The last few years have seen a change in the way that Reconciliation and Holy Communion have been celebrated. The preparation for these sacraments now takes place in the Parish (no longer through the school) for children aged 9 (Year 4 of the school year.) Reconciliation is celebrated during Advent, and Holy Communion during Eastertide.

Baptisms are arranged by prior appointment with the Parish Priest.

Bringing Holy Communion to the Housebound and Sick is a vital aspect of our service to the Parish. For those who have, year in, year out come to Mass, yet now through failing health can no longer make the journey, it is only right and proper that we should come to you.

Anyone can receive the Eucharist in his or her own home. Those wishing to may simply contact us through the home page. Initially, you will receive a visit from the Parish Priest who, if it is appropriate will reconcile you to the Church and administer Holy Communion. He will then arrange for a named Eucharistic Minister to contact you that you may agree with them when they will bring Holy Communion to you.

In accordance with Diocesan policy all of our Eucharistic Ministers have had a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS, formerly CRB) check, covering working with children and vulnerable adults. We want you to feel comfortable with all those whom you invite into your home.

Any couple wishing to be married in the Parish of St Stephen are requested to contact the Parish Priest in the first instance to make an appointment. At that meeting a date would usually be agreed for your wedding.

Who can get married in a Catholic church?

You are eligible to be married in a Catholic church provided that:

  • at least one of the parties is a Catholic;
  • neither party has been married before, even civilly in a Register Office.

Neither party has to have been Confirmed.  If one of you has been married before, it may still be possible for you to be married in Church. However, a talk with the priest will help to establish whether or not this is possible.

When can we get married?

Generally speaking, marriages can be celebrated any day of the week. The exception to that is during the Easter Triduum, i.e. between the Thursday and Saturday inclusive of Holy Week. It is also likely that priests would not ordinarily welcome celebrating Marriage on a Sunday – from a purely practical point of view the usual Sunday Masses and Baptisms tend to take up most of that day. In addition, Marriages should normally be conducted during working hours since Civil Registrars are required to register your wedding.

The sacrament can be celebrated at any time upon request.

The priest is available as a norm on the following occasions:

 DayTime
St Stephen’sSaturday9.30am after Mass
St Bridget’sSaturday10.30am after Mass
St Bridget’sSaturday5.15pm prior to Mass

In years gone by, the church would readily dispense to those in serious illness or need Viaticum or, as it became popularly known the Last Rites.

Viaticum, including anointing, confession and Eucharist, were dispensed in the knowledge that the end of your earthly life approached and the Eucharist was received as “food for the journey” from this life to the next. The down side of this was that the priest only came and prayed with you when you were close to death and many people wished that they could receive the sacraments before illness became too serious.

To this end, this sacrament is now celebrated with the Housebound and Sick in Church four times a year:

  • in March and September at St Bridget’s and
  • in June and December at St Stephen’s.

It is on these occasions that we make a special effort to bring people to the Church who may not get another opportunity to come to Mass. It is also a chance for old friends to come together again after some time and catch up with one another.

Who can receive the Sacrament?

Anyone who feels infirm in mind, body or spirit of any age who wishes to receive the sacrament can contact the priest who will come and pray with you and your family and anoint you.

We celebrate this sacrament in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and in the home as well.