event at St Michaels was attended.
4 ‘St Louis School’ Catherine Machin
- Christingle was celebrated in December of 2019
- The annual Christmas Carol Service took place on Monday 16th December in school hall.
- This again proved a highlight of the year in the words of the keyboard player.
- The end of term Mass was celebrated with the usual excellence.
- It is now no longer possible to hold the carol service in St Clare’s Church due to high numbers.
- A project ‘Tudor Aylesbury’ was undertaken with visits around the old part of town.
- This proved both exciting and rewarding for it brought out the creativity in the children.
- A production of Macbeth took place courtesy the Young Shakespearean Company.
- This again was highly exciting, stimulating combining writing and historical research.
- The skills of woodwork are being taught by use of various tools.
- Inset days are being planned.
- A Mass and Presentation took place to mark the retirement of Carmel the caretaker after 40 years of service to the school.
- All in all, a very good term amid a time of transition.
5 ‘St Michaels School ‘Adam Palmer
- Adam shared that the school had received a very good rating in the recent Inter monitoring visit.
- This was conducted by Paul McHugh from the Diocese.
- He was especially impressed with the assemblies, teaching, learning and lesson strategies the school is following.
- The written statements of pupils in RE are also reflecting a good use of grammar helpful to written expression.
- The desirability of Faith/Religious statements/pictures throughout the school helps create identity.
- Chaplaincy is being further considered through the deployment of a full-time chaplain.
- St Edwards school to help with funding for one day per week.
- Bishop Peter had visited the school and again was deeply impressed.
- Three presentations of Carols, Prayers and Readings took place in December of 2019
- All the RC junior schools were invited and enjoyed the experience.
- Retreat days in the months of January and February 2020 with weekly Tuesday morning visits to St Clare’s Church for Mass had been a success.
- The local faith community appreciated the presence of these young lively faces.
- Saturday 11th July has been set aside as a day of School Dedication by Bishop David our present Bishop Elect.
- With the advent of three new teachers a greater array of extracurricular activities is available
- This is especially so in the area of sports and opportunities in local tournaments.
- Year 8 recently won the girls netball competition.
- Indeed, the programme is full of a rich array of activities to choose from.
6 “St Joseph School” Report from Ann Taylor.
- Illness is now high among staff and pupils
- Masses were celebrated to mark Epiphany and Candlemas.
- Parents evenings are currently taking place.
- Repair work is taking place to counter subsidence in walkways.
- Security fencing is being installed around the school.
- Preschool activities are now taking place in classrooms releasing cabins for other activities.
- The deputy head and two teachers are on maternity leave.
- No two days are alike.
- A fulltime deputy head is being sought.
- A request to the parishes to highlight our excellent schools when meeting new parents/families.
7 ‘Clergy Report’ Fr John Beirne.
- JB spoke of the situation at Guardian Angels indicating that the community there will be more fully consulted before any possible closure.
- At Our Lady of Lourdes refurbishment work has taken place.
- Since Christmas of 2019 the community has been reliant on supply priests for Sunday Mass during Fr Jude’s absence.
- At St Joseph Church in the High Street an option for the Poor has been taken.
- This involves the following.
- An embrace of the Year of the Word with enthusiasm.
- A continuous outreach to the Poor/Homeless with warm meals on Wednesdays
- On Tuesdays, vouchers to enable them to get a warm take away meal from a nearby restaurant.
- Weekly meetings on Wednesdays to help with alcohol abuse.
- Weekly meetings on Sundays to help with relationship issues.
- Weekly meetings on Fridays to help with substance abuse.
- Mind Care meetings on Tuesdays to help with mental health.
- Alongside the above, the development of the Ministry Pillar continues with an emphasis on care being given by the parish rather than just the priest.
- This is designed to assist with visits to private homes, care homes and hospital.
- The Volunteering programme continues with a launch date for the Volunteers Handbook on Saturday 15th February at St Joseph’s parish hall.
- JB finally concluded that last few months have been particularly challenging with reduced clergy and an increasing schedule of needs especially in Hospital ministry.
- Bishop Peter recently adverted to, reminding all that the above could only increase when Aylesbury reduces to a two-priest town.
Fr John Beirne.
8 Date of next meeting.
This was set for June 9th, 2020 at St Louis School at 1600h
Finally, Fr John drew attention to the death of the late Dr Brian Gardner on Friday November 15th, 2019.
Brian had been instrumental in setting up the meeting of Heads and Clergy dating back to 2010 and despite a busy schedule always found time to be present.
His favourite question was always ‘how can we help? He was particularly proud of all that had been achieved over the years in this body.
He was totally committed to a world of dialogue and saw the vital importance of parishes and schools working in partnership for the good of both.
( Indeed, in the house of Lords on February 6th, 2020 his outstanding service to the NHS by way of planning /communication was spoken of by a Baroness – so reminiscent of the above!)
He chaired the Pillar of Communication for 10 years in our deanery – working quietly to build bridges of communication.
He has left us a rich legacy and God Willing we can build on that foundation.
First Reconciliation / First Communion Parents meeting 18th September 2019
We held out first parents meeting on Wednesday evening 18th September 2019 at 8pm. There was 43 parents who attended, but some were not able to attend for reason of work commitment or baby sitters. We started our evening with some information about First Reconciliation dates and First Communion dates.
All the parents who attended on the evening were given a letter with the date for their child’s First Reconciliation, which will be in November/December.
We then started out evening with a prayer before moving on to the parents choosing the date for their child’s First Communion next May / June.
Before handing over to Felicity, Viv read a poem called Family. This poem is very much about forgiveness and how we treat one another within our family.
Felicity then talked about what being a catechist meant to her, how she first became a catechist, what it meant to be a catechist and how she managed to fit it in with working full time, having 3 young children and a husband to care for.
She talked about her faith and how she enjoyed passing on her faith to the children, and the look on the children’s faces when they received their First Holy Communion.
We finished the evening with our Guarding Angel Prayer at 9pm.
This was a very busy meeting, but it did get a lot of the dates sorted, leaving us time to arrange with those who could not attend the meeting.
Posted 20 September 2019