We are pleased to announce that the public celebration of mass resumes from Sunday 7th March at 9am and thereafter on Tuesday and Thursday at 9.30am unless otherwise stated in the Newsletter or the website.

The Parish Office is currently open on Mondays and Wednesdays on reduced hours.  Messages and emails will be checked periodically over the week.  In the event of an urgent query, please contact either Fr Jim Williams on 01454 312161 or Fr Frank Bermingham on 0117 9833939.

The Parish Website will continue to be updated as regularly as possible.

If you would like to make a donation to the Parish during this difficult time, please do so below:

Thank you for your generosity and support. 

Our Church Re-Opens for Celebration of Mass, Sunday 7th March at 9am

We look forward the the public celebration of mass which will resume from Sunday 7th March at 9.00am.  Thereafter, mass will be celebrated as usual on Tuesday and Thursday at 9.30am unless otherwise noted in the weekly newsletter.  Please be mindful that all the safety measures we had in place before the closing are still in place.  Remember that during this time there is still no Sunday obligation so you can attend Mass at any of the time in the week. Please only attend mass if you are well and free of Covid-19 symptoms.

CAFOD Family Fast Day 26th Feb 2021

We may not be having a mass or a collection for CAFOD this lent but you are still able to donate online or by text.  For further information and to donate please go to https://cafod.org.uk/Fundraise/Family-Fast-Day

Please watch the video below about Abdella in Ethiopia and his long journey everyday to to get water.


Masses for the Victims of Covid-19

This Lent, Bishops from all over Europe will join together to celebrate a series of Masses and pray for the 770,000 deaths that the continent has suffered due to Covid-19.

This initiative aims to offer a sign of communion and hope for the entire continent.

On Tuesday 2nd March, Cardinal Vincent will celebrate a special Mass at 5.30pm in Westminster Cathedral as part of this Eucharistic chain, and invites us all to join him via livestream at www.westminstercathedral.org.uk


Redemptorist Publications Free Online Retreat: Reflecting with Paintings with Fr Denis McBride

Father Denis McBride will be leading a FREE online retreat this Lent, based on his two books Reflecting with Paintings Vol 1 and Vol 2 from Wednesday 24th February 2021

Each video will be uploaded on the dates given below. You can choose to watch each video at a day/time that suits you.  You can access the retreat from the Redemptorist Publications website by clicking on this link Reflecting with Paintings | Retreat with Denis McBride | RP Books

Reflecting with paintings
One of the things that has always intrigued me about Jesus is how so much of his teaching he chose to do through the medium of fiction.  All his parables are fiction: each could begin ‘Once upon a time.’ Jesus asked his hearers to leave their own world and come with him into an imaginary world, and then return to their world to have an inner conversation of how they see things in the light of the parable. Jesus’ parable world is a world of great variety.  You meet all sorts of people: difficult judges, committed burglars, broken families, wounded beggars, awkward neighbours, selfish priests, eccentric employers, desperate hosts, surprised guests, wise and foolish virgins.

Paintings, too, have their own language, from pictorial to representative, to coded, to abstract, to you-name-it – communicating another world to the onlooker, another slant on looking at people and things, or simply to provoke unspoken communication between the artist’s emotions and the viewer’s. For this Lenten retreat I invite you to look at selected paintings, to imagine another world, and then to return to your own story in the hope that some inner conversation might be provoked through the strange encounters.

- Denis McBride, CSsR -

  1. First week in Lent - Wed 24 Feb
    Praying the Rosary – Old Woman Praying the Rosary by Paul Cézanne
  2. Second week in Lent - Wed 3 Mar
    Growing up hyphenated – Jojo by J W Miller
  3. Third week in Lent - Wed 10 Mar
    Food for thought – The Promenade by Fernando Botero
  4. Fourth week in Lent - Wed 17 Mar
    Facing the truth – Logo for Frankfurt Book Fair, 1998
  5. Fifth week in Lent -  Wed 24 Mar
    Bearing up – Peasant Woman with Buckets and a Child by Kasimir Malevich
  6. Palm Sunday - Sun 28 Mar
    Hat trick – Pilate’s Wife by Sebastien Champion
  7. Good Friday - Wed 31 Mar
    Letting go – Pieta by Vincent Van Gogh
Easter - Sun 4 April
When words are not enough – The Reconciliation of Peter by Iain McKillop

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, 11th February

Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.  Our Parish is known as Our Lady of Lourdes and St Bernadette so here is a brief review on why our parish is so named.

In Lourdes, France, in 1844 a baby girl named Bernadette Soubirous was born.  Bernadette’s family was very poor, and Bernadette was responsible for looking after and caring for her brothers and sisters. The only education Bernadette received was the Catholic teachings which she studied faithfully in the evenings. 

At the age of thirteen, Bernadette was preparing for her First Holy Communion.  One of Bernadette’s chores was to collect wood for the fire.  One day in February 1858, Bernadette and two companions headed for the River Gave to collect pieces of wood.
  Bernadette looked up towards the grotto and the caves on the riverbank.  Near the opening of the grotto, Bernadette glanced and noticed the cave was suddenly filled with golden light.  Lifting her eyes, she saw a lady of great beauty, dressed in a pure white robe with a blue sash, a veil over her head, a rosary clasped in her hands and yellow roses at her feet.  Bernadette rubbed her eyes.   What a beautiful lady!  But where did she come from?  And what was she doing here?

The beautiful lady smiled at Bernadette and asked her to say her rosary.  Bernadette said her prayers and when she was finished, she looked up, the lady had vanished. The third time Bernadette went to the grotto, the lady spoke to her.  The beautiful lady asked Bernadette to come here every day for fifteen days.  She said that she wanted Bernadette to tell the priests to build a chapel there.  She told her to drink water from the stream.  The lady also told Bernadette to pray for the conversion of sinners.  Bernadette followed the requests.      

On March 25, the Lady finally told Bernadette that she was Mary, the mother of Jesus, and that her purpose in appearing to Bernadette was to warn her to pray and make sacrifices for sinners.  The miracles of body and soul performed at Lourdes are the proof that this message was a true warning from the Queen of Heaven to her children and that she was deeply interested in their welfare.

Eventually everyone did believe Bernadette and the grotto at Lourdes became a place of worship and the Lourdes holy water was sacred for performing miracles.

Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes
Oh ever immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, 
Refuge of Sinners, Comfortess of the Afflicted, 
you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. 
Look upon me with mercy. 
When you appeared in the grotto of Lourdes, 
you made it a privileged sanctuary where you dispense your favours, 
and where many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, 
both spiritual and corporal. 
I come, therefore, with unbounded confidence 
to implore your maternal intercession. 
My loving Mother, obtain my request. 
I will try to imitate your virtues so that I may one day share
your company and bless you in eternity.

Latest News

Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage 2021

It is with regret that we announce that the Diocesan and Catholic Association Pilgrimage to Lourdes this year has been cancelled. The Pilgrimage, which was scheduled for 21-27 August 2021 has been cancelled in light of the on-going effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, a schedule for special virtual events throughout 2021 and the virtual Pilgrimage programme will be announced very soon.

This will be a disappointing decision for many past pilgrims and those hoping to travel to Lourdes this year. Over the last number of years, an ‘online presence’ and ‘Virtual Pilgrimage’ experience whilst in Lourdes has been offered, where everyone is able to follow the Pilgrimage daily and experience the Homilies and reflections with those in Lourdes, at home.

This year special moments for 2021 are being planned that will enable us to still celebrate the miracle of Lourdes. The Diocese looks forward to welcoming all to their ‘virtual Pilgrimage’ once again and to their events programme throughout the year.

More details will be available on the Clifton Diocese website soon! www.cliftondiocese.com

World day of Prayer

Fr Liam Slattery at St Peter’s in Gloucester will celebrate a Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, and also mark World Day of Prayer for the Sick at 7.00pm on *Thursday February 11th*. This Mass will be live streamed on the homepage of the Diocesan website. The Catholic Association will follow the mass with a Rosary live streamed on their website at 7.45pm. The details of this will be available soon on the Diocesan website www.cliftondiocese.com

Sister Michael, RIP

Sister Michael, who was part of our parish and used to teach in Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School passed away last week.

Please remember her in your prayers, as well as her family and friends.

May she rest in peace.

World Day of Prayer 2021 - 5th March 2021

 World Day of Prayer 2021 (formerly Women’s World Day of Prayer).  This year this ecumenically run, women-led service is going ahead in some places, but the decision has been taken that it will not this year be held in the southern half of our parish, I.e. the area including Oldland Common, North Common etc.  It is organised by the women of Vanuatu, details available online at WDP 2021 | World Day Of Prayer (wwdp.org.uk) and donations, normally made at the service, may also be made via this website to support this organization, an important one for worldwide prayer.

Celebrating the Life of St Josephine Bakhita - Online Event 8th February 2021

All are invited to join Caritas Plymouth and Caritas Clifton for an online event on the Feast of St Bakhita on 8th February 2021 from 5-6.30pm to reflect on the challenges facing refugees and migrants and the threat of modern slavery.  Pope Francis’ Encyclical ‘Fratelli Tutti’ shared a vision of a more welcoming world.  This joint event, which will be attended by Bishop Mark O’Keefe and Bishop Declan Lang, will share prayers and reflections as well as offering some practical suggestions about how we can take steps to Welcome the Stranger into our Communities.  Guest speakers include Nick Hanrahan fom the Jesuit Refugee Services and Caroline Virgo from Clewer initiative.  This event will take place via zoom and you can register to attend by following clicking on this link or emailing caritas@prcdtr.org.uk.

How much do we know of the story of St Josephine Bakhita?

She was born in Darfur, now western Sudan and was the niece of the village chief. In 1877 when just 7 yrs old, she was seized by Arab slave traders who had abducted her elder 2 sisters earlier. She was forced to walk barefoot 960kms, that’s over 600m and was sold and bought twice en route and subsequently over the next 12 yrs, 3 more times before being given away.

The story is that the trauma of her abduction caused her to forget her birth name and so she took the name given to her by abductors, Bakhita, which is Arabic for lucky or fortunate. She was also forcibly converted to Islam.

During her time as a slave she endured many injuries, the worst of which as for many other slaves, left permanent scarring. Only following the threat of attack from revolutionaries did her captors sell her to the Italian vice consul who when he had to return to Italy, Bakhita begged him to take her there too and she lived in Venice and worked as nanny.

She was inspired by the Canossian Sisters in Venice and 1888 the family with whom she lived wanted to move back to Sudan where they had a hotel. Bakhita refused and finally an Italian court ruled that because Italian law didn’t recognise slavery as legal, she had never legally been so. For the first time in her life she had control of her destiny and chose to remain with the Canossians. In January 1890 she was baptised Josephine Margaret and the same day she was confirmed and received Holy Communion from Arch-bishop Giuseppe Sarto, the Cardinal Patriarch of Venice and the future Pius X.

When asked what would she do if she met her captors, replied she would kneel and kiss their hands for if these things hadn’t happened to her she would not be a Christian and religious.

She was in much pain in her last years but alway cheerful. She passed away in 1947 and the petitions for her canonisation began immediately. Canonisation was begun by John XXIII in 1959 and in October 2000 she was made St Josephine Bakhita. Her legacy is that transformation is possible through suffering. Her story of deliverance from physical slavery also symbolises all those who find meaning in delivery from mental slavery which Martin Luther King spoke about.*

John Paul II visited Khartoum in 1992 when only 9 months earlier news of her beatification was banned. He said of her ‘rejoice all of Africa! Bakhita has come back to you. The daughter of Sudan sold into slavery as a living piece of merchandise and yet still free. Free with the freedom of the saints!’ Her feast day is the 8th February.

What does her story speak to you about? What can we do to help stop modern slavery?

Pope Francis encourages us ‘so that in every part of the world, men and women may no longer be used as a means to an end and that their inviolable dignity may always be respected.’

Bishop Declan Talks About the Holy Land - Podcast

Bishop Declan spoke with James Abbott from the Bishop’s Conference about the online co-ordination meeting this week. He speaks about the current situation in Gaza how the Christian community is supporting the whole community. They also discuss how we, and the co-ordination group, can support the Christian communities in the Holy Land.  Listen to the podcast here  

Baby Loss Matters - Help is just a click, text or call away.

If you need support following baby loss; been affected by miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth, pregnancy loss of any kind; Baby Loss Matters have three services to help those affected by baby loss to access free and confidential support:

Ring the National Helpline on 0808 8025433

Text the Text-to-Talk service 07860 077339 or  Send a message to our email support

Services are person-centred, confidential and 100% free.  Trained staff, volunteers, and BACP-accredited counsellors are on hand 9am to 6pm to provide you with a safe space to explore your emotions.  If you’re unable to reach us during these times, please leave a message and we’ll get back in touch  ​Baby Loss Matters operate through Life’s Pregnancy Matters™ service. This includes emotional support and online resources. For more information on Pregnancy Matters™ click here.

Worldwide Marriage Encounter Online Program

For the past 50 years, Worldwide Marriage Encounter has been offering marriage enrichment programs all around the world.  Focused on couples who want to enrich their relationship and gain a deeper understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage, it offers a unique experience to explore your relationship at a deeper, more intimate level, regardless of how long you have been together.  The next Marriage Encounter Online Experience is scheduled on 30 & 31 January 2021 and there are many other dates over the year – you can find out more and book your place at www.wwme.org.uk or contact them on 0845 260 2016.

Global Healing - How our faith helps us care for our common home

This Lent, the Global Catholic Climate Movement invites you to ‘Global Healing’ in response to Pope Francis’ call to care more deeply for Our Common Home!

When? Six Thursdays from 18th February – 25th March 2021, 7.30pm – 8.30pm

What? The Global Healing film sessions with reflection, guest speakers & discussion.

How to join? To register click HERE or email  jane@catholicclimatemovement.global

Hosted by GCCM Laudato Si’ Animators in the UK.

Signed Mass with the Catholic Deaf Association

Echoes of God - Journeying with the Word of God

David McLoughlin invites us to join him on a journey through the whole bible in a seven-week course.  

The aim of this series is to help us get a sense of the Scriptures as a whole. To see the unfolding of God’s liberating and creative love in the history of Israel and in the Church.

Download the course here The God Who Speaks

David McLoughlin is the Emeritus Fellow of Christian Theology at Newman University, Birmingham. He has helped to train Christian activists, priests, deacons, ministers and teachers for 40 years.  

Could you be a School Governor?

Could you be a School Governor? Clifton Diocese is seeking to recruit people to serve on school governing bodies. If you believe in Catholic education, have enthusiasm and commitment, then you can make a valuable contribution to the governing body of a Catholic school. It also provides the opportunity to use your life/work skills and experience, for the benefit of the children in our schools. Please visit https://cliftondiocese.com/news/could-you-be-a-school-governor/ for more information and to complete an online nomination form or contact bill.mcentee@cliftondiocese.com or  07710094976 – he would be delighted to hear from you. Your support for our schools would be much appreciated.

Consultation on the proposed Federation of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School and St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School, Corsham

The Governing Bodies of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School and St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School, Corsham, have voted in favour of proceeding to public consultation on a resolution to establish a Federation of the two schools with effect from 1 st April 2021.  Since January 2019, the schools have been sharing expertise and co-ordinating their work as members of the Diocesan Camino Partnership.  The schools have developed a much closer relationship and with the support of the Diocesan Department for Schools and Colleges and both Local Authorities, the Governing Bodies of both schools have been working together to explore the benefits of bringing this co-operative association into a formal arrangement for the schools.  Before deciding whether to move forward, it is the duty of the Governing Bodies to consult widely with stakeholders and interested parties.  More information can be found on the  attached consultation and FAQs documents below:  

Document 1

Document 2

The period of consultation lasts six weeks, after which the Governing Bodies will vote on whether to proceed with Federation.  You can make your views known by completing the response form (Document 2).  The response form for the proposal to establish a Federation is attached to this document.  The consultation will close at midday on Wednesday 24th February 2021

Public Worship Cancelled as of 10th January 2021

In light of the current rise in cases of Covid-19, in order to keep each other safe, save lives and support the NHS, all public worship has been suspended until further notice

Please call the parish office if there is an emergency and we will try to work out how we can help.

You can live stream masses from all over the UK and Ireland everyday via www.churchservices.tv or daily mass from our Cathedral in Clifton at 9.30am every day.

For now, please view/download:

When Mass cannot be celebrated publicly

Prayers during a time of flu and illness

Stay safe and contact the parish office if you, or someone you know, need practical or emotional help as we will do our best to get you some help.

Latest Lockdown Measures - Communal Worship Allowed

We are happy to announce that we have been allowed to stay open for communal worship with the latest lockdown restrictions that have come into force as of 5th January 2020, 

We realise that not everyone will be able to continue coming to mass - those who are extremely vulnerable and required to shield again or those who are unwell and need to isolate.  You can still attend daily mass being streamed daily from the Cathedral or through churchservices.tv for online streaming of mass throughout the day from all over the UK and Ireland.

If you are struggling with worries or loneliness, please reach out and we will do our best to offer practical support.

We must continue be extremely careful and adhere to all safety measures in place in church - social distancing, wearing masks, sanitising hands, etc. and following the instructions our the stewards who are there to guide you.  This is a difficult time and our main aim is to keep everyone safe.

We pray for an end to Covid-19 and a return to a safer world.

The full guidance of the national lockdown can be found here  National lockdown: Stay at Home - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)