You wouldn't believe the number of different roles that need to be filled to keep a parish going. We are always glad to have extra help; just scroll down to see if there is anything you can do.

Altar servers
The only age limitation on altar servers is that they must have made their first communion. Apart from that, as anyone who has attended one of our Masses will know, you’re never too young or too old. Nor do you have to be male; we have many young ladies as altar servers. Should you wish to become an altar server, listen out for announcements that we’re recruiting, or inquire at the office. There is normally a training programme in September each year to teach prospective servers where to stand, what to do and the difference between a thurifer and a thurible.

Watch out for the waxCandles, altar linen
Dripping candles, spilled wine, the perils that face an altar cloth are many and varied. Not only that, but believe it or not candles need looking after too. All these elements and more go towards providing a suitably reverent and dignified setting for the celebration of the sacrifice of the Eucharist, and we have a small team of dedicated people who look after the altar linen and candles, ensuring their cleanliness and readiness. Please speak to Kathy Wurr (the organist at the 9.45am Sunday Mass) or contact her through the office if you would like to help.

Car park cleaners
Have broom, will clean. If you’re in that category we’d be delighted to hear from you. Being on a busy main road the car park of the church gets lots of litter and every so often we have to clear it up, otherwise people would be stumbling over newspapers and crisp packets on their way to Mass. There’s no need to ring anyone up about this, simply keep an eye on the newsletter or listen to the notices at the end of Mass. We announce the date of the next car park cleaning session then - pretty well invariably these take place on a Saturday morning – and anyone who can wield a broom is welcome to come along.

Help wantedCatechists
In Britain we are in the midst of a crisis of catechesis: far too many Catholics come to Mass without really knowing anything about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. And as a consequence the last twenty or thirty years has seen a great falling away among Catholics in this country, with many lapsing into occasional Christians and others drifting away entirely.

It is the responsibility of catechists to stop this. Yes, it’s our job: and not just that of the Pope or the parish priest. Every Catholic should be able ‘to give the reason for the hope that he has’ (1 Peter 3:15) and catechists, together with parents, are charged with the duty of instructing others in the Faith and thus ensuring that it is passed on to the following generations. So we have catechists who teach the children preparing for First Communion, others instructing the young people getting ready for their Confirmations and a third group who work with the adults doing the RCIA programme in the hope of entering into communion with the Church.

Catechists must, of course, be practicing Catholics and should have a good knowledge of the fundamentals of the Faith, as well as a deep desire to communicate these truths to others. Further instruction and educational materials will be provided to anyone who is interested in becoming a catechist. Please contact Aileen Adams through the office if you would like to help with this ministry.

The church also has St Joseph's Pastoral Centre trained parishioners for sacramental preparations for children and adults with learning disabilities - we can prepare mainstream, one-to-one or in a combination of the two.

We are fortunate to have not one but two choirs, both of whom are always glad of new recruits. So if you can hold a note and love music, and want to join the 11.15am choir speak to a member of the choir after Mass; if you want to sing with the 9.45am choir please speak to Maureen Molloy, the choir master. And don't think you have to read music: sure, it helps, but it's not necessary and you certainly won't be on your own in wondering what those funny squiggles mean.

Church cleaners
A church may be a sacred space marking the encounter between God and man, but it is only through hard work that it remains a clean space. It would not be right to worship God amid rubbish and dirt, so we rely on a dedicated team of cleaners to keep the church spick and span. If you have a broom, or even a willing heart and strong arms, then we would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact Eileen Nagle through the office and you will be provided with broom, bucket, cloth and our heartfelt thanks.

Coffee morning volunteers
Hearing Mass can be thirsty work, or so it would seem from the many people who decide that they need a nice cup of tea or coffee afterwards. Not to mention the biscuits. After every Mass on Sunday we serve tea, coffee and biscuits in the parish hall to any and all that want or need refreshment, but of course to do that we need people to fill up the kettle, pour the tea and load the biscuit tray. We have a fine team of volunteers lead by Cecilia Webb who work hard to keep the parish refreshed and any new recruits will be gladly accepted. Just ask on a Sunday in the parish hall, or contact Cecilia Webb through the office.

Our Lord, of course, prayed that His followers should be one. We Christians have largely ignored that prayer through the second millennium of Christian history, with the Great Schism between Catholic and Orthodox churches in 1054 AD followed some five hundred years later by the Reformation and the scandal of the Wars of Religion. Thankfully, many of the divisions between Christians have been healed since those bloody centuries and we are now, generally, prepared to call each other Christians even if we differ on where the full expression of the truth that Christ proclaimed lies. In years to come, as we face an increasingly aggressive secularist establishment, it is only going to become more important that we, as Christians, are united. To that end representatives of the local Christian churches meet regularly to ensure contact and understanding is maintained. Anyone interested in taking part in this dialogue, and thus making sure that we do something to follow Our Lord’s command, should speak to Felicity Brown. She can be contacted through the office.

Eucharistic ministers
Eucharistic ministers assist during Mass with the distribution of the Host and Our Lord’s precious Blood in the form of wine. It’s obviously an important and responsible task, so should not be taken lightly. We have a fine team of Eucharistic ministers and if you’re interested in finding out more or joining them, please contact the office.

Fair Trade stall

For the Fair Trade stall's own entry, see here.

2008 sees the introduction of a Fair Trade stall to our parish, beginning in Fair Trade Fortnight on Sunday, February 24th.

Fair Trade means that the growers/producers in developing countries obtain a stable price sufficient to sustain and improve their farm or business and to give their families a better future for example by being able to afford to send their children to school.

Often this involves small family businesses banding together to form co-operatives to sell and export their goods. If these businesses employ others they must pay them a living wage and not exploit them.

The FairTrade mark is given after an internationally recognised inspection finds all the criteria met. The FT mark means a higher, more stable price for the farmer. This usually means we pay a higher price than for products sold by multinationals whose main aim is maximum profit. The result is several thousand more family businesses in developing countries each year enjoying a better future. But our purchases do far more than this.

The increasing number of people prepared to pay a slightly higher price for fairly traded products has encouraged leading stores to promote fair trade. So M&S cafés exclusively serve fair trade teas and coffees; all the tea in Sainsbury’s is fair trade. It has also helped encourage our government take a lead in aid, cancelling debt and improving trade terms.

Our stall sells food items which many parishioners buy regularly such as coffee, honey, biscuits, tea, chocolate, fruit juice, cereal, sugar, jam and nuts, all with a good shelf life. You can order from a whole range of FT household and gift items in the catalogues we have out. Profit made from our stall will be added to our parish’s CAFOD donations.

The stall will be in the hall on the 4th Sunday morning each month and we’re looking at the feasibility of covering evening masses. All food items we sell are “underwritten” by someone in the parish: so if they near their “best before” date their underwriter will buy them.  This way everything is fresh and attractive.  The minimum order is six or ten. If you find food items in the catalogue we don’t sell, but you can underwrite, just say so.

We buy from Traidcraft. Its mission is to “fight poverty through trade, helping people in developing countries to transform their lives.” Traidcraft began in 1979 as a Christian response to poverty and describes itself as “the UK’s leading fair trade organisation”.

Contact Michael or Marian McGowan on 8888 1276 about the parish Fair Trade stall. Traidcraft and FairTrade have websites. The latter explains the FairTrade mark thus:

The FAIRTRADE Mark is an independent label which appears on products as an independent guarantee that disadvantaged producers in the developing world are getting a better deal.

For a product to display the FAIRTRADE Mark it must meet international “Fairtrade standards” set by the international certification body Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO).

Producer organisations that supply Fairtrade products are inspected and certified by FLO. They receive a minimum price that covers the cost of sustainable production and an extra premium that is invested in social or economic development projects.

Flower arrangers
‘Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.’ (Matthew 6:28-29.)

So it’s only right that we should decorate our church with flowers. Because our flower arrangers carry on with their work so discreetly it’s easy to imagine that the arrangements we see each Sunday somehow manage to appear there under their own steam. But no, we have not perfected the art of self selecting flowers. Rather a small team lead by Jean Turner make up the flower arrangements for the Masses and many other special occasions at the church. Anyone wishing to outdo Solomon should contact the office to be put in contact with the flower arranging team.

Suppose you’re someone who has read a little about Christianity and is interested in finding out more, and you come along, a little nervously, on a Sunday morning to find out what these strange Christian people do with themselves when everyone else is still in bed. What is that stranger going to find when he or she walks through the door? It’s the responsibility of the greeters to ensure that our visitors receive a welcome and whatever guidance and help they might need. On a more everyday level, it’s also the greeters’ job to hand out Mass books and, when in use, hymn books to parishioners as they arrive for Mass, and then to gather the higglepiddledy piles that are left behind after the service is over into some sort of order for the next Mass. But perhaps the smile and the welcome is the most important of their tasks. So if you want to ensure that anyone coming to our church receives a proper Christian welcome, please speak to one of the greeters after Mass or contact the office on 020 8368 1638.

You wouldn’t believe the things that go wrong, break and generally malfunction in a parish like ours, from light bulbs to leaking roofs. If you’re generally skilled in maintenance and repair, and would like a chance to put those abilities to use in service of God and the Church, then give the office a call. We always appreciate having extra help available.

Mass for the housebound by phone
Not everyone who wants to come to Mass is able to do so. In particular, there are those whose health prevents them from coming to church. To ensure that such people are not cut off from the life of the church as represented in the Mass, every Saturday at 6.15pm there is a phone call to these housebound parishioners and, via a telephone conferring service run by BT, they are then able to hear the 6.30pm Saturday Mass from their own homes. If you know anyone who would like to join in and listen to Mass from home, please contact the office on 020 8368 1638 with that person’s contact details and, obviously, their phone number. If you would like to learn more about helping with the Mass for the housebound, please also contact the office on the above number.

Paper shop volunteers
Knowledge is power, but prayer is stronger still. So what do you say to this: both are on offer in our very own repository, at very reasonable rates. There’s a wide range of Catholic papers and magazines, as well as books such Missals and the indispensable ‘Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church’. On the prayer front we sell rosaries, holy pictures, icons and everything else you might need to show that your home is a place of worship and not just mammon. But of course, to keep the repository open after each Mass every Sunday we need enthusiastic and reliable volunteers, ready to purvey understanding and orison to parishioners. The indefatigable Cecilia Webb looks after the paper shop too amid all her many other duties, so any new helpers should ask for her after Mass in the repository or leave a message via the office on 020 8368 1638.

The Mass is split into two parts, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Readers make a vital contribution to the first of these, speaking God’s word to the congregation in the two readings and, often, the Psalm.

Readers are required to read approximately once a month and the criteria are:

  1. To feel comfortable reading in front of large numbers (and this more often than not comes with practice).
  2. To be able to show appropriate emotion and feeling relating to the reading while speaking slowly and enunciating clearly so that every member of the congregation can understand what you are saying.
  3. To be reliable - if you are not able to read on your specified day, you’ll need to make alternative arrangements with another reader in good time.

Our Lady of Lourdes welcomes volunteers of any kind so if you feel this is something that you would like to do, your commitment and contribution would be much appreciated.

If you are interested in becoming a reader please contact Harriet Albert, Readers' Co-ordinator on 020 8368 3126.

It sounds mysterious, but sidesmen are in fact the gentlemen who go up and down the sides (or aisles) of the church, doing the collection, ensuring that everyone has a seat and generally looking after the smooth running of things during Mass. If you’d like to be a sidesman, or a sideswoman, just speak to one of them after Mass or call the office on 020 8368 1638.

Visiting the sick
‘I was sick, and you visited me’ (Matthew 25:36). This is no small matter for a Christian: in fact, our souls may well depend upon it. For ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me’ (Matthew 25: 40). So abandoning the sick to lonely suffering is to turn our backs upon Jesus Christ, even as the crowds who cheered his way into Jerusalem a week later were screaming for his blood. To ensure that we do not turn our backs on the Lord, if you know someone who is sick and who would like to be visited by a priest, or even to arrange a visit for yourself, please contact the office on 020 8368 1638. Remember, it is our duty to visit the sick, but we can only do that if we know who they are and where they are (visits can be made to hospital, hospice or home).